School’s Out

College classes are out until fall. What better way to celebrate that, and the spring weather (we finally have some!), than hanging out in some city parks and taking photos of plants that usually spend their lives being stepped on, and daffodils that are just opening.

Spring? Winter? Summer? What Time of the Year is it?

Spring semester is winding down. Even though we are still getting snow in this part of the country; summer vacation starts in two weeks. It’s surreal to be sitting under the heat vent and planning for summer.

It is also surreal to be planning for life after school. I am going to try to finish next year before I reach the maximum amount I can borrow from the Department of Education. It is going to be a hard semester, but I have my husband in my corner and will seek out help caring for my son as needed. I have never been good at asking for help, always wanting to be a superwoman instead, but I am going to try growing up and asking for help before I get in over my head and start panicking.

I also am going to make reading and writing for pleasure, and listening to music each day habits. If they are habits I will be more likely to de-stress with them even when my final year of school gets crazy and I feel like I don’t have the time to do anything fun.

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Children and Play

I just read an article about the importance of play in helping kids find tomorrow’s jobs. Kids that play more often are better prepared for employment. Helping my son get a good job someday was not one of the reasons I decided to home school him, but play was. Schools are different than they were when I was a child. I had at least 3 recess periods in elementary school, my son had one. One 25 minute recess after his 25 minute lunch. The rest of the day filled with preparing for tests. He was lucky enough to have art and music at that school. I had hoped to continue with those classes, but the school and our family have had a lot of issues since we took him out of his homeroom during Christmas break. We have not made contact with one another about continuing the classes, but I may fix that next week. I often give people too much time to return my inquiries.

Home schooling has not been totally free and easy, but we are getting into the groove of it a little more each week. I am lucky enough to be able to do this right now because my husband and I went back to school and have student aid and student jobs that allow us to make our own hours. When we are done with school I don’t know if we will be able to keep home schooling our child, but I want to.

First Parenting Fail of 2018

Today I feel like the world’s worst parent. I know I’m not, but I feel like it. I signed my son up for an art class and I knew today was the first day, but I didn’t get myself out of bed to take him. I had a reminder on my phone, but since I turned the sound off I never heard it. I have been feeling under the weather for a couple weeks, convinced I am just a step away from getting a full-on illness, but it never quite comes. I have been sleeping an insane amount.

I think the answer is to get into a new rhythm of getting up at the same time every day, but with working in the afternoons this semester and not having to get up to get my son to public schools on time it’s hard. It’s like after decades of sleep deprivation my body has said, “Yes, this is what you were supposed to do a lifetime ago! Sleep, sleep!” When will it be enough? How much recovery time do I need?

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Changes are Constant

Life throws twists and turns often. Mine haven’t been that drastic and most of them I have implemented. I was getting ready to change majors and commit myself to going two years longer to finish a bachelors in a subject I am interested in and thought would have a higher income. I have been taking classes this semester that are required to get Bs or better in before the major can be declared. Currently I have a B in one and an A in the other. Lots of homework, 2 tests, and 2 exams left before next week shows the final grade.

I thought my son was better adjusted at his new school and it would be no problem to take traditional vs. online classes because I would still be able to pick him up from school each day. I didn’t count on a note from his teacher telling me that he was having trouble focusing on his own work instead of trying to help other kids with theirs. I know he’s like that at home but I assumed he was better at school. Then he started getting more notes sent home for various other things. His school is big and it’s packed with kids. He gets one recess a day and it’s at his lunchtime. When I was his age I had 3 recesses. School is different than it used to be and for the last two years I have seriously been thinking about homeschooling. I am ready to do it now. I am ready to take this chance to know who my son is and help him focus on the important things in life. I am lucky that this town has free museums, great libraries, and a teacher’s college that often has low-cost programs for kids. It’s going to be bumpy at first but we will figure it out.

Now I need to get back to studying.

Finding Time to Organize

It seems like it should be easy to find the time to organize, but it isn’t. When it takes all your available time to just complete the daily tasks that need done every day or every week, there is only enough time left to get ready for bed.

No matter what time I scrape out, it feels like I am missing out on life in order of one day hoping to join in on it. Getting rid of as much stuff as possible is the key, but knowing that doesn’t make it any easier to haul it out of the house and give it to someone who would appreciate it.

Does anyone out there have any tips for finding the time for organizing? I am especially interested if you have kids who interrupt you every five minutes to show you their latest Lego creation, Minecraft adventure, or a combination of the two.

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The Problem with Papers

I have kept a journal off and on since high school. I have destroyed many of them because they were written during times I wanted to forget. I have made a giant pile of them over the last two decades and even though I do not want to forget this period of my life, they were mainly a way to write out stresses I was having with work and a new baby and similar issues. Yes, I wrote down some great stuff too. Stuff that I might enjoy going back to read someday, but mostly they are how I dealt with negative things. Things better forgotten. So I have been struggling with a decision on what to do with them for over a year. Do I go through them page-by-page and save those tiny snippets that I may never read again or just outright destroy this pile that I do not have room for and has become a constant source of stress itself?

Yesterday, they were again occupying space in my mind and I decided, that since my life hadn’t been drastically altered by having one stolen in Montreal in 2009 I should just give them a nice sendoff and be done with them. Having them physically sitting here is causing more stress than they helped me deal with over the last 20 years. I told my husband today, “the types of things I wrote in them were things to relieve stress. Things that should have been written on loose-leaf paper and immediately thrown away, not saved in a journal.” So I am saying goodbye to them one way or another this weekend. Not just them but several loose papers my son and I have sitting around.

Here are the before photos and soon I hope to post the after photos.

Making Regular Life More Like Camping

My family likes camping. When we go camping we have so much fun just being outside with almost none of our belongings that we realize we don’t need so much. For years I have been wishing my life was more free from clutter, like it is when we are camping. So I am going to work toward that goal and document it here. Even if you don’t want your life to be like mine, you may find something interesting or entertaining.

One of the most important things to do is think about what you need on an extended camping trip and then build up from there. For example, what pans do you when you’re on a camping trip? I would say one frying pan and one stock pot. Now is that enough for your day-to-day life or do you need to add more? Can you get by with two plates and two bowls or do you need more for occasional entertaining? Is there a reason to have those special pans or can you make the regular pan do the work of the special pan. As a side note, some libraries now loan out special cake and candy pans so you don’t need to invest money or storage space to own one.

Think about when you are at your happiest and strive to make your life like that as often as you can.

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Political Rant

I finished reading White Rage by Carol Anderson and I am livid at politicians for what they have done to ruin this country.

Let’s get rid of political parties and instead let every politician to stand behind his or her word? Get money, gerrymandering, and hate out of Washington.

Poverty, our gutted educational system, and the creation of “the drug problem” is the fault of politicians on both sides and it all needs to be fixed. Fund education, decriminalize drug addiction, and give us a health system that will treat everything for everyone every time.

Republicans used to be for an integrated, equal America and Democrats were not. Somewhere between Lydon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon, that flipped. It is dangerous to follow a party blindly. We all need to be Independents and we all need to care for everyone in this country and every other country like family.

Weekend Fun

We’ve replaced the wax ring on our toilet today and now it’s not flushing so we’re going to have to get a toilet snake and clean the pipe. Dang. Luckily this is not costing anywhere near what the water heater we just had installed did, but it’s all cutting into the extremely tight budget we have being students working part-time and raising a child.

The worst thing though, all of this started after I gave notice at one of my two part-time jobs. My last day there was this past Monday. It’s a great place and they offered me decent flexibility, but it was cutting into my family time and it was exhausting me because it wasn’t a job I could just show up for and do. I was responsible for making sure the front desk was staffed at all times and being on call like that was just too much while also going to school and trying to make sure my son was getting all his homework done. It would be perfect if I could write and edit from home as a second part-time job. If any of you know needs someone to do that, let me know.