Friday, December 30, 2016

Turning a New Leaf

Starting about June of 2016, I have been running like a chicken with my head cut off.  I am more than busy with work, trying to homeschool, keeping the house clean, trying to cook more, eat healthier, exercise, blah, blah, blah.

It ALL failed miserably because I let my work take over and homeschool was over all of the other stuff. 

I have gained about 10 pounds over the past 6-7 months, completely stopped exercising and even though we cancelled the cleaners, I have not cleaned at all.  Luckily, my husband is the bees knees, because he kept the house going even with a horrible energy sector job and more and more stress as people got laid off. 

Talk about GUILT!  Which, honestly, did not help my sleep or things in the house at all.

The next 6 months won't change too much, but I there are some things in place that should create a little realistic life for us by August.

1) I have stopped accepting any new orders for my business.  I have 10 quilts in my possession and about 10 on a waiting list.  That is enough to keep my going for quite a while.  (I will give you all some year end numbers for it soon).  I am still going to take scout patches though.  I am the Scout Lady and I have no plans of stopping that - they are quick and cost me almost nothing to sew on.

2) The youngest 2 are going to private school.  Public school is not an option and this is something we feel VERY strongly about. They are going into 8th and 9th grade, so it is not like we will paying for years and years.  This is a non-negotiable thing and I will not debate about it.

These are the major changes.  The work is the most immediate, but also me being able to let go of constant planning and implementation of upper level school work will be HUGE!

Once this semester of homeschool is over, I will have more time to devote to household duties.  Neither Darrell nor I believe one of us should be entirely responsible for household duties, but he really has been carrying it all for the past few months.  I am looking forward to taking some of that off of him.

The business will work itself out - I will still have a customer base, and in no time I can build it back up.  I am not concerned at all about it.

That is it for tonight.  Getting very tired and looking forward to a warm bed tonight.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Saga Continues

Unfortunately, I am a creature of habit.  I have my little quirks and get pretty upset when they are messed with.  Inwardly though, I don't share it.  Yes, I know I should in a gentle assertive way, but alas, I am a southern girl and we are not taught to do that.

I like to wake up and have a couple cups of coffee in silence, perusing my email and Facebook.  Not at this moment.  I have two almost grown boys staring at me - literally.  One has to fold up his bed before I can even sit in my chair.  This will be gone in 4-5 days though, so not long.

Another little quirk, after 9 pm, my husband and I like to sit in our chairs and watch a show or movie (we rarely make it through one) to wind down after a long day.  Well, for these boys, they are just getting started with the night.  So they want to chat about politics and their problems.

You see what this is doing to my sleep.  Sleep - what sleep?  I am up thinking all night about their lives and what they should do - that I cannot do for them or tell them.  This SUCKS!

I am trying to let it go, but with them staring at me, it is kind of hard.

OK, so where I left off last time, he did not have a place to live.  The deal was falling through because he went off on his friend.

As Matt was dealing with his sickness, I noticed he did not have sheets on his bed.  I asked where his sheets were and he said wrapped around his computer monitor and TV.  Where was that?  At his friend's new place.  Arg!  I told him he really needed to get them.  Matt said he was at work and did not get until 4. 

At this point, I let it go, but started thinking his friend is without a car right now, and usually his grandfather (who was upset with Matt) brings him home.  I knew where this friend's house is so, so I took it upon myself to be there at 4 to at minimum get Matt's things, but hopefully bridge the gap.

Things could not have gone better!  I talked to the grandfather, smoothed things over, got Matt's things.  Matt is going to move in in 2 weeks to a month.  They have not closed on the house yet, and there needs to be some septic work done before he can move in.  Fine.   I am still holding my breath, though.  I am not an optimist about anything.

So, now he has a very filthy apartment that we thought did not have electricity, but does.  Sigh.  He could still be there.  At this point though, the furniture he has in already at my place and I don't want to move it back to move it again - and anyway, we have to sell most of it.

I have 6 quilts to make in the next week, but his things are dominating my space and my mind.  I need to move past this.  My kids also have a tour of the private school next week, we are supposed to be putting a good foot forward and I feel like I am just existing right now.

We really needed some time away.  We have no family here, so time alone is almost non-existent.  Sorry, pulling my big girl panties up now.  Whining is over!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Best Laid Plans

Recently, my business has grown to the point where my little office is just not enough room.  I also am dabbling in blanks, so there is inventory to deal with as well.

Since Aaron moved out for college, and the room he was using was actually an office according to our house plans, we made his room a homeschool room with two corner desks and a sleeper sofa for when he comes home. 

Well, now that I am not going to be homeschooling after this year (another post), both Darrell and I decided that it was time to make that room more for my business overflow.  Still keeping the sleeper sofa in it.  We would move the desks to the kids rooms and I would put my blanks inventory and embroidery machines in that room.

This was GOING to happen this coming weekend.  I paid for a new logo and was ready to revamp the website, Facebook page, etc.  New space in the office - things were looking up.

Well, LOOOONG story, but Matt (our oldest), was going to move into a house with a friend, that fell through the day his electricity was being turned off in his apartment, of which other roommates had already moved out, so was out of a place to live.

Guess where he moved?  Yep, that room.  Now Aaron is sleeping in the living room because we only have a 3 bedroom house with an office.  I am working in what is considered a formal dining room.

AND on top of that, the day Matt moved in - yesterday - he has/had a stomach virus!  Now Aaron does.  I am so dreading this.  It has been years since we had a stomach virus.  I keep us healthy so we don't get sick very often at all - just allergies mostly.  The rest of us are going to start doing the neti pot, taking elderberry, spraying thieves spray on our feet and peppermint on our temples.  I hate getting a stomach virus!!!

My stress level is through the roof!  I did use that homeschool room for some storage in the closet, now I had to remove all that plus the sleeper sofa, dresser, and nightstand.  Darrell and I had to get rid of our entertainment center because we have to store two couches.  Our bedroom is full of my work stuff, an extra sofa that was in the living room, and Aaron storage things since Matt is taking over. 

I know this is long, I need to vent.

Matt is almost 21.  Chose NOT to go to college.  He left our home with a job paying over $10 an hour, working full time and had $4,500 in the bank.  (some may remember, I did not let him spend his graduation money).  He moved out 1 year after high school graduation on the spur of the moment, just walked in and said I am moving out.  Within a month, he quit his job and did not look for another until his money was gone.  He started freaking out, so I talked to a friend and got him a job.  He is still there and it has been a little over a year.

Now, he is working for less than $10 an hour, part-time and has no money in the bank.  His car literally could go at any minute.

He is bi-polar, obsessive-compulsive and ADHD.  He does not listen to me or Darrell.  He has pretty much cut off his Dad.  He has burned bridges with friends and still thinks it is everyone elses fault.

I cannot have him living here.  But I cannot afford to support him anywhere else.  He is not interested in a trade. 

However, last night after getting all our of kids to bed and not being able to wind down in the living room like we usually do, we decided that he can not be here when Aaron is here from college in the summer. 

Matt has to figure out a living arrangement by then.  

These next few months are going to be VERY hard for me.  I have to get Matt on a good path again, I am homeschooling an intense semester getting them ready for private school, and run this business.

Needless to say, I have stopped accepting new orders and will just fill the ones I currently have and those on the waiting list.  It will hurt, but I will build it back up when things settle down.

Oh, one more thing.  We were supposed to go on a small get away trip, just Darrell and I, but we cannot now.  Matt and Laney, our daughter, do not get along, and with the recent upset to the home and the illness.  We are stuck, yet again.  Our marriage is seriously hurting from this.  We will make it, but we need a break.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Christmas is out the door!

Well, at least all the gifts for family and Christmas cards.  A bit later than usual, but that is off my plate now.

I have been working 16+ hours per day every day for weeks now.  I am exhausted and taking today off.  I had to go the chiropractor.  My leg was going numb again.  I had thrown my riser away because it was killing me.  Good thing too because after 4 years, I am starting to get better!  I went from an 8 mm riser to a 5 mm riser.  Whew!  Maybe one day, I won't have to wear one at all, but I tell you, the world was right when I put it in - felt incredible!

I think some of my pains will settle down now.  There is a delicate balance with my hips and back.  For those who do not know, about 4 years ago, I had a microdiscectomy surgery between L4 and L5.  My disc had literally exploded, so some trauma (probably child birth) obliterated it!  I was in a wheel chair for about 2 years because I could not feel my leg and fell all the time.

They left the shell in place to give me some support and not be literally bone on bone.  So, I gave up the chair 3 year ago and keep doing better and better, but I have to have massages frequently (from hubby), monthly visits to the chiropractor, heat therapy, as well as the riser and I will never be able to lift heavy things again.  My spine just cannot take it.

Anyway,  I went to the chiropractor, post office to mail everything, then the library.  Home to make a wristlet for my daughter's sign language teacher, then took her to class and ran to Joann's.  Got home and thought - I am done today.  I need a break.

So, I changed the beneficiary on my term life policy.  I bought it when I was single, so my Dad was still the beneficiary - EEEKKK, EDIT, just found out my ex-husband was my contingent!  My husband has been so patiently asking me to change it since our will reflects him as the beneficiary.  It would legally be a nightmare if I did not change it.  So, I did.  I am going to print it off and wrap it for him.  After 18 years, he deserves to be my beneficiary. LOL

I may clean my office, if I get some energy or I just may have a glass of wine and read.  It has been A LONNNNNGGGGG time since I did that.

Without further ado, here are the pix I promised!  I did not take one of every single piece because there are multiples of the same thing.  This is just a quick peek so to speak.

Garden Flag - 1 side

Garden Flag - 2nd side

Sweatshirt Cinch Bag w/ tone on tone embroidery

Blanket Scarf w/ monogram

Flannel pillows with scripture

Yes, I made the pillows.  Yes, I did all the embroidery.  The scarves, cinch bags and garden flags were blanks I bought very inexpensively through my business.

I also made these hats for my cousin.  She just gave me the cost.  We do that back and forth for each other.

Now, I just need to get done with lots of quilts, some monogramming, a ribbon blanket.  I have accepted that I will never catch up, but be at a state of constant work.  Which, honestly, never a bad thing.

Everyone else sent out their goodies?

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Busy,much too busy

I am making myself take a moment this morning.  I have already gotten customers frustrated with me because I was not open when they needed it.

Between all my customers, they expect me to be open from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and to be able to answer questions from 5:30 a.m. until midnight.  They are insane!

Had to go because customers were calling and coming in!

No rest for the weary this season.  I am SOOOOO thankful our older boys are giving us a couple days away after Christmas.  We need to reconnect and I need a break from the stress of my work being here, homeschool and the home in general.

Just one morning worth of patches - 7 different customers!   This is happening almost daily right now.

Well, money coming in so it is fine with me. 

I thought I would be able to write something substantial, but I cannot!  Tacos for dinner and on to embroidery now!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Education woes

I know, this is a pathetic problem to have - I know I sound whiny.  However, our kids education is VERY important to us.  Get a cup of coffee, this is going to be a long post.

With our first two, homeschool was never an option.  There were public schooled ALL the way.  I really did not like how more and more, the education became all about the test.  They were tested all the time - chapter test, unit test, benchmark test, pre-pre-pre-pre Star Test, pre-pre-pre Star Test, pre-pre Star Test, pre Star Test, Star Test, semester test, pop quizzes, pre-benchmarks, etc, etc. This is per class by the way.

Now, I am not against tests.  I test my homeschool children.  They get chapter quizzes, spelling quizzes, Unit tests, and I do test them once a year with a national testing company to make sure we are the right track.  (Maybe if I ask really sweetly or even demand, if the kids do good, hubs can give me a bonus - very sarcastic)

Besides that, I do not like how the teachers have their hands tied when it comes to educating the kids.  I am not a teacher basher, I am a system basher.

So, given all this and the issues I had with one particular teacher and my daughter, we decided to homeschool the younger two when they were going into 3 & 4th grades.  The first year was wonderful, we did so many things explored history - they learned all the countries of the middle east (amazing) and they both excelled.  The second year, I was worried about them not having enough friends, so we enrolled them in a one day a week class.  It was still going great!

Then pre-puberty hit, and my daughter was getting tired of homeschool, she missed her friends.  Darrell and I, at that time went a local private school that we LOVE!!!  We were going to make it work, but then ultimately decided that it was not the right choice at the time.  Which I am glad we did, because then, the oil industry tanked and we had to change jobs and take a pay cut.

They went back to public school.  It was awful!  They came home crying most days, Koen was beyond bullied, Laney was so bored, she was getting headaches and saying her stomach hurt, Koen sat alone at lunch for 1/2 of the time because of the bullying - he eventually found a group when he got to middle school and joined band.  By Christmas, Koen was begging to be homeschooled again.  When he got his teeth pulled out in March, I just took him out of school.  I was done.  Laney, said she was not sure whether she wanted to homeschool again.  I did not pressure her.  She asked to be homeschooled 2 weeks later.  School was not all it was cracked up to be.

They were happy as larks. 

Now, we are still homeschooling, but my business has completely taken off!  I am struggling to balance homeschooling them AND running my business.  The house has completely gone away - we even stopped having cleaners come in to help with the debt aspect.

OK, so a couple of months ago, I came across this school that is part private/part homeschool.  PERFECT COMBINATION!  I would not have to scourge the earth to find good curriculum and try to figure out how to use it, implement it, enhance it, adjust it, etc, etc.  Not to mention grade and track it.  This I could do!

So, we go to an informational meeting.  It is a little too Bible Thumping for us, but not overly so.  They taught following the Classical Method - the trivium - Grammar, Logic, Rhetoric with focus on the liberal arts - rich Literature, History, Latin, Logic along with Math and Science.  Exactly the way I am trying to homeschool them.  It seemed like a great fit.  They would go 2 days a week and I would homeschool (really just monitor since they are in the upper levels), so we could still do extra-curriculars. 

We filled out all their paperwork, I tested the kids - it was a long hard day!We had t get a reference from our minister, but since we don't g to church, we asked our best friend, which happens to be a lay-leader at an Episcopal Church.  Got a good reference from the educator at the small school we went to, in which I am a judge at the Houston Area Spelling Bee which this school sponsors.

Then, we sat back and waited.  Last night, I received an email.  No call, No interview - just we are not a good fit for their school and we will not be admitted.

Many have said, "Maybe it is a good thing."  I am sure, but this was how I was going to have my cake and eat it too.   My kids would get what we consider the best education we could possibly give them and I could still have my business.

Alas, that is not to be.

Are their other schools, not really.  There is another one just like it, and I will check to see what their policy is on the requirement of attending church.  Which, by the way, is the reason we were not admitted - we do not attend church.  But they sound very similar, so I am not holding my breath.

So, that leaves us with 3 choices.

1. They go back to public school.  I take valium and alcohol for the next five years, meditate to forget the education we planned for them, and continue with the business.

2. They can go to the wonderful, but pricey full time private school that has the same educational plan as us.  Knowing full well, that I'll need to work like a mad woman to be able to afford it.  Remember, we have one in college that we are trying to get through debt free.

3.  I stop the business, educate them myself.  Problem is, I am always the one to sacrifice and the work feeds a part of me that is very deep.  When I am not creating and making, I get very depressed and things do not go well.

I don't know we are going to do yet.  I am leaning toward #3, but I still do not know if it will work the entire 5 years.  Taking it one year at a time in elementary is fine, but homeschooling through high school is more difficult.  You have to track, carefully, they need this for college!

There are my educational woes.  I could be worse off, I know.  Many go through public just fine, I have one who is in engineering so I know!  People make the money work through private school, I know.  People make it through teaching their kids at home all the way through - I KNOW!!!

What makes it hard is choosing between my business and educating my children. 

Do I make enough to send them to private school?  Not both, one - yes.  Not two. 

Something we are possibly considering is sending my daughter this nest year since she is going into 9th grade.  I pay for it, then my son follows the next year when we are out of debt.

But again, we are getting older, we need to save more.

Ah, hell, I have no idea!!!