Wednesday, September 26, 2012

It is early.
All the kids are still asleep.
I woke up this morning to an least favorite way to wake. I much prefer a tiny face whispering, "Mom", than the buzz of an alarm. But I know, from past experience, that if I get up before the children, somehow I get a jump start on my day.
I have been having a hard time trying to figure out how to home school and fit in things like exercise, hobbies, even a shower. If I want these things to happen I must get up while it is still dark, before the children wake.
I always feel better when I do. Why don't I remember this? Somehow it just does not hold the same appeal as a couple more hours of sleep.
I sit here in front of my computer, when I should be in the shower. I finished my workout and thought I would quickly check a couple of my favorite blogs before I get ready for the day.
It just so happens that I am off to a two day home schooling conference today. I have plateaued. I need fresh ideas, help, and inspiration. I hope, and pray that this will be just the thing.
And what do I stubble upon in my precious few minutes in blogland? A post by a lady I greatly admire, as if written just for me, just this day, in the wee small hours of the morning.

Why I almost gave up home schooling

road trip

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The van is clean and packed. 
The alarm is set for 4 a.m. tomorrow morning. 
Julianne, Tracey, Lauren and I are off to Seattle to spend the weekend with Shannon and her family! 


Monday, September 17, 2012

 The staining is almost done. We just have the 2 very most high peaks of the house to do. I cannot reach them, even with the highest ladder, so Darren is going to finish the job. I haven't minded doing the work up until this point. It was hard, balancing on the top of a ladder and on peaks of the roof, contorting myself into inhuman positions, pinching my neck and back up as I went, but in the end I feel such a sense of accomplishment. Not in a prideful way. The entire time, as I would look around to see just how many more shingles I had to go and began to believe I would never finish, I changed my thinking and began to be grateful for a body that would allow me to work long and hard.
This morning we woke up early to add the trim to the windows. The windows never had trim around them, ever. It has always looked unfinished. I have been looking forward to this for a long time, but the staining had to come first, yet another motivator.

 You can see in this picture below the dark water and weather stains on the shingles between the windows. 
These did not get stained, because we knew we were covering them up anyhow.
That is what the whole house used to look like despite a good power washing.

Still more to do, but for now we are off to Walmart to get supplies, of the school variety that is - it starts today!

Reflections: September 2012

Sunday, September 16, 2012

It has yet to begin around here.
I have spent the last week up a ladder with brush in hand. We are so close to finishing staining the house. 

Noelle - Grade 7

I see my 12 year old daughter changing in more ways than one, growing, right before my eyes. And yet she is still so little, innocent and sweet. I watch her struggle through adolescence, and I struggle too. But I also see such grace and wisdom in her I only wish I had when I was her age. Boys? They are just around the corner I can see it in their eyes and hers. I want to post a note on her back telling them to stay away. I want to close her heart and her hormones to the wacky world of BOYS! But time marches on, and instead I must teach her to always remember, in every aspect of her life that, first and foremost, she is a daughter of God - Never forgetting this.

Bergen - Grade 6

I have a son who is busier than ever. Books are fun adventures - finally! He is becoming a guy who wants to do guy things. No more building wooden train sets, onto building bike jumps. Girls? Still gross! I want to wrap him in a bubble. I want to tell him that is cool to hug your mom. I want to rock him in my arms as a new little baby. But I also want to watch in wonder as boy turns into man, for what a man he'll make!

Emma - Grade 4

My 9 year old, as silly as ever. Just where she should be. Doesn't care one wit what anyone thinks of her. Passionate and fierce when she needs to be. Loves learning. A lover of people, a big help to her wee sister. Her ginger hair reminding me with just one glance over the top of her latest book just how very unique she is.

Tate - Grade 1

This boy is the sweet little kiss in the corner of his mom's smile. He is his dad's shadow, thinks him the best human in the world! Everything is exciting. His goal this year - learn to read! Dirty, everyday. Rough and tumble. But his mom still has his heart for now. I miss his shorn locks.

And Nya...

...who changes her clothes at least 4 times a day. Wherever I am, there she will be - right on my heels. At the end of the day, when I want nothing more than for Darren to take her and give me a little bit of breathing room, he tells me that some day I will miss this. He is right. I know I will. I am the bee's knees when it comes to that 3 year old. She is every good thing (as well as all the bad) a little princess should be!

I had quite a beautiful talk with my sister-in-law, Tracey the other day. I called her in need of hearing someone tell me that was not a bad mother for feeling like I needed to run away from home for a couple of hours. She did just that and more. I chatted - she listened, and advised. She loved me through all my tears. She told me that she would still love me, always and forever, no matter how I chose to school my children. It made me wonder. What do I want to do? This home-schooling thing is hard, maybe not for everyone who does it, but for me and my 5 children, it is. I will never deny it. Has my life changed? Is this still what we all want to do?

As the day went on and life came back together to resemble some sort of normal, I realized just how happy and grateful I am to be able to have my children home with me everyday.

We walked on the beach and picked blackberries, warmed by the late afternoon sun, ripe to perfection, and I realized just how much my life is like those vines.

To get those berries, you will have to pay the price. 

You will get scratched and poked. You must stretch and reach. Painstakingly you must pick berry after berry, and fill that bucket. Until the time comes when you have enough to take home and turn into a pie, or sticky jam. After the work and the effort, the turmoil and the affliction comes the sweetness of your labours. You, too, realize it is not all bad. There are many berries, just as their are days, that are right within our grasp, sometimes there is no struggle. I must take them both. I must fill my bucket any way I can. I must be grateful for those days that come and go with ease, and for those that teach me of the frailty of humanity - that this life is a time to be tried.

This is what I want to do. This is just where I want to be. And for the love and support of Tracey, and everyone else who extends their hearts to me, I am grateful. 

with thanks to the one who sent me this

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

"Perhaps one of the most discouraging struggles women endure is that never-ending battle with our own bodies ........

     A woman's attitude toward her own body is fraught with misconceptions fueled by a world that celebrates an almost prepubescent female body as the ideal norm.  For most of us, time moves on.  We are not seventeen, a number of children have made their way through our birth canals, and gravity is exerting its inexorable pull.  Whenever we  look in the mirror, we are reminded of what we are not.  Satan would have it just that way.....thus we enter into a war with our bodies, hating the very tabernacle our Father has given us.....If Satan can get us to fixate on our bodies, either in vanity or self-loathing, then he has caused us to misunderstand completely the role our bodies play in our salvation.....

     I cannot help but think, as I remember the births of each of my children, that this human body, also can make us most divine--that the peculiar pains of a woman's flesh reach her exquisitely, intimately.  What they teach she cannot know beforehand or even know that she needs to know.  But when the pain subsides or is grown accustomed to, she realizes that some time during the darkest of nights or mundanest of mornings, knowledge has descended like the dews from heaven and enlarged her soul.

   Unfortunately, the experience has also enlarged her hips and thighs.  Stretch marks ornament my breasts and hips like silver ribbons.  My hips are two sizes wider, my feet a size bigger than when I was married--my very bones have expanded in response to my mothering.  Some of the effects are temporary, just for the moments of pregnancy....these pass in their time, but the memory remains.

     In that memory lies the glory of this earthly body: though we may be resurrected in a perfect frame, the lessons taught me by my mother-body will rise with me.  The sacrifice, the pain, the fear and faith of my mothering will sink into my soul and remain with me in the eternities.  My spirit and this woman's body inseparably connected constitute my fullness of joy. Time writes its messages on all of us.  Our very bodies have become our book of life, "an account of our obedience or disobedience written in our bodies."   To what have we been obedient?  To the purpose for which we were made; to provide a body and a safe haven for the spirits entrusted to our care.  If we mother well, we wear out our lives bringing to pass the lives of others.  Of the physical fruits--our wider hips, our sagging breasts, our flatter feet, and rounder buttocks--we need not be so ashamed."

                   Tessa Meyer Santiago--Womens Conference 1998, Get Thee Behind Me:ThwartingLatter-Day Deceits, pg.208,211,212.

cabbage patch and kids

Friday, September 7, 2012

We have been purging like mad around here, attempting to regain some order. We have never lived in a house for more than 2 years, upgrading to this house. We have been here for 6 years now! I know that is not long in the grand scheme of things, but for us that is enough time to have filled every corner, every closet, and each square inch of storage space with stuff. Things are beginning to spill and spread....everywhere. I was dejunking the backyard, and I was able to get rid of all the broken, unused, and out-grown kids toys (that felt SO good!). I also went through all my old garden pots and ended up giving most of them away. I only kept a couple. I haven't filled pots in years. But since we are fixing up the front of the house -staining and painting and adding trim, I thought I would buy plants for my pots to put on the front porch.
So off I went to the Nursery today. I had some specific flowers in mind - which they didn't have. And then I saw these -

 Ornamental cabbage. 
I remember the first time I ever saw these plants. I was NOT a fan.
Why would one put vegetables (even ornamental) in pots at their front door?
But today.... today I kind of liked them.
I thought that they would be just the thing.
Now the real test - if they are still there in the morning!
Those deer, I may kick myself for buying them, while they thank me for the tasty treat.

 I am finished this front area - staining, and repainting the trim. 
So much house to go yet.
But shingle by shingle we must finish before the wet weather comes. 

Oh, and this. 
This is my door bell. 
It was one of the very first things I noticed when we came to view this house 
and I have loved it every day since. 
Can one actually be in love with their door bell? 
Well I am.
I am sure you don't care, but there it is, nevertheless.

And while I worked away on the house, the boys did this:

 Over and over, down the hill. 
It made me laugh.
Reminded me a very large amount of a biker and his babe.
(I love Bergen's face in the first picture)

a fresh new year

Thursday, September 6, 2012

At the end of May my heart is light and the skies seem extra blue - Summer is here {in regards to the end of homeschool, that is}.
In August the panic and doubt start to creep back in. 
In from the back door, disguised as unease.
Another year is approaching, and I have yet to begin to prepare. 
I will be, once again, responsible for the education of these children. 
But this year is going to be different. I say that every year, but this year... this year it really, truly is. 
I pray for help and guidance.
And then I being my planning. 
The ideas fill my mind so quickly I fear I will not be able to remember them. 
I scramble for paper and I feel that peace that always comes - everything will be okay. It will all work out. 
They will learn. I can teach. And we will have fun. 
I read this not long ago on pinterest and decided that it would be my personal theme for this year of home schooling:

And for the children:

You have to have a sense of humor if you're gonna make it out alive!

Whatever your style of learning, from our home {school} to yours, have a good one!

As for Long Beach - It was damp and cold, with some sun, but still so much fun.

I was so careful in my packing. I packed enough clothes for 10 children, but when it came to shoes, 
they grabbed what they did on the way out the door. You would think I would check at least Nya, 
but she always gets her shoes, and I assumed she would pick her crocs. But no. 
Not good enough for this lady. She prefers to camp in ballet flats!
(we stopped and bought her some flip-flops on the way)

Nya did not leave my sight. Not for one minute of one day. 
Wherever I went, there too you could find Nya.
Whereas the other children where off with their cousins and friends.
Therefore, most of the pictures I took were of Nya.

My 2 favorite things:
Listening to the waves all night as we slept. Incredible!
If you like mexican food, and you are ever up Tofino way, please promise me you will eat here!
I waited for 45 minutes and paid $11 dollars for the BEST fish burrito I have ever eaten, 
and I would do it again!

And when good shoes are in need of a wash, I put them in the machine.
When they come out I fill them will cloths and let them air dry. They always come out great. 
I figure if the shoes are wrecked anyway, why not give it a go.