|Super useful gem for those of us who send out Christmas cards!!|
|Amazing kid-approved recipe from The Mom 100 Cookbook|
Quieting down... on social media this week. My sweet sister-in-law texted today to check on me- and I had to tell her I'm good, it's just been so busy here! The boys had late start Monday and then early release Tuesday through Friday, plus three dentist appointments and a teething sister means it's been kids, kids, kids! And! On top of that, I started my job. So yeah, it's been a busy week. Busy in a good way.
Starting... my job as a teacher for VIPkid. It's a program that teaches English in a one-on-one online setting with students in Beijing. I wake up at 3:30 or 4:00am to teach (they are 16 hours ahead of us here on the west coast) while my kids are still sleeping. Waking up that early is brutal, but once I am teaching, I really enjoy it. The kids are so sweet and smart and the company really does most of the work for you.
Considering... how much I want to stay home with my kids. As we have settled into life with a mortgage (just over a year now) and the expense of four kids plus home ownership (hello new windows! hello weather proofing!) we have discovered that Josh's teacher paycheck doesn't stretch far enough. I originally thought I could run my Etsy shop and bring in enough money to make up the difference (honestly, even $200 more a month would feel enormous!) but finding time to make cards while still caring for the household, three boys and a toddler was nearly impossible. Especially on weeks when someone is sick. And now that school has started, it seems that someone is always sick.
So I had a choice to make. And I remembered a friend of mine (who also has four kids) talking about how great this job was. It pays ~$20/hr and can be done from the comfort of your own home with nearly zero start up cost (you do need a headset with a mic, and some props are helpful, plus a white board). This opportunity means I can do my job, and by the time the kids are up, it's done. I can focus on them 100% during their waking hours, as opposed to the Etsy job, which meant spending some of my time with them in the office working. Needing to find a job that worked around my job as a stay-at-home mom cemented to me how much of a priority it is for me to be home with them.
The night before I started Logan was telling me that he was having bad feelings about being greedy and asking for things at the store. I quickly figured out he was having guilt for my having to work. I assured him that while balancing a job with being a mom was going to be a new challenge, it was one that I was more than willing to take on so that we don't have to worry about money and we can all have that we need. Such a tender heart in that one.
Hanging... with cousins last weekend when my sister and her husband brought their kids over for a visit. It was so good to see their sweet baby (love her!) and the boys all had a blast together. This weekend we'll see her again, as she's offered to take our family pictures for our Christmas cards. (My favorite holiday tradition!)
Attending.... parent-teacher conferences for our three bigs. I was so proud to hear that Jack & Logan are well liked by their teachers, respectful & easy to teach. I am hopeful that they can work on slowing down & staying focused. (It was seriously bizarre how much it felt like deja vu to sit in one twins' conference after another, hearing the exact same issues both times- being easily distracted and going too fast!) I was so proud to hear that Wyatt has passed every Readwell unit for first grade and is on third grade spelling. I am hopeful to help him memorize his math facts & find ways to challenge him despite how advanced he is. Seeing how well Wyatt is doing makes me regret homeschooling the twins as long as I did. I talked to Josh about those feelings and he assured me we made the best decisions we could at the time. I felt really strongly about homeschooling in Alaska, and the year we spent in Vancouver we were unsure what the future held, so homeschooling made sense then, too. It's only in hindsight that I wish I had sent them. (For my homeschooling friends- my biggest regret is not having the twins memorize simple addition and subtraction problems! They still have to count, on their fingers, to add 9+5 for instance. Learn from my mistake. Ha!)
Talking... about smoking with the twins. They're discussing it with the school counselor when she comes in their classrooms and it's lead to some good conversations. They want to know why people smoke when they know it's bad for them, they want to know why tobacco companies target children, and they want to know how long it takes to quit once you start. We have talked a lot about how quickly you get addicted and how important it is to not even try it once. I am proud to say Josh and I never tried cigarettes, drugs, or alcohol (while underage) and that's a nice platform to be on when talking to our kids about making good, safe choices for their bodies.
Nursing... Carly, but seeing that it will soon be coming to an end. I was going to keep going at least until her second birthday (January 24th), but at this rate, we will be done long before that. She is distracted when I feed her, and even when she's tired, she's pulling off before she falls asleep so she can "talk" to me. So today at nap time after she quit nursing I sang a song and laid her in her crib awake. So from this moment forward, I am not going to nurse "on demand" anymore. I will only be nursing at nap and bedtime. Then I will slowly eliminate those as well.
Reading... The Handmaid's Tale on my Kindle Paperwhite, and loving it! (The kindle & the book.) I am so glad to be reading again after a month long break. I knew October was hard for me, but looking at my reading record, I can really see how much my emotions impact my ability to focus & follow through on reading. After reading it, I'm hoping to watch The Handmaid's Tale on Hulu. I hear it's great! As for reading, when the book is done, I think I'll move on to the Winter Street series from Elin Hilderbrand that I read every holiday season.
Putting... a lot of effort into home life lately. We're working on eating a little healthier, so I've been making some new recipes. I also spent a few days last weekend working on reorganizing the office after a generous friend of mine gave me a TON of her old craft stuff. (Thanks Shana!) I also decorated for Thanksgiving and made plans with my sister for the big day.
I was re-reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp (which I re-read in tiny bits like soothing balm for my soul) and I came across this quote: "This is what makes us persevere through a life: to see Him who is invisible." To me it says that finding God in the little things (an unprompted hug from my nine year olds, waking up next to my husband each morning, a spectacular sunset) is what can allow me to face hard days with a joyful heart. It's been a good marble to roll around in my head this week as I traversed half days, a cranky baby with a wonky nap schedule & my new job.
Feeling... so grateful for the ordinary in my days. The kids reading books in the morning light that streams in the front window; Jack unloading the dishwasher, always helping with the chores; Logan working on his math skills on Xtra math at the computer; loads of laundry waiting to be put away; morning diaper change giggles; making special after-school snacks (melted chocolate chips & giant pretzel sticks dipped in sprinkles for the win!); Play-doh with all four kids; how Carly wants to snuggle brothers whenever they lay on the couch; Carly's toddler walk to and from Wyatt's classroom every morning; waiting in the parking lot with Carly for afternoon pick up... This week those regular magic moments really stood out.
Planning... to see Wonder with the twins tomorrow for my birthday. We read the book this summer and loved it (I may have cried hysterically and embarrassed them at the end) and I can't wait to see it in the theater. Also tomorrow we're going to make my birthday cake (I bought candy rocks to decorate it with because I am a geology nerd) and have family movie night where the boys will redeem their "reading pizza" coupons for personal pan pizzas. It should be a really fun family day and I can't wait! (Wish me luck. I also bought 35 actual candles to put on my cake. I'm hoping I can a) blow them all out and b) not set the house on fire. Hah!)