Hobbies

I always seem to have a couple of things going on, a couple of things that I enjoy doing in my free time. I read, definitely. I read mostly YA books that are sci-fi or fantasy based. I’m getting to a point where I feel like I’ve “read them all”, so I’m trying to get into adult fiction, but I’m disappointed for the most part. YA books are always so hopeful, the character grows and changes. In adult books, the main character is basically a stick in the mud who has a lot of sex. I will continue searching and if you have any recommendations please share. My favorite sci-fi or fantasy is female leads with powers of some sort. I’m not into space or robots. Although, I liked Across the Universe, but they were only technically in space.

Some of my favorite series:
Shatter Me series (powers)
Alpha Girl series (werewolves)
The Lunar Chronicles (futuristic)

I like to knit as well. I’ve been knitting for many years, but I’ve only recently finished my first garment. I’ve done a lot of hats, a couple scarves and cowls, but nothing with full sleeves. One day when I have $100 burning a hole in my pocket I’ll go get some great yarn and bust out a legit sweater. It will probably take me a couple of years, but I’m down with a long-term project.

My favorite knitter is Alana Dakos of Never Not Knitting. Her ig is especially inspiring.

My newest hobby is brush lettering and calligraphy. I started over the summer and even joined in on an instagram ABC challenge. The thing about starting something new is you have to be kind to yourself. You have to do it badly until you get good at it and that takes time. Sometimes you’re a natural and you pick up something quickly and easily, but sometimes not. Keep going if you enjoy it.

Pieces Calligraphy has excellent Youtube tutorials. I also enjoy The Pigeon letters on ig. I’ve learned a bit from Peggy Dean (The Pigeon Letters) on skillshare as well.

Lastly, I’ve started drawing. I began drawing for my intro class two semesters ago, but I really enjoy it and want to get better, so I’ve picked it back up again as a discipline. I’m not awesome at it, but from the research I’ve done, I know I’ll get better if I just practice. What I love about drawing is the determination it takes to continue refining the piece until you’re mostly happy with it. I didn’t love that during my 3 hour drawing classes, but now that it’s my choice it’s one of the aspects that I appreciate. Peggy Dean’s book Botanical Line Drawing is a fun and simple way to draw leaves and flowers and begin to see like an artist.

I dabble in other things of course, but those are my main hobbies. What are you into?


Conflict and Confrontation

Growing up I noticed tension in our household, but I knew that it wasn’t okay to say anything. The Phelps motto, when it comes to conflict, is don’t say anything and never apologize. Through my teen years I held tight to this belief, but it didn’t serve me well. Patrick and I married and joined a church that was very legalistic and confrontational. They believed that it was their right as a christian to rebuke you in the name of Jesus. If they saw “sin” or there was an issue of any sort, it was pointed out to you sometimes in front of other people and you were made to feel ashamed. Even with all of that practice, I still was terrible at confrontation and passive aggressive to boot. I sent some awesome emails to people since writing is easier for me which caused a lot of problems, hurt feelings and ultimately was brushed off as me just being a bitch or having misplaced anger. Both partly true.

Meeting Jason and having someone in my life who didn’t get offended by my frankness caused me to pause and reflect. We had a lot of long conversations that were mostly silent patience as we learned to navigate feelings and forgiveness in the early days. I learned the value of vulnerability and to wait until I wasn’t angry to breach a subject that needed mending. That man has taught me so much simply by loving me as I am and allowing me to figure things out myself rather than criticizing me.

One thing has stayed the same which is my ability to see when something is fundamentally wrong or broken and needs attention. I would still rather talk about something than ignore it. Ignoring it makes it worse. Most people don’t see it that way. In my experience, even when confrontation turned into a fight with hurt feelings, good came of it. I believe the road to peace is paved with confrontation.

Fast forward to my time in Franklin. In the few years that we’ve been here, I’ve learned that people operate in denial and sometimes there is just absolutely nothing you can do about it. They live there, cozy and comfy in their lies to themselves and each other and if you try to uncover or bring to light any of these lies, they really don’t appreciate it. Some people enjoy being a victim. I’m still occasionally expected to pretend, but now I refuse. It drives me absolutely batty. I don’t pretend well. I can try, but I’m really bad at it. It comes out in my expressions and body language and I’m not interested in learning how to get better at pretending everything is fine when it clearly isn’t.

I’ve since learned the art of moderation, boundaries and tolerance. In short, I learned to be completely happy with myself, not needing everyone to like me and giving people space while they deal with their shit. Even though I see the problem and can offer them the solution, people need time, just like I did, to see things for themselves. We all grow at our own pace– if at all. Perhaps all those years ago I was projecting and trying to change things in other people because I wasn’t yet ready to deal with my own problems. That’s part of living in society, I guess. I love a quote I heard recently, “you don’t see thing how they are, you see things how you are”. I’ve also learned the art of gentle honesty with someone. The wording of sharing my observations, feelings and perspective doesn’t have to be harsh unless I choose it to be and sometimes I do.

The last thing I’m still learning is letting go. Not everyone wants to have hard conversations. Not everyone wants reconciliation. I’ll wait. What I won’t do is subject myself to hatred forever. What I won’t do is apologize repeatedly for being me. I’m not everyone’s cup of tea, apparently, and that’s okay.


Gobble Gobble

This week is Thanksgiving and I’m ready for a break. I’m ready for yummy food and a couple of days of rest before the last few weeks of school. This semester has not been my favorite. I think it’s because it’s basically my semester. I have two classes left and they aren’t necessarily art classes. It’s hard to put in effort when you realize this won’t be your life next year and your classmates are just passing time. I have one final collaborative art show in a couple of weeks and then that will be it.

Some people probably wonder why I chose to do art in the first place. Besides the fact that I really enjoy art and wanted to learn more, it also fit with my narrow schedule. I came to WCU with an A.A. in Business Administration, but WCU has only four year programs for the most part. A lot of their business degrees are set up to be completed in four years including liberal arts classes. I found myself in a situation where I would take 2-3 classes for three years paying full-time tuition as a residential student. It wasn’t worth it to me. In the back of my mind my plan was to get the HR graduate degree, so I just needed a B.A. in order to do that. I like management, but the program was archaic, I felt that I had already learned what they would teach me getting my A.A., so I visited the Art program. I thought I might do Graphic Design, but it turns out that program’s classes are from 3-6p and I have to pick up the kiddos by 530p and WCU is 35 minutes away. There goes that plan, so I stuck with studio classes and will finish with my B.A. in Art and a minor in Business Administration. If I can pass Spanish. I have enjoyed my time in the art world, but find myself looking into the HR program again. It’s all online and can be done while I am working.

Art has taught me a lot. It has given me art skills obviously, but it also gave me confidence and a thicker skin. I had to listen to other people criticize my work and I was required to tell them what could have been done better with their work. I made friends with people I would otherwise never meet and got to know others with varying values and opinions. Art deals with political and controversial topics and for my brief time I got to see many different points of view and gave me the opportunity to develop my own. I am so glad I took this journey, albeit not a traditional route.

We are all a bit under the weather, but hopefully we’ll be ready for turkey come Thursday. Last year we went to Florida. I missed the big Thanksgivings we used to have and wanted to be around my family. We had a really great trip and I enjoyed getting to know everyone again and seeing my grandmother, aunts, uncles and cousins. It was fun to see the kids play with cousins and figure out are they cousins if they’re kids of cousins?? As nice as it was to get together with everyone, it made me thankful for our small family traditions and gave me hope that as my kids grow, so will our Thanksgiving get togethers. I’m looking forward to what we’ve started calling pie day and picking up our tree on Saturday.

This is Jason’s last semester of school. He’ll graduate in December, though he refuses to walk or to let me throw him a party. He has worked long and hard for this and I am super proud of him. It has been difficult, especially this last semester with our terrible internet and because all of his classes are full of group assignments, but we see the light at the end of the tunnel. What will he do with free evenings and none of that school pressure occupying his brain??

I hope everyone has a great break and gets to spend time with family or friends this holiday.


Co-parenting Years Later

I’ve been getting the itch to blog lately, possibly because my SIL started a blog and I’m enjoying it so much. Also, because SUMMER.

The kids did their month long stay at Patrick’s again this year. I think it’s their third consecutive year. Before that it was two weeks and a different wife or a different state or whatever, so the last three years have been mostly the same. The first summer was hard, because the kids were younger and they got used to “living” with their dad and then had to come home. Patrick and I have very different households. Not good/bad, just different. The second year was a slightly better transition, but still rough. This year; the kids are older, they missed stuff about our home and perhaps Patrick didn’t talk too bad about me or the kids have finally formed their own opinions, or we’ve also gotten used to the transion- possibly all of the above. They still miss their father, of course, but it’s no longer either/or, just a big picture of what our whole family looks like for them.

Right before I drove them down to Florida and dropped them at their dad’s house, we visited friends who were doing their annual camping trip at Montreat (North of Asheville). It was a great day!

I really enjoyed the month with just the littles. Last year was incredibly boring, maybe because they didn’t play as well together and Henry was still a toddler. This summer, they played together a lot, were kind to each other and Lorelei got to be the big sister. I also made sure we had something to do. I planned for us to do swim lessons, which were 8 afternoons over two weeks forcing us to get out of the house. That was actually really fun after the first lesson. The first lesson was torturous for everyone including the other swimmers that day at the pool.

August should prove interesting as well. Noah will be getting braces. We’ll be making the trek to Asheville three separate times this month and every other month for the next two years for him. The last trip to Asheville in the Kia with them broke me. I told Jason I could not do it anymore. The kids had quickly outgrown it and it was time for a bigger vehicle. I think Nora has shot up half a foot in the last year and Henry does not stay within the confines of his car seat especially when Nora gets upset with him for touching her. He thinks it’s hilarious actually. We went to three different dealerships and found a pretty sweet deal on a minivan, though I fought hard for a SUV or crossover. It was used, but only had a few thousand miles on it and was local. Now that the bigs are back, I’m settling into being a minivan mama again, but I do miss my Kia.

Happy to have them home again and all of us together.


Our Broody Hen

Even with all of the chickens we’ve had over the last 3 years, we’ve never had one go broody. If they did, it wasn’t for long. We’ve had them lay eggs in other places that were not ideal…under the porch, but never broody. We noticed that Smokey was staying a long time in her nesting box and then it became evident that she was in there pretty permanently. We thought we’d take advantage of her broodiness and ordered some fertilized eggs in hopes that she’d hatch them. We have enough chickens that lay eggs for our family and we had ordered four other chickens from another hatchery to picked up in a month, but we have predators and have learned that it’s better to be in a bit of a rotation with the chickens.nThe only original chicken we have left is starting to lay less and less, the new chickens will lay in another four months and the new chicks will lay in another 6 months. See what I mean?

I ordered 3 eggs from My Pet Chicken. I decided to get the “Fun and Funky” breeds because we enjoy weird chickens. The eggs that came were disgusting and instead of 3 there were 7! We waited the 24 hours for them to “settle” and then placed them under the broody hen. She diligently sat on them for weeks. However, she let the other hens push her off the eggs to lay and a few were broken in the process. We candled on day 9, but couldn’t really tell much. We did see some veining and decided to try candling on day 17. On that day we saw a chick in the egg! It was moving around and was pretty neat.

Pipping

The day before hatch day (day 21) I checked on the eggs and saw pipping! A tiny hole in the egg indicating that a tiny chick was ready to come out! How exciting! We had been reading a bit about the actual hatching process and sometimes mama will become homicidal! Sometimes she won’t protect the chicks well if she’s low in the pecking order, which our hen is, so we decided to mover her to the crate, where we’ve raised chicks before and see if the eggs hatched. That evening when we were moving the hen and the eggs, I was carrying the egg with the hole in it and it was peeping! It was unreal to be holding an egg with a live chick inside peeping! All good signs and a few hours later that chick hatched. Mama, thankfully did not freak out and kill the chick and after a day of drying out the chick was hopping around happy as can be, learning to eat and drink, nbd.

Tiny chick with eggs

A couple of days go by and two eggs, still no more chicks. I called up a local-ish farm and ask if they happened to be hatching eggs over the last few days and it turned out, they had a few hatch that morning. We decided to get two more chicks and switch out the eggs, Mama was getting restless, so it was now or never. These two chicks would still be a little funky. They’re called Swedish Flowers an should be black and white.

comforting peeper

We shoved them under mama later that night and she ended up accepting one and rejecting the other. She was pecking at it and it would not stop peeping. We tried again thinking once it was warm under mama it would be good, but no. We have the big chickens in the coop, teenagers in the mini coop and mama and chick in the crate, so there’s no place for this reject chick to go! I cuddled him for a bit so he could rest after his ordeal and we waited a while to let mama sleep. We turned off the heat lamp to make it dark in the crate and a little while later shoved the peeper under and everyone settled down. There was still a little bit of peeping, but mom seemed to accept the chick. Yay!

Peeper

We checked on them a few more times that night and again in the morning and all was well. I came home from school to find the chick pecked almost to death! It was terrible. I feel so incredibly selfish and guilty for bringing this chick to our home only for him to be murdered. There was no saving him, so I put him down. I’m still traumatized, but Mama is continuing to care for the two chicks she accepted, so that’s good, but the fun is a little bit tarnished. I’m reminded again that they are animals, poultry we have for fresh eggs, and a little bit stupid.

Mama and tiny chick

Mama is up and alert now and no longer sitting on eggs. I’m not sure how long she’ll be content in the crate, but the tiny chicks will fit right through the chicken wire in the mini coop! I let them outside while I cleaned their water and food yesterday and the other chickens didn’t attack them which is a good sign. The chicks just followed mama around and when I put them in the teenager coop one chickie popped right through the hole of the chicken wire (which is how I know they need to stay in the crate). It’s an adventure. Some days are better than others.


Adolescence Continued

Nora is nine, she’ll be 10 in September. This is probably my favorite age. They are out of the horrific 7-8’s where they decide that lying is super fun and try on all different personality traits (most of them annoying) trying to figure out who they are since they aren’t babies anymore, but not quite grown enough to have their own ideas yet. It is a frustrating age for both of us.

Once they are nine, especially going on ten, they really start to become their own person. They are more comfortable with themselves and develop a sense of humor that’s actually funny instead of just repeating the word, “poop” over and over again. However. The hormones! Holy crap on a stick, if we thought she was dramatic before, now she adds aggression to that drama. Everything used to be the end of the world, but now everything is the end of the world and it’s MY FAULT.

She flits around singing songs and makes videos with her tablet in her room about DIY with her makeup and barbies and stuff, totally reminds me of myself at her age (minus the electronics). She wants to be cool with her brother and his friends, again just like me. However, she’s extremely generous and helpful to the point of me telling her that, “no, she can’t help me do ___” insert menial task in the blank, and “please can I just get it done myself?”. Though she is more submissive than my other two strong-willed children, *cough* Noah *cough* Lorelei, she has a feistiness to her that helps keep up with them. She is a classic middle child, though we have four children.

One thing we can agree on, is makeup. My mom made me wait until I was a teenager to wear makeup. Though, I respect her decision (I totally stole her makeup before school, since she had already gone to work) seeing the result of Nora putting on GODAWFUL burgundy and fuchsia lipstick at friend’s houses encouraged me to begin her with flattering (practically translucent) pale, pink/brown shades almost a year ago. She’s done well with these colors. I taught her how to apply them, she also got a sweet shade of pink lipstick and light blush. Skincare was also part of the lesson, though that’s a harder lesson learned.

yesterday we continued her journey with light brown eyeliner and brown/black Great Lash mascara. Had to start with the classics! (I think I started with teal eyeliner…) We sat at my vanity and I showed her how to apply them. She used to freak out over mascara when we had to use it for her dance recitals a couple of years ago, but playing with it at friend’s houses has gotten her more comfortable with it. I stressed that less is more and we are not Bratz or Monster High Dolls, we are merely enhancing our beauty. No need to start with a bold line. I also get Birchbox and recently started an ipsy subscription which is makeup and skincare samples mailed to you once a month. If it’s a color I don’t like or something I already have, I pass it along to Nora. She’s as excited about them as I am when they come in the mail.

I know that 9 years old is young for makeup, but it has gone over well in our house. It’s a fun thing, not a self-esteem thing and I want her to learn how to wear makeup well because it’s definitely something she is interested in learning about. She is turning into a beautiful, young lady. Seeing her in mascara was a little sad and happy at the same time. She is growing up.

Me and Nora

Nora rock climbing

Nora the astronaught

Baskin robbins

The last week of school I went with Nora on a field trip to Wonderworks. It was my first field trip with one of the kids. We had a good time and I got to hang out with three of her best friends. It was interesting to see her in a different environment.

Nora struggled a bit in school this year. 3rd grade is a more serious year, less fun more learning, but Nora basically refused. Some days she would do horrible on tests (30%) and given the same test the next day she’d pass with flying colors. It wasn’t until about two months before school was over that it all added up. We thought she was spiteful, but she just couldn’t focus. She was on the cusp of failing 3rd grade, but I thought what if it is a medical issue? We tried some medication and it was night and day. She busted her butt the last few weeks of school and managed to pass. She still has some work to do to catch up to her peers, but we have hope and she is no longer frustrated with school. I was worried that the medicine would make her feel gross, but it has improved over the years and she doesn’t even notice that she has taken it. She also says it helps with her anger (lots of drama at school with 3rd grade girls!) I think it just allows her to focus more on the problem than on her feelings at that moment. Though the year was difficult, she still maintained her generosity. She recieved awards for community service, best helper, and the Terrific Kid award for being a Super Citizen. We are just beginning the crazy that is the tween years and it is sure to be different, but equally as exhausting as it was with Noah. Though thankless, it has its own rewards as they gradually heed our advice and show signs of the adult they will soon become.


Adolescence

I don’t write enough here. I always want to, and plan what I’ll write in my head, but it never happens. Maybe I’ll make it a summer goal. :D

SUMMER GOAL NUMBER 565: Write more on the blog. *giggle*

I intentionally have decided not to take classes this summer. The first week or so was a panic attack because suddenly I was bored because I had nothing urgent to accomplish! There was nothing simmering on the back burner, there was just lots and lots of time to be annoyed with my children. Eventually I found comfort in not having to do things immediately. I remembered that I enjoy being home and began to just chill and do fun kid stuff and clean things and plan renovations.

A while back we recognized that we needed to shift our perspective a bit with Noah. He’s 13 in October, you know? It began to become quite evident that he and Nora are not the same age and therefore all the rules do not apply to both equally like they did when they were younger. He was still acting younger than he should (just like Henry, who is 3) and not helping much around the house.

The first thing we did was give him the chickens as his responsibility. Completely. Like, if they die, it is his fault. (Die of starvation, obviously.) The chore consisted of letting them out of the coop in the mornings before school and making sure they had clean water and food for the day. In the afternoons, checking on them (they are ridiculously stupid) and in the evenings putting up their food and water and securing them back in the coop. It doesn’t take long it’s mostly just annoying and dirty. I was nervous at first, but he actually did well with this chore. He doesn’t mind taking care of the animals and after a bit of transition we could rely on him to do it without prodding.

We also extended his bedtime. The kids go to their rooms around 730p-8p and are expected to be going to sleep around 830p. We now let him stay up with us until 830p. This accomplished two things; it separated him and Nora on the hierarchy family scale and allowed him some free time without the Littles to watch his types of shows and spend time with us. The stickler was that he had to keep an eye on the time and go to bed at 830p on his own. We would not watch the clock for him. If he couldn’t do that, then we would go back to a 730p bedtime. He caught on pretty quickly. We stressed that he was the oldest and needed to be a good role model. He needed to volunteer to do things and help around the house without being asked.

I’ve noticed some good changes in him as a result of these choices. He’s still an adolescent, but because we treat him as older he acts more responsible more often. He is still a child and loses his temper and cries about the unfairness of it all, but he also does the dirty dishes with out complaining (which is amazing because for a time he truly believed he could get away with doing only the clean dishes forever) and accepts more readily the limits we’ve placed. We aren’t looking for perfection, only growth.

It’s been fun having him up for a little while with us. At first it was a little weird especially when we would watch something older like Grimm and he would be in the room. He heard the word “sex” and occasional cursing! AAGH! We joke about how he’d love Rick and Morty. (OMG, no.) We also got an xbox. I enjoy playing games and hoped that our family was ready for a game system. We play Ori and the Blind Forest, Gears of War, Dark Zero and Snoopy. I remember fondly when I got a NES many years ago and playing Mario like a Boss. It’s been fun and is going well so far.

Art award

6th grade awards

Noah did well in school this year. He received the Perfect Attendance and Art award and moves on to Middle School next year. He complains about how short he is and talks constantly about anime. He loves to draw, especially chibis and still plays Legos for hours. His humor is awesome as well. His wit surprises me sometimes and I’ll burst out laughing. Mostly, he’s a fun kid, but this adolescent stage might kill me.


A Mini-Coop for the Not so Mini Chickens

Every time we get new chicks I’m amazed at how quickly they grow and get ugly. It’s also fun to realize that one of these chicks is not like the others and we’ve got a rooster on our hands. We’ve had chicks four separate times now. The first time was the most successful and we had no clue what we were doing. The second round got eaten, so we got that nightmare out of the way. The third set has been picked off one by one until there is only one Wyandotte left of three and now for the last. We have been getting three chicks at a time, but due to odds and probability of them making it to egg-laying status, we went ahead and got six. I tried to talk Jason into a seventh one because it was the last one, but he refused. Mostly because it was one of the “straight-runs” meaning it wasn’t sexed, but ironically enough those two are both hens and one of the sexed pullets turned out to be a rooster. Should have listened to me, honey.

Our current coop has three nesting boxes and can fit the new chicks, but we really needed an in between coop for teenager chickens. The box only lasts a couple of weeks and then it’s too small and crazy dirty. Here‘s what our very first coop looked like, if you’re wondering. The current coop is just sans run. My hubby had a lot of pallet and scrap wood as well as leftover coop material, so he decided to build a little mini coop to keep the teenagers separate, but also give them all a secondary coop option once they are integrated.

Here we go. It was built over several weekends on the break between semesters. I love my handy hubby!

Starting the coop

Back door for easy cleaningBack access for easy cleaning.

Chip enjoying the sun

putting the posts in

Inside

Painting it redNoah painting it red and his siblings, “helping”.

fencing

Fencing

preparing the run roof

ready for fencingThe open space will be a removable piece to act as a door.

Food and water lid

child sized

Nora

The last wyandotteThe last Wyandotte checking things out.

Complete

Since this picture we’ve integrated the chickens because the chicks got huge seemingly overnight and can fend off the completely docile Rhode Island Reds. They are much happier in here and exploring the rest of the chicken area.


Biltmore and Birthdays

I meant to post this, but I guess I never did. :/

For my bday weekend way back in March we hit up The Biltmore in Asheville. We took all four kids and grandma and actually had a good time. The kiddos were well behaved and we were able to participate in a wine tasting (the kids got juice) and play on the playground. It definitely cannot all be done in one trip. I had one of the best milkshakes there, though it cost me $6. Happy Birthday to me!

Biltmore

Biltmore

Biltmore

Biltmore

Biltmore

Biltmore

Biltmore

Biltmore

Biltmore

Biltmore

Biltmore

Biltmore

Biltmore

Biltmore

Biltmore

Biltmore

Biltmore

Biltmore
We did a tour of the house, which was featuring wedding gowns from various historical movies. We explored the garden, which wasn’t blooming anything, but enjoyed the conservatory which was featuring orchids of all types and sizes! I’d love to go back and do the audio tour which is more in depth and see the flowers blooming. It was a nice day spent with the family.


Year in Review 2015

The kiddos

It’s been a good year. It started out slow. I was staying home slowly establishing my Mamabluebird stuff as a potential business while Jason was taking online classes. I decided to go back to school as well. That has always been the plan, but I wanted to wait until Henry was a little older to keep him out of daycare.

Jason and I took a biology class together over the summer. I also took macroeconomics to get it over with which I’m glad I did. It was fun to share a class. We had lab projects that we did together and we both did well. I enjoy going to school together because we can help each other as well as commiserate when things are tough.

Jason and Danielle

The kids went to their dad’s for a month this year during the summer. They usually only spend about two weeks, but we decided to extend it. I don’t want to say it was a mistake because the kids enjoyed their time with their dad, but it was too long. Noah and Nora settled into a routine there (a routine that was fake because they don’t have their own room and not a lot of rules), so it was hard to come home to real life. Noah finally understands that it’s best to live with me, but he misses his dad. Nora is in that stage of needing her father and wanting to live with him. It’s not gonna happen. Thankfully, Patrick has grown enough to recognize that his life is unstable and he doesn’t have room for Nora. He was able to tell her that, so she could settle here. She still misses him, but she’s not screaming that she wants to live with her dad every time she gets in trouble. She’s mostly accepted that she’ll live here too. They idolize the absent parent; nothing you can do about that.

Greb family

We got Chip over the summer. We love him!

Noah started 6th grade this year. 5th grade was awful. We had a bad teacher (bad in a way that she and Noah didn’t mesh well, so we had problems all year) and it was a year of growing for Noah. This year, his teachers rock. I think they are awesome in general, but Noah meshes with them nicely. He got his own locker and they treat him like he’s older, which Noah appreciates. Nora started 3rd grade with one teacher and then two months in they hired another teacher and she switched. Nora locks on to her teachers and was extremely upset with the change. This coincided with wanting to live with her father, so it was a bumpy couple of months. However, this new teacher teaches the whole child not just the curriculum. Nora has blossomed under her care, growing in confidence and becoming responsible for her actions. I’m very grateful for this new teacher. We learned a long time ago, that public school was our path, but it’s not without its ups and downs.

Jason and Henry

In the fall, Henry and Lorelei started preschool. Jason and I both took 4 classes for the fall semester. The kids went two days a week giving me time to get my school work done and some mommy time to run errands and whatnot. It was wonderful all around. Lorelei already knows her numbers and letters, but school gave her structure and friends. She really wanted to go 5 days, but it was out of our budget and I want to hold onto her for as long as possible. :) Henry adjusted quicker than I thought. His teachers are so sweet and they love him. He quickly began asking to go to school on non-school days.

Me and the girls

Jason and I finished out the semester, (3 As and a B for me, tyvm) and are gearing up for the Spring. I changed my major from Entrepreneurship to Accounting, which means I’ll be a residential student at WCU instead of online. This means more days of childcare for the kids. I found another PreK program that is much cheaper, but still awesome, than where we are currently, so Lorelei will be going 5 days starting in January. She is soo excited and not the least bit affected by the change of teachers, thankfully. Henry will go three days. Two days I’ll be at school and one will hopefully give me time to get work done. I’m looking forward to it, although it’s been quite the hassle getting into my classes.

This year I also started selling my jewelry at a local yoga studio. It has been an interesting experience. It’s awesome to have people appreciate my art and it’s been fun to walk out what I’ve learned of business. It also is allowing me to narrow my focus on what I truly enjoy making. Just a week ago Jason’s work restructured his department’s positions and he got a raise. A nice surprise at the end of the year. I’m not sure what 2016 will bring, but I’m grateful for my family and our time together. Lorelei is almost 5 and will be starting Kindergarten, so it sounds like more of the same. Changes, always changes. :)

Greb Family