A Wife Loved Like The Church

Posts Tagged ‘Mamahood

Have you seen that new video of Louis C.K. and his rant on cell phones?  If you haven’t, I highly recommend it. In a nut shell, he aptly tells us to put away our cell phones and just be in the moment. Whether the moment is happy or incredibly sad, let those emotions wash over you. Allow that Jesus sized hole in your heart to radiate through your body. And he’s right. We really do need to stop filling our emotional needs with social media and the internet.

But can I tell you something?

Having a cell phone keeps me sane as a mother.

Like all mothers, I’ve used my phone as a “pacifier” at some point in the past 3 years. But frankly, our family views iPhone/iPad/tv watching as a right to be earned, so our kids don’t use it all that often. The chances of you seeing one of the Windham bambinos watching Daniel Tiger on my phone while we grocery shop is pretty much none {but I understand why mamas do it, so no judgement on my part}.

My cell phone keeps me sane because it connects me to my girlfriends. At the touch of a button, I can connect with a friend, send an SOS text, or just laugh at something hilarious a kid just said. Yesterday I sent out this text ::

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My situation didn’t change after I sent out that message. In fact, because of a flat tire, Jonathan got home an hour later than expected. But, knowing I have women standing beside me, telling me that they understand and are right there with me, helps. A whole, whole lot.

And yesterday is just one example. Every day my cell phone keeps me connected to my mama friends who find ourselves on the brink of going completely cray-cray, letting each other know we aren’t alone. And it keeps me fighting. Keeps me grounded. Keeps me sane.

While Louis C.K. makes a valid opinion {and one I do strongly agree with}, I can guarantee you I won’t be giving up my phone any time soon.

 

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Motherhood didn’t come naturally to me. But because it seemed like it came naturally to so many other moms around me, I was crushed when I found it to be hard and overwhelming. I’ve never once had someone tell me “You’re such a natural at mothering.” Nope. Not me. I work every day against my own selfish desires to parent and love my children. The work is hard, but the work is good.

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Lunch time

However, when we started exploring homeschooling, I figured that teaching at least would come naturally. I naturally like learning and exploring. I naturally like teaching my children new ideas. I naturally like the concept of home learning.

But three weeks into our school year and I’m realizing I am going to have to work at homeschooling, just as much as I work at parenting.

And the learning curve is steep.

I’m figuring out how to mother and teach. I’m figuring out when Julia focuses best and when I’m most patient. I’m figuring out what this new role looks like for our family.

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P.E. at Zilker

 

So, homeschooling doesn’t come as naturally as I hoped. But, I’m willing to fight for it. I’m willing to put in the time and energy it takes to learn how to teach my children. Just like I have fought for learning to parent over the past {nearly} six years.

And for me, fighting for something makes me value it even more than if it were to come “naturally”. So here’s to a cause worth fighting for!

As of today, all three kids are out of the house for 5+ hours. 

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*The heavens parted and angels sing*

Julia has on-campus school M/W. Hannah and Joseph’s preschool (aka Mother’s Day Out) started today, which also meets M/W. That leaves me kid-free from 9-2. Can I just tell ya, I haven’t been kid-free on this kind of basis since having kids? I’m just a little giddy

In fact, as of this morning, I’ve already worked out, my house is clean, and I drank my coffee in silence. Silence. Ahhh….

Now, I’m sure I’ll hear all those “You’ll miss these days. Just you wait…”

Yes. I will miss these days. I will miss the days when my babies are little. I will miss the days when Julia is convinced that I know everything, when Hannah thinks I am the most beautiful woman, and Joseph chooses me over anyone else.

Yes, I will miss these days.

But, honestly, having a reprieve twice a week helps keep this mama sane. We decided to have a classical education approach with Julia (and later with Hannah and Joe Joe) just so I/we could spend more time with them. So, as much as I know I will miss these days of having littles, I am really enjoying having some down time.

Besides, we all know come 2 o’clock, I’ll be itching to see my bambinos. I’m a softy like that.

 

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(I can neither confirm nor deny that her sass is genetic)

Last week Julia started her first day at Kindergarten.

Talk about a big year. I’m proud of myself since I did NOT cry. Tear up? Form a lump in my throat? Have to turn away so as to not cry? Yes. Yes. And yes. But, I did NOT cry. *pats self on back*

We have the amazing opportunity to send Julia to Veritas Academy, which is a university model school. Veritas teaches a classical education based on a Biblical worldview, while using a university model that prepares children for college. After researching Veritas {read, stalking} since 2011, I’m super excited to finally be a part of the community.

And perhaps the best part of Veritas? There is a high level of parent involvement.

How is that? you ask.

Through calling on parents to be co-teachers alongside the primary teacher. In other words, Julia attends classes on campus twice a week, then I homeschool her the other days.

We follow a curriculum and syllabus set up by the school/teacher. Every week we receive the weekly lesson plans to be used by both the primary teacher and the co-teachers (co-teachers typically being the child’s mom). It lays out what the primary teacher will teach in class while on campus and then what co-teachers are to teach while children are at home. The campus days/home days alternate, so at the kindergarten level Julia is home every other day (ex :: on campus M/W, at home T/Th/F).

Many of you may know, that since before having children it has been on Jonathan and my heart to play a very active role in our children’s education. For many years, we assumed that would manifest in doing full-time homeschool. But over the past 3 years, we have felt the Lord calling us to a scenario more like Veritas. And while we are only in our second week {and while homeschool yesterday was ridiculously attitude challenging}, I am already so grateful for the community that we are forming.

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Julia, Kate, Lily

Julia has formed some sweet, sweet friendships already. She went to mother’s day out last year with several of her Veritas classmates from this year. In fact, two of her best friends, Kate and Lily, are in the same classroom as Julia.

There are a total of five girls {out of 12 kids} in Julia’s class. It’s precious to see how quickly friendships have been formed in such a short amount of time. Let’s just say, I imagine there being lots of special memories made by these girls.

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I’m sure that there will be plenty of bumps along the way. Let’s be real, I’m probably not the best teacher {and I’m not always praised for my abundance of patience – just keeping it honest}. But, I am so grateful that God has allowed me to have the chance to stay so connected to Julia during her early years of education. Because, while I may not be the best teacher, it is my true heart’s desire to be Julia’s life teacher. And I am so glad that God is allowing me to be just that.

(photo credit to Mollie Burpo of Bloom Photography)

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I believe in coffee dates with friends. I believe in surprising my husband with a date night. I believe in running as therapy. I believe in laughing often. I believe in enjoying every moment of summer with my children. I believe in crying during a good book. I believe in family dinner around the table. I believe in a saving grace I never deserved. 

 

I’m linking up to Just Jilly’s I Believe In…

Jonathan and I both love to travel. We have been everywhere from San Francisco to Prague. We have slept in classy 4 star hotels and dirty hostels. Over the past 10 years, we’ve shared some amazing memories through our travels.

And then we had kids.

Let me just get this out there :: Traveling with little kids can suck, but you gotta do it anyway.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids. They’re fun and I genuinely enjoy being with them. But, if you want a “just like old times” trip, your kids are going to make you want to gouge your eyes out. With a plastic fork. From an Indian food restaurant in Oklahoma City you never {and I mean never} should have tried. Not that I’m speaking from experience.

1,100 mile road trip to Iowa

1,100 mile road trip to Iowa

Yet, even with the eye gouging moments, we make it a point to take our kids to as many places as we can because we want them to grow up loving to travel. They’ve been every where from San Diego to Washington D.C. with several areas in between.

Why travel with little kids? They won’t even remember.

True. I highly doubt Joseph will ever remember that time he saw the White House {in fact, he could care less about the White House, but he was pretty fascinated by the fountain on the North Lawn}. But, our girls {who are now 4 and 5} still talk about visiting LegoLand last August. So clearly, they remember something. Yet, our travels aren’t just for them to remember-that-one-time, but to prepare them for when they are older. Traveling while they are young is an investment for their future. Teaching them to have manners in new places, make insta-friends at new parks, enjoy seeing the culture of new places. None of this can they fully do now, but one day they will.

The fountain that was far more entertaining than the White House

The fountain that was far more entertaining than the White House

Traveling with kids is so expensive. I could never afford it.

You are telling me. Come November, we have to buy 5 plane tickets when we fly. That is easily $1500. Did you read that right? $1500. Oy. I need a drink. So, what do you do if you can never, ever, afford to fly somewhere? Drive. It takes longer, but we’ve done many 1000+ mile road trips. With three kids. Under the age of 5. {See above paragraph about Indian food in OKC.} If you can’t bear the thought of driving that far with your kids {or husband, ha!}, find a closer place. We live in Austin and have made many a vacation trips out of the surrounding cities. Even a day trip can be an eye opening experience for your children. Once at your destination, you can either stay with family/friends, or find deals on a hotel. We’ve had major luck with the “big name” travel sites on finding great hotel deals.

With the right planning, you can make your trip fairly inexpensive. Make your own meals. Stay at a campsite. Find family discounts at area events. Make a budget, make a plan and stick to it.

Joseph tagged along with me to NYC last fall for a wedding. He loved it.

Joseph tagged along with me to NYC last fall for a wedding. He loved it.

I realize not every family can travel. The expense and time off work just aren’t permissible. And frankly, not every family wants to travel. It can be overwhelming and chaotic. But, it can be amazing and incredibly rewarding. If you set the right expectations.

How to have good expectations when traveling with kids.

I’ve learned the best thing for our family is to have a well laid out plan. If we are visiting a new city, map out the top things we really want to do, followed by the things we would like to do. On a recent trip to D.C. our list included the White House and The Museum of Natural History. Everything we did or saw after that was mere bonus. Having a plan in place, will help you prioritize and stay focused.

Realize that when traveling with little kids, they will be more of everything. More tired. More hyper. More cranky. More chill. More nervous. More excited. And it can vary by day {heck, with my kids it can vary by hour}. Be prepared with extra of everything. Extra water. Extra snacks. Extra time. Extra lovies. Extra {extra} patience. You’re asking a lot from these little people, so set your expectation accordingly. And give them lots of praise.

Julia can become very shy when she’s in a new setting. The problem is, we Windhams don’t do shy. Jonathan and I are both quite outspoken and encourage our children to be the same. We spend a ton of time coaching Julia on how to use her voice and speak up to other adults {or other children she wants to meet}. It’s taken countless failures, but our last trip to the East Coast showed me just how far she had come. On our flights she was talking to the attendants, while out and about she was making friends with other littles, and when visiting museums she was asking the curators for more information. Every time she stepped out of her shell, we were quick to praise her efforts. In her world, this is a huge step and I want her to see how well she has done.

Day trip to Sea World - San Antonio, just me and the littles

Day trip to Sea World – San Antonio, just me and the littles

Traveling with little kids can suck, but you gotta do it anyway. 

Our travels as a family aren’t always rosy. When we were in D.C., Jonathan and I spent a good 30 minutes arguing because we were under prepared for the day {think rain but no umbrella, lots of walking but no stroller}. Our kids were grumpy, tired and generally off balance. But, as Jonathan and I changed our attitudes and reset our expectations, the day ended up being really fun. So while traveling with little kids can suck at times, you gotta push through and keep doing it anyway. The long term reward is worth the momentary road bumps.

Now take a deep breathe, make a plan, and start your travels!

Hannah turns four today. F-O-U-R. How did that even happen? She’s so pint sized that I’ve had my fingers crossed that she’ll be little forever, but she keeps proving otherwise. But don’t ever misjudge her by her size, she is a force to be reckoned with.

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Hannah (Sissy, Michelle, Hannah Banana),

My sweet, hilarious little girl. You make my heart happy. You dance to the beat of your own drum, and for that I am forever grateful. You know what you like whether it puts you on the fringe or not. You aren’t afraid of who you are, and I pray you always keep that confidence. Your a handful, little girl. I can’t say that it’s always been easy being your mama. You’re stubborn and sneaky. But man, even when it’s hard to parent you, it’s an amazing gift and privilege to do so. You have a heart that wants to soar, but wants to never stray too far from home. Know that no matter how far you fly, you will always be able to come back.

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As you get older, I pray that you use your stubbornness, your boldness and your creativity for God’s glory and kingdom. It’s my greatest desire for you to have a personal  relationship with our Lord, one that isn’t based on your family, but one that’s between you and God.

Sweet girl, you are loved, beyond words. You may fight like cats and dogs with Julia and Joseph, but I know they will be by your side cheering you on for life. As for your daddy and me? We think you hung the moon. Keep dancing to your own beat, Hannah Michelle. We love you exactly as you are.

Love you to pieces,
Mama


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