Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I'm Learning

I used to envy stay at home moms. I guess I figured that the only way they could stay home was if thier husband had some fabulous paying job that allowed them to live as if they had two incomes.

I would see Mom's at Wal-Mart over my lunch break and think "gee, must be nice". Never seeing them check out with a fistfull of coupons and load it up in to their barely-still-running minivan. All I could think of was myself and my desires. Somehow I couldn't see all of thier sacrifice.

When I returned home from taking the kids to school yesterday, one of the neighbors was outside smoking a grit and waved from his front porch. I automatically decided that he was probably judging me and mentaly started to defend myself.

Then the walls came down.

I finally realized the error I had been making all this time. While I'm sure that some single income families are quite comfortable on one income, there are likely more like us. It's definitely a sacrifice financially - one that I didn't fully expect. Things aren't quite clicking along with the childcare like I had anticipated and things are really tight.

It is so worth it, though. God has provided in fantastic ways for us this last month. When I wasn't sure how things would work out, I just chose obedience anyway and things just worked out! The time I've been able to spend with my family and taking care of our home has been so worth it to. My in-laws came to spend the night and the house was already clean - no worries!!

So I guess I'm growing. Trying not to assume things anymore. Trying to look at others and not automatically think that they somehow have it better than me. It's slow but I'm learning.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Four Blocks Isn't Far Enough

I really feel like walking the short distance up to the grade school and going toe to toe with the Differentiated Educator up there. This woman has just sort of lifted the skin on my body once before, but today she got right underneath it.


So far this year I have been to the school twice with "issues". Inappropriate material has being given to my 5th grader. Once it was a book he checked out from the library that detailed medieval torture techniques (complete with color illustrations). The next time was an exercise on paradoxes entitled "The Unfortunate Hanging" which chronicled the sentencing and execution of a murderer who the judge deemed had committed crimes which were so heinous that he warranted a fate worse than death.

That last assignment was given to him by the Diff Ed teacher. She called me with a rather terse apology and promptly hung up.

Recently our 5th grader was tested for Highly Giftedness. This Diff Ed teacher perpetuated all of this and really wanted to have him tested. She mentioned that he would be eligible for a private mentor with that designation. Well, he is now eligible and the Principal called and set up a meeting after the 1st of the year to talk about all of this. I'm not sold on the mentorship. I have to practically de-program our kids when they get home as it is. If someone is going to have a one-on-one relationship with my 10 year old son, I'm going to make damn sure they pass MY test, not just the Lincoln Public Schools assessment.

Taking a deep breath...

So this Diff Ed lady calls me today and wants to know just why I'm waiting so long to do the application to get Liam a mentor. "I'm just sitting here visiting with Liam and wanted to call and ask you a rather personal question. Is there some reason WHY you are waiting until JANUARY to do the application for his mentorship??!"

Yes. First of all the first available time offered to me by the school was the middle of December with only Tuesday being available. Then, I have a husband that I normally like to involve in these silly little decisions like, hmmm, oh, the education of our children...and he works weird hours until January. Also, I was told by the Principal that there is a huge shortage of mentors. I think I can give Liam some extra stuff to do at home and leave the mentors free for children who's parents can't or don't work with them at home.

No. Actually It's because I really don't care. I'm not sure how the kid got so durn smart. Golly, we jist set him in front of the old squak-box with a some Taco Bell and I guess he must've picked up on sum of that stuff from the Discovery Channel. Der...

But then the can of worms was opened. I got to voice my major concern. She has this man that is applying for a mentorship that she is backing and really wants him to work with Liam. I told her point blank that I need to know this persons moral, theological and personal ideals before I will even consider allowing him to mentor my child. I also restated my concern with what is being taught in public school independent of the academics.

I just have a really uncomfortable feeling about all of this. When he was in 3rd grade and they wanted to slap that label of "Gifted" on him, I nearly didn't let them do it. It's hard enough being a smart kid, harder when everyone knows it. You get to go to a different classroom, get separated from your peers, don't learn anything in there about social skills, and grow up to be a mess...like me.

I have a headache...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Spoiled

This morning we taught our little Sunday school class on the continuing story of the Exodus. Last week we talked about God parting the Red Sea, this week we were on to God providing in the desert.

Kids are so great. They really have a fantastic little outlooks on life. We started the class by using our artistic skills to draw pictures of what the kids told us were things that God provides. There was rain and food, family and church, video games and money. They got pretty detailed and enjoyed seeing Dave and I draw on the board.

Then we asked them to choose which ones were needs as opposed to wants. It was interesting the perspective that these kids already have. They know that money is needed, but understand that you don't necessarily need lots and lots of it. They understand that you need a safe, warm home - but know that you don't need the biggest house on the block.

It was a nice time to plant the seed of contentment in their little hearts. Lots and lots of people rush around day and night trying to make lots and lots of money for that super-duper house, and that really neat car. They sacrifice time at church, Bible studies, social functions, family time and just plain old down time chasing after something or to "give their kids what they never had".

Maybe I'm dumb - but I'm pretty happy with my 100 year old house and my 10 year old car. I have a good amount of clothes and so do the kids (most bought on eBay or from consignment). We don't eat out - okay, sometimes I just have to have a McDonald's biscuit - and don't have cable TV. I like watching TV, don't misunderstand I'm a child of the 80's, I just can't afford it...mentally or socially.

I really think it's important to at least put that out there for the kids. In a world of excess (in all things) I like being able to talk about needs vs. wants and letting them know that it's okay not to have the biggest and newest stuff. It's not a popular view, but one that I think is really important.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Tired of the Dreams

I used to drink alot. By the grace of God, I quit and haven't had a drop since summer of 2005. Though something happened to my sleep patterns soon thereafter that has yet to resolve.

I dream. Yes, everyone dreams but I remember them. I don't remember remembering my nightly dreaming like that when I was soaking myself to sleep. When I had the Saga of the Hand going and was taking narcotic pain relievers, I didn't remember my dreams like this either.

It's getting disturbing. I am running around like a commando, jumping out of airplanes, saving the world, driving a truck over the road, doing 25 loads of laundry in individual washers in my basement, correcting my children, driving a house, doing drugs, going to lunch, seeing a movie, watching tv and smooching my husband. It ranges from the bizarre to the mundane and just goes on ALL NIGHT.

I'm getting to the point (okay I was there a year ago) where I don't want to go to sleep. The lines between reality and dreaming are getting pretty fuzzy. I mention things to my husband that he says I didn't previously discuss with him and I wonder - did I dream that?

It's mildly entertaining, but it seems that no body really wants to hear about it anymore. I don't really care what they "mean", nor do I think that it's a sign that I'm stressed or that something is wrong. It seems that you normally remember dreams in the first few stages of sleep, but don't in the deep sleep stage. That would explain why I wake up feeling like I didn't really sleep after a particularly lively night.

I have drank Valerian Root tea, I have a regular time to bed and a regular time to rise. I relax with a little light reading before bed. I don't watch tv in the evenings. I don't drink caffeine after my morning coffee. I exercise for an hour 5 days a week.

All the things that I have found that are suggested by the medical community are things I already do. I don't have any trouble falling asleep, I just think I can't get way down deep into the deeper sleep. I read that Tylenol PM is okay during pregnancy and am fixing to try that.

Heck, I'm willing to take a rough crack to the skull if I can just escape the dreaming for a night.

Personal Hero

I love a good hero story. My favorite show is choc full of them. Every episode, they save the world and humbly return home to have another medal pinned on their uniforms.

Plenty of heroes in my own life. My husband qualifies on a daily basis by putting up with me. I'm a bit opinionated and stubborn and... He is a very patient man. God gave him the gift of making peace. He can take any situation and moderate the opposing parties so that they are hugging and singing Kumbiyah at the end of it.

One thing I don't want to be anymore is my own personal hero. I used to try my hardest to do everything better than everyone else. I didn't see any merit in second place and wouldn't even attempt something that I knew I wouldn't be just fantastic at. I stressed and strained and pushed and pulled and climbed and scrambled so that everyone would see that Andrea is The Best at _________.

I decided this summer that I needed to try to be Just Me and made a conscious effort to stop pushing everything I did to the n'th degree. So far it has worked out okay and I have really seen some progress. I had been praying for a year for God to work on me with my pride issue and this is doing it.

My new gig tried to put me into my old mode again. Since I didn't have daycare kids right away, I reasoned that I "wasn't really doing anything yet" - so hero mode kicked in. I was killing myself to adhere to a strict standard of cleanliness and daily doings that I thought would surely be on the Report Card when the Stay at Home Mom Police arrived to give me my Assessment.

I realized this last weekend when I was really sort of irritated that my husband hadn't noticed all the work I had been doing. Fortunately, I have somewhat learned when I am just being demanding and irrational and didn't verbalize my concerns. I started to think about it and realized that The SAHM Police weren't coming and there would be no medal or award for saving the house from dust and dirty socks. I saw the lack of humility and the violent resurgence of my pride.

So this past week I chilled out and gave myself a break. I felt more relaxed and more like God was in charge. I get rolling on my own personal agenda and just tell God that "I got this one". It works so much better when I let Him figure things out and merrily roll along.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Rest Banking

It occurred to me to day that I am more well rested and less stressed than I have been in probably all of my adult life. I was reading my book during Nap Time and had dozed for a few minutes. My mind was wandering and contemplating meals for next week, Thanksgiving and what we are bringing to the church pot-luck and dessert auction.

I was floating through my mind, thinking of recipes and friends, family and good times. I snapped-to and realized that I should probably get a little housework done before the house came alive again.

I folded the warm blanket laid accross my lap and put my bookmark back in the book. All at once I thought of my blog and the fact that I hadn't for a while. I also thought of this topic and that in a few short months I will be longing for a nice rest on the couch during nap time, and the feeling that I am well rested.

So why is it, that we can't somehow store the extra rest we get. I guess maybe the rest I have been so blessedly afforded lately isn't necessarily "extra" - in the sense that our yet to be born youngest child probably needs it. But I remembered with a start what that first couple of months is like with a newborn.

I remember after Susan was born and she wasn't sleeping, I nearly ran over someone on a bicycle and pulled out in front of a car in traffic because I honestly didn't see either. That was the day that I bought a portable swing, actually watched "The Happiest Baby on the Block" DVD that someone gave me and slept for the first 5 hour stretch in months. I'm stubborn, but I can be taught.

Anyway - I was just pondering sleep deprivation and wondering why God made it so that we couldn't store it up. As rested as I am right now, if I stay up to late tonight, my workout in the morning is going to be tough and I'm going to be cranky. Sleep doesn't keep.

So why do calories keep so well???