Friday, September 4, 2015

high five, friday.

high five!

speaking of five...
let's do a five on friday link up.
okay, i will.

unfortunately i can't think of a fiver theme...
so we have five totally random things about to happen.

you, ready!?

1. my favorite is kourtney kardashian. 
she was before the break-up.
she is still.
can you guess why?
oldest sibling. baby momma.
she's my same age.
i like her style.
it is a modest cute.
darn gym television.
i really don't have time for this.
 distractions, anyone?
please...don't judge.

2. my favorite face product.
i love their face wash.
the clean, creamy, citrus aroma sparks my day.
 check them out.
and hey...they are local to this norCal girl!
i was hooked on another natural product and all of a sudden my skin couldn't take it.
it got dry, scaly, and itchy.
time for a change.
andalou naturals is amazing.
love it right now!

3. my favorite spot.
can you guess why?
just kidding.
when we moved i planned on changing bedding...
but it didn't happen until a couple months ago.
i still love pulling the duvet back each night.
i still love making the bed each morning.
and everything in between.
can i just say,
recently, there have been a handful of mornings i roll over and all i find is matt in bed.
as in, our littlest stayed in her bed all.night.long.
precious sleep...
i need you.

4. favorite thing about life right now.
how cute my family is.
nia is talking more every day.
and we all gush at her cuteness.
livia just has "cute" down.
from her dimples to her accent.
josh isn't cute.
no, not him.
gosh, that's what makes him so cute.
that pre-teen, braces, moody...
oh girl, i understand you...
and matt...
well, he's just a cutie.
some might think he is a "nerd...dork...geek."
yeah, but wait till you see the REI dummy i saw yesterday.
might as well have been matt.
super cute, rugged, natural, '90's, rolled-up-pants cool.

what you don't see... his pants cuffed up like the REI display...
usually he has his rolled up from riding his bike to and from work.
he walks in, and his pants are rolled up to his ankles.
did he wear them like that all day?
he might as well be the REI spokesman and model.
cuter though...because he also has the whole dad-bod going on.
and he's a cute dad.
okay, enough.
 i love their cuteness.

5.favorite motivation.
working out.
30 minutes.
an hour and a half.
when i get down, overwhelmed, stressed, lazy, or immobilized...
exercising does the trick.
it brings mental clarity, direction, and motivation.
it melts stress.
not fat, apparently.
 i wish i bought this shirt...
i only took a picture.
 pure motivation.

i guess i did find a theme.
five random favorites.
i know someday won't be so spliced together.
i'll have time to rationally blog.

until then...

five on friday.
link up.

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Saturday, August 29, 2015

life is a chalkboard.

we began homeschool 2015-16 this past week.
it was nothing short of extraordinary, long, tiring, hard, refreshing, and productive.
let's just say after the first day...
my only comment was,
"169 more days to go!"
by friday, we were running more smoothly, and less tired.
gives us a week or two...
and we'll be in our game!

this little cutie is also a rascal.
she loves attention,
and dislikes it diverted.
she grabs people's pencils and pokes them.
she rips up math worksheets.
she paints her fingers instead of the paper.
and she has a telegraphic memory.
it really is astonishing.
she's too smart.
nia is full on preschool!

this one is my sleeper-in.
she warms up slowly.
and that's pretty much how she does her arithmetic.
did i mention she's an excellent reader.
 she's amazing.
she is more thoughtful than most girls i know.
which can lend to more drama than most girls i know.
 plus, she could run this home if i couldn't.
my a super second grader!

and just like that...
this guy is a fifth grader.
he's kind. he works super hard. he gets the job done.
he's chill.
and basically i have him working ahead with selah.
basically, i'm excited about josh!
he also likes to tell really long narratives of specific accounts.
just the cliff notes, buddy!

and her!
a full-on middle schooler.
i'm so thankful i still see her smiling!
i see other middle schoolers coming home,
and they are not smiling.
partly her resilient attitude, partly naivety (she refuses to play into girl drama),
and partly because...she just smiles...big.
and i'm so glad she hasn't lost that.
i want to see selah shoot for the stars...
cause she's got it!


life is our chalkboard.
and so it has been for a little-long time.
we began this homeschooling journey seven years ago, which seems like a super long time, but has passed all too quickly.
when we started i was afraid.
afraid i would mess up my kids.
but as each year turns to the next, i am increasingly thankful and ever less frightened for our alternative schooling approach.
although a lot of our work is mundane just like the rest, our growth shows in each individual and our family as a unit.

homeschooling is not easy. and certainly not glamorous.
and when mommas tell me,
"i could never do that."
i think,
"yeah, me neither."

i work against stereotypes.
and culture.
i work against my own fears and the fears others put on us.

i work...
with my kids.
i work against attitudes,
and i work with attitudes.
but i work with my kids,
mostly because,

 i believe in them.

more than money.
or a job.
and certainly,
not because i believe in myself.

and it is work.
hard work.

education is important.
for school this week we are watching the documetary,
on the way to school.
(find it on netflix.)
i want my kids to understand their education is important.
incredibly important.
i want them to be thankful how easily their education comes.

even more,
i want them to have an understanding that this is their world.
they didn't create it...
but they can help make it.
and shape it.
they have a role to play.


life is our chalkboard.
we scribble.
we erase.
we err.
we create.
we learn.

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Monday, August 24, 2015

The Latest and Greatest.

i'm not doing so well on this blogging thing this past year.
often, i miss and miss out on documenting our latest and greatest.
my regrets are simple...
mostly because i know the days are slipping by,
and i want it all recorded...
with a narrative.

 when i feel the memory,
i also will have the written words.
the written word remains...
longer than the moment,
and even longer than the memory.
our simple stories.

it's so hard to give your all each day...
and then have the energy to give voice to those little moments that would otherwise remain silent.
even now,
my baby girl has suddenly come down with a cough in her sleep.
mostly i want to shut this down and go watch or read something.
lay in bed to facebook and everybody else's lives.
because that would just be easier.

but, then...
i would have NOT downloaded these pics sitting on my camera.
and i would NOT have found nia's first selfie.

and so now i know why my lens is blurry in all the other pics!

life is constantly changing.
we are wrapping up summer and starting our 2015-16 school year.
our lives have changed.
we have had a lot of experiences this last year that have dictated our growth.
for the record, i typically like to dictate my own growth.
but, that just isn't how it works.

and our latest and greatest is just today.
in all the glory of growth.
the heartache.
the pain.
the joys.
the laughter and tears.
but mostly in the embrace of these lives that i love with all my heart.
as my children grow, as our love grows, as my marriage grows, as i grow...
i worry less and less about the glory 
and more about the growth.
so our latest and greatest is here...
each and everyday.
documented or not.

and as long as we are growing...
i call that glorious.
but all the more growth.
all the more glory.

we had a wonderful summer of sweet, old-fashioned, boring, long-hot-summer days.
and we needed just that.
i feel a foot taller.
and thirty pounds heavier.
but seriously,
why i gotta grow like that, too!???

sip your summer-ade.
and say adieu to all those good intentions.
 and shout out...
 to all those true-to-life moments. 

put a post-it on our soul.

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Friday, July 10, 2015

summer sesh

and just like that,
it's been a month between posts.

we're just having too much fun around here.
i'm just trying to keep up with all these little (and pre-teen!) people
i have absolutely zero energy to actually talk about it.

we just let it happen.
i do miss my late night, headphones to ears, blogging seshes.

re-entry is a little overwhelming.
until you just do it.
i know, right!?
that's pretty much pretty much all we have to do...
it can be a little overwhelming.

just do it.
make it happen.

 and, one thing at a time.
make productive days, and enjoy the unproductive ones.

so here's to five things we've been doing this summer.
so far.
there's still a whole lot of summer left.

1. sleeping in.
that's right.  we're all about slow mornings around here.
it is amazing.
snoozing until 7:30. uh, sure.
and what's really amazing...
i don't feel any guilt about it.
sure, i'm a little worried about the habit we're forming.
i know every good thing comes to an end.
so why not enjoy it while you've got it!?

2. neighborhood shenanigans.
if you asked me a year ago about living in a neighborhood with kids,
i would have never guessed...
 walkie-talkie 8am morning calls.
the fun begins shortly after.
and sometimes doesn't end until the sun goes down.
sure, it can be a little much.
there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
we now also have mandated quiet times...
otherwise our house is...
 the summer party pad.
ping pong matches all day.
dance parties.
you name it.

my kids summer highlight.
they love their vacation bible school.
games, crafts, skits, friends, and some bible.
oh, and snacks.
they definitely like the snacks.
nia didn't attend, 
but she did act like it and she did allow me to take this picture.
and yes, shortly after this picture was taken she ripped the tail off the giraffe.
ain't no thing...

4. whip this place into shape.
during the school year, our house finds many catch-all spaces.
i consider homeschooling a full-time job during the school year.
as a working mom,
summer becomes a time for me to catch up in all those catch all places.
and organizing for the new school year.
i'm still organizing from a move 8 months ago when we just put stuff somewhere "for now."
well, now is here.
just do the next thing.
my favorite project so far this summer...
chalkboarding my fridge and dishwasher.
yep, so we can doodle to our hearts' content.
its coming together.
thank you very much, summer.

5.  pausing, regrouping, and reflecting.
these past nine months have held a whole lot of life.
and once again,
we are transitioning.
last september my young and vibrant mom,
was diagnosed with a large, inoperable brain tumor.
she immediately went through brain biopsy, which put her into her new normal.
then, she moved in with us during our move and went through brain radiation.
and, again, her new normal.
its normal, but so different than a year ago. so different.
did i mention she and my dad were separated? 
rocky relationships were pretty much always our normal growing up.
and just recently, 
she moved from our home and back to my dad.
i'd like to say this is all good and easy and for the best.
but really,
its hard and complicated and all we can do is hope.
i've finally had some space and time to think...
and sometimes that is harder than just getting through it.
healthy requires processing.
breathing deeply.
and working on hope for the future.
i want to be healthy.
it's kinda important.

one of my summer goals was to blog a whole lot.
that hasn't happened.
neither has...
losing five pounds.
and ten pounds.

our bedroom is finally all nice and perfect and all ours!
my garage is "getting there." 
so is our homeschool stuff.
and the closets.
and this list of five things.
by the way...
 linking up to some fun gals for ol' times sake!

swimming, photography classes, baseball camps, cousins, friends, ice cream sandwiches.
our life is pretty good here in the summer!

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

wrapping things up.

so here we are...
 the 2014-15 school year is a wrap.
what a year.

last summer,
i wrote my "i'm so crazy" post.
it has been fun to see this little post consistently shared from week to week around the world...
and i have to assume,
by mutually-minded, fellow crazy homeschoolers.

if only i would have known just how crazy my homeschool world would soon become.
this has been the crazy, hardest homeschool year to date.
and yet,
even on the days i questioned my sanity,
i tried not to second guess.

second guesses usually only stall growth and paralyze positivity.
corrective criticism is imperative to homeschooling...but second guessing typically does no good.

because i do know...
and i have some dang good kids...
who are learning just as much about life as academic facts.

last summer i prepped with all my best intentions,
my children's academics for the coming year.
and as most of you know,
early in the school year we fell upon a series of events that would supersede my best intentions,
and would largely shape our school year.
life skills became our curriculum.
humanities in terminal cancer and family crisis.
sociology majored as we have been loving on a toddler who has faced trauma and re-transition in yet another move in her life.
crazy just never let up this year.

sometimes when i'm working out at the gym,
charles gnarly's "crazy" will pop on.
and i smile.
because i had no idea what it would all mean when i wrote that post.
homeschool isn't just crazy.
what i'm learning is...
homeschool works while crazy happens.

learning life as it happens. in real time.

crazy happens.
and homeschool gets harder.
and loses focus.
and sometimes it makes my momma and educator's heart...worry.
sometimes i get scared.
because i'm not in control.
life is.
and how will this all affect my kids?
their education?
their success?

they are my priority.
their mind, body, spirit.
it all matters to momma.

parenting is the hardest thing i've ever had to do.
for us, homeschooling is part of our parenting journey.

and its not only crazy...
it can also be terrifying.

the honest part of homeschooling is that...

i get scared.
because everything is crazy.
i'm scared i'm in over my head.
i'm scared my kids didn't get enough academically this year.
i'm scared i've been too hard on them,
and i'm scared i have let things slip...
because i've just been trying to hang on.
i'm afraid we lost ground.
i'm afraid my oldest might misuse "their and there" 
and "your and you're" when she's casually writing notes to her friends.
i'm afraid my 4th grader has been bored academically.
i'm scared my 2nd grader isn't ready for my standards for 3rd grade.
and i'm terrified of my little toddler when she's left alone for a few minutes.
 she's capable of many great and curious things.
but then again,
 i am reminded of the greatest lesson i have been learning on this homeschooling journey.
i am learning to hold all things with an open hand.

i am learning to hold my children with an open hand.
their education, their interest, their hearts, their passions.
i am finding this is more scary than i would like it to be.
i'd rather hang on tight and never let go.
but i would only stifle them.
their minds, bodies, and spirits.

and i am finding they grow to unimaginable heights
 when i give up my control of educating.
they are smarter than i thought.
braver than i knew.
and more confident because i believe in them.

selah practicing her 6th grade graduation speech in front of her neighbor friends.

i'm so done with this last school year.
but it is one of those, we'll never forget.
the hardest are often the most valuable.

can i get an amen!?

summer 2015,
here we come! 

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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

the rain is falling, but summer is here.

raindrops started falling.
after a super hot day yesterday.
seasons are confused.
but who can blame them!?
this life thing...
can't help but get confusing.

our summer break has started.
less school. more play.
but always,

rain or shine.
play and work.

i'm all confused, too.

hang in there with me...
 its all coming.
in glorious confusion.

rain drops and swimming pools.

life is figuring itself out.

this space abides.

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Friday, May 8, 2015

be kind to your story.

the last few days i have been on the verge of tears.
could be.
i think not.

nothing has changed since last week.
but it all has.
because it all keeps changing.

i'm driving my mom to the bank,
and she turns to me and says,
"sometimes you just feel like crying, you know!?"

yes, mom.
i know.

nothing is new.
conversely, nothing is old.

sometimes it is all just settling in.
trying to find its place.
and sometimes life is delicate.
too delicate to speak.
and it makes you cry at everyone's delicate.
because fragile is

the tears are comfort in disguise.

and tears help sort it through.
it makes a moment tender.
and reminds me...
this life is precious.

blogging is hard to come by these days.
you get that.

but i love to write.

my story is prose.
and its here.
in a tiny space.
ready to be told...
one day to my kids.
who will need to know,
the prose was poetry.
and it is ours.
all ours.

my childhood was mixed up.
and as much as i've strived to move on,
i'm back to dealing with it...
as an adult.

in fact, 
i'm hearing more and more dysfunctional stories about our beginning than i knew.

and it makes me all mixed up, sometimes.

but then, i remember....
my story started way back then.
and the story fights.
it fights to be told.
the story fights to make the heroine.
plots thicken, they twist...
they make you cry, too.
but always, the story is better told.

because the told story teaches.
it gives the tears meaning.
it helps the heart feel.
and heal.

keep telling your story.
 i'm telling mine.
even if grooveshark collapses. ;)

i started my pre-mother's day with this photo-op.
 because they help me tell my story.

my story isn't perfect.
i think that is what makes it a story.

be kind to your story.
it's the only one you've got.

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