Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Schooling at Home

One thing I feel really strongly about, personally and professionally, is that every child is different and needs to be educated that way - at least to a point.  Teachers at school are limited by what they can feasibly do in a school day with X number of kids they are in charge of.  It really is an impossible task unless you have a classroom full of children with no learning issues. Ever.  So, whether you're inclined to homeschool or simply give your kids the extra help they need, most kids could use some schooling at home.

To be clear, I'm not prepared to have the homeschool argument.  I firmly believe that some parents should never homeschool.  I also believe that some children have no business being in the average public school.  I refer you to my previous statement of every child being different and should be treated as such! Now, moving along. :)

This is an area that I guarantee I'll be returning to many times, especially as Jude gets older.  For now, I would love to hear some tips or pointers about education at home.  There are several seasoned moms who have either 'helped' with volumes of homework and others who have housed an entire education!  If you could start all over with a child, what would you like to have known?  Yes, I'm completely selfish in this endeavor because I want to be extra-prepared for Jude. So sue me! :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Single Vs. Married

It's tough being single.  And I'm not really talking about not being married as much as I'm referring to the place of life that most single people are in.  It's just impossible to know what you really want because you can't honestly imagine what choices will mean in 5 years.  It's tough to listen to wisdom because all of your senses just tell you a deceiving story. 

When I was a teenager and well into my twenties I sat by and watch all of my friends and enemies march their way into marriage, like moths to a flame.  "Must touch the light!"  For a million different reasons, I hated that.  Sure, I wanted to find love and 'be attached', but I also wanted being single to be ok.  And in a lot of circles it wasn't.  Single people were always approached (by the married) by who they were dating, interested in or reassurance that they would "find someone eventually". It's as if a person can't exist unless they are attached, planning on being attached or depressed because they aren't attached.  And I know, before you say anything, that nobody is trying to alienate the single people.  They ultimately want to share in their experiences with everyone.  I totally see that now.  Before I got married - and I didn't marry until I was 26 - I could've been the spokesperson advocate for being single. And then I got married and, in retrospect, its like I just forgot everything.  I was so happy - I had a new role that took work - It turns out marriage is really hard.  And now I have a son. Wow - life is even harder.  I could have done an immensely better job at being a better married person than those I had seen, but I didn't.  So, what's my point?

I guess my point is that we shouldn't be so hard on everybody and instead try to honor each other's lives as they are now, no matter the state.  Marriage brings a lot of roles to a life that cannot be prepared for.  Singleness brings a lot of pressure and often little help in bearing the burden.  I wish I had been a better married friend to my single friends over the past 5 years and I really wish I hadn't been so critical of my married friends when I was single. 

The world is filled with goodness and adventure, no matter your state of life.  Oh, to cherish the state of now so that regrets have no use around your door.

Monday, March 14, 2011

How to Change Your Personality in 7 Hours or Less

Just a little relationship/parenting advice from the field!  I have learned this one first hand in just about every kind of scenario you can think of and am convinced that, at very least, these techniques will definitely improve the situation.

You've probably heard the list of things to consider when a baby cries - are they hungry, sleepy, wet, bored, etc.?  Well, if you find yourself or someone you love needing an attitude adjustment, picking fights, or just being extra negative, you'd be surprised at how easy it can be to improve upon.  

SLEEP -  I don't care who you are, how old you are, or what kind of a personality you have, if you're tired and not getting enough sleep, you are probably not the best version of yourself.  Sleep for 7 hours or more and then try it all again.  Emotions won't run quite as high and the world is suddenly not such a bad place.

FOOD - This one is two-fold. #1 How long has it been since you/they have eaten anything? If it has been more than 2-3 hours, it's possible things would be better with food.  #2 Have you had anything raw and fresh today?  If not, at least eat an apple or something to perk everything up.  What you eat and how often you eat can change how you feel, react and behave.  It might be inconvenient, but its true.

PLUMBING - And, yes, this is related to the food one. We might not enjoy discussing it (and we won't at length), but if your internal plumbing isn't working, life isn't as nice as it could be.  Just sayin'.

BOREDOM - How long has it been since you've left the house, the computer, taken a walk, sweat a little, talked to someone, looked at something beautiful?  It all takes a toll.  Exercise, doing something outdoors and just generally doing something productive can boost everything!

I've been sleep-deprived this week.  Late nights, stress, and trying to keep up with everything has just caught up with me.   And yes, it has changed my personality a bit - into the worst version of myself.  Cranky, combative, negative, weepy - yeah you name it and I've been guilty of it this week.  But guess what? Except for a 10 minute interruption at about 3:30 am, I slept for 7 whole hours last night!! After just doing that, I feel so much happier!  I like my husband more, my motivation is back and I can handle so much more!  I'm not suggesting it can solve all your problems, but some days it might. :)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Martini

For those in the Oklahoma City area, guess what I found? 105.3 FM is now known as The Martini, an adult standards station.  It used to be the Spy, but is no longer.  Rat Pack numbers, Mr. Buble and some Diana Krall, for starters, is a taste of what they have to offer. It's a nice change, if you ask me. What I think is fun is that they already have a Wikipedia entry and a facebook page. Just thought I'd share. :)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What I'm Praying For This Week: Positivity

I have a hard time letting things go when they have impacted me emotionally.  If what you said/did made me mad, hurt my feelings, etc., I have hard time just getting over that.  One of the reasons is because of the way I process information, which is partially female and partially just crazy me.  My brain replays the worst and the best of my recent (and long-term) experiences.  So those hateful words replay over and over in my brain.  On the flip side, a compliment, surprise or special gift can send me instantly into sky-high celebrations. As a teenager, that stuff lasted me weeks - especially if it was from a boy!  But the negative seems to dominate my brain so much easier.  Definitely not a healthy way to live.  I'm needing some help pumping up the positivity!

Everyone has a hard time staying positive, I think. Everything from thinking the best of someone's intentions to sharing enthusiasm with someone's plans even if you don't care that much or didn't get to make decisions, positivity is needed to strengthen relationships.  This week, I'm praying that with the onset of Spring, that joy can spread into ALL corners of our hearts helping us let go of hurts and dwelling on blessings to come.

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Accident Report

I'm sure you're familiar with the practice of posting a counter of sorts that states X number of days since the last accident.  Companies use this to promote safety in the workplace.  I feel like I need one of those to follow me around and instead of reporting accidents, it reports bad behavior and harsh words to my husband!  I am guilty, oh so guilty, of cyclic behavior, also known as yo-yo behavior.  When I am fearful of punishment, criticism or in the midst of a crisis/emergency situation, I'm good at covering all my bases (in regards to treating others well).  And then as soon as the storm has passed, without even skipping a beat I begin to relax and all of that self control seems to fade into oblivion.  Before I know it, I'm ignoring other people's welfare, justifying anything and everything because of my feelings, and overall being the worst version of myself.  I hate when I do that.

Perhaps as I go to sleep every night I should make it a habit of evaluating my words.  Maybe that will help me be more aware in the daytime. Hmm...

In the meantime, here's my boy listening to his dad play the guitar! In case I've never said, yes he is definitely worth it all! :) 

Friday, March 4, 2011

Growth is the Point

The past week or so I've been anticipating moving Jude into his room at night by having him nap there in the daytime. Last night he was having tummy trouble or something and cried something awful for 45 minutes.  When he finally calmed down, I wanted to make sure he slept well so I put him in his room.  He slept very well there and is currently working on a 3 hour nap there as well.  I'm thinking he really likes his crib.  And that's a good thing. :)

But I was a little sad to think about moving the Pack N Play out of our room and Jude not sleeping 3 feet away anymore.  It's a time in his life we'll never have back.  But as I was thinking about that this morning it occurred to me - that's what he's supposed to do.  Staying in one stage forever isn't good and not the point. The point is for him to grow! And don't we do that spiritually sometimes? Whether it makes us feel really good or just is a comfortable spot, it is easy to stand still.  But that's never the point of life.  Growth is the point. To mourn the past or try to stay in one place is foolish and won't be fulfilling.  Inch-by-inch, moment-by-moment, we have opportunities to grow wiser, fill a role a little bit better and lead a positive life that much more.

This weekend, let's not waist time looking back or refusing to move.  As Spring is upon us, consider what beauty you can bring to your corner of the world. :)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What I'm Praying For This Week: Financial Wisdom

Since its March (ya know the GREEN month) and tax returns are starting to trickle in, money has been on the brain.  Randy and I have started Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace with a few couples from church which is all about making wise decisions with your money.  Plus, if the federal government doesn't balance the budget by Friday afternoon, Randy's job most likely will go into furlough (I think I'm using the term correctly, eek!), which will mean a lay-off until it is balanced.  His job isn't really in jeopardy, but we just might not have income for however long it takes. So, it seemed prudent to start praying for financial wisdom, for ourselves and everyone we know!

Money is such a trivial thing and yet such a huge force at the same time.  Randy and I come from very different directions regarding money - something I think is pretty common in relationships - and that creates  hurdles to jump from the get-go.  BUT, we're finding that a nerd and a free-spirit can still have common goals regarding our money.  Anyway, foolish choices regarding money affects everything in your life, especially a marriage.  My prayer this week is for financial wisdom, awareness and clear purpose.  I guess its an extension of self-control too.  May everyone be thoughtful and present with their financial choices instead of being motivated by pure emotion.  And, I'll give a shout-out to Dave. If you've never tried any of his recommendations, you might consider it.  It's certainly not my forte, but from a realistic standpoint, it works.  

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Great Things About Motherhood

I've heard statistics about how marriages break up more often AFTER the kids come (even for non-adultery issues) rather than before.  During my pregnancy, I had a really hard time understanding that.  To me, sharing the bond of the child I was carrying with Randy was so huge that it was difficult to see what could become greater than that.  With Jude on the outside now, I'm able to understand better.  The outside forces that come with adding a person (or two) to your family are quite unpredictable and can act like the fire used to refine silver.  If you stay in it long enough with the purpose of purification and growth, you'll survive.  But, if you jump out too soon with the complaint that its too hot, then you'll have very little to show for it.

My point is that I get it now.  Parenting includes really hard days and stretches you farther than you ever thought you could go.  But I also have seen what a difference an attitude can make.  Have you ever wanted to prove someone wrong and that forced you to try just a little bit harder at something? I've heard some parents complain - at length - about parenthood.  I never wanted to be like that.  The way I thought was, if having kids was so bad, why'd you have them in the first place? I know, that's not a very nice way to be, but honestly, that's how I felt. So, having waited a while to have kids, I (we) were very purposeful about it.  And I was (still am) very motivated to not be a miserable mom.  I do understand where the overwhelming chaos can come from, but I also know that we often are what we set out to be.  So, to reinforce the positive side of this coin, here are some great things about motherhood.

- Since your choices directly affect someone else (state of mind, eating/nursing, way of life), motherhood is helping me be a better person, work harder and grow more than I ever would have without it.

- When even a half of a smile makes your heart melt, motherhood compels you to appreciate the little things and in turn increases your gratitude for life.

- Without any effort on your part, people are friendlier after you've had a baby.  Especially since we walked consistently throughout my pregnancy, our neighbor's are coming out more, wanting to see the baby.

- Though daunting to some, parenting is also empowering.  You are given the opportunity to make decisions - decisions that you think are best.  Of course, you're not always going to be right, but you get a chance to really learn that and then feel good when you are.  Maybe its just a control thing, but its been very freeing to me.

- No matter where Randy is, I have a part of him that I can spend the day with.  Makes me love both of them even more!

I am in awe of single parents doing all of this on their own.  I might have a very different discussion here if that were my situation.  But when you have help and keep everything in perspective, having Jude is one of the best things in the world.