No Longer Mother to High Schoolers. . .

Feeling a little old this week, not because of a birthday or anything, just because my youngest is graduating high school. I am now the mother of two college students and that makes me feel old. When the boys were both in school and i was no longer the mother of preschoolers (MOPS) I was sad. Today I am thrilled!! Big T will be joining his brother in Massachusetts this Fall.

Very Excited for Big T

Big T received an academic scholarship and will be going to Massachusetts to complete his Bachelor of Science in business management and minor in music and playing lacrosse with his brother. I am so excited for Big T, I must toot his horn just a bit. He will be receiving his high school diploma in a few weeks as well as an Associates degree in business management from the community college. He was also inducted into Phi Theta Kappa honor society at the community college. This boy has it going on!!

Travel Mama. . .

I can not begin to explain how very happy I am that I will get to see my boys playing lacrosse together again. The hubby and I have plans to go see them play in person this next year if we can get around this whole COVID mess. We had a major weekend planned right when this all hit in April of last year. The plan was to go to Massachusetts to see Sprat play at his home field and then drive to Maine to watch him play. I was so excited, I have never been to Maine before and I was looking forward to watching my son play college lacrosse. Knew I would enjoy the scenery on the drive from Boston to Maine and I could not wait to try the food, the food, can I say that again the food! Have yet to try a lobster roll and I want one! My fingers are crossed that we will be able to make the trip next year for a couple of games.

Lots of work ahead of Big T. . .

Big T has his work cut out for him. He wants to major in business and minor in music. I have shared how he taught himself how to play the Ukulele during the shut down. He has also taught himself how to play the bass and the piano. I know I am the mama but he really is quite good to be self taught. He does love his heavy metal but he has learned at least one hymn on the piano that is beautiful.

Graduation Ahead. . .

The hubby and I were just talking about all the things we have to get for Big T for his dorm room this year. I posted after Sprat’s second year all the stuff we bought and did not need so I feel like I have a good grasp on what we have to pick up but it is still a lot. The school has provided him with a lap top the last four years so that is something he will have to purchase. I learned from Sprat that we will not be purchasing a printer since the college gives the kids access to printers all over campus. We will have to purchase another fridge for Big T’s dorm. He will also need a new book bag, sheets, pillows, laundry bag, shower caddy, towels, and anything else I can think of.

Quarantine and Garden Beds

Quarantine update first. . .

The oldest has been in quarantine two times since he went back to school in MA. The first time he had contact with someone that tested positive and this second time he had tested positive to COVID 19. It was killing this mama being more than fourteen hours away from my baby and him sick with this nasty virus. The only saving grace was his symptoms were very, very mild. I am even skeptical if he actually had the virus. He never ran a fever and his only symptom was a stuffy nose and a little head congestion and he did mention he could not taste his chocolate milk they gave him. A lack of taste is the only symptom that differs from North Carolina allergy symptoms and that lack of taste lasted only a day or two.

Garden Beds and dirt. . .

The hubby decided to build raised beds for our garden this year. He loved what he did with my cutting bed last year and how it turned out. The garden beds look similar but are a little deeper. Quarantine has really made my poor hubby nuts, he has not been able to actually go out and work, they have been working remote since March last year. To pass the time he has been building these beds and researching how to garden in raised beds. I should be happy, he could be surfing porn sites, instead he is surfing garden and planting sites. Oh, and he is not just surfing garden sites, he is an avid fisherman so he has been honing those skills too via the internet.

This is one of the long beds and there are 4 square beds and another long narrow bed.
These are asparagus roots that are going in one of the square beds
This is what the beds looked like before dirt.

What is he planting. . .

Asparagus are a tricky veggie to plant. You plant those ugly roots and you have to let them grow for two years before you can harvest them. That two years may be difficult, I really like asparagus but I promised I would not cut any until the right time. We have onions, sweet peas, cabbage, and broccoli already in the ground. I have planted some dill, spinach, and some chives by seed on our back porch. The hubby is trying his hand at starting celery by using old celery and he has started some tomatillo’s by seed in the window sill.

The Cut Flower Bed. . .

The cut bed wintered over very well. We planted some bulbs that are already breaking ground. I cannot wait to see and smell my beautiful and fragrant flowers. Just need to keep the bunnies out of it. I have spread dryer lint and hair from my hair brush around the bed to deter those voracious little guys. Keeping my fingers crossed because the bulbs are breaking ground and prove very promising.

These are some of my little sprouts from the cutting bed.

Stay Tuned. . .

Stay tuned for more garden updates and Mom advice. . .

No Cell Phones for the Kiddos

I took a lot of crap on this one. . .

A little back story; most if not all of Sprat’s friends got phones by the time they were in middle school, some even had them in elementary school. The hubby and I were of the mindset that phones are a need for adults not a toy for children. During this time I was a stay at home mom and the boys were either at school or with me. No reason for either of my boys to have a phone. There are some cases where I understand a child would need a phone to reach a parent if both parents worked and there could be transportation issues. Let us not forget how many kids went through the school system before there were phones and survived just fine. Even parents can fall in to the trap of peer pressure.

One of the main reasons my boys did not get a phone until it was a need. . .

Cell phones give people access to the internet and all sorts of communication. For adults cell phones are a necessary evil to be productive in their jobs. Children do not need that kind of unlimited access to the internet or their friends. Giving a child a cell phone is like inviting their bully from school into your home, the pedophile that was just released from prison or has not been caught yet into your home. Yes, I am being very serious there is so much out there that children should not have access and you cannot be there all the time to watch over that interaction. Kids are bullied every day in school, both of my boys were and you would not believe by who. If they had phones during that time those bullies would have had access to my boys at home where they should feel safe and secure.

Yes, adults/parents can fall victim to peer pressure. . .

Determined I would not fall victim to peer pressure with my boys. Sprat in fifth grade and Big T in third grade, Big T jumps in the car and reports Sally has an iPhone. I have changed the names to protect the overindulgent parents. LOL!! I simply replied Ok, and how was everyone’s day? I tried to gloss over that because I knew that would set Sprat off because all he could talk about was how he needed a phone. I always laughed and told them both a phone was not a need for a child. I have to ask why a third grader needs a phone and an iPhone to boot? It has to be peer pressure, no normal parent would say; hey, let’s spend $800 on a new phone for our special little third grader.

You would think my children were the most deprived. . .

To hear my oldest tell about his phoneless sophomore year of high school you would think we shoved bamboo shoots under his finger nails every night after dinner (liver and onions). By Sprat’s freshman year in high school all of his friends really did have phones, but many of them bought them with their own money. I have no problem with a kid that has a job buying a phone and paying for his service and phone himself . In fact, I thank that is awesome and kudos to the parents that have kids that are that industrious. Mine were not that industrious, Sprat thought his dad and I printed money in the basement.

The straw that broke the camels back . . .

When Big T was finishing up sixth grade my very sweet hubby was re-organized out of a job. Yep, two weeks shy of twenty-five years with the same company my sweet hubby was laid off. He looked for work and after six months with no luck I decided to look for something part time to help with insurance once his severance ran out. I found a great job that I could work part-time with insurance benefits. This was very exciting, but this meant that days I worked Big T would be riding the bus. The boys did not mind riding the bus, they had ridden it a couple of times before. The problem was that being part-time I could get called in at the drop of a hat. This meant that Big T’s transportation could change with very little notice.

Need to back track here just a bit, at this point Sprat has his license and yes a phone too (not an iPhone). Sprat got a flip phone not a smart phone for his first phone when he started driving. I do believe kids that are driving do need a phone for just in case. Now Big T a seventh grader is going to get a phone (not an iPhone). When Big T got a phone I broke down and Sprat did finally get a smart phone. Let all the horrible mama talk begin. . .

In Conclusion. . .

I have laid it all out here, you must in the end make the decision that best fits you and your child. Just remember once you open Pandora’s Box you cannot close it.

A Little More Advice for Mom’s

These are few things I wish I had done sooner. . .

I found this on Pinterest many years ago. You can find neat things to do with and for your kids on Pinterest. You write your child letters and enclose money in each letter, not a lot of money a five, a twenty, whatever you have extra. According to Pinterest you are supposed to write one letter each year and give them to your child at their high school graduation.

Did not find this one until the boys were older, so I wrote to the boys more frequently throughout the years. Sprat got his letters when we left him at school his freshman year in college. I did give him direction on opening them, he was told he could only open one a month. When he realized there was money in them I was afraid he would tear through them and not really read what I had written. My goal here was to give my child something that I had written in my own hand that told him how much he was loved when he was growing up and how I felt when we argued and that no matter what his Dad and I were very proud of him. Let’s face it, teens do test their parents to the very end.

The picture is a little dark but those are Sprat’s letters in his hand as we get ready to leave him in Boston.

School teachers and your kids. . .

I saw this one on Pinterest too. I did not do this one personally but I thought it was neat and had I found it when the boys were younger I would have done it. Take one of your child’s favorite books and each year have their favorite teachers write a note to them in the book. Pinterest suggested books like Dr Seuss or the Berenstain Bears. When your kids graduate high school they have a book full of positive notes from their favorite teachers throughout their school years.

A little garden stone. . .

Throughout your child’s school career they will make hand print turkeys, footprint I love you notes, and cut out hearts with their pictures for mom. Hobby Lobby and other shops of that nature sell make your own stepping or garden stones. We purchased two when we moved to our new house in 2006 and the boys created their very own stones to put in our flower bed. These stones still adorn our front flower bed today. They have their hand prints and some shards of glass and the date they were joyfully created. I wish I had done a few more at different times I could have my own garden path made with their little hands and feet.

Big T’s stone, you just barely see his little hand print.

Pinterest is a neat little library of ideas. . .

Pinterest holds a wealth of information from everything to job searches to recipe ideas. I found many little things to do with my kids to enhance their education and expand their horizons. Check out my Pinterest boards for yourself. https://www.pinterest.com/pamperedpage

Year in Review . . .

Review of our year 2020, what a doozie it was. Mom recovered, they got a new house and the boys have survived being on lock down for the pandemic.

2020, Let Us Look Back. . .

2020 was a whirl wind of ups and downs for our family. My mom recovering from hip replacement and she and Dad staying in an apartment while the basement of their home was being renovated for one level living. I say renovated I should say gutted and re-built because that is what really happened. My sister, her husband, and my brother worked tirelessly to get everything up to date and code. We moved them back home in November and we celebrated Thanksgiving in the newly renovated basement. Mom and Dad could not be happier in their house and familiar surroundings.

Sprat Came Home. . .

Sprat came home from College in Massachusetts early and his lacrosse season was cut short. A strong finish for the Sophomore year with Academic All Conference award. He continued his College courses from home remotely. He is heading back to Massachusetts in a week to start his Spring semester and fingers are crossed for a lacrosse season.

Family pictures over the Christmas break, this will be Sprat’s Jr year of College picture. Such a handsome devil.

Big T had a Banner Year . . .

Big T had his Junior year lacrosse cut short by the pandemic and he completed his Junior year of school from home. This Senior year has also been a remote year for Big T. We found out that if he completes his course work that he is on track to complete that he will not only have his high school diploma in May but he will also have an Associates degree in business administration from our Community College. We are very proud of him for this huge accomplishment. This is not only big for him but big for us, this will be a savings on his Bachelor’s degree and if he chooses to go for a Masters it will not take as long.

Big T, this will be his Senior portrait since I hated the ones that the school took. How hard is it really to get a decent picture of a kid???

Apparently it is harder than I thought to get that good picture I was hoping for.

The Hubby and I Survived. . .

Finally, the hubbs and I survived being shelter in place for the better part of 2020, with two boys teen and twenty, due to the fact the hubbs company sent him home and my office sent me home and we kept the kids home. Sprat was more angry about being at home than Big T, Big T is of course the hypochondriac of our group and was thrilled to learn he could complete school at home. Sprat was not so happy, he wanted to visit with his friends once he had returned home. We kept them on lock down to start with and then we gradually let them start going out with masks and only to certain places.

Love these goofy boys to the moon and back!!

Would not Have Survived without this Guy. .

Love this guy too! Do not know what I would do without this one.

This guy has been our rock through all of this mess. He has done the shopping, the cooking and even some of the cleaning. He cooks for me when I am working and cannot go up stairs to grab a bite and he brings it to me sometimes with a little special treat. (chocolate) Always making sure I have plenty of caffeine cold in the fridge and will even go out in the worst of weather if I need some.

the Garden Grows in the COVID. . .

the Hubbs has been busy. . .

My husband has been very busy in the COVID pandemic. Our garden has been plowed and planted, he added tomatillos and some peppers yesterday. My cutting flower bed also has a good start. I was told we will take a trip to Lowes to get some timber to build up the bed. There is nothing like the smell of fresh cut flowers.

This was my herb garden last year. The hubbs built this little raised bed. This is similar to what my new cut flower bed will look like.
This was the herb bed yesterday. Sage, lemon Thyme, chives, Rosemary, and some Oregano hidden by the Rosemary, oh and Lemon balm. I also have Lavender and garlic planted here. It has grown nicely.
This is where my new cut flower bed will be. The hubbs has been busy during the stay at home order. You can see I already have a peony in place, it will be fixed in a better location in the bed. There is also another peony behind that one that will go in the bed eventually.
The garden: onion, cabbage, potatoes, peas, lettuce, spinach, and newly planted peppers, tomatillos, cucumbers, and zucchini.

There is a lot going on in our yard this year. Spring will be all a buzz at our house and I cannot wait.

I was able to talk the hubby into buying some flowers for my pot on the front porch, since my flower bed is not quite ready. We could not find any cedar timbers yesterday anywhere in town. Everyone must be building flower beds and raised garden beds. For now this will be my cut flower garden and my few peony plants I have in the front and the back.

What are you doing in the stay at home order to keep your sanity? Tell me how you are dealing with school for your kids and keeping everyone happy.

Lock Down Update. . .

What a crazy world we live in. . .

What a crazy world we are living in these days. The government has told us to stay home unless you are doing something essential. What is essential exactly? Is it essential for your kids to have sleep overs? Does a family BBQ with fifty of your closest friends and family constitute essential? Is it essential for you to buy seeds to plant your garden that you and your family live on throughout the year? Who decides what is and is not essential? Who??

What is essential. . . I know you were wondering. . .

Apparently being essential depends on if the government sees your employer as being essential. Healthcare, grocery, take out restaurants, and hardware stores seem to all be essential. These are the places that are open and going strong around us. There was some talk of stores not allowing folks to buy seeds, art supplies, crafts, books, music or any entertainment. In my personal opinion all of those are essential. If moms and dads are staying home educating their kids they need access to all of these items. Books are essential for everyone no matter the age.

These two goofballs are why I stay home they are also why I keep them at home.

Why should you stay at home???

When you are on a stay-at-home order by the government it means you are suppose to stay at home unless your job is essential. The hubs and I have been on a self imposed stay at home since he was told to stay home by his company and I was sent home to work remotely by my company. That was about March 15th. We both work in healthcare so we see the ramifications of not staying at home. We both understand how these little buggers are transmitted and the obvious ways to curb transmission. We stay at home to protect our kids and our loved ones in other households.

This is my “Just Saying” moment. . .

This is not the time to go to the beach, this is not the time to have a sleep over for your kids because they are bored. You should be thinking about your health as well as those around you because you do not know who is and is not infected. I saw the statistics from the CDC on one of my first COVID 19 follow up webinars through work, one cab driver was connected to forty other cases in New York. This is how easily and simply this virus is transmitted. So please think before you plan that BBQ with your family and friends.

Stay safe and love your loved ones at a distance for now.

Here’s to Twenty-eight Years Together. . .

Twenty-eight years. . .

The hubbs and I have been married twenty-seven years this weekend. Together twenty-eight years, we met at my very first job right out of college, we were lab partners. Working third shift right out of college in a town I knew nothing about and the only person I knew was my roommate a friend from college. The hubbs and I were friends and lab partners first, we ran the same test in the lab.

Love at first sight. . .

It was love at first sight for me, not sure about my hubby. We hung out as friends those first several months and then we had a “date.” We still argue of what is and is not a date. He says what I considered a date was not really a date. I do love what he considered our first date. He took me to dinner and then on a horse and buggy ride in October, so we got to snuggle. A true romantic at heart, he will never admit that though and I am perfectly fine with that.

Hope for the future. . .

I hope that my husband and I have shown our boys what real love is about. We argue and we fight but we also compromise and make up. We work together to keep house and make our house a home. During this virus quarantine he has really come through with taking care of our family. I have been working night shift from home and he makes me dinner before I have to go downstairs to the office and log on. He also has been doing most of the cooking and making sure the boys are doing their school work.

Marriage and the quarantine . . .

We have been shelter in place long before the governor made it so. The hubbs and I knew it was the best practice to keep our family safe. These next few weeks will be trying, keeping the boys occupied and keeping ourselves from going stir crazy. Someone said that these circumstances bring out the true character of someone. It can make someone who is generous be more generous or it can make someone that is a jerk be more of a jerk. I have seen the true character of my hubby and it is someone that is generous, caring, and very talented in all that he does. I hope that my boys will follow his lead growing up and growing into young men.

Conclusion . . .

We will celebrate quietly tonight as a family our twenty-seven years together: no fan fare, no exotic trip, no large group of friends, just the four of us. That is what being on quarantine means. This is what you do to keep those you love safe. Please stay safe and stay at home to keep everyone safe.

We celebrated twenty-five years together in St. Lucia, WI.

Fair Warning, this is a RANT!

This is the product of being at home almost two weeks with: my husband (cooking all the time) and my two teenage boys eating all the time. And here we go. . .

What is going on????

What is going on in this world? People think just because their kids are out of school and they are on furlough or work from home order that they can pack up and go to the beach. Why would you do that, why would you put yourself and others at risk by going out of town to stay where you do not know anyone or have any family near by? What happens if you get sick then your family is stuck where they do no know anyone and have no help for your kids if you get put in the hospital? What happens when your hometown goes on lock down and you cannot get back to your home, family, pets you may have left?

Folks you need to wake up. . .

Folks you need to wake up and realize that this is not a vacation it is a serious issue. My husbands Bass club plans to have a fishing tournament two hours away in an area that has many cases of this virus and has been on lock down longer than we have. My husband is not going nor is his brother, they have a little more sense and wives with more sense than that. The shelter at home orders are for everyone’s safety. This is not a time to go visit older relatives, this not the time to pack up the family and go to the beach. My husband and I have been on shelter in place since March 17th, that was when I started working from home full-time. I work with the Organ Donor organization for our State, we started our precautions to protect employees as well as: doctors, nurses, donors, donor families, and recipients. The boys have been on lock down since they both have been home from school.

What I would like to see. . .

What I would like to see come out of this Pandemic is, people starting to care about someone other than themselves. I am tired of hearing about the poor seniors that did not get this or that how about we start caring about those that are sick and dying and worry about how we can keep everyone safe and healthy all that other stuff can be done when this is over. I would like to hear how the Senior class of 2020 is going to do something to help the folks affected by this pandemic not hear them, “oh woe is me.” It is not even the kids that really care about it, it’s the parents that are crying about it.

I will get off my soap box now. . .

Yes, it is sad that the Seniors may not get their graduation in a timely manner and they may not get a Prom. Let’s look at the BIG picture and think about the lives that are saved because they stayed home. I am sad my sons’ did not get to have a complete season of lacrosse and bless Sprat’s heart he has had two seasons cut short. Life happens and it does not always go the way we would like it to go. My prayers through all of this are that God is watching over our young people and that we make it through this and we are better for it in the end.

Life, Home Schooling and the COVID19. . .

Life in the Pandemic. . .

We are sheltering in place, not because we have to, but because it is logical. When faced with the possibility of the spread of a virus like this one, it makes sense to limit contact with others. I am an introvert so, this is not as difficult as it sounds. The boys are having a little harder time with it all. They have gone out just to ride around and get some fresh air, I have threatened them within inches of their lives if they go anywhere to visit right now. They went out yesterday and Sprat took some pictures of two fields near our house and sent them to his “friend” in MA. The closest field to the friend is apparently a good little stretch in MA. I had to giggle just a little, the things we take for granted.

PE in the COVID 19. . .

The boys have both been out every day a couple times a day to throw and play wall ball (lacrosse). They are keeping their skills for the next season of Lax, whenever that might be. The hubbs has been practicing his gardening skills, he bought me some celery plants and has planted potatoes. We have radishes and peas to plant also. We have onions in the ground already from the winter.

Sprat in PE
Big T did not get a Lax picture so here it is.
PE in the COVID19 homeschool…
The big green orb is our composter for the garden. LOL!!
My Lax boys. . . love them to the moon and back.

Life does go on. . .

The hubbs is home until further notice, I am still working but from home. The boys are still doing school work and practicing their lacrosse skills. They are sometimes testing my patience. The one thing this “pandemic” has done is bring us all a little closer. Our family dinners around the table had sort of gone away, we all had somewhere to be but, with this virus none of us have anywhere to be but here. There is always a plan, nothing happens by chance, perhaps this is the message we should be taking away from all of this. Be home with your family, take care of your family, love your family.