Posted in Homeschool Adventures, learning with kids, Raising kids

A new school year already?!

School has already started for many or will start in a matter of days. I can imagine the spectrum of feelings a lot of us are experiencing: first-day jitters, anxiety, excitement, fear, relief, dread, freedom, anticipation, happiness, hope, among others.

I have mixed emotions. Since I’m my kid’s teacher, I feel an enormous amount of pressure. I do love my role and see it as a privilege to homeschool, but it’s daunting at times.

When I feel overwhelmed though, I try to focus on my long-term goals: education involves learning how to tackle new challenges (it’s not all fun and games); comparisons accomplishes nothing positive; celebrate individual successes; choose quality over quantity; and lastly aim to cultivate a discerning and reflective mind.

Being a homeschooling mom teaches me to trust that my kids’ minds are actively processing even when results are not tangible right away. And it makes me wonder the blind faith my parents had in me.

Growing up I was a late bloomer and things clicked way past the time it should’ve occurred. Compound that with the effects of brain trauma from a car accident: I was a hot mess. I fumbled through classes and feigned tummy aches. Despite them all, my parents cheered me on, paid for endless tutoring, and believed (or faked it well) that I would succeed. I wonder how they must’ve felt waiting for me even when I wasn’t showing much progress.

It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop. – Confucius

This year I pray that I will become a better teacher, co-learner and investigator, and guide. I want to have more motivation, patience, and a spontaneous mindset to explore new things. Eeek…I enter it with trepidation. But I know God will sustain me through the doubts and insecurities. In the big scheme of life, my mundane stuff seems insignificant to God, but to Him they are not.

Psalm 120:1:   
“In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me.”

Isaiah 40:31:
“But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

And my hope for kids, parents, teachers, and others involved in raising kids have a blessed, peace-filled, and fruitful school year!! Wishing many “a-ha” moments and joyful hearts pursuing mindfulness, God’s wisdom, and gratefulness.

And how can I forget the most important factor?? Fun and happiness.

Have fun, laugh more than usual, be spunky, love your kids for who they are, and pat yourself on the back more often.

 “Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”Winston Churchill

Posted in Nature observations and thoughts, Raising kids

We want a furry, cute pet!!

Kids want a pet: anything furry and cute. This topic is brought up on a daily basis and potential animal choices run the wild gamut: dog, cat, bearded dragon, baby otter, or a cub cheetah. Their latter choices baffle me. I’m like, what?! How do you cuddle a cheetah?

We’ve had various tiny pets over the years, like butterflies, ladybugs, frogs, fish and snails (still our pets), and now a horde of ants. Yesterday two plastic vials of ants were delivered to our mailbox.

Thankfully, they survived the journey this time. The first batch died from overheating in the mailbox.

So we’re excited to spend the next few weeks learning more about ant behavior, life cycle, and characteristics. They’ll be released outside after a month or so. Attachment is little and care minimal. So for a month, kids will be preoccupied and less prone to badger me for a furry pet. Oh yay!

But when I’m feeling energetic, I wonder how much fun it’d be to have a small Corgi. Their tailless tooshies and short legs are so cute. Chris is unlikely to say yes unless I surprise him by getting one. Lol. Nah, too big a commitment to decide myself.

Pinterest photo
2 hours later. Busy building tunnels. We added some water and a halved grape.

Couple hours later: building new paths. Peculiar behavior observed: ants carry a dead one to the top of the hill or drop them into a tunnel.
Almost 24 hours later. New workers have begun digging on the back side of the farm.


Newborn kitty getting fed at animal shelter. Kids wanted to see what kind of animals you would find at a shelter.
Our Silver Molly, named Shiny, resting on the Betta hammock.
Posted in Raising kids

Kids say funny things, Part 4. Plus, some contemplation

For homeschooling family like ours, it’s year round. One great thing about this schooling mode is its flexibility: one of its worst thing is its flexibility.

Unless you’re a very organized person who can manage your day with strict schedules, activities and lessons can blend into one big blob. Being that organized hurts my brain. There’s learning going on but getting evidence of it is not so straightforward.

So when the kids are having fun playing but two seconds later tell me they’re bored, I get nervous: I wonder if we are wasting time; maybe I’m not doing enough to make their learning broad, stimulating, and wholesome.

I brush off their “bored” comment with a telling them that nothing is boring and, as a matterof fact, it’s good to daydream; stare out the window and wonder why you’re bored. How can you fix this boredom?

I believe what I’m saying but the self-conscious mind goes beserk.

“I’m bored” is a useless thing to say. I mean, you live in a great, big, vast world that you’ve seen none percent of. Even the inside of your own mind is endless, it goes on forever, inwardly, do you understand? The fact that you’re alive is amazing, so you don’t get to say ‘I’m bored.”

– Louis C.K.

Maybe Ellis senses my reoccurring restlessness because she told me that her future plans as a mom doesn’t include homeschool.

Ellis: “Mommy, when I grow up I think I’m going to send my kids to school”

Me: “Why do you say that?”

Ellis: “So I can relax. Then you and me can relax together when the kids are in school. I don’t have to feel far away from you.”

She says random things like that and I wonder what ideas are going through that little mind of hers. But it’s nice to know I’m included in her future relaxation plan. My restlessness is probably palpable to her; I need to relax and believe that learning takes time and patience. It doesn’t happen all in a day. Trust God and let go of the burden.

Car wash assistants

Posted in Christian songs/ faith, Personal growth, Raising kids

Making meaning of this not-so-glamorous life of motherhood

Mommy life is full of growing pains along with your kids and it is NOT glamorous. It entails sorting piles of dirty laundry, cooking, cleaning after crumbs, getting annoyed by the sound of your own voice as you constantly tell the kids to brush their teeth, put on their shoes, stop jumping, etc.

Mother rubber duck leading several rubber ducklings
Getty Image from TIME Magazine website

One time my friend picked off dried rice pieces from my shirt at a bible study meeting. Last week I got annoyed with Ellis for losing the new nail polish I got from Target. I assumed she misplaced it after tinkering around with it on the drive home. Well, I didn’t expect to find it there but it was chilling out nicely in the fridge next to the carton of milk. As my kids would say in these situations: “doy- yoy- yoy-yoing.”

I thought it’s be fun to list some things I hear most often. Maybe you can relate and we moms can give ourselves a big hug: you’re not alone.

In the ellipses you fill in whatever your kids say most often. Each family dynamic is different and has a lot to do with kid’s and mom’s temperaments.

My list:

  • Could you..?
  • Can I…?
  • I need…
  • I want…
  • I wish you could…
  • I wish we could…
  • Do we have to…?
  • I don’t want to…(followed with huffing and puffing)
  • You always want us to…
  • You should’ve…
  • I’m hungry. What do we have…? (I prepare a lot of meals because of Ellis’ medication for weight gain issues)

I pray that today we moms will have enough patience and grace to pick the right battles with our little peeps. I so need to be encouraged that each day makes a difference in our lives and that it’s not wasted time. It is a beautiful thing that kids love us back with those trusting eyes and will forgive so easily even when we are feeling the effects of hanger and exhaustion.

Steven Curtis Chapman’s song “Do Everything” lyrics speak to me on those days when I’m still in my pj’s and cooking the 5th meal of the day.

Do Everything

Your picking up toys on the living room floor for the fifteenth time today
Matching up socks
Sweeping up lost cheerios that got away

You put a baby on your hip
Color on your lips and head out the door

While I may not know you
I bet I know you
Wonder sometimes, does it matter at all?

Well let me remind you, it all matters just as long

As you do everything you do to the glory of the One who made you
Cause he made you
To do
Every little thing that you do
To bring a smile to His face
Tell the story of grace
With every move that you make
And every little thing you do

Another day and praying us moms glorify God in raising our kids and loving them for who they are.

A child can teach an adult three things. To be happy for no reason. To always be curious. To fight tirelessly for something...Paulo Coelho
Kaleidoscope Behavioral Health
Posted in Raising kids

Kids say funny things: Part 3. A new fish tank

The fish tank saga started a few months ago when we mail ordered an African-clawed frog as part of our science project. Since then, we’ve raised a tadpole into a frog, lost that tadpole turned frog and its frog buddy we ordered; and gained 3 neon tetra fish, 5 snails, and 1 betta fish. These fish buddies were housed in either a 3.5 gallon tank or a goldfish bowl.

One of our frogs named Ribbit. He’s in frog heaven now.

It didn’t matter that these fish were small. The amount of waste they produced was mind-boggling. We learned that the black long floating things in the water were snail poop.

When I mentioned maybe getting a larger fish tank, kids got fixated on the idea. The whole let’s-butter-up mommy with our art of persuasion, cuteness, spontaneous hugs and flattery, and promising to do lots of homework (I saw right through this one). I tried to ignore it, but they reminded me everyday that their life was incomplete without a larger tank and more fish pets.

I relented and got the starter set from PetSmart. The salespeople there recognize us and we don’t even own a big pet.

After the set up, Ellis sat down in front of it and said she could sit there all day watching the fish.

Ellis: “When I meditate, I’m going to sit right next to the fish tank.”

Me: “Meditate?”

Ellis: “Yes, I sit down and close my eyes. Fishes are peaceful.” Then, she looks suspiciously at me and asks, “Wait, why are you asking me? Are you going to put this on your blog??”

Me: “May-beee? You say lots of funny things!”

Ellis: “Don’t do it!I don’t want it!”

Elliot: Big brother jumps into the conversation. “Why not Ellis? You say cute things and people like it,” he says trying to convince her to say yes.

Ellis: “Oh fine. You can put it on your blog, but don’t say I said it.”


One of the many things that drives my family crazy is that I don’t read instructions. I try to figure it out myself…this leads to lots of troubleshooting later. The new tank filter made some funky sounds and I was ready to call PetSmart to ask them about this when my neighbor, who owns the same tank, adjusted it to make a waterfall sound. I did not put water in the filter itself. Duh?!

Before bed, Ellis stands in front of the tank again and says, “I think that sound will help me fall asleep.”

10 gallon full of happiness: tetras, snails, catfish, and live plant that supposed to grow like crazy

Me: “That would be nice because you never want to go to sleep.”

Ellis: “I think it will help me go to sleep right away and you (pointing to me and then her back) massaging my back. Okay?”

It didn’t sound like a question but more an expectation. She may have realized how demanding that sounded, because she followed it up with a big smile, lifting her chin up to and moving her head side to side with both hands clasped in front of her chest.