Thursday, March 31, 2016


Oh my goodness!

First of all I have to say how pumped I am to be able to say:
“Oh my goodness, you guys!”

Because… I loved hearing from so many of you, living in so many places, that you also say “you guys!" Huge perk from that post, which I was NOT expecting. I had no idea how wide spread that was -- I took my one time incident to mean it was only a Chicago thing (on that trip to Texas I was also made keenly aware of my chicago-y use of the letter “A” inside my words-- lol -- I guess I just felt strangely about all my words there.) Anyway I may accidentally end up saying “You guys” entirely too much for normal speech patterns in the up coming posts. But I will be loving every second of it.


Oh my goodness, you guys!

You have blessed me so much.

I was not expecting anything like that when I asked those questions.
I really thought I’d just be reading a list of something along the lines of “I read for the pregnancy posts only.” “I read for furniture makeovers only.” “I was just hoping you’d post allergy recipes” (Not that I’ve really done that, so that pretend person might be on the wrong blog.)
I just really thought I was taking a cut and dry poll of some sort.

Then instead you went and blew me away with love and kindness and sweetness.

I seriously had no idea you guys were even there. I had kind of just been typing to myself for years, like this was my own journal. I could see that people were viewing the page, or joining the different ways to follow -- but I had heard so little from anyone that it still felt like I was really the only one here.
Then bam -- I find out what I thought was just me flopping around like a fish out water, randomly journaling about it for myself, was actually reaching people and really meaning things to people.
I’m still pretty much speechless and awed.

I’m not sure I can find the words. But "Thank you", are definitely in the mix of words I need to use.

I had been viewing myself quite differently. I had not been seeing myself as... pretty much anything anyone used to describe me in the comments.
When I asked for a mirror to see myself with, I truly thought I was asking to see a harsh reality of things I needed to work on and change. (I thought I was being a major downer, just ruining anyone-who-read-the-blog’s day (all the stinking time.) Or if I wasn’t doing that, then the rest of the time I was just being vain, and stuck on shallow stuff, and annoying everyone with way too many details.) So when you held the mirror up and said you think I’m optimistic, strong, and brave (and you like my details, and all my random things)-- my jaw just dropped. Inside I feel so little of that, I hear so much intense struggling inside so often. But you being willing to share those things (and all the other things) helped me look at myself from outside and really admit to the fact that I have had to be brave and strong to get through things. It really helped me feel so much less hopeless right now. It helped me quiet down all the negative self talk and take another step forward right now.

I don’t mean to be over dramatic right now, but I’m truly not sure how I would have kept putting my feet forward right now without you guys chiming in with all that you have. I am not overstating the fact that your comments have changed my life.

I had no idea I had so many friends, and so many people who cared about me -- cheering me on. And I’m blown away to hear from those of you inside similar situations -- here I thought I was super alone and I’m not. And equally as blown away by those of you who have other situations entirely but still connect, because of, and in spite of them -- that also feels “not alone” as it speaks to how human hearts work and how important that is to honor that.
I had no idea anyone would value my pain (not that you want me to feel pain, but that you would join in, or connect with me there.) (A lot of my in-person experiences when I open up about pain it something along the lines of ‘shh’ing.) I had no idea anyone could relate to all of my seemingly "different and strange" life stuff. And I really wasn’t sure if they random tips and helps, really helped. I just really didn’t know.
My heart is so full it hurts, in a good way, after hearing back from you all.

And it’s not just changing how I feel. How I feel, is making it so I can keep going.
Inside the grief it is so easy to let everything get heavier. And it was getting to where I wasn’t sure I was willing to come back full strength. I wasn’t sure I was willing to try to be all of me anymore. Why not just settle for some-of-me, good enough right?

Only I knew it wasn’t good enough. I didn’t want to let parts of me go. I missed them. I just didn’t have the gumption to go get it all back.

You guys just gave me the gumption.

It’s not going to be easy. But you made me see I want to do it anyway.

So here’s some concrete evidence right here:
Since that post four weeks ago, about the pregnancy weight struggles -- I went ahead and gained 5 of the 10 pounds I had just lost, back -- just being too sad, tired and defeated to care.
(On Easter, a lady at church asked my baby if he wanted to tell her if there was another one of him coming (I’m holding him propped up over my waist -- Her: “Do you have anything you want to tell me? Is there another one of you coming?”) Honestly I’m still confused about that conversation. The easy path to go down is “Yep I still look pregnant, thank you for noticing.” But that lady is not usually like that (and my kind husband insisted I don’t look pregnant right now -- I’m not sure I believe him, but) and she didn’t seem to exude “I put my foot in my mouth” when I said “oh no…not now, maybe not ever, I don’t know” so maybe she was just having hopeful  thoughts for later? Either way -- not my favorite conversation I’ve had.)

Anyway you guys helped me cross over that invisible wall of “I’ll never do this.”
Monday I started eating healthy again. Tuesday night after kid bedtime I made it to the gym and swam laps, after a very LONG absence of anything like that at all.
That’s honestly an enormous victory, that I did that. I had to cross over the emotional hurdles left over from pregnancy (working out made me sicker -- so I was still dealing with post traumatic work out stress or something.) I had to put on a swim suit and be around humans. {I currently fit in nothing I own right -- each option looking terrible because it’s either too big and pregnancy accentuating (AKA makes me look like I’m definitively early pregnant and over-excited to wear my maternity suit), or my other options are shamefully too small and scary. (I went with too-big-and-pregnant-ish.)} I also had to just cross over the pride line of “wow -- I’ve been paying for a gym I never go to for so long, I don’t deserve to go back.” And I had to face the fear of how hard it would feel physically -- how out of shape, how winded, how slow, how pathetic my laps would look and therefore how daunting the mountain might seem once I start.
I almost backed down numerous times, on the way there I felt like turning the van around. But I kept going because I felt like you guys were there with me. I could tell myself people were routing for me. And that’s saying a lot -- honestly I didn’t know how I was going to step foot back in the place again. You got me there.

It actually felt extremely good to swim again. I was slow, but not as slow as I thought. I was winded, but not as winded as I thought. And I had a lot more stamina than I figured I would. I was so happy about it, I am sure I will be going back, and often. (I couldn’t go last night just because life was too busy for our family.)

Since Monday I’ve been able to get 4 of the 5 pounds I threw on recently. (Fast on = fast off.) And once I get this last one off soon, I’ll be working on the “real deal” -- and finally getting this pregnancy weight off. My hoped-for goal is Bronson’s birthday in early July (or at least close to.) I think it’s doable -- I hope. And anyway -- having a goal is always helpful for me -- and that one hits the pride spot, so it’s very motivational.
But I’d love your oh-so-helpful cheering on as I do this. I have a lot of obstacles in the road -- but I really want this -- I just want to be healthy and feel healthy. I may need some love to get there though. Emotions -- they are a beast.

In other news:
I’ve also spent this week reassessing our home school curriculum. (Which I would have had to do at some point either way -- but your guys sweet words really did help me feel confident in myself during this process.)
(By the way, of anything I blog about, blogging about school stuff makes me the most nervous. I know many opinions are out there in MANY variations about school any way you look at it. I just want to do my very best for my kids, but you know how it is when you are a mom, the ever-doubting thoughts “Am I doing good enough?” Not because of me, but because of them and how much I love them. I get nervous to put this stuff on the blog in case anyone implies what I’m doing is going to limit them in some way. But whatever, I know I’m doing my best, and so I’m gonna blog it anyway.)
     So here’s where I admit I’ve been really bad at keeping consistent with doing school this year. Sick-pregnancy, newborn, grandpa dying, brother dying -- I should be glad we’ve done anything at all. (I am actually. Good job me.) And I do keep telling myself at least we are only messing with kindergarten right now. I also keep telling myself that, initially I had hoped to do the Charlotte Mason thing and start school at 6 years old. So I’m not actually behind where I really wanted to be.
But I’ve been feeling the mom-guilt seeing all the peers getting ahead in reading. I feel like I’m not doing Jasmine justice.
But the reality is this…she’s a mathy kid. Math just comes out of her pours, naturally. (I find this somewhat hilarious because I am the worst at math.) BUT reading stresses her out. She hates failing, and since this is new, she will “fail”  in her estimation -- so she will just freeze up and cry during anything to do with reading so far.
She’s been getting what we are doing, without really getting it. She can sound every part out, but she’s so full of nerves she doesn’t hear the word happen, and then gets really upset.

So I’ve decided to do an about-face and switch curriculums even though we should be getting close to done with the school year.
      I’ve actually really liked My Father’s World kindergarten. I think it’s very well done. And I still really like it’s compilation of Charlotte Mason stuff with standard stuff. I might choose to come back to it for Ruby and/or Bronson. And I might come back to MFW for older grades. But for Jasmine right now, the math is too easy and the lessons not occurring in the week often enough for her. And the style of learning-to-read just isn’t hitting her mental gears the right way for her personality.
     Part of me wishes I could have known that a head of time, saved money and effort. BUT I couldn’t have known -- all of this is brand new to all of us. So I’m glad I started  here because it was such a nice combination of things it really aided me in seeing what works for her. And I think we will still use the extras -- the reading lists and science projects. (And if I use it later with another kid, then I didn’t waste money at all.)

Anyway I’ve learned she loves the games and certain worksheet styles. So I’ve spent this last week scouring the internet for information on all stuff school. I’ve looked at so much my brain hurts. I was trying to simultaneously address our current issues while also trying to decide what to do next year. (I wanted to make sure they can transition properly.)
I looked at all sorts of home school curriculums, all sorts of reading programs/techniques/teaching styles (I was determined to find a less stress inducing way for her), as well as Illinois’ school standards of learning. I wanted to see where everything connected and “what’s the big picture goal” kinda thing. What I’ve come to see is that first grade is some what of a holding pattern of getting what is picked up in kindergarten really settled in deep. Some expounding, but not really adding a whole lot. That also made me feel a lot better about where we are at.

Anyway, so my current plan is to start using our new stuff, maybe use a bit of the old stuff as well, and just kinda of keep on trucking through the summer months, because... for one, why not? We need stuff to do all day, summer or not. As well as the fact that we’ve been very slow moving with the way life has come at us this year --- we at at the place where could really rush ourselves and finish our curriculum about when public schools let out -- but I don’t want to do that when we are already crying over reading lessons at a slow pace.

So I’m gonna switch and what I’ve gone with for now is:

 Singapore Math (We got the “Math Essentials” A & B books -- Here and Here.) I like the way they focus on mental math and how they visualize things the way they do -- I feel like that would have benefited me as a kid to grasp things better. Blake is in engineering and he highly approved of their style in terms of how he’s had to grasp math concepts in his field. That played heavily into my decision (since he’s the one who knows what he’s talking about, not me.) AND the style of the worksheets was on par with what Jasmine gets excited about. I showed her some the the samples before hand and she was begging for more. (Win!)
 I think she could have started out with at least the B book, maybe even the first grade one(?), but I figured I’d like to make sure we lay a good foundation since so far MFW has done so very little with math. Jasmine is somehow teaching herself math in day to day life without any help. It’s really cool. But I want to make sure she’s kind of doing it in a way we can keep building on. I’m guessing we can get through these pretty fast, with how much she loves math. But we will see.

And for reading - I’ve bought the starter books for Explode the Code -- Getting Ready for the Code A,B, C books. I know she knows the stuff we will be starting with. But SHE doesn’t know she knows it. She doubts herself so badly. So I wanted to start with something easy and fun so we can hopefully break the “I can’t do it” mental habit.
I’m hoping we can fly through these books and get in a better spot all around. But I need to prepare myself to go slow in case we need to.
But they came in the mail today and she was begging to work on them because she loved how they looked. We started on them and she was thrilled and was having fun. It’s definitely a good fit for her. We will see how far they can get us.
    I also read in a forum about using Bob Books along side these to teach reading. So I ordered those (found a cheap set on ebay) and they are on their way. I think those will also work for us because they start simple and will really aid in the “fear of failure” department, when she will be able to actually read the first book.

I haven’t settled on our first grade stuff yet. It depends on how all this stuff goes. But I’ve really been exploring the Simply Charlotte Mason site in depth and I'm feeling like I will probably piece together my own hodge-podge of things in the vein of their curriculum style, but kind of leaning on the Illinois standards to guide where I get certain elements ; and I may buy pieces from other curriculums I’ve eyed like Sonlight  and later on maybe the core of MFW (but their first grade is just not up our alley at all.)

Anyway - no one really commented saying they were all about home school -- so maybe no one cares about this whatsoever. But it’s on my mind and you guys made me feel right at home sharing whatever I want on here -- so it’s your fault if it’s boring just kidding.

I have SO many more thoughts in my head. I’ll try to get them out for ya in the near future -- as random as the come.

Thank you again. SO MUCH.
It means more to me than you will every know.
I hope we can keep our conversations going. But either way -- it’s so nice to hear from you all, even this much. Life changing…seriously.


  1. I am all about the homeschooling! Lol, and everything else. Thank you for being so brave to honestly say out loud what many of us are thinking and feeling. Following your journey through your third pregnancy and delivery gave me so much courage and excitement for our first natural birth (I thought of your birth story several times during my own labor).
    I am so sorry for the loss of your brother, hang in there you beautiful and mighty mother.
    Thank you again for all you do, know it has an impact :)

    1. Oh how cool (that you’d think of my birth story in your labor) I hope it went well for you. I’m not thinking that that birth was comparable most people’s experience -- I know my other births weren’t like that. But I’m so glad I could give you courage.
      Thank you so much for all your sweet words.

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  3. Haha, I totally intended to comment on your previous post, but forgot. Anyway, I love reading most of what you write just because it's so real and relatable. Today I just wanted to encourage you in the school thing. We're on kindergartener number 4 and I still have to start all over again. Our first actually did kinder in the public school, but then home for 1st and that's been the story ever since. We have used pretty schooling curriculum most of the time until #4. After trying 100 easy lessons and never getting past lesson 2 and then crying and throwing the book across the room after 3 weeks of Abeka (I did both the crying and the throwing, not Isaac) a friend of mine suggested Recipe for Reading which is really more of a remedial reading catch up program, but has worked wonders for us. Isaac is on the old side for kindergarten (he'll be 7 in September, so in public school he'd be the oldest in his class, but still in kinder) and he's significantly behind his peers, but he's finally starting to make some pretty big strides. And having books that he can read is a huge ego boost! This is the one time I think the library falls short. So Bob Books, Recipe for Reading readers, Sonlight core A readers are all amazing for him. Anyway, I just want you to know, there is so much difference in learning speed and style, even within one family, that even veteran homeschool moms sometime want to pull our hair out. And great job for recognizing the best thing for you both was to change things up. Even if it feels like you're wasting money! (So hard to do!)

    1. Aw thanks Rebecca. Yes I keep telling myself that just like how babies all hit their milestones at different times, kids are ready to read at different times, and it doesn’t speak to how well they will do in the future. (It’s hard not to feel feelings anyway. lol)
      Recipe for Reading is one I hadn’t come across in my digging. I’ll have to tuck that way in case we need it.
      Our library carries the Bob Books, and at first I thought I’d attempt getting those there -- but after looking at the online catalog I saw that it would be too hard to get them home in the right order (like the first book was currently checked out right now.) And then how often I’d have to go track them down -- it felt worth buying.
      I’ll keep those other ones you mentioned in mind as well.
      Thanks for sharing!

  4. The home school stuff is really interesting! I love ideas for supporting kids in learning. Down here in Australia most kids learn to read using a bunch of songs called jolly phonics. They spend lots of their literacy time singing the songs and doing the actions. Phonological awareness is a big focus too. It's all about hearing how the sounds in words go together and kids practice it by learning lots about rhyming and clapping out syllables. Not sure if this is similar or different to the US but it's a topic I find really interesting!

    1. Oh that sounds RIGHT up my middle child’s alley --- she LOVES singing, and learns so much from songs. I’ll have to google around and see what I can find about it, that sounds cool. (Not sure if it’d help my oldest child or not -- she’s not as auditory of a learner.)
      I’m honestly not sure what the US’s standard way of learning to read is. Or if they really have one. Our schools have been reassessing and making over their programs, they switched over to the “common core.” That happened right before my kids were school-aged, and then I chose to home school -- so I never really figured out exactly what that is. I know a lot of people were mad when they made the switch -- but from what I looked at recently it seems pretty normal -- I think people just hate change, and that felt like a big change. Anyway -- that’s my long answer way of saying I’m not sure what they do these days. But I think it’s centered on phonics -- I’m just not sure how and what they do with it. Outside of school we seem to have tons of different options al doing different things, mostly phonics but some other kinds of stuff too. It’s rather overwhelming. The books I got focus on phonics in worksheet form, since my daughter seems to be a worksheet lover.

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