Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Who would have thought????


Who would have thought…..that watching your children grow would be so UTTERLY heart-wrenching????

Who would us have thought…..that a little girl who used to GROWL at everyone would blossom into a 9 year old that would ROCK an  AUDITION for a BALLET PRODUCTION????

Who would have thought that waiting and watching thru a glass window would make a Mom’s heart swell to the point that she just might BURST right there????

Who  would have thought that watching your daughter walk into a room and try to find "a place for herself"  among a bunch a tiny dancers would be soooo heart-stopping????

Who would have thought that the "do your best, we are proud of you for trying, no matter what we love you" speech was so TRUE???

Who would have thought that just watching her warm up would be so TEARFULLY GUT-WRENCHING???

and then

Who would have thought that when we saw her name  on  the callbacks list   for the audition....We wouldn't be surprised AT ALL.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

“Wife Swap” woes………

It is funny to me that



our episode “Wife Swap” comes on I am flooded with Facebook friend requests, emails, and fb messages.

Funny because I have NEVER ONCE gotten a NASTY ONE…..



I have ONLY gotten  beautiful letters and messages filled with sweetly woven words of praise.

Don’t get me wrong…..

I read the AWFUL things that were said about us on the blogs and message boards.

For about a WEEK.

After that I let it go…….

I never went back.

I knew that SOME people had some nasty things to say about us…

but, I got to the point where I kind of felt like…

“The proof was in the puddin.”

I knew that









made a bigger, more saturating sound than the CHATTER of a few “HATERS”.

I Believe THAT.

And then…

2 days ago- they aired it again.

And I knew it from the fb requests and the emails.

And once again it reminded me that no matter how much “flack” our family and our LIFESTYLE took from the “editing” of our life…..







We made new friends, helped plenty of people, and spread a message of ONE LOVE.

Nuff’ said.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Student/Teacher “conference”…


That has been the theme for us lately.

It has been SEEPING into every crevice and corner of my life.





Wife-ing(you know…like BEING a wife..LOL)

God has really been putting obstacles in front of me that continually point me to PERSPECTIVE.

As you can imagine …Life as a homschooling, working mother of 4 crazy cool kids is exhausting and it is EASY to get discouraged and EDGY.

Lets be REAL…

We ALL have crazy busy lives.

We all have appointments and paperwork and bills and responsibilities….

and THAT is what should give us perspective.

The fact that we have bills and all the things that we stress about should be an indication that we are BLESSED.

We are BLESSED enough to have jobs and money to pay the bills…

Blessed enough to have things to STRESS about.

Blessed enough to have schedules and lists.

But …

in the midst of ALL THAT…it is easy to get lost in the “crazy” sometimes…easy to “forget” how fortunate  we are as mothers.

As we all know….


In TONS of places….


Mothers are not so fortunate…


We are SOAKED in opportunities and  posessions…

Yet we still EASILY forget it and complain…

I see it manifest in my children…

from having “sooo much”…they take cues from me.

And MOST of the time..

The lessons I need to teach them are the lessons I need to LEARN.

I have said it before…

God is CLEVER like that.

Shasha has a hard time when I go to work on Saturday nights because I leave before Dad gets home and their uncle stays here with them for a couple of hours…

She does not like it.

AT ALL.  Mostly because she is SOOOOOO tired by 730 that she just wants  to snuggle.

I mean…




On Friday nights I AM TIRED after teaching kids all week and dealing with …well……LIFE, all week that the LAST THING I want to do is go to work till 330 am….in a BAR. While I am SOBER.

Not ALWAYS a cake walk/





I do it because I am blessed enough to HAVE a GREAT JOB that helps provide for my family.

I do it because it makes life just a BIT easier on my family and husband.

I don’t ALWAYS do it because it is FUN.

I do it because it is NECESSARY.


that is  the approach I take with her when she calls me…ON MY WAY TO WORK ---SOBBING on Saturday night because “the boys are watching something in the living room that I don’t want to watch”.


Oh….no, Maam!

In my  most MOTHERLY voice I said “Shashamane ...Do you think I WANTED to leave you in that comfy bed watching cake boss??? Do you think that was easy for me??? Do you think after a week of homeschooling 4 kids, I wanted to leave and get dressed and go TO WORK?”

“No”, she said…still CRYING.

Still SOBBING, actually.

“I know it is hard, but…I want you to remember what we have been talking about lately.  Remember ..PERSPECTIVE? Remember that we have to be  thankful that Mommy and  Daddy HAVE jobs to be able to MAKE money to pay bills. Right?  Remember that YOU have a HOME and don’t live in a tent. Starving. Ok?”

She squeaked out a UNINTHUSIASTIC “yes”.

But she wasn’t crying.

At all.

She had seen it…Perspective.

She felt a tug of what I feel.

She had “reflected” inward and gained perspective.

Not an easy thing for a 9 year old to do…





That is not an easy thing for a 35 year old to do!!!

We are all  on this journey together….

THANK GOODNESS the lessons I need to LEARN are also the lessons I need to TEACH.


He is clever I tell ya…clever.

Monday, January 23, 2012

A day in the life…..

This is ACTUALLY a few days combined...but- you get the jist.
Give Thanks for THIS LIFE>>>>
winter love 003winter love 006winter love 007winter love 008winter love 011winter love 033winter love 034winter love 035winter love 037winter love 038winter love 039winter love 040winter love 043winter love 045winter love 047

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

LIFE Lesson # 7,623





“Mom!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Malachi said in a voice somewhere between crying and HOWLING.

It was a “drop whatever you are doing…even if you ARE talking about something UBBER-important on the phone” type of screams.

And I get to him just in time to see him THROW the Wii remote down and melt onto the floor into a puddle.

“What happened????????” I asked.

“I have been building this character on my Wii game for DAYS and then all the sudden – It said something on the screen with YES or NO…and Ijah said push YES…So I DID and now everything is erased!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Malachi said in a HORRIFIED voice.



I couldn’t believe he was blaming IJAH…who is 5 and  CAN NOT READ…for “making him” erase his guy and all the LEVELS he had previously won.

No, really…seriously?

So as he sat there and tried to compose himself, all I could think of was a saying I saw on facebook the other day…

“If ye FOLLOW ye sheep, Ye

shall step in SHIT.”

THAT is what I thought………

So we had a talk about how in life you CANNOT go around BLINDLY listening to people and then blaming them for your mistakes.  YOU are responsible for the path YOU walk…You are not a follower. YOU are a LEADER. No matter what ANYONE tells you to do…THINK FOR YOURSELF IN EVERY SITUATION.

It was a perfect example of how life can be tricky to navigate and sometimes it IS easier to listen to someone else's BAD ADVICE…but when you do that,,,,most of the time YOU suffer the consequences.

So after we had calmed down and I asked him, “ Malachi…what will you never do again???? “

His answer in a humbled voice…

”Push buttons without reading.”

Exactly son……

We don’t follow BLINDLY.

We LEAD confidently….

or we step in SHIT. LOL

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

We make plans…..God LAUGHS.


This week I had BIG PLANS.

Lots of MLK crafts and lessons, catching up on our science experiments, Read-aloud…


We we’re going to JUMP IN….hit the ground running.

Monday we had a DADDY DAY.

The kids helped Jay paint the roof and do some house chores.

LIFE SCHOOL….I can handle that.

Mondays kinda take on that vibe for us…Daddy has off from work so it usually is a day filled with “HOME classes”.

Then TUESDAY we started school all sparkles and shine.

I made a PLAN…remember?

THEN it happened…..

at about 12 noon, I started getting a SHARP pain in my pelvic area.

Long story short………

After a trip to the ER, and an ALREADY KNOWN diagnosis-

BURST Ovarian Cyst.


Sometimes my body seems at war with ITSELF.

So…needless to say…My school week has been LESS than what I had planned.

I haven’t done 1 MLK craft.

Haven’t read 1 book.

I haven’t challenged them at all….

So far it’s all Magic School Bus and Time4Learning…

Like I said……

We make plans…and GOD laughs.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Day One…..or so.


As a veteran homeschooling mom, I hear it ALL.

After 6 years of TRYING to navigate a world that is FOREVER new to me, only SOMEDAYS do I feel like I am slightly NOT FAILING.

  I think THAT part of homeschooling NEVER changes.  Because everyday is a new battlefield.

Being a homeschool teacher is job that stretches ME.

Because….I only get ONE SHOT at 4th grade.

Well…actually I get 4 shots at 4th grade- or EVERY GRADE for that matter(LOL), but I don’t have the option to fail.


It is




It is TOTALLY my fault if my kids can’t write a paper, multiply 8x9, READ, or know how to navigate the internet.

Can you say PRESSURE????

It is something that only a homeschooling Mom knows.

THAT is the deep dark “secret” of homeschooling Moms….

We answer questions with ease,

we smile with enthusiasm while teaching at co-op,

we mentor other homeschooling Moms,

we attend meetings and we TRY.

But we are all facing our “first day” …that day.

No matter if you have been a homeschooler for 15 years or 5 days…we have that in common.


The other day I got a Facebook message from a mom who has a young son and she was wondering WHEN to start homeschooling her son….It made ME feel good to see THIS answer posted by another homeschooling friend of mine Melissa:

Let me start be telling you that I am personally a huge believer in the "better late than early" philosophy. If that style does not resonate with you, you can take my advice with a grain of salt. :) If I were in your shoes and starting at the beginning like that, I would spend my time developing a family rhythm/routine that works while also learning everything I could about various educational philosophies. Right now, I believe the most important things to Zion are rhythm, helping you with real work, being read aloud to, TONS OF TIME to play, time outside, stories, art (free art ... let him have at it, not directed "teaching" type art), baking, nature walks, crafts, play, play and more play. Establish a rhythm of waking and eating and sleeping at the same times and fill in the in-between time with those things above.
While you're establishing rhythm and habits with him, do some Momma-education ~ read during naptime or whenever you can. Read up on Waldorf Education, Charlotte Mason Education (my personal favorites), Unschooling, Thomas Jefferson/Leadership Education, The Well Trained Mind, Montessori, etc. Learn everything you can about the various methods and philosophies to see what speaks to YOU most. Always remember that there are no homeschool police coming to see what / how you do things. Take the bits and pieces that you like from the various philosophies and leave what you don't like. You don't have to follow any one philosophy to the letter!
Christopherus Homeschool has a good resource called Kindergarten with your 3 to 6 year old. Siimplycharlottemason.com has a good Early Years guide. Also, the book by Karen Andreola, The Charlotte Mason Companion is great. But, again, none of those philosophies start "formal academics" before the age of 6.
If you think you need structure and guidance even with the tasks I've mentioned above, Little Acorn Learning has "childcare guides" that are awesome (even has a daily rhythm in there for you to follow complete with recipes, stories, crafts, painting, etc.) When you're ready for the letters, I know that Oak Meadow Kindergarten is very popular as far as laying out 36 weeks of "lessons" for you, but only doing simple stories and activities for the letters and numbers and arts and crafts. Oh, another one you might like is Five in A Row. For your age, you'd check Before Five in a Row. It has all kinds of activity ideas based around wonderful children's literature. You might also like Sonlight (depending on where you stand with your faith ... it is a Christian based company). They have LOVELY book choices for the little ones! My Father's World (also VERY Christian) is popular for Kindergarten as well.
Spend some time perusing sites like Simplycharlottemason.com, christopherushomeschool.org, simplehomeschool.net (simple homeschool will break down ALL of the philosophies for you and there are tons of moms that have contributed their schedules, curriculum choices, philosophies, etc). Just google various homeschool styles and learn everything you can BEFORE you try to begin. Read blogs that interest you (but don't get caught up in comparisons). Read a lot now to prepare you for later. But as far as "school" at this age, just have fun with him! Just be there for him right now and prepare yourself for what's to come.
If it were ME (and again, that's just me .. you have to find out what YOU believe), I would set up a rhythm with "in breaths" and "out breaths" ... alternate physical activity with quiet focused activity ... something that includes:
Morning Routine (Dress, Make Bed, Breakfast, Teeth, etc.)
Together Time (Circle Time, stories, songs, dance)
"Focused Time" (daily activity ~ Baking/Cooking one day, Painting day, Coloring Day, Craft Day, Game Day, Household work day)
Snack ~ Let him help to prepare it and clean up
Nature Walk or just time outside
Real work ~ Let him help you with your chores
Lunch ~ Again, let him help
Outside work and play
Lots of free and creative play time
I wouldn't worry about letters and numbers and learning to read or any of that just yet. He will pick those things up during LIFE as long his world is rich.
I'm always happy to answer questions! You are also welcome to peruse my blog. I've talked about a lot of this there.
Many blessings on your journey. TAKE IT SLOW. If you are really going to do this, you have MANY MANY YEARS to teach him all the things you want to teach him. :)
In HIS Light,

PERFECT advice for a young homeschooling Mom.

Start slow. Enjoy the ride. Take comfort in the “secret” that we are all ONE…

we all are walking common ground.

No matter if it is day 1 or day 2001.

It is the same. We are all connected.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Birthday Boy……

mal bday 074mal bday 077mal bday 036mal bday 083mal bday 086mal bday 087mal bday 088

8TH BDAY 0068TH BDAY 0078TH BDAY 0118TH BDAY 0148TH BDAY 0188TH BDAY 0198TH BDAY 0218TH BDAY 0248TH BDAY 0318TH BDAY 0398TH BDAY 0518TH BDAY 0538TH BDAY 0548TH BDAY 0558TH BDAY 0608TH BDAY 0628TH BDAY 0648TH BDAY 0658TH BDAY 0738TH BDAY 074

Dear Malachi,

Today you turn 8.

How can that be????

It seems like just yesterday you were born.

We love you more than you will ever know…more than anyone in the world will ever love you.

Happy 8th Earthstrong Malachi!!!

Love, Your family