Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What Every Mom Needs!

Every new mom should be issued a 12 year old girl at the hospital.
Instead of car seat checks the nurses should do a "How to train your 12 year old check."  I would first recommend the 12 year old comes from a good family...that helps!

And maybe that 12 year old can have specific training geared towards the moms needs,  and more importantly...her wants!  One of my "needs" would be..."Be a shadow to my Lucy...just because she needs one".

I am getting the distinct pleasure of spending 2 days with 2, count them, 2- 12 year old girls.

Right before I got my turn with them they were CLEARLY watching the Twilight movie and they CLEARLY prefer Jacob!!
These girls jumped right in this mix like they were made for family!!
I love spending time with other peoples kids.  I love to hear the sweet things they say about their moms...the things that matters to them.  I love to hear them interact with each other and watch them interact with my kids.

I love getting a sneak peek into the future. I was 12 a long time ago and I forget the things that matter to a 12 year old. 
It is always fun having company because I get to do things with my kids that we don't normally we had Sprite for dinner.  I don't think my children have ever been served Sprite on a Wed.  night for no reason other than we had special guests.

These are the moments life is made of.  Spending special time with special people and absorbing all the good those moments offer us. 

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dripping Wet Days

There are lots of days when I take NO pictures at all.  I think about how great it would be if I could capture each moment on film.
I know I am going to forget lots of these moments.  I will forget that Priscilla ran over to me covered in grass and dripping wet and needing a hug.
I have already forgotten how hard it was when we first moved here.  How much these little people have grown up...and so has their mama!
I sometimes have to stop and take the time to S....L...O...W  down and remember that I will forget....
There are some things I will be glad to diapers and ear aches..fighting over whose turn it is.
I don't want to forget the little things, like the faces Lucy makes when she has to pee-pee, the power Priscilla feels when she has something that she knows Lucy wants...
How do you remember all these sweet moments?  Each hot, dripping wet minute????
Summer will end all to soon. I know the new school year is just around the corner and want to linger in summer as best I can.
I want to enjoy the rainy afternoons, the mid day naps that I know will not last forever, movies in the afternoon, exhausted kids who cuddle in bed after baths with a cozy blanket never having enough room.
Wishing you all a very dripping wet, pool filled summer!!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday Night

Sunday night and all is well.  Kitchen floor is clean, babies are washed and almost put up for the night, teeth are brushed, toys tucked away and sun burned cheeks glad to be out of the sun.

We had a wonderfully ordinary weekend.  Pete was with us the whole 2 days and I got to run out Saturday morning while he took the kids to the pool.  I was glad to have a few hours alone but I was even more glad to get a day off from the pool.  The pool and I have a love- hate relationship...

I love that my kids like to be there...I hate having to be there with them.  Not because I don't want to be at the pool...but I may have mentioned before...I am not a huge fan of being wet....yet another things I got from my mom.

So what did I do while out on my own???  I tried on 500 million tank tops.  Last summer I had just had Priscilla and I was still nursing FULL TIME!!  I bought  a lot of flowy, roomy things.  I seemed to have been in a very severe mood last summer because EVERYTHING I bought was black.  This  summer I am hot and looking for a more stream-lined look...Simple is the name of the style I am in search of.

And since I am on a pretty tight clothing budget right now (the rumor is true...buying things for 7 people can get a bit pricey, especially when they want to eat 3 times a day on top of it...go figure), I was looking for just the right tank top for under $10 to go with a new white skirt I found for $8. 

my new white skirt

It was fun trying to hunt around for a feel good outfit for $20 bucks. It took me a long time...but I did it !!!....and I had a great time loosing myself in the challenge for a few hours.

This is the new tank top that I finally found to go with my white skirt..please ignore the fact that it is black..some habits are hard to break!!
After I completed my challenge I headed home so we all could go to a friends house for a BBQ.  I was feeling pretty good about myself until I realized I was sitting in her kitchen having dish washer envy.  I watched as she eased dishes in and out of the dishwasher...I needed to collect myself.  I didn't realize I missed a dishwasher so much..but I think I do!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Homeschooling Part 3

Thanks for the comments on my last post.  I too LOVE hearing peoples stories on what made them choose homeschooling.  Long before I got that piece of mail from the homeschool group my heart was called to homeschooling.  God put people in my life that were already homeschooling and He showed me where He wanted me to go.  I don't think I would have gotten there (here) on my own. 

When I moved to Alaska I met 2 women that I immediately felt drawn to.  They were raising good Catholic kids who were heavily embracing their faith and I was inspired by what I saw.  They were the first women I knew that homeschooled.  I was intrigued!!

Still, after a way to early attempt at teaching Emily to read I decided I could not handle homeschooling.  After sitting down with my newly turned 5 year old daughter and having her not instantly learn to read when the book says "100 EASY Lessons"  I gave up.  I was convinced this was not for me.  But God would not let me off that easy.  Over the next year I relaxed and tried again with Emily, things got much better.  I did teach her to read in 100 EASY LESSONS and it was magical.  Everyday I would sit next to her at the kitchen table, stroke her hair, tickle her back and go through the lesson.  We loved the time together.  Not just because she was "doing school" but it was a set time everyday that I would sit just with her and focus on her.  She ate it up...and so did I.  Emily is not the most affectionate person.  She has a tender heart and loves very deeply, but she is not our cuddlier.  So having that time gave us some physical connection that really strengthened our relationship.  Having that secondary outcome from a reading lesson was very encouraging.  Maybe I could do this!!!

Mind you , that was 3 children ago.  But I saw the impact just that short time had on both of us.  Unfortunately, it is not always that magical.  Often times it is a real struggle.  I find the actual schooling part to be the LEAST of my worries.  The hard part is keeping 5 people going all day in the right direction. 
I have done this for 4 years now and each year has it's challenges.  Each new season I question myself..."Why are we homeschooling again?"  And each time I am at that place God gently brings me back to why we do this.  The Lord encourages me in many ways.  Sometimes it is by another Mom remarking how well mannered my kids are.  Sometimes it is by watching my girls read ALL day.  Sometimes it is hearing my 3 and 4 year old recite poems they have memorized because we do this school thing as a family and they are along for the ride.

I walk each homeschool day in His Grace and I rely on Him to help me through.  Things are NOT perfect.  I do lots of things wrong.  I loose my temper when I shouldn't.  I shout when I know it is wrong.  I forget to say nice things when I know they deserve it.  I do too much and I CERTAINLY do too little.  But selfishly I am learning right along side them and that keeps us all going!!
More on homeschooling with little people tomorrow...
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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Homeschool Part 2

So there we were..a Kindergartner, a 4 year old , a 1 year old and a 6 week old, new to Mobile, not a friend in sight and a wee bit shell shocked returning to the lower 48 with double the family size and now homeschooling as well.  I was a little freaked say the least.  But there was no turning back and I had to sink or swim , and I decided to swim.

However, I clung on the wall for a long time.  What does that mean??  I would not fully admit to myself or other non- homeschoolers that I was actually homeschooling because I wanted to.  When we met neighbors, after I went door to door trying to find kids in the neighborhood, I would tell them, "I am homeschooling this year because we moved here so late and I was not able to get them in anywhere, so we decided to keep them home this year.  It's just Kindergarten anyway."  Even with that great explanation I still felt the judgements pass between me and whoever I was speaking to .  I would get sick to my stomach anytime someone questioned me or the kids asking, "Where do they go to school?"

Whenever I met new people I would explain away the reason we decided to homeschool.  I never wanted anyone to judge me or think I was judging them.  The other moms on my block were not the most accepting of the new homeschooling family so I was a little intimidated.  This feeling lasted a long time... 

Until recently when I realized that I no longer cringe when people ask me where my kids go to school.  The other day at the pool another mom began talking to me about school and what we do, not knowing I was a homechooler,  I proudly told her our school choice was ME!!  A dad from across the pool came over and started asking me a few questions...before I knew it I was informing several moms in the baby pool the finer points of homeschooling with little people.  After I concluded the small information session I realized that I no longer am insecure about my decsion to homeschool.  I no longer worry what people might think.  It took about 2 full years for me to realize NOBODY CARES WHAT I DO!!!  And guess what I don't care what other people do.  I love chatting with moms about school, teachers and lunch room nonsense.  There is no perfect solution to every problem.  All I know is I finally feel free in this decision we have made.
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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Homeschooling Part 1

When we moved to Mobile 3 years ago I was on the fence about homeschooling.  I actually had Emily enrolled in the local Catholic School.  I had just had Lucy, we had just bought that monster house and as much as I felt called to homeschool I did not think I could handle it.

Pete's opinion was, "Yes, you can totally do this but if you want to send the kids to school you can do that too."  I was not sure what I wanted to do.  Feeling overwhelmed I decided to be on the safe side and get a spot in the Catholic school 2 blocks away.  Before ever leaving Alaska I just knew it would be a hard move.  When we arrived in Alaska I only had 2 children.  When we left I had 4 !!  I was feeling a little tired and TOTALLY unsure of everything.  Even after registering Emily for Kindergarten I was not 100% convinced this was the road for us. 

After a 7 day drive from Sitka to Mobile, giving me plenty of time to think, I had finally decided I was DEFINITELY going to send Emily to school.  At this point I thought Pete was going to drop me off at the next rest area because he was my captive audience for 3000 miles.   We pull into our new home collect some mail and I find 2 large envelopes waiting for me.  One envelope is from St. Mary's Catholic School, the other is from Our Lady of Guadalupe Homeschool group.  I immediately tear into the OLG homeschool package and I suddenly realize how excited I am to read the welcome letter and invitation to the day of registration.  I had contacted the homeschool group while still in Alaska.  I forgot all about the registration and information day.  But I was instantly announcing to Pete, "We have to go to this homeschool thing this Saturday."  He was like..."You have got to be kidding me...I thought we decided in Idaho that we were sticking with St. Mary's."

I was just as surprised as he was.  I did not expect a piece of mail to have that much affect on me.  I then opened the package from St. Mary's and I had the opposite reaction...I was like, "You are joking me!!!  This is a list of the 950 things I have to buy before the first day of school.  I have to buy a "nap" mat??  I have to be away from Emily all day and then she has to take a 2 hour nap...she can't just come home??  What am I doing?"

Later that week we went to the homeschool meeting.  I have to be honest,  that meeting was a little overwhelming also.  Every family there had a minimum of 7 kids.  They looked at my starter family and remarked, "What a cute family"...Catholic code for "starter family"

I left there thinking...what am I going to do? Do I fit in with these super star Catholics?  Can I be a homeschooler?  I did not own a jean skirt jumper and I did not have any polo shirts for myself.  That's what homeschooling moms had to wear right??   School starts on Wednesday and I had not bought 1 single thing on the school supply list which included everything from toilet paper to their uniform items. 

Here's the funny thing..after all that stressing out and debating I can't clearly remember how I made the final decision.  All I know is I woke up the Monday before school started and had Pete call St. Mary's and tell them that we would not be coming to their school and yes we know we just gave them A LOT of money for no reason

And then the part I don't think I even told him about ...I called St. Mary's back that Friday and asked if there was space left in the Kindergarten class.  I just wanted to know I could still change my mind.
They said , "No, all spots are taken in each grade."
That was it...there was NO TURNING BACK!!

What had I done... be continued
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Monday, June 21, 2010

First Day Of Summer

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It's the first day of summer.  I have taken full advantage of summer so far. I have not made the kids do 1 lick of any school.  If they begin to recite a poem at breakfast I brace myself for the fear of everyone wanting to start poetry again.

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Some of my friends do summer school and I always feel a small pang of guilt thinking I should do something similar.  Maybe I should do a "little " school during these summer months.  Then I realize I am NOT those moms and I need a full summer break in order to gear up for the next year. 

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And this summer I had some things I wanted to accomplish for me.  I should have written them down because I know they were great things I wanted to get done...I just can't remember what they were.

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So while I am trying to remember the things I wanted to get done I have decided to take as many pictures as I can.  Seeing as I may forget these moments before to long.

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I do know one thing I am getting done this summer...falling head over heels in love with this cutie...

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Be still my heart..this kid is killin' me. 

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..and those freckles....