House Buying Adventures

Holy crud the last month flew by and drug on forever all at the same time! When that happens I’m always surprised when the month ends and I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished very much. We’ve done a lot but at the same time we’ve been in limbo. Typical with any kind of move I suppose but it’s been seven and a half years since we moved here and I forgot what it was like.

This is the first move since we’ve been married that I haven’t had a newborn or been 9 months pregnant so in some ways it feels easier. The last time we moved Colby hadn’t had a stroke so we didn’t have medical equipment and an entire cupboard full of medication. We sign the papers on the house tomorrow but the moving company hasn’t even done their walk through yet. That will come tomorrow evening. We had originally planned for them to come next week to pack us up and move us but maybe we’ll see if they can come sooner.

The big issue is once Colby’s equipment and medicine go, he and I have to sleep at the new house. I can’t have the movers pack up his stuff because he needs oxygen, his feeding pump, his food, his oxygen sensors to monitor his oxygen and heart rate. Tomorrow we figure out the best way to do all that and go from there.

The next few weeks will be a little crazy. I honestly think short moves are much more difficult than moving several states or even hundreds of miles. This is the second time I’ve moved a mile or less away and it’s always a challenge to figure out the best way to do things. I’m hoping that everything will go smoothly and that we’ll have started getting stuff moved over by my birthday this weekend. Did I forget to mention that I’m totally considering this the best birthday present ever? Well last years present of taking John home from his second brain tumor resection was a pretty fantastic day too but I knew that chemo and radiation would soon take over and I wasn’t really looking forward to that. John has finished his chemo and hopefully this next year and many more will be cancer free. So that means I’m hoping we get to move in, get settled and enjoy some good health for awhile.

In honor of all that is going on I joined a big giveaway that will open on the 3rd. I don’t get to enter but I hope one of you will win the big prize and have fun spending what I can’t. That’s all I’ve got to say about it. To find out what the big prize is head back on over tomorrow morning and get entered! Good luck!

Happy 7th Survivor Day Colby!

Colby and mom

Colby's 2nd birthday

7 years!

Wow! It still sometimes hits me like a train that you had a stroke. Some memories of that day have faded. Most have not. Just thinking about the moment the doctor said “He’s had a stroke and is obviously a very sick little boy” still brings tears to my eyes and makes me nauseous. The memory of walking into the PICU and seeing you hooked up to a ventilator still makes my knees shake. Hearing the doctors say they didn’t know if you would live and that we needed to be prepared to make final preparations for you was not something I could even wrap my  mind around. We were told we’d know if you’d make it in 72 hours. After that they would be able to tell how bad the damage was.

Your little body was so puffy from the dialysis not working that you almost weren’t recognizable.  I knew you could hear me though so I sat and talked to you. I held your hand and told you that if you wanted to you could go and we would be okay but if you wanted to stay we would fight together to give you the best life we could.You chose to stay and every day no matter how hard a day it is I give thanks for that decision!

Colby holding Moms hand

You are the strongest spirit I know. You are stubborn and ornery and have a desire to be more than a little naughty at times but I love you even more for it! Your will to live and have fun has never wavered. I doubt myself everyday and think to myself that I am tired of fighting this battle called recovery but then I look at you and I know I’ll never give up trying to make your world a better place for you. Days and weeks like this past one where you have spent almost every waking moment either throwing up or screaming in pain from muscle spasms break my heart but then evenings like tonight when you are calm and laughing at the t.v. make up for it. Your smile and your silent belly laugh melt my heart every time.

We will continue to try every new medication that comes our way to make you more comfortable. Today we picked up a new seizure medication from the pharmacy. This morning was the longest seizure I’ve seen you have. I hate watching you stop breathing and turn blue while I count the seconds until you start again. Tomorrow we will start the process of weaning you off your old seizure med while starting the new one. It’s a dance we’ve danced many times in 7 years. We also got the go ahead to try a different type of muscle relaxer. This one works on your back instead of all your muscles. The rope of muscles down your back pulling you over makes my back ache for you. I’m guessing breathing is more important at this point than the muscle pain so we’ll do that change first before trying the second one. To many med changes at once gets confusing.


Speaking of dancing, I wish you were still small enough to two step with me. Your dad won’t dance but you used to love it. No music though just dancing in the kitchen to the beat of your own song. I hope that this next year of recovery brings you amazing progress but if we continue to baby step our way through it, it will be just perfect. I love you my brave little man!

We got it!

We got the house we put on offer in on! We are so excited! Even though it’s barely over a mile away from where we currently live the Army will still move us one last time. I briefly thought about doing the move ourselves. We’d make about $3000 but honestly it’s not worth it considering everything else we have going on in our lives. John is already going to work harder than he should. He will finish chemo up at the end of September and we’ll be in the house before that’s completely finished. It’s hard to believe it’s been almost a year since his last brain surgery.

It will also be hard to pack and move everything with Colby not being to cooperative. He’s excited about moving to this house. It’s the only house that he smiled at when we took him into it. I’m sure though it will become a little upsetting to him once it sinks in though. Jahnna is already starting to stress about packing her stuff up. `She is excited to move also but now she doesn’t want to wait so it will be interesting to see how this plays out for her.

Like I said it will be easier if we have someone come pack all our stuff up for us and move it.

This house is just about perfect for us. Only one tiny little step into each of the entrances. It will be so easy to make them into a ramp. It has a huge sun room, something I’ve always wanted! Utah bedrooms tend to be small. It’s the whole big families gotta have lots of bedrooms thing. This house has four bedrooms that are huge! More like the rooms I grew up with in California. This is a huge blessing for our family and we are so happy that things are falling into place.

I also wanted to congratulate Maggie C. the winner of the Easy Peasy Chore Chart System! Thank you for those who entered the giveaway.



50 States and Where to Find Them~ Review

new hampshire

This last week was so crazy house hunting and everything that I’m still reviewing some of the products from the different Build Your Bundle Sale bundles. 50 States and Where to Find Them is one of them. Remember that the sale ends Monday at 11:59 pm. If you haven’t gotten your bundle yet it will disappear after that.

Kathy Jo DeVore at Barefoot Meandering has developed some great curriculum. This is what she has to say about the 50 States and Where to Find Them. “My primary intention behind writing 50 States and Where to Find Them was to teach my children all the states and capitals. This is accomplished by tackling the United States region by region. Children fill out a map of the region as they learn about each state. State lessons include historical information about the state and coloring pages of the state flower, state bird, and state flag. Each region wraps up with a crossword puzzle, a word search, and a bonus lesson pertaining to the region. Bonus lessons include topics such as heraldry, the Erie Canal, and the Underground Railroad.”

This last April our family took a vacation to Arizona. It was a lot of fun and I had some cute little road games for the girls to learn about places we stopped but it would have been so much better if I’d had a copy of 50 States. I love the idea of studying the states by regions. The workbook is a lot of fun also. The pictures are simple but very effective for the students to make the connections that need to be made.

I’ve been trying to figure out a way to get one to upload but I seem to be technologically challenged tonight! Each state section is filled with fun facts. I even learned something about Utah. The middle of the state is Levan or Navel spelled backwards. I also learned that my home state of California grows 300,000 tons of grapes a year. It’s one of the things I miss about living there, all the fresh fruits and vegetables.

None of the chapters go to much into depth and if you’ve used an intensive US geography curriculum before then this is not the one for you. It is a great way to introduce younger students to the states and is a good springboard for older students to begin a more in depth study of the states. You can buy a hardcopy of 50 States and Where to Find Them on Amazon for $35 that doesn’t include the workbook, or you can buy them on the Barefoot Meanderings site for $15 each so $30 total for the book and the workbook or you can purchase the Charlotte Mason Bundle at the Build Your Bundle sale  for $49 and you will get both the ebook and the workbook version of this book, the Write from History book I reviewed yesterday and bunch of other products including $90 worth of Jim Hodges audio books. The sale ends in 24 hours and 15 minutes as of this posting. When it’s over all the savings will be gone.

Write from Early Modern History Level 1 ~ Review


Write from HistoryWrite from Early Modern History Level 1 is a writing program based on the Charlotte Mason method of teaching. It covers early modern history from 1600 AD – 1850 AD or if you don’t think in terms of dates than it is from Pocahontas to Kit Carson.

There are historical narratives, some Brothers Grimm tales, poetry and over 55 different reading options. This curriculum is used to get students ready for middle school writing by incorporating grammar, spelling, penmanship and history all together.

Here are a few of the individual students learn about in this volume:

  • Pocahontas
  • Women in the Indian Wars
  • George Washington
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • The Boston Tea Party
  • Daniel Boone

Those are some of the technical details in the program. I opened up the file I received and was a bit overwhelmed to find that it was over 350 pages long! I took a quick scroll through the pages and realized I had no idea what Charlotte Mason’s method of teaching was really about. Thankfully Kimberly Garcia has included a very thorough explanation in the introduction. I appreciated the examples of how Charlotte Mason taught her students and what it would look like in a home setting. I have not done dictation work with Jahnna but I know that Riley was getting some at the school she attended last year. I was able to see how much Riley benefitted from it and will be using this to help Jahnna out this year.

The suggested schedule that is included seems to very doable, at least for my girls it is. Each reading selection should be covered over 5 days time with each day focusing on a different aspect of the lesson. Reading, Oral Narration and Summation on day 1 and copy work and grammar on day 5. It was very helpful to see that Kimberly included a summary of Ms. Mason’s teaching theory.

Quality over quantity.
Accuracy over speed.
Ideas over drill.
Perfection over mediocrity.

I loved this reminder so much! We’ve really been working with our daughters on the concept of doing things right the first time. “It’s better to work than to rework” is what John tells them when they are doing their chores. I might need to point out the accuracy over speed concept to him as he also tells them to move with purpose all the time. What else would a retired soldier tell his daughters who are dragging their feet?

I started working with Riley and Jahnna on The Boys and the Wharf selection. They both attended Patriot Camp this summer and had a lot of fun learning about the founding fathers and how the constitution was formed. I thought they might like to learn a little bit about Benjamin Franklin as a boy. They both enjoyed the story and did well when I asked them to tell me what the selection was about. When it came down to the grammar and writing portion things got a little dicey! Neither one of them felt the need to do writing during the summer. I can’t say that I blame them. I told them it was for a review and they grumbled for a minute until Riley said it was just like “playing” school and it would be fun. I’m not sure why that made a difference but it did. Jahnna does not like to be corrected sometimes so I was a little worried about how she would take my advice on doing it right the first time but she did fairly good at listening when I explained why it was important.

I love curriculums that make it easy to cover multiple subjects at once. Both of our girls have a love of history from their dad and while this method might be labor intensive at first I think the end results are worth it. Jahnna isn’t sure she wants to continue with this method but she will be in sixth grade next year so this technically isn’t for her grade level. I think we will use it when we can combine it with some of her other subjects because I like the reinforcement it offers. I wish I had started this sooner with her. Riley, Riley, Riley. We’re still not sure what we are doing with her next year. I withdrew her from the amazing school she was attending last year because we were moving out of the area and there is a waiting list for the school. Now that we are hopefully buying a house in the same area we live in I’d love for her to be able to go back there. I’m calling first thing on Monday to see if that can happen. If it can’t she will probably stay home for a year and I will definitely continue this curriculum with her. She really benefits from the structured learning and from the do it right the first time style of learning.

If you think this would be a good curriculum fit for you it can be found at Brookdale House for $22.95. You can also get it in the Charlotte Mason bundle of the Build Your Bundle Sale. That bundle is selling for $49 but that is a savings of 87% off the retail value of $377.35. If you want to purchase the bundle you need to hurry. The sale ends Monday July 28 at 11:59 pm EST. After that the bundles and savings will be gone.