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Sunday, August 28, 2011

thoughts about not homeschooling.

Tomorrow morning I send my baby off to school. My first child's first day of Kindergarten, (ironically it's my oldest sister who is sending her LAST child off to her first day of her SENIOR year)! The circle of life!

Oh, be still my heart! I'm SO EXCITED FOR HIM. We met his sweet teacher last week and saw his classroom, his eyes just lit up when he entered the room. Upon seeing his teacher for the first time he said, "Hiiii Mrs. Ditzleeer" in the sweetest, kindest, high-pitched voice you ever did hear! (he even drug out his words as written above). "I got this map for you from Dutch Wonderland and here's some meadow tea, it's from my house." He handed her a mason jar full of cold meadow tea and his little tattered map, so delighted with himself! He took a tour of his room and colored a picture, talking with his teacher almost the entire time.

For the past month he has been coming to me each day with a first-day-of-school countdown. He has his own calender on which he crosses out each day, (when he wakes up~~before the day has even begun)! :) And so, each morning he announces with glee how many days until he goes to school. "Only one more day 'til school Mom, I'm getting so tall like you, I'm going to miss you Mom and when I come home you will ask me, 'how was school today Tyler?'"

I have such a peace about not homeschooling him this year, although coming to that decision was not an easy one for me. A lot of internal wrestling. Feeling like a failure. Perhaps I didn't give it my all, if I would have tried harder then it would have worked, gone smoothly, blossomed.

Is something wrong with me? Am I too selfish to even try? These and many, many more questions......a journey working through this was mine this past Summer. Jake really left it up to me, this decision. He understood that it was I who would be taking on the extra workload and he was fully supportive in whatever choice I made. I so appreciate that about him. And he was gentle with me, firm too. He saw the stress I carried in trying to do it all. He saw that there were more days of me not enjoying it, then enjoying it. He didn't like the way things were going around here.And neither did I.

Don't get me wrong, we had a wonderful year together and I do not regret it one bit.  We lived and learned together, so much quality time, we went on lots of field trips, lots of reading and writing and watching Tyler learn before me was exhilarating. Yet it still wasn't working as a whole.  

Maybe my priorities are out of line.  It's my child's EDUCATION so I should TRY HARDER to do it all.  And quite frankly, I WANT to do it all and do it perfectly too. And that's the problem. I see others around me supposedly doing it well, almost effortlessly. But that's not the truth, it's not my priorities that are out of line, it's my PERCEPTION that's out of line.  And I am NOT saying that if you homeschool that you are trying to do it all.  It is a decision that you have come to for your home and it is working for you. And I am happy for you, I celebrate your life and it's ebb and flow.  May this year be more flow then ebb, wherever you choose to educate your children

There are sacrifices made within homeschooling homes that I know nothing of.  Actually, some of my best friends homeschool their children and I DO KNOW just a bit of what they face, they tell me. The sweet times, the challenges, trials, victories, joys and confirmations. And yet, even in talking with them, I still do not fully understand. Can we ever understand someone elses life without living it? The high regard I have for my homeschooling friends is beyond words.

One of my deepest desires is to excel at all I try, at all I put my hand to. And that's not a bad thing, it's when trying to succeed at something comes at the cost of those around me, that's when it crosses over into something unhealthy. Something selfish even. Self-serving and done in my own strength.
Excellence gone bad.

I don't have any clear cut answers, no ABC's as to why it didn't work out with homeschooling him. I just knew it wasn't working for us, within our home and hearts. Not to say it never will, I am open to homeschooling Luke and Paisley or even Tyler at a different stage. I guess the bottom line is this:

And that's fine.
it's fine.

it is o-k.

it's not failure.

Dare I say it might actually be success?
Realizing this and living it out for yourself?

And so, tomorrow morning I send my baby off to school. My first child's first day of Kindergarten.


"Time is a dressmaker specializing in alterations."
~Faith Baldwin~

p.s. my apologies to all who may be crying because of the first song, "Hourglass" by Mindy Gledhill.  It's a tear-jerker or maybe it was just me. xoxo.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Crickets in my heart

It's 1:30am, I should be sleeping. Not sure what woke me this early morning, but I can't fall back to sleep, so I'm writing. The moon is shining down through our open window casting a soft glow on my husband.  My man who works so hard on our behalf. His callosed hands from Summertime block lifting being restored as he sleeps, to do it all again tomorrow.  Because of love. 

Paisley's crying so I went and offered her a drink of water. "You want a drink?"I ask, she shakes her mopped head of hair.  "You want me to hold you a little?" "Se", (yes).  She quickly fell asleep again and I sat in her softly lit room, her head against my heart, just listening to the crickets outside.  It feels like there are crickets in my heart this morning.  Just a constant, steady pulse of thoughts and feelings.  Not a bad thing, just thoughts that seem to be sinking lower then usual.  It's almost the end of Summer so they say and I'm pretty sure that's where the thoughts began.  The Summer of 2011, when my precious kiddos were 6, 4 and 2, it's almost over.  It's so bittersweet to me.  What did we do this Summer?  Where did it go?  

The cool Autumn air is moving in, the clouds looked like Fall today.  I feel it right now, my barefeet cold against the kitchen floor. Time for fuzzy slippers again.
Tyler starts school on August 29th.  Not this next Monday, but the following.  That's a cricket in my heart if there ever was one.  I'll share more in another post about our decision to not homeschool him again this year.  For now, it's just something that is heavy on my heart.  This new and exciting season for him and this new and letting go season for me.  I laid sleeping Paisley in her crib again closing the door behind me. 

Sitting at the foot of Tyler's creaky bed I just stared at him.  His tall body taking over that twin bed right before my very eyes.  His head full of sunshine bleached blond hair resting on his favorite sesame street pillowcase.  His Thomas pillow lying on the floor with his 123 book on top.  He's been reading a lot lately, (making stuff up along the way).  His "collection" of.....well, his collection.  And I can't believe how worked up I get over their little mess of a room, (it's not even that bad).  I probably need help to stop being so concerned about messes.  What's the big deal anyway?  It just feels like so much innocence before me, because it is.  And it's overwhelming sometimes.  That we're in charge of that, GIVEN charge over that.  Over his life, their life. 

Luke is sleeping peacefully covered in his "refreshing blanket", (a very, very lightweight quilt that seems perpetually cool to the touch).  His guitar pillowcase safely tucked under his inquisitive mind.  His dearly loved puppy under his arm, choked with love.  Can't believe that things head hasn't fallen off yet, he's had it since birth.  I've never seen a child move so much in his sleep, (that's why we hardly ever have him in our bed, our squirm-worm).  I think of the precious card he made for his Paige. He composed it himself and ask me how to spell each word, meticulously writing each letter to perfection to the best of his ability. "Paige, I will miss you at college. Luke."  He added some hearts in there and his favorite number, 100. I could have cried, probably did.
Here's a picture Paige took upon receiving it in the mail. xoxo
Thursday we go to Dutch Wonderland, our yearly tradition.  Monday we leave for one week, our last vacation before school starts.  We'll sop up the rest of Summer in OCNJ, (Ocean City, New Jersey).  My cricket heart can't wait.  There's just something grounding about being near the ocean. 

Sweet picture created by Miss Kaelin, our babysitter and friend. xoxo.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Dinner Club in an old barn

On the list of wonderful things we enjoyed this Summer was our monthly Dinner Club get-togethers!  We started this in June, 2010 and have been meeting every month since then.  Earlier this Summer we were at my cousins lovely farmhouse.  They had an old barn that they tore down, leaving the old beams, creating an amazing outdoor room.  
In speaking for all of us, these times have become nothing short of a REFUGE!  As I mentioned in earlier posts, we each bring an appetizer or dessert so the cost of the evening is almost nothing, (besides hiring a sitter) and yet the food is OUTSTANDING!   

On this particular night we decided to include the children.  It went so smoothly as our "tribes" ran around the property exploring to their hearts content.

My cousin cut the legs off these old plastic chairs~~such a GREAT idea and the kids thought it was pretty cool too.
 Shar's famous banafee pie. ooooh!! 

 All our kiddos.

 Our gracious hostess.

 When the sun went down, they started a movie on the outdoor screen. Of course, we had to introduce Tom and Jerry with the opening act of "Coldplay Live"! 

 So there we all sat, into the night. 
Content and peaceful, with grateful hearts. 

 I love living life with my man.
Thanks Shar for the picture, it's one of my favorites from the Summer of 2011.  

We do not remember days;
we remember moments.
~Cesare Pavese~

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sweet Summertime

Hello Friends, as most of you reading, I too have been on the go, go, go.....drinking in this sweet season called Summertime!  It's going too fast. A few nights ago I was visiting my niece's blog and she had this song playing, aptly named "The Summer." I'm in love.  It's playing right now.

 a magical night at my cousin Dave and Orpha's home for Dinner Club.  We're hosting it this Sunday and can hardly wait to get creative with our outdoor dining.....I think I'll set it up under the walnut trees out back.

Father's Day at my parents home.  We hired a bluegrass band to serenade our evening.  It was awesome. I grew up attending blue grass festivals with my parents, (hated every minute of it), but now I actually enjoy the music.  Oh my gosh, I'm getting old! 

One of our trips to the beach. We've been there twice already for several days at a time and plan to return the end of this month for one more week.The kids are at such great ages to enjoy the beach.
Paisley especially enjoys "the pool", (ocean)! "Look at the waves Paisley!" I said upon our first time walking onto the beach.....
she starting waving and waving. It was precious.

"CANDY BALL" that's what Luke calls cannon balls....and I'm not about to correct him! 

Enjoying one of our many days at Refreshing Mountain Camp.
There's nothing like being wrapped in a warm towel after a long day of swimming.

Our home away from home.  Our Summer home. LOL! The kids don't care if they're in a million dollar beach side mansion or a camper in the woods.  It's about being together!  That sounds cheesy, but it's the truth.  Even for myself.

Enjoy the final drips of Summer.....

"and there'd be sand in your pockets
and nothing on your mind."
~Josh Pyke~