Monday, January 31, 2011

Reason #156 Why I Love To Homeschool

Because my girls hang pictures of American Girl Dolls on their wall.

They spend time, hours sometimes, working on projects that they come up with involoving the sweetest things.  Things that little girls age 9 should be thinking about.

They decorate their desks with Saint cards...not because they are Saints (yet), but because that's what their friends do, so it is cool.

They make signs like this, and more importantly, they think things like this.

I don't care what other kids do in other families. My kids are not perfect.  I just know at 9 years old I was hanging posters of White Snake in my room and thinking who I was going to sit next to in lunch.

My girls are innocent.  They should be..they are little.  I just want to hang on to that as long as I can. I think home schooling helps me do that.

We don't live in a bubble.  They are not totally shut off from the world because I home school.  They are just participating in a world I help create and maintain.  A world that I have a lot of say in.

They want what other girls want, to wear lipstick and paint their nails.  But they know there are rules we set and they have a lot to look forward to.
They are getting older.  Each day brings a new kid to the breakfast table.  Each season we have new trials to manage and new needs to satisify.  But they are supposed to have needs and I am supposed to fill them.  Filling their needs makes me a better person.

She has taught me so much.  She still trains me and creates millions of moments that I never thought possible, some good and some not so good.  But each day I get to know her a little better.  I get to be there to help her discover who she is.

And each day she gets to discover who I am. And sometimes, well A LOT of times, she gets to hear me say..."Em, that was wrong of me."  But that is good.  That is why I keep her home with learn...
Not just about numbers and reading...but to learn that Saints are cool and her mom makes mistakes!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Yarn Along With Ginny

I have been kinda behind with my yarn along.  Not because I wanted to be...just every Wednesday I would forget.  I have knitted a ton of stuff, well maybe 3 or 4 things that I have not shared.

 My most exciting project is this Louisa Harding fingerless glove. I loved making it and I still need to finish the mate. It was such a fun thing to knit and I have sworn to make a pair for every person I know. Not giving myself a deadline on that.

I am deeply in love with all things Louisa Harding right now and I have so much fun dreaming of the day I can knit whatever she creates.

But right now I have to say my ability is severely behind my aspirations.

In other words, I am not as good of a knitter as I think I am. 

But with each project I know I will get better....I hope, because I have big plans for myself.

Join Ginny and her AMAZING readers at her small things blog where she brings together knitting and reading. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I Am Really A Plogger

I have decided that I am not really a blogger...more like a plogger.

To me a plogger is a person who takes pictures, writes a few words, maybe about the pictures, maybe not, and then presses Publish Post.

I like to read other peoples blogs that are mainly pictures with a smattering of words. 

I have tried to be deep, provocative and mysterious with certain posts....but it kinds flops.

So I am now officially not calling myself a blogger...I am a plogger...
I take pictures, I say a few meaningless words and then I hit

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Finding The Extraordinary

I have always been a bit of a house junky.  I love homes.  I love going to open houses.  I love being invited into people's homes. 

I know part of the reason I love homes so much is because each home tells such a personal story.  We live our lives in these walls and part of us seeps into them.  You never know what happened before you got there.

When we first moved to Mobile we lived in a house built in 1898.  It was a huge house that was owned by Pecan growers.  They had twin daughters that they eventually built matching houses for across the street. 

When I would wake up in the middle of the night to nurse Lucy and then Priscilla I would always think of the many mamas that lived in this house before me, that they must have done the same thing in this house long ago.  I loved thinking that.  I loved being part of that house's story.

When we looked at houses last week during our trip to Virginia I was reminded of the story our home tells whether we want it to or not.

One house felt very sad when we walked in.  There were happy pictures all around this adorably decorated home but something was off.  As we looked around the house we started to wonder about the mom and dad that lived there.  There was a full apartment set up downstairs and a knocker on the basement door.

It felt strange to assume anything  from some unmade beds and a knocker on a door..but there was something in the air.  Later my Realtor said there was a divorce situation involved in that home and my heart just broke for the little girls I saw in those pictures.

We sometimes assume so much from what we see inside, or outside of a home.  We assume people do or do not have money based on what is parked outside.   
It is not fair to make judgements based on such shallow observations, but one can't stop the mind from wondering.
What happens inside these walls?  Are people happy, sad, rich or poor? Is there love there?  Is it hard to breathe inside there?

We moved on this street about 18 months ago.  We did not know anybody.  There is a really nice house across the street from us and they have 2 young kids.  I never saw them playing outside so we never got to know them.

I did not give them much thought, either good or bad.  I just never really thought about them at all.  And then one day just recently I got to talk to the mom of those 2 small kids and I found out what an amazing person lives across the street from me...who would have guessed???

Her and her husband wanted children and were unable to have any.  They found out that adopting special needs babies from China was not to difficult (relatively speaking).  They put in to adopt and were able to get first a boy and then later a little girl.  Both of these children have special needs. Her son is 90% blind and has severe learning disabilities.  Her daughter has less severe needs but requires special schooling.

They have worked there work schedules so that one parent is always home with these children. And now they are due to adopt 2 more special needs babies from China in February. Her strength and grace to adopt children having no idea what their struggles will be AMAZES me.  Her openness to life is inspiring to say the least.  She is open and asking God to Bless her with situations that she has no control over.  Nothing on the outside of her house indicated that someone EXTRAORDINARY lived within those walls. 
Which brings me back to the beginning.  Who knows what story each home holds.  What amazing people may live inside.  I just love to walk around and wonder.  And sometimes I actually get to learn the story and find the extraordinary.

p.s. these pictures are houses that I run by all the time.  I love each of them for different reasons.  Some of them I just love because I imagine a great story when I walk by it...

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Day After Trash Monday

When Katrina hit the Gulf Coast the city of Mobile started a weekly large trash pick up day.  A day when you can put ANYTHING curb side and the wonderful trash men would whisk it away.  It was initially introduced for hurricane clean up, but my children have spent 4 years loving trash Monday.
They usually scour the neighborhood for things they can put in whichever fort they are setting up that week.

I am just starting the realize the fact that we may not be the best neighbors.

In fact, we may be awful neighbors. Our kids play outside most of the afternoon.  I am always out there with them, but kids are kids and stuff can happen LOUDLY in the blink of an eye.

We clearly create some questionable landscaping.

And people never really can say goodbye to their trash.

No tree is left unclimbed....

No dirt hill is left untouched....

Nothing is ever trash, just untapped treasure.

So as we look into specific neighborhoods for our next duty station I have to ask myself, would I want me as a neighbor????

Things will have to change in our future.  Some things we will be glad to see the fact that when it rains our street floods up to our top porch step.  That I will be glad to say goodbye to.

But my kids getting to turn trash into hours of fun...that will be sad to leave.
But I have a feeling our neighbors won't think so.
So let me end by saying sorry to the future neighbors of ours.  I am trying to raise imaginative, playful, independent kids who see the beauty in the world around them, kids who make the best of whatever they have to deal with.
And sometimes it means using your old Christmas tree as the centerpiece of their new fort.