Thursday, March 22, 2012

Popsicle Kisses

I definitely would not have won the Mother of the Year award today. I wouldn't have even been nominated. And I'm not including the bloody nose I accidentally gave Corbin with a football or Faith only wearing a T-shirt and diaper in the store because of wet pants and no extra clothes in the diaper bag.

My list of annoyances was long and my temper was short. Annoyances such as catching my little tattoo/graffiti artist with yet another marker, finding the self proclaimed nudist had escaped out the back door for the second time in 20 minutes, discovering important papers had fell victim to the craft table with butter as the fingerpaint, sibling squabbles, messy house, dawdling students, ungrateful attitudes, laundry piles... I was grumbly. I was not wearing my #1 MOM shirt. There could be a reason I don't own one.

Most days I am content, even happy, to be where I have been called in life. Being a mom to six little and not so little people is my career of choice. Though I've never questioned where I am suppose to be, I sometimes wonder if there is something more I could being doing.  I feel my job is to be the caretaker of my family, to love and serve them. I fail everyday. My selfish wants and attitude are a stumbling block of who I want to be. Days like today I have to look hard to find the fun in being a stay home mommy, even though there is nowhere else I would rather be.

I often feel inadequate in motherhood. Shouldn't I have went to college for this? At least a trade school. There should be a book on how to look successful while wearing yogurt in your hair and snot on your shoulder. Maybe the success is surviving it and being able to look back and smile.

I know sometimes my days may seem tedious. Occasionally I feel unappreciated, unnoticed, and unwanted. But life is an adventure and the love I have for my kids far outweighs my pity party. Time will rescue me from trying two year olds and the challenging teen years, but it will also take with it piggy tails, hide-n-seek, dandelion bouquets and loud music. I'm not ready to give those up. So, I will embrace my days of sticky fingers, dirty walls and popsicle kisses.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Peek into my Mind

Today's weather was as good as it gets! Some of us closed our eyes to the never ending chore list and spent the day out in the 80 degree sunshine. The little people were thrilled with the decision.

We went on a snake hunt and weren't disappointed

The changing of seasons brings me back to childhood. I was always so happy to leave behind the cold and darkness of winter and ready to immerse myself in warmth, color, and, of course, flip flops.

Lately I've been having feelings of nostalgia. I find myself dumpster diving into my past trying to seek out the treasures from the trash. I'm a pack rat of the mind, a hoarder of dates and memories. Some files are true gems and some should have been purged long ago.

My memories are strong and go back since the age of 2 1/2 (crazy, I know). I try not to take it personally when my friends and family don't always remember some of the silly happenings that I do. That doesn't mean they don't hold dear our times together. And maybe it means that I spend too much mental time in the past and am not focused enough on the present.

Usually I feel blessed to be able to recall so many happy times, but the unpleasant memories, though buried a little deeper, are just as vivid.

Sometimes I stumble and trip over the cluttered bits and pieces of yesteryears. I may even temporarily rewrite a memory in my head to give it a happy ending. We all know I am a Happily Ever After girl. Editing memories just makes more clutter to cram into the not-the-way-it-really-happened-but-could-have folder.

I have to be sure not to dwell on the good feeling memories to the point where I get frustrated when times are more challenging. I think my mind has a way of beautifying the good ol' days. Life seemed so simple back when...

I'm pretty sure God  allows me to keep my memories for reasons beyond my pleasure. I believe He wants me to share my trials with others, maybe my joys too. He lets me relive my past so I can offer hope to those whose shoes I've walked in. Compassion comes from empathy. Good or bad, there are no wasted memories or experiences.

Disclaimer: Though I may be able to recall my high school locker combinations, I can't for the life of me tell you what I made for supper last night! Needless to say, my memory files need prioritized and organized just as badly as my junk drawer(s).

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Day At Home School

I got all paparazzi-ish on my kids yesterday trying to document a "normal" school day. Easier said than done. Not a-one of them wanted to cooperate. My pleas and begs and bribes fell on deaf ears. What's a mom to do? Well, I strapped on the camera and snapped away. I would love to show all of the outtakes, but I want to rest peacefully at night without worrying about my sleeping, drooling face showing up on facebook the next morning because of teenage retribution. 

This desk is is seldom sat in to do school work. Let's be honest, who can
concentrate on grammar with a window to the outside world teasing you
about all the fun you are missing.

People ask if my kids do school in their jammies. The answer: almost every single morning. (See the Captain America pjs?) The girls even do the outside chores in their loungewear. Of course, there are no pictures to prove this. Take it up with the loungers. They shower and dress sometime during the day. Unless they don't.

You won't find me in my night clothes. Besides the fact that I don't own true pajamas, I'm much more comfortable in jeans and a sweatshirt. You never know who will show up at your doorstep when you're wearing your husband's old t-shirt (that should have bypassed your drawer and went straight to the rag bin) and a pair of shorts from the 90s. 

Austin's schooling is more of an eclectic approach. I have no worries he will go and do whatever he sets his heart on. He is thinking about finishing his last year in public school. He needs to get deciding. 

He's the reason I decided to home school way back when. Twelve years ago, I had a little boy who couldn't sit still and loved to clown around to get a good laugh. He was already reading and could count past 100. There was no way I was going to put this ornery kid in kindergarten to be labeled as the bored trouble maker. And more importantly, I wasn't ready to share my little mischief-maker. 

I decided to try it out and take it a year at a time. Here we are, four schooling kids later, and still at it.

I'm not going to say it's all fun and games, because it's not. Really, most days there isn't much fun involved at all. Sometimes there are even tears involved. And not just from me. We can have a good time, but I don't think any of my "students" will tell you school is cool.

Did that sell you on homeschooling? :) Honestly, I love the freedom of school at home. I like hand picking the curriculum that I want my sponges to soak in. I like being able to drop it all and go to the park or do Friday's lessons on Thursday. I like being able to vacation anytime of the year without needing permission. I love the bonds they have with each other.

That farmer-boy pocketknife would be a big no no at school

Kodi and Brooklyn attend a virtual academy online. So, I teach them absolutely nothing. Well, I hope they are learning things of life and faith from me, but my hands are free of teaching geometry. Hallelujah! Most all of their work is done on the computer. There is still some busyness on my part as the "learning coach" but I'm not there teacher! (Yes, I just spelled their wrong. I was going to delete it, but isn't it funny in that sentence?! I can't handle misspelled words. Don't even get me started on texting lingo.)

This girl definitely did not appreciate Mamarazzi.
I am not anti-public school, especially the school district we live in. My kids would attend the same small school I grew up in. And I loved school, everything about it (except getting up early...some things never change). In fact, two of my kids are very likely going there next year. I'm pushing them from the homeschooling nest and looking forward to watching them fly. I'm encouraging all my teens to, at least, try it but one wants nothing to do with it. I'm really okay with that too. She is an excellent student and already has colleges knocking. 

Don't make me laugh by asking about socialization. First of all, the definition of socialization is an individual acquiring the language, knowledge, social skills and values to conform to the norms of a community. What comes to my mind is Romans 12:2 "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is- His good, pleasing and perfect will." So, no thank you on socialization. But if what you are really asking is do my kids have friends, then come on over and see the bustling Bitting house. They have many, many wonderful friends- public school friends, private school friends, home school friends, and friends of all ages. I love that my kids are unique and have the mindset that individuality is acceptable, even preferred.

In the beginning years, part of my homeschooling preference was trying to keep only good influences around my kids' impressionable minds. That's the easy life. But life isn't easy. I now want my kids to see the fallen world. They need to experience first hand why we need Jesus. They need to be the kids that are the good influence. They are God's children first, mine second.

never leave computers unattended in this house

she can work a mouse like no one's business, and delete  files
and freeze computers...and drive me crazy

one of my smarty pants girls thought it would be funny to take a picture of me
doing my "school of words with friends" My defense: It's multitasking.  

I have kids that are exceptional learners and kids that are slower learners, whom I still think are brilliant. I have learned when to push a little harder and when to stop pushing. I think that is the secret to a child's success.....being involved and really knowing your child, no matter what kind of school you decide for them.