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.
Since we turned back around and spent NYE in San Antonio, Ben’s mom taught the girls how to make buñuelos. She used to make these every New Year’s Eve for Ben and his sister while they were growing up, so she was excited to be able to make them with her granddaughters. Of course, my girls were happy to get in the kitchen and learn from their Grandmama.
I’m glad we had to turn back around because I’m sure this will be a special memory for my girls. It is really sweet to see the grandparent and grandchild relationship. Plus, we don’t ever spend New Year’s with Ben’s family, so this was an extra treat for everyone.
Buñuelos are pretty much fried tortillas, so they aren’t super healthy, but my mother-in-law did make them with whole wheat flour, so maybe a little bit healthy? Ben would probably still say no. HA! Grandmama also made a big pitcher full of Mexican hot chocolate, and oh boy did we have a feast with a buñuelo in one hand and a mug of hot chocolate in the other. I want to try my hand at making them, so maybe I’ll have a recipe to share with you soon.
One week down (almost), 51 more to go. This week beat the crap out of me. It was a total struggle to get back into routine and everyone was (is) off their game. Last year’s word of the year was “focus,” and sometimes I did good and sometimes I did bad. I know that’s normal. This year’s word will be “Jesus” because that’s really what I need more of, so Jesus it is!
I don’t really have any resolutions. As far as diet and exercise, being married to a dietitian keeps me on the straight and narrow (most of the time), and Ben and I have been going strong exercising together every morning (most mornings) for 5 years now. You’d still never ever see me in a two piece though, I think my body just natural wants to retain some mom belly as my souvenir of birthing. Anyway, last year lots of big things happened like my book, Let’s Sew Together, came out. Ben and I traveled to Singapore, where I taught my first workshop, and we had lots of mini vacations interspersed between too. True’s first tooth came out, then second and third, and fourth, and Brave even lost a couple too! These are just a few of last year things.
I don’t know what this year will have in store. I have no plans so far! Ben and I have a mini family vacation planned in the spring, we’re talking about sending the big girls to Texas for part of the summer, my baby sister comes back in June (yippee!), other than that, I’m game for whatever. We also have our 10 year anniversary coming up, so we are thinking of maybe doing something for that. I’m also perfectly content to celebrate by chilling together at home. Since we got back from Texas early Sunday morning, and pretty much took off running back into reality on Monday, I haven’t had much time to think about this year’s plans.
As far as this space, I want Ben to join in a little bit more. I really enjoy his writing and his take on diet and feeding the family, so I hope you don’t mind if he pops in from time to time. He’s also the ones that leads all the gardening, so he’ll be sharing about those things too. Blogging has changed a lot from when I first started, for both good and bad. I’m thankful for the opportunities that have come because of it, and that this is a place where I can share my struggles as well as the frivolous parts of life, and I’m grateful that you guys are so gracious in accepting both.
Cheers to 2015!