Back to School Already

Ah year round school. You finish one school year up and then a week later you are back starting a new year. Yep, that’s right; my girls are not only back in school but have been for going on 3 weeks now. It isn’t so bad with this track they are on because after being in school for 3 weeks, they will then have 3 weeks off. And it’s usually those weeks that we consider their summer vacation. And boy, are we counting down for that!

But for now, with them in school, I need a good afternoon snack. When Freckles was in Kindergarten, I was a little overzealous with my afternoon snacks which translated into dinnertime issues. *Whoops* I’ve since dialed it back and I’ve been sticking with simpler things. And then I found a recipe for something called ‘Breakfast Cookies’. Cookies for breakfast? I knew this idea would go over well in my house so I figured it was worth a look. It was. Sometimes for breakfast if we are running late, but usually for snack in the afternoon. Here’s another snack idea for your afternoons too. πŸ™‚

Breakfast Cookies Β makes appr. 16 cookies

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Things Are About to Get Crazier…

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Hi guys! I’ve missed y’all! Been thinkin’ about ya. Really I have.

I’ve come up with so many posts in my head, but, alas, this mom’s life has been a little busy. Usually by the end of the days, I’m falling asleep on the couch snuggled up to my wonderful husband by 8:45pm. No joke. I’ll be honest, it does take a little longer if I’m not warm and cozy with Hubby. πŸ™‚

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I remember thinking back in July that my days would be filled with only cleaning house, laundry, and meal prep. Ha. Hahaha That’s kind of funny now. While I am sitting still at the moment,before I jump up to head to the carpool line, most days lately I don’t make it back home after dropping my babies off at school. We all get home together around 4pm….just in time for homework and dinner. But hey, it’s the life of a mom.

And I love it.

I love it so much, in fact, that Hubby and I decided we would love for it to be a little crazier. And, most thankfully, that was also in the good Lord’s plan….because we are expecting baby #3 in May!!!!!! πŸ™‚ I can’t tell you how happy we are. Probably more so after losing a baby earlier this year. (I mentioned this in my anniversary post at the end of June/beginning of July.)

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So given that I am growing a little person, that may also explain why I’m ready to conk out before 9pm most nights.

Can you believe that Christmas is next week?!?!! Yeah, me neither. And what’s crazier still is that I haven’t done any holiday baking!! (Why aren’t there more hours in the day?? I could really use a couple more…and probably a couple more arms. Ya know what, a whole other me would be even more helpful…) But I am helping another mom put together a fun ornament-making activity for Freckles’s class. We are doing the activity tomorrow and I’ve spent the week getting my stuff together…along with trying to finish up my Christmas shopping.

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So what am I contributing to this activity? Oooh, I’m so glad you asked! Because I’m really excited about it! For my part, I’m having the kiddos make puzzle-piece ornaments! I think it’s going to be so cute.DSC01567

I picked up some 48-piece puzzles from the dollar store, spray paint and ribbon from Wal-Mart, and from AC Moore I picked up a few bottles of fast-grab craft glue, glitter, pom-poms, googly eyes, sequins…yea…I may have gotten a touch carried away but I was really getting into it! I also grabbed some large giftboxes from Wal-Mart to spray the pieces in. (Gotta give credit where it’s due: Spraying the pieces inside some sort of box was my wonderful husband’s idea, to protect them from wind and such.)

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Nate’s brilliant idea. πŸ™‚

I started spraying them last night….because I didn’t get home until after picking the girls up from school.Β And this morning and early afternoon I’ve given them their ::hopefully:: last coats of paint….because I’m running out of time for anymore coats plus dry time.Β 

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Alright, dinner is done and both of my girlies are in bed. And thanks to this awesome pain in my lower back, I’ve been told to rest until bed. So I get to finish my post. πŸ˜€ {Right after I wrote this I got hit with a major dizzy spell followed by a wave of nausea…I went to bed after that.}

Once the pieces were dry, I did a test run of the 3 ornaments I wanted to do with the kids. I think they turned out alright. πŸ™‚

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Thankfully, today went well with the class of third graders. The other mom did yarn ball ornaments with the kids and those were super cute! (I wish I had gotten a picture of the ones she brought to show the kids…only because the ones the kids did were…creative. πŸ™‚ ) We had some quiet setting up (the kids weren’t in the classroom) and then ::whoosh:: in flew the kids and it was a whirlwind until they left to get their lunches. Then we both took our first breath since we started. πŸ™‚ The kids seemed to really enjoy the ornament crafts and they had a lot of fun with them.

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Β Β Β Β Β Β Success! πŸ™‚

Can’t believe I’m running…on purpose…because I want to!

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My plan to get in shape on my dry-erase board. I can totally do this!

Β By now you know that sending Ladybug off to her first day of Kindergarten and Freckles off to begin 3rd grade was a very big deal….mostly for me. Okay okay, only for me. I’m here to tell you, it gets easier. With each day you drop them off, it’s a little less heart-wrenching.

While I was stoked that track-out came so soon, two-thirds of the way in I was looking forward to them going back. Not because they were driving me crazy (they really weren’t, I promise) but because I was ready to start running around the lake. I started doing some cardio yoga workouts when they tracked out and at first the kids would join in…then they lost interest. πŸ™‚Β  Then I decided to add in going around the lake [2 miles] to that. I walked and jogged while Ladybug rode on her new bike and Freckles rode her scooter. Then after a couple days of that, Ladybug decided that arrangement did NOT work for her. Meltdowns ensued. Frustrations were high. The trip around the lake was cut short. Waaaaay short. Thus, I began looking forward to the kiddos heading back to school. So while I waited, I came up with a game plan for getting myself in shape. [My one and only aim is to get my body healthier. I am in no way trying to lose weight. I just want my body healthier so I can keep up with my kids and be ready for another if God blesses us with one.]

I found this on Pinterest and copied it down on my dry-erase board.

Starting when I get back to OH!

Then I decided to fill in the ‘Relax!’ days with the 30-minute cardio yoga workouts. I got ambitious and decided to do add in Self.com’s No-Equipment Workout. I did it for a couple days, then realized this thing was for someone a little more ahead of where I was at.DSC00289

Since today is Monday, and a good day to start new things, I started doing the 30-Day Abs Challenge. [Little side note here, I did try starting it back when it hit Facebook and was huge, but after the first rest day, Ladybug got pretty sick and I forgot to do the challenge. I thought about it later and could’ve
picked it up again, but I wasn’t feeling anything, so I just let it go.] I’m hoping that by going around the lake doing the ‘Couch to 5K Running’ that my muscles are going to be nice and warmed up so I will get more benefit from the Abs Challenge. Then I’m going to follow it with a 15-minute yoga workout. Should be awesome!!! πŸ™‚ And I’m playing with the idea of adding in theΒ 30 Day Arm Challenge in there somewhere to help find the muscles I know are there. πŸ˜‰

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There’s something funny about this: running on purpose. I’ve never run. Unless I was being chased, and even then I didn’t run very far. πŸ™‚ In high school, we had to run a mile. I’d chuckle at the coach, run a few feet, then walk the rest of the way. I’m pretty sure I had the longest time for “running” the mile. I just didn’t run. Period.

Fast forward 10 years or so, and I’m a woman with pressures and stresses and anxieties and I realized back in April that maybe my body isn’t as healthy as I thought. The usual workouts just don’t work, I don’t have the discipline to stick with it…or I’m just not doing it right. Instead I wanted to try yoga, and it felt great. Then, someway, somehow, I got it in my head that I wanted to start running. My goal is to be able to run all the way around the 2-mile lake without stopping. Boom. How about getting myself in shape as I get closer to the big 3-0 so I can start a new decade of my life in the best shape I’ve ever been in? Seriously, this sounds like a great plan. And I’m on week 2 and feeling good. I love that I’m able to walk 5 minutes, jog 3 minutes, walk another 5 minutes two times.

I can run for three minutes without feeling like I’m going to die! For me, that is a HUGE deal and I am so freakin’ excited! Wednesday the goal is to be up to 4 minutes jogging and then Friday the goal is to be up to 5 minutes jogging. How awesome is that going to be! πŸ™‚

Anyone else trying something new?

We survived the Frozen party! All good things, all good things. ;)

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*Whew* I made it through the weekend.
And now I’m sitting here with both of my girls home with me. They are tracked out for the next three weeks!! So excited!! There is so much we want to do while they are home, but today we relax. The kids are catching up on some Disney channel while playing with Ladybug’s new gifts and I’m enjoying some snuggles and just having my girls home. πŸ™‚

But let’s back up and talk about the big ‘Frozen’ party that happened this weekend. (Quick side note: This was the first-ever birthday party, with kids, in my own house. This will probably be the last. haha)

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The basement ready to be decorated.

As you know, I spent last week getting our large basement room ready for the party. I had also been hunting through three local Party Cities for any ‘Frozen’ decor I could get my hands on. Β Stop #3 was the goldmine…and also the furthest drive. πŸ™‚

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Everything I had planned on putting up…

I may have a gone a little overboard and now have to return a few things…but better to have too much rather than not enough. Continue reading

A Guy and A Grill — Premiere Post!

Hey Y’all! Tanya here. I have someone I want you to meet. Everyone, meet Nate, aka ‘hubby’. I’m going to be writing a little series following my hubby and his adventures into the wonderful world of grilling. Who’s excited? I know I am! (It may have something to do with all the yummy food I know I’m going to get to eat…that I don’t have to cook! πŸ˜‰ )

For Father’s Day this year, Nate’s parents got him a charcoal grill. He was very excited about it and was ready to get started. (If the weather had cooperated I’m pretty sure we would have grilled out that night.) Since this was the first time that this guy had been in charge of planning what to grill and then been in charge of grilling it too, he decided to start simple.Β DSC08421

Nate picked up a 3-pack of chicken breasts from the store. (There were only 3 of us for dinner because Freckles was at a sleepover party.) When we got back from the store, we noticed how very large the chicken breasts were. Nate cut them in half, that way he felt more confident in getting them cooked through.

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Nate divided the chicken in half and placed the breasts in 2 gallon-sized ziplock bags. To one bag he added some Rodeo Barbecue seasoning and olive oil.

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He closed up the bag and smooshed it all around so that the chicken was fairly evenly coated with the oil and seasonings.Β 

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For the second bag, Nate added in a couple teaspoons of lemon pepper seasoning, a touch of salt, some garlic powder, some onion powder, and olive oil. Again, he closed up the bag and smooshed everything around so that the chicken was fairly evenly coated.Β 

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The two bags went into the fridge and Nate went out back to get the grill going.

Once the grill was good and hot, I brought out the chicken and he laid it all out on the grill.

Looks good, doesn’t it?

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When the chicken was getting close to being done, about 10 -15 minutes later (there wasn’t as much charcoal in there as there should have been so it took longer to cook, this will be remembered next time πŸ™‚ ), I went in and cut up some peppers to grill. Another lesson to file away for next time: DON’T cut the peppers BEFORE grilling because cut peppers are harder to turn and therefore can fall between the grates. Keep the peppers whole!

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Nate and I thought the lemon pepper chicken was super tasty, but the real test was Ladybug.

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She loved it! We couldn’t believe it! She cleared her plate in no time! We are going to need to remember this one. πŸ™‚

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The Rodeo Barbecue Rub was good…once we added salt. We didn’t think to look at the ingredients list, we just assumed it had salt. It didn’t. It needs it though, so next time we’ll remember that. πŸ™‚Β Β Β Β Β Β 

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It was supposed to take forever

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I never thought I was cut out for this “mom” thing. I honestly never thought I would choose to be home full-time with kids. I really just never thought I would be good at it or enjoy it.

When I had Freckles, I thought the 5 years leading up to her going off to kindergarten would last forever. What in the world was I supposed to do all that time? I mean, geez, I’d never have any time to myself. Those years were going to take forEVER!

Or so I thought.

I was 2 1/2 years in of doing this mom thing, and we decided to add another baby to the family. Hey, I was enjoying this. And time to myself? Didn’t really cross my mind. And if it did, I had some awesome family ready to hang out with my girls. But I was loving my job and never looked back. After all, this is going to last forever…right?

See, I thought I’d be happy when kindergarten rolled around. I’d get my freedom back! Thinking back on it now, it’s astonishing that I ever felt that way.

You know how part of the miracle of having children is that women don’t remember exactly how painful giving birth is? (We forget and think, “hey it wasn’t so bad, I want to do it again”. Then we do it again and remember it all and wonder what in the world we were thinking. πŸ˜‰ ) I believe that there is another part of the miracle – one that occurs after the first day of kindergarten happens…

Looking back, I don’t remember how torn up I was about Freckles starting school. It probably helped that Ladybug was home with me and I didn’t want to fall apart in front of her. I do remember being sad and shedding some tears, but I don’t remember being ready to fall apart or feeling a heavy sadness in my heart. I do recall thinking that “this was the beginning of the end”. But at that point, Ladybug was still home and a whole year off from preschool. Surely having her home with me was going to last forever.

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I seem to have blinked a touch too long because Tuesday was Ladybug’s first day of kindergarten. Wait, what? That’s it? It’s over? But…but…but it was supposed to take forever. They were going to be home all day everyday forever before they were going to be off to school.

Wasn’t it going to take forever? Wasn’t Abby always going to be in her car seat behind me in the car? I never envisioned a time when I would come home and not need to open the door to let a little person out. She was always going to be there waiting for me to open the door, undo her bottom buckle (because she can undo the top buckle on her own) and hold out my hand to hold her little hand as she climbed out of the van.

Wasn’t she always going to be with me as I headed out of carpool line in the morning? With her sweet little voice already asking for hot chocolate when we got home? Or asking to go to the store because she had stuff to buy?

Having both girls off at school all day 5 days a week was something I rarely thought about. It just seemed like an abstract idea. But, alas, here we are. Two kids in elementary school. How did time go by that fast?

Hubby and I dropped Freckles off at her door and walked Ladybug to her class. Then we headed back down the hall, out the front doors and began the lonely wall back to the car. Without either of our children. I was holding on pretty good until one of the teachers we passed by (who was Freckles’ assistant teacher in 1st grade told me “good luuuuuck” as we passed by. I began to say ‘thank you’ and my voice cracked. The dam had been broken. Luckily I had my trusty sunglasses to keep the tear-filled eyes hidden….though I’m pretty sure the furrowed brow and quivering bottom lip gave me away. But I held on tight to Hubby as we continued walking away from the school that held both of my precious babies.

In the safety of the van, and then the house, I didn’t hold back. There was a heavy sadness within me and all I could do was cry. I was sure Ladybug, like Freckles, was going to be fine. I’d left her for two years at preschool and she was always fine; she always did well. But it wasn’t for her I was crying. Something beautiful had just ended. There wouldn’t be anymore snuggle-filled days with my little buddy. I’m not going to be able to go to the Farmer’s Market with her and pick out fresh fruits and veggies then to get some ice cream. Instead, I’ll have all day to clean the house and keep with laundry and prep a lot of freezer meals. Given what I’m trading in for a clean house…a clean house just doesn’t seem all that important anymore. I thought the messiness and being behind on laundry and always having someone underfoot would last forever. It was supposed to take forever to get to this day.

I know, we will have track-outs and vacations and weekends, but it just won’t ever be the same. We will make the most of this new era of our lives, but I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that the next 10 to 13 years aren’t going to take forever either. In fact, I’d wager they are going to fly right on by.

It really felt like it was supposed to take forever.

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DSC08794 Waiting in carpool at the end of the day. πŸ™‚

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Summer Vacation! All one week of it!

For the past two Wednesdays, I have been working on a t-shirt quilt. This week, that project has to be put on hold. This week Freckles is home for summer vacation. And since it’s only a week, we’ve got a few things going on and a t-shirt quilt isn’t one of them.

Over the weekend, Ladybug turned 5!!! We had a nice quiet family party on Saturday with most of our family. (Hopefully those that weren’t able to make it out this weekend will be able to make it to the party with Abby’s friends next month!) Days like that remind me how incredibly blessed we are to have such wonderful family and friends (who are really like family to us too).

I was then reminded again on Sunday how wonderful my family and friends-who-are-practically-family are. Our hot water heater was leaking steadily and we needed to turn the water off to the house. The landlord wasn’t coming,or would show up at some point later, so Hubby decided to do it. But wasn’t sure how. So he called up our friends to figure it out. But our friends didn’t just talk him through it, they came over to help! And then Hubby’s parents let us crash there for the night, including our dog! So yea, very thankful to have great friends and to live so close to our family.

Monday, once the hot water heater was replaced, we were happy just relaxing and enjoying not needing to get in the carpool line or do homework. Later in the afternoon, since it was a gorgeous low-humidity day (which is kind of rare in a North Carolina summer) we headed outside. (I love having a yard now!!) The kids enjoyed playing in the hard-plastic kiddie pool and I had fun spraying them with the hose. πŸ™‚

Tuesday I got to sleep in a bit. πŸ™‚ Then the girls and I went to have lunch with Hubby. I admit I was a little let down by Chili’s guacamole burger, but whatcha gonna do? Afterwards we went to hang out with my mom. And I got enlisted to help giver her 4 doggies a bath. πŸ™‚ It was fun washing them outside. πŸ™‚ On the way home, we stopped at Target to pick up school supplies. I have to say, that’s one of the things I’m not liking about year-round school – when it’s time to buy school supplies, they aren’t all out yet. But we were able to scrape together everything we needed for both girls since Ladybug starts kindergarten this year (Ahhh!). And Ladybug picked out her new backpack. πŸ™‚

And that brings us to today! The girls and I headed to my mom’s before lunch. We decided to hit a couple thrift stores to see if we could get the girls back-to-school clothes. (My favorite is a kids’ consignment store called Kid to Kid.) I’m happy to report that Ladybug got a variety of clothes: pants, shirts, and dresses. Freckles had a little more trouble finding pants and skirts. (Why are girls’ skirts so freakin’ short?!?? There needs to be enough material there to cover their bottoms!! They are only 7 and 8 years old for crying out loud!) Then we went to the “Meet the Teacher” at the elementary school to meet Freckles’s teacher. She sure does seem nice. πŸ™‚ And then we got to meet up with Hubby’s parents at their pool for pizza and swimming! Seriously, the water felt awesome!

Sooooo, yeah. Not really any time for the t-shirt quilt. πŸ™‚ Tomorrow we are headed to a pottery painting place!

Whatcha Makin’? — T-Shirt Quilt Part2

Hey Y’all, I meant to get this up yesterday but I got a little behind. Freckles’
school year is winding down (finally!) and her class is putting on skits as anDSC08510 end of the year celebration. Well, she needed help making feet for her character; she’s a cat and wanted her feet to look like cat feet. So that is how I spent my Tuesday night – making cat feet. And cat ears. She was happy so that’s all that matters. πŸ™‚

 

DSC08538And then yesterday I picked up my mom, who is recovering from shoulder surgery and can’t drive for
another couple of months, and we headed to the school for the Quarterly Awards Ceremony. Every quarter each class awards students for excelling in one of 9Β areas: Art, Math, Language Arts, Music, Media, Spanish, PE, Technology, and Character (for displaying the qualities of their school pledge such as kindness, readiness to learn, respect, etc). This quarter Freckles was the Art Student of the Quarter. πŸ™‚

So I’ve been a little behind on getting the next step of the t-shirt quilt done. But it is in progress!

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Cut up t-shirts.

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Whatcha Makin’? — Let’s Do A T-Shirt Quilt!

I have to have something to do. A project of some sort. If I don’t have a project to look forward to, I find that I have a lot of trouble focusing on anything else. I find it’s easier to keep the tv off and keep everyone moving if I know I get to do something for myself later. (I doubt this makes any sense, but it seems that’s how I work. lol)

But as of the end of March, all of my stuff has been in boxes. My sewing table has been under boxes. Boxes filled with my paints and brushes, my pencils and pastels and pads, my fabrics and scissors and rulers, my scrapbooks and papers, even all of my notebooks! But I haven’t noticed it too much since I first was busy unpacking the rest of the house. Then I got to work in the yard and busy myself with flowers and growing veggies and herbs.

Now we are in mid-June here in central NC and the heat index for the rest of the week is 100 degrees. Yard work? With Code Orange air quality warnings? Nah, I’m good thanks. The boxes left in the basement? I can’t do anything with those until I get more shelving (because it’s mostly books left….Hubby and I are major book lovers). The boxes left in the spare basement room? Those are all of my boxes. Which I can’t unpack until I get more shelving for that too. So I’m at a standstill with just about everything. I even have plenty of freezer meal recipes on hand to stock my freezer up with after I go grocery shopping.

So what’s a girl to do? I know. How about we cut up shirts? Nothing crazy, it’ll be for a quilt. πŸ™‚ Want to join me? We’ll make it a weekly thing! This week we’ll get started and next week, we’ll move on to the next step, and so on. Let’s do this!DSC08340

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Homeschool — To Do It or Not To Do It…That is the question

Well last week I kept Ladybug company on the couch. This Monday morning brought a little fever. But this time it’s Freckles who is down for the count. Not sure what is going on yet, so far it seems like just a cold: sniffly nose, sore throat, sneezing, fever and occasional cough. Hopefully she’ll be better to go to school tomorrow, with the school year winding down I hate for her to be out sick.Β 

But this gives me a chance to talk about something I’ve had on my mind off and on over the last year. Homeschool. To do it? Or not to do it?Β 

I’ve gone back and forth so many times I’ve lost count. What if I pull my kids out of public school and I fail them and they fall behind and can’t get into college? Which curriculum and books do we use? There is an overwhelming amount of tools and resources. How do we afford it? Can we afford it?

Then I reflect on Freckles’ third year at school. I have concerns that she may fall behind later because this year was a little shaky in the math area. By the end of 2nd grade they are supposed to begin learning multiplication tables. But they have spent the entire year learning 10 different ways to add and subtract. And now my child struggles with simple addition. She had everything down fine before the start of the year, but after they learn one method, they are forced to re-learn addition using a different method, whether or not it makes sense to them. It’s no wonder she’s gotten confused. Adding is as simple as first add the ones column, then the tens. Now you have to break it down, re-group it, add the different parts together, then add it all back together.Β 

Anyway, I also think about how much better Freckles could understand things if she went out and saw and touched- which is an opportunity homeschooling offers. And I would be able to slow down in areas Freckles needed it, and move aheadΒ in other areas where she excels. And one of my favorite things about homeschooling is that I could spend more time with my kids.Β 

Then I wonder, am I even qualified to do this? But as their mom, I teach them how to walk, to eat, to talk, and give them the basis for learning when they get to school. Why is when they turn 5 I’m no longer qualified to teach them? I have their best interests at heart and would stop at nothing to help them excel.Β 

Ladybug is not yet 5, but she’s been writing for at least a year now…maybe a year and a half…I’m really not sure. She started with learning her letters, followed by learning to spell and write her name. Now she writes ‘I love you Mommy’ and ‘[Ladybug] loves Mommy’ and so many other words. And she is learning to spell new words everyday. (One day when I picked Ladybug up from preschool, they had artwork hanging in the hall. Ladybug had written ‘[Ladybug] Frozen’ on her paper. πŸ™‚ And after that, her favorite thing to write on her papers was ‘From [Ladybug] To Alex’, her uncle.) Ladybug has even begun solving simple addition problems while we are in the car. So if, before the age of 5, I’m able to help Ladybug learn to spell and begin reading/recognizing words and help her learn simple adding and subtracting, why couldn’t I homeschool my kids?Β 

Then of course, it’s back to: Oh my goodness, can I do this? What if I fail? What if I fail my kids?Β 

Then back to: Well, homeschooled children do better than their public school counterparts. And colleges like those who have been homeschooled because they are more focused and driven.Β 

I’ve also worried about the legal side of things since North Carolina does require testing.Β 

And now that we have more space, it seems a little more feasible.Β 

So for now, Freckles is finishing up 2nd grade, and Ladybug is about to start Kindergarten.

Has anyone else been conflicted like this? What did you do? I’d really love to hear about it!