Wednesday, August 31, 2011

An Awesome Night Out

Yea pretty much, soooo much fun! My sis even managed to make it out with us and brought baby Leah too:)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Splashtopia Paradise!

The pictures tell all! It was a BLAST at Splashtopa. We swam, ate amazing food, enjoyed adult beverages and watched movies til we had to leave! It was a really fun time:) The start to the vacation wasn't so awesome though. As we were prepping to go, Tanner rode his bike and crashed into our dog's leg. While I took Kayla to ortho to get her braces off, Nate was supposed to go shopping for last minute things we needed for our vacation, but he ended up at the vet getting our poor dog Xrays and eventually a cast for the broken bones*(broke both leg bones:(  We set up babysitting for her and then took off hoping the vacation would be better then the packing for it anddddddddddddd it so was!!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Decision is Made and Final

Wyatt(9) grade 4, Kayla(10 turning 11) grade 6, Everett(8) grade 3, Tanner(6) grade 1

I'm so glad we started homeschool 8 weeks ago. I learned so many things this school year thus far and thats how labor intensive 6th grade is and thats really giving her a bare bones education. The math is so difficult, I am having to relearn it and then teach it to her. Wyatt had backslid a lot since our "summer" break so we are back to reversing letters and numbers. Everett is flourishing with minimal help though his concentration keeps him tied to his school books until 5pm many days. He wont just focus and do the 2 pages of math or 1 page of language lessons. Tanner is struggling to read.

 I love homeschooling though and some of my best memories with my kids is homeschool related. Here is the thing though, Kenna and Madelynn are bored and reading one BFIAR book isnt enough for them. I give them coloring books, and all sorts of fun school stuff to do while I teach the others, but they continue to fight for my attention. Madelynn is barely talking and at 2.5 years that has me worried that I need to give her more one on one to really talk with her about everything so she starts picking up language better. My little guy, Jaxxon, is crawling and very active now, pulling up and eating everything he finds, including choking several times now on teeny things he has found so I have to watch him like a hawk. So where am I going with all this? I told you I wanted to make the right decision regarding school and as much as I LOVE homeschooling, I know Wyatt needs services that our insurance wont offer him and there are many other issues I stated above.

 Nate and I sat down and did a pro/con list and we found the pro school list much much longer. We decided after speaking to the kids and hearing their input, to put the kids into public school. One of the biggest determinants for this decision was that this school we are zoned for now has ALL the services Wyatt needs. They wont ship him all over like the last school wanted to do in order to get him the speech, OT, PT and many other specialized teachers for teaching a child with aspergers. They actually have several other kids in the school really similar to Wyatt and I have hopes of meeting their families and making friendships for Wyatt and myself. This was a hard decision, but I feel it was the right decision.

Their first day was yesterday and went well. I think my kids got lucky as their teachers seem to all fit their different personalities very well. The time alone with all the little kids yesterday was so nice as well. The house was quiet and we got to read and paint and most of all talk a lot. I am normally really burned out from reading aloud to the big kids and helping them with their studies that I don't talk much later in the day to anyone. I mean I serve and cook and clean, but my voice gets tired. It was nice to talk to just the little kids all day as we cleaned, played, cooked, made a surprise for the big kids when they got home, and hung out together. That undivided attention is good for them. The quiet was also good for all of us. I was amazed that I liked it, lol.

So for 1 year we will be "trying" out public school and I think the kids are going to have a great year supplemented with weekends reading, decorating, doing crafts, baking and just being who we are. I'm excited to let them spread their wings and stretch out into the community. I'm taking this new chapter and looking for the good in it. This time our option was researched and thought out so that it will for certain last all year. The big bonus and probably the kicker to the whole school advantage is that Nate got offered a new position in his department that will take him from rotating schedules to a Monday thru Thursday 9-5 schedule for the next 3 years!!!! YAY so he wont have to miss out on family time. We wouldn't have done the public school option had this not happened so this protects our family time! Family togetherness and time is our number one priority.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Religion is Burning Me Out

No-Religion-small.gifHow do you even title a post like this I know. In reality though, its exactly how I feel. Trying to shove Bible down the throats of bored children who close their ears and goof off to any Bible curriculum I ever try is old. The church we have been attending for 8 months now has grown frustrating. My kids still have not adapted so I am getting awkward feelings towards the children's ministry not knowing WHY my kids 6 and under all cry still 8 months later, EACH and every Sunday. No, we didn't go Sunday this week because I quite honestly couldn't bare another week alone with 7 children dropping them all off crying(many times I pick them up still crying). If your wondering why I go alone its because Nate works weekends right now.

 I have gotten diligent this year and really wanted to work through the entire Bible which I have done and digging in deep has left me feeling kinda.....hmmm skeptical of the Bible. Oh man that sounds rotten out loud, but this blog is about the nitty gritty of my life.....for happy, better, worse, good, bad, ugly, truthful feelings. It is what it is and I won't make excuses any longer for myself so if your reading and your uncomfortable, click off my page! I'm just being honest. Some of the things in the Bible are soooo disturbing or just feel plain untruthful like the killing of all the baby boys by king Herod, sending Moses down the river in a basket, Abraham making a covenant directly with God???Do I really believe people ever talked directly with God? NO, that's why I left the Mormon church, the whole Joseph Smith spoke with God was too much for my brain to get past. God punishing people in various ways in OT times(never thought of God that way before) and so on. I read and loved the NT 7 years ago and have always referred back to it, however, having gotten up close and personal with the OT this past year I feel all my skepticism creeping back in. I enjoy all the mushy Bible study books and other self help Christian books as they confirm my beliefs about being a stay at home mom and raising a large family and its importance. Those books confirm that I should be an excellent wife and mother and stay in the home if possible creating nourishing meals, cleanliness and order in my home via being a good home manager. I believe all those things with EVERY part of my being! But that is where I think I got confused. I don't need a Bible to confirm that decision. My husband and I know it to be right for our family so its right. Period. I think that is why they appealed to me always though and then they throw in that God wants me to do it so I would think, "Oh, even better." But really, when I get into my Bible and read and read, I feel so turned off or skeptical by such large portions. I admit many portions make me feel warm and gooey too. I just can't get past feeling like a fraud some days reading some of these things to my kids. We read the story of Abraham and Sarah yesterday and it just was sort of a pointless phony sounding story and all the kids looked at me like I was nuts when I finished. It makes me feel even weirder when my small kids act weirded out or skeptical by many stories we read as well. This has been happening for years every time I add Bible back into our homeschooling.

 I am on a break from Bible, Christian books and all of it to sort out where I stand and how I feel. I think we are all wired to believe in something bigger and I do. Nate does too, though he has NEVER believed in the Bible. With that said, he was never opposed to my reading it to the kids or even being a Bible thumper if its what I believed. He has supported the kids and I by attending the LDS church and other churchs with us each week. His tolerance is true love! How much of word for word Bible do I reallllllly realllllllly believe though, I don't know at this point.

 I am also still bothered by so many prayers going unanswered or being answered in such a negative way. I am sad for world hunger, war, and so many other things a loving "parent" wouldn't allow. Isn't that an oxymoron to say God allows these things and is the most loving Father of all, yet us parents would lose our children to CPS if we allowed war or hunger within our own homes? Confused? I know I am. If you made it this far, I won't apologize for offending you, but thank you for reading my babbling thoughts on my journey of religions/spirituality over the years.

At this point in time my efforts will be going into homeschooling the best I can, making wonderful snuggly memories with my kids year round, getting out on dates with my hubby more often, riding my horse, weaning(yes I'm rotten and weaning down Jaxxon(10mo) to only a few X a day) so I can get out more, and doing what I feel is morally right or wrong for ME. The long skirts I enjoy some days, but that's when weather permits. I posted pics in them hoping to be the good little Christian woman that could encourage others on their journey and I don't regret it. I did what I felt was right at the time. However, my feelings are ebbing and flowing with life, learning, searching and reading.When its 100 out those skirts are atrocious and to call them anything else would be dead wrong. Modesty in soCal mid summer is a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. So here I go to center. Balance. Getting away from extreme religion, dress, homemaking, homeschooling, etc. I am learning each day I live more and more how I enjoy living and what works best for my family.

I am excited to be coming to the realization that I don't need the Bible or Christian books to tell me that its good or valuable to stay at home and homeschool my kids or to find worth in scrubbing toilets and wiping butts. I just know it to be true in my heart. Its valuable and I am proud to do it.....not because God or the Bible say I should. Its nice not to feel pressured to be religious anymore just because I homeschool. I don't have to throw my kids into school because I don't want to drag myself to the torture chamber church each week. My older kids might ask to go to church again in a year or two because that is what roped me in after our last big, long few years break and ya know what....this time I will tell them to go with a friend if they need to. I won't deny them, but I won't go each week with them either. Its too brainwashing skirting around many things that really exist in the Bible that I will never be able to believe or agree with. I don't want to go back down that road again! 

Alrighty, off to clean and homeschool for the value of doing it because it needs done and its important........not for the "glory of God" or "good works." Amen to that!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Can You Have it All? Is it All it Seems?

I know I'm burned out from a busy/fun summer and homeschooling 6 weeks through already, but I find a tinge of jealousy creeping in as I see friends sending kids off to school for a "break at last." Iy, why do I compare. I often wonder if I could have my big happy family and get a break, but I try to remind myself why I do it and then I have a day where they are all complaining(at least once a week) about our schooling and throwing fits and not wanting to do the work. Today I have a lazy child who is JUST now finishing school up at 4:45 pm. That wears me out. I wont lie. My mom asks me regularly, "Why not do those fun Five in a Row" books in season like you do, but read them after school letting each child take a turn everyday for their homework reading time and then just do the fun activities like making pies or a chinese meal or going apple picking for the weekends or days off. Is she right? Could I have the best of both worlds? I dunno, but I often wonder. I am struggling to teach Tanner to read. He isn't catching as quickly as siblings have. 6.5 years old  and literally can maybe recognize sounds for 10 letters despite 4 complete phonics programs. Maybe someone else could teach him? I always question myself at years begining and around mid year when we are suuuuper burned out. I guess I start out each year knowing I want stabiliy first and foremost so it feels like a huge decision as to whether or not to put them in because I want the first decision of the year to last all year. I don't wanna switch halfway through the year...too flakey. I don't know its a tough call and I am really toying with school......just unsure. Praying about it. Needing direction. It doesn't help that my kids have told me daily for years now that they want to be in school. Maybe I am denying them? Maybe they will grow up to regret me for not listening to their wishes to be in school despite my attempts to tell them its not all it seems. Maybe they want candy everyday too though and as the mom I know that isn't best? Nate's wonky schedules don't help make the decision any easier. His shifts change as fast as I can get a routine down. Arggg decisions decisions. Input would be great. I would love to hear from homeschoolers, unschoolers, public or private schoolers and everything in between if you have any thoughts on this. Can I have my cake and eat it too? Get a break and still have a big happy family? Children who still love the Lord? Sanity? Time for the 3 littles who seem extra needy this year? hmmmm thinking........

Saturday, August 6, 2011

So Much Life and So Little Time! :P

Big plans, so little time. I admit that I did say I wanted to work towards using my blog as more of ministry and while I still do, time is escaping me big time lately. I have also made a big goal after moving to our new house 3 months ago that I wanted to keep it suuuuper clean. I was tired of living in disorder and being embarrassed by drop in visits from friends and family. I have very well kept my word and my white walls are shiny and sparkling(wiped daily), floors mopped(daily or every other day), vacuumed 1-2X a day, bedding washing once a week, laundary done daily so as never to get more than 1-2 loads behind....that sorta thing. 95% of the time our home is now ready for drop in visitors at any moment. This has taken a lot of my time working and training my kids to be more dilligent in their cleaning. With all that said, I am just not certain how often I will be blogging for the time being. I will try to make more time, but I can't promise and its been especially busy for us as we are 6 weeks into our 2011-2012 school year(getting a jump start in case I were to end up preggy during the school year...not even cycling again yet, but the thought has crossed my mind)  already which is eating away all our spare time as well.

We are having a reallllly wonderful school year thus far though, our best yet! Having fun lapbooking, doing FIAR, some MFW(decided it wasnt as great full time as we hoped) and BFIAR for the little ones. I am proud to say we have had such a busy and fun filled summer that I haven't been online much!!

We have been fishing, hiking, swimming, riding, BBQing, visiting local lakes and water parks and enjoying long days outdoors watching the kids ride bikes until the moon makes its appearance. Our grand finale for the summer will be a vacation to a splashtopia paradise, a resort near Palm Springs CA in 2 weeks so I have been busing planning that as well as the fall bday kids(Kayla soon to be 11, Kenna soon to be 4 and Jaxxon soon to be 1) bday party. We are doing a big circus themed party towards the end of September, along with rodeo coming up, the county fair and route 66. The begining of October will be warmly welcomed as a time of relaxation and some hibernation from all the summer hoopla. Well there you have it, I get back to blogging more in time, just be patient with me:) God Bless!