Saturday, October 31, 2015

Wibbly Wobbly

I admit it, many in this house enjoy Doctor Who. So, for a recent birthday, I thought it would be fun to try and make a TARDIS cake surrounded by Daleks.

I am definitely not the greatest baker, or decorator in the world. My frosting always ends up runny, even when I follow directions, EXACTLY. And my stuff looks fairly pitiful. However, after seeing stuff on pinterest that I have pinned, I decided to add to my been there done that folder, with attempts to achieve something remotely like the ideas I'd collected.

I used a bread pan, in hopes of making a little TARDIS and cupcakes for the Daleks. Tip... Turn the cupcakes upside down so the bigger part is on the bottom. I used Reese's Peanut Butter Cups for their heads and pearl candy sprinkles for their bumpy spots. I propped the TARDIS up with 3 Daleks, otherwise, it wouldn't have been standing!

Here is a visual of what I ended up with. (That's right, I actually have a picture today!)

 It certainly looked better with the lighted candles. :) And truthfully, it was still good eats. Just not very good looking eats!

Thankfully, it was appreciated by the birthday blessing, who thought it was neat for me to even try to make it.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Friends of all Ages

In school we are trained to stick with people our own ages, for the most part. That is another thing I love about homeschooling, though. My kids have been trained that age is a number and friendships can be had in different ways with different kids.

But that is not what this post is about. This post is about how much *I* love having friends of varying ages. Friends who look to me for advice, friends I seek for advice, and friends who are going through the same struggles at the same time.

Last night, as I shared my heart, concerning parenting my daughters better, with a group of friends, God answered some of my prayers. Through these women, of different ages, perspectives, and ideas, I was able to receive advice, comfort, and encouragement. From one, I found who had been there, done that, I found hope and knew that the sun will rise again. I also gained insight from younger women, who still had a fresh enough, from my girls' perspective, viewpoint. Being able to share with me what they struggled with and why and who and what they needed then.

It's amazing the people God puts in our lives and the ways they can help us to grow into the people we are meant to be, if we will just take the time to be vulnerable and listen.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

So Far All is Well

Since I moved the girls into the same room last week, things have seemed pretty good. They are treating each other with more kindness and less fighting. I can hear them laughing, and sharing, often. It is a wonderful thing. I know in my heart this was a God move, because I never would've done it on my own, and it certainly wouldn't have turned out so well. I am pleased with the choice that I made and thankful for the courage I had to make it.

Things haven't changed in the way they treat their dad and I, but that is a separate issue and will take time, determination, effort, etc... on our part, as their parents. In spite of that, I am thankful to have at least some extra peace and harmony in this home and am praying it is only the beginning.

Saturday, October 24, 2015


I have written recently about my issues with my daughters being disrespectful. I've had people tell me to take away privileges and to assert my authority. I have prayed for wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and guidance on how to parent with love and without spoiling my kids.

For a few weeks now, at least a couple, the idea has made it's rounds through my thoughts. Each time, I've wondered if it was a bit extreme. Was I even able to do that? I've also worried about my husband's disagreement with it, but also the judgement of others, who feel the need to tell me how to parent and why my choices aren't good enough. Prayerfully, I finally made a decision and a move.

Yesterday, while my girls were at school, I moved them into the same bedroom. I used the $5 bed frame I've been refinishing, for Blessing #1, as a good opportunity to do this, since it meant changing her room anyway. Every time I questioned whether I was doing the right thing or not, a peace fell over me.

Tears and rejection met me, as I faced my daughters to explain my decision to them. I understood them being angry, and yet, I was at peace. It is my daughters' call, to honor, respect, and obey me. *Gasp* Yes, I said obey. Really, it is not a bad word. We obey the law don't we? Why? Because it is good for us and for others when we do. At the same time, it is my call to train them up with love, to be the women they are called to be.

I have tolerated their growing disrespect and horrid behavior, or lashed out, in my opinion, incorrectly, for far too long. If I desire change, I must be willing to do things differently. To see things differently.

I know many who would disapprove of my moving my girls back into the same room, when they've had their own for so long, and with them being the ages they are. Honestly, I don't care anymore. The attitude that children MUST HAVE their own space, their own rooms, to grow into their individuality, and their own person, I just don't buy it anymore.

They were angry with me yesterday, but I stood my ground. When evening came, so did a small reward, for my faithfulness to what had been laid on my heart, as I listened to my girls laughing and sharing in a way they haven't in a long time.

Today, they still aren't completely happy, and yet, they've been kinder to one another. They've worked together more than they have in a long time and even their interactions with me have been somewhat better.

I know it will not always be this pleasant. There will be times they will fight, and complain, etc... Yet, at they same time, they are being required to learn to live with other people, learn from them, grow with them, and think of someone besides themselves, more than they were when they could just go to their own room, lock the door, and ignore the people around them.

I know it won't be an easy road, but the right things, usually aren't. I do, however, believe that it will take us in a good direction and that it will pave the way for the manifestation of wonderful things, both in this family, and in the lives my daughters will someday touch, because of what they will learn and how they will grow.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

I Love Homeschooling

This week has been an off week for me. I, may have, pulled our lesson plan out on Monday, and haven't looked at it since.

This week I was reminded, this is ok. As I let the boys lead, this week, I realized how little credit I've given to the things they learn, without a plan.

I'm not saying having a plan is a bad idea. I like it, and it certainly has helped us this year. However, flexibility is truly a gift that homeschooling offers us.

This week, we didn't get around to our math paperwork, or our writing paperwork. We only read some of our science and history. We didn't really do anything else that was on the schedule. Instead, we played. A LOT.

Through their play, I saw them practicing so much. As they built towers and cities out of plastic cups, I saw the implementation of math, science, physics, engineering. They may not be able to explain what they were doing or why they did it, in technical terms, but what they did surprised me.

I also saw them budding as artists and learning about the color wheel, mediums, lines, etc... all just by doing those things and by watching me do those things.

They built character, story telling skills, etc... as they implemented working together to make games and story lines, in those games, function. 

They strengthened their minds, their bodies, their knowledge of the world around them and the impact they can have on it and others, as they played outside and helped their dad with outdoor projects.

We did math as we talked about how many pennies a box of cereal and other items cost.

Spelling came naturally as we discussed how to spell different things. My oldest son, has been learning to write Batman and Star Wars, to search for them, by reading video game boxes or books that have the names on them. Spelling and reading, on his own.

 All day long, each day this week, I've seen my sons grow, when I've stopped to just, truly, observe them and what they are doing. And I see that, it isn't about pushing them to meet the expectations of others, but to know them as individuals and encourage them when they are ready and interested. To know they may not be learning what *I* think they should be learning, but they are often learning what they should be learning, for them. After all, we all have different callings, gifts, talents, and natural abilities.

Too often, I've missed these cues, being so busy about trying to prove that *I* can teach my kids. I've forgotten that my job is not to make them, but to facilitate for them. Just like with potty training and learning to walk. Watching for cues that say "I'm ready and I want this info."

When I wait, it comes quickly and flows more naturally, than when I try to force it. There isn't a battle, or a fight. When I wait, I see their confidence grow as they see that they CAN do this or that and it isn't that hard.

I love that, through homeschooling, I can take the time to get to know my children and to trust them and teach them to trust themselves. To trust their ability to learn and to grow. To trust that, they are who they are meant to be and that isn't going to be exactly like everyone else, doing everything at the same time in the same way as everyone else.

My boys may be "behind" in one subject, on par with another, and ahead with a third. The nice thing is, there is no deadline for them to know this or that. There is no looking at someone else who this comes easier to, and thinking they must not be very good at it themselves. They will grow in all those areas and they will do well. They will be successful in life, not by the standards of others, but by the standards they have for what it means to be successful.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


Today has been a less turbulent day.

On a whim, I decided to put away my lesson plan for the boys and have a morning of art instead. They didn't join me the way I thought they would, yet other things happened, as I gave into flexibility. They got to do something they both enjoy, together, strengthening their bond. At the same time, I was able to do something I love. I painted.

First I pulled out a piece I had started, over a week ago. A fall scene, with radiant orange skies, tufted with pinkish clouds. Green hills, rolling along the bottom. To which I added 4 trees, leaves drifting to the ground and piling up around them.

When that was finished, I decided to make a pumpkin picture. Four pumpkins of various sizes, vines still attached, resting in some grass, on a beautiful evening.

I'm not a greatly skilled artist. If I ever forget that, all I have to do is ask my husband what he thinks of my art. However, completing those paintings and hanging them on my wall felt good.

It felt good to share a part of myself others rarely see. To look at something I actually completed.

It was after this that my boys decided they, too, wanted to make things to hang on the wall.

Seeing them follow the example I set, so quickly, reminded me of how important our examples are. I can easily be weighed down by that truth. Instead, I feel lighter, knowing that the little things I do, that I may think I'm really not good at, simply because I like doing them, is teaching my kids to do things they love, not because of the great skills they have, but because doing those things makes them smile.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Sometimes Mommy Needs a Time Out

I left my daughters in charge of the youngest two, while I took Blessing #3 to his practice today. Then, courageously, I took time to hit the store, since we were low on a couple of essentials. I was in a good mood.

Then it happened. I got a call from my oldest blessing. Blessing #2 had stayed in her room, except to eat, while I was gone. While Blessings #1 and 4 ate, Blessing #1 thought Blessing #5 was with Blessing #2. While she finished her dinner, Blessing #4 went to join Blessing #5.

Next thing I hear is, Blessing #5 pooped on the floor and he and Blessing #4 had smeared it around. In my head I'm thinking of the horror stories my parents and others have told me of incidents where a diaperless baby or toddler did just that and how it was E V E R Y where.

I arrived home, moments after the call, to find that not only was there a mess that I made Blessing #2 clean, since she hadn't been helping, but that almost every room downstairs was a disaster. I was discourage and disappointed and that made me angry.

I yelled, shouted, and eventually made my boys go to their room, (the girls had already gone to theirs), so that I could clean. I knew that sending them to their room was no punishment. They'd just play in there, especially since they were playing so well together before I sent them.

No, I sent them there because I needed a time out and it was too late to send them outside. I needed to put myself in check, get grounded, and calm down.

It worked. With them upstairs, I could turn on some calming music and begin tackling the insanity before me. Tackle it, I did. It is amazing what all can be done in a short time, when no one else is around to undo everything.

When they did come down again, I was able to receive them with a heart full of love, instead of resentment. In time, the messes they made won't matter, but our relationship, my interactions with them... those will.

It All Adds Up

The dishwasher is broken. The lock on the trunk of the van won't unlock when I push the button. I keep forgetting to get laundry detergent, and am almost out. My house is a disaster and even when I get it to a point of sanity it gets trashed again. I have a to do list 50 miles long and only enough time in a day to reach a mile. I'm frustrated over things I can't control. All these things add up, to an overwhelming weight. A weight that reminds me that I am not superwoman.

The truth is, none of us are. It is easy to become crushed by everything on our plates, and think to ourselves of others, whom, we believe, have it all together. "Ginny has a perfectly clean house, well behaved kids, and does it on her own, a lot, because her husband works in another state." "Clara can educate her kids, make all their food from scratch, raise animals, and always looks so nice." These are thoughts I have had. Which turn to, "But look at me. There are many days I'm lucky to get a shower let alone have a clean house. I take my kids in public and people would think they are feral children. (This is true less often than I feel). I can't juggle everything." and I beat myself up for it, on bad days.

The thing is, I know so many (probably every mom) has these same thoughts. We aren't alone. Why are these thoughts so prevalent? Why do we feel this need to compare so much so often? Where is all this pressure and expectation coming from? This idea that we can not have weaknesses, but must be be as good or better than others? Is it coming from us, or from outside of us?

In my case, I'd say both, which is probably true all around. However, I do feel more of it comes from outside of me than inside of me. I don't usually think I have to be just like Sarah or Jane. I understand that they may seem like things are good, but be hurting, broken, and tired. I've seen it in my own friends, and in myself. They also may have resources that I don't, or at least haven't utilized. For example, Ginny may not have her husband nearby all the time, but she may have family to lean on when he isn't able to help her. I don't have that and find it rather difficult to lean on my friends for that.

I can do a hundred things and if something else doesn't get done, meet the expectations of others, I've noticed, at times, it is like those other 100 things don't matter, they don't count. The thing is, ladies, they do. They may not count to others, but they still count. Just because one thing (or a 100 others) didn't get done, doesn't mean that each thing you did was not an accomplishment.

I am more accomplished than I feel, I just need to remember that. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


 Fall. It is probably my favorite season. The crisp, cool air that says the summer heat is over, but winter isn't here yet. The feasting and togetherness. The vibrant colors of warmth and snuggliness. Walks in nature, with so much to see and explore.

 I love that we can take it all in, in our own "backyard". We've been taking nature hikes around the property the past month. Found lots of mushrooms. It has really made me interested in learning more about them.
We've also seen butterflies, grasshoppers, sandhill cranes, and deer. The pictures below show Blessing #3 with a Monarch. It'd been wet down by the rain, and we were trying to take it to a milkweed plant. Also, Blessing #4 checking out some deer tracks, along the trail.

With fall, also comes harvest time!

This is what we've harvested so far, and not used, yet, from our randomly growing squash plants. Blessing #2 drew the cute face. She was naming our squash.
These were views I had this morning. I love days like this. So calm, quiet, peaceful. Vibrant colors amongst a refreshing fog. Seemingly separated from the worries and chaos of the world, as though we were tucked away in our own private one.