I promised to answer all the questions you submitted, and today's the day! Here we go...
Fran from Free Borboleta asked:
How did you make such a cute kid? Actually, don't answer that. :P
Um...birds and bees. And storks. Yes. I'm pretty sure there are storks involved.
Dani from My Heart is in the Army, My Brain is in Grad School asked:
I have a few, how do you and Sky continue to work on your marriage? What sort of activities do you do together that are the best for keeping a spark in the marriage? And, any advice for newlyweds or things you wished people had told you?
And on a similar note, Beka from Hold On, Love... asked:
What are the things [about marriage and life, kids, etc] you would tell yourself [back then] --and/or any young woman about to marry??
Dani's question kind of took me a few minutes before I could gather my thoughts. The truth is, so much of our marriage has been in survival mode. It was a battle of staying together and sometimes, of falling apart. Now that we're past that battle, I don't think we've found a way back yet to the way it all felt in the beginning, and maybe we won't. But her question convicted me a bit. We don't work on it like we should. Yes, we're probably going to the Army Strong Bonds event in August, but that's a bigger thing. What about the little things? We don't really go on dates, whether it's something simple at home or a romantic outing somewhere. I know it's important to keep that spark, and I miss it (and I'm sure Sky does too), so we really need to do more for the two of us. With all of that- and I know Dani didn't ask this, but I want to say it- I am really proud of us as a couple. I think we beat the odds and I know we'll be okay.
I think one of the biggest things no one talks about before marriage is the hard part. That one day, your spouse could do something that will hurt your heart deeply, even though you wouldn't think so now. That one of you may get very sick, injured, or disabled. That you may have money problems and wonder how you'll eat, or your child may be sick or in trouble, or you may miscarry, or not be able to have children. Whatever the difficulties, the fact is that there absolutely will be difficulties. Your spouse is supposed to be the one who sticks closest to you during that time- your best friend, the person who always has your back- and they might not even get that part right. So you have to realize that there will be disappointments and rough patches. You have to have something to hold onto that will get you through those times (for me, that's God and family), and you have to make sure you're both committed to holding on through it. Someone could have told me all of this before I married Sky, and I would have thought, "Yes, but those things won't happen to us. We're invincible." I've learned the hard way that no one is, but there is sweetness and absolute reward in making it through the storms and seeing the sun after.
As for the advice to myself, I would simply say, "Please wait to marry. Not for a certain age, because people get married at 16 and it lasts or get married at 30 and then divorce. But wait until you are in love. Not because it's a crush, or because you're running away from something, or any other reason than pure love. Don't settle for anything less than real, lasting love. You should know this-it sounds so incredibly obvious- but you don't live it out, and you will pay consequences for it down the road." Marriage is meant to be good, and something you can give your whole heart to, because it won't work unless you do.
Kris from The New Normal asked:
OK, I have a question for you! This is something that keeps coming up in our family discussions - schooling. I know you were homeschooled and this is something that we have debated and will possibly give a try if our kids' new school does not work out. Did you like it? What ages/grades were you homeschooled for? What about the social side of school, how does that work - extra activities, sports, play groups? Did your parents develop the curriculum or did they use a pre-made one? And finally, would you choose to homeschool Millie, after having been taught that way yourself?
I keep meaning to write a whole post on this, but for now, here's the shorter explanation. I was in public school, private school, and homeschooled as a kid (long story), so I've had a taste of all three (in case you're interested: private preschool, public school K-2, homeschooled 3-9, private school 10-11ish, and finished homeschooling at 11th grade- yes, using 12th grade books. I did "graduate"! And no, I do not have a GED like some homeschoolers- it was never necessary for me.)
I liked the private school I remember (the high school part) a lot- it was a small Christian school, and if I had the money to send Millie there, I would strongly consider it. I had a few close friends, great teachers, and it was a very good experience. However, the cost to send a child there is astronomical. Even with their financial assistance, it's out of reach for a lot of families.
Anyhow, you asked about the homeschooling part! I loved being homeschooled. We were structured- we got up at a certain time, gathered at the dining room table where we did our schoolwork, and had breakfast before we started. I think we usually did some sort of short devotional or Bible read, too. My mom sat with us at the table a good portion of the time, and we worked on all our subjects in whatever order we picked, but they all got done before the day was over. My parents used a pre-made curriculum, I suppose- most of the books were from two specific companies (ones that are also used in private Christian schools), and my math book was a standard public school textbook. We typically got done right before or right after lunch (so shorter days than in a classroom).
As for the social part, we always laughed when people would ask us that question. Some people think homeschoolers live in a vacuum, I guess. We attended a weekly meetup with other homeschoolers that included art, music, and P.E. until junior high, and held special classes after that age. I took piano and violin lessons. We all played sports at different times- I joined the basketball team at the YMCA (although homeschoolers are usually allowed to join any public or private school tearm). Add to that church and the normal sleepovers and having friends over, and I think we did just fine socially.
Lastly, I do hope to homeschool Millie. If you would have asked me that question before I had her, I probably would have told you no- not because I didn't like homeschooling, but because it's easier thinking about something when you're not in that situation. Now that she's here, I think about both the subjects she would learn in public school (some things I seriously disagree with), the quality of education there, the safety concerns that schools bring up, and the peers she would be influenced by- all those things have led me to where I am now, which is hoping I will be able to continue to stay home and teach her here. We'll see!
We know that you are going back to school, what do you plan on doing with Millie during that time? Do you want to be a stay at home mom forever? If not what do you see yourself doing, realistically. Like another mentioned you have thought homeschooling? Would you want a job thrown in with that?
I'm scheduled to start classes in less than one month's time- yea! I'm taking online classes, both so I can still be home with Millie, and because the homeschooler in me gets really impatient with sitting in the classroom for three hours for something I could do at home (in my pajamas, no less) in half an hour. I don't think I could homeschool Millie if I wasn't a stay at home mom. And yes, I do hope to stay at home with my kids until they're older. I've never been a career driven, getting ahead type of person in that way- in fact, getting my degree is much more about personal satisfaction and being an example to Millie than it is in hopes of finding a job. Once the kids are out of the house, I would love to focus more on making journalism a career, though.
Cat from Cartwheels & Windmills asked:
What is your hands-down favorite thing/recipe you've made from Pinterest?
This is a tricky one, because I have actually made quite a few things from Pinterest! I would have to say this crockpot roast beef recipe has become a big favorite, and the Jello-dusted frozen grapes were a lot of fun.
Nicole from Marine Wife Unplugged asked:
How would you feel if you had to give up your blog and your Facebook? Do you feel like you'd have a part of you missing, or do you think it would be easy? I mean putting aside how many people read and follow and comment on your blog -- I just wonder. There is lots of time spent on these social networks and sometimes I wonder if human contact is becoming harder to come by.
This is a funny question, since I just read (and commented on) this post by Jaci about introverts. I've definitely considered deleting my personal Facebook, and still consider it. So much of what's posted isn't worth reading. Giving up my blog would be a lot different, because it's my outlet. As much as I adore every single comment I get, I would write even if no one read it- writing is a compulsion for me, a necessity. The part of Jaci's post the really struck me was that, because I am such an introvert, social media is helpful to me a lot of the time. I can't handle lots of real life contact- I'm just not built that way. Some people are built for just that, and lots of it- my dad, for example, who doesn't know a stranger. I think both personalities are okay, and it's good the world is a mix of both. So Facebook? Yeah, I could do without it just fine. My blog? It really is a part of me, so it would be missed. And I would miss the friendships I've gained because of it.
And finally, Michelle from Shell Bell asked:
When can we hang out in real life?!
The second you drive through Indiana- it may be the crossroads of America, but it's the only thing separating us, darling.
Thanks for all the questions! I hope I've answered all of them well- if not, email me!
P.S. I think it's awesomely ironic that Blogger thinks "homeschooler" is misspelled the 50,000 times it's written in this post, considering we homeschoolers tend to represent in spelling bees.
P.P.S. I was not one of those homeschoolers.