Saturday, July 30, 2011

today is a Day

Pin It
there are miXeD eMoTioNS today.

today is my husband and my 6 year wedding anniversary.

today is my grandma Gigi's birthday.

today is also the 1 year anniversary of her death.

not much else to is not just a day.  it's a Day.

it holds happiness,
            but is bittersweet.
it holds smiles,
               and tears.
it marks the start of one life
            and the end of another.

Keep in touch with Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get daily post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest and Twitter.
Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.

Friday, July 29, 2011

jazzin' up the doh...

Pin It
hello love-el-ees!!  it's a great week! 

it's been awhile since the pLaY-dOH has been oUt.  it seems to tReND for awhile, then get LosT in the back of the craft cabinet.  nothing like an old favorite. 

i lOVe the smell of this stuff.  i usually take pictures of crafts/activities like this so his creations are saved in a photograph and we can put the materials away when he's ready.

nothing like some $1 paper uMbReLLas to jaZZ things up.

Keep in touch with Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get daily post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest and Twitter.
Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.

Monday, July 25, 2011

in {her} shoes...sheri

Pin It
well, lovelies, it's moMMa moNDaY again!!

i'm super-excited about todays in {her} shoes guest post!  sheri is a doll and has been a friend of mine for awhile now.  she's so encouraging and inspiring.  she's a beautiful soul and i hope that you enjoy reading her post!

Hi there. My name is Sheri, and I am guest blogging today for my friend Andie’s blog series “In Her Shoes”. I have two different blogs out there in the bloggy world. It started with, which is about life with not only our first dog ever, but our first rescue dog. My second blog is my photo blog, Both of these were born after my kids were booted from the “nest”.

The empty nest. We all dread it, and welcome it at different times in our life. In order to fully explain how I feel about being an “empty nester”, I have to go back a few years and give you a little information that formed how I feel about my life today. I always hesitate in doing this, fearing that people will think that I’m looking for sympathy, or singing the “oh poor me” song, but I’m not. What we went through made my husband and I grow in to the couple that we are today.

So, to fill you in, we have three children who are actually now adults, ages 25, 23 and 20. The two oldest are boys, and our youngest is a girl.

The oldest was the typical first child. Over achiever, well behaved and bossy to a fault, but he seriously never gave us any trouble, and was for the most part an absolute joy to raise. Child number two was the typical middle child. Sort of a day dreamer, an absolute love, and just naughty enough to constantly keep us wondering if we were going to live through to his 18th birthday, but “good” enough to never get in to legal trouble. He was silly and funny, to a fault. Child number three, our daughter was a dream, and I mean a DREAM. I seriously thought I had died and gone to heaven, until THAT DAY.

OH, that day. When child number three came home from school, and instead of telling me about one of the many books that she had read on the bus on the way home, she went in her room and shut the door. I couldn’t believe it. When I knocked on the door to see if she was OK, the girl that faced me wasn’t my daughter. She was this person that I didn’t know. If I thought you would believe me, I would say that her head was spinning on her body and green goo was oozing out of her eyeballs, but that might be taking it too far. But, that was how I felt, and it continued for two years. No kidding. At first we thought that it might just be the transition in to adolescence, but after a few months we knew that we were in for much more than that.

Child number three had always been a straight A student, and at this point she was in her Junior year in high school, and was finishing high school at the local community college like our boys had. Typically, this is an awesome thing because the students not only get high school credits, but transferrable college credits too. The bad thing? The parents no longer have any right to any information about the student, and I mean ANY information. So, we had no idea that our daughter had started to skip school. She would get up every morning and shower and leave at the normal time, and come home every day “after school” and go to her job at the coffee shop. We also didn’t know that she was doing drugs. What had happened is that depression had wrapped its ugly fingers around her soul, and she didn’t know it, and we didn’t know it. The way that she was dealing with it was to go to her girlfriend’s house in the morning, smoke pot to self-medicate her feelings away and go to sleep for the day. Somehow she managed to always make it to work at the coffee shop, but she could no longer concentrate at school. I knew in my gut that something was terribly wrong, but because she was so defiant, I was at a loss as to what to do. Finally, the day came when she hit bottom. An actual friend of hers brought her home to us and said that she needed to go to the hospital. Our baby girl was sick, and wanted to die. As all of you parents out there can imagine, it was a nightmare. My heart has never ached for anyone more than it did at that moment, watching my baby girl hurting so badly. All I wanted to do was fix her, but I knew we had a long road ahead of us.

So now we get more in to how this affects how my feelings about being an empty nester started to form. My way of dealing with crisis is to DEAL with it. My husband’s way of dealing with crisis is to look the other way. He didn’t want his little girl to get mad at him. We have always parented on the same page, but suddenly, we were on very different pages. Thankfully, we both agreed that she needed to be admitted to the hospital. I don’t know if you know this, but when a child is fourteen years old, they can make their own medical decisions. Our daughter was sick enough the night we took her to the emergency room that she signed her care over to us. If she wouldn’t have done that, she would have been out of the hospital the next day. As it was, the hospital kept her for two weeks. During this time, the fighting with my husband continued, and I was really beginning to FEAR spending the rest of my life with this man! I wanted my daughter drug tested weekly. There was absolutely no way I was going to let her continue to drive on our insurance if she was going to be under the influence of drugs. My husband felt that this was harsh. She was so far behind in school that there was little chance of her graduating from high school on time, which was devastating. We had already visited three colleges that were out of state, and this girl had big dreams. All of those dreams seemed to be floating out of her reach. My husband thought I should lay off her, but I wanted her to stay on her school work, and work with the guidance counselors at the school so she could at least graduate during the summer and have a chance to still go to college. I found that not only did my daughter hate me for everything, but my husband and I were fighting about everything too. No matter what I did, he was taking her side. I felt ganged up on, and it wasn’t cool. At this point, my vision of being an empty nester consisted of me living alone some place on an island in the middle of nowhere! The next several months were hell.

To wrap up a very long story, she was able to graduate, and she was able to still go to one of the out of state schools. I would have preferred to have her closer, as I didn’t feel that she was out of the woods with her depression yet, but at this point I just wanted her in school. Once she was moved and settled, my husband and I started the healing process. Thankfully, I’m a person that talks about everything, and eventually I was able to tell him how much it hurt me that he couldn’t support me or my decisions during that time. His point was that he couldn’t explain it, but she was his baby girl. He was afraid of losing her. In his defense, he comes from a family that has no qualms about not talking to you for years if you do something to make them angry, so I can understand his fear.

Our life now as empty nesters is really good. Our oldest son has one year left in the PhD program for mathematics, our middle son just has an internship left to do before he graduates with a social services degree, and even though our daughter realized after her first year at school that she wasn’t quite ready for college, she found a full time job in a bank, still out of state, and is feeling very successful at her job. All three of the kids are wonderful adults, and we feel so proud of all of them. And the very best part? They are all our friends now. When they come home to visit, it isn’t like one of the kids is coming home. They are our guest, and it is awesome. We really enjoy their company and personalities. None of them have had to move back home since leaving for college. We tried to raise them to be independent, and all of them were taught budgeting and how to pay bills and do laundry. Sometimes I think that those lessons are lacking for some kids when they leave home.

My husband and I enjoy splitting our time between our actual home, and our lake home. He bought me a wonderful camera and encouraged me to explore my love for photography. That is how I met Andie, whose blog, Crayon Freckles, I am guest writing on. I could seriously take pictures and edit pictures for hours a day. My husband will need to stay in his job for a few more years, and then we will probably move to the lake. Unfortunately, college isn’t cheap, and we really wanted to be able to help our kids with their education. We aren’t paying for the whole thing, but we are definitely helping. College costs are out of control, and it’s hard to imagine kids having a chance to even get started with the looming debt of four or more years of college loans over their heads.

The other thing we did after our daughter moved out was adopt our first dog. We had decided that we would like to save an older dog from a rescue shelter, and after some searching, we found Brutus. He was “around” two years old, which is younger than what we were thinking, but he had been thrown away. When he was saved, it was the day before he was to be killed in a gas chamber. I didn’t even know that such a terrible thing still existed. An animal rescue saved him and brought him to a foster home in our home state, and put his face online. His foster mom broke her ankle, and the rescue was looking for emergency foster for him, but we just simply wanted him. He has been with us for a year and a half now, and we have no regrets. When he joined our family he didn’t know his name, and had no training. We are happy to say that he is now a very happy boy, and MOST of the time when we are outside with him, he can be off leash. He loves going to the lake, and swimming and going fishing with his dad. He will be spoiled rotten for the rest of his life. When his human brothers and sister come home, he practically knocks them over with kisses and love. He doesn’t do that to other people, so somehow, he knows that they are his family.

If I was to leave you with some sort of words of wisdom or advice from my own experience as a mother, it would be this: Love unconditionally, because there is no such thing as perfect. Kids are going to make mistakes just as us parents do, and you don’t want to set the bar so high for them that they are afraid to come to you if they fail or need your help.

I also want to thank Andie for letting me share my story on her wonderful blog. Andie, you are a gem, and your daughter and son are very lucky to have you for a mom.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

watermelons and sunflowers {preschool arts and crafts}

Pin It
little man wanted to make 2 specific things the other day.  we had gotten done reading Watch Me Grow: Blue Plants a Seed and little man was feeling inspired.  (i'm not sure where the watermelon part came from though...)  he wanted to make
wAtERmeLoNS and sUNfLowERs

making projects like this sort of bother me because they are somewhat close-ended with a planned result.  on the other hand, i am proud of his appreciation for preplanning and realism.

so we got out the paint, the paper, and the glue and went to town.


rEd gLiTTeR added to piNK pAiNT

paint, paint, paint the day away

hardworkin man


painting with a variety of tools

liitle boy loves to glue....((he put the circle on by himself))

check out all that glue!!!  adding sunflower seeds for texture and to tie it in to our book.

after the glue dried
Keep in touch with Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get daily post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest and Twitter.
Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.

Monday, July 18, 2011

in {her} shoes...christy

Pin It
heLLo lOVeLiES!  hope you've had a good weekend. 
it's moMMa moNDaY again! 

if you didn't catch the first post in the in {her} shoes series,
click here to read KeRRy's sToRY

the series provides us a lOOk at liFe from another momma's life is walking in her shoes. i'm so excited about this because we have amazing, inspiring mommas from different walks of life who are going to share their stories with us! if you'd like to participate as a guest blogger, leave me a comment or email me at
this week's post is by Christy over at Christy's Cuties.  she's a doLL!  she's a wonderful, supporting bloggie buddy of mine.  after you read her story, go check out her blog!

 ((look at this button! didn't i tell you she was a doll?))
in {her} shoes

Good morning. My name is Christy and I am from Christy’s Cuties. I am SO excited to be here at Crayon Freckles. Not only do I love that I am able to be here with all of you wonderful people, but this is also my first guest post! I am literally on cloud nine. Let’s get started, I hope you like my shoes.

Things I love: shoes, pink, decorating, coupons, and most of all, my family. I am a busy stay at home momma to three little cuties. Luke is 7, Kaleb is 5, and Riley is 3. Not only am I busy with my cuties, I am also a college student getting a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology. Nope, that’s not all I do. My hero is my hubby, Jason. He has been active duty in the Army with a Special Operations Unit for 11 years. What does this mean for me?? It means that a few times out of the year I am a momma and daddy. We have been through eight deployments and many more TDY’s. Luckily for us our deployments only last 3-4 months at a time which is why we have one a year. TDY’s are two week training trips (some longer or shorter) and those are a few times a year.

The most challenging part of being an Army Wife/momma is being both mom and dad. There are just certain things that kids need dad for. For instance, earlier this year in school my oldest son received two notes….from girls. One asked him to be her boyfriend, while the other asked for a kiss. He needed to know which order he should answer the notes in, of course. And he did NOT like my answer! Haha! Luke came home wanting some fatherly advice, and not from mom.

The most rewarding part of my “job” is being available at any time of the day to my kids and family. I always said I never wanted any kids, now that I have them I realize I have the life I never knew I always wanted. It truly is the most rewarding “job” in the world.

While being a mother and father a large part of the time I try to make sure that our children know how loved and truly lucky they are. The most important values that I can instill in my children would be love and compassion. Love for one another as God loves us. And compassion to never forget what others may be going through. Although we do have a slightly different lifestyle than many others where we go without our hubby/father for months at a time, we realize that we are not alone and many more are going through the same thing. We also realize that we are blessed to have someone that loves us so much that he puts his life on the line to keep us safe from harm.

If you asked my kids to describe me in three words they would say: Pretty, Kind, and not mean. Yes, I did ask my kids this question to get an honest answer, and I’m happy with their answers! ;)

Thank you SO much to Crayon Freckles for letting me guest post! I hope you all have a Wonderful Day!!


Saturday, July 16, 2011

i got published!!!

Pin It
Okay, okay, it was just a letter to the editor, but still... It makes me happy.  Especially when my response was as passionate as this one.  After reading the article, I sat down almost immediately and wrote my email to Parents magazine.  It isn't unusual for me to disagree about the contents of media articles.  ((And voice those disagreements vehemently to my husband...who just nods his head)).  But this article...

I originally wrote this post containing my letter to the editor.  I'm going to repost here to make for easier reading.  I'll show you my original letter, then what they actually printed. 

My Original
I just got done reading the article, “Visiting William” by an Anonymous writer in the May 2011 issue of Parents magazine. My heart breaks for the mother who had to watch her child yo-yoed around by a father suffering from bipolar disorder. I was moved to tears for the little girl after reading of their last meeting. Still, I feel moved to share another side with you. I sincerely wish that you would have (or in the future) include a story further exploring the life of bipolar parents. On behalf of many bipolar parents (and readers, I’m sure) I feel it necessary to clear the air for those who aren’t necessarily familiar with the disorder and all it entails. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and chronic depression when I was 22 years old. Since then, the fight against the stigma society holds has been hard. There have been times I have brought up my disorder and have seen the person visibly cringe. Being bipolar isn’t something I would have chosen for myself. One can’t change the fact that they are bipolar any easier than a redhead can change their freckles or a basketball player can alter their foot size. It’s all in how we’re “wired.” There are many of us who, with the help of medications, are well-adjusted, properly balanced and able to have secure, strong, affectionate relationships with our children. Life with bipolar disorder isn’t always the way popular culture sees it: a rollercoaster at an amusement park. With the help of medications, life for me is more like a drive through the country. There are some dips and peaks, but for the most part, I’m able to sit back and enjoy the ride.

What They Printed
My heart broke for the mom who wrote "Visiting William."  Still I wanted to offer a different perspective on biploar disorder; I was diagnosed with it and depression at 22.  But like so many other parents, with the help of medications I'm able to have a great relationship with my kid.  It's not always the roller-coaster ride people envision it to be.  My life is more like a drive through the country; there are some dips and peaks, but I'm still able to relax and enjoy the ride.  

So yeah.  I said my piece on living with bipolar disorder as I experience it.  And I realize now that there was no hesitation, no embarrassment about what I was writing.  After living with the shame and stigma of my diagnosis for years, it's very freeing to realize that I'm letting go of it. 

Perhaps it's because I no longer wish for it to dominate my life. 
Perhaps I've finally grown into myself. 

Follow Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

math with tongs...who knew?

Pin It
it's just lately that BeAR has gotten really interested in our pREsChOOl tiMe.  at my old center we would use muFFiN tiNS for sorting activities so i put this together.  not only was it fUn for him, but it also works on sorting/classifying based on one factor (color) which is an eArLY mATh sKiLL
colored bottoms of tins cut from cardstock for durability (i need to laminate them)
i purchased the two sets of pompoms at dollar tree for $1 aPiECe.  at first, Bear just used his hAnDS to sort the balls out.  when his interest started to wane, i added something that i knew he would lOVe ((and that would practice fiNe mOtOr sKiLLs and hANd-eYe cOOrdiNAtioN.))


((large spoons could be used also to practice balance))


and after the muffin tins lost their glow (about 20 minutes later), the pompoms turned into dirt and rocks to be put in the dumptruck.  yAy iMaGiNAtioN!!!


so break out the fLuFFy sTuFF,  grab the kiTcHEn uTeNSiLs and
leT 'eM gO!
Keep in touch with Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get daily post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest and Twitter.
Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.

Monday, July 11, 2011

in {her} shoes...kerry

Pin It
hello LoVeLiES
welcome to the first of many moMMa moNdaYs! 

today marks the first post in my in {her} shoes guest blog series. 

the series provides us a lOOk at liFe from another momma's life is walking in her shoes.  i'm so excited about this because we have amazing, inspiring mommas from different walks of life who are going to share their stories with us!   if you'd like to participate as a guest blogger, leave me a comment or email me at

our first blogga momma is a woman whose blog i ran across at a link party.  the title of her blog alone, made me smile.  but the beautiful story of the formation of her family was what was truly touched my heart. 

please welcome, keRRy...

Hello Crayon Freckles readers! My name is Kerry and I blog over at my life His Mission. I am a stay-at-home mom to my little girl, Alivea. I am writing as a part of Crayon Freckles series called “In Her Shoes” and I hope to be able to shed a little light today on what it’s like to be an adoptive momma.

My husband and I have been married for 12 years and have been actively ttc (trying to conceive) for 8 of those 12 years. (I hope that’s not too much information too soon!) Anyway, we were taking a break from fertility treatments in 2007 when we decided to look again at adoption. It had always been something close to our heart and something we wanted to do. We soon got a call that a birth mother had come into our adoption agency looking to place her baby for adoption. To make a long story short, our profile was picked by the adoption agency and we had just 6 short weeks to prepare for her birth. Alivea Joy was born in March of 2008 and needless to say our lives have never been the same. I remember seeing Alivea for the first time and thinking that she was the most beautiful thing I had ever laid my eyes on. She obviously looked very different from my husband and I, since she is African American and we are both Caucasian. But I never thought about that. All I knew what that I instantly loved her and she was mine. We had waited so long but she was definitely worth it.

(Here is a pic of Alivea and I just a few minutes after we got to meet her for the first time. She was less than 24 hours old.)

Alivea is 3 years old now and she truly is our Joy. I get asked questions all the time about adoption and about being an adoptive mom and so I would love to share a little bit of my heart on adoption with you. First of all, I know I am a little biased, but I really do think adoption is the best thing ever. My husband and I are Christians, but I’m not really sure that we really approached adoption from the “Christian” position before we adopted Alivea. We just knew that we wanted a child and we felt like adoption was a good option. It was only after Alivea’s adoption and learning to care for her and watching her grow that we really saw the gravity of what we had done. We had forever changed our lives and not just in the ordinary way that children change your lives. We had changed our family tree forever!

(Here is our recent family picture. This is my mother's side of the family. 4 generations and Alivea is in the front!)

Andie asked us to answer some questions about what life in {her} shoes is like, so here goes:
What is the most challenging part of being an adoptive momma?
What is the most rewarding part?
I think the most challenging part for me of being an adoptive momma is also the most rewarding part. It is being a momma to a child of a different race. My husband and I are constantly being looked at in the grocery store and everywhere. Everyone notices that Alivea is not the same color as her mommy and daddy. Alivea doesn’t really notice yet. But I know it’s coming. I always thought I would be ready for it but to be honest it scares me. My husband and I are constantly self conscious about whether we are doing Alivea’s hair right. We always have to think before we leave the house about whether Alivea’s hair looks decent. We get a lot of looks. A lot of them! But as much as they make me self-conscious, I try to welcome them because I know that as adoptive parents it is our job to be ambassadors. I want others to see the miracle that God provided for us and for Alivea. I want them to marvel at how a white family can raise an African-American child and I want them to know it’s because of our faith. It’s because of God. He loved me and therefore I love Alivea. I guess in that instance Alivea and I are kind of the same. We both have been adopted!

What is the most important value that parents can instill in their children?
My husband and I try to raise Alivea using the ideals of our faith. Alivea knows about Jesus and she prays a lot. She asks to pray for everyone- even little children she hears crying in the other aisle in the grocery store. I think that is the most important value that my husband and I can teach Alivea. I want Alivea to understand that we are called to love others because Jesus loves us. I hope that my husband and I can model that for her.

If your child could describe you in 3 words, what words would they pick?
It’s hard to say what Alivea would say about having me as her mommy. She often calls me her best friend but then again she also tells me to calm down and relax.
In closing, I hope I have given you a little insight into being an adoptive momma. Adoption is definitely a life-long decision that will change your life and your family’s life but it is so worth it. It is expensive (sometimes!) and it takes a sacrifice but the outcome is worth it. I would tell anyone interested in adoption to pray about it and ask lots of questions and then just jump. That’s what we did and it has been the best decision ever!

Please come check out my little blog at my life His Mission. Hope to see you there!

Thank you, Andie, for letting me share my story. I can't wait to hear all the other momma stories.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

yadybugs and zigzags

Pin It
little man has a fascination with LaDYbuGs as of lately.  i asked him what he wanted to do for our morning preschool time.  his reply:
"i want to make a yadybug." 
((his L's come out as Y's...i'll miss this when he develops more))

i got out paper, paint, googly eyes, glue, pompom balls, paint daubers, etc, etc.  he was insistent that he didn't want to paint, so red paper it was...he also wanted me to cut out a ladybug shape.  ((so much for momma being hands-off, right??))

my favorite part about art with children is watching the geARs tuRN in their little heads as they work. i strongly dislike projects that turn out perfect.

i favor the pROceSS they use oVeR the actual pRoDuCT they create.
((stepping off soapbox))

but what a fIcKLe and pefectionistic boy i have. 
he's tYpE A
just. like. mE.
((me thinks i'm gonna be in trouble when he gets older))

once he got his 2 red ovals, he was cRAfT-haPPy...
and i happily let him dO hiS tHiNG.

here are his yAdYbuGS...

afterwards, we were digging thru the cRaFt sTuFF we came across a paper plate that i had cut into a spiral.  ((not sure why, it'd been in there awhile)).  little man found it and wanted to make a zIg-zAg.  sure. why not? 

It is better to cReATe than to be learned,
creating is the true eSSeNCe of LiFe
~Barthold Georg Niebuhr~
Keep in touch with Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get daily post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest and Twitter.
Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...