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Two small peeks into our morning for you. They are two moments that brought blessing and laughter to my mommy heart. Small victories.

Nate’s mid morning meal often seems to coincide with the start of school. This morning I was bouncing him on my hip while starting Layla’s math lesson so she could do her independent worksheet while I nursed. Julie was working on a fast fact quiz and I began running through story problems with Layla. The object of the lesson was to teach “some, some more” and “some, take some away” story problems… a simplistic way of introducing addition and subtraction word problems.

Have I mentioned that Math comes very easily to Layla? She was a bit insulted by the junior terminology, but as I was trying to keep a baby happy, I just went with the words and actions before me in the teacher’s manual.

I placed two pencils on the table. Then I placed 3 more on the table. “What did I do, Layla?”
“You added 3 pencils to your 2 pencils and now you have 5 pencils.”
“Good. Now, what type of story did I just tell with my actions?”
“A BORING story!”

I’m telling you… that girl is quick and quirky and I never know what she is going to say next.

Julie’s moment is a bit quieter, which is unusual for Julie, but huge step none the less in my mind.

One of my priorities in homeschooling is to have the girls read quality books. Classics. Not twaddle (I love that word. Thank you Charlotte Mason.) I think those books have their place, but when given the choice, my girls always go for the easier, more trendy read.

So as we started the school year, I googled some lists of quality reads and chose “The Secret Garden” as their first assignment. Golly, I love that book. I knew the girls would like it. Eventually… So much complaining from Juliet. The cover and title were not up to par with her coolness. But I persisted, determined to break the cycle of twaddle! So today I assigned Julie some quiet reading time as I nursed Nate. I didn’t give her a time frame or a chapter amount. I was curious to see what a couple of weeks had done. When I checked on her a while later, she had read 3 chapters! AND when she got to chapter 18, she was ASKING for time to read another chapter!

So of course, I said yes. But had to stop her at chapter 20 because we simply had to move on at that point. It was such progress though and I am excited to see her mind opening and hopefully, now when I recommend a book to her with a pretty cover decorated with roses, it won’t seem so offensive.

I am so thankful for these small moments… love notes from God. That we are right where we are supposed to be. It’s rarely ever easy, but it’s good!

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I am learning a lot.

My mother has told me for years that she learned so much when she was homeschooling me and my brother. I always thought she meant academically (which consequently earned her some off the chart scores on a job interview test!) but I’m sure now she means about life and love, about who her children are and the woman she is.

I’m learning how to juggle. How to clean the bathroom with the washcloth that I just used to wash the baby’s face.  That I desperately need sleep. That a square of dark chocolate does more good than a half dozen cookies. To send the kids outside and breathe for a few minutes before I need it. That fixed spaghetti and pizza nights are a load of my mind. That I need a new plan for a spelling curriculum. That it is a luxury to brush my teeth (so sad!)

One thing that I am going to be educated in for years to come is the complex relationship between mothers and daughters. How it can go from so sweet to so frustrating in a matter of minutes. How she desperately needs me and wants her independence at the same time. How I delight in her love and friendship but can’t think a coherent thought while listening to the flood of words she speaks.

And now, for another strange dynamic in the mix, the shift of me being now mother and teacher. It’s nearly impossible for things such as corrections and extra exercises to enforce a wobbly area of learning to not be taken personally. I am the one (next to Daddy) they least want to disappoint. And yet, I am not seen as the teacher yet… the one whom they follow silently, single file through the halls. Or to whom they perfectly raise their hand and would never talk back to or gab to their friends in front of during lesson time. Nor do I want that relationship with them. Part of why I wanted to homeschool was to have life be more casual and for us to grow together as a family… to gab. To follow our thoughts and see where they take us. But when trying to find and implement the balance of structure and fun, again, we can end up with some very wounded little girls.

I found this quote by Sophia Loren and thought it was interesting. And true. We are totally all joined together here and I know that now more than ever, my every action and word ripples into their lives. This is a huge pressure and privilege. I am going to make a lot of mistakes. Hopefully, I will learn from a few of them.

“When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.”
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I think, I THINK… if I can set aside real alone time once a week, I may not only survive homeschooling, but love it.

It’s funny. I like to go out and I know I like to go out and I always feel better after a trip away from home, but I get in such a rut! I just forget and all I can think about is plugging away at home until I’ve been plugging away for so long on the same tasks over and over and over again that I am SO far past the edge of sanity that I start to get that craaaazy look in my eye. You know it. You’ve seen it in the mirror on one of those days.

Yes, that one. It’s scary…

We ended up having a really good second week! Much less drama and far fewer tears  and a lot of fun. However I’m having trouble finding time to shower and brush my teeth, much less do my hair and make up. Feelin’ frumpy and dumpy.

BUT there is a light at the end of the pale and tragic week and it’s feeling pretty with mascara and mousse and jewelry!

Wonderful things about this Saturday are:

  • A shower first thing, finished with make up and doing my hair and minty fresh teeth.
  • Pants that fit AGAIN. (better than new)
  • A blessedly silent drive down to Binghamton.  All alone. Not even music.
  • Wonderful meeting with an adorable couple who are looking for wedding pictures.
  • Starbucks.
  • Limited brand jeans from the consignment shop that fit like a dream. They’re so wonderful that it’s almost enough to make me want to keep on the baby weight. Almost… did I mention they were $6?
  • Blowing leaves, gusty skies and subtle hints of yellow on the trees.
  • Awesome soundtrack on the way home. Stevie Wonder and Carole King and Cyndi Lauper.
  • Snuggly baby leading to napping baby.
  • Unexpected time to work on photo editing.
  • LOUD rain storms.
  • Flannel jammer pants.
  • French press coffee and dark chocolate squares.
  • And my hair and make up still look great.

I’m so thankful for the time I had out of the house today. God knew it was something I would need even before I set this meeting up a couple of weeks ago. I’m thankful he cares about my sanity and allowing me time to recharge and feel like me, Theresa, not crazy homeschooling mommy, for a few hours.

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Just like any other school day, the bus drove down our road at 7:10 this morning. But today I had my oldest in bed, my middle pawing through earrings, my youngest on my hip and me still in my pajamas rooting through the cabinet for the ground coffee.

I didn’t have to rush them to eat something nutritious.

I didn’t have to cram a day of hugs into 10 minutes.

I could continue with the story and make them bagels and let them play with their brother while still in their pajamas.

No empty feeling in my heart until 3:00. No exhausted, cranky girls too tired to be little kids.

Today we are going food shopping and buying oil pastels to paint like Van Gogh. Math and English will be later.

Today God will be glorified and praised. We are going to sing songs and observe His creation.

So keep driving Big Yellow Schoolbus. We’ve got life to live!

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Day 4: What is enough? Are they getting enough? Am I enough?

As I looked over the record book of 5 hours of school, I tried to figure it out. How do I know if they’ve had a full day of education? What is a good balance? How could I possibly do more, because in all honesty I had nothing left. How do I step away from “busy work” and yet ensure they are filling their mind? Can’t I just do crafts and study artists and bake muffins… ok, I kid. Kinda…

Let me just stop now and say how amazing my mom is. She lets me ramble and figure things out. She tells me her experience and supports me in whatever decision I make for my family. She reminds me that we’re just getting started and I’m going to be fine. Sometimes I really need someone to tell me that everything is going to be fine. And she reminds me that “baby steps” are best.

Baby steps to Saxon Math…. Baby steps to English and creative writing… Baby steps to science and art and music…

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I am transitioning and learning just like the girls and Nate. Of course I don’t have it all figured out. Never will either. Oh sure, we’ll get to a point where it’s more normal and we know what works, but life is always changing and I will need to be flexible.

Today I am thankful that HE is enough.


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I try not to have expectations. And if I do, they typically lean towards the negative. I would rather be pleasantly surprised than disappointed thus shaping my outlook on life. Not saying this is right, just how I work.

But I never, ever expected to be closing myself in the bathroom for a sob at noon on day TWO of homeschooling. Baby crying, me feeling completely inadequate. I could not believe the weariness and frustration that had taken over. The feeling of failure overwhelmed me. I expected to hit a point like this in a few weeks, but not this soon.

I felt smelly and exhausted. I missed my shower this morning because I opted to sleep a little extra while because Nate was up twice in the middle of the night. I was overwhelmed because poor Juliet started the day missing her friends and I had no immediate answers for her. Nate is growing again and decided to revert back to eating like a 6 week old. I felt sorry for myself because what I saw in the mirror was pale and frumpy. Dishes and laundry and bathrooms to scrub. Dogs barking, kids poking, baby crying, head spinning.

I must be doing something right if Satan is bringing me lies of failure so soon.

So the truth of today is:

This is a transition time. Juliet will have lots of time with friends, but it’s ok if we’re having a quiet time to settle in at home. This is a big change and she will have a mourning period for her “old life.”

Nate will not always be going through a growth spurt. This is why he’s eating a lot and fussy. In another month he will eat solid food which will keep him fuller for even longer. This will help him sleep. And then I can sleep.

I’m pale because I haven’t stopped to eat and drink anything except for coffee since breakfast early this morning.  I’m frumpy because I missed my shower and am putting my attention elsewhere besides what I see in the mirror. And this is ok for this moment. Something has to give and my kids won’t learn better with me wearing makeup.

Dishes and laundry and grimy bathrooms will keep.

Dogs and kids and baby make noise. It’s ok.

Slow down to stop the spinning. Take a deep breath and concentrate on one thing. And don’t forget to eat lunch.

And finally. His grace is enough. His Spirit is powerful within me. Truth.


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I’m so thankful for this upcoming weekend. Each year at the beginning of July the Gus Macker Basketball tournament invades our teeny little town.  It takes up a huge chunk of downtown. People come from all over. The whole community gets involved with sponsoring these 3 on 3 bball games.

And yes, I know… I know not. a. thing.  about basketball. I don’t even  go to the tournaments… ha!

This weekend marks the anniversary of when we opened our little coffee shop. 7 years ago now.

Now, I know. You say, “umm, T…  the shop closed 6 months later. You made no money. There were some really stressful circumstances around the whole thing…”

I can explain.

Seven years ago seems like a lifetime ago. Juliet was a toddler and Layla was a newbie. It was a hot, hot summer and we were living in a sardine can behind my folk’s house. I was coping with all that comes with a newbie and a toddler at once and Craig was having severe anxiety issues. Craig and Matt and my brother, Tom, put the whole shop together on their own. They were working insane hours with absolutely no money back. When the shop finally opened at the beginning of July, we were hopeful, but not confident.

There are few good memories surrounding the shop. I remember mostly it just being awkward. But when we closed at the end of the year, I think everyone breathed a  sigh of relief and had gained perspective.

From that small period of time relationships and careers were kindled. A marriage. Jobs. Friendships. Maturity. Salvation. I can sit here now and see the wonderful things that came out of our youth. I can even walk into our old store location (it’s a health food store now!) look at the paint and tile job  that the boys put so much care into, and smile. I couldn’t for years. I couldn’t even talk about it for it would just bring back the sad moments.

While my heart still twinges a bit with hurts, mostly it just swells with the wonderful things that have come. I can only sit here and think of them in my heart of hearts now. There are too many things to list. Too many blessings.

So now I wonder,  where do we go from here?


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Sometime last week things began to click. I can tell the difference between his cries. I know when he’s rooting for a meal or when he’s just tired. I’ve learned that he’s not going to take a bottle unless I take a “fun” approach to it. I know that at the end of a day, even though he may be wide eyed and smiley, he will get instantly drowsy when I burrito him up and start patting his cute diapered rump.

I love this boy so much it hurts sometimes. I never thought I would be so melodramatic over my child. I love the girls intensely, but everything I have heard about the captivating love between a mother and son is true. The way that boy looks at me makes me well up and praise God for his little heart and pray for His hand to be on his life.

The girls are finally home from school and life just feels better now. Everyone is relaxed. The girls are enjoying their toys and imagination and even better, each other. We’re not running on a schedule, we’re just living and oh, how I needed this! I love seeing them here in our (bare, up for sale) home reading, writing, creating. Today they spent 2 hours at the dining room table making various potions and cleansers (which Julie pronounces clean-zers.) They found soaps and spices and leftover apple cores from snack and they mash and mixed and shook. Now 4 of my tupperwares are filled with the strangest looking liquids I have ever seen and labeled with titles like “Layla’s Goo. Do not eat.” and “Juliet’s Cleaner. Do not taste.” and “??????” It’s fantastic.

This week I took all 3 kids to town. I strapped Nate into the moby wrap (best. purchase. ever.) and we all walked around downtown. Library, kid’s consignment shop and health food store. And then walked back to the van. And I felt like I had conquered the world! No one was screaming or got run over or lost. It was a blessedly NORMAL feeling.


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The first two weeks are such a blur… but these are the moments and feelings I don’t ever want to forget:

The moment of birth- Pure exhaustion. Pure curiosity. Pure amazement. All is brand new and crazy and as that screaming (yes, screaming) son is placed on my chest, all I can do is look and breathe. To come to terms that the old chapter is officially over and the new has suddenly begun.

To hold the boy. To experience the heart wrenching and thrilling  realization that this moment is the smallest, most weak, most dependent he will ever be. That each day brings him closer to standing, walking, running on his own two feet.  To want this moment to remain forever, safe and small, curled up on my chest. And yet, eagerly wondering who this boy will be and wanting to know him.

To never have it be so easy to ignore dishes and laundry because of this complete, teeny being.

To want my daughters, my now seemingly huge girls, to be close and quiet with me and yet, struggling to accept they want to move and groove with all of their being.

Watching him laugh in his sleep and wondering what wonderful things must he know to laugh in his sleep. He’s so brand new. Must be a great secret. Or it could just be gas. But I don’t think so….

Seeing my husband all infatuated with his son makes me love my husband even more intensely. He is truly my better half.

Realizing that there are very few people for which I could tolerate being covered in pee, poo, breastmilk, spitup and sweat all at once. And never, ever did I think a hot shower could feel so incredible good.

Happy 2 weeks, baby boy! You are my smushy love bug.

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I think the hardest part about waiting is letting go of the notion that this happening is dependent on my performance.

I haven’t walked enough or eaten the right foods to prepare my body.
I need to learn something first.
I must still have unfinished business on my to-do list that I didn’t realize.

As I was going through all those long tests at the hospital yesterday and the possibility of induction and a doctor in my practice who I am still slightly uncomfortable with loomed over me, I was continually focusing my mind back to “I will trust in God, not in man.” I like how the New Living Translation puts it in Ps. 146:3

“Don’t put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there.”

He was my comfort and my strength and praise the Lord, the news was all fantastic and we can avoid induction for the mean time. But it was a blessing to get to the point where my fear of induction and csection and doctors and tests were removed. At least until the next moment where I have to make that choice.

But here is where it comes full circle. Here is where I stand in my own way. While I can continue to do things that are good for me and to respond to my body, I cannot bring this about. There is no magical formula. So why don’t I just trust God to bring this boy when it is meant to happen instead of wracking my brain to figure out what I can do in my own strength and power? Perhaps it won’t be the way I desire- and that is ok. Perhaps I will have the scary (I over dramatize) doctor- and that’s ok. There is freedom in letting go. I have so much to learn.