Friday, July 29, 2011

Why We Homeschool

In an effort to remind myself of the very important reasons that I do what I do and that WE do what WE do as a family, (ie. Homeschooling), I am going to list them here: (Bear with me...some of this might not make sense to all of you.) :0)

1. I have a testimony of homeschooling. Not only just a testimony of it, but specifically a testimony of using the principles of Leadership Education, in our home and family life. The Spirit has spoken peace to my soul, about the place where our children should learn and grow each day. I KNOW that they shouldn't be growing up in the care of strangers at the public school. A lot of people feel threatened by this statement, somehow thinking that because I feel that that environment is not right for my children, means that I think it's not right for theirs. I had just such a conversation with a family member recently. As a mother, I believe in doing what you feel is best for your family. I do not think that my home schooling our children, has anything to do with what anyone else chooses to do or not do with theirs. It is the right decision for our family. It is Divinely Inspired for us.

2. The very first reason why we decided to homeschool had everything to do with the fact that it killed me to send my preschooler to school with a bunch of 8th graders every day. It also had everything to do with the fact that I was getting notices sent home involving (I kid you not): 1. A principal in our school district who was found to have inappropriate pictures of children on his computer. 2. An inappropriate relationship between a teacher and a student, involving many things including alcohol, etc. 3. The police coming to my child's classroom with "drug-sniffing dogs", to go through their things and look for drugs. (Luckily my son wasn't in his classroom when they came. He's deathly afraid of dogs. The notice came home in his backpack, after the fact. Had I known it was going to happen, I wouldn't have sent him that day.) After receiving these notices, would YOU want to send your child to school??? What kind of parent could answer "Yes" to that question? Top it off with the fact the special needs preschool kept taking my son's special services away (the whole reason he was there), and you have our motivation for homeschooling, in a nutshell! Oh and to top it off even more...I don't approve of what they teach in public schools today. I believe as parents, that Mr. Man and I are the ones who should decide the doctrine our children learn.

3. Our children have quite a few different special needs. Their gift are unique, their challenges are unique, their learning styles are unique and the issues with which they are faced, cause them to be especially innocent and fragile. They could be easily victimized and/or tossed aside. (Our son's special needs were tossed aside when he was in the public school system, and he had a potty accident at least once, when the teachers wouldn't allow him to use the bathroom after repeated asking. That borders on vicitimization if you ask me.) I LOVE that our children get to pursue their passions and interests! I LOVE that they aren't held to some standard of what an education should be. I LOVE the lessons we are learning together!

4. The gospel is EVERYTHING! I have felt time and time again, the inspiration to teach the gospel strongly in our homeschooling efforts. The gospel cannot be found in the public school system. I believe that our children are here to be spiritual leaders and giants! This is part of their mission in this life. I have a great responsibility and stewardship to help our children reach their full potential and accomplish the reasons for which they came here.

5. We enjoy family time together! I cannot imagine being away from our children for 6 hours a day (or more.) How much I would miss! We are tight knit and close family and are SO enjoying growing together! We have fun together, we learn truth together, we talk about difficult subjects together, in an environment that fosters unity and love. Our kiddo's ask LOTS of questions! I can't imagine the ways that our kiddos' characters would be molded and shaped by having strangers give them answers (that I don't even know about) to questions (that I don't even know are being asked.)

6. I think the biggest reason that we have chosen to homeschool, is to preserve freedom! There are so many ways the world can enslave you. It is nice to leave the world at our doorstep, come inside, and learn about the virtues that will help us to stay free in a world that is in bondage. The stories we are telling in our family and the stories (from history and geneology) that we are learning about in our family, are SO inspiring! The ideals our founding fathers courageously fought for, are SO important and applicable to our lives, even and especially today!

I am sure I will think of more reasons! For now, it's nice to remind myself why I chose to do this very difficult and very rewarding and important duty! Homeschooling is a blessing for our family!

What Do You Want For Breakast?

This morning Cuddle Bug and I had the following conversation about breakfast:

I asked him "Do you want Pancakes and Bacon and Eggs or just Bacon and Eggs?"

And what do you think that he said????

"Bacon!"

He is constantly cracking me up with his cute personality! He makes me smile! :0)

He is officially known as the "Bacon Boy" when we go to IHOP...because the waitresses there always know that we order a side of bacon and a side of french fries for everyone to share. This is all requested by Cuddle. Now you can see why we don't go there too often! LOL :0)

Melatonin and Vivid Dreams or Nightmares

So we've been using melatonin to help our kiddo's sleep, for the last little while. I think we'll be stopping that, though. Kiddo's keep waking up with nightmares and for all the greatness about it helping them off to sleep, it certainly isn't helping them sleep soundly. This morning, Cuddle Bug was telling me about a dream he had last night. It went a little something like this:

"Um, Mom...last night I had a bad dream that there was a snake crawling up my leg and I asked you for a knife and I cut his head off!"

"Okay...FIRST of all", I said..."You won't ever find me handing you a knife to do anything with." Cuddle then said "No Mom! I was SIX!"

He is the funniest kiddo'! He really does crack me up! Luv was the one that woke up with a nightmare about a snake last night, and I think Cuddle may have created his story...you know...for moral support for her. Yep...I think Melatonin is taking a vacation or a permanent trip "Bye Bye." I've GOT to order more essential oils around here! :0)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Take a Hike

I wanna' take a hike. No...I'm not talking about leaving. I'm talking about my desire to be in nature! It was said once at a HIP night not long ago, that one of the best ways to ponder something in life and come up with answers, is to take a walk somewhere and just think (and pray) it out. I really need to do this! Life just requires that, for me, right now. Too bad that it's virtually impossible. Mr. Man's work schedule is not conducive to having a wife that needs a hike right now...and I don't have a single soul that I can completely trust to know anything and everything about our kiddo's and their issues. We've kinda' been living in crisis for the last 2 1/2 months. Mr.'s work schedule only switched to nights, three weeks ago, but even before that, we've had sickness for 2 months straight. Ugh! Miss Lady is still not completely out of the woods with that.

For example...today we had Lady at the ENT's office to check out the hole in her ear drum. He said it's not quite healed and that we need to keep it out of water for at least a month. There goes swim lessons. We went ahead and pulled Wiggle out too, since we're pretty sure that the water is what brought on his illness. (Ah! On no! I just heard a cough...it was Luv Bug! Great!) Anyway...sorry I am rambling and venting but hey...this is kinda' like therapy for me. LOL :0) It's probably the result of having so many things on my mind at one time, that I can't see straight. I think I'll go sit in the middle of my loft, and just think for a while, feel the stillness, hear the hum of the air conditioner, read my scriptures and try to catch some semblance of peace. Maybe I'll go on a mental hike...you know...in my mind. Meditation might be a good thing for me!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Invisible Mother

Invisible Mothers
It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store.
Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'
Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all.
I'm invisible - The invisible Mom.
Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more.
"Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?"
Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?'
I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?'
I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'
I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!
One night, a group of us were having dinner,celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well.
It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription:
'To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'
In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.
A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built,
and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man,
'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof?
No one will ever see it.'
And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'
I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does.
No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will
become.'
At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.
I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.
The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime
because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.
When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'You're gonna love it there.'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

I re-read this again today, and LOVED it once again! It's hard when you run into someone you knew in junior high and high school...when you've been up the night before, til 3:30 a.m. at the ER and your hair has this sort of crispy, crunchy, "I really need to be washed" look to it, and your eyes have 5 million dark circles under them and your body weighs 25 lbs. more than it used to---it's hard not to be sad. But...my goal, is to keep perspective and allow our children the gift of loving it here in our home. I would say that I don't know how I do it...that I don't know how I somehow manage to survive the lack of sleep and the vomit and the diapers and the constantly messy house...but I DO know! I am able to do all of these hard things for 2 reasons: 1. My Heavenly Father blesses me immensely...AND 2. I love and adore my family! So this post today, is a reminder that I am building something remarkable! Though it's hard to see the mosaic when you're down in the midst of it all...someday I will see the masterpiece that He has helped me and blessed me and allowed me the privilege to create. Good things come to those who wait! :0)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I LOVED this today!

My dear friend Celeste is such a wonderful example and friend to me! I consider her to be one of my mentors! She wrote a wonderful post on her blog that I would LOVE for everyone to read! It really spoke to me, especially considering the recent drama of health issues that we have been through lately! How grateful I am, for her example and her strength in living the gospel and the principles of TJEd in such a graceful and committed way!

Cuddle Bugs Own Words This Morning

"Mom... I am going to be a minder today!" So cute! Then...he said "I am going to be minder and a minder and a minder every day!" Ya' gotta' love that! :0) Yesterday he worked really hard, to learn how to fold laundry! I was so proud of him and his diligence in sticking with it even though it wasn't easy! Way to go, Cuddle Bug!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Finding Our "Normal"

I've spoken to all of our wonderful therapists who come to see our children each week. I've told them that I am planning to just be ready to go, for therapy next week! These ladies really are so wonderful, and this whole experience has helped me to appreciate them all over again! Thank heaven for these truly understanding ladies who come each week to make a small contribution to the lives of our children.

After seeing Lady's immunologist yesterday, and telling him about our not so comical visit to the ER the other night, we seem to finally have a plan for getting her well. He and his nurse, are really understanding, caring and thoughtful. They listen to me...and that means everything. I have it in my mind not to visit a hospital ER ever again, if at all possible. It's much nicer for myself and my kiddo's, to meet with providers who understand the child they are seeing. I am glad we have a game plan for helping Miss Lady get completely over the illness she's been holding onto for so long!

We have our first CoOp leadership meeting tomorrow night. I will not be attending, because I am still a little under the weather and don't want to pass it on. I will hopefully be participating by phone, though. I am excited for this experience for our family, and I am hopeful that this will be just the thing we need, to offer a little fun and support and inspiration for the education of our family! It should be super fun and educational!

I am also excited to start gearing up for the upcoming school year, since this is the first time we've really "taken the summer off." My plan, is to start our structured family learning time for the last 2 weeks of August, and be on our way! The children and I have already decided on a couple of things:

The Book of Virtues: I have been trying to turn their own, individual notebooks into their own Books of Virtue. We will study the virtues listed in this book and how best to apply them in our lives.

The Living Christ: We will be taking one phrase at a time, as a Family Home Evening lesson each week. We will work on memorizing our phrase for the week and learn about the meaning of that statement in our lives.

Family Scripture Study and Prayer: With Snug's upcoming baptism, we will be getting him his own set of scriptures with his name engraved on them, and this is the perfect opportunity to get going on regular family scripture study each day. We've been doing this each evening, so that Mr. Man can be part of this with us. I am hoping to inspire the children to learn to read this way.

Teaching Self Government and Zone Training: We will be working on establishing regular privileges, job training by zone (or area of the home) and reviewing the 4 basic steps to being obedient. (see Nicholeen Peck's website for more wonderful information about this.)

These are the only things I am committing to right now, as I am trying to keep it simple around here. I am learning that less is more, trying to follow that 1% rule.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, in a beautiful land completely void of pink eye, respiratory issues, perforated ear drums, etc...there lived a beautiful Mommy and Handsome Daddy who got showers regularly, and a decent amount of sleep each night. They were the parents of 5 beautiful and completely healthy children, who never had to visit hospital emergency rooms (like Lady and I did all night last night), urgent care offices and umpteen-million different doctor's offices. In this beautiful land there was no exhaustion, the laundry and dishes took care of themselves and bathrooms magically scrubbed themselves repeatedly to rid themselves of contagious, sickness inducing germs which could pass from child to child. Hands stayed permanently sanitized, little boys' glasses and AFO's never broke and all the children loved each other IMMENSELY and CONSTANTLY! Then one day...I WOKE UP...and found most of that to be the fairy tale that it is! Oh, but it's fun to dream! :0)

Okay...that may not be funny to you, but it makes me laugh! I've always loved that little quote from Marjorie Pay Hinckley which says something to the effect of: You can choose to laugh or choose to cry. I choose to laugh...crying gives me a headache! One of these days, when I stop laughing, I'll tell you the hilarious (not) story of how Lady and I spent the night in the ER, only to be told "We know she has a cough but we don't know why...and that is all. Here are your discharge instructions!" Good times, good times! Makes me want to say "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy!"

Monday, July 18, 2011

Pink Eyes and Crab Angels

I am pretty sure that Miss Ladybug has the beginnings of Pink Eye. When I first thought this might be occurring today, I told her she needed to camp out in her bed so it wouldn't get passed around. She wasn't happy about that, but did remarkably well today. When Mr. Man got home and she heard the garage closing, she started yelling from her room "Daaaaaaaady! Come see my two pink eyes!" She yelled over and over again! It was pretty hilarious! He hadn't even come in yet, and she'd already yelled it at least 5 or 6 times. Then she said to me "Mooooom! Where Dad?" (yes, she said "where.") When I told her he hadn't come in yet she said "He need to hurry and see my two pink eyes!" She is so funny!

Tonight at dinner (we had take-out chinese, thanks to an excruciating headache on my part), I asked Cuddle Bug if he'd like a Crab Angel. He told me he would, and I gave him one, to which he replied..."Mom, where's the head?" I said "What???" He said "Where's the angel's head?" In about a minute, he had turned it every which way and decided which corner was the head, arms and legs. He is a super silly kiddo'! He's always telling us stuff like: "Hey Mom, I'm a chicken and rice boy!", or "Dad, I'm a fruit salad boy!" When he likes food, it just becomes a part of him! Now I wish Wiggle and Lady could have that kind of attitude about food! :0)

How grateful I am for helpful Snug-a-Bug! He has been such a great helper through all of this! He loves his brothers and sisters and is such a great brother to them! He really does watch over them, which is extra nice when I am also feeling under the weather! What a super great son!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Hives now, and what next?? Mercy, Mercy, Mercy.

Now Luv has hives. Are you kidding me??? I don't have a clue why or what from. The sickness over here, seems to be never-ending. I can't tell you how many times I've scrubbed bathrooms, sinks, door knobs, etc. We use sanitizer around here, like it's going out of style. Tonight I finally remembered that we have Oregano oil and that's going on everyone's feet! I just don't get it, honestly. This is a real trial for our family! We weren't able to have any Priesthood blessings given today, because the Mr. didn't make it to church. Bless his heart, he was up with the tube feedings last night, and I was up with Luv, giving meds and de-gooking her eyes so they wouldn't crust shut. (Sorry...gross, I know.) The drama of life is never ending lately!

Wiggle Bug has a echo-cardiogram tomorrow. Both the Mr. and myself are hoping the he will be home from work in time for me to not have to take the whole brood with me to the children's hospital. I can't do that...there's just no way. I've always said that I will only take my kiddo's to an urgent care or ER if it's absolutely necessary, because it seems that they get more illness there than anything else. I can't take sick kiddo's with me for this appointment tomorrow! To add a little more fun to the mix, Wiggle then has to go back to the children's hospital again later this week, to hear the results and see the doc. This is all precursory to his getting his cleft surgery. Plus...I am pretty sure that Miss Ladybug is headed for ear tube surgery. I've got to call the ENT office tomorrow, and get her seen ASAP for that perforation in her ear drum. Thank heaven for homeschooling! We relish our time together as a family, especially because there are lots of medical issues that pull us away here and there.

These are the days when I think of what Nicholeen Peck's grandma always used to say..."Mercy, Mercy, Mercy!" I am ready for us to be healthy and happy and full of energy again! I am ready to learn whatever it is Heavenly Father would like me to learn from these recent trials! I am ready to get back to the swing of life again! Please keep praying for us! Thanks! :0)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Priesthood Intervention

Well...it's official. Now, Luv Bug has Pink Eye. To quote a phrase my sweet sister in law used recently..."For the Love!" (My Mom would say "For the Love of Pete!) LOL! :0) We just can't get this illness to leave us alone. She's got a fever and congestion too, and just feels miserable! The Mr. and I are beside ourselves about this, and I've officially lost my voice from sheer exhaustion. What's a girl to do? Well...I don't know why we've not asked for help from our home teachers before now, but I bawled my eyes out to Mr. Man tonight and told him that we need them to come and give us all blessings! He agreed completely, and now I can't wait for Heavenly Father's blessings to free us from this bondage we've been in. How grateful I am for the Priesthood! I sometimes forget to use it like I should, because it wasn't a real prevalent part of my upbringing. Now, I just pray that THEY don't catch anything! That would not be good! Anyway...if you remember, would you pray for us?! We would be ever so grateful! Thank you!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Happy 5th Birthday, Ladybug!

Okay...so her birthday was technically yesterday, but I am just now getting to blogging about it. I have serious issues with the fact that she has turned 5 years old. She should honestly be turning 3. Her physical age and her developmental age don't match, and it makes me sad that another year has gone by and her age is getting away from her. The Mr. and I keep wondering what this will all look like when she gets older. I mean, when she turns 18 but is more like 16...or what if her development caps off before that??!! We always have little questions in the back of our minds about these things. At any rate, she is truly precious and completely sweet and we ADORE her! She got a toy box with 10 little play sets in it, from us. Things like blocks, a donut tower that helps her learn to judge things by size, a wooden puzzle, a little bead game, a little wooden car, etc. We are planning to get her one more gift this weekend, if we can get her to tell us about one more thing she'd like. She is kind of oblivious to gifts (thanks to her Autism.) She was delighted yesterday when I made her a strawberry (pink) cake with frosting and sprinkles and frozen yogurt to go with it.

Happy Birthday, Sweet Angel Baby! Mommy and Daddy love you SO much! It is an honor to serve you, in all the ways that you need help! You are truly an angel on earth and we are overjoyed that you are ours! Don't ever lose the sweetness that is you! May Heavenly Father continue to watch over and bless and protect you!

Love Always,
Mommy, Daddy, Snug, Luv, Cuddle and Wiggle

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Follow Me Boys (or Snug's first time at Scouts)

I can't believe how fast Snug-a-Bug is growing up. (I am beginning to think that I ought to find a nickname for him that's a little more grown up.) Maybe I will call him Almanzo. (He thinks Almanzo in Little House On The Prairie, rocks!) :0) Anyway... he turned 8 last month, and his baptism will be next month, and he went to scouts tonight for the first time. He had LOTS to tell us about how much fun he had! We are super excited for him! Next week is pack meeting. (I am still learning the "lingo" and what it all means), and he's supposed to bring a collection of 10 things. Don't know what for. But...we'll figure it out. Mr. said he'll either just show them to everyone or maybe also tell them about it. I think he's thinking about bringing some Lego's (Mr.'s suggestion), but my suggestion was for us to go on a nature walk and he can take in some cool things he finds that way. We'll see what "Almanzo" thinks.

P.S. Our family LOVES Follow Me Boys! :0)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

When Life Gives You Lemons...

I'll keep this brief because I am exhausted today! :0) The last 2 months have been icky at our house! We've dealt with more illness than we'd like, that's for sure! First it was the stomach flu, which took 2 weeks to make it through our family. This past week has offered an assortment of pink eye, respiratory issues and strider, sinus infections, ear infections and a perforated ear drum, wheezing and coughing, cookie tossing, G-tube dislodging drama! Bless these kiddo's hearts...they all handle these things with so much grace. I am truly in awe of them! They are super strong and precious! Anyway...we've had a pretty "sour" time of it lately. I keep thinking about that little quote about lemons and am working on trying figure out how to turn this all into lemonade. I'll let you know when I figure out a recipe for this kind of success. :0)

In other news...Snug a Bug will get to be baptized in August. He'll also start scouts this week, for the first time! Woo Hoo! Where does the time go? I can't believe how fast he's grown up! We'll keep you posted! :0)

Friday, July 8, 2011

And Then...I am Once Again Reminded

It was a simple moment, really. After feeling discouraged and lost this last little while, I went off to take Cuddle Bug to his dental appointment. (Have I mentioned that he's losing and gaining teeth at a very rapid rate for 5 years old??) We were shown to the dental chair and as Cuddle sat (more like slid repeatedly down the chair), life was put to rights again, in one single moment. In the midst of being a bit naughty and jumping and sliding on the dental chair, Cuddle said "Mom! Look (or as he still says "Wook") outside to see the bird!" I looked and saw the sweetest and most beautiful little bird outside, his beautiful feathers slightly camouflaged against the rocks. I had to take a moment to find him out there. (I seriously think it was some kind of pigeon, but it really was pretty!) I was quick to point out the way the bird moved his head. Cuddle imitated. Then we talked about his cute, orange feet. We sat and watched it for a little while and then it flew away. I LOVED that moment! Here we were, surrounded by kiddo's trying to pick a toy out of the obnoxious toy machine, two or three t.v.'s surrounding us, playing the ever annoying Disney movies of today, and he stopped to notice the bird outside the operatory window. It was a great confidence booster for me! They ARE listening! They ARE seeing the beauty that Heavenly Father has created for them! They ARE learning what I am trying to inspire them to want to learn! It reminded me of the power I have for good, as their mother! It reminded me that even when I feel inadequate and on shaky ground, they still see life as steady and sure. Just like the summer butterfly I once wrote about before, this little bird came into our view, mesmerized us for a few moments and left us forever changed for the better! And I am grateful, for answers to prayers of the heart, that come in the simplest and most beautiful ways. I KNOW that this was one of Heavenly Father's ways of letting me know that He hasn't forgotten me and the concerns and desires of my heart. I am ever grateful that Cuddle and I were able to experience this quiet blessing amidst the chaos of our surroundings. :0)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

This Too Shall Pass

So overnight, I've come to the conclusion that this too shall pass. There's not really anything more I can do, about the illness in our home, and Mr.'s work schedule and the season we are in right now. I think it just needs to run it's course. I am going to order some more essential oils, and rely on them more heavily to help our family. We've already started on the path to eating healthier. More fruits and vegetables, less meat, a good balance of whole grains. We haven't, so far, felt the need to switch to a gluten-free/casein free diet or anything. I know that is "all the rage" right now, for lots of people. Every time I have thought about it, I've been reminded of what the Word of Wisdom says, and it just doesn't feel right for our family. We've opted to decrease some things, but not eliminate them all together.

I decided last night, after I went to bed (very late), that I should just wake up this morning and ask the children what they'd like to do today. For those who are well, chores are not optional. I know they'd like to go somewhere and get out of the house for a while. But alas, the babes are too much under the weather for that. I recently went through our Joy Cabinet (closet), and got rid of anything junky or used up, and put a few new things in. It's all organized again, and hopefully it can stay that way for a while, so everyone knows what is really there. I have an inclination to make today a DEAR day. (Drop Everything And Read.) My kids just don't seem to be excited about being read to, lately. I guess I haven't found anything yet, that really inspires them.

I really wanted to focus on teaching them about our family history this year, as part of our focus for learning. The problem right now, has just been my finding the time to go through and find stories that the children could relate to and understand. I have a couple of books from my side of the family, about our geneology, and wanted to include some stories from Mr. Man's side as well. Again, it's all just SO time consuming and I can't ever seem to get more than a few moments of time together, to look into it. Another focus the children did just decide on the other day, is The Book of Virtues. As a treat on occasion, they like to watch an episode of Adventures from the Book of Virtues, a cartoon that plays on BYU.org. (look under the "Family" heading, down at the bottom.) They all decided they would like their very own "Book of Virtues (with a little prompting from me, about character study), and we are in the process of turning some notebooks into "virtue lapbooks" so to speak. This is all part of my trying to get them excited about something. We'll see how long that lasts. For now, I think they just need to play outside. It's been around 115 degrees for that last little while, and I haven't let them outside in a couple of weeks. We desperately need a day trip up to cooler weather. I long for a cool, beautiful, natural environment for the kids to explore in every day.

We have a couple of new things still in the works. We are pursuing our 6th adoption of a baby girl, who is missing from our family. We'll keep you updated about that. We are also going to be pursuing (hopefully in the next 4-6 months) the purchase of some land, and the building of a new home, that we can stay in forever. This will eventually provide a more natural environment for the kids to explore and play in. We'll keep you updated about this as well.

All in all...I've decided not to fight the season we are in right now. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow. As an old country song used to say "Sometimes you're the windshield...sometimes you're the bug." I don't really know how that transition from "bug" to "windshield" is going to go...but I am sure it will happen eventually.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Still Stuck and Discouraged

Have you ever felt like you've lost your groove? Has your mind ever been so overcome with a "To Do" list 5 miles long, that you can't get everything straight? This is me, lately. I feel like I am flying solely on "Necessity Mode." I am taking care of kiddo's, hubby, sickness, meals, bath times and doctor's appointments, and everything else is just suffering right now. I kid you not, every time we get well and go back to church from a weekend spent at home recovering...our youngest two kiddo's get sick. About a month ago, we got the stomach flu at our house. It started with our sweet, little Wiggle and literally went through every person in our family, over the course of about two weeks or so. THEN...we had a good week or two at church. THEN...we went to church this past week...and Wiggle got Pink Eye and sinus trouble and a fever and a sore throat. It makes me want to cry. Lady now has the sinus issues, along with myself. I think I just got it because I am worn out and exhausting myself. I don't understand what this season of life means right now. I have always considered myself a year round homeschooling mom. So...I've been stressing myself out, trying to make sure the kiddo's are not bored and that they are learning what they'd like to learn. The problem is, that I haven't had adequate time or attention for inspiring them the way I'd like to right now. I am just tired and discouraged about how best to inspire them. I need to spend time reading my scriptures. I am just SO exhausted. It seems there is always something going on...some fire that I have to put out. Life is just hectic right now. It's mainly our health. Mr. Man has been working nights. I was telling a friend about that today and she asked how long. I was ready to tell her "for the last month." I was shocked when Mr. said it's only been this past week. We've literally been passing like "ships in the night" and we are both pretty much walking zombies when we see each other. It's just wearing us both out. Miss Ladybug had her blood taken yet again last week. They are testing her titers for her Hypogammaglobulinemia (say THAT 5 times fast) that she has. It's a fancy word for a type of immune disorder, and we are supposed to hear tomorrow, if we're going to have to start IVIG therapy. (Intra-Venous ImunnoGlobulin therapy.) Basically, it would involve us giving her injections every day. As if her life isn't hard enough. THAT also makes me want to cry. SO...would ya' mind offering a prayer or two for our family?! :0) We are SO COMPLETELY blessed, but could use a few extra prayers right now! Thanks!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Structured Family Learning Time

It's AMAZING what you learn when you stop and listen every once in a while! In this case, I have stopped to listen to The Closet Mastery Program (very slowly, mind you) that Mary Ann Johnson, "The Closet Coach" developed! I am learning a TON and it has been SUCH a good re-evaluation of priorities for me! It's truly amazing how distractions or other pressing matters, like to sneak in on our Structured Family Learning Time. We had come up with our "hours of operation", a while back. BUT...although most people have honored those hours, I haven't necessarily honored them the way I should. This has more to do with, calls from doctor's offices, than it does with calls from anyone else. So...I am really concentrating on our Structured Family Learning Time this week, and I'm going to re-vamp our "Hours of Operation" and then...I am going to stick to them! I especially want to work on being really present in the lives of our children! Oh, I'm here all right...every day and every moment of the day, pretty much. But somehow, I've still not been present enough in our kiddo's lives. We used to have a pretty good schedule going, for how our day would go each day. The kiddo's thrived this way for a while, but then if started to feel too structured and too rigid. So I did what lots of other moms have probably done, I threw our nice, little structure, COMPLETELY OUT THE WINDOW. Nothing's been real great ever since, and struggle though I might, I haven't been able to get us back on solid ground. That is, til now! I am bound and determined that we are going to get a solid structure going for our structured family learning time, so the children know what to expect when, each day! I'll keep you posted and let you know how it goes! I'll settle for nothing less than success, and as I am learning from Mary Ann Johnson, if something breaks in the process, instead of giving up completely, I'll just fix it! :0)