Reality Mondays

Today’s post is part lament and part joy!!!! I adore my children and grandchildren and was blessed this summer with the youngest granddaughter! It was hard!!!! I often feel that I am too old to be doing the toddler thing on a daily basis ūüėČ There were days I was tired, frustrated and wondering if we would all survive the summer. Then there were days where she would curl up next to me and talk and laugh “saying I love you grandma” that made me feel guilty for feeling less than loving! By the end of June I doubted my sanity but then we had a two week break while she went to visit her father and that helped me put everything back into perspective.

Renee drove up Saturday and left yesterday morning and suddenly it was quiet and I was missing the chaos of having a toddler. No sighs of relief, just an overwhelming sadness that part of my family was gone and I would not be seeing my grandbaby for awhile.

Which leads me to the thought of just how will I survive when the Peanut goes off to college? That day somehow doesn’t seem that far away right at this moment! The Ark only has 2 years before he is off to college! Where has that time gone? I know a great deal of it went into raising my children and helping out with my granddaughters. Homeschooling and my college took up another big chunk of time. There is always the cooking/cleaning and laundry to factor in. I just want to stop time for a month or so and cherish this time with my kids! But the teens are rushing to go up and the littles are just happy to play outside and watch a bit of tv……..

So my plans are to start researching and planning a backpacking trip through Europe when the Peanut is off to college and maybe by the time I come back, I will be able to handle the quietness of my home! I’ve always wanted to travel and I travel light, just recall my 10 day trip to Guatemala last summer when I survived with just a carry on!!!! Or perhaps I will just go be a missionary then!

So today, I dragged out of bed and went to the gym, I am a bit more committed to losing a few pounds and getting into better shape if only because I want to have fun with my kids while they are still here and backpacking requires work! I am hoping to make it m-f with an occasional Saturday thrown in. I did my 30 minutes on the Arc Trainer and a bit of ab work! I tend to over do it and then can’t go back for days! So I’m trying to start off slow! I did hit my goal of 4,000 steps today! I’m at 5803 and the day isn’t over yet!!! I also am the proud owner of a fitbit and it is helping to motivate me to be more active! plus it makes life so easy to track steps, since it is on my wrist all day! I don’t have to remember to put it on! Hopefully next week I can raise my goal to 5,000 steps and do okay with it………exercise and I have an on again off again relationship and it sucks! I always feel better when exercising but the time it takes away form my kids or my studies during the school year gives me mega-guilt and then summer is so busy with my kids and swim team/swim lessons. I am hoping to gradually over the next 4 weeks to get up at 6am and hit the gym by 6:30am be home by 8am and start school with the kids then! We will see how it goes.

While we will not start a full school schedule until Aug. 18th, I am making the kids do math every day now! I have the littles working on getting through this years math while Ace is reviewing concepts he is shaky on and the Ark is reviewing concepts for taking the PSAT this October. They are not overly happy about it but they will survive I am sure.

So the dishes¬† were washed and put away, kids fed, a load of laundry, the bathroom sink unclogged and a couple of errands run today. But the best thing? Just when I was about to give up on a school system calling the husband for an interview as a custodian, they called today!!!! He called as soon as we got home but it went to voice mail. I will have him call again in the morning! I am so praying that this is where the Lord is leading us and that he gets the job! It is more $ than he is making now, he can take his pension which will give us a bit of money and if he gets second shift he can keep the church job until we get can pay off the van and get another used car! within a year or two, our financial situation would be so much better! Not to mention that the husband would be sleeping at night instead of trying to sleep in the chaos of our lives. I am trying so hard to leave it in God’s hands but I’m finding it difficult! I have been praying for a solution to our financial situation for awhile and so hoping that this is it!

But now, I must get off here and try to convince myself to sleep tonight so I can get up and to the gym a little earlier than 9:30am!!!!

 

 

 

Life in Rose’s House

It is always busy here, swim team, granddaughters, the puppy, the kids evaluations, a garden, you know life stuff! The stuff that never seems to be ending! Now that some of the trees are down, we would like to work on our patio~ again! We took the kids to the St. Charles Festival *the husband grew up in that parish and it is a tradition for him to go, The princess used a whole $0. 25 to win the stuffed puppy you see! On her first try, as soon as we got there! I was ready to go home shortly after that! I bought some new cotton yarn to try for knitted dishcloths, I love it much better than the stuff I was using. We took the kids to the library since it has been unseasonably cold here as well as wet, so you will see lots of those pictures. The granddaughters are leaving this weekend and I will miss them terribly but after a bit over 2 months with a little one, I’m kind of ready for the break and to get some things done like: the patio, working on next years garden space and getting the kids ready for the upcoming school year. Oh yes, the evaluations: The 2 older boys went together the week before the littles. The teacher was impressed with the Ark and his future plans (more on that in another post). He talked very nicely to her, explaining his goals, what he did this past year. Ace was less talkative and admitted to being lazy so we have to curtail some of his electronics time. She was impressed by his History book and the fact that is was hefty reading and he finished it, so that redeemed him ūüėČ She was also happy to hear that he is finally starting to understand math concepts even if he struggles with what to do with them. We have a plan of action for that but again that is another post to come. The littles wowed her! They are just so bubbly and outgoing that they are easy to evaluate. They both have a future plan which is impressive! Both want to be teachers: The Princess~ Art and the Peanut~ Math, both at the Master’s Level. The Peanut has an extensive vocabulary and uses it appropriately, which still impresses me much less the teacher. And the Princess artwork is awesome! I am very proud of the four of them! It is not easy to homeschool children when mom is in college, even though this year was a bit better because my classes are at night instead of the day. Currently, I am working on next year, still need to buy some of their books, but at least that is coming together.¬† enough talk about homeschooling plan since that needs its own post as well! Look for more rambling from me next week as I’m sure I will have something to say ūüėČ

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The Husband working on our patio now that some of the trees are down

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The stuffed dog the Princess won in 30 seconds of going to the St. Charles Festival

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The yarn I bought for dishcloths

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The dishcloth in progress

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library time

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Oh you know, just hanging out

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Beautiful glass outside the library

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The Princess hard at work building

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Trains! Let’s build

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I got this!!!!

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All abroad!!!!!

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A doll house!!! Like she doesn’t play with all of the Princess dollhouses?

Port Clinton and Marblehead Lighthouse *photo heavy

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picture perfect: sailboat

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The Princess

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checking everything out

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Marblehead Lighthouse

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Oh you know “just hanging out”

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The brother’s hanging out

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Love the waves

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The Ark in silhouette

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The Princess pouting

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Blessed to have this smilie boy

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The Ark teasing like only big brothers can do

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“Gottcha”

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Princess Rock

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Running on the rocks

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Gotta be a boy or boys as it were

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Love the photos of them rock running

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“I’m going to win”

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catching up!

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Davis-Bessie Power Plant

 

Beach Time

Seriously people we live in NE Ohio, not far from Lake Erie, and the two youngest had never been to the beach! They are 11.5 and 9!!!! I am seriously failing as a mom in this regard……..so in order to correct that offense I took the kids to the beach for a couple of hours of fun!¬†

 

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Walking down the 100 or so steps to beach level….

 

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What? this is how a lake beach looks?

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The Princess is pretty happy to be here

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Teen boys do catch some rays

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Oh, wait a minute the whole family is in the water except for mom!

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The granddaughter waving at me ūüôā

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Boy that water must be cold

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The city skyline not a bad picture considering I didn’t have my Pentax dslr

Then the next morning……

I had to be up and out of the house by 5:30 am…..yes your read that correctly! Now who gets up that nighttime hour after staying up late with 9 children the night before? This mom does when she is dropping her son off at the airport an hour away. The Ark went on a youth mission trip to San Francisco and loved every moment.

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It is too early for this Mom, stop bothering me already!

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driving into the hotel after landing

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Fisheye photo

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Golden Gate Selfie

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Golden Gate at the park

 

He had a fantastic time, and I am so glad that he had this wonderful opportunity…..

So what is keeping me busy?

 

 

Part of what I’ve been doing in this post with a few more to come: The Peanut turned 9 on June 13!!!! I¬†wanted to do something special for him and had my 4 granddaughters over and we threw him a glow in¬†the dark party! I bought a black light, lots of glow stuff and just let them have fun! The very blurry photos are of the kids running around at dusk outside glowing! They had a blast and it was fun! We even found glow in the dark bands to make¬†bracelets!
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For my dear friend~ MommyGirl

I belong to a wonderful forum called Mothering by Grace. They tolerate me coming and going due to life’s craziness and always have a warm, loving welcome for me when I return. I cannot express how wonderful that is to me. So when I popped in this week after a few years of being absent. I mentioned that I was still homeschooling the 4 younger children while now pursuing my Master’s. When MommyGirl or MG as I think of her asked me how I handle the day-to-day stuff. I promised her I would write a blog post about it as it would be too long to write at the forum.

I started back in January of 2007, The Peanut was all of 19 months, The Princess was turning 4, Ace was 6 and The Ark was 9. Our lives are interesting since The Ark is dyslexic, Ace has Sensory Perception Disorder, The Princess has severe scoliosis, and The Peanut…..well he likes order and does not do well in chaos and that is our life, so I always wonder if he fall somewhere on the Autism Spectrum.¬†

With our special needs kids and my personal religious beliefs as well as very bad experiences with my older children in public schools I had made the decision to homeschool when I knew I was pregnant with The Ark 17 years ago. I had also homeschooled my older children for 7 years before the divorce. 

The day to day was brutal at first! I had a hard time balancing everything that first semester! But we made it through and the teacher was not upset with what we had not finished. So we called it good and kept moving forward. We had many good days but so many days where we were lucky to get more than one subject done satisfactorily. I think the saving grace was that the kids were young and they really did not need to be doing so much schooling as I thought we should be doing. That was a huge lesson for me to learn. Once I learned that it was ok to be where we were and just keep moving forward, out lives and my stress level improved greatly. 

Fast forward to 2008, when we bought our house we are in now and, we added in more hands on learning: a garden, swim team, lots of park time and art lessons for the Princess, not to mention lots of outdoor time. That winter we added in basketball as well. With the kids gradually becoming more external, I started scaling down some of their seat work. I stopped using Sonlight which I still love but it doesn’t work for our family anymore and worked on finding things that did. We use MOH, Growing with Grammar, Winning With Writing, RodnStaff for high school grammar, First Language Lessons, Apologia Elementary (did use the upper grades until this year but it is too hard for my special needs kids) we now use Bob Jones for upper level science and we teach Latin.

The kids are active in sunday school, confirmation classes, choir for the littles, swim lessons and swim team. The Ark is fairly active in the Youth group at our church and does volunteer work, travels to other states: New Orleans, New York and this year Calif. He has been to GA and FL as well. He has been to camp 6 years but won’t be going this year since we couldn’t afford it. The Ark is becoming a fantastic cook, washes his own clothes and can clean/organize very well. He is a girls best dream of what a future husband should be able to do.

Fast forward once again to a year ago this time: May 2013, and I graduated Summa cum Laude with my BA in Psychology. Which has freed up my time so nicely!!! I have classes at night, making it so much easier to homeschool my children while pursuing my next degree.

A common day for us looks like me waking up the boys sometime between 8-9am. Some days, I go to the gym before I get them up, other days I just need to sleep in (I have fibromyalgia and it is tough to drag out of bed). They grab breakfast, some days I make them something special, most days it is cereal or bagels. The Ark pretty much self studies everything, I just need to be available to grade his work and help out if he is struggling with a subject. His work looks like:

Devotions

Algebra 2

Chemistry

Grammar/Writing

Government

Reading: Right now he is reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Latin 2

He is doing well and while I’m sure he is not comparable to someone who doesn’t have dyslexia, he has improved greatly with the curriculum we have used this year.

Ace~ still struggles with math and that is frustrating, so we currently use MUS and Life of Fred for him, I also make him write things in a math journal, hoping that it will sink into his brain and he will remember how to do the math. He also is improving more this year than in the past. I really think that for them it is maturity and cognitive thinkings skills improving.

The Princess and The Peanut~ each love different subjects, I have combined them for Science and History, with separate math, grammar, reading and Latin. This really helps me so much. In fact this year we actually finished our science! We are going to do science through the summer so that maybe we can finish it before Sept. and that will really help lighten up our load as well. 

How did we get to this point of thriving? I am not really sure, but I can tell you that seeing the same teacher for our evaluations for the last 11 years makes ¬†a huge difference. She really knows my children and that is beyond helpful. She is so supportive with where we are in the scheme of things, whether we are speeding ahead or lagging behind. She taught me to look at the progress we have made instead of looking at where we weren’t! I have learned that integrating real life experiences teaches the children almost as much as textbooks, perhaps even more. So I work hard to add in as many real life learning as I can. The Ark works our church rummage sale 2x a year for 2 days. He gets there at 7 and leaves anywhere from 2-4. So much learning goes on in those 2 days! He interacts with people of all ages, counts out money, sets up, carries things out to cars. I call it intro to business on his transcripts because that is what it is. ¬†

I also realized that I couldn’t possibly teach everything I wanted my children to learn, so I had to focus on what was the most important. Since I have just graduated with my BA, I know what colleges are looking for and have integrated a great deal more writing into their lives! I also try to find out where their interests lie so that I can try to give them the tools they need to make good career decisions. I still believe that if I teach my children how to read, write and how to learn on their own that will be sufficient to have them prepared for life. Well at least academically!

Are there days that I don’t want to homeschool? Of course but on those days, I sit back, see if we are burnt out? do we need to change the curriculum (yes, even in the middle of the school year!!!!). Are we trying to do too much? Are we bored? Am I overwhelmed? Stressed? On those days, we do minimum work and watch a movie about some science or history subject. * The Ark has The King’s Speech on his watch list.

I use some of the same techniques on how I feel about homeschooling that I used to get me through undergrad: take it one day/one problem at a time, this is not forever, I can do this, it is not the goal for straight A’s but learning. My children do have special needs and I should not compare them to other children. Find the positives, do not focus on the negatives. Love myself and my children! Every day is a fresh start! If these fail, then I pull out my bible and pray! The Lord never fails to revive me or remind me why I am homeschooling!¬†

My 30 second takeaway: There are as many good days as bad! Stay focused on why you homeschool, forgive yourself, change what isn’t working and revive you when you are tired.¬†

God’s Not Dead

After waiting months to see this movie and watching the trailer’s more than once I took the husband to a old fashioned movie theater to see it.
we got in for $5. a head with a free popcorn each! There were only five people there including us, which was perfect!

I had asked one of my professor’s if she had seen it and she said “no, I heard it got bad reviews”. I am so disappointed in the bad reviews! I am now wondering why? Was it because so many of the Christians who saw it are not as steadfast as the young man who wouldn’t cave to his professor and state that “God is dead”? or perhaps we do not realize how difficult it is for anyone to be a Christian in China? or maybe it is not politically correct to portray a Muslim father hitting his daughter and throwing her out the door because she has become a Christian? Perhaps it was the arguments showing that God does exist? and maybe all the scientists are wrong?
some people admire Stephen Hawking almost as a god because of his knowledge so it is not the popular thing to do to show that he may be wrong?
I personally loved this film! But then I would be that student who refuses regardless of the cost. I think that we are inundated with science view on everything in our lives and it was refreshing to see a Christian view for a change. I loved how the film intertwined so many different people together. I also love the Newsboys so seeing them was also a great perk ūüôā
Kevin Sorbo does a great job being a philosophical professor, who is angry at God. The husband didn’t like the ending because the prof. dies but I felt it was a great way to show how we have all the way to that last minute to ask for forgiveness and receive it. I also liked it when the young man finally realizes that he touched so many lives and was used by God.
I may have liked the film so much because I have been in similar situations while going to a liberal university. It is so difficult for Christian’s in that environment! Remember to pray for our children who may go to a liberal college because of money!
My favorite part? when the journalist is interviewing the Newsboys and Duncan nicely disagrees with her reason for being there and they pray with her! I cried then because it was so awesome.
I encourage you to see it for yourself and decide, don’t believe me or anyone else, rather make up your own mind. It is supposed to be out on dvd this July and I can’t wait! I will be having the teens watch it!
One side note~ my sons friend watched it, said it was pretty good and he learned a lot about Christianity! He is not a Christian.

Angst

So I am doing ok in my classes this semester, I have an A in Chem. Dep. and A- in Human Growth and Counseling Techniques. But not getting all A’s is difficult for me the perfectionist ūüėČ Of course getting an A in human growth means having a minimum of 95% not the¬†easier task, but counseling techniques is only 94% and I currently have a 91% which I know is not¬†horrid and my grade of A- is¬†certainly not going to make me any less of a counselor but I like A’s they boost my confidence and¬†self-esteem!!!! I am however so glad that I am taking the summer off, well to a certain extent.¬†

I will be taking online classes to get my CDCA, it is the first level of Chemical Dependency certification. I want it so I can put it on my resume for my practicum and internship looking. I am also going to finish the application for the Red Cross as then I can take disaster relief trainings. I will also be studying for my comps, even though they are a year away I want to not rush studying for them and to do well on them. Taking them more than once would not be a good thing. 

I am taking four classes in the fall: Diversity, Careers, Tests and Measures and the PhD prep class. Hello stress! I plan to study some of them this summer as well getting a jump on the fall! I’m not worried about careers, as the professor is the same one I have for Chem. Dep and she is easy to please. So studying ahead for the other classes will be beneficial. I really want to focus on the prep class because of the research and presentation component. I would love to do something good¬†enough to present at the OCA¬†conference my last year of school.¬†

I am working on the cd for graduation already as well, I have to give my advisor a cd with my formal papers from the 9 core classes, as well as a bunch of other things. But at least if I get the papers all in one place as I finish classes, I think the rest will be easy. I will update my resume during the summer as well so I am ready for applying for my Practicum. Can you believe it? I will be applying this fall!! It has to be done by October 10th I think!!!! Then I start my practicum in January 2015!!!! That doesn’t seem very far away.

I have already picked out my top three sites, 2 of them do crisis intervention and one is the Cleveland Clinic. I was privileged to hear a speaker last night in my Chem Dep class who is a crisis interventionist and would love to focus my career there if possible. We will see what the Lord has in mind though. I periodically live Jeremiah 29:11 all to well. 

At least I feel as if I getting somewhere, and so quickly, undergrad seemed to drag on and on but grad school is speeding away. By december I will be half-way through the program. How has that happened so fast? 

I only have one take home final that I am working on right now, 3 out of 4 questions are done, doing the last tomorrow so that I can review/revise on Sunday. Turning it in on Tuesday!!!! I do have classes next week but after that only 1 in class final!!!! I am beyond excited and can’t wait for a bit of down time and getting caught up on things around here! Well I guess I could so something productive or maybe some downtime¬†watching Murdoch Mysteries would be nice.¬†