Homeschool

Having Faith in a New Path

For the past year I have been researching, reading, PRAYING (lots of praying), and talking with moms who homeschool. I have had an overwhelming feeling that I am being led to homeschool my children. My oldest is now 4 so I am feeling a little more pressure to decide what we will do next year; but I’m 99.9999% certain that we will homeschool. This feeling has been on my heart for several reasons (that I may or may not cover in this post) and I am trying to work through what is best for my family. I never thought I’d be a stay at home mom so I REALLY never thought I’d homeschool. I actually had many misconceptions about homeschooling; and I’m so glad that whether or not I homeschool I have a new-found respect for moms (and dads) that teach their children at home.

I have so many emotions thinking about homeschooling but overall I’m so excited to embark on this journey. We recently moved to a new home, The home has the exact layout and size that we were looking for. However, it is not in the greatest school district. At first I was very concerned about this because in my mind I kept looking for houses in areas with great schools just in case we would be sending our girls to public school. I kept asking God for a sign and this house/location was HIS answer; I believe that whole-heartedly. With this new conviction that we are supposed to be a homeschooling family I was going to start to determine how homeschooling would be possible for our family. I am taking this year as a trial run to see how my daughter would take to me teaching her and providing a more structured (and I use that term loosely) time for learning. I originally thought I’d start around August or September but my daughter would ask every day if we would do our school work; so I just decided to start this month since she was so excited.

I started by writing out the goals I would like her to achieve or at least be working on achieving by the time she is 5. I won’t list all the goals I listed but the top three goals include: 1. learning character traits/implementing them. 2. beginning to read/learning sight words 3. writing her letters/numbers/personal information (name/address, etc). And also picking out some areas that she tends to ask about.

Then I used those goals to determine what I would use to teach her.

  1. I will use the handwriting and K Primer workbooks from the curriculum series The Good and The Beautiful
  2. I will use a Math workbook (kindergarten level)
  3. We will also read aloud from the Bible and books with emphasis in character training.
  4. My daughter is very interested in geography and science so I have a few preschool/pre kindergarten level workbooks that dive into these subjects (which consist of stories, crafts (cutting/gluing) while learning).

We are 3 weeks into our 4k homeschool time and I couldn’t be happier with how things are going. I’ve made some small adjustments to what we do each day but my daughter wakes up asking when we are going to start; so I must be doing something right by her. We started just doing 3 days a week but on the other 2 days she would beg to do something so now I just spread things out and we do something Monday-Friday. If we don’t get to everything I have planned out for the week that’s fine; or if we do more great! She is 4 and I’m going off her interest and attention span. While I want to have structured school time I also believe learning takes place all day every day.

Here is a rough outline of our week:

  1. Daily 4- write name/update daily calendar/talk about the weather/gratitude journal
  2. Letter tracing-2 letters per week/2 days a week
  3. Number tracing-2 numbers per week/2 days a week
  4. Math worksheet -2 days a week
  5. Bible-minimum 2 days a week (usually daily)
  6. Read Aloud-daily
  7. Character Training -daily (usually mixed in with read aloud time)
  8. Geography worksheet-1 day a week
  9. Science story-1 day a week
  10. Art/crafts-1 day a week
  11. Sight word review -3 words a week/daily review

Wow, typing that out seems like such a lot of work for a 4-year-old; but she loves it and it has only been taking about 30/40 minutes. I would never want to overload her or push her too far but I also don’t want to hold her back when she is enjoying everything we are doing. I’m so proud of her enthusiasm to learn. Some of her excitement may stem from the fact that our school time is dedicated time each day for her and I to spend together as my youngest daughter is taking her first nap. I’ve heard other moms say that the time they spend with their children is a primary reason they continue to homeschool. I can see that even though I spend every day with her, our time doing school work is so special. Watching her learn something new or mastering a skill is such a wonderful moment to witness as a mother. I can’t wait to see what this year brings.

Faith

Finding Grace…. and Faith

After having my daughter in 2014 looking back I feel like I may have struggled a bit with postpartum anxiety. I know it wasn’t depression from all the questionnaires I completed in the hospital and my OBGYN had great postpartum appointments and questionnaires regarding postpartum depression. I didn’t ask or speak to anyone regarding my anxiety because 1. I didn’t really know postpartum anxiety was a thing  and 2. I’ve always been a more anxious/type A person so I just figured it was that mixed with hormones and deciding to become a stay at home mom. I would have opened up to someone if I had a better understanding of postpartum anxiety, and would encourage anyone to speak up whenever you are feeling or thinking about things that are uncomfortable or different from what you normally feel.

The anxiety I felt was more along the lines of something happening to me or my daughter. Frequently I would think of so many potential bad (and seemingly highly unlikely) things that could happen to us. Cancer seems to run heavily on both sides of our family so I would worry about that; would I know if something was wrong with her or I; how would we cope; make it through, etc… Probably the biggest challenge/thought/worry for me was that I would die and not get to see my daughter grow up and she would not get to have her mother through all of life’s changes and challenges where a girl needs her mom. I would be overwhelmed with these thoughts that would consume a whole day or more. I would get so sad that I would miss out on everything to where I would silently cry my eyes out rocking her at night thinking about it; or at just random points in the day I would just cry. I never wanted to leave her to do anything. I begged my husband to help me figure out how to stay home with her because I couldn’t handle the thought of being away from her. I didn’t want to miss one second to spend with her because I felt that I didn’t know when it would be the last time I would see her.

I didn’t share any of my thoughts with others because at the time I didn’t know how to explain how I was feeling or thinking. I would let the thoughts come to mind and then I would just remind myself that all of the worries I had were highly unlikely to happen and I learned to push them out of my mind for a little bit. I know some moms who are so consumed that they cannot leave their homes. I wasn’t there but I would be anxious leaving.

After I would say 6 months or so I just began wondering ‘why do I feel this way?’ I kept feeling this pull on my heart that I was missing something; like I was longing for something. On the outside I had everything together… my house ran on a fairly regular routine, baby was on a dependable and predictable schedule, my marriage was going well, I was working out…everything seemed to be going well. However, I still just felt like I was missing something. I began reading more, following some mom vloggers on YouTube, and reading blogs and my love of podcasts started during this time. It became very clear there was a theme to everything. One of the words I kept hearing over and over was GRACE. ‘Give yourself grace’ was the phrase of the week for weeks. Of course, I knew the definition of grace, but this time it had a different meaning and I was hooked on it; and I needed this phrase in my life. At the time it seemed so random but now looking back I know exactly who was at work in my heart. So many of the podcasts, books, vloggers, and bloggers I was following heavily had a very strong faith foundation. I didn’t think much about it but as I listened and read I started to find a sense of peace. A lot of my worry about dying seemed to not stress me out so much. As I learned more not only from what I was reading/listening to but also learning about the changes occurring within myself I was feeling so much better and wanted more.

I reached out to a previous co-worker I have kept in touch with and asked her what church she attended. I remembered her faith had been an important part of her life when we worked together so I knew she would be a good person to talk to. Let me back up a bit, I didn’t grow up attending church or having a relationship with Him. I had Bibles and knew of the important people in it but never lived according to the Word. I went to church with some friends here and there and also when we went to my grandparents house in Ohio we would go to my grandma’s church. Anyways, when I reached out to her she was so gracious and supportive (as I knew she would be). She invited me to attend with her and after a few weeks I took her up on that and I went. I was sure that I would feel a like I would stick out like a sore thumb; almost like there would be a marquee sign over my head that read ‘NEW GIRL IN THE BUILDING…FEEL FREE TO STARE’. Boy oh boy was I wrong, everyone was super nice and welcoming but wasn’t paying much attention to me. From the moment the live band started playing I.WAS.HOOKED. So much emotion was happening in me throughout the whole service. When the pastor started to speak I just felt like he was talking to me. The message was so applicable to my life and where I was. I came home and opened a study Bible I’ve had forever but never really opened. And today, I read to listen from the Word every single day! It’s my top priority! I basically just opened up to where the church was studying and preaching about and started there. I found podcasts and so many online resources along with the study Bible to read through it. And at the end of each chapter I have let Him point me to the next area to read and it is amazing how each new part I read it is just exactly what I need to read. He is at work in me and I’m learning to trust in that. My first trip to church was in November 2017 and in January the church kept reminding the congregation that they were doing baptisms. I never witnessed a baptism and was excited to witness one. If I needed proof that God was working within me then January 21, 2018 was the day I received that proof. During the service I felt anxious and just jittery. I had no reason to be feeling that way. Just before the pastor started the baptisms he said (and I’m paraphrasing) ‘I feel that I need to say if there is anyone here that feels that God is telling you to take the public declaration of personal faith in Jesus Christ and believe this is your next step that they are prepared to help you achieve that.’ I got up, walked out in the hall and told those helping out that I wanted to get baptized. I went to church this day not thinking I would get baptized; I had no clue what to even expect at a baptism. When I started talking to them I just started crying as I was overcome with emotion. So on January 21st 2018 I was baptized. Now I know this was not just me doing this but Him in me because if you know me I’m very shy and I don’t just do something I’m not prepared for. I don’t get in front of people to declare anything. I don’t do important things without my parents, my husband, etc. around; yet here I was doing all these things and feeling so much peace in this decision.

Looking all the way back to having my daughter I can see now how God was at work in me before I was even aware of it. Actually, now I understand he was at work when it took my husband and I 3+ years to conceive her. He was preparing to show me what a blessing I was going to receive, He was putting me in a place where we could financially handle me staying at home because he knew I would be anxious and need Him. I have always said becoming a mother is such a blessing and before finding my faith I just thought I was blessed because after struggling to conceive for so long I finally got what I wanted; my baby! But Goodness gracious I was blessed with so much more because my baby girl led me to Him.

I will close this post with quoting from the song Reckless Love. This song has quickly become my favorite because these lyrics I feel depict exactly what He did in my life. Every time I hear it I get the lump in my throat and tears in my eyes.

  “And oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
         Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
         And I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
         Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God

         There’s no shadow You won’t light up
         Mountain You won’t climb up 
         Coming after me
         There’s no wall You won’t kick down
         Lie You won’t tear down
         Coming after me”

Motherhood

Let’s Celebrate! She’s 1!

Well the day arrived, my youngest turned 1 last week. To say I was emotional would be an understatement.

We had a little get together with just immediate family a few days after her actual birthday so that means not only did I cry the day of her birthday but every day from the 5th to the 7th. I knew I would get emotional because I was when my oldest turned 1; however, I didn’t expect to be so emotional. I know that people say all the time that time flies when you have kids and it’s so true. I think time goes even faster when you have more than one child so this past year F-L-E-W by! There’s a country song out right now, I’m not sure the title about needing 5 more minutes for the ‘good stuff’ and it’s so true! I want 5 more minutes all the time. 5 more minutes for my parents to spend with their grandchildren. 5 more minutes snuggling them. 5 more minutes reading a book or playing with them. 5 more minutes watching them play independently or even more playing (nicely) together!

Brooklyn’s birthday was beautiful in the sense that we spent it celebrating her! She’s such a great baby! She’s a card and she knows how to get a laugh out of people. She loves her mommy, daddy, and sissy so much and it’s evident every day! She’s also feisty…don’t let the her sweetness fool you; if she wants something she will get it one way or another…or watch out because she’s fiery. I know the day is coming that she puts Carolina in her place for picking on her.

Unfortunately, Brooklyn had a little bit of a cold and was under the weather Friday and Saturday. She actually slept for only 2 hours (not consecutively mind you) or so Friday night. I’m not sure if it was her way of reminding us what it was like a year ago with her being up all night or making sure baby #3 wasn’t coming anytime soon reminding us what a newborn is like. I felt so helpless for the little babe though. She didn’t want to be held, she didn’t want to be alone, and she couldn’t sleep…. So she screamed….LOUDLY! I’m truly surprised she didn’t wake up the whole house; apparently whoever built my parents house insulated it very well!

Her birthday was on Thursday and we just celebrated her all day! We had cake after dinner and my parents gave her their gift to her then; which was a minnie airplane ride. Her party Saturday was unicorn theme and my oldest loved it as much as Brooklyn did. I made her a little smash cake that was all hers and the main cake was phenomenal. I had it custom made and it was almost too pretty to eat but boy oh boy I’m glad we did because it was the best cake ever! The detail she put in to the cake, the glitter, macaroons, the coloring, the candy pieces…. it was phenomenal! The inside was a strawberry moist cake with whipped layers with fresh strawberries inside. If you are in the Indianapolis area and you need a cake you should totally check her out! https://www.facebook.com/cakesindianapolis I was shocked at how involved she was with opening presents because my oldest didn’t seem to care too much about unwrapping/opening them as she was about just playing with toys. Seeing her light up with each outfit or toy brought a smile to my heart. We could have done without the trip to the urgent care center to rule out a possible ear infection(which thankfully she didn’t have) in the middle of her party but all in all it was a fantastic day filled with hugs, kisses, snuggles, and a few tears too.

My baby turned 1 last week and I still can’t believe that I’m 1. a mom and 2. a mom of two girls!! How crazy a life can change in 4 years. Speaking of which now I get to start planning my oldest daughters 4th birthday for the end of May! Oh my goodness how is she turning 4! More to come on that one later!

Motherhood

Last First Birthday???

If I could put off April 5th approaching I would for…well eternity. If someone looked up ‘type A’ in a dictionary my face would be there. I check every characteristic trait for this personality. I do not procrastinate and I over plan EVERY.THING. However, I am procrastinating and have no solid plans for my baby’s first birthday!

Yes, I’m busy with a toddler and a baby. My oldest is in dance school once a week and preschool two times a week. My baby doesn’t sleep on a consistent basis so some nights I sleep great and other nights not so much (I wish she would give me a heads up prior to not sleeping so I could be prepared…. BUT you know how that works). Both girls have had colds for the last week so if you are a mom you know that sick kids is exhausting all in itself. My husband and I are trying to put our house on the market and try to save for a new house. There’s a lot going on that would make planning a birthday party difficult and reasons to procrastinate. Even with all those things going on it is not the reason I’m procrastinating. I know deep in my heart I don’t know if this will be my last first birthday,and so I want to avoid it. This statement causes so many emotions in me. I hope it’s not and I pray that it’s not the last one; but only He knows what is planned for our family.

At the beginning of 2018 I was excited for her birthday, planning such a fun family day. I remember planning Carolina’s (who is almost 4-year-old now) first birthday like it was yesterday. I was emotional about hers too but in a different way. It was my first baby having her first birthday! I knew it was very likely that there would be another baby in the future somewhere. But this time, while I hope there’s more children in my future I don’t know. My excitement has turned more into sadness that she may be my last baby. My husband is on the fence about having a third (but I think I can convince him). To him, a 3-year-old who is above all incredibly sassy and hard-headed along with a baby who isn’t quite sure she wants to sleep through the night consistently, he isn’t quite sure he has the patience for another. Honestly, I don’t either on those hard days but gosh, the thought of never feeling a baby kick inside, or hold after he/she is born, the new baby smell and sounds…. I could cry thinking about that.

I know I can’t stop time or postpone it so I am almost done planning it. She is having a unicorn theme birthday and I went all out ordering a customized birthday outfit on etsy (embarrassingly paying more for it than I ever thought I would:/). I told my husband I just had to because this may be the last one! Luckily, he just goes along with my reasoning for things and just shakes his head. Bless him. I have the big 1 balloon, unicorn balloons, table decorations, unicorn cake being custom-made for her. I will be making her own little unicorn cake just for her. So things are coming together and I know it will be a beautiful day spent with family. I will cry happy and sad tears. I love watching her grow but I LOVE this stage she is in (plus the longer I can hold off on that ‘3 year old’ stage the better).

My sweet sweet Brooklyn Raine! I have loved every moment with you! And cannot not wait for the upcoming year with you! brooklyn

Motherhood

Her first word

From the moment I found out I was pregnant I began dreaming of everything that would happen in the days, weeks, months, years to come!

Many of my dreams have already come true just by being able to meet her, hug her, kiss her! Now that we are nearing 8 months old I knew her first words would be rolling off her tongue any day!

I was certain her first word would be of course the one who sits with her in the middle of the nights, feeds her, kisses and hugs her all day long, changed all those dirty diapers, who literally sucked snot out of her nose with a device (that while is so disgusting actually works like a charm)… I mean how could she not say Mama right! I mean I carried her inside me… she knows my smell, my touch, my voice!

The moment of truth came Monday evening while I was picking up supplies for my 3 year olds preschool class thanksgiving treat at Walmart with both my girls. My sweet baby started rattling off her first word like she’s been saying it for months! And her first word was DADA! 😳

I of course rushed to get my phone out to record this huge milestone and my oldest was so excited as well (we’ll see how excited she is when they are talking over each other). Sent the video to Daddy who is over the moon excited her first word was dada! His words were “i am first lol”!

While I could be sad that Mama wasn’t her first word, or jokingly tell my husband she says dada because the syllables are so simple, or that she doesn’t necessarily mean him I don’t. I’m happy for him and join him in celebrating her first word and how special that it’s dada!

I’m so happy and my heart is filled with love because I got to meet her first by carrying her in my womb. She learned my voice before learning my face. I got to feel her move first. I got to feel what it’s like to nurse a baby. I️ get quiet late night snuggles. I get to spend every single day with her. I heard her first word.

For all of our pregnancy my husband had to sit back and wait to meet her, then he had to watch her nurse, he had to sleep because he leaves the house for sometimes 12 hours a day for work. He misses so much so I’m happy her first word was DADA! She had been a little daddy’s girl from the get go and it’s been special to watch!

I’ve been so blessed in witnessing so many firsts with both my daughters so I️ love celebrating this milestone of her first word with her very proud and happy DADA! ❤️

Blogging, Motherhood

Time… Where does it go and how can I get more?

Time… Where does it go and how can I get more? I think that for the past year or so I tell myself that I’m going to take a few minutes to myself and I feel that I have yet to figure out how to manage.

With a very active (and talkative) 3 year old and a 6 month old my day is filled with “mommy do this” “mommy i want that” “mommy i want something else” with the baby crying in between my oldest requests. Between feedings, putting down for a nap, waking up from a nap, feeding my oldest, giving her the necessary attention she deserves, and cleaning up messes and the house I honestly don’t have much time for myself. After they go to bed (usually between 730-830) I am not far behind myself. I know I could use that time but I usually feel like I’m going to pay for that if the baby doesn’t sleep through the night or if it’s just a rough night in general. Also, after the kids go to bed I need to spend time with my husband so that takes some of the time I could spend time on myself. My husband works very long hours and we don’t get to have date nights very often due to not having family around. It has been over 6 months since we have had a date night (sad I know). This weekend will be our first time doing something on our own so I’m excited about it. We need it! We’re going to a Garth Brooks concert so it doesn’t get much better than that for us!

My oldest started preschool a couple weeks ago and that is 2.5 hours 2 days a week. This has been good for her and for me but I’ve noticed 2.5 hours isn’t very long when you consider driving there and back twice; so I haven’t fully adjusted to that either. Each school day I debate do I catch up on housework or relax (the baby is usually napping). Lately, I’ve been selfishly laying on couch, drinking my (reheated) coffee, catching up on my favorite tv shows off DVR.

Once I find some time to myself I often struggle with what I should do during that time. Do I take a nap, write/journal, read a book, pamper myself with an (at home facial, paint nails,etc), watch a tv show/movie, go for a walk,exercise? I want to do them all and honestly those are all things I feel I need from time to time. I often find that if I for instance, read a book, afterwards I feel like maybe I should have done something else. Just writing about this makes me think maybe I’m just a little crazy. I wonder if anyone else feels this way?

I’m probably slightly crazy!

Motherhood

Christmas and baby talk

Toddler down for a nap (down but not asleep…yet), Face mask on my face (let’s hope it makes my skin radiant as the package claims),  & flashback music from the 90s on the tv…. let’s hope I have a chance to write down what has been going on lately. It hasn’t been almost a year since my last post so I’m at least improving. There is a glimmer of hope that I keep up with writing about my family and about my journey through motherhood.

I honestly can’t believe Christmas is next Sunday!?!? Where did 2016 go? I’m not ready for 2017 to come and go so quickly. I simply love the season after Halloween until New Years; I look forward to it every year. I don’t know why exactly why I cherish this time but I would bet that it is because of all the traditions I remember from my childhood (that I truly don’t think I always appreciated at the time) and beginning new traditions as well as carrying on those old traditions with my little family that is growing! I don’t know why it seems we save all our big traditions for this time of year instead of spreading some out throughout the year but maybe as our kids get older there will be other traditions throughout the year to look forward to. I would also say that the decorations for fall and Christmas is my absolute favorite too… the smells, the colors, just everything!

After New Years I usually go through a little bit of a funk that it’s all over and it is back to normal everyday life. Fortunately, this year we have something to keep up excited throughout 2017; welcoming our new baby girl! That’s right, we are having another girl! I couldn’t be more excited about it! I, as with pretty much everyone we knew, figured we were having a boy! Another girl just feels right! It also makes things a tad bit easier getting ready for her arrival. I saved so much of Carolina’s clothes, toys, blankets, accessories, etc… that can all just go to our new bundle of joy!

I will be 24 weeks next week and this pregnancy just seems to be flying by and for the most part I feel great! So different than my last pregnancy when I was nauseous 24/7 and was really exhausted. I think keeping up with going to the gym, eating at home, and not working has really made a difference. The main thing I suffer from is what seems to be a gag reflex to smells; which I didn’t have with Carolina, and I have a little bit more heartburn earlier this time around. This baby girl isn’t breach like Carolina was so I am feeling more kicks and tossing/turning around. That is a fun part but sometimes can almost take my breath away with how much she moves. Looks like I’ll have two active girls in the near future. That should help me keep in shape a bit!

I still worry about Carolina adjusting to having a sibling, especially a sister. She is very attached to me so I hope she adjusts somewhat quickly and doesn’t feel like she will get less of my attention or love. I wanted a sister growing up so it’ll be so fun watching them grow up together; the bond they will have, the fights, etc. I hope they will remain lifelong best friends.

April can’t get here soon enough! I’m ready to meet her!

Well I hope I’m ready for the challenge ahead of me!