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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Here’s why I cried when my daughter read to me.

My daughter is 10.  She has friends that love her, she’s talented in so many amazing ways.  She can sing like I have always dreamed of, she can sew things I can’t imagine, she is artistic and emotional and so much better than me in almost every way.  A lot of these gifts are a gift of dyslexia.  Dyslexia has given her the gift of art, of seeing the whole picture before it’s completed, of empathy, compassion and an amazing heart.

As you might imagine, despite all of her incredible gifts, she struggles with reading.  HARD.  She’s so intuitive and creative that she understands things that most ten year olds shouldn’t.  Unrelated to her dyslexia she is just an old soul.  A few years ago, when I was making sure she knew how special she was, we were in the car and she said something I don’t think I’ll ever forget.

Me- “Rylee, you have artistic intelligence that some people dream of. You have a beautiful voice, you are great at math.”

Rylee (holding back tears, because she is also “too strong” to cry”)-” Mom, singing isn’t going to help me check out in the grocery store”

Damn. She’s right, but she shouldn’t know that yet.

We’ve been homeschooling three years and I can’t say that I have a beautiful thought out mission statement other than “Teach my kids to read and that they are valued no matter what” because once they have that, they just need to be taught how to learn. I’ll admit it, I have no idea what she goes through because I read at 5, but we have fought for it for three years.  But I do know what I have seen over the years.

Tears

Her being embaressed in front of friends

More tears

Heartbreak

Tears of frustration

A lot of “I’ll never be able to read”

Hysterical tears

“I’m not like you mom, I can’t just read”

Mom’s shattering heart

Then last night, my girl couldn’t sleep.  I offered what I have 7000 times before in her life. ” Would you like to read me a book? Sometimes that helps me get sleepy.”  Her words, “Well, I might as well have a good attitude about it, because that really makes things easier.” And she did. She walked downstairs and got her chapter book ( Nory Ryan’s Song) and read 3 whole pages.  I held it together while we sat and she read, but after I kissed my baby goodnight, I cried happy tears.  Hearing her read will never get old.  Ever.

 

 

 

Chocolate Day!

January 10 is dark chocolate day, but I don’t segregate. We love all chocolate here.  We started the day with Hot Chocolate, of course.  Everyone has to wake up early on Wednesday so the bigs can go to Biology and nobody likes it, except Declan. Declan loves it.  It’s such an interesting dynamic to have two kids close to entering teenhood, and one that’s just gotten to grade school level.  I personally love that my five year old is the one waking up my big kids and torturing them with early mornings like they did to me for years.  I don’t let him do it all the time, but sometimes…I’ve got to get my kicks somewhere. Chocolate day was one of them.  They LOVE me, can’t you tell??

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Noah bought everyone chocolate bars at the gas station on the way to science and then Declan and I searched for items that had chocolate in them. We also watched a short video on the history of chocolate.  Declan’s take?  If chocolate is fruit I can have it whenever I want.  That was fun.  Then he shared his chocolate with his favorite friend. I had none.  Thanks kids.

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We also tested out the man bun.  He was proud. Whatever, third child, just stay alive.

After dinner we had brownies.  And I did my share to help my husband with his OCD intervention, because that is true love.

I’m feeling snarky today. I hope my kids get the memo. January 11 is puddle day.  Stay tuned friends.

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.

 

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!