Thursday, June 23, 2016

A Breath of Fresh Air

My mom called me after my last post and asked, "Are you okay?" The truthful answer was, "Yes, and no." Her concern (and that of a couple others) made me think maybe I needed to force myself to do something productive; a good old fashioned kick in the pants. So...

Task one: Paint the front porch. I asked my older kids to help. They asked me how much I would pay them. I told them to get off their thrones and paint the effing porch (except I used the real word cause, good grief, my kids are so spoiled and the lack of gratitude is maddening). This also happened to be the same day Ena was accused of saying the "F" word to the neighbor kid. Turns out she thinks hell is the F word and she "just" gave him the finger. It also turns out that her older brother told her about giving someone the finger and she felt compelled to try it. That evening we all had a talk about how swearing was off limits to kids but sometimes acceptable for grownups (I had to cover my tracks), just like alcohol, cigarettes, and (now in Washington) Marijuana. These things need to be used with caution and self control, two things kids generally lack.

We were done in no time, and actually had fun doing it.

The paint will look this nice for about a week.

Task two: Paint living room. We've lived in this house for six years and the paint felt dated and dirty. I've been leaning towards pale blue for awhile and then I went to my neighbors graduation party. She has pale blue walls that left me breathless. I went to the paint store and saw the color "Breath of Fresh Air." It spoke to me. 

This already shows the new furniture arrangement but with the old paint colors. I was tired of the black.

Notice the art arrangement over the piano. And Happy Fathers Day Kyle! I love that Hermon, Wyatt, and Bentley are all making the same face.

The trial coat felt soothing, I decided to go for it.

New art arrangement

The school cabinet fit perfectly under the window and is out of the dinning room allowing me to turn the table.

Task three: Paint the dinning room. These two rooms are connected by an archway so they need to coordinate. My dinning room ceiling is florescent yellow and I wasn't about to paint over it. I chose to cut "A Breath of Fresh Air" by four making it nearly white. Should this color be called "Gasping for Air?" Maybe.

Original yellowish white walls

Task three: Rearrange all the art and furniture. Since I'm not moving, the only change I can get is by moving stuff.

Day two mess

Viola! I like sparseness, it's good for breathing.

Feels much more open with the table turned

The three days of work was invigoration. I really like my new arrangement. I've tried several times to put my couch facing the fire place but the big coffee table made it cramped. That table is now in the TV room and perfect for putting our feet up. Win, win.

I love this cozy little TV room. And I love Levi's purple hair.
Up next: Front entry, stair way and upstairs hallway. I won't tell you the plan, but it's going to be fun.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


I read blogs.

I get pretty frustrated when people stop blogging.  I find myself caught up in their lives (mostly people I don't know), caring about what their kids are doing, excited about their home renovation, and then suddenly, they quit writing.

I'm left wondering what happened. "How's Johnny doing at school? Did Suzy make the soccer team? Did the drywall ever dry?" Many of the blogs I followed were written by other adoptive families. I assume their life got too horrible, complicated, or monotonous to write about.  They likely assume nobody cares anyway so what's the point?  I assume this because that's why I don't write much anymore.

Here's my life. The last few months have looked like this: Wake up, fight with Royal until he goes to school, wander aimlessly through the precious few peaceful hours of the day feeling bored, uninspired, and slightly anxious because I'm not doing anything useful. I look left, I look right, I see things that need doing, I shrug and watch TV. I dread the end of the school day when I pick up Royal and Ena. They argue and complain from the moment I pick them up until they go to bed.

During these after school hours I listlessly watch them and the neighbor kids while they play, fight, and break every guideline I've put into place. I often feel like the bitchy overly correcting mom, or a hostage. I grudgingly make dinner. By the time Kyle gets home from work I'm ready to run away.

I'm not living life but just existing. Complicated and monotonous as promised, bet you're glad I filled you in.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

The End of Another Era- Wyatt Graduates into the Real World!

Wyatt took his end of the year exam. This not only completes his eighth grade year but also his life as a homeschooler.  I have mixed feelings about this. I'm sad because he's all grown up, yet excited for him to go to high school next year. He'll have freedom and independence like never before as well as structure and "real" classes. I love Wyatt so much. He's determined, talented, and adorable.

Going into this school year knowing it was Wyatt's last year home with me, I made a point to stay low key, and free to do what we wanted (this was not a stretch for us).  Looking back it felt like a year off (academically). I taught the boys Washington State History and nothing else. Math, vocabulary, Latin root words, and reading were up to them.  And honestly, I checked up on their progress one time.

Our non-academic classes were way more fun. The highlight of every week was #walkforfries. After reading the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed I wanted to become a hard core hiker. Instead, we walked for french fries. This quickly turned into "go out for lunch," but always included a long walk.

Another "class" was watching Parenthood. I began watching this alone but couldn't justify holing myself up in the TV room while they twiddled their thumbs (and I was unwilling to quit watching because it's addictive and wonderful). All the conflict, inappropriate behavior, and difficulties the Braverman family went through became our sounding board for discussing everything: premarital sex, addiction, abortion, homosexuality, adultery, divorce, developmental disorders, adoption, sickness, aging, financial hardships, etc., it's ALL covered.

We also went bouldering a couple times.  Ezra and I are excited to add this to our class list for next year. You can see it at #wetotallyclimbnow on Instagram. We also got a paddle board, so we're pretty cool.

I'm always amazed at the test  results after slacker years. Wyatt scored 2-4 grade levels ahead in four categories. He jumped two grade levels from last year in two of these subjects. He's only bad at one thing and that's spelling. Thank goodness for spell check. I'm not saying this to brag but to remind all of us homeschooling moms who live in a state of panic beating ourselves up for not "doing enough," that it doesn't take what we think it takes. My advice (and I give it in retrospect) is to relax, have fun, learn by living, use every day situations as teaching tools. Focus on relationship and our kids will turn out just fine.

Last Day of Homeschool


Our happy place

Oh man, these were good fries. And we KNOW a good fry when we taste one.

Wyatt usually plays piano, but this week he rocked the electric guitar.

Summer here we come!!