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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

A New Year

This summer was kind of a blur.  Some fun things, like lots of time in the pool and a few visits from family members from afar. 
(My mom and my younger sister)

Some not so fun things, one friend moving away, another friend in a horrible car accident (be praying for Debbie), and also a mini mental health flip out/break down by me.  (I may or may not tell you details, but I am thinking my feelings/reasons are probably fairly common among middle aged mothers)

Then, on July 31st, L-girl started her junior year in the local public high school.


This same week, D-man left to spend a week in Washington D.C. for a conference and then on  August 8th, moved back to his apartment on campus.



On August 10th, L-girl and A-man left for a 3 day leadership retreat.

On August 11th, we moved A-girl onto her campus - not the same one as D-man.


 It was very strange not to have the whole gang there to move her in and say goodbye...and somehow with less people there, I still managed to forget to get a picture of she and I.  (Oops.)  The drive home was even weirder with only 2 kids.  We were like a "normal" family driving down the road in our mini van!

We are down to a 4 kid household and let me tell you it feels very strange.  It is very quiet.  Even though the two oldest are not exactly our wildest/loudest children.  Somehow their absence makes it very, very quiet around here. 

We started our homeschool year yesterday.  We still have three doing school at home.  (I will be honest, I would like to continue homeschooling through high school.  I suspect I am going to be outvoted though.)

Rainman and I are doing things a bit differently this year and I think it is going to work out well.  We have actually divided the subjects, so he will officially teach/be in charge of some and I will officially teach/be in charge of some.  We didn't do a good job of co-teaching/communicating last year and things got lost in the shuffle.  His work schedule has changed in that he is off most Mondays and Tuesdays and most of his other shifts are from noon to 8 p.m. so he will have plenty of time to teach.  He does work a few 7 to 7 shifts, but, I don't think that will mess things up too much.

I am actually excited for the school year.  I think it is fairly rare in the homeschooling realm to have a husband/dad that actually wants to teach and be involved in the day to day things connected with our school.  Rainman has gotten more and more interested and involved every year.  But, what I think has happened in the last few years is that I have felt a little pushed aside by his interest and his own excitement to teach.  He is the kind of person that jumps in with both feet and doesn't test the waters.  So, he ended up jumping past me and took off swimming with the kids at his side, while I was still carefully hanging onto the railings and climbing into the water.  They unintentionally left me behind.

I mean, I was still involved, but it was more often than not having work delegated and assigned to me by Rainman.  Like, "Make sure they read this chapter."  "Here is the science quiz."  "Study the capitals with them before they take the test."   If you know me at all, you know I really don't like people telling me what to do....even if I am married to that person.  Or maybe I should say, especially if I am married to that person!  Ha!

Gone were the days of me  designing our days and taking off for a fun field trip to get donuts or popsicles, just because I felt like it or something meshed with my lesson plans.  Instead, I spent quite a bit of time just waiting for someone to need me and then when they did, having to catch up and figure out what they had been working on with Rainman because I wasn't as involved in the nitty gritty details of what they were learning.  Kind of hard to explain.

But, anyway this year, we are splitting the course work.  We are each creating our own lesson plans for the kids.  I will still have to see how I can work on the spontaneous field trips that won't interfere with Rainman's  school day plans.  But, I am more excited for this year of school than I have been for quite a while.  I am hoping that our two approaches and teaching styles will help our kids become even more well rounded in their education.  We shall see, I guess.


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

May....Sigh

Yup. It is May.

Seriously, if someone would have told me that I would be busier now than I was when I had 6 kids under the age of 12, all at home full-time, I would have called you crazy.  Having all six kids under my roof and controlling our schedules was a breeze compared to life now. 

Again, it is not like I am busy scheduling time to go visit kids in juvy or anything.  It is sports schedules, awards banquets, church obligations, work schedules....for me, Rainman, AND my three big kids...because we are trying to be productive members of society.

It is stuff like this...

 Confirmation

 Tennis awards banquet (MVP second year in a row!)


 Honors award presentation (summa cum laude)



School signing day

 National Honors Society induction

 Prom

 Official scholarship signing at her new school

 Golf awards banquet


County Leadership program graduation

Somehow, I don't have any pictures of A-man and his baseball team.  (I have one more game to remedy that mom-fail) 

Plus, there are still three  or four "awards nights" coming up! (I know....whine, whine, whine....my kids are getting awards.  Poor me!  😜 Although, let's be honest, half the "awards" are just their name printed fancy on a piece of thick paper.  But, that is a curmudgeonly post for another day!) There is also graduation and all the events that go along with that coming up too.  

Throw in an 11th, 16th and 18th birthday in there, and you will see why I am sighing....oh, and then there is this...


We are fostering Raquel, who seems to be making herself at home.  We are all fairly certain we are going to be a "foster fail" and just adopt her though. 

Busy with good things, still feels busy. 

But, we are happy and blessed, so I guess I will shut up, or at least try to shut up. 

The older I get, I realize the simpler I like my life.  No drama.  No endless "events" or even taking the kids a ton of places.  I like to hang out with my family...at home.  Okay, I do like to go out to eat too, but, in general, give me some food and throw me out in the back yard to just chill with my people, listen to the birds, watch the deer, maybe read a book, and I am good to go! Really. So, I will not be mourning the end of the school year.  I will be rejoicing in the freedom to just....be. 

Ahhhhh....totally different kind of sigh. 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Sort of a Working Woman Again

Those of you that know me in real life, know that when we lived in Minnesota, I was a stay at home mom, that worked.  What is that acronym....WAHM? 

Rainman and I both had strange schedules, but my work was flexible so  I could pretty much schedule it around his and the kids needs.  It was pretty awesome.  Having the ability to bring in a little extra money, while still getting to be with my kids was spectacular.  Yes, I was tired, but, we had bills to pay.

Back in Minnesota, I had a few jobs, all at the same time. 

I was a massage therapist.  I spent time working a salon.  I spent time teaching at a school of massage, but mostly I just saw private clients.  Super flexible.

I was also what is called an off-site secretary.  I primarily worked for a group of commercial real estate brokers.  I would type correspondence, contracts and purchase agreements and help close big deals....from my home office.  I remember how fancy I felt when we were able to get my home system set up so I could just connect to the printers at their office and even their home and send over the completed contracts to be ready for them when they woke up in the morning.  (I did most of my work after kids were in bed.)

I was a transcriptionist.  Back when I worked in an office, I did medical transcription, but, at home, I did legal transcription work.  Mostly it was probate hearings that took place on an Indian reservation.  I am not afraid to admit this was hard.

I was also what is called a recording secretary.  This meant that I attended city council or corporate board meetings and took minutes.  Sort of like a court reporter, but with just a regular laptop.

Somehow, Rainman and I were able to sort of balance my work, his work, homeschool all of our kids and just other normal life stuff, without too much drama.  But, usually either Rainman or I were home with the kids.  Every now and then we would have to get an aunt or grandma to cover childcare, but that didn't happen very often.

When we got the news during my last pregnancy that we were going to have to relocate to Georgia, we paused for a bit.  We realized a few things:  Georgia handles licensing for massage therapists differently than Minnesota (so even though I had been working in the field since 1992, that meant nothing in Georgia); I couldn't work for either the realtors or the recording secretary company from Georgia (I actually could have kept the realtor job, but they were VERY nervous about me being in another state); I would be in a totally new state with 6 kids and no family or friends.

We made the decision to try to just let me be a stay at home mom and see how both our budget and my mental health did.

Both did pretty well.  I think my sadness and depression about being in Georgia was just because I missed my family, friends and church.  I don't think it had anything to do with me not earning my keep, if you know what I mean.  In a way, it was relaxing to just stay at home and take care of kids and the home, without having to feather in any work. (I did do some home school curriculum reviews in there, but I am not really counting that, since no money changed hands.)  In the last 8 years, I have done a bit of temp work here and there to bring in extra money, but nothing regular, like the olden days.

Fast forward 8 years and the realization that I sure had a lot of free time to read and drink wine on the back deck.  LOL  Seriously, I couldn't believe how many books I was able to read.  The house was fairly clean.  Actual meals were getting cooked.  The 3 kids that are still homeschooled were still getting a great education.  Yet, I had quite a bit of actual chunks of "free" time sprinkled throughout my days.  It was just the age old scenario of "the kids don't need me as much anymore".  (Now, I will put in the caveat that the free time was also because spring sports season had not yet arrived at my house.  Things are a lot busier when you have kids in golf, tennis and baseball at the same time!)

About this same time, Rainman and I sat down and had a budget talk.  Things are tighter than we would like.  Not awful.  Not great.  We have some debt that neither of us want and the sooner those payments are gone, the better!  So, I decided to see if I could find something to do again from home.  I decided to update my resume and references.  I had a possible lead on some clerical work from home at a company the sister of a friend of mine owned down here.

I am still Facebook friends with my past bosses (and their families), so I contacted the most recent ones to make sure it was still okay to include them as references and make sure that I still had the correct contact information.  They all said that they would be happy to be contacted about me.

The next morning, my phone rang.  It was the owners of the recording secretary company in Minnesota.  I have know them since I was a teenager.  We went to the same church.  I babysat their kids.  They gave me a chance and hired me when I had a bunch of little kids. 

Guess what she was calling about?

She basically asked if I wanted my old job back!  Technology has changed so much that recording secretaries no longer need to actually drive to the various cities and companies and sit there frantically typing what everyone is saying.  Most meetings are videotaped by the local cable companies and the ones that aren't have audio recordings.  So, since January, I have been working for various Minnesota cities taking minutes as I sit in my living room, in my sweats, with my feet up on a footstool.  I still teach the kids.  I still keep the house clean.  I still manage to cook fairly regularly (when I am not running here or there for sports drop offs/pick ups/games).  I even still have a little time for recreational reading and wine drinking.  So it is....all good. 




I still get to hold babies and play with toddlers too.




My first set of audio minutes took a REALLY long time.  I was really rusty.  I was scared that I was stupid to think I could still do this.  I didn't know the voices, so I couldn't concretely say who was talking and asking questions.  I kept rewinding and listening again.  It was tedious.  But, I have found, I possess a strange skill set and it was like riding a bicycle and it didn't take me long to get good and fast again.  I am feeling pretty confident in my abilities again.  It is a nice feeling.  Bringing in a small paycheck again is magical.  It is just helping me breathe a bit financially. 

I am going to get religious on you for a second here.  As I was thinking about trying to find work, I kept thinking and saying to people..."I wish I could find something like TimeSavers again! I want to find something where I can control my schedule and when I do the work. I want to be able to work around our lives, instead of it taking over our lives.....like I had in Minnesota, with TimeSavers."

I really wasn't sure if it was even possible though.  It felt sort of selfish to basically say....yes, I want to work and make money....but I only want to do it when it is convenient for me and my family.  You know?

But, that was basically what I wanted.  To work when it worked for me.

It was like God looked down at said, "Well, Kayla, how about instead of finding something "like" TimeSavers, I just let you work for TimeSavers again?"

Seriously, it was like God could dream bigger than I could. (just like with our house...here and here...)  To me, it was really one of those moments where I realized things really work better when you just get out of His way and let Him be in control,  I am sure there is a clever motivational t-shirt that says something like that.


I got this t-shirt from D-man and J-Girl for Christmas.  I LOVE it.  One fun side of working for Minnesota cities is I get to listen to Minnesota accents again on a regular basis.  Let me just say to my southern friends....okay, I hear it now.  LOL