Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Fun

I always enjoy the Christmas season.Its one of my favorite times of year.During Justin's first two deployments I was home with family during the holidays.Though I missed him I had all the extended family to cheer me up and keep me company.This year I wasn’t able to be home with the family and I was nervous.Who wants to be moping around lonely and depressed at Christmas?In an attempt to distract myself and the kids I booked us a stay at the Great Wolf Lodge for Christmas.I have to say it was FANTASTIC!We all had a blast! I think this may just become a family tradition.

The lodge was decorated beautifully



We even had snow IN the lobby!The kids spend hours (no joke) running around playing magic quest, an interactive game that has treats and treasures hidden throughout the first 5 floors of the lodge

070-1110Treasure chest that open at the flick of your wand

113A pixie room with

115And a dragons lair!

Christmas Eve night we all cuddled up in our new Christmas Pj’s to have popcorn and watch movies.


Christmas Day we spent at the water park!I have no pictures of that part though!But you can rest assured we had a blast!I hope your Christmas was wonderful too!


Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Wonky and Wonderful Day

Yesterday was a nice day.some of it was a little wonky but some of it really was wonderful!

In our new study on plants we started with a nature walk.Observing and noting the differences about the plants around our house.The kids enjoyed getting out even though it was pretty chilly,at least it was dry :0) We read about plant cells and compared them to animal cells and the kids sketched some plant cells.

We use All About Spelling here and if any of you use it you are familiar with the letter tiles. I love the tiles!They add a visual and hands on element that can be so helpful to kids.The only problem I was having with them is that I didn’t have a board to keep them set up on.Every time we would use them we would have to pull them all out of a bag and get them laid out before we could start our lesson.Needless to say we didn’t use them much!Finally we made it to the store and I found a magnetic white board that was a great price.My next issue was how to hang said board.We liv in army housing which means we cant do anything permanent.My husbands also deployed and tools are not my strong suit.So I needed an easy way to get this board on the wall!After searching I found something.Heavy duty velcro fasteners!I can do velcro! Now here is the wonky part


Though you cant tell from this picture, I was in such a hurry to hang the board that I hung it completely UN-level!It really looks wonky!But I am not willing to hassle with trying to take off and re-attach the heavy duty velcro fasteners ;0) So wonky it will be!

Now the wonderful part of the day was my Christmas present arriving :0)


That’s my beautiful new Kindle Fire! So far I am loving it! Its easy to use and I found tons of Free books,music and apps for it.I downloaded at least 10 books last night and guess what, no shelf space needed!Which is really good for me!In this house shelf space is at a premium!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Little Change

I love changing my hair.Its like a fun accessory!  For the past few months my hairs been a nice brown color.

015 016


But after This…


Its now Red!


Friday, December 16, 2011

Beautiful Ballerina

Hannah our oldest daughter is getting ready to start ballet lessons.Today we made a special shopping trip to pick up all her “gear”.


She is so stinkin’ cute isn’t she?



Tonight was movie night here at the Barrick house and one of our favorite new movies was on the playlist,Kung Fu Panda 2! Our whole family loves comedies and this movie didn’t disappoint.

023-1And what is movie night without snacks?Popcorn anyone?


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Military Man's Promise:

“I cannot promise you every night of my life. I cannot promise to be beside you for every difficult moment, every trial, and every hardship. In truth, I can promise you that I will not be with you for most. I will leave you at inconvenient times. Any special date to us may be tainted with the anniversary of the death of one of my friends. I will ask you to take over whatever life we have built together for months and years at a time. And will then crash back into that life that you have used your sweat, your tears and your heartache to keep together, and try to take it back as I knew it before.
I will shut you out at times because it will be the best way for me to hold it together at that moment. I will lie to you. I will tell you I don't know things when I do. I will not always tell you where I am going, when I will be back, or who I am with. I may not call you for weeks and months and you will not be able to call me. You will ask questions that I won't answer. You will know answers to questions that you will hope you never need.
I will share things with my brothers that you will never understand. They will know things about me that you never will. They will be a support to me in some things that you cannot be. I will miss birthdays. I will miss anniversaries. I may need time to process things that seem natural to everyone else.
It will seem that someone - or something - will always take precedence over you.
I will uproot you and ask you to re-establish our family anywhere in the world, in any season, at any time - over and over again. Sand and mud will be tracked through your halls from the boots I am too tired to take off.
I will leave you when you beg me not to. I will stand at attention while you cry beside me. I will not turn my head and I will walk away. I will knowingly break your heart. And I will do it again - and again. I cannot promise you all of me. I cannot promise you much of anything.
But if you will have me, I can promise that as I march away from you, it is not without sharing your heartache. I promise you that every time I break your heart I will be breaking mine. Every time that I cannot answer you I will be protecting you. Whenever you want to call and you have no number to dial, I will be wanting to do the same. I will protect everything that we have created together with every fiber of my being while you do the same back at home. I will honor you in everything - every moment that we are apart and every moment that I am with you. I will fight harder and push further knowing that I do so for you. And I will carry you with me in everything, until my sandy boots once again sit just inside the door.”


Oh I am feeling every bit of this today.I love my soldier SO much!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Others More Eloquent Than I

The other day in a post I was trying to express my thoughts on public school and how much longer homeschool had been going on and I just couldn’t get it to come out right.I read this quote the other day that perfectly expressed what I had in my brain but couldn't quite get out!

Home-based education is not an experiment. It's how people learned to function in the world for centuries. And there is no reason to think people today can't do the same thing. School is the experiment, not the lack of it, and the experiment is in trouble."

A Few Of My Favorite Things

Its been a Wonderful Wednesday here in my neck of the woods and Its been filled with some of my favorite thing!

004I LOVE wearing my comfy PJ pants all day!When my hubby’s home I “try” to get dressed and look presentable for him but while he is gone I enjoy my “comfys”.


003This is a “two’fer”! I love the cartoon Phineas and Ferb.They are two brothers who believe you should do amazing,exciting and fun things during your summer vacation instead of sitting around playing videogames all day!This is Also our new Calendar! Every year it’s a special thing to go out together and pick the new years calendar.Today was the day and we all agreed that THIS was the calendar for us!



New books have to be my “most favoritest” You just cant beat good books!Even better this hard cover childrens classic was 30% off today at Barnes and Noble ;0)



Aaahh sweet technology!My means of communication with the hubby!I get almost giddy after talking to him, it really brightens my day.Don’t believe me?Look at this



001Yep this is me right after talking to him Hahaha!

And the last favorite thing for the day Dinner.

013I LOVE casseroles!They are easy,comforting and yummy! This is a favorite and I posted the recipe HERE.


I hope you all had a Wonderful Wednesday too!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Standardized Tests

If you have ever questioned the practicality or neccesity of standardized tests you should read this!

Standardized Tests

Two Weeks Down!

happy dance

Yay!Two weeks down! It feels good ;0) Its been a bit of a long week but a good week none the less.We have had a cold working its way around the house and some crabby babies too.We have also had some great things this week.The kids are registered for classes.The boys fencing and Hannah ballet. I got to talk to my hubby a few times and hearing his voice is always wonderful.

Here’s to another good week!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Blend of Tradition and A Little Something New

During deployments I try to keep the kids life's going as normally as possible. I find the familiarity of there routines helps them and me get through the deployment a little bit easier.

With Justin leaving right before Christmas we knew this holiday wasn’t going to be what it usually is.Almost always my first thought is to go home and visit family for the holiday.Our family lives in Ohio.That’s a four day drive or half day(Very expensive) flight from where we are.My sister is having a baby come the new year and I just cant justify two back to back trips.So we knew we had to make different plans!

Most everyone has their husbands home or is visiting family and I just knew I didn’t want to be sitting at home alone and depressed on Christmas.So I decided to break tradition a bit!I booked a room at the Great Wolf Lodge for Christmas Eve.We have been to Great Wolf once before and LOVED it! They decorate for holidays,have nightly story time and an indoor water park!I’m keeping it a surprise from the kids too!

I will pack up the kids Christmas Eve and we will spend the night snacking on Christmas treats and watching all our holiday favorites!The kids will also open their traditional Christmas Eve pajama’s.On Christmas day after reading the Christmas story and having a yummy breakfast we will head for the water park!

Its not the Christmas I would have picked in many ways.But I can make it a great one for me and the kids!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Favorite Christmas Stories


I wanted to share one of my FAVORITE Christmas books to read to the family.

The story of why we celebrate Christmas is so beautifully written by Carol Heyer.She makes the telling of this old familiar history into something the whole family can understand.You can really feel the truth and the joy that the author has for this time of year.

Carol Heyer is not only the author of this wonderful retelling of our Saviors birth.She is also the illustrator.The beautiful artwork is really what makes me love this book!

One of my favorite illustrations from the book is a picture of the shepherds that came to see and worship the Christ child:


There are so many wonderful books out there that can help us to share the joy and wonder of this Christmas season with our families!

Sad State of Affairs

I read this news article today and it really just irked me. So now I will hop up on my soap box and have a little rant.

“The news of the North Carolina boy’s suspension comes as a Massachusetts elementary school is investigating a first-grader for sexual harassment after the boy struck another boy his age in the groin.

The mother of the accused 7-year-old tells the Boston Globe that her son was fending off another child, who had choked him in an altercation on the school bus on Nov. 22.

“I think my kid was right to fight back,’’ said the mother, Tasha Lynch, 30. “He wasn’t doing anything except protecting himself.’’


A few things surprised me about this news story. The obvious being that a boy is being punished  and being investigated for sexual harassment for defending himself.The second and more surprising was that the child was defending himself from being CHOKED by another student and that these boys were in 1st grade!I can(sadly) picture teenage boys and grown men choking each other But 1st graders??Really?? Public school is scary!It is a broken system that produces nothing other than violence,laziness and an expertise at following orders.One of the many reasons we homeschool.

The thing that surprises many of my friends whose children go to public school is the fact that I WANT change for the public schools.They assume I just don’t care.After all my kids don’t go there. But this is our society we are talking about.These children who are assembly lined through this system are the future of my world,my kids world and my grandkids world.

Some of my questions about an institution that only became mandatory less that 200 years ago are 1.How did this  become the norm?When you talk about other alternatives than public school you still get looks as if your eccentric.  And 2. how has it held on this long when it is obviously FAILING? Why are people still funneling their children into something they  know doesn’t work?

I’m not sure what needs to be done.How things can be fixed. I do believe we need a “free market” system so to speak.A system that will encourage schools to compete for students.I believe we need to get the federal government out of education completely.Education should be a state issue.I can tell you one thing I know the education system DOESN’T need.That’s more money!I think the amount of money wasted (and yes I mean WASTED) on the current education system is obscene!The system is failing.Its not failing because it cant afford to educate.It fails because its not set up in a way that makes truly educating people possible.Its like standing beside a car with no engine and throwing money at it and expecting it to start right up.

What do YOU think about education in our country today.What can we do to help all the children in this country get a quality education?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Just posting a few pictures that I have taken recently of all the monkeys at our zoo ;0)




Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Week 2 Survival Tip




I saw this picture online and it just really fit how I feel.During a deployment you really are just on the road to survival.A lot of things in life actually can be that way.Be it finding a job,loss of a parent,children struggling in school.Anything really.

At the grocery store today I had an interesting conversation with my cashier. She looks over beside me and counts quickly. “Wow four?!Your brave to grocery shop with four!”

“Yeah well its not so much bravery but necessity.” I shortly explained.

When we are simply trying to survive things get broken down in our lives.What is necessary?What can I put off?What do I really need? So anyhow that got me thinking about some tricks I have learned through the previous two deployments and I thought I’d share.

We all must eat.Most of us military families don’t live near our extended families.So how do we get through the grocery store and remain sane? I have found 4 things that really help me!

First do small frequent trips.When the hubby is home we shop for 2-3 weeks worth of groceries at a time.Spending well over an hour at the grocery store.Can you picture me doing that all alone with my 10,7,4 and 2 years old?! HaHaHa! Picturing it actually gives me a good giggle! Now we shop for 1 weeks worth of groceries and are in and out as fast as we possibly can be!

Next thing  is don’t ever take kids grocery shopping on an empty stomach!They will whine for every yummy thing they see!Feed the kiddlets a big snack before shopping or better yet shop right after a meal!

Speaking of WHEN to shop if you can at all avoid it do NOT shop on pay day!Now in the civilian world pay day could be any day of the week.But with us military folk we are ALL paid on the same two days every month!That makes for a mad house at the grocery and believe me it can get ugly!!

My last bit of advice would be to try to grocery shop alone on occasion.Did you watch a buddies kids the other week for a doctors appointment?Call in a favor! Or better yet trade grocery trips with her! I’ll watch yours Tuesday while you shop and you can watch mine Thursday while I shop! Then you get a break,the kids get a break and your fellow soldiers wife gets a break too!

I hope this helps!

Monday, December 5, 2011

1 Week!

Clipart Illustration of a Bunch Of Floating Party Balloons With Confetti At A Party

Aaahh sweet success! We have survived our first week of deployment :0) I know it seems silly considering we have fifty one several more weeks to go.But it feels good to celebrate it anyways!

The past few days have all been good.We made it through church this week.With four kids and only mommy we really do have to “get through it” some Sundays.But its always a blessing. I’d encourage anyone going through a deployment (or any other hardship) to lean on the Lord.Make Sunday worship a priority.It will brighten your week and lighten your load I promise!

Here’s to another great week!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Day 4 I Lost My Christmas Spirit there For a Minute


Yesterday was Day 4 since the hubs headed to Afghanistan.The morning was spent with a house full of kids.13 kids to be exact.All of which belonged to 3 homeschool moms :0) My friend Jen and her 4.My friend Heather and her 5 and me with mine. We all had a blast!The kids played.The moms chatted and a good time was had by all!My poor neighbors may not have had such a good time come to think of it,those 13 kids (9 of which were boys!) got pretty loud!

After our friends all went home the kids were still happy because we had our church Christmas party that evening.Christmas music,dessert and fellowship Yay. Yeah well that was the plan anyways.But how often do things really go as planned?! The musical program WOULD have been uplifting if I hadn't been chasing a toddler the whole time.The desserts WOULD have tasted great if things hadn't been so confusing for my 10 year old who was designated to get food that he jumped out of the ever shifting line 3 times to ask me where he was supposed to go…There were well over 150 people there.After his 3rd attempt to find the right line I was getting frustrated.I said FORGET IT! I packed up the kids and took them out to dinner as a treat instead.It helped me calm down and realize that it really wasn’t a big deal.Things like that are always a bit stressful when your by yourself and you have little ones.Instead of letting it ruin the rest of my night I decided to enjoy dinner out with the kids.Then we came home and watched a movie together and baked some cookies.

I’ve learned that we have to be flexible.Our evening didn’t turn out at all the way we had planned it.But we didn’t have to let that ruin our night.

We have to also be realistic.Was it really realistic of me to expect a 2 year old to sit through a 45 minute musical performance?Nope. Was it really realistic to expect my 10 year old to get through the mad rush of over 100 people unscathed and in a timely fashion?Nope. If I hadn't expected those things in the first place maybe I wouldn’t have felt so frustrated to begin with.

Life during a deployment isn't always easy, but it sure is entertaining ;0)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Day 3 A Phone Call and Some Adult Conversation!

Day 3 has been good here in the Barrick household.Isaiah had scouts tonight and I got to sit and chat with some ladies whilst the younger kiddlets played.It was really nice to have some adult conversation!Tomorrow some more of that is on tap as well.A couple homeschool families in our neighborhood are coming over to hang out.In the evening we also have our churches Christmas party.All in all it should be a great Friday!

Speaking of Friday of all the days of the week I find the weekends the hardest.That’s the time we used to spend as a whole family.Going out shopping,hiking,playing and to church all together.Now it’s the time we go out and see everyone else having fun with there Dad/Husband. I’m not sure what the plan will be to keep us from feeling sorry for ourselves on the weekends!I’m sure I’ll figure something out! ;0)

Aside from enjoying scouts and some sisterhood at church we also got an exciting phone call today.It only lasted about 10 minutes.It got disconnected once and the connection was TERRIBLE.It was the best phone call ever!HaHaHa it was the best because it was a phone call from Justin!Just hearing his voice,hearing that he is ok and being able to tell him I love him is so important.Seeing each of the kids smile as their dad asked them about there day,that’s the good stuff right there!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Day 2 News and Technology

Here we are  on this beautiful Wednesday, Day 2. You know, I like counting the days. It gives me something to show the passing of time.Each day feels like an accomplishment that way,probably because each day IS an accomplishment. I know other military spouses (and soldier too) who Don’t like to keep count.In fact my husband is one of those who doesn’t.He says counting makes his days seem to go by slower. Eh, to each there own right?

Anywho! Todays plan was fairly simple.Stay home and do some school and cleaning.We were successful in that attempt for the most part.Until I realized that I was out of trash bags..Grr! I get into the “stay home” mode and I don’t want to get out of it.Mostly because I don’t want to get out of my jammies!I have been looking into buying a new cell phone  though and figured if I had to go out for trash bags I may as well get my phone too. After a short time picking the phone I wanted (that’s the perk of doing your research ahead of time) and waiting what felt like a year to the kids(they told me so over and over and over again) I am the owner of a new phone.The only problem with this is that it took me FOREVER to figure out how to use my last phone! :0) I am not terribly technologically savvy. Tonight once the kids are in bed I will sit and play with my phone a bit and try to figure it out!

I think today I saw the beginnings of the emotional effects this deployment will have on the kids. The boys being older tend to handle things very well.We talk about missing dad.We pout together,cry together on occasion and keep on trucking.It’s the little kids who are the hardest to handle IMO.They know a major part of there life has changed and they DON’T understand why. Hannah (our 4 yr old) has had a rough day trying to listen to me. From screaming (she swears she was singing) in the cell phone store to poking her sister and making HER scream, its been a long day. I am trying to remember to be patient.I know what she is going through is hard. I am proud of myself today for keeping my cool with her.I am positive it has something to do with my prayers this morning because I specifically asked for patience!I knew I’d need it! I know there will be days that I don’t keep my temper.Days that I will feel overwhelmed and feel like I have failed. But today (thank you Heavenly Father) was a good day.

I got some disappointing news today from my sister.She is currently pregnant with my newest little nephew Mason.I have blogged before about the fact that he has Spina Bifida as well as clubbed feet.The biggest concern for him in utero is whether he will develop Hydrocephalus.Here is a brief definition “also known as "water in the brain," is a medical condition in which there is an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the ventricles, or cavities, of the brain. This may cause increased intracranial pressure inside the skull and progressive enlargement of the head, convulsion, tunnel vision, and mental disability. Hydrocephalus can also cause death.” There have been monthly ultrasounds checking for fluid build up in Masons brain.It’s a common condition for babies with Spina Bifida.The worry is if it develops early in utero the only way to fix it is to deliver the baby and do surgery.Then you not only have the heath issue that come with the SB but you also have premature issues as well.Todays appointment showed that the fluid is starting to build up in Masons brain.Now it is a balance act to see how long the doctors can let him stay in and keep growing and developing without waiting too long and having the hydrocephalus get bad. I am worried for my nephew, I’m worried for my sister and brother in law and I just don’t like knowing I am not there to help out and be a support to them right now.  My comfort is that in all things God is in charge.He knows what He is doing in Masons life and even if we cant understand Gods plan we CAN rest assured he is the author of it all.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Day 1

Its day 1 since the hubby left for Afghanistan and day 1 can be a hard day.I was prepared with a fun list of “to do’s” to help pass the day.

I was up and showered about 8am and started with a bit of cleaning we hadn't done over the weekend.Then on to breakfast and school with the kiddos.

Justin called about lunch time which brightened everyone's day.He was in Maine waiting to get on his flight to Germany.After that it was off to our favorite place THE LIBRARY!Everyone right down to the baby loves the library.I knew it would be a good place to go today.It was made doubly exciting because we found out they are doing another reading program!Read books and come in for prizes Yay!As well as having holiday themed crafts every Saturday.

Next was on to the boys haircuts.If you would guess this was the boring part of our day you would be wrong! The boys have a very traditional daddy who likes nice short military cuts on his boys.Mommy however is a bit more relaxed.So when daddy leaves the boys get Mohawks ;0) I know it seems silly but it’s a small thing that brightens their day.


Last on our list for today was the grocery store.This was definitely not the best part of the day BUT we all survived it and now have lots of goodies to eat in the house.

Aside from all of this today the thing that Surprised/Pleased me the most was how much seeing all the familiar military surroundings made me happy. I wasn’t sure if seeing the uniforms,the Chinooks (helicopter type air craft),strykers and humvee’s would make me miss my hubby even more.During both of Justins other deployments I had gone home to our very civilian home town.Instead of upsetting me today seeing all that made me feel very close to my soldier.Instead of “leaving it all behind” I can stay and feel that much closer to him by staying close to the military.

Now the kids are in bed and I can relax and mentally check off one day.Yay!