Friday, July 22, 2011

Testing the waters

We are going to try homeschooling this year since Max misses the cut-off for kindergarten by only 4 days and we can't exactly afford pre-k since we're paying out-of-pocket for our homebirth (TOTALLY worth the money, but still).  And with us heading into our first winter here in Alaska, I want to keep him stimulated and entertained especially since the baby is due to arrive sometime in December and I won't exactly be sledding down any hills or climbing in and out of snow forts (but I'm sure Daddy will definitely partake in those activities).  Overall I'm very excited about the idea of homeschooling, especially ever since I started researching the benefits.

Most of my motivation to homeschool the kids is academic.  I believe one-on-one time is very important to the success of a child, and unfortunately in many schools the teacher-to-student ratio is so high even the best, most well-meaning teachers can't possibly give each child the personalized attention they may need.  If I choose to homeschool I'll be able to devote individual attention to my kids which could result in a greater understanding of the topic at hand.  Also, when a family chooses to homeschool they have more choices as to what their child can learn.  Does your child have interest in learning a foreign language at the age of 7?  No problem!  They don't have to wait until middle or high school to do so, or fit it around regular school work.  I love the flexibility that comes with homeschooling, especially since my children will be free to further pursue the subjects they are truly interested in, and will also have more time to do so since homeschooling takes up a fraction of the time it takes when in a formal setting.  Much time is used transitioning between classes, taking attendance, reviewing, collecting assignments, passing out assignments, making sure everyone is caught up, disciplining, etc.  It really does add up!

Other, non-acedemic reasons include:  being able to go on vacation during non-peak times of the year, having help around the house during the day to get chores done (especially once they're older), not having to worry about when my husband receives PCS orders & whether it conflicts with school, being able to visit family/friends regardless of the time of year if/when my husband gets deployed, giving the kids the chance (and time) to pursue their own interests, and not having to worry as much about our kids being burnt out.

Please don't get me wrong, I don't think my children will be miserable failures if they attend public school.  I in NO WAY look down upon or judge any parent who chooses public school as their child's means of education.  I am immensely grateful to be in a position where I even have the option to forgo a career and homeschool my kids.  My husband and I have thought and thought (and thought some more) about what we feel is best for *our family* and this feels right to us.  And if we find that homeschooling turns out to not work for our family, we'll change it.  Nothing is written in stone, and I know that as long as we are involved, supportive parents our children will thrive.  Overall I'm excited about this year, especially because there is no pressure whatsoever to commit.  I say bring it on! :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mommy again

I'm going to be a Mommy again. I almost can't believe it. Right now things feel surreal and a bit scary, but entirely wonderful and exciting. I wonder if I have the ability to mother 3 children. Can I handle the extra responsibility? Can I keep my cool during those inevitable chaotic moments? Will Ben feel replaced by the new baby? Will he be resentful towards me?

You see, Ben is very satisfied with his position as Baby-of-the-Family. And honestly, so am I. I have to admit that I do baby him a bit. Does he need help putting on those snow boots? No, but I do it anyway. Can he use a big boy cup full time now? Sure, but sippy cups still hold a place in our cupboard. Do I give extra kisses when he gets a boo-boo simply because he's my baby?? You'd better believe it.

We asked Ben if he's excited to have a little brother or sister. He said NO. Adamantly. We even tried to approach it from his perspective..."Are you excited to be a big brother like Max?" "NNNOOOO!!!" *dramatic crossing of the arms* I'm sure he'll learn to love the new baby, but for now he's not cool with it and we're not going to push the conversation on him.

Thankfully Maxwell is nothing but EXCITED for a new baby. He was very interested in where the baby would sit in the van today, and was very much insistent that the baby NEEDS to sit rightnexttohim in the 3rd row. "My baby will sit RIIIIGHT here, Mom*" he says, patting the empty space next to him. He's my big boy. My professional big brother.

I know one thing for sure...once this baby comes into our lives we are going to realize a level of chaos that is most likely not present in our house right now. Its going to be so insane but I think if we learn to embrace the craziness we will be just fine.

Embrace. Embrace. Embrace.

*Yeah, I don't know where "Mommy" or "Mama" went. For the record, I am NOT ok with this new MOM word. ;)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My bad

This morning was the first morning since February 10th that the boys and I have woken up without Justin home. He kissed me goodbye, of course, but the boys were still asleep and since it seems Justin and I don't get a lot of "quiet time" these days, he opted to let them snooze.

It wasn't long before I heard little voices through my half-sleep coming from across the hall. "The sun is awake, Benny...let's go *pway!" Protesting, Ben voices his own desires, "NO. Snuggle. Mommy." Not a few seconds pass, and 2 cuddly, still-warm-from-sleep little guys come rolling in, landing perfectly in their own unique snuggle-style. Max laying on my arm, wrapping it around his body...Ben laying on my shoulder, reaching an arm over my chest, and saying oh-so-affectionately, "Moooommy..." It was a beautiful moment.

While we were laying there, talking, laughing, waking up, I realized that my kids are friggin hilarious. They were both reciting lines from their newest favorite movie, Tarzan. With exceptional accuracy, I might say. From my left side, Max says (in a "girly" voice, mind you), "Nonono {clears throat}, I'm Jane." Then from my right, Ben mimics (as if he's Tarzan), "No. No. No. *I'n Yane."

Then, Max goes out to find Ben's "baby," which is really a musical dog that he uses to go to sleep at night. Ben. Is. Not. Ok. With. This. He wants his baby. He wants it back! He's been WRONGED!!! So what was once silly banter across my front, has now become BATTLE! Ben lunges, to no avail of course, because Max is stealthier. Then, Max reaches over and accidentally slaps my hand. I say to him, "Don't hit me Max!" to which he replies, "Oh, sorry Mommy, I was trying to hit Benny." Goofball.

And that folks, was my morning.

*these words are not typos. this is really how my kids speak. :)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

On the road again...

We drove to Seattle.

The long way.

With 2 small children.

2 cats (1 resilient, 1 neurotic)

And our shtuff.

In 5 days.

And it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. *happy dance!!*

I mean, our butts hurt and we were all getting pretty sick of fast food, but it was actually enjoyable to just be together and talk (and talk...and talk). The boys were AMAZING. There were definitely a few fussy moments and poorly timed potty breaks (let's just say we're grateful we have boys...if you catch my drift) but considering the circumstances everything went smoothly.

The flight was....interesting. Believe it or not, the boys do better in the car than they do on a plane. The flight was only 3 1/2 hours from SeaTac to Anchorage, but I think with all the rules ("what?? you mean, i can't play with this tray whenever i want??) and small spaces it made the boys antsy. Ben was exhausted, and we all knew it. Even Max knew it. But did Ben nap during the flight?? Oh no, that would be too easy. Instead, he was Turdy McTurdison the whole flight and then fell asleep UPON DESCENT. He couldn't get comfortable since he had to be buckled into his seat so he fussed the whole time; crying for me to hold him and snuggle. Once we landed we just waited for everyone else to get off the plane, hoping to give Ben more time to sleep since neither Justin nor I had a free arm to carry him through the airport once we had our baggage. All-in-all I think the flight/airport was the most stressful part of our move, but thankfully it was only a small part of the trip.

So now we're here! The house is very cute, but still doesn't *quite* feel like home since we're still waiting for our household goods to arrive. They should be here soon, and I am very much looking forward to unpacking and really settling in. The city of Anchorage is like any other city, with its fast food chains, Starbucks and shopping centers. We live in Eagle River, which is about a 30 minute drive from "the city," which really is fine with us since we'd rather avoid the chaos. Justin is already getting geared up for fishing this summer, and we are also starting to plan our garden.

Once our stuff gets here I'll be able to retrieve my USB cable for my Nikon so pictures are coming! I have a good amount on my memory card just waiting to be uploaded...can't wait to share them with everyone!

Hopefully I'll keep up with this blog...time will tell. :)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

the bradfords are moving to alaska

I can't believe we're almost done with Justin's 1 year tour in Korea! The time feels like it has dragged and flown by all at the same time. He'll be home to us on the 10th of February and I couldn't be more excited! I miss my man and the boys miss their daddy! T-shirts have been purchased and poster boards are standing by for decoration.

We. Are. Ready.

Now the MOVE on the other hand, I'm not so sure I'm ready for. ;) After what feels like the longest couple of weeks of deliberations/arguments/conundrums we've finally figured out how we're going to get ourselves, the boys, the cats, our van, and our junk to Alaska. In February.

The military will be packing/moving our household goods. Simple enough. They'll be coming by the apartment and the storage unit on the 16th of February. Let's cross our fingers nothing gets seriously damaged and that we receive our belongings in Alaska within a reasonable (for the military, that is) timeframe.

Once our things are whisked away, Justin and I will be driving (yes, driving) with the boys and our two cats to Seattle, WA. This is the part I'm most stressed about, but let's be honest I'm a worrier so me being stressed out isn't breaking news or anything. We won't have much, if any, time to stop and see anything on the way since we have to make our flight out of Seattle on the 24th.

The van will be shipped commercially from Seattle to Anchorage. Once we drop off the van we'll be heading to the airport. We will have to fly with the cats in the cabin with us since the airline won't allow pets in the cargo area if the external temperature is under 40 degrees. So we'll have our hands full for sure on the flight to Anchorage, but at least we'll be on the last leg.

Once we arrive in Anchorage, we'll book a rental car and make our way to our cute little house. I know this move is going to be an adventure and I'm looking forward to all the family time we'll have on the way. If I can do a year alone, Justin and I can tackle this no problem ;)

Alaska, here we come! :D

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

a starchy debacle

How does scalloped potatoes with ham sound to you? Unless you're a vegetarian I bet it sounds pretty good. All the cheesy, starchy, ham...y, goodness all thrown together in a casserole and baked until bubbly and evil.

But alas, this picture is deceiving. This was quite possibly the most disappointing meal I've had in a long long time. The worst since I discovered that there is such thing as too much goat cheese in your asparagus pasta. That one scarred me for life I think.

Moving on!

The potatoes. Were practically RAW. How does this happen when you bake at 350 for an HOUR?? I mean, what a tease. I had to sit in my apartment smelling the deliciousness that is heart-attack casserole and my first bite goes *crunch*. :/ I was apparently so damn excited about said dinner I (obviously) had a friggin photo shoot with it before consumption. Poor me.

On a related note, I really REALLY need to get Julia Child's cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The kitchen department of Bed, Bath and Beyond is calling my name and I really want some roasted chicken. The ham and potato crap-erole needs to be made up for. For real.

Moving over

Ahhh...hear that?? That's the sound of a fresh start. I was on Wordpress for a bit and I'm making the switch to Blogger because, let's be honest, I'm not a journalist so Wordpress makes my head hurt. I only have so much room left in my brain for blogging and such, since most of my cranial energy is focused on diapers, naps, grocery lists, kid-friendly dinners, and melt-down avoidance tactics (mostly in regards to myself). I'm not going to spend the better part of my "me time" copying and pasting all my posts from there to here, so for all who are curious or bored (or both!), HERE's the link to Bradford Brood: Wordpress Edition. :P

Happy blogging!