The debate

I don’t like talking finances because each family has their own priorities and strategies. However this should be a pretty general debate…
Husband and I are faced with a dilemma. We are saving for a house to call our own. We currently have no car payments as we have older cars that we bought outright. However now our Tahoe is giving us problems. In the last 9 months we have had to repair transmission, a/c, and a few other things to the tune of nearly $3000!! Now the power steering, suspension, and tires need some TLC. Another huge expense. So the debate is do we continue to fix our older car or invest in a newer vehicle. Crap. Either way it is money going to a car instead of our house ūüė¶

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Debate on what is best for us

Lately I have been debating on what would be best for our family. I have been dipping my toes into the pool of research that needs to be done. There are so many good great reasons to homeschool that it seems like this would be the best for our family. Of course there are reasons not to- but they seem so small.

So I share my small list here and ask for any input from those that have been there and made this decision- either way.

Cons:

*the¬†stigma that kids aren’t socialized or will be “weird”/ assumption of public school or private school

*no break (for mommy- but I am doing that now so maybe not too big of deal)

*possible expense that goes into books, materials, etc(but really would it be anymore expensive than a good Christian private school?)

*With the rental house we are in now, there is no space that I could dedicate to school time. (but maybe¬†that isn’t that big of deal until grade school age when we would hopefully be buying a house of our own and could look for that in our purchase)

Pros:

*J’s birthday (and G’s) is in December which creates an awkward timing for public schooling. He wouldn’t be allowed to start kindergarten until he was 5-turning 6 three months later- which seems late to me. With homeschool, we could start teaching concepts as he is ready for them.

*We have a family (friends that we already playdate with) that is also interested in homeschooling, so we could start weekly or bi-weekly meetings to co-school. Meaning those subjects I am weaker at she could teach all the kids; and those I am stronger at, I could teach. Luckily she and I are opposite at what we are good at so this would work perfectly. We would also look into other local homeschooler meet ups.

*There are so many blogs and communities online now, I wouldn’t feel alone in this. (besides that Husband has already said that he would help on days he works late or that)

*Socialization can come from weekly meetings and extracuricular sports. T-ball, soccer, and whatever else they want to do. Also we found out that if you do independent study from public school, you are given opprotunity to participate in those sports, music classes, and clubs.

*This a huge pro, we can teach our kids with our Christain views. Science is wonderful and amazing (it is my favorite subject!) but the idea of my kids being taught that God had no factor is not okay. I will teach my kids that there are some ideas that should be researched and respected, but that God created us and everything for a reason.

*And possible the most convincing reason for me because having the kids have as much time with their dad as we can despite his crazy long work hours…Because Husband’s days off are mid-week, we could more easily adjust our school schedule to make those days our “weekend” allowing the most family time possible.

So those are what I have after only toe-dipping research. I am nervous about it, but also excited at the possiblities. I always really wanted to be a teacher, but trully believe that being my kids mom comes first. This would allow me to do both. But I am still cofused with what is best for my family. I question if I can really teach my kids in the best way possible. Hmm. so my reasearch goes on. (Good thing we have a year before I would have to make any final decisions).

Food

First of all this in a two-for-one post. Both have to do with food and in fact baby food.
First things first. Our baby girl is growing up seemingly faster than the boys did-and they grew up fast. Last week at her pediatrician appointment, Miss G was given the go-ahead for first food. Doctor said her head control was great and she that she should be ready for rice cereal. So:

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G had her first taste of cereal. She didn’t like it much. But hey, does any baby? Update I gave some more the next day and while there was spit back, G ate more of the bowl without fight.
Now that my baby bragging is done for the day, I want to know if food preference is determined by nature(taste buds and such) or more by nurture (selection of baby’s 1st foods)?
I have the perfect example within my own family. With J- I did as doctor, baby books, and jarred baby food more indicates-I started him with rice cereal and then apples. I was told start with apples for most neutral taste so J would just get used to eating something other than breast milk. (But apples are also one of the naturally sweetest foods).
With E-we have a different pediatrician who actually told us to start with rice cereal and then with the “yuckiest” green vegetable. You know the ones that adults even sometimes balk at eating: peas, green beans, broccoli, spinach. Then once vegetables are eaten without much fight then add fruit.
Fast forward a year or two and I find the boys eat very different. J despises vegetables and I have to either sneak them in or go with ones that are sweeter (carrots/corn/butternut squash). J also has a huge sweet tooth and will take raisins/cookies/fruit snacks all day long if we let him. E on the other hand loves vegetables. He loves having thawed out peas as a pre-dinner snack. He will usually eat his vegetables before the protein or carbon on his plate. He too likes dried fruit and sweets, but will often give me half or so back indicating he is finished.
I wonder often if this difference is because they are two different sets of taste buds who simply enjoy different foods; or is it my serving different first foods that formed this difference in food preference? Either way, I will most likely be doing the vegetable route again for G. If I can have two kids already loving vegetables and only fighting teaching one kid that they need to be eaten even though they aren’t your favorite because they are good for your body, all the better.

We are going to be the ones others hate

Husband and I have decided that we are not going to intentionally try to get our kids to believe in Santa. If they believe a couple years, great. But the moment they ask us if he is real, the truth will be said. We intend to tell them that Santa is a tradition that many people have.
We will explain to them how some believe the tradition started. We also will encourage them to learn about how different cultures have different versions of this tradition. Like in Finland instead of stockings, they leave shoes outside their door to be filled with goodies. Or in Puerto Rico, children leave hay out for the Wise Men’s camels instead of cookies.
Husband and I also want our kids to learn at a young age-whatever it may be- that the gifts under the tree are from Mom and Dad. Dad works hard for long hours to be able to bless them with so much. To us, Santa just gives the illusion that these gifts magically appear with no expense except for a fat man being out on a freezing night.
But most of all, Husband and I want to make sure our kids truly focus on Christ as the reason for all the celebration….
So parents of future classmates and friends of J, E, and baby, we give you fair warning that our kids may be the ones that spoil it for your kids. We might also add that we may or may not tell our kids about the tooth fairy. Go ahead, say that we are taking the fun of magic away from them. We are just doing what we think is best for our kids.

To be or not to be?

Or actually I should say- To be mad or not to be mad? Now that is the question of my moment.
I’ll back up. J loves being the one to go in and get E. They giggle at each other most times which is so cute that I allow it most of the time.
However when E is only one hour into his two hour nap and J decides to go into E’s room instead of the bathroom to go Potty, I get this question running through my head. I am mad that J woke E up early (which means a very cranky toddler come dinner-making-hour). Oh and may I add that E probably needed every bit of that longer naptime as teething has messed with his nighttime sleep. But I am not mad because it means J loves E so much that he wanted to go play with him early.
Right now I won’t be mad. E fortunately woke up in a semi-decent mood though when crankiness starts I have every right to change my mind. I guess I could use this extra hour of awake time to go run an errand or two. Maybe. Eh, probably not. Let em play.

Preschool

With California’s cut off for school admission, “J” will be 5 turning 6 when he enters kindergarten. That is still quite a few years away, but it has started a debate in my mind. Do we do two years of preschool or just one?¬† On one side, the first year we could do 2 days a week, just to get comfortable with the idea of leaving us for a while-¬†and to have the social interactions. Then the second year, do 3 days a week-¬†again to increase the idea of being away from us for longer bits of time. BUT then on the other side of the debate- I say to myself, that I am here with the kids and we have play dates, so why send him away for two years when he will be in school for many years anyways.

I really just don’t know how I feel. I am staying home with the kids and have no need to rush back into working, so we don’t need preschool as a half day, day-care type thing. But then again, “J” could use the play dates/socializing with kids his own age (he is currently the oldest of our group). Any ideas?

No more monkeys in our bed

As I have mentioned in past posts, we have had “J” co-sleeping¬†in our bed. Which has been nice on occasion, we can sleep in longer. “J” just would wake up, find the remote on the side table, and turn on cartoons (I know, a 2-year-old¬†shouldn’t watch tv, let alone being able to turn on the tv to his cartoons- I need sleep so I have energy or I would be on a coffee drip all day). “E” has also been in a pack-n-play next to our bed. So Husband and I have shared our bed/room with our two monkeys.

This has been okay BUT after a few months, we want to actually talk in normal voices and watch late night news before bed.¬† So we have been prepping “J”s room to make it a ‘big boy’ room complete with a queen size mattress¬†on the floor (so no waking due to falling out of bed), a fish tank with 30 or so fish (white noise and morning entertainment), an oversized chair for reading books, glow in the dark stars and planets on the ceiling for wind down bed time, and a blanket/teddy bear lovey.

So I buckled down right when we got back from our trip. “E” transitioned easily into his crib in his room (he slept through the night before so different bed really made no difference). “J” had one awful-¬†I mean awful night. I put “E” to bed, then read 5 books to “J”, turned off the light and pointed out the stars, gave him a kiss, told him I loved him and walked out the door. The crying started as soon as I turned off the light. It was so bad he would start coughing due to lack of air. My heart was breaking. I went in every 5 minutes to put him back in his bed and tell him I loved him but he needed to sleep in his own big boy bed. This went on for an hour. Finally I went in and didn’t say a word or look at his eyes-¬†I just pointed at the bed. “J” went to lay down and continued crying, but 2 minutes later it went silent. Sleep had finally won….at least until midnight. I repeated the point with no spoken words. And again at 4am. And finally at 6:30a I allowed him to get up and go downstairs for breakfast.

But after this awful night of crying and power struggles, the next night came with only a minute or so of crying then quiet. And it was like “J” tested me at 2 am to see if I would give in, but I didn’t do anything but point. Now it seems the new routine has been accepted as that is the way it is. “J” goes to bed in his own bed after 4 books (toddler-very short-books), I give his a kiss, tell him I love him as I turn off the light and walk out…and last night there wasn’t even a peep of a cry!

Our king size¬†bed-which was starting to feel crowded-¬†now feels huge with no more monkeys. YEAH!! So nice. I will miss the cuddles mid night, but it was time to let “J” have his own space.