Thursday, January 31, 2013

In the Bleak Midwinter of Homeschooling

February begins tomorrow, which is when the thoughts of homeschooling mothers turn towards anything besides the curriculum they are so extremely tired of implementing. Usually I translate this into a need to start figuring out my plans for the next year.

This time that planning takes on extra significance because the oldest is in eighth grade. As we all know that means high school comes next. High school means real planning and preparation, because those four years are what prepare you for college. Ack! So I have to really map out my son's plan for the next four years to make sure he'll have what needs to graduate in a timely fashion. My first inclination has been to register with a school like Kolbe Academy but now I'm waffling about that.

Next year, I will also have a kindergartner, first grader, fourth grader, and sixth grader. I actually need to plan now, or I'll never be ready.

And I really am tired of everything we are doing right now. I think I need to find something to inspire and refocus us during Lent. More planning!

Back to work.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Late Nights, Early Mornings

Squawk squawk! The weather alarm went off at 1-something telling of impending severe thunderstorms. I went back to sleep. At 2-something it went off again with tornado warnings, but not for our part of the county. I almost drifted off again, but squawking began again and this time it sounded much closer to where we live and it woke up the baby.

Stumbling out of bed, not really awake, we checked the TV weather and based on the satellite images, we decided it might be wise to wake up the kids and go to the basement. Children don't like being woken up in the middle of the night and dragged down to the cold, scary basement.

But we hung out, briefly in the dark before the power came back on, and then put the kids back to bed. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get back to sleep, but of course the real problem was waking up again when the two year came bouncing in bright and early.

Children never realize the sufferings of their parents, but I can tell you I'm really, really looking forward to bedtime tonight.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


I'm spending the week learning self control and teaching it too.

Most of my children have spent the last several days in various stages of sickness. Stomach pains and low fevers lead to lying on the couch and general whining. I'm trying hard to carry on, doing all the laundry, dishes, cleaning and other tasks, while bringing in extra ginger ale and jello. Sometimes, I manage without whining myself.

My two year old is also in the midst of potty training. Teaching a child to control his bladder and other parts, ahem, is one of my least favorite things. I avoid it and consequently my children are generally older than other people's kids when I finally get around to it. However, when my two year old checked his diaper last week, announced the contents therein, closed it back up, fetched a clean diaper and wipes, and laid down with his bum in the air, I realized that like it or not, the time had come.

But this child is the most stubborn, cantankerous person ever. One false move and I might sink the potty training for a long while. Here is where my self control comes in. I cannot get annoyed over poop in underwear, pee on the dining room chairs, toilet paper unrolled whilst I wait, or any of the other things that make me want to groan, shriek or pull my hair out. My other kids might tolerate my grumps, but not this kid.

So I take long breaths, say many a Hail Mary, and run quickly to the potty and return with chocolate chips and lots of false joy when the puddles aren't too bad. No one ever said self control was easy.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Quick Takes

This has been quite a year so far. It began with us almost burning down the house on January 1.

When we bought this place and began a long and depressing year of renovations, one of the things we worked on was having a filled in fireplace restored to working order. This involved having a new firebox and chimney built, and by the end of that we never quite got around to the completion of the hearth or tile. We did put down insulating fabric and covered it with cement board, but after five years that wasn't enough any more.

The cement board had started to disintegrate, and so on the first day of the year, as we were about to put kids to bed, I noticed smoke trickling around the edges of the hearth. Ashes or something had worked their way under the cement board and insulation and started the framing smoldering. Fortunately, I noticed it, so we were able to get everything ripped out and cooled down without waking up to a conflagration.

We have already had contractors out to give us a quote on actually finishing the thing.

So if a late night stopping your house from burning down isn't enough excitement, the next morning our two year old came down covered in vomit. He spent several days getting back to normal and also passed on a milder version to me. Thanks kid. Not.


In better news, shortly before the new year, my husband and I celebrated our fifteenth anniversary. We were sure a couple of kids back in those days. We also used to discuss whether it would be better to have two or three kids. Silly people.


If we'd stopped at Baby #3, we wouldn't have an adorably cute six month old right now. I can't believe it has been half a year since she was born.

My ten year old is writing a pop song, which as these things go, is pretty good. She thinks she wants to be the next Taylor Swift. I suppose it is true that everyone living in Nashville is an aspiring musician.

My oldest child is very into Doctor Who and has passed this obsession on to his siblings. Their father and I take great pleasure in annoying them by referring to the character as if his name was Doctor Who. It never fails to get a rise.

However, I knew the entire set of children were Doctor Who obsessed when my son printed out a Thomas the Tank Engine coloring page for my two year old, who looked at it disdainfully, crumpled it, and said, "Don't want 'ain. Want color Dalek."

As I mentioned, we've had a few rough spots at the beginning of this year, but others have had it much, much worse. On Epiphany, Lily, the eleven year old daughter of a friend of mine, had a stroke. She's since had surgery to relieve pressure on her brain and will have many more tests and other things to be done on the long road to recovery. Please keep her and, of course, Jennifer Fulwiler, in your prayers. Also pray for Kelly and her beautiful, but too early, little daughter.

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