Finding Balance While Raising Five Children

Rainbow garden inspired by Lois Ehlert's book "Planting A Rainbow"

“We cannot be happy if we expect to live all the time at the highest peak of intensity. Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony.” –Thomas Merton


I don’t have it right now. Which is the reason for not posting in almost 2 years.

We have five wonderful, kind, loving, smart, active, independent children. They are ages 11, 9, 7, 5 and 1. I enjoy being a parent. I enjoy motherhood like nothing else.

We recently started homeschooling again… unexpectedly. 

I am excited and scared. I have been reading everything I can get my hands on. I have been gathering all my curriculum resources.

Relational aggression and bullying are very serious social issues in school environments. Being bullied is an awful experience. It is made much worse when a school counselor exhibits unabashed hubristic bias and states they do not believe your children. Even more disturbing, they openly discount your parental observations and concerns during your first and only meeting with the school principal. The child or children are left feeling powerless, as are their parents.

This has been our very real and recent experience. Name-calling and face smacking were dismissed as just part of a game, only my child was not a willing participant and these were not one-off occurrences. Relational aggression occurred in class but moreso, in the halls. They did not see it happen, therefore, they did not believe our children.

I appreciate the tough jobs these roles entail. Relational aggression is hard to spot. It is a far better educational atmosphere to “catch kids doing good” than to actively try and “catch kids doing bad”. We all have blind spots. We all are flawed.

However, when a school counselor is so invested in their own personal narrative that they are willing to lie (yes we were lied to) and overlook a child’s suffering then parents must actively advocate for their child. Sometimes, this means walking away from an otherwise ideal educational setting. We have never felt so alone. This has been an emotionally devastating experience. When we go into something, we commit ourselves, we go ALL IN. We have never felt so disposable.

With relief, optimism and trepidation… here we are.

The last two years have been a journey in tears, joy, anger, optimism, fear, humility, hope and prayera lot of prayer. I am sure there are many other words I could use but I think I will stop while I am ahead.

I have some posts lined up for this blog I think many of you will find interesting, introspective, perhaps even entertaining. Maybe, you will be able to use my life experiences to your benefit.

If you enjoy the subjects of mothering, breastfeeding, gardening, cooking, sewing, crafting, house projects, and just the curve balls of life, then make sure to drop by over these upcoming weeks. I will do my best to keep it interesting!

Thanks for joining me.


Resources for help with Relational Aggression/Bullying:

Kidpower Bullying Prevention

Stop Bullying

The Ophelia Project What is Relational Aggression?

Relational Aggression and Boys

What Parents Can Do When Bullying is Downplayed at School

What Does Bullying Look Like?

5 Do’s and Don’ts of Helping Kids Handle Bullying







Inspired Sewing Projects and Project-Based Learning

Our seven year old daughter has been very interested in learning to sew.  She has watched me sew over the years and would often ask for her own cloth, needle, and thread and I would set her and her older brother up with their own piece for stitching. Recently, she has wanted to work on more complex projects.

She wanted to make a pillow which I could have easily taught her but I sensed she wanted something she could self-direct. I remember enjoying looking through my mother’s sewing books as a kid and teaching myself different stitches.  I liked the idea of her being able to have more freedom in choosing her projects.

Phia pin cushion

For her last birthday I found a really sweet sewing book for kids called Sewing School. I specifically chose a book geared towards kids so the projects would be inspirational and accessible. I pretty much gifted her this book and said, “Go at it kid!” I had her make up a list and we gathered the supplies she would need from the local cloth store.

Her first project was the little apple pin cushion. I know my stitches as a beginning sewer were not near as even.  She worked really hard cutting out all the pieces and did such a wonderful job with her stitches. It turned out beautifully.

Winter 2013

Winter 2013

After gaining some confidence and skills from the pin cushion she moved on to the little huggable project above. I really enjoy her choice of buttons.

Of course, all this activity with sewing was enough to inspire our 9 year old son to make a wallet from the book. He, and his sister collaborated on the design and embellishments. If I can find it I will get pictures up. It is amazing how quickly things disappear in this house! Anywho, he did a really great job on the stitches and picked out an awesome button for the clasp.

It has been a lot of fun watching them learn through doing it on their own. Sometimes I have a tendency to “teach” by taking over and doing, rather than, showing then stepping back and supporting.  When it comes to skills that are more complex to explain or acquire, (because they just need to be practiced more than anything) if the child expresses a lot of frustration I fight the urge to rescue rather than hold back and let them work at it.

I have gotten much better over the years and have expanded the ways in which I approach providing support. A couple of years ago I read Project-Based Homeschooling: Mentoring Self-Directed Learners by Lori Pickert. I also visit her website here for resources and support. Ideally, we would have a much bigger studio or workshop for the kids but for now, the craft closet, kitchen table, and garage work bench (and outside during warmer months) will have to suffice.

Usually, our 3 and 5 year old kiddos keep me plenty busy. Otherwise, busying myself within earshot with all the things I need or want to get done while they are working on their projects is enough to keep from rescuing or meddling by giving unsolicited suggestions.

Now, she is moving on to a pillow case and larger throw pillows for her bed. She has let me know she would like a sewing machine for her 8th birthday this year (among a list of other items-hehe). Hmmm.

I went hunting for some reasonably priced machines on the smaller side and was referred to the Janome SewMini but Brother has some pretty reasonable options as well. I will be doing some more research before I plunk down any money. It may make more sense to just gift her my current machine and get myself an upgrade!

Her birthday is in June! Suggestions are welcome!