Sunday, September 23, 2012

The "P" Word

Have you ever taken your child to the doctor because you thought they were dying only to find out it was a hang nail or something similarly lame and of no consequence?
Have you ever walked out of the office thinking, "that guy must think I'm clueless!"
Well, that has happened to me a few times.
Not for a hang nail, per say, but I have felt like a moron leaving the doctor's office on more than one occasion.
My most recent was just a few days ago.
Ever since Doodle started school she has been having horrible pains in her feet and legs.
I waited for it to get better, but instead each day she got a little worse.
It was so bad that when I'd pick her up from school she looked like a cripple girl trying to walk without her crutches.
She said it sent stabbing pains up her legs when she put any pressure on her heal.
The result was a contorted gait that had me panicking.
I was sure she had brain/spinal damage from one of her many horse riding falls.
Or Fibromyalgia, or cerebral palsy.
She was dying a slow, painful death, I was sure of it!
After a few questions and some rubbing of her feet, the doctor gave his diagnosis.
You'll never guess what she has, go ahead, try!
It's a severe case of puberty!
What did you just say about my child?
She IS GOING TO DIE, I knew it!
Apparently it's a really common pain for kids starting puberty.
Turns out there's a growth plate in the heal of the foot and her body is literally growing too fast, which in turn places loads of pressure on the joints and tendons near the growth plates.
So ya, I took my child who I thought might die in the night to the doctors office for growing pains.
Mother of the year, right here!
I was so not ready for that diagnosis.
My kids are small, we don't do puberty in this house.
(Although I do have to say that the puberty smell did start a few months back, but I was in denial)
Now I feel like I'm in a roller coaster inching my way up to the top.
You know, that part where you know it's coming and you can feel your stomach in the back of your throat with nervous anticipation.
This is just the beginning. Beano will not be far behind.
What will this ride bring?
I'm sure it will be full of ups and downs and twists and turns, just like any good roller coaster.
I just hope that at the end of the ride we can breath a sigh of relief and say,
 "Wow! What a ride!"

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Life is Beautiful

Have you seen this movie?

You must.
I watched it several years ago and I had no clue what it was about.
My sister-in-law had picked our show that evening.
I cried my eyes out, for days after I had seen it.
I am tempted to watch it again, but I don't know if I can bring myself to.
Anyone want to join me for a movie night?
It's on Netflix!
But my point is that life truly can be beautiful, no matter our circumstances. 
It's all about our attitude.
Have you ever heard the saying, "attitude determines altitude"?
So true.
There are so, so, so many things in life that are totally out of our control, yet we always have the power over ourselves to choose how we will react.
And in the end, that's really the only thing that matters.
I'm not sying I'm perfect at this, life is a great big fat lesson on this subject.
It's a good thing He has given us a lifetime to figure it out.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Answered Prayers

When our kids were preschool age and beyond I took them on field trips.
Lots and lots of field trips.
It's the part of homeschooling that I'm really good at.
I can not even remember how many times I've been to the fire station.
I think I've been to 3 different ones over the years, and some more than once.
Most little boys LOVE the fire station and the cool truck and putting on the fireman's gear.
But not little Dubs.
It scared him to death and I think we may have scarred him for life.
His first trip there he was maybe 2 years old.
It put the thought into his wee little head that things catch on fire, buildings catch on fire, homes catch on fire.
Then the though occurred to him that we have a home.
Every since that very first trip to the fire station he has prayed every single night that our house would not catch on fire.
I'm not exaggerating, I'm talking every. single. night. without. fail.
We put the fear into him, what can I say?
But maybe that turned out to be a good thing. 
Rewind almost 20 years.
Mr Bird turned 16 years old and his father gifted him with a very nice (at the time) stereo receiver.
That thing was like the energizer bunny, it kept going and going and going.
And we always found good use for it.
We would plug our ipods and iphone into it and listen to music and books on tape for hours while we scrubbed floors and did dishes and made dinners,
or while we danced around the house with it cranked like lunatics.
Until last week when it finally bit the dust.
Let's just say it left our lives with a bang.
It was Friday night, date night.
As soon as Mr Bird got home from work I jumped in the car to get our baby sitter.
I was gone maybe 20 minutes.
When I finally pulled  into the drive way I was greeted with Doodle streaking out of the house at full speed with M&M in her arms.
"The house is on fire!"
She was headed for our family's designated fire safety spot in the front yard by the crab apple tree.
Before I can register what she is saying, Beano and Little Man streak past me with yelps and hollers.
They, too, were headed for the tree.
Not quite sure what was going on and seeing no smoke I head into the open garage.
(Maybe not the best choice)
Just then Mr Bird came out of the door holding that ever so loved and used receiver way out away from his body and walking  like a zombie.
He just started laughing his nervous I-can't believe-that-just-happened laugh.
He must have seen the question in my eyes because he just started talking.
He had turned the receiver up way loud playing some crazy dance song from his iphone and he and the children were dancing through the house waiting for me to get home.
Then suddenly and without reason the music stopped.
Mr Bird walked over to the receiver to take a look and what do you think he saw?
Yup, you guessed it, Flames shooting out of the thing.
He quickly started pulling wires and cords and got everything unplugged.
The flames almost instantly died out.
He grabbed the thing and ran/zombie walked out of the house with it.
Needless to say, that was the end of the road for our beloved receiver.
Dubs, not missing a beat showed up at my side seconds later.
He wrapped his little arms around my waist and squeezed me like he had not seen me in a decade.
He looked up into my eyes with those gorgeous baby blues all open wide and said, "Mom, Heavenly Father answered our prayers! Our house did not catch on fire!"
How right he was. 
I don't know how many times we have turned that thing on and left the room to fold laundry or get on the computer or even go outside not realizing it's still on. 
Sometimes we'd play a record (yes, we still use vinyl from time to time) and the record would end and no one would notice so the record would just go round and round without any music playing at all, speakers and receiver still on full blast.
What if the seemingly harmless fire had happened when no one was watching?
I don't even want to imagine the different outcome we could have had.
But a little boy prayed, and God answered.
Just like that.
Want to know my favorite part of this story?
M&M's head bouncing along in Doodle's arms, her soft baby hair glowing in the evening light.
It means that Doodle would have saved her little sister even though I had not been there.
To a mom, there is no assurance better than to know they would have saved the baby.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

A New Adventure

Our little family is embarking on a brand new journey.
A new chapter in our lives.
I enrolled the two oldest in the charter school just down the road.
It has been 3 days for Beano and 2 for Doodle.
This has been the hardest thing I have ever done.
I can't stop crying my eyes out.
I see random people that I know and I tell them our news and I just start crying, I look like such a sissy.
 It was a choice about a year in the making.
As a home school mom I constantly worry that my kids are getting the education and enrichment they need.
It came to a point that I was struggling balancing the toddler and younger grade things with Little Man and Dubs, while keeping Doodle and Beano on track, they are at such different levels in their education.
I found that Little Man and Dubs were constantly getting the short end of the stick.
Amazingly the charter school just happened to have one 3rd grade spot left and one for Doodle in 5th grade, too.
Answer to prayer? I think so!
From a home school mind set it's hard not to feel like a failure.
I find myself constantly going back to the feelings of peace and clarity I had and the whispers in my mind that I received. 
But, man, I miss my kids in a bad, bad way.
They have become my best friends and I love being with them and watching them grow into the people that they are.

I will not bore you with all the details, but rather the things I have already learned from this new start.
  • I am a home schooler, through and through. I doubt very seriously this will last longer than one year.
  • I value different things in education than most people (like free time to read what interests the child and music and running around outside with little brothers and a baby girl tagging behind), and that's OK.
  • Test scores can be valuable information, but they could never  accurately evaluate character or perseverance or 'heart'. (P.S. My kids have always tested in the 90th percentile, that's not just a cop out for low test scores)  :)
  • I have learned that I love home school more than I thought I did. Why is it that I didn't appreciate it enough until now? Maybe that's one of the answers to prayers that I needed. I needed to be shown just how much I love it and how much a part of my life it is.
  • My kids are so, so smart (I already knew that one).
  • My kids can do hard things. I don't think I've ever been prouder of them, especially Doodle, for being so brave, even though her first day was so, so hard for her. I think they needed to know that they can do hard things without me right by their side the whole time.
  • I am so grateful already for the time I am getting to read the little books again that I read to Doodle and Beano when they were little to Dubs (who was there but does not remember any of them) and Little Man. I forgot how much I love Winnie the Pooh and Mr Popper's Penguins and story time at the library. We spend almost 2 hours a day snuggling on the couch reading, even baby girl sits with us the entire time and listens quietly (as long as she has her blankie to snuggle). It's is the cutest thing you have ever seen.
  • I don't have any more free time by having them gone because I am still home schooling and cleaning and cooking. But now I get the joys of home work as an added bonus! 
  • Beano LOVES school, it was love at first sight. He started the Friday before Labor Day and wanted to go back every day until it was finally Tuesday. I learned that my sweet boy will be happy no matter where he is.
  • We are in this for the year, committed 100%. After that, we'll see what new adventures lie on the horizon.
  • School is not bad and I am not a failure. Although I never did think school was bad, I know a few home schoolers who do. In fact, elementary school is enjoyable for the kids, except for math if you're Doodle. But she never did like it at home either.
  • Too often I underestimate myself. Why?
  • Change is hard (again, just reinforcing already known facts). After the initial shock of things, we will find a groove and we will thrive!