Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Homeschool Thoughts

I'm taking the advice from this post and writing in response to today's post from Tales of a Pee Dee Momma.

I'm really unhappy with the public school system.  This semester we did a homeschool program through Connections Academy and Marie worked through an alternative program called Odyssy.  Getting in the groove of things was difficult.

For instance:  One of our criteria is 4 hours in the Compass program (Odyssy), one hour in each subject.  Well, Marie did each lesson but it only took like 15 minutes because it's basically a little movie with a 10-question quiz to go with it.  The first weeks I was getting emails because she wasn't spending any time in this program.  UMMMMM

Not only was she spending time in the program in each subject, but I was supplementing like crazy to make sure we spent one full hour in each subject.  Since Connections Academy doesn't have extra resources (like worksheets or a list of reading materials) I spent hours trying to find stuff on my own.  FINALLY Michael's kindergarden teacher introduced me to teachers pay teachers.  This site has been amazing for me and I have been able to find lots of great stuff for free easily.

Currently, Marie is sitting across from me doing her end of year standardized tests.  It just makes me laugh.  It would be easier for both of us if I just went through and clicked answer (A) for each question.   She doesn't understand a single question in large part because it's confusing.  She is working on first and second grade stuff people.  She is nowhere near what these tests are testing her on.

So now, Mr. Sexy's ideas for next year are starting to take root in my own mind.  His ideas make me nervous, but if we can do it well and not get lazy, it could be really great.

According to Idaho law, we can take Marie (or any of our children) out of school and homeschool them without being under any kind of institution such as Connections Academy.  As long as we are teaching and they are learning, it's all good.  However, if we aren't teaching at home, we can get into trouble.  HOWEVER they have to prove that we aren't teaching - which would be difficult I would think.

To me, this sounds loopy.  I feel weird about it.

Then I look over at Marie's standardized test she has been working on for an hour and know most answers will get a red x when she's all done.


What I want from homeschool:

  • Her mind to be active.
  • Teaching her where she's at. 
  • A large emphasis on life skills such as proper teeth brushing, vacuuming and making breakfast. 
  • Giving her the time she needs to get her task completed.
What I'm getting from our current homeschool program: 
  • Her mind is active.
  • At home I can bring it all to her level.  In her live lessons, I see that concepts go over her head.
  • A large emphasis on the academics. 
  • In her live lessons, if she doesn't get it, things simply move on and I can see that sometimes her teacher just wants an answer.  Any answer.  Any grade.  Just something to put in the grade book. 
I hate the grade book for Marie.  She doesn't understand the point nor does she care.  Neither do I, for that matter.  The only grades that go in her "grade book" currently are when they are "good" grades.  And honestly, it takes a long time for Marie to get a good grade on any quiz.

This summer we are planning to experiment with our own homeschool curriculum.  As I look around at other homeschool moms, it looks like many others do the same thing.  Am I right about this or am I missing something?  


If I could go back to my childhood, what thing would I do now that I have missed as an adult?


That's my answer.

Don't get me wrong, I do plenty of driving as an adult who lives in the woods with three kids and a Mr. Sexy.  But it's just not the same as when I was 16.

When I was 16, I enjoyed driving so much!  It was relaxing, enjoyable and a wonderful break from teen-life stuff.

As an adult, driving makes me tense because I worry about the three hearts in the car with me.  I also have learned not to trust the idiocy that is other drivers or the slick roads in the blizzard of winter.

When I was 16, I turned up the radio, rolled the windows down and would cruise.  Wasting gas?  Naw.  I was getting high on life.  That is definitely not a waste.

As an adult, I drive from point A to point B and pay special attention to how quickly I'm pressing into the gas.  I have weird visualizations in my head of extra gas being used when, in fact, it's probably not. There is no more cruising around town for me just so I can feel the wind in my hair.  Plus, my kids don't like the wind in their face.

When I was 16, my car was my safe place.  It gave me a sense of freedom I hadn't known before.  For the first time, if I really wanted to, I could gas that baby up, stuff it with as many belongings as I could fit and drive away without looking back.  Did I ever do that?  No way.  I'm not actually that adventurous.  But the ability and the possibility was exciting.

As an adult, I don't have "my car."  I have a family car full of carseats and leftover snacks and lost toys. In the backseat is Michael who makes all of Denai's noises in full volume.  Then Denai starts to scream because the sun gets in her eyes.  And then Marie, who just sits and enjoys the ride.

When I was 16, I was a chauffeur and I loved my job.  If someone needed a ride I was there.  Not enough seat belts?  No worries.  I would drive extra safe...that was the intention at least.

As an adult, I'm still a chauffeur but it's just not the same as it was when I was 16.  My passengers don't like the same music as me all the time.  My passengers also get cranky and don't bother trying to hide it in order to be friendly and polite.  My passengers are also always the same, for the most part.

So, if I could go back and bring something from my childhood to my adult hood, it would be driving.  The carefree, no worries, no true responsibilities type of driving.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Another Day in the Sexy Family

Mr. Sexy had his much anticipated appointment with a sleep doctor yesterday.  We heard he is absolutely amazing and highly recommended which is awesome because Mr. Sexy hasn't had a decent night's sleep in almost 15 years now.  However, this appointment is not the highlight of my story today.

We recently bought a beater truck from a friend.  Michael LOVES driving it to school every day with Mr. Sexy and it's been a great commuter vehicle.

Of course, the Sexy family can't go too long without car trouble. 

I knew trouble was brewing when I received this text:

Having issues with the truck. Yay!

And then half an hour went by and I was still waiting to hear that he was headed to pick up some baked beans to go with dinner.

Then I get this text:

Another dinner option might be a good idea.

"Another dinner option" meant driving into town to pick him up and take him home.  But what a great excuse to go to one of our new favorite Mexican restaurants!  There also happened to be a 2 for 1 burrito special AND an amazing beer special.

So as I was driving into town I kept chanting (AND believing): I'm not worried.  God's got this handled.  He hasn't let us down yet. 

Good food.  Good beer.  Then a phone call.

Our friends have been trying to get Mr. Sexy and I to become part of the community theatre board.  Last night was their annual meeting and while we were invited a few weeks ago, I immediately declined.  We just have too much going on!  We are now moving, and quickly.  Mr. Sexy works two jobs and we are lucky to have a family dinner together.  I'm always stressed out about one thing or another.  And of course, now we are (again) having car troubles.

You see, we both talk about wanting to be involved in the community.  However, getting past our excuses is a different conversation.

But after my very large beer I was all for attending the meeting.  Apparently they just needed two more bodies so they could vote on a few issues.  Sure!  Mr. Sexy and I can vote about things we probably know a little bit about.

The meeting was boring and I wished I brought some beer with me.  But that might have been tacky.

However, I could see Mr. Sexy getting excited as I watched his brain work, already brimming with ideas to improve our local theatre program.  Our friends have been nudging him to take the Vice President position that became open officially as of last night, but of course we continually stepped back from the idea.  As I stated previously, we just have too much going on.

But peer pressure tends to win out for me.

So I nudged Mr. Sexy and told him he should do it.  He questioned whether he "should" for my sake, but really, it was only out of courtesy.  He really REALLY wanted to do this.  So I said, "Whatever.  Just do it!"

And now it's done.  Mr. Sexy is Vice President of our community theatre board.

So weird.

We had hopes that after the two hour meeting our truck would magically start and we would understand why it broke down.  But, no such luck. "Perhaps there is more to the story," was Mr. Sexy's reaction.

We got home close to ten last night.  Every was so tired.  And now this morning, I'm still tired, and Mr. Sexy didn't leave me enough coffee.

I wonder what adventure today will bring...

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

My 3-Day Vaca

If money were no factor, and I had a three-day vacation to plan.... hmmmm.....

I wouldn't be camping that's for sure!

And do the kids have to come?  I vote they don't....

With that said:

Leavenworth, Washington is my choice.  With just me and Mr. Sexy.

Leavenworth is only about a 4-hour drive from home.  I really don't know much about it except it's cute, quaint and beautiful.  They are busy with tourists all year.  

It's also romantic. 

How do I know this? 

Let's just say I need to recreate some memories with Mr. Sexy. 

While Mr. Sexy helped plan my first trip to Leavenworth, he wasn't the boy who took me.  Nope.  That was the guy I dated before him.  The guy who actually introduced me to Mr. Sexy.

So now I know that Leavenworth is incredibly romantic - I even know where I want to stay.  

Maybe we can go for our three-year anniversary (July 23)?  Oh yeah, I almost forgot - not.  We will be about to move!   Yeah! 

Linking up with Les at Time Out For Mom.

Monday, May 19, 2014

It Has To Be Good

Around this time last year, Mr. Sexy and I were sitting in the office of our family pastor at the church we still know as Home.  Denai was about a month old.  I remember kneeling on the floor, changing her diaper while tears were stinging my eyes because I knew.  My heart knew and finally my head knew.  We were moving.  And soon.

It was a painful realization but one I was able to come to on my own time, in my own way.

We picked our first available weekend, somehow found enough money for a hotel stay and carted the kids to a town an hour and a half away to find our new house.  Every house we looked at was a dump and appeared to be party central.  This town is a small college town which meant most houses for rent were overpriced and not taken care of.  After a long weekend we were feeling down about the whole thing.  But we had one more house to look at.  It was in a town right outside where we had been looking; a town so small it doesn't have a grocery store or gas station.  We found the listing on one obscure sight and it had one picture with a description of the 78 acres the house sits on.
Our driveway.

This was the final house for us to see.  As we drove up the steep, mile long driveway we were both nervous.  Trees and brush surrounded us and it felt like we were entering a forest and would perhaps find a shack for rent.

Instead we found our home.

It was a challenge living out here in the woods.  First, the bees were extraordinary to the point we didn't go outside until evening when we would have our evening campfire with beers on the side.  There were so many bugs coming in through the broken screens that I complained daily about it.  Sometimes even by the hour.  Then winter came and that had its own long list of hurdles.  We learned how terrible the insulation is here and how much firewood we actually needed to get through a winter using a wood stove as our main source of heat.  We had vehicles get stuck in the snow many times and once it was a 6 hour adventure with all of us hiking up the driveway in a snow storm because
 there was no way to get our mini van to the house.  That was fun.

On our way home a huge snow storm hit causing
a major accident resulting in a 2 hour stand-
still while we were only 10 miles from home.

In all that time it had been snowing so hard our
van couldn't make it up the driveway.  The end
result was putting Denai in her car seat in a sled
and all of us hiking home.  It took about 45
But what memories! 

And now spring has arrived.  We learned the ins and outs of this life in the woods and were ready to gear up for the summer of bees and another winter of snow.  It was going to be fun because we knew what to do.

As of last week, it has pretty much been decided that the owner wants to sell this property.  Our lease is up August 1 and that's our deadline to get out.

Again, we are feeling a bit hopeless.

This house, the atmosphere, the breathtaking beauty we are surrounded in has been wonderful for our family.  Michael started to actually enjoy playing outside.  Both kids can be out there for hours, exploring the creek and the woods and there is no worry about cars or strangers walking by.  I have come to a place where I enjoy the quiet stillness that I wake up to every morning.  There is no needless running around town or pressures to be out and about in the world.

Here, in this place, God speaks to my soul and I can actually hear Him.

When we moved in we were told this house would be available to us for three years at least.  Plans changed, I guess.

Mr. Sexy and I are struggling through disappointment, doubt and fear.  However we also know that there is always hope and there is a master plan in all this.  It's stressful for both of us which means we are having difficulty trusting God.

So when I feel my stomach start to get all twisty I tell myself: This was a wonderful home and it was just what we needed.  Now it's time to embark on the next chapter, another adventure, and it's going to be good.

It has to be good.  I honestly don't see how it can be good right now.  But it has to be good.

And there are some good and fun things about moving right?  Tell me all of them!

Thursday, May 15, 2014


I didn't want to go camping.  There.  I said it.  The weather was nippy, rainy, and cloudy.  I had zero desire to be outside for any length of time.  So camping?  In a tent?  Even though we had been planning the trip for a few weeks I was ready to cancel.

But then Michael wanted to go so badly.  After picking him up from school on Friday I gave him the news: "It looks like we might not go camping.  The weather just isn't that great."

I was worried about a lot of things.  Me, my attitude and my comfort.  Then the kids.  I didn't want to get to our camp site  in the rain and deal with complaining kids.  Then there was Denai.  How would she handle the trip in the great outdoors?

Michael and I went back and forth on our 20 minute drive home.  I finally had him convinced that it would be better to wait for good weather instead of going camping now in not so great weather.  A few minutes later: "I just want to go camping now."

Lunch time.

So I made them a deal - a game, actually.  If they won, then dad and I would talk about going camping.  If they lost, the answer was no and that's the end of it.  As the game continued long into the afternoon I knew Mr. Sexy and I would say yes to camping because they showed awesome endurance even through boredom of each other.

The game:  After getting home at noon, they had 5 minutes to go potty and grab whatever they needed to stay warm and have fun outside.  To win, they were to stay outside until dad got home, around 5:30.  If one of them came inside, even for just one minute, they both lost.

They succeeded.  Crazy-ass kids.  We were incredibly surprised, to say the least.  How could we say no the deep desires of their hearts now?  Plus, we knew we would have a really good time with our friends.

I'll be honest: I was the one who was worried about me being cold and grumpy.

But of course we had a wonderful time.  We went with our friends who also have a car load of kids and they all really love each other.  We all managed to stay so busy I didn't have much time to feel cold and cranky.  Plus the sun was out every day and it only rained a little, at night - the night Marie went looking for food...hmmmm Check out that story in the post: I Do What I Want

Here are some of my favorite moments:

We'll call this heart breaker M.

I tend to like rules and have plans.  Bending the rules, even just for a little while, is really hard for me.  So when I saw M dig into the Lays for breakfast, my first reaction was : "Oh no!  These are for lunch time!"  But I'm not his parent so instead I watched as all of our kids dug around and found whatever they could find to fill their tummy's.  

Learned philosophy: We're camping.  We ALL get some freedom.  


There was a tent for the Sexy parents and then a tent for the Sexy kids.  Obviously, this tent was the kid's domain.  They had so much fun doing I-don't-wanna-know-what in there. They had so much fun - it broke. 

Ductape fixes all.

As you can see there are a few shoes and socks lying around.  At some point Michael lost those and then later couldn't find them.

Learned philosophy: It's good for them to get their toes dirty (them, not me).

This is something we are going to do again on future camping adventures and even at home over our own camp fires.  The kids cooked their own dinner!  Honestly, I wanted to cook a hot dog, too, but the adult menu consisted of steak, corn on the cob and baked beans, all cooked over the fire.  It was so yummy and I have never eaten steak like finger food before!  

Learned philosophy: Make 'em work for what they eat and forks are overrated. 

Mr. Sexy gave Denai her first sliding experience.  She slid backwards, forwards, hands first, feet first and then "climbed" back up to go again.  Some of the other kids even took turns taking Denai down the big slide with her in their laps.  

Learned philosophy: Family time is good, anywhere, anytime.  

Anyways, camping turned out to be a big success.  I'm glad my kids pushed me into this because it would have been sad to miss out on such a fun time.  In fact, Mr. Sexy and I caught the "camping bug" and already have a few trips in the works.  

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I Do What I Want

I'm trying something new these days: I'm doing what I feel like doing.

Life is stressful.  It's more stressful than I tend to admit.  I am reminded of this when I meet new people and I hear comments like, "Wow, I can't believe you do all that!"  I'm not trying to toot my own horn here (as much as I like to do that sort of thing) but I often downplay those kinds of comments.  I say stuff like, "Well, homeschooling Marie is pretty easy because what she's learning is so basic and we do it over and over and over again."  In reality, however, it's extremely difficult and my emotions play a large role in that.

I'll use our recent weekend as an example.

Second night kids roasted hot dogs and we adults had steak
and corn on the cob.  Uber yummy.

We went camping and it was fun!  When it came to sleeping through the night, Mr. Sexy and I were worried about Denai.  We knew Michael would sleep like a rock and assumed Marie would be too scared and cold to venture out of her tent to "explore" and scavenger for "snacks."

I used the word, assume.  Don't miss that.

Saturday morning arrived and I opened the trunk of our mini van to get out the breakfast goodies.  My heart started to pound through my chest, my hands felt clammy and my ears were burning.  Marie did, in fact, have it in her to go through the trouble of finding food even in 30 degree weather.  (It may not have been that cold but it was pretty darn cold at night!)  She ate 2 protein bars, 3 nutri-grain bars and our bag of hot dog buns.  All of these packages were sealed as of the night before.

She spent the entire morning sitting on her hands in a chair while the rest of us ate breakfast.  Then when we got home she wrote 100 sentences: I will not be sneaky.

Breakfast time.

It's now Wednesday and I'm still having trouble letting go of what happened camping.  I'm still reminded of the erasers, too.  I just don't understand it.  Not one little bit.  In my non-understanding I'm frustrated.  With the frustration I find anger.  And when I allow anger to be in control, the Sexy household isn't all that fun.

So like I said earlier, I'm practicing doing what I feel like doing.

Not in bad way, though.

For instance: Monday I decided should be a no school day so that's what we did.  I had two easy-to-reach goals which I accomplished.  Everything after was gravy.  Yesterday I didn't feel like spending 5 hours in the den trying to teach Marie about capitals and lowercase letters like I have been doing for months now.  So I didn't.  She performed her computer work and I let our school day end with that.

This concept of doing what I feel like doing isn't a long term solution to life problems and it won't work for everyone - at least, not all the time.  But for now it's helping me to relax during my day and realize that life isn't just about the accomplished tasks.  It's okay to take a break.  Maybe that's what I need in my days right now.

I'm linking up with My Sweet Peanut because it turns out I blogged about the topic:


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Bed Wetting and Eating

Things have been going okay.  Good, actually.  We have had happiness and successes these past few weeks.  Marie told me she loved me and she even looked at me in the eyes when she said it.  Typically she says those three words to empty space in front of her after leaving the room I'm in.  I only know they are meant for me because she says my name, "Mom."

Two days ago she peed her bed.  She had gone just about two weeks of being dry.  I was disappointed.  I still am, in fact.  I don't understand this struggle so it takes a lot of work to let it go. Marie's pediatrician was the first one to mention constipation as a major component to Marie's consistent bed wetting.  So, Marie's nighttime routine now ends with pooping.We gave Marie some medicine for a short while and ever since we have made sure she poops every night.  After she is all ready for bed we tell her to go poop and she sits on the toilet until it happens.  Sometimes it will take an hour.  Sometimes 20 minutes. We discovered, however, that we need to check the toilet to make sure it happens.

 Well, two nights ago Marie flushed on her own.  Since she has been so consistent Mr. Sexy and I didn't see it as a big deal.

The next morning she was soaked.

Did she poop the night before?  We'll never know.  I didn't ask her because, frankly, she won't give me a straight up answer regardless of whatever the truth is.

And now it's been a few days.

I'm sitting at my desk and looking at remnants of pencil erasers.

After dinner she does homework.  Last night she also ate some eraser.

When I ask her about this kind of stuff I can tell immediately what the answer truly is by her demeanor.  If she blankly stares and then looks around, trying to figure out a "correct" response, I know she has no idea what I'm asking her about.  BUT if she presses her lips together, gives a sigh, looks down, I know that she knows EXACTLY what happened.

Her first response is, "I," at which point I remind her (in that overly stern mommy tone I harbor) that one word makes no sense.

She then says, "I do not eat it."  This is the response she knows I want.  She knows she wasn't supposed to eat the eraser.  So, like any very young-minded child she attempts to tell me the best possible "truth" and the result is she ends up telling me, "I ate it."

She has a history of eating things whether it's binging in the kitchen in the middle of the night, snacking on crayons in bed, or now, eating erasers while I'm upstairs doing other things.  This behavior is progressing steadily.

What the hell am I to do?  Never leave her alone ever?  Send her to a special school because maybe then can figure it out?

Mr. Sexy's idea is to take everything edible out of her reach.  It's such a broad idea I can't figure out exactly what that would mean or what it would look like.  Our current night time system is that she has a few barriers so she can't get up and wander around, which is when she is most likely to get into mischief.  So do we take all "edible" items out of the entire downstairs where she spends most of her time?  She has eaten books before.  And toys.  We have lots of books and toys and papers and crafty things down here.

Mr. Sexy and I decided before we do anything drastic we need to go back to the specialist.

This most recent incident proves that Marie is in no way eating out of hunger.  She is eating because..... who the hell knows.

But I'm pissed.  And I don't have time to be pissed.  I don't even have time for venting on this blog.

 I am learning the part of Elaine from Arsenic and Old Lace to perform in their last show on Saturday.  The girl who plays that character is sick so while I joked with Mr. Sexy about that being a fun challenge, he told the directors who ran with the idea!

So for now, Marie gets no privacy unless she is in her room.  Her room is actually the one place where there is nothing "edible."

Side note:  I didn't write this post for advice.  I don't mean to be rude but we get a lot of advice.  At this point, I am only interested in the advice of someone trained in this area of eating what shouldn't be eaten and trained in special needs.

Monday, May 5, 2014

I'm Obsessive, But It's a Heart Thing

I started blogging because I carry a burning desire to share my life with others.  As I reintroduce myself and all the hearts that make up my own, I am constantly, at the very least, a little bit nervous.

You are evil.

You should put your daughter up for adoption.

You are going to hell.

You have a black heart.

These words and more still try to plague my spirit.  Even when not directed to my name, I still feel the cutting edge of these spiteful, hateful words.  Those words don't know love, the power of forgiveness or the wonder of grace.

My family of 5, on the other hand, are able to  know these concepts well.  The five of us stumble and fall daily.  Sometimes, it's up to one to pick up the others and encourage and push forward in love.  Sometimes, only one of us falls and the blessings of family abound.

The A to Z blogging challenge was a really great way for me to practice blogging from my heart in a positive way.  I also enjoyed the challenge of meeting so many new bloggy spaces where I will continue to visit in the future.  Every blog is unique and I believe each one has a purpose.  As I told my gal pal the other day, "Sure it's been said already.  But not by you."  It's so true. (This girl should have a blog.  I have talked about her a few times here.  She has an incredible amount of knowledge AND opinions about cloth diapering, parenting, female issues and I'm sure there is much more.  I always enjoy her perspective even if it's different from mine.  So if she's reading this...be pushed forward. ;)

I worry that I'm a bit obsessive about blogging.  I think about it all the time.

Oh! I should tweet this.

I need to instagram that.

Wow.  My thoughts are amazing right now.  I need to be writing a blog post. 

Mr. Sexy tells me it's ok.  I'm just passionalte about it.  I'm passionate becasue I love it.  I love sharing my life with other people.  I especially get joy ouf of sharing the bad stuff.  I don't think a lot of people could say that.  The bad stuff is difficult to write and to read. It is even harder to understand from an outside perspective.  However, if I don't share the bad stuff, I'm robbing you of the chance to see God taking the bad and turning it into something good.  Actually, I'm robbing myself of the blessings of sharing His story as well.

I would love for my readers to be able to follow along on this journey that my family and I are on.  We are flawed.  Painfully flawed at times.  We all are, aren't we?  But so often we try to hide and show off clean floors and the spotless kitchen.  While I love those ideas, sometimes, it's not reality.  I tend to write and discuss the reality that I know in my life.  I'm encouraged in my journey already and I hope you will be too.