Monday, December 31, 2012

Favorite Blog Posts of 2012

Happy New Years Eve! Last day to enjoy 2012, so I hope you do enjoy it! Here are some great posts to make your day!  

My top 10 favorite blog posts of 2012: 

Sandy Toes Creations: Favorite Blog Posts of 2012

Waking Up Full of Awesome, something we all need to remember to do!

Why You're Never Failing as a Mother, brings me back to reality when I'm trying to do it all and feeling like a failure; every mom needs to read and re-read weekly!

Social Benefits of Homeschooling, great to refer back to when having doubts about homeschooling, as well as something to forward to family or friends who think you're just crazy.

Me, Mattering More., a start up that looks like it could get awesome!

The Question, just hilarious. She says what we all think, out loud!

When Moms Go To The Bathroom, nothing gross about this, and I can relate! Love all her posts, witty with great tips on parenting and more.

Peppermint Frosted Brownies, delicious food with a cup of heartfelt story and a dash of great idea!

FOOD, WHAT?!, there's a connection between nutrition and behavior that is often missed, especially in low-income/at-risk youth, but something can be done about it! And many other fabulous articles on the Sustainable Santa Cruz blog.

Santa Cruz County Homeschool Resources, a new, growing site with indispensable resources for Santa Cruz homeschoolers and all Californians.

Untidy Bowl, this just cracked me up, as most of his posts are prone to do.

I hope you enjoy bringing in the New Year! Please let me know what your favorite blog post this year was! I love a good read!


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Best moments of the year

You know how sometimes time seems to just stop? You're standing in the warmth of the sun watching your kids smile, hearing them laugh, your heart swells with love and pride. You're overwhelmed by the beauty of these little people's souls as well as the awesome world around you. And you know that this moment will never happen again.

They'll be grown in the blink of an eye, so you just soak it all in, every sound, every smell, the whole moment. You wish you could wrap it up and hug it to your chest! You glance at your partner and know he, too, is savoring these sweet times that could be ripped away without notice. We had a lot of those moments this year.

Other than my few freak out moments, see: I'm a failure.. and What am I doing?!, this has been the most awesome year! No babies were born, no lotteries won, but every moment was treasured more than ever before.

My husband and I realized how very precious every moment of this year was because it started out as the scariest time for our family, with him so sick. Not knowing if he would get better, if we could keep our home, continue to home school (more details on my post Appreciating the Great things...)...but, we were unbelievably blessed!

We took time to notice the little things, took advantage of every moment together, splurged a little too much, spoiled the kids a little too much, stayed a bit longer, worried less, and enjoyed more.

What a wonderful life we have! On that note, I wanted to share my favorite photos of the year. I tried to narrow it down to top 10, but it was so hard! Enjoy!

Sandy Toes Creations- Best Moments of the Year
This is my all time favorite! His face is priceless!
Every time I see it, it reminds me how I want my kids to continue to live and learn; outside the classroom, fascinated, living and doing, not just reading about it.
See where this is on my local field trips post.

Sandy Toes Creations- Best Moments of the Year
  Monkey always hides, but hey, we're all in one photo!

Sandy Toes Creations- Best Moments of the Year
Dads make the best seat!

Sandy Toes Creations- Best Moments of the Year
Adorable. Need I say more?

Sandy Toes Creations- Best Moments of the Year

 Sandy Toes Creations- Best Moments of the Year
Our home is full of love 
(these two now have their own cat blog)

Sandy Toes Creations- Best Moments of the Year
Our classroom. We live in such a beautiful place and my kids are so lucky to be able to learn out in it!

 Sandy Toes Creations- Best Moments of the Year
 The best at making my day a joy, even when waiting in line at the store.

Sandy Toes Creations- Best Moments of the Year
I am so proud of how much this boy's confidence has grown this year! And he looks pretty bad ass in this photo, I must say!

Sandy Toes Creations- Best Moments of the Year

Another of my very favorites! 

We were at a farm class in the rain (of course she wouldn't wear her jacket) and covered in mud. All the kids were paying attention, listening to the teacher and I look over and see this. 

I absolutely love her spirit! 

Such a big personality in this little girl!

Sandy Toes Creations- Best Moments of the Year
Childlike Wonder   

I wish we could all remember to see the world through the eyes of a child. Everything so new, exciting, amazing, and wonderful.

The world is still full of wonder! You just have to notice it.

Camped out by the window to watch the Christmas lights Daddy put up.

Sandy Toes Creations- Best Moments of the Year
 I found him like this the morning after decorating the tree.
Sandy Toes Creations- Best Moments of the Year
Secrets for Santa

Sandy Toes Creations- Best Moments of the Year
 The kind of smile that hurts your cheeks! 
(Little excited for snow day in Santa Cruz?!)

Sandy Toes Creations- Best Moments of the Year
I tried and tried to get a good pic of them both looking up and smiling at the same time, but gave up. Then when I put the camera down and let them be..., my heart wants to burst at how much they love each other. And how much I love them.

It's been an amazing year!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas Poem- The kids are sleeping!

Sandy Toes Creations: Chrismas Poem- The Kids are Sleeping!Uh, you sure that's the best one, Dad? I think I see a better one over there...

The kids are both sleeping all snug in their beds 
After Christmas tree chopping and decorating then,
  A trip to see lights so red and so green,
 I hope all night long they have sweet happy dreams.
And leave mommy and daddy to do as we please!

Sandy Toes Creations: Chrismas Poem- The Kids are Sleeping!
Sandy Toes Creations: Chrismas Poem- The Kids are Sleeping!It's not your screen, the tree lights were making my phone pics blurry. I switched to my regular camera, which Monkey has dropped a few times recently. When I uploaded those pics, they were even worse! Oh well, who needs pics of decorating anyway!

psycho child------>

It was not my camera this time! (kidding)
Yes that's a two year old standing on a couch with glass ornaments. What can I say! I like to live dangerously!
Sandy Toes Creations: Fantasy of Lights Vasona Park
Sandy Toes Creations: Fantasy of Lights, Vasona ParkVasona Park in Los Gatos, CA. always has a fantastic "Fantasy of Lights" display to drive through for a fee. There was much whining and crying on the hour wait, thank God for two cell phones equipped with kids games (which I did wait as long as I could stand to resort to) and thank you Zoodles for keeping them locked out of the rest of my phone!

It ended up being so worth it, though! We stopped immediately at the bathroom and then let them run some energy out on the grass first. The kids could unbuckle and ride up front through the park and we all enjoyed the lights immensely! 

Next time we'll bring a Christmas CD, though, the radio station they recommended kept fading in and out. 

What are your favorite holiday traditions?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

I'm a failure when I'm not great at everything

Sandy Toes- I'm a Failure when I'm not Great at everything!
I'm a Failure, Failure, Failure! That thought has been running through my mind for days. I finally gave in and broke down on Monday and just cried. I can't do it. I can't do any of it!

If I just had one thing to do, I would be so great at it! If I was just a mom, even a homeschooling mom, I could be so great!

If I was just an artist, and had a space to create and my day could be spent getting my art seen... I could totally do it!

If I was just a writer, and only needed to keep up with this blog and get the word out... keep up with Twitter, Facebook, all those social media things that get my words read... I could be so great!

But I can't.

I'm a mom, and a homeschooling mom at that, not spending enough quality time with my kids, or teaching them enough. Snapping at them, letting them watch too much t.v, so I can attempt to meet deadlines. I'm an artist who is failing at getting things made, let alone up for sale or even seen. I'm a writer who can't even manage to post on her blog once a week and has almost completely given up trying to keep up with social media! I'm a wife, cook, maid, nurse, teacher, house keeper, accountant, organizer, scheduler, manager, coach, stylist, photographer, taxi driver, personal shopper, and so much more! I just Can Not keep up!

My house is a disaster. I haven't been cooking, or even able to plan a meal. Or get to the store! I never used to run completely out of anything! And I used to cook every night! I had a meal plan for the week, so when I get manic at 5pm because I've waited too long to eat and am incapable of thinking up what to cook, I look at my list of meals I know I've got stuff for and can whip up something quick! I haven't had time to work on a quilt for a client, get my holiday items up on Etsy, or stick to my blogging schedule, which is only to post once a week on Tuesday night!

Sandy Toes- I'm a Failure when I'm not Great at everything!I did finally get my Etsy shop updated. And finished my quilt on Saturday. But had to wait till my hubby fixed the wire to the pedal on my sewing machine that Monkey had cut! (So glad I always leave it unplugged!) Lucky Jay can fix anything. I didn't have to kill him. (He keeps messing with everything to see how it works and soon nothing in my house is going to work!!) And it was only by ignoring everything else until I had it done, such as being a wife, mother, teacher, cook, maid...

I was so stressed out after days of this horrible mantra repeating unwittingly through my head and feeling like I was drowning in to-do lists! Plus I was meeting with Monkey's E.S. (education specialist through his charter school) the following Tuesday and we haven't been learning anything!! With Thanksgiving and then getting ready for the Christmas season, not to mention trying to catch up with my art, writing, house cleaning, ... schooling had fallen on the back burner!

Monday came (Cleaning day. No cleaning went on.) and I couldn't get an invoice to send, USPS wouldn't accept the address so I could "quickly" print a shipping label before running out the door. The kids were driving me absolutely insane! Nothing was going right that day. I was yelling at my kids and the realization hit me: I had become a horrible mother and that is the most unacceptable thing in my world!

If you follow my FB, you would have seen this post:

Why does all hell break loose as soon as I try to get something done? Trying to write and kids have been whining at me and screaming at each other all morning! Then to top it off, Boo didn't quite make it to the bathroom, Monkey stepped in it...! Is Monday over yet?!

I just couldn't cope anymore.

Sandy Toes- I'm a Failure when I'm not Great at everything!Finally, I dropped everything. I did get the label to print, but I decided we were not going to the store even though we were out of milk. I called my husband to do it, and if you know me, I do not ask for help! After sanitizing both kids and one sparkling spot on my floor, I fixed us lunch. I had previously thought enough healthy snacks (a "chunk-lunch" my mom always called it) would suffice for that day's lunch, but we sat down together for this somewhat second, late lunch and ate together. Not rushing. Just eating. I hugged and kissed my kids and made sure they knew I loved them even when I was frustrated and apologized for losing it. We went to the library only to pick up a book I had on hold and by the post office, but forgo all my other errands.

Then home to put Boo down for a nap and I tried to get Monkey to shell out some paperwork quick for our school meeting tomorrow! He was less than cooperative. The anxiety was rising again and I snapped at him to do these math problems and then yes I would make a craft with him! He sadly did and then I helped him make a board game, which was great fun and I was so impressed! I must brag about it! It's a race to Christmas with characters from the classic holiday movies like Rudolph, Santa, the Winter Warlock, and Heat Miser, who can either send you forward or back a few spaces. We played it over and over until Dad came home. I lost every time.

Sandy Toes- I'm a Failure when I'm not Great at everything!I cried again on his shoulder because I still needed to vent, but amazingly, he recognized how much I do and said he was okay with the state of the house, the dirty floors, dishes, and laundry, the piles of stuff to find a place for, even the lack of cooking, and ordered me not to do any more work that evening. He even said I'm a wonderful mother, which I know is not true. Not today.

I took Monkey to karate class and then to get him a much needed new pair of shoes. Just him, alone, with no crazy little sister! We had fun together.

We ordered take out.


Now, Tuesday turned out to be wonderfully, fabulously Terrific!

We got up and out of the house without issues AND on time! Even with it being the first day of Monkey's new shoes which he needed to learn to tie. He really wanted these shoes and I tried to get him interested in the Velcro ones, but he insisted. And guess what? I showed him a few times and the first time he put them on, he tied his own shoes! He needed some help and direction, but he did it! Himself! He was so determined! I tightened them up, but it reminded me of all his learning. And brought to mind (like a slap in the face) the horrible thing I did yesterday of forcing him to do math problems on paper! We're mainly unschoolers so this was an extremely rare occurrence and I am so ashamed I did that to him. Normally I follow his interests and incorporate things he needs to learn in fun ways. When he wants to learn something, when he loves something, he learns it before I can blink! When I make him do something, he may do it, but what's he really learned? Nothing. Or maybe that I'm pushy and he feel stifled and controlled.

We listened to Monkey's history book on CD (him eager to hear the whole chapter before we arrived) in the car on the way to drop him at school and then Boo and I went to the mall to return some boots. It wasn't open yet! Now why I thought it should be open at 9:30am, I don't know, shows how much I get out, but Starbucks was (hallelujah!)! I'm not a fan of huge corporations, but I can make exceptions! I was forced to get a white chocolate mocha with whipped cream and sit by the fountain with my adorable little girl who entertained the little old lady mall walkers with her smiles and unintelligible chatter. Then some swinging Christmas music came on and we danced! Right there in the middle of the mostly empty mall, we danced! We boogied and twirled! Normally I try to draw as little attention to myself as possible, but you know what?! My little girl wanted to dance and I needed to let loose, too! I was worn out by the time the stores opened!

Sandy Toes Creations- I'm a Failure when I'm not Great at everything!
We went home and I somehow managed to get lunches packed and gather Monkey's school work samples with so little time before I had to pick him up and head to his ancient history club at the DLC. Boo played with friends and educational toys while Monkey enjoyed his class and painted an awesome ancient Egyptian mask!

I met with his E.S. who was actually impressed with all we had done in the last month! WHICH WAS HUGE for me! I had felt like we didn't do any learning all month, having not written anything down as we did it, and with holidays... But when I listed what we had actually done, where we had gone, and had gathered his various tangible work (thank God for his Tuesday morning class) into one place... once again, I am happily shocked that so much learning really was going on! I floated high on a cloud the rest of the day! (Just to clarify, Monkey's ES never makes me feel pressured, she's awesome! I do that to myself.)

I took Boo home for a nap, played Monkey's board game again, and then took him to karate. We had a great conversation on the way and he had a blast in class. Got to help his teacher demonstrate twice! We stopped by Grandma's to show off his fabulous shoes, I got a mommy hug, then picked up burritos on the way home. Walked around outside and looked at all the Christmas lights that went up over the weekend and then to bed. I decided curling up to sleep with my hubby was more important than blogging (after a few hours of walking Boo back to bed).

It was a good day and I am great at everything. (Today)

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