Tag Archives: Intentional Living

Homeschool in the White House

I shared a long time ago about how this past school year (2017-2018) was going to be the first year of homeschooling Avie and the triplets, but I never shared anything about it again. It’s been hard. This post hasn’t been an easy one to write, the words haven’t come together willing.

I knew going in that teaching the basics wasn’t going to be easy, not because I’m incapable or the kids are inept, but just because of personalities. And I was right.

We plowed through much of the school year, dealing with attitudes and personalities, trying to figure out how to approach things for each kid, because they all are different and learn different too. There were times when it was sweet perfection and times when there were tears, either me or the kids.

I love homeschooling, don’t get me wrong. I love it….in theory. Maybe it’s me, maybe it’s the kids, maybe it’s all of it together, but it was not working for us this past year.

One thing I do know is that I have always said

I will not sacrifice my motherhood on the altar of homeschooling.

I won’t do it.

My relationship with my children, as their mother, is far more important to me and our family, than whether I homeschool or send my kids to school.

In February, Avie expressed interest in going to school…then Jamie (Henry and Ellie were adamant about NOT going to school). We played with the idea, talked to the school. Right now we’re in the process of finding out where they will fit grade-wise and deciding whether or not to send them in the fall. Then the other day Henry and Ellie said they wanted to go to school.

There are parts of public schooling that are very appealing to us, and no, getting them out of my hair isn’t one of them. I really want my children to play instruments, I want them to be exposed to the arts. Honestly, we can’t afford piano lessons for all five. By the time we’ve checked off the boxes of what we HAVE to do, I have nothing left to give for the things I want to do (crafts, art, etc), and that part SUCKS!

As of right now we haven’t made an official decision yet regarding any of them. The school really feels strongly that James needs to go into Kindergarten and that Avelyn needs to repeat second grade, and I’m not sure I’m ok with that.

James will be 7 in December and while he’s not fluent with his letters, I’m concerned that he’s going to be bored and frustrated surrounded by 4 and 5 year olds (not to mention that he’s going to stick out like a sore thumb with his speech issues, glasses, and being a full head taller than any kid his age). I  truly do believe that he will rise to the occasion if he’s placed in 1st grade, as will Avelyn.

As for Henry and Ellie, I really don’t think there’s any convincing I could do on the school’s part to enroll them in first grade. They’re smart, but they’re just not there with their letters.

Needless to say, I’m struggling. Struggling with feeling as though I’ve failed them, that they’re behind, that this was my fault and my selfishness of wanting to homeschool, that my “little experiment” resulted in their being behind their peers academically. Then the other part of me is “screw it”; we did what was right for our family at that time, I don’t regret for one second having them home with me.

What is the rush of getting them into school?! Why? So they can be in the workforce or college a year earlier? I want my kids to LOVE learning, not be “educated”. We all have our opinions on curriculum, common core, and socialist education (no child left behind etc). Traditional schooling is NOT for everyone, not every kid flourishes in it, and the same is for homeschooling. And I refuse to be made to feel that I’ve done wrong by attempting this year of homeschooling.

And none of this is to say that we will never homeschool again. I really do feel that for our family homeschooling is the right choice. I truly feel that if we do send the kids to public school that it will be for a season, maybe not for all of them, but for some of them. Maybe once they’ve had the “experience” and have the basics under the belts, we will all be home again. I don’t know, but I know that I’m ok with whichever way we decide.

I’m sure this won’t be the last time I write on this, because this is a huge thing in our family right now. None of it’s easy.

Nutter-Butter

Sorry if you thought this was going to be a recipe posts…it’s not. What it IS is a post about our newest addition to the family: Our German Shepherd puppy, Nutmeg! 

Matthew and I went to Milwaukee for a wedding at the beginning of March, and while we were gone one our dogs, Sage (the super fluffy one on the right), died. We still have no idea what happened. We had someone staying here with the dogs, and within 12 hours from her not feeling well (throwing up and diarrhea), she was gone. It was horrible! There was nothing to be done. Fortunately, the kids weren’t home and my friend who was here with the dogs was so fantastically awesome!

 

Our two dogs were sisters, from the same litter, and while they were old (13 years old) they were really in incredible health. They were “old lady dogs”, very low-key, tolerant, and low maintenance. Thyme was at a loss without her sister, and we were all missing her terribly. I had always said though, that when our dogs passed away we were going to get my first love of dogs…a German Shepherd.

In the middle of April I started contacting some local rescues, but was coming up empty handed. I found out that there was a breeder not far from us, and figured “what the heck?”, so I contacted them. They emailed me back and said yes, they had puppies and did we want to come visit them. Not only did we visit them, but we came home with the second to last puppy!

She has grown so much already in the month that we’ve had her, she was smaller than Thyme and now is towering over her, from 13 lbs to 22.6 lbs. Nutmeg has been the perfect addition to our family. She’s even gotten our old lady dog, Thyme, to come out of her crate, to play and act like a puppy: It’s been so much fun!

 

Life Happens – Where I’ve Been for the Past Year or So

I know I kind of fell off the face of the earth for the past, umm year, is it? It’s been a while since I posted anything of any substance, anywhere, longer since I posted anything about my family. I still have drafts I wrote last Summer that I have every intention of publishing…someday. In all honesty, life has been a bit of a struggle for me, the past few months, the past year.

I read something about stress-levels post multiples and how post-partum depression hits later than with singletons. I don’t know if 6 years later is feasible or not. Maybe it is. At just the time they say it hits (2-3 years of age), we had Peter, which didn’t give me the chance to breath…life marched on. There was no time to feel “depressed”.

There’s still no time, but it’s there. The tired, the not caring, the overwhelmed. 

And this is where I always freeze up when it comes to sharing, because no one knows how or wants to admit that they don’t really like themselves or their life sometimes. At least I don’t. And there’s another part that if you are liking who you are becoming or what you are doing, there’s a problem with that too.

I love my husband. I love my kids. I love our home. Sometimes it’s all too much though, too much noise, too much stuff, too many personalities, too many to-dos. And all the too much means there’s not enough of other things…quiet, clean, brain power, focus, clarity.

My mind gets swept along the raging river, bashing into rocks and being sucked under the waves. Sometimes, I’m able to keep my head up, manage to keep afloat amidst the debris, and other times I’m sucked into one of those underwater crevices of a rock and the panic sets in.

They tell me that this is normal, that it’s just “motherhood”. Then why do I feel so alone, despite opening up to others, that no one really is drowning in this as much as I am. I don’t honestly think I’m failing at this, I think I’m doing a pretty darn OK job at mothering these 5, but why does it feel like I’m the only mom that wants to walk away from it, from them?

Last summer my book club read “The Awakening”, and most of the responses of the other moms was how could she leave her children, that she was so selfish for all she was doing…and all I could think was how I “got” what she felt. She would do anything for her children, except kill her “self”.

I’m sure there are many Christian moms that would read this, clutching their pearls, at the very thought of not dying to self, of not living solely for their children. I’m sorry, I can’t, and I don’t honestly think that God wants me to become a shell of a woman for the sake of my children. I don’t for one minute believe that I am supposed to entirely relinquish my interests, identity, or any part of me for my role as a mother.

That said, it’s finding my self, finding the time to remember who I was before any of this, that feels impossible. The part that makes it so impossible is that I’ve always lived for someone else and what they expected of me, so it’s not just FINDING my self, but actually LEARNING who I am, and in that there is a struggle.

When you start figuring out who you are, what your interests are, who you want to be, you have a tendency to piss off people, to disappoint people. You become no longer willing to just make every one else happy, to be a doormat. Suddenly, there’s a whole other part of you. Your interests and opinions and feelings don’t line up with what people expect you to do and be. And that can be a very hard place to be.

It’s very often pointed out that the marriage/husband should be the focus of a family, because after the children are long gone, that will still exist…and it’s true. Your children are your’s for a season, your husband will be your’s until death do you part (baring anything else). But here’s the thing, YOU will be you until forever.

What happens when a spouse dies? You’ve lived your entire life for that person only to not know how to function when they’re gone. I don’t want to do that either. I don’t want to curl up in a ball and not be able to live if something were to happen to my husband, and I know he wouldn’t want that for me, just as I wouldn’t want that for him, no matter how old we were.

Now that I’ve taken this whole big thing to explain what my mental state has been for the past year. I have been in a constant struggle between taking care of my children and husband and taking care of myself. I don’t have an answer on how to manage it. I don’t have a solution.

Sometimes I feel like me. Sometimes I don’t want to get out of bed (I d0 anyways). I’m not sure that there is a way to find a balance between the two, because as soon as I feel like me, I’m hear that I’m failing my family. It’s lovely really *note sarcasm*.

I think the hardest part of my writing and being active on social media, is that I don’t want to be open with certain people in my life. I honestly don’t want to share my struggles with nosy relatives, the neighbors who are just going to gossip, but I don’t know how to cut those ties without insulting someone. So I shut myself up instead. At the time it seems easier.

That said, I am seriously considering going private again as a blogger, because I know I need this space. There are a lot of things that I want to mull over and share and process here, and hopefully in the near future I will be sharing more about things that are going on in my life.

What I’ve Been Reading – February 2018

It’s a new year for books! Last year I set myself a reading goal of 35 books on goodreads, and I managed to beat it. Ha! I’m not going to lie, it felt good. I honestly thought 35 was too high and I wouldn’t meet it. I decided to stick with 35 books for this year too.

I’ve completed 4 books for 2018, but 2 of them were poetry books, which always seem to read faster. I didn’t read anywhere near the number of Christmas books that I usually do. I just wasn’t into it; I don’t know what that was about.

FAVORITE FICTION BOOK

I’m only half way through No Man’s Land, and while it took a while to get into it, it’s VERY good. I have to admit the only reason why I picked this one up was Tolkien. The author is the grandson of J.R.R. Tolkien, and the book is a fictional writing of some of his experiences during WW1. Two things for me want to read it, WW1 and Tolkien.

I can already tell that, while the first half of the book was a bit slow, the second half is going to fly. I’m curious to know more about Tolkien’s story, as well as his coming to faith.

FAVORITE NON-FICTION BOOK

Capital Gaines…obviously, since it was the only one that I read, but I did love it! I so enjoy his humor and stories. As someone who has been saddled with entrepreneurs all of her life (my parents, my husband) I really enjoyed his insights into creating and running a business, particularly one that grew to be so successful.

I really appreciated how often Gaines FAILED, that’s right FAILED, in businesses, but always walked away with something and had a good mindset about it; glad for what he learned from the experience. I love how he turns it all back around to his family and God too. Such wisdom and humility in his words, even when he’s not being so humble.

THE BOOK I DIDN’T LIKE

I hate that I don’t like it, but Clash of Kings….it’s still sitting on my night stand, stalled at page 237 and haven’t picked it up in 2 months. I still REALLY want to like the Game of Thrones books, but I just cannot get into them. I hate it. I know I will finish the books. I’ll force myself to do it, but it’s going to take a while.

What have you been reading? What reading goals have you set for yourself this year? Remember, you can follow along on what I’m reading on Instagram, just check out my hashtag #Books2018JMW

Capital Gaines {a Review}

Capital Gaines a review

Capital Gaines a review

For those who may not know it, Matthew and I own a handful of small businesses. Neither of us have a degree in business, or any business know how. It’s just something we’ve always grown up in (both of our parents’ own their own businesses). If we were smart we would have taken at least a couple of business classes in college, but we didn’t, so we’re always learning by trial-by-fire.

When Chip Gaines’ new book, Capital Gaines, popped up as being available for review I didn’t even hesitate. We need all the help we can get, plus he’s really funny, AND he and Joanna have managed to create quite the empire. While we have no aspirations to create a business that has over 500 employees (I’d be happy with 5 employees), they must be doing something right.

I read Magnolia Story last summer and flew through it, this was the same. It’s just entertaining listening to Chip go on about the things he’s messed up. I can truly appreciate his humor and stories. This was the same, I finished the book in 2 days. Entertaining and informative.

I wrote last month about doing things scared, and not letting fear keep you from living. Chapter after chapter these were the things that Chip was telling me over and over. Don’t let fear keep you from doing what you’ve been called to do. God has got it.

Whether you own a business, want to start a business, or just love the Gaines family…READ THIS BOOK! And FYI, if you have the chance to take some business classes, do it, don’t even think twice.

*I received this book for free from the BookLookBloggers program. However, the opinions are my own. Read my disclosure policy here.