Making smiles one wonky dollop at a time

One of my fondest memories with my children is making pancakes. Not the small, round pancakes we make when we’re in a hurry, but the fun ones. When my sons were little, they were Bigfoot pancakes. Sometimes they were green or blue, or brown. Other times they were plain batter colored, but they were always fun.¬†The smiles those Bigfoot pancakes made are etched on my heart forever.

It’s amazing what a drop of pancake batter on a hot griddle can do for the Soul.

Even as my sons grew into somewhat obstinate teenagers, I continued the Bigfoot pancakes and while their glee turned to half-hidden crooked smiles, I knew they still enjoyed getting them as much as I enjoyed making them.

I’m happy to know that the fun pancake tradition has continued with my little girl. While she loves the Bigfoot pancakes, being very artistic, she has other creative ideas for her pancakes. Sometimes I have to let her know that while her creative ideas are brilliant, I am limited by my skills (or the lack thereof).

My daughter is obsessed with the Netflix show Nailed It!and yesterday we watched as they made pancake art. She took mental notes, as did I, and this morning, we made our own pancake art.

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Do I hear Ohhhhhs and Awwwws?

Before you send out too much praise, you should know that is’s supposed to be Minnie Mouse, not a cute bear wearing a bow. None of that really matters though. What does matter a hell of a lot to me is that smile. Not the crooked one on the not-Minnie, but the bright, beautiful smile on my little girl’s face.

Like the Bigfoot pancakes, the Minnie pancake was great fun and precious time I spent with my child, but the smile on her face – that’s what matters.

If you’d like to try these pancakes, the Bigfoot ones are quite easy. (I made them even easier with complete pancake mix, but use your favorite pancake recipe) Literally, just make a wonky dollop of batter, with the top end wider than the bottom, then add small dollops as the toes on the wide end. Here is an example below, with a little Mickey Mouse head. This is how we started with all of this and then my daughter had the idea to add color and details…that’s when it got a little more complicated – and way more fun.

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Notice our Bigfoot has only four toes? ūüôā

You can make all sorts of characters. Below is a bunny we made for Easter one year.

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You could also do an orange carrot with green tops! 

This one was rather simple, even though it may look complicated. It’s just separate pancakes layered to make the bunny and I added raisin eyes and shaved coconut for the cotton tail.

Trust me, no matter how your pancake art turns out, the pancakes are sure to be delicious and the memories will last a lifetime. Have fun with it and enjoy the fruits of your labor!

xoxo

Resa

Pancake tips:
Preheat your griddle and add butter or coconut oil. You can test to see if it’s ready by shrinking water on it. If it sizzles, it’s ready for the batter.
If you’re making pancakes of varying sizes, you may want to make the larger ones first so you don’t forget to flip your smaller ones, which will cook faster.
For coloring:
Mix batter in large bowl, then separate out into small dishes to color individually. Add to icing bags (or ziplock bags as we used and cut a tiny hole in a corner for piping). Move quickly with your piping. Don’t worry, just go with it.
For flipping:
Wait until bubbles form in the batter and the edges are just slightly golden brown before you flip, otherwise you’ll be left with a gooey mess (trust me! I’ve tossed plenty of ruined pancakes in the trash) After you flip, give it another 30 seconds to minute to cook through before removing it.

Is It Time for A Reality Check?

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This morning I awoke before sunrise and took my coffee to one of my favorite spots to sit and watched the glorious show unfold, as the sun gave light to the world around me. Truly, it was miraculous to witness.

‚Äč‚ÄčEvery day we have numerous opportunities to witness miracles and yet so often we find ourselves searching for them. Maybe it’s that dream job, or your next leader for your team. Maybe it’s a dream vacation, or a certain number of zeros on your paycheck.

I have those dreams too and for a while, ¬†I found myself uncharacteristically focused on all that I didn’t have. Even as the baby birds were being born around me and toddling¬†from their nests-¬†their feathers patchy and soft; even as the deer tip-toed through their fear to the bird feeder in the yard to eat the seeds and fruit the we¬†had to offer; even as each night I had the opportunity to witness a gorgeous sunset, the sun saying goodnight to us all – even then, I was blind to the miracles, because I was in the mindset of lack.

Often, when someone is really optimistic, people tell them they need a “good dose of reality.” What they mean is that the person needs to be put in their place, knocked down a few pegs, made a little more miserable like every other hard-working person. I, on the other hand, generally tell myself I need a reality check when I’m feeling negative. Sometimes I can figure it out rather quickly, but sometimes it takes me a while, as it did with my last experience. I am not sure, but I think the delay may have been due to my month-long gluten binge. Nutrition is so important!

Whatever it was, I’m happy to be getting back to myself.

I needed a reality check.

I think it’s a good idea to check in with ourselves each day. Each of us is our own teacher and student. Each day brings with it information more valuable than anything a degree can provide, if we only just sit up and pay attention. Our bodies are communicating with us every second, with our miraculous brains sending billions of signals to every single cell in our bodies. Our brains and our guts tell us when something is off or if something is right for us. We just need to tune in.

How do we do that?

I’m not an expert. I only know what helps me and I’m happy to share that. You may find an even better method and if so, please share!

Sit in a chair with a high back – not like the terribly uncomfortable desk chair I’m in right now! Lean back, place both feet on the floor. Rest your arms on your lap or on the arm rests. Now, take on the role of observer. Leave your judgments at the door. Judgment is not invited to this party.¬†Take a couple of deep, cleansing breaths. Don’t force anything, simply observe your breath. Settle in and just check in with your body. Note any feelings of comfort or discomfort. Adjust if you need to. Check in with your gut. Check in with your belly. Do you feel tension there? Breathe into any tension you’re feeling and imagine it flowing from you, up into the air to be transformed into goodness. Breathe.¬†Stay with this practice as long as you need to.

If you’re a Reiki Practitioner, this is also a great time to give yourself Reiki.

Let this be your time and let it be a daily practice that will eventually help you to connect your mind and body on a regular basis. You’ll learn to trust your instincts and you may even find that you develop the desire to break bad habits because of this practice.¬†I know I have. It may not happen overnight and that’s okay. Even bad habits can be great teachers.

Another thing I enjoy doing, just for myself is using my essential oils each day and listening to music I love. When I’m alone,¬†I’m particularly fond of piano music or classical Indian¬†music, Ravi Shankar is a favorite of mine. As I type, I’m listening to Indian Classical Music for Studying.¬†Have a listen, if you’d like.

I’ve applied the following oils as well:

‚Äč‚ÄčSandalwood: I added a drop to my hair. I applied it for fragrance today, but this is the oil of sacred devotion. It has been used for thousands of years in temples as¬†it assists with meditation and prayer. It also helps to quiet the mind.

Roman Chamomile: I added a drop to each temple to help calm me. It’s especially great for those who suffer from depressed thoughts or anxiety. It’s also the oil of spiritual purpose and it can assist an individual in discovering their life purpose. This oil also softens the personality and eases the overactive ego-mind.

Wild Orange: I applied a drop of this oil to my diffuser necklace. I’ll be going out in the sun today, so applying it to my skin isn’t an option as it can cause photosensitivity. I used this because it’s an excellent mood booster and was suggested to me for helping with my depressed feelings. It is considered the oil of abundance and isn’t that a great oil for when we are living with a mindset of lack?! This oil also fosters creativity, restores physical energy and aids in a positive mood.

InTune: I applied this oil to the back of my neck so I could focus while I write. It also happens to smell heavenly and always comforts me. It’s considered the oil of presence and again, being present is so important when we are feeling depressed or anxious. This oil facilitates inner peace. It is especially helpful to those who have a short attention span, or “monkey mind,” as the Buddhists call it.

Having applied these oils, I feel calm, peaceful and present.

It’s important to check in with ourselves each day. So often we are pulled in a million directions by our families, our jobs, our friends, traffic, and other responsibilities. It’s easy to forget that we matter too. It’s easy to turn off our mind-body connection and the next thing we know, we feel like shit, we’re not eating well, we’re overly concerned with appearance or material things and we’re backing away from the beautiful life we’ve been given. Checking in helps us remember that we matter too;¬†that we are vital.

You are enough.

You are beautiful.

You are important.

xoxo

Resa

Connect with me on Instagram: @a.musing.mother

Homeschool: Where every second is cherished

I love homeschooling.

I know a lot of parents count down the days until their children run off to be indoctrinated into the system that promises them success at every turn, only to churn them out with few real life experiences and a piece of paper, but I’m not that type of parent. While I sent my sons to school seventeen and eighteen years ago, I cried when they left. It seems wrong that children must leave the home at the tender age of five or six. Childhood is short on its own without sending our babies away for most of the day. By the time my sons got home, we spent an hour on homework, they ate dinner, played a little and were off to bed because we had to get up before six o’clock so I could get to work on time.

I swore if I ever had another child, I’d stay home and (hopefully) homeschool.¬†And I’m thankful that have done just that.

Homeschooling is not easy.

Homeschooling is so easy.

Seriously, I could say either of these sentences with absolute honesty, it just depends on the day. Some days we have a blast and my daughter is so engrossed in what she’s doing that we can bust through Math, Science, History, and Language Arts in no time, then she plays Twinkle Twinkle Little Start on her keyboard, helps me in our vegetable garden, and ends her day drawing while watching a movie.

Other days, it takes her two hours to get through Math, because she has to get her drawings just right for the word problem. It’s not that she doesn’t know the answer to the problem, she does and often has the number sentence written out. It’s the drawing that must be perfect. She’s an artistic child, what can I say? Sometimes I want to hurry her, just so we can move on, but I have to rein that back, because I never ever want to squelch her love of art.

IMG_5500 And by the way, she insisted that this soccer game include girls, so we rewrote it to includes boys and girls.

Still other days, we spend most of our days doing whatever strikes our fancy, or we visit the aquarium, or go hiking, or play outside, and we don’t get to the “homeschool stuff” until the evening. Sometimes we take entire days off and just have fun.

IMG_5487Dancing in the rain for the Summer solstice was fun!

Why I love homeschooling

You can design your own schedule or just don’t have one at all! Who says you need a schedule? If your child is into it, you can cover the entire Science curriculum first, then cover math, then move on to the other subjects. You can follow the public school calendar or you can make up your own based on your family’s needs. You can homeschool year ’round, or part-year.¬†Who cares? As long as you’re documenting for your school, as required by law, then just have fun with it.

About documentation. This varies by state and you should contact your local public school district or Department of Education to see what the requirements are. Where I live, Children are not required to go to school until they turn six years old by August 1 of that school year. My daughter’s birthday is in September, so even though she is five and a half now, she doesn’t have to attend school this fall. For me, this was great news and meant that we have even more time to simply have fun with homeschool¬†and to practice documenting as we go. Find your state’s homeschool requirements here.

We homeschool year ’round, simply because I don’t want my daughter to think of learning as being compartmentalized over there, while real life is over here. I want her to know that learning is natural. She’s learning all the time and she doesn’t need a book or a map, or a math equation to be learning. She’s a child. Children are born learning. Homeschooling year ’round also enables us to travel, which is another major reason my husband and I¬†decided to homeschool. Being able to take her along on our travels is such a precious gift. Seeing the world through the eyes of a child is nothing short of magical. So far this year we’ve had the opportunity to take her with us to Las Vegas, Chicago, West Virginia, Pittsburg, and Gatlinburg. She’s a wonderful traveler.

Below: fun times in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

What About Curriculum?

Just as you can make up your own schedule, you can also create your own curriculum, buy a ready-made curriculum, follow your local public school curriculum,¬†or forgo the curriculum completely and follow an Unschooling model! The choice is yours. We lean toward Unschooling, but I did purchase a curriculum from BookShark.¬†It’s super flexible, with a four-day schedule, and it came with so many amazing resources! We add to and take away as needed and my daughter loves it. We recently bought their Hands-On History kit as well, so Kathryn has been busy building a log house with craft sticks, and she even built a car. The car wasn’t art of the lessons we were covering, but she wanted to do it, and I let her.

See? Flexibility!

It’s awesome.

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Above: Because we’re reading Little House in the Big Woods and Little Pear, she is constructing a log house from the Hands-On History kit.

How Do I Know If homeschooling Is Right for My Family?

1. You enjoy spending time with your child. This is crucial.

2. You have questions or concerns regarding public school system and haven’t gotten the answers you need from school administrators or teachers.

3. You also love sharing learning with your child.

4. You need a more flexible schedule than what conventional school provides.

5. You have noticed that your child seems disinterested in school, is fearful of going to school, or any other concerns for your child’s learning that you don’t feel are being resolved within the school.

If you agree to the above, then homeschool is very likely a great fit for your family.

But I Don’t Know How to Teach!

Good!

I’m a former teacher and I swear, I spend more time trying to unlearn the stuff I was taught than I actually use. Learning doesn’t require a teacher. If the child runs into something that is difficult, he or she will ask for help. If you don’t feel comfortable with such a freestyle method, a curriculum like BookShark will come in handy.

Trust yourself.

Your love and devotion to your child will reap loads. The one-on-one attention your child will get from you will top any of the strained, rushed attention they would get from over-worked and under-assisted teachers.

Remember this –

Just because you start homeschooling doesn’t mean you have to do it forever. Homeschool is an option for facilitating learning. Just like public school isn’t the only way to help kids learn, neither is homeschooling. If you or your child decides homeschool isn’t for you, you can always look at alternatives and use the homeschool curriculum to supplement their learning. Either way, your child wins.

Every day may not be easy, but every single second of watching your child learn and grow is absolutely worth it.

xoxo

Resa

Happiness: It Ain‚Äôt Out There Waiting To be Discovered

Look online long enough and you’ll be thoroughly brainwashed to believe that you were born utterly incomplete and flawed beyond measure and if you could only lift this and cinch that, and find the right social circle and buy these things, (but not too much), and drink this shake, and take this, and BREATHE -for fuck’s sake, breathe – and use this app and follow this guru, and apply this oil, and think positive thoughts…do this, and all of your dreams will come true and you’ll finally be happy and hiring photographers to take pictures of you and your utter elation while vacationing in Fiji, with your perfect bikini body.

SHEW!

So much of what is sold to simplify our lives creates a web of excess and complication. We think too much about every move we make and post. We worry so much about our “brands.” Who even started that shit anyway? If you think about it, the majority of entrepreneurs out there selling something online are women -women who are already objectified by society – and then we go and call ourselves a fucking brand.

One step forward, two steps back.

Now turn!

And twist!

And start again, ladies!

I think we’ve got it all wrong. The truth is, none of us is flawed. Unless you have an exact copy – more exact than an identical twin – then there is absolutely no one to compare YOU to.

No one.

Zilch.

Zero.

Nada.

None.

Therefore, it is utterly impossible for you to be born flawed. You are not lacking. You are perfectly you and the world needs you to be YOU. I need people like you to stand up and stand firm in your own identity!

Everyone does.

There are enough gals out there donning sweat bands and copying what they’re seeing from others. There are enough children out here being used as props for their mom’s next “oh parenting is so hard, but I use (insert whatever they’re selling) and it makes me so much happier!” selfie with a full face of makeup and designer clothes.

Pah-leez!

There’s nothing sold on a shelf, by a distributor, or peddled by your doctor that’s going to make you happy.

Happiness doesn’t come in pill form. It doesn’t come from anywhere but inside you.

You know, when I lived in California, I dated a guy for a short time who’s father drove a Ferrari and owned his own business. You’d think he was happy.

He committed suicide.

Think about that the next time you think for a moment that any of those wealthy folks on social media have a solution to make you happy. They may have something to assist you with an issue, but they do not have a solution to make you happy.

Your happiness isn’t somewhere out there…

It’s inside YOU.

If you’re not happy, start exploring the world around you, take chances, and have adventures…to help you get to know yourself again. I’m sure you’re super cool! You just forgot with all the mundane duties you’ve taken on as an adult.

You were not meant to spend an hour or more sitting in traffic, wishing and hoping the week will go fast so you can get to the weekend. You were built to live, laugh, love, explore, and get down and dirty on occasion.

Go.

Be amazing.

Xoxo

Resa

Teaching Girls to Hate Themselves

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My five-year old daughter, Kathryn.

“Wow, she’s really big for five.”

“Oh my, she’s so tall.”

“What are you feeding her?!”

Literally, these are comments that have been made in reference to my five-year old daughter just in the last week. As a matter of fact, all of these were said by one person whom I had just made acquaintance. Now, this post is not necessarily in regard to that person, because this happens anytime my daughter is introduced to a new adult.

You would think children would do this too, but I have never once heard a child make a remark about my daughter’s appearance, unless they were complimenting her sunglasses or some nonessential like that. Such comments will likely not occur until those children reach an age where they’ve been fully programmed to look for the differences in their peers.

Our society is obsessed with appearance and “norms,” especially concerning women.

It’s appalling to me that grown people consider it perfectly acceptable to comment on a child’s body.

The truth is, none of the adults I’m referring to meant any harm at all. As a matter of fact, often the “she’s so tall” comments are followed by a postscript, if you will, of “but that’s good!”

Why is it good, exactly? And if it wasn’t considered “good,” then what is it? And why does it matter?

I know that on an animalistic level, appearance matters. I see this in the birds outside my windows, where the males are parading around, showing off their best sides, clad in their Springtime best, but aren’t humans supposed to be more highly evolved, with their technology and buildings that reach for the heavens?

Humans are, biologically social creatures and we still, to this day, try to avoid being outliers. The outliers get eaten by tigers. The outliers die before creating offspring. The outliers get others killed. I get it. It’s instinctual and like tigers eyeing a herd of gazelles, we instinctually look for those outliers. This is all fine, except for the fact that humans consider themselves more evolved.

When apparently, we are not.

At least not the mainstream population.

Even with the beautiful and powerful feminine forces at work today, women are still programmed to believe that we are somehow born wrong. From birth, parents these days are told what percentile their babies are in and parents proudly or shamefully proclaim these percentiles to their families, friends, and anyone who will listen to them.

Later, unless the child fits perfectly in the “normal” range, these wonderful children are bombarded with comments about what’s different about them. Their height, their weight, their freckles, their feet, a birthmark or whatever strikes an adult observers fancy.

So many girls are programmed to hate their bodies at a young age. It’s heartbreaking. Imagine living your life in a vessel that you’ve been told (often numerous times) is flawed from day one. ¬†This is exactly what has been happening to young girls for centuries.

From my own experience, since I was young, I’ve been told “you’re so tall and thin,” that it became part of my identity. When I first hit one hundred pounds, I immediately stopped eating until it got back down to an “acceptable ninety-five pounds.” I was not even a teenager at this time. I also have a distinct memory of being ten years old and having a goal to fit in my five-year old sister’s pants. I actually achieved this goal and proudly wore her pants to school. Where did my body hate come from at such a young age? There could be any number of sources, but who can really pinpoint the pivotal moment when a casual comment turned the tides and turned me against my body.

If we were able to create a norm; if we were able to pick out certain characteristics and create a race of people who looked beautiful, what would that be?

What exactly is normal for human appearance?

What exactly is beautiful for human appearance?

What size, shape, color, height, weight, and attitude is normal for a girl?

It depends on which decade you reference – more truthfully, there isn’t a “normal.”

There is, however, abnormal and that is forcing anything that isn’t natural for the body. The food restriction, the body hate, the abusive remarks that girls later internalize, the cosmetic surgery – with breast augmentation and nose jobs, with women having metal objects inserted into their bodies to literally suck fat from their thighs – all to fit within some fictional “norm.”

And this type of self-inflicted abuse is perfectly acceptable and even celebrated in our society today.

Let me get back to my daughter, who is beautiful. Not because she fits a certain look, not because she’s what a friend called a “classic beauty,” whatever that means. She’s beautiful simply because she is herself. She’s beautiful because in all of the world, she’s the only Her. She gregarious, generous, kind-hearted, intelligent, hilarious, and at this time in her life, perfectly comfortable in her own skin.

I’m greatly looking forward to the day when women rise above the superficial. When they talk more about ideas than they do the newest fad diet that promises to give them the perfect summer body. I’m looking forward to the day when women stop looking for validation in male attention. I’m looking forward to the day when we all lift one another up, instead of competing. We’re all beautiful. As Maya Angelou said, we are enough.¬†

We were born enough.

I know there are many women out there working hard to build up other women. I know there are many women out there, who are working hard each day to rise above the lies in their head that tell them they aren’t good enough, because they never want their daughters or sons to buy into such nonsense.¬†I know you’re out there and you’re making a huge difference. I also want to add that I know there are men out there doing the same thing and I know that body hate is not a “woman’s issue,” but for the sake of this piece, I made women my focus.

My tip is this: The next time you meet someone, try to genuinely get to know them. The next time you meet another woman, try to make a compliment that isn’t superficial.

And for fucks sake, do not utter a single comment about a child’s body. Do not participate in the programming. Allow that child the freedom to simply be Herself in your presence.

xoxo

Resa

 

Homeschooling with a curriculum and an unschooling twist because rules suck

 

I’ve never been one to want to do things the conventional way. As a matter of fact, if there are rules, then I’m one of the first to try to break them. I’ve always been this way.

One year, when I was in high school, I skipped sixty four days of school in one year. SIXTY-FOUR.

Craziest part was, even after missing so much school, my grades remained high. There are any number of theories you could form based on that, but I’m not going to go into that. It’s neither here nor there. The point?

I hate rules.

So, when I began homeschooling my daughter, we started with an Unschooling philosophy and it’s one I firmly support. Now, after getting curriculum for her, I actually support it even more, but I can understand the reservations people have for this ideology, because it is not without its challenges.

I decided to get the curriculum more for me than her, to be honest with you. I felt like I wanted a sort of guideline to go by…one I could add to or take away from as I felt was needed for my daughter. With Unschooling, I wasn’t sure if I was providing all of the experiences she might need…whatever that even means.

Again…rules and guidelines that I grapple with constantly.

Who makes the rule that a 5-year old should know this and that and should be able to do this and that? What are THEY, the rule makers, missing when they makes these rules?

What was I missing when I was Unschooling?

I’m always reflecting on things. Life, learning, experiences, etc. I’ve always been this way. Even when I was a teacher, I sat down each day to reflect on what did and didn’t work for my students. Reflection is vital and as I reflected on unschooling my daughter, I was worried about her technology time. I was worried about whether I was giving her enough experiences, especially on the day-to-day. We give her excellent experiences via travel, exploration, and just simply having fun as a child, but what if there was something I was missing? I was also concerned with the accountability that is required by the state, regardless of how you choose to let your child learn.

All of these concerns increased my insecurity with unschooling, even though I firmly believe in it.

So, I bought a curriculum for her. I have to say, it’s fantastic. We are currently using the BookShark Literature-Based Curriculum and it gives me a flexible schedule with suggestions for activities, plus a multitude of books and resources! What I also love about it is that it has shown me how well we’ve actually done with our Unschooling. Kathryn is so far ahead of the game in math that we had to skip to lesson nine¬†and may have to skip further…that is one of the beautiful things about homeschooling – you make it your own, based exclusively on your child’s needs and interests.

I don’t know why I worried so much, but I did. I just don’t want to fail my daughter. I tend to be inconsistent with things and her learning is such a priority to me. I want to be sure I was doing the very best for her.¬†Having this curriculum has given me the freedom to keep doing what I’m doing. It’s shown just how well my daughter is doing and provides so many amazing books of various levels. I cannot tell you enough how much I really enjoy this curriculum.

In addition to the curriculum, she’s also learning French. She gets to use the Nikon for photography. She’s growing veggies and flowers in the yard. She gets to create every single day at whatever times she’d like. She explores in Nature. She cares for the birds and our pets. She travels wherever we go. She uses technology daily as well.

I am thrilled that we homeschool.

As a teacher, I really loved watching my students learn, but when you’re guiding your own child to new developments and watching her blossom through her own curiosities and interests, it’s just….I can’t put it into words. My heart swells and I could cry. It’s incredible and I’d not change a single thing.

If you really want to¬†homeschool but¬†feel¬†afraid you may not be able to do it, I encourage you to give it a try. Public school is always there as an alternative should you or your child decide homeschool isn’t for you. You may think that I have an advantage as a former teacher, but I completely disagree. Sometimes I wish I had never taught, because that pedagogy gets stuck in your brain and well, it’s not necessarily the best, otherwise public school would be a resounding success and no child would ever actually be left behind! Get my drift here?

As parents, we know our children better than anyone else. As parents, we genuinely want to see our children succeed. As parents, we can not just teach and guide, but love them through it all. They will never get the same treatment in school, even from the most amazing teachers. We are the parents and it makes all the difference.

My tip for you as a homeschooler:

1. Document as much as you can. This includes any work your child does, from drawings to letters, to workbook pages, to projects.

2. Take pictures and make note of what’s happening in them. Keep these in a binder. I’m keeping mine in the curriculum binder behind each week’s lessons so they’re easy to find.

3. Have fun! I don’t like seeing school as separate from life. I don’t set a rigid schedule. The materials we have in the curriculum as meant to add to what we’re doing, not to be a separate thing that we can’t wait to get a break from (the conventional view of school by children, parents, and teachers alike). For us, learning is simply part of living and it’s FUN.

Now, if homeschool isn’t your thing. That’s cool! I didn’t homeschool my sons and they enjoyed school (for the most part). As parents, we have the right to choose what’s best for our children. It’s a beautiful thing to have the choice and I’m so grateful for that choice.

Have you homeschooled your children?

What was your experience?

What have been your greatest successes?

Did you have any challenges you could particularly difficult to overcome?

I’d love to hear from you.

 

xoxo

Resa

An Awkward Journey into Midlife

img_4015Upstairs, my son and his nearly one-year old daughter are playing with my five-year old daughter.

Confusing?

I get it.

Last Sunday was Mother’s Day and my first Mother’s Day as a Grandma.

I’m forty-two.

I’d be a liar if I told you I was a joyful Grandma…

Wait, let me back up.

I’d be a liar if I told you that at the age of thirty-six, I was a joyful mom-to-be.

I wasn’t.

At that age, was ready to hop on a Harley with my man and ride off into the sunset. Okay, maybe not exactly that, but it was a vision I held to fiercely. My sons were in high school then and I was ready to see them into adulthood and push them from the nest lovingly like I’ve seen Robins do to their babies in my own backyard. I’d been mothering since I was nineteen and I was ready to live my own life.¬†I was ready to simply be a woman again.

Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love being a mother. My sons and I have always had a close relationship and I love them more than words can say, but when you become a parent at the age of nineteen, you put much of your life aside, while you raise children. You lose a lot of the “freedom” that other young adults enjoy.

That said, while raising them, I did still get my degrees and I had my own life. It was just different. The responsibility of mothering was always the priority. I made a hell of a lot of mistakes, but my sons were the center of my world and I don’t regret a single second of that.

As they approached adulthood themselves, I began looking forward the an empty nest and the things I would be able to do.

When I found out I was pregnant, I cried – not the happy tears of “yay, we’re pregnant,” but devastated tears. I feel a little awkward telling you, the reader – a perfect stranger – this, but it’s the truth. I was more sad, scared, devastated, and disappointed than happy. In all honesty, for the first few days, “happy” didn’t even factor in.

My elated husband¬†immediately suggested we go to his mother’s to announce the good news. I agreed, more out of shock than anything else, because I had no desire to celebrate or tell anyone else about it, but I found myself standing in her kitchen, with my husband announcing with an enormous smile, “We’re pregnant!”

She cried – yes, the happy “Oh my goodness, I’m going to be a Granny again and to my baby boys’ baby” tears.

You know, the happy tears I was incapable of at that time.

I spent the first half¬†of my pregnancy in a state of either shock or sadness. While I ate really well, stopped drinking, and took my prenatal vitamins, it took me a good five months to really come to terms with the fact that I was going to give birth to a real live baby again – and my sons are almost grown. I was simultaneously losing my sons and beginning motherhood all over again. The empty nest didn’t feel right after all. “I’m not ready!” I’d cry.

I think all mothers go through that…they look forward to the freedom, only to realize they actually aren’t¬†ready for it yet. I felt like I just needed a few more years or even just one more year to wrap my head around the fact that my boys were not my baby boys anymore.

It all goes so fast (it’s not just a cliche) and while I wanted to focus on the fact that my sons were, indeed, easy to fly from the nest without my help,¬†I couldn’t really focus because I had a little baby in my belly kicking me on a daily basis.

My life was turned upside down and I wasn’t sure how I felt about it.

Of course, the good feelings eventually settled into my heart and I found myself shopping the baby department with a smile, I poured over mommy blogs and imagined what my baby would look like. I even sang to her every day and read Brown Bear, Brown Bear to her every night.

My sons were doing well and I felt a little better about starting Motherhood over again and managed to let go of the feelings that by having another¬†baby, I was somehow leaving my sons out…or that they were leaving me. I’m still not one-hundred percent what I was feeling then, to be honest. Maybe some feelings cannot be put into words, but only felt by the heart.

When my darling, vivacious, beautiful, creative, and downright awesome little girl was born, I fell in love with her instantly and so did my sons and everyone in the family. She was a little gift to all of us. It was a rocky start with the lack of sleep and cracked and bleeding nipples (she has two lip ties) and just getting readjusted to motherhood –¬†You know what I mean! Motherhood is a JOB. I don’t care what anyone says.¬†Sure, it’s wonderful, but it’s downright exhausting as well. Anyone who says otherwise has a housekeeper, and a nanny.

Just sayin.’

Anyway, it was a rocky start, but we did settle into it after a few months. She ended up nursing for twenty-three months, when she weaned herself while we were vacationing on Tybee Island in Georgia. She’s also a great little traveler and that’s been an absolutely blessing, because my husband and I were looking forward to traveling. At first we thought it might be difficult with¬†a baby, but we made it a priority for our lives and it’s worked out really well for all of us.

There are no umbrella rules for family life. You can make it what you want and it’ll be beautiful.

When my daughter¬†was almost five, my twenty-one year old son told me that he was going to be a dad – as per custom in this day and age, he told me via text.¬†Yes, a text. I’m not sure if he was afraid to say it to my face, or if he was still in a state of shock and couldn’t speak the words, but whatever the reason, I found out that I might be a Grandma via text. Thank you, 21st century virtual-connection.

Wow.

It’s hard not to think of yourself in a time like this. Of course I knew I’d support my son. He’s my son. I love him with all my heart like I love all my children. I’m a little embarrassed to say that after an initial inquiry into his feelings and sending congratulations, I began to think of myself.

*cringe of embarrassment for the truth of that*

My thoughts went a little like this:

I literally just got used to being mom to a little one and now I have to wear the Grandma hat?

Wait, Grandma?

Isn’t that a¬†little old?

I mean, I do have some grey hairs showing, but I’m not ready for this!

The guy at the skin care place in the mall said I just had baby crow’s feet around my eyes. Baby ones! He said I didn’t need the eye cream laced with snake venom like older people with deep set wrinkles!

I’m not Grandma material!

I don’t even know what it looks like to be a Grandma.

How do I do this?

Grandma?

What about Grammy?

Or Grandmommy?

Or…

God help me.

I’d love to tell you that I quickly came to my senses and excitedly went out shopping for cute outfits for my grand baby, but that would be a lie. I don’t lie. The idea of being a Grandma terrified me. I had just gotten the hang of being a mom again! Being a Grandma never even entered my mind, even though my mother became a Grandma at about the same age as me. I imagined my sons would go out into the world and act a little crazy for a while. I expected to preach to them about not partying too much and expected them to date for a while, get apartments with their roommate friends.

You know, things like that.

I just didn’t expect to be a grandma so soon.

Like being a new mom, I eventually embraced being a Grandma (the title I have ultimately and gladly accepted). My grand daughter looks and acts so much like my son when he was a baby. She’s beautiful and quiet and has the most precious smile. I enjoy spending Saturdays with her while my son works and I love how observant she is. Her name, Serenity, certain fits her tender demeanor and she, like my daughter, has been a wonderful surprise gift to our family.

I love my children, even with the big age gap, and my grand daughter is pure sunshine.¬†Sure there are challenges and sometimes I still have trouble juggling all the hats I wear, but my life is beautiful and if I had it to do all over again, I’d not change a single thing.

Life is full of surprises and if we hold on too tight to our expectations, we may miss out on something even better. I think it’s great to have ideas for the future, but to hold on loosely to them, so that we can remain open to all that the Universe has in store for us.

It’s always better.