Thursday, October 23, 2014

almost the big one

my birthday is near and this year I have realized:

1)  All the things I want for my birthday are practical.  And thats really what I want.
- a dishwasher
- a grill
- my wedding ring fixed
- a bigger, better food processor

Sounds boring, but really any of those would be great.  Not things I need, but things that would be fun.  I guess I have never been a fur and diamonds kind of person, but at least at this point in my life, practical is awesome.

2) A lunch out with the girlfriends is just not happening right now.
We all have kids, some have many many kids.  And usually one is sick. 
Some of us homeschool which means the kids come along.
Girl time at a busy restaurant with energetic children. . . not gonna happen.

3) I really am OK with getting older. 
We got family pictures taken recently and my gray hair was all over the place.  Usually this would bother me and I would notice every wrinkle and tummy roll.  But all I could do is tear up at how beautiful our family is.  Those pictures captured it all (including grey hair) but also all the glory of love in our little home.

4) I am definitely ambivalent about technology.
I need a new phone.  Mine echoes at random times.  It cuts off conversations without warning. The next logical step is a smart phone.  Even my husband has one.  But I know at some level that being disconnected is good sometimes.  Silence and Solitude are valuable commodities.  Someday, I know I will cave and get a phone.  But for my birthday?  No thanks.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

receiving the rain

Its been a dry spell. 

It hadnt rained for probably 3 weeks.  I noticed the lack of rain because, of course, I had planted winter rye and hairy vetch as a cover crop in the garden.  I watered the seeds and though some straggly little bits came up, it sure didnt look like the lush green carpet I was hoping for.

But then the rain came.  Now, we have had rain off and on for several days.  All the brown grass has brightened to beautiful green and where I planted those seeds there are now the beginning of a cover crop.

Though I watered it, paid attention to their growth, even called the seed company to see if I had done something wrong, there was nothing I could do but wait for a good soaking rain. 

Relationships have been like this for me lately.  I listen, I call, I text and sometimes the connection just doesnt happen.  Kids have sports. Moms are sick.  Relatives are in town.  Life is busy.

And all I can do is wait.  I can't force friendships to go how I want them to.  I can give my effort, but there is something more needed.  I don't know the word for it, its the soaking rain that makes relationships grow. 

I don't know the word, but I know it when I experience it.  And I know it is a gift. 

So I am waiting on that breakthrough.  I am waiting for some grace to pour down and soak in and strengthen the roots I can't get to.  I waiting for the growth to appear.

Monday, October 13, 2014

cleaning out the garage

nothing very exciting going on around here.  Just about the best thing in my life is having an (almost) cleaned out garage.  We were those people.  You know, the ones with a garage packed with stuff and no room for a car.  We have some new storage space now, so it was time to liberate the garage.  We moved in this house a couple years ago and many things were just dumped in the garage and pretty much labeled "deal with it later".  So now is later. 

Things we found:

My wedding bouquet. Yes, it is 17 years old.  Yes, it is dry and lopsided and not displayable.  and YES, i kept it because it brings tears to my eyes. 

A box of odds and ends from when my husband renovated the bathroom. . . in our old house.  Anyone need a fake gold toilet paper holder?

Dozens of lego instructions.  Reeeeally glad we held onto those, especially since it is impossible to recreate any of them now that the pieces have vanished.

Three tubs of fabric.  Ummm, maybe I have a little fabric hoarding problem.  In my defense, a lot of fabric was given to me. I see lots of sewing in my future.

A whole tub of vintage linens (tablecloths, pillowcases, crochet doilies, handkerchiefs).  I love these things. I would wallpaper my house in them if I could.  They were all my grandmothers.  I cannot part with them.  I need to find creative, non cluttery uses for them.  ideas? 

Just a few things that were taking up room i the garage.  Most of it is gone to the trash or to the other storage area.  Just a little bit more work and I can get the car in there!!

Friday, October 3, 2014

mama genius

Lest that title give the wrong impression, I am NOT a genius.  I am regularly beaten by my children in just about every board and card game.  The calculator is my best friend and it takes me forever to read a book.

But every mama is a kind of genius.  I realized this when my oldest was a newborn and I devoured the parenting books.  Sometimes he did just like they said, but many times the situation they described just didnt apply to us.  It was then that I realized there was a parenting manual inside of me, not necessarily a voice, but a strong knowing of what my baby needed.  That internal guide was right almost all the time.

The powerful thing about the internet, about this connecting of isolated mamas is that I can glean from the genius of many other mamas.  I can see an organization system that is the answer to my overflowing pantry.  I can find a jedi costume that requires just one bedsheet.  I can read a blog of a mom who has been where I am and come out on the other side. 

So here is a little piece of genius that maybe will help someone out there. 

A couple weeks ago we had hit a wall in math.  It was adding two digit numbers and it just got too confusing.  There were tears in math almost everyday.

I decided we needed to put aside the workbook and do math in a totally different way.  I pulled out one of the several change jars that take up space in our home.  (Seriously, does anyone else's husband have a change jar in their nightstand, on their dresser, on their desk and TWO on the hallway bookshelf? )  I told my son if he could count all the change in the jar, he could keep 10% of what he counted.  It was a game changer.  He now eagerly sorts, organizes and counts change.  We got some of those paper wrappers from the bank and he has gone through two of the jars already.  He loves it and it is helping me declutter.  Yay!  Ironically, it is doing all the same math skills we were doing in the workbook and he is writing down his work so I can check it and doing lots of adding in his head. 

What's your  latest mama genius idea?

Monday, September 29, 2014

crafting a life

We have, in essence, crafted the life that is just right for us. We are thoughtful in our decisions about what comes into our lives, about how we spend our time, about the things we say yes or no to, about the ways we earn an income. We've worked hard and lived simply so that we can be together as a family in the ways that we are each and everyday.

These wise words were from one of my favorite blogs, Soule Mama.  After another bout of frustration last week, I just told the boys that we needed to change things.  Because we can.   By choosing to homeschool, our family life has the freedom to say "This isn't working, we need to change something."  This journey is a creative endeavor, not static.  We can tweak, we can adjust, we can overhaul.

What freedom.

But there is a flip side to that, because as we "craft this life", we must limit ourselves.  We have said no to two incomes, no to expensive vacations, no to lots of wants.  But it has freed us to say yes to so much.  Yes to another story, yes to art time with Daddy, yes to climbing trees and sledding. 

We will continue to craft, to whittle, to sculpt out this life we have been given.  With grace and love.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

grateful for tomorrows

We had a bad day yesterday.  That was all it was, a bad day.

But today is tomorrow.  And we get to start new.  And we look back and we learn.

That evening baseball games require more sleep the next morning.

That mama really cannot give attention simultaneously to three children.  One must be occupied and then maybe she can work with two at once.

That some activities require quiet, and the living room/ kitchen area is not quiet.  The bedrooms are.

That the schedule serves us, we are not slaves to it.  So it isnt working, we can and should change it.

That sometimes we want creativity and fight against limits, but then we find that a few boundaries actually help our creativity.

Most of all, we learn that we are homeschooling because
 we are in this together,
we are not giving up on one another
 and we are tailoring this education to our needs. 

And we always have tomorrow.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

You may be a nerdy couple if. . .

You hurry to get the kitchen cleaned up and and kids to bed so you can be alone and . . .

watch The Roosevelts. 




Watch it! Its so good! :)