Happy 2013! You are all probably busy making your New Year's Resolutions, putting away your decorations, cleaning the house, stocking up on your "the kids returned to school today" treats (nap, magazine, chocolate, etc), or just vegging on the couch because you are the last person in the family to come down with the huge cloud of sickness circulating the neighborhood. I'm going to try a new format this year, and yeah, one of my resolutions is to try to breathe life back into this blog, and hopefully, I am more on top of it than writing down rambling thoughts at 1 in the morning that make no sense.
The last six months have been very eventful for our family, and so I will just fill you in on that, and then keep up from there.
1. Adoption is beautiful! I hope it is something I can experience again, but for now, we are happy with our 7 kids, Leah being our little caboose. I don't think the desire to have more kids ever goes away. I can't say we are "done" because I would welcome more babies to our family in a heartbeat. I do like that as I look at how I parent my younger kids compared to my older kids, I'm a lot more patient and tolerant. I don't like that the older I get the faster I get worn out.
2. Understand that there are friendships you outgrow. If you are not happy, if that other person makes you feel horrible, or you find yourself happy to make the other person feel horrible, do yourself a favor and end the friendship. Don't keep trying, dragging it out, dreading a call, making yourself feel obligated to that person for some reason. There are other people in the world that you can be friends with, that will appreciate you, that you can feel like your friendship is fulfilling and rewarding.
3. Homeschool vs. Public School. This has been a struggle for me for the last 8 years. We tried public school, then homeschooled, then public schooled again, then back to homeschooling. This year, I found some balance, maybe. We started out with an online charter school. After about 3 weeks, I disenrolled all the kids. It was too intense, and we had no time for life. A week later, we decided to put our three elementary school kids in school, and homeschool the older boys. By December, after a very informative meeting with the teachers, I discovered Simeon has severe learning disabilities with Autism, relating to traumatic brain injuries from when he was 2 and 4 years old, Joshua is also learning disabled and has an auditory processing disorder. Tearfully, I worried that I had done them a disservice by homeschooling them. What I realized was that I had done exactly what Heavenly Father wanted me to do. I prayed at the start of every year about homeschooling and every year to this point, I was told to continue homeschooing. This year, it changed. I then began to worry about Isaac. He also has a slew of disabilities: Asperger's, ADHD, and mild cerebral palsy, and traumatic brain injury from a fall at age 2. (I'm starting to think my kids need to wear helmets from birth to age 6). I had him evaluated, and while not as bad as Simeon, he had many of the same issues as Simeon and they dropped the Asperger's diagnosis, stating he couldn't have Asperger's and ADHD at the same time. He will start 8th grade after the Christmas break. I worried I would be all kinds of freaked out about all this, my kids going to school after so many years of homeschooling. But I'm not. I'm at peace. I know that I did what was best for them at the time, and I'm grateful to have the ability to listen, pray, and consider what was best for my kids, not necessarily what I wanted. In the end, 5 of my 7 kids will be in school, and just Jesse will continue homeschooling, by his choice. Ammon will also be attending a special needs Pre-K for therapy for his traumatic brain injury. Like I said, my boys need helmets!
4. Traveling with 7 kids by yourself is no picnic, but it is doable. Even when it is the hottest year on record, your fan clutch and radiator goes out taking your trip from 9 days to 16 days, and you have to bunk with relatives for far longer than anyone planned, and you return home with 6 cats and 1 puppy. I hope one day I will look back on these "adventures" and laugh about it all. Right now it just makes me sound like I'm insane.
5. I hate Halloween.
6. I like the other holidays. This year, we started new traditions. Most of our family live too far away to get together for them and I decided I need to be okay about that. For Thanksgiving we have a Pie Off. Everyone has to make a different pie and we have a contest on who had the best. Isaac made a triple berry pie. It tasted like summer! For Christmas we started doing the Reindeer Games. I will post another entry for that, but we had some good friends come over and we played about 15 Minute to Win It games. It was so fun! For Easter, we have done Easter Egg hunts and I will keep playing with the kids for as long as they want. I think I may step it up this year and do something different, but I just don't know what yet. Valentine's Day is our family tea party, complete with love notes and small boxes of chocolates. This year we studied Jane Austen, and everyone has a favorite Jane Austen movie now, so we started doing Jane Austen marathons. Don't be afraid to start your own traditions, your own family parties. I held onto the past for so many years, sometimes pushing myself into a depression because I didn't have my extended family to participate with.
7. Health. My goal this year is to loose 35 lbs. I started walking and doing weights in the mornings with a friend. It is slow going and my arm and neck are still touchy after the surgery this spring, but I keep going. I feel my energy coming back. I feel better and my attitude is improving. I don't know why I didn't do it sooner!!!!
Our goal with this blog was to share recipes, remedies, life stories, and general things that encompass making a home. I hope to continue with that and be more regular about it. I wish you health, wealth and prosperity this coming year, may you have many happy moments, and many learning opportunities.