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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

the slow end to the homeschool year

It is the collective sigh from mothers across the country on a Monday morning in late May, rising up, creating a hurricane of an exhale felt from house to house, joining us all together, one heaving sigh at a time...


No, seriously, IS IT??

As a homeschool mom the heaving sigh is quite oppressive. One more week of lesson plans. One more week of CARING WHETHER OR NOT THEY FINISH THE WHOLE LESSON (read: I DONT CARE, but of course, I must care...)

Every May as the end of the school year approaches I have such high hopes, to go out on a high note. We will document our work! We will write reports! We will finish out our curriculum! We will do projects!

And each year the school peters out, in drips and dribbles, with a bit of a dying sighing whimper. Um, did you do any copywork today? A sentence? GOOD ENOUGH. Hey, Jack, did you do your math? Yes? Okay then. Um, you wanna watch TV? Uh, make it educational and you got yourself a DEAL.

And I know you public school moms are in the same boat...reading lists and homework and science fairs and....FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY CAN WE BE DONE ALREADY???

I just. Cannot. Do. Anymore.

But of course, I know us. By mid-July we will crack open the books for a short midsummer unit study. It wont be "school" though. Just something fun to do together. Wink Wink.

Likewise, the list I came up with for our new summer days. It goes as follows:

-2 Chores (mom's choice!)
-Clean your room
-Read (20 minutes for Little Miss, 1 hr for Little man....He says, But that isn't fair!!! Um. You have read at least two hours already today and its 11am, I point out. Oh. Right.)
-Write something (journal, diary, letter to a cousin, etc.)
-Play outside for one hour
-Quiet time in your rooms for 30 minutes (I am so freaking excited about this one)
-Build something. Or do an art project
-Play together for 1 hr (I am not looking forward to this one, says crabby 9yr old)
-Research something and tell mom about it

I also added  weekly things to do including, trips to the (air conditioned!) library, one field trip a week (brave mommy), one book report on a NEW book, and one family beach trip.

Why, you ask, would my children be ecstatic about this??? Because, I reply with a smug look on my face, if they do all this then they get full access to TV and iPad (within REASON, I tell my overjoyed son)!

I am also ecstatic about it. Why, why Sara, full access??? But I thought media was so bad for our kids and damaging to their brains and etc. Well, I reply, still smugly grinning, if you total all those things up it puts them at late afternoon, easily. day long whining about TV and iPad games!!!!!!!! Plus there is the very likely chance that they will get caught up in an activity and actually (GASP) enjoy it and forget about TV (my dearest hope) And honestly, if they do this much they will be doing more educational worthwhile stuff than they are doing now. HA.



This is easily the most brilliant thing I have ever done, or the most idiotic (why are the two so hard to distinguish sometimes in parenthood???)

The last time I posted a new schedule idea here it totally and utterly flopped. We didnt even follow it the first week. But this???? This I have high hopes for.

And don't worry, you know I will let you know how it goes. HA!

Cheers mommies. Pour yourself a stiff one. Break out the bars of chocolate. We are ALMOST THERE.

Um. so in this picture he is sarcastically saying "HI MOM, MATH SUCKS." Bwahahahahaha. Ah. Summertime.

here. color something.

homemade math worksheets. LIKE A BOSS

mom. let me take a picture of you! eh. FINE.

The List.

i especially like this one. he doesnt whine about how many more verses he has to copy
or whether or not he hates math or how i am "the meanest mom in the world' because i
wont allow playing disney princess pets on the iPad

especially when he grins at me like this

especially now that he sits in his chair so I can do the dishes or make lunch or pee....HA HA

Sunday, May 8, 2016

it is hard and we are tired

Oh mamas.

Isn't it hard?

It is hard. And we are so damn tired. All the time.

We cook mac and cheese and clean out forgotten sippy cups and apply bandaids to non existent wounds and wipe various orifices.

And Mother's Day rolls around. Anticipations. Expectations.

Never fully realized, no matter how low you lower them.

And the kids fight about the iPad and one of them begrudgingly hands you the present they made for you in Sunday school, crying that they want to keep it themselves.

Then dada gets called into work.

And you gaze at the sweaty baby strapped to your chest, your eyes glazed over in a hazy sort of fatigue and you find yourself oozing love, which you would undoubtedly have for the big ones if they could hold still and be quiet long enough. HA.

And its there.

That love that carries us through.


And we wonder, when does it get easier? When will I "figure it out"?

Dear Mamas.

The answer.

Never. Of course, its never.

God, I have to tell myself that. Shout it at myself. There is no "figuring out"! Because the next thing comes, then the next. Then a giant curveball like a move or a lost job or a lost partner or, God forbid, a truly sick child.

And its all shot to hell. Again.

But we can do it mamas, this is the thing. We can.

Mother's Day shouldn't be a day for brunches and nail salons and roses. It should be a day for activities fitting of the warriors that mothers are.

They should light bonfires in our honor. Set off fireworks. Chant at the stars. Fling bouquets of limp roses into the waves. All in honor of the fallen mothers, the tired mothers, the mothers who gave up on themselves, the ones who lost children, the ones who remember carpool at the last minute and manage to squeeze in a run to Starbucks all the same. The finder of lost shoes. The soother of midnight dreams. The ones who hold our worlds' together, we queens extraordinaire.

All of us.



Queens of our domain.

It is hard. We are tired. But we fight on, just the same.

I honor you all. I hold you in my heart.

Fight on.

Friday, April 22, 2016

days, and then days

Those first few weeks man. It's like you are slogging through a mire. A fire swamp, if you will.

Side note: We tried to watch The Princess Bride with our kids the other day. I'm quoting every line, laughing, etc. and my kids were like NOT into it AT ALL, especially little man. What gives? Maybe the romance element? In any case. I was bummed.

So now, newborn days, we're out of the fire swamp, I think, finally.

Hopefully not headed down to the pit of despair...

Ha ha.



Too much reality in that statement.

The pit of despair is where I ended up after my last newborn weeks...floundering with little Green, in the holidays, too sad and overwhelmed to see straight.

You know what?

I don't feel it this time.

I think I also feel much more at peace about the low down days. You know?

Some days with a newborn, you are on top of the world. He sleeps! For three hours! Not in the wrap or in your arms! You sweep and clean and make dinner!

Other days you cry. Three times. You yell at the kids. You fail at everything you try. You think I am terrible at this! And then you eat chocolate, watch Greys Anatomy and go to bed.

But this is the difference, for me, at the moment anyhow.

On the days where I cry three times and eat chocolate and watch Grey's Anatomy I go to bed not feeling hopeless, not in the depths of despair, like I have in the past, but instead, knowing that I tried my damnedest to do everything I need to do in my day, and just because I didn't doesn't mean tomorrow will be the same. Tomorrow is a new day. Tomorrow is the day you storm the castle, take on thirty men, and live to tell the tale.

And also.


You know what? Scratch that. Not that tomorrow is a new day, and you can do better then, because you know what? The to do lists don't define you, as a woman, as a person on this planet. They don't define me. And man, I have done this in the past. Its still a struggle to be honest. But I can't let it.

Not sweeping the floor after every meal (damn ants!) doesn't make you a terrible person, a failure.

Not answering all the emails, making all the follow up calls, writing the new novel, planning the perfect school day - heck, planning your school day at all.

None of this makes you worthy, worthwhile.

Kick up your feet, drink an afternoon iced coffee, crumple up the to do list, nurse the baby (ahhhh, oxytocin!) and let your day, be your day, imperfections and all.

You dont NEED to tackle the to do list with renewed vigor tomorrow to make up for today's 'inadequacies.'

This day of studying spelling words, reading the story of Passover, and taking the kids out for an extended swim, after answering a couple emails.

All that?

That is enough.

Even staggering to the couch with a headache and a crabby newborn while the kids Netflix it up all morning.


Also worth it.

Also worthwhile. Also worthy.

Because you, mama, are worthwhile. You are doing a hard hard thing, this mommying thing.

Kiss them. Tuck them in at night. And know that that is enough.

You know what that is? Grace. Grace for yourself, mama.

You don't have to conquer all the things, do all the things, be all the things for everyone. And this is for all mamas, not just those with newborns. Be yourself, as a mom, bad days and all. because they aren't bad days, they are just days. And tomorrow will be more days, with different things, maybe more things, but still, they are just days.

Days, and then days. Filled with grace.

ETA: PPD is a for real legit thing. Chemicals. In your brain. Doing nasty unfair things. Telling you you arent worthy. And no matter how filled with grace for yourself you are it IS REAL. And sometimes, there isnt a dang thing you can do to "be more positive" and get through it. People told me this. Loving people. And I still floundered in it, for months. I think partially because of nearly losing Little Green in birth, partially because I am predisposed to depression and experience it from time to time, in very real ways (like through the long MN winters, for example!) For you mamas going through it. I feel you. And I may end up having some rough months yet, it can kick in after two, three, six months after birth, so I write posts like this, to myself, to remind myself of these thoughts in those months to come. You are worthy. You can do this thing. Be graceful to you.

And now, for a million pictures of my baby. Because on the days where I feel unsuccessful at 'all the things' it always helps to take a million pictures of these smiling faces and be reminded of the task we are up to in these days - days and then days - the mommying task. And how worth it it all is, and how worthy we are at the task.

This is on the road up to Waimea a few weeks ago.

the below shots are all this morning...

Friday, April 15, 2016

back in the saddle, again

So I've had a certain level of slacking off over the past two months. 


There's only so much a mama can do. 

And for me all I could handle was feeding children, laying on the coach not losing my mind, and getting some school in, occasionally.

So now here we are, a month into this four kid thing. So I figure time to get back at it. 

I even made a schedule of our week -with craft days and nature walks and trips out to do things. 

We shall see how long it lasts.

My mom and dad left yesterday. We had such a great visit with them. Having someone bring you a cup of tea while you're nursing? There is nothing like that. Especially when it's your own mom.

Rather than sit around feeling despondent this morning, while children whine at me about iPad and TV, I figured let's start easy, let's start small! A nature walk! Out of our own front door! So I packed up the kids backpacks with nature journals and water bottles and we headed up the mountain. Well, volcano, actually. 

And the baby slept in the stroller. 

And the kids learned two new Hawaiian words - mauka, which means the mountain side and makai, which means ocean side. So when we walked the narrow road running along the side of the mountain above our neighborhood and I shouted "mauka" they'd run to the mountain side of the road. And yes, people use these words to give directions. We live in the makai side of our road etc. because you can pretty much always see the ocean from wherever you are.

And we talked about the farm we will have some day with fruit trees and a cat and a dog and Little Misses own bedroom and then Little Green requested if she could please have her own hot tub. Ha.

We explored the Hawaii you don't see in the tourist books. The Hawaii with cows and sleepy pastures, hot already in the morning sun, and tangles of bright flowers and and wild fruit trees and tall grasses and big beautiful trees - that are not palms. 

I'm beginning to love this Hawaii. This real Hawaii.

And the baby woke up so I put him in the wrap. And little Green's legs hurt so I let her ride in the stroller. 

And we came home hot and tired. But we did it. And the kids said we should do that every morning, they had such fun. 

Creative, fun, out and about mama rises from the dust. She lives!

I found little mans ideal schedule on our white board this morning (at zero dark thirty hours when baby woke up) HA!!

My ideal schedule, below. 

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