Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions.

I am not decisive. Never have been.

I never beat myself up with regret when I face the results of indecision. I deal with it with grace and the knowledge that there could have had a different outcome IF I would have made a decision but, because I didn't, I have to deal with it.

It seems when ever I make a decision, it turns out costly. Not always, but mostly. Or maybe I just don't notice the good decisions.

I've been in the process of de-cluttering for awhile now, taking zones on a free weekend and paring them down to the things I love and/or need.

Last month: Clothes.

I went through the little boys (and my) closets and threw away anything stained or torn and donated things I was just getting tired of looking at (4 boys = lots of hand-me-downs). Do they really need 7 pairs of jeans? 10 sweatshirts? I think not.

My goal was to not be so overwhelmed at laundry time. Another benefit was to be that they were not so overwhelmed when it was time to get dressed, and maybe if they only had 2 pair of jeans, they'd not lose them for months under their beds, or throw them down the laundry chute just because they weren't sure if they were dirty or just laying on the floor.

My goal was to not have so much that my blessings became a burden. I always thought saving everything was being responsible. "Just in case" I'd always think. Slowly I'm changing my thinking, Just in case...what...? Suddenly I'm unable to do laundry for a month? Suddenly it's okay to wear stained clothes because it's better than nothing? I had plenty AND I had 2 washers and 2 dryers. I could easily get a buttload of clothes washed and dried in less than 2 hours.

And then...my decision came back to bite me! All in one month, both washers and both dryers bit the dust. Can you believe it? First one washer started leaking, the other stopped agitating, and one of my dryers stopped heating. I made due with soaking in the non-agitator and stuffing towels on the floor to stop the leaking one from creating a river in my basement. Drying with one dryer slowed the process but still it was bearable. Then, right before the boys departed for deer hunting, the last dryer stopped working. With all my boy's clothes in it. The one who was going hunting...in the woods...in the cold...with nothing warm and dry to wear. (I'll have to add that to the "Just in case" file.)

Luckily, it was a 4 hour drive to the hunting cabin...in a warm van...with a hanging rack. I'm not too sure he felt comfortable with his undies waving for all to see, but he would at least have dry clothes to wear, unlike the rest of us...with just a few outfits...who will still have damp clothes in the morning...because the basement, although recently cleaned out, is not an ideal place for a clothesline.

Matt was able to fix the 2 washers cheap, but my 2 dryers are still lifeless.

That's usually what I'm rewarded with after a decision. Like the time the kids (I) splurged on a Kitchen Aid mixer for my Birthday/Mothers Day present and the van died that week. Could-have-used-that-money-for-the-van! (whacking forehead) Not positive reinforcement.

Or the time when we (I) decided to have Matt replace the basement steps and the hot water heater sprung a leak. At least we hadn't spent the project money on the new materials yet and were able to replace the appliance. I carried laundry up and down with ladder for about a month, but at least we had hot water.

I'm not going to be making any big decisions at least until Christmas is over, with newly processed venison to be frozen, my freezer is in jeopardy!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Welcome To My Life With Sam

When Sam was 4 I enrolled him in the Speech Therapy program run by our public schools. I had no trouble understanding him, but by the advise or our Family Physician and out of courtesy to his Sunday School teacher we dove in, meeting twice a week throughout the school year with Mrs. Streckenbach.

On Sam's IEP the examiner stated "Sam does not care to articulate".

Welcome to my life with Sam.

The first year went smoothly with only minimal disruption to our homeschooling day. The twice a week sessions slowed in the spring to once a week meetings. His therapist was happy with his progress and agreed to my request for less involvement with the program. Two particular sounds that still grieved him were /G/ and /R/, we spent most of our time on those. Mrs. Streckenbach had many tools to teach with including picture cards whose images contained the sounds Sam needed to work on.

On one particular day she held up a cartoonish picture of a pink one-piece swimsuit and asked Sam "Who would wear one of these?"

"Not me!" he answered.

I think "Girl" was the answer she was looking for.

Welcome to my life with Sam.

This week, while preparing the 3 younger boys for their Well Child Checkups I mentioned, as well as their immunizations, the genitourinary check that would have to be performed. They were grossed out and none of them remembered having them before (Good thing!)

Sam asked "Why do they have to do that?"

My first line of defense for fielding these types of questions is to be as vague as possible and only go into a detailed explanation if absolutely necessary.

"Just to make sure both your testicles are there." I said in my best Marcus Welby voice.

"Well, where else would they be?" He asked matter of factly.

Obviously a detailed explanation was in order.

Welcome to my life with Sam.

During that phase of Sam's exam Dr. Lemkuil explained what he was going to do and was about to launch into the Why when Sam interrupted saying, "I know, my mom already told me."

It's good to be prepared.

Our doctor is very homeschool friendly and he sees quite a few families who are showing great success with their children, but it doesn't stop me from feeling like my kids being tested whenever they have their Well-Child exams.

He goes over basic safety rules and asks them questions like "What kind of job does your Dad have?" and "What do you want to be when you grow up?"

Sam (who is not normally shy) was not cooperating and just shrugged his shoulders when it came time to answer, stating he didn't know my cell phone number, didn't know what he had to wear on his head when he rode his bike, and had no clue what his dad does when he leaves the house. Luckily Griffin was there to answer or Dr. Lemkuil might have started to wonder if I teach them anything.

Very patiently he moved on to the next question, "What do you wear when you ride in the car?"

Sam declared without hesitation, "A shirt."

I offer nothing more than humor to a busy man's day.

Welcome to my life with Sam.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

5 Already?

This is me, 5 years ago. 7:30am. I was overdue and scheduled for an induction. I had time to do my hair even, isn't it pretty?

This is me, 5 years ago. 6:30pm. I'm sure my makeup had worn off from the rag I kept on my face to quell the nausea. And, so much for the hairdo. Labor can do that to a gal.

But, boy, did I feel better. I didn't even care that Matt was being goofy.

Can my baby really be 5?

It's been fun today rummaging through old photo albums and talking about what they remember from the day.

My mom and dad kept the kids and made a birthday cake to bring to the hospital. He was born right during their supper, and they all left it on the table and hurried to meet him. This time, when the call came there was no hint of whether it was a brother or sister, but the nurse in the hallway gave it away before they came into the room. Here they all are getting to know Isaac.

Who would have thought he'd become my lego loving, camera stealing, hand kissing, singing, goofy, loveable little boy who isn't afraid to tell his Mama she's beautiful and lovely. God knew I needed an Isaac.
I can't imagine our lives without him.

Happy Birthday.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The "S" word

When I posted this video on YouTube regaling the issues imposed on homeschoolers by uninformed members of society*, I didn't ever think that it would travel outside my circle of friends.

I'm sure, still, in the scheme of things that this is small potatoes. But, in my corner of the world, anything with me attached to it that has been viewed this many times makes me kind of giddy. I was only a last minute replacement for my verse, saving a strapping homeschool dad from sure discomfort. (Although, he was willing and it would have been hysterical.) I didn't write it or even make it to the rehearsal. But since my daughter filmed it and my name is on the YouTube account, I feel responsible for its content. Not responsible as in "Looky What I Did". Rather responsible as in "I'm Representing Homeschoolers Here, I'd Better Remain Mature".

Receiving the comments from other homeschoolers has been fun. The issues seem to be universal. When I received a negative comment I was a little taken aback. I mean, what's someone opposed to homeschooling doing looking at homeschooling videos. Then I reminded myself that's what happens when you put yourself out there.

I don't suspect that the commenter really had a beef with homeschoolers but when cloaked with anonymity we all feel a little bolder.

While contemplating my reply, I did a little research on homeschool socialization. What a wonderful reminder to me as to why this is the perfect choice for our family. I think I may do it every year.

I do have my favorite comebacks to the "What about socialization?" question just as I have them for the inquiries as to the number of children we have. I take into consideration the asker and their true intent before I pull one from my hat, and it looks as if my children are following in my footsteps.

Hailey and Hayden were awaiting the start of a concert this summer, hanging out with a bunch of their Homies (their term for Homeschool friends) up near the stage. An exchange began between them and another group of kids in close proximity. (Yes, homeschooled kids talk to just about anyone) The conversation turned towards which group had the cooler school mascot. The Schoolies were impressed with the Eagle and commented that it was much more chic than their Polar Bear.

"Where do you go to school?" They asked.

"We're homeschooled." replied Hayden.

"Well then, HOW do you know each other?"

"Our moms lets us out the basement sometimes when it's sunny."

I appreciate his humor so much more when it's not directed at me.

*The use of this term is not meant to be offensive. By definition if you don't have all the information you're said to be uninformed. It only receives a negative connotation when those with the information refuse to make use of it.