Bonding

I came home from taking Jordyn to school to find this lying on my bed. Some sleepy father-son bonding. So sweet.

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Dear Friend,

I did something crazy today, Friend. It started innocently enough. I remembered that last night I felt good because of the busyness of the day and for accomplishing a few tasks. Today, I told myself, I would slowly ease into cleaning what is supposed to be the master bedroom and is instead the “collector of all things, to include (but not limited to): clothes, dirty and clean, piles of books, movies, trash, all household paperwork, sewing projects, fabric for sewing projects, cute pattern that I couldn’t pass up, pens, pencils, candy, candy wrappers, balls of yarn, balls of embroidery thread, and the unavoidable dust bunnies.” Oh yeah, and there is a king size bed in this room too!

I began today, Friend. I started slowly by picking up the gigantic gray bucket that I knew was serving as a temporary storage facility for all sorts of randomness, but I also knew that the bottom of the bucket contained fabric! Yes, fabric, but since it doesn’t belong to me, it’s easy to process- toss into the garage…while still in the container! It was as I moved the mammoth gray bucket onto my bed to spill its contents that I noticed how much extra floor space I had. There were two other similarly filled boxes right next to my laundry basket, which, after I moved them on top of my bed, I realized that I could in fact, reach the windows to open them. The beautiful sun was shining down during this late morning time and I chanced it by opening the windows.

Once the boxes were on the bed, Friend, I realized that I couldn’t simply stop. There were a few books that had been placed directly below the shelf that they belong in, so I sorted that out. It was then that the overwhelming need to reorganize came over me. I realized that it wasn’t enough that I just straighten my room, there was a flaw in the layout of the furniture that allowed for too many flat surfaces, but all of them in the wrong spots to as to severely diminish the function of the room as a restful haven and rather increase its function as the storage facility for every hopeless thing in the house. I could hear the sighs of the neglected bedside table and the dresser was groaning louder than the rest under the load it was required to bear.

Friend, I set it all to right. Today, with little outside intervention, I managed to completely rearrange AND clean my entire bedroom. I am so proud of myself, it took me nearly 12 hours, but it was worth it to hear my mom’s positive comments and my husband’s surprised look. I am practically delirious at this moment, but I am thrilled with the (still slightly incomplete) results.

And, I know that I get to rest tomorrow, did I tell you, Friend? My husband and I are going out on a date and we are staying out all night! An advance thank you to my mother and sister who will be caring for my treasures while we are away. I hope to post pictures later!

Can I Have it All?

The money that I would make by going back to school is just too good to pass up. But homeschooling our children is incredibly important to Eric and me. Is it possible to not decide between the two and instead, have it all?

Here is the situation. Jordyn is only going into first grade (which actually puts her a year ahead of her peers because of her August birthday and the June cut-off for kindergarten) and Noah would technically be in preschool but at this point needs to take some speech therapy. (Anybody know of a good way to do speech therapy from home?) My goal for him in the upcoming year is mostly character related- learn to sit still and not whine when all the attention is not on him. I will start him up on The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading as soon as I know that he is capable of following directions. I plan on buying their combo pack which you can get through Peace Hill Press and offers a magnetic letter board to play the optional games and the flashcards. For Noah, those are essential.

Here is our plan goal hope shot-in-the-dark. We are going to try to purchase our full curriculum over this summer and begin school in August so that we can have a few good weeks established before we try to take Mom away with her own schooling. What am I going to do with the kids while I am in school? I have no idea! One option includes swapping out childcare with my sister who has three children and is also pursuing her degree this fall, that is, if she decided to make Pueblo her home town and attend the university here with me. If she doesn’t, one option is for me to schedule school around some crazy hours, namely one early morning class, one late class, and one online class. That only allows for three classes a semester, which is not the fast approach, but that is likely all I’ll be able to manage if I’m actively homeschooling though. Our third option is my least favorite because it means the kids will be going off to school, like I swore they wouldn’t. If they do have to go to school, I will take as many classes as I can and I will “afterschool” my children according to The Well-Trained Mind because I am confident that they won’t be getting a great education in their public schools.

At least, those are the things we are hoping for. It would be great if I could just swap out childcare because then I will know that my kids are cared for. Eric will then be responsible for taking charge with some of the schooling when he is home. After I finish my degree, if I finish my degree, then will be an English teacher at the high school level. At that point, we would consider trying to continue our mash-up of educational plans or we will enroll them into a private school.

I have been excited about homeschooling since the first time I heard about it and I have been passionate about classical education for almost as long. It makes the most sense and provides a rigorous education for these children of mine. However, there are so many variables right now that there is almost no telling what will happen over the next fews weeks and months.

Guilt Tripping

Its the age-old debate in my house all over again.

It all started with my sister talking about a school in Kentucky that she wanted to attend. My mom jumped on that bandwagon and decided that she would also like to be a sonographer when she grows up. That sparked the entire conversation about education and income, jobs and the future.

Somewhere along the way I got swept up and now am in the middle of planning my return to college and sending my children off the public school system and any potential children into the day care system. I am looking at studying to be a teacher which is a noble, even child-friendly career for women. My family needs the money because we have handled our money so poorly in the past that we have gotten into an incredibly bad position.

My issue is that I really like the idea of going back to school and putting my children into school. I like knowing that I can help out the family financially and still be present when necessary. As a teacher, my hours are going to be quite convenient as a mother except that I wouldn’t be able to homeschool my children. So, the guilt that I am feeling is that I thought that I NEED to be a stay-at-home, homeschooling mother in order to fulfill the Biblical definition of “keeper at home,” after all, how can you keep something if you’re not there.

I am terrified of making the wrong decision, of becoming an independent feminist, of loving money more than my children, of ruining the lives of my children. I am struggling with this issue SO MUCH!!! I hear that God gives you peace when you are on the right track, but apparently, I can deceive myself because I have felt peace about things that have turned out to be a clear error in judgement.

Am I making a mountain out of a molehill, here? Is working outside the home the worst thing ever? Are my kids going to be Christians if they go to a public school? Will they succeed academically? Moreover, what about the children my husband and I have been praying over? Am I going to have more children, only to place them in someone else’s care so that I can attend school and eventually teach all day long?

I feel like my very right to call myself a conservative Christian woman is up for debate.

Man!!!

The hits just keep on coming. I am so thankful that I know that God is sovereign otherwise I would have to be thinking by now that there was some big cosmic joke being played on my family. Interestingly enough, usually when Christians start experiencing trials and tribulation, they assume that it is spiritual warfare. I don’t. See the thing is, I think that God is teaching me a lesson, quite a few of them actually and all at the same time!

Sure, it’s possible that Satan is trying to get us down, in fact we know that is a fact, but at the same time, I don’t attribute all these seemingly random events as a negative (spiritual warfare) but instead choose to see them as an opportunity for growth and sanctification.
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. -Isaiah 41:10

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. -2 Corinthians 12:9
So what happened? We found out that Eric will likely be deploying to Iraq within the next month, but he was able to take the vacation with us. We were completely out of money when an opportunity came up for me to watch an elderly lady for two days. We visited family (which is both a positive and a negative) and even managed to reconcile differences with a brother. We drove home after being away for two weeks to find someone had broken into our home and stolen our brand new TV and our entire DVD collection (over 300 titles!), but we had been trying (unsuccessfully) to limit our hours in front of it anyway.
Really, the clear message that we have been given these past few months has been, value people, not things. We are still working through all of the various issues, including whether it is “Christian” to declare bankruptcy and whether we have a choice even if it isn’t. Getting to this point is the sin. We are learning that it is essential to invest in your family and not always things to surround your family with, that 30 minutes playing a board game is infinitely better than 90 minutes watching a movie, and that poor money management skills will affect every realm of your life.

Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. -Romans 13:8

These are hard lessons and they yield a significant amount of stress and self-doubt and plenty other negative feelings, but God is faithful to the end and so must we be.

Two’s for the Road

Wow was today a day (or two) to remember…but we probably won’t because our brains are so addled right now that we can barely think straight.

It all started last night, Thursday. My daughter’s massive dentist appointment went perfectly and she had no problems whatsoever. Praise the Lord for this because her teeth have been a huge concern for me recently. Anyway, my husband had taken the day off which was a relief because my sister, Karee, had come down with a fever over 102 degrees! She was our designated babysitter and one of the drivers for our caravan of vehicles. When my husband and I finally arrived at my mom’s house to load her truck we saw how HUGE this truck was. It was a 26 foot truck and we were meant to share it. About halfway through the night we realized that there was NO WAY that both Mom’s stuff and our stuff would fit on the same truck as planned. We were right, Mom filled the truck with her stuff alone. This left me and Eric to rent a truck last minute which, amazingly, we were able to do, along with the towing unit for my car…which I have to drive…Yikes!!!

Oh man!!! We have packed and packed and moved and moved these last two days and now we are so tired that we can barely see straight and we are going to be driving for three days!!! My sister likely had pneumonia, my mom is stressed to the point of throwing up and we are all stressed to snapping…

Pray for us as we take this journey. I will see ya on the other side!!! (And I will give you more details when my brain has had time to process them…)

A Simple Solution

Marriage is a great thing, but it is really hard to keep that fire lit!!! Eric and I have been dealing, for what seems like our entire marriage, the difficulty of finding time together. See, I’m a night owl and he is an early bird. I can very easily stay up past midnight on any given night, provided that I don’t have to do anything before 10 in the morning! Home keeping has become an indulgent “job” for me in that no one is here to force me to rise (or set) with the sun. I just label myself as “not a morning person” and I refuse to begin my day. My children have already begun their day, so they get the square babysitter until I can function, which is usually past naptime. Obviously, this needs to change. 

Eric, bless his heart, has tried to stay up a little later with me so that we can talk or spend time together but he needs to be up at 5:30am, sometimes earlier and staying up even until 10 or 11 is difficult for him. We have tried taking a date night, but that is just impractical with our time and budget to be the main thing that this couple uses to connect. While reading Passionate Housewives, Desperate for God by Stacy McDonald and Jennie Chancy, the author mentioned that she had a “tea time” with her husband in the morning before work everyday. After watching Eric struggle to read his Bible the other night because he was talking to me, I offered to wake up with him, make some coffee, and read a chapter from the Bible a day.
Today is day two and though I’m tired in the morning (I still manage to stay up later than he does…), I acknowledge that a morning routine is essential. The other advantage is that I’m up before the kids and therefore capable of being ready to start the day when they get up. I haven’t managed to shower before they woke up the last two days, but that’s not too terribly bad. As much as I abhor waking up early, this is my labor of love to serve my husband and children and so far, its working! I actually find myself happy to be up…now that’s a shock!