Since we had Monday off, I got some sewing time in for myself this week. Then during the week, I was able to carve out more time here and there for some extra sewing projects. I made another dress, refashioned another thrift store one, and fix some other things that needed fixing (like my Singapore bag). It’s so relaxing for me to get sewing time in.
These past few weeks I have felt a switch in my heart (from the I’m over it kind of mentality to the it’s crazy but happy kind) regarding parenting. It’s nothing I’ve done, but God just answering my prayers, and he has answered by giving me more joy. The girls are still a handful, and I still run around like a chicken with its head cut off, but we’ve all definitely been more joyful. So I guess, I’m running around like a joyful chicken with its head cut off. I’ll gladly take that.
I know the days are long and my time with them is short. In those hard moments, it’s hard to remember that though. I don’t want to take them and this time for granted. Right now is a special time, and I need (and want) to cherish this for as long as they’ll let me hold and mold their little hearts. In a blink of an eye, they’ll all be grown, and I’ll be wishing we could rewind to this chaotic time of our life. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine, but I know that will be true.
The girls are so cute. I was busy making granola downstairs, and I come up to see this set-up. Not sure what was going on, but it looked like they were having fun. While, our homeschooling schedule is full, I make sure these girls get a lot of play in too. I think play is just as important! They can play everywhere and they play so well together. I love seeing their imagination come to life, and while my inner neat freak cringes when the mess gets crazy, I do love seeing their imagination at work.
When we just had True, we were pretty strict on this handmade/wooden toys only, and while I much prefer that, they’re kids and they will like other things too. And with the grandparents, sometimes, there’s just no way of stopping them; we do try. If the girls don’t clean up their toys, and I have to do it, all the toys I clean up go in a bin. Later, if they do something that warrants a prize/celebration (like performing in a small school production, memorizing memory verses, graduating to the next level of swim class, etc.), we go back to the bin and they pick out something. A toy that was theirs once, may not be theirs later if a sister picks it out before they can get to it.
The way my girls play is a little bit different from how I remember playing as a child. I was way more into dressing and styling my dolls, and I had tons of Barbies. My girls don’t have Barbies because of Ben’s feelings about them and the type of body image it portrays to little girls. Though they do have those Disney princess ones, so it’s kinda different (kind of not), but the princess ones are allowed (although they don’t last long!). I think the main difference in the different ways we played is that I played by myself because I was 4 when my brother was born. My girls have each other, so they are always playing in groups. The drawback to that is that they are so used to playing with each other, that when other kids come around, they just tend to stick together and not really talk to other kids. Then add them being slower to warm up, and sometimes I get embarrassed that they don’t seem so friendly to others. That’s probably a whole other post, and maybe some of you may have tips on how to deal with that.
I remember as a kid, my cousin would make fun of me because my Barbies’ boyfriends were my New Kids on the Block dolls. I think I had the whole band! Anyone else have those dolls too? I think Jonathan was my favorite.
This is a sample of our typical homeschooling day…
8:15-9:00am True and Brave alternate practicing piano and their Spanish homework
9:00-9:30am Spelling and Latin (Latin takes about 10 minutes)
10:30-12:00pm Writing, grammar, and reading
2:00-3:00pm History/science (we alternate the days)
3:00-4:30pm Spanish with Grandmama (read about it here)
Above is the guideline we follow three out of five days of the week. One of the other days, they go to school all day, and on another, school is woven between swim, piano, and dance lessons. The great thing is that we have a lot of flexibility, and so sometimes, we do school in my bed (as seen above).
You might ask what the younger two are doing during this time, Soul is usually working on some simple alphabet or counting activities, and Glow is napping. Say what?! Yeah, Glow is 3 years old and she still takes two naps a day. It’s the strangest thing to us, but we’ll gladly take it. She naps between 9-12pm and 2-4ish. She’s been the best at napping, and if she doesn’t get her nap, she’ll start complaining that she’s tired. We are pretty amazed at her napping abilities. When I go to get her from nap, most times, she’s still sleeping! If not, she’s quietly playing by herself. It’s almost like she needs the break from all of us too. HA!
Now, your next thought is probably, “What time does she go to bed?” The kids start getting ready for bed around 7pm, in bed by 7:30ish, and they have quiet reading time until 8:30pm. You’re now wondering, “What time do they wake up?” It varies… Soul’s usually the first one at 6:45ish, and the rest of them between 7-730am.
Anyhow, I usually start cooking around 4:30pm, and we aim to have dinner at 5:30pm. The girls are pretty good at entertaining each other while I’m in the kitchen, but I probably should start getting them involved more. The days are full and by the time 7 o’clock rolls around, I’m exhausted and ready to zone out. Lights out for me a little after 10pm, and I wake up at 5am to do it all over again (Ben and I workout before the girls wake up). So when do I blog? I do it after dinner. Ben cleans up and gets the girls ready for bed, and I take care of the things I need to online, then I chill out with a book or a show on Hulu (I watch Scandal and Blacklist).
You can read a post about our curriculum choices here.
I’ve shared a little about how we started Spanish lessons with Ben’s mom via FaceTime. Read more about it here. When we were in Texas over the holidays, they were able to do some face to face Spanish lessons. The girls love learning from their Grandmama so much!
It’s pretty cool to see Ben’s mom set up of the classroom. You could see a little when they are doing lessons online (mainly the whiteboard), but we got to see firsthand the love and care she takes in preparing lessons for her grandchildren. She has a whiteboard, an array of Spanish books (and Spanish to English ones too), and she even has a class pet for them! And even though the kids were technically on Christmas break from school, they were more than happy to get in Spanish lessons with their Grandmama.
Ben and I are so thankful that his mom is able to be part of their homeschooling. They are all creating special memories for sure, and I think that’s the most wonderful thing about it. They aren’t bilingual just yet, but we’re hoping they get there. You have to start somewhere, right?!
p.s. they lived in those polka-dotted pajamas all throughout the holidays (a gift from their grandma).
There’s this tradition Ben started when we just had True, and it’s called, “Rockin’ Mommy Day.” It’s not Mother’s Day, but a random day he picks and they end up surprising me with something just to show his appreciation (he’s a sweet guy). I never know when it’s coming and it isn’t a yearly thing either. The last time we had Rockin’ Mommy Day was in 2009, and they surprised me with a Michael Jackson performance (see the post about it here, and here is a picture from the very first one).
Well, one Saturday morning, I got a special note telling me to take the day off, and chillax doing whatever I wanted. Later, I got another note giving me instructions to go downstairs, and I yelped in excitement in seeing all the Elvises. They had me sit down while they did a special rendition of “Jailhouse Rock” for me. At the end, Soul came to me to give me another note accompanied with a little present, which was a southwestern turquoise ring I wanted a couple years ago from our trip to New Mexico, thus giving me a rock. I made them do the performance a couple times, so I could get pictures of it too.
After I got my little surprise, I had Ben spill all the details of how he planned this out. Apparently, he started working on this surprise about a year and a half prior. He purchased the girls’ black shirts and leggings from Old Navy; his top is from Old Navy and his pants, from the thrift store. He hand painted each one with white fabric paint. Upon emailing my friend Karen (Misha Lulu) to get some ideas of how he could make Elvis’s jailhouse outfits come to life, she suggested doing a trompe l’oeil style for the costumes… so that’s what he did. He’s such a perfectionist, so it took him a long time to do each one (back and front are hand painted), hence the surprise did not come to fruition until a year and a half later. Also delaying the surprise, was finding the time to work on the outfits when I wasn’t around, and I’m always around. HA! Another funny thing is, him fearing the girls growing out of the costumes before he could execute his idea prevented him from delaying any further; the girls’ costumes purchased over a year prior were at risk of not fitting anymore!
I saw the jailhouse pipe things assembled in the garage the week before the surprise, and he said it was a trellis for the garden. He always has some sort of project going on for our garden, so I didn’t think much of it. He ordered Elvis wigs for each of them, and when I wasn’t around, which wasn’t often, he would practice the dance with the girls. Even the girls had been keeping this surprise from me for over a year! They did a really good job of not spilling any beans.
The girls did so well with their performance. I was dying of laughter and these teeny Elvises are the cutest ever! Seriously… the wigs! Oh man. And then the little shaking and sliding going on, these girls are so precious. I know they drive me nutso sometimes, but it’s normal, and I love being their mother.
I was so surprised and felt (and still feel) very loved. I’m thankful for these sweet things Ben does, and especially thankful that he leads a good example in showing the girls of how a husband can show love to his wife. I really love that guy of mine a whole lot! The performance was a riot and if you care to see it and get a laugh, you can watch it here.
Lately, this parenting gig has been real hard. Not that it was ever super easy, but it seems we’ve hit a bump in the road, especially with our oldest. She has a real strong desire to control and wants her way or the highway. Actually, now that I type this out, it sounds a lot like me. Her way isn’t always best, and usually it’s quite selfish, so we’ve been really trying to steer her heart toward choosing selflessness and obedience.
I’m a sinner who birthed sinners, so it’s funny that I get surprised (and angry) when they are not following directions. Argh! Ben and I have been seeing how much growing and grace our parenting needs. The tantrums though have left me feeling exhausted and numb. I went to Target this week to pick up a couple things, and I remember just walking and feeling so zombie-like (minus all the grunting). All joy in parenting was gone that day.
I realized all my trying to be a good parent was kind of failing and it’s cause it was just me trying (and Ben), but kind of leaving God out of it. Not that God is a magic genie who magically makes things happen when you want, but I realized I needed to pray and surrender myself. I haven’t been dealing with this whole thing with the best perspective and my heart in all the wrong places, so I need to refocus.
I’ve been waking up at 5am to pray, read, and think, and enjoy the peace and quiet before all the chaos starts. And True and I went on a date this week, and I spoke with her about heart issues. I told her about how most of the time it’s hard for me to be selfless too, and that even I struggle with being too angry about something dumb. That’s not news to her though as she witness my selfishness firsthand. It was nice to have some one on one time with her, and while I know that won’t magically solve our issues either, it’s good to take as many moments possible to let them know we love them no matter what.