New Year’s stuff, sickness, recovery, a birthday party, and my hope is renewed for a homeschooling group

How was your New Year’s celebration?  Mine was good.  It showed me that, yes, I can host eight people, four of them overnight, while I’m extremely ill, if I love them enough.  😀

New Year’s Eve, we had a young couple over…  feels weird, because I remember when he was, oh, seven years old.  Luke and Danielle.  Very dear.  Visiting from out of town.  When we were making plans for them to come over, I told him that we live a pretty boring life.  He said, “Oh, don’t worry!  When we went to Ben and Jen’s the other night, we made friendship bracelets.  Friendship bracelets.  You can’t be more boring than that.”

I replied, “You got a craft at Ben and Jen’s?  You’d be lucky to get a craft at my place.  We pretty much just sit around and talk.”  And, that’s what we did.  Eat and talk.

Then, I found out that they had chosen our less-than-stellar New Year’s Eve taco night over the prime rib they could have had at Luke’s sister’s.  Gosh.  Then, they left around 9:30 for his sister’s, probably hoping they had leftovers available.  🙂  We put Audrey in bed, and let the boys stay up.  We planned on letting them stay up until 11:00, but by the time they toasted their fake New Year with sparkling cider, it was 11:20, and we probably should have just let them stay up until midnight.

The next morning, I started preparing for my own family to come over — my Mom and Stepdad, and my brother and his family.  Everyone was there around noon, except for my sister-in-law.  Sad thing, that.  She resents being continually invited over, yet doesn’t want to do any inviting herself.  My brother thinks it’s an unresolvable situation, but there’s got to be some sort of solution.  I haven’t found it yet, though, and each year, it gets worse.  They live about an hour and a half away, and we’ve even tried meeting in the middle at a restaurant, but it has never failed that, after we eat, someone suggests or asks to come over to our place, and so we do.  Now, we just save the trip and meet here.  But, that remains unsatisfactory to my SIL.  😦  So, the only damper on the next nearly-two days was the fact that she was at home, unhappy.  But… my boys LOVE their three cousins, also boys, ages 13, 16 & 18.  And, they love us, which is so precious.  I thought maybe my 18yo nephew would be too grown up to spend New Year’s Day at his uncle & aunt’s, but he seemed very happy to be along.  My brother said that on the trip down, his boys said that they like coming to our home because we’re “real.”  I love my brother very dearly, and his boys are just like mine, except older — very active and slightly nerdy.  They all get along great.

We celebrated Christmas together, late, because my Mom & Stepdad had gone to Tucson to be with his family for Christmas.

Here are some pics.  My nephew Josh was the main photographer.:

Grandpa Joe (my Stepdad), Fiala, my Mom

Grandpa Joe (my Stepdad), Fiala, my Mom

) my daughter Audrey and son Grant

(in back:) My husband Martin, nephew Nick and son Wesley's back; (middle row:) my son Ethan and nephew Marley; (front row:) my daughter Audrey and son Grant

My brother T.J., Martin, Nick with Wesley, and Grant.

My brother T.J., Martin, Nick with Wesley, and Grant.

Me with Fiala, Wesley now on cousin Joshs lap, my Mom, Stepdad, and the tops of the heads of Ethan, Audrey and Grant

Me with Fiala, Wesley now on cousin Josh's lap, my Mom, Stepdad, and the tops of the heads of Ethan, Audrey and Grant

Ethan, with my nephew Josh in the background

Ethan, with my nephew Josh in the background

That is Ethan with his *really nice* metal detector, given by my parents.  My mom had picked it out to give to him, not knowing that I had let Ethan down, softly as I could, that he would not be getting his long-desired metal detector, as they were too pricey for us this Christmas.  🙂

So, if all of that looks warm, filled with family love and chaos,  you’re right.  It was messy and lovely.  They all stayed the night;  we all stayed up way too late, and just enjoyed being together.

AND, my brother upgraded my computer, giving me a new DVD drive and 2 gigs of RAM.  He went shopping for it, and installed it.  Woo hoo!  The disc drive even has Lightscribe.  Heard of that?  I hadn’t.  It will etch a label onto a disc, art and/or text.  Cool, eh?

Anyways…  I felt like I was coming down with something on New Year’s Eve, and by the time my brother and three nephews headed back up the hill on Friday evening, I was still walking, but feeling really ill.  I was down for the count on Saturday and Sunday.  It’s now Tuesday, and after nearly a week of not feeling well, I’m now back up to 90%.  Whew.  I’ve lived on Throat Coat tea, colloidal silver and vitamins.

Today was busy.  Any time I have anything going on outside of our home, it constitutes as a “busy” day.  Today was Fiala’s 2 month checkup (with FIVE shots, the poor girl), then a birthday party at a park for a friend, and now I think I’m going to go to kinship (Bible study) tonight for the first time since before Fiala was born.

The birthday party was for one of the sons of the lone other homeschooling family in my church.  All of the kids there — sixteen total, not including Fiala — were homeschooled.  Thus, a birthday party at 1 p.m. on a school day.  The mom, Allison, is a friend of mine.  She keeps gently offering her homeschool group’s park day to me, and I keep declining;  I thought I’d really had my fill of snarky, power-grabbing, backstabbing, dogmatic homeschooling moms and their “support” groups.  However, upon chatting with Allison on my mobile as I drove home, I come to find out that this fine group of ladies and their charming children are what constitute the group.  No bylaws to sign.  No dues.  No presidents to elect.  No sides to take.  No voting people/things in or out.  No formalities — just a weekly group of fun and pleasant moms and their kids.  The kids play together, the moms chat.  The park at which they (we?) meet is on the edge of town, and within view is both the “woods” — the undeveloped, bush-and-prickery-tree-filled desert, replete with a homemade fort — and a regular, structured playground.  I’d met a number of the other moms before, some of them three times, at other birthday parties, and at a trip to the zoo.  I like all of them.  ALL of them.  Not a snarky lady amongst them.  Now, THAT is a homeschool support group, in my opinion.  I think we’ll go next Tuesday, too.


About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on January 6, 2009, in Arizona, Babies, Christmas, Extended Family Drama/News, Family, Friendships, Holidays, Homeschooling, Sad Things, The Kids. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Sounds like a great family with a lot of fun going on. I have to say, I’m a little envious. Okay maybe a lot. 😉

    I’m super excited about your homeschool group! I know that’s been a huge sore spot for you and I’m glad to hear you might have found a good group to be a part of. We are in a co-op and I just adore so many of the women and don’t know what I’d do without them.

  2. It looks like you had a great time, and I hope you’re back to 100% very soon. Hasn’t Fiala grown? She is holding her head up so well there. They change so fast!

    I agree with you about competitive mothers – I avoid them like the plague – and I wish I could find a nice, informal playgroup around here similar to the home-schooling support group you have found. We don’t go to any proper playgroups now, since moving. The last one I found seemed to have friendly enough mothers but I would have had to sign my life away on the dotted line, turn up at 9am for each session to clean the toilets (!), and shell out more money than seemed worthwhile. I couldn’t commit to that, and I’m glad not to have the stress. I know Kiko would like more social activities, though…

  3. LOL That is why I have never joined a homeschool group. You know we might not get along if we met IRL because we sound to be exactly alike and someone has to be the boss!( just teasing)

    I am glad you had a nice Christmas. And that you are feeling better. I want to know where you find the doses, etc. of the natural things that you take while pregnant/nursing. I am always a little hesitant, but would much rather do that than put presciption drugs in this baby’s body if at all avoidable.

  4. Glad to hear you guys had a good holiday. It was great to see you if only for a short time at the hospital!!! 🙂

    In the reading of your description of the homeschool groups, the only thing that came to mind was, Good Grief!! What the heck kind of homeschool groups are out there? And why are they snarky? I always wonder when I hear about people like that why they don’t have better things to do in their life than make other peoples miserable. I am sorry, sweet friend, if those are the people you came into contact with. Good riddance to them! I hope that this new group becomes a real blessing for you and the kids.

    Love you!

  5. MLBAH ~ I think it’s FABULOUS that you have a great co-op. I’ve heard rumors of good homeschooling groups, just never actually participated in one!! Until now, hopefully!!!

    Helen ~ Hah!! I could so relate to your (former) playgroup’s requirements!! You totally made me laugh, but it’s just so much like what my experiences have been w/ hs’ing groups. Ugh. And, you nailed it: it’s competitiveness. I used to be competitive, and I’m SO over that, I just don’t want to waste the time trying to not-compete with some other mother who wants to exalt herself over me. Ugh.

    Christy ~ Sent you a private e-mail about a group in your area. About natural healing stuff… I am so not an expert, and it seems like every little bit I learn, I forget a couple of months later. But, here are a few links for you.

    Lori ~ It was so good to see you, too!! I wanted to post pictures of you & Bev and everyone else, but haven’t asked permission. :o) By the way, you are literally the ONLY person of whom my husband can say, “There she is, laughing. She’s so cute” and have me not be jealous. 😀 About homeschooling mothers/groups — I had some thoughts, but it ended up being so long, I made a whole ‘nother post…

  6. It was such a sweet time to be down there, hanging out and eating wonderful food and just enjoying the company of family and feeling at home. Thanks for letting us be down there!

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