life and feelings

home home home After sharing about my feelings of anxiety in this post, my emotions stayed jumbled up for a bit. I struggled that weekend and everything felt tense and tight. On Sunday afternoon, that can’t-breathe-feeling came back, and I found myself in bed crying. Ben came and just hugged me as I cried, and asked me what was wrong, but I didn’t have a reason. I thought it was so weird, but after a good hour of crying, I felt a little better. By midweek, I was feeling more like myself, but lately, I still find that I get anxious much more easily than before.

Ben’s been sweet throughout it and we call it my little “breakdown.” Besides praying more, I’ve been reading this book (and other books) rather than using Netflix and Hulu to numb myself in the evenings. I’ve limited myself to my two favorite shows, but I think that small change has helped me re-focus. I realized I had so much pride trying to do things on my own, and dang, I was failing at it. My heart and mind needed to be reminded that to glorify God is to enjoy God. I was just going through the daily motions of everything, and totally neglecting Him and breathing God ignoring air. I’ve been learning to see more glimpses of grace throughout the day, and I try to remember to smile when I do.

Thank you for taking the time to be interested in the craft and pretty stuff I share, but most importantly, the heart stuff too. This week was another busy one, but the girls are such troopers and we wham bam and got things done. *fist bump* Now, we’re ready for the weekend!

 

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feeling anxious

wildflowers These past few days of I’ve been feeling kind of anxious, and it’s not a feeling I’m used to having. There’s nothing going on that’s particularly unusual, but it’s this weird heaviness on my chest and I feel like I can’t really breathe. I’ve been thinking about what it might be and I think it’s my lack of time in prioritizing praying and meditating on God’s word. I’ve been making sure to relax in the evenings, but I’ve just been streaming something from Netflix or Hulu. While that’s fine and dandy (and totally okay to do!), I’ve neglected doing things that stir my heart and mind to love God more. I’ve just been doing brain numbing things to help me wind down at night, but maybe it’s numbed my heart too.

Things have been busy with trying to stay on top of homeschooling, all the kid stuff, the house, and other creative projects I sign up for, but I’ve totally been relying on my own strength, and now I think that’s drying up. We also have some small changes going on, so we have some unknowns thrown in too. Lately, I struggle with comparing myself to things in Internet land. I tell myself, “Duh! Ruby, don’t do that. What people show is only a sliver.” And I know that, but it’s something my heart wrestles with at times.

Anyway, I need to do another heart check and more Jesus. Sometimes I lose focus, and writing my thoughts and feelings here help me sort it out. Anyone feeling similarly lately?

 

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staring at the ceiling

staring at the ceiling staring at the ceiling staring at the ceiling staring at the ceiling The girls have swim, piano, and dance classes all on the same day, so I’m very strategic on how I plan out that day to make sure to complete all our lessons. Thus, I was just lying in bed that particular afternoon trying to catch my breathe from everything. In addition, I sprained my left knee, so that’s added an extra layer of frustration (and I was lying down trying to rest it). Well, my little brigade comes in, hops on my bed and starts getting in my face about this or that. My moments of silence and staring at the ceiling was interrupted by these little girls of mine.

I had one grab my camera, which wasn’t too far, and they started hamming it up when I started taking pictures of them above me. I love these girls so much, even though they probably can’t tell when I’m super frustrated and yelling. Ben came home and had plans to work on the front yard (our front yard is embarrassingly unkempt), so I decided I would take the girls out on a girls dinner date. They were really giddy about that idea, so off we went.

I let them choose the music for our drive, and of course, it was the Frozen soundtrack. We belted tunes together at the top of our lungs and totally let it go. We had dinner, and even bought dessert, and just chitchatted it up. My phone stayed in my purse. I don’t text or check anything on our special dates, I don’t even whip it out to snap a picture. It takes restraint though, I love taking pictures and capturing a moment with it (as proof above), but sometimes it’s good to just let things be.

I can’t wait for the weekend!

 

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the toy store threw up in the guest room

kid life kid life kid life kid life kid life kid life kid life Good thing is that while it looks insanely crazy, since everything has a place, it’s not too bad to clean up. It does look overwhelming though, and when mess stress strikes, this would definitely make me go bonkers. I love wooden toys and we much prefer that for our kids, but as the kids have gotten older, wooden toys don’t always cut it. We give in from time to time, especially when it comes to My Little Pony, but the grandparents give in often. We’ve learned to take a chill pill, and the grandparents even know that sometimes things get taken away. HA! And of course, there’s a whole lot of Spiderman because that’s just Brave’s thing and everyone gives her Spidey stuff.

We often do a whole lot of purging and donating to help limit our kids from becoming hoarders, but our kids are regular kids and while I don’t like all this stuff, I’ve learned to be okay with some of it. If you look closely, you’ll also see how they infuse their own creativity into their play, so even though the room looks out of hand, they’re making memories together and I’m cool with that. Plus, I’ll make sure they clean it after. I’ll definitely have to share some of our favorite toys in another post, as well as what this room looks like cleaned up.

 

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family photo booth strips

family Photo Booth strips These were the photo booth strips we took at the OC Fair. We pretty much only go to the fair to take these photos. I love these pictures so much. All our photo booth and polaroid pictures are just extra special to me, especially since I rarely print out photos (I’m just so bad at it). Oh and it was so hard to get all the girls in their own photo for that strip on the right. It goes so fast, and you’re trying to switch them out quick (and keep them close at the same time), it’s a feat I tell you!

I feel like my days are fuller than ever, and I’ve been trying to set more evenings aside to relax. I did get caught up on most my emails this week (high-five!), and I think I answered most of your blog comments back (if it warranted a reply), and with the girls gone on vacation with my parents next week, I’m hoping to cross lots of things off my to-do list. I always have a to-do list, but really, who doesn’t?!

I’ve been thinking a lot of how motherhood can feel so isolating sometimes. If you’re a working mom, stay home mom, or work-at-home mom, it’s still a lot of work and pressure no matter how you slice it. Your heart (and mind) is all over the place trying to love on everyone and do everything, but the busyness can be overwhelming. I’m trying to serve my kids well, love them well, feed them well, and teach them well (oh and of course Ben too), but sometimes I lose sight of grace and Jesus, and then I end up not doing so well after all. I’ve been reading the book, Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full, and listening to this sermon on “Grace Filled Parenting,” and both have been a really good rebuke and encouragement to my heart.

 

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some homeschooling things

homeschooling homeschooling homeschooling homeschooling Week two done and onto week three… whew! Days are much busier with homeschooling the three (we’ve sort of added Soul to the mix), or as they have progressed in grade, their learning material takes more time. Soul’s preschool age, but I’m not one to push kids to learn everything so early. I think children need a lot of play (they learn a lot through that) and when it’s time, and they seem ready, then we can tackle all that vowel, consonant, and number stuff. We’ve changed things up in our homeschool area to accommodate for her though, so she can feel part of it. Most of her “work” consists of coloring and drawing, but we’re slowly going through the vowels. The important thing is now she feels like part of the team, and she likes being right there next to her sisters as they learn. I’ll have a homeschool space tour for you soon, but for now, let’s talk about why (I’ve shared this before and it really hasn’t changed) and what we use.

I’ve tackled some of the whys we homeschool here, but basically, it’s what we feel is best for our family right now. That’s the same reason I gave in the previous post too. We live in an area with a good school district, and while I don’t doubt the teachers there are excellent, we still feel it best to homeschool our children. I have my bachelor’s degree in Child and Adolescent Development, and went on to get my California Multiple Subject Credential, and I used to teach 4th grade at a public school. I loved being a teacher to thirty, fun loving (most of them) fourth graders, and while my career as a public school teacher wasn’t that long, I think that experience really helps enrich my daughters’ homeschooling.

I find teaching my three daughters (still mostly two though) is much more difficult than managing a class of thirty, but it’s infinitely more rewarding (and did I mention hard?!). In addition, these days there’s a lot of pressure for teachers to “teach to the test” because of the standardized testing and what those scores mean for schools. While we still participate in the state testing, I’m free to teach my children with what I feel is best, not just in preparation for the test. We actually get to fully explore science, history, and art, which is something some schools may not be able to do as much due to class sizes, time constraints, and budgets.

While I advocate homeschooling, it may not be the best thing for your family and your situation. Every situation is different and we are all making the best choices we feel would best suit our family. I’m also thankful for the public school system. I still have many friends who are still public school teachers and they are so darn good at what they do. In regards to homeschool, private school, or public school, I don’t think one is particularly better than the other, but it’s to each their own. There are some parents who shouldn’t be homeschooling and they are some teachers who shouldn’t be teaching, you’ll find good and bad ones in both areas.

We mostly follow Classical Education, and while it really emphasizes facts, memorization, and language-based learning, especially in the early grades, I tweak and change it to what fits my kids best, and I give them plenty of opportunities for creativity. The structure of Classical Education is something we do well with, and I believe the learning of facts as a base is very important, but we always extend beyond the lessons to include creative projects. My children are visual learners, so I accommodate for that in our lessons.

Here is our curriculum information…
Math: Singapore Math
Reading: We go through different books through the year, but currently it’s Old French Fairy Tales since we’re focusing on the Late Renaissance/Early Modern period.
Grammar: First Language Lessons Level 3
Writing: Writing with Ease Level 3
Spelling: Spelling Workout Level C
Cursive: New American Cursive
History: Story of the World Middle Ages (almost done with this)
Science: Adventures with Atoms and Molecules with support from Usborne Sciecne Encyclopedia
Latin: Song School Latin (this our first year)
Art: Child-Size Masterpieces

It’s a lot of stuff, but listing it out looks more than it feels when we are doing it. I will have to break down how we tackle all this stuff, but history and science are taught on alternating days, same with Latin and art. In addition to what we do at home, they go to a full day school once a week (9am-3:30pm) and take a class on the American Girls, Geography, Spanish, and Theatre. They also get to interact with other homeschoolers there. The extra-curricular things they are involved in are hip hop, piano, and swim classes. Our days are full, I feel crazy most of the time, but we all try to find our rhythm together.

Technically, True is in third grade and Brave in second, but we do all third grade curriculum and Brave keeps up just fine. She scores especially high when it comes to informational text (she loves reading informational texts and encyclopedia type books!). I make accommodations for areas where I think they may be different, but they are so similar developmentally, that having them using material at the same level works great for the girls. It will be interesting when Soul joins next year for Kinder (and then Glow the year after) because I will have to become a better juggler. It will be a multi-age school house in our home!

 

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