Our Crazy Life, Always Changing!

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Prelude to this post. Throughout this post you will see photos from our move to Illinois, travels and random things I thought was pretty. I hope you enjoy the photos!

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It is hard to believe that it has been a few YEARS since my last blog post. I am always amazed how fast the years go now that I am an adult with 3 kids.  There are times when I wish we could just slow time down. Here is it, almost Easter already and Christmas seems like it was months ago. A lot has happened in these past few years. Army deployments, retirement from the Army and the big move back home to Illinois.  No more deployments!

We put our Florida house on the market the beginning of February 2017 and we moved from Florida at the beginning of May to Illinois. The sale of our house ended up taking almost 7 months, which was very frustrating. All the things we did to the house (besides putting in a pool) didn’t help with the sale of the house. Everyone wanted a pool! The family who ended up buying our beautiful home, loved all that we did to it and will be putting in a pool! Glad we found a family who will love the house as much as we did!

The kids had the hardest time with this move. They had really good friends, whom they played with or hung out with almost everyday. We had a great church there, with lots of activities and was growing so much that they had to add a new building.  Our middle daughter and son had a group of kids that they played with everyday. One set of boys are red heads and the other set of boys are blondies, I called them my red head sons and blondie sons! To be honest, I miss them a lot. All of them are very good kids! Our middle daughter had a few girl friends up the road where they would have a great time baking and having bake sales at the club house.  Our oldest had great friends from our homeschool group and church, whom she was always spending time with.

We lived in an area that had a grocery store, Walgreens, Taco Bell, Burger King within a 2 minute drive from the house. The last year we lived there, I allowed our girls to ride their bikes or roller blade, in a group a friends, up to Walgreens or the other places. They really loved doing this because it gave them a sense of freedom.  It was really cool for them!

For my husband and me, we were excited for the next chapter of our lives. Since we got married in 1995, my husband has been on active duty and we have been on the Army’s timeframe.  Now that he was retiring, we are able make plans farther out into the year and not have to worry about a surprise deployment or field exercise.

Knowing that we could plan vacations, we decided to take a few to celebrate our new found freedom!  We took a week and went to the Wisconsin Dells.  While we were there, my husband and son took an overnight canoe trip on the same river that we took our honeymoon on.  The next trip was up to Minnesota.  The girls were accepted into a military kids camp and since it was 9 hours away from our home, we decided to go camping close to the girls’ camp.  This was the first time our son got to go camping. The last trip was our biggest one. We drove out to Utah, spent a few days with our friends there. They took us to their cabin in Idaho and we had a great time.  My husband and I left our kids with our friends in Utah and then flew to Vancouver, B.C.!  There we met up with my parents and 2 other couple and we loaded on a boat that was headed for Alaska! I think I will make a whole blog post about that trip… so much to talk about.  It was an amazing trip and a great way to celebrate retirement!

In Florida, we lived in a very large homeschool friendly area and we knew it was going to be hard to leave our groups. I started researching for groups in Illinois but they were hard to find. Finally, I did find a couple and one with competitive sports, but that one is about 30-40 minutes away (because they are 30-40 miles away). In the end, we finally found a local group that we are using for elective classes and meeting people. We have really enjoyed this co-op but miss having sports to go along with it! Since our co-op doesn’t have sports, our two younger kids decided to play softball and baseball this fall. That was a fun experience. They had a good time.

This year, our oldest started high school. We had a lot of hard discussions and prayers about what we were going to do. Do we continue homeschooling where she fought me  to do work or do we put her back in public school or the local Lutheran high school? We decided, after lots of prayers, that she would go to the Lutheran high school and we couldn’t have made a better decision! She is thriving there and has enjoyed sports and other aspects of high school! She played volleyball in the fall, club volleyball from December through the 8th of April (the last day of the last tournament) and for spring. she is doing track and field. With everything that she is doing, we are please to say that she has all A’s!

I love seeing how resilient our kids are… from moving multiple times, making friends, moving away from friends, friends moving away, Daddy deploying over and over again, leaving homes they loved, and so much more! Our military life had so many ups and downs but we wouldn’t have traded it for anything. These experiences have only made all of us stronger and more resilient to all aspects of life. I believe that God has made us a path and is protecting us while we are traveling down life’s path.

Enjoy your path!

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Thank you for reading about our adventures! I would love to hear from you. Comment below and tell me some your favorite adventures. Remember this is a family site so keep it clean! 🙂 Thanks!

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Advent Calender Time is Here!

The other day, my daughter (the blondie) and I were talking about homeschooling.  She asked why she had to be homeschooled and I told her we were not happy with the school system here!  Then she said that she was happy that we homeschool and really did love it.  This came as a surprise to me because there are days (bad days) when she says she doesn’t want to homeschool or that she wants to go back to public school.  So, when she said that she loved it, I was shocked!  As we sat and talked, she rattled off some of the reasons why we are blessed to be able to homeschool:  they got to play volleyball, they had their STEM class, they get to sleep in (meaning, they are up around 7:45 and we start schooling around 9:30-10), we get to go on more then 2 field trips in a year, special activities, park day… The list could go on.  But one of the things that she didn’t realize is that since we do homeschool and don’t have to be up at 6:30 am, we can do more together as a family at night!  So, bring on the fun Advent activities!

Fun Advent Calender Activities!

Advent Calender Copyright by Holly Hedman

Advent Calender
Copyright by Holly Hedman

This year, seeing as the kids don’t have to be in bed by 7:30 pm, we are doing a couple of fun Advent activities.  The kids have been enjoying the homemade advent calender from Only Passionate Curiosity.  This Advent calender is different then the ones you buy in the store because you (the parent) can pick what goes inside of it.  Plus, it is homemade… Who doesn’t like homemade things?  Only Passionate Curiosity even gives you predetermined activities or you can write an activity a blank activity sheet that they designed for you!

Girls enjoyed stringing popcorn Copyright by Holly Hedman

Girls enjoyed stringing popcorn
Copyright by Holly Hedman

What I picked for our family: some predetermined activities and some activities I wrote.  The activities I wrote were events that we already planned, so that works out perfectly! One of the predetermined activity was to watch a Christmas movie.  I put that together with string popcorn for garland.  Made for a great memory maker type of night!

Truth In The Tinsel

Our Family Working On Our Project Copyright by Holly Hedman

Our Family Working On Our Project
Copyright by Holly Hedman

Crown Copyright by Holly Hedman

Crown
Copyright by Holly Hedman

On top of doing our Advent calender activities we are doing a 25 day Bible study that has a craft for every day!  It is called Truth In The Tinsel.  I am going to quote their website because they said it perfectly!  “Each day Truth In The Tinsel will lead you through a passage of scripture, a corresponding ornament craft and talking points for you and your kids.  It is more then a devotion– it’s meditation and hands-on learning for kids.  It is more then a craft book– it is a memory builder for your family.  It is more then an ebook– it is an experience and adventure in God’s word!”  I truly don’t think I could have explained it any better!  You could just do this as your Advent calender but I decided to do both!

Slow down this Christmas season!

Seeing as homeschool has given us the freedom, that I didn’t know I craved, we are taking the time to spend together throughout the week as a family doing special memory making Advent activities!  I hope you do too!

Wishing you a very Happy and Merry Christmas!  I hope you take time to study the Word with your family and slow down to enjoy this wonderful season!  Your kids are young only once, so go and make those special moments with them that they will cherish for a lifetime!

Merry Christmas!

Here are the links to the great activities I talked about!

Truth In Tinsel an Advent Experience For Little Hands

Truth In Tinsel an Advent Experience For Little Hands

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Thanks for taking time to read about our journey into homeschooling.  Please feel free to share my blog with your friends and family!  Also, I would love to learn from you and how you homeschool.  Please leave a comment below.  Have a Blessed Christmas season!

A New Journey

Copyright by Holly Hedman

Copyright by Holly Hedman

Oh, the life of a Soldier and his family! 

We started off our journey together back in 1995 (um, yeah, I just dated myself) when Dan and I were married.  Our first move was to Oklahoma for 6 months of training.  We actually enjoyed Oklahoma, but we were there in the winter so we didn’t have to deal with the heat.  Once training was done, off to North Carolina for 5 1/2 years. We had many adventures during our time there but I will save those for another time.

Our next duty station was in Tennessee and that is where our first daughter (the brunette in the photo above) was born.  Beautiful Tennessee was home for 3 1/2 years then, while pregnant with our second child (the blonde in the photo above), we moved back to North Carolina.  This time we only lived North Carolina for 2 years and then the Army sent us out to Monterey, CA!  Oh, how fun it was to there!  We really enjoyed Monterey, so much to see and many adventures were had.  While there our oldest daughter started Kindergarten.  She was only able to do one semester there and then off again.  Eighteen months was not long enough… so many more things I wanted to do while there, oh well!  We left California in December while I was 8 months pregnant with our third (the boy in the photo). This time we moved home to Illinois for 6 months and then landed in Tennessee again.

Point Lobos Copyright by Holly Hedman

Point Lobos California State Park                                     Copyright by Holly Hedman

Yes, being a military family… it is never a dull moment.  I have to say, as much as we loved living in Monterey,  Tennessee truly felt like home to all of us.  It is truly beautiful in Tennessee with the rolling hills and big oak trees.  Have you ever experienced Tennessee in the fall? Oh, my!  The colors are just amazing, the crisp fall air, leaves falling everywhere and the aroma from the smoke houses (that is how the dry tobacco) makes for the best autumn!  We thought we were only going to get to stay in Tennessee for 2 years, but we ended up staying for 3 years.  It was so nice not having to move for awhile but it made it soooooooooo much harder to move for many reasons. One reason was because we knew it was the last time we would live there.

Copyright by Holly Hedman

Moving Day

Copyright by Holly Hedman

Boxes in every room

Every move we have made has been an adventure and we really enjoy living in different areas of our great nation! But, each move has been a little bit harder because you leave great friends.  Once we added kids in the mix, moving became even more difficult because we are disrupting their sense of “normalcy” and taking them away from the friends they made.  But moving day came and it was time for our next journey, this time to Tampa, Florida.  This move was particularly hard because we all made such good friends and had a GREAT school that the kids went to. We loved our neighborhood we lived in and love having the pond behind our house where we would go fishing all the time!  We were happy there.  But, here we go again… All packed up and ready to go and see what our next adventure brings!

Copyright by Holly Hedman

Pond behind our house.

 

 

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Thanks for taking time to read about our journey into homeschooling.  Please feel free to share my blog with your friends and family!  Also, Please leave a comment below.  Have a Blessed Day!