Friday, July 16, 2021

Nostalgic 90s Toy Unboxing

My childhood is in these boxes, and I can't wait to see my kids play with them too. So many good memories...playing dolls with my sister. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

my head is full of longing for what it could be

Sometimes I think I am not going to make it. After a hard day. A day where everyone cries, no one likes my food, nothing is clean and exhaustion tethers me to the earth like a kite in a thunderstorm. Is this all it is? This, day after day after day until I die? Laundry, cooking, cleaning the kitchen table with the same rag I washed yesterday, sweeping the same floor clear of crumbs, saying the same things without end.

Don't do that, don't touch that, why won't you listen. 

A inner voice tells me, stop nagging, don't gripe, talk to your children. But sometimes I can't hear it because my head is full of longing for what it could be but what it is not. Why do I think so much about my life, that life I had before children? It isn't coming back. It died the night my baby was born, and something new arrived. And even while I love my life-after-kids, I also battle negative thoughts. Thoughts that churn my mind with impossible dreams. Dreams of writing, dreams of knitting, dreams of devoting myself to creating and dreams of evenings with tea by the fire and comradeship and study. 

Dreams are fine, I suppose, if only I didn't want them so much. It's like I was offered a field, a field peppered with marigolds and buttercups, windswept and lovely, but I can't ever be happy there because I keep looking behind myself at the lake I just swam through, between the lovely green hills. Instead of being grateful for the field, I want the lake back. 

I'm a mother adrift with loathing, trudging through the flowers like a weary traveler twice her age, carrying my rocks of insolence and boulders of antipathy high on my back, my neck sore from looking over my shoulder. 

Every night I count my rocks, whisper their names in the darkness, cling to them like they mean something. I could be free, but who would carry the rocks? I must have some purpose, and thus I make my own, because I am good at doing things by myself.

They seem to grow over time, the rocks. From pebbles to cliffs that crush me. I always did make mountains out of molehills. 

I love my babies to pieces. But it is so hard. And there is no breaks. I am alone. My heart is breaking. I work so hard and no one notices. I am exhausted, I am not enough. I can't do this. These and more are the thoughts that fill my head on the bad days.

What a bleak picture of motherhood I paint. 

Above all, I ask, why can I not be happy? Where is the joy of the Lord that I firmly and deeply believe in? What lies I must be believing, what blackness I shroud myself in. Where is my freedom in Christ? It seems I find it for a bit but that never lasts. Suddenly and inexplicably I'm lost again, buried under the rocks and yearning for a light at the end of the tunnel.

I want God to rescue me from dishes, sweep me off my feet Disney-princess style, save me from drudgery and housework. But God did not die to free me from sweeping and dusting, cooking and working. He sent his son to die so I may enter into heaven, and commune with him there in the holy of holies. 

Matthew 9 "And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city. And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.

What is easier for God to do--to save me from my work and my hardships or to save me from my sin? I stand corrected. I stand in awe.

The Bible says very little about the heroes. And even less about those who are caught between the great names. We all want to be the heroes -- the Ruths, the Davids, a Moses or a Nehemiah. But I know I'm not even one who would be listed in the long rambling genealogy of name after name. I won't even be a jot in the Bible after my death. It will be like I never was. No one will remember me. And that is okay. I'll be in heaven, in the great rest, with Jesus and hopefully my family, doing the Lord's will and bringing glory to him. I'm not a hero. Yet I'm here, on this earth, for a reason. And the best I can hope for is to grasp enlightenment before I die. 

I often struggle to see how washing dishes for the 10th time this week or cleaning up pee or folding laundry day after day brings glory to God. But it must, it must because God made me a mother, he makes life and death and his hands turn the great clock that runs Time and all its dimensions. He hung the stars in the sky for us to see and wonder at, and he made me, this thinking feeling creature who cries bitter tears over her own misgivings and wallows in her own wretchedness and sin. He made me and I am here, and I must not rage against the machine but take my place with his strength and plod the paths he laid for me.

Romans 5 "Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."

What truths I have to cling to when I am at the end of my rope. I should turn to the Bible, not give up. 

I am not enough, I never will be. A pampered existence is not what I was made for. I was not crafted by the hands of a loving and omnipresent God for ease and entertainment, but I was made for a work that glorifies God. In motherhood, or out of motherhood, I am made for the glory of God. Not for my own idea of fame or comfort.

If I do not go and purchase oil for my lamp or trim the wick, I will not have a light when the bridegroom comes for me. 

And thus I have to ask myself. Am I living for God, or am I burying my talent in the dirt and living in fear? Am I repeating his promises to myself when days are hard, or am I letting bitterness and sorrow be my pillars? A house built on the sand will not stand, but lo-- a house built on the foundations of stone, on solid Word, that would be a house worth building.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6)" 

"Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; our God is merciful. The LORD preserves the simple;
when I was brought low, he saved me. Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you. (Psalm 116:5)

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:7)

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27)

Now if only this was easier said than done. It is one thing to know it, to read it--and quite another to live it. May I be faithful, may I be wise, may I be meek. 

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Reubens Second Year of Kindergarden

This may be confusing, but we have decided to wait another year to start Reuben in first grade (or "Year 1" for Ambleside online). He just isn't quite ready--though in many places he is doing first grade work, I feel he isn't ready for everything "Year 1" has. He turns six next week! I may start him on year one next semester (in January of 2022) or wait a full year and start next August. 

We are, however, implementing several Charlotte Mason methods, such as narration and short lessons! That shall be fun!! I am excited about our year.

We will be doing a 4 school-day schedule, Monday through Thursday, with Friday (and the weekends) off. I can't wait!

Here is what we are doing DAILY. (4 times a week)

Morning time - Our "Morning time" will include a prayer, reading picture books, doing our bible memory verses and reading "The Ology" and our bibles. (45 min)

Math - We will be finishing up the second half of First Grade Math from Masterbooks. (10 minutes)

Geography - Either "Under the Home" or "On Mission". (10 min)

Violin - 10 minutes practice each day, Suzuki method 

Reading/ Phonics - We are doing spectrum phonics "kindergarten book" and the SCM delightful reading kit #2 (10-15m)

Walk - Every day we will take a walk somewhere to get our energy out, midway though our lessons! (15 min)

Nature Journaling - after our walk, perhaps? Something we collected! (our rainy day is to do UTH) (10 min)

Here is what we will be doing WEEKLY. (1 time a week)

Composure Study - we will be studying the music of Handel (15 min)

Paper Sloyd - We will be going through the book by Edith Anne (20 min)

Nature Study - We are doing "Exploring Nature with Children" (2 hr) 

Tea time, poems and picture study - we will be studying the art of Giotto and reading poems, drinking tea, baking together (30 min)

In September we start a Co-op (I am teaching geography in the co-op this term). The co-op will be doing clay modeling, picture study, drawing, P.E. and Natural History together! The co-op meets twice a month, and Reuben and I are very excited. 

Here is to another year of school! 

(What are we doing with Becky? Well, she will be there for all of Reubens stuff, I got her a Pre-k workbook but that's really so she's occupied while I teach Reuben. We will wait until she's 5 to start anything formal) 

((also I updated to so if you follow my blog by email, it will come from there now))

Saturday, July 3, 2021

I chopped off ALL my hair!

It's all gone!! And I LOVE IT. Also, it has been a week and I only had half a migraine this week!! Usually I have 2-3 a week, so maybe the cut helps! (I had a ton of hair omg)

It's so short!! I'm so happy. I can style it curly or straight and its so much fun and easy. Squee. I thought I could never have short hair but I am pleasantly surprised and in love with it! <3 ITS PERFECT.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

complaining about Reuben's camp for five minutes

Reading, resting, and homeschool planning. That about sums up my June. A lot of reading. A lot of resting, and much homeschool planning! 

I also think I would make a bad public school parent. Reuben went to a day camp. I have actually wanted to send him to this camp since I visited it (and read about it) and talked to many others who had sent their kids there. 

However, this is pandemic year, and even through this camp is all outdoors and there is no mask mandate in our state currently, he was made to wear a mask all week unless eating or swimming. I sent him with one ply masks because he's FIVE and cannot breathe when its 80 plus degrees out in our muggy Virginia weather with a 2 or 3 ply mask over his nose. It was mind boggling to me that a five year old child had to wear a mask for his camp!!! When I picked him up his mask was literally soaked and gross and, ugh. I don't get it. When I signed up there was nothing on the website about masks. I received the mask info two days before Reuben started camp in an e-mail. Talk about stressful. 

Another thing that bothered me was the food. The website had this amazing sounding dining service promising vegetarian food that came "mostly from their on-site garden" and would be full of local flavors and veggies. It spoke of how the kids would learn to cook on a campfire and even start their own fire. Reuben was really excited when I read that part to him!! It said portions were reviewed by a child dietitian but extra portions would be allowed. Alas, he came home unhappy the first day because what they fed him for lunch was sunbutter on bread. He said no extra food was ever allowed. He came home hungry every day. The next day was noodles with plain tomato sauce, and the third day was a parfait. They could put fruit or cheerios on it. When you read their website they make it sound like something else...this is my child who loves salads and is a growing boy. Literally I would pick him up at 3:30 and he was crying from hunger!! Like, what?? 

The first day I picked him up he was holding his mask on. I sent him with a one ply mask and he said he lost it (that happens) but he forgot I put another one in his pants pocket for just this reason. They gave him a really thick polyester mask that was three ply (I know this because I cut two layers off the back to send it back with him the next day) with their logo on it. He was holding it on his face because he said "it falls off when I let go and they yell at me to put it back on". BUT NO ONE HAD HELPED HIM ADJUST IT. He is five, and he has never worn a mask before!!!! LIKE HELP HIM. A camp counselor should notice this. I feel like they either didn't care or they were not paying attention to my son like they should have.

Another time I picked him up he was carrying his shoes. He said he couldn't get them on after swimming and--why did no one help him put his shoes on??! HES FIVE. I expected him to be cared for, but maybe that was asking too much.

The next day, day two--he did yoga. He came home saying he hates yoga. I sent my son to camp and they made him do yoga. He said it was for two hours but I am sure it was like 20 minutes or something. When I picked him up he said he was hungry and also he had been so bored that day. I felt sorry for him but I brought him back the next day! 

I forgot to mention something. Every time I dropped him off the "camp nurse" would take his temperature.  Each time they would ask six questions about covid and illness. The second day I said yes to "do you have a headache" and this caused the camp nurse to FREAK out. First of all, I was honest. I have migraines, I'm not sick. OMG. She didn't seem to know what to do, but let him stay. The next day I saw her standing far away talking and they didn't temp the three cars in front of me, and I kind of relaxed. Like, maybe they are not going to temp? Well, no. They didn't temp anyone else but my son. Because I said I had a headache the last day. (Okay, so I only saw the few cars in front of me and behind me but she ran to my car and temped Reuben and then walked away again. She singled him out!!) She remembered the car I drove and even asked me "has your headache become a sickness" I (in my head) was like NO I WOULDN'T TAKE MY SON TO CAMP IF I/HE WERE SICK) but I just said no. She temped Reuben every day. It felt personal. 

I'm getting angry just thinking about it!! 

Another time Reuben forgot his shoes and I had to drive home and get them. I couldn't believe, one, he would forget his shoes, and two, that I wouldn't notice, and three, WHY. oh well. Also, they said I had to go get his shoes as he could not attend camp without shoes--when the day before I picked him up without shoes because no one would help him put them on. I went and got them and brought them back. 

There were things he enjoyed about camp. He loved swimming, and the zip line, and making his cup out of clay. He loved the woods. He could do without the yoga and the masks, thank you very much. He loved the s'mores they made on Friday, the last day of camp (and finally a day of making the campfire!!) He wanted to do more crafts. He was sad they only did one craft the first day (making the clay bowl). We do more crafts than that at home!!!!

Anyway. I came to the conclusion that the camp was a scam, and I am not going to send him there next year. By scam, I mean it wasn't the enriching amazing experience the website made it sound like, it was a glorified babysitting service. 

Also, how do public school moms do this every day? Drop their kids off not knowing what is happening and pick them back up? I missed Reuben like crazy! I knew it was only a week and I hoped he would have fun, become more of himself from being away from me a bit, and give myself a much needed break. The break was awesome, but my blood pressure rose a bit from all the things the camp did that made me angry. 

Anyway, if I can get this mad over a summer camp, I could never send him to school, at least not while he is little. I mean, who knows if he was able to communicate aptly about his day?? He IS only five. A lot of what he told me made me mad, but literally there was no one to talk to about it. Drop off was from cars. I wasn't allowed out off my vehicle due to covid. I guess I could send an angry letter but what would that do? So, I never said anything. First of all, I didn't want Reuben to be treated weird because of some complaint I made, and two--because I didn't think it would actually change anything. 

I just feel stressed about the whole thing. And yes, I realize nothing I have complained about it "that bad" but it was just so different from what their website said and what he and I expected. Sigh.