Monday, April 10, 2017

    So my first home school year is winding down and I wanted to record my thoughts. Like my honest, raw, real thoughts. Because I'll be perfectly honest, I'm not sure what they are, so I'm hoping by writing this out maybe I can figure out what I'm feeling.
        First of all, I feel like I've half-assed this whole thing. And I absolutely HATE that. And I wish there was a better word, but I don't think there's an another phrase that so describes how I feel my entire life is right now. I'm half assed at keeping the house clean. But my kid's education shouldn't be half assed. But right now, it honestly is. Or I feel like it is. I mean to plan out their lessons more, but then stuff happens. And sometimes that stuff is Emoji Blitz. Sometimes it's a legit reason, like sick kids or messes or whatever. But too often it's Facebook. Every day I beat myself up, that we just barely made it through the assigned tasks from Connections Academy, sometimes not even that much. We didn't do half of the stuff it told us to do, we only did the "assessment" portion, which they were able to pass, so do they reeeaallly need to do all the lesson stuff if they can pass the test? Is how I justify my behavior. But I want this to end. I want to do more enriching activities. And now with the school year winding down I have a sense of urgency to do these things before the year is over. Because who knows if I'll do this again?
         Last night I found myself wondering if I had a full time job, if it would help me whole-ass my life better. Sometimes I find that when I know I have limited time, I use that time more wisely. So maybe giving myself more to do would somehow help this problem I have. But in reality would I just be half assing another thing? Would I be quarter assing life? And made even worse by screwing up other people's kids in the process? (The jobs I'm looking at are full time teaching jobs.)
          I also thought about starting a preschool. Or a cookie business. I don't know. What do you think, universe? I'm going to get fingerprinted tomorrow to start the process and then decide. I can at least sub once a week. Because I also just need something to do besides mom. I love being a mom and it's literally all I've ever wanted, but I worry I'm not my best self. I don't know. I really don't know. I do find a lot of joy and fulfillment in caring for my children.
           Anyway back to thoughts on homeschooling and my half assedness. I'm going to be better this week. I really am. I have it all planned out. And I love how much time we have together because of homeschooling. I love that we don't have rush out the door in the mornings. I love that Olivia is old enough to be left to babysit for short periods of time, so I can leave my sleeping baby and run to the store up the street real quick, or pick up from preschool. I love that days when Aaron is off we can have time together to do what we want, and that wouldn't happen if they were in traditional school. I love the opportunities we have had to learn things we wouldn't have otherwise. And I absolutely LOVE the other families we have met. Our co-op is amazing. The kids have had made awesome friends, learned so much from some amazing moms who whole ass life a lot better than I do. I think in a lot of ways our relationships have improved. There are still times Olivia and I are yelling at each other over undone schoolwork, and those times I want nothing more than to send her to the nearest public school. I also think as siblings they get along better.
             I worry that they're missing out on "normal" school stuff though. And I worry that  my relaxed attitude about their lessons is going to be detrimental to their overall education. And I worry that Abigail hasn't learned how to spell very well. And that Olivia doesn't really "get" fractions, or have her multiplication facts memorized well enough. We didn't do very many science projects. I let them skip handwriting practice often. I don't have enough of a routine for our day.
          So that's what our first year looks like. And yes I'm literally vacillating between putting my kids in public school and daycare and working at public school... or continuing to homeschool and obviously that means staying home. Total opposite ends of the spectrum. Glad I have time to figure it out.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Just an update

A blog post came up in my facebook memories and it made me sad that I haven't been writing here as much.

Life right now is like the calm before the storm, but it's definitely still raining. We're just starting softball, and swim team is a few weeks away. We're going back on the open bed list for foster care in May  (because I can't quiet the voice in my heading calling me to do this). In the thick of homeschooling and working on a few big end of year projects for that. Signing myself up for some sort of race so that I can have more motivation to workout. Planning a few big summer vacations (Redwoods! New Jersey!) and maybe a few small ones (cabin trip? Weekend getaway with my husband?).

Nora had her check up today.  At 10 months old she's just the right size for a 1 year old. And she's only a couple months away so we're not too ahead of the curve. She's 32 inches and 22lbs. Everything is on track and she's really a sweet baby.

Eliza is exhausting as ever. She loves to make people laugh. She draws a watch on her arm almost every day, if it hasn't washed off. I decided to ask her what time it was on that watch of hers and she replied without missing a beat, "Its showtime!" *jazz hands*

Nathan loves preschool and has made a really good friend with another little boy who only has sisters. They're super cute together and it's fun to see him making new friends.

Abigail and Olivia are loving being homeschooled. If you ask them if they miss anything about public school they'll tell you absolutely not. Which makes my decision about what to do next year harder. But I'm thinking we're done. It's good to know I can do it and maybe we'll do it again in the future but I am not sure I'm cut out for it. I'm so disorganized one of our biggest hurdles every day is finding a freaking pencil!! It makes me feel like I'm losing my mind. Plus it takes almost all my time and so we've had to hire someone to help with housework and I'm always worried they're not learning enough or I'm not doing the right thing. I need to improve my self discipline and organizational skills. Maybe if I get my crap together by the end of the year we'll continue. We've made great friends and are loving it, but this ish is so hard!

And that's about all that's going on lately. 12 years ago today was mine and Aaron's first date and I am honestly more in love with that man today than I was back then. Who would have thought that one date would turn into a family living in Yuma, AZ with our 5 kids?!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

When did my life become full of so many people?? Sometimes I just take a step back and it really blows my mind. 12 years ago I kind of, sort of had my eye on this guy at Institute (okay it was a pretty big crush) and I was getting ready to go back to NJ to surprise my mom for spring break. That was a lot of fun. Then pretty much as soon as spring break was over, Aaron and I started dating, and before long here we are! 5 babies later! It makes me realize how fast time goes, and that in 12 years my kids will be 20, 19, 17, 15, and 12. We'll be in a whole different world. One full of mission preparations,  college, and my baby will be about to be a teenager. Sometimes it feels like I'm in this never ending loop of babyhood, perpetuated by me getting pregnant pretty much every other year since 2007. It can feel so draining, and at times I feel almost like my entire identity is wrapped up in these little people and I crave to have something just for me. Something to remind of who I am, aside from "Mom! Mama! Moooo-ooommm! MOM!"
         Funnily enough, Mom is the only identity I ever wanted. I spent my whole life waiting for this. Literally it is all I ever wanted. I walked the baby clothes aisles long before I was even married. I have a very clear memory of when I worked in a K-Mart, walking to the baby needs aisle and putting Johnson & Johnson lotion on my hands, and inhaling that sweet baby smell and just longing for this life. And here I am! I remind myself of this every so often, because it's really easy to just get frustrated. But I mean look at this face! 
 And before I know it, she'll be looking more like this!

We're homeschooling this year and I'm most likely not going to repeat this, but it has given us so much time together (which is both the reason I'm so done, and sad to see this year end). We've had some awesome experiences and I feel like we've just all gotten a lot closer and are really growing and stretching as people. However, sometimes that growing and stretching is really ugly and I'm not so sure it's worth it. I worry constantly that I'm not doing enough to help them learn as much as they would at public school. I fear my weakness in organization is setting a horrible example for them to follow in their own lives. And so many times I've completely lost my patience and end up just yelling at everyone. So I'm looking forward to spring break next week! And then we just have a few weeks left before summer vacation. We need to have some kind of huge party to celebrate a whole year of homeschooling in the books.

Today we had stake conference and there were so many great talks. Talks that have inspired me to want to study my scriptures more regularly. To have a closer relationship with my Savior. To do more to invite the Spirit into my home. To have opportunities to share the Gospel with those I know and love. To do more to help the needy. The beautiful thing is, this desire to be better isn't being felt along with its usually accompanying hearty side of guilt that I'm not already perfect at these things. The Atonement is real! It's a done deal, guys. Jesus Christ was a real person, who did this real thing, and it truly has power to transform our lives. And little by little our lives can improve as we come to Him. And that's it! In meekness and humility, come to Him, and let Him work in your heart. Let Him bring about the changes you desire. He will show your weakness, not to hurt you or bring you down, but so that you can truly change. And the amazing thing is, He takes these weaknesses and turns them into strengths, if we let Him. I am so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am grateful for my living testimony of its truthfulness. My testimony goes through these periods of doubt and then it swells again with so much surety I can't believe I could ever doubt. But I take heart in knowing that this is how we grow. Periods of doubt are a natural part of being human, and as long as I use them to come closer to Him, it's nothing to be ashamed of. Anyway, this is way more personal than I usually get, but I wanted to write this all out and I was going to write in my journal, but I just started blogging and now I'm on a roll so there's no stopping it.

I'm excited for this week. My first baby girl will be turning 9! Aaron took the day off and we're going to have a super fun family day, and she's going to have some friends come over at night. It has been so incredible to watch her grow. And watch her transition into a full blown BIG kid... we're definitely not pre-teen yet, right? That's at least 10, right? I feel like we're knocking on that door really soon though. And while it's scary, it's also so exciting. She's such a bright, strong willed person, I can't wait to see what she does.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

I feel like we've been sick forever

It seems like it's been months of sickness after sickness. We've experienced back to back stomach bugs, colds and hand-foot-mouth disease all within weeks of each other. We had a pretty long stretch of health and then it seemed to all hit at once. I guess that's the way it goes. But I'm done now. I've managed to also catch every single one of them. It's funny, but in my marriage I am the stereotypical "man" in so many ways. Like when it comes to being sick. Aaron will never admit when he's feeling ill, and he'll power through. Meanwhile my temp is 99.5 and I'm moaning and laying in bed planning my funeral. Yes, I get mancolds. And I'm so so grateful to have Aaron pull the weight when I'm "dying". And today we were taken care of by great friends. I feel so blessed, while feeling so horrible. I have spent a majority of the past two days in bed, and my kids have been taken care of and the house is relatively clean. If I wasn't in so much pain it would be a wonderful thing. But I'm really hoping I can get back to it tomorrow. The ironic thing is, right before this stomach bug hit I did all my meal prep for the first time in forever. I cooked, and chopped veggies, and portioned out food... and haven't been able to eat in two days. At least I still lost some weight!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Just a post about my sweetest boy

For Christmas this year we tried something new and got the kids calendars with little experiences sprinkled throughout the year. Included in those were monthly dates for the kids and one parent. Tonight was my turn for a date with Nathan. He wanted to go buy a stuffed animal.. go figure. But with Valentine's clearance I guess I could allow one more. I love one on one time with my kids. It really reminds me how much I love them. Nathan was so sweet on our date. Opened my door, held my hand and when someone honked their horn in the parking lot he said, "Were they honking at you? If they were I'm going to kill them!" Maybe a bit much, but still melted my heart with his mommy protection. So he got his stuffed animal (which is one of those giant ones that is bigger than he is) and on the way home he was talking about how good he was going to sleep tonight because he could cuddle his new fox. But tonight at bedtime he told Abigail she could cuddle his giant fox tonight. And tomorrow Olivia could. And then the third night he'd finally get to cuddle his new fox. There are times he whines so much I feel like I need ear plugs just to get through the day. Or he melts down and cries at being told to do something that he really doesn't want to do... but he is a great kid. I am the luckiest mom. Also just for memory's sake... he's been really sick with a stomach bug the last two days. I never knew puke cleaner upper was a quality I wanted in a husband, but man I am so glad I found it. Aaron in the champion puke cleaner in my house, and I will never ever take that for granted.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Just comparing




I was trying to make some kind of side by side comparison  of all my kids around the same age, but I was having trouble formatting so this is the best I can do. I think Nora and Eliza look so much alike, but looking at the pictures I think I definitely see more of Abigail.

Going back through old pictures made me realize how fast time goes. Which is actually a good thing right now, these kids are really wearing me out. It just all feels neverending. The laundry. The dishes. The making and cleaning up of meals. Knowing I need to do a better job of making the kids help me with these things, but never actually doing it. I just keep reminding myself, I love this life. I really do. It's all I ever wanted... I just never knew it would involve this much work! :D

Monday, January 23, 2017

Getting back on top of things...

So much craziness going on in the world lately. And I'm just here trying to make my home a refuge from all that craziness. We moved in July to our new house. Still in Yuma, just a few miles from where we used to live. But now we own it, so that means that everything has to break the first 3 months. Right? I mean, pretty much is how it's gone down. Here are some recent pictures of what life looks like around here lately.
Nora learning to stand. She's almost 8 months and she's in too much of a hurry to grow up.
She also just got her first two teeth.

When you're so happy your face swallows your eyes.

This snaggle tooth finally got pulled a few hours after taking this picture.
She pulled it out in primary. Apparently she just needed an audience.

My mom came to visit. Convinced her to try a burrito for the first time. We may have spoiled her by forcing her to have Chili Pepper for her first burrito. 

Our foster son went back to his family, so Nathan got his bed back. He had been sleeping in the top bunk of the girls room, which is a house type bed and I can't really see in there that well. He had ALL these fluffy things crammed in there. It took 3 trips across the hall to unload all his fluffy things.

Olivia learned to fry eggs. She is very proud of herself, and I'm so grateful for the helpful girl she's becoming.

This kid. Eating an onion. She turned 3 on the 20th so here's to hoping all the terribleness is behind us.

Finally drinking a bottle!