Wednesday, April 20, 2016

It's Been Awhile

I hate these types of posts.  You know the post where you have to explain all that has been going on in your real life that has prevented you from being present in your online life. Sigh.  I don't even know where to begin.

I'll pick up with the end of the year and try my best to work my way to the present day.  My family and I went to Nigeria for the Christmas holidays.  We were there for almost a month.  We had a great time.  My husband and most of his extended family all came together to celebrate the life of his father. It was a ten year memorial.  Here I am in asoebi or traditional attire for the event.

Below is a picture of all the grandchildren lined up according to birth order.  All but one grandchild was there.  I think that's a pretty cool picture. My hubby is the first one is line. 

Here we all are, can you find me?

Our house in the village. I think there were 50 people that stayed in this compound during the holiday.   It was stressful and fun at the same time. 

 Here is the sign that is at the entrance of my husband's village Ugboko.

While away in Nigeria, my mother was diagnosed with cancer. Mom had been feeling very sick before I left and I knew there was a chance it was cancer. I was hoping and praying that the diagnosis would not be cancer but we don't always get what we hope for.  It is a slow moving cancer but it is still cancer.  Her prognosis is good and as I am inspired I will write more about our journey into the world of cancer.  Her diagnosis is Multiple Myeloma which is a cancer of the plasma cells. I would have written about this situation sooner but out of respect for mom's privacy I did not.  Mom later gave me the clearance to  share and so here I am several months in writing about it.  I will share more on this later.  Here mom and I are at our first cancer support group meeting. 

I am so grateful to have found this group.  It's really good to be around others that can identify to what we are going through. Mom and I are committed to making as many meetings as possible.  

The boys are doing well in a traditional setting.  Each boy has been recognized at their schools for hard work, good behavior, good grades or some other characteristic.  Which is great but has put me in sort of a tailspin. I was so invested as a homeschool mom I have to find out who I am without the title homeschool mom.  That may sound strange but I'm really struggling to adapt to my new role. Home education had become a large part of my life dominating so much of my time and even most of my conversations.  Again, many of you may not relate but I have to find other things to discuss that are not homeschool related and I still need to be comfortable when I engage with those around me who are still homeschooling without feeling weird.   I'm reading a book to help me surrender certain areas of my life over to God and not obsess over them. I'll probably post more on that later. 

My leg is healing well from surgery.  I have some pain in my knee where the surgeon went in to place the rod and some swelling in my ankle close to one of the pins.  The surgeon recommended I wear compression socks.  Ugh the horror!  I reminded him that I was only in my thirties and that compression socks would not do anything for my sense of style.  But alas I'm wearing the socks and they have helped with my swelling.  My sense of style is still intact.

In February, I went to Cancun with a few of my friends to celebrate one of us reaching forty.  Forty, can you believe it?  Seriously where is the time going?  

Mexico was great except I was horribly sick with the flu.  I couldn't stop coughing and blowing my nose.  But I did rest which is something that I don't do when I'm at home so that was nice. 

When I returned from Mexico I celebrated my thirty-seventh birthday. We didn't do much because my husband said while I was away he was so overwhelmed caring for the kids that he forgot to plan something for me.  Hump!  All I have to say is he better have something awesome planned for Mother's Day.  

Graduate school is going well. This semester I'm taking three classes, nine hours which is considered full time.   This summer I've decided against taking any courses.  Instead I am going to relax, and perhaps get some time to finish some sewing and knitting projects.  After this semester there are only three semesters left.  It seems like just yesterday I was applying and waiting to hear back and now I'm nearing the end of the classroom portion of the journey.  In the fall I begin practicum then internship, which means I will have an actual case load of clients that I will counsel but have a supervisor who will meet with me weekly and advise me on how I handle my cases.  Words can't express the excitement and sheer terror running through me. 

In March, I went to Montreal Canada for the American Counseling Association Conference.  This is my second conference that I have attended.  Last year I attended in Florida and this year I was able to go to Canada.  Canada was cold, extremely cold.  I have pictures but for some reason that aren't loading to my blog. I was able to tour Norte Dame Basilica and a few other things in Old Montreal close to the convention center.  The conference was fun and I met a new friend.  

Well that's all for now.  Hopefully my next update will be sooner rather than later.  

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Surgery, School, Birthdays and General Updates

If you could see my now, let's just say my appearance would be seriously lacking. I'm not on bed rest but my activity has been limited to my bed and the bathroom as I heal from my surgery. 
I'm recovering from a stress fracture that never properly healed since February. 
You read that correctly, I've been operating at about 60% capacity for the past ten months.  So last week I decided to have surgery, not the best timing considering it's mid semester but for reasons I won't elaborate on now, it was decided that surgery should commence.  I checked into the hospital Friday 10/30/15 and was back home the following Sunday afternoon. Here is a picture of the surgery. 

One week post surgery, I'm in a lot of pain and weaning myself off the pain meds.  I've started physical therapy and I'm hoping for the best. If you look up at the picture and see the nails at the bottom of the leg, there is one nail close to my ankle and it really hurts.  I feel the nail when I get up to walk.  Recovery is going to be slower than I expected which is a bummer.  The hardest part is the stillness.  I'm left in the bed while life is happening all around me.  The boys are going to school, my husband is getting them out the door, helping with homework and carrying on household duties while I'm here in the bed.  It's an isolating feeling.

October began another birthday season here with my oldest son turning eleven.  
Can someone please tell this young man to slow down.  He is getting so big.  I love this boy so much.  He was my introduction into motherhood.  He is the one who showed me that being a boys mom would be a fun adventure.  He is responsible, handsome, helpful and generally a joy to be around.  

The boys have had their first report cards and they are all making A's and B's.  The transition from homeschooling to public school has been tougher on me than them.  I really miss being involved in their education on every level.  I hate that they are in school.  Although I'm responsible for signing them up. In some ways I regret that decision.  They are learning so much.  Some things I want them to learn, other things I wish they would not.  Their innocence is assaulted daily.  There were some conversations I didn't think I would need to have with a second grader.  I won't share the details but it's heartbreaking to see that children don't get to be children for long these days.  

I enrolled in three classes this semester Group Counseling, Counseling Children & Adolescents, and Diagnosis and Treatment Planning. Initially, I thought I would have more time to study since the boys are in school.  Well it hasn't worked out exactly as I hoped.  Yes, there is more time to study but I'm so busy doing so many other things like taking my mom to various doctors appointments or attending to so many other things that need my attention.  Enjoying the course material but the second year of grad school feels a little different than the first. Perhaps the newness or excitement that comes with the first year has worn off.  Now I'm considering accelerating my pace so that I can finish quickly, thinking about it not sure how that will pan out.  Let's see how this semester goes.     

Well that's all for now.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Back to School 2015-2016

Well it's official we are no longer a homeschooling family.  I wanted to post pictures of our first week of school but I had technical difficulties.  Anyway the first  and second week have come and gone and I can give you a more honest feel for what I think about traditional education.  Here are the boys this year.

Christopher 5th grade, attending Rogers Middle School.

Emmanuel 2nd grade, attending Baker Elementary School.


Joshua Kindergarten, attending Baker Elementary School.


School is in session and for the most part I feel a little lost.  I don't know how to be a parent to children in traditional school.  It feels a little weird.  Asking the children how their day went or what they learned in school and relying on them to tell me.  I feel cheated in a way.  With homeshcool I could witness every moment and share in the learning and now I'm just standing on the sideline hoping they will share with me the best and worst part of their days. 

Another thing that is taking some getting used to for me is the children don't have text books.  Well technically they have text books but the books are all digital.  I hate that!  It feels wrong.  How can you go to school without books!  Perhaps I'm too old school but I would like to look at my child's textbook in my hand and not go to another screen to look at it.  Sigh......

This second week of school my oldest is riding the bus to and from school. The younger boys are riding the bus home from school but I still drive them in the morning.  My husband would prefer for them to be on the bus morning and evening but I think that's just too much.  Their bus leaves so early in the morning I'm not willing to have the daily battle of getting them up extra early to get on the bus.

What else can I say but we are adjusting.  On any given day I feel of mixture of happiness, sadness, and anxiety all rolled together.  

I have started my second year of graduate school and since I'm posting pictures, here are a few of me.

After seven years of dread locs, I have a freshly shaved head.   It's taking some adjusting but I think I'm getting the hang of it.  This semester I'm taking nine hours,  Group Counseling, Counseling Children and Adolescents, and Treatment Planning.  It's going to be a busy semester so I will do my best to post regular updates.  

Monday, June 29, 2015

A Season of Change

Many bloggers have seasons in their lives when they just can’t update as much as they would like.  Generally, when there has been a noticeable absence the blogger returns with an explanation of sorts.  Well this would be my explanation if I had one.  The truth is it’s a season of change.  I am so busy trying to keep up with life that all the fun creative things like capturing our life in pictures has taken a backseat to cooking, cleaning, laundry, checking homework, writing papers. Honestly more like eating out, piling things up in corners for my attention at a later date and washing when I hear a little one say “Mmmmoooommm, I don’t have any socks,.”  To which I reply “What do you mean you don’t have any socks!”  Nothing fancy just plain ole day to day stuff. 
I was feeling a bit nostalgic over the weekend and decided to peruse my blog of former posts.  It was wonderful to see all the school activities, family vacations and other things that reflected a time when I lived more outside the box.  My current groove feels like a fast treadmill on a cold dreary day.  No frills just going through the motions begrudgingly.  How sad!
Updates! After a lot of prayer and tears I’ve decided to enroll all of the boys into traditional school next year.  Oh man was this a difficult decision.  Why you may ask!  Well the answer is sort of long but I will try to type a shortened version via bullet points.  So here are my reasons is no particular order:
  1. I’ve noticed I’m losing my patience with my boys.  The lack of patience has been ongoing for a while and after a year of it not going away I felt that I needed to change things up.
  2. My boys need more structure and activity then I can give at this time.  Yes our homeschool has structure and some activity but they need more than I can give at the moment.
  3. Somewhere along the way I lost the magic.  By magic I mean the heart of really tackling each day with passion.  My daily lessons unfortunately turned into a no frills let’s just get this done sort of thing.  There are seasons when you find yourself in a rut but it should not continue for long periods of time. In my case an entire school year. Sad I know.
  4. Didn’t know attending grad school part time would take up so much of my energy. 
  5. Education laws and rules are always changing and I got scared that I wouldn’t be able to cut it.  How I let the devil in my head with this one I don’t know. 
  6. I’m tired and suffering from major burn out.  I know that’s part of it.  We homeschool moms are always tired. We are always trying something new, attacking an area that needs work.   But I was feeling something different that I can’t easily explain.  I’m done, even though I don’t want to be.
  7. For the 2014-2015 school year I tried something different enrolling the boys in a university  model type school.  With this program I did not have to plan any curriculum I only needed to follow the guidelines and make sure the boys turned in their work.  I started the school year thinking this would be the answer for me.  It was not.  The boys did well, but the still small voice within me was still saying its time to let go.  (No I don’t want to.  I’m not ready. There are still so many things I want to do and share with them). The conversations with myself were endless.  But nothing changed.  No glimmer of hope, no light at the end of the tunnel.  Nothing signaled me that what I was feeling was just an emotional blip that would pass. 
  8. I need a break.  I need a space to hear my own thoughts and pursue other things. I would like to go to the doctor, the bank, etc. without carrying three boys with me.  Perhaps that sounds selfish, silly or petty.  I can’t believe I just typed that.  But in the spirit on standing in my truth I’m going to keep it there.
  9. The boys need a different environment.  Some of the character issues we have in our home stem from our setup.  It will be good for them to experience a different environment.  One where mom is not always the teacher.  The change will help them to appreciate what they have and be exposed to something different.
Really, I could go on and on but you get the gist.  The new school year will be the first where all of my boys are in school under someone else’s guidance.  It’s bitter sweet. When I started my homeschool journey it was my intention to see it through to completion. However, I strongly feel like I’m being led in a different direction.  Next year will be a trial year to see how the boys do and if traditional school is a match for our family.  Needless to say if its not a match for our family I will not hesitate to bring them back home or consider other options.
My younger two will be one campus and my oldest will be on the middle school campus.  I’ve registered everyone online but still have to go down for the formal registration and turn in shot records etc. 
Please keep us in your prayers as this is definitely a time of transition for all of us.  During this time there have been many, many tears for me and I’m sure many more to come but I know that God will see us through.  I’ve signed up at both campuses to be apart of the PTO.  When I was growing up it was PTA.  I figure I’ve been very involved in their education up till now I might as well keep that up. 
In the meantime, I hired a tutor (a teacher from our ISD) to work with Christopher over the summer.  I shared the boys yearly standardized test results with him and he feels that boys are each doing great.  That was a huge relief.  Christopher is a little behind with his writing but he is working on that. The tutor stated that Christopher has great ideas but translating them from thoughts in his head to words on a page need a little more developing.  He said that’s difficult for many kids especially boys.  I decided to hire a male tutor because I thought there might be a difference in the lessons.  And wouldn’t you know this tutor can get Christopher to do things that mommy can’t.  Thank God for help! Based on Emmanuel’s test scores the tutor feels that Emmanuel will be placed in gifted and talented when the year begins. 

So that’s an update on the happenings around here.  Talk to you soon.
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