June 30, 2014

June 2014 In Pictures

Pics from June 2014. Be sure to read the update for full details. 
PCB with my girl!
She just had to have a new mask and snorkel. In green!
My peeps!
Here we go!
So thankful to be traveling with my Bham bestie!
Our MfM crew 
Lake Victoria (Nile) is gross. They carried us to the boat.
Trying not to get scorched by the sun. 
Rustic. 
Agnes, our Ugandan nurse & translator
Heading into one of the Villages
Working with the midwife on Lingira Island
KiKi with SHIM 
Sink ;)
Demonstrating Breastfeeding Techniques (AKA an excuse to hold a baby) ;)
Initiation. Drinking a Stoney like a real Ugandan. 
Prenatal Exams on a Bus
Bahahaha!
Summer Solstice!
So happy to be home with my peeps!
Zoo Camp

June 2014 Family Update

Summer is here officially now!

Per our usual, we started off the summer with a trip to the beach.
Skylar and I wrapped up our time there and headed back with just a few days to spare before she headed off to Mr. Bond Space Camp. She had a blast at this one and definitely wants to go it again next year. She also enjoyed Zoo Camp this month. She enjoyed it as well but says she didn't like that it was so long (9a-3p). She prefers the half day camps. I personally like the all day camps because it keeps me from running back and forth all over town in a short period of time. I've tried to compromise this year and alternate the full day camps with some half day camps mixed in.

The big news to report for June is that I went to AFRICA! I spent 2 weeks working with Mercy for Mamas in Uganda. I was quite anxious about the trip going in but it all worked out fine. It was very fulfilling and rewarding despite being completely exhausting. I really enjoyed the work that we were doing there. Now that I'm home, rested, and have had a chance to process what I saw, I can appreciate it even more. You can read more about the trip here.
Mike and tLG did really well without me gone. Almost a little too good. While I was in Uganda, they had me thinking they weren't even missing me at all. However, I got the real scoop when I got home and a mountain of laundry to boot. My girl was literally attached to me like a leech for the first 24 hours but I didn't mind one single bit. I missed them both terribly.
I wasn't in town to celebrate Summer Solstice but thankfully the folks at Sonic were kind enough to host for me. Several of my friends stopped by to support Skylar while I was on the other side of the world settling for bagged kettle corn and a freeze-dried ice cream sandwich. Hey, don't knock it 'til you try it. Considering it was my only option, it wasn't half bad. ;)
 
As soon as I got home, I went straight back to work and also had to wrap up the end of school year paperwork. By the way, jet lag is brutal! It was much worse coming home than going even though I had expected the opposite. I've been home for 5 days and I'm just now starting to feel back on track a little bit. I haven't tried to open the front door with the key fob today, so that's a plus. I also know what day it is. Aren't you proud?

Speaking for school, 2nd grade technically starts tomorrow. Our umbrella program runs their school year from July 1 - June 30 so we can start logging days ASAP. Skylar has a few camps in July that I'm planning to count towards school time. I want to get as big of a head start as I can especially since homeschoolers are required 180 days while the school district only attends for 170-175. I'm planning to start her back officially in August. In the meantime, I will be reviewing the Easy Peasy curriculum for 2nd grade and figure out what I want to supplement.

That's about it for now. Be sure to check out the June 2014 photos for more Uganda pics.

June 11, 2014

3rd Annual Summer Solstice Party

It's ON! Summer Solstice is Saturday, June 21st and we are going to CELEBRATE!

Many of you know how much I love summer, and the LONGEST day of the year is my favorite.

Unfortunately, this year I will be celebrating Summer Solstice on another continent but that doesn't mean our tradition needs to be broken back home. 

My friends at the Donelson Sonic are such good sports! First, they decided to play along with my #SonicMilkshakeChallenge and now they are going to be the host of the 3rd Annual Summer Solstice Party. How awesome is that?!?!

Wanna know the best part? Now the whole community can come out to celebrate Summer Solstice!

We will get the party started around 6:30 pm. Come on out and let's toast to the first official day of Summer! I don't know about you but I've been celebrating for weeks. The calendar is always a bit behind if you ask me. ;)

Wanna know the next-best part? Milkshakes are half-price after 5 pm. Yay!!! Have you printed off your Sonic Milkshake Checklist yet? This would be a good time to get started on the Challenge.

Mark your calendar for Saturday, June 21st starting at 6:30 pm. Bring your whole family and invite a friend!

Cheers to summer!

June 10, 2014

10 Things I Know About My Mom

tLG and I recently read Because of Winn Dixie together. In the book, the main character wants to know 10 things about her mom. Opal holds on to these little nuggets of info in a deep and special way because she has lost all other memories of her mother.

The other day I asked tLG if she could come up with 10 things that she knows about me. I really was curious what kind of legacy I'm leaving behind. She could only think of 8 but here's her list.
  1. She loves summer.
  2. She likes to dress the car up. 
  3. She is the star of the Summer Solstice Party. 
  4. She loves me. 
  5. She doesn't have time to play. 
  6. She loves Daddy. 
  7. She really likes Publix.
  8. She has brown eyes. 
I actually thought this was a pretty good list. It's certainly accurate and was neat to see what is noticed and remembered from a 7-year-olds perspective. 

However, if something were to happen to me I would want her to know and remember these 10 things about me. 
  1. I love Jesus. I want you to know Him and love Him too! Having hope in the Lord and His plans for the future helps me through life. A thankful heart helps too. Also, I wish the Bible talked more about His sense of humor because He's really funny sometimes.  
  2. Summer is my season. I come alive when its warm and sunny. I adore all of the things that come with it too: beach trips, flip flops, ice cream, outdoor activities, longer days, relaxed schedules, and the state fair.  
  3. I am honored to be your mother. Parenting your personality gets interesting sometimes but, if I could go back and choose, I would pick you again and again! I truly adore your uniqueness and creativity. I'm sorry that it took me so long to appreciate it like I do now and I'm thankful for the ways you make me a better person!
  4. I'm a loyal wife. Being married to your Dad hasn't always been easy (he would probably say the same about me - ha!) but we have stuck it out because a promise is a commitment and I want to be a person who can be trusted. Perseverance is a good quality to have. 
  5. I am a doula. Before I was pregnant with you, I never even knew what a doula was. Your birth launched a passion inside me to care for women during birth to help them and their babies get the best start in life. Thank you! 
  6. I donate my hair. Not everyone can grow long hair but I can, so I do. Then, I cut it off and send it to organizations who can use it for people who don't have hair. Because, to me, it's just hair. It grows back. To someone else, it may help them feel beautiful and that matters too. 
  7. I like to research. All those times you saw me on my laptop or my phone... I was most likely reading about something. I don't ever make a decision unless it has been painstakingly researched. I need to know my options because knowledge is power!  
  8. I hate dishonesty. This is seriously my biggest pet peeve of all time. My true nature is to be skeptical of EVERYTHING. So, when I let my guard down and trust something, it literally crushes me to find out that it's untrue. Once the bond of trust has been broken, it's pretty hard to earn mine back. 
  9. I'm not a fan of modern medicine. Once I realized how harmful "medicine" can be I have strived to find the most natural way possible to prevent and treat illness. God has given us some pretty awesome plants in this world and I am always trying to identify more and learn their uses.
  10. No one can shock me. I almost always tend to plan for the worst but hope for the best. I find that I am disappointed less with this plan of action. Therefore, I also make a good confidant. There really isn't anything that someone can say or do that will shock me and I'm pretty calm in the face of adversity. 
BONUS Items: I enjoy award shows and sangria and hot yoga and gardening and Purity chocolate milk. Writing helps me process my feelings and breathe. I hate running. I will always be a Mac lover and a #homeworkhater. I love you times a million. The end. 

June 9, 2014

2014 Summer Bucket List

Summer is here and we've been working on our Bucket List. Many of these are located in and around Nashville, TN but not all of them. Here's a quick look at what the Bishops will be up to this summer when we aren't involved in summer camp. These are in no particular order...
  1. Cooks at Percy Priest Lake
  2. Drive-In Movie
  3. Panama City Beach
  4. Sky High
  5. Bicentennial Mall 
  6. Cumberland Park
  7. Jellystone Campground
  8. Travel to Uganda
  9. Double Date on the Boat
  10. Summer Reading Goal
  11. Farmers Market
  12. Roan Mountain
  13. Fishing
  14. Camping
  15. Nashville Zoo
  16. Fly a Kite
  17. TN State Fair
  18. Water Balloon Fight
  19. Play Mini Golf
  20. Ice Cream. Lots!

June 7, 2014

Sonic Milkshake Challenge + Checklist

It's no secret that this girl loves summer. When Sonic announced half-price shakes after 5 pm, ALL SUMMER LONG, I was thrilled!

...and that's when the idea came to me. I'm going to try all 25 flavors. Why? Because it just seems like a summer thing to do. ;) I thought for sure that the Sonic Milkshake Challenge would already be a thing. It's a marketing gold mine, if I do say so myself. I searched high and low for info on the internet but to no avail. Shame on you Sonic! Where's your summer spirit?

Other restaurant challenges usually result in your picture being hung on the wall. Let's see if we can use the power of social media to get ole Sonic to participate in the Sonic Milkshake Challenge. I'm somehow going to get my picture on the wall at my trusty Donelson Sonic, just you wait and see!

In the words of Barney Stinson, "challenge accepted!"

So, I've come up with a handy-dandy checklist and I challenge YOU to do the Sonic Milkshake Challenge with me. It's gonna be a thing. Trust me! You might as well jump on board now.

So far I've tried... Oreo Chocolate, Peanut Butter Fudge, Hot Fudge, Hazelnut Cream and JalapeƱo Chocolate.





June 5, 2014

[REVIEW] Dad is Fat (Jim Gaffigan)

Dad Is Fat
By: Jim Gaffigan
Preview Here
I was first introduced to Jim Gaffigan a few months ago via YouTube. He did a comedy skit that involved home birth that went viral in the “crunchy” world. His bit was hilarious! The truths were obvious yet still presented in a hysterical way.



When I learned that he had written a book, I immediately wanted to read it solely based on what I had seen from his on-stage performance. Besides, the title of the book is Dad is Fat. I knew I was in for a treat.  

This book did not disappoint. SO funny! As the father of five, this guy has comedic material at the touch of his fingertips on a daily basis. He has taken the spoken and unspoken quirks of parenting and put them into quick and easy-to-read chapters. I imagine he did this because parents of lots of kids rarely have time to read books. Whenever they do, interruptions are imminent. The 2-3 page chapters are manageable snippets and may just give you the comedic relief you need to make it through the rest of the day. Especially if you have pre-school aged munchkins. I personally think there should be a boarding school for age 3-5. It was pretty rough around here during that time. 

It’s hard to say what my favorite part was. Each chapter discusses something so unique to parenting that you can relate to every single word. You will also laugh out loud more than once because you will have been there, done that. I’m a mother of an only but even I appreciated the humor he used to describe the everyday debacles of parenting.

His tales cover the good, the bad, and the ugly of this child-rearing gig. He paints himself as a terrible parent but, honestly, he’s as terribly average as the rest of us. That in itself may be why I enjoyed the book so much. For once, I read a parenting book that didn’t make me feel more lame and defeated as a mother. Finally, someone out there is talking about the struggles and challenges of growing little people with candor and a much needed comedic twist.

If you’ve had some rough days in parenting lately, you will want to pick this up. If you need to know that somebody else out there feels your pain, look no further than Dad is Fat.


Be warned. This sucker is spew-your-drink funny.

June 3, 2014

Defected

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Last week we were at a lovely party helping our public school friends celebrate their last day of school. We love a party that celebrates summer in any sort of way. I was also excited to see some of the moms that haven’t seen in a while. At one point, a Stanford teacher introduced me to her husband but the introduction went like this. “Skylar used to go to Stanford, but she defected.”

…and there it was.

Defected.

Except that she said it so nonchalantly that I almost wondered if I hadn’t heard her correctly. But I did.

Defected.

That word has such a sour connotation to it. In a dorky attempt to spin a positive light on the subject, I haphazardly mumbled something along the lines of “maybe we are just Divergent.” Y’all, I’m old. It was the best pop culture reference I could come up with under such pressure. Lame, I know.

Still. Defected?

de-fect-ed
intransitive verb
1: to forsake one cause, party, or nation for another often because of a change in ideology
2: to leave one situation often to go over to a rival

I mean, technically she did use the word appropriately. Technically, we did have a change in ideology and technically we did leave a situation. But, is homeschooling really seen as the rival here? Is it really that political?

Defected.

Apparently it is, and that’s just plain sad to me. Why oh why would someone use the term “defected” to explain another person’s educational choice? The root word implies that there is something wrong, there is an imperfection, and the being with the defect is not complete or whole. The overall word implies that someone is a traitor. 

Yes, I have some issues with the current state of affairs for institutionalized education in the early years but I don’t go around telling all of my friends that they’ve made a horrible choice by sending their kids to public school. Good gracious. We have enough “mommy war” hot-button topics going around these days. Let’s not throw education into the mix.

It’s been almost a week and I’m still thinking about it.

She defected.

It’s quite possible that the reason I’m all in a tizzy is because the statement was directed towards my child, which caused the Mama Bear in me to raise her head. Yes, my kiddo did ask to homeschool but she had been asking for over a year before I even considered it. Ultimately, I made the decision after much research and prayer. If anybody defected here, it was me.

Only I don’t find any imperfection in this decision. In fact, it has turned out to be a great choice for us. If anything, I feel more complete and whole. 

But, seriously. Defected?

I’m finding that I fall to this category more often than not. My skeptical personality and “crunchy” lifestyle has resulted in some choices that go against everything mainstream America is trying to sell. Look around and pay attention. They push it pretty hard! Once my eyes are opened to the truth, I generally make a choice that puts me on the other side of the fence. My allegiance does change. Education included.

I defect.

You know what, I’m okay with that. I would rather be known for making a change than being someone who keeps doing the same thing over and over again even when it doesn’t work. 

They have a term for that too. It’s called insanity. Per Albert Einstein.


P.S. Did you know that he was homeschooled?