Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sweet boy

My oldest boy made this for me yesterday. He said if I smelled it my migraine would go away. How sweet!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Yesterdays post today

     Today has been one of "THOSE" days. 
You know the ones? The kids are screaming, and whining from the moment they get up, they fight, they cry, the lack of milk in their sippy cups is an all consuming world catastrophe, drama drama drama! (Who knew boys would be such over dramatic divas!?) I think I have played referee more today than anything else. In fact I know my husband is going to say "What!? Didn't you do anything today!?" the minute he walks in the door.
     Honestly it has taken almost all my energy just to keep the kids from destroying each other and the world.  Housework was the furthest thing from my mind. For the record I did manage to get a load of dishes going and the corned beef is is in the oven!  And school you may ask? Well I took a cue from another Home school blog I like to read and decided it would be a "bare-bones" school day. We watched documentaries on the universe and did a bit of Spanish language practice. Yeah pretty laid back today...but then most of my day has been divided between the refereeing and cleaning up after my two year old. He has a horrible habit of throwing his food onto the floor if he decides he is either 1) done, 2) not going to eat it period, or 3) bored. And while my dog is in heaven I am not. ;-)
       It doesn't matter what I do on days like today, they will fight regardless. The oldest wants a "secret hide out" so I make him one. Then they proceed to fight over it. So I make the youngest a "secret hideout" of his own, and they still manage to fight over it! There is still crying and screaming and hitting and spitting, and occasionally biting. And don't forget the classic, "Nobody loves me, I want my daddy!" It is enough to make me pull my hair out, except that I'm a wimp and that would hurt! 
     So needless to say my patience, which I have never been blessed with an abundance of, was wearing very thin.  Some days it is all too much and I end up doing a lot of yelling. (Ahem, Today.) Which I know, in my more rational moments, is never helpful.   I am a loud person who comes from a family of loud people who do tend to speak, well, loudly. I also come from a theatre family and have been trained so that I may be heard all the way to the cheap seats. Is it my fault I have an overdeveloped diaphragm? All kidding aside, I do yell far more than I like.
     This is something I have been working on for many years, and I am definitely better than I used to be, but I forget more often than I remember. My particular religion is very much about loving kindness, compassion, and not doing any harm, as most religions are. But growing up in an environment where raising your voice was not out of the ordinary does not condition one to talk softly, nor did I learn how to deal with my anger effectively. (I realize that this makes it sound like all my family does is yell and scream, which is not the case, as my sister so eloquently put it "we just make sure we are heard even if it means escalating our volume to do it") My problem is it is my default setting when my children misbehave and that is something I wish to change. 
     So for 9 years I have been trying to retrain myself.  Sometimes I feel like I am doing really well and other times I am back at square one. Trying to recondition 20-some odd years of projecting ones voice is really hard to do! My husbands family is exactly the opposite. They are probably the quietest people I have ever met. (Truthfully they were probably scared to death the first time I opened my mouth!) I would like to be somewhere in the middle. Not too loud, not too soft, just where I need to be, the middle path.  But how in those moments of insanity when the kids are screaming and crying and spitting water all over the place (true story) do you keep it together enough to not give in to that first initial response:  raising your voice? How do you maintain a peaceful center in the midst of the storm?
      I have tried all sorts of things to find/maintain a peaceful center on days like this. Anything from, singing, to playing video games, to eating large quantities of chocolate, to the much talked about "Mommy time out". The truth is none of these seem to work. When I come back into the room I do not have a true sense of peacefulness. It is as they say, only skin deep, and quickly disappears in the wake of another trying situation.
What does help is meditating, but that takes time and sometimes, especially on days like today, there just isn't any.  So what do I do?  Well I stumbled upon something today, quite by accident, that I hope provides the answer, at least for me. I was close to exploding (again) and knew I was going to start yelling if I didn't find some sort of calm when I suddenly visualized myself meditating. I am not sure why, I didn't do it on purpose it just sort of popped into my head. Me sitting on a cushion and meditating, in a quite, peaceful place. And suddenly I felt grounded and focused and better able to handle the situation.
     Is this some sort of weird fluke? Will it work again? I have no idea! I only know it worked this time. I am feeling a bit superstitious about it, so I will definitely try to sit down and meditate tonight after the kids are asleep, don't want to mess with the meditation mojo. And I will be trying it again in the future to see if it will indeed still work.  I'll let you  know, in the meantime what works best for you on "THOSE" days?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

     I have, recently, turned 34 years old and this is my first blog. 


     So why now you may ask? Good question. I suppose because I am going to begin homeschooling my oldest son and it is without a doubt-aside from the day I brought him home from the hospital and thought OMG now what do I do?-the scariest thing I have undertaken.
     I mean, I am in charge of my child's education! It is more than just a job, if I fail, well lets just say I have nightmares about my grown children having to work in some burger joint for the rest of their lives, or worse.
So I guess I thought well let's just get it out there. The trials, the triumphs, the failures, and maybe in my own way I can help someone else who is trying to take that terrifying first step.
     On top of that I am not the greatest house keeper ever. I am sure there are worse, hey I have seen those shows about hoarders, and I know there are much better-those houses that make you feel like you have walked into some sort of gallery or something.
     Yeah so I'm sloppy, house keeping is not my favorite thing and I freely admit that I would rather play with my boys than do the dishes. And don't even get me started on laundry!!! Worst. Chore. Ever! Laundry and dishes are a never ending cycle of evil! Like taxes.
     But I am trying to get better. I even bought a book. Yeah I bought a book on house cleaning. It's called No Hassle House Cleaning by Christina Spence. I love it. I carry it around with me while I clean my house, (okay WHEN I clean my house) in my cleaning kit, and refer to it as needed. Come one how can you not love a book by someone who runs a website called the happy slob!? So I am slowly working on the house cleaning and integrating it into my boys routine-can we say "Life Skills!?"
     So getting the house cleaning figured out is the easy part. The home schooling is the terrifying hard part.
I have been asking myself for the past week, "Am I doing the right thing?" "Is this the best choice for my children and myself?" "Can I do this?"  Honestly, I don't know.
I have wanted to be a teacher since I was a little girl. We played school all the time and I was always the teacher. My father was a teacher, and he was an inspiration. He still is although he has retired from teaching. So here is my chance right? Teach my own children. And yet....those nagging doubts. I didn't start to having them until recently.
     I took my oldest in for his 5yr wellness check. They did all these extra tests: eye site, hearing etc...all, the nurses told me, so he would be ready for kindergarten. Then when the Dr. asked my son if he was excited about going to school and riding the bus-the excitement on my sons face...well that is when the doubts started. Even though I informed the Dr. we would be homeschooling, that we had a curriculum all picked out, and were part of a local home school support group, I still had those dang doubts creeping around.  Am I doing the right thing? That whole socialization argument popped back into my head. I have read all of them for and against, and I have heard it from just about everyone I know who does not home school. Honestly, after my own experiences, I would rather not expose my children to the "socialization" of the public school system.
     I am a child of the public schools. I have in my past thought that home schooled children are strange weirdos who have zero social skills and are emotionally retarded. Yeah all those stereotypes were like gospel. And then in college I had the opportunity to take a theatre education project around to different local schools and work with the children. I also went to a woman's house, she home schooled her children and was a part of what they call a home school co-op. When my group arrived there were about ten kids in all ranging in age from 10 to 17ish. They were the best group we worked with. They were not afraid of sharing their ideas, of using their imaginations or of being laughed at while they participated in the exercises. they threw themselves in wholeheartedly.
     Afterwards I chatted with one of my friends about the experience and we were both amazed at how smart and open, intelligent and well mannered they were. They had excellent social skills  and were in no way emotionally retarded. I began to re-evaluate my thoughts on home schooling.  Going to college in Utah I have made friends with many people who were home schooled and none of them fit the negative stereotypes that so many people think of when they hear the words home school.
     Then I had children. And I was a hesitant to send my sweet sensitive boys out into the harsh world of public education.  The final course of events that got me on the home schooling band wagon was two-fold, my sister-in-law began home schooling her daughter and the public education system seemed to be in a nose dive. Now my niece was a junior in high school at the time they started home schooling, and they had their reasons for doing it.  Talking to my sister-in-law about it and the curriculum they were using really got me thinking. So I started doing some research.
And lets not forget the fact that public education was being attacked. Their budgets are non existent, teachers can't even buy the basics for their classrooms anymore and instead have to ask the children, or rather their parents, to foot the bill. Class sizes are going up, teacher pay is going down. The no child left behind laws, were to me, ridiculous. Now teachers are teaching to the test. I am not saying that there aren't amazing teachers out there. I know there are, in fact I know a few of them, I am even related to a few! But the public school system appears to be broken.
     I read article after article about how the system teaches to girls and boys get left behind. They learn differently because they are a different creature than girls. Their brains develop differently so how can we expect little boys to learn the way little girls do. And on and on it went.
And it is true. Boys do learn differently from little girls, and they are being left behind in the classroom. I did not want my boys left behind. They are bright, eager to learn, and exceptionally sweet, though I admit I am a bit biased! And I didn't want to hear a teacher tell me they need to be medicated because they are too hyper, when they are just being little boys.
Now I am not out to say this is better than that or all teachers and schools are out to get little boys or medicate them all or anything like that. After all I am a child of public schools as I said before. And I had several amazing teachers, which is what inspired me to want to become a teacher. I also had some down right horrifically bad teachers, but I try to remember the good instead of the bad :-) So I thought why not. Why not teach my boys at home. The school will not have the burden of having to teach two more children and really, who can teach them better than I can? I know them better than anyone else ever will. Why not?
     Sounds so easy right? Yeah well, it's not. And perhaps it shouldn't be. Perhaps the fear of failure will keep me from, well, failing.  I honestly have horrific nightmares about this. I am pretty sure this is normal, at least I hope it is. And I also hope it will eventually pass or at least get better as we find a groove that works for us.  That is what all the home school blogs I have read say. "Find a groove that works for you" and then everything will be better, not smooth sailing necessarily but better.
       So here my journey begins. My journey into the crazy world of home school, and housewifery, which I have been told is an actual word! I think I am going to start putting that on anything that asks for  my occupation-I love it!
     It is going to be interesting and I am sure there will be days where I will just want to go back to my room and cry on my gigantic pillow, but as I read recently, the days are long and the years are short. So I should take advantage of these long days while I can! And as this is my first blog please forgive me if I start adding in other aspects of my life. I have a few hobbies that I love and may be sharing with you as this blog develops. 
Constructive criticism and support are always welcome, and remember if you don't have anything nice to say, don't post it. ;)