Posts Tagged ‘motherhood’

H is for Homeschooling

If you had asked me 5 years ago if I would ever contemplate home schooling my kids, I would say it had never crossed my mind.  At the time, being able to stay at home at least part time was a wish I thought was likely to never come true… but even if it did, I assumed kindergarten would mean heading to the public schools wherever we were (which wasn’t planned as where we still are!)   Three years ago, I lost the job that I thought was necessary to our family income .  Somehow (and I’m really not sure how!) we’ve made life work since then with some part-time, sporadic work for me.  It comes with sacrifices… like having a car that hasn’t worked for too many months now… but we haven’t wanted for necessities.  Somewhere along the way, I realized how grateful I am that I’ve been the one around to catch all of the adorable-isms that have characterized the preschool years.  They make the times of feeling isolated (because I will apparently never be like the other SAHMs) or overwhelmed worth it all.

The other thing that I thought I would never say is that I am grateful that my son had the chance to be in an in-home daycare for a few years, with kids ranging in age from infants to 5 (though I still don’t think those babies got the best care — at that facility, not all daycares — and I am so glad he was 1 before he had to go there!) I love that he had the chance to be around other kids and older kids to get some introduction to sharing, playing together, letters and numbers.  Looking back, I prefer that to the typical kids of the same age preschool set-up.  When he was finally home full-time at age 3 1/2, preschool or even a PDO was not an option.  We started doing “life school” at home… nothing formal at ALL, but just showing that all of life is learning — pointing out letters on the highway, reading tons of books, getting toys that were fun but also allowed for creativity.  And I started to realize how much I love watching him learn and don’t want to see him lose the love he has for learning.

Add that to some doubts about our neighborhood school, some doubts about public school in general, and having a child who is very asynchronous in development so far — past the end of the year kindergarten curriculum in some areas, right on target in others, and probably behind on some gross motor skills — and that leads to being fairly sure we will be homeschooling in the fall… though I will admit that decision is changing frequently right now.  I guess I should say we will be officially homeschooling… because I have come to realize that I’ve been doing it all along without labeling it as such.  I’m sure in the fall we will get more formal about it, but for now he loves to “play school” on the days we do more formal learning and learns just as much on the days we play or visit the zoo or something similar.  The huge task at hand right now is finding some groups to get support and friends from, and trying to have faith that it will all work out somehow.

This morning we had fun testing out an online program I’m thinking about for reading/phonics, playing go fish with sight words and counting/graphing with jelly beans! 🙂  Taking a break for lunchtime… then headed to the store to pick up a few groceries and the library to pick up some books on hold.  I’m thinking about making pretzels this afternoon but it depends on whether we’ll have time for the dough to rise and bake before we have to head out to pick up my husband from work.  And *that* depends on the weather… because I’m fairly sure we’ll end up at the park unless it decides to rain this afternoon.  I love having the flexibility to plan schedules around *my* priorities…

C is for Catching Up! (Multitude Mondays #111-125)

Catching up on many things.  I wrote yesterday (okay, really today) about balancing blogging with the rest of life.  I’ve had several big decisions and other dilemmas dominating my thoughts for the last few months.  I’m fairly sure some of those will come out for the D post tomorrow.  In the midst of all of that, I have not kept up with this blog as much as I’d like to.  The one part of the blog that I do want to keep up with… which has been in place in various ways since this blog started… is a gratitude journal.  It is a way for me to consider blessings when it seems life is in chaos… and to be connected with others who are doing the same.

I’ll talk some more about the practice of gratitude and my experience of it in a few days… but for today I’m just continuing counting gifts with Ann and the Gratitude Community

#111 – a sweet note I received from a friend with much potential to be a much better friend… which is something I could use right now!
#112 – my 5 year old’s enthusiasm for reading his new Bible (his prayer tonight — Dear God, thank you for making Mommy read me the Bible every night. Theology of viewing God as being his wish-granter aside, I thought that was pretty great!)
#113 – finally getting meds for my cat (who had a huge health scare last fall and was finally diagnosed with an enlarged heart which is very treatable)
#114 – being offered the opportunity to serve at a fundraising event last weekend… and realizing how much I miss it (though I have to admit it is much more fun when the “service opportunity” is not a mandantory add-on to already overwhelming responsibilities associated with working full time)
#115 – flowers everywhere!  I have pink azaleas blooming, yellow buttercups and dandelions in the yard, and random purple wildflowers.  They are all even better when presented from my favorite 5 year old.
#116- no cavities at the dentist for the 5 year old *and* me a few weeks ago!  Having dental insurance that covers routine checkups and access to good dental care is a blessing that I don’t take for granted.
#117 – hope
#118 – 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16, New International Version, ©2011) — the verse which has been in my head for the last few weeks — and what a blessing is the ability to approach God… with confidence that he is good and merciful and understanding of our frailties and fears.
#119 – An afternoon spent with a good friend and her little boy making pretzels (yum!)
#120 – Rain percussion (and a storm that thankfully just provided us with some outdoor music and a lot of rain… lots of damage a few miles away from my house but all is okay here)
#121 – A working dishwasher 🙂 It has been not working for a while… finally called a repairman and it worked for him! Glad he just charged us the fee to come out and wishing the same thing would happen when we get around to getting the car fixed…
#122 – Birds chirping outside
#123 – Free dinner @ Chipotle in honor of their Grand Opening tomorrow — nice not to cook *and* to get free food!
#124 – Storytimes, complete with books and activities, presented by my 5 year old librarian-in-residence at my house for his stuffed animals and any grownups who care to participate
#125 – The realization today… when I finally cleaned house a little after a few weeks of not feeling well (ironically, from asthma/allergies triggered by cleaning house!)… that there really can be pleasure in slowly turning a house into a home… (even when it seems it will never get there)… and that it is okay if it is a process (even when I feel like everyone else has long ago reached the finish line!).

Interested in counting the everyday and not-so-everyday gifts in your life? Feel free to join in!


One Thousand Gifts: #89-#110

Continuing the praise with Ann and the Gratitude Community

I’ve been slacking on blog posting during the holidays… and apparently well into January… but happy to report that I have not stopped being grateful. 🙂  Here are some little and not-so-little blessings of the last few weeks… and a promise from me to make more notes of what I am grateful for to share with you!

89) a white Christmas — flurries in Memphis, snow covering the ground in Nashville… that’s a white Christmas in the South!

90) the beauty of snow-glazed trees on the drive down I-40…

91) my little boy who is more excited to give than to receive gifts…

92) and who gets most excited about the presents that to us are materially small.  The “big gift” in his eyes last year?  A pear from Santa.  The “big gifts” this year?  That Santa remembered to bring a pear again… and a little Jelly Belly jelly bean machine.

93) spending time with extended family… some of whom I haven’t seen in a few years… at Christmas at my grandmother’s house.

94) The clean slate of a New Year…

95) Which also always reminds me of the blessing of parenting this miracle — for 5 years now.  (His birthday is New Year’s Day)

96) Being invited to play along with all the new Legos and Lincoln Logs and fun new board games.  I’ll take any day he wants to include me!

97) Watching all over again how much my little boy loves his Granny (my mom)

98) Clean water

99) Having access to whatever ingredients I need for cooking and baking… and being able to choose from a variety of foods to prepare (or, for that matter, never wondering if I am going to be able to eat on any given day)

100) The people who work on Christmas Day — doctors, EMTs and other medical personnel and gas station attendants come to mind…. passed a bad wreck on the interstate on Christmas Day and all I could think of was the family dealing with tragedy on that day… and the people who were there to help the day be a little better.

101) Watching the love between my little boy and our Oliver-kitty (so wish I had pictures of this one!)

102) The crunch of snow underfoot — twice in two weeks!

103) Watching Andrew and another little boy from our neighborhood play together in the snow… neighborhood friends are few and far between here.

104) My shower drain that finally drains water on its own (simple fix that took forever to figure out… but it makes the days start a little better around here!)

105) A impromptu story time at Chick Fil A (I offered to read a book to a little girl and attracted a crowd for a couple of minutes!) 🙂

106) The wonderful staff at our pediatrician’s office — I am glad we are not there often but also glad to be in such a caring environment when we are there!

107) Some peace on the decision to try out our local public school for kindergarten… or at least more peace than unrest at this point.

108) Avocados. 🙂  (Yes, I’ve been on an avocado kick lately…)

109) Being able to see the floor in my closet.

110) Silence… the gift for right now… just me up, and no sound except the click of the keys on the keyboard… not even kitty snores, which are usually part of the background noise.

Hoping that all of my blog readers haven’t left during my long hiatus!  I promise to get more on track with blogging. 🙂

He will quiet you with his love and rejoice over you with singing…

I came across this verse on another blog this week… on a day I was feeling very much in turmoil and needed the reminder and impression of peace and comfort this verse gives.

Today I read it in the context of Zephaniah 3.  I really don’t know much about the minor prophets… or the book of Zephaniah.  But basically I get the impression of a people who did not trust God… who wanted things their own way (how often do I do the same?).  And yet… when even a few trusted… God relented.  He did not punish.  He did not give the consequences they deserved.  (If you have read the Bible, this should be sounding really familiar… God has done this over and over again).

The impression I get is of a parent dealing with a child who is upset, overwrought, in a tantrum.  Who won’t listen to what their parent has to say… even if that is what is best.  And yet, God swoops down… accepts the anger without condoning it… and offers comfort, a refuge, a lullaby… a reminder that child is loved.

That’s all.  I could muse a bit on how I am that child at times.  Or on how I am not that kind of parent as often as I should be.  Maybe another time.  This week, I just needed the reminder that I can be irrational, unreasonable, overwhelmed… and still be loved.  And I’m offering what has blessed me in hopes it will do the same for you.

WFW is not about books, authors, artists.. it’s about God and HIS WORD ONLY. WFW is about celebrating the gift of creativity through God’s Word.

Join myself and others as we share at Word Filled Wednesday:

Also, visit Mom’s Mustard Seeds to connect with more women learning and living in the Word

Just for the joy of it


Today I have needed joy. My 4 year old, after a too-late night having fun with his daddy, spent the morning behaving horribly at the library, though not as quite as badly as at church the other week.   (By the way, mentioning that incident to friends who were at church has taught me that others don’t notice your child’s acting out as much as you think they do at the time)!  Once we (finally) got back to the car, he informed me,  “I just feel grumpy… and angry.”   Yeah, me too.  Lesson learned (again) that 4 year olds don’t like being dragged around the library while mom searches for a book.  Lesson also learned to pick out my book before he gets all of his… because after that he was D.O.N.E.  Yes, I threatened to put all of his books back.  Yes, I threatened no story time next time.  Why do I make these threats that we both know I am not going to keep? Really? Books have rarely if ever gotten taken away here.  Anyway.. back to joy. Yeah, it wasn’t so much easy to find today.  I was not feeling joyful.  At all.

Until I started thinking about it, after being reminded by a friend’s blog post.  So… here are the random moments of joy we’ve found today.

  1. Looking at the fog on trip #1 to the library.
  2. The joy on my little boy’s face when we got to the library for trip #2 and he discovered that his left-behind coat had NOT been taken (hey, you never know) but that someone had been kind enough to give it to the librarians… and that they were kind enough to give it back to him (without a lecture, unlike his mommy)
  3. That same little boy’s excitement at getting sweet tea at Chick-Fil-A (seriously, what is it with this child and sweet tea?  Have I ever mentioned that his first sentence was “I want TEA!”?)
  4. Coming home to a slightly cleaner floor than I left and two adorable kitties snoozing in comfortable places. They looked up at me and went straight back to their naps.
  5. The quiet hour or so I had between banishing the 4 year old to his room (where he promptly fell asleep) and my husband coming home from work.
  6. My husband bringing in the mail and realizing that we got the Veggie Tales CD that I won earlier in the week. (Expect a favorable review soon).
  7. Realizing that one of our local radio stations is now playing all Christmas music, all the time.  Even though I inevitably realize long before Thanksgiving that I don’t like their Christmas song selections.  (My goal this year is to make it through the holiday season without having to hear Christmas Shoes — good message, horribly overplayed and sentimental song.  And I am not usually against sentimental.  I did include a link in case you have somehow missed it.)
  8. Taking a few minutes to look through an old blog of mine and watch adorable videos of my little boy from a few years ago… and share them with him.
  9. Bedtime hugs and snuggles… which always help at the end of a long day.  The last two nights, I’ve told Andrew he was my favorite almost 5 year old.  His response?  “You are my favorite almost three-ty-six year old!”  (three-ty being how he pronounces thirty because he can’t say it right, got frustrated, and decided to say three-ty instead!).  Um… yeah, thanks bud.  I thought I just turned thirty-five…
Linking up with Sharon at Good, True and Beautiful for this post today… leave a comment and let me know what has brought you joy today!

Trust, Peace & a Prayer

Yesterday, my husband and I took our 4 year old to a local pizza place for some pizza and games. Exploring the kids’ area, he decided to ride a small merry-go-round. Before the ride started, he changed his mind. “Too high! I’m scared!” I relented. We explored other rides. After watching him thoroughly enjoy riding in a small car on the ground, I encouraged him to ride in a helicopter. What I didn’t think about… and didn’t mention… was that the helicopter went up and down instead of back and forth. Ten seconds into the ride, a startled little boy peered down  at me, pleading, “I’m scared!”.   I looked into his eyes and assured him, “I’m right here beside you. I will not let anything happen to you.” It worked. He relaxed… and enjoyed the ride… and then wanted to do it again.

How often I am like him. My life has been full of experiences I could not foresee.  Too often  I turn, startled, and exclaim, “I’m scared! I can’t do this! I want off!”. But I too have a loving Parent beside me who tells me, “It’s okay. I’m right here beside you. You will get through this.” My 4 year old trusts me, enough to not only overcome his fears but enjoy the rest of the journey. Why is it so difficult for me to do the same? Father, thank you for the times you have guided me through the difficult, dark, and scary times of life. Help me to trust you unreservedly to guide me through the rest. Offering this prayer for myself and for others traveling their own uncertain paths at the moment… may we all remember that God will give peace through uncertain times.

You will keep in perfect peace
all who trust in you,
all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
Trust in the Lord always,
for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.   –Isaiah 26:3-4

WFW is not about books, authors, artists.. it’s about God and HIS WORD ONLY. WFW is about celebrating the gift of creativity through God’s Word.

Join myself and others as we share at:

Also, visit Mom’s Mustard Seeds to connect with more women learning and living in the Word

Exhaustion & Lullabies

I am exhausted. The last 24 hours has been a huge emotional roller coaster of getting conflicting answers from vets and being massively annoyed at miscommunications. I can say with reasonable confidence that my kitty will be just fine in a few days… and I am glad that crisis is averted for a while.  I realized just how much the exhaustion had caught up with the whole family when my 4 year old fell asleep ON HIS OWN before supper tonight.

Anyway… I thought I’d blog a bit about my favorite CD of lullabies. I found this CD while pregnant with my little boy, and he listened to it every night for at least the first year of his life. I love it. It has unfortunately been missing in our house for a while… though we did manage to burn a couple of tracks into iTunes as MP3s before the CD disappeared. I am still hoping it turns up someday… or I just may have to buy another copy.

I learned fairly quickly that children’s music is too often only loved by children. This arrangement of lullabies is beautiful and will appeal to children and adults alike. I spent many nights crying in front of my computer screen listening to samples from the CD before buying it… and many nights listening to it in tears while rocking my baby to sleep. The CD served to relax me when my tears were from exhaustion and anxiety… and I generally ended up in emotional tears even on those peaceful nights.  This is not at all a religious or Christian CD… but listening to it so often reminded me of just how much of a gift I was given in my baby boy.  If you are looking for a baby gift… this one comes highly recommended!

On Amazon:  Golden Slumbers: A Father’s Lullaby

Tonight, I am thankful for lullabies… and a warm bed to sleep in. 🙂

Ketchup Day

Andrew (who is 4 years old) and I have been having “Alphabet Days” at our house. We have been taking one letter each day, practicing writing it and looking for things that start with that letter, and doing some activity with the letter. For example, yesterday was “L Day” and we went to the library for storytime, had lentil soup for lunch, and had plans to make lemonade (though that didn’t happen). I’ve not been doing as much as I’ve wanted to over the past few days, so I told Andrew that today would be a “catch up” day.  Andrew — “We are going to make ketchup?”

So… I thought I’d explained that we weren’t going to make ketchup. This morning, he told me, “Mom! Today you get to spend time with me! It is M day for Mom!” I told him we were going to have “catch up” day today. He thought for a minute… then said, “I know! I can make ketchup with you and then it can be ‘M Day’ AND ‘ketchup day'”!

🙂 Love this little boy.

So… we are having “catch up” day and M day. We are probably going to make jam (I just learned I can make jam in my breadmaker!) and lemonade… but not ketchup.  However, if you are interested in making ketchup… here’s a recipe I have bookmarked to try someday.

Thankful Thursday

It’s Thursday… time for a gratitude post! I can’t even remember much of what has happened between last Thursday and this one, and I suppose that in itself is something to be grateful for! Hmm… (think, think, think)

I’m grateful for children — mine and others. Church service last Sunday focused on our children’s ministry… I missed the service because I was hanging out with the 2 and 3 year olds teaching Children’s Church. It is the last time I’ll be teaching my little boy for a while because he’s moving up to the 4/5 class next month, and I’m going to stay in the younger class rotation unless they really need me to switch. That is probably a good thing, going by the adage that kids act worse for their parents than others… we end up with a lot of tired preschoolers in the middle of church hour.  I’m so grateful I am part of a church family who loves on my child.  And I’m grateful for being in a church where I can serve as well.  Mother’s Day reminds me all too often of the years I spent avoiding the children’s ministries and oftentimes wishing I could avoid church altogether… so spending one working with the littlest ones and helping them acknowledge *their* moms was coming full circle for me.

I’m thankful for getting to spend time with an out-of-town friend. We needed someone from outside to step into our house for a few days. I’d been not feeling well and feeling as if I wasn’t parenting very well either. I needed some reminders of how adorable my little boy can be. It’s easy to get stuck in endless cycles in families sometimes, and I’m glad we had someone who came to visit to get us “unstuck”.

I’m grateful for getting to spend time with some amazing ladies at a MOPS group I attend and a bible study I attend. I’m grateful that I get to be involved at their church… with no expectation that I become a member there. I love this church as much as my own. It is a place I can be me, and that is about the biggest compliment I can give a church body.

I am grateful that I got a good family picture over the weekend… I’m the picture taker in my family and pictures with me in them are rare. (I will confess that is largely by choice since I hate seeing pictures of myself… though apparently not enough to do anything about it).

I am grateful for friends who let me know they value my friendship. Too often I feel I’m the one a friendship means more to. I am so glad to be able to be there for them when they need it as well.

And I’m, as always, grateful for all of you who visit and comment on my blog.  Your support and encouragement means more than I can say. 🙂

Thankful Thursday

I debated whether to write a thankful post today. I have spent the week very grateful for some areas of life, including life itself. I have also spent the week feeling ungrateful and overwhelmed by responsibilities, information, and emotional upheaval. It’s the little things that add up… allergies, fatigue from fighting with asthma that comes from those, dealing with a willful 4 year old, watching my house be overtaken by *stuff*. And yet… it is the little and not so little things that I am grateful for. So… here’s my gratitude list for the week:

  • I am grateful for Tori at This Journey Called Life, specifically for this post. I’ve been feeling like a much less than perfect person lately… struggling with how people see me (while I know I am should not be judged as a person by the behavior of my child or the cleanliness of my house… I often feel I am, whether I truly am or not).
  • I am grateful for life. I am grateful that my family is safe, both here and in Nashville. I spent last Saturday morning camped out in the bathroom with my 4-year old listening to tornado sirens which continued until late that night… and I’m not one to usually run for cover at storm warnings.   I’ve spent the days since then captivated and heartbroken by images of loss across Tennessee, and particularly heartbroken by the devastation in Nashville and its surrounding areas, which I called home for 20+ years.  So many cars, houses, family members, businesses and the jobs that go with those businesses were lost.  Many who lost belongings and homes don’t have flood insurance… because areas that no one (including the insurance companies) thought would flood, did.  I’m grateful for having a house to clean today… even though I hate cleaning it.
  • I’m grateful for what I’ve seen over the last few days of people willing to reach out and help each other… whether they are passing along information or donations of any kind.
  • I’m thankful for the ongoing reminders I have gotten this week that what matters is “keeping on keeping on” (as my husband used to say) What matters is just to keep going. What matters in fighting evil and tragedy in life is for the good to keep pushing at it. It is so easy for me to get discouraged that all I am trying to do in life doesn’t make a difference (okay, I don’t feel like I am doing much at the moment, but it was a frequent feeling during my career in social work and counseling). I’ve been reminded in several ways this week to keep working for good… and somehow, even if I can’t see it, it will make a difference.  (And that is not at all flood-related)
  • I’m thankful for living in a country where I can pray to my God in public. (I’m also thankful for living in a country where others can do the same… or not… because giving them a choice means I have one as well)
  • I’m thankful that a friend of mine is coming in later tonight… and thankful she can get here because that was looking a little uncertain a few days ago.
  • With Mother’s Day coming up… I am even more thankful for my little boy. Even though he has kept me exasperated this week and feeling like a parenting failure. He always comes out with something adorable or runs over for a hug just when I feel I’m at my wit’s end.
  • I’m thankful for air conditioning! It is getting hot here, and it is only May! I’m thankful that it is looking like we’ll have a/c back in the car sometime soon as well… it’s been a while and it will be so nice to go through a summer with air in the car.
  • I’m thankful for tears. It’s been one of those weeks with a lot of them shed. But crying has a way to make you feel better too… I’m not quite sure how that works but I am grateful for it.
  • I’m thankful for all of my readers… because if I didn’t have people reading I probably wouldn’t have written this post.  Writing this post was therapeutic… and I am in a much better mood than when I started writing it.
  • I’m thankful for autosave on WordPress! My computer shut down when I had written 95% of this post… and it was still there when I came back. 🙂

What are you thankful for this week?

Also, I just decided to link up with Kerri @ Mommy4Him… visit there to see some more Thankful Thursday posts!