And Now, We Homeschool

 

As hap­pens when­ever I take a nearly year­long break from blog­ging, a lot has hap­pened.  Right now, the main change that we are expe­ri­enc­ing is that we are now home­school­ing Asa (6) and Kael (8).

When I talked with friends and fam­ily about our deci­sion, I said some­thing to the effect that it was the longest quick deci­sion we’ve ever made.  Before Kael started school, it was some­thing that I con­sid­ered very seri­ously.  At the time, Jason and I ended up decid­ing it wasn’t the best deci­sion for our fam­ily.  Kael had a great kinder­garten year with a teacher he enjoyed very much.  The next year, Asa was sup­posed to start kinder­garten.  Because of his sum­mer birth­day, he was going to be one of the youngest kids in his class.  I had ques­tions about his readi­ness.  I thought very seri­ously about home­school­ing Asa.  In the end, we decided not to do it.  He had a great kinder­garten year.  Kael had a good first grade year.

Over the sum­mer, I loved hav­ing them home, and I think that they loved being home.  I watched them grow both phys­i­cally and emo­tion­ally.  I watched them develop their rela­tion­ships with each other.  When it was time for them to go back to school, they weren’t ready.  I was sad.  Jonas was *so* sad.  He cried for Asa and Kael every day after they left and before they came home.  As the days passed, he seemed to miss them more and more.  As the days passed, it also became more and more evi­dent that there were cer­tain things that weren’t work­ing for the boys at school.

A friend of mine asked if I was going to blog about our rea­sons for choos­ing home­school­ing.  I thought about it for awhile.  In the end, I think that I’m going to let this be it.  We had many good expe­ri­ences with the boys’ teach­ers and the school.  We also had some that left us very con­cerned.  By Novem­ber, Asa was telling me that he didn’t talk at school and that he knew the teach­ers liked it when he didn’t say a word all day.  Kael was telling me that he knew he wasn’t smart enough for sec­ond grade and that he knew he wasn’t a very good reader or writer.

At one point, I started think­ing “if only we could home­school.”  Then, I real­ized that we could.  We could home­school.  I started talk­ing with friends who had been home­school­ing their chil­dren.  I started read­ing blogs.  I started research­ing cur­ricu­lum.  The more I read, the more excited I got.  We talked to Asa and Kael about it.  We weren’t going to let them make the deci­sion whether to con­tinue at school or start home­school­ing, but we did want to know if they were excited or anx­ious about it.  It turns out they were really excited about the idea.

The boys’ last day of school was the day before Thanks­giv­ing.  They have been home since then, and so far it is fan­tas­tic!  The hard­est part about home­school­ing so far has been hold­ing back and not try­ing to teach them EVERYTHING.  His­tory, math, writ­ing, read­ing, poetry, lit­er­a­ture, Span­ish, engi­neer­ing, geog­ra­phy, chemistry…

Just A Picture For Fun

 

I love Kael’s green soled shoe in this photo.

 

I Didn’t Want Girls

Nor did I not want them.

When Jason and I got mar­ried, we had some pre­mar­i­tal coun­sel­ing through our church.  Dur­ing the pre­mar­i­tal coun­sel­ing, we had to do a cou­ple com­pat­i­bil­ity tests.  One of the tests asked us how many chil­dren we wanted.  We were sup­posed to answer with­out talk­ing to each other.  When we revealed our answers to each other, we found that we had both writ­ten that we wanted to have four chil­dren.  Over the years, I obsessed over when to start hav­ing chil­dren and how far apart our chil­dren should be.  I think I attrib­uted more con­trol of the sit­u­a­tion to myself than I deserved.

When I was preg­nant with Kael, we did not find out his gen­der at the ultra­sound.  The Mon­day before he was born, I sent Jason an email.  The sub­ject line said, “boy.”  The email said, “I’m call­ing it.”  When I was preg­nant with Asa, we also did not find out his gen­der at the ultra­sound.  This time, I had a gen­eral feel­ing that he might be a boy, but I wasn’t as con­fi­dent.  After he was born, I told Jason that we were going to have a fam­ily of boys.

With the first two boys, we had not found out the gen­der at the ultra­sound because that was my pref­er­ence.  Jason pre­ferred to know the gen­der.  So, with the other two boys we found out the gen­der.  It wasn’t because we had hoped for one gen­der or the other.  We sim­ply wanted to know.

Over the years, peo­ple have come to the assump­tion that Jason and I wanted to have girls or that we were dis­ap­pointed to have our fam­ily of four boys.  That’s not true.  It’s not that I pre­ferred boys over girls, but I also didn’t pre­fer girls over boys.  We didn’t have a pref­er­ence.  I know that some peo­ple have a pref­er­ence for gen­der. I didn’t.  I really didn’t.

At one ultra­sound, the doc­tor said to us, “I’m sorry I can’t give you your girl.”  One friend said to me, “Every time I ran into you, and asked you about the new baby, you said, ‘it’s *another* boy!’” (This was not said in a pos­i­tive tone.)  Lately, many peo­ple have asked us if we are “done.”  Yes.  I am done hav­ing babies.

How­ever, I am not done hav­ing chil­dren because of the like­li­hood of hav­ing five boys.  I am done because con­tin­u­ing would lead to the cer­tainty of hav­ing five (or more!) children.

Would I be happy with some other gen­der vari­a­tion in our fam­ily? One girl, three boys.  Two girls, two boys.  Three girls, one boy.  Four girls.  I’m sure I would be.  I’m sure that rais­ing girls is won­der­ful.  I’m sure they are fab­u­lous.  I’m sure that par­ents of girls think they are the most won­der­ful kids on the face of the planet.  I’m sure that if we had daugh­ters, I would love them with all my heart and soul.

But, I don’t.  I have four sons, and I am happy, pleased, con­tent, thrilled, and sat­is­fied with our fam­ily just the way it is.

It might seem funny to some peo­ple that I wrote those post.  If I’m so happy, why bother, right?  If what I’m say­ing here is that gen­der doesn’t mat­ter, isn’t it a lit­tle too much protest­ing to write and write and write about it?  I’m writ­ing this post for four rea­sons.  Kael, Asa, Jonas, and Kellen.  While friends, fam­ily, and doc­tors might think that they under­stand how I feel, and they might think they are reas­sur­ing me that they know just what I’m think­ing, I’ve got four sen­si­tive souls also lis­ten­ing to the con­ver­sa­tion.  Kael has asked me a few times about hav­ing a sis­ter.  He has won­dered about why his friends have girls in their fam­i­lies and he doesn’t.  All it takes is one well mean­ing com­ment mis­un­der­stood by one sen­si­tive child.

It’s pos­si­ble that over the years, I’ve heard some of these com­ments about want­ing or need­ing a girl in the fam­ily and not cor­rected the per­son say­ing them.  Though, as they seem to be com­ing a bit more fre­quently now as talk of us being “done” also comes up, I feel as though I should get this out and make it clear.  Girls are great.  Daugh­ters are won­der­ful.  Maybe some­where down the road I’ll have daughters-in-law or grand­daugh­ters.  That would be fan­tas­tic.  I don’t wish for them now, and I don’t want my kids to think that I did.

Yummy Sloppy Joes

The last time I started blog­ging (and then quit), I intended to add some recipes to my blog.  I have no inten­tions of becom­ing a food blog­ger.  I do, how­ever, like to have a link for the recipes I use reg­u­larly.  I use a google spread­sheet for my meal plan, and it’s so con­ve­nient to have all the recipes hyper­linked in one place when I go to start a meal.  No sort­ing through pin boards.  No search­ing favorites.

Sev­eral years ago, I was a part of an online mes­sage board.  There was a woman on the board who shared this recipe.  I can­not remem­ber her name, so if by some chance you know who it was, please tell me.  I would love to credit her for this deli­cious recipe.

_________________

Sloppy Joes
1 pound ground round or extra lean ground beef
3/4 cup minced fresh onion
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
 1/4 cup diced celery
1 gar­lic clove, minced
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tbsp. vinegar
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
6 ham­burger buns
 
1.  Com­bine the first 5 ingre­di­ents in a large non­stick skil­let. Cook over medium heat until beef is browned, stir­ring to crum­ble.  Drain well.  Wipe drip­pings from skil­let with a paper towel.
2.  Com­bine beef mix­ture, water, and next 7 ingre­di­ents (water through pep­per) in skil­let, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, and sim­mer mix­ture 15 min­utes, stir­ring occasionally.

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Again, obvi­ously not a food blogger.  :)

Yum.

You Know You Need to Write a Blog Post When…

  • You think to your­self, “Wow.  I’m really happy. ”  Not just today.  Not just right now, but with my life.
  • You find your­self diag­nosed with an auto-immune dis­ease (celiac dis­ease) and so many things begin to make sense.
  • You think to your­self “I’m awe­some” after you walk/run a 5k.
  • In the same day that you don’t get more than 5 min­utes in a row to work on any one thing, you also know that you can’t wait to go back to school to get another degree.
  • You may have final­ized the design for your very first tattoo.
  • You are read­ing an amaz­ing book and want to tell every­one you see about it.
  • You have lost 20 pounds and feel bet­ter than you can remem­ber feel­ing in over a decade (see pre­vi­ous point about things mak­ing sense after a diagnosis).

 

I have real­ized that the empty box of the Add New Post page feels very over­whelm­ing to me.  It also feels like a long term com­mit­ment I may not be ready to make.  I used to blog reg­u­larly.  I also got into the Twitter/BlogHer/social net­work­ing world of blog­ging.  I felt more and more pres­sure to have page views and to blog reg­u­larly.  When I men­tioned to some “big” blog­gers that I didn’t feel like I had any­thing to say all that reg­u­larly, the advice I got was to write one or two posts a week and do memes two or three times a week.  That’s prob­a­bly great advice.  Unfor­tu­nately, for me, it didn’t res­onate, and instead of blog­ging less, I stopped altogether.

I’m not sure what hap­pened.  I don’t know if it was the celiac or if it was some­thing else.  What­ever it was, *some­thing* hap­pened this spring.  I feel like so many things in my life are com­ing together.  I finally have the moti­va­tion to go with my efforts to get back into shape.  I am eat­ing very well and feel­ing no depri­va­tion.  I feel more patient with my chil­dren.  I have a time­line for going back to school and work­ing toward a degree.  I have won­der­ful friends.  With three friends mov­ing away this sum­mer, I was feel­ing a bit melan­choly about hav­ing lived here for almost 15 years, but lately the awe­some­ness of my friends has over­whelmed me.  You know you have good friends when some­one can tell you that the new bra you bought makes “the girls” look really nice.  ;-)

The final straw that got me back to this empty box and helped me get words into it was real­iz­ing that two of my very favorite blogs are updated irreg­u­larly.  They aren’t every day blog­gers.  There might be three posts one week and then not another one for three weeks.  Regard­less, when the posts do come, I am really happy and excited to read them.

So, with that, I begin again to share my attempts to live a life of inten­tion while being con­tent with what I have right now.

P.S. Now I want to go back and link to ALL my favorite blogs.  Maybe I’ll do that down the line.