Jesus Paid it All….

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

Cross & Clouds

Lyrics: Jesus Paid it All by Elvina M. Hall

photo credit: John H Wright Photo

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Cruising Back to Florida

This the story of how I became “The Happy Housewife.” You might want to start at the beginning.

As we sat at the air terminal waiting to find out if we would catch the MAC flight Sailor seemed very nervous. There wasn’t a guarantee we would get on the flight to Jacksonville, but I figured if we didn’t get on this flight, we could always catch the next flight a few days later.

As time passed and we still didn’t have confirmed seats the tension between Sailor and I grew. I couldn’t figure out why he was so on edge. I finally made a comment about how he needed to calm down and he said he couldn’t calm down, we had to fly out that morning. Almost as soon as the words came out of his mouth we found out we were on the flight.

A look of relief came over Sailor’s face. With a smile he handed me a card.

I opened it and was surprised to see a picture of a cruise ship taped to the inside of the card. We were going on a cruise in three days. The surprise cruise was the reason he was so nervous about not making the flight!

The cruise was a very early (or late) anniversary present.

As soon as I realized we were going on a cruise alone I bombarded Sailer with questions.

  • “Who is watching the kids?”
  • “How are we getting to the dock?”
  • “What if I don’t have everything I need packed?”
  • “How did you pay for this?”

He answered all my questions and we soon were flying back to the States.

We had a great two weeks in Florida. We went on the cruise (so much fun- I think I slept 70% of the time) and I spent the rest of my free time during the two weeks shopping for homeschool curriculum.

When we homeschooled previously I used Bob Jones with both kids. While I felt like they learned using BJU, I wanted to try something different. After researching for hours and hours I finally decided on the Weaver Curriculum.

I didn’t know much about unit studies, but from my small amount of research it looked like a fun and challenging opportunity for our family.

After two weeks in Florida we said our tearful goodbyes to our family and headed back to GTMO. Since the library was so small, I decided to purchase most of the resource books for the curriculum to make my life easier. We arrived in GTMO with two suitcases full of books and curriculum!

By the time we returned from our trip, the shock of the PTO Vice President pulling her  kids out of the school had worn off. We started homeschooling and joined the homeschooling group on base.

It was small, but very active. There were co-ops and tons of extra-curricular activities for the kids.

The Commanding Officer’s wife had a soft spot for homeschoolers and did her best to give the homeschool families on base every opportunity to participate in command activities. We greeted sailors on arriving ships, sang at command functions, and participated in all sorts of fundraisers and projects.

We were almost too busy!

Homeschooling our oldest daughter was a breeze. She devoured every book, memorized every fact, loved every project, and generally excelled in every area of our homeschool. Our son was a different story. Only a few weeks into our homeschool year I was astounded at his lack of progress.

When he was in school, I had several meetings with his teacher to discuss what I thought were learning disabilities. She continually assured me he was right on track for his age and there was nothing to worry about.

He was either fooling me or her because he wasn’t reading even the smallest words, couldn’t write, and had numerous behavior issues.

How could a child who could solve complicated puzzles, build intricate lego structures, and run faster and jump higher than any kid his age not even know how to spell his own name?

Along with his reading and writing difficulties I noticed his behavior was very challenging as well. He wouldn’t make eye contact when he talked to anyone, including me and had several repetitive behaviors that were distracting him and the rest of us from everyday activities.

I knew our daughter was very advanced and I didn’t want to compare the two of them, but even compared to his peers he seemed very behind.

I talked to everyone I could about the issues we were having with him to try and find a solution. One of my friends had taught special needs before moving to GTMO and she agreed that he wasn’t on track, but couldn’t really pinpoint what the real problem was.

We talked to the pediatrician and he thought our son needed to be seen by a developmental team in order to find a solution. The closest developmental team was in Portsmouth, Virginia, so I became a mom on a mission.

I spent the next six months trying to convince the Navy to send our son to Portsmouth, Virginia to see the specialists.

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Back to Home(school)

This the story of how I became “The Happy Housewife.” You might want to start at the beginning.

I was excited and nervous about sending the kids off to school. I knew our oldest daughter would be fine, she had attended kindergarten and part of first grade, but I was concerned about sending our son off to school.

Even the small town environment, friendly teachers, and good recommendations couldn’t help me shake the feeling that we were making the wrong decision.

I thought our son was delayed academically, and I wasn’t sure how he would fair socially either. He wasn’t a “normal” kid. I dealt with my fears by throwing myself into projects at the school. I joined the PTO and ended up serving as Vice President. I spent hours at the school talking with teachers and aides about our son and how to best help him learn.

I spent more time at the school than I did at home and it the year hadn’t even begun.

On the first day of school I took their pictures on the front porch and sent them off to school. I had mixed emotions, but they seemed happy so I decided to be happy too.

It was weird not having them home, but I was busy with the toddler and baby so the hours flew by. I spent many hours a week at the school volunteering and working on PTO projects. I kept myself busy so I didn’t miss homeschooling.

While I was having a great time volunteering with the PTO, my kids weren’t having a great time going to school. I had a few “conversations” with our daughter’s teacher about projects, homework, and advanced work.

I also spent a lot of time making sure our son was on track and didn’t need any extra help. His teacher always assured me that he was right on track, but compared to other kids his age he seemed very delayed.

About a month into the school year our daughter was assigned a book report. She chose an American Girl book and went to work creating a beautiful presentation board. She spent every night for weeks working on this board, she was so excited about the project.

Finally the night before it was due I started helping her glue the information she had written up about the book onto her presentation board. Her handwriting was messy and she thought that gluing her handwritten papers on the board would mess it up. She wanted to type up the information cards to put on the board.

Even though it was late I agreed and she went to work typing. After about 45 minutes of watching her hunt and peck on the keyboard I asked her if I could take over and finish typing up the cards from her notes because it was getting late and I wanted to go to bed.

I typed them up quickly and she glued them onto her board.

The next day I drove her to school and I watched as she happily walked from the car with her project. It was the first big project she had ever done and I was so proud of her for working so hard on it.

When our daughter came home I asked how her presentation went and she said the teacher and the class loved it.

A few days later she came home with her grade for the project. She received an A for the book report, A for the presentation, and a C for the project. I was dumbfounded. I had seen the other projects and hers was one of the best. I quickly scanned the grade sheet and was appalled when I saw…

“The board was wonderful, but next time please have your daughter do the work herself.”

I looked up and could tell my daughter was upset about her C. I asked her why her teacher would think that I made the board. She told me that the teacher thought the board was too good for a third grader to do on their own and then she told me the teacher asked her if I made the project board.

She told her teacher that I didn’t make the board and then the teacher asked if I helped make the board. Our daughter told the teacher I did help with the board, because I had typed up her notes the night before the project was due.

I tried to explain to our daughter that I had only typed up her notes, word for word, and that she truly had done all the work.

At this point our daughter was in tears and I was close to tears as well. Our daughter was a bright girl, who rarely missed even one question on a test. She was very capable of making a great project board, but the teacher just assumed I had made it instead.

I called Sailor at work and told him we had to pull the kids out of school. This was just one of many incidents over the past two month where I felt like our daughter was being “punished’ for being smart, and our son was getting left behind.

There was just one problem.

I was the PTO Vice President.

If I stepped down people would talk about us. There were only a few homeschoolers on the island and if I pulled my kids out of school it probably wouldn’t help us make any friends or fit in.

I didn’t want my kids to feel like they were being left out because they were homeschooled in such a tiny community, but at the same time I knew this school wasn’t giving them the best education.

I agonized for a week about how to tell the PTO President I had to step down because I was pulling my kids out of school. I told my husband that people would probably talk about me behind my back and I’d probably lose all my friends, since most of them I had met through the PTO.

He said that people would probably talk about us, but if I lost friends over homeschooling, they weren’t friends to begin with anyway.

I was still afraid to pull them from the school so we finally came up with a plan. We already had a trip back to the states planned so we would withdraw them from school and then immediately leave for Florida. We would be gone for two weeks and by the time we returned, perhaps the whole thing would have blown over and people would have forgotten about the big family who leaves babies at movie theaters and pulls them out of school…..

Our children went to school on Monday and the next morning we were on a plane headed to Florida. I told myself that I would take homeschooling one day at a time, one year at a time, and never let fear of man dictate how my kids were educated.

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.


This the story of how I became “The Happy Housewife.” You might want to start at the beginning.

One little detail our sponsor neglected to mention before we moved to Guantanamo Bay was the iguana population.

Iguanas were everywhere on the island, and they creeped me out. What made it worse was that they were protected, so you couldn’t get rid of them on your own. Any iguana that was a nuisance was trapped then relocated to another part of the island.

This would have been fine had our yard not been infested with iguanas. I use the word infested because we would often have between five and ten in our yard at a time. They loved to rest under the one tree we had in our yard.

Normally iguanas don’t make friends with people so they leave you alone, unless you feed them. Feeding the iguanas was prohibited on the island because iguanas that had been fed by humans became very aggressive and would often run or chase people because they assumed people would feed them.

There were several cases of people being bitten by aggressive iguanas on the base. Because they carried so many diseases, getting bitten required high doses of antibiotics to avoid going into septic shock.

I’m sure it comes as no surprise to you that the people who previously lived in our house FED THE IGUANAS!!!!

When we walked up to our house for the first time there were several iguanas under our tree. The tree was over fifty feet from our house, and since we knew nothing about iguanas we all stared at them with a strange fascination mixed with a little fear.

We told the kids not to play near the iguanas and then quickly went in the house.

A few days later I was walking with our sponsor’s wife to her van so we could go to the store. As we were walking a large (at least four feet) iguana started running towards us.

I immediately felt as though I was living in Jurassic Park. We both started running towards her van and I practically dove through her open window because I thought it would be quicker than opening the door.

We were both screaming our heads off, and I think I broke the world’s record for the fifty yard dash that day.

A few days after that I was talking to Amy’s sister about the iguana incident. She told me she hadn’t had many issues with them and that ours had probably been fed by the previous tenant because they were so aggressive.

As we were talking the biggest iguana I’d ever seen started to run towards us. Without breaking her sentence she bent down, picked up a large shell, and threw it as hard as she could at the iguana.

She hit it on the head and the iguana started making this terrible sound and running in circles for at least thirty seconds. We also began screaming and quickly went into the house and watched from the front window. The iguana finally settled down and went back to the tree.

I spent many hours on the phone with the Environmental department trying to solve our iguana problem. For every one they trapped and relocated we seemed to get two more. The kids were afraid to play outside and I was afraid to let them.

One day I walked in the living room and saw a small greenish brown head draped over my couch. I took two steps back and yelled for my six year-old son. As he was coming downstairs I asked him if he was playing with his animal toys today. He said he wasn’t, and then I asked him if he was playing a trick on mommy. He promised me he wasn’t.

We had an iguana in the house.

Now I’m usually a calm and sane person, but an iguana on my couch I could not handle. I immediately called a friend and she bravely said she would come over and take care of it for me. I blocked off the stairs and told all the kids to stay upstairs until this matter was resolved.

My friend arrived and grabbed a broom to defeat this iguana. She took one stab at it and it ran. Then she and I ran and jumped on the dining room table, which seemed like the only safe place in the house downstairs. We were both screaming our heads off which of course scared the kids even more.

I called Sailor at work and he said there was no way he could come home and help. He told me to call 911.

So I did.

The MP’s arrived and my friend and I (broom still in hand) were still on the dining room table. The iguana was somewhere in the family room, and I didn’t really care where it was, I just wanted it out.

It was obvious the MP’s thought we were a bunch of sissies, and maybe I was. What I did know was that iguana wasn’t going to sink its teeth into me or any of my children, and if that was best achieved by me standing on the dining room table, so be it.

They walked into the family room and I heard one of them say, “Oh, that’s just a little one.”

A little one? Are you kidding me??? That thing was at least a foot long if not longer and it had taken up residence in my family room!!

What happened next was something that we still laugh about to this day. The MP’s made a move to capture the iguana and it lunged at them. Then they started yelling like a bunch of sissies.

I couldn’t help but feel a little more confident in my tabletop position since the police seemed to be just as afraid of the “little” iguana as I was.

I heard more yelling and lots of other noise, and my curiosity got the best of me. I hopped down from the table and stood (at a great distance) to watch chaos unfold in my living room.

The MP’s had trapped the iguana behind our desk. The desk that held our computer and about twenty cords (you know how guys are with cords). The iguana was trapped in the cords and they were both afraid to grab it. They were wearing rubber gloves, the kind that a nurse would wear, and those weren’t going to do anything to protect them against those nasty iguana teeth.

After much shouting, banging on furniture, and jiggling of wires, one of the MP’s grabbed the iguana with his hat and carried it outside.

We had been saved.

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.