52 Lists: Life’s Trials that Made Me Better

Many of the blogs on the list of blogs that I read (fairly) regularly are other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew. One blog in particular, Mom’s Heart, has been writing along with the 52 Lists linkup created and hosted by Chasing Slow. I didn’t realize until recently that it was a “public” linkup, but now that I know, I’m going to work on including one of these posts each week. (I don’t know exactly what I thought it was. Some sort of by-invitation-only thing, I guess.)

52 lists with Chasing Slow

This week is quite an emotional one to start with; maybe that’s a good thing. This is an especially difficult list for a couple of reasons. First of all, most of the time, I feel like I live a pretty charmed life. There’s not that much that’s “bad enough” to be considered one of life’s trials. The other reason that makes this such a hard list for me is that one of the things I want to talk about is incredibly sensitive. This item is extremely personal – something I haven’t really talked to anyone about outside of one friend via email. This item in particular might even be considered “controversial,” especially if it’s something you’ve never experienced. Knowing that there are some people I know in real life (including my husband) who read these pages makes it all the harder. Part of me is concerned over potential backlash for some of my feelings. But as hard as it will be to get it all out there, I’m confident it’ll be okay in the long run.

So, here are my Life’s Trials that Made Me Better.

Many Broke Years

We spent many of the early years in our marriage completely broke. For about four or five years, we lived in government subsidized housing, and for one of those years we were literally so poor that our landlord paid us each month. It wasn’t fun at the time, but now I can look back on those days and understand that going through it made me appreciate the more comfortable lifestyle we now lead.

My First C-Section

When I was in the hospital for Munchkin’s birth, I expected nothing less than to have a fairly uncomplicated, medicated, vaginal birth like I’d had with Seahawk. Things fell apart about 8 hours into my (induced) labor, though, and I ended up with an emergency c-section. This event nearly 10 years ago has set the stage for all of my successive births to follow suit. I’ve had two c-sections since this one, and I embrace the idea of them a little more each time.

Gender Disappointment During Pregnancy

This is the one that I mentioned might be controversial. It’s a difficult thing to bring up, but it’s something I’ve been living for quite some time (despite the fact that my most recent pregnancy ended nearly 8 months ago). First, please understand that my feelings and emotions regarding this particular “trial” have absolutely no bearing on my children; I love them more than I can even express. But the fact remains that I never in a million years envisioned or expected to have children of only one gender. For the first half of my pregnancies with both Small Fry and Dragonfly, I’d convinced myself that after two (and then three) boys, I was finally going to have a girl. At the same time, I told myself over and over again that I’d be okay with another boy, but then when the doctor said the “magic” words, I was completely overwhelmed with emotion (not in a good way). I don’t despair over my children, but sometimes I do despair over the daughter I may never have.

So. Maybe that last one isn’t something that “makes me better,” especially since it’s not something I’ve allowed myself to get over, but it is a pretty huge trial. If you’ve never experienced it, you’re lucky. If you have, then you understand where I’m coming from…

Thanks again to Chasing Slow for hosting this linkup.


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Book Release: Casey and Kyle – I Think We’re Gonna Need More Towels!!!


A few weeks ago, Will’s new book hit the market. Casey and Kyle: I Think We’re Going to Need More Towels!!! is the fourth comic book featuring his characters. To celebrate, we had a book launch party at the library. They graciously offered not only to let us use the room for free, but to be the official hosts for the party. This meant that we were included in all of their email blasts, on the official calendar, and got a spot on the reader board for a few days prior to the event. They even purchased a cake with the book cover on it!

We provided a giveaway (Will donated two of his original “Sunday” cartoons as prizes) and a few games: draw your own Casey and Kyle, “The Rejected Idea Toss” (bean bag toss with crumpled paper instead of bean bags), and get your picture taken with Casey and Kyle (we had life-size cutouts of the characters made).

There was quite a good turnout (better than Beverly Cleary’s 100th birthday celebration, but not quite as many as the Elephant and Piggie party). There was a lot of good feedback from the librarians as well as fans of the books, and Will sold quite a few books which was a blessing for our family, too.

If you’re interested in learning more about Casey and Kyle, check out Will’s website. If you’d like to buy a book, you can do that in his online store (or email me, wmr1601(at)gmail(dot)com, and I can hook you up).


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Elephant and Piggie

One of our very favorite book series is Elephant and Piggie by Mo Willems. Have you read those? If not, stop reading right now, go to your library and pick one up, read it, and come back.

I’ll wait.




Funny, right?

Sadly, with the publication of the most recent Elephant and Piggie book, The Thank You Book, the series is over. There are 25 adventures featuring these two, and it’s been a great ride. In honor of the event, our local library hosted an Elephant and Piggie party, which featured loads of different crafts and photo opportunities for the children. There was also a drawing, the prizes for which were a selection of books (one per winner) or a stuffed toy (one Elephant Gerald and one Piggie).


A photo posted by Wendy (@ladybugdaydreams) on

We took the boys to the party, not entirely sure what to expect. But we knew that we wanted to attend because Small Fry is a huge fan of these books. It was really sweet to see him getting so involved in these activities. Even today, almost a week later, he’s got all of his paper crafts (paper bag puppets, learn to draw the characters, write a letter to the characters, things like that) in a place of honor at the foot of his bed for “safekeeping.”

And on Tuesday (the first day the library was open after the party), we got a phone call letting us know that he’d won a book. That was one happy boy!


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Picture of the Week: Then and Now

Baby Dragonfly is 6 months old today. I’m always amazed at how quickly the time goes, especially the first year of a baby’s life. They change so rapidly that it seems like the time is gone in the blink of an eye. I think back to my birth experience often (always fondly), and I long for the days when he was tiny enough that I just wanted to hold him all day long. Now he’s heavy (over 17 pounds!), he’s grown 7 inches since his birth, and he’s a wiggle worm. He doesn’t crawl up on all fours yet, but he inchworms his way around the living room. He hasn’t figured out that he can go around walls, but I know that’s coming.

In honor of Dragonfly’s half-birthday, I want to share a picture of him at birth (technically, he’s two days old in the picture; he was born on Friday, and the photographer came by on Sunday) and a current picture.

Dragonfly at birth

A hospital picture


As a side note, I find it coincidentally appropriate that he was born on Friday the 13th, and his very first half-birthday also falls on Friday the 13th. How neat 🙂



A photo posted by Wendy (@ladybugdaydreams) on


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A Special Gift for You!

As you may know, I’m a member of The Schoolhouse Review Crew, which is run by The Old Schoolhouse magazine (TOS). An opportunity arrived recently for me to choose some of the digital content that TOS produces (which is wonderful!) that I could give to you for free! I’m so excited to be able to offer this to you, and I truly hope you’ll take advantage of it. The only thing I ask in return is that you head on over to Facebook (if you have an account there) and “like” the TOS page. They’re trying to up their numbers, and every little bit helps 🙂 There’s no obligation to do so in order to take advantage of my offers today, but it would be much appreciated if you did.

Here are the products I’m offering for you. I took care in selecting these items, and I hope there’s something for everyone. I’ve chosen one for spiritual health, one for homeschooling, and one for homemaking. Make sure to read all the way to the end of the post in order to get the coupon code. Enjoy!

Hey Mama! 31-day Devotional

Are you a weary mama, or looking for a little encouragement? This 31-day devotional will help you to stop and gain a little perspective as you hang out with Gena Suarez, publisher of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine (TOS).

God Made Them All Wonder bundle

God made the most amazing critters and animals – from the fuzzy alpaca to creepy, six-legged insects, including the beautiful and graceful hummingbird. Begin a new adventure today studying this five e-book series.

Molly Green Magazine: Canning, Pantry, and Food Preservation Planner

This amazing planner is filled with checklists, plans and canning instructions to bring you one step closer to preserving your own food. Order your Canning Planner today!


I hope one, two, or all three of these items will bless you and your family today!

With the coupon code WRCREW16, you can get any of them absolutely free, just for being my reader. But hurry – the code is good only for the month of April.

Thank you from me, and thank you from the Old Schoolhouse.


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5 Random Things ~ March 18

5 random things

1. Today is my sister-in-law’s birthday. She’s joining the 30+ club 🙂

2. I spent last Friday morning getting a manicure and pedicure with my mom. She had wrist surgery on Wednesday rendering her unable to drive for a few weeks, but she didn’t want to give up her nail appointment (the surgery was scheduled at the last minute for some reason), so she called me and offered to buy me a mani/pedi if I drove her to her appointment. Score!

3. My double-pointed knitting needles just arrived yesterday. I feel lucky that they didn’t get confiscated at customs since the company I bought them from (in Hong Kong, off of Amazon) mislabeled the customs declaration as a “phone case.” I’m glad to have them so that I can continue work on Dragonfly’s sweater I’m knitting for him. I needed the DPNs in order to work the sleeves (double pointed needles is one way of making round things like hats and sleeves and pants legs).

4. Speaking of Dragonfly, he’s learned a new trick: rolling over. He mastered this prior to his 4-month “birthday.” Overachiever! 🙂

5. We finally figured out a cloth diaper solution that actually keeps Dragonfly dry. This is a big deal for me. We did cloth with Small Fry as well, but he was constantly wet, too. I’m so glad to have found a solution that works, especially since it’s been exceedingly cheap.


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5 Random Things: March 5

5 random things

1. We’ve had a 4-day school week for a while now, but Will and I decided that since we took several weeks (I think it was 8 or 9) off after Dragonfly’s birth – I needed time to recover from my c-section, and then it was Christmastime – that we should move back to a 5 day week, at least for a while. Last week was our first week back at that schedule, and it went pretty well. Hopefully it won’t get too overwhelming getting everything prepped for the week over the weekend. That’s why we switched to the 4 day model in the first place.

2. We played tennis today for the first time of the season. It was fun 🙂

3. Knitting is still going really well. After completing two pairs of baby booties, I’ve moved on to a baby cardigan. So far, so good on that, but I’m not to any of the difficult parts yet – sleeves and the yoke. I’ve ordered the double-pointed needles that I’ll need in order to make the sleeves. I’ve got plenty of work to do on the main part of the body before those arrive.

Cover-art-mockup-copy4. Speaking of knitting, Ravelry is my new favorite website. There are so many neat patterns on there! I look forward to trying some of them out as I continue to get better at this craft.

5. Will’s working diligently on his next book (more info on his website). He comes up with most of the ideas and does the drawing, but I do the final lettering on each of his comic strips, which means my fountain pen is getting a good workout these days 🙂 The public library is hosting his book launch party on April 30th, and we’re really excited about that. It should be a great party.


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A Day in our Homeschool

A Day in our Homeschool

I’ve never done one of these types of posts before, so I thought it might be kind of fun today.

Here’s what our day looked like yesterday.

8 a.m.

Dragonfly and I wake up. I nurse him and we snuggle while I check email and the Schoolhouse Review Crew forum from the mobile web on my phone.

8:30 a.m.

Small Fry wakes up. He’s still under quarantine from a bout of (mild) pneumonia so I take him breakfast in his bedroom today. When he finishes eating, it’s time for his medicine – an antibiotic and an inhaler.

10 a.m.

The big boys wake up. Normally I’d wake them up earlier, but Will kept them up late the night before, so I let them sleep in. They eat breakfast and wash the dishes. We’re ready for school by 11.

11 a.m.

School starts! It’s our first day using our new Logic of English curriculum, and that’s where we start today. I’ve spent the past week reading the teacher manual portion of the textbook, so I’m pretty comfortable teaching it.

A Day in our Homeschool collage11:30 a.m.

After hearing me get frustrated with Dragonfly for making so much  noise while I’m trying to teach a new curriculum to the boys, Will takes him out for half an hour so we can finish working through Logic of English. Before he leaves, he decides that he’ll spend the day going to record stores looking for “new” music. He asks if I want to go with him, and even though it’s a school day, I decide that sounds nice. So during the 45 minutes or so that he and Dragonfly are out running errands, the boys and I finish up the subjects they need my help with – English and Math. I give them specific instructions to finish up the other subjects on their own while I’m gone. There’s one other one that requires my help (writing), but it’s designed to be done only twice a week, so I’m okay putting it off until tomorrow. (Since Seahawk is 12 now, he stays home and babysits quite often. Not normally for as long as today, but frequently.)

12:30 p.m.

Will and Dragonfly arrive back home with lunch for the older boys. Confident that they know what to do, Will and I leave. (We take the baby with us.)

1 p.m.

Seahawk calls us to let us know that they’ve finished lunch and are going to finish their school now.

5 p.m.

Will and I arrive home from our day out. I check the boys’ work, and they’ve done a good job finishing their school on their own – and not burning down the house 😉 I love that I can trust them to be so responsible when we go out.

5:15 p.m.

Will takes the two older boys out for a few more errands. They’ve been stuck inside all day, so this is a welcome reprieve for them.

7 p.m.

Dinnertime! We have Japanese Curry (chicken and vegetable) over plain white rice.

8:15 p.m.

I leave for my exercise class – Aqua Zumba. I go twice a week, and it’s really great. I love it. While I’m gone, Will and the boys stay home (or go for a walk – I’m not entirely sure since I’m not here).

9:40 p.m.

I arrive home from Zumba. Will usually keeps the boys up until this time. I think he gets lonely otherwise. Shortly after I arrive home, it’s bedtime for Seahawk, Munchkin, and Small Fry. I change Dragonfly’s diaper and clothes into pajamas, then nurse him to sleep. The rest of the evening, until Will and I are ready for bed, is spent with him doing a bit of work since we were gone all day. While he’s working in his home office, I watch 7th Heaven on Amazon Prime and practice my knitting (I just learned how to knit this past Sunday).



While today wasn’t a “normal” day, it was a good one nonetheless. All of the work got done, the children were cared for, and everyone was happy. That makes it a success in my eyes.


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This post is part of a roundup that the Schoolhouse Review Crew is doing on “A Day in Our Homeschool.” For a glimpse into other families’ schedules, click the banner below to be taken to the roundup.

A Day in Our Homeschool

5 Random Things ~ Science and Crafting

5 random things

Another week, another round of 5 random things 🙂

1. I recently found that the science curriculum we’ve been using, Visual Learning Systems (which I reviewed last year and thought was expiring last month), is good through 2019. Woohoo!

2. I’ve been working on embroidering some flour sack towels to use in our kitchen lately. I like how they’re turning out (so far, I’m not quite done with the first one, otherwise I’d post a picture), but I was quite surprised by the loose weave of the towel. I’ve never used or had flour sack towels before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it certainly wasn’t that. I like them nonetheless, though. They work very well in the kitchen (I know because Will’s grandma is also embroidering us a set as a belated Christmas gift and she sent one as a “sample” in time for Christmas which we’ve been using).

3. I’ve also been crocheting a bit again. It’s nice to have time to make some crafts now that the baby is a bit older and doesn’t need to be held all the time (I love holding him, but it’s nice to get a break occasionally). I found some 100% Peruvian wool yarn in the exact shade of my pink sweater, so I made a hat for myself. The pattern is one that I hodge-podged myself from a few different ideas, so I’ll post about it, with the pattern, next week probably.

4. The store where I bought the yarn does “How to Knit” and “How to Crochet” classes. So long as you buy the supplies from them (yarn and needles/hooks), the class is free. (It’s $20 if you bring your own supplies from other stores, which is about the cost of just buying them from the store, so that’s what I’m going to do.) The knitting one is on Valentine’s Day, so I’m hoping to be able to take that class. I don’t think I need a crocheting class, but I’d love to learn to knit.

5. I can’t think of a 5th thing. I guess it hasn’t been a very exciting week!

Have a great weekend!


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