doing too much, and yet not enough

Let’s see, last update was in May… What did we do in June and July???   We visited family in Michigan (cousin party and Lake Michigan, which looked a little different this year… we were not able to rent the lake house b/c we have simply outgrown it! Next year we hope to camp at the campgrounds we visited this year with all of our cousins! So excited) and with Aunt Monica  in Ohio several times! The kids enjoy her farm with swimming in the pond, fishing, camping out, yelling for “Mike”, kayaking, cooking out, and playing with their favorite… TACO el perrito (Taco the little dog).  What a great summer we’ve had visiting with everyone….

 

HOWEVER this has led to a very tired mommy coming into the start of our new school year!!!

 

We are now finished with our second full week of school and

 

I. am. exhausted.

 

Here is what our schedule looks like – due to Micah’s rotating schedule, I rotate my work schedule, and school rotates, so we have week 1 and week 2 schedules as follows:

Week 1:

Monday – Mommy work

Tuesday – Mommy work, Kid’s do self study/life skills with Daddy

Wednesday – Mommy works half day, School with mommy leading and self study

Thursday – School day

Friday – School day

Saturday – School day (yes we do, a full regular day)

 

Week 2:

Monday – School day

Tuesday –  Mommy works half day, School with mommy leading and self study

Wednesday – Mommy work, Kid’s do self study/life skills with Daddy

Thursday – Mommy work

Friday – School day

Saturday – School day (yes we do, a full regular day)

 

Oh and now we are playing soccer, that’s 4 days a week… 6 when games start….

 

So today:

School day – check

Kids playing in rain – check

Mom on couch – check (don’t judge. I’ve got a 29 minutes break before supper prep and then supper and then bedtime and then lesson planning)

 

Some people think I’m doing too much….. Hahaha. Might be right. Just might be right.

 

But here is the thing. If God brings me to it God will give me the strength to get through it. Seriously.  It’s cliche as are so many other things I could think to say about my our lives right now. It’s the phase of life we are in.  Enjoy the kids now while they are little. They grow up so fast.  And boy.  These things are so true. A friend through our adoption agency has gone through one of the hardest things anyone will ever face as a parent – the death of a child.  And each and everyday I think of her.  I see her posts on facebook. and she is smiling. so I take these cliches to heart dear ones. I drop what I’m doing and enjoy my kids. I am training myself to say yes to them, and if I have to say no, then to say “please ask me again.” Because wow I don’t want any regrets, I don’t want my son to be gone and my last memory of him be him asking me to kick a soccer ball and me saying no.  So yeah, I’m doing too much, and I’m exhausted.  and those that are closest too me know this is not being done without alot of complaining and grumbling and headaches and heartaches (I’m working on this b/c we’ve sure enough been told to do everything we do without those things….) but for now I’ve all but given my sweet horse to my mom, I don’t take trips alone, I don’t get my me time, I don’t read as many books… but in exchange, I watch a movie with my teenage daughter, or cheer my sons and daughters on in soccer practice, or I struggle to explain math, or I teach responsibility for our actions, or I fight with them, or I play with them.  I’m saying yes to them and they are not too much, they are precious everything that God has given to me for a time, and for this reason I will honor this time.  and I will try to complain less.  and for the sweet family that has to miss their boy every day, if you’ve read this, just know that everyday, a fellow mom lifts your sweet heart in prayer, my heart cries for your heart and may your pain be lifted day by day. You are loved.

365

I could make 100 posts about being home a year. I don’t know where to start, and I don’t know where to end. Everything up until today, this moment in time we have had firsts. Tomorrow we have seconds. The second VBS is coming up, second summer, second fall, etc. we’ve faced changes and chaos and piles and piles of laundry. We’ve faced tears and laughter. We’ve faced emergency room visits. And all of that was just today. We’ve faced 365 of those kinds of days. Yet it has become…..

Just normal

We do what we do, and we do it day in and day out. And some days we break and cry under the pressure. Yet some days we stand tall and just do the hard work. A good friend said to me ” that’s parenting” when asking for some advice. It’s hard work and it doesn’t matter if they are bio kids or adopted kids or if there is one or 15. It’s just hard. The advice I read on one great blog about the first year was to just turn down your wild crazy emotions and just do the hard worked. Sometimes that’s easy and sometimes that really really hard. And somewhere in the last 365 days it has become….

Just normal

And it’s good. We are in a time of routine and normal. Sometimes it’s more hectic than normal but most days we just flow. We get up, we eat breakfast, get dressed, do school, play, go to ball games and practices, ride horses, or whatever. Most days there is no drama, just wonderful kids doing kid things. And we are so blessed that our bio kids and adopted kids have bonded together and love each other, they are seriously so close. It’s amazing to watch. Ben is learning Spanish, as is Anna. Anna is growing her hair out to be like Ericka. Luciano and Benjamin hate being separated. Angelly is becoming independent and brave and loves playing with all of her siblings equally.

I can’t believe it’s been a year already and I’m looking forward to finding out what the next year brings!!!

Dios te bendiga y buenas noches

Homeschooling the five

Did you see it coming my friends? In hindsight, yes I did too… From praying God would not call me to homeschool, to the carefully not saying never, to the blog posts and statements that school is good for my kids despite the negatives… Well. So here we are…. Starting our 4th week of homeschooling all five kids!!!

We are now “one of those” “weird homeschooling families” “with lots of kids”. Hahahaha. And I want a baby. Hahahaha.

We have had super good days, we have had super bad days, and we have had normal blah days. But at this moment in time, I will say it has been one of the best decisions ever for our family.

So how does it work you ask with them at so many different levels? Did you quit work? How do you do it? How do you like it?

Well, they are not on too many different levels. We are working through what they know and in some areas it’s the same for all. We are still working on a good schedule, but we use technology and centers (things the kids can do solo) while I work one on one with others. I’ve got a small group for math that is working together, I’ve got 2 that can read independently and 2 that need me sitting by them. And we get to do bible class. We are doing the abc bible verses, we are learning them in English and talking about what they mean. It’s so rewarding to hear them learning about God.

I am continuing to work 20 hours a week. This means that I now have no down time. I lesson plan in free time. The work keeps me somewhat sane though, breaking the cycle of what I’m doing and gets me out of the house. They get one day a week with dad, doing lessons or gym (aka farm work), depending on the weather, they do four days with me, including Saturdays, and they get 1 free day a week (with a grandma). I’m very grateful for the grandmas stepping up

We like it. The kids are learning to take responsibility for their work and we love all the time together. Attitudes are improving and bonds are being formed.

I want to be clear, we loved our kids teachers and didn’t leave the public school because of any bad things that had happened. We just loved the bonding. And the not riding the bus for 2 hours. And the having extra time in the day to do fun stuff. And the bible time.

In other random news -
Dentist appointments went ok…. 3 have to go back for more work and 1 got an ortho referral…. We took him today and they are gonna do a treatment plan to bring his front teeth in… From toothless, to buck toothed, to braces…. All within a year poor kid…. He also got glasses…. He doesn’t wear them often yet but he has them.

We’ve been having some hard conversations, good conversations, healing conversations. Please continue to pray for these conversations and bonding and healing moments. The three ticos continue to have bad dreams, so pray from relief from this as well.

We are so happy it’s warming up, but they did better than expected with the winter weather… Especially considering we’ve had the coldest, snowiest winter in years and years…. They are ready for camping and swimming, bring on summer!!!

Nos vemos amigos

Homeschool: pros & cons

Another fb status update turned blog…

I was careful not to say “never” gonna homeschool. I begged God not to call me to homeschool all 5. I even wrote a pretty convincing blog about why I wasn’t called to homeschool them all.

And then I started doing it on our snow days (we are up to 13 now by the way, and working on the 2nd time we will have been out for a straight week at a time).

And. I. Loved. It.

So I’ve compiled this list from other moms about the pros and cons

Pros:
-You know what they know
-You know what they need to learn
-You can tailor classes to their strengths and weaknesses
-Time with kids
-Family bonding both with siblings and parents
-Can teach Christian values
-Prepares for college bc they are ore independent learners
-More time with family
-No homework/ tired evenings/weekends
-Personal growth in Christ
-Kids growth in Christ
-Ability to be flexible
-Kids learn to tutor each other
-Time for outside activities
-Lack of bad peer pressure
-Lack of bullying
-No snow days
-can learn English in the context of Spanish, which is way more effective
-more time with kids in general
-more flexible schedules
-kids can learn about things they are interested in
-Less money in clothes
-Less money in food
-Less money in gas
-Can do activities when others are in school, making it cheaper

Cons:
-Distractions of life
-Getting annoyed by kids’ attitudes
-Kids slowness/lack of motivation
-Lack of peer pressure to motivate
-Cost of supplies
-mom never gets a break
-it takes more effort to socialize

Homeschool. Snow days.

I stinking love having all my kids home and doing homeschool with them all…. Yes I’ve been told I’m crazy a lot these past few years…. I vote no more snow days…. I need to forget how awesome it is to sleep in, cover everything you need to in a day, have chores done, and be done and get to PLAY and RELAX with my kids who are not strung out and exhausted from a day at school, which includes 2+hours on the bus…. I love and support the public school system, and think what you want of me for that, but I could easily be talked into homeschooling my kids…. Just have to figure out who is gonna watch and teach them the 20hours, plus driving, I need to go to work…. Ok so this status just turned into a blog post…. Haha

Yes I just cut and pasted what started as a Facebook status update to my blog.

As I watch post after post pop up of people saying the school needs to cancel due to weather, I’m the only patent here saying, “Nooooo Bundle them up and go” and it’s not why most think. Most think I want a break from my kids (who were just home 2 weeks from Christmas break, followed by 2 snow dAys after the new year, followed by a 9 day stretch of no school due to snow days and a holiday and weekends….). I don’t want a break. I want this life full time people. During our time off I put all kids in homeschool and we worked our butts off and were productive. They loved it, I loved it. No one in this house wants these kids to go to school.

Except me. Confused???? Yeah me too….

See the thing is, my job is pretty nice, flexible. Awesome boss. Working part-time gets me some alone time as I drive and friends to talk to. It also keeps what is pretty good insurance for the cost, in this day and age of insurance issues, this is no small thing.

But “if God calls you to do something He will provide the means”

Yeah He will….

But just because you “want” something, doesn’t mean you are “called” to it….

Yes. If I was called God would give me the ability, patience, and money to do so. But I don’t think I’m called….

Yes. I’m called to homeschool my oldest, for a time anyway. But for others, the littles, the environment there is driving them and pushing them in ways I can’t/don’t at home….

So this is our life…. Our Pura Vida

Buenas noches

Solitude

Nearly nine months ago we came home from Costa Rica ready to be home, in our house, in our bed, and start

Our new life. Our Pura Vida.

Near 10 months ago we left for Costa Rica to get our precious 3 ticos.

Today, Friday, my husband of 10 years and my friend for 17 years, got on a plane and went to Costa Rica without me

As I drove home from shopping for my friends that live in Costa Rica I cried nearly all the way home. Thinking about how in a few short hours he would be walking out the airport terminal to give our friends hugs. And that it will be warm. And I will be home with our five kids on their sixth consecutive snow day (and another 3-5 inches being predicted for Saturday)…

We’ve been through so much these past 10 months. I’ve lost a good friend on the way and I have no idea why. We’ve reconnected with old friends. We’ve made new friends.

Through it all God has held us while we laughed, cried, smiled, yelled, sobbed. When we’ve fallen and when we got back up. When we had to be the one to apologize to the kids and when we had to be the one to ask them to apologize.

My husband and best friend is on mission trip with a group of godly men. Men we call friends and brothers. Men that have been guiding us and praying for us throughout this journey. Helped us in ways they don’t even know, even if it was just to remind us we are a little crazy ;)

This week hasn’t been easy. We started homeschooling our eldest. And the Littles have been out all week for snow days. And next week while we miss daddy/husband/friend will be just as hard.

But even though it will be hard on us, I am happy that he’s going. And on a trip with godly men. I can’t wait to hear how he’s grown and changed this week. And who knows maybe he’ll decide we can go back for more kids after all……. No… that would be crazy and we’re not crazy…..

9 months in

9 months in, things are starting to settle, yet at the same time new things are popping up…

After Ericka’s birthday came Anna’s, which we celebrated at home and she loved. And then Christmas planning… It was hard not to go overboard but we managed and while the day of was wild, it was awesome. Christmas break was good, and ended with another 3 days off!!!

In the past couple of months we have begun to start thinking about homeschooling Ericka. He education is on so many different levels that we feel as if she would really benefit academically and emotionally from this for a time. Plus it will reinforce the bonding, whereas that has seemed to be almost dropping off in the past few months.

Every moment is different. There have been tough times and good times and really really tough times and really really good times…. Let me try to think back on some examples:

The boys continue to want to be always together

My response of anger has lessened as we use God and the bible in our discipline as well as the suggestions from our counselor to tell the children, that yes I am feeling angry at the moment but in a little while I will be just fine and I’ll be over it. This stems from the concept that sometimes adopted children did not have someone modeling and explaining emotions when they were little and therefore they have more extreme responses to them…

The last 2 days have been really rough with Anna, but we have actually seen a huge behavior improvement in her lately… We’ve been using explanations, timeouts, redos, and consequences. This really helps in stoping bad behavior, but we have yet to see a break through in getting her to do stuff we ask her to do…

Luciano’s disrespect issues have also greatly improved and he has been so sweet (except for the past 2 days, something must be in the air). Also a huge improvement In his English occurred right before the Christmas break, he all a sudden starting talking really good English!!! Like we were shocked!!!

Ben has been struggling a little lately, we aren’t sure with what exactly, he has been on such good behavior but you can just see it in his eyes, typically male, he won’t talk about it. Haha. We’ve been paying him special attention and he enjoys it but you can just tell he’s got something big bouncing around in that thinker head of his….

Angelly has been really great, although her behavior is starting to mimic Anna’s a little too much, so we have been working to put a stop to that! She’s also been really affectionate and snuggley which is always nice. Her English is awesome and she rarely speaks in Spanish anymore, although I’ve started asking them to use their Spanish.

Ericka’s English has improved a lot but it’s still really hard for her. I’ve started speaking to her In almost all English to try to get her to a break through point. Especially if we homeschool, she has to start getting even more English at home. We’ve seen some good progress through hard times. Things that used to create huge meltdowns, we have actually walked through a few times now in calmness, which is nice.

No blog can be complete without the mention of how much our church family means to us. God has pulled us back into His house after a struggle of not wanting to put in the effort of going, and now it’s better than ever before! Renewed sense of peace and belonging! It’s A lot of work to get us all there, but worth it!

Dios es bueno y buenas noches