living vicariously

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I had babies.  I feel like the four babies that I had were a lot of babies.  I’m all babied out because the day to day of baby raising makes one tired after 16 years of it.  I’m glad that I get to still have babies in my life.  My sister is doing me the valuable service of having babies just at the time when I am done so that I can still have a baby to huggle and snuggle.  Tonight Victoria and I got to keep this little guy.  After he got over the shock of Mom and Dad leaving he decided that he likes us.  He really, really likes us!  He didn’t scream at us.  He smiled and babbled and even laughed a time or two.  He went to bed by 8:30 and according to his Mom he’ll pretty much sleep the night through.  Life is pretty good.

the new normal

I think that the new normal is busy.  It seems like the only acceptable pace for life is really really fast.  I called my sister today and wanted to stop by and chat and eat ice-cream.  She was busy doing something.  I don’t fault her I often am in the exact same situation.  My other sister emailed me that we’d have to change dinner plans we made over a month ago for three weeks from now.  She had something else to add to the schedule.  The next available option was more than a month from now and I couldn’t do that because of course I’m busy so in a month and a half we have a dinner date calendared.  When I want to see my parents we often schedule things a week or more out because they’re busy too.  We’re all busy! I sometimes feel when I talk to people that I am unsuccessful at life if it’s not complete full of scheduled activities.  I don’t really like it to be that way.  I do like feeling successful though.  Hmm, what’s to be done?

Today I was at an appointment and looked out the window and saw three children rolling down a hill.  They were just hanging out, laughing and rolling down the hill.  I remember doing that.  My kids don’t really do that.  They have play time outdoors most every day but mainly with each other.  When they are with friends they are pretty much doing activities that an adult has organized in some way.  We go on field trips, we go to playgrounds, we hike.  We even do things that might appear to be spontaneous but mostly they’re planned.

I think that I need to plan times where I don’t plan anything.  Maybe if there is scheduled times that don’t have anything at all then we’ll be more spontaneous?  Of course people still won’t drop in and visit and I won’t drop in on others because well, you know, we didn’t plan it ahead and that would be rude.

I have a sense that this isn’t the way the world used to work.  I think that people used to have a lot of unscheduled time and they just found ways to fill it.  I think that it was the norm not to have activities that you payed for on the calendar consistently.  I might be wrong but I just feel deep within that this was the way and that maybe it’s a better way.  I’m not sure I can break away from all that ingrained in me and subscribe to this.  Maybe if I went on an extended vacation?

i choose life

Earlier this week we lost our good friend Ruca the dog.  It was her time to go.  Her old body was falling apart.  It was hard to watch her die a little every day.  It was hard for her and hard for us.  All the zest for life that she had once had was missing.  The vet gave us a long list of reasons why  There is a hole in the household but I have to admit that I know it won’t stay there too long as this is a house full of life.

I couldn’t help thinking to myself on the day that she died that I didn’t have any zeal for life left either.  I didn’t want to accomplish anything and recognized that I could embrace these feelings or move past them as best I could.  I thought to myself that I needed to choose life here and now.  We did take a little break to give ourselves time to grieve but then the next day we were back to the business of life even with the Ruca sized hole in it.

For me a lot of days it’s a conscious decision to choose to be happy.  Choose to be productive.  Choose to stop worrying and look for joy.  Today we went to the playground.  Surprisingly, all four of the kids were climbing and running and jumping and laughing.  No friends were along.  No one was fighting.  No one was cynical.  No one was complaining.  It was good.  I’m grateful for the good moments amidst the uncertainty, change, trials and fears that also make up life.

baby steps

If we are only accountable for what we do then I’ve gotten to a point where I feel like I’m doing mostly ok in life.  Most of the time…  The problem is that I think that I’m accountable for my thoughts too.   If I let my mind wander down dark paths it’s not good for me or for anyone around me.

It’s a constant struggle to mold myself into the type of a person that would be just fine with everyone being able to hear their thoughts. I think of the process like taking baby steps.  A few tottering steps forward and I fall on my bum.  I get back up and try all over again.  I imagine that like baby I’ll eventually get better at it if I keep trying.  I’d love to get to the point of life where I think the best of others right off the bat.  I’d love to get to a place where I don’t dwell on negatives and look at everything from a faith based perspective.  I’m not there yet.  I’m just working on it.  Day after day just working on it.

I was reading and came across the excerpt below.  I really like it.

“The adversary would have us be critical or judgmental of one another. He wants us to concentrate on our differences and compare ourselves to one another. You may love to exercise vigorously for an hour each day because it makes you feel so good, while I consider it to be a major athletic event if I walk up one flight of stairs instead of taking the elevator. We can still be friends, can’t we?

We as women can be particularly hard on ourselves. When we compare ourselves to one another, we will always feel inadequate or resentful of others. Sister Patricia T. Holland once said, “The point is, we simply cannot call ourselves Christian and continue to judge one another—or ourselves—so harshly.”3 She goes on to say that there is nothing that is worth us losing our compassion and sisterhood over. We just need to relax and rejoice in our divine differences. We need to realize that we all desire to serve in the kingdom, using our unique talents and gifts in our own ways. Then we can enjoy our sisterhood and our associations and begin to serve.”

-BONNIE L. OSCARSON

Admitting defeat

Tonight I’m admitting defeat.  I’m giving up the goal.  I’m changing course.  I’m not going to post on this blog every day anymore.  I am going to keep posting but just not every day.  I hope you’ll forgive me.  I hope you will understand. I just don’t feel like what I’m posting daily is of worth.  There is a story to tell every day but generally I don’t have the energy to tell it.  I’ll save up the best thoughts & stories and share them here.  I’m going to put my energy into reading books with little boys,  exploring new places, cooking from scratch,  gardening and all the other wonderful things life has to offer.

asparagus

A family that lives near us from church loves to garden.  Being the wonderful neighbors that they are when they had extra asparagus plants they offered them to us.  Some were green and some were purple.  In total I was given and planted ten plants.  A week or so ago he told me about how wonderfully his plants were growing.  My plants on the other hand were hardly growing at all.  Yesterday I saw that a few were poking their heads up out of the ground.  Today I looked out and some are quite tall and there are six plants in total growing.  Maybe asparagus like the warm rainy weather?  I hope that they don’t wash away as we’re having another deluge that’s scheduled to come upon us in the next 24 hours.

I love being able to plant things and watch them grow.  Transplanting things isn’t something that I really love but it seems to be the order of the month as we’re having to move plants from multiple places in order to accommodate projects that we have planned.  Saturday morning it’s going to be hostas.  There are 11 of them that need new homes.  I think I’ve found just the spot though so none of them will go to waste that’s for certain!

green

All the rain that we’ve been having is turning the world green and wonderfully lush.  What was just a hint of green in the back yard last week is now a full blown riot of different shades of green.  I love when the trees leaf out.  I love that my backyard looks like a forest but part of it is most definitely ours.

This year we are clearing some trees in the bottom lot.  Next year we’ll add stairs to the hill so that the area is more easily accessible.  I think once the boys can run up and down the stairs that we’ll have a hard time keeping them close to the house.  What little boy doesn’t want to play in a stream or hide among the trees.

doctor’s orders

For months and months I have been having a problem with pain in my left hip.  It started in January actually I think.  I researched it and was convinced that it was bursitis.  I went to a physical therapist / chiropractor and he confirmed that it was bursitis and treated it and gave me some stretches, etc.  It didn’t really work.  It kept hurting.  I went to orthopedic doctor.  He had X-rays done.  He said it was tendonitis.  He stuck me with a really long needle that hit my bone and which he said would only hurt for a little while but which actually hurt so badly that I could barely walk for over a day and kept hurting for almost a week.  He also said I had to come back in six weeks and in the meantime I ought to stretch, do leg lifts, walk on flat surfaces and not climb any mountains.

I have been doing pretty well.  If I wear heals it’s not good so I stopped wearing heals.  I have been walking and maybe climbing a few small hills in the back yard which indeed did hurt a little bit.  Yesterday we went on a fantabulous hike with the family for Mother’s Day.  There was this path that looked so appealing and had a great bridge at the bottom of a steep hill with wooden stairs.  We just had to go down.  Then it turns out that the trail didn’t go much of anywhere after the wooden bridge.  It turns out that if you walk down a big hill you have to walk up again.  It felt fine after the climb so I just kept on walking.  I did carry Connor for awhile.  I did climb over a tree or two.  I was so happy when I got home that I was feeling good that I emailed me sister that I thought we could take a gentle hike on Saturday.

This morning it hurt.  It’s hurting tonight.  Annoying, discouraging and not very surprising.  I guess the doctor does know better than I do.  I’m going to see the doctor in a week or two.  I’ll confess all my sins.  I’ll follow his orders until I go and then after too.  I’m convinced doctors orders are worth following at least in this case.

Mothers Day

It’s a great idea.  Mothers are great.  I love being a mother and I’m grateful to have mothers.  I’m grateful for the wonderful man that made me a mother.  I think that this mothers day was perfectly spent.  We went to church together, ate together, hiked, built legos, relaxed and even had dessert for dinner.

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poison control

More times than I would like to admit I have had to call poison control.  Generally it is for one of my little boys who have done something crazy like… drinking almond extract, murphy’s oil soap or eating parts of someones landscaping.  I have to say that the people over there at poison control are pretty wonderful.  They don’t seem to judge.  They have never once lectured me.  They haven’t laughed at me either or even hinted that I’m a bad parent.  Usually when I call poison control they tell me that everything is fine.

Tonight I had to phone for a friend and everything was not fine.  Everything was scary and bad and emergent.  Luckily now that a few hours have passed it looks like everything is indeed going to be fine.  I hate that feeling.  The one that for me means, remain very calm on the outside, try your hardest to think more broadly and logically then you normally do, have all your emotions on hyper drive on the inside and take hours to come back to normal once the crisis has passed.

Emergencies make me grateful for the hum drum of every day life.

Lots o’ noodles

This morning strolled through some gardens.  I also chased one speedy three year old but I do that whether in gardens or at home.

This evening we cooked 30 lbs of pasta and made a literal vat of sauce.  We also cleaned up after all this cooking.  Job well done!

Tomorrow we hopefully feed many people & earn lots of money for the Boy Scouts.

coping mechanism

There are all kinds of coping mechanisms.  I find that I use a few different ones depending on the situation.  For instance when things are too chaotic in the car I turn off all of the noise that I can and try to get the kids to turn off their noise making mouths for a few seconds too.  When I am over-scheduled I take time to look at my schedule a few days or even weeks out to see where I have days that are less hectic and this gives me something to look forward to and the perspective that I can indeed handle things because they’re not always going to be quite this hard to handle.  Both of these methods are pretty healthy and I am comfortable with the fact that I use them.

Recently, I’d say over the past month, I have let the house get way to out of control.  I mean like every room and closet of it needs to be either cleaned, organized or both.  My coping mechanism for this is to ignore it or to leave the house so that I don’t have to deal with it.  I honestly don’t do very well emotionally when I have a messy house for a sustained period of time.  So I am not ok with these methods of dealing with this.  I’m not ok with not being able to find our things.  I’m not ok with feeling like I don’t want to lay claim to my space.  I’m not ok with my passive attitude of ignoring the situation instead of tackling it a piece at a time.

What am I going to do?  Clean it I guess.  Force myself to stay away from books and to do the things that I don’t want to do.  Reward myself for doing them?  Maybe… maybe the reward ought to be a job well done.

Happy Birthday

Today we got to spend a few hours celebrating my Aunt Su’s 70th birthday with her.  To me she has seemed almost ageless until the past six or eight months.  She toted me all over the North East and shared her excitement about all things historical with me.  She hunted down the cabbage patch that was impossible to find and all the rage when I was a little thing and she taught me most of my manners.  I’m grateful that I am living close enough to drive the two hours to show her how much we care for and love her.  Family is important.  It’s one of the few things we get to take with us.  Building those relationships and solidifying those bonds is worth every bit of the effort it takes.

most annoying song ever

This song has been around for way too long.  Bo keeps introducing it to each of the kids at just the age when they’ll be most likely to memorize it and sing it incessantly for about a year or so.  I’m not sure how much more of my brain function will have to be used to block out all of the singing of this song but I’d be willing to wager that it’s significant.

Time management

Life seems to always be full.  I remember the days when I would post the weekly schedule on our board and there would be days with no firm commitments.  It’s been a long time since that has happened.  I’m hopeful that it might happen a few time during the summer months though.  Today I realized that I have a new time management tool at my disposal.  Aidan!  Aidan can now read well enough that Connor is interested in listening to him read.  So, if I play my cards right we can get in Aidan’s reading time and my blogging time and Connor will be entertained as well.  I occasionally remind myself that there’s only really a year or two of all this little kids / big kid juggling left.  I’m totally ok with that.

Sunday song

Come Thou fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy, never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise

Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it
Mount of Thy unchanging love

Here I raise my Ebenezer
Here there by Thy help I come
And I hope by Thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home

Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wandering from the fold of God
He to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood

Oh, to grace how great a debtor
Daily Im constrained to be
Let that grace now, like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee

Prone to wander, Lord I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Heres my heart, oh, take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above

Come Thou fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy, never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise

Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount, Im fixed upon it
Mount of Thy unchanging love

 

Home-school perspective

Bo sent me a link to a wonderful article last week.  Some days I wonder if we’re crazy to be home-schooling our children.  Other days I think that it’s the best thing in the world.  Each year we reevaluate and try to decide if another year of homeschooling is what is best.  It’s about that time of year again and it seems like the decision becomes easier and easier each time that we need to make it.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful that there are public school out there.  Not every family wants to home school.  Not every family can afford for one parent to stay home.   Our society is greatly enriched by the availability of public education but for us educating our kiddos at home has been the perfect fit.  Grated there are a lot of not perfect days but overall everyone seems happy.  The kids are actually learning.  I don’t have a ten year schooling plan.  Heck, I don’t have a ten year life plan but I have hopes for the future and things seem to be going pretty well so far.

You can read the ARTICLE here.