Posts Tagged: school

Jun 15

School’s Out!

school's outSchool’s out for summer!  The bell rang at 10:48 this morning.

Will and I discussed the last of his papers, and that marked the end for him.  Jen finished last Wednesday after getting an A on her math final.

And so we are done for another year.


  Continue reading →

Jan 15

How To Start Your Homeschool Morning Peacefully

how to start your homeschool morning peacefully“How’d you sleep?” I set my coffee down to get up and start her chocolate milk.

“Good. How ’bout you?”  She curls up in her corner of the couch and Nina saunters over to take her share of the blanket.

I start heating the milk and then walk into the living room.  “Any dreams?”

“No. You?”

“Yeah.  I’ll tell ya when Will’s up.”  At this point, I walk back into the kitchen.  She’s an introvert like I am.  I know she needs quiet and time to ease in in the morning. Continue reading →

Jun 14

homekeeping 10

homekeeping 10It seems I’ve entered my Nanny McPhee Period when grey hairs corkscrew from the top of my head and adult onset acne gets comfortable and refuses to leave.  I know this isn’t a beauty blog, but I’ve discovered a couple products that have made this phase slightly less Nanny McPhee-like, and it wouldn’t be right not to share.

I haven’t the bravery to Google – “How Long Will I Keep Getting Periods” – because if there’s a woman out there who is still getting periods well into her senior years, I don’t want to know about her.  I don’t want to know that I could be that empty-nest woman, in her 60s (because I will be close to 60 by the time Jen leaves, if she decides to do so), traveling to Italy, sipping red wine at a lovely cafe and having to excuse herself from the intelligent conversation at the quaint bistro table for two because she’s having a “period” emergency.

I can handle many things, but I’m not sure I want to know how long I’ll have to deal with periods.  No, I won’t be doing hormone replacement therapy.  I’m the anti-chemical, left-over hippy, who doesn’t put anything on her lawn, doesn’t own a microwave, and has never colored her hair.  I will not be taking some sort of chemical supplement to help me through this phase, even if that would keep my kids from wanting to kill me or move into their dad’s house once a month.  (Come to think of it, my mood swings are sure to bring about that empty nest.)


Primrose Oil has kept my kids from packing their bags.  I don’t know why it works.  I don’t care.  It keeps me from wanting to slash the neighbor’s tires when he leaves his car running while he’s in his house obviously looking for his car keys.  Primrose oil keeps me from hiding under the covers until my period passes.  I love this stuff.  If I’m telling you about it, that means it works. Continue reading →

Apr 13

Lessons From a Day in the Life of a Single, Stay-At-Home, Homeschooling, Happy Mom

“What I’d like to know is how old does a person have to be
before they get to do all the fun stuff?”
– R L LaFevers, Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos

“One of you grab the iPad and look up stele.  Check out the images.”

“Can we read another chapter?  Please?”

“You’ve gotta get on your list if you wanna have time to hang with your BFF.  Same for you, Will, if you want to make a tee time.”

“Can drawing a stele be on my list today?”

“After worksheets are done, you can draw.” Continue reading →

May 12

A Tale of Manifesting

“Mom, didn’t you say you were going to take us to a play about Camelot?”

I’d lost the note I’d written.  At the beginning of April,  I’d discovered a college production of a funny version of King Arthur and Camelot.   I’d forgotten to buy tickets and the date was fast approaching.  “Will, I’m glad you reminded me.  I’ll get online and find out where to get tickets after we get back from the hardware store.”


We’d gone to Home Depot under the guise of exploring options for a homeowner repair.  We came home with a pile of seed packets instead.

They each got to select a couple different packets for their corner of the garden.  Jenny selected celosia, forget-me-nots and celery.  She doesn’t actually like celery but her imaginary friend does.  Will selected a packet of habanero seeds and sweet onions.  I picked basil, California Poppies, hollyhocks, and nasturtiums.  I’m sure there were more in there. Continue reading →

Jan 12

A Work In Progress

I am a work in progress and so is this blog.

First, some chronology to set the stage:

5 1/2 years ago –  Stuff three boxes, buckle two young kids into car seats, leave husband,  nice house, financially secure future, perpetual stomach aches and nicest yard* I’ll ever tend.

5 years, 5 months ago – Discover NPD and naively present the concept to narcissistic husband and helplessly watch as message falls on deaf ears.

5 years, 3 months ago – Buy tiny, cozy, safe home for the three of us.  Put holes in walls, roll in grass that is never fertilized, refuse to make beds, leave projects out in plain sight, smile and laugh every day.

4 years, 4 months ago – Youngest starts public school.  Take a temporary, part-time job with family.  Rush between commitments like every other family in the U.S.  Stomach aches start to make a reappearance.

4 years ago – Divorce is finalized. Kids seem to be coping well with divorce, not so well with public school. Continue reading →

Nov 11

The Impact of Attitude

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company … a church … a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude … I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me, and 90% how I react to it.
And so it is with you … we are in charge of our Attitudes.
C. Swindoll*

I have a choice.

I could wake this morning, annoyed that winter is on its way, and I’ll soon be shoveling walks and hauling firewood; or I could appreciate the built-in exercise routine that doesn’t require a monthly health club fee.

I could be angry that I am a single mom with full responsibility for raising two kids by myself; or I could appreciate how fortunate I am that they are with me 98 percent of the time.

I could be missing the much nicer house we used to live in, and the lack of money worries; or I could appreciate that this home is full of love and comfort, and my kids have learned valuable lessons that come from living within our means.

I could be annoyed by the mess from the English Muffins and coffee makings; or I could appreciate that they can make their own breakfast, and make me a cup while they’re at it.

I could be anxious that I’m single and 49; or I could revel in the sheer joy of being single and 49.

I could be worried about what the future holds, and whether I’ll benefit from the choices I’m making; or I could trust that the level of contentment I see in the three of us is a good indication that we are headed in the right direction.

I could be cranky about having started a bathroom remodel when I know next to nothing about such things; or I could turn this into a homeschool project where all three of us learn in the process.

I could bark at the kids when I can’t handle the mess; or I could acknowledge that this is their house, too, and gently ask them to help when I feel overwhelmed.



I could choose to see what is wrong in our life and our choices; or I could choose to see what is right.

I can choose to wake with a positive attitude and greet my two with a smile and a kind voice that gets the day off to a good start.

I have a choice.

*Thank you, Kate.  ;)

May 11

The Deer or the Tick

She dipped another bite of chicken in ketchup, and stared out the window.

I could see she was contemplating something, but I asked, “Are you going to take that bite?”

She put the fork down and got off her stool.  Then, in uncharacteristic fashion, she picked up the stool and slammed it on the floor five times.  She sat back down and said, “There!”

I looked at Will to gauge his reaction.  This wasn’t like Jenny at all.

“Um, Jen…  what was that about?”

“I’m just frustrated with dad.  I’m tired of crying.  Eight year old girls shouldn’t pout, it’s embarrassing, so I figured I’d slam my stool a few times.  I do feel a little better, except look at all the junk on the floor from slamming the stool.  Sorry about that.”


I could have launched into another of my “motivating” talks about how feelings are important.

  • It’s good to talk about it.
  • I know how you feel.
  • What’s the funny part of this story?
  • Do you really want to be in a funk right now?
  • Let’s choose a new attitude.

blah blah blah blah blah

I’m tired of hearing myself say the same things over and over again.  I have to think they are tired of hearing the same things, too.

So I acknowledged her frustrations.  I let her calm herself down.  I think I said something wise like, “That sucks, doesn’t it?”

We finished dinner and went outside to skateboard, draw on the sidewalk with chalk, laugh at the cat and walk the hill.


The next morning we eased into home school in our most favorite way – I read a couple chapters to them.

This is the pearl we uncovered that morning:

“… your pain, like all you feel, is great.  Yet I fear that instead of stepping through your pain, as you and I have stepped through many a marsh, you have let it cling to you, like the blood-thirsty tick that rides our backs for months on end.” —Eremon, the stag
an excerpt from T.A. Barron’s book, The Fires of Merlin


Therein lies the power in storytelling.

Feb 11

Army of Love

army-of-love“Mom, will you help me make a bunch of paper airplanes?  I’m making an Army of Love.”  Jenny showed me how to fold the paper, told me the color order and where the gas tank went, and we made 13 paper jets.  As we were folding and coloring and giggling and talking of paper cuts, I asked her how she came up with the idea.  “I dunno,” she said.  “It’s a good idea.  I think they should fly over the world dropping candy hearts, like little love bombs.”

While my daughter might have a fine imagination, she also knows of the practicality of forming an Army of Love.  I don’t need to spoil the fun by saying, “Come on, Jen, do you really think there’d ever be such a thing?  Wouldn’t it really be an Air Force of Love, even if it could be real?”

She’s exploring possibility through art and writing.  She’s gotten a taste of the more unpleasant aspects of life.  It’s good to balance that with the freedom to try, to imagine, to pretend.

It’s good to be free to wonder.

It’s good to be allowed to try, with the belief that anything is possible. Continue reading →

Feb 11

More from the YCMTSU File

*YCMTSU – You Can’t Make This Shit Up

One night in August of 2009 I was sitting cross-legged on our purple love seat with the laptop on the cushion next to me.  I’d been writing on this blog for a couple weeks, and I realized I needed to name the characters.

My companion through college, two failed relationships, the laundry-list of jobs, and the births of my kids was a cat (soul mate) named Jesse.

I don’t know where I came up with ‘Blayne‘, but ‘Jesse’ and ‘Blayne’ sounded good together.

I went on to name my kids.  Will‘s name was actually one of the names on the list that I carried in a backpack along with fuzzy socks, a journal and a toothbrush, to the hospital, on the day he was born.

Jenny‘s name isn’t directly tied to anyone.  I like that name because it is sunny, happy and it doesn’t sound like the name of someone who willingly chooses to be a doormat – all things that I want for my daughter. Continue reading →

Dec 10

On Breathing Easier and the Battle Ax in the Middle of the Night

apronAt 2:00 a.m., those voices in my head can be pretty loud.

I don’t know who let the battle ax into my bedroom.  She was holding  a cast iron skillet.  I don’t know if the skillet is her trademark, or if she was planning on hitting me with it.  Her hair held spongy pink rollers.  Over her mom-jeans, she wore a food-stained apron in a cherry print that barely stretched over her ample hips.

I’m sure her middle name is Guilt.  Her last name is Doubt.  First name is Jesse.

She barked at me for taking my kids out of public school.  She lectured me for wanting so damn much out of a relationship.  She snarled at me about my choices and the direction I’m heading.

With one hand on her hip, she started her relentless pestering.  “Everyone else seems content to be in a so-so relationship.  Why do you think you deserve to be any happier than anyone else?  Hello, Missy, this is happy.  Look around you.  Everyone is coupled up, and they go about their business just fine.  How much time do they spend worrying about being happy?” Continue reading →

Dec 10

An Early Christmas Present

best-friendThere was tech-decking at 2:30 a.m.  There were empty cans of Coke on every table, hot chili pepper eating contests, loudest burp contests, and soggy ski pants, mittens, hats, and sweatshirts strewn from one end of the house to the other.

I couldn’t be happier.

Jenny has had a best girlfriend for a couple years now.  I was concerned that when we ditched public school, we’d sacrifice her friendship.  I know now, that those girls would be friends even if one family or the other moved to the other side of the country.  They may not see each other every day at school, but when they do see each other or talk on the phone, they always pick up right where they leave off.

That is the mark of a true friendship – picking up where you leave off.

They have a connection through Barbies, or ponies, or rock polishing or dress-up or whatever.  I don’t even know what it is, but it is very special. Continue reading →

Dec 10

Spritz Cookies and Other Customs

spritz-cookiesWe made Spritz Cookies on Sunday.  They’re my favorite Christmas Cookie, and my brother’s, too.  And now, they are Jenny’s favorite.

Forever, the tradition has been to only have Spritz at Christmas.  They are special, and they should be saved for a special time of year.

A couple years ago, Jenny asked, “Mom, can we make Spritz other times of the year?”

I started to tell her that Spritz were only made at Christmastime and that is what we do, but I stopped myself. I couldn’t think of a good reason for not making them other times of the year.

I don’t have good china, but I think it must be like using your china for special occasions, and then realizing you hardly ever pull out the china, or the good silverware or the fancy linens or the other special stuff. Continue reading →

Sep 10

If Only…

  • empty-outfit1he’d quit insisting that it’s about wanting to see the kids more, and just admit that he wants to funnel less of his money in our direction.
  • he’d be honest and admit that he wants to modify our decree to better suit his schedule and financial picture.
  • he’d realize that if he had a significant other, he wouldn’t have to harass us.
  • he would get a significant other.
  • he’d fall off a tall bridge into a shallow creek.
  • I could quit letting the uncertainty of the outcome of this latest wrinkle put me in a crappy mood.
  • I’d remember the blessings and bright spots instead of letting the fear cloud everything.
  • we could move far away without the threat of someone trying to track us down.
  • everyone in my family believed I was a genius for making the choice to home school Will and Jen.
  • we’d actually had a summer and we weren’t already heading into winter.
  • I could persuade Will to spend more time golfing and less time skateboarding.
  • I hadn’t wasted so much time encouraging my kids to call or see their dad.
  • I could get the book done, sell a kgillion copies and tell Mark where to put his child support.
  • I didn’t have to spend my money to get us out of another mess with Mark.
  • all the people I love would never be dealt any more than they can gracefully handle.
  • the highly recommended attorney would return my call.
  • I could wake up and not have to think about Mark.
  • I could get Jenny to eat whatever I cooked.
  • the three of us were invisible.

*Jenny was planning her Halloween costume.  She gathered the pieces and then deliberately placed them on the living room floor.  I had to take a picture.  I kept looking at the outfit resting there, waiting for someone to put it on.  Suddenly I thought, “That’s it!  If we were invisible, he’d never be able to bug us again.”

What are your if onlys?  Humor me, please.  I could use it. ;)

Jul 10

More On High School Reunions

“You mean, simply by following my path, I will have complete confidence in everything I say? I’ll spew wise words, funny tidbits, and wow everyone at cocktail parties? All I have to do is be true to myself, show the world who I am, and I’ll never embarrass myself again?”

“It’s not like that. Although that would be nice. It’s not about suddenly becoming a sage with a great sense of comedic timing. It’s about speaking from the place of knowing who you are, having a good heart, and sharing that with the world. It’s about trusting your intentions.

Yes, you are going to say ridiculous things. You probably will still be the type who speaks before the filters have kicked in. The point is that you are speaking authentically. You aren’t couching your words to please another. You won’t be sizing up the audience to try to determine what they would most like to hear.

You will be offering up what is in your heart and mind.  Some words will be wise.  Some words will be funny.  Some words will undoubtedly be stupid.

But they will be your words. Continue reading →