Monday, November 4, 2013

I Shouldn't Teach Math

As a  homeschooling mom, I have to teach my children in all subjects. This includes Math. I detest Math. I know, I use it every day, couldn't live without it, blah blah blah. I am married to a Math teacher. When he tries to explain a problem to me, I get mad and walk away. Stop boring me! Nope, Math and I don't get along.

So, today when I was attempting to teach my son about place value and my daughter about greater than, less than, I sort of snapped. They were trying their hardest to understand what I was attempting to explain but just could not grasp the concepts. I was getting more and more frustrated. I got to the point of yelling a bit. And then, I looked inward, got up, walked away while telling them to give me a few minutes to regroup. I ended Math lessons for the day after that.

When I was in school, I hated Math as much as I hate it now. Sure, I had pretty awesome teachers that took the time to help me, but it was the one area I could not grasp the concepts. I also had some really bad teachers that berated me for my lack of knowledge. And now, I somehow have to pass on a love of Math to my kids. Ugh. I can teach Science! I can teach Language Arts! Just don't ask me to teach Math!

Because I couldn't do this on my own, I turned to You have to pay to use their website but if it gets my kids enjoying Math, then it is well worth it in my book! I don't want them to hate Math, I don't want them to hate me for getting angry when they don't understand something. Sure, my husband could help out but you have to remember that he is at school all day and only sees the kids for a few hours at night. He does sit down with them to explain hard concepts and he is so much better at it!

So if you find yourself frustrated while helping your child learn a new subject, step away. They aren't failing, and neither are you. You just need help. Don't be afraid to go looking for it.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Craft Show Etiquette

Today, I spent half my day at a craft show an hour from home, promoting my small crochet business. My mom left her home early, very early to watch my children for me. My husband comes with me to help set up and provide bathroom backup. After a couple hours, I kept hearing the same phrase, "I could make that." There is nothing worse for a crafter to hear, after they have spent hours making sure every stitch or line is perfect, choosing the right materials, and arranging it all on a small table to be pleasant to the eye. So, since I don't have much time before this day passes, here are some rules for craft shows.

1. Don't say "I could make that" or my favorite, turn to your friend and ask if they can make that. If you could make it, you would have already. These are my ideas, my color choices, and my time. You wouldn't walk into a computer store, look at a laptop and immediately declare that you could make it, even if you could. I depend on sales to put my kids in good clothes, or in classes outside of the home to supplement their schooling. It isn't for fun, I am working, so please respect me enough to not say that in my presence. If you want to say it at home or in your car, not where I can hear you.

2. Don't ask for my pattern. I mean really? How would you feel if you ran a restaurant and served something everyone loved and I asked you for the recipe. If I am selling patterns, that is the only time it would be acceptable.

3. Don't try to bargain me down. We aren't at a flea market, I don't get my materials for free or extremely cheap. They cost money. Not to mention that my time is also calculated into the price. This isn't something made by machine, with little human intervention. It is made by my hands, it's Made in the USA, not by some poor soul in a sweatshop overseas. I hope that last part made you uncomfortable so you start questioning what you are buying. $30 dollars for a scarf, you bet. It takes me at least four hours to make one of them, and if I were to pay myself minimum wage, that is at least $28 in labor. So I'm not even making minimum wage over here.

The next few are for people who run craft shows. Now, I know not every person or organization that runs craft shows are guilty of the next two rules but I have seen it happen more than once.

4. Vendors are not crafters. They are people working for the pyramid schemes that are the cosmetic companies, cooking utensil companies and whatever other companies you can host at home parties for. If you have a craft show, and it is more than 10 percent vendor, you aren't having a craft show, you are having a giant home shopping party. Craft implies that skill is involved, vendors are hawking what is made overseas.

5. Promote  your show! Put up big signs on the road letting everyone know that people are selling really cool stuff at your venue! The signs I saw on the road today were pitiful. I happened to be at a church and know that the show is a fundraising event. However, if you don't bring people in and keep the crafters busy, they aren't going to come back. And there go your fundraising opportunities.

All I am trying to convey is that with all the time I put into my craft, please respect me for it. I am not making cheap junk to sell for $2 a pop. I care about what I sell to you, and I would like you to respect that.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Pen to Paper, Finger to Keyboard

As a homeschooling mother of four, I find it hard to take the time to write on my blog. This is why I joined NaBloPoMo. To make myself take the time to do something I love. Where did that part of me go and when did I lose her? When I was younger, I enjoyed writing stories outside of those required for school. I was put into the honor society in college because of a paper I wrote in an English class. So why did  I stop taking time for something that was/is a big part of me?

I remember when my first child was born, my world did a 180. No more was I that selfish 20-something, I had a life to care for and that life was all that mattered. Then came three more. I have put a lot on the back burners for them. Not that I regret it, far from it. I would rather be playing with them than holed up in an office, pounding away at the keyboard. I wouldn't miss their crazy antics for anything. 

But, I find my mind writing stories as I do things like the dishes, or laundry. And by the time I am done with  my task and could conceivably write down my thoughts, they are gone, like smoke. And so I move on to the next task, wishing I could recall my thoughts. What is a busy mom to do? 

And then there is my doubt. I think everything I create is awful, all the time. No matter who tells me how beautiful it is. Or how good it is. I even thought the paper that got me into the honor society sucked. I have no faith in my own abilities. How do I stop that person from rearing her ugly head? Even now, I think what I am writing in this post sucks. That you will think I am whining, or dumb. See, she pops into my head all the time. Why?????

So, that is why I signed up, I needed to put myself out there. To shut up my doubting self. To prove to myself that I can still do this. 

I just hope you don't think it sucks........

Monday, April 8, 2013


Grandmothers, grandmas, Nanas, or whatever you may call your parents’ mothers, they hold a special place in their grandchildren’s hearts, at least most of them do.  I lost my grandma very suddenly to a stomach aneurysm.  I had seen her the week before and had informed her that I was pregnant for the third time.  My mom and I had brought her some burritos from Taco Bell because she was sick of hospital food.  She was able to place her hand on my stomach as if vainly trying to touch the little life inside.  She would not know that it was a girl, my first girl, as I already had two little boys.  When my mother and father showed up at my door, two days after her birthday, the Sunday papers in hand, I knew something terrible had happened.  My Mamaw was a very special woman to me, someone who loved me unconditionally, and someone who kissed my finger when I was three and pricked my finger on the thorn of a rose.  I can never forget watching her stand at the stove, cooking fried potatoes, corn bread, beans, and fried chicken in her cast iron pots and how wonderful it made me feel inside.  We would sit at the kitchen table and watch TV after she picked me up from school.  There was always a snack and something to drink and both were filled with love.  She would put up with my cartoons as she sat there rubbing her hands with lotion.  I can still smell that lotion sometimes when I’m sitting alone, almost as if she’s sitting with me.  Sometimes strange things happen that make me think she’s really there watching over me and my family, watching her great grandchildren grow.

She wasn’t at my wedding, because instead of calling my parents’ house, she had called my mother’s work number and my mother was on vacation for the wedding.  I told her to call me if she wanted to come, but she never did so I assumed she didn’t want to come, a mistake I regret to this day.  I know she would have loved to be there and I should’ve called.  The artist Pink has a song out called Glitter, and there’s a part of the lyrics that can reduce me to a blubbering mess.  It is the part where she talks about someone being in a garden and holding a cup of coffee, calling her sugar.  My grandmother called me sugar and sat in the garden with a cup of coffee, and it consumes me with grief that my children will not get to hear her call them sugar.

I’ve had friends lose their grandparents suddenly and I know their pain.  So if you’re still lucky enough to have your grandparents in your life, thank your lucky stars because you never know how suddenly they may be gone.  And if you never have known your grandparents either because they were  gone before you were born or because for some reason they don’t want to be in your life, my heart cries  for you, never having known how special a grandparent’s love is. I love you Mamaw. I miss you with all my heart.  XOXOXO

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Time to be You

For the past 8 months, my husband was laid off from his teaching job. This past week, he is back to work at a new school, in a different city, which means we have to move and all the stress that comes with it. But, there is a silver lining to my stress. He is out of the house.

I know I heard a lot of wives just gasp in horror at the thought of talking about my husband this way. Don't worry, I love him very much. He is my best friend, gets my weirdness, and is an outstanding father. But, we need our time apart, to be us. For him it means playing online role-playing games, like you see all the guys on The Big Bang Theory do. He logs on a couple nights a week to battle digital monsters with friends from all over the world. It centers him, lets him relax.

Now, he could still do this while laid off, he didn't have to work the next day so why bother logging off at a certain time to be up for a job. And he was happy. I, however, was not.

I am a night owl, I hate going to bed before at least one in the morning. It gives me time to myself, the house is quiet, I putter around doing little things, while everyone else is sleeping. It is bliss. These past eight months, he has been up with me until we both go to bed. There goes my time. He wants to watch TV with me, so I put on something we both want to watch, not what I wanted to watch(because I try to be inclusive). Although, I have him watching Downton Abbey with me, mwahahahaha. Ahem.

So imagine my relief this week when he went back to work, and had to go to bed early. Choirs of space monkeys started singing. Time to myself again. Where I didn't have to care if someone was wanting to watch TV too! I could wander the house. I could giggle at stupid stuff on the Internet without being asked why! It's been so nice to just chilllllllll.

While he was laid off, we often joked we needed to get away from each other. He would impede me in the kitchen by going for a different drawer, I would get in his way while he brought laundry up to fold. It was a delicate dance to maintain a civil atmosphere. And we stumbled a lot. And sadly, sometimes in front of the kids. But, we would make up and know that eventually, the routine would return.

Which brings me to this point. Don't ever feel bad for NEEDING your space. We all need time to be ourselves, where no one will judge us for the goofy things we do. They don't tell you that about marriage, that it is okay to be apart, to have your own things to do. You need not be joined at the hip. Because if you don't get back to you, you will lose the person you are and the person that your spouse loves. Hide in the bathroom for a few minutes if you have to(parents know this one) but, please, just take time to be YOU.