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.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

January, February... um May? Where Did You Go?

I swear, you blink and 5 months are gone. Life has been going reasonably well in the Raymond household. Lots of fun and a lot of organizing and cleaning. I decided my One Little Word for this year would be purge, so, I am going through every room trying to decide what to keep, what to sell and what to trash. It has been very freeing and super rewarding to see extra space open up. I started with the plan in January and happy to say that we are making steady progress.

Also in January we celebrated Elijah's birthday.

 With Balloons

And Presents

We had a small birthday party with his cousins and some friends at his Grandma's house. I forgot my camera, so she took pictures and posted them on her blog. Even though it was small and simple it was still fun.

In early February Joe's parents treated all of us to a trip to Disney World! We were there for 8 days and had a good time. If you click here you can see the hundred some pictures we took. It's on facebook, but I made the album public, so non-facebook friends could view it also.

March was busy also. We went to Penelope's pink puppy birthday party(pictures here). The boys had a great time playing with some friends they don't get to see much. At the end of the month Easter was super fun. We went down the in-laws and had an Easter egg hunt inside, because it decided to rain. They also made resurrection rolls... a lesson and a yummy dessert rolled into one. The recipe is here.

[borrowed this picture from wisdomformom.com]

April brought the skating show and Elijah did wonderful!

He was an Elf

And a Gentleman
[that blurry thing you see is his hat being swung around]

April was actually a very challenging month for me. I was sick to my stomach a lot, but it wasn't from being pregnant. For weeks I couldn't figure out what was going on. Originally I thought it was stress and being mad at someone, but once those feelings "went away" my stomach issues were still going strong. I tried eliminating things from my diet one by one and found out that dairy was the culprit. So now I am on a no dairy diet. It is super hard, but it's worth it, since I don't feel horrible all the time.

And with that it brings us to May, which has been.... well, it's just been. At the beginning of the month Caleb was evaluated for speech delays. We found out he has a 25% delay, so he will be doing speech therapy in the coming months. Prayers regarding this would be really appreciated as I'm sure it will be tough on all of us.

The first weekend of the month Charlotte had a Tangled themed birthday party.  The boys had lots of fun. Caleb really liked walking around the yard and Elijah thought it was great he got to play t-ball with the other kids (and some adults too). Now he always requests that Joe go out back and play catch with him.

A few days after that, the newest cousin, Louisa... "Lulu", made her hurried entrance into the world. Four weeks early, but perfectly perfect in every way. 

[borrowed this picture from Katie's instagram]

Mother's Day was very relaxing... That was a gift in and of itself. I also love the other presents I received. They included two 6-packs of Lipton ice tea, a Starbucks gift card and three Mother's Day cards. 

The next weekend we took a trip to DC. We were long overdue for the trip, since the weather around DC took forever to warm up (and is still trying). It wasn't the best trip, but we managed to hit up the Air and Space museum, for Elijah to play with the experiments in the kids area. Then we walked a very long walk over to the Library of Congress, so I could see Civil War artifacts exhibit before they took it down on June 1st. We plan on going down a few more times this summer/fall, weather permitting.

That has been life... or at least some high and low points of the year so far. Until next time...

Friday, February 22, 2013

Trunk or Treat 2012

Today I decided to look back in October.

At the end of the month we attended Trunk or Treat at our church. It was a great time. Elijah wore the same costume as last year (yellow angry bird), which saved us money that was already tight. I made Caleb's costume (mountain climber) by using a bike helmet a friend gave us, a light jacket and then braided brightly colored strands of yarn to make the "ropes". I also made Joe's (mountain) out of some fabric that was on sale.

There were probably between 3,000 and 5,000 people that attended.

There was:


A luau/Hawaii

Pirates (sorry for the blurry picture)

Concession stand (Sorry for the blurry picture again)

Under the sea

The Price is Right


Little Red Riding Hood

A bathroom (the kids got to play with the bubbles in the tub)

Toaster with Toast, Poptart, Butter and Jam

Safari/Caged Animal

It was really a person dressed up, but it looked real from afar


Angry Birds!!

Wizard of Oz

Storm Trooper

Another Luau

Back to the Future (Complete with Marty and Doc) This was my, hands down, favorite.

Pink Castle

Disney Princesses

Armed Forces


Star Wars

Lego People

Hunger Games

Our pastor

Storm Trooper and Darth Vader





Another under the sea

Monsters Inc


Dr Suess


Mario and Luigi

Another Ravens

Boy Scouts

Willy Wonka

Always important to remember

And last, but not least, The Flintstones

I'm sure the kids go for the candy, but I love going to trunk or treat to see the things people think up for their trunks (and costumes). It's so fun to see all the hard work that goes in to each and every one and to see everyone enjoy them. Hopefully next year we will be able to do a trunk of our own. I'm thinking "Let's Make a Deal" would be a fun one. What do you think?