Thursday, August 27, 2009

It's 2 am and Here I Am...

So, I should be asleep right now. No, Julia did not wake me up. I just woke up after being asleep for a couple of hours and couldn't get back to sleep. My mind and emotions started to turn over and wander. So, here I am. I started homeschooling all the girls this week and am working out the kinks in my schedule. I think it's going really well and I'm enjoying being with all of them. One challenge I'm having is my little gypsy - Daisy - is at it again. Apparently, when she was supposed to be in bed she snuck into her older sisters' room and stole Camille's journal and 3 purses the girls had. The girls were beside themselves when they had discovered it later that night. I had been out visiting with Tim's family earlier this evening, so I didn't catch the crime in process. I told the girls that they needed to TRY to understand that Daisy is 3 and that this is what 3 year olds do. It really is a difficult age and so destructive. Stereos, car DVD's, seatbelts, cameras and various appliances have always been broken and destroyed by 3 year olds in our home. Thank God for warranties - we've always needed to use them! Anyway, what I need to do is replace the girls door handle with one that locks - but not with a key. Tim has been working such long hours lately that he has no time. Let's see, in all my spare time maybe I can figure that out. Along with fixing the garbage disposal....Maybe that's what I should be doing at 2 am! All of the sudden I feel really tired now....

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dramatic Change of Heart - continued

So, where was I before my crazy vacation? Oh yes, my current change of heart. On the last day of school for Chloe, who finished kindergarten, and Leanne, who finished2nd grade, I looked back at the school as the girls got into the car and I said "goodbye." I had felt that I was done with that school, at least for the next year. I had an inexplicable desire to homeschool the girls. Chloe was looking at being retained for kindergarten, which neither Tim nor I was thrilled about. Leanne had had just a so-so year. I realized how difficult it had been to have two in public school while having two being homeschooled and in a co-op at church. I was in two different worlds and I couldn't give myself to either world. I didn't really commit myself to anything and it was depressing to me. When I was pregnant with Julia school was good for Leanne and Chloe because both were helped in ways that I couldn't provide. And when Julia was a newborn I was so distraught and traumatized over all that had happened with her birth and challenges with Tim that I didn't have anything extra to give emotionally. I barely hung on last year with my older girls.
However, I had planned to have my middle girls in school for years to come and eventually homeschool them later. But to have them all home was quite a different decision. Let's that would be homeschooling a high schooler, a middle schooler, two elementary grade schoolers, with a 3 and a 1 year old at home. All day. Every day. And on and on and on. Ummm...WHY?! That's exactly what Tim thought and he was not so enthusiastic. We talked many times about it and I had grown so excited about the idea of them being all home again that I was having a hard time with his resistance. We set up an appointment with our pastor to discuss the issue. I got stuck in bad traffic and couldn't make it. Then Chloe's teacher noted dramatic progress during summer school and they wanted to promote her to 1st grade. Although Tim was more in favor of homeschooling Chloe (and hence, Leanne, too) than retaining her, when she was going to be promoted he wanted her and Leanne in school. My plans were derailed. I knew Tim really didn't want them homeschooled because he didn't see why I would do that when the best elementary school in all of PUSD is our neighborhood school.

So, back to the pastor we went. This time, I wasn't stuck in traffic. And even more amazingly, I had decided to go with whatever decision Tim made - cheerfully and with no negative emotion. This was even more dramatic about me than wanting to homeschool them. That I would not argue my case (I had considered law school before becoming a teacher. Tim knows I would have been a great lawyer, unfortunately)and plead with Tim and get all emotional over a vision and a desire that had awoken inside me was perhaps the most dramatic change in me throughout this whole process. However, I was really depressed about the thought of putting them in school. But, I determined to have a good attitude about it.
The counseling appointment with our wise, even-keeled, gracious pastor went very well. Midway through the appointment, Tim strongly leaned toward putting Leanne and Chloe in school. "Okay," I said. "Your feelings matter and if you're not comfortable with homeschooling them, then we'll put them in school." I really had a good attitude, even as I tried so hard not to let my tears show. "Be strong, Laura - don't cry!" I told myself. I was trying so hard in those moments to trust that God would help me with putting them in school.

And then the question came. Matter-of-fact, curious: "And you think this is the best decision for Laura and the girls?" my pastor asked. Tim looked like he hadn't thought of that before. He was now posed with a very important question. And before too long he said: "We'll homeschool them."

The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord. He turns it like a watercourse wherever he wills..." Proverbs (not sure exactly which one)

So, we'll see how this goes. I really am looking forward to it.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

Remember when you returned to school in September with your starchy, new clothes and stiff, shiny shoes on the First Day of School? For me, Marengo Elementary was my grade school in South Pasadena and I still remember the paper-y smell of the classrooms and the humid, hot feeling in the air. My first assignment was always to write a sentence, paragraph, or essay (depending on what grade I was in) about what I did during my summer break. My essay was always filled with much of the same: my adventures in Mammoth Lakes. All summer long we lived in our condo in Mammoth and waterskiied, fished, went horse back riding, inner-tubed down the Owens River (SO FUN!),visited Bodie the ghost town, and hung out at the Rec room, jacuzzi, and pool area with various friends we'd see every summer. It was really an idyllic summer existence. From the time I was 1 year old to the end of my 12th summer we were up there from late June till early September. It has ruined me forever for a normal, hot, humid, crowded summer in Los Angeles. But, I'm adjusting and learning how to love LA in the summer with mu kids who have no idea what they are missing just 6 hours and 300 miles away in Inyo County.

Anyway, I still remember the endless supply of quarters my parents always had for the pinball machine, pool table and then PAC MAN - the King of all video games! These kids can have their Wii games, Mario Bros, X-BOX, and Nintendo DS whatever-you-call-thems, but PAC MAN and his long-lasting love, MS. PAC MAN, will always reign as the "Best Video Games Ever."

OK, so enough about my enthusiasm about video games. Tim usually has his best paying extra jobs during the summer so he works ALL SUMMER LONG. So, we don't really vacation in the summer (or at all). We do take trips at Christmas, usually, to Tim's mom Joan's house in northern California. During the 4th of July for a couple of summers several years ago we'd go to my Dad and Stepmom's beach house in Ventura and that was FABULOUS. But, alas, the beautiful beach house with the view of the Channel Islands (on a clear day) and the charming sand dunes and inviting jetty is gone. Retirement was calling to my Dad and so their finances adjusted accordingly. I understand. I really enjoyed it - a lot - while it lasted. I really love the beach.

Anyway, in January my stepmom mentioned that she had booked a week at a great resort in Palm Springs the first week of August. "Could we make it?" "Absolutely!" I said without pausing. A whole week? Wow...unheard of... So, with Tim's new schedule he was only able to make it for one day and night at the beginning and end of the week. One of my stepsisters and one of my sisters joined us and we really had fun, except for....well...let me just say the details are better left undisclosed to protect the innocent. But, near-drowning, police help, an urgent 911 call, heli-transport to the nearest hospital, and a hospital waiting room that was so beautiful I thought I was in an art musuem (those old, rich folks in Palm Springs spare no expense in living the good life - thanks, Bob Hope!), fast moving, intense prayers and a few tears spanned my week on vacation. When I told a friend's husband some of the details, coupled with a remembrance of our last family vacation over New Year's with Camille's leg infection, he remarked: "You should just stay home from now on." No kidding!
But, in all reality, the resort was beautiful, the kids swam till way past bedtime, we played games, laughed heartily, and went on a wild goose chase with my new GPS application on my phone that ended in my stepsister and I getting to a better movie theater with much cheaper prices and 7 kids with us than we had originally intended (and a trip to the Verizon store to see why it wasn't working. When I programmed the hospital on my GPS it sent me to the casino. I wish! That is, if I gambled, which I don't). I also saw God's miraculous, providential timing of events, places and people to save lives in a variety of ways. I was quite affected emotionally at seeing God's caring hand. Thank you God, for always being an ever-present help in times of need.

And, goodness gracious, thank God for air conditioning! There were some days it was up to 114 degrees! Memories of the cool, breezy Mammoth summers where I would hear the wooshing sound of wind through the masses of pine trees on the hillside near my parents condo still emerge in my mind's eye....ahh, childhood!