Friday, August 1, 2014

What I want to be. . .

I want to have a regular cleaning schedule, but I am usually just doing the thing that looks the worst.
I want to get up early and walk, read scripture and pray, but I am always squeaking out the few minutes of sleep that I can while hubby gets breakfast ready.
I want to paint furniture in cool trendy colors, but i just keep wiping the grime off and saying someday.
I want to bake great nutritious muffins and breads, but we eat a lot of cereal.
I want to grow lots of vegetables and preserve them, but I am usually just whacking down weeds.
I want my kids to look nicely dressed, but most days their pants are too short and their shirts are stained.

There is what I want, and there is real life.  I live in a real world where babies want to be held, laundry never stops and the phone rings at the most inconvenient times.  Where date nights are few even though we have grandparents nearby.  We are always running just ahead of the chaos that is pounding at the door.  We have some routines that provide a barrier, but still we are in a season where our time is not our own.

but that is what it means to be a family, and thats really all I want. 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

holding with open hands

A friend told me yesterday that she is going to move away.  I knew this was coming, her husbands job was just temporary, but still I felt that familiar ache.

I grew up in a town with lots of coming and going.  People came for a season in their lives and then left.  My best friends were the ones who stayed.  It takes time to build friendships, for roots to go deep.

As an adult, I lived in a situation where we were hosting many groups that came for a few weeks or a few months.  We laughed, we got to know each other and then it was time to say goodbye again.  I often has wistful feelings of wanting more time with them, but I knew it wasn't forever. 

The most painful goodbyes were the friends we wept with, we watched get married and have babies.  We spent long evenings with wine and conversations and we celebrated birthdays together.  They held my babies and I gave relationship advice.  When they left us or we left them, it hurt so deeply.

So now I am back in my hometown that still has a revolving door of people.  I try to love deeply as I can while people are here, but I have to admit that part of me holds back.  Part of me is testing the waters to see if they really will stay before I commit.  Because leaving and being left hurts. 

God, help me to love with a full heart. Help me to hold friends with open hands. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

at the end of the day

one child sleeps
two boys talk
a cough
two hummingbirds play tag outside the window
the kitchen is clean (enough)
a load in the washer is done
diapers are dry outside (dont forget to bring them in!)
I sit, I rest
a rumble in my stomach tells me cereal time is coming
I wait for the thump of a car door
the squeak of the front door
that tells me
my love is home

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

planning homeschooling, continued

I dont have much more to say on how I plan, but I have a few things that I should have mentioned:

Strengths, Weaknesses and time investment-  The number one thing I love about homeschooling is the gift of time.  More time to play, more time to talk, more time to work on things we love.   But our time is limited too.  There is always more I want to do than we have time for.  And if I book us solid, I am missing out on that all important "down time" where kids create things, discuss things, and just dig in the dirt. So each year I look at what our kids strengths and weaknesses are, my husband is a great sounding board for this.  He sees things I dont.  And besides the basics of the 3 Rs, I design the activities we do around what our kids do well and what they need more work on.  For instance, my oldest really gets grammar.  Really.  He can diagram just about anything. So, besides the class he has each week at Classical Conversations, we don't do English grammar at home.  He gets it and there are other things we can do like learning Spanish that reinforce grammar but are a whole new area he can grow in.  So strengths we just touch on, but we dont go in depth.  Weaknesses are where we have to be disciplined, because its the area we all want to avoid.  So everyday we do some math, even in the summer.  Every day we practice reading, even in the summer.  We need to practice, so we do the time.  Small chunks, but everyday.

Art isnt optional- For a long time, I left art for the extra time.   I thought we needed to work hard on the "academics" and then art was just for fun.  It isnt.  Seeing, understanding and producing beauty integral to our education.  So now I schedule it for every Friday (and Thursdays too, if Dad can teach it) I dont have any great curriculum for this.  Pinterest gives me lots of ideas, but honestly the art activity my boys were raving about and still ask to do again was when we looked at still lifes in books and then I had them search the house for objects to put in a still life.  Then they drew them. So simple, but they thought the finding objects and arranging them was awesome and then drawing them was icing on the cake. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

simple homeschool planning

I once tried a strict homeschooling schedule for our family.  It lasted a day, maybe.  It was too stressful for all of us to be chained to a clock and took away our attention from the task at hand.  I know it works for some, but not for us.

I have gone to the other extreme too, just having general goals for the day, but no clear road map for getting there.  For me that has meant way too much time in our pajamas and breakfast dishes that seem to stay on the table all day.  At the end of the week it is hard to see what was accomplished. 

I have found a middle ground in the past couple years that works for us.  It keeps things simple and focuses our time and attention on the things that really matter.  It does take discipline for me to get the day started and get the kids to finish their morning chores, but then the machine starts going by itself and we accomplish a lot over the course of the year.

Here are the parts of my planning:

Booklist-  This is the heart of it all. Quality books, no twaddle make up our reading.  I dont own all the books I would like to read, but we have a good library that helps.  I do budget a little each year to get a home library built up.  This includes books we read together and independent reading.  These books are mostly historical fiction and literature.  We also read daily from a history spine like Story of the World or Mystery of History.

Checklists-  For each child, I make a checklist of what they do.  Some things are the same everyday, some things change with the day of the week.  But this is mostly a repeating routine, so they know "Math" means 30 minutes of math work.  It doesnt take a lot of explanation once we have the rhythm established

Notebook-  Last year I instituted a notebook (3 ring binder) for their Classical Conversations memory work.  That consisted of 24 numbered tabs for the memory work of each week.  I printed off lots of worksheets and things to fill out.  This year I am super simplifying that and will have graph paper for math each week, tracing paper for geography each week, lined paper for latin and grammar,  and plain paper for drawing/writing history, science etc.   We are also doing a separate notebook for the 50 states.  

5 minutes is up, so I may continue this tomorrow. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

how she sees herself

I saw a report today that overweight kids generally dont know that they are overweight.  As they broke down the statistics, one thing stood out to me.  Not all the overweight kids were oblivious.  The girls knew. 

From a young age, these girls had seen ads and movies that showed thin women.  Not healthy sized women, but starve yourself thin women.  They had played with dolls that looked more like aliens than women.   And they had entered into the trap of comparison, always coming up short.

I see the way my baby girl sees herself now.  She chews on her toes.  In the bath, she explores her belly button.  And frequently when she has sticky hands, she runs her hands in her silky fluffy hair.  She knows she is fearfully and wonderfully made.  She rejoices in her body. 

As she grows I will have to teach her the tricks.  How to find clothes that are both modest and flattering.  How to see that the before pictures always have no make up, poor lighting and ratty hair. How to know when it is just enough make-up to bring out your best features, but not to look like a plastic doll.

But before all that, I want to teach her what she already knows right now as a baby.  Her body is wonderful, miraculous and precious.  She is a masterpiece.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

maybe shorter than 5 minutes today

Because I am standing up and I need to go to the bathroom.

But take time to read this today.  If you are like me you will be smothering your laughter because a baby is sleeping and tears will roll. 

It is funny that with my third kid, getting up in the night has not been as stressful for me.  She doesn't sleep any better than the other two did at this age, but maybe I am just able to let go and hold her and soak it up.  Or maybe I am to tired to stress about it anymore.