Saturday, December 28, 2013

Friday, October 25, 2013

Checking In

Wow, I can't believe it has been five months since I've updated here. Life is humming along happily here at the Tyson house. We are still in our little house by the bay, and should have about another year and a half here. I am already starting to think about our inevitable move, and it makes me feel mostly sad, but then also a little excited about the possibilities. Hopefully as the transfer time approaches the sadness will fade and the excitement will rise...and hopefully the kids will pick up on that mindset as well. Although I am a military wife, and therefore destined to a life of moving, I truly don't like it. However, it is only the moving I don't like. The goodbyes...the nostalgia....the two weeks of hard hard work. Once we get to our new locale I always perk up. We have been blessed so far to truly enjoy each of Matt's duty stations. Anyway...back to the here and now.

Beth is in third grade this year. She is learning the play the violin at school, and is so pleased with herself. Her first concert is at Christmas time, and I can't wait to see her perform. At AWANAS she moved up to "T&T" which is crazy to me. T&T has the BIG kids...the 3rd-6th graders. How did she end up there, and so quickly? In school she continues to do well. She is having some slight issues in math, which quite frankly I blame on the school's new (common core) curriculum. I went in and looked at it, and it just defies logic. Like they no longer teach the multiplication tables, but just teach the "strategy" of multiplication and then go straight on with long division. So confusing! It's enough to make this mama miss homeschooling. Maybe we'll return to that after we move... Here the kids are just too happy with their school to consider anything else. It truly is a nice little place. At home she continues to love to read, and has read through the Harry Potter series multiple times. I try to get her going with new books, and she'll read them a bit, and then I find her with Harry Potter again.

Mr. Matthew is in second grade this year, and he is really doing well. In school he brings home straight B's. It makes me laugh, because literally every problem he misses in math is because he didn't read the directions for it, or he didn't check his work and just flat out skipped one or two. He always knows how to do the problems, so that's something at least. In reading every problem he misses is because he answers their "thinking questions" with "I know this, because I read it in the story." Not the supporting details they were looking for. Ha! Oh well...B's are good enough, and I think the small issues will resolve as he grows and matures. He never gets in trouble at school, and after raising such a crazy toddler and preschooler I am just flat out impressed. He is still very energetic, but he aims to please, and apparently keeps himself in check enough to get through the day. After school I send him outside to jump on his trampoline and burn off some energy. After that he spends all his time setting his toy cars up into huge patterns of traffic and/or wrecks that he then wants me to come and admire.

Caroline is in kindergarten this year. She is unbelievably cute. Five has got to be one of my favorite ages so far. She is getting so independent, but yet she is still so sweet and loving. She is learning her sight words and her letter sounds at school. She is my free spirit and really just wants to play all day. When I ask her about her day she'll say something like "I went to PE! I played in the sand box with my friends! I sang a song! And then my teacher made me do some work." The work...such a downer in kindergarten. Really though, this kindergarten is less academic than the other two my kids have attended. Even though it's full day I think she gets lots of play time and center time, and that suits her well. She still asks to go back to preschool on occasion though.

Katy Ann started preschool this fall. She goes two mornings a week, so that means I have six kid-free hours each week. First time in YEARS. She is also potty trained now, so that means I am done with diapers after 8 1/2 years straight. And a lot of that time was with more than one kid. Dare I say babyhood is behind us? So sad in a way, but it is fun to see her grow. She still colors on my furniture and on the walls if given the chance, so perhaps "toddlerhood" is not quite gone. Haha! She is a little artist, which is why I can't bring myself to disarm her, despite her repeated infractions with the art supplies. The best I can do is try to keep her using crayons, and hide the markers.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

What a week

This week has been one marked by sadness. A little boy from our base was killed in an accident...only six years old. His family has been weighing heavily on my heart this week. Such a sweet boy, and oh so young. I told the kids the sad news, and that same evening we found a baby bird that had fallen from it's nest and died on our patio. My daughter asked me if the bird was in heaven...with the little boy. And were they lonely without their mothers. I told her no, our time on earth is so incredibly short compared to our eternities with God. It would be like arriving in Heaven one day, and then your family arriving the very next. And in the meantime those who have gone before you, like loving grandparents, are already there waiting. That seemed like an acceptable answer to her. It just touched my heart how her first concern would be that he would be lonely. I know that is not the case, and I am thankful that our children are watched over by their Heavenly Father in addition to their earthly parents.

Of course last night added the tragedy of the tornadoes in Oklahoma. The first news report showed an elementary school that had just been completely swept away. While the children and teachers were still inside, hunkering down for the storm. As of right now the recovery work continues at that school, along with the entire surrounding area. I just can't imagine a greater tragedy than losing your child. I have seen how the loss of one little boy has touched so many in our area, and then I think of that loss multiplied so many times for this community in Oklahoma.

I guess at times like this there is nothing to do but pray, and to reach out to your fellow humans. Our church here is working on getting a recovery effort towards Oklahoma already, as are many other organizations and individuals. And of course there is always a constant need in local communities as well. For shelter, for help, for understanding and companionship....

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Awanas wrap up

The kids have now completed their third year of Awanas. As of September I will have one child in T&T, two in Sparks, and one new little Cubbie. Katy is so excited to finally be old enough to join in. I guess that is the fate of the baby in a many years spent watching and waiting for her turn.

Miss Beth was our Sparkies graduate. Over the past three years she has learned over 150 Bible verses.
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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful moms out there. I received a wide assortment of homemade treasures from the kids this year. Cards, artwork, potted plants, poems... What a luck mother I am.
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In other news, Matt lost his first tooth last night. He is seven years old.
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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Family Day :)

Today was supposed to be another baseball day, but thanks to thunderstorms last night both games were canceled. Instead, we spent a nice morning on the couch in our pajamas watching a Harry Potter movie. We didn't get the call that the 8:30 game was canceled until we were all up and had had breakfast, but that is as far as we made it. Matt works some weekends, and most weekends we are busy, so it was nice just having a morning to relax and hang out together.

After lunch we rode into town for a "Pet Expo" a local kennel was having. And I use the word "kennel" loosely. I really mean a hotel for pets that is nicer than any hotel for people that we stay at. It is PLUSH. I'm sure we will just stick with paying a sitter to come feed our kitties once a day when we are out of town. In any case, the expo was a lot of fun. They had dogs performing tricks, police dogs, a kids' area with crafts, plus all kinds of pet rescues. The kids bonded with a very sweet little black puppy, who was wearing an "Adopt Me" bandanna. They loved him, and he loved them too. I can totally see an energetic puppy fitting in around here in the Tyson zoo. In a rare example of self control I didn't bring a puppy home though. We certainly have enough pets as it is. And this little boy looked like he was a pit bull mix, and unfortunately with Matt being in the military and current breed restrictions we just can't go there. But oh was he cute. Maybe in a few years. Eleven years of marriage and we are still a cat family. They are just so much easier. I think I need a farm. Beth has wanted to raise a goat for 4-H for years. Yes...a farm would be the ticket. Maybe once we move back to Mississippi.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Sweet Spring Days...

These are the days of picnics after preschool, long afternoons in the backyard and down by the bay, and evening baseball games times two.

Yesterday Beth's team had their fist victory of the season. It was sweet indeed! She played as pitcher half the game, and came up to bat three time and hit three singles. Success! Matt and Carrie are on the same team this year, which makes life a little easier for me. Matt has matured so much, and really gets into the games this year. He made an awesome first baseman this week. Little Miss Carrie is nothing but pure cuteness in her xx-small uniform that is still too big. She has no clue what is going on, but at 5 1/2 she fits right in.

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Class of 2026

Yes, sweet little Carrie has come to the end of her preschool years. She will embark on a new journey this fall. Carrie is a true military brat, and at age five is living in her fourth home. She takes things in stride and is just one happy girl. We have been in this area long enough for her to be able to attend two years of preschool on the Air Force base. She went two mornings a week as a three year old, and three mornings a week this past year. Both years it was the same two teachers and many of the same kids. I truly have loved her preschool experience, as has she. The kids all have grown together, attended each other's birthday parties, and stayed at each other's homes when they needed a sitter. They've said goodbye to friends who have gotten orders and welcomed new friends. They've been through deployments and remote tours, and welcomed new baby brothers and sisters. As preschool comes to a close this month, it seems that most of the class is moving on to new places. They are literally headed all over the world. Thank goodness for the Internet, as I'd love to keep track of all the friends we've made here. Miss Carrie will have two years (or should just never know!) of elementary school here in Maryland before our next set of orders come. She is very excited about her next step.

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

I'm baaaack!

Wow, it has been a while. I have had some issues with blogger lately which resulted in a nice long break. Here I am though...I am going to give this blogging thing another shot.

Well, a lot has changed since February. The biggest thing is that we have moved. We left the Air Force base and moved into a rental about thirty minutes away. It has been a huge change for us. None of my kids have lived anywhere but on base before. We've been on five bases in the last ten years. We just had so many issues on Andrews though. The house was run down, people had no respect for our property, packs of kids and teens just roamed the base getting into trouble, and the school system wasn't good. took a LOT to get us to actually pick up and move.

Our new house is lovely. It is right on the Chesapeake Bay. We can see the bay from our house, and can walk down to it in about half a block. There is neighborhood pier we can use. That is our favorite thing about the new place...the water access. My kids love nothing more than running down to' the water and going on "their" pier. We only have three bedrooms, but they are so big. I guess I am used to military housing. Only on base when you have a 1200 square foot four bedroom house. This house is about 2000 square feet. Little Matt is growing up, so we gave him his own room for the first time. The three girls share the other bedroom. It really is plenty big for all three of them though....I will post pictures soon. Matt's room is the same size, and seems massive with just one kids. It is painted and decorated, and I think he has about the coolest room of any kid I've ever met. He is one lucky boy!

Big change #2 is that we put Beth and Matt in public school. I was enjoying homeschooling them, but the district we live in now is fantastic, so we decided to give the local school a try. So far it is working out really well. It is just a nice small town school. The bus picks them up (even though the school is 1/2 mile away they don't have them walk because there are no sidewalks) and the driver knows them by name, jokes around with them, and keeps a close eye on them. The principal is great, I like their teachers, and the school has plenty of resources to provide "extras" like art, pe, music, and even field trips. B is still at the top of her class, but there are other kids right there with her, and they are able and willing to teach her at her level. Matthew is also doing well, and loves being out and about. He is Mr. Social!

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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Happy Birthday Beth

Mary Elizabeth was born on February 4, 2005. She was our first child, and we were oh so excited. Matt was stationed in Florida at the time, and we had a cute little two bedroom house with a view of the ocean.
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Matt got out of the Army and joined the Coast Guard while I was pregnant with Beth, so we were very much starting over the year she was born. He was stationed on a cutter, and between time at sea and time in training, he was gone nine months the first year of Beth's life. You would think it would be a hard time, but Beth was an incredibly easy baby, and I had such a nice time staying home with her. I made friends with our neighbors, and we had a very happy life of long walks on the beach and cook-outs with friends. When she turned one I drove up to Virginia Beach, VA and had a birthday party for her at my grandma's house. Matt was in training at Yorktown, and so he was able to join us for the party. At that point I was quite pregnant with little Matt as well.
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Just after Beth's first birthday Matt came home to Florida and helped us pack up - the Coast Guard was sending us to a new station in Groton, Connecticut. Moving from the coasts of Florida to New England was quite the change, and little Matt joined our family soon after we arrived. We moved into a little three bedroom house near the Navy base and settled into life as a family of four. Beth continued to have her very happy personality, but she was no longer so easy. By the time Matt was six months old he was her partner in crime, and the two of them spent their days emptying all my drawers and clearing all my bookshelves. I tried to keep them busy with long walks to the park, and trips to the aquarium near our house.
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When Beth was three she attended a preschool on the Coast Guard Academy. She made lots of little friends, and really started to turn from a baby into a little girl. Her favorite things were playing outside and playing with her Thomas trains. She began to take ballet and tap lessons, as well as swim lessons that year. The biggest change in her life of course was the arrival of little sister Carrie, just five days before her third birthday. That same week the Navy decided to tear down the house we were living in, so they moved us into a brand new four bedroom town home a few weeks away. We missed our old house, but the kids quickly made some very good friends at the new place.
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Beth was a cute little preschooler when she turned four. Her favorite things were animals, especially cats, and we got her a little kitten named Eric that year. She loved going to the beach to look for shells and special rocks, and she began a collection jar for all her treasures.
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Beth's fifth year was one of change. First, her little sister Katherine was born. A few months later our long tour in Connecticut finally came to an end. We received orders to the Mississippi, and one very cold day we left New England in route for the balmy gulf coast. I didn't want Beth to have to switch schools in the middle of the year, and so I homeschooled her up until January, and then let her attend public school in Mississippi for the second half of the year. She loved kindergarten, both at home and at school, and did very well.
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When Beth was six we once again picked up to move, this time to the Washington DC area. By this point Beth was quite the big girl. She could ride a bike with no training wheels, she knew how to swim, she was an excellent artist, and she was reading very well. Everywhere we found Beth she either had a book in hand or was midway through a drawing. She was also finally old enough to help me around the house and was really a big help with her younger sisters and brother during the move. We spent the first part of our time in DC as tourists, seeing all the sites, and the kids had a ball. Beth spent the year involved in sports as well, playing baseball, soccer, and cheerleading as the seasons passed.
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Beth's seventh year was a busy one full of school, church, friends, sports, and fun times with family. We went camping, spent a week in Virginia mountains, and even went on a wonderful trip to The Bahamas. Beth finally started to lose her baby teeth and look even more grown up. She continued to love art, reading, and animals. When the weather was decent she and her brother spent several hours a day in the little wooded area behind our house exploring and making forts.
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And now my sweet girl is eight! She requested a breakfast dinner of bacon and chocolate chip pancakes. Her cake was Animal Planet themed, and she had a friend join her for dinner and a sleepover. She is such a nice kid, and so much fun to be around. I look forward to watching her grow into a young lady.
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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Happy Birthday Carrie

My sweet Caroline is now five years old. She loves animals, art, and digging holes in our yard. Her favorite color is green, her favorite food is shrimp, and she loves anything to do with pandas.

Carrie was born in New Haven, CT at just 27 weeks. She weighed in at 2 pounds 4 ounces. Despite her prematurity she was a surprisingly healthy baby, and had an uneventful NICU stay. Once she was able to take all her feeds by mouth and keep her temperature up we were finally able to bring her home. It was Easter Day when we were able to bring her home to stay. We went to one last church service as a family of four, then brought our two toddlers to the hospital to go get baby Carrie. We were fortunate that she was at a hospital that allowed siblings to visit the NICU, so Beth and Matt had already met her and were very excited.
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Carrie was our third child and was born into an already busy household. After our rambunctious little boy, we were pleased to find out that Carrie was an angel. Out of four, she remains my only truly easy baby. She slept well, ate well, and was so well behaved I barely had to childproof. She didn't enjoy the car seat that much, so we took to wearing her in a carrier whenever we were out and about. That left my hands free for the other two, and life was easy. Or as easy as life can be when you have three kids under three.
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When Carrie was two she loved Elmo, our pet cats, and doing whatever her brother and sister were doing. She had a little girl named Xoey next door, who was just her age, and the two of them were the greatest of friends. After Carrie was about nine months old I went back to college to finish my teaching degree. She went to a wonderful daycare, along with Beth and Matt. I still talk to many of their teachers today. Right as she turned two, I graduated. Seeing how I was expecting #4 by then, and I knew the Coast Guard would be moving us soon, I decided not to start looking for a job with my fellow graduates. Instead, we said goodbye to our friends from the daycare, and I began my life as a stay at home mom.
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Caroline turned three right after the Coast Guard moved us from Connecticut all the way down to Mississippi. I had been homeschooling Beth, but following the move we decided to enroll her in public school. With her out of the house part of the day, and Katy still a baby, Carrie and Matt became the best of friends. It was about 65 degrees in the winter in Mississippi, and seeing how it was 9 degrees the day we left Connecticut, I felt like we were in paradise. We had a little park right behind our house and the kids and I spent many happy days there. Being on the Gulf Coast, Carrie also got to experience her first Mardi Gras parade and developed a love for seafood.
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By the time Carrie turned four we had moved once again, this time to Washington DC. We spent out first year going into the city and seeing all the sites. Carrie started a two morning a week preschool program, and began ballet and tap lessons. Beth and Matt were in kindergarten and first grade, so her new buddy became little sister Katy Ann. The two of them spent many hours enjoying their play dough and coloring with their crayons, and I took them to the library or park almost everyday. Carrie has always been small for her age, so I was still able to push them in a double stroller when she is thoroughly enjoyed.

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And now my Carrie is five! Wow, the years have gone by so quickly. This year I homeschooled Beth and Matt so my gang of four has been all together. It has been so much fun watching Carrie become one of the "big kids." Santa Clause brought her a bike with 16 inch tires this year, and she petals her little heart out on that thing. She also presents me with stacks of her beautiful art each day, and explains the elaborate games she plays with her stuffed animals. In short she is our little redheaded princess and we are so glad to have her.
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Tuesday, January 22, 2013


I can't believe how much of January has already gone by. Christmas was such fun and was over before I knew it. The kids have now settled back into preschool and homeschool, as well as their other activities. We made it through the inauguration excitement here in DC. I am embarrassed to say that I stayed home and watched in on tv, even though I live 15 minutes away. I just didn't think I could pull off taking four kids on the metro on the same day as 800,000 other people. Maybe next time.
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We are continuing to prepare for our move to the rental house. I am so excited and also so overwhelmed. It really is a nice house in a lovely area. Just the kind of place I'd like to live. Small, safe, quiet. And near the water...can't forget that part! Stay tuned for pictures next month. Or maybe the month after that. I am sure unpacking is going to be a disaster. I have already packed up quite a bit, and the more I pack the more I enjoy my current house. I do not miss the clutter one bit. I really should take the whole lot of it to the Goodwill. The kids of course do ask about their things, and I've assured them they will meet them at the new house, so I can't really do that. I have thinned the herd some at least.
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The kids all had their bi-yearly dental visit today. They love the dentist...every last one of them. My two year old sat quietly while her teeth were cleaned, and then let them take an x-ray of her bite. What kind of two year old will actually sit there with that film between their teeth? The dentist and hygienist were gushing over her, but she is the fourth in a row to be like that. It's not that they are super well behaved in general either, it's just that they love the dentist. They had been counting down the days until their visit. Crazy kids! I guess it's always been pleasant for them. I only take them to pediatric dentists, who tend to have fun offices, and they've never had any cavities. As usual their teeth were clean and cavity free today. And as usual the dentist pointed out how small their mouths were, and how much orthodontic work they are going to need down the line. It's so sad! They all have the cutest smiles right now, and perfectly straight little teeth. Those little teeth have no gaps at all though, meaning their adult teeth won't fit. Our dental insurance isn't that great either. Forget the college fund for a minute...I think we need to get to work on the dental fund!
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