Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Caroline is Three!

Our sweet Caroline turned three years old in August.  I know it is so cliched, but it goes by way too fast!  We made through all of the twos without a trace of the terrible. 

She decided months in advance (probably while we were in Disney World this summer) that she wanted a Mickey Mouse party.  She saw a cake similar to the one above when we were browsing Google images, and she loved it!  It turned out better than I thought possible with me making it.  :) 

We had just a few friends and family over to play and eat, and it was a good celebration of another year with our sweet girl.

{Be sure to scroll down to see my personal favorite series of photos -- when the spotlight is on her, she gets so embarrassed and just shuts down.  I can almost hear her thinking, "Mommy, they're all looking at me!  Can you help me?  Please just blow out the candles with me?"  Stephanie captured the moment so well!}

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Though our oldest (and thus far only) child is only three, we have been praying about and considering the idea of homeschooling our children.  What exactly that will look like and for how long we do it are questions yet to be answered.  I am, however, a research queen, so suffice it to say that a lot of reading (both the old-fashioned book kind and the blog kind) has been happening over the last six months or so.  I am becoming fully educated on different education philosophies, curricula, programs, and a whole lot more.

Right now Caroline goes to MDO at our church two days a week.  She likes going to "school" with all of her friends, and we feel this is an important experience for her since she IS the only one we have so far.  Having that not-centered-on-Caroline time away from Mommy has been great for her.  We also have been doing "school stuff" (as she calls it) at home some.  Since she is only three, I am totally letting her lead in the area of when and how much we do "school."  My "education philosophy" for three year olds is that they learn in everything they do! Playing, helping Mommy cook (which we do a LOT), and grocery shopping are all educational experiences.

The curriculum I have been using when we "do school" is Confessions of a Homeschooler's Letter of the Week stuff.  The author, Erica, is awesome!  She routinely posts new printable, free materials that are just so darn cute.  I have been printing and laminating them (Caroline then uses a dry erase marker) so that will be usable with future Ryle three year olds.  :)

We started with M for Monkey, and she loved it!  She will want to do activity after activity for quite awhile.  The Confessions packs involve work on tracing, pattern making, counting, letter sounds, fine motor skills, and whole lots more.

This was S is for Snowman week ( I think I wanted to do this one because it was SO hot then, evidenced by C's sweaty hair):

And who wouldn't want to do "school stuff" that involved your favorite movie?  Dressed up as Buzz and working on the Toy Story preschool pack.  

Who knows what the future of the Ryle homeschool will look like, but for now we are loving all of the cute stuff out there for three year olds!  This is such a fantastic age.

A few other sites I frequent:

Homeschool Creations
1 + 1 + 1 = 1
Mama Jenn
Totally Tots

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


We love summer at the lake!  We also love inviting our friends to my parents' house on the lake.  :)  Have I mentioned how much they rock?  They are pretty awesome. 

We kicked off July by having my college roomie Liz and her fam up the the lake house.  Caroline and Ava are right at the same age, and they love playing together.  Little Ellis got in on the playtime a little more this year as well.  We enjoyed going out on the boat, eating, and laughing together.  We always have a good time making new memories together!

The next weekend, my two nieces came for a visit.  Laura Beth and Anna stayed at my house a few days, and we also went and spent some time at the lake with them.  While they were here, we went blueberry picking near my mom's house.  We also went to the zoo.  I forgot their swimsuits, but they had a blast playing in the "Foam Zone" and fountain regardless.

While the girls were here, Caroline also got a BIG GIRL BED!  A month shy of her third birthday, we made the transition.  She did great!  She has loved sleeping in her BGB, and hasn't tried to escape yet.

We wrapped up the month by flying down to Miami to meet the newest addition to the Ryle clan, Danilo.  The whole family was together for a week at the beach, and it was great!  We enjoyed relaxing at the pool and on the sand.  We also enjoyed all the seafood!  Philip and I both really miss that about living on the coast.  We made up for some lost time on that trip, though!

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Monday, October 31, 2011

What have we been up to?

I've never been a great blogger. I make no promises on future posts. However, I will give you a glimpse of what keeps me so busy!

I am loving the blessing of being able to be home with this precious child everyday. She is such a fun kid! She is just as quirky as her daddy, and loves to pretend to be a princess one second and Spiderman the next. (In fact, just this morning she was dressed in a tutu and crown, and lifted her wand high to shout, "To infinity and beyond!")

I {hope to} go back and fill in some details of our summer and fall soon.

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Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Happiest Place on Earth (and Hogwarts)

At the end of the school year, Caroline and I traveled with my friend Erin to Orlando. The original plan was to spend a week with my college suitemate, Erin (I have two Erins in my life), who lives in Orlando and works at Disney. While there, we would be able to visit with Erin, hit the parks for free, go to Ikea (always a favorite of mine), and spend one day at Universal for the sole purpose of seeing the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Well, shortly before our trip Erin (the one in Orlando) landed a role in a movie and found out she would be in Knoxville filming while we were supposed to be in Orlando. Not to be deterred, we imposed on her delightful husband Bill, who graciously let us come invade their condo for a week, got us into the parks, and even provided a full day of babysitting while Erin and I went to Universal. Needless to say, I am so glad Bill officially joined our suitemate family thorough marriage two years ago. :)

The trip was such a blast. The ultimate character for Caroline was Mickey, and she was so excited to meet him. She had been talking about wanting to go see him at Disney World for the longest time. We didn't tell her until we were in Orlando exactly what we had planned.

Gearing up to head to the park the first day:

She was itching to get a Mickey doll to go with her Minnie:

I was a little concerned that she would be afraid of the characters, but there was no need to fear. She ran right up to each one and gave him a big hug. She also loved all of the shows!

My brother and his family also happened to be at WDW at the same time we were there. We got to spend a day at their hotel pool with them and eat at Boma with the that evening. Yum!

The following day we hit the MK. We met lots of more characters, rode lots of rides, and stayed to see the parade and fireworks.

Our last Disney day was split between Epcot and Animal Kingdom. We did AK with my fam in the morning, which enabled us to ride Everest a couple of times since there were extra hands to watch kiddos.

And, of course, the day at Harry Potter was lots or fun. Visiting Olivander's Wand Shop and eating at the Three Broomsticks was really neat. The best part hands down was the butter beer. Thankfully, they deviated from the book and chose to serve it a shaved ice form instead of warm.

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