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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Homeschool, here we come... right back where we started from...

In 6 days, we'll be homeschoolers again.  This is very exciting for a mama that is missing one-on-one time with her babies something awful.  The curriculum is purchased and the lesson plans are made, and I'm thrilled to be starting the new year off this way.  It'll make our days off much smoother, too, since we won't have a school schedule to work around and we'll be able to travel a bit farther from home.  Yippee! (Remind me of this excitement when I'm beating my head against the wall trying to teach geometry.  Eek.) 

How was Christmas, y'all?  (Remember, I'm a Texan now.  Kind of.)

Ours was good... glad the chaos is ending, to be honest.  Decorations will be coming down tomorrow, and that will be the end of that.  Ahem.  As much as I hate snow, it was weird to spend Christmas in a t-shirt.  A windstorm Christmas just isn't quite as magical as a white one.

I'm still homesick.  Terribly.  This is made worse by a really incredible job offer Mr. Smitten received back up in Oregon (home for us).  He said no... against his every desire... and now we're fighting the "Are we really supposed to be here?" demons that are creeping up constantly.  As if the holidays weren't stressful enough, around every stressful circumstance is doubt of whether we're really in the right place, even when we don't feel like it.  I know God knows what He is doing though, and its a good thing, because I don't have a clue.  I guess that all remains to be continued.

I'm grateful, though, that a new year is upon us and one with more family time.  Helloooo homeschool!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Embarrassment of Riches

I wish I was better about posting.  So much is going on, but by the time I get the time and motivation to sit down and post about it, it all seems irrelevant.

It's been one of the hardest weeks of my life.  Holidays at a children's home are nothing short of chaotic, due to a combination of emotional upheaval and other instabilities in the childrens' lives and the absolute outpouring of love, support, and gifts from so many that support our kids.  While the second part is absolutely a blessing, the mixed love/disappointment/anxiety cycle that swirls around can create a pretty odd sort of phenomena in a place like this.  Bunches of kids/teens around this place are in major trouble for behavior, breaking out, sex and drugs and the like.  One of the boys in our house was discharged from the home for further care after multiple suicide threats/attempts, and my heart is broken over it.  The stress level has been on red alert for some time now and I'm absolutely exhausted.  As someone jokingly said, "Send help, the inmates are taking over the asylum."

Perhaps the hardest part about all this was the necessary transition from absolute mayhem to peace and love and good tidings of comfort and joy -- 'tis the season, right?  We celebrated our on-campus Christmas yesterday.  Our house alone received more than a truckload of gifts (literally and actually).  Yesterday, I stamped 97 thank-you notes, and that only covers about half of it.  Its an embarrassment of riches, really.  And its not that I'm not grateful.  The people that assisted with the absolute outpouring of love on these kids are the real angels that make all of what we do here possible to change the course of these kids lives.  To us its only an iPod or a new football or tricycle, but for the kids here, these things represent normalcy and comfort and moving forward. 

All that said, I'm so glad its over.

We had our personal kids do their gifts with the others so that the real Christmas, this year, can be about Christ and love and family and not about gifts.  This is a relief, and I'm glad there's a week between now and then to recharge.  Tomorrow we'll be headed to a camp/ranch a few hours away with a handful of kids for a 4-day retreat of hiking, fishing, fellowship, and, hopefully, rest.  I'm looking very forward to this trip -- a chance to get away and see some new scenery before Christmas and then, the end of the year.

My husband is taking the boys to a real NFL game when they get back from break (they go visit a family member or sponsor during the holidays whenever possible), which he's jazzed about, but I've got my own big news for 2011 -- we'll be a homeschooling family again then, and I'm very excited.

Lots of people think I'm crazy -- my plate's pretty full with 8 kids and a million other houseparent responsibilities, but my kids need and want this, and, honestly, I do too.  My kids have begun to slip into the blur of the daily grind around here, and I need more time and connection with them for all our sakes.  While I know homeschooling 2-1/2 kids every day (one of them is only 2) isn't going to do much for my busy schedule, I hope it will help with my priorities.  I'm excited about this, but also hoping I haven't really bitten off more than I can chew.  Guess we'll see.

Sorry for the endless rambling -- an attempt, I guess, at keeping track of this life that feels like its just whizzing right on by.

Merry Christmas to you all....

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Back to My Regularly-Scheduled Programming

Well, after my Thanksgiving pout-fest (see last post), I wound up having a pretty decent (and gratitude-filled) day.  We had 10 days "off duty", which creates a really weird dynamic, sending the kids somewhere else for several days, with other houseparents.  It was the first days off we've had since we arrived, and was much needed, but we didn't do much besides veg in front of the TV and such.  Now we're back though, and the kids are all hyped up on Christmas treats and excitement, so there is lots of energy in the air over at our place!

Christmas season is in full swing here, which is pretty exciting.  I enjoy doing the big-family thing, especially at this time of year, so its fun to have people to share that with.  A pretty lazy day lies in wait for me, which I think I'll start by making cake pops for the first time.  I've seen 'em all over blog-land and they're just way too cute to pass up!  I found a great recipe here, so I'll give it a shot and let y'all know how they come out!

Hope your weekend is going well.  What big plans do you have?