Posts Filed Under A Grand Adventure

As of today, July 25, 2014

by bosssanders on July 25, 2014 with 1 comment

I am thinking…

Hubby took us all to the drive-in movies last week for our date night (we shared it with the kiddos).  It’s my week again, and I’m thinking… go-karts and laser tag.  Or, wine trail.  Decisions, decisions.

I am thankful…

141.  For books.  I REALLY like books :)
142.  For friends who encourage.
143.  For friends who know me well enough to when I’m struggling and call me out on it.
144.  For ibuprofen.
145.  For the internet and the world of learning (FREE) that it opens up to us!
146.  Online shopping!  Our favorite diapers are from target, but we don’t have a target!
147.  Also…amazon prime.
148.  African drums.  I really love the sound…
149.  Dead mosquitoes.  Not live ones….just dead ones.
150.  Not being killed for my faith.

In the kitchen

I have a new recipe for y’all.  It’s one of our favorite (and EASY) breakfast casseroles.

Sausage, Egg, Crescent Roll Casserole

Ingredients:
- 2 cans crescent rolls
- 2 pkgs sausage
- 1 dozen eggs
- 8 oz cream cheese

Grease a 9×13 casserole dish.  Cook sausage.  Drain.  Then, combine room temp cream cheese and sausage.

On bottom of 9×13 dish. unroll crescent rolls and cinch along perforation marks.  Pour in sausage/cream cheese mix.

Whisk 12 eggs and scramble in pan.  Add this on top of sausage layer.

Cover with another layer of crescent roll dough.

Bake for 20 minutes at 350 F

I also made some cucumber sandwiches (1 cucumber diced, 8 oz cream cheese, 1/3 c mayo, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and a 1tsp of dill – mix it all up and spread onto sandwich bread), cucumber “salad” (1/2 vinegar and 1/2 water to cover, a little sugar and pinch of salt –then in fridge for an hour or more).  We are using the cucumber “salad” for our Norwegian meal and we had cucumber sandwiches and bacon-tomato sandwiches today for lunch.

In my “cooking therapy” yesterday, I also put together a yummy new casserole.  It began as a squash casserole, but then morphed into a one-dish-dinner.  Not too shabby.

I am reading…

Hubby and I are still reading Kingdom Man and Kingdom Woman by Tony Evans together.  –definitely the type of book that makes me want to sit and read with highlighter in hand!

We/I am learning…

We just finished studying Norway.  Today, we finished up with some Norwegian candy and a geography review of Europe.  We’ll close our study up with a Norwegian meal this weekend – super excited!

Around the house…

Dreaming up ideas for our master bedroom…  to turn it into a lovely retreat instead of a dark cave

I'd love it if you stalked me (subscribe to my RSS feed). Thanks for visiting!

bosssanders

As of today, July 14, 2014

by bosssanders on July 14, 2014 with 2 comments

I am thinking…

So, last post, I wrote that I was curious about what my hubby had planned for date night.  He definitely delivered.

He created an AWESOME “getaway” with sheets and blankets and pillows.  He made an elaborate tent with candlelight (it was safe, I promise) and we had a movie night.  We needed an at-home FREE date, so this was PERFECT.

For my turn, I had one of the kids deliver this to hubby:

But then, in a duck and fire move, I accidentally hit him in the eye.  Almost blinding your husband puts a bit of a damper on the evening.  So, in an effort to be a little safer and low-key (no more blinding), I brought out the game RISK that I’d bought to surprise him.  We had a lovely evening of taking over the world and of course, I let him win he won.

Also… a public safety announcement:  If you try this date… wear sunglasses.

I am thankful…

133.  Date nights with my husband.
134.  First birthday celebration for a sweet little boy…even though he’s 7.

135.  Clean water
136.  For fresh peaches
137.  Meals delivered
138.  Six hours without tears.
139.  sweet baby smiles

140.  The millions of funny moments that fill our days…

In the kitchen

Jambalaya tonight.

I am reading…

Hubby and I are reading Kingdom Man and Kingdom Woman by Tony Evans together.  –Only a couple of chapters in on each, but already the sort of book that makes me want to sit and read with highlighter in hand!

Also, this (still):

We/I am learning…

We’re studying rainforests and S.America, still.  I officially have 1st and 3rd graders here, now!

Around the house…

Dreaming up ideas for our master bedroom…  to turn it into a lovely retreat instead of a dark cave

Favorite Quotes…

After being told that a person needs a specific call to missions, “Nik Ripken” says, “Well, it appears to me that you all have created a ‘call’ to missions that allows people to be disobedient to what Jesus has already commanded all of us to do. ” (Insanity of God)

“God may have to give instructions about the location — the WHERE. But there is nothing to negotiate about the command to go – God has already made our primary task perfectly clear. ” (Insanity Of God)

bosssanders
filed under A Grand Adventure

For Today, July 3, 2014

by bosssanders on July 3, 2014 with 1 comment

Say “Hello” to Super Little Red Princess No-Eyes!

Outside my window…
It’s a sun-shiney day!

I am thinking…

about date ideas!

Last week, we did this:

We headed to a studio to paint…

We both chose “Parisian” themes…  and set to work…

It was hubby’s first time EVER to paint.  He did a great job!  –And, we both had a lot of fun!

Last night, we had an impromptu date night… created a new recipe that ended like this:

It was… YUMMY!  No idea what I’m going to call it in my recipe journal… but, it’s definitely a new favorite with the whole family.

Then, we put the munchkins to bed… and the MR. and I watched funny youtube videos.  We laughed so hard and until our sides hurt.  It was a great and easy “date” for the week (no sitter needed!  And, FREE!)  If you want to watch some of our favorites, go HERE.

This weekend is HIS turn to plan a date, so I’m pretty curious to see what he chooses!

I am thankful…

118.  Fireworks – bright colors bursting on black
119.  Sweet smiles
120.  Being serenaded by the littlest…

“Momma, what song me sing for you?” – AJ

121.  My lovely husband
122.  $1 movies and pool with friends!
123.  A good book and cuddly blanket
124.  Sweet neighbors
125.  Naptime (Oh, praise Jesus for naptime!)
126.  Golden fields and rainbows
127.  Side-splitting laughter
128.  My little brother
129.  Story-telling with my sweet Grams
130.  Singing praises to Jesus at church with the doors open wide
131.  Fresh flowers on my table from a friend…

.
132.  A Summer Bath

In the kitchen

We’ve tried two new dishes this week, so that’s been fun!  Both were very well-liked!  Tonight is smothered beef and bean burritos per hubs request.  (Also, he’s cooking it.  Ha!  It’s the only way he can ensure it doesn’t have veggies in it.)

I am reading…

This:


And…still this:  I’ve been writing more than I’ve been reading, lately.  I’ve started writing over at www.faithfulservantministries.com and a few things over at www.gracefilledmarriage.com (it’s not spiffy-looking yet, but I needed to get thoughts out of my head, so…there it is.)

We/I am learning…

This week, we’ve focused more on life than schoolwork :)   Concentrated on hearts and little spirits.  HOWEVER, we have made a major switch in curriculum for the first graders… we are swapping out hooked on phonics first grade and doing MFW first-grade reading program, instead.  It’s working MUCH better for us!  (The kindergarten HOP was GREAT, but we needed a new direction after we finished it up!)

Around the house…

This week has involved lots of cleaning!  Monday is our cleaning day, anyhow… so, we cleaned cleaned cleaned.  Tuesday, we had a fun day with friends, then came home and cleaned a little more.  Wednesday, we went to my parents’ house and cleaned together for a little while as a surprise gift.  I don’t know why my house isn’t sparkling by now!?

Favorite Things and Moments…


Dresses made by Mimi… and the sweet sisters in them…

Another one…

bosssanders

My Husband Doesn’t Complete Me.

by bosssanders on June 26, 2014 with no comments

As a girl, I remember scribbling my initials, dreaming up who my version of “Prince Charming” would be.  As I got older, I began to pray for the man who would know me, love me, and fill in the broken places of my heart.  -My soul mate.  He would “get me” and I, him.  We’d be perfect, together, you see.  We’d complete each other and be whole again.

Turns out, that’s a bunch of crap.

When my husband didn’t turn out to be the perfect prince I had expected, I thought I’d made a mistake.  That, perhaps, I’d misheard God’s answer to my prayers.  The man who was “supposed” to complete me fell short of my expectations and soon, I felt alone and even more broken.

My mistake wasn’t in marrying my husband, my mistake was in my expectations.

While all (or most) of us have a deep desire to be loved and fought for, we don’t need a knight to save us – we need a Prince, and there’s only One who can fill that role.  Our husbands were never meant to fill the role of God.

When our expectations of our husbands are soul-mates who will “complete us,” make us happy, and never let us down, we force them on pedestals meant for idols, dooming them to fail.  There’s no way to win when competing with God.

We were meant to find our joy, peace, and completion through our Jesus and in our Father.

It’s easy to be swept away by the romance and beauty of our wedding days, that we forget the parts of our vow to our spouse, recognizing that come what may, we’ll love them still.  Through sickness…through death…good times and bad.  Wait, what?  Well, when I said “bad,” I didn’t really mean THAT ONE THING.  I meant, I’d love you even when you get wrinkly and old and sick… not when betrayal and lies make hurt swell deep.

It’s easy to believe the lies that marriage and love come easy, and when hardness comes (because it WILL come) it can be so easy to want to run.  But, the fate of your marriage does not depend on fate, the cosmos, or divinity.  It doesn’t depend on how “in love” you are or how perfect either of you think you are.  It depends on you.  You cannot fall out of love without first choosing to not love any more.  Love is always a choice.

So then, if not to “complete us,” what are the roles of our husbands (and wives)?  We are to encourage, love, help, protect, respect, cherish, honor, forgive, and give grace.  We are to complement, not complete.

My husband encourages me, defends me, loves me, and sometimes, challenges and stretches me to be the best version of me I can be.

But, he doesn’t complete me.

We are simply two completely flawed people seeking the face of Jesus as we journey through marriage – through life.

But, there was a time when I had these ridiculous high expectations of a man who could fill the holes of my heart to make me whole.  And, it’s a dangerous lie that’s being sold – the way Satan subtly twists truth to lie until it’s a noose that strangles truth, leaving ourselves and our marriages gasping for breath…

bosssanders

FAQ – The Homeschooling Edition, PART 2!

by bosssanders on June 24, 2014 with no comments

If you missed PART ONE, you can find it HERE!  Go on over and read the first part and I’ll wait here.

Okay, are you ready?

Here we go!

How do you weed through curriculum to decide?
I weigh several factors when choosing curriculum:

1.  The cost.  Also, what is the value of everything I’m getting?  If it’s a curriculum, is it priced in a way that is cheaper than if I bought it separately, and if the curriculum publisher wrote their own books, are they priced and of the same value as others I can get?  (Some families also choose materials with high re-sell value.  Personally, we don’t re-sell ours just because…I’m a nerd and …yeh.)  I don’t have a “that’s overpriced” amount…I just look at all of the things that are included and decide if I’m willing to/can pay that amount.

2.  Time to plan.  Some curricula require a LOT of planning and gathering.  Others are more pick up and go.  I prefer 80-90% pick up and go and 10-20% planning (in the form of special projects).  HOWEVER, I did more planning when we only had ONE child in school and I may be up for more (or not) when the kids can help a little more.

3.  Time to do.  How long does it take to get through a day’s worth of curriculum?  Again, I have 4 kids.  I can’t do 4 separate 8 hour days.  Mathematically, it just won’t happen.  I need a curriculum that VALUES my time and carefully chooses the BEST resources to help me teach them rather than lots of fluff and time-wasters.

4.  Does it fit in with our family values and beliefs?  We wanted something that would help us teach from a Christian background… THAT was important to us.  Whatever is important to you, make sure your curriculum fits in with that.

5.  Learning Styles – Does your curriculum utilize the learning styles of your children to help them learn?  We try to find curriculum/resources that bring in a little bit of everything.
- Visual (learn with pictures)
- Aural (auditory – learn with sound/music)
- Verbal (words in speech/writing)
- Physical (hands-on)
- Logical (logic/reasoning/systems/mathematical)
- Social (learn better in groups of people, with others)
-Solitary (self-study)

6.  Do you prefer a Charlotte-Mason or Classical approach?

7.  How does this Curriculum fit in with several kids in different grade levels (if applies)?  For example, some curricula are for ONE GRADE…so, trying to take 3+ kids through SEPARATE studies could be a lot.  Or, my favorite is the cyclical approach (like My Father’s World uses).  Go HERE for more info on MFW cycles.

8.  Do you need extra guidance to teach certain subjects…do you need teacher books that will tell you what to say verbatim?  Do you prefer certain subjects to be taught via online or dvd to your children?

9.  Do you want something “accredited?”  –This is not a big deal to us.  In our state, we are considered a private school and even if we choose to homeschool through high school, MANY colleges easily accept homeschooled kids.

10.  Do I have to depend on lots of library books?  Our library doesn’t have what we need by way of learning books MOST OF THE TIME…so, a super cheap curriculum doesn’t do me much good if I can’t get all of the (or most of the) books.  If you have a GREAT library and don’t mind being there a lot, this could be a great asset for you.

How much prep & planning does mom need to do 1) before each school year 2) each week?
Really, it depends on which curriculum you choose.  I’ve tried some where I planned more than I was able to teach (so we decided to only use certain activities to supplement and have fun with).  What we use now is pretty pick up and go.  For ME, the most planning I do before the school year is decide which curriculum I’m using, which major school supplies I need (paper, ink, new scissors, pencil sharpener, binder, etc), and I glance through their books.  I make sure I have everything I need and try to get a bit of a feel for how the books work (we also try to start a couple of weeks early to give us time to learn how it’ll all flow.  This way, we can take one week and do it over 2 weeks and nobody is stressed, and by the end of 2 weeks, we’re ready to ROLL!  Also, I look over the main points of what we’re studying…like, for this year, we are studying biomes and countries/cultures.  SO, I’m on the lookout for cool things related (think: fun things from EPCOT countries and asking friends to bring back a couple of goodies from their travels).  I keep a running list as I think of things.  OH!  Also, I pick a planner.  Which, I have a favorite one, that’s free … so, I’ll use that until she quits offering it FREE!  For each week, I simply look at the materials needed for the week and make sure I have them and sit down at some point to write in grades.  If I want to add any extra things in (hello, Pinterest!), I will plan for that, as well.  Again, though, this is because MFW takes much of the planning and does it for you (but easily modified).

Will you homeschool my kids? No, seriously, that’s the question.  :)
This seriously made me laugh.  Call me.  lol :)

Do you have any extra tips?
- pair older kids with younger kids as “learning buddies.”
- start a week or two early to get your “groove” on without stressing.
- Basics first.  Then, extras.  Do your math, language arts, history and science.  THEN the other stuff.  And, if it’s a really bad day… focus on the math and language arts.
- Don’t do anything for your kids that they can do for themselves.
- Have fun.
- Don’t compare.
- For more than one child, try giving one child an activity/work that they don’t need your help with while you teach the other child (math/language arts), and then vice versa.  It helps a TON in our house.
- Also, we really like spellingcity.com.  There is a free version PLUS an app (ipad).  It’s GREAT for 2nd/3rd graders and UP.  I plug in my 3rd grader’s spelling list once a week and she plays games all week to learn the words.  Then, at the end of the week, she does a test on the site (or, I give her one, depending on the week).  And, BAM!  Spelling is finished!

Do you have any tips you would give?
Have any questions?
I’d love to hear from you!

bosssanders

How to die while shaving – an almost-complete tutorial

by bosssanders on June 19, 2014 with no comments

Except not.

Because I would never advise such an unfortunate ending.

At least die while saving babies from crocodiles on skis made of piranhas.  I mean, really.

Seriously, though.   A while back, I saw this fabulous pin for shaving with baby oil gel.  It’ll make your skin so soft, they said.  You won’t have to shave again for days, they said.  It’ll keep your razor sharp, they said.
Not having to shave for days?  Soft skin?  Less money spent on my man-razors made necessary by the jungle undergrowth that are my legs?  Why, of course!  Sign me up!
Idiot.
Do you know what happens when baby oil meets shower?  Slicker than snot death trap, that’s what.  But, because I belong in a circus for my weird and random feats, I was able to shave while standing on one leg in my self-made ice rink of baby oil without dying.

Death does not like to be defied, people.

A couple of swipes with the razor and it was filled with oil-gel…and hair.  Like, a permanent fixture, refusing to move, a gunky testament to my stupidity.  Clearly, this razor wasn’t lasting longer due to the oil UNLESS what they meant to say was that it keeps your razor sharp by gunking it up so you only get 2 swipes into your shave.

Thank you so very much.
And because that’s not bad enough, then your husband gets in the shower and is all, “why am I sliding in the shower?”  And, you just shrug and are all like, “No idea. And I know nothing about your razor in there either. “
bosssanders

For Today, June 17, 2014

by bosssanders on June 17, 2014 with no comments

“Mom, I just don’t know how to listen to you, sometimes.”  You’ve made that very clear, dear…now, get out of the sandbox.

Outside my window…


It is warm and we are back home (YAY!)  Today, we had some soapy water play… one of the kids’ FAVORITES!  Next time, I’ll put them all in bathing suits and we’ll call it a BATH!  I love multi-tasking!

I am thinking…
That life is an adventure.

A friend of mine recently remarked that she wishes that she could live with us because we have so many adventures.  And, it’s true… but, the truth is… we all have adventures.  This life…it’s an adventure.  Some adventures are less fun, but they are still adventures!

We’ve lived some pretty crazy extremes… we’ve had years where we didn’t know how we were going to buy food for the next week and adventures where we were blessed to go on a couple of trips in one year.  We’ve had adventures where we’ve seen amazing love and terrifying hate.  We’ve seen life, we’ve seen death.  We’ve been built up, we’ve been stretched thin.  We’ve had adventures where we have brought new life in the world while separated by oceans (deployment).

Life seems so much more amazing when we look through the lens that EVERYTHING is an adventure.  There is beauty in the mundane and the hard, too…if we’ll just look hard enough.

This last week, we were invited to tag along with hubby for a business trip.

There was a mix-up on the hotel room.

6 people.  1 week.  This.  (This is the WHOLE room.)

I will admit.  I didn’t feel particularly adventurous after a whole day in the car and THIS being the room we walk into (after expecting a suite).  In fact, I walked straight into the closet to cry.  And then, after the front desk told us that nothing else was available, I begged to go home or buy duck tape and anti-anxiety meds for the week.

There wasn’t even room for pallets on the floor for everyone.

But then, the hotel changed it’s mind and gave us a room with 2 small doubles.  It wasn’t perfect, but we could work with it!

Then, this:

Turns out, limos are cheaper than cabs for big parties.  So, we rode in style for a week!

We browsed the American Girl store and got a quick treat.  Then, we went to the lego store to play with legos :)

We stayed up past our bedtimes and had slap-happy laughter…

We ate chicago-stuffed-pizza and…

were photo-bombed by a zombie.

Mommy was TIRED and WORN OUT, but there was fun to be had!

So, we went to the zoo…

and had our faces painted… (and, if you squint, it almost looks professional and worth the $16 each)

We went to the park, (girls) learned to sew, and…

went on a death-defying ferris wheel.

Then, mommy came home and slept for 2 days.

I am thankful…
85.  For chocolate coffee
86.  Little bubbles, flying
87.  A husband who is willing to wake up at 6 am to mow the yard
88.  …and, go to the grocery at 9 pm
89.  …and feed the kids supper because I was too nauseous to eat what I had fixed
90.  To the sounds of the littles and their daddy practicing their “crazy” laughs
91.  Watching littles break into dance on dance floors at weddings
92.  lego creations
93.  Excitement on little faces as they learn new things
94.  The smell of honeysuckle
95.  For a husband who defends me and has my back
96.  For love-letters from my darling La
97.  Sweet tears from La because she just can’t stand being away from me, sometimes (because she is just overwhelmed by love)
98.  For nightly “dates” with my hubby, watching our favorite shows all snuggled up
99.  fireflies – little orbs of light dancing all around
100.  The sweet fragrance of honeysuckle floating on balmy breeze
101.  Warm concrete, cool grass
102.  Sunflowers, outstretched petals
103.  Refreshing rainshowers
104.  Clover – white polka dots on blankets of green
105.  Clear blue skies
106.  Colors, crisp and bright
107.  Swinging high, legs pumping, wind through my hair
108.  Relaxing in the hammock with a good book
109.  Star-gazing
110.  The windchime’s song
111.  Butterfly waltz
112.  The joyous sound of the ice cream truck coming around the block
113.  Running through sprinklers
114.  Fellowship with friends
115.  Walking on the beach
116.  S’mores over campfire
117.  Farmers Market

In the kitchen…

Mini quiche from yesterday (see FB page for easy recipe HERE!)  <— be sure to like our FB page for fun updates and funnies.
Tonight, we are having chicken pot pie (recipe HERE)

I am reading…

I’ve been writing more than I’ve been reading, lately.  I’ve started writing over at www.faithfulservantministries.com and a few things over at www.gracefilledmarriage.com (it’s not spiffy-looking yet, but I needed to get thoughts out of my head, so…there it is.)

We/I am learning…

This week is our first week (officially) of school.  We school year-round, which enables us to take breaks as needed.  Plus, we don’t go backwards on any of our learning.  Technically, though, the kids have been working on math and random learning-stuff even on their break through May and half of June.

Currently, we are learning about the RAINFOREST (one of my favorites!) and South America.  The big 3 have all selected 2 animals and a plant from the rainforest and will be researching them and giving a short presentation as to what makes them special.  They are SUPER excited!  Of course, Ro chose the flower that eats things.  :)

Also, we accidentally killed our venus fly trap babies.  Well, technically… they were seeds.  And, they took too long to grow.  There are a couple of tiny shoots, now, but keeping the lid on (as instructed) created more of a mold emporium than greenhouse since the seeds took FOREVER.  So, if you know of a great place to buy a venus fly trap that is actually a decent size… let me know.

Around the house…

Today, I cleaned out the fridge.  Penicillin, anyone?

Oh, also unpacked, cleaned out the microwave, and wiped down the cabinet doors.  Nothing creative in the works right now.  Just trying to get back to “normal.”

A favorite quote…

“Mom, I like you more than a cat.” –La

Um, thanks?

bosssanders

Redefining Motherhood: When It Feels Too Hard And Like We’re Not Enough

by bosssanders on June 4, 2014 with no comments

I believe that there is this lie that chases after us, burrowing into our heads and hearts – that this “thing” called motherhood that we do is TOO HARD, TOO COMPLICATED, AND THAT WE AREN’T enough.

We live in a time where TWO seems to be the magic number when it comes to children, and anything over that begins to be scrutinized.  Add in homeschooling, and you might as well apply for “crazy-farm” status.

Having and homeschooling four children (and open to more) has garnered all sorts of responses…but, the ones that bother me most are the “I wish I could do what you do.  But, I just can’t.”  Suddenly, I’m wanting to ask questions to find out… what is it that you think I do?  My blog, my facebook account, and pinterest… I try to be real, but I wonder if I’m failing, if I’m adding to the lie that perfection exists.

Because, can I please say… At the end of some days, I tag my husband “it” because I just need a little silence, too.  Some days, my voice rises a little too much.  Some days, I say the wrong things and blow up science experiments that weren’t meant to explode.  We aren’t perfect and I definitely don’t look airbrushed.  We’re just us.  And, we’re okay with that.

But, as I think about all of these lovely creative ideas and social media right at our fingertips, I feel like sometimes we make motherhood FAR harder than it was ever meant to be.  -Not that motherhood is never hard, because it can be.  It challenges us, stretches us to our core.  It makes us better people, if we let it.  But, sometimes we make it so much harder than it needs to be.  We get caught up in the BIG and the GLITTER and the JONESES and when our expectations are put so high up on a pedestal that we can’t even begin to reach, we stumble and we fall.  We feel like failures because we couldn’t obtain some illusion, that was never real.  We can feel lonely and unappreciated – feeling like we’re of only a few who just can’t get it all “figured out.”  We can feel less than “enough” because we don’t enjoy cooking or cleaning (or were never taught how) –as if that somehow makes us less than (it doesn’t, by the way.)

There is this lie that has become expectation of women who do it all.  A lie that has become expectation in the hearts of many women, leaving them feeling ragged and torn when the illusion can never be caught in two hands.

So, can we take a moment to break away from the facade? –To uncover that which is real?

The truth is… You were never meant to be a superhero. You were never meant to do it all.  God never expected you to.

There are so many choices to make…  Whether you want 1 child or 20, to vaccinate or not, bottle or breast, cloth-diaper or not, eat blue-box macaroni and cheese or organic gluten-free, how you raise them….  THEY ARE ALL CHOICES.  Your choices.  Choices that are meant to liberate you, not imprison you with guilt and fear.  And, as parents, we shouldn’t use our choices to shame and scare those with different ideas than us.

This whole motherhood thing… it’s something we grow into.  We are challenged; we are changed.  We are a part of something greater than ourselves.  We learn to be better people, less selfish, gain more patience, greater faith, more grace, and slower to anger.  We begin to see ourselves and who we are to God in a completely new way.  Motherhood – it takes practice, and just like anything else, the more we practice, the more we begin to find our groove.  It’s amazing and beautiful, really, this dance that we are learning.

It’s not about comparing our craft projects on Pinterest or all the cool things we did in a day on Facebook.  It’s not about all the gourmet meals we don’t actually make or how we decorate.  It’s not about spotless floors or perfect makeup.

Then, if it isn’t about Facebook and Pinterest, what is this motherhood-thing all about?  How do we find peace in the journey?

I think the first step is that as mothers, we need to focus on being mothers instead of super-heroes.  We don’t have to have it all figured out.  We don’t have to do it all.  The only person expecting you to have it all together is…YOU.

For me, redefining Motherhood meant examining our hearts, our values, and our priorities.  For me, this is what it looks like…

Being Picky About What We Read.  I don’t read every blog or every article that comes across my email or social media accounts.  I carefully choose my books/magazines so that they either teach me, inspire me, or encourage me.   I stay away from things that make me compare.

I’m Not A Maid.  As a family, we all believe that we play a part…that we are all important.  We work together and we play together.  We each have a list of “chores” that we are all responsible for…even the 2 year old.  It’s amazing how much we can get done in a short amount of time when we all work together, which frees us up to enjoy more time together.  Also, while I expect a mostly “clean” or tidy house, I don’t expect perfection.

Smaller To-Do Lists. I am “Type-A” – so, I really REALLY like lists.  This seems like a great thing, until the list begins managing you instead of you managing it.  When my girls were 4 and 2, I came to the realization that no matter how much I did, I’d never feel accomplished if my to-do list kept growing.  I realized that it was no longer a tool for me, but it was wrecking me.  So, I began making smaller to-do lists.  In addition to normal activities like school, feeding the kids, etc…I would allow myself 3 extra things.  By making my to-do list more bearable, I was able to manage the list rather than it managing me.

We Created A Weekly Schedule. Okay, it’s not a “schedule,,” as much as it is having certain days set aside for certain things.  There came a time when I was in tears over cleaning.  With 3 under the age of 3 (at the time), I felt like I could never get on top of my cleaning.  It seemed as if as soon as I finished one thing, little hands undid it right behind me…or, it took me so long that when I felt like I was almost reaching the finish-line of getting it all done, I was actually re-approaching the starting line.  It was a horrible feeling.  I remember calling my grandmother, who stayed home with 4 children, and I asked her, “Grams, how did you do it all?”  She laughed at me.  “I didn’t,” she said.  She went on to say that she thought I was doing an amazing job except for one thing… I expected too much from myself.  She challenged me to adjust my expectations and to live in the moment, to find joy in the little things instead of trying to “do it all” and make our days all “pinterest-worthy.”  It was some of my favorite advice.  We  have so many nifty gadgets that our grandmothers didn’t have, but instead of saving us time, we seem to be even busier.  Something to think about.

My grandmother and her mother had specific days they would do things.  I came up with my own version that would work in our home, in an effort to simplify our lives a bit.  Here’s mine:

Monday – Full Cleaning Day (4-6 hours).

Tuesday – Play Day (reading, painting, lunch with friends, crafts, movie, etc.)

Wednesday – Desk Day – long letters/bills/bday cards/planning/etc

Thursday – 1/2 Cleaning Day (2-4 hours)

Friday – Errands Day

Saturday – Family Work Day/Play Day

Sunday – Family Play Day

**NOTE:  This list doesn’t OWN us.  There are many days that I pay bills on a Monday because of when it falls.  I keep this schedule on my fridge for the days where I feel overwhelmed, like I can’t get it ALL done… I choose the day that I’m on, and just do what it says.  It’s like a reset switch for me.  And, having one or two cleaning days a week (aside from daily toy-pick-ups) helps free me from my own expectation of cleaning until it’s all perfect (which is never).

We Say “No” A Lot.  We say “yes” sometimes, too… but, we say “no” to (invitations/camps/lessons/events) just as much.  We’ve learned how much is too much for our family and there’s such freedom in not having to be 10 places in one day.  Our days are just so much more relaxed when our schedules are open, PLUS it opens us up to some pretty cool unexpected surprises.

We Create Boundaries To Protect Our Children’s Hearts. We firmly believe that training our children and constructing consistent boundaries helps our children know what to expect and relieves them from having to try to figure it out on their own.  While it’s hard work in the beginning, it pays off for both them and us.  They know what’s expected and are able to better handle situations beyond our home, and we are able to enjoy taking them places.  We also created a behavior chart method that puts THEM in control – it helps us stay consistent as their parents, and helps them make better choices.

I’m Not An Entertainer. While I do play with my children, I don’t want our children to expect to be entertained constantly by me.  I have been known to jump over alligators, rescue princesses, and defeat hungry lions while in my backyard.  However, my children don’t expect me to be the source of their fun.  Instead, between the 4 of them, they always have some sort of creative fun going on.  I love watching their little brains work over ideas and how creative they can be.  I create opportunities for them to learn and play, but am not a circus clown.

We Simplified Meal-Time.  I keep a master-list of our favorite meals – sort of like a menu.  Each week, I choose 7 meals and write down all of the ingredients we need into shopping list.  We only shop once a week for food.  We don’t eat very many boxed-meals, but I do factor in the time it takes to prepare meals.  Casseroles, one-pot meals, salads, soups, and crock-pot recipes get a lot of use over here.

We Don’t Buy The Latest-Greatest. It’s not because there aren’t some really cool things out there, but it’s because we don’t NEED it all.  We teach our children that not only do they not NEED everything they like, but they aren’t OWED any of it, either.  If they really want a new toy, they can ask for it for their birthday/Christmas or save their money.  Sometimes I struggle with just wanting to buy them whatever they’ve asked for, but they’ve learned to have such a great respect for the value of things and they’ve become SO creative.  (They have plenty of toys, by the way.)  Our vehicles are USED, but they are paid off.  We also have a new rule for the kitchen with all of these fun new gadgets popping up everywhere – We try really hard not to buy any device that can only be used for one thing…like…smoothie-makers or sandwich makers.  We have a couple of things (like our water-purifier and juicer) that are exceptions.  So, when a new kitchen appliance pops up that we think would be nifty, we try to think of 3 ways that we could use it (and where we would put it).  It really helps with the “comparing.”  But, in the end, it comes down to a new way of thinking.  We believe that ultimately, our stuff can own us – it’s not just the original price we pay for something, but also the upkeep and the time.  So, we choose carefully.

Expecting Less. Becoming a mom doesn’t give us super-powers.  As moms, we manage to get a lot done, but the expectations we can put on ourselves can be unreachable.  It was the realization that:
I’m not a failure when my house isn’t perfect.
I’m not a failure when my kids’ food looks like food instead of a cleverly arranged scene or animal.
I’m not a failure when we don’t do crafts every day.
I’m not a failure when I simply let my kids play with each other, rather than being RIGHT in the middle of every dramatic scene played out by their barbies and super-heroes.
I’m not a failure when my kids aren’t signed up for 8 different activities and we don’t go on lots of field-trips during the week.
I’m not a failure for losing my patience with my kids.

It makes me normal.

So often, we feel like we must BE enough as mothers, when really all we need to do is realize that WE ALREADY ARE ENOUGH.

This motherhood thing?  It doesn’t need to be this hard.

bosssanders

The Mean Mommy And Her No-Pet Rule

by bosssanders on May 29, 2014 with 1 comment

La has been begging for a pet, lately.  And, when I say lately, I mean like… every day for the past six months.

We don’t have anything against pets (we have had them in the past), it’s just “not where we are right now.”  And, by “not where we are right now,” I mean, having an uninsured, shedding individual with an insatiable appetite for non-edible things just doesn’t appeal to me at this moment in life.  Nor do pee-soaked carpets or big turd clusters in our tiny yard.  Okay, actually, I’m assuming the dog would be uninsured, but I’ve actually not checked Obama Care.  I’m sure it only applies to people, but you never know with that guy.

I accidentally shared this tid-bit with another mom – thinking there would be some sort of “Mothers Unite” and a high-five or something, but instead she looked at me like I had said that I hate puppies and kittens.  And, that’s just not it.

Actually, I really like and enjoy animals.  There’s nothing like cuddling a sweet cat or dog and burying your face into their soft fur…that is, until your eyelids begin to swell shut and your throat itches so badly that swallowing giant pieces of a cracker seems worth the risk of choking if only it will SCRATCH. THE. ITCH.  A bit of a fuzzbuzz-kill on the whole thing, really.

So, I explained that five out of six of us had pet allergies and not much space in our small yard…or, house, for that matter.  Not to mention, we’re just trying to simplify our lives by not adding more things that require constant upkeep (beyond the children and husband, of course).

You see, I already wipe several butts more often than I care to admit.  I single-handedly save children from choking, dangerous jumping, mauling each other, and forest fires on a daily basis.  I keep the peace, prevent children from dissecting power outlets with butter-knives, toasting their hands in the toaster-oven, and keep the house from burning down.  I feel pretty accomplished at the end of the day when we’re all mostly alive and the walls are still standing.  (I may not be standing, but WE. STILL. HAVE. WALLS! )  That, right there, is a success in my book.  And, nothing you say will change my mind.  Add in some Pinterest fun, children dressed, and supper on the table and I feel like SUPER MOM!

You know, we actually DID try fish.  They were lots of fun.  There was a little disappointment when La realized that they wouldn’t come to the surface when she sang like the animals do in Snow White.  I tried to explain it to her, but all she went away with was that maybe they’re deaf.  Or, dumb.  I think that talk went well, don’t you?

Unfortunately, fish don’t respond well to cuddling and we had to break it to her that the fish weren’t actually learning the complicated swimming technique of floating – they were just kinda dead.  Of course, we had a very special funeral with “last words” and flushing…and, of course, that special photographic moment where she posed with her dead fishies as she looked down at them ever so morosely.  That one’s a keepsake photo for the scrapbook, for sure.

After relating our position on pets (for now) to the other mother…

*Blank Stare.*

And then she gave me that look that said: “But, you want more kids?”

And, I just know that’s what she was thinking because I’m a gifted mind-reader and all.

So, I thought right back at her…  “Touché lady.  Although, I’m not sure how that actually applies, seeing as how we’ve never really had an issue with our babies eating our shoes or dropping dirties in the neighbors’ yards,  so we do have that.

But, I’m not sure she even heard me because not everyone can be mind-readers, like me.  It’s a super-special gift, like that.

***Note: We totally like other people’s pets except for the ones we don’t.  Sometimes, La shrieks, which is hilarious because she’s so adamant about wanting a dog.  So, I’m beginning to think she’s trying reverse-psychology…except, I don’t think she even knows what that is.

bosssanders

2013-2014 Homeschool Year: What Worked And What Didn’t

by bosssanders on May 28, 2014 with no comments

What Worked:

  • I may be way behind everyone else, but we just discovered Ticonderoga Pencils this year.  And. They. Are. Awesome.  The cheap and cutesy pencils are NOTHING compared to these.  They are just awesome.
  • My homeschool binder.  I’ve used binders/notebooks/planning that I’ve spent some good money for, but my favorite SO FAR is this FREE one (click link).
  • My Father’s World – we use MFW for the three oldest kids.  Three of them do science/history/art/music/geography together.  Language Arts and Math, they do separately.  We buy the deluxe set from MFW and like it pretty well.  There were a few books that were above our age level (see the What Didn’t section).  But, for the most part, I really like the pick-up-and-go nature of MFW.
  • For the Kindergarteners – we used Hooked On Phonics for Kindergarten Reading
  • For the 2nd grader – we used Primary Language Lessons and Singapore 2A and 2B math.  They both worked really well for us.
  • We discovered that doing Math FIRST THING works best for us.  It’s our “brightest” hour, apparently :)
  • Another fun discovery this year was that the “big” kids are great learning buddies to the littles.  I have “helpers” that help the little ones practice reading and math, which helps me GREATLY.
  • Also, scheduled mommy time for math/language arts with each child.  (see more below)
  • Beginning school in July and ending early May.  It gives us a month or month and a half off and LOTS of time available for sick or vacation days without having to stress.  We take off a couple of weeks in December and keep doing math/reading (30 min a day) through the summer to help keep us “fresh.”

What Didn’t:

  • I don’t need TONS of planning pages.  Writing down our day-by-day activities and pages are a little much for us…at least, for now.  So, I did away with daily planning pages because I just felt like crap for not keeping up with the “planning” part of it (even though I was doing the “doing” part of it).
  • We tried workboxes for a bit and tweaked it so that it worked in tote bags.  Unfortunately, it takes a LOT of planning.  Well, not a lot, but more than I’m willing to give.  I like to enjoy my kids and keep my sanity, ya know?!  BUT, I did like the concept that each kid has “scheduled” mommy time for school subjects.  It keeps from having three children all vying for mommy’s attention at THAT EXACT MOMENT and helps them learn to work individually until I can get to each of them (and it helps them KNOW they WILL have their time).
  • I want to be better at planning all of the fun activities I have in folders, but not to the point of stressing.  I need to come up with a way to plan for those.

What worked and what didn’t for you this past year?

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