Monday, April 14, 2014

Week 2

While last week had it's ups and downs, I would still call it a complete win.

We got so much work done and I felt like the boys were learning so much. We even hit the dairy farm! In the middle of all that, the Doodle Bop was back and forth to Boston twice

filming another commercial ... to which I will just say Tom Brady ... Uggs ... Awesomeness! And that baby still got his schoolwork done, as did his brothers at work with Daddy for the day.

Today was the start of week two and I was ready to go. Little did I know that just about everything we tried to do today would end up being a disaster - complete with downloading a virus onto my laptop while trying to print out work for the kids, and Captain America charging out the front door at the speed of light when the boys tried to come in the house. How we still have a dog is nothing short of a miracle the way he crisscrossed across traffic as the boys melted down. I am beyond grateful for our neighbor who noticed him on his sprint for Freedom and brought him back to us in her car.

It was that kind of afternoon where I threw in the towel, ate entirely too many peanut butter cookies (that I made for the boys) and thought about opening a bottle of wine.

The twins were unimpressed with dinner and instead of eating, both accidentally dumped their bowls onto the floor rather than continue eating. Seconds apart. Tears and early bedtimes all around.  Just when I thought I couldn't take any more today, I looked at the Big Guy and told him to throw on swishies or shorts.

I told him he was going to be my workout buddy and that I was going to start running again but I needed someone to push me. We stretched out and went to the track. I started over on C25K after quitting without finishing many months ago.

That kid turned my whole day around. I watched his red shirt fly past me and I kept my eyes on him as I tried to catch up. My eight year old can outrun me. Outrun me AND shout at me to speed it up. He thought he was hilarious out on that track. And it was just what I needed.

I did manage to beat him in a planking contest at the end though, so there's that.

Here's to a smoother day tomorrow.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Hello homeschool - party of 4

Each week is different around here lately. Not to mention insanely busy.

Part of me feels like I have become a taxi driver. While I used to be the mom who walked her kids around the block, took them to the playground on nice days ... well, lets just say we don't get much time to do those things anymore. Part of it is the boys getting older, but the other part is that we have just become so busy that there isn't any time.

Between school, shuttling back and forth to Boston, nights at the pool and the gym ... we have been playing catch up lately. Catching up on the work the boys missed ... catching up on ... everything some days.

For months now I have gone back and forth over what to do about school. Keep them in the place where they are, or homeschool them. Several factors over the last few weeks helped me finally make that decision and take the plunge. We started homeschooling the boys this week. It's not in the plans forever, but it is the plan for the rest of this school year.

How I feel about the school we were at aside (which I will not get into on this blog), the boys have been missing more school lately than they were attending with all of their auditions. It's amazing they are getting so many calls from their agent right now, but a piece of me was worrying the boys would start to fall behind in their school work and I did not want that to happen.

I have spent months talking to some of my mom friends who homeschool as I sat on the fence with my own decision. Last week Al and I went out and bought lots of school things in preparation. Journals, math workbooks, handwriting workbooks, new chapter books to read ...

And Monday we took the plunge with Day 1.

We started by reading a book about space. In their journals, the boys wrote about what they would like to do if they could go to space. We did math, practiced handwriting (print for the twins, cursive for the Big Guy), reading ... a little bit of history. And for music? Well, Monday was Billie Holiday's birthday so we read about her and listened to some of her music and talked about it.

I took the boys out into the yard and we did our very first science experiment. Thank you Pinterest.
Ziplock Time Bomb. It was so cool we did it 3 times - with a tissue, a napkin and then a paper towel to compare how long it would take.

And we ended our day with a trip to Johnston War Memorial Park. We stopped and read the stones, checked out the tanks, talked about the military and why the park honors people and went on a nature walk (which they will be writing about in their next journal entry).

When we were all done, I let them play on the playground for a little while.

And I realized what we have been missing.

Homeschooling the boys is both scary and awesome at the same time. (Although I'm sure if you ask me by September, I will be ready to push those babies I love right back into a new public school.)


Right now though? I'm going to try and enjoy the next few months in between all of our trips to Boston and back. I know I won't get this time with them back again.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Strike a pose edition

The Doodle Bop filmed another commercial today. He gave me this pose tonight before bedtime, while sporting his new kicks. Love him.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Original Loom Boom: Saving my sanity one bracelet at a time

*Disclosure: We were sent an Original Loom Boom to review (and one to give away) in exchange for our social media promotions and blog post.

I don't know about you, but since we brought the Rainbow Loom into our house, we have been a bit of a bracelet factory. And I find them everywhere. Not just the bracelets, but the pieces to make them as well. I am constantly picking them up, putting them back on the boys bureaus ... into little boxes ... nothing seemed like a good solution.

And can we talk about the dog for a moment? While I have never actually seen one in his mouth ... lets just say I have found them in ... smaller pieces... in the backyard. (We'll leave it at that.)

When the people from Loom Boom contacted me, I was excited. I had no idea a product like this existed. Sold nationwide for just $9.99 at Michael’s and Learning Express, The Loom Boom features bright-colored tubes that can hold up to 40 bracelets. Two moms actually came up with the idea when one of their five year olds was storing his bracelets on a paper towel roll!

Quick Facts:
• Organize, display, transport and share your loom creations
• Features bright colored tubes that can hold up to 40 bracelets
• The tube is detachable from the base, giving you easy access to bracelets at the bottom
• The base contains extra storage compartments for loom bands, charms, clips, and other spare
• Available in a variety of color combinations

And it's made in the USA!

My oldest could not wait to get one right out of the package. Before I was even ready, he was collecting his bracelets and adding them on.

I really like how you can put spare pieces in the base. He keeps it on his bureau and now it's all in one spot. It's a little early, but in the last week? I haven't found any um... pieces ... in the yard. Definite win!

The Original Loom Boom has a really cool contest going on this month for kids. The first ever award for loom bracelet fanatics! Kids can submit their creations for a chance to become a Super Loomer in the 1st Annual Loomy Awards!
The Loomy Awards are sponsored by The Original Loom Boom, a first-of-its kind product intended to organize, display, transport and share your loom bracelet creations. Winners will be chosen from four categories: Best Bracelet, Coolest Charm, Wackiest Wearable, and Best Loom Boom. Three winners will each receive a $250 gift card, and one grand prize winner will receive a $500 gift card! Plus, all winners will receive a special edition of The Original Loom Boom! Entries can be submitted on The Original Loom Boom’s Facebook page, and winners will be announced on a live web award show April 30, 2014.

Up for one more contest? I get to give away an original Loom Boom! To enter, comment below with the reason you want a Loom Boom at your house. Comments will be accepted until noon on Friday, June 11th. Winner will be contacted by email. (Sorry, US only on this one.)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Our new snacking faves

*Disclosure: We were sent coupons to try these products in exchange for social media promotion. I don't promote things I don't like, I promise.

You all know by now that I am on a constant quest to get my family eating better. I'm giving it a good try all across the board, snacks included.

Last summer my friend Laura turned the kids on to Popcorn, Indiana. She packed a bag on one of our many beach trips and the boys were immediately addicted. (So was I.) We started picking up a bag every time we went into Whole Foods. Their favorite flavors are Original Kettle Corn and Cinnamon Sugar Kettle Corn. All certified gluten free. There are so.many.flavors. to choose from, but my boys know what they like so we stick with those. (I have no photos of the boys enjoying popcorn because they tore right through the bag before I was ready ... and then it was gone.)

I am also completely in love with their Fit Pop. Shopping at Stop and Shop (yup, I'm everywhere) a few weeks ago, it was right by the front door and we grabbed a few to try. I'm not a big calorie counter, but seeing just 37 calories a cup ... I was in.

And did I mention it's:
  • All Natural
  • Gluten FREE
  • Whole Grain
  • Non-GMO
  • Zero Trans Fat

LOVE! So good!

At Whole Foods, we also picked up some Ciao Bella Gelato. Something I pass by all the time but have never tried. It took awhile to pick a flavor with so many choices, but we settled on Coconut sorbetto.

Y'all? It contains actual coconut pieces! GMO free, dairy free ... uses organic cane sugar. I can not only pronounce each ingredient ... but there are only seven of them. I love knowing exactly what goes into a product. Ciao Bella is about to be my new choice over ice cream any day.

But it looks like I will have to fight the boys for it.

They are in love with it too.
Ciao Bella even has some cool ideas for what else you can do with their sorbetto and gelato. Think Happy Hour. Sorbetto cocktails. Try a scoop of your favorite Ciao Bella sorbetto over a bubbly glass of  Prosecco. (Putting that on my spring/summer list now and paging my girlfriends!) 
Or have a Gelato Bar! Host a get-together featuring a Ciao Bella gelato bar, complete with toppings and sauces from fruits and nuts to caramel and strawberry reduction. My kids would love that. Such a fun idea.
I'm hooked. And so are the boys.


This last week was CRAZY!

We started the week with just one audition in Boston scheduled, but ended it with 4 trips for 5 auditions in under 7 days.

Plus school (half days on audition days) and sports. How we still managed to fit in swim, gymnastics, wrestling and ninja challenge ... I have no idea. I can not say enough about how amazing these kids are.

Are you tired? I'm still tired.

Coming up later today I have a healthy snack post (kids approved) and tomorrow will be that giveaway I wanted to run last week ... followed by a little bit about the giant leap we are taking. That's right, double posts the next few days so I can get back on track over here.

AND starting later this week? You can also find me blogging over at Launch Trampoline Park!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Audition edition

Half day school, ride up to Boston, audition, ride home from Boston, team practice at the gym, fit in homework - two days in a row. Superstars. I am so proud of these boys.