Sustainably Single Parenting

Making the most of life's journey alongside my three!!!

Beautiful Mama Blog Award March 18, 2013

A huge THANK YOU to Julia of Wailings of a Work at Home Mom who nominated me for the Beautiful Mama Blog Award! Julia continuously reminds me that one of the greatest joys of motherhood is reliving your childhood with your children. I always thought I’d be a wonderful mother because I could empathize so well with children. I was a great babysitter, the coolest camp counselor, and the biggest clown all-around. I thought I’d never lose my playful spirit, my outgoing persona, my zest for adventure. I may not have lost those pieces of me, but they’ve certainly been suppressed by the negativity of the past eight years. I want to enjoy life the way I used to; back when I was making life and life wasn’t making me, back when I saw beauty in the simplicity of things, as children do.

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Rule of the Award:

  • Click the above image and use it in your acceptance post.
  • List three things you love about motherhood.
  • Nominate as many moms as you like and let them know of the award

 

Motherhood is amazing for a zillion reasons, but if I have to narrow it down to three…

  1. Pregnancy and Birth-  no matter how discomforting, trying, grueling, intense, or any million types of difficult these stages can be, they are also amazing, sacred, awe-inspiring gifts from nature. Nothing humbles me more. I cherish the sacrifice, and in those hours, days, months, I am the strongest woman I’ve ever been, fueling my passion to become the strongest mother the world has ever seen.
  2. Watching them grow– It’s bittersweet to watch your babies growing so quickly into the unique people they’ll be. Part of you wishes they could be babies forever, part of you wants them out of the house for all but holidays. They are so beautiful, you hope to capture every quirky grin and cute costume and milestone. They are so beautiful, and you cannot help but to think of the future, when people will desire them, and you hope you’ve taught them well enough to choose wisely.
  3. Learning from them– Being a mother has taught me an enormous amount. From how I behave when I’m disappointed to how to unconditionally love someone. But I’ve not only learned emotional lessons; teaching them forces me to learn things, pleasing them forces me to try things, keeping them safe has given me the drive to create harmony in our household, and they constantly inspire me to be the best mama I can be.

 

Other mama bloggers who deserve this award (even if they’re not blogging about being mothers):

 

Thanks again, Julia!!!

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Back to Homeschool February 18, 2013

At Circle Time we discuss the date (and talk about holidays or special events), observe and chart the weather, then read and analyze a poem.

At Circle Time we discuss the date (and talk about holidays or special events), observe and chart the weather, then read and analyze a poem.

The girls are back to being homeschooled for the time being. I never wanted to put them in the private facility they attended while I was in school last semester, but I didn’t have many other options. After my marriage ended abruptly in May, and I found out that I was pregnant with Baby #3 two weeks later, I needed to make some big decisions right away. I was already finished with my first year of graduate school, and after much debate, figured it best to stay put in New England instead of moving back to my home in Illinois.

My Education Station - from flash cards to phonics, from body books to experiments in a box. The white container holds our most frequently used craft supplies. The tray atop is my schoolwork.

My Education Station – from flash cards to phonics, from body books to experiments in a box. The white container holds our most frequently used craft supplies.

For one thing, I was broke, and staying in school would give me loan money. It’s major debt, I know it, but I didn’t have a job, I’m still not getting child support, and with another baby on the way it seemed implausible to move back across the country expecting someone to find me a desirable employee.

There were a lot of other factors weighing into my decision to stay in New England, stay in school, and send my girls to the private preschool and private kindergarten they attended while I took classes, but more on that in another post. The school was decent enough. I loved the teachers and the way they went about teaching the kids, but it was no Montessori. My oldest, Amara, mostly got a safe place to socialize out of her time there. Terra learned to better identify her numbers and letters, and got a lot better at her drawings; the social aspect didn’t appeal to her as much, but she enjoyed the activities.

Typical weekday schedule. The girls painted the cardboard backing and helped choose the activities.

The girls’ typical weekday schedule. The girls painted the backing and helped to choose the activities.

This semester, as I was due with Baby #3 one week ago today (I am still pregnant. I don’t know when she’ll decide to come out), I opted to create a Directed Study course so that I could stay home with my girls. It’s only one class (you can follow my progress of exploring eMarketing here), but I’m able to continue getting loan money and my assignments are due on a much more flexible schedule.

The only problem with this set-up was that until a week ago the girls and I didn’t really have a set schedule. Having so much to do with little organization was getting the better of me, but we’ve finally solidified our routine.

Now, instead of simply knowing that I have to do umpteen chores, feed and bathe the girls, take them to various appointments and lessons, prep for Baby’s arrival, and between the insomnia and worry and whatnot do my homework as well, I have a schedule.

Our Job Chart. As with the schedule, I forgot to put pictures next to the words. I'm adding those today because I want Terra to feel more independent.

As with the girls’ schedule, I forgot to put pictures next to the words. I’m adding those today because I want Terra to feel more independent.

The girls have a schedule too, and they love it. I’d been working toward being this organized for quite some time, but between last semester ending, my nesting, and everything else consuming my attention, I couldn’t get around to really implementing the plan until recently.

I’d been keeping up with the girls’ homeschooling, but between teaching them and my other responsibilities I couldn’t find the time for doing my schoolwork. Creating a set schedule allowed me to find the gaps of space and time between the girls’ many activities where I could clean and work on my assignments and do some blogging. We’re so much more efficient now. Things are running smoothly, the girls feel a better sense of control over their day, and I am finally finding the time to complete everything.

There are numerous things that don’t go on their typical weekday schedule, like bath time and play dates and shopping and therapy; I made extra tabs for those things so they can be switched out with other activities when they need to go on our schedule. I love Velcro! Of course, Baby #3 will change things slightly, but I’m fairly certain she’ll quickly learn to go with the flow.

Planning their lessons ahead of time is going to be crucial to keeping our schedule on track.

Planning their lessons ahead of time is going to be crucial to keeping our schedule on track.

I also purchased a file folder thingy on clearance at Michael’s to plan out the girls’ weekly lessons. It’s perfect, it holds ten folders so I can work ahead to schedule their activities for M-F and put workbook pages and whatnot inside so that I’m not lagging when they’re due to have “learning” time.

I’m so excited to be educating my girls, and so happy that I finally have a better system for planning their activities, keeping track of their progress, and feeling capable of taking care of my household and continuing my education as well.

There are so many things I cannot determine with what will become of my life. This time next year I might not be in New England anymore. I will more than likely have to return to work directly after finishing graduate grad school. I don’t know how I will be financially capable of continuing to homeschool. But I’m trying to look at the bright side and live in the now.

For now we’ve got a good thing going. We’re at home. We’re organized. We’re learning. We’re safe. It may be a tough load to carry and difficult to balance on a daily basis, but when I really consider how much worse things could be I shouldn’t complain.

 

One of those days January 28, 2013

Everything went right for a change.

The girls and I went to pick up my loan check from my school, then made our way to the bank in the bitter Boston cold to deposit it. We’d taken the commuter rail to get to the city from our town, then walked a total of ten blocks and took two T’s (subways) before we made it to the Boston Children’s Museum.

I could’ve just shuttled them to my school and back, but for all the effort (and expense) it takes traveling to Boston with two small children I figured we may as well make a day of it at one of their favorite places. We’ve been to the Boston Children’s Museum countless times since moving to Massachusetts, but the girls always enjoy themselves there.

We’d decided against the Museum of Science this time because we chose it the last few times and it’s not as easy for me to sit down while the girls explore there. The children’s museum was perfect for such a cold day, energetic children, and a mother waddling around two weeks away from having a baby. I wish we could’ve stayed even longer than we did, but we had to save some energy for the trip home. I’m happy to report there were no tears, feuds, or long periods of fussing. After arriving home we played our routine games of Uno and the girls feel asleep easily.

Two or three weeks from now everything will be different for my family, what with the new baby coming soon. But this was one of those days were everything just falls into place. I’ll take it.

 

 

The perfect blend of discovery and exercise

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They chased one another up and around this structure for ten minutes!

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The girls love the Peep’s World Exhibit and spent a lot of time playing in the water.

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Even though they were surrounded by huge exhibits and amazing things they spent about twenty minutes playing with these semi-soft animals.

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I bought them these awesome new headphones for only $5 at TJ Maxx so that they could listen to music on my phone together. The ear pieces have a super soft center, but they’re not buds, and the band adjusts to fit each ear perfectly. This is the look I got when I tried to take a picture of them enjoying the music (Disney’s Tangled Soundtrack). I didn’t know that I couldn’t take pictures and have them hear the music at the same time. Oops!

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The Museum has a new exhibit sponsored by the Blue Man Group. It’s pretty awesome. It deals with sound and sound waves and teaches children how they can distort sounds and use noises creatively. The girls are hardcore Blue Man Group fans now and request YouTube videos of them constantly.

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“I wish we lived across the street from the Children’s Museum,” Amara told me as we were leaving. So do I.

 

Learning Lessons September 12, 2012

I had a meeting in Boston today, for the graduate student organization of which I am currently president. I figured that it wouldn’t be too horrible to take the girls along to the meeting, and that beforehand we could spend some time at the Boston Children’s Museum. The girls absolutely love it there and we get in for free with our ASTC passport from back home.

We had a really good time at the museum. There’s so much to do and see and touch and learn. Even though we have been to the museum at least fifteen times in the past year, it has a never-ending amount of awesome. The girls did all of their favorite things:

The Climbing Area

Wet Sand in Peep’s World

Terra Seeing What Floats

Moving “Kid Power” sign, powered by kids

More Climbing

Kid Powered Windmill/Fan

Chair Lifts (the seated person lifts)

We saw an ocean creature fossil show!

I figured that after encouraging them to expend so much energy between our train ride to Boston and our train ride home they would see my meeting as a much needed respite. Unfortunately, it seemed that doing so much moving all day only made them even antsier when I asked that they sit still, eat their food, and color awhile.

Lesson learned.