Saturday, August 18, 2012

How to be the most awesome mom on the block

Suppose you have 6 young children in your house. Unexpected children that somehow ended up there. Restless children who have tired of old dance costumes and loud music and are now trying to (destroy the house) find something else to do. Now you have to think of some organized activity to save your sanity and your stuff. Here's how to make them think you're the most awesome mom ever. You need a supply of pint-sized, regular mouth mason jars and a blender. Go to your fridge and pull out the milk and all the ice cream toppings you can find. We had chocolate, caramel, and marshmallow toppings. I also pulled out the orange juice and frozen fruit, but they were completely ignored. Give each child a jar and have them fill it up about 1/2 full with ice, 3/4 full with milk, then they can add whatever of the toppings they want. Screw the blade attachment onto the mouth of the jar. (Did you know that most blenders will fit perfectly onto a regular mouth mason jar?) Flip it over onto the blender and and blend it into a jar of creamy goodness. Remove the blade assembly, put a straw in it, and hand it to the amazed and delighted child. This activity will take up about 10 minutes. After which they will go back to the chaos of before, but at least you can console yourself with the fact that you have a reputation as most awesome mom ever.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Busiest. Summer. Ever.

3 months ago, we finished up our school year.

This Monday we started our new school year and I finally have time to breathe again.

Most people consider summer to be a vacation. A time of relaxation and family fun. Well, we had plenty of family fun, but I missed out on much of that relaxation part. I ran our church VBS, my family came to visit and we went to visit family, we went to China Camp in Oklahoma and dance nationals at the beach, lots of administration changes at church to help with and training at K's new school and dance try-outs and rehearsals and there's a whole year of third grade that had to be planned. Whew!

This week is the first time all summer I've actually stayed home long enough to finish all the laundry in one stretch. I cleaned out school books and papers from last year and have been slowly working on our school space for this year. I know, we already started school, but the space is still a work in progress. Hopefully by Friday it'll all be finished and we can feel settled.

School adventure this year. We're entering our 7th year and no two years have ever looked alike. That's kinda the nice thing about homeschooling; there's freedom to adapt as needed to meet the different needs as they crop up. K wanted more interaction and I didn't want to teach Pre-algebra, so she's attending a university model classical Christian school. It's a small school with a very informal, student-led feel and they get to work from home two days a week. They also have a ton of extra-curricular opportunities. For example, K is playing volleyball this fall and the whole upper school is going on an overnight retreat tomorrow after classes. So far, it seems to be a great fit for K, but rather time-demanding. Hopefully, we'll get into the groove soon and things will flow well.

L is staying home for school this year. She's both excited and grumpy about this. She wishes she could go to school like K, but she's happy to get all the attention from mom. The promise of classes at our local nature center also made the homeschool choice more enticing, as she loves their programs. Our greatest challenge will be getting past her attitude of "needing" help with everything if I'm available. That and the fact that 3rd grade requires a whole lot of reading, which is not her strongest suit. So far I've only had to send her to her room to get hold of herself once a day and I think we can avoid even that if I force her to take a break. She'd rather work straight through and get school done, but she starts to lose it toward the end.

Now that summer is over and school has started, I'm planning to take some time to breathe. And maybe clean the bathrooms. It's sad when cleaning bathrooms is starting to look appealing, but it's a sign that life is settling back into a routine and I dearly need some routine in my life.