I wish I had kept up with the blog better, but it is what it is. I dealt with some gnarly anxiety, then the holidays came, and as most things in my life go – I fell off-track.
But here’s what’s been up lately!
I switched the kids to a homeschool charter school. Why? Because I am basically doing the same things I was doing before, but I got a couple thousand dollars from the school to spend on curriculum. And because “curriculum” is broadly defined by the school, I can spend it on fun science kits, art supplies, educational DVDs, extracurricular programs, etc. I am used to paying for private school, so it feels REAL weird to be using school funds to buy stuff for the kids. But, like I am going to complain about shopping with someone else’s money. Our “educational facilitator” is super, and I think it’s good for the kids to know that a professional is going to be looking over their work. That’s definitely something lacking in a DIY homeschool situation.
Jack turned 5 in November, and Lane turned 8 in December.
We had a nice Christmas. We kept it simple and small, but the kids had fun. They got too much stuff, of course.
I did some volunteer work over the holidays, which was good for me.
We took a little trip to “the snow” – just a couple hours away. The kids had fun, as it was their first time seeing snow. It’s never a vacation for us, but it was fun for the kids, and all in all, a successful trip. Only problem was that the cabin we rented (which, honestly, we didn’t pay much for), was pretty gnarly. I mean, really unclean and poorly kept. I have debated leaving a review of it on VRBO, which is how we found and rented the cabin. They want you to leave reviews, but because the cabin was inexpensive and the woman we rented from was nice, I am loathe to say something disparaging about the home. Still, it was gross. I had to do A LOT of sanitizing before I would let the kids use the bathrooms or sit anywhere.
We got a dog a couple days ago. In general, I am not a fan of pets. It’s not that I don’t like animals – I do – but I have really conflicting philosophical issues with keeping them. What it bottoms out to is that, in some ways, I take issue with spending money on animals when there are actual people who don’t have adequate shelter, food, clean water, health care, or safety. I can’t tell you how guilty I felt buying the dog, and all his accoutrements, when I know that the money I spent could have been used to feed homeless kids or refugees. My dog has vaccines; many children don’t. My dog sleeps in a warm bed; many people sleep on the streets. But, the circumstances are what they are, my kids were desperate, and the dog we got is the brother of the one my sister recently purchased for her kids. It’s fine – good even – and I’ll get over my qualms.
And no, we didn’t rescue a dog. I know, I know. In theory, I do think it’s a great idea to get a dog from the shelter or a rescue – obviously. But when I looked into rescues for the types of dogs I was comfortable having in the house, the requirements were so burdensome (one would not let any dog go to a home with a child under the age of 12!), I felt like we could never qualify. Aren’t dogs supposed to be good for kids? One rescue wanted to know what my personal family planning outlook was – another wanted to come do a home inspection to make sure that we a) owned our own home and b) did not have any wooden fences (which, we do) and c) interview my kids! The list of questions felt like the ones you might answer if you were adopting a child. And while yes, screening out crappy people is absolutely important – does having a kid really make you incapable of adopting a breed of dog KNOWN for being family-friendly? Must I really commit to having no additional children if we were to get one? It really put me off of the local rescues, and having done a little research, I’m not the only one.
The local shelter, well – I had a few concerns about that. Number one, about 75% of the dogs at the shelter are pit bulls or pit bull mixes, which is not a breed I would consider for my family. About 20% are chihuahuas, which is also not a breed I would consider. The number of young, healthy, non-shedding dogs with known histories (I did not want a dog that was relinquished for unknown reasons, because I have very young children) is so tiny, I honestly am not sure we could have ever acquired one. They go very quickly, as they are in high demand. To be honest, healthy, young, dogs with good behavior just don’t get ditched at our shelter that often. I feel terrible for all the pets at the shelter, and since ours turned “no kill” – the animals are often there for AGES. I am not sure humane euthanasia is worse than being in a cold, concrete cage in a smelly, noisy shelter for months on end. It’s very sad.
I was not interested in acquiring an adult dog, a large dog, or a shedding breed. I have way too many kids rolling around on the floors to have dog fur all over the place, not to mention the fact that I am a clean freak – and I am not willing to committ to the amount of exercise that a large dog requires, or the amount of shit it produces. All in all, I, as well as my children, needed to be at peace with what we were adding to the workload of the household. I definitely did not want to be one of *those* people who choose the wrong type of animal, and end up rehoming it in a few months.
So, we ended up getting a shih tzu from a very highly regarded breeder, and naming him Toodles. His brother, Yoda, lives with Kara’s family. My mom also has a shih tzu, so I was familiar with the breed, the size and energy level is appropriate for us, and the kids LOVE him. He is pretty sweet.