Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas 2011

We had a wonderful Christmas - visiting here and in Memphis.  So much fun to hang out with all of our cousins and grands!
Making Xmas cookies with Poppy:)

Jack's new Kepi hat - a gift from the Cauler side of the fam:)
                                           Xmas eve at the Simpson grandparents.

                                     Cousins modeling their new hats!  Precious girls!
                                             Jack recieved a camo-Jags t-shirt!  Score!
              The boy cousins opening their special boxes from Poppy - handcrafted with love:)
                                                     Will chillin' in the bean bag.
                                                            Ryan waiting his turn.
There are some videos I'll post on youtube - since Jeff only shot video on Xmas morning there are  no stills:( Sorry!

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Well, we almost made it a whole year without someone needing stitches!  Oh well!  This morning Will and Jack were playing and somehow(?????) Will fell face down on the floor and split open his chin.  We have hardwood floors, over a concrete slab foundation, so there's little give if one takes a spill here. 
After concurring that he would need to be seen by a Dr., we all had to get dressed!  The poor boy sat on my bed holding his chin with a wet washcloth, while the rest of us scrambled to put clothes on and brush our teeth! 
He was so good and brave and patient!  Thankfully our local medical clinic could see us us quickly.  He only cried when they used the lidocain to numb up the area - a needle of course had to be used and it was uncomfortable to say the least!  He really was amazing though!
I had him laughing and being silly while we waited for the area to become totally numb.  We were blessed to have a Fellowship member as our PA - she was great:)  When she came back in to stitch him up, he became really anxious.  But, I cannot express enough how calm he was after she got everything underway.  He kept his eyes closed the whole time:)  I held his hands and just stroked his little head.  She was super efficient and after getting 3 stitches we were ready to go.
He looks like he's got three really dark whiskers:)  Afterwards, we all headed to Chick-fil-a for some lunch.  Because we were in such a rush to get him to the doctor, we never got Will dressed, so he was still in his jammies.  As we got out of the car to head into the restaurant, Will asked me if it was illegal to eat there in your pj's! 
Here's our brave boy after munching on some chicken:)  The dr's office also gave him a "prescription" for a free TCBY treat!  So after lunch we ran over there and he got a cup of cake batter yogurt (sounds gross, but really wasn't too bad!) and some fun toppings - his picks:gummie bears, m&m's, and sprinkles! 
We were all whooped by this time so we headed home for naps.  I'll post some more pics tomorrow after we take off the bandaid. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Toddlers, and Preschoolers, and Tweeners, Oh My!

Parenting has been really challenging lately.  So much so that this lil' ole blog of mine has taken the back, back seat.  I wanted desperately to stay up on this and keep family posted on the kids etc.  it just seems that most days I am barely keeping my head above water.  I know that this is only a season - it just feels like it may last FOREVER:)  I don't want to sound negative, and most days there is some laughter amid the tears, but geez louise, I'm in the fetal position crying "uncle" - enough's enough! So here's the catch up in photos...

Some of us have been trying new fashion ideas...
 Ella-Kathryn and I joined our friends H and M in Tulsa to celebrate H's birthday...
 The boys are all about wrestling with Daddy - every day, everywhere, all day long!
 Back in early Nov. we had fun with leaf piles:)

 We had a wonderful visit with some great friends here from GA - the boys' mom and I were in grad school together! 

This past weekend we enjoyed Jack and Ella-Kathryn's choir concert.  No pics of Jack though - there is some video, but he's not very happy about the whole thing so I thought I'd leave well enough alone:)

 Last night we headed to downtown Rogers for the Christmas parade.  Daddy rode the BCSO motorcycle so we braved the freezing cold temps (27 degrees when we arrived at 6) to cheer him on.  While we had a great time and the kids filled their candy bags, we did leave early since most of us were losing feeling in our toes and fingers!

Sorry for the scary shot of yours truly:)  It's really hard to take a picture facing yourself while wearing mittens!

Also back in Nov we were able to attend the annual Christmas Toy extravaganza - here in Wal-mart land the vendors break out the latest and greatest toys to show off for the upcoming holiday season.  There were some fun giveaways and Ella-Kathryn had her pic taken with "Barbie" again:)   The little boys were able to see Mater, Lightning, and Fin, although not as up close and personal as originally planned.  Apparently court was still in session at the County Courthouse and since the cars were parked right at the bottom of the courthouse stairs, they couldn't start the engines/honk horns etc:(  Oh well- knowing Will he would've hated all that noise anyway!

So, we are looking forward to Christmas here and in Memphis.  Lots to do between now and then and still trying to keep up with school, so we'll see how I do keeping this updated as well!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Food for Thought

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

I'm linking to this article because I found it so interesting!  Our public school system has applied Aug. 1 as the cutoff date for entering kindergartners.  As such, if we had remained in the system, Will would not begin school until he was about to turn 6. So according to this article/research, we would be doing him a disservice in "red-shirting" him.  Ah, more parental angst - as if I don't have enough to worry about!  I'll tuck this one aside for our future (if we ever return to public school and/or discussions with our friends who are headed into kindergarten) but for the time beginning it was a very thought provoking read.  I am also reading Nurture Shock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merriman - stunning new scientific research/studies which debunk many of our commonly held parenting beliefs.  Some have been not too shocking, as in kids getting more sleep perform better and have better overall attitudes, but reading about one study including 4th and 6th graders and the difference 30 minutes of "real" sleep can make - truly amazing!  Some of the other chapters, like the one dealing with lying, has given me new insight into handling this issue in our own home.  So, just some food for thought:)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Big 4!

 This little boy turned 4!  Jeff and I filled his room and his bunk with balloons the night before so he woke up to a decorated room:)  We heard Will and Jack playing with them bright and early thurs. morning!  Then he got to have a birthday cupcake for breakfast - always a fun treat.  We did a family breakfast and then had the grandparents over for a cookout and campfire that night.  He really enjoyed his day and was blessed to receive lots of fun gifts!  I know I sound like a broken record, but I really cannot believe that this boy is 4!  I was reminded by a friends comment on facebook that the day before he was born I had taken a bumpy school bus ride with Jack's kindergarten class to attend a field trip to the county fair.  We also had a picnic at a local park and then walked over a mile back to the school.  Her comment was "I remember the bumpy bus ride that triggered your labor!"  Ha!  I had forgotten, but it's so true:)  I awoke around 5:00 the next morning (a Sat) realizing that my water had broken.  Hours later our sweet William Charles was born.  Here are some things about Will:
*he has such a grateful heart!  He always thanks us for even the simplest of things, which in turn reminds us to have thankful hearts!
*He is really funny - he always makes us laugh, everyday, and it's often not because he was trying to be funny - he just has a way of saying things that crack us up
*He LOVES his siblings - he's really bonding with Jack lately, has always adored his sister, and is finding his groove as a big brother.  He was recently teaching Ryan to read one of the early-reader books he's learned
*He has the most adorable run - seriously, he's got the most determined look on his face and the wackiest way of swinging his arms - let's hope he can out grow this:)
*He has come a LONG way in terms of his temper and outbursts and demonstrates a contrite heart pretty quickly when he's been corrected.  Can't wait to see what God has in store for this very Willful little man:)

 On Fri we were invited to check out a local cave with some other homeschool families.  Originally Jeff was going to hang out with Ryan, but at the last minute he found out he had to attend a class at work, so I ending up bringing all 4.  About half way into the tour, in a cave where you literally are not allowed to touch ANYTHING, I said to another mom, "I really should have my head examined for bringing a 2 year old here!"  When all was said and done though, they all did a great job and Ryan was fantastic!  This was after the tour - notice Will and Jack's identical 'smiles'!
 Will recieved a headlamp from Poppy and during the campfire Will had his on so of course Ryan had to have one too!  Thank goodness Jack let him borrow his or else the whole neighborhood would have heard about it:)  He was making such funny faces trying to get it adjusted just right on his forehead!

 Earlier in the day Jeff set up his new tree stand and of course everyone had to have a turn.  Here's Ryan making another one of his famous silly faces:)
I keep forgetting to post about this too.  About a month ago we took down the crib.  Ryan and Ella-Kathryn sleep together in her bed quite comfortably so I just couldn't see keeping the crib up, taking up so much space in their room, when he wasn't even using it anymore.  But I had to take one more picture of him in it before it went up in the attic.  It was really hard to take it apart, knowing that there would not be any more babies sleeping in it.  I hope to keep it for our kids to use when they have children of their own, or to put up when we keep our grandkids!  I shed a few tears but tried to keep a positive attitude.  I know there are many great adventures ahead of us, without a little baby, and I am enjoying the kids where there at now.  I just know that I am one of those women who will never be done having babies:(  Other moms are able to confidently say, that's it, I know I'm finished - not me!  Jeff, on the other had, can say it with gusto! 

Friday, September 2, 2011


Ah, Colorado, how I miss you!!!Jeff and I had an amazing trip - not just the uninterrupted conversations and freedom to eat only a soft pretzel for dinner if we so chose, but also the beauty of the state.  I can definitely see a place for our family there someday:)
We've been back to school for a couple of weeks now and honestly it's been challenging; more so than last year when we were just trying to figure the whole thing out!  Ryan is certainly in a very high maintenance season right now:)  He is demanding, angry, bossy and so often frustrated by his own inability to communicate what he wants, that he takes it out on all of us!  The blessing in all of this is that God has SO been working on my heart - in a huge way. The Holy Spirit is seriously keeping my mouth shut and my heart open.  I have been much more patient and kind with my children.  It is NOT working any miracles with my children, other than I know that  I am not operating out of anger which was manifesting because I felt out of control!  Once God laid it out, that I am not a puppeteer of my kids, it clicked.  Loving discipleship of my children is my job!  Not being a dictator demanding certain behaviors regardless of their hearts and personalities.  So, in my quiet time I've been working on my personal mission statement (it's been great for me to clarify my roles and how I want to live those out) as well as spending time praying and reading the bible.  Finding scripture that helps me define who I am at this stage in my life has opened my eyes to God's purpose for me!  Let me tell you what a big deal this is for me.  All of my life I have struggled to feel significant and like I mattered.  Obviously getting married and having children brought some of that into focus, but at the end of the day it only mattered in terms of who He designed me to be.  His plan for me is the ONLY thing that can give me a lasting, real value. 
OK, so enough of the heavy stuff;)  Here are some funnies I wanted to record for posterity:
*Will didn't want me to cut up his waffle, but the piece was still pretty big and I asked him how he was going to eat it.  He replied, "with my big mouth!"
*Ryan will ask where something/one is and when he gets the answer he'll respond "Oh yeah" or if he asks for something and it's all gone he'll say 'Oh man"
*For some reason there has been a bit of talk around here about dating???   I've been trying to explain what Jeff and I expect about that time in their lives etc.  So Will was asking when he could date and I was reiterating our answers.  He then said that he could go on date when he got married (I'm guessing b/c Jeff and I say we go on dates?) and Jack pipes up, "Well yeah that's b/c you'll have your own woman!"  What in the world????  So Will says "Duh" which I am really not sure where that came from and I tell him "your silly" and he shoots back, "no I'm not, I'm Will!"
That's all she wrote...

Thursday, August 18, 2011


 The end of July and the month of August are busy, busy for us!  Starting with my bday, we then have my Ryan's, my mil's, Jeff's, Ella-Kathryn's, and then my dad's!  This year of course we missed Ryan's actual bday-day, but I don't think he minded at all since he was being spoiled rotten by Poppy, LaLa, and Gran who were in charge while Jeff and I were out in CO. 
The good news in Ryan's little life is that we've been ear-infection free since June!  We switched to Almond milk and have been going to the Chiropractor regularly.  Whether or not it's those things or just his age, I don't care!  As long as we can NOT get another one of those dang things, I'm thrilled;)  So now that Ryan's 2 here's the low down:
He LOVES his daddy!  More than any of the other kids, he is quite attached to daddy and for that I'm grateful:)  Now don't get me wrong, he's still a momma's boy, but he really does want to go wherever Jeff goes and asks after him constantly.  His go-to answer for just about anything is "no" but we're working on that!  He sleeps through the night, in Sissy's bed - it works for us and she thinks it's fun, for now.  I'm sure we only have another year or so, so we're enjoying it while it lasts.  He still really likes music and will bee-bop to almost anything.  We haven't had our 2-year checkup yet, but I'll post that after we go in Sept.

This little girl is now 7!  Honestly, I know I say this after every birthday, but I simply cannot believe another year has passed!  What in the world??  Ella-Kathryn continues to be  encourager, our cheerleader, but we can now add drama-queen to the mix!  She certainly has mastered the eye roll and smirk (don't know where she learned those:))  and she can sigh with the best of them!  She can be so tender with ther brothers, but watch out if you try to do it your way as opposed to hers!  She officially accepted Christ earlier in the summer, but we're still waiting on daddy to work up the courage to baptize her:)  She continues to be a great student and we're excited to see what this school year will brings.  She is so social, loves her friends and family, but is also content to play on her own.  She such a blessing to me especially, not just as my only girl, but also because she loves to play teacher/mommy to the littles.  She will set up a "pre-school" for them while I'm working with Jack or doing house stuff!  Love her sweet spirit!
This little man started AWANA for the first time last night!  He is also signed up for choir, so after a family meal at the church at 5, he goes to choir at 5:30, then on to Cubbies at 6:30 and we're not finished until 8.  It's a long, late night, but with only a few tears last night, he enjoyed it immensely!  He's already practiced his first verse 20 times today!  He was so excited and really so proud of himself - we are proud too; it's a big achievement for him to participate in both things and while I'm in the building all night (I'm standing in as secretary for the club )and did have to dive under the desk twice so he wouldn't see me, hopefully, as he gets better acclimated I won't have to resort to such ridiculous tactics!
Here's the parting shot: Jeff and I, self-portrait, atop Mt. Evans, one of CO's fourteeners.  CO was such a special trip for us.  Yes a child-free vacay was amazing, but it was just such a sweet time to be together, to have entire conversations - uninterrupted!  It was great for our marriage and while we both missed the kids terribly, we both wish we could do this annually!  Ha! 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Well, our visit to the ENT confirmed what we already thought.  Ryan could stand to get some tubes in his ears.  He's had 5 ear infections in 6+ months - that's just too much for any little one to handle.  Our biggest concern for him is that all of the time he spends on antibiotics will only make those drugs less effective, not to mention the discomfort these infections cause him until the medicine kicks in.  So, while the procedure isn't scheduled yet, we are looking in that direction.  He was so good at the Dr.'s office:)  Even Dr. Lee commented on how well-behaved he was and how well he listened to my/his instructions.  When the dr. wanted Ryan up on the exam chair, I set him on the seat and then as Dr. Lee wanted to check his ears etc, I told Ryan to turn this way or that, open his mouth etc.  He did it all and with no complaint!  Now before I get to prideful, I'll be the first to admit this is the same kid who tells me 'No' when I tell him to sit down on the couch;)  But it was a nice morning for he and I (Jeff stayed home with the others) and it's always nice when your kids are well-behaved!
We're off to the pool now, and we'll keep you posted when we make the appointment.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Summertime, Summertime, Sum, Sum, Summertime...

We are cookin' here in AR!  It has been super hot the past couple of days, but we're staying cool at the pool. I take the kids almost everyday and so far we've had a great time.  The two little kids were spending most of their time in the baby pool, but lately they've wanted to head to the big pool.  It's more work for me, just physically holding onto Ryan and making sure Will doesn't drown, but they love it and it keeps us busy.  We've taken a break from school for the whole month, but plan to resume in July.  Then we'll break again for 2 weeks in Aug. when Jeff and I get to take our first real solo vacation!  We've never been apart from the kids for more than a weekend, so this is a big deal for me especially.  I'm super excited, a bit anxious too, but mainly thrilled to get that time with Jeff. 
Today we celebrate 12 years of marriage - I'm so blessed to have a partner who really loves me and our family.  We are both looking forward to that time away from the kids to just be together:)  Yes, we'll miss the kids, but I know more than anything it will be a great time to enjoy "us" - the reason we got married in the first place:) 
We did some celebrating last week when Ella-Kathryn prayed and accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior!  She had prayed about it before, but this was a definitive choice:)  She is waiting for her daddy to gather up his muster to baptise her, as he did her older brother.  Jeff is not a fan of big crowds and our church is huge so this event is always a big deal for him, in more than one way.  We'll keep you posted!
Jack is figuring out what it means to be "accountable" in terms of his relationship to God and us.  He had another incident with a weapon that warranted some pretty tough discipline.  He's handling it well, but it's just another reminder of how our walk with the Lord can be challenging some times.  There is no shortage of teachable moments around here!
Ryan is headed in to the ENT this week - just a consultation at this point, but with the number of ear infections he's had in the past few months, it's a necessary next step.  Hopefully, he'll outgrow these infections, but if not soon, then the tubes will be needed. 
Will, oh Will.   That boy keeps me on my toes!  When he was sick a couple of weeks ago he got into the habit of coming into our bed when he woke up in the middle of the night.  Fast forward to this past week, he's healthy and still wandering in each night.  So, we've resorted to bribery, again.  If he can stay in his bed for 5 nights in a row, he can earn his $3 wal-mart watch - something he's been asking for for months.  It's perched atop the fridge right now and he's already got 3 nights under his belt:)  The down side is that in place of his midnight bed switches, he's now stalling bedtime with rather dramatic antics, endless questions, and hunger pains.  We've countered with pre-bed snacks, a list of 5questions to be asked prior to getting into bed, and the threat of a spank if he calls out.  Oh my!  Hopefully this is short-lived, cause I for one am exhausted!
So, here's a photo dump:

We headed to the Tulsa Zoo (coupons, love coupons:)) taking advantage of the cool late spring weather we had last month.
 Our monkeys:)
The boy who walked most of the zoo -just cause he could!  Here's his homage to Michael Jordan.

 Oh how these 4 fill my heart, hands, home, prayers, car, and deplete my groceries faster than I can blink!
 Our first harvest from the new garden!  We're turning out squash and zucchini at a good clip, but not much else just yet.  I did pluck one small red tomato from the potted plant, and the one in the garden is taking over the yard! 
 Ella-Kathryn really wanted some goggles and a snorkel, so Papa passed her some dough and off to Wal-Mart we went!  She was happy to find the pink ones she remembered and has burned through some laps with her new gear.
Yesterday, 100 degrees was just too hot for me to take them anywhere, so she crafted and came up with her own variation on the headset mic!  She also made earmuffs and a headband:)

Well, I'm headed out to drop off Jack for a sleepover, and then home with the other 3.  After posted about not feeling the 'rest' part of the Sabbath, I've made a concerted effort to do as much work as possible on Sat. so my Sunday is more restful.  To that end, Taco Soup is in the crock pot, and my book is calling to me!  Which reminds me I've got to post on my book list.  I've been on a reading hot streak - on my 13th in 3 months.  Don't know why I do this to myself ; stay up late reading and then make Jack take the littles into his room to play in the morning so I can sleep a bit more:)  Can't wait til he's old enough to really babysit! 

Monday, June 6, 2011


I really have slacked with this blog.  It was intended to be a place to record our lives, our children's moments during their growing up years, and even our journey homeschooling.  Alas, it's become yet another thing to check off my never-ending list.  I'm don't feel badly about it at all, I'm just sayin':)
So, where are we?  We are on break from school for the month of June, to resume in July.  Unfortunately, Jack has not completed his math curriculum for 3rd grade, so he's still plugging away at that.  Multiplication really sent his brain into a tailspin.  Many tears were shed.  Some blood may have also been shed.  Not mine.  That's all I'm sayin' about that.
He is a truly wonderful boy though.  He loves his family fiercely - it's amazing.  He is very sensitive, an emotion that can quickly get out of his control and become mere drama or manipulation.  We're working on that.  It's been hard for that woodsman to stay out of the tick/snake/whatever else is yucky woods right now.  He's been forbidden to go beyond our yard since the critters are closing in on us.  Thank goodness we have a the cats to keep the snakes at bay, nevermind the many cups of cat food I place on the perimeter of our yard each night to entice more to join our kitty army. I kid.  Or do I?  I really hate snakes.  Yes I said hate, the outlawed word in our house, because daggumit, hate is the only word that correctly defines my feelings toward those evil serpents.  Nuff said.
Ella-Kathryn finished her gymnastics class but due to a horrible case of  sassiness, has not been allowed to renroll.  She was given ample opportunity to turn that frown upside down, but did not and even added an eyeroll upon hearing that her failed attempts to have some self-control over her facial expressions resulted in her losing her gymnastics priveledge.  We really are the meanest parents ever!  Ha!  Thankfully, we've seen some progress over the past week - she can be so stinking dear and loving.  But I do fear that there is a hormonal teenager lurking beneath the surface.  We'll keep on a prayin'!
Will, oh Will.  Where do I begin.  His tantrums have subsided significantly, yeah for us, but his ambivalence towards Ryan hasn't changed.  In one moment he is so dearly showing Ryan how to do something or sharing something with him and the in the next he's pinching the living snot out of him (nod to Tim Hawkins with the living snot.)  Bedtime is much improved, and while most nights he does still wake up at least once, if he manages to climb in bed with us, I can usually put him back in his own bed without protest.  He is the most verbally grateful child I know, repeatedly thanking us for the most mundane of things (a scoop of sherbert) to the biggest (Jeff returning his cash to him, long forgotten by Jeff, borrowed back in the fall to pay for a camp site when we were caught off-guard  not being able to pay by debit card).  He thanked daddy for 8 days straight "for giving me back my cash!"  He also promply asked to be taken to "wal-Mark" to buy his very own tackle box.  After which he then thanked be for days on end for "taking me to wal-mark to buy my tackle box!"  He makes me laugh EVERY day - no lie.  Mostly it's his turn of phrase, or rather butchering of phrase or words - i.e. 'target' for 'poptart.'  I deserve mommy of the year for my ability to decipher Will-ese:)
Then there's Ryan.  Our little linebacker:)  He worked his way through this third ear infection only to have 4 teeth coming through.  AT THE SAME TIME!!!  Poor kid - cannot catch a break.  He still loves music and we are proud to announce that the first song he ever sung is Katy Perry's "Firework" (or at least I think that's what it's called.) 

So enjoy that and maybe I can finish this post tomorrow...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Oh my goodness!

I just cannot seem to get my act together enough to hit this blog like I should.  With that said, we have been very busy, for us that is.  Our family tends to be rather inward focused - we homeschool, don't do too many playdates, and most days eat all 3 meals together. It works for us, but that also means that we really think through activities that will take us outside of our home - geez am I making us sound like hermits?? We're not!  Since it's been a while since my last post here's an update:

Last month Jack worked diligently to get his pine car ready for the AWANA derby.  He and Jeff spent some time working out the design Jack had drawn up and then Jack sanded, painted etc. to personalize his car.  It looked great and after a heated competition, he won first prize!  We were so proud of him!

I'm trying to edit together the footage we shot that day down into one clip, but until then here he is with his trophy and car.
He and Ella-Kathryn also got to participate in a kid's fishing tournament last weekend.  Jeff took off with those two around 7:45 last Sat. morning and they didn't get home until4!  Long day, but they had a great time and Ella-Kathryn took 3rd prize for her age group! 

Here she is in her Bass Master's fishing hat and free t-shirt.  Her goody-bag included a ton of fishing gear - tackle etc. for which she now needs her own tackle box!  Again, I've got some clips that need editing so I'll post that later. 
Both she and Jack had their spring choir concert tonight.  They both did very well - Ella-Kathryn got to do the motions with a little scarf for the first song - something she was very excited about.  It really was precious to see her between her two friend Camille and Cadence!  They are all such sweet girls and God has really blessed her with their friendships.  Jack's choir did a whole performance and he did have one verse to say. I am pleased to report that he was not nearly as goofy as he was during the Christmas one and he was given sunglasses meant for a boy this time!  Overall, it was a fun experience for both kiddos. 
Ella-Kathryn as finally chosen an activity!  After a free class last month, she decided that she wanted to try gymnastics.  We found a great place in Bentonville - smaller than some of the very large gyms around town, and a bit less expensive.  She has a blast every Thursday night.  I am continually amazed by her innate self-confidence and her terrific sense of humor.  She is one of the older girls in her beginners class and she literally has no background knowledge in this area.  Yet, each time she goes and is introduced to a new skill, she gives it her all and if she messes up, she simply laughs at herself, shrugs it off, and tries again!  For someone who was painfully shy and horrible self-conscious, it is truly overwhelming for this mamma to witness such self-assured-ness in my one and only daughter! 
I am trying to reinstate my morning quiet time and while it is great to get a few minutes start on the kids in the morning, more often than not, I am joined by my Will after only about 15 minutes.  Oh well!  I ask the Lord to bless those few moments alone with Him and then I try to enjoy my time with Will.  I do often try to set him to another task, reading or drawing, so that I can finish up my time.  However, I have noticed that if he and  I can sneak in a bit of time at the beginning of the day, he too has a better day.  He has really been struggling lately, hitting and hurting his siblings, angry outbursts, screaming fits, and while this morning time is not the silver bullet, it certainly plays in nicely with our overall plan for getting this boy back on track! 
Ryan is, as always, such a delight.  Even when he's exercising his lungs at full upper range, he really is a hoot and it's fun to see him growing into an active and wild toddler!  He loves to be outside, which can be a bit challenging at times, and will ask to have his shoes on just in case he might sneak out the door:)  On nicer days we've all been heading out to do school outside that way Ryan can be where he wants to be, but we're not sacrificing our day's work.  We ventured out to the new splash park in B'ville last week - basically a concrete pad out of which water shoots at various angles upwards etc.  The kids had  a great time and it was perfect for Ry as he could walk all over the place and I didn't have to worry about him being "in" the water just yet!  He got really brave after the first half hour and started putting his face right over the holes - his face when the water shot out...priceless!  I did get some pics on my phone but Jeff's going to have to show me how to download them:(  I am a techno idiot.
I'm trying to plan out our next school year - I've got most of our curriculum here, I just need to map it all out so I can see where the gaps are.  I still need some kind of art instruction book.  Art is not my strong suit.  Ar History, yes, but the technical side, not so much!  I am sooooo excited for Crystal Bridges to be opening in the fall and have already asked Jeff if we can forgo eating for a month so that we can get a family membership!  That request was not well received:)
Ok, enough for now - my bed is calling my name...