Friday, November 20, 2015

What Mini Me Is Thankful This Year

                                               
                 What Mini Me Is Thankful For This Year. 
                                        
               1.Family because they will always be there
             
               2.A roof over her head
             
               3.Clothes because some people might not have clothes
             
               4.Food same as clothes
             
                5.Netflix
             
                6.Volunteering because it makes her feel good
             
               7.Facebook  because facebook keeps Mini Me update
             
                     And That Is What Mini Me Is Thankful For This Year                       

What I am Thankful for this Year.

Earlier today, I had no idea what I would share to here today.  We have been busy volunteering. The place has been super busy due to the weather changing, the holidays coming up and as word of mouth spreads.

On the homeschool front, we are finishing out units before switching to holiday mode. We do more of an unschool approach then a curriculum approach. We have had a few wonderful things happen. Both kids made their math goals. We then set new ones and we are so close. I'm sure they will get it.

So I thought I would make a list of what I'm thankful for:

The Serious List:

1. I'm thankful that my husband's transplant is still working
2. I'm thankful that my daughter is two years seizure free.
3. I'm thankful that my son continues to thrive in homeschool
4. I'm thankful my oldest will be home for the holidays this year
5. I'm thankful for a roof over my family's head. I kind of took this for granted until we started working at the free store.
6. I'm thankful that my family has working utilities/utilities on. I took this for granted too.
7. I'm thankful for being able to have food for my family to eat.
8. I'm thankful that together, my husband and I can both make sure we have the ability to make sure the above happen. I say that it takes a knack to be poor and thrive. You would be surprised on those that can't.
9. I'm thankful we can provide clothing for my kids and that it is there for them. I took this one for granted
10. I'm so thankful for a younger sister who is willing to go take care of a dead fish in her brother's tank. Or my older son doing something for my daughter. I think being close to your siblings is a wonderful thing. I'm so glad that us homeschooling has gave them time to develop that friendship.

Now for some fun things:
11. I'm thankful to the internet. It has brought me in touch with so many people that have enriched our lives
12. I'm thankful for google. It is way better than the encyclopedias I was sent to looking for answers.
13. I'm thankful for having cable. I just turned 40 and it was only in the last year, we had it. I have no idea how we lived.
14. I'm thankful for Netflix. Really, how did we survive?
15. I'm so thankful for Amazon. Did I have to go to the actual store for these things?
16. I'm thankful for Pinterest. How did I cook, diy, and pin things I will never do.


And my last one to leave you with:

I'm so thankful that Mini Me and I started connecting with all of you, either through our Facebook page or this Blog.

I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving with lots of love and giving.







Sunday, November 15, 2015

Our Amazon Princess

When I married my husband, along came a heart child. She actually was what finally was that little push from liking my husband, to really liking my husband. It took a year though, for me to let go of my introvert self, my dating rules, and all that stuff that held me back. When he became single again, I sure let out all the signals. They say, the way to a man's heart is food. Well, we worked together and food was out, so I lured him in with tootsie rolls, blow pops, and caramel apple suckers. Okay, that's another post, lol.

The first time I met her, I asked God to make my biological kids has cute as her. I also asked that my bio. kids have her personality. Okay, she is a lot like my husband. I like to say, that it takes a lot of patience, understanding, and a little of  being stubborn yourself, to deal with that blood line. In the end it is worth it. She is an Amazon Princess. She is a Tom Girl.(that is a good thing, in our family) but at the same time, she is a princess, like all girls should grow up to be. She isn't like my husband enough to be called Mini Him. She is a little like her mom, and we weren't calling her, Mini Ex. My influence on her, has been noted by many people(beside Me), I'm so touched and just amazed when I hear it. I can be just as tough as any man, but I'm all Lady while I do it. So somehow, our Amazon Princess was born. I actually think it came from me, but that got last in the years.

When you have a heart child, it isn't easy. You have to deal with the baggage of ex whatever and all the reason's that didn't work out, custody agreements, and there are just to many things to list. We also had miles, like drive most of a day miles, a husband working away from home, biological children, etc.  I mention bio children and may need to explain a little more. I have talked a little about my son, there was developmental things, sensory things, etc. Then I had a miscarriage, in the early 2nd term pregnancy. It was an very emotional time, and we know now, our baby boy is in heaven watching over us. We jumped right into a pregnancy again, and we had Mini Me. She had a stroke when she was born, and seizures. So we had all that going on besides. It was tough. And because of my husband's jobs, Amazon Princess spent most of the time with me. So, in reality, of me and her father, I'm the one she has the closet relationship with.

As do most things, it is now many years later. She is 19, and just a couple of months shy of 20. Last weekend, I gave her a big what are you going to do with your life talk. Whew, she has been moving alot, going through boyfriends, had stopped doing school for now, and it has been a crazy 6 months for her. We talked about so many things, and one of them was going up from young and carefree to a little more planning for not tomorrow, next week but 10 years from now, 20 years from now,etc.   Establishing some stability with living places, hopefully a "special person" to become the one, phones, etc.

After doing some Monday morning quarterbacking, I think we may have been to hard on her. I also thought, Why are we pushing our children to grow up so fast? Are we not pushing Mini Him to do the same? I also know, though, some of the stuff I said, (Mini Him let's me do these speeches, it is so nice of him) is still something as, "we have been there, done that stuff" or things that as our Amazon Princess should be better than what she has or had received. I forgot her other influences, these other influences love her but their lifestyle and parenting style is way, I mean way, different than ours. She is that person in the middle trying to find her way. So this maybe one of the most important times of her life. Deciding if she is taking one path or another, or making her own path.  During that speech, my stepdad and my Mother came through, talk about some reality slapping you in the face.  I also realized they let me stay in the nest a little long than my siblings. In fact, probably more than all my siblings combined.

Anyway, next time she comes over, I need to eat some crow. I tend to say I, it is always, a "we" in our house, we are a united front. I need to listen more and just not hear. I will be giving a "we thought about this and we were wrong" talk. We will probably hit on some things that we still think some concentration should be sent on, and continue to tell her, that we will always support her and love.

We realize that you have to let your chicks start to use their owns wings. We need to step back and let them learn to fly on their own. They will have many attempts, and they will fail. Isn't the failure the best way to succeed? That is what I have always heard. (You have no idea how incredibly hard that is for Me to do, especially with my heart child)  Here are some things we think our Chicks need from us as the grow:

1. Love and support.  That can be hard when the start to develope  their own personalities. You are just heading out of the teen years, and they have questioned everything you did, either inwardly and outwardly. (I was one of those inward types  I wonder if my parents knew?) They may have developed different beliefs, have different tastes etc. No matter what, always support them. I have caught myself many time wanting to question everything they do, and had to step back and support them. Loving someone is hard work. It is not just a given thing just to expect it. Like a flower, it will need watering and care.

2. Let them know more of the real you and become more friendly. You have always kept yourself as either Mom or Dad. I'm not saying become a friend without parent benefits. Let them know more of your tastes, where your beliefs came from, etc. The real you is just not Mom, it is wife, volunteer, Star War junkie(okay, maybe not everyone is a Star War junkie. You just should be.lol), and etc.

3. Show an interest in your real child's self. Open yourself up to what they have seen, done, etc. You can do some of the things that make them run. Reading some books they are into, doing the brave thing and listen to their music, etc.

4. Date your child. Yes, date your child. This is the perfect time to try new restaurants, do charity things, do a 5K race/walk, wine tasting(if legal age), etc.. Make sure it wasn't something you wanted to do and they just did to make you happy. You are starting to experience being empty nesters and they are just experiencing  being out of the nest. You have a lot in common in this aspect, the world is a new place, enjoy with the new selves. I think it is a great idea to stay off of any electronics while doing this. Don't answer text, check your facebook status, etc. Be there with them and tell them you want them to be there with you.

5. Financial stabilities, budgeting, etc.should be addressed.  I think it would be great to talk about credit cards. I so wish, I would have been given a talk about that. I think budgeting would be a great tool also. I think these are great things to address through life, but as fledglings, I think you would have a better grasp. In fact, next time, Amazon Princess comes over, I plan on showing her our's.

6. That "special person"  At this age your fledglings, may have found or still be searching for that one. Be patient, if they parade a new one through every other week or not at all. I think Amazon Princess has a boyfriend named Chuck, or is it Chip. I gave him my standard," I'll break every bone in your body" talk. I think my husband is intimidating enough, and he has no need to say anything at all. It is hard to try not to influence your child's choices. I would honestly say Amazon Princess has a few I would like to hurt, extremely hurt. I will never, ever let her know which ones. Well, one I did, after she said things about him, and it was way over. I do think asking questions are perfectly okay. It is also okay to talk about love being easy to fall into, but it is work to stay in.

7. Sex: I hope that you have had a sex talk before this but during this actually college/left the nest stage. It is never a bad idea to bring up std's, birth control method, etcs. I would suggest not at Sunday dinner but it should be talked about. Hopefully, you are doing for the second,third, fourth time, etc. I think lust and hormones would be great to touch on.

I could probably go on and on but I'm stopping. As of everything, I'm not an expect. I'm just a person going through life one day at a time like everyone else. I'm going to make mistakes, probably a lot, and hopefully I become a better parent because of it. I think it is going to make me a better person, too. Isn't that all what we do?

 I look at some of the things that I did when the kiddos and myself were younger and say,"Well, we should have done that different." I try not to have regrets because our past makes the future self better. It maybe the wisdom of a middle-age person, showing through. It also may be the ignorance of a not done raising our children speaking. I leave you with what my stepdad told me the other day.(He is has much a dad, as my other dad.)  He said,"You are never are done raising your children. That is what my mom told me. It was probably one of the truest things my mom told me."  

This blog is kind of my apology to my Amazon Princess.

Dear Amazon Princess,

I'm sorry I came down so hard on you and I'm sorry I'm not. I will never apologize to for loving you and the work I put into doing it. I realize you maybe learning to fly, and haven't got it down yet. I should stop pushing out the nest and let you go when you are ready. I love and support you. We should go see some MMA together, soon. I refuse to learn Chester's name until you keep him for a while. I will continue to talk to you and will unashamedly continue to raise you the rest of my life.

Love,
Me

PS I will still seriously hurt anyone who every hurts you, if your dad doesn't beat me to it. I maybe saying this in jest, or am I?   Bawahhaha!






Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Our Decision to Delay Our Son

We have made some really big decisions regarding our Mini Him come up lately. One was concerning an agency that would help provide services if we needed them to. The second was holding him back one year, maybe two in grade levels. The last was when we decided that he wouldn't be driving when he turned 16.

Leaving the agency was no big deal. Since we left school we hadn't used them in three years. We barely used them in the years before.

Mini Him has a genius IQ. He also has learning disorders and varies things that has made him lag behind in some studies. Now that we homeschool, he has the time to work through any area he used to have problems with. He always works hard and rarely complains. I'm not saying we don't have bad days, we are not perfect people. As a mother watching the change and growth, well, it tears me up.

The decision my Mister and I made to delay his driving was super hard. Our son gets lost in his mind. I say that with great respect. He is constantly figuring something out or creating something. It is amazing. It doesn't make it safe though.

When he is paying attention, he doesn't necessary proceed at a safe speed. He sometimes fails to see where he is. We think because of his developmental disorders and delays, he just needs a little time. We are not consulting a "professional". As his parents, we feel we know him best.

So now, he is at the same learning level and age level as his younger sister. Well, in our mind. My Mini Me and Mini Him now can say they are actually twins, and not just pretend they are. lol.

As parents we sometimes have to make hard decisions. Well it be the right decision? Unfortunately, we have to experience life and let it happen. We don't have the golden ball of parenthood. We are pretty confident though in these three things we are at least going done the right path.


Here's the crew: Mini Him(the Storm Trooper), Mini Her (Ninja), Porky(The Boston Gentlemen) and Jinxee(The Lady Beagle).


Homeschool Volunteering

My daughter is a giving person. I have heard people say that I am. I just do unto others as I would have them do unto me. I (and the Mister) have always made a point of explaining what we are doing, be it donating clothes to a local thrift store or shoveling the neighbors walks. Well you get the point.

A neighbor of ours, was having mechanical troubles with his vehicle. We would give him rides to where he needed to be or wanted to go until my husband had it fixed for him. One of the places was a free store where he volunteered at. A free store basically self explaining: everything is free. The person who organized it doesn't care if your homeless or have a million dollar home. (She's an awesome lady by the way). Alyssa asked if we could volunteer here.  I had also read an article about the place. I thought this would be a good fit.

We come in on Tuesday. It's a really busy place, and a lot goes on. Mini Me's baby is the kids room(she is sort of responsible for it, at least in here mind) but we have helped clean and organize closets, matched shoes, pulled hangers, etc. Last week, we came in a second day. The store was closed and we switched everything to fall/winter. To help prepare for that Mini Me and I (along with some other amazing people, who in fact, probably did more than the two of us), washed, and mended about 10 totes,crates and lawn size trash bags full of clothes. We also made a huge pot of vegetable soup, knowing there would be extra to feed the homeless on Saturday, which she does. When we went home we were so tired but filled with just joy.

This Tuesday, both of us were not feeling well and thought we should stay home. Hopefully, we will feel better to go on Thursday or Saturday. I would highly recommend this to any family, homeschooling or not.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

1. Make sure it is safe. I know that kind of sounds like a no kidding. Here's example: If you volunteer at an animal rescue, some of the animals could be violent because of what they come from or are hurt. Make sure the staff tells you safety concerns.

2. Pick something to go with your child's age and maturity.

3. Make sure it is something they will want to continue to do.

4. Make sure it is something you want to do. This is the one I had trouble with. Even though I know animal shelter's need help, I grew up on a farm and we did raise dogs, too. I have dealt with a lot of poop and wasn't looking forward to dealing with anymore.

5. The last one: Unless you have older kids, volunteer with them.

If hand's on volunteer doesn't sound like something you want to do. Here is some ideas to do with your child:

1. Donate items with your children. Animal shelter's need blankets, towels, toys, food etc. Homeless shelter's, soup kitchen's, domestic abuse shelter's, etc. will need thing.  You could offer to wash things for them. You would have no idea how happy they would be.

2. For birthday parties, ask people to bring cleaning supplies, canned goods etc. How many toys do kids get and never play with?

Okay, I didn't have many other idea of other's but I gave you some ideas to think about. I have to say this is one of the best things to do. It has also brought my daughter and myself a little closer. It might be that we get to work with clothes that makes it so enjoyable for each of us, lol, but we always come home with what my Mister has termed "volunteering high."

I hope you all are having a wonderful month. I just love fall.
(grammar check was provided by Mini Me)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

How Planning Gave Me Insight Into My Son's Head

I know you are wondering how the two are related. We have decided to use Khan Academy plus occasional worksheet and real life. My son does most of the math in his head, and it drives me crazy. I'm continuously telling him use your scratch pad/scratch paper. When he does write things down, it is the bare minimum. If he is having problems, missed an answer, etc. I'm always wanting to see step by step or what he did. I tell him, "How can I help you if I don't what you steps you took?". We have never had a show down. It has been close though.

Now for the Connection. The school year, for some of us homeschoolers, starts August/September-ish. I kept seeing planning related things on my Pinterest board, my Facebook wall, and on Twitter. I was actually getting kind of annoyed. Couldn't these be seen in the parents mind? How could they not know what they were going to do? Note: For those of you who have to do it as a state requirement, you were excused from this annoyance.

Then it hit me! This is how Mini Him does his math. Talk about a major ah-ha moment. Then I thought, what if I was doing my work wrong? Then I sat down and wrote out my plans. I switched a few units around.  I feel like I have this year's and a primarily of next year's pretty much figured out.
I have a path to high school in mind. I'm also giving us lots of room to chase "rabbit trails."

Mini Him has been working on his own this week in math. I have been busy helping Mini Her get over some big math hurdles for her. I'm sitting down with him this week and seeing what he needs to master for moving up the next level. I plan to start with a discussion about how I can see what he feels/sees in his mind. Hopefully, that will help both us not be see us getting so irritated at each other.


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Thursday, August 13, 2015

What about Socialization?

What about socialization? I always want to answer, "We don't do that. We like our children wild and untamed" or some other smart-mouthed answer. I have to stop and think where these people are coming from. Some people are asking out of curiosity, not to be insulting or degrading. Not that I haven't been asked from the insulting and degrading side. It has happen, sometimes I have not been the bigger person and engaged. I'm not perfect.

The Mister and I had noticed that it was a certain age that was constantly asking us the question of socialization. I decided to poll some homeschool groups on which age group where they most getting the question asked from. This being my first poll and I learned a lot from it. This is how I broke the ages into: A) 25 and under B)26 to 35 C) 36 to 50 D)51-65 and E) 66 and Up. I realized I should have broke up the ages a little differently but I still got a good idea. The results reenforced our thoughts.

My results should equally the 36-50 age group and the 51-65 age group were the ages the poller's got the question asked from. Here is the comment we got from one poller:
"Back when I was growing up(60 & 70's), the only people I can remember were very strange. The kids were odd, the parents were odd. Usually, they were the ultra, ultra religious conservatives or hippies in communes. And actually, there was only a smattering of homeschoolers around. And I think that was what everyone believed about homeschoolers at the time.  So I don't think that a lot of people in my generation realize that homeschooling is different now. And they don't realize how many thousands actually do it."
 My Aunt and Uncle homeschooled my cousins when I was growing up. They are conservative Christians, and I honestly thought them weird at times. As they grew up, they became people that went from weird to wonderfully, unique individuals. My Aunt and Uncle went from crazy to people I deeply admire.  They opened the idea of homeschooling me. I do remember conversations floating around questioning somethings they did, but never about socialization. The conversations all came from love. That side of my family shows love all the time. I love those peeps.I have had questions from another side of my family, and also from extended family. Here is one question: I will post what I thought I heard and maybe got a little defensive and then what was said that I still find offensive.
"Will your kids be able to work at Walmart as a cashier?" was what I thought I heard
This is what my husband says was said,
"Will your kids be able to interact with a Walmart cashier as they check out?" 
Remember, I'm not perfect and may or may not started listing things that we do. Remember, not perfect.  Of course, when we polled, we did have people say they had the most questions were, in fact, family members asking. They were more likely more to be more accusatory toned questions than curious.

I started righting this blog a few weeks ago. I saved it as a draft, and we have been living life. We have been going here and there for school things, we have been learning how to build things, and don't forget those interactions at the Wal-Mart checking lanes. We did this, while doing our regular school work.

During this time, I came across some mothers and their son who when we pulled from public school were in the same ship as ours. This is what they observed and was told: I'm being totally honest, and I did cry at home in the dark of my room for these boys. They had to have soothing music played to keep calm. The mother's both said this also, the boys were experience more melt downs, and could hardly be anywhere without having one.(mind you, we were in Walmart: I may need to cut down on these trips to Walmart .lol) The other said Basically the same things and we were at a back to school
celebration thing.(This mother had other children) They were trying to reduce his melt downs by exposing him to socialization. Both boys kept turning around and were on edge the whole time. They both had been bullied. I made other observations, but I don't want to write forever on this.

Then my son walks up, he had gone to the bathroom. On the way back had helped a elderly lady get something, he explained. He Politely says hello and ask how they are. He is smiling and having remembered on of the boys liked jokes, tried telling him one. The mother said he hardly talks anymore. The mother's ask if he likes homeschooling and he goes on to explain his life, again smiling. The contrast was amazing.

I will admit there are times when my kids are watchful and don't feel comfortable talking to the person. They were like that before we withdrawn from public school. You can't turn an introvert into an extrovert. You can teach coping skills but in the end underneath them is the same nature.. So, basic human nature should be withdrawn from this part of the What about socialization question.


One day, I  will write about Our son and our journey with him. My daughter has her own journey.  I will one day write her story and the amazement of her life. I didn't want to trash schools because I have seen the caring in the teachers and other school staff. I just wanted to point out that the argument doesn't hold up that public schools are good for socialization.

My kids and husband are away for the day.  I have heard what they are doing. They probably won't get any socialization in. You know we like them wild and untamed. lol

I'm playing the part of hermit today. I'm hoping with the quiet in the house my turtle will lay her eggs. I got your curiosity? Well, we will have a blog for that.