A Word a Week- Evolve

Evolve- to deveop gradually from a simple, to a more complex form

I have a friend that is always telling me I do too much.  I don’t take on responsibilities because I am like “Ehh, I am bored, let’s do something else.” In fact, I am never bored. I work from home so I am always working. There is enough work to do to last me an eternity.  I also decided to take on an enormous work project (which is going to be epic by the way, just wait and see) to you know, cure that boredom.

The things I do daily-homeschool my kids, manage a business, manage my side job as a taxi driver, cook, housewife, hairdresser, personal shopper, psychologist, ring leader, teacher, boss etc, I just do because there are things that need to be done, and I figure out how to do them.  I truley believe it is all about the additude you have about life-and with a good one, you can accomplish anything.

But this year, so far I have taken a step back to look at my life work.  When it comes down to it, my biggest project, my largest accomplishment, my greatest joy will come from homeschooling and raising my children.  The beginning of this year I was doing everything “right”.  Tons of activities, running around like mad-men, enjoying all of the beautiful opportunities that our community has to offer. Today, February 7th, I have quit half of them. Probably more than half. I just stopped. They were sucking our joy from our life, and I wasn’t doing a good enough job of making sure things got done (the school part of homeSCHOOLING) and I was over it.

So now, I signed my kids up for an all online program. I have ZERO control.  For a control freak, even writing those makes me cringe a little bit.  NO CONTROL. My kids login, and learn the material that someone else presents for them, and then they answer questions and I assess thier progress. This week has been GLORIOUS. My kids love it, I get work done, they get work done.  Why didn’t I think of this sooner?

The same friend that is always on me about doing too much told me she was proud. Evolution isn’t just something that takes place over millions of years, and it’s not always monumental.  My heart has evolved over these past few months, into a bigger, more complex place-that’s simpler at the same time. Our homeschool has evolved, into a place where we are happy again and have one priority in mind-HAPPINESS. Less responsibility, and good friends to do life with-that’s winning.

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A Word a Week- Comfort

Comfort- (1) a state of phyrical ease and freedom from pain (2) the easing or alleciateion of a person’s feelings of grief or distress. (www.dictionary.com)

Being comfortable is a part of the American dream. Or it least it should be, because these days, it is all I want.  In my 20’s I though comfort meant a padded bank account, beautiful furniture, glorious hips, and an amazing reputation.  I fought for it, and always came up short.  My eyes were focused on the wrong kind of comfort.  I see my kids striving for similar comforts, and I want to tell them–NO, that’s not what it really means.

We don’t have a perfect life. We have our mountains and valleys, our triumphs and defeats but one thing I do have now is comfort.

My skin-I am comfortable with who I am. I am not as thin as I dreamed of, but I am okay with that.  I have red blotches on my skin, but I am okay with that.  I am pale, probably glow in the dark pale, and I am okay with that.

My family-As a young mom, I always thought I had something to prove. I felt like I had to prove I could do this parenting thing.  I am okay now. I love my kids, and we know what is best. I am comfortable with that.

My choice to homeschool-It fits us. A lot of people don’t agree, but we wouldn’t want it any other way.

My friendships-I talk to everyone. I bring everyone together, but I am so happy (and comfortable with) my small circle of friends I can count on, that can count on me.

Growing up is hard work, but being comfortable enough to scream THIS IS ME, by what you do and how you live your life—that makes it worth is.

Be careful though, don’t get too comfortable.

To my oldest boy

Boy, you are something.  You made me a mom. You have taught me how to love fiercely and unconditionally, stretched my patience to the end of the earth, made messes bigger than I thought possible, made me giggle with delight, my blood boil with anger, my heart ache for one more snuggle.

And now I look it you.  The lines on your face are becoming strong. You are taller than me. You would prefer to hang out with the adults and don’t like being put in the “kid” category.  How did you get to be (nearly) 13 already?  I remember the day I brought you home.  You were wrapped in a bright yellow fleece snowsuit equivalent ducky onsie.  It was absurdly cold for April.   I was scared of you, but so in love. And now, here I am again about to take on a new adventure with you as a teenager.  My boy, my lovely sweet boy, take these thoughts from your Mama with you as you get older and grow into a man.

  1. Hold on to you. Life is a journey.  So many people are going to try to change you.  Always. You are never going to be good enough for everyone.  You are always going to have haters.  Live a genuine, honest life doing what you love, with people you love and don’t worry about the rest of the world.
  2. Don’t get to big for your britches.  You are beautiful and talented, funny and strong, sensitive and kind.  Those are all good things.  There’s a lot about you that people should and will admire. Stay humble, and always remember your roots and look for the good in everyone.  Everyone has good in them.
  3. Be a man.  I don’t mean this in the herculean, save the world, superman mentality. But be respectful, chivalrous, walk with integrity, admit your mistakes.  That is something you’ll be proud of.
  4. Pursue your dreams. Love, I don’t care if you are a dog walker, a gas station attendant, a doctor or the president.  Find something that defines you, that sets your soul on fire, that makes life worth living–and do that. Dreams won’t come to you because you wish on them.  Theres no magic trick to living what you have always dreamed of but hard work and goal setting can make anything happen.
  5. Don’t take yourself too seriously.  Laugh at your mistakes. There are going to be a lot of them.  You’ll probably lose more than you win. Laugh at your mistakes and learn from them.
  6. Friends are the family you choose. You will always have us-we are family.  Friends are important too.  Choose people that reciprocate your love, intent, and attempts to get together. Don’t waste your time on friends that don’t make you feel good.
  7. No one will ever love you like your mother does.  When you cry, I cry. When you smile, I smile. I would fight for you, no matter the cost.  When you go out in your journey’s for love–find someone who loves you with that same intensity.  That person won’t be perfect, but when you find that person, you’ll know.

As I am writing this, our song comes to mind.  I am note sure you remember it but “I Hope You Dance” is the perfect song for you, my boy.   Dance your heart out, stay humble, and live life to the fullest.

 

A Word a Week-Refine

There are so many thoughts that come to mind when I think about refine. There are things we refine, there are processes we refine, there are attitudes, homes, and paperwork we refine.  We refine sugar, and oil to get rid of impurities, to rid the product from harmful substances.  By definition, the word “refine” means:  to remove impurities or unwanted substances, or to improve by a series of small steps and processes.

I wonder what it will look like when we take steps to refine our lives? What would this even mean? I think a lot of times the American perspective on resolutions is skewed. We set goals for a “new” me, “new” life, “new” home etc. instead of just taking the time to fix what we already have.  Mid century America was good at refining. Us–not so much.  I think we are headed in the right direction, but we need work.

For us as a family we are going to refine our life this year in the following ways:

  • Our Money. We need to plan better, set goals and tell our money where to go. Money can control you, but it needs to control you in a good way, for a better life. Dave Ramsey is a great guide.  You should read it.
  • Our Homeschooling.  We have the most AMAZING group of people in our homeschooling bubble.  Seriously, they make me grateful for our life everyday.  There are so many outstanding people with remarkable talents and so many things to offer our kids, and it is so tempting to do everything.  And then you become busy, and busy isn’t a life.
  • Our Food.  When you are busy, you eat what you can find. You eat take out. Cereal becomes a good dinner alternative. We are going to take efforts to change our food.  To eat whole foods, to eat planned, intentional meals.
  • Our Family Time.  Jordan and I are ambitious.  We work hard, we work diligently.  We are going to be more intentional about our family time to refine it, to make it more meaningful.

Refining things doesn’t mean that what you have isn’t good. I like what we have. I love our life, but there is always, always room for improvement.  When you stop growing, you stop living.

Cuddle Day

These things are real and I didn’t make them up.  Guys, if you could see the joy on my daughter’s face when she said “You can’t say no to cuddles today” and Declan running up to me and saying “it’s cuddle day” and torturing Noah with mommy hugs.  This is the sweet spot of life, where good things happen.

Also, on my news feed- on the same day as cuddle day, a memory video  of my kids singing the dreaded “What Does the Fox Say” when they were 8, 6 and 1. WHAT? How did that even happen.  How are they already 12,10 and 5. My heart.  The video belonged to our late friend who passed too soon, and hearing my voice makes me happy remembering the enormous blessing she was to my children, but it’s also a dreadful sound.  It is the sound of what used to be, what we won’t hear again.

Cuddle day was spent being with friends ( sans cuddling, grown ups don’t do that), getting some work done and taking down christmas ornaments.  I love the ordinary moments that my kids will someday remember as extra-ordinary.  The simple things. Daddy watches Star Wars while he works, Mom listens to audible with Alexa, Nanny listens to sappy 80’s ballads. Mom loves coffee. Dad eats crappy Now & Laters late at night when he thinks everyone is asleep.

What extraordinary, ordinary things did you do with your family today?

Spaghetti Day!

This was definitely a day that will go down in the History books for the BEST DAY EVER! Declan has shown so much excitement for these events and it is such a FUN way to teach the calendar to early elementary school kids.

Today we had our own version of an Elf breakfast. If you are one of the lone rangers on this planet that has not seen the best (Christmas) movie on earth, I suggest you get to it. Anyways. We  had a breakfast full of spaghetti, swedish fish, crushed peppermints, Now & Laters and syrup.  Since Declan usually lives off of carbs and sugar, I believe that he is actually an elf. No judgement, he is growing and and thriving and you only live once right? Um, yeah.  Rylee tried some, and enjoyed it but didn’t eat a full bowl like Declan did. Noah is smart enough to know better.

For dinner, we had my favorite lazy meal.  Spaghetti, Raw Spinach, Garbanzo beans, chopped pepperoni, fresh herbs, olive oil, salt and pepper. ( Leave out pepperoni for a great meatless Monday meal).  I didn’t get a photo, but I will have to next time. It’s quick , easy and everyone seems to like it.

Disclaimer: Noah called this carb loading and that’s okay. Declan never stops moving. Also, he brushed his teeth.  This was important. SUGAR overload.  It is worth the day of sugar and carbs for all of the excitement and all of the memories.

Follow along with us for your next adventure when we post about Bird and cuddle day!

Living off the Grid

I have thought often about living off the grid.  This seems extreme and very beautiful at the same time.  It’s more of a fantasy for us, as we make our living through internet and technology.  We do have a few goals this year in relation to this.  I want to teach my kids the importance of taking care of our earth.  We do volunteer park clean ups and participate in Nature clubs through our homeschool group, but our impact needs to be reduced.  We have joked about locations where we would go in the “apocalypse”and spend a lot of time outdoors.

As a culture I think we are headed towards a generation where we use less, create more. What do you think of this video and this lifestyle?

Saturn: Declan’s Biography

Declan: Age 5

Born: on Saturn, in the middle. In the United States of Saturn

Temperature: It is always warm and sandy.  There are sand storms once a day.  To escape the the sand storms they type in stuff to their computer to create a force field for protection.

Food: Food is almost the same as the food on earth.  Corn is the best, except it’s brown on Saturn.

How he got to earth:  He came in a rocket ship. He crash landed on me (his mom’s belly). He was really 100 years old but came here to start a new life because he had to many toys on Saturn.

Animals: There are a lot of creatures on Saturn. Skeleton donkeys are often seen.  They are half skeleton, half spider.  They are EXTREMELY dangerous.   There are also crazy floating heads called olsheekobappas. They are giant floating heads with a skeleton face.

How dogs on earth are made:  They are sent from Saturn via radar.  Hair is collected on missions to earth.  The hair is put into a machine, in a factory where dogs are made. Once the dogs are completed they are radar transported to earth.

 

A Word a Week- Purpose

Purpose- 

I feel like as humans we are pre-disposed to want a life of purpose. We want our lives to mean something, to leave a legacy, to make a mark.  Last year I was able to quit a job that I hated and truly commit to what I love–travel planning and homeschooling my loves.  My purpose began to surface as I made new friends, built an incredible village and connected on a deeper level with my children and my husband.

Something happens in your soul when you are released from the monotony of the 9-5 job and you have the ability to work for yourself and teach your children what you think they need to know to be purposeful and live a meaningful life. Last year, I found my strength, revalidated my purpose, prioritized my goals and created new ones.

Work is meaningful.  What you do, and how you spend your days -is meaningful.  Some people find their meaning outside of work through extra activities, fun family events and vacations and that is perfect too.

What are you going to do this year to find and execute your purpose?  What have you done already?

Stay tuned for next weeks post in our Word a Week series for 2018.