Not much time for blogging lately. I miss it but always seem to have about 20 other things going on,even at 4 in the morning.
Being the director and producer of Casa La Crazy has meant at times I feel pulled in a million different directions. So many changes going on,but all for the good. I woke up yesterday in an emotional funk. I wanted to be happy but truth is I was EXHAUSTED!
When someone asked me how I was yesterday and I told them tired they looked at me as if I had sprouted a third eye. Why is it that it’s ok for people to comment to you saying they don’t know how you handle it all,but when you admit every once in awhile(and trust me I must have been exhausted to actually admit I was tired),that you are tired they don’t understand why.
In fact someone actually asked,”Why” yesterday.
Which then makes me feel like I should be able to handle this whole big family life without being tired. I mean we the parents are the ones that chose to have a large family right? So we should be able to handle it all. That’s not always the case. Most the time it is the case,but through different seasons things change.
I know this season of exhaustion is just that…a season. So much is going on and so much is changing.
Things that have happened in the last 4 weeks alone:
– started 3 of the kids in a one day a week parent/public school partnership. Which now means I have to write out their lesson plans,check in with a teacher,and send in monthly progress of our homeschooling. Next year that will be all 6 school age kids.
– Kenna’s surgery. Having a kiddo laid up without two working legs is hard. It is for the best,but it is hard. Thankfully her casts are off and she has walking boots on,but she needs a walker, and it has taken her some time to get used to walking in the boots. She continues to amaze me though at her “can do” attitude. She even told me she was ready to start doing chores again!
– Moving our ducks and chicks outside. This isn’t necessarily hard,just another thing added to the day. Including the part where I had to stop feeding Squishy last week because all 19 birds managed to get out of the fenced area….it was bound to happen sooner or later. I was hoping for thought!
– The great bedroom swap! Oh yes we did it again. Too many girls going through puberty,needing to be alone. Two little girls who still play with toys and live in fantasy lands. Yes we swapped rooms. IT IS DONE and I will not swap again until we move!!! Which by the way I have informed Brandon we’re not moving again EVER. Well unless we buy a house or the owner decides to move back here.
– My mom’s visit. She arrives tomorrow! HOORAY!!! I’m genuinely looking forward to this.
So it’s not like all these things are bad,in fact none of them are and I enjoy having them be part of my life. It is just a lot going on at one time. I’m sure I’ll adjust to it all,but in the mean time I’m exhausted. I think it’s OK for all of us to become exhausted once in awhile. It means you’re working hard and hopefully with all your heart.
In fact by the time I adjust,knowing me, I”ll add something new to the mix. So for now….Here’s To Exhaustion!!! I raise my coffee cup to you!
My poor poor kids…is what I think on most days I mean they do have to deal with me day in and day out. I can be strict I can be off the wall with new ideas that they know will only last a day at most,then there are some days when it seems like EVERYONE is in my bubble!
Then there are the days that this momma has been up since 4:30 am and is feeling a little loopy while trying to breast feed a child and get a gourmet dinner of fish sticks,french fries, and pickles and olives out. Why is it out of the easiest meals I’ve “made” this week it took me the longest to get it to the table?
Maybe it was because the day before I had been suffering from a SERIOUS case of the grumpies….I mean serious people. No amount of coffee in the world seemed to help,not even topped with whipped cream. No cutest baby smiles….no I love yous….not even my kids doing their school work compliantly could pull me out of that stupid funk.
So yesterday as the “dinner rush” was about to begin and my loopiness from being awake so long began to take affect,I decided we needed music. Not just any music but the kind that makes you wanna jump(Sing it with me y’all Jump Jump!),dance,and croon right along. We needed 80’s and 90’s boy band music! Thank God for Pandora because within minutes we were singing (ok I was doing most of the singing) and dancing along to New Kids On The Block,Bel Biv Devoe,Nsync,Backstreet Boys,and even a little Michael.
I rotated kids in and out of the kitchen to help throw the fish sticks on a sheet or in the oven,while others practiced their smooth dance moves in the living room. I use the word smooth loosely have you ever seen a room full of 7-10 year olds trying to imitate boy band moves?I wish I would’ve taken some video.
AND THE MUSIC????? Well it was up pretty loud.
Thank God Squishy likes music. Oh and the neighbor girl ya know Kenna’s best friend? She sat staring at us like we were all nuts for the most part. I often wonder why she loves coming over so much, (she has become a permanent fixture in our house and is welcomed happily.) then I realize it’s probably like getting to go to the circus for free.
WELCOME TO CASA LA CRAZY…..
Where you may come in with the grumpies but you will never ever leave without a smile!
Is it bad when you go to your wordpress site and have to re log in and pray please please please auto insert my info because I can’t remember it?!? Thankfully as you can tell by the fact that I AM blogging it did auto fill in my info for me! PHEWWWW!!! The world is saved.
Of course we’ve been busy busy busy here at Casa La Crazy.I have found that it I aptly named this house. School is in full swing here for both the bonus girls as well as my kiddos. We are starting a year long study of the Chronicles of Narnia so I’m hoping to be able to blog a bit more about our homeschooling adventures!
Speaking of homeschooling a group of us finally started our own homeschool group and it has been such a wonderful resource for me. We all gathered together on Friday and just to be around other moms while all of our “unsocialized” kids sit staring at each other(insert sarcasm here) is awesome! All the kids seem to get along as well as all of us mothers!
Here’s a pic of me and two other mommas of fairly new littles. This was last month at one of our field trips:
On top of homeschooling we had not one but TWO birthdays last week! Yup it’s October again!I can not even believe that Holly is now 8 and Lane has finally reached the double digits of 10!!!!
The temps have finally dropped here and they just seem to keep on dropping. We were supposed to go on a fieldtrip earlier this week but it got cancelled due to the weather.This week we’re supposed to hit up an Alpaca Farm! Please let it be pleasent enough to do so.
I have so many posts on my recent re entry into motherhood,floating around in my tiny little mind.Let me tell you a 9 year break between having babies has given me so much time to form my own opinions,learn more about different “methods”,help me to understand my baby more,and honestly given me time to grow more patience!
Wait Wendy you’re not patient?But you HOMESCHOOL…….ohhhh bwahahaha yet another myth of the homeschooling community!
Well Squishy is doing the squishy dance in her bassinet which means she’ll be up soon so I suppose I should be going for now.This is me waving hello to all of you! Hope you have a great weekend!
One would think after living for 6 months in the Frat House surrounded by others,that when we got our own place,it would only make sense to cocoon ourselves up for a bit and not socialize. HA! no not even a regular HA,but a big ol fat stinkin BWAHAHAHAHA.
One thing that my mom taught me very well(among other things) was how to be very very very social.Seriously the girl can make friends in the frozen food aisle of a grocery store,and has.
Last year when we first moved here we tried to get involved in a homeschool group. It wasn’t a good fit for us,but out of that I met my first friend I made since moving back here. So almost a year ago Charity and I met. We quickly became friends that day chatting and then realizing our birthdays were only a day apart.(Cough Cough,June 1st,it’s comin up ya’ll.) No wonder we were both so chatty and friendly…we’re Geminis.
Not only is she a friend in real life,but she blogs over here at WordPress as well! You can find her at http://urbanhippiechick.wordpress.com/
We have been trying for the last year to have a good get together. With my living situations though and just life in general it has almost been impossible on my end. Last night however we Finally got that chance!
The kids all played while us 4 adults enjoyed conversing. Heck we even managed to shoo the guys off on their own for a bit and got some girl talk in. Hey we all need it every once in awhile.
You know the night was a success when all the kids are hugging each other goodbye and B is pushing off his leaving time for work as much as he can.
The funnest sight was all the kids gathering together for meal time. After I called them all in I walked back into the house to find them like this waiting for their food to be dished up.
3 of them had already made their way through the line.
***THIS JUST IN*** Homeschoolers actually KNOW how to socialize and have fun!!!!
You know it was a successful get together when everyone is even too busy for dessert! Oh well a little berry cobbler for breakfast never hurt anyone.
Next get together will be for our birthday!!!
Friday BEFORE, that stupid fluid filled cyst decided to erupt inside of me,the kids and I spent the night with my cousins.
We were going to to head out, watch Mama Mia and then in the morning I was going to make cinnamon rolls for everyone including my other cousin Debbie(Teri’s younger sister) and her boyfriend. Oh and we were going to make Smores in the fireplace.It’s a rule when we come over(or are living there) we make S’mores.
We had such a fun visit! We ended up watching Dumb and Dumber instead of Mama Mia because by the time Teri and I got back from the grocery store we were too tired to stay up till midnight watching it.**Cough Cough**we’re getting old **Cough Cough**It was weird though to sleep in the house that we first lived in for a month when we moved up here. Very very weird.
I woke up the next morning before my alarm went off at 5:30 to get the dough rising. I love making these cinnamon rolls. They’re the closest to the Cinnabon that I’ve tasted. When I lived in Arizona I used to have cinnamon roll Saturdays where I would quadruple the batch and deliver them to friends. Heck even Aunt Teri got one last year at Christmas time flown up to her.
We then watched Mama Mia or at least part of it while the rolls were baking and the rest of breakfast was being made.It was the perfect way to spend a Saturday morning,hanging out with family sharing old stories and catching up on new ones.
Speaking of sharing. I know some of you have been asking for quite awhile for my cinnamon roll recipe.Since I just can’t drive over to most of your houses and spend the night and make rolls in the morning I thought I would finally share my recipe with you.
Be careful though I’ll warn you. Baking these cinnamon rolls is like the gateway drug into baking. Once you make these nummy guys you’ll want to explore the world of baking more and more and more.It can become ugly pretty fast.
So here is my nummy recipe for cinnamon rolls taken from some site a very very long time ago
Cinnamon Rolls (the best eva)
2 pkg. active dry yeast
1 C. warm water (105-115 degree)
2/3 C. plus 1 tsp. granulated sugar, divided
1 C. warmed milk
2/3 C. butter
2 tsp salt
2 eggs, slightly beaten
7-8 C. all-purpose flour, or more if needed
1 C. melted butter, divided (2 sticks)
1 3/4 C. granulated sugar, divided
3 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 C. chopped walnuts, optional
1 1/2 C. raisins, optional
2/3 C. melted butter (1 stick plus 2 Tbsp.)
4 C. powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
4-8 Tbsp. hot water
In a small bowl mix together warm water, yeast and sugar and set aside. In a large bowl, mix milk, remaining 2/3 cup sugar, melted butter, salt and eggs; stir well and add yeast mixture. Add half the flour and beat until smooth. Stir in enough of the remaining flour until dough is slightly stiff (dough will be sticky).
Turn out onto a well-floured board; knead 5 -10 minutes. Place in well-buttered glass or plastic bowl, cover and let rise in warm place, free from drafts, until doubled in bulk, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
When doubled, punch down dough and let rest 5 minutes. Roll out on floured surface into a 15 x 20 inch rectangle.
To prepare filling: Spread dough with 1/2 cup melted butter. Mix together 1 1/2 cups sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over buttered dough. Sprinkle with walnuts and raisins, if desired.
Roll up jellyroll-fashion and pinch edge together to seal. Cut into 12 to 15 slices. Coat bottom of a 13-by-9-inch baking pan and a 8-inch square pan with remaining 1/2 cup melted butter, then sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Place cinnamon roll slices close together in pans. Let rise in warm place until dough is doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until rolls are nicely browned. Cool rolls slightly.
To prepare glaze: Meanwhile, in medium bowl, mix melted butter, powdered sugar and vanilla; add hot water 1 Tbsp. at a time until glaze reaches desired spreading consistency. Spread over slightly cooled rolls.
This recipe was adapted by using a recipe that was originally published in the Portland newspaper as their best shot at Cinnabons, I think you will find this pretty darn close. Thanks to Judy Hilman, pointed us in the right direction for this recipe.
The secret I found out with having the best cinnamon rolls is to really estimate about how much flour you’re putting in. Start with the initial amount but then as your adding you really just have to use the “feel” method. The dough is ready when it is still a bit sticky and very stretchy. Yes it’s still gonna stick to your fingers but you’ll live I promise.
I wish I could come to each of your houses and make some for you and we could laugh over cinnamon rolls and lots of coffee but this will just have to do for now. Well unless of course you’re paying traveling expenses.
Make these SOON!!!I always make a double batch because my kids can easily scarf down three and these bad boys get huge!
****This will be my last installment on being a single mom. While my blog is partly about my single momness(yes it’s a word I say it is so there), I do not want my blog to only focus on this. While I’m happy to provide encouragement and feel like I have I want to take a minute to talk about one of the the down sides of being a single mom.****
I’ve mentioned before that after becoming a single mom I moved down to Arizona to “find myself.” Obviously finding myself involved moving to the desert of Phoenix AZ in the middle of August. Yes to top that off my air conditioner went out in the car our first week there. Hello 115 degree weather and 4 very young kids!
The other part of finding myself included looking up old highschool friends. WHY I even thought this was a good idea I still will never know. The one person I did reconnect with among many was my old highschool flame. After 6 months living in the hot desert and dating him on and off we decided to blend our families and me move up to Northern Arizona ,where they do in fact get snow. Now I did live separately from him for another 6 months,but eventually we moved in together.He had two young boys so together we had 6 kids that I homeschooled.
All of the dirty little details escape me now. Mostly because I’ve blocked them out. Mostly because it doesn’t really apply to this blog post. However I can say after 2 years of emotion and verbal abuse that was quickly turning physical I packed up my kids and myself and moved to an apartment in the same town.
I remember that day and how good I felt. I had been very blessed that two of my very good friends from our local homeschool group had offered not only their help but also their husbands. I didn’t have a lot of stuff so one flat-bed trip later all of our stuff was piled in the corner of our two bedroom apartment.
You see my homeschool group I had belonged to for those 2 years had been intricate in me getting enough courage to leave this guy. After the last year of being cowarded in a corner being yelled at over “go on just leave but no one will want your sorry ass with 4 kids anyways” , or that I was fat and lazy if I could only squeeze my butt into a size 6 instead of a size 0 or 2, my self-esteem was non-existent to say the least. They had seen me care for all 6 of these kids, and bring them to various functions all on my own.
After moving, the kids and I would show up for different homeschool functions and everyone would ask how I was doing. If it was a “family” event I would muster up enough courage to go. You see it was hard for me, as it is I’m sure for a lot of single moms to go to events where they see “happy” families,dads included.I knew however how important it was for the kids to go, so I would put my uneasiness aside. However I always ended up feeling blessed because the dads at these functions would take extra time to talk with my kids and encourage them, they would then ask me if there was anything I needed. Me being the stubborn person I am(yes yes I’ll admit it) would never admit needing help with anything. I mean I was after all an adult I could figure most things out.
So slowly the kids and I started piecing back together our lives. We lived in a nice small community, I had my other single mom friends, a good church, and life was good. Summer came and the kids all played baseball, where we ran into other families from the home school community. The dad’s took time to help out my kids knowing I wasn’t the most athletic of people.
Towards the start of the school year, the leader of the homeschool group contacted me and asked me to pray about becoming the leader for the following year. She was stepping down. I met for coffee with one of my friends that had helped me move and excitedly told her about what I had been asked. This kind of role was exactly what I needed to boost my self-esteem,plus I had already been homeschooling for at least 3 years at this point so I had a lot of good ideas.
This is where she shared with me a conversation she had with another homeschool mom. I guess the other mom had asked if I had been dating. I laughed and told my friend I had been on one date that had ended badly VERY badly. My friend then shared with me that this other girl had told her she didn’t think I’d be a good leader because I was a “single mom” (gasp oh I know the HORROR) and that it made her and some other ladies uncomfortable having me in the group as a single mom. My friend felt so horrible telling me…you could see it in her face. I assured her(at least I hope I did) that there were no ill feelings towards her from me. I then got into my car,feeling like I had been slapped in the face,and drove home.
Really? I made the other ladies uncomfortable because I was a single mom? I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. Neither could I wrap my head around the fact that me being a single mom would make me any less qualified to be a leader in the group. The homeschool group was for the kids. It had nothing to do with my living situation. Plus weren’t these the same ladies that for the last year of that horrid relationship,had encouraged me to leave him and move out on my own?It just didn’t make sense to me. They were fine with me being in the group knowing I was in an abusive relationship, but not ok with me being in the group as a single, healthy, mom?What did that even have to do with homeschooling in the first place?Through it all I had continued to homeschool and put my kids first in every other aspect of my life. How did the two even mesh?
I remember getting the kids inside the apartment then sitting out on the front steps and just absolutely losing it. I sat there and cried and cried. I cried mostly for my kids,knowing that this whole time being in this group they had been known as “that single mom’s kids.” It was bad enough that almost weekly I was asked in front of the kids if they all had the same dad, but now these group of people who were supposed to be our friends, we made uncomfortable. In my mind still to this day, one has nothing to do with the other.
It made me angry. No angry is too kind of a word. It royally pissed me off. If people wanted to punish me because I was trying to make a better life for us, then fine do that. If people wanted to punish my kids though…..how fair is that?
I remember sharing with my kids we were not going to be part of the homeschool group the following year. We would still get together with the other friends but not the group as a whole. I remember them asking why and my reason of “just because” was not enough to feed their curiosity. So, I told them the truth. I remember one of my kids saying,
“Isn’t that racist?” to which we launched into a lesson of, no being a single parent is not a race but it is discriminatory.
My kids amazed me all agreeing with me that we should no longer be apart of a group that we made “uncomfortable.” My kids constantly surprise me with their grasp on human interactions.
So yes punish me if you see so fit. I know not everyone will always agree with my decisions in life, but please don’t punish my kids. I write this post not to bring you down, but to be real. There will be times in your life when people don’t agree with you being a single mom. Try to remember though through it all,it doesn’t really matter what other people think as long as you keep putting your kids first.
I remember telling other people I was going to homeschool the kids. Well at that time it was only homeschooling Nathaniel, with Kenna as a tag along and two other small ones who would pop up on my lap to see what was going on. That’s beside the point though.Anyways,I would tell people that we were going to homeschool and besides the whole “Gasp your kids will be anti social mutants” comments the next popular comment was
“ummm are you sure you have enough patience to do that?” My answer to that was simply, no I didn’t I guess I would have to learn though huh?
Nowadays when people find out I homeschool they usually respond with “I could never have enough patience to do that.” I respond with a giggle and assure them that neither did I when I first started.
In the beginning I loved the planning aspect of homeschooling. I loved nothing more than to sit down and figure out the whole school year in advance.(still love the planning part) all the field trips and fun things we would do. That summer before I started my first year I planned out all our breaks. Exactly how long we would homeschool…when lunch and snack times would be. Then,the actual school year started.
Wait…what?You mean on the third Tuesday of the first month I’m gonna end up having to run to the store mid morning because I’m outta formula?Wait that’s gonna throw off a huge portion of our English. Ohhh that science experiment is gonna take longer then 20 minutes because the kids want to do it over and over again?What about their math?Well they’re still learning. Oh we homeschool so we CAN take a vacation in April even though I have had all of April planned out since September. Yeah my yearly schedule fell to pot pretty quickly. Heck even when I try to do a monthly schedule it doesn’t always stick. I have learned to keep a loose time frame in my head and then every weekend sit down and do the week’s lesson plans. It’s what works for us. I learned though that even I “super momma of the Universe” can not always get things to go the way I want to. (sad revelation I know :()
Those were the easy problems to handle. The harder ones came when I would sit down one on one with a child to work on a subject they were especially struggling with. How many times did I want to just say “no let me show you,you do it like this.” I didn’t though. As much as I may have wanted to rip the pencil out of the kids hands and write out the answer for them…I didn’t. I sat back and let them figure it out.
Or about the time I was teaching an ex boyfriends child how to read.(Yes there was a point I homeschooled 6 kiddos) and he just wasn’t getting it. I could tell him the letter B says bu and then ask him what the letter B said and he would pull out some random sound. Talk about frustrating(the kids was 6) I’ll admit it. There were times I’d step outside and call my mom out of pure frustration and just cry. Yet I kept with it. By the end of the school year, the child’s reading level had gone from below Kindergarten up to a Third grade reading level!
The biggest patience teacher for me has been art. I’m not an artist in any sense of the word. Although my children will tell you I draw awesome stick figures! (oh and they say my flowers for charting how a flower turns oxygen into carbon monoxide are pretty good as well) I have had to learn that yes some of my children are great artists,while some have inherited mom’s wonderful stick person talent. Art takes time though. Time takes patience…nuff said.
This patience thing has rubbed off into other parts of my life as well. I find myself in general just being less stressed and anxiety filled because I realize most things take time. This is definitely something I don’t think I would’ve ever learned had I not homeschooled my kids. So for that…I say thank you kids. Momma loves you!
We are starting our 7th year of homeschooling. It’s hard for me to believe that we’ve actually been doing it for 7 years but we have! Through those years what started out very much as a “school at home” setting has turned into a “way of life” setting. Some people don’t realize this but yes homeschooling,just like country living,is a way of life.
The one thing I love about homeschooling is the people you meet. Everyone has a story as to why they homeschool. At first glance it may seem one of the generic reasons we’ve all heard,religious, not wanting their kids around bad influences, rebellion against the public school system or even the fact that the parents themselves were homeschooled and they carried on the tradition. As you talk to these families though more you find that each family is unique as to why they homeschool.
For me there was really a quite practical reason we began homeschooling. I lived in the middle of nowhere with 3 young children and one very small infant. Ok maybe not out in the middle of nowhere we lived in outside of a town called Granite Falls, WA. Ever heard of it?Yeah not many people have. I lived there, I was still married at the time, and we had a really bad winter. The kind of winter where if you hate snow(ahem like some of us. Yes I know I moved away from AZ back to snow country again,don’t ask) you are pretty much miserable. I also had a little two month old baby as well as a5, 3 and 2 years old. My oldest was going to Public School. I had known a couple people who had homeschooled before such as my cousin but at this point in my life figured it might be too much for me to handle.
I was EXHAUSTED doing the driving into town to drop him off for school then pick him up. He had tested into an accelerated Kindergarten class, so he was bringing home more homework then I thought could even be possible for a kid at 5 to do. Most afternoons we sat around doing an additional 3 hours of schoolwork. Another really big factor. I really missed having Nathaniel home with me. Here he was learning all of these great things at school and I was not there to witness them. I wanted to homeschool him then,but he was also in speech and I knew for now he needed that service.
By winter time there were days I literally could not get down the hill to go into town. I would email the teacher and let her know and she had agreed to email me the day’s lessons if we were absent. I quickly found mostly everything he was bringing home for homework was basically the work they were supposed to be doing in school during the day.By the time the first parent teacher conference rolled around I was convinced we should be homeschooling. The teacher said he was doing great in class, he just had a lot of energy and maybe we should have him tested for ADD. I had worked in preschool,kindergarten, and daycare my whole life. I knew that yes Nathaniel had a lot of energy he was a 5 year old boy, but it wasn’t an abnormal amount. I also found out at that meeting that Nathaniel had not been going to speech. When I approached the speech teacher as to why her answer was,”Well I didn’t want him missing out on class or the other kids making fun of him for having to leave class” Umm…this was in his IEP he NEEDED speech! She agreed to start taking him out for speech. By the end of the year he had only gone to speech 5 times.
So we decided that he would finish up Kindergarten then come home. This is where the research started for me. I devoured all things homeschooling. Read a bunch of what our First Grader needed to know…..or Second grader. Scanned the world wide web for curriculums and lessons. I didn’t want to miss one single thing.
Here we are now 6 full years later and I don’t regret my decision one bit. All 4 kids are homeschooled. I love the fact that like now for instance,in the middle of our African Safari, we’re all learning something together.Of course there are those days where I wanna pull my hair out. The days where it’s very clear no one wants to do school. There are also the days where we all sit around the table and laugh and talk about the things we’ve learned.
I started out a very strictly scheduled homeschooler. Over the last couple of years though I’ve stopped with the “They have to know every little thing.There can’t be any gaps,” mentality, and learned to “Go with the flow” Our homeschooling style though is for another post.