Tag: family

We’re Too Flexy :)

Two weeks of homeschool  are under our belts.

We are LOVING it.

Is it early days? Sure, not to mention my parents were in town last week, so things were a bit more stay-cation-y than they would have been. We took that as a “deschooling week,” and while there was a worksheet here and there, we also kicked off by enjoying a place we’ve wanted to visit for awhile, Brookgreen Gardens.

We only enjoyed a portion of this beautiful and historical place that’s pretty much in our backyard… a storybook playground, a small kids’ discovery center, and a zoo of local animals. We plan to go back to enjoy the Sculpture Garden soon.

IMG_4896
IMG_4898

The things I wanted most to change for us by making this decision are changing. More focused attention. Better sleeping (9am is soooo much better than 6am…). Better eating (I’m getting into cooking lunch…). Time to explore. Time together.
IMG_4900 IMG_4901

There have been a few surprises. The biggest one was on the first “official” day, when Kaity came downstairs in a dress. Kaity does not wear dresses. Later in the week, when my parents took her shopping, she picked out a new dress and a nightgown. Only thing I can figure is she feels very safe. She doesn’t like to be fussed over for looking pretty (Cool or amazing, yes. Pretty, no). She knows we won’t.
IMG_4904

I love the conversations I get to hear them having with each other and with others. I love that they had no electronic devices to play with for the past 4 days and stopped asking after the first day. I love that P.E. has been riding bikes, together with me pulling their baby brother in the bike trailer, and part of their writing has been letters to cousins and friends. (Don’t forget to mail them, Kelly).IMG_4906 IMG_4908

One day this week, Rod asked us to go to lunch together. We headed to our favorite local sports bar, where our manager friend told us his wife had homeschooled their children. Then, over nachos and wings, after we schooled Rod about the origins of Halloween we had learned that morning, we semi-spied on a Red Hat Society lunch taking place in the dining room. Miranda just happened to be wearing a purple dress, so I told her about “When I am old, I shall wear purple…” and asked the girls if we should go crash the Bingo and merriment. The prizes looked really cute.

Before we left, I walked over to their table and told them how much we enjoyed seeing their fun. One of the ladies chased us out the door with an (empty ;) ) purple gift bag for Miranda. Later that day, we read the poem together (our first reading unit so happens to be poetry!)

That’s it, you guys. That’s the kind of natural, “the world is our classroom” experience that is my goal for our learning together.

IMG_5035

And this is an almost-nine-year old girl pretending she’s not giddy about that purple gift bag.

Other things we are loving so far:

  • doing reading and spelling on the couch
  • seeing their friends after school just like always… this is a cool holdover from having attended public school for a few years that makes me very happy for them
  • the girls doing their own laundry (Wednesday is laundry day!)
  • the girls are both 3rd graders now! (it was always my goal to get them in the same grade level)
  • As of this morning, I’m all organized :)
  • Most of our curriculum is free
  • We have several field trips with other local homeschoolers scheduled.
  • We are eventually going to embrace the idea of lapbooks. They look so fun; we just have to overcome our “arts & crappy-ness.” We are so not a craft family…

We are flexible people. It’s where we thrive. So when we haven’t done social studies yet and friends want to play, we play. When I have a work project that needs 45 more minutes, they read or color a little extra while I finish. When there wasn’t time before church for reading, they read me poems in the living room afterwards. It is working for us, and I’m glad we took the leap!

these magic moments

I blinked and we had lived through 3 manic weeks:

– the church/my place of employment moving (right after I was away for a weekend and KK was sick), while having Vacation Bible School and Rod being gone for 5 long, insomnia-ridden days
– VACATION at our favorite place (Disney World FTW!) – a whole new experience with a pregnancy in tow, 100 degree heat, and car trouble.
– back-to-school. Up at 6 (insomnia or not), lunches to make, traffic to fight, and 2 little girls who know everyone and everything this year!

I have this whole timetable in my head of how the next few months should go. There is a lot to do! Our granddaughter (!!!) is due around the beginning of November, which ushers in family visits, our favorite week (Thanksgiving always falls around Randa’s birthday), and the holiday season. Sometime shortly after that,

Our son will be born.

It is still sinking in. Our son. My little man. Himself. Jack. Our baby, the one we never expected and so much wanted, is a boy! I can’t think of a more fitting way to complete our family. I can’t wait until January!

So, other than making plans, rearranging the house, consoling insomnia with many re-watches of Downton Abbey, starting to cook again, trying to workout again, kicking off Life Groups at church (including ours for blended families!), and hoping to make room for a special writing project, here are the random happy moments of late.

IMG_8418My view of the Wishes fireworks at Magic Kingdom whilst my own 4 dwarfs rode the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Coaster.

IMG_8429The big girls… the twins… Oh my goodness, how alike they are!

IMG_8430I am happy in so many ways that New Baby is a boy,
but one of them is that KK gets to stay our baby girl :)

IMG_8481Sassafrass having a moment with Tinkerbell. Tink asked Randa how Jasmine and Aladdin get that magic carpet to fly. Randa was sure to ask them….

IMG_8499I am pleased to report to you that it’s all about Genie magic.
(RIP, Robin Williams)

IMG_8441 KK and I spent some quality time together while Rod, Paige, and Randa rode the “cool” rides. We visited the Walt Disney museum at Hollywood Studios. KK decided she wanted to pose like Mickey, and this may be my favorite picture of her ever.

 

IMG_8519Upon my return to work, some of my co-workers had made an awesome hashbrown bar for local teachers. The leftovers were indeed happy!

IMG_8525
I am thrilled that the first grader in the household still wants to hold my hand the love way.

IMG_8558
I don’t like to focus on the “Princess and the Tomboy” aspect of our girls. Fact is, they are both very balanced little creatures whose interests vary. Randa loves to get dirty or sandy; KK loves to play with baby dolls and put outfits together. But their fashion sense… it is what it is. This is random Sunday morning. They are exactly who they are meant to be, and we love them just as they are!

Plenty to be happy about. Frogs and snails and puppy dog tails notwithstanding.

onesies from Gramma and Papa

What’s on your happy list this week?

#100happydays

The power of laughter

laughIt’s probably impossible to play catch-up here, not only because it’s been 6 months, but because it has been a jam-packed 6 months… some of the most surprising of my life.

The summary is that in February, we found ourselves very unexpectedly pregnant. The range of emotions went from terror to shock to utter bliss in the matter of about 10 minutes, and then 2 weeks later, to devastation, as we were told the baby had no heartbeat.

Miscarriage. I have checked that off my bucket list of nightmares I hoped never to face. It sucked. It still sucks. But we survived.

I remember the day I found my laughter again. It was probably 3 or 4 weeks after my D&C. We were lounging in bed on a Saturday morning waiting for the girls to come and jump on us. They did. And for some reason, I grabbed my iPhone and turned on the song “Happy.” (You so know the one). Then I started lip syncing. And dancing. Rod was watching me with the light in his eyes you can only have for the person you adore when she is being completely odd.

And I cracked up. And I couldn’t stop.

That was the day I found myself again. Even though when I look back at my early life, I see a thread of melancholy, the real truth that has arisen as I have “found myself” in adulthood is that I am a joyful person. I smile. I laugh. I embrace happiness. Having a family of my own, becoming a mama, helped me to see that and be that. And while losing a child could have been the thing that changed it (as indeed, it did change me to my core, but that’s another blog), I refuse to let it.

Death doesn’t win.

Fear doesn’t win.

Joy, love, laughter… it will, it must conquer the sad things in life. It will give us wings.

It did this year. But news of another Burton Baby certainly has also helped.  Our first grandchild will be born to Josh and Kirsten this fall! And in May, in the spirit of twofold blessings and almost 3 months to the day we lost our baby, we found out we will be having another, one whose heart is beating and arms are waving.

And I laughed…

baby burton

Steps

As far as blended families go, we never had it very rough. It never got very complicated.

But that doesn’t mean we were always a smoothie.

Sometimes we were blended about as much as oil and water, particularly when it came to a certain teenage boy and his 15-years-older stepmom.

That would be us:

josh-kel.2006
familydec2005

Oh, we had some things we enjoyed together: amusement parks. superheroes. Lord of the Rings. Harry Potter. guacamole. But for a few years, there was pretty much nothing we could talk about without one or both of us getting mad.

Thank God, we made it through.

I dropped the “step” from his title long ago, around the time the first of his baby sisters was born, and I realized that our kids are our kids. I did not give birth to Josh. I didn’t have the frogs-snails-puppy-dog-tails part of his growing up; I never got to dress him in cute overalls or help him learn to ride a bike, but nonetheless, I was going to help guide him toward the goal of being a man… a good man. And with that realization, he became my son.

With maturity, I could also embrace the difference between having him for my son and being his mom. There is a distinct difference, and it’s all good. He has a mom, who did have his babydom and childhood and who doesn’t need to be replaced. That’s part of the blend, folks.

This week, I will likely share some stories with her. I will stand beside his dad as we watch him become a man in a very important way… as he makes vows to his new wife… as he takes steps to do something we did not: have a family that never needs blending.

(Although… is there such a thing? I mean, even though my parents have been married to each other for 40 years, they still had to blend as my brother and I brought our spouses, stepkids, kids, in-laws into the family. Hmmm… Maybe we need a different term. But, we definitely pray that Josh and Kirsten are only married to each other, for their lives!)

moving2012

I am so grateful, so proud, to have inherited the boy he was, to have grown with him and butted heads with him and helped shape the teen he was, to have the man he is for my friend and family and ally, and for my babies to have him as their big brother.

When I watch him take those vows this week, when I dance our “non-special” dance at his reception, when I bask in our C-RA-ZY blended family this Christmas (think Four Christmases, all in one house!), every time we get a few minutes to have Starbucks or a warehouse shopping trip by ourselves or a Chipotle/Abuelo’s/beach/movie date with the whole family, it won’t really matter to me whether he is my stepson or son or whatever we call it. I am his, and he is mine, and thanks to God for all the gracious and unexpected ways He chooses to bless our lives!

 

 

day 8: time together

IMG_4780photo(1)

After we’d been married about 3 years, Rod and I were leading our then-church’s youth group, which our kids were in.

We went through the book The Five Love Languages For Teens and discovered that for both Josh and Paige, their primary love language was quality time.

Quality time itself is kind of one of those yuppy, new-agey, Gen-x, guilt trip terms that wasn’t necessary back in the day because we didn’t have the terms multi-task and social media, and the only people with schedules and agendas wore suits and carried briefcases. Being together as a family shouldn’t require a term or a plan, but that’s the world we live in and to which we must adjust.

So we have made quality time a family value. Our ‘new kids’ have no idea, yet, what that is, but they want it, and we give it. It used to be much easier during those almost-2-years when Mommy and Daddy were both work-at-home parents, and we traveled together most of the time. Now it takes a little more coordination on our part, but they don’t see it. We eat breakfast together in the morning. We eat dinner together at night. We spend Fridays with the older siblings. We attend school functions and church several times a week. Daddy walks them to the school door every day and I volunteer at school whenever I can. One of us meets the bus and does homework with them. We like to go see movies, enjoy the beach and pool, go visiting, hit the Sonic happy hour.

Lately, these great blogs about forgoing Christmas gifts have been popping up. Yes, I say great. During the past few years, for reasons philisophical, financial, and spiritual, we have been parring down on Christmas giving. I admit, there is still some guilt involved for me, as I used to be a champion gift-giver and card-sender. But it gets out of hand, we already have more than we need, and the best gift, really/truly/deeply is experiencing life together. This year, we have our son’s wedding 4 days before Christmas, and when our almost-daughter-in-law said we’d all be getting hugs for Christmas, I was actually relieved. Who needs another DVD or gift card? Let’s make dinner together and revisit one of those family favorite films. That’s a treasure!

Last night, Randa sat on the kitchen floor while Rod and I cleaned up dishes (quality time, y’all!) and declared she was going to make her Christmas list. She did so without asking how to spell anything (also a gift to me!) The photo is above. The interpretation is here:

1. Easy Bake oven
2. To go shoe shopping with Mommy
3. To see a movie with my family
4. To get a trip to Hawaii (she said this is for her honeymoon, so we agreed that can be postponed)
5. To go dress shopping with Mommy

6. To sip hot chocolate on Christmas morning
7. I want a new Belle dress.

The idea that most of her desired presents involve time spent with us? Priceless.

together