Ruby turns 14!

Today is Ruby’s 14th birthday.  We celebrated last night with a visit to The Cheesecake Factory, Ruby’s favorite restaurant for special occasions. And we went to a country concert on Speed Street–the Coca-Cola 600 is this weekend, so there are many different festivities leading up to the race. We didn’t know the singers, but it was fun to hang out for a little while.



Mack was asked what his favorite memory of Ruby was, and he said, “This could be hard for me because I don’t even remember what I ate for lunch yesterday.”  He also had intended to wear his shirt tucked in and with a belt because he thought Josh’s belt looked good, but after eating so much at dinner, he said, “Wow. I am so glad I didn’t wear a belt. I would have to take it off!!” And that reminded me of the time about five years ago when  Mack actually did walk out of The Cheesecake Factory with his belt thrown over his shoulder with his belly sticking out. That kid.


Josh wrote out 14 things he loves about Ruby.  It was a funny list! We all laughed as he shared them…many of them you can only understand if you’re in our family. 🙂

14 of my Most Favorite things about Ruby….

14 – That she was nervous about being out late with the youth leaders  (while Molly was uninhibited)

13 – How Ruby would ride the Wild Eagle and not be willing to swing in the blanket at home

12 – How Ruby will threaten to scratch your eyes out if you do something she doesn’t like

11 – How Ruby will always walk in front of the group even though she has no idea where they are going

10 – How Ruby constantly questions her parents parenting skills, without reservations, when we don’t meet her expectations (NY trip)

9 – How Ruby refused to wear any kind of puff sleeve…even though she was 3 at the time

8 – That Ruby would refuse to take any sort of medicine….even upon fear of physical harm

7 – How loyal Ruby is to her family…..

6 – How stubborn Ruby is…..i.e. sitting at the kitchen table for at least an hour…while she defied my request to try a small spoonful of corn when she was 3 years old

5 – How Responsible Ruby has been in taking care of Rolo

4 – How Ruby is becoming a beautiful young lady (inside and out) that people enjoy being around

3 – How she makes fun of most everything I do… many times as possible

2 – How Ruby doesn’t follow the crowd if she thinks they are wrong – She’ll just call them stupid

1 – That I have the privilege of being her dad





This evening we are having a small party with a few families we home school alongside.

Ruby has helped ease us into the teen years.  We definitely have our moments–the disagreements about what to wear, how long she takes in the shower, how loud her music is blaring while she is in the shower, how she waits too long to do her laundry, and  many frustrations when we disagree about the best way to fix curly hair, and “Can you please wear a different outfit than a Georgia shirt and a pair of black workout shorts??”

But we also have really good conversations about all sorts of things. She tells me the truth about my outfits or helps me if my hair is out of whack. She is the best with the dog, for sure! And she helps keep Molly straight when I am not around, though she says Molly just doesn’t listen to her. ha! I remind her that being the first-born is not an easy spot, but that she is doing a great job of keeping us all in line. The girl has some strong opinions that she ain’t budging on. I wish Gran was still alive on earth to see how much Ruby favors her and even acts like her in many ways.

We enjoy being her parents and watching her grow into a young lady. I hope year 14 is an awesome year of growth and friends, of fun and adventure, and of learning more deeply who she is in Christ.


Wrapping it up

It’s that time of year in a homeschooler’s world when they are ready for all the books to be put neatly away, for all the work to be stored appropriately, for the kids to score amazingly on their Woodcock-Johnson tests, for the school room to miraculously be organized and clean, and for no one to need the teacher for anything for a couple of months.


Of course, that can’t actually ever happen. I mean, who really needs to take an 8 week break from math? Not my kids. Or who needs to take a break from reading? Again, not my kids. And I don’t really want them to. I just don’t want to be the keeper of all things that have to do with learning. I have to keep up with certain things for the state and to keep us on a good schedule, but I realize learning happens all the time…not only when I am recording progress or challenging them with reading comprehension questions.  They can just read a book and love it or hate it and be done with it. Amazing, I know.

As I have begun the process of closing up “official school” around here, I ran across a few things that caught my attention.


Ruby made a great grade in Pre-Algebra with Mr. D. I am considering continuing on with Mr. D for Algebra and some SAT prep courses.

This assignment below is likely the lowest of the low from Molly:


The poem below was when Mack amazed us all with his writing skills:


The kids did many, many times over the course of this year, and I plan to have them continue practicing their math facts this way for quite a while.


The girls finished up their choir for the year! To say they were glad about that would be an understatement.


We have planned and organized our days in many different ways. I would type out master lists every Sunday night. I used post-it notes for quite a while. And lately, I have used index cards to keep them on task; the work has gotten less and less as we wrapped up different subjects, so relaying to them my expectations got easier.


Science is sorely lacking in my house. I am not a scientist in the least. These unopened tinker crates that I ordered for Mack testify to our need of an official science tutor. But seriously, we will do these this summer when we have nothing else to do.


Mack took some good History notes at different times. The coat of arms he made to represent himself shows me not much has changed from the beginning of the school year til now:


And the plan for the summer is to do a math lesson three times a week, including Also, they should read biographies and write a summary on why this person is being written about (even though Mack said to me, “I’m not really in to biographies.” OK….who asked you?). Ruby has a huge chalkboard in her room and started her list of biographies on it. I like it! Make a plan and work the plan! And, like I said, we will get those tinker crates opened up and call it science!


So there you have it, The Dorminy Academy of Higher Learning is closing up its 2017/18 school year. I am super proud of all of our hard work. My favorite part of the year was probably when we were going through the How To Study Your Bible in 30 days at the breakfast table each morning. We usually had great talks and started our day off right. I am also always happy that I registered each kid for a writing class through BraveWriter. Each class was perfect for the student, and I enjoyed working with them on writing essays and journaling and creative writing.

Here is a story Mack wrote if you’d like to read it!

Mack’s Lemur Story

I am proud of the kids for each finishing their grammar book, which concludes with them having written a whole story because they edit and correct grammar on incorrect sentences and then re-write the correct sentence. And each of them read books and had copywork to complete and discussions with me. We threw in the towel on Saxon Math and started Teaching Textbooks for Molly and Mack.  The discs aren’t playing correctly on the laptop these days, which is totally annoying, but we are working on that and will likely stick with Teaching Textbooks until Algebra and decide if we move to Mr. D. We covered History from before Christopher Columbus through after The Civil War. The girls did some Apologia General Science. And there were also lots of extra curricular things we did. I am proud of how they’ve grown and matured these past 10 months, and I am still glad I get to home school them.

Happy Summer!!

Sweet Ruby


I found this picture Ruby drew for me from MANY years ago.  If I had to guess, she was probably 5 or 6 when she drew this for me. I find it sweet and quite hysterical. Can you see the mom, that would be ME? She…that’s me…is knitting happily in a rocking chair.  This has never actually happened, so I don’t know if this was just an idealistic picture Ruby had in her mind of how she wanted me to be or what. Mr. Bird flying overhead is surely amused at this scene….if Mr. Bird knows me at all.

Whole30: Round 1

Yesterday I finished 30 days of good eating. No sugar, no dairy, no grains, no legumes, no alcohol, no weighing yourself on the scale….among other things.  They say not to describe the plan with what you can NOT eat, but that is one way to explain it.

We ate chicken, beef, pork, Brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, butternut squash, cauliflower, broccoli, and various fruits and some almonds and cashews and dates from time to time. OH and eggs. Lots of eggs for breakfast and lots of guacamole with carrots.

I tried a delicious orange chicken recipe, a turkey meatloaf recipe, chicken meatballs and a few other chicken dishes. They all turned out delicious.

By far, the hardest part was just planning ahead. Getting caught without any good food to eat would have been bad. It wasn’t exactly easy to pay for the food either…a little expensive to buy all the good food!

The easiest part for me was no alcohol because I don’t drink. After that, the easiest part is probably giving up dairy. Dairy always hurts my stomach anyway, so as much as I love sour cream or some cheese every now and then, I could give it up and give up those pesky stomach pains afterwards.

The most surprising realization is that I like black coffee. Yep, no stevia. No creamer. I’ve been going without creamer for years, but the stevia was “needed,” or so I thought. Nope. Not needed.

They let you know what to expect pretty much each day.  And day four and five you want to kill all the people. It’s true. I was so mean and grumpy, but once I pushed through that ugly part, my face was clearer, my sleep was AMAZING, and I had more energy. So I was encouraged to keep going early on with such quick results.

They have many Non-Scale Victories, and I experienced most of them: happier, more outgoing, less anxious, fewer mood swings, fewer carb cravings, feeling in control of your food, fewer blemishes, stronger hair, flatter stomach, clothes fit better, less stomach pain, less chronic fatigue, sleeping more, falling asleep more easily, feeling more productive, no more night sweats, more energy when exercising, can lift heavier things, recover more effectively from workouts, new cooking skills, new recipes, food tastes better and more!

It went so well that I am not itching to re-introduce any of the foods I have cut out. Mack does not understand that at all.  “Mom, what will you eat first? Doughnuts? Candy?” He was like the Whole30 police to Josh and me.  He would ask, “You sure it’s ok for you to eat that?” often!!!! But he also celebrated with me this morning and was so happy that we completed the 30 days. Josh saw more weight loss than me. I’m not bitter about that at all.

So, maybe some of you are thinking about trying Whole30–I highly recommend it! It is definitely a re-set of sorts. Helps you know how food makes you feel. Because I knew what I was eating, I could tell that mushrooms and watermelon don’t sit well with me.  Those two foods came up on my food sensitivities test several years ago, and I think they still aren’t good for me to eat. But so many other good foods taste delicious and have no nasty side-effects!

Here is a before and after photo.  To be clear, the before is from November and then the after is today, after a sweaty workout. In addition to the Whole30 I have been moving more for about four months. I am so thankful for the exercise. It helps me so much!


So, let me go get my turkey meatloaf recipe out and start cooking dinner!

Mother’s Day 2018


Today was a great Mother’s Day! I am not a fan of these holidays for some reason. I have no idea why exactly, but they just aren’t my favorite. I do enjoy the extra time with my family. Each kid wrote me a sweet note. Well, Ruby’s was extra sweet and long and specific. Molly’s was short and to the point. She may have written, “…sometimes you scare me, but usually I feel safe with you.” That girl! And Mack wrote how much he loved me, and he was sure to write “Happy Mother’s Day” in cursive in order to make me happy. So funny, these three kids.

I told them I remember the exact moment I met each of them face to face. What an amazing experience to become a mother. I am humbled that we were given three kids to love and raise.

And I also want my girls to know that being a mom isn’t the only way to live their lives. Maybe singleness is a calling on one of their lives. Maybe not having their own biological children will be part of their story. I don’t know how their lives will play out and what all God has for them. I am thankful to be honored for being a mom and working hard in our home; it is definitely not a walk in the park. And yet, neither is anything God calls us to. As long as they know they are following God with all their heart, I will be so happy.

And maybe that’s why these special holidays make me a little uncomfortable. There are women who aren’t mothers but want to be. Mothers who no longer have their kids alive on this earth. Kids who have lost their mothers. Kids who haven’t been loved the way they needed to be loved by their mother. So many conflicting thoughts about a day like today.

As this day comes to a close, I will choose to be thankful for the gift of being a mother to Ruby, Molly, and Mack.  I am thankful for my mom and all she did for me and for my sisters for so many years (three girls…can you imagine?!?).  I am thankful for Josh’s mom, Debbie, who is in heaven. She raised an awesome son that I get the privilege to be married to. I am thankful for the grandmothers that also poured into my life for many years. And I will pray that my girls will walk boldly in all God has for them–motherhood or not. And I will pray for those who have broken hearts on Mother’s Day.


Doggy Daycare, anyone?

Rolo went to her first day of daycare. This totally cracks me up. Mack rode with me this morning to drop her off.  He was a very attentive “daddy.”


Rolo was welcomed with her name on the board and smiling staff members that helped her get settled.  IMG_6012-1.jpeg

We could watch a DoggyCam from their website and see Rolo playing with her new friends. She got a great report when we picked her up this afternoon. They said she was sweet and very cute! And we bought five more days that we can schedule when we want to.


Rolo took a couple of naps this evening, and she ate a lot of food, too.  I think she had a fun day and will be happy to go back and play again. And I noticed that all the cool moms have doggy daycare totes, so I made sure we ordered one this evening. Rolo needs a cute bag for her toys and snacks and leashes, etc.

I never did daycare for my kids, so I think I will have a little fun with this.