Whew! I know it will get better. My big setback came in the form of a wonderful mission trip to Peru that encompassed the first five days of school. When I got back, I landed into a pot of boiling water full of commitments and homework and band, band, band.
I will blog later about my mission trip, but let's just say that it was a great experience that I wouldn't take anything for, but it was not great timing for me. On the bright side, the kids did great and Kevin handled everything beautifully.
#3 really shone and became very responsible making supper, helping #4 with homework, and getting him ready for soccer practice. I was VERY proud of her. Not that there won't be bumps in the road, but overall, she is a different child from last year and definitely a different child from the year before. She is more responsible, helpful, kind, loving, and fun!
More about band - #2 ended the summer in band camp every day for two weeks. It was grueling, but amidst the heat, rigor and difficulty, I could see that he was rising to the challenge. He was happier than I had seen him in a long time this summer, and band camp did not squelch that at all! He met new friends, renewed old friendships, and just endured stuff that he had not wanted to endure last year. The band thing is more than we could have imagined as far as time commitment for him and us. There is chaperone training, uniforms to hem, plus just committing every Friday night to games. We are enjoying it, though. He says he will not be able to do band next year, but I think he might decide to. He is feeling the crush of academics and the other things he wants to do like Engineering Academy. Next year, he feels that he has to take Latin II (he is taking I this year), Driver's Ed, Computer Applications (required course), plus his regular load and Engineering Academy is an elective. This will probably mean that he has to take a "zero period" class which makes for a long day. I know if he wants to, he can do it, but he doesn't want to right now.
The classes he is taking are going to get challenging for him, but so far, he is wanting to do well and make good grades. He has not needed any threats or coercion like last year. He just gets home and gets on it. It usually doesn't take him long to get it done, either. He still has time to play video games, Legos and have some family time. It helps that the older two have a whole hour in the morning after the "little ones" get off to hang out. We can use this for study time when he has tests, but for now, he can play a little video games or something fun.
I am still pinching myself that so far he has not been bullied or picked on. His attitude is different and he is handling things differently. He has changed. He is happy. He will still try to convince you that he is not, but we know differently! He is noticing that other people are teased and they are ignoring it. He has a "posse" of people who are in the band to hang out with.
#1 is keeping us on our toes, too. He is feeling his teenaged years a little more every day and feels the need to exert his independence. No wonder! He is 18, after all!! He is still the sweet, gentle lanky guy from last year, but he is wanting his own way more and deciding more and more what is right for him. We are mostly ok with that. I want him to grow up, but I need him to know with that comes responsibility. He is still volunteering at the zoo and having a good time with it. He loves seeing the animals and being around the zoo people. We are still hoping for some employment opportunity there eventually. Who knows?! I do know that it stretches him and gives him something to do that is his own! That is very good for him! He has his chores and his group. I am looking for him to take more initiative with stuff around the house, but that hasn't happened yet. He still waits to be told.
The hardest case for me right now is #4 and his homework issues. He comes home tired of sitting and doing work. Plus, he is very resistant to writing at all (even though it isn't that much of a hardship). So homework with him looms very large in the midst of all the other stuff going on after school hours. I really "earn my keep" getting that done. Last night, #3 and #4 were arguing at the homework table because he was whining and she wanted him to be quiet and I couldn't get him to do his work at all. It ended up with them on the floor doing his homework together...don't know how this happened, but I was cool with it! She has matured so much that she can see that he and I need help! She can step in and manipulate him into doing it. She sometimes helps him too much, but the good thing about her helping him is that it helps her to go over those little math concepts, problem-solving, etc. He listens to her when he won't listen to me. He is also complaining about social issues, but I am pretty sure these will iron themselves out.
Sweet husband and I are fitting in time for each other when we can and trying to keep it sane. I keep telling myself that I will settle in and get reaquainted with my life in the fast lane. I just need time. I am still very fatigued at times from not getting hardly any sleep for about 12 days. It will get better. My body is still recovering. I have been to work out twice since I got home. Hopefully this will help me to recover.
Well, time for me to head to Ladies Prayer. I will blog my trip later.