What have I been up to? Goodness gracious, it’s been a while. I’ll be perfectly honest, I have been up to a lot. For starters, I grew another person:
I know, he’s all kinds of adorable. He’s bigger than this now. He was born in January. Four months old now. Time really flies. You can call him Smiley.
This is the happiest kid I’ve ever met. He is so chill. God really blessed me with an easygoing baby. Because the last one- ALL BOY. In a wonderful and beautiful way, but wow. When mama’s favorite thing is to sit down and enjoy a cup off coffee in the kitchen without interruptions (HAHAHA THAT IS HILARIOUS) and number three wants to figure out how the screen door opens… Yeah… sitting down doesn’t happen much.
But Number Four- Smiley, if you will- I thank God for the gift of him. He is so content. And at four months, he’s not crawling like Number Three was.
Yes, I said four months. He was also walking at seven months. My poor husband. Big Guy (which is also hilarious that I named him Big Guy for this blog because he is the smallest out of all the kids) is the busiest boy I know. He is in to EVERYTHING. My life is never boring, for sure. Just a peek into his shenanigans:
Yep, our tiny family is now not so tiny. It’s wonderful and busy and crazy and loud and messy and all of those things wrapped up in a big bow of blessings. It takes up most of my time, energy and brain power raising and teaching and cleaning up after these little humans. But it’s incredibly worth it.
This week has not gone quite as planned. But that’s okay. The beauty of homeschooling, right?
Monday, we were planning on a trip to the mall for some running around the play place with a friend of mine and her children. (Peanut was planning on taking a book because she feels weird playing where only littles are supposed to play.) I also needed to stop by Motherhood Maternity and pick up some things since my body keeps getting bigger. Not only do I now feel pregnant, but I look it also.
I woke up Monday morning and it was nasty out. So we postponed until next week. It’s not that I mind driving in the snow, but I just really didn’t want to shovel off my car. Lazy me. By the end of the day, it was 40 something degrees out and everything had melted off the car. Figures.
I did, however, sign up for the 30-day trial of ABCmouse.com for Bubba. He really likes having something on the computer to do. I actually like this program, and am seriously considering keeping the subscription after the 30 days. Not to replace one-on-one interaction, but it’s cute and he enjoys it.
Tuesday came along and it honestly felt like the longest day of my life. We startd with lessons. Then at 11:30, we drove to the church for our homeschool class. (I co-teach with two other great ladies.) We did our unit on Money, handed out baggies with a predetermined amount of play coins, and set up four tables that were “stores” where the children bought snack at the grocery store, a book at the bookstore, candy at the sweet shop and a few toys at the toy emporium. The kids all loved it, and it went really well.
Straight from the church, we headed to the public library, where Peanut was in her first ever book club. She loved it. They read Anne of Green Gables. I was really surprised at how involved Peanut got in the conversation. The forum was set up for kids grades 3-6.
After that, we went home, had a quick dinner packed up to eat in the car, and I drove Peanut to basketball practice. That got over at 7:30, and you’d think we were done with the day, but NO, I had to go grocery shopping still! Ah well, better get it done, right?
Once that day was over, Wednesday came and the weather WAS AMAZING. I think it almost hit 60 degrees outside. I threw curriculum out the window and sent the kids outside to play for who knows how long. The kids had a great time, and got some much needed fresh air.
Thursday came and went with an impending blizzard that caused everyone to panic and close things down early out there in the real world. Peanut was excited because she saw real hail coming down. I asked her to go out and get the garbage can from the curb, and as soon as she grabbed the handle, there was a giant clap of thunder that stopped her in her tracks and caused her to turn around looking for whatever caused the noise. When she saw me in the window, (laughing at her) she figured out what it was and smiled as she brought up the can. So she got a weather lesson in Thundersnow. I’m still not convinced we actually had a blizzard, but the weather was weird, nonetheless.
Oh yeah, and we actually got a day’s worth of schooling in.
Friday I made a first birthday cake for a friend. So the day was kind of weird with that happening. But peanut got to ice the leftover pieces. She did a pretty good job for her first time!
As I watch my 3 year smile and ask me countless inquisitive questions about every item in our surroundings this morning, I am fighting the urge to hush him. His sister is trying to finish her math so that we can get on our way out the door for a play date with their cousins.
And then he takes the lids off his puzzles and tells me they are going to be sleds for his feet in the snow. I look at him and say, “You mean skis?” “Oh. Yeah. They are my skis.” I just slowly gaze at him, watching him smile at his imaginative accomplishment as he slips and slides around the dining room on his makeshift skis. Then all of a sudden I remember that I probably shouldn’t allow him to step on the lids of his puzzle boxes.
But why not? The poor kid has been trapped in the house for over a week, the frigid cold preventing any kind of outside play. Why can’t he come up with something that will entertain him and release some energy? Why am I always so drawn to corralling my children into what I want them to be, into how I want them to behave?
In that brief moment of clarity, I decide to just give up.
I give up trying to mold my children into carbon copies of myself. They have their own personalities and their own ideas of “fun” and “play”.
I give up trying to curb their imaginations because “that’s not how we behave in the house” or “that’s not on our schedule”.
I give up feeling like I should have rigid rules and beating myself up because I can’t get my kids to obey them. (Aside from the essentials like loving one another, obeying God’s Word, and no drinks on the carpet. Those are all a given.)
I give up having a set time for school to start. A lot of times, 9:00am just isn’t going to cut it. Especially with a new little one coming this summer.
I give up harboring a feeling of failure on my part and frustration with my beautiful children.
I’m giving it all up. This isn’t what mothering is about. Motherhood shouldn’t be a battle, and sometimes, I feel like the battle is with myself. Or I’m making up struggles with my children, but really, they just want to be themselves.
I’m not giving up parenting, or Biblical correction. I’m not giving up instruction or guidance. What I’m giving up is controlling my children because they aren’t what I want them to be, or they aren’t behaving exactly as I wish, or they aren’t doing something how I would have them do it. My controlling nature has caused so much frustration in our days, and caused me to resent certain parts of our days because I dread the struggles with getting my children to “do it right”. But no more. I GIVE IT UP.
What I hope is that giving up these things listed above, I am making more room for joy, for love, for relationships, and for the beauty in the lives God has given me to raise.
I will start with April, since I did happen to post up through last March.
April: Peanut turned 7 years old and wanted a “Rainbow Party”. Many friends came, and they all had a blast.
May: My twin sister and I had a quick three day trip back to San Diego to support our sister in the loss of her daughter at 30 weeks gestation.
June: Wonderful news, I was pregnant, and so thrilled.
July: My twin sister and I hosted a yard sale, Peanut had a very successful lemonade sale, and the next day I had some concerns, which resulted in an ultrasound. The test showed one healthy baby and one “non-viable egg sac”. One week later a follow up ultrasound at about 6 weeks, and both babies had not survived. Oh. And I turned 30.
August: Three weeks after the devastating news, I finally miscarried. I was hospitalized due to blood loss. It took me three weeks to build my blood levels back I up to where I could stand for more than a few minutes, and clean my house. We also started second grade for Peanut. And I made a wedding cake for my neighbor. (Probably shouldn’t have done that- healthwise.)
September: I took on the role of co-teacher for our homeschool group.
October: Bubba turned 3; we celebrated with a Pirate Party. Bubba and his cousin dressed up as Jake and Captain Hook for Halloween.
November: I announced to the Facebook world that I was 12 weeks pregnant! (yes, again! the pregnancy in the summer wasn’t announced nor was the miscarriage, other than to family and close friends at church)
December: I honestly can’t believe it’s over already, but we reflected on the gift of God’s Son, made over 20 dozen cookies and enjoyed family and friends.
So, 2013 was truly an eventful year. It was filled with grief and sorrow, but also with wonderful memories, beautiful family moments, and so much love. I learned, last year, that God is faithful, no matter our Earthly circumstances. That submitting to His will brings about peace I couldn’t even imagine. I learned many things about myself, about my faith, and about my limitations. And I can honestly say that it was a good year. Not because of what happened during the year, but because the year was given to me as a gracious gift. And because I am a different person than I was last January.
Life has definitely whizzed by. And a lot has gone on.
Today we are getting back in to the routine of school. Tomorrow we are going to a Valentine’s/ 100 Days of School Party with our homeschool group. We are all excited about it.
Yesterday we made valentines:
I gave Peanut full creative license on hers. She decided to add her own artistic touches with glitter glue and ball point pen.
Bubba and I worked together on his. He loved the stickers.
Today, we counted out 100 goldfish and 100 chocolate chips for the group trail mix, and 100 crayons for show and tell. Peanut was shocked that we had 100 crayons, and was amazed at how small of a pile it really was.
This afternoon we will be making cupcakes and cookies to bring to the party. (I’ll post pictures when they’re done!)
I have been working hard the past week crocheting a blanket for a friend who is about to have a baby. It took me four attempts to get the width right, and I feel like it’s still shrinking. It could be the yarn I chose, but I think it’s the variation in my tension with each row. I should be done by now!
Bubba thinks it’s his blanket, even though I told him it was for his friend’s new baby sister. He keeps taking it and wrapping it around himself, which pulls out some stitches. Ah, but he’s so cute putting the blanket over his little toes.
I am so excited, however, that my dining room has FINALLY gotten the second (and last) coat, and I can hang my pictures back on my walls! I am so relieved that it’s done, and I can check that off my list!
Saturday was Peanut’s first basketball game of the season. She has gotten really good at making baskets. She was “so super excited” to play her game.
She’s been working on her dribbling, and trying to be able to dribble without looking at the ball. She’s improving, too.
The game showed a lot of areas where we need to work on. Like, explaining to her *how* a game actually works. Tonight’s practice was promising, though. And she was playing defense amazingly in the scrimmage. She also was paying attention as to when to switch to offense. So this Saturday’s game should be fun.
My Tuesday Morning Bible study has been really convicting. When Jeff and I came together to decide that closing my child care would be the best decision for our family, I was very encouraged that: A) we made a decision together as a unified husband and wife; and B) Jeff would be encouraged that I could actually give him the space he needed to lead our family in the financial realm of life.
This was a HUGE step for me to take because I like to be in control. Of our money, of planning, setting goals, of everything. And God has been teaching me that HE is ultimately in control, and I NEED TO LET HIM DO HIS JOB.
I realized, by studying pride and humility, that I was trying to take back control of our life, and searching for ways I can work in some child care clients to make some extra money. Which is basically telling God, “You’re in control. I know that you’ll work things out. In the meantime, I’ll try to fix this on my own. I don’t trust you 100%”
I am a work in progress, you know.
On a lighter note, I loaded up on these today. Guess why.
Bubba is doing amazingly well, and much better than I expected. Is it wrong of me to have low expectations for a 27 month old boy in terms of potty training? I only began this endeavor because he kept coming up to me and saying, “Mama! I pooped! Change me!” I figured I’ll give it a day or two, and if it fails miserably (which it still could) then we won’t speak of it again, and try another time.
He had zero accidents today. Until I left him in the care of his Daddy while taking Peanut to B-Ball practice, during which he peed in his underwear two times. And I got an exasperated phone call asking me where all the underwear was. Which is why you see the above. I stopped at Family Dollar and picked up a couple extra sets and some pull-ups for the church nursery on my way home tonight.
(excuse the poor image, my phone was the closest thing I could grab at this moment)
My heart gets slightly less melt-y when I hear the pitter patter of my little guy’s feet through the house at night any more. Especially when it’s too-dark-to-roll-over-and-check-my-phone o’clock.
Somebody has been getting in my bed while I’m dead to the world and I wake up to constant kicks, squirms, wiggles, and once he even sat up and laid across my entire body.
I think he was in my bed three different times last night. I seriously lost track, and it kind of muddled up with my dreams, but I do remember putting him back in his bed once last night. And I remember telling him to go back to bed at least once, too. Maybe twice.
This has been going on for days, and I can’t get a full night’s sleep anymore. Oh the joys of motherhood. We’re going to have to have a talk about what’s MINE. Like my bed.
This is what I woke up to this morning.
Notice the pantry contents in the dump truck? And he admitted there was chocolate in his mouth.
I am going to sit on the couch, sip my lemon tea with honey, and watch some cartoons with the kids. There’s a craft project floating around in my head, we’ll see if I can get to it today.
I was blessed today by a fellow mother taking Peanut to a homeschool gathering for me, to allow me to give Bubba his normal nap routine. I packed her lunch, and off she went to a beach party in our church’s gym.
It was quiet in our house this afternoon. Just Bubba and me after lunch. And we spent about 20 minutes playing blocks and building “blast offs” (rocket ships). Our “hats” kept blowing away, and he had to keep chasing them. I loved just sitting down on the floor with him, watching his imagination soar, and testing it, to see how much more he would pretend.
Then we quietly read some books together which isn’t normally just him and myself, and I put him to bed. It was so peaceful, and I loved the opportunity to focus solely on him.
Tonight, Peanut is at basketball practice, and I am home with Bubba again- my hip has been hurting badly today, and I cannot sit on those folding chairs.
And I am loving the one-on-one time with my precious little boy.
He is growing up so fast, right before my eyes. He amazes me every second I spend with him. I feel like I need to slow down and savor every moment of his toddlerhood, because he is quickly becoming a sweet young boy. I wish there was a pause button, a rewind button, a playback button. I will satisfy myself with pictures, and precious memories, treasuring them in my heart like only a mother can.
Tell me, how do you stop, and take time to revel in your childrens’ childhoods?
These past few days have been filled with organizing. My thoughts, my game plan, my time, my chores.
I am coming in to my new role slowly, and it’s not a terrible experience. You see, the beginning of this year brought a big change. I am not longer defined as a Child Care Provider. From now on, I am merely a Wife, Stay At Home Mom, and Homeschooling Mom, with many responsibilities on my to-do list. I think that I used to put a lot more weight on the title that brought home the most money, and these remaining titles don’t bring in nearly as much money for the work that’s required of them. But these- the roles I have in my family are the absolute, most important. I am thankful that God has made his will clear in my Child Care career, and thankful for the opportunity to focus on what matters most.
And so, the journey begins.
I’m learning to trust in God, and to not try to control things that are out of my control.
I’m working on completing a Home Management Guide- a complete list of daily, weekly, and monthly tasks to keep the home clean, organized and semi put together.
I’m working on giving the children more responsibilities around the house. Bubba helped me clean the bathroom today, and Peanut folded two baskets of laundry and put them away.
I’m trying to get a routine that can be relied on with the kids.
I’m taking my sewing machine that was Jeff’s mother’s to the craft store for a Sewing 101 class this week.
And I’m actually starting to get our picture frames back on the walls. By the way, that reminds me, I want to be able to check off something on my Unfinished Projects list at least once a month. I’m working on it, but time creeps by so quickly!
I will say one thing about all the changes going on. I have definitely noticed an attitude change in Bubba. He is happier, and, although he does experience the usual two year old outbursts and temper flares, he has a lot more patience throughout the day. Which makes my heart happy.
What frustrates me the most with homeschooling is how I know how to do something, and I can’t find any material that teaches it. So I made what I needed.
Here’s a little something I whipped up to work on adding facts, and what makes a number. We’re currently working on subtraction and multiplication, and as I watch Peanut work through these I’m thinking we need to get back to basics. Just for a little fun, and to work on the skills.
To use: Have the children fill in the addends in each box. Then, using, stamps, drawings, stickers, or whatever else, have them put in pictures to go along with the numbers. Have them count the pictures, then have them read the equation. Feel free to use it with your own children. Or, if you’re not one for worksheets, take the concept, some bingo chips and make a game of this!
Oh, and before I forget- These worksheets were not designed with the use of zero as an addend. There are enough boxes to add 1 through the number before the sum. For example, for the 5 worksheet, there are boxes for 1+4; 2+3; 3+2; and 4+1.
Here’s the link to the .pdf file: whatmakes510
Please, please, please let me know if you notice any typos or inconsistencies! Thanks!