Thursday, September 18, 2008

I'm not jealous. I'm not jealous. I'm not jealous.

So. I've decided that no one who already has three children is allowed to have ANY MORE. Or at least, if they do, they're not allowed to tell me about it.

Because really, people. I'm done. I'm DONE, I tell you!

Seriously, have you noticed all the people getting pregnant with their fourth lately? SouleMama, for one. She gives me morning sickness just watching her do it so beautifully. And then there's Jessica, whose sickness was so bad, I was grateful it was her and not me. Until recently, when she started sewing adorable girly things again. Darn you, Jessica!

And now Heather, too?! Come on, you already have three girls! And a teeny tiny little apartment. Thanks for making me feel bad for making excuses that we don't have room for a fourth.

How are you people planning to pay for college, anyway??

It's not my fault. Do you know how hard I had to work to convince UberDad that we should have a third?! It took months and months! He was not anxious to begin another round of "Mommy won't get off the couch and we're hungry, Daddy."

I was a nightmare. Postpartum depression for most of the first year. The baby who wouldn't nurse anywhere but lying in bed. The baby who cried for six weeks straight.

And now he's so cute.

I can't blame Scott. He has one sibling. He never expected to have more than two kids. He hoped one of them would be a girl. He no longer believes we're capable of making girls.

And we're fine with that. Boys are awesome! They adore their mommies. They are constant entertainment. They don't have cat fights. I rarely have to brush their hair. No weddings to be responsible for. No teenage girl hormones. No tea parties. No pretty dresses to sew.

It's okay. I'm expecting granddaughters. I'll have more time for sewing then anyway.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Living in Freedom every day

Thank you, friends, for your kind and supportive words on my last post. I know I am not alone in feeling overwhelmed sometimes. It really helped just to get all that out!

And, praise God! I know He is always there for me even when I'm too busy looking at the mess around me to notice Him. And I know it is never Him condemning me or calling me a failure -- because He's already paid for that and set me FREE!

This week He may be setting me free from the computer. :) We have a lot of out-of-the-house plans for the week -- the dentist, a playdate, two birthday parties, and a museum field trip! I also want to finish getting the fall garden area ready for the seedlings that are stretching toward the sky! Oh, and I want to reorganize all the books in the entire house... *Sigh* I know, that might be a little much. ;)

Thankfully, I can do all things -- OR choose not to! -- through Christ who strengthens me!! And now I'm going to play a game of chess with my oldest, because that's what's most important right now.

Friday, September 12, 2008

If I went to a therapist...

What would I say?

Sometimes I have conversations in my head -- monologues, actually, as though I'm talking about my life to a therapist. And I wonder, would it do me any good to actually see one? Not that I'm asking because I've never been. I have. Last year around this time I called our insurance for a referral at the insistence of my beloved because I NEEDED HELP. I was freaking out. I was sad. I was overwhelmed. I was feeling like a failure.

That's what it basically comes down to. That's why I let my temper go when I do. If I could be rational about it in the moment, my anger almost always comes down to feeling like I've failed somehow.

I'm not being the wife or mother I want to be. I'm failing at my immediate goals, and therefore at my larger goal. I've set the bar where I think it needs to be, and now the person I'm aiming to please has somehow let me know that it's not working. Last night was a typical example. I was making dinner, but apparently not fast enough. The kids were whining from hunger, and Scott was looking at the clock and hovering, wondering if we'd be done with dinner in time to take our oldest to kung fu. And I snapped. I snap, and then I pass the blame. Because it hurts too much to be the one failing. It must be someone else's fault.

Or this morning. I wanted to get outside and work in the garden before it got too hot. But I'd woken up late, again, still wasn't feeling well, and the boys wanted me to PLAY with them outside, not just do my own thing. The whining. I HATE the whining. I hear whining and I think, "For heaven's sake! You have more toys than a city's worth of kids in Africa! You have TWO brothers to play with! You don't have to spend six hours every day at school or with me hovering over you making you do schoolwork! You just got to spend three days playing with friends, swimming, and going to an aquarium! You have a trampoline, a swingset, and chickens to play with! Could you just let me WEED for TWENTY MINUTES!?"

Those things are all true. But where does the frustration and anger really come from? It comes from a quiet, but insistant internal voice that questions the decisions I've made. That doubts that I really know what I'm doing as a parent. That wonders, "Maybe you've given them TOO much. Maybe you're expecting too much FROM THEM. Maybe you haven't given them what they REALLY need. Maybe you're just too selfish and independent to homeschool. Maybe you don't really get unschooling, and you're just using it as an excuse to do your own thing."

And a louder voice insists, "You deserve time to yourself. You have things you need to get done! They're just spoiled and need to get a grip." This is the Attitude that too often takes over my mouth.

Either way, I've failed. I haven't managed my time well enough. I haven't kept my immune system strong enough to have the strength and energy I need. I'm not being the mother I want to be. And it pisses me off.

Then the voice of reason, a still small Voice whom I like to call God, says, "You're tired. You have a cold. You're trying to do too much. The boys don't feel well either and don't want to be out in the heat. It's okay to go inside and leave the weeds for another day. The important thing is that you show them you love them."

I've still failed. I've still fallen short of the glory of God. But somehow, it's going to be okay. If I listen to His voice.

Duh. He's not expecting me to be perfect right now. I'm here to keep learning. He just wants me to follow Him and stop trying to do and be everything on my own. Only His standard counts.

I think I don't go to therapy because I'm not sure what voice I would hear there. If it's not His, then I don't want to hear it.

My Faith has been challenged a lot in the last couple years. It's been hard to hear His voice sometimes. I'm ready to quiet the monologue and listen carefully for a while.

Finding peace in the Peppermint Forest

Sometimes all we need to find our happy place again is a little trip to Candy Land...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Back from OC

A photo post, because that's all I have energy for at the moment. We had a lovely time visiting our friends down south and going to the Aquarium of the Pacific with them, but I came down with another bad cold along the way. Doing too much, not eating well enough, yada yada...

Petting a sting ray.

Feeding a lorikeet.

The boys spent most of our first day back home putting together the ocean animals and diorama that came with a book I bought for them at the aquarium shop. I was so glad they had something nice to keep them busy!

They rearranged them on the dining table a couple times, then moved them to their dresser at dinnertime.

Monday, September 08, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For today, Monday, September 8...

Outside My Window... the morning sun is already heating up the trampoline, but the chickens are in the shade.

I am thinking... about my friend Kate who just told me she's moving from California to Fort Worth in a couple months. We've been best friends since our sophomore year in high school, and that's just so far away! Looks like we're going to have to buck up and take that road trip to visit all our friends and family across the country soon.

I am thankful for... my husband, Scott, for loving me even when I'm really grouchy.

From the kitchen... comes the smell of the fig muffins I baked this morning for breakfast and to take on our trip to visit friends.

I am wearing... my summery striped jammie pants and blue t-shirt.

I am creating... a healthy little boy from all the nursing he's been doing lately!

I am going... to Orange County with the boys today to visit our friends who just moved there.

I am reading... "The Unprejudiced Palate: Classic Thoughts on Food and the Good Life" by Angelo Pellegrini; "Discover Your Child's Learning Style" by Willis and Hodson; "The Gospel According to Harry Potter: The Spiritual Journey of the World's Greatest Seeker" by Connie Neal

I am hoping... the seedlings I just planted do well while we're gone.

I am hearing... my littlest giggle with muffin stuffed in his mouth.

Around the house... our bags are mostly packed for our trip, the breakfast dishes need loading in the dishwasher, and I need to get in the shower so we can get on the road.

One of my favorite things... having time to sit on the couch to read or knit. I haven't done much of that lately, but I took a little while yesterday afternoon after a very busy few days.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: A long drive down south, then -- friends! And swimming! On Wednesday -- the aquarium!

Here is picture thought I am sharing. It's of my first attempt at making jam! Fig jam, of course. We're still swimming in them...

This was my first daybook entry for The Simple Woman. It was fun!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

New Christian unschooling site

Just a note to say... go check out Heather's new Christian Unschooling site! (You might even see something by me there. :)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Invisa nobilia. This post has been enchanted.

If are able to read this, you are obviously of magical blood.

After weeks of anticipation and preparation, our local Gryffindor friends joined us for our first day of Hogwarts Home Study lessons! The table was set with candlesticks, cauldrons, books, wands, and pets -- toad and owl, specifically. We began with the school song, of course.

Owl posts from Hogwarts professors gave us our instructions. First came Potions. Professor Snape had the students make Invisibility Crystals. For Herbology, Professor Sprout explained the long and enchanting history of the popular legume, pisum sativum, and then had the children plant three varieties: sugar snap, snow pea, and a shelling pea.

Professor MacGonagall directed us to complete a rather complicated Transfiguration lesson, but these First-Years had no trouble. They were happy to wield knives and garlic presses in order to turn split pisum sativums into Soup!

Unhappily, the father of our fellow Gryffindors spent the day suffering from a large kidney stone. Happily, the ER wizards were able to give him some pain antidotes, which I pray last long enough to get the job done. Tomorrow, his students will spend the morning with us again so he can get a stint put in.

The kids wanted to know if we'd have more lessons to do tomorrow, but I haven't received further owls from the professors. We will, however, have plenty of time for Wizard's Chess and knitting, plus a little broom-free Quidditch practice on the trampoline!

The simple pleasures of family time

We've had the sort of lovely week where the fun keeps piling up with little time to record it along the way. How often do you get to say that?!

Part of what made it so lovely was the three-day weekend -- and the fact that Scott was home. This is notable, because he used to be gone a lot of Saturdays. It's always nicer when he's home with us! He made blueberry pancakes for breakfast, and then took the boys to see the new "Star Wars: Clone Wars" animated movie. He said it was better than the original six films! The boys liked it, too.

After church on Sunday, the boys had a lemonade stand in front of the house. This is something we've been talking about doing for over a year. They worked very hard in the spring to keep up with the Meyer lemon tree in my parents' backyard. They picked, and juiced, and picked, and juiced, and packed a couple gallons away in the freezer to await warmer weather.

I realized on Friday that this could be our last really hot weekend of the season (I can hope, anyway!), and it would be a good time to finally have that lemonade stand! The boys had their first sales experience at our July yard sale, where they sold chocolate chip cookies. But we ran out of time to make the lemonade that weekend. This weekend, we took it a step at a time -- thawing the juice in the fridge overnight, and making the simple syrup on Saturday. Then the movie trumped the lemonade stand, so we waited to make the lemonade.

After church the boys made the lemonade, I made a sign, and we set the picnic table out on the sidewalk. It was hotter than we expected by the late afternoon, and not too many people were out on the street. But the boys still managed to sell two pitchers worth to our neighbors, friends and family in an hour and a half. It was a lesson in patience and persistence, not to mention what it feels like to make minimum wage working in the heat of the sun.

Monday morning we went bowling to celebrate our friend's ninth birthday. It was the boys' first time, and they loved it so much, we stayed after the party for another hour to bowl a game as a family. The big boys did really well (gotta love those bumpers!), and our littlest had fun pushing the ball down the lane and waiting to see if it would make it all the way.

When we got home, it was time to read the final chapter of "Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone" -- and then watch the movie. The cherry on the top of our ice cream sundae of a weekend. After we watched the film together, the boys admitted that the book was better. It's fun to see it come to life -- but there were too many funny and interesting things left out!

And then there was Today. The Big Day. The day the boys have been anticipating for weeks. But today deserves its own post.
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