Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Of Studies and Granola

The pace of the new school year is starting to feel more comfortable and familiar.  Clara and I plod along with her kindergarten books every day and I think she is enjoying the extra attention from her mom.  She is reading really well, with occasional complaints because the work is getting more challenging for her, and she seems to enjoy phonics/writing and math.  Her favorite thing, however, is sneaking off to play with Sophia.  They are best of friends right now.  Clara also loves to do puzzles and bake stuff.

Here are Clara and Sophia on Clara's first day of kindergarten.


Clara, with her phonics book:


Meredith is really loving her Highlands Latin School experience.  It has been really wonderful to see her grow and be excited to learn.  One day she came home and said, "Mom, I learned about DIPTHONGS today!!"  She sets her alarm for 6:30 on the three days she attends classes and has been really responsible to self-manage her morning, get herself dressed (and allow extra time for doing her hair, which is really important you know!), and make sure she has all her books and homework to get out the door.  She needs to leave around 7:15 and so far we have been able to have about 20 minutes of bible time, God's World news, and reviewing her memory work before she leaves.  (My pregnant self can nap later in the day!  I love starting out the day with her in a peaceful, constructive way, and I want to still do these things with her every day.)

I had thought Meredith could use a little more outside accountability, and positive peer pressure in a class setting, to do better in math.  This theory has proved to be true.  Math is now her favorite subject, after P.E. of course.  I have really appreciated getting emails from her teacher encouraging me to push her to master her facts.  Otherwise I might still be content to let her battle out the problems on her fingers.  It has been wonderful to not feel like everything rests on me but I am part of a team to help her in her school work.  I also love the schedule of three days of classes because we still have time on the home study days to continue doing all the things that we really loved about full-time homeschooling.  We take long nature walks, have good conversations, do Story of the World, and work on fun projects that Meredith is interested in like learning to sew.  So, I feel it is the best of both worlds.  I am really grateful God has opened up this opportunity.


I have learned a valuable lesson: We can think we have a good long-term plan but if we are open to new things, something even better can come along.

Here is Meredith on her first day of school:


Here is Meredith completing her homework, with her friend and carpool buddy, Solomon:


We have had some early mornings, lately, and here is my precious night-owl daughter:


Sophia deserves a completely separate post, all of her own.  (And I will deliver one, soon.)  She is hysterical these days.  Kevin and I have both said numerous times that we have never enjoyed a toddler as much as we have enjoyed Sophia.  Maybe it's because this is the biggest space we have had between children.  Or maybe it's because we are older and finally are more relaxed in our parenting.  Or maybe it's just because she is so outrageously cute with her independent-thinking, nothing-is-going-to-stop-me, third-born personality.


Here she is after a "Mom's Day In" (a MOPS-like type program) I recently signed up for.  She is eating some peanut butter granola that I made with the other ladies during the morning session.  I met a woman at my neighborhood pool a few weeks ago and she convinced me to sign up for MDI.  It had been two years since I had done MOPS.  I thought to myself, "I was really happy when I did MOPS.  I really like this lady I have just met at the pool.  YES.  I will do this."  It has not been a mistake.  I really needed those two days a month to just sit and have coffee with a group of supportive moms.  It has been a real shot in the arm so far.  And there are other side benefits, too, like sometimes you get to bring home yummy homemade granola!


I never expected that Sophia would be so excited to be in a "class."  The only regular thing I have ever taken her to so far is nursery (i.e., non-structured activity).  When I took her to her MDI class she was so ecstatic.  When I went to pick her up, she did NOT want to leave.  Finally, she resigned herself, but kept walking around saying, "Where's my paper?"  She had colored a picture of a leopard, as a part of learning the Creation story.  For the rest of the day she kept pointing to that picture, which I had hung on the refrigerator, and saying, "That's my lipp-urd. I made it in my class!!!"


Other than having little time to write these days, which I really miss, life is good.  As the weather cools and the leaves change and fall, this feels like a new season, in more ways than one.

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Ten Years


Ten years ago (and one month and 22 days), Kevin and I were married. I had good intentions of posting something on this blog the day of to commemorate the occasion. But ... life gets busy and full sometimes! Grandma and Grandpa took the kids for the night and we went out for dinner AND breakfast, and that felt very luxurious, but the day otherwise passed without a lot of fanfare.

Originally we were planning to take a big trip. We had scoured the internet, renewed passports, and contacted a travel agent about all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean. It was fun to dream. But then a series of things happened where we decided we needed to postpone the trip. Maxing out two different high-deductibles for heath care needs basically sums it up. Plus, I think it will be more fun to snorkel, zipline, and go horseback riding on the beach if I am not seven months pregnant. Maybe when this child is weaned, we can go. Jamaica will always be there, right?

There is something symbolic about having the most trying year in our marriage so far happen on such a landmark year, I think. It has made me grateful that our marriage is strong.

Marriage is where you hang together when it's thick and when it's thin. We feel like we have been stretched very thin this year. Knee surgery, aside from the tremendous amount of pain Kevin experienced, has been really time consuming because of constant physical therapy. I try not to be the needy wife but, let's be real, when that man walks through the door, it means I'm not doing zone defense by myself anymore! Kevin and I both feel like we have been working double time. Pregnancy is also not my most shining moment, I must confess. Feeling sick or low on energy, coupled with the added responsibilities lately, makes me feel like surviving the day is a huge accomplishment in and of itself.

How can things be so overwhelming, yet so happy and so rich? Honestly, it was sad to give up the Caribbean, but not life-shattering. It's because I'm happy. I married the right man and I love him and we have made a good life together. I think this when life is easy and I also think this when it's hard.

Kevin and I respect each other. I think he is amazing in every way and I am so proud to be his wife. I know he loves me and respects me too. I never feel insecure in my stay-at-home mom role, because he supports me one hundred percent and thinks it's a tough and worthwhile job.

We also share a sense of humor, which I think is so important when life gets hard. He makes me laugh. I make him laugh. A day usually never goes by without laughter. I wouldn't want it any other way.

My favorite part of the day is when the kids are in bed and we purposefully push the rest of the work aside, trying to ignore it as best we can, and just chill together. The house is quiet, the conversation is good, and we laugh about the day. Lately we have been watching White Collar, pretty much the best TV series ever, on Netflix. When it's 10:45 p.m. and we know we should call it a night, it's really hard to not watch the next episode to see what other twists and turns of plot await us. Sometimes we give in. Yes, we are responsible adults ... but only to a degree!

That's my marriage. I love everything about it.