Top 10 Things I Learned in 2013

So it’s the last day of the year, so much has happened so much has changed. This blog has become the song of my innermost thoughts and fears regarding my children and homeschooling. However, the year has brought so much more than that.

So here is a list of things I’ve learned through the progression of the year. These are not New Years resolutions, just things that I have realized.

1) I need me time. I am my best for everyone when I take some time alone to write, draw, shop or even just mindlessly flip through channels in my locked bedroom. I give so much of myself all day, everyday that I need a chance to recharge my batteries in quiet and alone.

2) It’s ok to ask for help. I’ve been battling depression for almost three years now. Trying to be supermom and altogether feeling like a failure for not being able to do the whole supermom, working mom, best mom ever in a sparkly clean and perfectly decorated house thing. It’s too much for any one person and it’s not a great way to live.

3) Balance is the key to sanity. Learning when to just let go and say its good enough has been a struggle. Perfection is my enemy and my family deserves better than a wife/mother who is too busy trying to make things look great rather then enjoying them.

4) My husband and kids really like my cooking! So often, I’m so exhausted that I take the easy way out and serve my family junk food, processed foods or we go out, all because I’m tired. Here’s the thing though, I’m always tired! I cannot let this be an excuse for wasting money on food that I know is bad for us.

5) Homeschooling is about educating and preparing the next generation, not creating school at home. This one was really hard for me to wrap my head around. I’ve had to let go of my preconceptions about having a classroom at home, doing multiple subjects that beautifully align with amazing projects. Learning is messy, it’s often spur of the moment and it’s always happening!

Which brings me to …

6) Every kid learns differently! It’s no shocker that I’ve really latched on to the Unschooling lifestyle. It’s been such an eye opener watching my oldest just pick things up and desire to know more. My girls also do this but not as easily. So with them I have adapted a hybrid of Unschooling with more Charlotte Mason like philosophies.

7) Friends are important. I have lived here for a year now and still haven’t made any strong friendships. There are a few ladies I have met that I get along with but it’s not the same. I miss dearly the chance to go down the street to a friends house in pjs with all the kids and drink coffee while the kids play, or being able to just hang out at a friends house without driving almost 2 hours. It wears on even the most introverted.

8) Flexibility is amazing! Even though I know that Jo would do really well in a school environment I refuse to let go of this flexibility! Oh my goodness I LOVE that we can just go for a week to visit family without having to deal with others schedules! Granted we are limited by how much leave time my dear husband has, but sometime we just go without him because the experience will be great!

9) It doesn’t matter how much I am loved, respected or admired by others if I don’t do it for myself. I have three girls, I don’t want them to feel like they need external admiration in order to be great. Yet they will never learn that if they don’t see me living it. So they will never hear me say that I am fat or ugly, because I know that even though I may need to lose some weight to fit into a healthy BMI and even though I have age spots on my face already, it doesn’t change the fact that I was made to be who I am right now. I have to accept that or happiness is just a far off dream, irregardless of how much I have been blessed with.

10) I have been greatly Blessed!! I can be selfish and I lack self discipline but even I know that here and now is perfect for me.

It’s a crazy, wild ride and I’m so glad that these imaginative goobers are surrounding me! I’m looking forward to a New Year, not because I want things to change, not because this past one was so bad but instead because I know that I have no idea what to expect next. So as always, Semper Gumby and Happy New Year!

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Merry Christmas, Now Take a Deep Breath!

Have you ever read an article trying to grasp to straws? Trying to understand more only feel even more overwhelmed?

Christmas is coming, it’s about a week away. It’s a time of joy and cheer, for all of us. It really is our favorite time of year. We don’t celebrate the big red guy, instead we try our best to make meaningful memories while preparing for the the symbolic birth of Christ.

For us it’s about remembering why God sent his son, it’s about living love daily and it’s about simplifying things and getting our hearts and minds on the right page.

The is what we focus on, we don’t go crazy with presents, we don’t do tons of crafts or baking, and we don’t make it over the top. For school we do much of what we usually do and just go with the flow. We read lots of Christmas stories, we visit our families, we make gifts for loved ones and each other but it’s all really relaxed. At least when we are at home.

This is where the articles come in (and I am sooooo happy that there are so many other bloggers of gifted kids out there that get this!!!) because when we are not at home my kids go bananas!! Three of my four are pretty sensitive in the sensory department. They don’t like certain textures (neither do I but I’ve grown to deal with it), they don’t handle too much noise well (again neither do I, I get such bad headaches!), none of us (me and 3 of the 4) handle lots of people or crowded places well (my oldest has anger control issues, my 3 yr old gets very shy and retreats into her shell, my youngest cries and we all have meltdowns if forced to be like that for very long).

So you can imagine what happens when we go anywhere during this time of year! I had a panic attack in a mall because of the crowds, my son takes his frustrations out by yelling and crying (think 2 1/2 yet old tantrum coming from a 6 yr old), my little girls are just too sensitive to handle any of the craziness and just want to be held with their faces buried in my shoulder!

We all love the music, we love the food, we love our family but we need time outs. All of us.

For decades I have felt the need to conform and just suck it up so I put on a show, pretend I’m someone else and fake it till I make it. That’s probably why I loved acting so much in high school, I had already been doing it for years! Putting on that act has gotten me through a lot over the years, but I don’t want to force my kids into that kind of falseness. So I’ve been reading, and reading and reading lots of articles on how to deal with the holidays when you have sensitive kids!

This year we WILL have a great Christmas WITH all of our family but we will also take everyday not at home in stride. I’m still overwhelmed by the thought of it all but I feel a little bit more prepared! I also know that because our families are awesome they will understand when we just need a quiet moment amidst the crazy, and a house with 9-12 kids (aged 9-1) snowed inside a few days before Christmas is bound to get crazy!