August 25, 2015

Starting a New Adventure

A couple of years ago Gregg and I started talking about homeschool. Mostly because we lived in a large city and didn't know many people in the schools. With us moving back to our home town last year it became a much more difficult decision. We have prayed, researched, prayed and researched some more and feel very confident in the decision we made and the plan God has for our family to homeschool. I understand that everyone does not agree with it and that's ok. We are getting into our 3rd week of school and I have more validation, everyday, in the choice made.

I decided to go with My Father's World Kindergarten Curriculum. The first 10 days of the curriculum is talking about The 7 days of Creation and is just an introductory period. Yesterday we started our first unit which is Ss Sun. Kaidi and Atlas sat at the table and colored a sun and Kaidi colored and cut out her picture cards for the letter S. Once Asher finally woke up, I had an episode about the sun from Sid the Science Kid pulled up on Netflix and I let them watch that as I got breakfast ready. We are still doing swimming lessons 3 times a week so after breakfast and a little bit of playtime we loaded up and headed to Enterprise for lessons. We have always tried to make everyday life into a learning opportunity by finding teachable moments in our daily activities. I took the kids to Chick-Fil-A after swimming lessons and we talked about the sun and how it warmed up the pool and made us so hot while we sat out there. Then we had a conversation about shadows and the fun we can have with them. When we got home, Kaidi finished up her Words to Remember Page by cutting out a sun and writing the words, "Jesus is the light of the world." 

Snapshot of our first day of the Sun unit

I bought a small box of plain sugar cookies from wal-mart and a can of yellow icing and let the kids decorate their cookies to look like the sun and we watched an episode of Reading Rainbow titled "My Shadow" which happens to be our poem for the week. While sitting at the table, Asher thanked me for the yummy sun cookie and then said, "you're the best mama ever". Those teeny tiny words are just what I needed to hear to encourage this insecure mama heart! This was a huge decision for us. It's alot of pressure and a huge commitment from me and I question often if I have what it takes and if I will be good enough.It's overwhelming at times and I know that this is normal. I am determined. I am fully committed. I am all in. I pray for patience and reassurance and thank God often for the strength He gives. I know that there isn't anyone who cares more for my children's futures and education than Gregg and me! I am so thankful that we are on the same page and know that even though it is a struggle for us, financially, the best place for me is at home raising and teaching our children. 

I feel the need to apologize for not blogging more often, but life is very time consuming and it is hard to sit down and type up entries. I wish I was better at it so that I can look back over the years. There is so much I could share about our daily crazies and such. The kids are growing up so fast and being with them everyday, there are so many funny stories I could share. Maybe things will get to a point where I can blog more.. but I'm not so sure about that. Life is pretty busy! So, until next time! :)

March 10, 2015

Long Overdue

Cannot believe it has been so long since I blogged... I actually had a super long post drafted about a month ago.. had a ton of pictures and some great stories and when I hit publish, I thought it posted and then when I typed in the link to make sure everything looked ok, I realized half of my post/pics were missing.. I'm not sure what happened but I was very aggravated!(just went and posted it now just so I can share part of the post with you) lol I had been working on that post all week long and each day had added to it a little more.. I never closed out my browser on my laptop so I guess it wasn't saving properly.. Kinda ruined my blogging mood for a while! I know there is sooo much I could talk about and share about with what's going on with the Ramer Bunch, but really I am just tired.. things have been going well with the kids.. they are growing so fast and learning so much. I love watching them play together (when they are all getting along). It's such a joy to see their imaginations in play... we absolutely LOVE being outside and as long as it's not freezing cold and wet, I am sending them out the door! They explore and pretend and exercise so much more when they are outside... coming up with nonsense games and role playing and jumping on the trampoline..
On February 13, we loaded up and took the kids to Tractor Supply for Gregg to look for some new boots since the ones I bought him 10 years ago for his birthday have finally bit the dust! We walked out with NO new boots and 10 new chicks, and the stuff needed to care for them. We started building a coop a while back bc we knew that we would be getting some chickens soon.. we got a wild hair and decided to start from the beginning with the chicks.. the kids LOVED it! When we got home that night, they couldn't wait to get their hands on them.. we cleaned out an old tote and put some shavings down in the bottom of it and introduced the chicks to their new home... The next day (valentine's day) Gregg and I left for  a little one night getaway to the beach. We went out to eat and enjoyed actually having a conversation with each other with out little hands reaching for our food and mouths chattering constantly for our attention. When we got back home Sunday afternoon, my mom told me that one of the chicks wasn't doing too well. He was alot smaller than the rest of the chicks and Kaidi had already named it Tiny.. we took a good look at him and tried to get him to drink some water with a dropper.. we were unsuccessful and within about 20 minutes of us getting home, it died. To say that Kaidi was upset is an understatement. She was devastated! Cried for an hour and a half. She asked so many hard questions that, as a parent, are hard to answer, but as a parent who has lost children, were even harder to answer. She grabbed my hand and asked if I would please, please pray to God and ask him to give Tiny back.. broke my heart.. how I, too, have prayed that prayer..pleading for my children's lives.. wanting them back... her heart hurt so bad.. her tears fell so hard... I saw grief in my child and it hurt me tremendously. I held her and told her that it was going to be ok. She asked me if Tiny was in Heaven, I told her that it was. She was confused why he hadn't gone to Heaven yet... since his body was still in the box.. she kept walking up to the box and would just start crying all over again... my heart hurt for her here.. seeing her grief.... knowing that her seeing it's lifeless body brought the reality of it to her heart over and over again.... all too familiar in my own grief again... she thought he should have disappeared... I was not EVEN ready to get in to explaining the burying/soul process... she asked me if she could draw him a card so I got her some paper and she drew the prettiest little chick you ever did see and asked if I would write a letter to him for her.. I did.. it was the sweetest thing... telling him that she loved him very much and that he was her favorite chicken and that she wished he was still here. She asked me if he would take the card with him to Heaven because she really wanted him to, so I said sure. Well she walked over to the box, place the folded up card in it and just burst in tears again. "Mama, why did Tiny have to die?"  I hurt with her.. she just didn't understand.. She said she needed to go potty and wanted me to come with her.. so I'm squatted down in their with her as she sits there.. tears steadily rolling down her cheek... I go in to explain, "Kaidi, I know you are very sad about Tiny dying, but Tiny would want you to be happy and not be so sad about him dying." her response, "MAMA, he just died TODAY!"  I respond, "you are so right baby, it's ok to be sad today." we will be happy another time.... how much of a realization that is that grief has no timeline... and you can't rush it... so many times we want people to "feel better" or "get over it" or "they have to be around kids sooner or later" because their grief makes US uncomfortable... but it isn't about US... she needed time to process what happened and she needed nothing more from me than a loving shoulder to cry on and the understanding that I was there for her no matter how long it takes... I am so thankful for the blessings God sent our way in our time of grief.... the ones who were there, no matter what... who didn't rush us... who were truly just a phone call away... putting their lives aside, at times, to be there when we needed them. I call them Timely Friendships.. God sends them for "such a time as this" moments... whether it be for years, months, or even weeks.. He sends the right people in our direction to encourage us, love us and cry with/for us.... because when you are hurting... you don't want to feel like you are hurting alone... you want to feel like someone cares... Kaidi needed my sympathy in this moment.... because so many times I am quick to brush her hurt off as childishness and tell her it's not a big deal... this was a big deal and I am thankful for the blessing that I received in enduring that pain with her.... it was a glimpse into familiar waters, from the outside....
Her other favorite chick was Tiger. He had the most black stripes on his back.. he was rather "weak" too,  and I told Gregg if he died we were NOT telling her and I was going to take a sharpie to another one to make it look like Tiger... he did die the next day (February 16th) and we just told her yesterday when we had all the chicks in the yard and she counted and realized we only had 8.... actually we didn't tell her which one.. I was gonna tell her it was a different chick.. but she's too smart for that... she said, "you know what.. I bet it was Tiger that died too, because I remember he was very small, like tiny and he wasn't doing so well either" can't lie when she realized all that on her own!  So, this post became much longer than I intended and it's time to start cooking supper so I have to go for now.. Please be in prayer for my granddaddy. He had surgery last Monday to remove a hernia and ended up getting put in the SICU last week and found out this morning that they needed to do another surgery on him today. He came through the surgery ok, they found a few pieces of his intestines that had infection and they were able to remove them. They did decided to leave him on the ventilator for a little while so please be in prayer that his body recovers well and is able to rest and for my grandmother and her fears and worries. Thank you all for your prayers, your love and following along on my sporadic postings for my blog! :)

February 1, 2015

"P" is for Prayers

The letter we are working on at home this week is "P". We start out on Monday doing handwriting and talking about things that start with the letter "P". So I ask the kids for some things that start with "
P" and Kaidi says, "Pituitary Gland!" (with a slight snicker afterwards bc it's such a fun word to say). First of all I am shocked that THAT was the word she chose instead of something a lil simpler like "pop" or "pig". We go through talking about all sorts of other words.. "pretty" "pizza" "popcorn" "pen".... you get the idea.. As the kids get into the handwriting exercises, I like to sit and just watch them... Asher struggling to stop the line from going further up the page (he writes his letters from the bottom to the top instead of top to bottom) then he sits and stares a minute, trying to decide where to start his pencil again... Kaidi breezes through this part of the activity, she's been writing letters for a while now... as we are sitting there, Atlas is ,of course, all over the place.. climbing on the table, grabbing crayons and aggravating Asher as much as possible.. Kaidi says, "Mama, you know what else starts with the letter "P"!" I look at her, while trying to drag Atlas off the table, "What's that, Baby?".... she looks up at me with a big grin on her face and says so sweetly, "Prayers!"

Now I am going to take you back a few days... share a wonderful story about child-like faith... Kaidi is not one to have accidents through the night, but this past week she wet the bed 4 times over a weeks time. Saturday morning while stripping the bedding.. again... I was talking to her and telling her that I may call the dr. Monday morning because it was not normal for her to be wetting the bed so many times lately when she didn't usually have accidents. She's real big in to praying for things every night and I am so thankful that she is open to us about what she prays for. Toyia's daughter, Sophie, recently had an accident and hurt her leg very bad, Kaidi prayed for her a few times that week, That night she told Greg that she prayed that everyone's boo-boo's would get better, and she also prayed that she wouldn't wet the bed that night. She woke up that morning dry and the first thing she shared was that she didn't wet the bed! God had answered her prayers.. He answered them again Sunday night. I love that something so minor and honestly, something I wouldn't have really thought about praying for, God answered, she realized that and from that, her faith grew and she asked again the next night, knowing that her God could do anything... children can teach us so much about faith.

Back to our "school time". We finished up our handwriting sheet on "P" and Kaidi did a worksheet where she had to cut out little Party hats that had different letters on them and then paste the ones that had a "P" on them on the kids on the worksheet. After she was finished, we went outside to check out the motorcycle ride-on toy that Pop and Nana brought back from Uncle Adam and Aunt Heather's house. They really enjoyed it but it was very cold out so we weren't able to stay out for very long.
Here are some pics from Monday:

Tuesday Morning they all piled up in my lap and we watched one of their favorite shows, Power Rangers. (I still don't understand why they like this show. lol)

I prepped the dining room table for our project of the day. Gregg and I bought some tomato pods a few weeks back for us to plant with the kids and I had some little pots that had been sitting around for awhile so I decided to let them "Paint the Pots for Planting". My kids LOVE painting (they get it honest) so we spent the morning making beautiful little pots for our tomato plants. Each one of them are different and I decided to let them put their hand print on them so that it would make them even more special! :) That night we had Pizza for dinner.. so the "p" words continue! :)

Wednesday morning we did a Porcupine Craft and the kids used pasta to make the quills. I think they ate more of the pasta than they stuck to the paper! lol

That afternoon we decided to ride over and enjoy a little Picnic at the Park.

Thursday morning, Atlas and Kaidi had dentist appointments. We took all 3 of them in hopes that if there was enough time, they may could look over Asher's teeth, too. Atlas is in need of some dental work. He's had a tough time with his teeth. After falling and knocking the 4 top teeth up in his gums this past summer, they have seemed to just deteriorate from there. He wouldn't cooperate at all. (probably didn't help that he had a tonsillectomy 2 weeks prior) Kaidi did a very good job. She was nervous at first and had a few tears, but she calmed down quickly and was a wonderful patient.

I had plenty more typed up to go along with this blog but for some reason it all got deleted.. i don't even have the energy to go on and explain the rest of our week, again. So I am leaving it here so that I can look back on the above, one day! :)

January 12, 2015

A Look Back on 2014

I started on a post the week after Christmas and never got back to it so I thought I'd start over and try to finish this time! :)
2014 was a very.... adventurous year for us.
We started out 2014 with a birthday for Gregg in which I surprised him! We took a trip to New Orleans, LA to watch Alabama play in the Sugar Bowl. I have never been that far west before so it was exciting for me. :) Never imagined I'd take the road trip of a lifetime in the same year.

The end of January we got a little bit of snow, just enough to sprinkle the ground a little bit, but I called my mom and Opp got a pretty good layer of it so we set out to make the hour drive (that ended up being 2 hours after closed roads in to cities and taking detours on icy county roads). It was well worth the drive after the fun our kids had.
Our yard in Dothan
Road Conditions on the way to Opp
Pop and Nana's Yard in Opp
My 3 Snowbunnies

Gregg took Kaidi out on a date for Valentine's day. She asked me to roll her hair and put makeup on her and she made a sweet little card for him. He picked her up, bringing flowers and a heart box of chocolate and they went out to dinner to Chili's. She thoroughly enjoyed it and still talks about her date with her daddy.

We took the kids to Landmark Park for their 2014 Spring Farm Day. We really enjoyed this family day and ended up becoming members of Landmark Park.

In April, we took a trip to the beach

Then we had a great Easter weekend

The end of April, the kids enjoyed a wonderful day of MUD.. I love letting my kids be kids.. and get nasty and have a great time doing it.. it's nothing a little soap and water can't take care of..

In May, Gregg and I went to a Kirk Cameron marriage conference in Fairhope and had a great weekend getaway and a refresher for our marriage. We had found out earlier in the week that Gregg's position with the bank was being eliminated and he had 60 days left with his job. This was very stressful for us but we were positive and knew that things were going to be ok.

We survived another birthday of the twins without them. They would have been 7.

We took a trip to the beach for Mother's Day and had a wonderful time with the kids. It's my absolute favorite place to be.

We went and visited my brother and his family for memorial weekend and enjoyed spending time with them and also were able to take the kids to a hot air balloon festival. It was a great family day.

Kaidi got to experience her first ever rodeo. It was so much fun getting to watch her. She participated in 3 events. She was going to do mutton busting, but changed her mind right before getting on the sheep.. She was cute all decked out in the gear, though! :)

June started out kinda slow.. not much going on... Gregg and I went on a small deep sea fishing adventure.. boy was it an adventure!! We went out with a guy that worked with BB&T and had his own boat. His niece and nephew came along to help and then it was Gregg, another guy and myself. It wasn't supposed to be a very long trip and about... after we fished for bait (which gregg really enjoyed) we headed out to deep waters.. MILES from shore.. the water was pretty rough.. the boat was pretty small and when we stopped to start fishing... poor Gregg.. he was SOOO sick...he was sick the ENTIRE time!! I, on the other hand, had a BLAST!! I got the first bite and reeled in a shark... then turned around and got a beautiful red snapper.. Gregg tried to fish.. managed to catch a snapper.. and then laid right back down on the seat... where he pretty much stayed the rest of the trip.... As we were coming back in to shore, the water was so bad, we took on a huge wave and the entire front end of the boat was covered in water.. we were all grabbing buckets and throwing water over like crazy.. it was so scary.. We prepared ourselves to jump high side at any moment.. thankfully we could see land and it wasn't too far away.. when we finally got to a dock, gregg and i got off and he paid a lady $20 for her to take him to his truck and he came back and got me... there was NO way we were getting back in that boat! lol
This was before we went out to deep waters
first snapper of the day
The only pic I got of him fishing

a little later in June, Atlas's teeth met the window sill and there was blood everywhere and he was crying, I was crying, Kaidi was crying... it was rough stuff.. I couldn't get a hold of Gregg or my mom... and I am typically a pretty calm person in these type situations... Not so much on this day..

this happened 2 days before he turned 2. :( His teeth are still up in his gums. I'm hoping they will be ok once he loses them and his permanent teeth come in. Those middle two are pretty damaged and nasty looking now.

So he turned 2 and we had a little party at my mom and dad's house. It was very low key and enjoyable. Kids got into a food fight and it was fun watching them.

With Gregg's job ending June 30, we decided to post our house for lease on Craigslist and within 2 days we had a couple coming to look at it and wanted to move in July 1. This was the middle of June.. talk about packing in a hurry! We packed up everything and moved it to Opp and decided we would move in with my parents temporarily until we decided what we were going to do/ where we were going to go... We didn't want to rush in to any decisions and wanted to make sure we took our time and made the right one. We filled up 2 storage units and moved some stuff in my parent's house and said goodbye to Grove Park

We decided to take the kids on a canoe trip (daring, I know) but we had a WONDERFUL time and the kids did so good.

That last week of June, Gregg and I had kinda talked about just moving off.. heading to Colorado or Montana. Only thing is, how would we know if we even liked it out there.. we decided to take a road trip. This was the best opportunity for us. I didn't work, Gregg's job was ending and he had a severance pay, our kids weren't in school.. why not? So we woke up July 1, packed a suitcase or 2, filled up a tote, loaded the car up and headed North.

This was the trip of a lifetime. An adventure for our family and we made so many memories.. I am so thankful for this trip and seeing all that we saw. Covering 19 states in 20 days, traveling a total of 7,800 miles. Seeing family and even friends on the other side of the country. It was amazing. I can't even begin to share pics from the trip.

We celebrated our 8th anniversary on the road and Asher did turn the big 3 while we were on the trip and we were able to celebrate at a Chuck E. Cheese in California with Gregg's youngest brother and his family.

We got home from our trip (after driving 31 hours straight) on a Sunday and I had to get things ready for our annual B&K Remembered Blood Drive the following Friday. We had a wonderful turnout this year and I am so thankful for all the lives saved through our drive.

August started and honestly, the rest of the year just flew by. I'm not sure if it's because I filled in at the daycare for the rest of the year, or what, but it feels like we just got home from Arizona yesterday. lol

We enjoyed another trip to the beach for labor day and in October I enjoyed taking the kids to the lake for the Scarecrows in the Park that the trailmasters do every year.

Cousin Fun
My pretty girl
They sure love each other
I ran in my first 5k the middle of October. I was already planning to run in one the next week, but I randomly just decided to run in one that the Rotary Club in Opp has at the lake. I woke up and just did it. I was proud of myself for finishing the race without dying! lol and surprisingly got a medal for placing in my age division. lol don't get too excited for me, there were only a few of us! hehe

The zombie run the next weekend was a lot of fun! We were in a team of 5 and all started out with a certain number of flags.. as long as one member still had a flag, as a team, we survived.. I had all of my flags through the entire run and lost all of them in the last 20 seconds.. I was SO mad about that, lol but it was still a lot of fun. 

Halloween was the next week so my kids got to enjoy a fall festival at my parent's church and then Halloween later in the week. Kaidi wanted to be Dorothy and Asher wanted to be Batman, but we couldn't find one in time, so he was completely cool being a Ninja Turtle and Atlas was an army man. They were too cute and we had a good time taking them around to a few houses before settling in at home. 

In November, I took Kaidi to her first ever fair. It was a good Mommy/Daughter day and she really enjoyed seeing the animals and riding the kiddie roller coaster. 

On November 7.... :( ..... I turned 30..... :( ..... BUT I am not sad about it... I am happy and blessed to have lived these 30 years and I feel great being 30.. I feel like the best is yet to come.. :)
My selfie as a 30 year old
Gregg took me to the beach for the weekend

and Saturday night we went to Dave and Busters to watch Alabama vs LSU and SURPRISE my family were all there waiting for us... 
The kids were there for the meal and just a little after for some games and then I happily sent them on their merry little way with Pop and Nana so that I could play some games! :)
Meredith Ramer's photo.

Fun Night!
Thanksgiving came
Kaidi was so serious! lol
 and we ended up celebrating my side of the family thanksgiving dinner on Saturday which just happened to also be the Iron Bowl. I thought my family was pretty split on who they pull for, but it turns out the only Auburn fans are my parents and my brother, sister and brother in law. All the grandkids are smart.. they were all sporting their AL colors! :)

Love this picture!!
I tried on my niece's jersey.. she's 7. lol

December 1.. Kaidi turned 5... the night before we enjoyed making cupcakes and she thought it was really cool that i made one special for her. 

Her party was the following weekend.. I was so excited for her birthday.. We only let her invite 5 friends and we had it at my mom's church. It was a paint party and the kids enjoyed painting different things and then came the moment her daddy and I had been waiting for for months! We bought her a horse.. I think the end of September? and decided to wait until her bday for her to know it was hers. She had been riding Mikey, but never knew it was hers.. She loved him more than anything and we couldn't have picked a better horse for her. 

Time out for some Kaidi and Mikey Pics

The next week, we left for Pigeon Forge to celebrate Christmas with my family. My parents decided to get a cabin and take us all to the Dixie Stampede for our Christmas this year. We left early Thursday morning and got to the cabin late that afternoon. It had a beautiful view... we enjoyed the pool table and the air hockey table and decided that we were going to go see Cades Cove the next morning.. well we woke up , started down the drive way.. got on the main road and my van started shaking like crazy.. We had NO clue what was going on.. there were a few things that we thought might be wrong, but here we were away from home and all the tools and stuff the guys needed.. we ended up taking the van back to the cabin and moving the carseats over to my brother in law's truck and driving it. It really messed things up for us because we were supposed to be leaving first thing in the morning heading back home a day early to make it to Gregg's moms 50th birthday party. We went to the Dixie Stampede that night and the kids LOVED it.. especially Kaidi! She would barely even eat her food for fear of missing something!!

We shared our gifts when we got back from the show.. it was a LONG night! lol

The next day, the guys looked at the van and went in to town after some tools and ended up having to take the emergency brake off of my van. Was not a fun job, but thankful that they were able to do it on their own and us not have to put it in a shop up there or have it towed home. :(
We weren't planning to be their an extra night so we really didn't know what to do that evening.. Our bunch went in to Gatlinburg and walked up and down the streets looking for a particular shop.. no luck, but we decided to have Kaidi's ears pierced again.. she was excited and nervous all at the same time..

When we got back to the cabin that night, we decided to let the kids decorate little Christmas trees. They had a wonderful time with that.

Woke up the next morning and headed home. I decided to take a little nap just outside of Birmingham... well Gregg woke me up a little later... "Mere, I think I missed a turn somewhere?" I pull out my phone and hit the location button on my maps.. we were in TUSCALOOSA! Sooo we grabbed a late lunch there and finally made it home!! It was a VERY long ride home! lol

That next weekend, I took the kids over to Andalusia to see Santa Claus on the square. It was so cute how they had the square decorated with all the little cottages, each themed differently..

We had Christmas at my grandparents on Christmas Eve at lunch and then had Christmas with Gregg's family that night. The kids got lots of great things and it was hard to settle them down that night to get ready for Santa Claus to come!

Making cookies for Santa

As Christmas arrived, Kaidi changed her mind on what she wanted Santa Claus to bring her.. she had been wanting an Easy Bake Oven, for months.. well all of a sudden she wanted a doll house for her barbies (she had quite the collection between her birthday and christmas parties). So Santa got busy and in 3 days whipped up a wonderful doll house! :)

Christmas wore the boys out!!
Out Cold! :)
Pretty much wraps up 2014... It was a wonderful, adventurous year for us. I am looking forward to all that 2015 has in store for us!

Looking through all these pictures I have realized just how many there were of Atlas sick since we've been back.. :( Poor fella.. ear infections.. strep... bronchitis.. rsv.. hmv... just back to back sickness..

October 20. Strep, Bronchitis, HMV

November 12. Bronchitis and RSV
December 16. Strep, Double ear infection and Bronchitis
And since this picture, he has had strep again and after seeing the ENT this past Friday, his Tonsils are coming out this Thursday! His surgery will take place in Dothan and they will keep him overnight because of his age. Prayers appreciated! Hoping he recovers as well as Asher did when he had his removed in December 2013.