Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mom Quote of the Morning

"Life is a learning experience, and now you all know that it is wrong to sleep with silly putty." And so begin the kids' Christmas break.....

Sometimes I feel like I should be upset, but I have to turn my face away so the kids don't see me laughing. What else can you do? Life with little kids is just funny. Of course some things are only funny after the fact. And some things LONG after the fact.

In other news, I had to sit Katy down last night and tell her some sad news. Her last bottle melted in the dishwasher last night. She's 18 months old, so I opted not to replace it. Poor Katy! She had been down to just a bedtime bottle for months, but it was hard to drop that last one. She is just so sweet and snuggly at bedtime. She did very well though, and went to bed after having a little sippy of milk. I can't believe my little one is in a toddler bed and off the bottle. She is growing up on me.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Only 3 1/2 more years...

Today is one of those days where I wish I knew where Matt's follow-up assignment was going to I could pack up and move there now. This is our fifth base, and we really liked the other four. I guess you can't get lucky every time. I particularly loved Mississippi, and I feel like that is where we should be now. The Coast Guard feels otherwise however! I guess this is it until 2015, and we really are trying to make the best of it.

Monday, December 19, 2011

One Year Ago

Oh what a difference a year makes! This time last year we had just had the movers pack up all of our things in Connecticut. It was bitterly cold...all of 11 degrees the day we packed up. We weren't able to get any of our Christmas decorations out, as we knew we would be on the move when the big day arrived. Christmas day was spent in a hotel room in Virginia, which was almost half-way to our new base in Misssissippi. To add to the craziness, Matt and I got the flu that week. I remember shivering under the blankets in our hotel while poor feverish Matt stayed up late putting bikes together. Thankfully no children became sick. That was Christmas miracle in itself!

Fast forward to this holiday season. We have now been in the DC area for almost four months now, and are pretty well settled in. I feel like we are getting to catch up on all the holiday traditions we ad to skip last year. Each Sunday we enjoy watching the advent candle being lit at church. We have also enjoyed our own advent calendar at home. The kids have just skipped from one holiday party to the next. There is no shortage of fun things to do here! There was a USO party, the youth center party, the library party, the chapel party, and finally Matt's unit party. Yes, six Christmas parties! Such craziness and good times. We went and cut our own tree this year, and have all of our favorite ornaments up. Most of them are homemade, most have been repaired at least once, and none of them match. I feel like our tree just screams tackiness, and I love it!

Here are my big girls enjoying some Christmas crafts.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Santa Claus is coming to town!

And MOST of the Tyson kids are very excited. Katy however is rather concerned.


Decisions, decisions

Does anyone else just hate making decisions? The little things - what to wear, what to cook for dinner, what movie to watch - don't faze me. It's the big ones that leave me confused. Especially when there are lots of options, and either all the options sound good, or none do. The first big issue I ran into this year was where to live. Should we rent, buy, or take military housing? If we lived off base, should we look in Virginia or Maryland? How long of a commute were we willing for Matt to have? And if we took on base housing, which of the four bases in the area did we want?

Eventually of course we did make a decision about housing. We are in on base housing in Maryland. Matt has only a 15 minute commute, which is crazy short for the DC area. Most of the time I think we did the right thing. Whenever we have a problem here though I can't help but think "Well maybe this other place would have been better." It is enough to make me nuts!

Big decision #2 is where to send the kids to school next year. Beth will be in second grade, Matt will be in first, and Carrie will be in pre-k. Sweet Katy will be home with me. This year I have Matt and Beth at our local public school. I am not that impressed with it. I have left them there because they both have good teachers and have made some nice friends. The administration stinks though, and the school has some major budgeting issues. Beth did just test into their gifted program, so I am tempted to leave her there and see how that plays out. Since she is identified as TAG now, I could also apply to send her to a public school for gifted children. I'm hesitant though because she would go along, and I like having the children together.

Another option is the charter school they have right here on base. We weren't able to use it this year because of the long waiting list, but I could put them in the lottery for next year. That school doesn't have a gifted program, but the level of the entire curriculum is about a year ahead of their current school. It is also well funded, and can provide things like small classes, extracurricular activities, and field trips.

And finally, I could choose to homeschool them. This base has a very active homeshooling group too, so I could get the kids into some really good co-op classes. A lot of families here homeschool, because the public school is so iffy. I encourage people to make their own decision about the public school, since it does have some good points. It is definitely not a good fit for everyone though.

I really am having a tough time making decisions this year. I just want to be positive that my choice is the right one, and that is very hard to do. In fact, I am starting to think it is impossible!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hello December!

Wow, it is almost here! I can't believe it. This year has gone by so fast for us. So many changes, and so many good times. I have been trying to get back into blogging, but I still can't get pictures to post on here. I feel like it is just not the same without the photos. I've thought about switching to a new service, but I'd hate to lose the years of posts I have on here. I am just not good at fixing things. I need them to work by themselves with no effort on my part, lol.

We spent a wonderful Thanksgiving down in North Carolina with both sides of our family. This is the first year we have been close enough to have Thanksgiving with family since 2006. Back then Matthew was our baby. Unfortunately, out trip ended with our van breaking down. We had to have it towed away and couldn't find anyone who could fix it on a holiday weekend. That led to our second issue, which is when you have a family of six not just anyone can give you a ride. Luckily we were able to get ahold of some wonderful friends who brought, not one, but two cars to pick us up in. I am now driving an older borrowed van until we can (hopefully) get ours fixed. It is never any fun getting a giant bill like this weeks before Christmas, but what can you do? This is the first time we have dealt with the fact that we HAVE to have a van now. Our second car is an older Jeep that Matt drives to work, and I really thought if something broke down it would be that. We could share the van easily enough, even permanently if needed, but the Jeep just doesn't fit our family anymore. Poor Matt is trying to handle the car repairs from a distance now, as we had to leave it at the mechanic five hours away. They ended up not being able to fix it, so it was moved to a second shop. I am so clueless about cars. Especially being a military wife I should be ashamed of myself. If Matt isn't around to handle things I call my dad for advice, or ask a friend's husband. I guess I am not a progressive woman.

Car issues aside, things are going very well. We have had an usually warm week, and while I'm enjoying being outside in t-shirts again, it feels strange to be putting up Christmas lights. It reminds me of the year we lived in Florida, where we had Christmas decorations up and were still able to wear bathing suits to the beach. It's fun for a change I guess, but who doesn't love a white Christmas? I don't know about snow, but I'm sure it will cool back down considerably soon.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Back in Business

I've had some technical difficulties, following our big move from Mississippi to Maryland. I think I am finally back in business though!

Let's see...we have had a busy few months since I last posted. Beth stated first grade, Matt started kindergarten, and Carrie started preschool. Carrie only goes two mornings a week, so I have her most of the time, and Katy Ann is with me all the time of course. The kids are all doing very well, and I am proud of them. The only real issue we've had is that Beth's work is so easy compared to her last school. She will be starting in a gifted program this month, and I hope that gives her the challenge she needs. In the meantime her father and I do extra little projects with her at home.

Little Katy is not so little anymore, and is running all over the place. Despite the 2 1/2 year age difference, she is only one clothing size and two shoe sizes behind big sis Carrie. She has seven teeth now, and eats everything. She isn't really talking yet, but trust me, she gets her point across!

We just wrapped up fall soccer, and this year I was able to have both Beth and Matt on the team I coached. Such fun! Next year they will be in different age groups so I am glad we had this chance. Beth will be doing cheerleading this winter, and Carrie takes ballet and tap once a week. So far Matt is taking the next few months off. I'd love to find him a gymnastics class, but so far the ones I found are all girls. I don't find if they are mostly girls, but at his age he doesn't want to be the only boy. He also loves swimming, and I may get them back into lessons sometime after the new year. I limit all the kids to one activity at a time, and just that keeps us plenty busy. The three older ones all do as AWANA's as well, and I don't count that towards their "limit."

I am really trying to get back into the swing of things and start posting more. We've been busy seeing all the sites, and have lots of awesome pictures of our nation's capital to share.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Move Update

We are in Washington DC! We arrived on the 15th, and are currently living in a hotel. In about nine more days though we will be in our new home. I usually love a good hotel stay, but after about ten days with the four kids and four cats I am ready to move on. In other news, we experienced our first earthquake this week. That was pretty crazy, but we all made out just fine. We were evacuated to a large field on base for a few hours, and my kids had a great time playing with the other children there. They are such troopers. We are also under a hurricane watch now, and are doing our best to prepare for possibly losing power for several days in the hotel. We don't anticipate we will have to evacuate at this point though. The housekeeper came by today and dropped off a flashlight for us. Oh boy....I have a feeling life is about to get even crazier. Assuming I still have computer access I will be sharing some pictures soon. Matt has not started work yet so we have been spending our time exploring the city. I have to say that it is pretty awesome.

Saturday, August 6, 2011



Matt has finished his meteorology school this week. He graduated first in his class, with a 100% average. It was pretty awesome! Not that I expected any less from him.

Now we are off to our next great adventure...

Goodbye Beautiful Mississippi

We'll miss you! The moving truck comes Monday.

These last seven months have just flown right by. We arrived with a five year old, four year old, two year old, and a little baby who wasn't even crawling yet. We are leaving with a six year old, a five year old, a three year old, and a one year old who is toddling all over the place. Beth has grown tall, has gone from reading a few words to reading chapter books, and has made so many friends here. Matt has learned to ride his bike without training wheels, can operate the Wii, and brought home is first "game ball" one happy night. Beth and Matt have both learned to swim, and enjoyed their first season of t-ball as well. As for our little redhead Carrie....she is not so little anymore. She's long since potty trained, pedals her little princess bike around the neighborhood, and happily walks into her preschool sunday school class each week. Finally, we have Katy. The little love of my life. :) She is so sweet and so so big now. She has two teeth, eats everything the rest of us do, and spends her entire day making sure she is left out of nothing. It's funny how so much can change in such a short time. Especially when it comes to motherhood!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Bunk beds!

These are three happy little kids! Beth is sleeping on the top bunk, Matt on the bottom bunk, and Carrie in the little firetruck bed. I am a little nervous actually leaving them alone with the beds, but so far they have been very good about following the rules concerning the top bunk. We are slowly emptying Matt's bedroom out, and will then use that as the room to keep our luggage and cats in when the house is being packed up. We have just three more weeks here! I am very much in "move mode" now and am making one last decluttering sweep through the whole house.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Tyson Family News

-We have just five weeks left in Mississippi! We already have the address of our new home too, so I am pretty stoked about that. We will be living on Bolling AFB right in Washington DC. Right now I am busy doing some major decluttering. We will be living in the city, and will not have the same space that we are used to. If we don't use it all the time, or we don't love it, then it is out the door.

-Matt and Beth have learned to swim and learned to ride their bikes without training wheels. Both of them! I can't believe how grown up they are getting. We took the training wheels off just this morning and they both rode away - with no lessons and no falls. I'm impressed really. :)

-Katy is walking well now, and I bought her very first pair of shoes today. A five wide. She has fat little feet just like her brother and sisters did. At least she can fit into a regular wide, which means I can buy her shoes at Payless. Little Matt wore a double wide as a baby, which required $50 shoes from Stride Rite. She also is on the verge of getting her first tooth, and she is so fussy. Poor baby girl! She takes after the others in that aspect as well. Beth was 11 months when she got her first tooth, Matt was 18 months, and Carrie was 15 months. It no longer even seems odd! It does seem odd when I see babies half her age sporting toothy little smiles already.

-We have added two kitten babies to our family. Their names are Tunsas and Waffles, and they are cute cute cute! They join big brothers Romeo (11) and Eric (1 1/2.) Just what we needed right? Four kids and four cats! I find myself asking "What's that smell?" about ten times a day now.

Friday, June 24, 2011

What a great list!

How to Ruin Your Kids for Life

by Tricia Goyer

1. Give your kid everything he wants. Don’t deny what will truly make him happy. Overvalue money and things in his eyes.

2. Dress your child in designer clothes, no matter the cost. Show her that her outward appearance matters most of all.

3. Place your child’s needs over those of your spouse. If she cries, run to her immediately. If she interrupts, give her your full attention.

4. Entertain your child throughout the day. If she wants to play tea, put your plans aside. If she wants to watch her favorite movie for the hundredth time, forget your idea for going for a walk and getting some sunshine.

5. Plan your menu around your child’s desires. No child should have to eat something he doesn’t like. If, by chance, you want to make something other than macaroni and cheese or peanut butter and jelly, feel free to cook your own meal, just as long as you have time to fix what your child likes.

6. Sign your child up for as many extracurricular activities as she desires, even if it means giving up your evening plans on a regular basis. Don’t worry about trying to gather around the dinner table either. He can only be in the junior soccer league for so long, and you don’t want him to miss out.

7. Don’t discipline your child when she acts up. Everyone should learn to express herself in her own way. If she demands something, then applaud her efforts. At least you know that she will not be a pushover or a doormat in this world.

8. Don’t worry when your child fights with neighbor kids or even when he is a bully. Life is not fair, and someone always has to be the underdog. At least your child is learning to elbow his way to the top at a young age.

9. When your child has a disagreement with her teacher, always choose your child’s side. Don’t show up when the teacher wants to discuss your child’s problems. The teacher will want to take a course of disciplinary action and that’ll hurt your child’s feelings.

10. Don’t share your faith with your child. After all, you don’t want to offend. Let your child decide if she wants to hear Bible stories. And don’t pressure her to memorize Scripture verses. She might get disheartened if she doesn’t get it right the first time and you’ll ruin her self-esteem. More than that, you don’t want her to know there’s a God who runs the universe, makes the rules, and determines eternity. The thought is too hard, and your child might not understand. More than that, she won’t be self-dependent and strive to be a good person.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Birthday Post

Katy Ann is officially a toddler! She turned one year old on June 13, and took her first steps that same day. It was a picture perfect finish to a fantastic year.

The best word to describe Katy at a year old is busy. This girl is here, there, and everywhere. I should be used to after four kids I guess, but my other two daughters were always happy to sit and play in one place. She is more like her brother Matt - always exploring and on the go! We have had to really revamp our childproofing efforts these past few months. She is also a stubborn little girl. Everything she does just has such determination behind it. I can't wait to see the person she grows up to be!




Sunday, June 12, 2011

Summer Update

I can't believe we are already well into June! Our summer has been going well, and the kids are keeping me plenty busy. My husband's work schedule has changed, leaving me with even more mommy/kid hours. It's not been bad though. As the days have gone by, we have gotten into our summer groove I think. We have just eight weeks left in Mississippi before our big move to Washington DC. We go on with our day to day life here, but the move is never far from my mind.

Beth and Matt are taking swim lessons this summer, and I'm really pleased with how they are both doing. Matt is the better swimmer...he has always been my water baby. Beth is getting more confident and making a lot of progress as well though.

Carrie is spending most of her time with our new family members - two little kittens. One we named Tunsas, and the other is named Waffles. Just what I needed - four kids and four cats! As soon as Carrie wakes up she runs downstairs to find her kitties, and then all we hear for the next hour is her giggling and their little feet bouncing around my house.

Katy is getting ready for her birthday....which is tomorrow! My six year old Beth sighed last night and said "I can't believe Katy is turning one....time just goes by so fast." I guess she has been picking up my thought process. A birthday post will be coming soon.

We managed to get away for a camping trip this weekend. It was our first camping experience with kids in tow, and I think it went pretty well. This was real camping...just a tent in the woods and the things we brought with us. We were on the banks of a creek, and we spent most of our time swimming and trying to stay out of the heat. We all had a good time, but I think we've decided that Katy is just too young. It was impossible to keep her clean and dry. I don't ever mind my kiddos playing in the dirt, but I enjoy giving them a bath at the end of the day. By then end of day one she was just covered in dirt from her head to her toes, was damp and sweaty, and was putting EVERYTHING in her mouth. All the big kids on the other hand did fantastic! I think when Katy is three (like Carrie is now) we will be able to camp with ease. By some miracle (I think they were just totally worn out) Matt and I got all four kids to lay down and go to sleep in the tent, and we spent a long time just sitting outside enjoying the moonlight streaming down through the pine trees.

Here are Matt and Beth heading off on their fishing adventure.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

"We who are left how shall we look again happily on the sun or feel the rain without remembering how they who went ungrudgingly and spent their lives for us loved, too, the sun and rain?"
-Wilfred Wilson Gibson


I'm thankful to have my husband home with me this Memorial Day, thinking of those who cannot be home, and remembering with reverence those who will never be home again.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Beautiful Days

Park trips

...with a view only military brats can fully appreciate. Even my 11 month old doesn't so much as flinch when those engines start and it gets LOUD.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Kitty Show

It's amazing what kids can come with when they have a well stocked arts and crafts cabinet. I save little bits of everything for them.



Monday, May 23, 2011

Summer - Week 1

This is it - all my chickadees have returned to the nest! They are getting an extra long summer too (13 weeks) due to our upcoming move from Mississippi to Washington DC. School lets out early here in the South, but starts back about a month later up North. It is HOT here, and I'm sure it will only be getting hotter. I am impressed that the heat and humidity have had no impact what so ever on the energy level of my children. I have to force them to drink water, and to come inside during the hottest part of the day. As for me? I could use a nap. Preferably in a hammock with a cold glass of lemonade. I won't lie - it has been a trying few days. Back when I was homeschooling, it always baffled me when other homeschooling moms would talk about their friends with kids in the dreaded public schools. They'd make fun of them for griping about excessive amounts of snow days, or the long days at home in the summer. They'd finish by saying how sorry they felt for the children...whose mothers obviously didn't want them around. I feel like that is so unfair! I love my children and enjoy my time with I hope most mothers do. You just get used to whatever your "normal" is. When your usual schedule is having your older kids out of the house for part of the day, then that becomes very comfortable. The same was true when I had all four kids home full-time. I grew very used to the freedom we had in our days. I don't think one option has been easier than the other either. Just different. Then of course any sudden change in the routine takes some getting used to.

For me the biggest change so far is having four kids in the backseat every single place I go. My radio is also broken, so I get to listen to all their conversations. We live thirty minutes outside of town, and they tell me *knock knock* jokes the entire time to and from the store. They are also not quite old enough to know how *knock knock* jokes work. That either makes them more hilarious or more mind numbing depending on my mood - which typically is directly correlated to the amount of sleep I got the night before.

In other news, there are now four kittens living in my closet. This is in addition to the two adult male cats we already have- a surly 21 pound old man and a playful (and crazy) one year old tuxedo. We had five kittens, but one has already been adopted. If you live in South Mississippi (or Alabama!) and want a sweet new baby kitty let me know. I do not have the mama. I am just fostering them and hoping to find them homes. We are going to keep the last one who is left for our own family. My kids of course are over the moon. They require no other activities or's just kittens, kittens, kittens from the time they get up to the time they go to bed.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Beth "graduated" from kindergarten yesterday. I can't believe what a big girl she has become. Matt and Carrie are also done with their morning preschool program, and the gang is all home again.

We are looking forward to a fun and busy summer. There is just nothing like summer vacation through the eyes of a child....except maybe Christmas!

Beth and Matt are taking swim lessons next month. The locals pools and splash pad are also opening up Memorial Weekend, and we can't wait! I'm sure we will plan many swimming trips this summer. Here in Mississippi it is pretty much too hot for any other outdoor activities.

We also have a few weeks of Vacation Bible School coming up for Beth, Matt, and Carrie. This Sunday is their last week of AWANA's, so I'm sure they will be ready for some fun church activities by the time VBS rolls around. This is the first year Carrie has been old enough to go (3) and she is over the moon with excitement. For so long she has tagged along to all Beth and Matt's activities, and finally she is getting old enough to do some things herself. When September rolls around again and AWANA's picks back up she will be a Cubbie, complete with her own vest and book.

The library of course will be doing the usual summer reading program, and we will be there each week. It sounds like they have lots of fun activities planned! We love the library. I feel like I keep them in business with all the late fees we accumulate. I don't know how some of you super organized moms pull it off. Before each "return trip" the kids and I spend a good hour searching the house for books - and we still usually forget a few. Or return the correct number, and then get a call a few hours later that some of the books actually belonged to the library on the AF base.

Matt isn't going to be able to get any vacation days this summer, and I don't quite feel up to traveling alone with the kids, so we'll be sticking close to home this year. I think in one more year, when Katy is two, I'll be ready to tackle a solo road trip. We do hope to do some camping as sort of a family mini vacation. We are in the market for a new tent, and as soon as we get one we will be ready to go!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sleeping Arrangements

I feel like my life has become a game of musical beds. Wait...that sounds terrible! I mean musical beds for the children only, lol.

We have three girls - ages six, three, and almost one. We also have one boy - age five. Right now we have the baby in her own room, the boy in his own room, and the two older girls sharing. Beth is in a twin bed, Matt is in a twin bed, Carrie is in a toddler firetruck bed, and Katy is in a crib.

As we prepare for our move to Washington DC, I am realizing that our new house is likely to be much smaller than our current house. I looked at the floor plans, and it appears that none of the bedrooms are really going to hold two beds and two dressers. The obvious solution is bunk beds. Luckily for us, the twin beds that Beth and Matt have do in fact convert into bunks. They are the beds that my Dad and his younger brother slept on in the 50's and 60's, and then my brother slept on in the 80's and 90's. They're still in perfect condition too - I don't think make furniture like they used to. At least not in our price range!

I would like to put Matt and Beth together, but when we tried that before those two partied all night. It was really ridiculous how late they stayed up, and it made for one cranky mama. Once we switched to have Carrie and Beth together things went much more smoothly. Plus Matt is getting older, and as the only boy I think it makes sense for him to have his own space.

That means Carrie and Beth will likely end up with the bunk beds. At 6 1/2 I will comfortable having Beth on the top bunk. I worry about Carrie crawling up after her though. Of course she could do that even in those beds were not in her room. That is why we have never bunked the beds before. The other issue is that the only available bed for Matt will then be the firetruck toddler bed. I'm trying to play up the coolness of the firetruck, but he knows very well that it is a toddler bed and is not too eager to move in. He is kind of big for it anyway, but I think he could still stretch out comfortably for another year or so. My older three were all out of the crib by two, so once Katy graduates from that she will move into the firetruck. At that point we may redo the rooms - again.

Anyway you look at it I think we will be bed shopping within the year. It's so hard buying furniture and household items that last, when we really don't know what kind of military housing we will have from year to year. Not to mention we have had terrible luck with things being damaged in transit by the movers. As for the things that do make it to our home unscathed...the kids and pets make quick work of those things. Matt and I have agreed that we will just get all new stuff once he retires. Only twenty more years to go! And then our grandchildren can come visit....better hang onto those bunk beds!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Matt and Carrie's city is a constant work in progress. I told them that they might have better luck if they waited until Katy Ann's morning nap. In the meantime, she joyfully thunders over to them every few minutes to join in the fun.



Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Happy Birthday Matt

My only son is five years old. *Sniff Sniff* We are done having baby boys in our home I guess. Matt the "big boy" is just as cute and fun though, and he certainly keeps us on our toes.


These days he loves animals, monster trucks (especially Grave Digger, which his daddy took him to see), computers and anything electronic, riding his bike (every day!), and his family. He is clearly the favorite sibling of all three girls. He is quick to share, always has a smile for the baby, and is not above playing Tinkerbelle, kitty cats, or any number of games the girls concoct. He always plays the dad...the kitten dad, the fairy dad, the princess dad (the king? hmm...)


His birthday started off with a morning at preschool, complete with a dozen cupcakes with blue icing and rainbow sprinkles. Carrie is in his class as well, so she was able to join in the festivities. Next I took him for a much needed haircut on the base. He loves getting his haircut, so that made for a fun birthday outing. We also visited the library. At each place we visited he managed to tell approximately ten people that it was in fact his birthday.

At home he had a small party with our family and three little boys from down the street. I set up some arts and crafts...which they did not care about. Instead they ate piles of cake, ice cream, and freshly cut watermelon before getting out every toy we own. I gave them free run of the place for about an hour, and then sent them all outside to play.

His birthday ended with a late night t-ball game for he and Beth's team. Big Matt took them to it since it started at 7:15 and was really too late for the baby girls. He said they played very well, and Matt had his team sing him "Happy Birthday."

Our next family birthday will be in June when little Miss Katy Ann turns one.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


This is a little too much for me - I think I might need to pack up and move back to Connecticut.

I was doing the dishes this morning when I heard Katy making a strange sound in the living room. I looked over and she had what appeared to be a live black snake - IN HER MOUTH! I screamed and about hit the roof. The little guy turned out to be a lizard, and he made a break for it before I could get to him. I chased him around with a cup for a while, but he finally scurried under the couch, and that was the last I saw of him. At least for now. I know he is still camping in my living room.

The cats didn't even wake up during all this activity. I think I may need to start feeding them less. They're worthless, I tell you! After nine years of vets bills and daily care, I think the least they could do is provide us with a little pest control.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

It's official....

We are turning into very uncool parents. Yes, we do have matching t-ball shirts. And no, we are not even the coaches. Mine says "Beth's Mom" of course. Beth and Matt at least think they are pretty awesome. I guess we need a new family picture! Haha.


The Early Days

I came across this little video clip this week. I filmed it last fall when Katy was just a few months old and Beth was just starting school. I don't even remember taking it, which just goes to show how tired I wss that fall. Look how little and cute they all were though! Matt and I laughed so hard when we watched this.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Dirt Princess

Who wouldn't want to wear a tutu for some good ol' outdoor fun? These poor kiddos have been playing out back all morning while I try to "budget" for the month, with the knowledge that the military will not be able pay my hubby for an indefinite amount of time. It's so stressful...I'm glad I have these little people to make me smile.


Family Life

Big Sis and Little Sis waiting for that early morning bus.

Watching after our "foster doggy." And no...he is not supposed to be on my couch!

A much needed nap for Daddy and his littlest one. Photobucket

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Love This...

"A Mississippi childhood bestows unique gifts upon its own. The most fortunate of children take from it the stuff of legend - generations of deeply rooted family ties, the space and time for contemplation, a connected community, an awareness and an awe of the natural world, the scars left behind of a conflicted history, the blessing of a rich soil, the curse of an unequal bounty, and a deep and abiding faith in a power greater than themselves. Coming from this exotic mixture, a child is marked by influences both within and without himself or herself." - Judy Tucker

Monday, April 4, 2011

This is why we have four kids isn't because I enjoy spending every red cent I have at the grocery store! It's because there is just nothing like watching the bond between siblings. I am so thankful, that despite our frequent moves, my kids will always have companionship as the grow up together. Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

Saturday, April 2, 2011

It's that time of year again....

Everyday it seems like the mailman brings me a new catalog full of homeschool curriculum. What can I say? I love them all! It is just so hard to decide. I was going to use K12, which is a digital school, because it is considered a public charter school (aka free) in Washington D.C. I think it might be worth a try since it would definitely be the lowest cost option, and the curriculum does look very thorough. Under closer examination it might just be TOO thorough though. It looks like it will take each kid about six hours a day to complete. I think six hours is a crazy long time for a five and a six year old to do schoolwork. The only reason public school lasts so long is that it also includes lunch, recess, bathroom breaks, and lots of wait time. I don't think a child being homeschooled in the early grades should need that long. Plus Beth and Matt would be studying totally different lessons, and with them being only a year apart I would rather group them. Not to mention I have two little girls who need my time and attention too. Sooo....I am back to reading through each catalog longingly. I wish I could see some of these programs in person. On top of my curriculum confusion, we haven't even ruled out giving the public school a try when we move this fall. I have had several people tell me very good things about it, so it is tempting to at least try it. Ahh...I hate having this much up in the air! Matt thinks I should homeschool them, but he is leaving the final decision up to me. As for the curriculum? That is totally up to me. We discuss it, but in the end I am the one who has the teaching background and has done all the research.

Our frontrunners for the coming year are:

Five in a Row - (We did last year, this kids loved it, but it would require me to add in at least math and language arts)

Sonlight....I am always tempted to buy it. Literature and history are my two great loves I think. It is expensive though. And more importantly I think I would have to bulk it up a lot to make it appropriate for Beth. She is what I would consider an average student. She brings home A's (yes they have grades in kindergarten here - crazy!) but is right on grade level. Despite that fact the Grade 1 readers for Sonlight would be way way too easy for her. That makes me wonder if the rest of the program has enough academic strength to it.

Tapestry of Grace. This one reminds me of Sonlight, but there seems to be a lot more prep work involved. I'm not sure I want to attempt it with four little kids, but I totally would if they were just a few years older.

Winter's Promise. Yet another literature/based program. Are you seeing a pattern here?

For Language Arts and Math we will most likely continue on with McRuffy. The kids did well with that this year. I also may add some kind of science program. When I start adding up totals for all these things it just gets ridiculous. See why I'm tempted to at least try to free digital school? On the other hand it is still a heck of a lot cheaper than private school.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Four More Months

We are almost halfway through our short stint in Mississippi. I really like it here and wish we could stay another year or two. I'm sure after a nice hot humid summer I won't be so sorry to head north again though. We are planning on living on Bolling AFB in Washington D.C. I've never really been a city should be an interesting adjustment. We'll also be only five hours from most of our relatives, which seems like a hop, skip, and jump these days. I've already got moving on the mind, and am really trying to declutter big time. We were several thousand pounds over our weight limit this last move, which was bad bad news for us. It's hard because the weight limit is based soley on rank, and not at all on family size. But each person in our family has a bed, dresser, clothes, and other belongings. Plus toys, toys, and more toys! I am determined to pare down though. Our house in DC is also going to be signifcantly smaller than our house in Mississippi, which is significantly smaller than the house we had in Connecticut. I'm just telling myself that every item I can get rid of on this end of the move will be one less thing to pay to move, to unpack, and to clutter up the new place. Once we get to DC we should be there a full four years, and I am so glad! I need a little break from moving.

Monday, March 21, 2011

What an idea

With food and gas costs going through the roof we've made several small changes around our house. One change is that we are now eating beans and rice for dinner one night a week, sandwiches one night, and pancakes and eggs another night. Little Matt is just not sold on the beans and rice dinner. Instead he pushes it around his plate unhappily and asks why he he can't a hamburger instead. I told him that there were lots of kids who had nothing at all on their dinner table tonight, and we needed to just be thankful for what we had. His response: "That's sad. I want to give those kids my beans and rice."

If only it was that simple kiddo!

Sunday, March 20, 2011


The kids officially started their t-ball season this weekend. They had opening ceremonies and played in a tournament. The tournament was double elimination and they played two games. The poor little guys had a hard time! Most of the children play well in practice, but I think they were just overwhelmed when it was game time. They were excited, and fifteen different people were screaming at them to do one thing or another. Matt and Beth mostly played in the outfield. It cracked me up because the two of them, plus one other little boy, all stood about a foot away from each other. Beth looked pretty good out there though. At six, she is one of the older kids, and I think that makes a difference. She is also the only little girl! She did play one inning as the pitcher, so that was fun for her. Of course the "pitcher" in t-ball does no pitching, but they do start and end the plays. She saw a lot more action there than in left field.

Matt on the other hand was clueless. I've tried working with him, but he just doesn't get it. What can I say? He's in it for the sharp looking uniform and Capri Suns. During Friday night's game he was wearing his glove on his head when a pop fly flew right to him and landed with a plop right by his feet. He didn't notice. About five other kids ran over to get it, and THEN he decided to pick it up. After he picked it up he held onto it for a few minutes until everyone had finished rounding the bases. He is a very decisive child and needed to plan his next move carefully. During Saturday's game he actually made a pretty good hit. He got all the way to second and then stopped. When the next boy hit and ran to first he just stood on second. Then I yelled to him to run to third next time, and pointed to where third was. The coach came and talked to him and showed him where third was. When the time to run came he ran directly over the pitcher's mound and to home plate. Of course!

I think it is going to be a long season. But the kids are so freaking cute and they love it. Next year Beth will be seven (wow!) so I guess she will be able to move onto Softball.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Beach trip!

Who wouldn't want to be at the beach on a Thursday night? After Matt got off work we loaded the kids up, and headed for the coast. We even got to watch the Blue Angels practicing for this weekend's air show right above us. Good times!


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

This is Beth's leprechaun lunch, complete with a rainbow of fruit. She was supposed to have chocolate coins for desert, but I couldn't find any at the store.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Nooo....not yet!

Katy stood up today! I just can't believe it. She hasn't even crawled yet, so I thought I'd have a few more months. Maybe she is going to be one of those kids who skip crawling. My other kids walked between 15-18 months old, so pulling up at nine months seems young to me. I feel like she was just a yesterday. All of a sudden she is looking very much like a toddler, just standing there calling "mamamamamama....." Daddy is going to be dropping her crib to the lowest setting tonight.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Nine Months Old

Time is just flying right by!

Katy at nine months old lives on a steady diet of breastmilk and pancakes. That is really about it. She eats a ridiculous amount of pancakes though, and has grown quite plump. She is a good little sleeper, and goes down from about 8pm to 7am every night. She'd sleep later if I didn't need to get her up and ready for the drive to Matt's preschool. She smiles often and finally spoke her first word today - mama of course. She is a mama's girl in every way. She likes smiling at her daddy, and will look for him if I say his name, but does not wish to be left with him. And she REALLY does not wish to be left in the nursery at church or anywhere else for that matter. She rolls everywhere, stands up on her hands and tip-toes (think a pyramid shape) and low crawls where she wants to go. She refuses to actually crawl, and has us wondering if she will in fact go straight to walking. She has no teeth, which is fine, because she doesn't need them for her pancake stacks.

She is very very loved.

Friday, March 11, 2011


My kindergartner told me that today she spent her school day "working up the mountain of self awareness." She also said they didn't have time to do any music activities because they were learning about positive actions, which include learning about and liking yourself.

I can guarantee you that Beth already knows about and likes herself. I would prefer she spent her music class learning about music.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

“Whatever they grow up to be, they are still our children, and the one most important of all the things we can give to them is unconditional love. Not a love that depends on anything at all except that they are our children.”

-Rosaleen Dickson


Saturday, March 5, 2011


There was a lot of Lego building going on very early this morning at our house. The kids have a large Lego table to work with, but with three different projects in mind, they inevitably ran out of space. At that point Beth and Matt zeroed in on poor Carrie, and decided her sprawling Dora cottage was going to have to be relocated. They asked nicely, she refused, and so then Beth said "I'm sorry Carrie, but this house is really really old. It has been condemned by the government and Dora cannot live here anymore."

Friday, March 4, 2011

Younger Children

Our first two children, Beth and Matt, were born just 14 months apart. I basically raised them as twins. By the time Matt was a few months old they did everything together. They ate at the same times, played at the same times, and napped at the same times. As they got older they started playing sports and doing other activities together as well.

Next in line was our little redhead Carrie. Carrie was such an easy baby. She instantly adapted to fit into the schedule our family already had. She was happy to nap in the car, in the stroller, or at home. She liked being on the go and was just a very easy addition to our family. We didn't even have to really childproof because she never got into anything, and was content to just watch her older siblings play. As she got older she also joined them in many activities. She is 21 months younger than Matt, and just shy of three years younger than Beth.

After Carrie's babyhood I felt like we have the parenting of multiple young children down to a science. I thought that any future children would also just naturally fit into our family fold. So we went ahead and had number four, our little sweetie Katy Ann. After her birth, the realization slowly hit us that Carrie had in fact been born with her easy going personality. That old nature versus nurture debate, remember? Katy however, is not easy going. And she wants a schedule. She would have been a good firstborn. She is eight months old now, and she hates being on the go, has a meltdown if she is late for her nap, and gets into everything! She does love her older siblings though, and is already very anxious to get in on the action.

Right now I am finding it a struggle to balance the older kids' school, t-ball, AWANA's, and just day-to-day activities, with her need to be home and on some sort of schedule. It honestly was easier just to have a house full of babies and toddlers....this mix of little ones and school aged kids takes some juggling.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Life in Mississippi

I love being back in the South. It is February and my kids can go outside and play in shorts...even after the sun sets. Not to mention Katy can get a little evening swinging in.


Life is good here at the Tyson house. Matt is enjoying his course at Keesler, and we have even gotten used to the EARLY start time. Matt and Beth both love their schools and have made plenty of friends. They have finished their winter swim lessons, and are now getting into the swings of thing with t-ball. We live in a tiny little town, with just a small military presence. It makes me kind of sad, because I feel like all their classmates and teammates will grow up together. Meanwhile, we will be long gone. I have no idea where we will be when it comes time for our kiddos to graduate from high school. We knew it was going to be like this when we started our family though, and it is one reason we had four, and had them closely together. My hope is that no matter how often we move, and where we end up, that they will always have each other.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Best Friends


And now....

Monday, February 21, 2011

Back to Homeschooling

We are going to let the kiddos finish out the school year here, but when we move to Maryland next year I am going to go ahead and homeschool Beth and Matt for first grade and kindergarten. I guess our adventure in public schools has proved to be short lived! I just really miss the freedom we had at home. Right now our schedule is me driving, driving, driving....and Beth's schedule is school, homework, a short playtime, then dinner, bath, and bed. I miss all the free time we had to do things as a family before. In any case, I am not sorry I sent them for this half of the year. They are enjoying it, and it has given me a lot more time to spend with just my little girls. I'm planning on taking the summer off, and then I think we will all be ready to pick back up with the schooling in September. This also means I can stop worrying about finding a half decent school in D.C. or Maryland, and that is a HUGE relief.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Happy Mardi Gras

Our first Mardi Gras season has officially begun! Yes, it is a full season here on the Gulf Coast - not just one day as I had previously believed.

Yesterday we went and bought our first King Cake. It was sooo good! The filling was made of cherries and cream cheese, and a little plastic baby was baked inside. Little Matt got the baby in his slice, so he was the king for the day. It reminded me of when my Grandma used to bake a dime into our birthday cakes for good luck. I think I am going to be brave and try to bake my own King Cake this week...I want to give the girls a chance to find the baby as well.

We also attended a Mardi Gras parade over in Ocean Springs. The kids had so much fun! They look they have lived here all their lives, what with all the beads and little New Orleans Saints flags. Not to mention it was like eighty degrees. Not too shabby for February!


Carrie's first moon pie. It landed right in her lap - what good luck!

Katy Ann was unimpressed by all the activity.

Still to come is the Mardi Gras parade at Beth's school, the children's bike parade in Biloxi, and two days of school vacation. It's pretty awesome getting to live in new places and experience new things.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


Baseball season is almost here! Beth and Matt are all signed up for t-ball, and they are so excited. This week it has rained everyday and has been in the 30's and 40's....that's chilly for Mississippi. The thought of spending warm spring afternoons at the baseball field, cheering on B and M, and watching the little girls play in the grass sounds excellent about right now.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Happy 6th Birthday Sweet Beth

You are growing up too fast. We love your sweet personality, happy smile, and contagious laughter. I love watching you pretend to be Claws the cat, Baldy the Eagle, and Oma the Ostrich. What a crazy girl you are!


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Big changes in the Tyson house

We decided to let the two older kids try going to school for the rest of the year. It seemed like a good time to give it a try, since we will once again be moving and starting fresh next school year.

Beth is in kindergarten, and she LOVES it. It is a nice school, but I'm still not really sold on it just yet. What can I say? I'm picky! I think the combination of having a teaching degree myself, and also moving frequently and getting to see all kinds of different schools, has given me a very specific set of expectations. Things are definitely a lot different than Connecticut here, that's for sure! The kindergarten is pretty advanced academically, so I feel like we are doing some catch up work. I wouldn't say she's behind actually, it's more just that I was a teaching a greater variety of material, and in a different order. In any case, she is enjoying all the elective classes and being with all her new friends. She is my little social butterfly! She is also a night owl, which worried me since this school starts at 7am. (Can you believe it?) So far though she has gotten up and gotten ready like a champ though. I myself have to get up by 5:30 to get showered, dressed, and a (very large) cup of coffee. Big Matt leaves for work at 5:15. Let's just say that we are having to learn to go to bed early.

Little Matt was of course jealous that Beth was off to school, so I enrolled him part time in a Christian preschool program. It is very play based, which is perfect for him.

I really miss having my Beth girl and Bubba home during the mornings. It has been nice having so much time to devote to my little girls though. I feel like I have gone back in time to when Matt and Beth were my toddler and baby, and I spent all morning reading board books, pushing the stroller, and playing on the living room floor. The two of them are so cute together, and are really starting to enjoy each other's company. Carrie also potty trained the first day Matt was off to preschool. Just like accidents! They are all growing up so fast on me. :) I'm slowly finding things for us to do in the area as well. The local library has a story hour and craft time that we like to visit, and I've also found a nice children's museum. We've had to stay indoors because believe it or not, it has gotten COLD here. Highs are only in the 30's. I want those 70 degree tempertures we had when we arrived last month to come back - those made me feel like I was on vacation somewhere tropical.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Wow, time sure flies! Carrie is three today. She had a rough start to life, at just two pounds four ounces. Looking at her today you'd never know it. She really holds her own around her rough and tumble older brother and sister. She loves cats, her stuffed pandas, doll babies, coloring, snacks, and most of all - her Daddy. She doesn't like getting her hair washed, being rushed for any reason, or having people take her things. That's her constant complaint "Mama, Bubba take it right out my hand!" "Bubba" is her name for Little Matt, and those two are inseparable these days.

Happy Birthday sweet redhead. We love you!

Friday, January 28, 2011

You know you're a mother when...

1. You count the sprinkles on each kid's cupcake to make sure they're equal.

2. You find yourself cutting your husband's sandwiches into cute shapes.

3. You can't bear to give away baby clothes - it's so final.

4. You hear your mother's voice coming out of your mouth when you say, "NOT in your good clothes!"

5. You stop criticizing the way your mother raised you.

6. You hire a sitter because you have't been out with your husband in ages, then spend half the night checking on the kids.

7. You say at least once a day, "I'm not cut out for this job", but you know you wouldn't trade it for anything

Monday, January 24, 2011


Here's the latest from my little kindergartner Beth.

This is Mr. and Mrs. Computer. We've been talking about personification, and she came up with these all on her own.

Hmm...which one of these "sight words" do you think was snuck into the stack? This kid cracks me up.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Field Trip!

We took our first field trip here in Mississippi. I live for field trip days! Of course just about anything can be a "field trip" when your kids are all as young as mine.

I decided to take the kids to check out a children's museum that is about a half an hour from our new house. Just about everything is a half an hour from the new only took a few pictures since I was busy supervising the kiddos, but it was very house...we are pretty much out in the sticks. Anyway, the museum was a big hit. I cool.

Beth and Carrie spent a long time playing in this fishing area.

All the kids loved painting, and truthfully I am always glad when they get the chance to paint somewhere other than in my house. (especially Carrie!)

They also had some very cool math, reading, and science exhibits. We were there three hours and did not have time to do everything. I practically had to drag the kids out with promises to return soon. Next time I will just picnic lunch and eat in the outdoor area, which is also pretty awesome.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Beautiful days

We are really enjoying life on the Gulf Coast. Our house is great, the weather is fantastic, the local food is yummy, and our kids are happy and thriving. As soon as they wake up they want to head outside. We try to go ahead and get school done in the mornings, and then out we go.