Friday, April 23, 2010

New Directions

As you may be able to tell, I rarely write on this blog anymore. It nags at me, calls me, haunts me and mocks me! I do have a few very good reasons! Nonetheless, it plagues me.

One reason is, I am a homeschooling mother of 3 students and 2 preschoolers. This reason is plain to see and very easy to understand. What it boils down to is, I have very little time. Updating a quick status on facebook seems to be more my speed these days.

I realized today, though, that there is a deeper, more prohibitive reason. I am going to be honest. This blog just doesn't apply to me anymore. It does, but it doesn't. Let me explain!

I have a BUCKETLOAD of boys. This cannot be denied. However, I also have a beautiful, pink, sweet smelling, feminine daughter who has brought so much girliness to my life, and herein lies my problem. I don't just identify myself as a boy mamma anymore.

Over the last year, I have inexplicably also become a girl mamma. I put in barretts. I match socks and clothes, I have even bought some really beautiful girly headbands for my little sweetie. This transition happened without any effort, and amazes me as much as it might be amazing you!

I also have found that I have taken more care on my own accessorizing. I have bought matching shirts and necklaces for myself, and have, in general, reconnected with my inner girl!

The desire to blog is still great in me, and as I pondered this while getting dressed this morning, it came to me. Like a voice from the heavens I heard: Start a different blog that more accurately reflects what is going on in my life today! (Okay, so I'm a slow learner. This seems so obvious, I admit.) So, here is your notification of change of venue!

Starting today, you will find my thoughts, dreams, ideas and adventures recorded at I look forward to more regularly downloading my experiences in this crazy, busy, fun life I am living! So come by the new site every now and then and catch up. Leave your thoughts if you wish, and join in the discussions! You are always welcome!

See you soon at our new home!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Simple is a Good Thing

This week we began a new homeschooling adventure. We left the homeschool coop we were involved with, and went out on our own. Was this because we didn't like it? Or we were unhappy with the curriculum? No. Quite the contrary! We loved it, we were happy with the curriculum, we loved the people. What we were missing, though, was simplicity.

Every Monday we would hit the ground running. However, the running for Monday really began on Saturday, overshadowed my Sabbath, and wore me out requiring a two day recovery!!! I found myself crabby, stressed out and struggling to be the happy homeschooler I wanted to be!

Much of this has to do with physical problems I am having. Much of it has to do with having a toddler, a baby, and 3 older kids that require my attention. But most of it has to do with a longing for a simpler way of life. I long for peace and calm. If the truth be told, this longing for calm could become an idol in my life if I let it. With 5 kids and a small house, calm is not easily found!!

So this Monday, we stayed home. I noticed the difference on Saturday night. No rush to begin making breakfast to put in the freezer for Monday. Then on Sunday when I was working in our nursery, I felt peace knowing that the next day, I would be at home with my kids, rather than spending 8 hours in the same nursery again. (I loved that by the way. It just wore me out.)

Sunday night, my husband and I settled down together and relaxed. I planned school, we watched TV, we talked. No hustle to lay out clothes for the next morning, no packing lunches, just calm. Calm. I know I sighed contentedly a lot that night!

Here I sit, and it is Saturday, the end of our first week alone. Looking back, I see we made absolutely the right decision. We have played games together, I have baked goodies for the family, and for the most part, I have been a happy mommy this week. Even though we covered a lot of topics in school this week, part of me feels like we went on vacation! We had an extra day at our disposal, and we used it well! This extra day, plus a schedule we are following created an ordered, unhurried life that I loved and am now addicted to!!!

My boys loved everything we did this week. They had a ball at home, attended all their evening activities, and had a family night last night that was long overdue. Lots of blankets, movies, pillows and fun were had by all!!!! I'm happy, and full of peace knowing we made the right choice. We will sure miss our classes, classmates and teachers, but we have traded in a good thing for another really good thing. Simplicity, family and peace. (Contented sigh!!!)

Friday, September 25, 2009

So what am I learning in homeschool these days??

It is one of the best parts of my homeschooling experience that I get to learn right along with my kids. I am the first to admit that I was a poor student in my school years. I really didn't care much about studying, or about what I was learning about. Now, as an adult, I am fascinated by the things we are learning, and so excited that I get to learn these things again, or for the first time, as is sometimes the case!

My boys have been really enjoying our unit on the Medieval times. There is lots of war, bloodshed and armor, battles and fallen cities, so what more could a boy want? I am praying for them every day that the history we are learning will mold them into wise men who can learn where we came from, and make choices for where they are going accordingly!

I personally have known very little about the middle ages, so as we have been studying, I have been learning a lot about some really amazing men. One of these men was Pope Gregory I, (pictured above). He was a man who in his lifetime went from humble beginnings to becoming the head of the Christian world during the late 500's. Yet his greatest desire was to have less wealth, live a simple life, and travel from Rome to Britain to help the Angles know the Lord Jesus. God's plans for him went in different directions, however, and he had to learn to submit joyfully to the will of his Lord, rather than complaining and missing out on what God had for him.

Something he said really stuck in my mind yesterday, and I pray, in the minds of my boys as well. He said, "Every preacher's deeds should speak louder than his words. He should, by his good life, make footsteps for men to follow." Now, I know we are not preachers, but I think he meant all Christian people who claim to be followers of Christ as well.

This statement was ordained by God for me to hear yesterday! I have been memorizing 1Cor. 13, and the first verse says "If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging symbol." This verse has really stuck out to me. I occasionally sing in front of my church. I use "the tongues of angels" by singing praises to the Lord in front of the whole congregation. But I wonder, would my kids say I am characterized by love? Would they say that my speech to them is loving? Am I patient? Am I kind? If I am not loving to my kids, then will my getting up in front of the church to sing, using the "tongues of angels", just sound like a clanging symbol or a noisy gong to them? What about to my husband?

But back to Pope Gregory, I wonder, what sort of steps am I leaving for my kids to follow in? Lord willing, they may be parents one day, too. What sort of path am I carving out for them to walk in as fathers? What sort of path am I leaving as the route for my daughter to follow when she becomes a mother some day? Are my words loving? Do I build them up? Will they do the same for their kids?

These are sobering thoughts. I am so thankful that God promises never to leave me or forsake me. On my own, I just can't do this parenting thing very well. But God daily gives me the strength to put down my anger if I choose to. To lay aside my grumpiness if I will. To choose to love my husband and children with the love God shows me.

I love homeschooling! It is challenging and tiring, but man, I am learning a lot!! I just pray my kids are enjoying it as much as I am!!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

One of those days

Today has been a less than banner day at the homestead. Tempers have been lost, sore throats, toothaches, and grumpy attitudes. And that was just me!!!

But, as they say, the mother is the thermostat of the family, setting her family's hearts to a warm glow, or an icy frigidity! Today, I was far too frosty for our own good. I reaped what I sewed today, and I have a lot to make up for in the grumpy mommy department.

However, in the midst of this, God provided some memorable moments that we won't soon forget. One occurred in the testing fire of potty training. My little 2 year old son is doing a grand job at potty training. Really, really a great job. Today, we had the inevitable accident, just much funnier than any I have ever seen with my other kids.

He was sitting on the potty today, and announced that he was done. So I said, "Did you go potty?" His reply was, "Yes, on my legs." I was somewhat alarmed, so I replied "You went potty on your legs on the toilet?" Sweet, innocent blue eyes gazed up at me as he said, "No, on the floor." Of course this sounded like "floe-wa" in toddler-speak. Now I was alarmed, so I replied, "Where did you potty on the floor?" Thus ensued an Abbott and Costello-esque conversation that I will never forget.

DS--"Um, on my legs."

Me--"Yes, but where did you potty on your legs?"

DS--"On the floe-wa." Big blue eyes, innocent and sweet.

Me--"Okay, but where on the floor?" And I am not kidding, he replied...

DS--"On my legs."

So, I try a different path. "Where in the house did you pee on your legs?"

DS--"On the floe-wa."

Needless to say, I gave up at this point, and stepped out of the bathroom for some air. At which time I landed in damp, urinated-on carpet. Oh, well. At least I found it!

Now that school is over and dinner is almost ready, and I have taken my aching head to the couch for a moment, I can laugh about this. One of God's greatest mercies to a mom of young children is the laughter in the midst of the stress! My toddler is a challenge on the best of days, in his toddlerhood, but he also brings me more laughter than anyone I know!

So, my "who's on first, what's on second" conversations are behind me, our house is filled with the yummy smell of mexican food in the oven, and tomorrow my husband will be home the whole day. All is well! Hopefully I can be lead my family into warm, comfy coziness tonight, rather than my Antarctic grumpiness. I'm praying to be a more effective thermostat tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

School Daze, Boyz and Diaperz

My summer disappeared in the blink of an eye. We saw all cousins on both sides of the family except one, we swam, we played in the yard, all the typical summer activities. Of course, here I am using the word "we" very liberally, because I was not terribly involved in much of these activities. The cousin visiting, yes! Otherwise, I was a feeding machine all summer.

I spent the summer getting to know my little girl through 6-8 feedings a day, 6-8 diaper changes a day, and several bedtimes a day. I learned some things, too. So, this self-described "mom'o'boys" will now rattle off the many things I have discovered about being a "mom'o'girl".

First, I have learned that there is never, I repeat, never an outfit that is too casual for a big fluffy hair bow or headband. It seems that the headband is a moral imperative if we are going to be anywhere that a non-family member might see her!

Second, I have learned that girls are, by nature, softer than boys. Her skin is softer, her hair is softer, and her daddy's heart is softer when he is holding her!

Also, I have become much more comfortable with matching up clothes that didn't come in an outfit. I was afraid that I had lost my ability to dress a girl baby years ago, and that I would be like a fish out of water. What I discovered is that I actually still AM a girl, and that dressing my baby girl is as inate as baking cookies or using a curling iron! I love to dress my little peanut, but she is much more fun than a baby doll ever was because she LOVES to have her clothes changed. She giggles and smiles as soon as I start pulling her arm out of her sleeve.

Lastly, I have learned that there is a difference in the way you feel about your daughter. As my husband says a friend told him once, with your sons you can imagine them a short distance into the future, like when they are 11 or 12, but with your daughter, you immediately see yourself dancing with her at her wedding. Now, while I don't imagine I'll dance much with her at her wedding, I do imagine getting her an American Girl doll, shopping for clothes, talking to her about boys, and eventually helping her pick out her wedding dress. This is enough to place a huge lump firmly in my throat. (I'll swallow that down, now!)

So what did I learn about my sons this summer? Well, they are as soft hearted toward their sister as their daddy is. They love to kiss her and hold her and generally love on her at every opportunity. They have their daddy's tender heart.

I am particularly learning a lot about my eldest son, who will be 11 in a few months. But this is another post for another day! Suffice it to say, he is a great kid. Like all others, he brings his own challenges, and these are exponentially manifested during our school days, which began 3 weeks ago. My learning days with him are just beginning, and I am praying that I will be the mom/teacher he needs me to be.

So, off I go to teach my 3 oldest boys! Yet another school day is underway. The Lord is good! Hopefully I will reflect some of that as I parent and teach.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Where Did the Time Go???

It went into gestation, delivery, nursing, sleepless nights and lots of floor pacing, that's where!!

It is official, I am the mother of a daughter. A six week old daughter, to be exact! It is amazing how your life can zip by you when you have 5 kids. So far this is the greatest change that I have noticed. Time is faster with 5 kids. And harder to hold on to.

So to back up a bit, our little daughter, Carolyn Rose, was born on April 16. She was 10 pounds and 4 ounces, and about 22 inches long. She was a big girl! Not our biggest though, so she doesn't have to carry that reputation around. That one firmly belongs to our 10 pound, 11 ounce third son. Second in line is son number four, at 10 pounds, 9 ounces.

Having a girl is such a precious thing. She is so pink and sweet, and oh, the bloomers!!! (I know, what is it with me and the bloomers?) She has tiny precious little feet, and tiny precious little ears, and she is every inch a lady.

My boys just love her to death. They are so sweet with her, and they have already told me more than once that she is "softening them up" just as I predicted she would! They aren't too soft, though. They still smell like sweat and feet most of the time, and they still wrestle like bear cubs in the living room. All is well in our mostly boy household.

This brings me to the question, do I still have a bucketload of boys? Yes, I do!!! Enough so that people are still shocked when they see a girl in tow. The next question is always, "Well, you finally got a girl. So I guess you are done now?"

I am trying to take that question with a sense of humor. But it leads me to wonder, did they think I only had 4 boys because I was still trying for a daughter? Do people really do that? I guess some do. We've heard some people put this mind set this way: A girl for me, a boy for you, and praise the Lord! Now we're through!!

We haven't gotten to the point where we feel we are "through". I think we both believe that God will let us know when we are done. For now, I am focusing on where I am, not where I may be in the future.

And where I am is knee deep in boys, and ankle deep in girl! And I love it. It is busy, it is sometimes crazy, I am tired but happy every night, and it is great. This life I live is sometimes really hard, but ALWAYS a blessing, even when I feel like pulling out my hair! Thankfully that doesn't happen very often, and I have a lot of hair! =)

More to come soon, whenever I get another newborn-free moment!!

Friday, February 27, 2009

7 Weeks To Go, and I Am Losing My Everlovin' Mind

Nesting. It is a beautiful thing, no? It can cause us to accomplish tasks that we have been putting off for months, to have strokes of genius to finally solve that one nagging organizational problem, or to work tirelessly day and night to create a beautiful, clean home.

Unfortunately, it can also make you a stark, raving lunatic, who terrorizes all around her. This is where I and my family are living right now. I look around and I am obsessed with finally accomplishing all the projects, cleaning and organization that I have been too busy and tired to accomplish. I wake up thinking about what a mess my home is, and how I am going to go crazy if I don't get it all done NOW!!!

My poor children have been helping me in a kind of fearful, let's-do-it-before-mommy-goes- postal-on-us kind of way. I have been trying to thank them as often as I can, just to balance out my insanity. Hopefully it is working, because I don't see this instinct backing off any time soon.

My faithful friend and sister, Beth-Ann finally gave me the official diagnosis today. I am nesting. I sort of knew that, but to hear someone else say it made it official. I am 7 weeks away from delivering this little bundle of joy, and all I can do is think about curtains in the office, and removing the sliding doors from the closet to be replaced with curtains on a tension rod. If those closet doors fall off the track one more time, I may have to completely lose it!! (They are currently one on, one off. Gaaaaahhhhhhh!!)

Obviously I am a hormonal wreck. But I have been here before. 4 times before, to be exact. And we have all survived it before. We will again, I feel sure.

So, in addition to making my family insane, I am spending mental time trying to figure out where to put this child. We have 4 boys in one bedroom, and an office/school room to choose from. Right now I am waiting for someone to come pick up our two school desks to make room for a pack and play in the school room. That will probably have to serve as her room for a while, at least until we sell our home and move!

I am also trying to prepare myself for the possibility that they made a mistake, and this is really NOT a girl! We are prepared with stuff either way, so it will be fine. I just need to put my heart in the right place. I am making sure that my heart is ready for either eventuality. On the one hand, I end up with a daughter, and this is a tremendous blessing. On the other hand, I end up a mother of 5 boys. This is a stunning prospect. Dizzying, in fact.

So, daily I tell myself, this could be a boy. I don't want to be crying in disappointment over my newborn, beautiful baby! I also don't want to get my heart set on being that mom of 5 boys, and take my eyes off of what a blessing a little lady would be. It is a fine, delicate tightrope I am walking.

What I know for sure is that all babies are a blessing! And I will take one look at this baby and fall head over heels in love just like I did in the past with my four other blessings. As for the beautiful, pink clothing that we have piling up for our baby, well, I'll just have to have my husband return it all if this is a boy! Those ruffly, sweet little pink things would sure be hard to say good-bye to!! The people at the store don't need me there, crying my eyes out as I hand over all the cute bloomers! We may just have to make our son wear bloomers if this is a boy. I have come to believe, we haven't lived until we have had a kid in bloomers.

(I won't really do that by the way. Please don't send CPS after me!!!)