Saturday, November 21, 2009


So it's sinking in... I'm pregnant, again. I'm flipping between totally elated (omg! i'm pregnant again!! eeeeeeee!) to freaking out (omg! I'm pregnant again! what's next?!) Babies are blessings and I know I am never given more than I can handle. This is a good thing and all will be well.

I'm planning to birth this babe at home. I have been envisioning this journey since my pregnancy with Sage. I know this is meant to be and I need to work on finding a centering, calm balance this time around. I know I don't fall in with arbitrary due dates and I never have. I'm not even like most women who birth by 42 weeks, it's entirely likely I will go to 44 weeks. Or, perhaps, even longer. I am mentally preparing for a long ride and I'm intending to enjoy it because I feel this is surely the last time I walk this road.

I can't wait to feel this babe flipping around inside of me. To feel his/her feet and arms and limbs doing a dance in my womb. I can't wait to grow round and goddess-like and to feel the love radiate from myself into myself. I'm meant to do this. I'm meant to grow babies and birth them and love them. This is my life's path.. to mother and nurture. I'm grateful that this is what I have chosen for myself.

This baby has already made his/her presence known. My uterus feels full? I'm not exactly sure how to explain the sensation but I know something is there and I know all is well. In a couple of weeks I will be able to easily feel something there and that makes me feel hopeful and excited. I really thought that I would never experience this again and I'm hoping to chronicle the whole thing, from start to finish.

I feel the need to share a dream I had when I was pregnant with Miss Sage. It was the only pregnancy/delivery dream I had with her. With the boys I often had lots of pregnancy/delivery/baby dreams... I'm not sure why I was only given the gift of one but perhaps it was meant to prepare me for the journey I'm about to embark upon.
"I knew I was in labor and I felt peacefully at ease with myself. I was in the bathroom, laboring in the tub. I felt the need to step out, I felt no pain. As I stepped out of the tub I started to delivery the babies over the bathroom rug. The first out was my girl. My Sage. She was so beautiful. I was enthralled. The second baby was born, the baby was a boy. He was too small and not ready and I was ok with that. I felt in time he would come back to me and I took my time absorbing the details of my little girl. I had no worry about the other baby, I knew in time I would be able to hold him. I knew he wasn't mine yet."
Birthing in my bathroom, on my own was such an empowering feeling. I can't describe what it felt like exactly but it felt right and the way things should be. I feel like that is how I was meant to have Sage but I went to the hospital anyway... She was an almost failed induction. I do not want to experience that again. I want to trust that my body and my baby will know when the time is right. I want that experience of empowerment. The feeling from my dream has stuck with me for all these years. ♥

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Totally Unexpected

Not exactly what I was expecting,


a little freaked out, a little excited. ♥

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Things I am Thankful For.

I've given this a lot of thought recently. I truly have so many things to be thankful for... and with it being November, this is probably a better time than ever to list them. :)

I am thankful for my beautiful children and their excellent health. They enrich my lives in ways I could have never imagined. I love watching them grow and develop. I enjoy their company and having them home with me all the time. I treasure the time we spend together.

I am thankful for my husband. There are, of course, times I wish I could throttle him! but overall he's a great guy. We are going on being together 12 years now... I find that amazing. We met when I was just 18 and hardly the person that I am today. He has watched me grow and develop in to the person I am today. He knows me better than just about anybody. And I for him. There's a special something when you share so much of your life with somebody.. through all the trials and tribulations, the good times and bad.. he's been there for me whether I've liked it or not.

I'm truly thankful for the food that is in my fridge, freezer and pantry cabinets. We have recently been without food and I can't say I'll ever take it for granted again. I love to cook and bake, it makes me feel whole inside when my children enjoy a meal I've created or the smiles on their faces when they bite into a treat I've baked for them.

I'm ever thankful for the presence of my family and friends, without them the past few months would have been even more difficult. I appreciate the generous offers to help us when we were in our greatest time of need. I hope one day to pay it all forward, to help when I can.

I'm thankful for the support I receive each day through the internet. My internet friends are among the greatest people I have ever had the pleasure to know. I know some say you truly can never know someone online but I beg to differ. Some of these people have been an integral part of my life and support system for the past 3 years. I've watched as they have added to their families, made life altering decisions and many other things. I think without them my life would probably be a lot more chaotic and stressful. Special thanks goes out to the ones that have helped guide me on my path to gentler parenting and the special words of wisdom so many had when we started on our homeschooling journey. It's been an eventful couple of years and I wouldn't change them for the world.

I'm truly grateful for so many other things in my life but I think those are the top. Trying to hold on to the good while the bad passes on its way out. ♥♥

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

very rough draft

i've recently been writing about our journey in schooling. going from schoolers to unschoolers. i suppose it's interesting to no one but myself, lol. i thought i would post it here so at some point in the future i might go back to and perhaps review it. i think it's amazing how my thought processes have changed so much since kyle was little. i often wish i had the knowledge and strength i have now, back then. :) (this is going to be a LONG post. lol i guess i'm extremely long winded when i talk about schooling)

Schooler to Unschooler?

It all started shortly after my oldest son turned 5. He was going to kindergarten and I was being forced to let go. I can remember pulling in to the parking lot of the school and tears starting to fill my eyes. I grabbed the baby out of the car seat and reached for my boy's hand. He turned his little face up to mine and said, "I'm a big boy now, Mama. I don't need to hold your hand anymore." The tears that filled my eyes now spilled over, I wasn't ready to let my baby go yet!

Perhaps at this point I should have listened to my screaming gut, but no. I stuck him in school, mourned the first week and then thought this might be ok. I thought how nice it would be that I would actually get to go out while he was in school, with just the baby. How I would be able to do so much more now that there was one less to my crew. Ha! Yeah, I didn't manage to do many grand things when he was only in school for 3 hours a day. I did enjoy some quiet time with the baby. That was about it. I usually wound up waiting for him to get out of school before I went anywhere, 3 hours sure isn't a whole lot of time to do much of anything.

All hell broke loose sometime around the 2nd quarter. I was informed that my son was 'behind' with his letter sounds. When I drilled him at home, he seemed pretty much on par. He was placed in a 'reduction class' that to me became a joke. For a half a quarter I humored the school and talked to my boy about his feelings in regards to this class. "Mommy, I hate being taken from my class. I really like my friends and teacher." Urgh. So I spoke with his teacher at a conference and requested he remain in the class. I explained to her that I felt it was a huge disruption for him and I felt he would catch up just fine. I was right. He did.

Then came first grade. The poor kid had the cards stacked against him from the get go here. One, he's one of the youngest in the class. Two, I was having another baby... who coincidentally was due right at the start of the school year. Three, his biological father had just passed away unexpectedly. And four, he had the world's crappiest teacher ever to bring in his first full day schooling experience. Oh joy.

His first report card in the first grade was terrible. My son went from a student who enjoys participating, is a pleasure to have in class, eager to learn to talks too much, doesn't sit still, doesn't participate well. Hmmmm. Something doesn't seem right here? Being the good parent I was I scheduled a conference with the teacher. She blew me and the rest of the parents off. I tried phoning her at the school to no avail. I saw my son's lust for learning, his spark slowly start to diminish as the days passed by. At my wit's end, I tried to phone the principal because I just didn't know what to do anymore. My concerns were pushed aside, of course, I was told she was an excellent teacher and that no I could not take him out of her class.

Midway through the year I started to fantasize about homeschooling him. I essentially was already. He would draw all day in class and bring home all of his school work to do at home on top of his homework. My family told me that I couldn't do it. That I just didn't have the patience needed to successfully homeschool my boy. On top of that I had just had another baby. I wasn't strong enough in myself to fight the system. Many times in later years I would feel that pull and brush it aside. Ironically enough, when I finally made the impromptu decision to homeschool was 10 days after the birth of my daughter.

The years continue to pass and while he had some very good teachers he was still 'behind' in reading which, of course, made him behind in other subjects. I fought so hard to keep him up to par but it always felt like a losing battle. Around the 3rd grade I had him tested for the whole list of learning disabilities. Surprise, surprise! He had none.. his IQ was in the top percentile of his age group peers. I even went so far to take him in and have him 'tested' for ADHD. We medicated for a year. It helped a little and the school social worker was amazed at his knowledge of the medication. He told her that it wasn't a magic pill that would make him a better student but it might help him to concentrate better. I guess it's uncommon for most parents to explain WHY they are medicating their children for ADHD.

When my big boy was in 4th grade my second son was placed in kindergarten. It was quite an adjustment but one we settled in to just fine. It wasn't until my second son reached first grade that things escalated for him. He was ahead of the curve so he struggled with different things than my oldest. Second grade was a true nightmare for him. He ditched school.. yes.. you read that right.. my 7 year old ditched school in the second grade! Numerous times. I wound up holding back my oldest in the 4th grade because I just felt that was our last ditch option. This did help him overall. He was obviously more mature and seemed better able to keep up with his classmates.

When my oldest was entering the 6th grade and my middle boy entering 3rd and the littlest boy entering kindergarten, I gave birth to my daughter. I was unable to register my children on time for many reasons. I figured it would be no big deal to register them after my daughter was born. I went in to the registrar's office and was told I had to make an appointment. School started the 15th and they were scheduling my appointment for the 21st. WHAT? I was informed that this is what happens when you register late in the most condescending tone. You know, I can understand that attitude to a degree for people that are just lazy but I have never registered my children late. Ever. I had just had a baby and this sort of attitude was so negative and not what I was expecting. I made my appointment and was forced to wait a full week after school started. I started to again fantasize about homeschooling.

The day of my appointment I was really struggling with my inner voice. It was really difficult for me to even take the steps from the car to the building. I was on time/early for my appointment and was forced to stand out in the rain with my brand new baby. I was not under the impression that I would have to wait, but I did. When I was finally able to speak with someone, filled out the 3 forms per kid, I was trying to remain pleasant as could be. I was asked what grades each of the children were in and all was well until I got to my oldest. He was entering 6th and apparently our 'home' school did not have room for the child. I became very upset at this point as my son had finally started to feel successful in the school system. He had lots of friends and knew all of the staff in the building. He felt at home there. I was given a few mediocre options for him. He could go to the less successful schools in the area, this would mean that I would need to be in 3 places at once for pick up. I was also told that I could put my middle son in the same school as him so that would make things 'easier' for me. None of these options seemed right for us. I became very agitated with the woman. These were not the answers I was looking for and I was continually reminded that this is what happens when you register late, which upset me even more.

I think in a fit of post-partum hormonal rage I threw the papers at the woman and declared I would be homeschooling my children then. I was fed up with the whole situation, the whole whack system. I walked out of the building in tears, upset with the way that I was treated. I spoke with my grandma and she, being the voice of reason, told me I should maybe try speaking with the superintendent and see where that took me. I placed a call in to her the very next day. I was given the run around for a few hours before I demanded to be put through to her. I tried every angle I could think of with this woman but she just wouldn't budge. What really upset me was when I tried to explain all the struggles my son had and the triumphs he experienced in this school, I was totally shot down. I expressed my disgust at their lack of care for a child's well-being over numbers in a classroom.

It was decided then. We were officially homeschooling. What did I just do?! I tried to gather my wit's about me. I was lucky to have a few online communities that were very helpful and walked me through the transition. One thing I should have paid more attention to was the many seasoned homeschoolers were telling me that I needed to go through a deschooling phase. (Deschooling is when one takes a break from the rigors of schooling in order to decompress and find direction) With the pressures I was facing from my family I felt it best at the time to try and recreate a school at home environment. I abused the internet daily trying to find things to keep the kids busy and found myself feeling very burned out by the experience. Finally I came across some workbooks that were complete curriculum and that made my life a little easier, in a sense. My youngest son had never been schooled and he was already a year ahead of his grade. We decided to completely skip over kindergarten work.

We plowed through those workbooks daily. I assigned certain things for them to accomplish and often they were done within 15 minutes. What do you do then? Why we did lots of experiments! and baking! and watching fun shows like How It's Made and Survivorman. You'd think at this point I would have realized that we were doing more real learning outside of the books, but no. I had it set in my head that I needed to prove to my family that I could do it the way they thought it should be done. Why is it I always ignore my inner voice when it matters most!?

In the summer of our first year I decided we all deserved a break from the pressure of schooling. We got a bit of flack from certain family members but I brushed it off. We had poured through quite a lot that year and definitely learned plenty about each other. That was important to me. Our break actually never really ended. I think I picked up the next grade curriculum books and actually assigned a page or two before my husband was laid off. I found it difficult for everybody to adjust to Daddy now being home all day.

I had done some reading about unschooling prior to actually making the leap into homeschooling. I was rather put off by the label. I mean, when one thinks about the term unschooling it brings up a slew of negative connotations. What do you mean unschooling? Is that not schooling? I don't understand. Well, put quite simply it is child led learning. My children decide what it is that they are interested in AND we learn about it. It's also about life learning. My children are far more equipped at math than I was at their ages. Why? Because I take them with me to the grocery store and we budget shop, comparing prices and amounts and what is the better deal. They bake things so they are quite aware of fractions and measurements. As for reading, I feel they get a fair amount of reading in when they play video games. You might question the logic in that, I mean, video games are hardly educational, right? Wrong. They are extremely educational, even the ones that aren't labeled as such. My boys have learned map reading and all sorts of interesting life skills from playing video games. My youngest boy is actually reading about 2 grade levels ahead of his age group peers. He has never had any formal training in regards to reading.

I often question myself if I am doing the right thing for my children. I think as parents that is just something that we are prone to do. In short, I feel I most definitely I am. I always thought I was very close with all of my kids. I can say with certainty that I'm even closer to them now than I have ever been. We spend so much time together and do so much together it's truly amazing the bond we have. I'm much more in tune with their needs than I was when they were spending 6+ hours away from me. My teen and I rarely argue, we are more apt to seek out a feasible agreement rather than spend days pissed off at each other. My daughter gets the full village benefit of having her brothers close at hand always, helping her, teaching her (not always good things!) and guiding her. I feel my family has a special sort of relationship and I truly feel sorry for those that aren't privy to such an experience. It's been an amazing journey these past 2 and a half years. Truly amazing. I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

what i've accomplished..

well, i got the vast majority of the dishes done. i got a late start because i laid down for a nap with sage and did some other procrastination type things with my time. i really dreaded doing the dishes because they appear so overwhelming when stacked all over the place but in reality it wasn't so bad. i have some stuff soaking because there was no way i was going to be able to scrub off the crud. tomorrow i will finish the dishes in entirety and the counters/table top. i am proud of myself even if i didn't finish it completely.. i still did something.

sage's diapers are about 2/3 of the way stripped. it takes awhile, you have to run each load numerous times to ensure you get rid of all of the bubbles from the dawn dishsoap. so looks like that will also be finished tomorrow.

i'm going to ask the hubby if he will help me arrange the living room tonight. all of the kids are in bed so should be no big deal to do this without 3 bodies under foot. i think this will help cut down on some of sage's toy mess because she'll have her area back in the corner and it's easier to keep the mess over there rather than in the walkway. i'm not sure what i'm going to do with our keyboard... all of the children really enjoy playing it so i feel bad just taking it down and stashing it away. need to think about that one for a bit. i've got some ideas flitting around my head.. i'm sure i'll work something out. ♥

all in all, i am proud of myself. i got some stuff done, i could have procrastinated a little less but i didn't fritter away the whole day. i have been known to do that. something is better than nothing and if i work my way through with baby steps, i'll get somewhere... eventually. that's good enough for me right now.

Today's Plan

Writing out my plan for today, later tonight I will come back and cross off what I've accomplished.

*dishes, counters, table.
*sink kept clean throughout the day.
*finish sage's diapers (stripping them this weekend)

if I feel up to it I would like to:

*rearrange the living room.

I think keeping it small will work better for me than laying out some grandiose plan. If I focus on some key areas and get caught up I know I'll feel loads better and I can always do more if I feel up to it.