Sunday, October 7, 2012

Beating Head Against Wall ....

It is that time of year. The time of year it becomes impossible to avoid extended family members. This sounds terrible, right? I know. I am sorry. Truly. I wish it was different. My inlaws annoy me terribly. I want to feel differently about this. I don't. I can't. Grrrr..... I just have to get through it ....

One thing about my inlaws is that some things that are perfectly normal to them are rude in my opinion. They do not have a good handle on normal social customs. For example, they are hosting a niece's birthday party on my husband's birthday. Really? Why? Why that day of all days? It is a family gathering type of party, so why host a party for someone else on another person's actual birthday??? Really? Necessary???? No!

My husband doesn't mind. So, I guess it doesn't do me any good to be the one upset about it. So, I have to get over it. Again, very annoying. And so the birthday/holiday season kicks off .... Lord help me to be a good person and to do the right things.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Only Thing Certain ...

The only thing certain is change and the winds of change are blowing strongly here this May. I have finally, fully, accepted that I cannot be a Lutheran, or a craftsperson, or a decorator, or a mom who hosts church teas. I wish I could be all of these things, but we each have to find our own place in the world. God designed each of us for a unique purpose and we are meant to move toward our calling. Lutheran craftspeople who decorate and host church teas are noble people who have taught me so much. And now it is time to move on ...

Today is my youngest child's last day of Pre-K. I am so sentimental. My Pre-K sweetie will miss her school, teachers and classmates so much. Her experience in this particular preschool was so perfect for her and she loves school so much. It is hard for me to think of her growing up and heading off to full-day Kindergarten, but I know she will be in a wonderful Kindergarten next year. I feel God has led us to our decisions about next year and I know we have made the right decisions for our children.

My sweet current Kindergartener is amazing to watch. She is the most independent of all three of my kids and has mastered a lot of academic stuff all on her own (with the help of her K teacher of course) this year. This fiesty, fiercely independent child of mine can do a lot that I don't know since she refuses to practice or go over learned concepts at home. But whenever I pin her down, it turns out that she has already mastered such concepts; and, rightfully she already knew that about herself :)

And then there is my 8th grader. He has had an interesting ride through the years. I am proud of his progress and feel that he is in a great place in his life to be starting high school. He is ready and I am not really too sentimental about this. It is time for him to create his future and nobody else can do that for him. I am prepared to push his rear up a hill though academically. I pray I won't need to. He can be a tough little cookie ...

So there are 2 1/2 weeks until my older two are out of school for the Summer. I admit that I can hardly wait. It feels like months still to go. Really. I am so over the driving, the church expectations for our family and the early mornings. When it is time to move on, you just finally know. And that feels good :)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A hard thing to admit ...

My two older kids go to a private Christian School. I made no pretense with the school principal prior to my oldest son enrolling there two years ago -- we would need to become members of the church to afford the tuition there. Also, I had told her we were looking for a new church. All true.

Our experiences in the last two years at this church and school have been life changing. Lots of experiences are life changing, but these two years go into the records for our family. Most of the changes have been related to the positive impact this environment has had on our oldest child.

But, we have all grown spiritually as a result of our committment to this church/school over the last two years. The people at this church/school are some of the nicest I have met anywhere. The environment is small, yet large enough to offer a variety of activities and people to interact with.

And once again, like always, I feel the need to bolt from this type of environment ... which makes me sad. It isn't something I can really control. A huge part of this is budget related, although the school has indicated that financial help is a very real possibility. But, mainly, I can't be who I am not. I am not an organized religion person, by nature nor in my heart. My relationship with God has always been personal. It doesn't fit into a Catholic box or a Lutheran box, sadly ....

I want to fit in these boxes! There are so many positives. I want to be on those bandwagons! But, it isn't me :( I am an eclectic. I feel that in all of these religions ... it is really all about God. Same God. I don't care what religion I need to subscribe too. It isn't about the religion. It is just about God. Multiple paths to learn about him .... And I don't believe little kids need to be in the church each week when they aren't getting a thing out of it and their presence there stresses me to the core. So, I also get nothing out of it. I believe in Sunday School for kids while the parents are in church. I believe in comfortable clothing in church and Sunday School. I do not believe my attendance at church or Sunday School needs to be monitored each week. I am a big girl and God is the only true judge.

Anyway, in recent weeks, I feel like I have been having an affair on our church. We have found a church/Sunday School that fits me and the girls so much better in many ways. But I want the school too and this other church does not have a school component after preschool. But I can't do it anymore. It isn't who I am. But, I am an eclectic ... And, therefore, I want to be a part of both churches ... but not beholden to either ... Is this so terrible?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Drop in post ...

I don't get by here very often to post and I really need to. Writing down my thoughts helps me to make sense of them. I am in a bit of a hurry right now, but I am just going to take a moment to post a few things top in my mind lately ...

I am very troubled by the government's preoccupation with standardized testing. I want to move the girls to public school next year for a variety of reasons. But, they assess the kids every two weeks there! Seriously. How can that be good for kids? How redundant? What a complete waste of time ...

The private schools we have been apart of take all this testing very seriously (too seriously in my opinion) as well. But they only assess every 11 weeks. That is reasonable, but also more often than necessary.

The world is made up of many people who somehow get into positions of control and not because they are smart, honorable or impactful. When I was young I thought I could fight for what is right ... and win. It didn't happen, although now ... years later ... smoking bans are in place here and I wasn't the ring leader in that fight at all. My little fliers I papered my neighborhood with back in the day (as a fifth grader) told the facts and emphasized solutions related to public smoking back then. But nothing changed by my doings and I became very discouraged with any impact I could truly make in the world. The way I cope now is just do my best to fight for what is right in my own little world, with my own little family.

I want to circumvent this junk going on in education right now. I am certain these crazed folks will come to their senses in a few years and I don't want my kids damaged by their wrongful ideas and ridiculous legislation.

It is hard to see the "right" thing to do here for my kids. I wish the answer was very clear. I really don't want to keep them at the private school either. For each path, there is a price to pay. I still feel like my little girls are young enough to not be subject to all this nonsense. I want them to love education as much as they did in the preschool years. I feel helpless to save my kids from what I see is massive wrongness. It makes me very sad :(

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Goals and Dreams ....

What are your goals and dreams? I have been thinking about this because I am facing a life transition in a matter of months. My youngest baby will be heading off to Kindergarten and I am a Stay-At-Home mom right now. What will I do when the kids are in school??

Work is my plan. But what kind of work? I still want to be available to my kids before and after school. Some options I am considering are ... substitute work in the schools, paraprofessional in the schools, office job in the schools, going back to not-for-profit work (former career type of work), getting a job at a University (the resume is ready to go, but I cannot bring myself to send it.) I think that is because I am not ready to be beholden to a work schedule that doesn't enable me to put my kids first. I mean, Summer is coming ...

I have also thought about starting a business from my home again. I have found that I don't enjoy my work as well in isolation though. So, I would like some balance out in the real world too. Or a partner. Since I don't have a business right now, I can't really hire a partner ... Hmmmm ....

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Basket of Nerves!

I am a basket of nerves today!!! Today is the day we visit the high schools that we hope my eighth grader will attend next year. (We want him to be accepted into an early college high school program. He is excited to tour today and wants to go to this school very much too.)

I don't know why I am so nervous! Maybe it is because the counselor for this program didn't respond to her phone calls when I was trying to get information about touring. I am worried we won't get the application in on time because of something like that (they might lose it because it won't be coming in the traditional way, which is through the Jr. High feeder schools).

I am worried about looking too eager. I am worried about looking to uppity since we are coming from a private school. Will I make someone think I am too anal if I send the application by certified mail to ensure they receive it? They say no applications will be accepted after Feb. 3. I can't wait to get this application in and know it is being considered! I am also worried that my son's current teachers and counselor won't finish the evaluation forms on time, or that they will mail them in to the wrong place.

O.K. heading out now!!! Wish us luck!!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy New Year!!

I know it is a bit late to celebrate the traditional new year, but I am finally realizing it is January! Christmas was busy and crazy as usual. Then shortly after New Year's Day, we went on a family vacation to Florida. We have been back only just over a week and we are finally settling into a normal routine this week. Whew! (It was so awesome btw to experience SUMMER weather in the middle of Winter. I miss Florida already. The family time was really special too during this first vacation in many, many years for our family. I miss Disney World already and we are already talking about going back again next year!)

This new year brings a lot of exciting things ahead. This will be the year that my youngest will start Kindergarten in the Fall and my oldest will begin High School. This will be the year that I will get to decide on a new direction for myself in the Fall because with all of the kids in school full-time, I would truly enjoy a lucrative challenge outside the home. Did I tell you that partial day Kindergarten died in Indiana just this year? My Pre-K daughter will go to full-day, all-day Kindergarten next year whether I like it or not and wherever she goes to school. (I am not a homeschooling mom). It makes me sad that our options have been eliminated. She would probably prefer a partial day schedule. She gets worn out. But it is still months away.

This will also be the year that all of my babies will go (or go back to) public school. The girls don't need a unique school environment and it is costly to send them to private school. We are middle income people and school vouchers don't touch our income level. Those with a low income can now go to private school practically free, and wealthy people will hardly notice $6,000 off of their much higher income than ours I believe. But even so, I think the move is the right one for all of my kids. I continue to hear great things about our local public school (in the younger grades anyway) and my oldest might benefit from a specialized program where he could earn an Associate's degree upon high school graduation free of charge. (Please say a prayer for us that he gets into this program. It would be such an opportunity for him! We have to apply in less than two weeks ... yikes!)

One thing I look forward to with putting my little ones in public school next year is that I can meet them for lunch if they want me to. My youngest might really appreciate that next year because she is such a mommy's girl and full-day Kindergarten will be a big adjustment for her. Our private school really doesn't allow the meeting for lunch thing because the kids eat lunch right in their classroom in the younger grades. I also look forward to having lunch provided by the school next year! Our lunch lady this year quit (right after Christmas break) at the private school and I am TIRED of lunch-making everyday already. (And the kids have only been in school seven days in January thus far because of Christmas break, our vacation and Martin Luther King, Jr. day.

As much as I adore our private school for my oldest, I think it is just o.k. for my Kindergartener. I know that God is a central focus in this school environment and I can definitely see the benefits of that, but I think they go a bit overboard with the religious teachings. My Kindergartener was taught how it is all of our responsibilities as Christians to go out and share the gospel and bring people to God's word. She is 6 and that approach to religion is just taking it a bit too far in my opinion. Plus, she hates memorizing the weekly Bible verse and it is a weekly struggle. In first grade these kiddos get two bible verses a week. Seriously, no way!

But, the middle school is amazing and the girls might go there someday for middle school ... who knows. We do plan to stay members of and remain active in our church, the girl scouts there and church sports too. The girls recently started playing basketball there and we had such a great time watching them practice so far. It is fun to know people you are sitting with when watching your kids play sports or participate in activities. The public school does not have basketball, so that will be a nice compliment to the change in schools next year. We can still do so much without spending so much darn money.

So, I am already looking at job ads and making plans. I want something part-time so that I can still be here with the kids after school most days of the week. I want something interesting and professional in both atmosphere and payment. I am already on the countdown for Summer vacation. I want warmth and shorts and outdoor swimming pool time.