Coffee with Me

Big Helpers February 23, 2010

Filed under: Family,Home Organization — Melissa @ 12:00 pm

Hannah is 3 1/2 and Leah is almost 2. They are big helpers all the time!! I’m sometimes surprised at what they are capable of doing. They love to help anyone, anytime. Sometimes we don’t want their help…so I really try to make sure that I find “jobs” for them that are age-appropriate.

One thing they can do is take the clothes out of the dryer and put them in a laundry basket. And then drag/push the basket to my bedroom which is where I fold the laundry.

What do your little ones do to help out around the house?


Chutes and Ladders February 22, 2010

Filed under: Family — Melissa @ 10:00 am

We stayed with my cousins over Christmas weekend and had a fabulous time visiting family. My children love going down there and seeing THEIR cousins also. This playset is in the backyard and Leah was having a fabulous time going up ….. and down. Over and over.

I didn’t know Roy had taken these pictures until recently. They immediately reminded me of the Chutes and Ladders game.


Friday’s Homeschool Feature – Science Jim February 19, 2010

Filed under: Homeschooling — Melissa @ 7:37 pm

I’m very pleased to link up with Mandy this week for her Friday’s Homeschool Feature!! Thanks for doing this, Mandy. I look forward to see what other homeschool features get posted.

This past week Samantha and Matthew participated in an online science class.

Science Jim has series of classes that are held weekly for $5 per week (or so). These particular ones are $5 per week. I found out about these classes and signed up through CurrClick Curriculum.

This current series is based on what is happening in the Winter Olympics. The first week was gravity and this week was on speed. I think next week is friction. You can jump in for any week though. Science Jim uses DimDim for his classes. You can see him on the bottom left here. In the middle is where he shows pictures and other media for the class.

On the right is a chat box where students can ask questions and also answer his questions. Out of 5, I rate this class a 4. It started out slow but got very interesting. The kids enjoyed his real-life experiments that he was doing. Plus he gave them ideas of experiments to try themselves (which Matthew did do with his Legos).

Another reason to mark it less than 5 is because of the chat feature. It is wonderful that the kids can ask questions and he can answer them right away. However, even though Science Jim reminded the children to not “goof off” or “get silly” in the chat box, many students still did. This is distracting to others that are watching as the chat box keeps moving. Plus Science Jim is trying to keep an eye on the chat box so that he can answer questions. I was disappointed that so many children – homeschooled children! – were doing that.

All in all, it was great…something different to do in their week…and something to look forward to each week. We’ll be finishing this series out for sure.


PSA: Military Wives not Single Moms

Filed under: Base Living and 29 Palms,Family — Melissa @ 6:45 am

I’m sure this will make some roll their eyes. But that’s okay. It’s my blog and just hope that you might see my heart in this.

Military wives are not single moms while their husbands are deployed.

I think it’s offensive to single moms to say that. I know when you say, “I’m a single mom right now,” you’re not saying it to be offensive. But that’s why I’m posting this to let you know, that to a single mom, it can be hurtful.

See, I was a single mom once. For 5 years. I know the difference.

When I was a single mom, ALL the decisions were made by me. All the money had to be made by me. There were not 2 heads in which to talk things out, or debate, or figure out the best route for the family. There was just me. There wasn’t someone else helping out financially. There was just me. When my daughter was sick, and I didn’t work, that meant I might not be able to pay the insurance that month, or the electric. Deciding on what to do in those situations is very stressful.

When you’re a single mom, you don’t get a break from the stress of being THE ONE that both you and your child have to count on. Now it’s not that I didn’t have family around me. I did! I’m really glad I did. But ultimately the bottom line is that it was all me.

As a military wife, when my husband is deployed, I still don’t work. I’m free to just take care of the children and enjoy the fact that the paycheck hits the checking account 2 times a month. (Even if I did work, there is knowledge that I didn’t HAVE to work.) I still have my husband there to help with decisions. Yes, the day to day living falls on me, but the life choices regarding our family does not fall on just me.

It just isn’t the same.

A friend told me that it’s hard when her husband is so involved with the children, taking them places on the weekends, family devotions, just really being very involved, and then to have him leave and not be there doing that. I know it is. And the more involved the dad, the harder it will be. But the knowledge of what he does, who he is, the love he has for those kids, that knowledge is there. His children will not forget that. The family can still function as a family knowing that dad will return.

Out of respect for true single moms, please don’t call yourself one. Say, “My husband is deployed right now.” Or something similar. Because you are married. Even if he is not physically present, you are not single.

Thank you.


Military Homecomings – Part 4 February 18, 2010

Filed under: Base Living and 29 Palms,Family,Roy's Deployment — Melissa @ 3:00 pm

This post is the final in a 4 part series about Roy’s homecoming last September. Part 1. Part 2. Part 3.

When we had gone down the field, the buses had just arrived on base. However, the Marines still have weapons to turn in and any last word to be given needs to be passed.

While were waiting on the field, I kept hearing other family members on the phone with their Marine. Talking about how the Marines were on the buses. They were coming soon. And then we’d all rush to the white line. And then nothing. I won’t get into the details as to why there were delays…there just were.  And it was awful. The kids were getting grumpy. It was cold. Leah was clinging to me and wouldn’t go back to sleep in the stroller. I felt awful that my friend had been up all night.

I had reached a point where I didn’t want Roy to come home right then. All I wanted was my bed. Sleep. Maybe we could try again the next day?

Yes. Well. It doesn’t work that way. I’m thinking all these things in my head. I’m picturing him getting off the bus and the kids fussing at him or not wanting to hug him or talk to him. I pictured myself grumping at him for being “late” when it wasn’t his fault!

I took a few moments and prayed. Just prayed for patience. And peace. And to be able to just focus on the moment.

Thankfully it wasn’t much longer after that and we heard that the buses were on their way.

We stood at the rope line and waited.

We heard the buses first….and then saw them. There were 10 buses. Which would he be on???

We waved and waved hoping that he would see us easily and be able to find us!! There were lights but it was still dark out and all those Marines look the same in their uniforms.

Thankfully he was on the bus right in front of us, and he spotted us as soon as he got off.

The first hugs are oh so sweet. No one wants to let go.

How I missed that smile.

Matt helps him collect his bags, and we head off for home.

We survived. The deployment AND the homecoming. 😉


Thursday Tips – Laundry February 17, 2010

Filed under: Home Organization,Thursday Tips — Melissa @ 7:30 pm

Welcome to Thursday Tips!! I hope you’ll join us each Thursday to share tips that work or have worked in your life. Tips are hints or ideas. They are basic, practical facts. I’d love to hear yours!!

Does your laundry area/room look like this?? It doesn’t have to!

Teach your children to sort their laundry for you. I use laundry baskets with the categories written on them.

Currently my 5 year old gathers laundry and my 8 year old sorts. But everyone is responsible for sorting their laundry if they take it in there. There is also a basket labeled socks and underwear but I’m not going to show you that one!!

I love the laundry being sorted into baskets. When it’s time for me to do a load, I can just pick up a basket and dump its contents into the washing machine.

I’d love to have you join us for Thursday Tips. Here are the rules:

1. Go to your blog and do a post about a tip you’d like to share with us!

2. Use the Tuesday Tip banner if you’d like – here’s the direct link that you can use: or just link back to this post.

3. After posting your tip, come back here, and put the blog post’s link into Mr. Linky below.

4. Check out the other tips – leave comments! Spread the blog love.

5. If you link to a random post that is not a tip, I’ll delete it from the Mr. Linky. Sorry! We’re all about ideas here! Thanks!


Military Homecomings – Part 3

Filed under: Base Living and 29 Palms,Family,Roy's Deployment — Melissa @ 1:00 am

This is a continuation of yesterday’s post.

I was joking about the vacation. Sort of. I actually did get to get away for a weekend. The weekend right before Roy came home. He came earlier than expected! Before leaving for the weekend (San Francisco for a cousin’s wedding) I got a lot done around the house. Made plans for the homecoming, had the sign done, etc.

For anyone anticipating a homecoming with a bunch of kids, I highly recommend the weekend away. I focused on ME for the weekend, and by the time I got home, I felt in a better frame of mind for the homecoming. I didn’t want Roy to come home and then have me check out mentally regarding the children. There isn’t an excuse for that, but it’s easy to think, “Well, I’ve been doing this by myself for the past 6 or 7 months, and now it’s your turn.” I didn’t WANT to really do that, and that weekend away really helped me a lot. (Thank you to the friends who watched my children for me!!!)

The day has arrived. He’s flying home today. I bought 2 new dresses. Which will I wear? We find out he’ll be home in the middle of the night. Do I get the kids up? Will my friend who is coming to take pictures still want to come? Does the house look good? I should clean the van. Change the sheets.

We made signs and hung them up. Samantha was a huge help. She really kept me focused! Here’s are a couple posts from another unit’s homecoming that explains how the signs are hung up here. Here and here and pictures here.

We hung up a sing on the front of the house that the kids made. Then we hung one that I had ordered up on the fenceline. I forgot to take pictures of it!!

We ended up leaving the house about 1:00am and met my friend Shannan down there (who was going to help with the kids and take pictures for me). The Marines were delayed and didn’t get to the reunion field until 5:00am. What a night!

Here are a few pictures of us waiting. It was September so it was still hot during the day (we’re in the desert) and usually was still in the 70’s or 80’s at night. But this particular night it really got chilly!

Other people sitting around waiting also.

The bounce house to help keep the children occupied.

The Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS) “roach coach” with free snacks and drinks.

The band that entertained us for a while.

Us watching the band, not cold yet!

Now we’re getting cold.

We waited on that field for over 4 hours. My nerves were shot and the kids were getting grouchy. Could we overcome that to have a happy reunion??

Final part tomorrow……..


Cleaning Off My Desk February 16, 2010

Filed under: Home Organization,Works for Me Wednesday — Melissa @ 10:56 pm

Last week I bought these fabulous bags at Costco and I briefly mentioned them in this post. They really deserve a whole post. And to top it off you’re getting a two-fer “works for me” this week!

I love these bags. They come in a pack of 4 – two large and two small. Though as you can tell the small ones are not really small.

They are very sturdy and strong. They’re made of a type of vinyl material. The label just says 100% recyclable.

We put our Costco items in the bags to cart them home and these bags can hold some weight!!

The big bags have two sets of straps as Hannah is demonstrating to you. And the smaller bags have two bottle holders on the inside. Very nice! I’m definitely taking these grocery shopping with me next time.

Oh my. Look at my desk. It’s a terrible mess. It’ll take forever to get through that pile and company is on the way.

No need to grab a laundry basket like before. I’m grabbing a Costco bag. They’re sturdy and HUGE enough for this mess!!

Look how clean my desk is now and it only took 10 seconds! Don’t mind the full bag. It really will be easy to go through…another day.

These reusable bags work for me…for grocery shopping, carrying books from the library, taking toys for an outing, and even for cleaning off my desk!


Military Homecomings – Part 2

Filed under: Base Living and 29 Palms,Family,Roy's Deployment — Melissa @ 12:00 pm

This post is a continuation from yesterday’s post.

In our family, Roy is the head. I am his helpmeet. We are both needed, but we have separate roles. My main role is taking care of the home and the children. His main role is to be the provider. Of course there are lots of other things in there, but that is the main gist. When he is home though, he makes decisions with me and I consider him when I’m making decisions when he is not home. He plays and interacts with the children each night. We’re so close to his work, that he comes home most days for lunch. I love that part of living here.

When he’s home (not on deployment) he takes care of so many things. Like the cars, and insurance, and he’ll run errands for me. He’s very active in our son’s Cub Scout Pack. Day in and day out there are just so many little things that he does for us. And when he is gone, all of that falls on me. He is still our provider, being a Marine, and earning his paycheck. But he isn’t here.

While he’s gone I still try to consider what he would have me do, or what his wishes would be concerning a matter. But I try to not bother him with mundane things each day. For example, I wouldn’t email him about Alex hitting someone and asking him what to do. Just like any other day, I just take care of it. But not having him here in the evenings to talk about those things is difficult also.

Also, I tend to become more independent while he’s gone. I spend more time with friends. I spend more time on the computer! I sleep in weird shifts. I don’t cook as much.

As the time approaches when he’ll be returning home, I must begin to make adjustments in my thinking. I want him to know that I still consider him the head of our household. I know there will be some awkward moments as he interacts with the kids and with me. But knowing that each of us is committed to our marriage and our family does make that easier!

As the day approaches for him to return home, I look at our picture more and more. It sits on the dresser in the bedroom. I’m anxious for him to hold me. I’m anxious to not feel the stress of being the ONE responsible for the children.

But mostly I start thinking about how I’d really like to take a vacation alone after he gets home. Do you think he’ll let me????

Part 3 tomorrow…. (I started writing this whole thing and realized how long it was and that’s why I’m breaking it up!)


Blog Trail Tuesday – Feb 16 February 15, 2010

Filed under: Blog Trail Tuesday — Melissa @ 9:33 pm

Have you ever clicked on a blog, only to be led to another blog, and then another, and another? Here’s your time to share some of those blogs with us! Share one or share many. Share one you’ve loved for a time or share one that’s new to you. Tell us why you like it. Help us spread the blog love!!

This week I want to share about Love of Paper. She’s just barely gotten started, and I thought we could give her some comment love! Doesn’t she have cute scrapbook pages?? Check out this countdown to Christmas that she made!

Now it’s your turn!

1. Use the banner above.

2. Do a post on your blog about another blog.

3. Please link back to Blog Trail Tuesday!

4. Then come here, and add your link to the McLinky below. Be sure to add the link to the specific post – not your home page.

5. Finally, check out everyone else’s links!