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The Importance of One on One time

Tomorrow (weather permitting), my big kids have theater practice for pretty much the whole day. This gives me and Crankles the perfect opportunity for Mommy and Kid Date! I do this with all my kids. I find some time and take them out for lunch or a movie. Sometimes we go shopping or go to the park. The important thing is that we are doing it together and without the others.

Crankles gets a lot of my time as she is little, but she does not get the one on one time with me unless we do things like this. She is little, and she is not much of a people person. She also hates shopping and being in public. Starbucks is our special place. We get a treat, and I sit and talk to her. I do not get out my phone, unless she wants me to take her picture. (If you do not believe me that she likes to have her picture taken, please see yesterday’s post.) She looks forward to it, and I love seeing her face light up when she sees scones! (If they do not have scones, cake pops and cookies are acceptable to her, but not banana bread.)

kid date

For Sissy, we go window shopping. Sometimes we do movies together, like when Neverending Story hit the big screen last fall. With Bubby, he and I get to do some cooler things now that he is older. Last fall for one of our dates, we went to one of those haunted forest places. I think this summer, we will probably do paintball. Most of the time, we go to a diner. The important thing is to find something you can do together and have fun with it.

My kids look forward to these times, and I do too. These are the times where the kids open up more about their feelings and what is going on in their lives. Crankles does not do this so much yet, but she is little. It helps you continually bond with your kids and let them know they are special even when sometimes it does not seem like it when a million things are happening at home. As our kids get older, it is our chance to connect or re-connect, to be completely focused on them.

I know life gets busy, and sometimes it is hard to fit everything into it. However, this is one thing that if you can fit just one a month with each kid, you will be glad you did.

What do you like to do with your kids for one on one time? Please feel free to let me know in the comments below.

 

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Put some fun back into homeschool

It is that time of year where we get pre-occupied with holiday parties and get togethers, and our kids start to get a little bored with homeschool. It is very easy to want to take a break for a while, but instead of giving into the break, maybe you should step back and find some ways to add life into your homeschool day once again.

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Have you done a lot of field trips? If not, take a look at your list of field trip ideas. You can also see what new exhibits local museums or zoos have and tie it into your lessons. My kids and I recently got a family membership to a zoo about an hour from here, and we are looking at getting a membership to the natural history museum as well. Part of the reason for doing this is that both places have reciprocal memberships with other zoos and museums giving us options for field trip days. Sometimes we can find places that have events or exhibits that complements our lessons for the week.

Make sure you stock up on craft supplies. Right now the weather is starting to turn where I live, so we are not spending as much time outdoors. When you start getting frustrated, take a breath and get a project for the kids to do. Then you can go back to the lesson later.

If lessons are getting hard to push through, maybe this is a good time to take a look at your teaching methods and/or curriculum. I am not saying to change curriculums. Sometimes, you just need to change the approach, be creative. After all, that is what homeschool is all about: the ability to be flexible. Recently, we decided to delay the start of the next book in our history curriculum so we could focus more on 19th and 20th century history. Another book we are using discusses it, and the kids want to learn more. Again, it is about being flexible.

Finally take a look at your munchies! What are you serving for lunch and snacks? Is it getting boring? Then mix it up a bit! We started doing bento boxes recently because the kids have been having fun doing different themes with them. We are also trying to tie in foods to our lessons. This week we will be having a Boxcar Children lunch with dried meat, brown bread, butter, and blueberries. The kids are looking forward to it. When we are all happy, our homeschool day goes better.

I hope you find these tips useful, and if you are having the mid-year blahs, I hope you can breathe life into your homeschool day once more. Do you have anything to add to the list? If so, please feel free to add your suggestions in the comments below!

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The Reluctant Oilfield Wife

I really thought we were done with this. I thought last year when he got laid off that it was a sign that maybe he could find another job, something that paid decently. I thought we could be that family I envisioned where he comes home every night, and we have family time. Instead, I am preparing today for my husband to go back to being a geologist in the oilfield.

oilfield-wife

I thought I came to terms with this already, and here I am trying to steady my hands. I am trying not to cry. I am trying to be happy that he has a good job when so many do not. I am trying to be grateful. I am trying to be positive. Yet…

…My heart is breaking right now. A lot of last year was spent trying to make sure he was able to have a good bond with our youngest because he missed so much of her first year. It is hard to get a 2-year old to understand that her daddy will not be home tonight, but he will come back in a few weeks, that he still loves her, that he is not abandoning her.

I feel bad for my husband because he is going to miss so much. He will once again miss holidays, recitals, toddler firsts, and so much more. While it is hard for me to hold the fort here and to be mommy and daddy while he is gone, I know it is hard for him to not be here with us even though he really does love being a geologist.

We have those dreams when we are younger, but rarely do they ever turn out how they are supposed to be. However, we adapt. We create new dreams. We move forward…because we have to do it…because that is life. Tonight, I will most likely be holding a crying child…or three. I will comfort them and try to keep it together for them. I will try not to cry once they are all in bed, and I am lying alone this night. I will try to be thankful. I do not want this, but once again I am the reluctant oilfield wife. I will try to be hopeful that we can make this all work and just make the time we have together count.

 

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Taking back the stories

I have sat down so many times over the last several months to write, only to come up with nothing. Sure, I have posted here and there. Yes, my health problems, which also created brain fog, had a bit to do with everything. However, my biggest problems was that I came to terms that before I really took a break from the blog, I was starting to feel like a sell out.

I started this blog to promote my business. I don’t really have a business anymore, but I do have a lot of parenting stories to tell. I also have three kids at very different places in their lives which makes for an interesting story as well.

blogging

It is hard to get your story seen sometimes, and there are SO MANY social media outlets now, more than when I first started. It is easy to get caught up in the social media aspect of blogging to the point that the story you want to tell starts to feel like a chore after you schedule everything and post to each and every social media outlet in hopes that someday your blogging efforts will be noticed. For me, it has taken the joy out of writing, and I don’t want that because then I don’t want to write which defeats the purpose of having a blog. It also undoes all the work I have put into this little slice of the blogosphere over the years.

I had a nice talk with a fellow blogger and then another one with my main contributor. While I would love to make money with this blog, my priority here is telling a story and sharing my blog in ways that are manageable to me. While some bloggers can manage hitting up all social media outlets, and I commend them because I know they work really hard. I love them for that. However, I cannot do that right now.

So I ask of you, my dear readers, if something I write, or something my contributors write, speaks to you, please pass it along to your friends. For now, I will be here writing my stories and hoping that some of you can relate to them!

 

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Word for the year: Forward

Someone asked me what my word for 2016 could be the other day, and it took me until just now to realize that my word is Forward.

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photo via Pix Arc

The last few years have been pretty tough, and the last year or so has brought a lot of changes, some of which have been hard to process. In order to make this year different than the past few years means I need to leave the past in the past and move forward. I need to learn from what has happened and use that knowledge for the future, but I shouldn’t dwell on it. Nor should I live in the past. Living in the past limits you from being able to enjoy the present. It limits your ability to create a future. It is time to move forward and be present in this moment.

How about you? What is your word for this year?

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So much for new beginnings

This summer has been long and tiring for many reasons. One of the biggest reasons, of course, has been because we recently made a move to a different state. We downsized for a house that needs a little TLC but has a huge yard to begin a new adventure to financial freedom and living with less. However, our packing and plan to move hit a huge hurdle when I ended up in the hospital late June.

Photographer: PublicDomainPictures (pixabay )

Photographer: PublicDomainPictures (pixabay )

In June, I ended up being life-flighted to the hospital with symptoms of a stroke. As it turned out, I did not have a stroke, thank goodness. However, I had a major setback in dealing with issues from a traumatic brain injury from years ago that involved being struck by a vehicle while I was crossing the street. All the progress I have made over the years and all the things from my TBI that I have tried to hide and pretend that it was nothing has all come back to haunt me in a bad way.

When the accident first happened, I had a lot of memory issues, concentration issues, troubles with reading and speech, and other issues that were not visible to most people. When I would stutter, people would treat me like I was stupid. I started avoiding large groups. I had trouble typing and took classes the summer after the accident in hopes that it would help me get over it all quickly. I read anything I could get my hands on because I had trouble reading and concentrating. I wanted to stay on track. I had big dreams. I was getting married that summer. I was going to graduate college the next year, and then my husband and I planned on going to the same university for our Master’s in Poland. I was planning on getting my PhD after that. I wanted to teach English to international students either in the US or abroad. I thought I had my life all mapped out that day. What I learned since then is that we can make plans and think we have it all figured out, but we really don’t. I was reminded of that again this summer when I found myself going backwards instead of moving forward.

It’s funny really when I think about it. I had been planning on writing this big post in June about how I was finally moving forward in how I viewed my life because of the accident, that I have made peace with things. Then all this happened, and I found myself stuttering and some days not being able to really get anything to come out of my mouth. It’s all in my mind, but it just won’t come out. I don’t have a lot of energy. It takes a lot to concentrate, and I ended up having to close my website down and stop blogging for a while because I just couldn’t write. I have been taking it easy on social media all together, which in some ways has been good. I think sometimes we are all too plugged in and too connected to Facebook and social media. All the anger and frustration has come back, and some days I just cry because I feel that I have worked so hard the last several years, and it was all for nothing.

After my accident, I had so much trouble with concentration and other issues that I eventually took a break from college. I concentrated on being a mom shortly after that. I took part-time jobs for a while to help financially since my husband and I were just starting out. However, after being bullied and made fun of for my stutter, among other things, I eventually just decided to be a stay-at-home mom. I sold cosmetics and candles through home parties, and after the birth of my oldest daughter, I started my own business. I spent the last several years learning how to build websites, do SEO, blog, and manage my own social media. While it didn’t make a lot of money, I have gotten a lot of satisfaction from the people I have helped, the children I have made smile, and the businesses that I have assisted along the way. I taught myself new skills. I lost my stutter for the most part. I was able to hide all the little things from my TBI. I didn’t talk about it. I didn’t make a big deal about it. Yes, I was still angry. Sometimes, I would think about what I would be doing if I hadn’t been hit by that car, how my husband might not be working in the Oilfield if I was doing something in my field, how wonderful things could have been. I know that my dream of how life could have been would probably have been very different if I would not have been hit, but sometimes I couldn’t help myself in thinking, “What if?”

I have not been doing a lot with my website the past few years. I have focused on my blog, telling my story of trying to conceive and having Sweetpea. I started making new plans, ones that included me moving forward with doing social media at a more professional level and also just enjoy being a mom. I wanted to have fun with the kids and explore. We were preparing to move to a more urban area and also an area that had lots for us to do in regards to hiking, biking, and being active. I felt by taking the “What if” away and just learning to enjoy life as it is I would be happy, the kids would be happy, and I would finally be moving forward with my life. After all, I am still young. As much as it has sucked that the accident happened, I am alive, and it it is time I start acting like it. And then I ended up in the hospital, and all those plans I started making for a new leaf felt like they had just been ripped away.

All that anger that I have tried to push down has bubbled to the surface, and I am angry. I am angry that I don’t have energy. I am angry that I had to shut my website down, even though I do plan to resurrect it this fall. I am angry that my stutter is back, and I hate when people treat me like I am stupid when I am out and about and can’t get my words out. I hate that my kids have to guess what I am trying to say sometimes. I hate that I just don’t have the energy right now to be the fun mom. I hate that I am so tired. I hate that I haven’t been able to help as much in packing. I hate that some things got left behind. I hate that my husband has had to carry us, and I hate that I can see how tired he is. I hate when my mind turns to mush, and I can’t do anything about it. I hate that my neurologist didn’t seem to care and just wanted to medicate me. I hate that I have to get a second opinion. I hate that I might get over this, only to have another episode of this again. I hate that I may never be able to plan another party, never be able to entertain kids again. I hate that I have to make new plans.

This move was supposed to be a new beginning. I was nervous but excited for it. Now I see everything as so overwhelming. We have a house to fix up, and I see it as a task I don’t know if I can finish. I feel like my body and mind have let me down. I feel angry at the woman who was careless and hit me. I feel angry at God. I feel angry at the people in my life who don’t know what I am going through, and I feel angry at myself for never fully letting them in so that they would know that I even had these issues in the first place.

I am not saying all this because I want anyone’s pity. I am saying this because I need to get it out. I need to deal with all of this, with all of this hurt, with all of this anger. I also want to say all this for any of you who may have suffered from a TBI and are suffering alone. It sucks. It sucks because it is not something that people can always see, and I have found that if people can’t see it, they are more likely to think it doesn’t exist.

So yeah…new beginnings. I think they suck. I want some sunshine and rainbows. I just want to dream a dream that comes true or make plans that work. That’s not too much to ask, right?

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Whatever Works

Sweet Pea's favorite nap time position

Sweet Pea’s favorite nap time position

Before becoming a parent, I think we all have this dream of how it’s going to be when we have a kid. I seriously thought that I would have some velvet clad children or something…yeah I know, delusional. Anyways, things never go the way they are supposed to with a baby in the equation, so I present you today with Naptime With Sweet Pea.

Sweet Pea is not a napper. Apparently, she is of the mind that there are so many cool things going on here that she cannot be bothered with sleeping. Crazy, right? Well, it seems crazy to me. It’s pretty boring here most days. We are usually trying to get school work done in the mornings, and when I am not taking care of the baby or helping with school, I am trying to get a bit of work done (which seems totally futile lately). However, we did find one thing that works. We put her in her swing with her Taggie and Wubbanub and play the Foster the People’s Torches album. It has to be that album and nothing else. Once she is asleep, we can get away with switching it to The Glitch Mob’s Drink the Sea album, but our choices are really limited. It sounds silly, but it works EVERY SINGLE TIME. I get an hour or two of time to make lunch, help kids with schoolwork, and check emails. I may be sick of that album, which used to be a favorite of mine, but it gets the job done and helps me with my sanity.

When I had my son, he was a hard sell on nap time as well. I used to walk the mall almost every day with him and would go on long car drives (Thankfully gas was under two bucks at the time). We had just moved into the area when he was a little under 4 months old. By the time he was six months old, I knew my way around every back road in the county.

Before my oldest daughter was finally diagnosed with acid reflux and we got it taken care of, my husband used to take her on nightly car rides. Once, we had her in her swing and were flipping through the channels while she was crying. We got to a station that was playing WWE Wrestling. She immediately stopped crying. While my husband and I are not wrestling fans, we settled in for the evening with that just because it made her happy.

When I reflect on all of this, it sounds silly and sometimes ridiculous, but it worked. That’s the thing about parenting. We can read all the books and hear all the experts, but in the end, sometimes it is whatever works. For now, my daughter is napping every morning in her swing. I may not get her to nap in the afternoon, and night time is still sketchy, but for an hour or two every morning, I can get my coffee drank and school work done. Everyone is happy…okay, Bubby wants to go running as soon as he hears the music start up, but it works for us. What kinds of things did you do to make naptime work for you or make things run a bit smoother in your household with babies in the house?