Friday, April 23, 2010

Positives and Negatives

I wonder why I had no qualms about saying how "done" I was having babies before I had Nathan. I was absolutely sure. No doubts. Then, there was that teensy, weensy chance I was pregnant (the first time ever without the aid of fertility drugs) and I let my mind go there. And I was okay with it. I was okay without it too because I had never imagined myself with 4 children and things were just barely starting to get a tiny easier with Haley around. So, I took a test. The day it was possible to test, I did. Just to move on. Just to get that thought out of my head so I could think about other things. Just so I wouldn't start to really think I was possibly pregnant, therefore getting my hopes up only to get the dreaded bfn.
Now, remember, before this possibility came up I did NOT WANT to be pregnant. But for most women (at least the ones in my circle) there will be that tiny moment of disappointment. The moment when you realize there won't be a tiny, wrinkled little person in your home. There won't be any booties and diapers. There won't be the first steps...before the relief sets in and you realize there won't be any cries in the middle of the night or diapers. (Yes, that one fits into both categories.)

Anyways, so, I went to CVS and left the kids in the car (yep, know I shouldn't do that, but they are old enough to know just what a pregnancy test is and remember, I wasn't going to be pregnant anyways) and got a test. Ugh. A test. I went home and as soon as I could shake all the kids loose I peed on the stick. And put it on the counter. NO need to watch it, right? When I picked it back up. Unh unh. No. Positive?

Now, I'm not one of those people that needs to take 10 tests to believe it. (First of all, those things are not cheap! Second, I don't find playing with pee to be fun.) So. I was pregnant. Again. Really?

As soon as it hit me I began to shake and laugh and yes, I was happy! I was going to have a baby! Another little one. A little red, wrinkly person that depends on us 100% for everything. A baby that will root out the breast in the wee early morning hours and be so content when s/he found it. Diapers. Booties!

I called my mom. "You're not going to believe this" were my words to her. Strangely, she knew!!!!??? Really?

Then, I told my hubby. At first he started to laugh it off, then he remembered a little April fools joke a few weeks before when I told him (after the joke) that if I ever said it again it would be true. To his credit, he handled it with grace. This unplanned, awesome thing in our life!

I think I got off track about what the true thought behind this blog was. I just had to scroll back up to see how I started.

Anyways, as you can tell, having Nathan-as unplanned as he was-was a positive experience. So many positive emotions-ranging from how my body actually did what it was "supposed" to do, without the aid of doctors! To getting this awesome surprise! I'd never had a baby before that I didn't have to plan every aspect of.

So, this is maybe why it's so hard to say, unequivocally, that I'm done. No more, Finito.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Does It Make Me An Imposter?

So, everyone knows I homeschool my children. I have homeschooled the older kids from the beginning. Lindsay went to a Mother's Day Out program for most of one school year because I thought it would be good for her (and I knew the teacher). She was 3 at the time. I'm really not all that big on having my kids away from me for an entire day (don't get me wrong, I like my breaks, my time alone or away, just not on a regular basis for long periods of time) and I honestly consider it more of a hassle than it's worth to have to get them all ready, load everyone up and go drop 1 of them off for a couple of hours. Ok, so here's the thing: I might have an opportunity to send Haley off for a day or so each week to a preschool thing a friend of mine is doing. I totally trust her with my child, that's not the issue. It just seems "wrong" somehow to keep my older kids at home and homeschool them but send the 3 year old off to learn.
To make the case for why it's a good idea: she is a very high maintenance child and is L-O-U-D. I'll bet you've guessed by now that this does not help the older kids to focus on their work. We are not as structured as I would like lately (you know, in the past 3 years). It seems that we always have some level of chaos going on in our school room (Haley clears her desk about like an earthquake would clear her desk and often yells "HEY" at everyone to get our attention. I don't like to use tv a lot to occupy her (although now that she finally sits through Barney and Blue's Clues and a few others it's very tempting at times). So, if I were to send her to my friend's pre-school (very small by the way-only a few little ones) she could get a bit of structured time with other children her age (which I'm totally not opposed to-she does well with that in Sunday School and church anyway) and we could get a little bit of time (with only Nathan, who is a little easier to quiet as a rule) to focus a bit better on the older kids' work.

Monday, April 19, 2010



We all have things in life we don't enjoy doing. But we do them because it's the right thing to do. Can you imagine the world if we only did what we "felt like" doing? A world where children are asked if they would like to brush their teeth? A world where they are allowed to basically run amok?
I heard a story on the few minutes of GMA that I watched today. The story amazed me. And not in the good way. Apparently, 10-20% of homeschoolers are "unschooling". I think that the term is kind of vague but it describes varying degrees of allowing your children to teach themselves-with no text books and no direction really. I think that some "unschoolers" do provide some object lessons (such as math lessons snuck in at the grocery store and other natural teaching moments) for their children, but I didn't realize there was a more radical form of this going on. The families they had on the show have no structure, no form of discipline

These parents say they have "no hierarchy, no punishment, no judgment". Some of that sounds all sweet and fine, peaceful if you will. But there are no boundaries. No lessons on following rules. No teaching your children to deal with following society's rules. They are in for a rude awakening.
The statistics, to me, are staggering! There are approximately 55.7 million school children. Of those, 1.5 million are homeschooled (we represent 2 of those right now! and eventually will represent 4!). Of the 1.5 million homeschooled, there are an estimated 150,000 that are UNschooled.(those stats were taken from the video link above) My question is this: how do we know that's accurate? Would those parents, as a rule, report what they're not doing? Or would that be too taxing?
That might sound a little judgmental, but if you are unparenting and unschooling....why would you bother to report it? Just a thought.
It scares me for those poor children. The ones that aren't getting the opportunities that they might have had if they had any formal learning at all. I don't believe every kid needs or wants to go to college. Some just don't have that desire, that drive. And for the record, if my kids choose not to go to college-if my daughter's stay home and take care of their family, if my sond choose to drive a trash truck or dig ditches-I'm fine with that. I want them to be happy. I want them to love God, love others and do what makes them happy. I'd rather have a child that enjoys his or her life and choices than one that is so driven they miss out on life. But, I'm sure not going to have them get to the age of 18 and realize I robbed them of the opportunity to choose. The opportunity to know what they want to do and have the ability to go after it-or not. It's our job as parents to provide them with the opportunity-*gasp* even the requirement-to learn.
It also scares me for the rest of us who call ourselves homeschoolers and do actively teach our children. Yes, the mainstream media is highlighting that which is radical and not mentioning the parents who go through a lot of research and work to make sure our children learn and have every opportunity possible. We do without any tax relief or funding (which is fine with me because I don't want the regulation that would come with it). Even though the media is pointing it out, it's these parents that I believe are irresponsible and putting at risk our right to parent and school our children in the way we believe is right for our families. We live in Texas which is very unregulated as far as homeschooling goes. For us, that just means less red tape to deal with and more time to teach my children.
Do I think it's the government's responsibility or right to come in and make new rules and laws? To require more reporting in? No. Parents should take the responsibility without anyone coming in.
With that said, we must go and "do" school now.
P.S. I asked my kids about this and their response? Negative! They would not want this freedom. To them it indicates a lack of concern for those children.

A Mama's Pain

Over the years I've received several variations of an email about what no one told you about being a parent or what you wish you knew before becoming a parent. Well, I have a new one. No one ever told me or prepared me in any way for the fact that the only thing that hurts more than your own adolescence is your child's adolescence.
Seriously, it was one of the worst times in life. Especially if you have little brothers and sisters that are "steal the show" cute.
Where did this body come from? This body that seems so much bigger and more awkward than the one I had last year? Not the body of a little girl but where is the woman's body that I hope I will have? Is my body and development (or lack thereof) normal? What is normal?
Where do these tears come from? The tears that overtake me without any notice and sometimes for no reason at all?
Does anyone like me or understand me? Do they even want to be in the same room?
Why does everyone else have better clothes and shoes? And why isn't this outfit as cute as when I put it on?
The pain and insecurity of adolescence is sometimes paralyzing.
Exacerbated by any real or perceived difference. Such as allergies. Allergies that you can see. Allergies that make you sneeze and draw attention to you.
How do I tell my daughter, my precious daughter, that it will only be fully and completely gone around the time she turns 30? Ok, that may be a little bit of exaggeration. But not totally. When I hit my 30s I finally felt okay with who I am. I certainly don't have an overabundance of confidence, but I'm me and that's okay.
In the meantime I have to convince her that I do understand it, that I haven't always been this grown-up (ha!) that she sees. That I went through most of the experiences she's going through and will go through. That it's painful but that it will be okay if you keep the faith and look for the light at the end of the tunnel? That's the thing, because I have been there I know that there are so many curves and turns in the tunnel that you CAN'T see the light most of the time. All you can see is dark and scary times. Times when you have to take the next step, not really knowing what you're going to step on or in. It's the worst kind of tunnel. The kind where you can't turn back.
Through all of this I still have to be her mother before I'm her friend. Sometimes it's tempting to befriend my daughter in a way that would not be healthy for either of us. I must push her to do things that are, at times, uncomfortable. I must discipline her when she messes up. But I get to hug her when she needs a hug! And lots of times a hug is worth a thousand words, right?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

We're On Our Way

we're on our way, on our way to Grandpa' in the city. Hmmm. Loses something. I think the Barney version works better but I guess his grandpa lives on a farm. Not ours!
Nonetheless I'm soooooooo excited to see my grandma and grandpa (and the rest of the family ;) )
It has been two and a half years since we've seen them. To be totally honest, each day I fear that I will get news that I won't see them again. That causes me such pain-just the thought of it. I know they'll be in Heaven with the Father but I will miss them so much here on earth. Why will I miss them so much? I mean, most grandparents are relegated to some "old person" status. They are the people your parents drag you to see one Sunday each month if they live close or once a year if they live far away. I had lots of friends who did not understand my excitement when I'd be going to my grandparents. Here's the deal though. My grandparents are THE BEST. When I was little we often lived with them and when we didn't I spent EVERY weekend with them. I always knew just how loved I was and was made to feel so special. I don't know that we did that much that was "special", just that they were always there and always so happy to see me. My grandpa would drop everything and come get me at the drop of a hat. He's since told me that there were times he'd ditch a client (and a sale-he was an insurance agent) to come get me! He also let me play secretary in his office on Saturdays when it was his turn to work that weekend. Most importantly: they taught me to love God. That is the legacy they will leave. Because I know and love God my children are growing up to do the same.
I remember my grandpa waking me up singing "This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it".
My grandma. She is such a lady. Always has her hair done and so proper. I wish I could say I learned more of that from her. LOL Alas, I did not. She did always make sure I wore a slip to church though. But more than that...she worked outside the home and so on Saturdays she cleaned her house top to bottom. Remember, I said that I spent weekends with her? Oftentimes my friends and I would make large tents in the living room (you know the kind, using all of the dining room chairs, most of the linens in the closet and don't forget you have to have various items to weight the linens down so they don't slip off of the chair). She just cleaned around us. That is amazing to me now that I'm a grown-up and have my own kids. When I try to clean I'm not nearly as patient as that...She read me stories at bedtime long after I could have read to myself. Took care of me so often when I was sick. And when I had my first baby? She was there! (My mom couldn't travel to where we lived because my brothers were in school). She managed to help me tons without interfering with my new mommyhood. She sent me to bed the first night home from the hospital so her and grandpa could take care of the baby. That was the best gift ever. Sleep.

I could never fit all of our precious memories in a series of books, let alone in one blog post. But they are the best grandparents ever! I'm so excited!!!

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