Homeschool Hell

We have began a new chapter in the Carney family, Home-school...

Scarlett and Ava hit the ground running and seem to have mastered this new concept of distance learning. Willa on the other hand, has turned into a sassy, argumentative, Tasmanian devil. This is an example of a typical morning.

7:00 am - Willa wakes up and has a fit because she cant watch t.v before she starts school. She cries, yells, screams, tells us we are the meanest parents in the world.... No t.v. in the morning is actually a consequence from the major meltdown she had yesterday about refusing to turn the t.v off to start school.

7:30 am - She refuses to get dressed, no big deal its home-school!

8:00 am - I ask her what she wants for breakfast, she replies Waffles and then says "I want waffles because it's hard for you to make... real sweetheart huh?

8:30 - After a full belly Willa is ready to work. After watching half of her 10 minute math lesson and refusing to watch the rest and starts the assignment.  She claims she doesnt need to watch the actual lesson as she already knows how to do it. (I let her win this one) She stops a few  times to *wrap herself in warm laundry * try on 2 different sweatshirts that she claims smell bad *finds one that does not smell bad *cuddle our dog Silver *finds a hurt bee and makes a home for it and then finally finishes the math assignment...

9:30 - Hallelujah! Willa has turned a corner and decided to cooperate and get her work done. But mutters things like "Can you write it for me? How about you write one part and I write the other? Do I really have to do all of it?"

10:00 - Must stop and jump on the trampoline, tell me all about her new favorite horse show, play with the cat, then the rats, sharpen her pencil many times, then more work.

11:00 - Lunch time, snuggle dogs, wander around the yard finding flowers for the bee, then more work. She is starting to burn out but the end is in sight!

1:00 - Still more work to do. I try to explain to her that it would have been done by now if she just did it without all the dilly-dallying.

This 4 hour day could have been done in 2 but sweet Willa doesn't role that way. Some days are like this, others are smoother, and some are worse full of drag our screaming fits that must make our neighbors think we are performing an exorcist!

I sure appreciate our teachers, they are superheros and I cant wait for school to open in the fall! Were only 3 weeks in and 7 more to go, wish me luck!!!

Bye Bye Boobies, Hello Itty Bitties!

It all started 8 years ago when I began this journey and decided to get breast implants. I wanted big boobies and after nursing 2 kids I wanted to turn my deflated water balloons into ripe melons! I wrote a blog about it which you can find here. I went from a 32B cup, having nursed 2 babies, to having a 32DD, quite a difference.

It definitely took some getting used to and for a while I felt I went too big.  I am a bit conservative and don't necessarily like showing them off but over time they became the new normal.  I got used to not being able to find bras that fit and would just wear jog bras all the time. I had to buy large bathing suit tops and extra small bottoms. I got used to being at the beach and getting hidden glances at my chest.

Fast forward 6 years... Last August I noticed my left breast becoming very hard. After a couple visits to the doctor I learned that I had a capsular contracture. This means my body was forming a capsule or covering of scar tissue around the implant. The ultrasound could not detect why my body was doing this but I needed to have surgery to either remove the implant and capsule  or remove the capsule and replace the implant. I was on the fence on what to do but I finally chose to remove and replace the implant. Surgery day arrived and everything went smoothly. The surgeon found out the reason my body formed this capsule is because the implant completely ruptured, spilling silicone into my chest cavity, ewe!!

This past March 2018 I noticed my right slowly hardening and being as this was not my 1st rodeo, I immediately made the appointments for the  MRI, which confirmed there was a slow leak in the implant.  I could not believe that this would happen to me of all people! I'm a pretty natural person, don't shave my legs or wear makeup so the fact that I got implants in the 1st place is pretty wild! And then they both leaked. I know plenty of people that have implants and this has never happened.

 I immediately knew what I would do and that was to remove both implants completely, which thankfully was covered by insurance. I decide to do the elective procedure for a lift as well because having implants in so long was basically like nursing for 7 years straight. I figured if I was going to go through all this I wanted to be happy with the results.

The day before surgery was so strange, I could not imagine how it would be without boobies even though I used to be in the "itty bitty titty club." I tried to be positive but honestly I didn't really know how to feel. I kept reminding myself to not be petty and be thankful for my 2 healthy boobies and how I want to set a good example for my 3 daughters.

Surgery came and went and I was so happy it was over. Recovery was surprisingly fast. The worst part was those nasty pain meds they prescribed.

I am honestly surprised by how happy I am to have them out. I truly thought I would miss them or feel less sexy. On the contrary I absolutely LOVE my itty-bitties! I am truly excited to get all the perks of having small tatas, and believe me there are a ton. I cant wait to go running, go bra-less, buy a bunch of cute bralettes, and wear teeny sporty bathing suit tops.

2 days after surgery, drains and all


Going into surgery

Naughty Willa...

Willa has a knack for breaking the rules without getting in trouble.

When she was 3 she wrote her name in pen  on the back of both of the front seat headrests in the van. She did a great job and that was the 1st time I saw her write her name. Her name is still there today, a bit faded but still there...

She is learning to read and write in 1st grade and exploring phonics on her own. Its amazing how quick she is learning how to read and write. She added a few items to our grocery list and dinner recipe.  I noticed that her spelling is also impeccable for a 1st grader.

Hot Springs, Lakes, Rivers Oh My!!

We recently visited an amazing new place called Mono Hot Springs Resort, located in the south western Sierras.   We teamed up with another super mom Ashley and her 3 daughters.  We booked a  walk-in tent stocked with camp beds. This place also had a spa with baths and hot tubs fed by natural hot spring water.

Picture this, high sierra mountains, river,lakes and hot-springs, oh my!

We wake early for our 1st adventure. At 8:00am the heat is already super intense. Not your average heat but the kind you cant get away from, causing you to move slow mixed with high elevation. We left camp early to hike to the closest lake called Doris Lake. According to the map this lake is super close. We packed a bunch of water, snacks, and floaties, drove to the trail head to start. 

Their website states "Doris Lake is an easy one mile hike from the resort and a popular swimming hole for decades."  We figured it would be a perfect hike for the little ones. NOT!

It was extremely HOT so we had to go slow, especially with two 6 year olds. We were sweating faster than we could drink.  The trail started to get quite  obscure which was worrisome. When we saw the sign to Doris Lake telling us to go left, we went left. About 30 minutes later the kids were over it and us moms were questioning the route. We ran into another couple who informed us we were headed to Tule Lake, the wrong lake!

Taking a break in the shade
We did an about-face  to try to find the correct lake. At this point we were conserving our water, sweating bullets, and poor little Reagan fell down and was crying. We pretty much dragged the kids along until we got back on the correct trail and 15 minutes later made it to Doris Lake, hallelujah!

The lake was amazing, a true hidden Sierra mountain lake surrounded by large granite boulders, a cliff jumpers heaven.

After playing a bit in the water and having lunch, we start to hear thunder. We were warned by another hiker that it may be a good idea to head back before the storm comes in. Sadly, we cut our trip short and started packing up to make it back before the storm came in.

Sierra storms are unlike anything we experience in Santa Cruz, purely amazing. We hiked back in our bathing suites and it  started to dump, I'm talking huge fat raindrops, sheets of rain which was soon followed by hail and a ton of thunder and lightening.  What a change from 100 degree weather to freezing hail! Ashley and I are pulling little Willa and Reagan along while the bigger girls hurried ahead of the group to make it back to the car. 

Upon arriving at the car we see the windows were open and everything was soaked! Instead of heading back to camp we decided to go hang out in the hot tub fed by natural hot springs. That was a day of firsts for many of us, 1st grueling hike, 1st hike in a thunder storm, 1st hike in a hail storm. What an epic adventure, cant wait to go back next year!

Home Sweet Home
Made it to Doris Lake!

Hot Springs on the river
Mud Mask!
Natures Spa
Hot Springs

Lost in the Woods!

Big Rock Hole Trail
One sunny day we drove to Henry Cowell State Park to meet up with some friends who were camping there. They told us to meet them at the river and to follow the Big Rock Hole trail to get there.

We start the hike at 12:30 and I bring a stroller for Willa, 3 bottles of water and a few snacks. We park at the visitor center, find their campsite and then start on the trail which is right next to their site, easy peasy.

We hike out of the shade of the forest and into the chaparral where the sun beats down raising the temp to about 80+ degrees. We make it to the observatory platform and ditch the stroller as it is too sandy to take it any further.  The trail splits and we continue on  Big Rock Hole trail for quite a while taking a few turns as there are a ton of side trails at this park.

Its really hot and Scarlett & Willa are wearing bathing suits and bad hiking shoes.  I thought this would be a short little hike to the river so I let Willa wear her princess rain boots and Scarlett chose her new school shoes.

We make it to the top of the grade, have a quick break and thankfully the trail starts to head down  into the shade of the forest. Were in about 2 miles in at this point.

Willa taking a break in the shade

We continue down, down, down for a long time and in the back of my mind I am thinking how this means we will have to return by going up up, up... I am also surprised that our friends hiked this far to the river as they are not big hikers. Luckily my girls are used to me dragging them on hikes so they are hanging in there.

Finally, we hear water and make it to this beautiful hidden river with no one to be seen. I figure we missed them and they must have left already. We take a break and play in the water for a few minutes and eat our snacks which consisted of watermelon taffy and nuts.  I make the kids save the last half empty bottle of water and rush everyone along to get back before dark as its around 2:30 at this point.

Our very own beautiful private river!
Willa starting back up the hill
We start the hike back up the steep hill and its tough going. I carry Willa for much of it and poor Scarlett drags behind, both girls hiking in their bathing suits because it was so hot. Ava has a head ache but isn't complaining which is a big help.  I think she knew I was on the edge. By the time we reach the top we are out of water and pretty tired.

We make it to a 4 way split and I wish I would have paid more attention on the way down. I quickly rule out 2 paths and am really not sure on the other two. I was pretty turned around.

I see a girl walking our way but when I ask her for directions she doesn't speak much English or Spanish for that matter. Luckily I see someone else was walking up the trail and I am about to ask him, when I see he is shouting something while holding a sign on a stick which says "911 was a hoax" The girls just stare and he keeps rambling. At this point I quickly choose the trail in the opposite direction that the weird guy went and we head down the hill.

About a mile later I have an idea where we are and it is nowhere close to where we need to be. You see, Henry Cowell has 2 different entrances and we came in through Graham Hill and we were now headed toward the highway 9 entrance which is where the main ranger station and store is located. My new plan is to get to the ranger station and get water as we are all out and extremely thirsty. At this point we spoke to a fellow hiker who confirmed we had about 1 more mile to go and was kind enough to give us his water. 1 more mile, that's nothing, but it seemed so far away.... I was so tired and shed a few tears at this point and possibly said a few cuss words as I couldn't imagine carrying Willa one more mile.

Finally, we made it to the ranger station and the kids plopped down and drank water. I asked the woman in the store for a ride to the other entrance where our car was. She said no, the rangers can't do that, and so I called our friend Leanne who happens to live 5 minutes away. She dropped everything and came to our rescue,  driving us back to our friends campsite and even walked with me to hike back up to the place where I left the stroller.

I figured we hiked between 7 to 8 miles! Once we met up with our friends we realized they meant for us to go to Big Rock River which is different than the Big Rock Trail,  Woops!   They made up for it by cooking up some hot dogs for my ravenous kids and poured me a nice cold glass of Chardonnay.

I'm now way more familiar with Henry Cowell trails and this was a cool bonding experience that they will remember forever, not to mention a great story. Now, whenever we go on a hike the kids say, is it as long as the hike when we got lost in the woods? 

Sisterly Wisdom

This is one of my favorite picture books. It explores scenes above and below the ground and has great illustrations and tons of conversation points. 

I was reading this page to Willa which says: Early in the morning families buzz 'roud the house. while down in the cellar sleeps one tiny mouse.

I asked Willa if she knew what a cellar is as we do not have these in California.

She pointed at the mouse in the right corner and said Yes its full of... and then she paused.   I said yes they do often have mice in them  to which she replied  No, they are full of dead bodies...

I asked her who told her that and she replied Scalrett, who will seems to believe to a fault.

When I asked Scarlett about bodies in the cellar she started laughing. Who knows what else she has told Willa.

Our Toilet is Glowing!

Kevin ordered the craziest contraption, a toilet light! Did you even know such a thing exits?! This is no ordinary toilet light but a color changing one at that. It rotates between 4 colors and is motion activated[. At first I thought it was a weird unnecessary item but that was before I learned about the logistics involved when guys pee in the dark.

Because this house is full of girls (and Kevin) I never thought much about what is involved when a guy has to pee in the dark.

When I go pee in the wee hours, I'm always half asleep so I sit down with my eyes closed and then shuffle back to bed. I now know that guys have to not only keep their eyes open, but also have to aim at the target. If you miss you get a mess and then there is the matter of trying to pee quietly, aiming for the edges of the bowl rather than the middle.  Who knew there was an actual strategy to peeing in the dark?

The 1st night the toilet light arrived, the kids went nuts. They literally had to come watch me pee so they could see my pee change colors as it streamed into the bowl.  I had 2 little girls hovering over me while I sat on the toilet, talk about no privacy! Scarlett is still waiting for a nighttime poo so she can see what the light does to poop! Sadly for her we are all morning poopers...

Ava's BFF Ella also love the toilet light!

You Did What?!

We were having a little Bar B Que when Ava asked me if she could dye her friend Tommy's hair with food coloring. I figured that was a safe non-permanent way to color hair so said "sure". You would be surprised how well it worked, Tommy had perfectly pink hair.  Scarlett was adamant that she was next.

Scarlett joined Ava in the bathroom and I peeked in to see how it was going and it was crazy! It looked as though a paintball gun went off, pink everywhere!  I honestly do not understand how it got on the walls! I told her to quickly clean it up before her dad saw it.

You see I am the one who lets the kids do things that seem like a good idea at the time and Kevin always errs on the side of caution. More often than not, he ends up being right.  I did not want Kevin to come in and see the explosion of pink and say "you let the kids do what with food coloring?!"

Ava's friend Ella showed up for the party and I ushered her into the bathroom, handed her a bottle of 409 and told her to please help Ava clean up the mess.  The 3 girls got to cleaning and a few minutes later I came in to see the progress and was speechless. Let me set the scene...

Scarlett is stark naked in the shower, dripping red,  being sprayed down with 409. Thats right, 409 with duel action grease fighting power. I asked Ava if she truly thought that it is OK to spray your sister with chemicals that we lock up under the sink?! She said "The bottle says it is an all purpose cleaner"  I was so mad I told the girls to get out and I took over.

As I am washing Scarlett with soap and water  she tells me that they not only sprayed her body but her feet and under her armpits too! As if there was food coloring under her arm pits, really...

20 minutes later I had a squeeky clean Scarlett and a semi clean bathroom.

I learned 3 valuable lessons that day:

1. Food coloring is an effective but extremely messy way to color your hair
2. Smart kids can do really stupid things
3. I hate to admit it but Kevin is most often right (most, not always...

Who needs a door anyway...

You know that sound of a slamming door followed by a screaming child? You get that icky feeling in your stomach while your mind starts thinking of the awful smashed finger stories you've heard in your life.  You run to see if your kids still have all their fingers and breath a sigh of relief to find 10 intact digits. Well, we not only have doors but also a big sliding glass door which  have strict rules not to slam and it inevitably happens anyway. The slider is like the big daddy of all finger munchers, especially after the annual maintenance when it slides nice and smooth.

Whenever the girls slam their door, Kevin threatens to take the door off the hinges.  Well, today he finally followed through with this threat. Scarlett slammed the door to keep Willa out of their room and it hit Willa in the face. So Kevin grabs his tools and takes the door off the hinges all the while both Scarlett and Willa are crying that they need their door. Ava just rolls her eyes and said "Who needs privacy anyway?"

The girls finally calmed down and we tacked up a shower curtain we had which ended up looking super cool! The girls are all excited about their new room decor and the lack of door somehow makes the room look bigger which is a plus as it is similar to an overcrowded dorm room. The best part is  that I can rest assure that the girls will be able to keep all their fingers!


I love breastfeeding! I have breastfed all  3 of my children. I nursed Ava until she was 2. I only nursed Scarlett until she was one, she was too busy to make time for the tit. Willa is still going strong and defiantly a major booby lover, just like her dad.

I love nursing for so many reasons:

1. It makes me sit my busy butt down and relax. For those of you who know me, this is virtually impossible. Or if I get an important work call, I pop it in the babes mouth and ahhh complete silence.

2. Its super cozy and special to look down in my babies eyes as they suckle away, I love these moments, not much can beat this.

3. Its a great way to calm a crying baby, instant pacifier!

4. A fail proof way to get my babies to fall asleep. (I know eventually this will bite me in the butt...)

5. Oh and its very healthy too, that's just a big bonus to all the other good stuff.

Willa will be 2 in April and my friends politely ask me how long I will nurse her, to which I often reply "Until she is 10"  You see Willa is getting big and she speaks really well. She says Momma, I want neen. Pleaseeeeee When I say no, she bargains Just a little bit, pleaseeeee momma, its special and its so sweet  At that point I almost always give in.

Sometimes  its not so special. For example, in the middle of the night  when she is not so polite and almost every hour repeatedly yells I want neen!!! When I don't give it to her she thrashes and kicks. I know I have created a mini titty loving monster.

I have truly evolved from a controlling, militant mother that regulated nursing to bedtime to throwing the rules out the door and popping it out whenever I hear the word neen. I know Willa is my last baby so I have let so many rules slide.  I am amazed how much I have changed from baby #1 to baby #3.

So how long will I nurse? I'm not sure but I do dread the day when I decide my tatas are closed for business. I don't think Willa will be in favor of this shutdown. Until this day I plan to enjoy every second of it!

Youth is Wasted on the Young

I have no regrets (well maybe a couple) but for the most part I don't regret any part of my life. However, if I could go back in time I would do a lot differently.

1. I would have a lot more sex (protected of course). I was such a good girl in high school and college that I missed out on a lot of that raging hormone sex. Don't get me wrong, I had a boyfriend all through high school so did not miss out completely but I wish I would have been a bit more promiscuous when I was in college. I went to UCSC for goodness sake! If I could do it again I would experiment more with girls, threesomes, foursomes, toys, places, you name it, if I could get a do-over I would try it at all least once.

2. On a similar note, I would have had way more sex with my husband before having 3 kids.   After baby number #1 it was pretty easy to find time. Even after baby #2 it was somewhat possible. Once baby #3 came along its next to impossible to find time and more so, a place where there are no kids.  Having 3 kids in a small 2 bedroom only leaves the backyard so we really have to want it to venture into the great outdoors!

3. I would go to college, get a degree in science and then a nursing degree so I could get a job right out of college. Instead I got a useless degree in environmental studies and became a professional student almost getting my teaching credential, nursing pre-recs, computer classes, and Spanish. Now I'm 36 and on a 5 year long waiting list to get into nursing school (2.5 years in). You do the math, I will be at least 40 by the time I can even apply for a nursing job. Really? It took me all those years to figure this out, uggh! After all this schooling I finally have a cool job that does not require ANY of that (except Spanish)

4. I would save money. I used to have way more money and very little expenses and I would blow it by going out to the bar, to dinner, buying crap I did not need.  I wish I would have just saved a little bit every month so now I would be able to buy a house instead of living month to month in a itty bitty house.

5. I would not drink copious amounts of tequila, ever. But that's a story for another blog.

6. I would have spent way more time in Costa Rica learning Spanish, or just studied Spanish more in college. Maybe do one of those language immersion programs, that would have been amazing!

7. I would have stranded that looser drunk boyfriend of mine in Grass Valley when he cheated on me on Christmas eve rather than taking him back to Santa Cruz,  I promise one day I will tell this story too, its a good one!

8. I would have stuck with guitar.

I could go on and on... The saying "Youth is Wasted on the Young" is so true. Maybe I can impart some of my life experience on my girls so they make a few better choices than I did. But I'm not sure I want to encourage them to be promiscuous, so I will keep that one to myself.

Lost in the Woods!

Big Rock Hole Trail One sunny day we drove to Henry Cowell State Park to meet up with some friends who were camping there. They told us ...