It's been a while since I've posted. I was in a bit of a funk for a while. Felt like I was on the hamster wheel not going anywhere. It was like I was getting further and further behind and there wasn't anything I could do about it. For example, two $400 electric bills in August and September. Our house is not some mansion over the hilltop. It's a little over 2000 square feet. And our thermostat was set at 76 in summer. Electric company wouldn't even send some one out to look and check the meter. Nothing, no help what's so ever. Then, we finally get those paid off and we had another $500 unexpected thing pop up. Plus, making trips for Joey's band trip every month. Faith has a trip to Disney in January that I was supposed to chaperon. Life can wear ya down, you know? Where else could I go but to God? He knows how stretched we are. He knows our circumstances before I ask. So, I gave God the worries on my heart and asked for help. God gave us an unexpected check in the mail that got us caught up. Joey's band payment got made yet again. I did have to step-down from going to Disney with Faith. Just makes me so sad that I couldn't be there. All of the other kids have at least 1 parent going, but I couldn't put that financial strain on my own family for a trip for myself.
Our first snow in our house. So pretty!
Now, it's Christmas time. As they get older and I get wiser, it is less and less about the presents under the tree. When they were smaller, I'd start during the summer if I found a sale. Then, it moved to starting in the fall and being done by December 1st. This year, the first gifts I even bought was a couple movies at 7 am on black Friday. Seriously. My husband couldn't believe it. Black Friday and I came home with a couple movies, fabric, and a toy for my youngest niece. That's it. I did some shopping online these past days snowed in. Now, I am basically done. Not because I've gone crazy on some awesome sales, but because a couple things they really want under the tree is enough. There isn't any fluff under there. There is not clothes that I picked out under there. Or things they will think is cool for 10 minutes then forget about. They each have a a couple things under the tree and a couple things for their stocking. It is enough.
Annual walk through the lights
I am looking forward to spending time with my family. Reading the real Christmas story and Twas the Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve like we always do. Waking up and singing, "Happy Birthday to Jesus!" over the birthday cake we bake every year. Then, having family over for a hot meal after presents have been opened. Playing a few games and just making some memories with one another. Once you quit worrying about the gifts that do not matter, the real gift of the season can be yours. The gift of love. Love from your Savior. Love with your family. What a blessing!
My babies are so big. Okay...well, guess I should #1 stop calling them babies. (even though they can still act like it at times!) But, every time I do family pictures, I realize it even more!
Joey is 16 now, Luke is 14 1/2, and Faith is 11 1/2. It seems unreal to me in so many ways. How did all those years go by so fast? When did they get so old? Luckily, I don't age as quickly as they do!! ;D
I hope that you get pictures of your family this Thanksgiving. And, I hope that your table if full with family around and abound with delicious food for all.
Can you believe that it is already this time of year?? I looked at the calendar and it is hard to believe that next week is Thanksgiving. This Thursday will be my first of the Thanksgiving meals that I'll prepare. It's turkey and dressing day at school, so I'll have over 400 servings to prepare. Geez!! Of course in the midst of the holidays, we still must fund-raise! So, we figured that we could help you out as well. :) So, we are once again doing our fall fundraising bake sale. Joey will be baking once again!! You get to enjoy! I know that everyone wants something homemade for Thanksgiving, just let Joey do the cooking.
Two Layer Chocolate Cake: $20 Snickerdoodle Bunt Cake: $15 Two Layer Red Velvet Cake: $20 24 Butter Croissants: $15 Homemade Pumpkin Pie: $15 Please let me know what we can help you with. Thank you for supporting our fundraising efforts!
God has put this one my heart for a while, but I've really, well, put off talking about it. It seems that lot of people recently have switched over to the home-school idea and don't give our schools the praise they deserve. Public schools get a bad rap. So, here are my two cents. Take it what you will but if you have something negative to say, I'll just remind you that we all have a right to our own opinions and this is just my own. These are just think from my perspective.
When my children were smaller, I was a big reader to them. As they grew, I taught them A, B,C's and numbers. I taught them sounds for each letter so we could put together words. Even beginning addition. Before kindergarten, Joey knew all of that as well as could write his name and color in the lines beautifully. Luke did have a few learning issues but I worked even harder with him. Faith was even reading BEFORE kindergarten. She was 4 years old and reading books to her babydolls. Did I think about homeschooling them at this point since they are doing so well thus far? Maybe for a moment but I looked at the positives and negatives.
Homeschooling...they can learn on their level and at their own pace. That means I can spend more time helping Luke and I can really push Joey and Faith. But...I look at what they give up by being at home all of the time. First thing that comes to my mind now (that they are teenagers) would be the extra stuff. The stuff that make going to school worth it when you their age.
Joey is loves being a tuba player! This opens up opportunities for learning things like how much hard practice is worth it. He is going to New York City and will play patriotic songs in front of the Statue of Liberty. AWESOME! He also enjoys yearbook and has always loved history. He even got selected to go on a history tour in Washington, Jamestown, ect. in junior high. He is taking a college history class this year and pre-ap english. Luke is taking a metal (welding) class and a construction class this year. Each year will build on his skills. Even looking at Faith. She has art and music and PE. Yes, I love arts and crafts but would I have her try to paint a bowl of apples to learn perspective? Or different art styles? Nope, it would be more of the pinterest ideas! LOL Or try different instruments to see what she could be good at? There are SO many extra things they learn besides math, english, science, and history. (Even in science, they are getting out the microscope out and working on slides.) This is just the stuff they enjoy. The things that help them figure out who they are. The stuff that makes learning real.
Then, there is the social aspect. My kids would have each other. They would have other family members. They would also have the kids from church. Yes, they could be a part of library groups or such. There little bubble would be very small and that's why a lot of parents like home schooling. They want that control over who influences their child. And honestly, the more I read the Bible. The more I know that is not what Jesus would want. (I know everyone is freaking out right now!) God would want you to let Him have control of that. Let God and Let God. Jesus was out there. He didn't shelter himself from the rest of the world. He was out there with the disease. With the dirty. With the sinners. He didn't just surround himself with the 12 disciples and say, "okay, guys, you go do this but I'm staying right here." No, He showed the 12 how to have a servants heart. How can be be a light in this world when the only thing we are lighting is own little circle? Yes, there are bullies in this world. Yes, even my own kids have been picked on. But, you know what? They have the opportunity to show God's love to kids that may not have ever seen it... on a daily basis! That is how I started going to church years ago. With friends. What if their parents decided to place them in the safe bubble?
Do I get frustrated with the system? Of course. Even the teachers do. There are some awesome teachers that I know who want to pull their hair out at things as well. But they go to work each day knowing they are there to make a difference. I have had to fight for Luke so much that I am naturally defensive at any of his IEP meetings. I am always ready to stand up for him. Honestly, now that Faith is bigger, I am even frustrated at the other end. My daughter is in middle school and not being challenged hardly at all. Easy straight A's. But, I don't look at public school as a drop off and it is the teacher's job to do it all. First and foremost, it is my job. God has given me these three kids to do the best possible for them. So, you know what I have always done? I work with Luke on his reading at home. Or his vocab. Or math. It is my responsibility to help my child. Faith is bored. You know what? We work on algebra at home for "fun". (yeah she likes it!) Public school is a partnership with parents. Not a drop off baby sitter.
I have always said that if things got too rough for Luke, I would home school him without a second thought. Joey and Faith would still be in public school even then. I know there are special circumstances. I have a friend that home schools her kids because she lives in such a town and she knows from experience that you can skip more days than your in school and still pass just fine. LOL She wants a better education than what she got and that is great. But I also know a sweet family that home schools because she doesn't want to be away from her children that much. She even plans on doing on line college classes so I am not sure when they will actually face the real world. I know that if they took the same tests as my kids, they wouldn't be passing. So, it's really a disservice to her kids. Sad.
My kids are big now. I can look at what they are learning and it is SO much more than one person could do at home. They are getting to experience teachers that are good at their subject, showing my kids how to do it. I could not show them everything they are learning. They are becoming well rounded people who live in the real world. Yes, they know there are bullies in life. Yes, some of them have even seen teen pregnancy, gays, and drugs. But, I wouldn't change it. My kids are able to be light in the middle of sin. They are able to be in the middle of the mess man has created and learn to not judge. When my kids step out into the world on their own, not only will they be able to remember what the Bible says because they learned it in Church and at home (where it should be), they will be able to handle the real world as it really is.
Luke 15:1-7 " Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to
hear him.And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man
receives sinners and eats with them.” So he told them this parable:“What
man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not
leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost,
until he finds it?And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders,
rejoicing.And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his
neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that
was lost.’Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner
who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance."
My little 5 pound baby boy has turned into a 16 year old! Well, Monday is his birthday. It is just hard to believe that he is in 10th grade just two years away from graduating! :( Can we stop time for a little while and let me just enjoy these days while I can? Once school starts the busyness increases. Band practice twice a week after school. Friday night is high school football with (of course) the band. I just want to enjoy these years with him. Not rush through them. I love this picture of him. Monsters Inc. was the first movie that I ever took them to in the theater. I look at this picture of him and Mike and think of the first time he saw it in the theater and was amazed how big the screen was! I've been teasing him that for his 16th birthday that I would throw him aQuinceañera. He always tells me that he is not Mexican and it's the wrong birthday. :D
Faith is still fundraising for soccer. She has been selling some para-cord bracelets at school. I've made some burlap door hangers. BUT, the price is about $2,000 for just two of us. So, without some big fundraising and donations, we may not be able to go. We are trying until the end though!!! We are praying that God will provide and bless our efforts. We have a rummage sale coming up that will be for the 6 of us. As well as a pancake breakfast at Applebees. Hopefully that will bring the costs down!! If you know of anything that can help, please let me know!
Luke is a construction class this year at the high school, then they bus him back to the junior high. He is also in FFA for the first year and in a beginning welding class. Luke is enjoying school again. He has more classes that he likes compared to the basics that he is required to have. :) Of course, we still need to work on his reading.
I look at my family and I am know that I am blessed. And I am thankful for God's watchful eyes keeping us safe. It is hard to believe that my babies are so big, but I know what a blessing it is to be a Mom. I am thankful.
Back to the busyness of life. School. Band practice. Soccer practice. Game days/nights. Meetings with the school for this or that. Church on Wednesday nights. AAAhhhhhhh!!! I love those few and far between nights when there is nothing.
Now, those nights are even filled. We have kicked into fundraiser time. My oldest son, Joey, is a tuba player in high school. This coming summer they head to New York City and play at the Statue of Liberty. How awesome is that???!!!! Parent meeting for that trip is this week. Then my daughter, Faith, played in some 3 vs 3 tournaments this summer. They placed high enough to where they are invited to play in Disney World in January. I know...how awesome, right?
Well, both of those trips will have some pretty price tags along with those opportunities. We've started a few school fundraisers for band already. I'm sure this week, I'll have to sign up for a monthly payment to be put in Joey's account. But, honestly, his is in the summer so I have a little time for that. Faith's is in January. That means I have September through December to raise enough funds. Tough months to be saving for a trip.
We are doing several fundraisers as a team to be split among us. Garage sale will be coming up so if you have anything you'd like to donate to the cause, just let me know! :) An Applebees breakfast we will squeeze in. But, on top of the fundraisers for the team, I am going to have to do some fancy fundraising myself to help cover our costs. So, of course, Faith and I will be doing a bake sale. I ordered a plastic 3 pack cupcake carrier (think Harps or Wal-Mart plastic cupcake carriers). Faith and I will be baking and packaging them up. Then, selling them for $5. More affordable and moist than Bliss and it's going for a good cause! :) So, if you or your hubby works at a place that can help us out with our cupcake selling, PLEASE let me know. ANY help will be appreciated. Just let me know how many you'd like to take and what day works for you to take them.
I am also getting a crafty for some fundraising. There isn't a finished product yet. I got a few half way done today so hopefully I can squeeze an hour or two this week to finish a them up. Here is hoping that this week you have a few moments to just sit. Moments to not do anything. Even if those moments are fleeting, we all need a few of them. :)
Remember that song? Life. Sometimes life gets in the way of the happy ending.
Life. When your alarm clock goes off, you walk in the dark hallway, and step in a mess your puppy left you. Those days when you are so tired, you fall asleep at 5 p.m. on the couch, then wake yourself up by snoring too loud. Of course, that's when you look around and the kids are laughing at you, then make the mistake of asking for supper afterwards. (that was a fend for yourself night!)
Life. It's not always easy. Our jobs. Our kids. Even their things. We have so much pulling at us daily. Those days when I wake up with a headache... I am already taking Tylenol before my day has really begun. Not a good sign! I watch old shows and wonder what it would be like to just slow down for a while. The kids weren't in a couple sports plus extra curricular activities like band or choir. Or we didn't add in some piano lessons after school as well. We weren't always needing to go somewhere.
As I drift off into a nap, my mind takes me to the Brady Bunch and I realize that's wayyyy too many kids for me! LOL I clear my head and realize that my happily ever after is now. This is where I am. This is where God wants me. Instead of wishing things were different, I need to enjoy the blessings God has given me. He has blessed us so much. He has taken care of me through difficult times when I could no longer see the light. I know that God will see me through this day with annoyances it will bring. After all, this is My Happily Ever After.