Friday, July 25, 2014

Caleb is Three!

Happy Birthday to my Big Boy Caleb!

He is such a joy.

 Growing up so fast. 
This was his last day of homeschooling for Pre-Pre-K (haha)

He's a water baby.
The only thing he loves more than being in the pool is watching people in the pool.

He also loves trips to the library.

This week we went on vacation to Myrtle Beach, SC. Everyone had a really good time.
The water was Caleb's favorite, but he also loved just hanging out and taking in the sights.

Baby boo, I hope you have another great year. You are becoming such a big boy (just like you wanted). Have a great year in school and in your speech classes. We love you lots.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Summer Break

What is this?

The light at the end of the tunnel?

Nope. Just a break.

It's been a while... And there is so much to update about. The past few months have been composed of


Roller skating practices and shows

speech therapy sessions, occupational therapy sessions, 
special education sessions, small group classes, 


Dance practices and shows

(Photo courtesy of my mother-in-law's Instagram)


And lounging by Grandma and Grandpa's pool

When I would tell people all that we do every week they would say, "I don't know how you do it." I always respond, "You gotta do what you gotta do". But looking back, I actually really don't know. It can only be God that has worked out so many things to make life go smoothly, even when it's busy.

But now that skating shows, dance shows and school is done for the summer, we can semi-relax for the next few months. Caleb still has his sessions until his birthday, but we decided to take August off for an actually honest to goodness break. A whole month!

When September rolls around we will be back at it again with soccer, roller skating and school for Elijah. Caleb is starting school too... Pre-K3, five days a week. This is because big C is turning three this year, so he is no longer in infants and toddlers. He's going to be a big kid now. Not entirely sure how I feel about that...

But in the meanwhile I'm going to enjoy my break. Research homeschool curriculum, work out the details of our upcoming vacation (the first one with just the four of us), get the boys' new room prepped and of course update my blog with all the things I didn't have time to the rest of the year. :-)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Elijah is Six!

Elijah turns 6-years-old today!

He has been counting down since the day after Christmas and the day finally here. We will be celebrating with balloons and presents, as usual, and Elijah has requested that we eat inside McDonalds for his birthday dinner. I guess that's doable, even with the single digit temperatures that are suppose to be going on tonight. You only get a birthday dinner once a year.

Elijah has been keeping himself busy this Christmas season.

 Him and his art clothes line. That stocking has been there since last year. He couldn't bear to take it down. He made the Christmas tree out of paper strips for art, when we were studying symmetry. The Santa is an advent calendar. He glued a cotton ball on his beard every night, faithfully (for the most part). The Jesus picture is from Easter (another one he didn't want to take down). Next is a family tree picture from daddy's side and the last thing, you can hardly see, is his Build-A-Bear puppy Brown's birth certificate.

We also built a gingerbread house out of Styrofoam (since the real kind never get eaten and go to waste.)

He also (helped) decorated the tree. He could reach up even farther this year. 
We still have to work on disbursing the ornaments instead of hanging them all 
together in various spots, but I'm sure he will have it down next Christmas.

I hope this is a wonderful year for him. He is such a great kid. I wish him many more happy years just being a kid, having fun.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

One Little Word - Contemplate

Happy New Year!

I don't know if people even do the One Little Word anymore, but it has kind of become a tradition for me around New Years. I started a few weeks ago trying to figure out what I wanted this new year to bring and the big thing that kept coming up for me is "change". I'm not opposed to change, but I thought it was a little too harsh to put into action for a whole year. I really like some things in my life and I don't want them to change, but there are also things that I would love to change.

This is why this year my One Little Word is "contemplate". There will be a lot of this going on, hopefully. We are paying off things this year and with that, we need to think about a new budget and see where the "extra" money will be going. We are really close to getting rid of cable, but are still contemplating what we are going to do. And since we are staying where we are for a couple more years I am starting to contemplate the boys sleeping situation and whether to move them into the same room or not (scary thought).

But lastly, once all of our debt is paid off (we are almost there!!) we are contemplating moving. The big question that is looming is "where?". Pretty much anywhere in the US is up for grabs. But then there's all the smaller, yet still important questions. Where will be the best place to settle down? The best place to homeschool (if we decide to keep doing it)? The best place for Caleb to get the speech therapy (and other things) he needs? Where is inexpensive, so I can stay home at least-part time? Where are there jobs that pay a decent amount of money? But above all, where does God want us to go? It's a big decision and hopefully a big (direct) answer will be given.

So with lots of things to contemplate over the next year or two, we will continue to follow where the Lord leads us and maybe we will be surprised at the outcomes.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Next up is my big boy Elijah.

He had a great summer. As you have seen by the previous posts, he was very busy this summer with swimming, summer camp and family activities. Then August rolled around and we decided we were going to homeschool him for this school year. We fixed up the second bedroom (which was suppose to be a craft room) into a school room. It turned out well, if I do say so myself.

 Elijah's desk and Caleb's "desk". Shelves with Caleb's busy toys.

Reading nook, blackboard and school books. (Also more Caleb busy toys)

After we got the room ready, it was time to start school a few days later.

At first it was rough, but now that we are in the groove of things it's getting easier. We are doing a mix of things this year. Horizons for Math, Reading, Spelling and Health, Abeka for Social Studies and Science, God made music 1 for music, Handwriting Without Tears for handwriting and How to Teach Art for art. We are chugging along with our good days and our bad days, but in the end he will have learned everything that he needs to.

Although the school year just started we have taken quite a few field trips. We went to the Science Center, Downtown Baltimore, Port Discovery and Washington DC. They were all a lot of fun. We hope to go to more in the coming months. We are tentatively planning a trip to New Jersey and New York City in March. Elijah has been asking to go to New York City for a couple months now. If we go up to the aquarium in New Jersey during homeschool week, we will be an hour and a half away from Manhattan (without traffic). We plan on making it a long weekend, but will have to see how our money situation pans out.

Along with regular subjects to study, we also needed to include a Physical Education of some sort for him. So he is doing skating again and we wanted him to do something else, also, since everyone was concerned about his social interaction with other children. We asked him what he wanted to do and he decided he wanted to play soccer.

Joe found this great organization, Christian Youth Athletics, so we signed him up. It's Biblically based, so they pray before and after games. The other things like giving it your all and being a team are also presented based on the Bible. His coach is really nice and encourages him all the time. We really like the organization and hope that Elijah will be able to continue playing with them in coming years.

That's it, in a nutshell. God has a wonderful way of sorting things out to make things possible that you never thought would be. It's kind of awesome when you think about it.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Caleb Update

First up is my Caleb-baby.

He has been doing speech therapy and special ed sessions for 5 months, now. He has started doing the sounds for "m" and "d" and he even said daddy when we were grocery shopping a month or so ago. We are currently working on animal sounds and sounds like choo choo and vroom when playing with different things.

He is doing well with his special ed sessions also. I had been working on "pointing" with him for weeks and I heard today he finally pointed to something when his teacher was there. Also, last month, I gave him a piece of chalk and a slate blackboard.

He "drew a picture"!

Then, a couple days ago he drew his first picture on paper, with a pencil. 

He was delayed with holding writing objects and drawing with them, so it was good to see these accomplishments.

Other than that, he has been a healthy and happy little boy. He loves the Ipod and the Nook to play his toddler apps (just like Elijah used to). He also loves playing with balls, tossing them back and forth. He likes to play with the hula hoop too, but it's a little advanced for him. So he just likes sitting in the center of it and making it go around in a circle... very slowly.

One of his other favorite activities - watching the microwave count down

The other day he started doing a little bob, up and down dance, to music. He was so cute. I'm going to have to get it on video. He usually doesn't express himself in movement of his own invention. When he does "dance" it is imitating whatever we are doing. I loved every minute of it.

That is about it. He is growing up so fast. I feel like I don't want to blink because I'm going to miss it.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Life Never Slows Down

I simply can not believe it's almost November. I kept wanting to update the blog when I had a lull in life, but it simply didn't happen. I don't see it happening any time soon, so here I am to update in the middle of "life".

Tons of things have been happening in the Raymond household since the last time that I updated. In general life has been pretty good to us. We have finally gotten into a routine during the weekdays and on the weekends pretty much anything goes. I was going to update in one big post, but instead I am going to update with a series of small posts about each of us and see if that gets me back into my blogging groove again.

On the Metro going to DC for the day.

For now, I will say everyone is doing well. We are prepping for Halloween right now and bought the boys' costumes the other day. We are also planning on picking up some pumpkins this weekend... Not sure from where though. There are a lot of festivals and events going on this Saturday, around our area. We just have to decide which one we are hitting up.

But for now, there's lots of updating to do, so I guess I better get cracking.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Caleb Turns Two

My precious little Caleb-baby turned two today.

Growing like a weed, the sweetest little thing 
and wild and crazy as every little boy should be.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Pink Presents

One of things I love about having nieces is that I can buy them girly pink presents and it's perfectly normal.

When I found out my sister-in-law was having a baby I began to think about the coming home present I could get for the baby/her and her husband. I'm a thirty-one consulant, so when I looked in the catalog I decided to get a little basket with the baby's name on it and fill it with some girly baby things.

They were going to call her Louisa, Lulu for short. Putting Lulu's Trinkets on the front would be perfect. No wait, not perfect. Trinkets won't fit. I need something that is seven characters. Over the next few days I had my whole department trying to figure out what was seven characters and sounded cute with Lulu. Lots of words were thrown around, none being exactly perfect. I needed something... something awesome. Then one day a team leader (this is how serious it became, even management was involved, haha) came up with...

It was perfect.

Now of course, since she has a big sister, Charlotte, I needed to get her something as well. Something fun. I looked in the catalog again and found a makeup bag.

But transformed it into an activity bag

I bought everything from the dollar store. I also put a connect the dots activity book on top and shut it up tight, so it wouldn't fall out.

When my other niece, Penelope, saw that Charlotte got a "big sister" present, she wasn't upset that she didn't get one. She was assured that when she became a big sister she would get a present too. Somehow she knew that I would get her something. Her only concerned was that I wouldn't know her favorite color...

It's pink.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Summer Fun

So far summer has been pretty good to us. As you can tell by our calendar it has been (and will be) jammed packed, per usual.

There was a lot of dancing going on in June. Charlotte has her recital at the beginning of the month. She was a wonderful little flower and a great lil dancer. I had my dance show in the middle of the month, which went off without a hitch. Because Joe was laid off when lessons started, back in September, my instructor made a deal with me that I could do work for her in exchange for lesson fees. It was such a blessing to me.

Also in the middle of month The G-Ma came for a visit. It's always fun when she comes into town. There's always lots of scrabble being played and lots of food being eaten. We were told to block out the whole weekend for her arrival and we certainly did spend all weekend down my in-laws visiting.

The past few weeks we been full of swimming, trips to the library and the park. Elijah is finishing up swimming lessons, for the summer, just in time for camp to start. He has learned a lot from Mr. Joe, his swimming instructor. He even enjoys baths more now that he isn't scared of getting water on his face.

Caleb is still too little to do a lot of things that his brother does, but he has made great strides in his own little world. He is starting to communicate with us using a few signs and shaking his head no. He understands a lot, but still hasn't grasped talking yet. The speech therapist said to try to get him to start with animal sounds and the word/sign "more", so that is what we will do.

We have lots of fun stuff come up too. This weekend we are going to Bengies, a drive-in movie theatre near our house, to see Monster's University, The Lone Ranger and Iron Man 3 with Elijah (and a few other family members). This is Elijah's first movie at a movie theatre, so  he is super excited. So excited, in fact, that we had to start a countdown on the wall to avoid the "Are we going to the drive-in tonight?" question every day.

Later on in the month there is a possible baseball game, our Anniversary and Caleb's birthday. We are pretty sure this year we are going to have a pool party for him, since the in-laws have a pool they said we could use. Nice, simple and easy... just how I wanted birthdays to go this year. At the beginning of next month, my sister and I will be headed up to the Pittsburgh area for a bridal shower for one of our best friends. Should be an awesome time. I can hardly wait. August is looking pretty empty, but I am positive by the time the shower rolls around it will be filled to the brim also.

I love summer. There's always so much to see and do. I hope yours has been just as enjoyable as ours.