Sunday, January 25, 2015

Being A Mom

"You are only as happy as your saddest child" was a quote I read recently.  How true!  When your kids are doing well it's so much easier to be at peace with your own life, but when one or more of them is having a hard time, my personal stress is directly proportional to this.  And I guess the more children you have, the more opportunity you have for stress.  And then there are grandchildren.....   Ah, a mother's work is never done.

My husband doesn't get it.  He doesn't get why I stress and fret when one or more of our four children or two, soon to be three granddaughters are sick or stressed or hurt or worried.  My heart is so directly linked to theirs that I feel their pain almost as acutely as if it were my own.  Today my older son is having girlfriend troubles.  He is hurt and anxious and angry and I am anxious about what will play out with the relationship because if it doesn't work, he will be heartbroken. My heart aches for him.  My oldest is stressed raising two little girls who are sick currently and she is 8 months pregnant with baby girl number 3.  She has had little sleep and is not on her A game and not only do I worry about her, but I worry about my two little sick grandbabies. My heart hurts for her.
 Thankfully children number 2 and 4 are doing well!  (Last week it was car troubles for #2 and blood work anxiety for #4!)

Sometimes I wish I could just hear their pain and wave my hand and say "wow, that is terrible" and then go about my day, but I know that God didn't make me that way.  He made me with a compassionate heart and a tender soul and being a mother and a grandmother and a wife are the main reasons I am here on this earth.  It would be easier, surely, if I were not so easily affected by the lives and times of my family, but then again, I wouldn't be the woman God intended for me to be.

Monday, January 12, 2015

A Rainy Monday Morning

Monday mornings are hard anyway, but a freezing rain, gray and gloomy Monday morning is especially trying.  I knew Dakota was not going to be a happy camper anyway when I woke him, so I decided to provide an enticing morning to help get us going for the week.

We started off our morning together in the livingroom in the recliners, under blankets, eating pop tarts, Mom drinking coffee and Dakota drinking milk while we watched Magic School Bus videos.  We love them and the air pressure and weather episodes are tied in to our meteorology unit for Science.  Ah, I see a smile on my little man's face!  My daycare baby Brookie came and she joined us in the third chair with her flower blankie and a bowl of dry Fruit Loops.  Yes to this!  I am watching and planning out our day, tweaking things so we can do most of our work right here.  

And like all well laid plans, a train ran right through them.  My mother, my daughter and my two granddaughters all arrived at the same time. The sidewalk outside was icy and it was raining and my 82 year old stepfather chose today to bring a large box type TV for my younger daughter to my house.  So I throw on a jacket and my shoes and go out --  it sounded like something out of a Laurel and Hardy movie!  My 82 year old mother is yelling for my pregnant daughter and my 3 year old granddaughter not to slip and she is grabbing at them, making things worse.  I take the TV in both hands and try to get it inside without falling down myself.  Then my mother insists on helping everyone else up the steps while everyone else is trying to hold her up!  Finally got everyone inside and she kissed us all and said goodbye before her cruise later in the week and I had to go back outside to help her help me to her car!  Of course the peace in the house was completely shattered.  

I gave Dakota some independent work to do with his health and Which Way USA books and we got a moment or two more of quiet before all heck broke loose again when my 3 year old granddaughter took it upon herself to go into Dakota's room and take the hamster out of the cage and take it into my sleeping 21 year old's room and wake him by putting the hamster in bed with him.  She got in big trouble for taking the hamster out of his cage and then she carried on and cried when a time out ensued.  Whew!  What happened to my morning?

Lunch was served and little ones laid down for naps.  Dakota went in to finish up his first Writecraft Minecraft assignment and then came out to do his graphic organizer for the project and then type it up in paragraph form.  The last thing on our list shortened list was a chapter of Disney After Dark and a chapter out of our A History of Us book.  No math happened today.  Not the science or history I had planned.  No personal reading time.  Sigh.  That bothers me, but I am trying not to let it get me.  I homeschool so that life can happen.  I repeat that to myself often.  Math and Science will come first thing tomorrow, as will the other things that have to happen.  Today was a lazy, crazy Monday and I will have to deal with that. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Back to Normal

So this week has been extremely busy or what we call normal.  Yesterday we were dropped off at 10:15 at the Maryland Science Center for the homeschool days there.  I was very disappointed that they decided to change policies and told me we could not, as members, see the planetarium show for free with our membership because it was a homeschool show.  No.  Not really.  You show it there at the planetarium other than homeschool days....  It wasn't worth the fight, but I wasn't paying $13.00 to see something we were entitled to for free.  We walked around the near empty, but brutally cold center until it was time for our Forces of Nature IMAX show.  It was extremely well done, but very loud.  Very powerful, just like the weather.

After our IMAX we had the "treat" of eating in the cafe.  Dakota asked that we not take our lunch and so we had lunch there, which was average at best.  Both places - the cafe and the lunch room, were FREEZING, as was the whole first floor so we headed up to the third floor to wait out the minutes until his Guide to the Galaxy class then back out into the cold to hurry home and relax for the evening.

Friday was a normal school day.  We enjoyed putting together our solar system model that he had painted on Wednesday.  This was a model of Galileo's Heliocentric Theory.  Galileo was the first chapter in the second volume of A History of Us so we got history, science and art all in one.  We are still reading the first Kingdom Keepers book as we lead up to our April Disney World trip, but it's taking us forever and a day to get through then he wants to read the second one!  He kept a good attitude through most of the day, but by 2:00 he was itching to be done so he could have some time to himself before going to EcoAdventures.

Saturday has been wonderful.  I had a few errands to run and we watched our granddaughters for a few hours in the afternoon, but the slept the entire time.  Then the four of us sat under blankets in comfy chairs or sprawled on the couch in the dark with only the fireplace glow to compete with the TV screen where an awesome football game took place between the Ravens and the Patriots.  We were ahead right up until the end, but lost 35-31.  My guys took it better than I thought they would and now everyone is doing their own thing and the house is quiet.  I love the weekend!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Crazy Cold

Today we woke up to crazy cold weather.  The temperatures are low, the wind chills lower and there is ice and snow on the ground to add the look of a frozen tundra.

I thought I was going to be able to stay in all day because they cancelled our homeschool review for the afternoon, but my daughter's car door broke and I had to run out to pick her up and take her to work.  The roads were actually in good condition and I was only gone about a half hour.  I got home just in time to start Dakota on our schedule.  While he made his bed and straightened his room, I made chocolate chip pancakes.  I was surprised yet again when he willingly went into his room at 9:30 to have his personal reading time.  This is the kid who complains loudly for all to hear about how he hates to read, yet this half hour of time seems okay for him.

10am brings morning work for him that is done independently.  He works on language arts activities and some fun papers.  This week is all about the new year, writing goals, making a flip book etc.  We moved from that through spelling and math with little difficulties and it was nice to not have many interruptions to get us off track.  One daycare baby was sleeping and the other was watching an ABC video in the livingroom and playing with big plastic animals quite content to be by herself.  The noisy little granddaughters stayed home ;)

Next was a mixture of history, science and art.  We continued learning about Galileo and focused on his Heliocentric Theroy, stating that the sun is the center of the universe.  Before Galileo built his telescope to prove this, the world thought that the Earth was the center of the universe.  We read about his discoveries and then watched a short biographical video then started painting styrofoam balls in our solar system kit to put together tomorrow to make our model.

Lunch is looked forward to eagerly around here since we are doing our Writecraft Minecraft unit from  He is working on his first project, a fort, and he is very pleased to be able to play during lunch, which is usually not allowed.

After lunch is always harder for him.  He does not like to work in the afternoon.  He started by finishing up painting the styrofoam balls, which before lunch was great fun.  Now it was stupid and boring and he hated it.  Next was two chapters, partner read, of Kingdom Keepers, Disney After Dark.   He griped and complained about writing his summary after and then griped and complained some more when I asked him to fill in the layers of the atmosphere on his balloon diagram, draw the diagram and add what happens in each one and then watch a short video on the ISS.  He couldn't wait to be done, so I am not sure how much he got out of the afternoon.

This evening I am inside, warm in front of the fire.  I am unusually restless.  I have just made a pot of coffee and I am going to sit and watch American Idol tonight.  Maybe that's it.  My mind has been very busy lately planning for school and working my independent contractor transcription job.  We are going to the Science Center all day tomorrow for activities and classes so no planning tonight and my contact didn't send me any new jobs.  Nothing to do!  I don't think I know quite what to do with myself!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

One Step Forward and Two Steps Back

Yesterday, besides being my younger daughter's 27th birthday, was also our first day back to school after the Christmas break.  We had needed the break and made the most of it, but it was time to get back.  I had done a lot of planning for both my homeschooled son and my preK granddaughter and daycare baby and I was ready.  I got up at 5:30am to have "me" time before school and then the day ran pretty much on schedule.  It wasn't without it's bumps and my son was sooooooo tired, but we made it.
     Our day included 30 minutes of personal reading and 30 minutes of morning work for my son to start off the day independently while I made Alligator A's and practiced writing and sounding out the letter A and reading alligator books with the littles.  Then they played and watched an alphabet video while my son and I learned about the atmosphere layers using a labeled balloon and watched some awesome Youtube videos.  We did a little paperwork, managed to get through all of our scheduled math with a minimum of attitude and then began his Writecraft Minecraft unit where he does some writing, but also follows the directions to make a project using Minecraft, a big passion of his currently.
     After lunch we started our second History of Us book focusing on the years 1600 to 1770 in American history.  We learned about Galileo and ended up discussing many things about religion and change and other countries, which kept us from doing our related video and project, but was rewarding all the same.
     The best part of my day, however, was getting an evening out with my husband.  Nothing special, I suppose, but we visited his mom in the hospital and then had a fabulous dinner at a local favorite restaurant that had changed venues.  I had veal and onions and he had sour beef and dumplings and it was so incredibly good!
     So it was a good day for school and our personal lives right!  Back on track.  Putting the laziness back in it's time sucking cage.
     Well, not really.  My son had gone to the Towson basketball game with his big brother and a few of his college friends.  He had so much fun and the boys included him in games and pizza afterward.  So instead of his regular bedtime, he ended up with a midnight one.  Then, I get up and realize we are having a snowstorm (just supposed to be snow showers!) and public schools are closed so since I wasn't going to get much more than an overtired, grumpy attitude from my boy anyway, I gave him a snow day.  Now tomorrow we have 1/2 a day because I have my county review for homeschooling and then we are supposed to have a science center program at 5:45, but it's supposed to be so cold the wind chill will be below zero and we have to go back and forth outside.   They will most likely postpone that.  THEN Thursday we are to be at the Science Center all day for classes and then he goes right to EcoAdventures for his aftercare class where he is working towards being a Junior Assistant.  Sigh.  Routine. That's becoming a comical word.  It seems that every time I think we are going to be able to get in some structure and routine, life happens.  I try to go with the flow because we homeschool so we can experience life, but I am a creature of habit and my boy does best with structure and routine.  I try to make that happen, but it always feels like one step forward and two steps back.

Thursday, January 1, 2015


Out with the old and in with the new!  Last night a very lazy household passed the time together doing lots of nothing, eating steamed shrimp, pizza and veggies and dip and dozing.  We did see 2014 pass and 2015 with a hoot and holler from my husband and then I was under the covers by 12:15.

So what was 2014 like for me personally?  As I reflect, I think it was a year when I came into my own.  I stopped worrying so much about the things that don't really matter and gave myself the freedom to say "no" or "I don't want to".  I am someone who always wants to make things better for others and will do so at my own expense.  This past year I was much better at saying "I need" and then following up with that.  I learned that standing up for myself can have a very positive outcome.  I learned that I cannot take away the hurts of my children or my husband and sometimes I just have to say "work it out for yourself because I just can't".

So what do I want for the new years?  What do I hope that 2015 holds for me as I near and reach my 50th birthday?  I want to lose weight and feel great.  I want to be more organized in home, school and life in general.  I want to stay ahead of the game and not fall behind.  I want to make good choices and save money where I can.  I want to always look for the very best deal and keep a running tab of what I do.  In 2014 I saved over $3000 at ShopRite, where I do my main grocery shopping, and I vow to save even more in 2015.

In 2015 I want to be less impulsive and more impulsive, depending on the situation.  I want to blog more often and journal daily.  I want to have patience and display kindness even more than I have done in the past.  I want to make my homeschool and daycare a fun and interesting journey for the young ones in my life.

In 2015 I will not only reach the milestone of turning 50, but I will welcome my third granddaughter.  I will return to Disney World with my two sons.  I will work hard at a new transcription job, but remember that I am only one person and can only do so much.

In 2015 I will......   Ah, that the beauty of a new year, isn't it?  I will do whatever I can.  I will experience both good and bad.  Welcome the new.  Say goodbye to the old.  I will experience life to the fullest extent possible.  I will love with all my heart.  I will try hard to be the best me I can be.  365 days to write this new chapter in my life and I am ready!