Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Judge if you must, but for us this is life!

I have been thinking about this post for sometime.  I have wanted to hide it, because it isn't 'normal'... whatever normal may be. Also because, unfortunately, I know this information will come with judgments being made at my husband and I.  I used to judge, and God greatly humbled me by putting real life situations in my life that made it messy.  I used to say, "Oh, my kids will never act like that!" Or, "I will do this and that, etc."  I don't say that anymore, because my kids DO act just like that!  And I do things I said I never would.  Real life.  Real shoes.  So before we stand from afar and judge, lets get down in the mess and really walk alongside someone who needs support before we stand back and only offer judgmental glances or make phone calls to others speaking judgements that we have no business saying. 

Homeschooling became more real to us when my oldest son really struggled in school.  There was a long list if things that needed to be done at home after his long school day.  Then there was the fear of my second son being labeled.  The fear of him moving into the next grade and not being able to handle it.  Little did I know then, that it would be us seeking out the 'label'.  I hope this transparency brings to light my/our struggles with homeschooling.  I am choosing to write about this rather than hide it, because there maybe another Momma out there who feels absolutely hopeless and feels like a total failure in this dance we call mothering.  You are not a failure! 

Our son, T-man, is the most caring full of life child we have ever had the privilege of meeting.  The cool part? He is ours!  He has faced trials in his short 7 years.  He knows the process for being admitted to the hospital far better than most 7 year olds.  He has had 4 hospital stays, surgery, and a medical procedure we are blocking from our memory.  He also is a struggling learner, much like his Momma.  He is also impulsive.  He also loves passionately.  He also protects his siblings with every ounce of who he is.  He is awesome.  He is very much a doer, often before he thinks things through.  He believes he can conquer the world and isn't afraid to try.  He is strong and often doesn't realize his own strength. He is so sweet and is often moved by the journal that we write back and forth. 

Last year, we had a hard year.  I haven't hid my struggles with homeschooling.  He struggled with his school work, yes....even being homeschooled!  My husband and I laid in bed awake many late nights talking about what to do next or how could handle situations differently.  The weight of T succeeding weighed heavily on my shoulders, I wanted him to experience success free of frustration and struggle.  He hated school work and we faced each day being nervous that he would hit a brick wall that would send our day spiraling downward. 

We still struggle but there is more hope in our days.  We sought help, because I couldn't stand the thought of him falling further behind.  Because I didn't want days to be surrounded with fear.  I wanted joy to re-enter our home.  So yes, something that is claimed to be fictitious if very real in our family.  ADHD.  Say what you will, judge if you must... but for us, there is nothing fake about it. 

I used to be the judge of the Momma with a tantruming toddler in the store.  I used to be the judge of parenting when a child would act out at the playground.  I used to judge judge judge...  Oh Lord, forgive me!!! Now, I have experienced judgmental glares and the whispers when I just wanted to melt on the floor in a pile of tears along with my child. I have wanted to run up to a mom in the store who was on the brink of tears herself while wrangling a child who clearly did not get the same memo on the plan and wrap my arms around her.  God has taught me much, and I pray that I learn the lesson the first time and this lesson of passing judgements doesn't need to be continually taught to this hard to teach girl.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Spilling the Beans!

I took all children with me to the baby's doctors appointment.  This is not the first time, and I usually do well (or um, we all usually do well!) when we are there.  We love our pediatrician and his office.  My kids cheer when I make appointments. 

So going to the doctors isn't meant with resistance.  And my kiddos are very outgoing.  So there are many people to talk to on our travels.  They get this from their dad.  Not me.  I'd be content to sit in the corner of the waiting room, nose in a book, speaking to no one.  No, not the kids.  The float around the room speaking to anyone who makes eye contact.  Spilling the beans.  You know, the beans that you have tucked away.  The ones that you'd prefer that they not share with random strangers in the doctors office.  So I sit in my corner watching as they select their unsuspecting subject.  They scan the room looking, waiting for the first eye contact and when it is made... they pounce.  And I sit back in fear waiting. 

You know, those weird unsocialized homeschool kids?  Where are they? 

I am so thankful that they are outgoing and not afraid to walk right up to someone and say Hi!  When we would go and sing at the nursing home they had little fear of the residents in wheel chairs and would walk right up and talk to them.  It was great.  It is my prayer that their boldness will continue and that they will remain fearless as they show love to others.  As they show compassion to those people around us and shower on them the love of Christ. 

It was a crazy appointment since the office has moved and the whole process is different.  I try to embrace change, but I'll admit that I just wanted to burst into tears yesterday as I missed the good ol' days in the old office where I felt less like a number.  I was so thankful when our pediatrician walked in and in that aspect, nothing had changed at all.  Who would've thought that taking 4 kids alone to the doctors would be so draining and yet leave feeling refreshed?  Yea, I don't get it either.  But it happens every time.  Even when lining all the kiddos up for flu shots, keeping a wild toddler in a little room or begging the toddler to stand on the scale when he clear was missing the days of ol' also. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Why I Eat a Bowl of Ice Cream...

Guilt free... with my family.

I cringe when I hear the word "diet"  or even a diet masked as a "life style".  I haven't been quiet about my struggle with needing to be super skinny.  But since the birth of my daughter, I have tried very very hard to NOT let my discontentment with my body be known to my kiddos.  It is a struggle that I have been working through with those people close to me to keep me focused on God.  On this journey to being content with ME and with my body.

So when I see Mommas struggling with their bodies with their children, especially little girls, in tow... I get that knot in my belly.  The knot of deep sympathy, maybe sorrow?  As daughters stand back and watch us hate our bodies, the ones that they see as beautiful because of that squishy belly?  The one that looks like a road map that has undergone a massive amount of construction? Yea, that belly...well it made you a Mom.  A Mom that they admire!  And when I complain about my hips because having children changed my body forever... I look at the sweet little face next to me and I see the hurt... because Yes! I am forever changed!  And I don't want to be a sense of pain, for any of us.  But something that we REJOICE about.

So I decided that I would change.  I decided that I would sit down and eat a bowl of ice cream with my kids and that I wouldn't pass on the dessert.  While I don't want to feast on sweets, but rather teach my children the importance of moderation.  The importance of making healthy choices.  And the importance of enjoying a little (maybe, little...maybe...bigger...) brownie.

How can I teach them this if I am buying my own food? If I am the only one eating a different way?  How is this a life style change if it is only me, and if the underlying message that my children are seeing is discontentment  The last year I have been praying that God would push me, heals dug in and all, on this journey of contentment.  To appreciate this body that He gave me.  The one that can get out of bed and walk every day.  The body that can chase my crazy toddler and hold my baby girl (not such a baby anymore...).  The body that can crochet while I listen to my boys read to me.  This body.  The one that birthed 4 babies into our family.  The one that used to run.  The one that loves to lift some weights.  Yea, that body.

Remember how I promised myself that I wouldn't step one foot on the scale once I started working out again?  Well, I kept my promise.  And when I sliced my finger open and needed to get stitches, that was the first time that I stepped on that machine that gives me a number that I USED to base my self worth on.  So I got on the scale, and while the number wasn't one that I was totally ecstatic over, it was one that I could turn away and smile from.  Why?  Because I was content with me.  Because I hadn't deprived myself from dessert with my family.  Because I enjoyed eating food without making myself feel guilty.

I left the doctor's office and sent a text messages to a woman who has come alongside me and really been a mentor to me through all this crazy stuff and told her of my triumph!  It may not seem much to you, but to me in my brain...it was huge.  Somewhere along the way I lost my focus on Christ.  I had such a strong desire to fit into a certain group that I lost my focus of being content with who God made me.  And I want that girl back.  The girl that my Momma raised me to be!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Focus through the Mess

I have a few serious blogs rolling around in the queue... but I am hesitant to post them.  Perhaps insecurities?  I don't know...

This colder weather has me wanting to snuggle longer in my bed in the morning.  I have absolutely NO desire to get up and work out.  I'd rather sit here and whine whine whine about the cold and dream about my nice toned body.  I do carry an almost 30 pound toddler around a lot.  Can that count as a work out? 

So this weather has me just feeling down and blah as we are all contained in the house.  Thankfully the last two days have been ok outside so we have escaped being contained by these 4 walls.  I miss warm days when I could sit out and crochet without my fingers feeling like they would fall off.  I am concerned I missed our chance to take some decent out door pictures of the kiddos.  I haven't taken new photos in a year and I am still very much swooning over the ones that presently grace our mantle.  So really, I am in no rush... but I would like some updated ones. 

We have had some great homeschooling days.  The kids are just rocking out some amazing work and I am just so thankful that I can be along for the ride!  I experienced such excitement with Hannah as she read her first words.  Watching Isaiah's brain light up in wonder at how 'magical' math is!  And I watched Turner work through so much to be able to sit down and focus and put out some wonderful things.  I watched Nathan sit quietly and dump shells from one bowl to another.  The days are hard, sometimes I just feel down right crazy.  But when I sit down and really look back on all that we have conquered together, those hard days seem to get lost in the cracks of joy and success! 

It's hard.  There is as much growth going on in our hearts as our kiddos.  Sometimes we just need to stop the madness (because my house feels like absolute madness at times, please tell me I am NOT alone!) and sit back and count the blessings.  To keep our focus on Christ and not get lost in the mess that surrounds us.