Sunday, October 31, 2021

Another Year, Almost

It has almost been another year. I can't help but reflect, a lot. That is what I have mostly been doing; reflecting and reacting-- to my life, to current middle age, to dreams and desires. 

I'm excited for 2022. I want my hair to grow out a bit. I love it short, but I miss it long. I don't regret cutting it because it helped my migraines so much, but now that I know I can just shave the back, I want to try having long hair again, just less hair.

We are on the cusp of holidays. I'm excited. This year I didn't wait until the last minute to make plans. I have made all our holiday plans this week. We also purchased all our presents greatly in advance (usually I wait until the beginning of December) but with my husband "maybe" losing his job due to the covid vaccine I wanted to make sure we had everything. (I still can't believe this is the world we live in) 

Also, there is a apparently a toy shortage but I didn't notice anything that I wanted being unavailable. 

Reuben is getting a rope tying book for Christmas. Becky is getting a necklace kit and they both will receive a wooden sword and shield, as well as a lot of stocking nicknacks. The necklace kit and the rope book will be what we do for handicrafts next term. This term we did paper sloyd and clay modeling! 

We are doing a low-key Christmas this year. I was going to ask for a month of hot yoga, but I don't think I have the energy. I just started doing Yoga with Adriane again on YouTube so we will see what I feel up too. I miss hot yoga; I quit going when we started homeschooling because I couldn't imagine doing both. It was the right decision, but that doesn't mean I am happy about it. So, I don't know what I want for Christmas. I ordered myself some yarn, that is honestly enough. My house overflows with stuff. Brian wants an office chair; he works from home right now and has been sitting in a broken uncomfortable computer chair for almost two years now. We ordered him one from Amazon, I hope he likes it! He ended up ordering a gaming chair instead of an office chair, but he does not game. It looks really comfy. 

I got my mother in law a stand for her ukulele for Christmas, and I have not purchased anything for my mother or sister or her children. That is next, if I can think of anything they need. 

For Halloween this year we had princess spider-man and a ninja. It was a great trick-or-treating around our little neighborhood. Our kids don't get candy, so they were thrilled. It was funny to watch them try it. Maybe I should give them candy more often, they really don't know much about it. This was Reuben's third time trick-or-treating. Becky's second time; really its her first because the first time she was too afraid to go up to the houses. She is three. 

And yes, I know spider-man is anti gun, and the irony of Becky holding guns wearing that outfit, but she's three. Also, she's never actually seen spider man, she only knows about him because the little boy I used to babysit LOVES him. And he gave Becky this costume because he's so nice (or because his mother made him) but regardless she loves it. 

Anyway, Reuben would only leave his ninja hat on for about 5 minutes. But it was so cute. He's the best ninja. 

Life is good. We are homeschooling on. God is good. I am trying to do my duty to Him, and to my family. 

The Wandering (Part 8)

[Transcription Note: Several hides in this section were beyond recovery] 

I always feel when it was time to head to the caves. I woke up knowing. The sun still shone bright and hot on my black shoulders, but I knew. A trek to the sea told me the same. The waves sparkled, the never-ceasing foam rising and falling, but instead of warmth and sunshine it whispered promises of cold and frost. Everything, from the way my roasted vegetables and soured cheese tasted, to the fit of my shift--felt off.

“We have weeks left,” Ignose said, scooping up the gleeful, rolling Roan and dangling him across her shoulders. I handed her the warp, and she tied him to her back.

“No,” I said, my eyes on the trees. The forest chirped with noise—birds, bugs—and the sun beamed hot upon my back, filtered as it was through the high branches, but I knew. “It will be soon.”


I couldn't tell what is was—some noise, some animal sound lost to my ears? A chita, whose call I always heard, was it missing? No—that was there. Subdued, quieter, but there. Something in me felt the call to wander, something yanked me southward. I yearned to answer, already I felt restless, discontent with the sameness. Our days were the same—wake up, forage, avoid my moon-sisters. Play with Roan, see Ogna May, who checked on all the babies—pray for good luck and hope not to be beaten. And, since I had been beaten six out of the last 10 days, I was weary of it. My back stung and Ignose also looked discomforted. 

For the loss of the goats, they had beaten us both.

Yet hope blossomed in my belly. The two week trek to the caves was something I enjoyed every year, a time of rest—everyone usually too busy to remember Ignose and I.

And oh, what a time to wander. Right before fall, right when the days were warm but not cold, and before the leaves closed up into buds. I could taste the sweet leaf nectar now, just beyond the tip of my tongue. There was nothing better. Grasslands, forests, new game and wild mushrooms of many flavors abounded on our trek. And as we traveled we met with many other woman and girls making the same progress to the caves. Trade, and celebration, and friends abounded. For each tribe had their own Blighted Maiden, and as we traveled we could all be together.

I knew the name for what I felt now. Belong. For those four hands, I belonged.

That evening when Ogna May looked over Roan, she told us. The preparations would began tomorrow, and in two hands we would leave. Ignose whined—she would, after all, have to carry Roan all the way—and she hated walking. I promised to rub her feet each night and carry her sleeping mat for her, but she still sat scowling at the fire.

The Ogna flipped Roan over, examining his manhood.

“A fine strong boy,” She said, nodding at Ignose. “You have done well. He will make the moon-daughters proud.”

Ignose said nothing, only gathered Roan up in her arms when she was done.

“And now, Solamae—how about you. Is your red moon flowing?” She asked, turning her attention to me.

I shook my head no.

“Many girls start as young as 10. But some do not began their moon-flow until their 16th celebration. When your red moon arrives, come to me, and I will tell you of the pleasure between the sun and moon, and what awaits you at the Coupling”

“I can tell her,” Ignose said. Her voice snapped like a tree whipping in strong winds, but the Ogna paid her no mind.

“This rite of passage belongs to me,” Ogna May said.

I am not interested in laying with a man. But I said nothing. All the maidens enjoyed meeting the men in the grasslands outside the caves, on the last day of the last hand in our calendar cycle. I had seen them for many winters return to the cave, their faces flushed and excited, their firs wrapped around them, but their limbs languid and relaxed, sharing nothing of the brightness on their faces. In the saunas they would speak of the pleasures, showing off their game-offerings and baubles the men left them. Yet only a few months later they would be screaming into the sea like Ignose. Like Ignose, who even now called out in the night for her daughter.

Ryia, Ryia, Ryia.

The wind seems to speak her name, rattling the leaves and whooshing forward on its journey to the sea. Our journey, however, lay south. The snow was coming.


Friday, October 15, 2021

I made it to Full GAPS and other tales of calamity

I flew through stages five and six and now I am on the full gaps diet. I went a little crazy with some almond flour and had to back off a bit and remember to eat simply. And this last week I couldn't find any bones for broth, so my stomach is in mild pain from missing the healing benefits of bone broth and meat stock. 

We buy enough bones at the farmers market each weekend for the following week; it is simply crazy that no vendors had bones!! Our freezer is tiny so this is just what works for us. Anyway I asked all of the venders to bring some next week and I will most likely end up with a large amount of bones, and an overflowing freezer. 

It was nice to have a break from the every other day broth-making that is the GAPS life, but I can't keep skipping it. My healing is going on a downward trend after only one week without broth! 

I have been praying for our country and for my husbands job. But our lives are so rich, so wonderful here at home with our piles of books and home cooked meals, that I have not had much time to feel scared or worried. (There was one day...but God reminded me of his continuing presence and now I'm okay) I feel such joy every day that this is my life! I never knew I would enjoy homeschooling this much, I never knew that reading with my children daily and watching them grow could be so amazing. God has blessed me so much and, while there are hard moments; it is going so fast I don't have time to complain. There are dishes to do and small little girls to tuck into bed. There is a little boy who is desiring to read the next chapter of Little House in the Big Woods and there is yoga to do and wool to knit. And homesteading to try and learn more of; because it always helps to be prepared and knowledgeable.

What else is happening? I could wax eloquent on Hunt, Gather, Parent. My husband and I are now reading it together on audiobook and I love how it has calmed our family. It makes so much sense. Go and read it, you won't be disappointed. It's a literary gem just shining with advice on family raising. Our kids, and ourselves, are much happier for partaking. I am aiming to dig deeper with this second read; it is going to take multiple re-reads to change this westernized girl. 

We are taking it one day at a time and digging into the richness that is Gods wonderful plan for our lives. 

I hope we don't end up in a concentration camp for the unvaccinated, but that's just a conspiracy theory, just like the vaccine being mandated was a year ago. God is good, and those who don't want the vaccine are not germ-ridden untouchables. We are people with the right to refuse medical service that we don't want, be it either for religious, philosophical or moral reasons. 

I don't know what to expect, but we were not promised tomorrow; but I was born for such a time as this. At least that is what I tell myself. The world is not the same place it was in 2019, but I have hope it will be again, and I can live out my time on this earth by a quiet fire, knitting and reading to my grandkids. Let it be so. I certainly didn't want my mid-thirties disrupted by communism and authoritarian measures. I am no girl on fire like Katniss Everdeen. I'm a mom who can pray though, and that can be enough. Pray, because things can change in a blink of an eye, and some of the news I read really does drive me to my knees.

I don't want to end on such a note, so, let me tell you about another amazing author I found. Her name is Charlotte Mary Yonge and so far I have read one of her books (Countess Kate) and have another one tabled to read soon. She is an amazing writer born in 1823 and wrote over 100 books. I love the simple tales of truth and goodness she pens, they are a must-read for growing boys and girls and adults alike. Enduring, well written, and full of biblical sincerity. 

I couldn't find any at our local library; she really is a forgotten author, at least where I am. 

Reuben is slated to read The Little Duke next year in year two, and I can't wait to enjoy that with him.

Homeschooling, like I said above, is going well. I am not laying the feast of Charlotte Mason perfectly by any means. Today I realized that Reuben's copywork needs more of my attention; especially in the forming of his letters. I am making the mistake of not training him to do good work; his handwriting is sloppy and ill-formed. Usually I give him his handwriting and walk away to do another task--he isn't writing letters "correctly" (as in the strokes) and I think I need to go back to just drawing the lines and forming the letters. I feel disappointed in myself. This will probably be a reoccurring problem--I am not perfect and this new method of teaching is very foreign! 

Charlotte Mason is a living curriculum, but it is unlike anything I have ever experienced before and, while it is simple, we humans tend to over-complicate things unnecessary.  I can only hope to try my best and keep learning and growing alongside my two small humans, and that God will grant me mercy for my mistakes. 

Paper Sloyd (Fan, Bon Bon, Book, and Spool Basket) Tutorials

These videos cover the fan, bon bon box, book cover (and sheets) and spool basket. Enjoy the tutorials and happy paper-sloyding!! This ends our "year one" crafts! 

You can download the paper sloyd book here for free. I also made an update video talking about what I learned (and what was hard) for paper sloyd after we finished all the year one projects in Paper Sloyd by Ednah Anne Rich.


Friday, October 8, 2021

8 Years Married Adventure (LAST 2020 vlog)

In the middle of the pandemic we had an anniversary! 8 years married. A milestone! Since cases were very low in Virginia at the time (except at the coast) we decided to take a little weekend adventure. I didn't film much, but here is the little I captured. We didn't leave our state and only traveled an hour to a large city near us. It was so much fun and so needed!

Also, I started using Final Cut Pro to edit videos from this point forward and I feel like a baby who is all thumbs, so I am sorry...I will get better. I don't know where to find anything and editing a video take 4x longer than it should. But Final Cut Pro is what I have now since I got an apple mini for Christmas, so it is what I am trying to use. 

How are you all? 

This is it. The last vlog, and it was ONE year ago. Should I make a "where are we now" video?? Hmm...I have not vloged in ONE YEAR. Wow. So much has happened.

Sunday, October 3, 2021

The problem with Stage Four (and other life updates)

FIRST of all, we have a working washing machine!!! I am currently doing ALL the laundry in our house and I don't have to worry a speck about the weather, the temperature, or if someone is mowing outside. I can clean every garment in my home at any time. I feel SO blessed. Also, we bought chocolate. I ate too much.

This week I started stage four of gaps. The juice kicked me out of ketosis and I am starving all the time!!! I am going to progress quickly though stage four and get to stage five and six so I can have fruit and get a little carb help...

So far I am doing very well. I am excited to make it. Last time I quit on stage four after 8 weeks due to the crash of being kicked out of ketosis and the resulting hunger. This time I knew it was coming and I decided to just press on to stage five if it gets too hard to manage. 

waiting in the hot car for daddy

Weight loss? I have lost 10 pounds on gaps in these four weeks, going from 155 to 145. I will probably gain it all back, so I am not buying new clothes. Or trying to think too much about it; worrying about my weight is not a problem I want to add to my plate.

How else are we? Homeschooling is going really well. We are starting week five of Ambleside Online tomorrow and Reuben is just soaking it up as am I. 

I also ordered books. Too many books. I went on a book shopping spree at and bought books I have been wanting forever and books I am excited about Reuben reading as he progresses in his reading level (we are up to three letter words guys!! This is so exciting!!) and a few books for myself that I have been eyeing for months. Its a fall cozy fireside book haul, maybe I will make a video when all the books come in. I can't wait. Books are amazing and we read so much as a family. I can't wait until Reuben reads too. He really wants to join me on the couch and leaf through pages.

I'm about halfway though Hunt, Gather, Parent and it is legit blowing up my westernized parenting bad habits. We have implanted two of the suggestions and I am shocked at how much it has changed our household. I can't wait to read the rest of the book. We bought it on audiobook to listen together; my husband does not read unless it is for work.

The first thing we did is--we now do chores together. Almost all of them. My three year old can wash all the dishes (if I put a chair at the sink for her). I had NO idea she could do so much with such happiness. And she is glowing, she is more joy-filled and seems to understand better her role and purpose in our family. We are spending time together doing these chores and I find I like it too! I was worried it would be more work or messy; but honesty it is helping me out so much. Reuben is able to do way more than I expected as well, from making whole meals by himself (with supervision right now) to washing dinner dishes and hanging up laundry. We are not to the "they do chores themselves without asking" part but I can see how we will get there. The main thing we are trying to do is exist as a family and not as individual parts (parents and children) but as a unit that all molds together. We are team members with the same goal in mind, not lone boatmen. Thinking of our family as being on the same team is realigning my own conceptions of parenting. I don't need to send the kids away to make dinner; they can help. They eat too. I don't need to "entertain" them while I clean, they can clean too, they live here. This is good for us.

The second part of the book is about anger, and wow, let me tell you it was like being slapped upside the head with a barrel of wet fish. I am gobsmacked. 

Basically, we shouldn't get angry at kids as parents!! I am working on my anger--not just managing it, but having less of it. I now expect my kids to make messes, be emotionally unstable--they are children. Just like I am teaching Reuben math in school, I also need to teach him to be neat, tidy, and control himself. I realized after reading this chapter that a lot of the tears my kids shed, and a lot of my frustrations are from me expecting my children to be emotionally competent forty year olds. They are three and six, we are not there yet. I must be patient and teach by example. Yelling and anger are not only unacceptable, they don't help the situation in any way. Anger is the wrong reaction to something my child does. They are trying to learn how to exist in the world; not fight me. Once again, I viewed them as "not on my team" and "other". Once I started to see that we were all supposed to be working together, something clicked. I am working on being an example my kids can see daily. 

I've only scratched the surface of this book. I will read it again, I will dig deeper. And I'm only halfway though and I need to return it in ten days to the library so I need to read!!

Anyway, the concepts in the book are revolutionizing our family! My thoughts? Go out and read Hunt, Gather, Parent. You will not regret it, I promise you. It is amazing. I have been telling EVERYONE about it. It's the only parenting book you need. 

We are on week two of no television!! It is going good. We are still playing Nintendo switch in the evenings and I plan on cutting that out, eventually. Soon. We aren't playing on the television but on the actual switch device, in case you were confused. The television is in the closet. 

How are you?