Drat this Amazingly Gorgeous Weather!

24 Aug

So it begins….

 

…..Summer has officially arrived in Washington State. And, of course, school is in session for some kiddos next week. This week there is a possibility that we could reach the upper 80s and, who knows, maybe (GASP!) into the 90s! Most of our “Summer” has sat comfortably in the 60s and 70s and we hardly broke 80 last month. About this time of year I am ready for the nice, cool chill of Fall and anticipating the changing leaves, scarves, and grasping a warm, pumpkin spice latte (non fat…no whip). But, alas, I suppose I must endure until at least Summer is officially over.

I’ll admit, I would looooove to have a cold rainy day. Just one…maybe two. What the heck…how about a week? Then I would have an excuse to keep indoors and meal plan for next month. As I have quickly discovered, meal planning is a skill that takes time to master. I have not mastered this which is why meal planning (for me) takes up a good chunk of the day. It takes imagination….patience….and organization. All three of these key “ingredients” I don’t really have…well…I have imagination but not the type where I can just throw any edible item into a pot and make a meal worth remembering. I hardly have any patience and organization is a dream of mine that has not yet become a reality.

Meal planning means me diving through a stack of cookbooks and online recipes that I’ve saved to my favorites. I take a calendar that I printed off and fill it up. I always make sure to include meals that are large enough to mean leftovers for a few days. I create my shopping list for the first two weeks based on the ingredients in the recipes I jotted on the calendar. At the end of this month, we will do our major shopping run: Costco and Trader Joes. I’ll pick up what I can there and then I do an additional shopping trip to Freddie’s or QFC…occasionally PCC to pick up some bulk flour for bread. I make another shopping trip in the middle of the month for the next two or so weeks of meals. And there we have it.

Some people, like my mother-in-law, can do without a meal plan. She has that creativity that I hope to have someday. She is like those people who can just throw random things in a pot and make a “meal worth remembering”.  Me? Well, if I don’t plan my meals I am literally like a lost puppy and sweat about what the heck I am going to make. In the end, I just take out a couple chicken thighs to thaw and we have the “usual” grilled chicken, potatoes and steamed veggies. Not that that isn’t good. But, c’mon, it’s kinda boring. Meal planning gives me an opportunity to be creative and surprise my family with new dinners. I always consider my husband when it comes to thinking about dinner. I have an idea about what he likes and he mostly likes anything I make. But there is something fulfilling about making something different and creating some delight around the dinner table.

But today, the meal planning will have to be put on hold. With this gorgeous weather…it can’t be ignored. I’ll have to take the kids out somewhere. Maybe to the lake for swimming…or to a nice shady park for a picnic. No cooped up kids today.

Make Way for Homeschool!

23 Aug

This is it! Just a few more weeks and Veronica officially starts homeschool! And I’m not nearly prepared! I’m working on it though. At the moment we have a disaster of an office area that I am going to attempt to transform into a “mini classroom”. It may or may not work but seeing as this will not be our permanent residence and that Veronica will only be doing school for part of the day I figure we can make it work. Yeah, I know Veronica is only 3 and she doesn’t necessarily need to start school now but I thought this would give me an opportunity to see if this program that I chose for her is a good fit and…most of all…if me homeschooling my children is what I am really meant to do. It’ll be an interesting “school year” but one that I am actually looking forward to.

The program I will be using is called Little Saints and is connected with the Charlotte Mason homeschooling method. So far, I like the way the program sounds and we are still awaiting the curriculum to arrive in the mail.

In the meantime, we have decided to sign Veronica up for ballet/tap/gymnastics at The Little Gym. She tried a free introductory class last week and she really had a ball…until her “accident”. In the beginning she did 15 minutes of tap and another 15 minutes of ballet. Then the group of little girls (all Veronica’s age) move into the gymnastics area where they do a half hour of gymnastics. One of the instructors was assisting Veronica on the high bars, twirling her round and around…when I noticed the look of terror on Veronica’s face.  She started crying and the instructor gave her a hug and told her to find me (I was in another room but I could see everything through a big glass wall). Veronica came out, teary eyed and said, “I peed my pants!” Ugh. I wasn’t prepared for that. I had no extra clothes for her because I thought it was only an hour and Veronica hasn’t had an accident for months! Luckily, there was only 10 minutes left so I took her home…although she was unwilling to. So we signed her up. I think it’ll be good for her. She get some exercise and meet some new friends. The price was a little steep but I realize that no matter where I look I’ll run into the same problem. But it just means we’ll have to sacrifice some things this year. And I don’t mind that.

I’m always hesitant when mentioning that I am going to homeschool. Like I’m ashamed or something. Most people have the same responses, though: “She won’t get the social experience she gets at school…etc, etc” Actually, I’m noticing now that there are a lot more families choosing to homeschool. I am unsure why exactly but there are many reasons why we are at least trying out homeschooling. For one…we can’t afford Catholic school. And I don’t want to send my children to public school (for many reasons). Another thing, I am unhappy with Catholic schools nowadays. Well…I wouldn’t use the word “unhappy”…I guess, after experiences working in Catholic schools, I feel that there is something deeply lacking and it deeply troubles me.

There is a lot about homeschooling that I love. It’s more flexible so there is more time for extracurricular activties. Your children will work at their own pace so there is no danger of them falling behind. Your children get one on one time with their most important teacher: YOU. You can also customize the curriculum to make it as enriching and exciting as you want. The Charlotte Mason method is all about “living books”….so, instead of reading boring textbooks, you’re reading about experiences. And there are opportunities for your children to get out and experience God’s world and learn about all his creation.

I personally think the whole “social” issue is over-used and not true. Unless, you have one or two kids and bar them from the outside world until their adults I don’t think you’ll run into any problems. I plan on having lots of kids and Veronica is already rather sociable anyways. Plus, she’ll be involved in much in the future. There will be ample opportunities for socializing.

After writing this I am quite certain that homeschooling is the route we will most likely take. And I’m glad I am trying this out now…with Veronica at 3. It gives me opportunity to prepare and find out what works and what doesn’t work. Then I’ll be prepared for when Veronica begins kindergarten and her younger siblings start school. I’m ready to take on this challenge. And I have faith that my children will gain much from this.

Sweet Moments

17 Aug

In Seattle, we’ve been blessed with a quiet Summer this year. While the rest of the country sits in an oven, we’re chillin in our 70 degrees of perfection. Although, I wouldn’t mind warmer temps for swimming I’m quite content that I am not spending many sleepless nights, tossing and turning in sweat and discomfort.

The evenings here have been gorgeous. Just plain pleasant. Desperately wanting some fresh air one day, I pulled my 3 year old daughter and my 1 year old son outside. It was about 6:30 or 7pm and we played around a bit and did some exploring.

Before heading in for the night (and before the mosquitos discovered us!) I collapse on the hammock and place both kids on either side of me.

We stare up at the towering evergreens holding the hammock (and us) up as we quietly rock back and forth. Peaceful moments like this are truly treasured. I break the silence and ask, “Veronica, look how tall those trees are.” Veronica and I stare up in awe as she breaths a “Yeees.” and then she continues,

“Thank you, Jesus, for holding up our hammock!”

Did that come out of my 3 year olds mouth? I smiled widely. It was an answer to a question I have been asking myself, “Am I doing my job? Raising my children in the faith?” Do I do enough as a human to be a good influence and as a follower of Christ?

I always tend to focus on the negative when it regards me. My temper for one. Sometimes I truly believe that that trait of mine overshadows everything else. And there is no room for good traits. I feel awful when I show my temper around my children. And then I see some of it seep out of Veronica from time to time.

But I suppose I should cut myself some slack. In reality I love my children very much and will do anything for their well-being. I try hard as a mom. And being a mom has improved me in so many ways.

However, raising my children begins with me and my husband. We must first fix little things here and there in our own lives if we want to instill promising traits in our children. And although things are improving (with me) at a snail’s pace it is still improving. And that certainly shined through Veronica that evening on the hammock.

It was a sweet moment and a moment that God answered me back saying, “Kerry, you’re doing alright.”

Hello world!

17 Aug

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