Monday, July 29, 2013

No More Fear

If you would have told me that it was fear, I would have told you that you were wrong.  I don't think I even realized it until much later.  And I had to discover it on my own.
Eight years of homeschooling my kids.  Eight years of hearing the same question.  Eight years of letting the doubts eat away at my confidence. 

I laugh as I type this, because I know how ridiculous the question is.  How unfounded.  How absurd.

The big question?  "What about socialization?" 

The question takes so many forms.  Sometimes people ask very bluntly and sometimes they are more subtle, but the question remains.  Will my kids grow up normal?  Will they have any friends?  What if they aren't around people other than their family for days on end?  How will they be normal?  Are you cheating them out of a normal childhood?

I've heard them all.  I have answers for all of them.  I believe those answers.  But last school year, something changed.

It started with youth group.  Bubby joined.  Then he started playing in the youth band.  That took our Sunday night and Wednesday afternoon.  You have to practice, you know.
Then co-op.  We waited 3 years to get in.  Three years!  There went Friday morning.
The Bug wanted to get back into gymnastics.  We let her.  Monday night was gone.
We had the incredible opportunity to participate in a First Lego League.  We learned a lot!  But there went every Friday afternoon and as compitition grew near, Tuesday or Thursday afternoon too.
Bubby joined the Jr. Drama team at co-op so we added that in on Friday afternoons as well as other practice days for a few weeks before the big performance.
Bug and Leeny played volleyball in the Spring.  Practice was Monday and Wednesday and games were Sunday afternoons. That was difficult because volleyball caused us to double up with other activities.
Add to it all orthodontist appointments, chiropractor, doctor visits, dentist, hair cuts, family events, time to "hang out" with friends and the fact that everywhere we go is a 20-40 minute drive.  One way.

Our schedule was overflowing.  When we were home, we were trying to squeeze in schoolwork, housework, laundry, cooking and outside chores.

You know what I lost?  I lost my breathing room.  My day was scheduled to the max.  I lost the ability to just be.  To have friends over to play.  Time to just sit and read a book.  Time to go on field trips or spend the day at the park.  We had to schedule time to play a game or watch a movie!

In gaining so many activities, my kids lost too.  They started to argue.  They were picking at eachother.  They didn't enjoy being together anymore.

And that's when I realized it.  I had let "the question" creep in and cause doubt.  I was fearful.  All those activities were good things, but not when the motive for participation was fear. 

So we are simplifying.  Cutting back.  Creating more breathing room in our schedule.  More margin.  And in the less, I expect to gain far more.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Outside my window...cooler and gray - not cold yet but beginning to feel like fall. We've experienced temps in the 80's for over a week. Leaves litter the yard and the ones still clinging to the trees are shades of yellow and brown.

I am thinking...that I need to check on the steer. He has a couple of wounds that we've been cleaning and doctoring. I so hope he heals.

I am thankful...for my mom. I'm thankful of the legacy she is leaving. When life was hard, she still managed to work full time and be everything to my sister and I. I don't know how she did it. Today she has my Baby, spending time with her, celebrating the 2nd birthday. I love how she loves my kids.

From the learning rooms...with Baby gone for the day, I think we will be playing some games. Made for Trade (History), Monopoly (Math) and Apples to Apples (Language Arts) are all games that require too much time to play with Baby underfoot. I think we'll start a new read-a-loud and watch a movie too.

In the kitchen...need to redeem myself for last nights dinner. We were learning about Massachusetts and the Pilgrims so we cooked clam chowder and a pumpkin/cranberry dessert. Husband is more of a meat and potatoes kind of guy. He ate it with little complaint, but soup does NOT impress him. Tonight...hamburgers and fries. He'll be a happy man.

I am pants and a pink t-shirt. Boring!

I am creating...a huge mess. It's that time of year...switching out closets....sorting clothes. Hopefully by days end I can create a clean, organized home.

I am stay off the computer today and enjoy uninterrupted time with my big kids.

I am wondering...if Leeny will be able to play Apples to Apples?

I am Homeschool Supermom....Not! I LOVE that book!

I am exhibit more love and patience toward my hubby. I have been so crabby lately and he's been the recipient of it. Not good. I have apologized but I know that I hurt his feelings.

I am looking forward to...a slower-paced week at home. We've been on the go so much lately. I miss weeks with nothing on the calendar.

I am hearing...the radio and kids making their own breakfast. Lots of stirring going on - hot chocolate maybe?

Around the house...piles of clothes ready for Leeny's closet (LOVE hand-me-downs!), bags of clothes ready to be passed on to my niece K, and just the general signs of people living here.

I am pondering...what all I am going to make with the 3 bushels of pears we picked on Sunday. Maybe I should spend some time canning this afternoon.

One of my favorite things...a visit with a friend while lingering over a good cup of coffee.

A few plans for the rest of the week...home. Other than a movie tomorrow afternoon with mom and the kids, we are home until Saturday.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing..

Can't believe this tiny baby just celebrated her 2nd birthday. Where has the time gone? This time it went by so much faster than the others.

Have a great week! For more Simple Women, go here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Family Fun

I love when our family spends time together -with the husband. He is often so busy providing for our family that it ends up just being the kids and I. When he's along for the day, it's pretty much perfect!
He surprised us and took the day to play. We went to a local fall festival. The weather was perfect, the kids were great and we had a ball!

Bug, Baby, Bubby and I took a ride on this lopsided creation. That was quite a ride! I was very thankful for the chains that held us on. My ribs, however, were not. Next time, I'll skip that one.

They offered "Learn to Drive a Tractor" stations. My kids drive them alone all the time at home, but Leeny and Bubby had to drive them over and over again.

An old steam tractor. Bubby's favorite. He just HAD to have his picture taken on it.

My little scrawny kid tractor pulling in her flip-flops. The man next to me said that he felt sorry for the girls in the flip-flops. Little did he know that when they were done pulling, he'd be eating his words. Don't give my kids a video game and expect much but pedal pulls, no problem!

This is my little ox. She has more strength in that body (especially her thighs) than any kid I know. Not only did she win 1st place, beating all the boys, she was also the ONLY kid to get a full pull. The 2nd place winner was more than 15 feet behind her. And she was in her flip-flops too.

Best vantage point there. The kids love when daddy goes with us. He's lots of fun!

Proud little ladies.

Proof that I was there. Train ride. So often I'm the one snapping pictures, that there are none of me. I hate having my picture taken, but don't mind a few so the kids will know I really was there.

My pride and joys. I love these kids! They bring me so much joy, teach me so much about love, and show me how to enjoy life.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


This conversation was on the way to soccer practice last week. I'm so glad that I was driving so they couldn't see my face.

Bug: What's a grenade?
Bubby: It's like a little bomb.
Bug: (quiet for a minute) Are you sure?
Bubby: Yes. They're made out of metal and you pull off part and throw it and it blows up.
Bug: Well then what are those things that fall off the tree by the playground? I thought those were grenades?
Bubby: (Laughing but trying not to) Those are walnuts. (more laughing) I just pretend like they are grenades when I throw them at you.

We will be doing a tree study soon. I'm almost scared to ask what she thinks the other trees grow. :/

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sowing Seeds

I blew it yesterday. No patience, unkind words. Not much in the way of mercy.

I'm so thankful that God's God and I'm not. Because I sure wouldn't want to follow someone like me.

Why do I start out the day well and then as the pressures of all that needs to be done build, I crumple like a stepped on soda can? You know, the day is getting away too fast and still much remains to be done, the Baby needs some attention, Bubby is moving at his pace, etc. And the selfish me wants to be done with schoolwork, so I can move on to what I want to do. So what do I do? I choose the flesh. I get grouchy.

And you know what's the worst? At the end of the day, everything had gotten done...all of always does. But at what price. Instead of sowing seeds of patience, gentleness, goodness, love, etc., which I could have (and should have) chosen to sow, I sowed seeds of anger, bitterness, impatience, etc. Seeds grow. And I know the principle - you reap what you sow. Now I'll have lots of weeding to do. ARRGHH! Why did I choose to sow weeds?

Sometimes I feel like that lump of clay on the Potter's wheel. He starts to get me shaped into what He wants me to be and then SMASH! - back into a lump.

So I'm sorry. I'm sorry that after all that God has done and the price He's paid for me that I still choose my flesh. And I'm thankful. I'm thankful for God's forgiveness. So, so thankful that it's there for the taking. All I have to do is ask.

I'm thankful for kids who are so forgiving - that seem to forget (or choose not to focus) when mom is so far from where she should be. Kids that continue to love me even when I fall.

Wow! Often times they paint a better picture of God's love than I do!

Maybe that's part of God's plan. Maybe that's part of why God called us to homeschool? Maybe God has me homeschooling more for what my kids can teach me? That's a humbling thought. But they do seem to have a better grasp than me on the important stuff.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Reliving History

We've been learning about early American History. We've been reading Squanto, Friend of the Pilgrims as well as The Story of the Thirteen Colonies. The kids have been mesmerized learning about the fragile relationship between the settlers and the Indians. They've also enjoyed hearing about the faith of the settlers and how easy it was to get kicked out of a colony.

Imagine my delight when I had this conversation with Bubby today.
I had just asked him to help me set up the extra table for a family dinner tonight.

Bubby: Can I please go back out to play? We're having soooo much fun!
Me: What are you guys doing out there?
Bubby: Well I'm an English settler and the girls are part of an Indian Tribe and I got kicked out of my settlement and well, I'm not sure what's going to happen to me now. But I gotta get out there and see.

I was a proud mama. They are listening. They are learning. How awesome that they wanted to relive history!
I wonder what happened to Bubby. I'll have to remember to ask.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


My kids are growing up so fast. It seems like just yesterday, I had to do everything for them. Not anymore.

Tonight while I was cooking supper, Bubby, Bug and Leeny started a campfire and roasted hotdogs. ALL. BY. THEMSELVES!

Where did the time go?!? And why did I bother cooking supper?