Friday, October 10, 2014

Entitlement Culture

-Don't tell people to 'stop judging' just because some of us don't agree with this woman's choice [edited]. We are called to make judgments and discern between right and wrong. This 'stop judging' thing is about the dumbest, most anti-intellectual, most pointless slogan you can possibly repeat. Of course we should judge this act, just as we should judge any act. The people who whine about 'judging' aren't actually upset about judging in and of itself, they're upset that you judged it DIFFERENTLY.  

Matt Walsh

Something happened while I was in a mom support group. Support is an interesting word. I am pretty supportive in parenting and womanly things, I give perspective and advice and am pretty impartial as to which methods one uses.  This woman in our group posted something financial asking for grammatical help on her page asking for people to contribute to her husbands student loans/education and support their family. I spoke my mind pretty eloquently and from my own experiences and as nonjudgmental as I could muster. She attacked and said I wish women could just support each other. Reading Matt Walsh clarify his argument with this point about making judgements made me realize my feelings were not misplaced. She put it out there for us to judge and I told her it was wrong to ask for money like that. I judged her situation differently, does not mean either of us are wrong. Judging a situation and a person are different things, how you express the difference of opinion is also important. I was respectful and used my own situation as examples to solutions rather than attacking her.

I understand go fund me when something sudden happens, illness or accident for example, but asking people to pay for medical school for your husband is on par with pan handling in my opinion. In her summation of the situation, a couple things really upset me. One, she says he is top of his class and the best of the best...why is he not applying for or earning scholarships? Secondly, in her summation she states that with a $500 donation she will make a handmade quilt. If she has skills like that, why can't she put them to work and also be a source of income for her family in this time of need. The entitlement and way she responded that people doing frivolous things and should want to help, just made me sick. Probably because of all the sacrifices we've made for me to stay home and allow us to get on a path to becoming debt free. Probably because entitlement is a nerve and something I see too often in culture today. He is going to be a doctor, they have choices. I would be completely embarrassed if a future client was researching me and found a gofundme or similar page. I have left all mom groups so I don't get worked up or personally involved again. I am grateful for the friendships made.

So thank you to those that have supported us and helped us get to this point, develop our short term and long term financial goals. We appreciate the things you done and advice you've given. We thank G-d we were eventually open minded enough to listen.

Monday, August 11, 2014

To My Little Girl, Even Though I Won't Be Leaving You on Your First Day of Scool

To my little girl, my sweet little peanut.  It is not almost here, we've been on this journey all along. I brought you home from the hospital, and nursed you, woke you to eat.  You fit right in, you were calm and sweet.  That is until you needed something, just like the rest of us, you made sure we knew it.  You have little quirks that I had to figure out.  You have so much of both your dad and I in your big personality.  I love how you are so outgoing, we are still not sure who you got that from.  However, you fit in our family!

You came into the world screaming, and continue to live your life large and in the center of it all.  As fearless as you are now, you hated the swings, but you've always loved the slides.  I am grateful I was always there to catch you. I am glad I knew enough then to give you space to figure it out on your own when you said you were ready.  As much as this last year has taught me, I had some good instincts when you and your brother were little.  I have watched you grow, you have been by my side through bed rest and were the best companion. My sweet, you did not come out flying, but you are learning and earning your wings.

You are my girl that loves frilly dresses and playing in the mud, waiting for the day you can climb the tree alone.  Jumping feet first and with both eyes open into every pool, and every opportunity.  Miss E, you make friends where ever you go, big and small.  There is no teaching you socialization, you are far better at it than your reserved parents.  You care so much of others and even at 4 years of age, family is a priority in your life.  You have big dreams and see beauty in everything, and ask crazy questions (that mommy has to look up the answers).

I have taught you to talk, and sign a little, I taught you to think of others with your big beautiful heart. I watched you grow and gave you space to construct yourself.  So far and without worksheets or books, we have some basic addition, handwriting, and reading skills.  It touched my heart so, the first time you wrote MOM on the white board, unprompted and right in front of me. This was not some preschool teacher telling you to do it and handing it to me later. I am happy to say that as we begin Kindergarten this year (or K4 with some prek and some kindergarten), I get to continue to watch you soar.  I get to see the first time you read a sentence, and finish a math assignment, and when you overcome a struggle and it finally clicks.  I get to watch you learn and get excited about new ideas and concepts.  I get the priceless treasure of learning new things right along side you and your brother.  I know there will be hard days, I know this life and style of learning is not for every family.  I feel so honored and blessed that it is an opportunity for me and it that it works for our family.  So, you're still growing up, and still officially a big girl, but I get to help you learn the way you learn best, I get to change gears when a new idea excites you, I get to see it all! I won't always be teacher, mostly I'll be mom.  I'll never have to say I miss snuggling up to read with you, I can do that every day. While it is bittersweet to watch you grow and not be my tiny baby forever, we get to ride this wave together...

Together we will grow, together we will learn, together we will serve and I hope we will be closer through it all. So I will continue to give you some space and tools to construct yourself, we've done great together so far.  I won't miss out on 1440 hours of your life every year for the next several years, I will make so many of them into beautiful memories.  So let's go and face this journey and later, the world together!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Planners, pencil and paper gal!

   This is the second year in our homeschooling journey, and I intend to document it better this year. I could talk about curricula, we chose done great ones this year (at least great for us), but I think that is for another post. I want to tell you about my love for planning and planners.  I really try to love the electronic versions, mobile or pc, they never have everything I want. I finally figured out that this is due to my wants changing. I printed and spiral bound the planner I compiled last year, and it was dropped before the end of the school year.  I have up on it, and it was bulky. Ever my new find, ARC by staples! I have no affiliates and make no money to tell you about this lovely and accommodating product, some of the reviews I read may have. Most of the pages I've printed are from the Weekly Homeschool Planner and others have been compiled from free planners and printables around the net or from the curricula publisher. Another I recommend, I found after my purchase, is this Homeschool Planner Printable from Polka Dot Posie.

     Today was our "First Day of School"!  We went over rules, consequences, routines, goals, had a fun interview and Mr. Bug wrote for Miss Peanut.  This evening I will take back to school pictures with some printables that I made from a template by Sassy Designs.  We are also hoping to get to the library so we have some of our resources.  I will certain write up a post for each of the kids curricula choices and how they are working throughout the year!  What are you using to plan?  D you have a favorite app, software, or a planner available on the market? I would love to hear!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Time Marches On

    It has been a while since I have posted.  We have had a lot going on trying to get unpacked, organized for school, getting into a routine for school.  We have been doing well on most of those things. I am really pleased with the way homeschooling has been going and glad to say I have remained flexible to let our day progress even if we get of the planned schedule and we are still usually done by lunchtime! I will talk more about homeschooling over time and you will get tire of it I am sure, but that is not the reason for my post today.

   Almost 7 years ago I entered the amazing, crazy world of parenthood.  I cannot believe my first born is about to be seven.  He has grown and matured so much that sometimes we place unreal expectations on him.  I am working on that.  He was and is a quirky, sweet, and thoughtful kid, my Bugaboo.  I am glad to get the opportunity to watch him love to learn, and excited to report that he is starting to love to read after only two weeks of home schooling and some of the tricks I learned from other great homeschooling moms out there.  I wanted to share these with you tonight as this is going to be a hectic week and I had some time: 

Riley James through the years

Riley, you are an amazing boy, a kind and loving big brother.  Your sisters are going to look up to you and measure other boys by your example.  I am proud to be your Mom.  Happy 7th Birthday.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

TV Time, less is more

Since deciding to homeschool and with the oncoming summer, I knew that TV was a problem in our house.  Mainly with me, I was addicted and it was really all that kept me awake while nursing in the early days.  I have also adopted a new motto, instead of taking life as it comes, I really want to make life and moments happen for y family. So to start, we instituted no screen days (except for educational computer time or TV documentaries at parental discretion).  On top of that, I have given each three 30 min screen time cards only valid on Tuesday or Thursday. If they want to play games on my tablet, wii, or watch TV they hand in the card and I set a timer.  Riley used 2 yesterday and Elise none, she was smart to appeal to his sharing nature and they played Wii together.

I have to say that I am happy with the outcomes so far.  Here are some games that Bug and Peanut have made up:

Sweetheart (they talk and call each other sweetheart)
Store: Bug has sold her toys, insurance and much more but Peanut does not always get it
Make Monkey smile
having pretend phone conversations with each other and Felisa and Eric (somewhat random, I know)
push Monkey in the stroller while mom is pulling weeds
use baby floor gym as a rocket ship
pick up the money, again and again and again

I am sure there are more, but this is what I have witnessed in three days limiting the TV.  We are a little more lenient on weekends and while we are currently in the process of moving. However there will be no TV in my kids room in the new house due to space and rule enforcement.  I am really excited about our new family adventure, hoping to make us closer as a family and the kids more a part of the family unit.  Bug has really come around in a few short days with his attitude and I am happy to see him accepting the new rules and even taking them to heart. Peanut has been a little resistant and having a few three year old meltdowns, but all in all has been well behaved.  Tomorrow we go to the first summer movie, alone with all three kids.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Having kids is like....

So maybe having kids is like running a circus, or directing theater as the vacuum cleaner commercial suggests, but I really feel that it is like running an insane asylum and I am the craziest of them all. It is like riding a roller coaster, up and down, and sometimes upside down and other times it is smooth sailing and you mistakenly think, I've got this.  Then bedtime comes around and the three year old is beating up her big brother and you question why you ever thought the smooth sailing would last.  Part of you wishes they would grow up and have more self control, and part of you wants them to stay little and curious forever. Now you might wonder why I think I am the craziest.  I have decided to take them on full time, as in homeschooling.  I feel like it is taking over my life, my mind and I am just in the planning stages. There are no breaks and no child get one on one attention for hours a day.  The biggest problem I have is the two older ones interacting with each other and now they don't get breaks from each other, either.

Yesterday I almost through in the towel.  Miss E, while three, is not one for melt downs and tantrums when she is one on one but yesterday was meltdown city, every few minutes.  There was no reasoning with her or getting her what she wanted. I think some of it is the rash she has on her extremities from sunscreen and chlorine.  I cannot get a handle on it and she gets exposed again before I can even start it in a healing direction.  She scratches it until it bleeds and then it also spreads.  We got an oatmeal bath for her today, and she was a dream.  It was like night and day. The two did not fight in the car, for the most part they were thoughtful, then just before bed she destroys whatever Mr R had been making with legos and then runs away knowing she did wrong.  And let me tell you, I am pretty sure the lesson sunk in more with me telling her calmly how angry I was at what she had done and that she knew better than when I yell.  She was so apologetic to both me and Riley afterwards.  Craziness I tell you.

When we move in a month, they will have separate bedrooms again and the girls will share once I move Baby B out of our room. I am also going to majorly downsize their stuff.  They don't play with much of it, most of the time they are fighting over it.  They will earn the right to play with certain items as they learn to respect us, our belongings and their own belongings. I think if it is a treat to get the legos out, or their cars or anything else, they will have more fun.  They also have less opportunity to make a mess and less to be responsible for.  Another mommy blogger that reportedly did this, also found her kids were less likey to ask for "stuff" when out and about.

So with moving to save money and pay things off comes me attempting a new budget and it is hard to change my mindset from the system we have been using over 11 years now, to one that will help us realize what we can afford and pay things off. I am also praying that my employer can find a way for me to go back to work part time. I think 3 10 hours shifts would be doable overnight and I would only have to hire someone once a week to be here while I got some sleep.  This will give us some breathing room as I am not going to include that income in the forecaster budget so we can save and pay off debts with most of that money. 

Please pray for us as we embark on our biggest adventure, homeschooling this year.  I am going to take it light with Elise and see how she progresses by just watching Riley and utilizing some online resources for preschool activities.  Then we may start her in Kindergarten the following fall. I am nervous, but mostly excited.  It is something I had always wanted to do and I am glad that the Enginerd and I were able to agree on how best to proceed.

May you all enjoy your roller coaster with all of life's ups and downs. Feel free to comment on how you cope or the mood swings of your three year old, sometimes just knowing we are not alone is a coping tool on its own.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Mommy Instincts, Outside Judgements

So I have said it before, I do not subscribe or contribute to the mommy wars. I support my friends and people I encounter in blogs, whatever they choose. If questions are asked of my or on a forum, I qualify my statements by saying my opinion or this has worked with our family. With that said, I know my chosen infant "parenting method" is not main stream, but it has worked for us so far.

I say the above because even now on my third baby, contradicting parenting styles and mommy blogs make me doubt my instincts. Even though we chose PDF (parent directed feeding as lined out in "On Becoming Babywise"), I feel strongly that most babies do not fit this mold. My first, Mr R, we were not able to get the hang of breastfeeding and no one told me about lactation consultants and all my support people told me to just formula feed (except one who told me to exclusively pump).  I had health issues after delivery and just did not feel I could keep up with him.  He was eating 4 oz of formula every 2 hours at 2 weeks old, and with good reason.  He went from 8 lbs and 21 in at birth to 11 lbs 24 by 1 month.  He out grew the infant seat in height by 5 months and we are predicting he will be taller than me (5'1") between 8 to 10 years old. He in now way fit the PDF mold, but I continued trying mainly focusing on feed-wake-sleep cycles.  He still slept through the night by 3 months and naps with a solid (predictable) routine by 4 months. Miss E we had to wake for the first 6-8 weeks because she was a sleepy baby and then naturally went to the 3 hour routine, went down for naps perfectly with minimal crying to settle. Baby B is somewhere in the middle and definitely shows signs of cluster feeding.  Both girls are exclusively breastfeeding, but Miss E started getting bottles of breast-milk at 4 weeks due to a surgery I needed to have. Miss B had her first try at a bottle and it did not go well, onto trying different bottles for her. My point being is that with each one, my instincts kicked in even though they were all different through trial and error I figured out how to meet my child's needs.  Why is it that I am letting other mommy blogs and my family make me feel guilty for doing the same with this new baby?

Baby B is so sweet and hardly ever fusses until she gets tired and wants to be held.  She likes pressure and swaddling and she is such a chunky monkey, her blankets don't stay. My family have been telling me that I am spoiling her, with not giving her a bottle yet (even with breast milk), rocking her to sleep often and nursing her to sleep at night, comforting her as soon as she cries.  The thing is, with Mr. R, he cried almost all the time, especially at night, for hours whether I was holding him or not. It was a little easier to try to let him cry it out and by 3 months, he figured out how to self sooth and it was not so much a big deal.  Miss E never really cried for long, but Baby B when I have tried gets hysterical AND stops as soon as she is in my arms, even falling asleep seconds later. She is also, at 10 weeks, sleeping at least 6 hours each night and almost 8 on a few occasions this last week, so I am getting a similar result while loving her the way I feel she needs to be loved. Even if I weren't getting that result, or if it continues to take longer to become a regular thing, I am alright with that and need to stop having doubts about my actions.  Now I just need to figure out how to work in grocery shopping with a cluster feeding, growth spurting baby.  I encourage you to follow your beliefs and instincts whatever they may be and not allow outside pressures or influence or mark your decisions. Not to say that parenting does not require education, I agree it does.  Especially if you hope to change habits like yelling, but no parenting method or child fits a mold as dictated by a single parenting book, find something that has principles you like and adjust it to the stage and personality of your child based on your Mommy instincts. Be confident in your mommy abilities and do not let others make you feel guilty or doubt those great instincts.  We are all being the best, beautiful mommies we can, doing what is right for each child and our family that we possibly can. 

How do you fight doubt and the mommy worries?