Saturday, December 20, 2014

Angel's Embrace

Image by Lerin Wheeless 

This ornament arrived for us this week.  It's called "Angel's Embrace."  Such a beautiful way to remember the one we lost this year.  If you haven't lived through it, there are no words I can use to make you understand the depths of our sorrow.  But if you have suffered a loss, no words are necessary.

There is a quiet sadness hanging around me these days.  I have five beautiful children running, laughing, playing, shouting... yes, even fighting... in my cozy home.  I love each of them so much, it is indescribable.  They each are so different, and watching them grow and become their own people has been the greatest experience.

If all had happened as *I* would have designed it, we should have a 3 month old to buy Christmas presents for, to dress in cute jammies, to carry around to all the shows & plays that his five older siblings are putting on this week.

I know it will get easier.  It already has. But sometimes, I have to sit and cry and miss baby Blaise.

Did I ever tell you that we end every family prayer time with "Blaise Augustine, pray for us"?  I don't think I have told anyone, but it is a habit now... part of our family culture.  Sometimes it is hard to hear, actually.  But most of the time, it is beautiful to hear the name and to know there is a REAL little Saint in Heaven who prays for us, and loves us more perfectly than we can imagine here below.

Merry Christmas, sweet baby.  I'm sorry you aren't with us, but I know we will meet you one day.  Life can be such a bittersweet dance of Hope and Loss.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Write it on your heart

"Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year."  (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

It was a rough day, from the way I woke up to the way I can't sleep!  The universe just seemed to be working against me today.  I guess everyone has "one of those days" now and then.  They are never very much fun, but its always a chance to stay patient, kind & gentle even when things are hard.  Because anyone can be virtuous when life is easy, right?  ;)

Even on a day like this though, I know I have a wonderful life.  It is an incredible blessing to have my family, be able to homeschool my children, provide them with the basics and so much more, and have a warm place to call home.  I'm so abundantly blessed. 

Even when it means getting out of bed for twenty minutes, I really want to write something here each day.  I used to meticulously record each milestone for my first baby, and did pretty well with my second, and then third.  People told me that the memories and years and babyhoods would start to run together, but I don't think I really accepted that until the last few years. 

Rather than distinct recollections of who walked when or what year it was when we did this or that... it all blurs together in some abstract, beautiful kaleidoscope that I can't quite make sense of... other than to know, I was happy.  Even when I was battling mental illness, or struggling to pay the mortgage, or trying to fit way too many different lives into the one I have... I was happy.

Maybe that's the best kind of memory to have, after all.  :)

And now that I have placed all of that here, I think I can sleep.  Tomorrow is going to be the best day of the year, I've decided.  Each new morning is a new chance to make it so.  

Monday, December 1, 2014

Guess Who's Back?

Do you know what I am thankful for? Homeschooling.

Yes, my friends & family... after a LOT of prayer, consideration, and a few professional opinions, we decided that Lucy would be a happier & healthier girl if we went back to homeschooling. She was absolutely thrilled.

This created a domino effect. Much to my SHOCK... Sophie presented a very good case for homeschooling again too, though she was the one who was most vocal about going to public school for the rest of her school career. LOL. She has so many other interests and hobbies that she wanted to spend her time on, instead of finishing her work in each class and then reading/drawing until the next one. She is so bright, even the Pre-AP class schedule wasn't challenging enough for her. And being the extremely mature young lady she is, she couldn't believe that her classmates act like a bunch of... gasp... KIDS. ;) So now she is happily working through her school day in advanced courses at home, and spending the rest of her time pursuing all of those other things that make her heart sing.

Next, Isabella begged to follow suit. She just loves to be with us, and how could I say no? She needs some extra help on spelling, but is ahead in other areas... so it is best for her to have a custom-tailored curriculum as well. And Ben... he is such an easy-going guy, he'd be happy anywhere. But he decided that he didn't want to be at school "alone."

So there you have it. I'm not teaching a co-op and I'm not scheduling photography sessions at this time, so our days are actually very manageable. I love our little family, and this path of education is the best fit for us. We are using an eclectic mix of homeschooling materials, loosely following MODG but I prefer more intensive science & math, so we are following different methods there. They have PE at the Y three days a week, and monthly field trips. They have private voice lessons, and swim classes. They are also VERY involved in dance several hours a week, as well as acting classes and performing company at our local theater.

We are so, so happy. It's like coming home after a very long and hard journey.