Tag Archives: Parenting

Summer Break

Original Blog Post June 6, 2016
It’s ‘Summer Break’ at our house… more like ‘Wedding Break’ as I had originally planned on schooling through the year. We took a break off to finish up big sister’s wedding and then we were scheduled to start back today. That’s not happening though as I am exhausted.
I bought ‘The Prairie Primer’ to use for the summer but I haven’t actually started it yet. It goes along with ‘The Little House on The Prairie’ series. I loved these books when I was a kid and I kind of want to pass these on to my kids.
I plan to buy some other books to go along with the studies like:
The Little House Cookbook: Frontier Foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Classic Stories
My Little House Crafts Book: 18 Projects from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House Stories
My Book of Little House Paper Dolls: The Big Woods Collection
My Little House Sewing Book
There are other books and materials that I could get also but I’m just not sure how in depth I want to go with it. I guess it all depends on how interested the kids get into the study.
I think this will be fun and big sister has been recording the series on the DVR so they can watch some of them also.
For now though they have been learning about different crafts and activities and also learning some social skills. We will also continue to go to the zoo, museums (which reminds me of a really neat dinosaur exhibit I need to check in to), camping, fishing and other outings as the opportunities come up.
What plans do you have for your ‘Summer Break’?

Living the country life?

Original Blog Post April 6, 2016
What does living the country life really mean?
I know I think of farms with cows and chickens.
I think of lazy mornings sitting on the back porch sipping my hot coffee while wondering what to do to pass the endless amount of free time I have.
I think of working in a garden with lots of beautiful plants springing forth.
I think of my kids playing barefoot in the yard.
Then after a nice dinner, made from things we have grown on our farm, we sip some sweet tea and watch the sunset go down from our back porch swing.
In reality things are not quite so simple and not so peaceful.
I wake up before the alarm goes off and hear the roosters crowing. I try to carefully roll out of bed because any movement will wake up one or both of the little ones in my bed.
I tiptoe to the bathroom with my clothes in hand and softly close the door. No sooner do I turn on the water then I hear the pitter-patter of little feet, see a hand under the door and hear ‘Mommy, is you in der?’. Sigh, that’s how most mornings start around here.
I try my best to get up early and have a little quiet time, a little sliver of time for me and time to talk to God but it rarely happens the way I have it planned in my head.
After a quick shower we make our way to the kitchen for a chocolate milk sippy for him and one for my his big brother (yes, they do look out for each other) and he heads to the couch for his daily dose of Animal Planet.
Meanwhile I go back to the kitchen and start with pouring a cup of coffee and trying to remember what I need to do next.
Breakfast… Yes, I should probably do that. I grab my phone and check my calendar for the recipe (I’ll probably write about that another day) which is blueberry muffins. I don’t feel like making muffins. Actually I don’t feel like doing anything but going back to bed.
I mix up the muffins (using frozen blueberries from our farm) and pop them in the oven. I remember to set the timer too! (Last night I forgot and I almost burned the cookies.) I have about 15 minutes so I hurry back to the bathroom to fix my hair.
I sneak back to my room and read my daily devotional and say a quick prayer to ask God to watch over us and guide us through the day. It bothers me that I didn’t have my ‘quiet time’ as I do need it to help get me through the day.
I pick up a few stray items on the way back into the kitchen and grab my laptop off my desk. I thought I would sit down really quick and figure out a few more things on this blog thingy I’m trying to do. I grab a sheet of paper and jot down a few ideas as well as some other things I think of that need to be taken care of.
The minute my butt hits the stool the other kids start waking up. I start to get bombarded with questions and problems.
‘Mom, she has my shirt!’
‘Mom, I’m hungry!’
‘Mommy, mommy, mommy!’
I close the laptop because it is only stressing me out trying to figure out technical details with life happening. I wonder how anyone really has the time to do this and is it really worth it? This has been a similar scenario for the past few months when starting a blog was first brought up to me.
Right now I’m typing this on my phone and praying it will post correctly. The cats are at the door begging to be fed. The roosters are still crowing and so is one of kids. I can hear Oscar, my gander, scolding me for being late to feed.
Mornings are crazy here. Actually most days are crazy here. After breakfast I will head out to feed the animals and then come back in to oversee our morning chorea and start our school lessons for the day.
I have somehow lost the simple country life I dreamed of and it has been replaced with a chaotic, noisy life. I wouldn’t trade it though. I know this is just a season we are going through.
I know I will find moments through the day to speak to God and there will be quiet times when he will speak to me. There will be moments with the kids that I will always cherish. I may get stressed from time to time but I can use these times to push to my goal of the simple country life.
For now I’ll drink my cold coffee and then put some water on to boil so I can make some tea. I might not have a back porch swing yet but I can watch the sunset from my back steps and dream.

Dear Special Needs Parent

Original Blog Post on July 12, 2016
Dear Special Needs Parent, I see you in the grocery store, at the doctor’s office, and at the park. I see the smiles that hide the tears. I see the tired look you try to hide. I hear the little sigh you let out when another mom talks about ‘date night’ or a milestone their child has reached. How do I see and hear all of this? I am a special needs mom, a single parent, a homeschooling mom, and so much more.
I know how hard it is to get up at the crack of dawn because your kid is already up and calling for you, even though they didn’t fall asleep until late. I know how hard it is to divide your attention between the kids, the chores, and all that has to be done. Much less finding time to do things for yourself like shower.
Honestly, I can’t remember the last ‘date night’ I’ve had or even the last time I was away from my kids for a night. (Maybe when the 3 year old was born?) I know that when you try to plan an outing it drains you because of all the things you have to be prepared for. You are exhausted by the time you get everything and everyone packed and ready.
Things that were once fun can still be fun but they are oh so exhausting now days. We have our good days when nobody has a melt down (or maybe just a couple of melt downs for the day), nobody wets the bed, and everyone eats what you made for dinner.
Then we have the bad days. The days when everything causes a meltdown, from the French Toast you make every Tuesday to keep things on a simple routine, to the thunder they thought they heard, or the little brother who is stuck on singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star (which was big brother’s favorite song yesterday but is irritating him today). Sigh, I know.
Then we have the really bad days were we just want to go back to bed. The days when you have done 3 loads of laundry before 6 am. When you have showered your 13 year old 4 times before 7am and stripped his room (and the bathroom) and completely disinfected and sanitized it for the 3rd day in a row. The days when he has forgotten/refuses to do anything for himself and calls you every bad name he can think of and then some that you can’t and don’t want to understand. I’ve been there. Sometimes these phases last a day or two or sometimes a week or two.
I can remember a few years ago when I had to clean my son’s room. It was a horrible mess. I grabbed rubber gloves and trash bags. I went to his room and opened the window. I filled those bags and started tossing them out the window because it was so nasty and I just couldn’t bear the thought of cleaning the stuff again just to have him repeat this scene again in a day or two. I was about 3 weeks from my due date with our 8th child. While cleaning I started throwing up because it was so bad. I ended up in the hospital for 3 days, at one point they thought I would be delivering the baby early. This was a week before Christmas and we had already planned a party for friends and family. The timing couldn’t have been worse. The party was cancelled and all last minute Christmas shopping went undone. But we made it through that and you will make it through whatever it is that you are going through right now too. (A very healthy baby boy was born 2 weeks later.)
I have my kids 24/7 with only a slight reprieve two times a week (when he feels like coming or something else doesn’t come up in his schedule) for maybe 2 hours a time (which was scheduled to be 5 hours each time but he never makes it that long). I can’t leave because something always happens. Sometimes I go to my bedroom or sit outside but the kids usually wander away and end up with me so I really have almost no ‘Me time’.
I know the brave front you put on when you are out and about. I know the fear when the kid next to you wipes their snotty nose on their hand and then goes to play with your kid. I know that if my kid catches whatever that is that life will be miserable for the next week or two. Not too mention the fact that it will eventually spread through the house and I’ll end up sick trying to tend to 6 kids by myself too. Yep, I know.
I also know that we need to be there for each other. We need to be a support system for each other. Whether by joining blogs or Facebook groups. If someone offers to help then let them. They can do dishes, wash laundry or just sit with the kids while you nap. Maybe when you the kids get comfortable you can even sneak away to do the grocery shopping by yourself.
Don’t keep trying to do it by yourself as you will just crash and burn. Trust me, I know.
If you are a friend or neighbor, maybe a parent or sibling of someone who has a special needs child please know that they do need you and they need your support. I can’t tell you how much it means just to chat for a minute on Messenger or a couple of texts when I am having a hard day. Let me tell you that I will never turn down food, especially ready to eat food. When someone shows up unexpectedly at the door with an armload of pizzas it is a wonderful feeling to know they were thinking about you.

Another Day

Another Day Original Blog Post April 21, 2016
I’m sitting here trying to finish a cup of coffee before anyone else wakes up. After my overwhelming day yesterday which has been full of weeks and months of overwhelming days I really need a break. I’m not picky, I’ll take them whenever I can get them.
I hope everyone is a little less stressed and overwhelmed as I am. I am telling myself that today will be better than yesterday and I am determined that it will be. The past few weeks have been hard, so very hard emotionally, mentally and physically. The stress of divorce is taking is toll on me in every way. We had a bout of the flu a few weeks ago and I feel like I just can’t get over it. Not to mention that I have had a headache almost every day for the past month. (I suffer from migraines.) I probably should go to the doctor but with no insurance it would probably cost me a small fortune.
It seems that everything has just been irritating me lately. The kids have been so loud. The phone rings too many times. Nothing I do seems to go as planned. Unexpected bills keep popping up. One of the kids keeps bossing everyone around and another one’s favorite word is ‘Butthead’. I know I’m just stressed so I have to keep reminding myself that I need to slow down and BREATHE!
Yesterday I had to take a small break, in my closet, to ask GOD to help me get through the evening. Afterwards I felt renewed and I was able to get the island cleared. I designated one of the girls to clean the playroom, and another to put away some dishes in the lower cabinets. The kids took turns coming and getting ‘assignments’ from me as I fixed dinner. The playroom was cleaned and every room was fairly neat before dinner. I pulled out the paper plates and served dinner. (I would’ve opted for pizza but the drive to get it just seemed to much.)
I was kind of craving a glass of wine but I don’t have any alcohol in the house so I opted for a glass of Coca Cola and a piece of leftover chocolate from Easter.
After dinner everyone seemed a little quieter. The girls cleared the table and swept the floors while I gave the little boys a bath. Watching the water drain made me remember what I had forgotten earlier. So I grabbed the drain tool and cleared the hair out of it. I finished up the kitchen, fixed the coffee pot for the morning, started the dishwasher and sat with the kids until it was their bedtime.
When they were settled in bed I took a couple minutes and jotted down some things I need to work on for today like picking out some wedding outfits for the little boys so big sister can approve them, clearing off the top of my desk, clearing off the work area of my desk, putting away the piles of school papers into the portfolios, and trying on the outfit I plan to wear to court next week.
Then I went to bed. I lay in bed every night and try my best to fall asleep. Sleep doesn’t come easy. I lay there and I pray. I pray about everything and I thank GOD for all he has done. I pray that he will take away the pain I feel both physical and emotional. I’ve prayed that he would have his way, not mine, in this situation. I pray that he will build a hedge of protection around my family and me. I thank him for all he has done for me and my family. I know I don’t thank him enough and he is so good to me. It always ends in tears. The pain seems so unbearable at times and it seems like it will never get easier. All I can do is cry out for GOD to help me with this and help me get to a place where it doesn’t hurt so bad. I have to pray for the strength to get through the next day, and the next. It is getting easier but it still hurts every time I find an old note, an old picture, or a forgotten memory pops up.
Its so easy to let it get you down. You need to stay on guard. This is when the DEVIL likes to sneak in. Ask GOD to put a hedge around you and your family. GOD will protect you and give you the strength you need when you feel you just can’t go on. Trust me, I know! I’ve been there so many times lately. I don’t deserve the mercy and grace he shows me everyday. I really hope everyone has a BLESSED day!

I still believe in fairy tales…

Original Blog Post May 26, 2016
Even though my last relationship ended badly and I was hurt beyond belief, I survived. I know that sometimes things just aren’t meant to be. That’s OK. We are working on being better people and being the best possible parents we can be to our children. We just weren’t good together.
I didn’t want to admit it at first but it soon became painfully clear that we just didn’t click anymore. It was hard to admit that to myself as I felt like a failure. I desperately clung to the dreams we had made and I tried so hard to make him feel the way he felt in the beginning.
That was a big part of the problem. I couldn’t change his feelings and I resented him for not wanting what I wanted. I resented him for a lot of things. Mostly I resented him for being happy without me and without our family. Does this mean that I still resent him? Maybe, sometimes, yes. It still hurts to know that he could just walk away from what I felt that we had. It hurts that he could walk away from our family like he did. It’s not fun and I hate that he left me alone. I felt like that was so totally unfair.
Well, that’s on him. I can only control how I feel and what I do. If he felt that I wasn’t what he wanted then that’s OK. If he felt that his family was too much of a burden and that they were cramping his life style then that’s OK too. I know that there is still a chance that I may find my happily ever after. Maybe I already have. My relationship status doesn’t define who I am or how I should feel. My past doesn’t necessarily define my future.The fact that I have a large family does make matters a little more complicated. I need to be aware of how everything affects my family.
That doesn’t mean that I can’t dream. I still believe in fairy tales. Maybe it won’t be a knight in shining armor that steals my heart away but I know there are still good men out there. They may be really hard to find but I know they are there. There are men who put their families first and who work hard each and every day. They aren’t afraid to get dirty and they will do what it takes to get the job done. They can be tough as nails but still be sensitive when you need a shoulder to cry on.
I believe there will come one who takes my breath away and causes my heart to flutter. One who makes me smile at just the thought of him and I know he will feel the same about me. One who will wash away all the pain from my past and show me how it feels to be treated right.
So for now I will be patient. I will try everyday to be a better person than I was yesterday. I will be stronger and I will learn from my mistakes. I will have faith that my fairy tale will have a happy ending.

Take a peek into my morning

 Original Blog Post April 21, 2016
Its 9:00 am and I’m sitting on my bed feeling overwhelmed already. I was determined I would make it through the day without crying or feeling sad but that’s not the case.
Something my husband said the other day still haunts me and it saddens my heart for him, our children, and for what the future holds if he doesn’t change the path he is on. I know he says he is happy but I can’t help but feel sad when I think of how he will feel when the day comes and he realizes what he gave up on and what he missed out on.
A friend texted me this morning just to let me know they were thinking of me and that made me smile. Something that I haven’t done a lot of lately. I’ve been worried about my friend too and have been thinking of them and their problems.
I feel a bit guilty because I have not been as faithful in my praying for others the past few weeks so I will set my prayer notebook out to remind me every time I walk into my room. It doesn’t take long to take a peek at someone or something I have written down. I can focus on praying for that person or situation instead of focusing on my own problems. It will also keep me from trying to take things into my own hands and leaving them with God which is where I need to leave them.
I haven’t accomplished as much as I wanted to yet and I’ve lost my focus. I’ve settled many disputes over Legos and train tracks, fixed broken toys, cleaned up spilled milk, and fed the animals (and the kids). Time to take a little break and look through my list.
Hmmm…
Wake up ✔
Quiet time/devotion X
Shower✔
Get dressed ✔
Take vitamins ✔
Make coffee✔
Empty dishwasher✔
Fix breakfast✔
Kids dressed ✔
Feed animals✔
Lots of ✔s but one big X. Maybe that’s the problem? I didn’t start out right. Yes, I had my cup of coffee and a little ‘me’ time but I didn’t really need alone time I needed some ‘we’ time. God and me time.
So I’ve snuck to my room for a couple of minutes to read my daily devotional from a book by Joyce Meyers and another from ‘Our Daily Bread’. Just what I needed. It was almost my story told by another person. It reinforces choices I made in the past that I have been questioning. The last sentence says ‘But if our loving Father has handpicked us for our task, who are we to whisper, “I can’t do this”?’. Wow. He knows what we need before we do!
Now I’m feeling refreshed and ready to tackle my next projects and get our school day started. Time to formulate my plan of action. I need to put some oil in the diffuser and turn it on… essential oils have made a big difference since taking the kids off of their medications.
There is a load of laundry that needs folded and put away. I can do that while the kids eat their snack and tidy the playroom.
The kitchen trash can needs emptied so I can give that to one of the girls to take out and hand the mail to another to carry to the mailbox.
I also need to set out some pork for dinner, maybe I should try to convert that recipe to work in the crockpot?, maybe.
After snack and chores we can do our Morning Time get started on our independent work.
The bathrooms need a quick clean which can be done while they are working and maybe I can sneak in a quick vacuuming while the boys watch a ‘Signing Times’ video? .
Ok, focus has been found. Not a whole lot of things to work on but enough to help me feel I’ve accomplished a few things. Then I will take another little break, read another passage from my notebook, and pick another person and/or situation to focus on and formulate my next ‘plan of attack’ for the day’s chores.
It’s almost snack time so I will head back to the kitchen. I can hear the kids arguing about turtles. They are trying to decide if turtles are reptiles or dinosaurs. Now I hear my special needs son calling someone a ‘Butthead’ so he will be going to his room for a little quiet time of his own.
I’m sure this will result in a tantrum with lots of yelling and screaming but it will be followed by a few minutes of quiet and then he will come out and apologize. Then he’ll give me a hug and say he wants to have a ‘Good Day’ and we will start over. (This reminds me that he still needs a haircut.) But before that I need to rescue the alligator from a ‘net’… Have I mentioned how much the kids like Animal Planet and Steve Irwin?
I’ll check back in a bit.
Snack was bananas and some chocolate graham crackers. There was denial of the name calling, followed by a tantrum. After a few minutes in his room he did ask if he could come out. (This was much sooner than anticipated because I think he really wanted his snack.) He apologized and all was well for a few minutes.
Sigh, then the girls were arguing over a word search book. Little sister said she had it first and Big sister said it was her book. Little sister brought the argument to me as she was sure she was in the right. I looked at the book and it was Big sister’s book so I explained to Little sister that she can’t take someone else’s things and claim them. Then that put Little sister is in a grumpy mood… no fun!
That being said the clothes didn’t get folded during snack time. Then when I made it back to the laundry room there were no empty baskets.
The oil diffuser did get started and the trash was carried out. Bonus: The bathrooms got cleaned and I did get the bathroom trash into the trash bag before it was carried out.
I set the pork out for dinner but haven’t had time to decide if I should try to put it in the crockpot.
Morning Time resulted in Little sister going to her bed for a little quiet time. The little boys were fighting over the alligator and the ‘net’. My other son was just LOUD about everything and he would start giggling and shouting ‘I farted!’. which would send everyone else holding their noses and shouting ‘EWWW!’. This repeated itself over and over again.
After giving up on accomplishing any more Morning Time activities I set up the laptops and got out the morning work for the kids. Everyone is now working quietly.
The girls are sitting at the island and the 4 year old is sitting with the 9 year old ‘helping’ her with her math. (Crazy thing is that he can usually get it right.) She is more motivated to get her work done when she ‘teaching’ someone else so they both benefit.
Grumpy sister is quietly doing her work after a little bit of trouble getting started. Teenage sister helped her get through a little problem she had with irregular plural nouns. She is feeling pretty motivated because I gave them a couple of coloring sheets for Earth Day and she really likes to color.
Loud brother is actually coloring quite intently. It takes a lot of concentration to keep the crayon in the lines and he is drawing the family standing on top of the earth picture. I need to go over his lessons but I think I’ll wait a bit. Then we also need to do his reading lesson… that will be so much fun! Actually he is getting much better at reading and as long as he has a fun activity to do after it he will be motivated to get it done quickly. If he isn’t motivated it will take us FOREVER!
The 2 year old has pulled out a puzzle I recently bought at the thrift store and he is working diligently on it while watching Dinosaur Train. I notice that one of the maps has been pulled partially off the wall so that’ll need fixed. Maybe I can do that before I vacuum?
It’s 11:30. Time for me to make some lunch, tuna sandwiches with some tomatoes from the garden?, and maybe fold some clothes while they eat. I will sneak in a little quiet time when I go to put away my clothes and look through my prayer notebook. I will look over my To-Do list and look at what I had planned on getting done today.
Maybe at nap time I can search online for the outfits for the boys. Oldest sister’s wedding is quickly approaching and there is still so much to do. I will at least work on my desk mess a little bit. I know there is a pile of papers that need to be filed so maybe I’ll start there. Then hopefully I can try on the outfit before I go to bed and I noticed yesterday that I need to use the lint roller on it too.
Reading over this makes me realize that sometimes I just put too much on myself. Maybe you do too? There will always be something that needs to be done. Just take it one thing at a time, do the most important things first, break big jobs into little jobs, take rest breaks, and ask for help when you need it!
I hope you enjoyed taking a little peek into my day. I know sometimes I feel like I’ve failed but then I read about the struggles of others and I know that we all have our ‘days’. Sometimes those days are actually weeks or months. Each and every person has their struggles and their own way of dealing with it. Sometimes seeing how others deal with things can help us in our journey.
OK, I gotta go now as Loud brother is now Hungry brother and keeps repeating, ‘Mom, I’m hungry.’
I hope everyone has a blessed day!
NOTE:
While making lunch I realized I didn’t have any tuna so I checked the refrigerator and I had enough lunchboxes from dinner last night to warm up for lunch.
Grumpy sister was still confused about irregular nouns so I went over the work sheet with her and it was such a blessing to watch her face when it ‘clicked’ and she finally understood. She went on to finish the worksheet on her own and got them all correct.
I heard the UPS truck at the front gate but it was gone before I got to the door. Little boys were running around being crazy so I sent them to the gate (which was closed and locked) to retrieve the package for me. I stood at the door watching my little guys and saw how much they are growing and changing on a daily basis. They retrieved the package and picked some flowers. The were so proud when they handed me the flowers and the package.
Big sister helped to clean up after she finished her work and she actually did her reading lesson with no prompting or constant reminding!
Hungry brother probably told me 20 or 30 times he was hungry before I got lunch on the table but he did eventually eat.
Take each day and cherish it. Make memories that will last. Just focus on what is really important in your life. For me right now it is my family. Sticky floors and dirty windows can wait until tomorrow.