When we first moved to Texas, we hoped to be renting a home within a year.
Life happened. Cars broke. Then they broke again.
We were waiting to get into a house before looking for a dog. Having a yard would make life so much easier, so we decided to wait. Fast forward 2 years, we are still in the apartment, and will likely be staying here another 2 years. With tax return on the horizon, we could easily afford the pet deposit along with initial vet costs.
The search began.
Several weeks were spent looking at various rescues, shelters, craigslist, etc. Sophie spent time researching how to care for a dog. She learned about grooming, feeding, exercise, behavioral issues, crate training, house training, so on and so forth.
One day while pursuing craigslist, I found him.
A beautifulgolden retriever & german shepherd mix. He had been taken in as a stray, and was being given away for free! You can't beat free, especially when we were already forking over $400 for a deposit.
I spent a few days emailing back and forth with the current "owner." He was a sweet old man that fostered 10+ dogs on a piece of land. He was more than happy to answer my endless list of questions. In the end this dog was perfect for our family.
The girls and I spent a few days getting the apartment "dog ready," and buying supplies. Sophie, armed with her handy little list, was in charge of making sure we got everything we needed.
The old man's wife was kind enough to drive the dog all the way down to us, which was such a blessing. They lived an hour away, and I wasn't looking forward to that drive with 3 little kids AND an excited new furry friend. The kids sat at the window all morning, each car that passed by made them a bit more anxious.
Finally he arrived. I thanked the woman, paid her for gas, and off she went.
He was ours!
After the intial craziness, everyone settled down. I named him Groot, because he just looks like a Groot. Also I totally love Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy.
We have all fallen in love with him. He is amazingly well behaved. The children climb all over him, and he is just happy to be loved. Finn tries to ride him, sticks his fingers in his nose, and lays on his face. It doesn't phase my sweet boy.
Only a week and he has already made my life better. With a dog, you HAVE to get out for exercise every day. (unless you want a house filled with poop) The fresh air and sunshine is doing us all some good. I just love his snuggles.
Sophie loves to teach him tricks. Thus far he is pretty good at: sit, down, shake, and come. He is one smart pooch.
I love homeschool, LOVE it. When we have beautiful weather, we can drop whatever we are doing and venture outside. Today we went to the nature preserve with some homeschool friends (the best kind of friends).
Being a balmy 80°, we had no qualms with the kids wading in the water. Gina was even smart enough to bring fun exploring supplies: nets, magnifying glasses, binoculars, etc.
Try as we might, we just couldn't find any living creatures. We will have to come back on the spring and try again.
The kids got nice and dirty, as kids should.
I'm so glad we got tons of sunshine this week, we definitely needed it.
I knew I wanted to homeschooling my kids before Sophie was even close to school aged. I threw myself into it, became totally overwhelmed with the options, and panicked.
To this day, I still have to remind myself that our days don't have to look just like public school days. The children don't have to be sitting at desks all day long doing busy work.
Our days are filled with parks, nature walks, pretend play, cooking, hide and seek, house chores, grocery shopping, reading, and SO MUCH MORE. Sure, we sit down and do a few worksheets here and there, but not for 7 hours a day.
My children are soaking up so much knowledge without even thinking about it... And I love it. They are learning HOW to think, as opposed to learning WHAT to think.
We often pack up a few workbooks, lunch, sketchbooks, and oodles of crayons then spend the entire afternoon at a park.
This week we went to the park with our cousins. The 3 year olds and I pretending to be pirates on our ship, gathering treasure (acorns), and fending off the evil mermaids (the 6 year olds). We sailed around Spooky Mountain and through the Slime Sea.
Just this afternoon we spent a whopping FOUR hours running around at Kidmania with a local homeschooling group.
Sophie loves to learn new skills. Yesterday she sewed together a warm winter blanket for Finn all on her own. She was so proud of it, she was practically glowing.
Art is a HUGE part of who I am, so I make sure to share that with my kids. Now that we get less sunshine during the day, I felt a need for a change. We decided to add some of our own sunshine to the apartment. The kids were more than happy to help me paint the wall.
Sophie has a little section in her school binder for her own recipes. The other day she made soft pretzels and they were delicious. Giving her responsibilities does wonders for her sense of self worth. She loves that we trust her with so many things.
The girls always love to join me when I pull out my art case. Pastels, watercolors, acrylics, washi tape... so much fun. They have free range of my "good" art supplies, and I just love to see their creativity flow.
Someone is always half naked at our house, usually Mya. We are free spirits over here.
Finn loves to get in on the pretend play too. He makes a fantastic super hero.
I am so grateful to be able to stay home and teach my kids. (Even if they drive me to binge eat chocolate chips.)