Sleepy time

12 05 2010

It is late, and I am tired, but I am not in bed.  I don’t know…just a lot of stuff rolling around in my mind.  Not bad stuff – just stuff I need to do that I’m trying to remember not to forget to do – like adding stuff to the calendar so I don’t forget about it altogether.  Also I keep thinking about a couple of home improvement projects that I’d love to get my hands dirty with but don’t have time right now (like painting the kitchen and stripping the carpet off the stairs).  And of course, there’s the large stack of bags of mulch in the driveway that needs distribution.  By the way, did you know that it is better to buy your mulch in bags than by the truckload/scoop?  A neighbor who works for a pest control company told us that the heat generated by the sun in the enclosed bags kills the bug larvae lurking in the mulch.  Who knew?  I guess he did!  So although it’s a bit cheaper to have a scoop dumped in my hubby’s pickup, we go buy the bags.

Since I last posted, I have completed a semester of college.  It feels good.  It went by much faster than I expected.  I made A’s.  So far, so good, aye?  Summer session has already begun and I have turned in my first Algebra assignments.  It’s not too bad, algebra.  It’s not really math – it’s more like puzzle solving.  And as soon as I can get myself to think of it that way first, some of my anxiety about it will dissipate. LOL.

I just never liked math.  Didn’t stink at it entirely, just never had a good math teacher through elementary and middle school, so I just floated along with bare minimum skills and knowledge.  I took Geometry, Algebra I and II in high school and did fine, but I did have to work hard.  I didn’t really get it, either – I followed the steps and got results, but I couldn’t have explained any of it to a toad!

  Homeschooling my children is where/when math clicked.  I found myself having Eureka! moments constantly – even with simple addition.  The first time was with double-digit addition.  While showing my son how to “carry”, he kept coming up with the answer before I could work through the problem.  He’d blurt it out and I’d be baffled.  Turns out he just “got it” and explained to me that “adding all the 10’s and then the rest is easier than carrying, Mom.”  He had to be, what?  About 2nd grade, I think.  He’s been doing that to me ever since.  So I guess he taught me math, really.  I couldn’t believe such things never occurred to me – I just did it how the teacher said and never thought about the numbers themselves.  So when I get stuck a bit on an algebra problem (yes, it has happened several times already), I call him in to save the day.  I still have those Eureka! moments and think to myself, “Why didn’t I see that?” 

He had to choose a book from a list for English class and guess what?  He chose my favorite author!  I was secretly so thrilled, and I’m really hoping that it inspires him to read more of Michener.  He’s reading The Bridges of Toko-Ri (which is one I haven’t read), and he is enjoying it.  I’ve already recommended The Covenant, but trying not to get my hopes up.

My little girl is so growing up.  It is so bittersweet, too.  She wants to add another sport to her life, so we are checking into it.  Apparently the local middle school is recruiting home schoolers for cross-country.  Soccer she loves.  She is so dedicated.  Last night she was in the yard pushing herself (after an hour of soccer practice) to get her front handspring back.  She could do it a few years ago, but is way out of practice and her rapid physical growth must make it feel quite awkward from when she was able to do it before.  She worked hard at it.  All for soccer, of course.  She wants to be able to do a flip throw-in.  Don’t know what that is?  Check it out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AryIzGfOWIU

This makes me want to video  her next soccer game.  I haven’t done that yet.  Last Saturday, the coach put her on offense for less than two minutes and she scored.  We knew she would by the look on her face when she came through with the ball — sheer determination.  It was nice for her.  She usually prefers being on defense and does really well with that.  Most of her opponents are pretty intimidated by her, and her teammates ask her to trade places with them when they get put up against someone who is bigger or who plays rough.  She is always glad to do it.

Whenever I end a post abruptly, I am reminded of my Grandma, who calls occasionally and says whatever she called to say or ask whatever she called to ask, and then says “Bye” pretty abruptly.  Oh, she takes time to stick in the “Love you” and all, but it is always a mite unexpected when she just up and says, “Well, I love you, honey.  Bye.”   It’s funny.

So here goes…I’m sleepy now.  Bye.

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Starting up the Presses…Again

12 02 2010

I just read my last post, and it doesn’t seem possible that it was from this fall.  It seems like that was ages ago so much has happened.  It is certainly time to get back into the habit of writing – I have missed it.  I’ll attempt to fill in the almost six-month gap that I have managed to create.

We still have jelly, and frozen apples.  They are being pulled from the pantry and freezer, respectively, as we need them, but there is still enough to last a while.  The jelly is just as yummy and the apples are being used most often in Apple Cake.  (Although I’ll probably be making Amish Friendship Bread for a while in place of the cake, until we get tired of that.)

School with my daughter has become much, much easier.  I think she must have been going through a phase…or maybe it was me.  But she doesn’t hesitate to come to me when she has finished her independent work or when she needs me.  She has matured a lot in other ways, as well, and has taken to doing some of what needs to be done without being asked (like putting the clothes in the dryer if she is closer when it buzzes), and has a better attitude in general.

The biggest change around here is that I am going to school myself full-time now.  It’s a long story, so you may want to grab a snack 😉  I didn’t finish college the first time around, and I didn’t think I’d ever go back.  For almost 20 years, I had not thought of one thing that I was interested enough to want to get a degree in and work at every day.  Since my oldest started middle school (he’s in 10th grade now), I’ve been praying from time to time that God would give me direction, because for the first time, I fully realized and accepted that I would not be homeschooling forever, and would not feel fulfilled staying home after that phase of my life ended.  At first, I thought that I would volunteer full-time, either in one place, or several places, on different days.  This plan seemed like it may be right for the next year or so, as I came upon many places that I would like to invest in. 

It was sometime during October that I feel like God revealed to me his plan for me.  He made me realize that I have always been interested in food and health, and how food affects health and how food can make health issues worse, cause them, or help manage them.  I have always taken a multi-vitamin and other supplements, given them to my children, modified recipes to make them healthier, and just generally been interested in diet.  He revealed to me through my own high blood pressure and family members’ health issues that peoples lives can really be affected by the way they eat.  So I am working toward a degree in Dietetics!   It can’t be my plan, because I would never have thought of it myself, even though in retrospect, I remember my sister jokingly saying once, “You should be a Dietician.” when I was casually suggesting to my mom that she could make a recipe much healthier with a few changes.  I would also have never had the confidence to enroll in college again.  My first go at that was such a nightmare.  I was young.  There just seemed to be so much pressure to declare a major – and nothing interested me that much!  I was trying desperately to take the advice of my advisor, and just take “basic” classes until I figured out what I was interested in, but I got a “C” on an English II paper, and it just simply sunk me like an anvil in a pool.  I had never received a “C” in writing!  And I couldn’t handle it.  I dropped out of every class – unofficially, which means my GPA is laughable. 

After that, feeling pressured to do something, I went to cosmetology school.  I liked playing around with it, with friends and family, but I knew pretty early on that I was not going to do it for long.  I stuck with it about 2/3 the way through, and got put on bedrest early in pregnancy and had to quit.  Frankly, it was a relief, because it gave me an excuse to quit that I didn’t have to feel guilty about.  My biggest problem was that I was trying to please others instead of following my path, and I didn’t have the relationship with God then that I have now, so I didn’t know how He could direct me if I’d just ask.

Homeschooling was His plan, too – I had never heard of it when He placed it in my path as an option, and compelled me to do it.  I have been oh so content following His lead since then, because He was very, very spot on!  I have never doubted for a moment that I was supposed to home- school.

I feel that way about this now, too.  It just amazes me that He didn’t reveal it to me until it was time…I’d have messed that up somehow, I’m sure, probably by either trying to take a few classes to “get started” before His timing came, or by chickening out totally and not going through with it.  As soon as I was sure that I was hearing God right, I sent for my old transcript (15 hours I won’t have to do over) and applied for admission.  When I got my transcript in the mail and my acceptance letter, I immediately made an appointment with an advisor, applied for a student loan and enrolled full-time.

The week before classes started, I felt a bit panicky about having a full class load and wondered if that was a mistake that I’d regret.  Of course, I alternately prayed and cried and believed.  But 5 weeks in, it is going very well.  I’m keeping up, doing well, and enjoying it very much.  Some days I still feel a little overwhelmed, but my super-hero family kicks in and does some of the non-school stuff that’s contributing to my insanity and all comes back to a balance 😉

It’s about time to pick up my daughter, and that’s about as thorough an update as I can manage tonight.





Cleanin’ the Plate

19 05 2009

I’ll bet you think this post is about food – but it isn’t!  This post is about cleanin’ another kind of plate all together…the proverbial plate that we carry around laden with all our duties and responsibilities (real or imaginary).  It is good for our plates to be full.  Plates that are full, but not overflowing, keep us active, involved in the lives of others and keep us working and growing.  However, there comes a time when the plate must be cleaned, and it’s hard to clean a plate that is full – we usually do that after we eat from it, and then it is ready to be filled once again.  The plate of responsibility is no different from the dinner plate in that it requires a good regular cleaning – not quite so often, but regularly nonetheless. 

I have not cleaned my plate of weighty to-do’s in a very, very long time, and it has begun to reek!  I am losing my ability to enjoy life because of the stink generated by all the stuff on the plate; so I’ve made a promise to myself to begin again with a new plate, and  allow God to guide the filling spatula this time, rather than self- wrought guilt, guilt so graciously piled on by well-meaning lunch ladies, perceived obligation or simply band-wagon decisions that add a spoonful here and a spoonful there until I simply cannot digest it all.  When the school year begins, I shall have nothing on my plate but homeschooling, which is God’s entree for me, and I will stop there, taking dessert only if I have room and it is a heavenly portion offered by the Lord himself!

It feels very freeing to have made this decision, and although I’m having a difficult time finishing up the last few bites before the plate gets scoured, it will get finished and the plate will be clean for once!  There are just a few more tidbits to digest and I’ll be done!

I remember having to sit at the table as a child until I finished every last bite, and some things took a long, long time sittin’…like salmon…ugh!  and meatloaf (funny that I’ve found ONE recipe that I like, now), and green beans…I like those, too, now, by the way.   I don’t know why I never could just start stuffing it down, gagging, but getting it over with.  Everything tasted so much worse stone cold!  I should’ve just shoveled it in and spent the evening playing rather than staring at the plate, actually making it taste worse in the end.  But I didn’t.  I sat there.  And sat there.  And would finally have to yield to mom’s mandate – and eat it

I guess I didn’t learn a thing from those experiences that I transferred to the responsibility plate.  I’ve taken on more and more, and although looking at it certainly brought on the same sort of nauseous feeling, I just stared at it and sat there, unwilling to do what it takes to clean the plate.  I may not be gagging, but I’ve certainly had the feeling that I need air!  I guess I didn’t want to disappoint people; I didn’t want to accept that I couldn’t do as much as some (without losing my mind or being miserable).  I rationalized that others were doing even more.  Ridiculous, I know.  That is why I have decided to embrace my limits, and keep to them.

Well I guess this post ended up discussing food just a bit…

If your plate is dirty, maybe it’s time to clean it 😉





Misty-eyed and sentimental

7 08 2008

Hmmm.  My kiddos are growing up.  It doesn’t matter how many times over the years that I have had this revelation – each time is like a new feeling.  I was doing fine. 

Yesterday I finally just went to the school and asked if I could register my son on the spot.  All this frustration with trying to figure out which day is the “right” day to register…there’s New Student Registration Day and Freshman Registration Day, and then there’s an evening “Freshman Orientation” and also a three-half-day Freshman Bridge Program.  <sigh>  Is it just me, or do we just really make things more complicated than necessary?  Why?  Good grief!  Anyway, my son spurred me on, because of his own frustration with questions about classes, and I guess he’s less patient than I am.  And patience is supposed to be a virtue!  Maybe I take it to far by not pushing where I should sometimes. 

So we are headed out to run some other errands, and I voice my confusion/frustration with all this once again, and he just says, “Mom, just take all my papers and let’s go to the school right now.  This is ridiculous.  We’ll just get me registered today.  It’s not like they’re gonna say ‘no’!”  And we did.  What a relief.  And even though the course catalog says that 2 years of foreign language are required for the diploma he wants to get, we found out that it’s actually 4…which is kinda good to know, since there are only 4 opportunities to take a year!  < cheshire grin, here>….ow, I bit my lip!

The day was productive and I felt fine. 

He went to his first “high school” age party last night, too, (the kind you don’t dread…with most of the kids from youth group, several parents and the youth pastor attending…smores and hot dogs over a yard fire, cake and ice cream and socializing) and even though the thing was to last until 2am, we picked him up a bit before midnight and we parents and he the teen were happy with that.  I was still fine. 

We drove back on the quiet streets after picking him up, listening to his account of things, and I was still fine, but sorta remembering the parties with balloons and giggles.  Then when he hugged me goodnight, he let his hand slide down my arm as he looked me in the eye and thanked me for letting him go and staying up late to let him stay late, and I really was still ok. 

I lay down next to my husband and we talked for several minutes, yawning and breathing deeply, about nothing sentimental at all, and when all was quiet, I suddenly broke into tears.  My little boy is gone.  I love the youth he is and the man he’s becoming, but I really just feel like it happened so fast.  It just suddenly occurred to me that when school starts in about 10 days, he is not going to be here all day.  Most moms adjusted to this when their kids were 5 or 6, but I have been blessed enough to have every day with my kids and watch every change and every accomplishment and failure firsthand.  I can’t imagine one of them not being here-all day- every day, for the better part of a year!  This is going to take much more adjusting than I first calculated.  I’m afraid.  I’m afraid I’ll miss out on so much.  I’m afraid he’ll stop talking to me about everything.  I’m afraid his friends will become more a part of his life than his family.  I have never felt so much grief where my kids are concerned. 

My husband saying that all this may be hard, but that I should rejoice, because thier independance, confidence and security is all the beautiful fruit of my parental labors.  I know he’s right, and I truly am happy that they are all those things.  I wouldn’t want them to be fearful, insecure and scared of everything.  I wouldn’t want them to depend on me for everything, because I won’t always be here.  And there is nothing more satisfying than knowing that your child knows God and looks there for backup, instead of to you, as it should be.  But it is hard.  It is very, very hard.

He is volunteering today, and isn’t here.  He woke me up at 8:15, and had already fed the dog and taken her out, eaten breakfast, taken a shower, and was in the process of packing a lunch for himself.  He didn’t want to wake me until the last minute, since he knew I’d been up late because of the party he went to.  Some young woman is going to be very blessed some day.

K and I went letterboxing locally, and it was a lot of fun.  I know that we are going to enjoy some great mother-daughter bonding this year.  But I wonder now that we’ve returned, if I somehow wanted to be gone today because I know that it’s going to be like this a lot soon, and I just wanted to avoid thinking about it…..  She cried before we left for just a minute, saying she was tired.  I told her that we could stay home, but she didn’t want that.  I wonder if it’s just as hard for her.

We had a good day, stopping twice for cold drinks (from a machine where cans are still only .40, believe it or not), and having fun deciphering clues and enjoying the stamps and locations.  We looked for 4 boxes, and only 2 were there.  One was just plain missing, and the other one was a lid-less, empty container.  I do hate that for the planters. (We had fun regardless.)

In the words Pacha’s wife (the Emperor’s New Groove) and in the tradition of women in my family who work themselves to death to deal with stress – “I gotta go wash something!”