Tuesday, December 28, 2021

I'm officially calling it Sickmas

The days that we have been sick on our vacation greatly outnumber the days we have not been sick. To recap, Reuben got sick about 10 days before Christmas. Becky 5-ish days before...then Brian. I figured it was a flu, from our symptoms and just a general overall gut feeling. Well, I got sick yesterday on the 27th and Reuben is sick again (Relapse? something new?) and has a fever of 102. Poor Reuben, who has to be sick twice! Also, Brian is still really sick and basically a couch potato, and I am very tired of doing all the things. But God has given me strength to take care of my family and also times of rest. I am already feeling better, which is great. God is so good.

I am learning to rest in the peace of God and am trying to enjoy a stay-cation that has locked us in our homes, which is not what I planned for Brian's last vacation of the year! Also I must be thankful that Brian fixed my car halfway. He had a day where he was feeling better (Sunday morning) (but now he feels worse) and he was able to replace the battery, but the clasp is still broken. Thus, I have to open the hood and apply a metal clamp to the battery before I can start it, but I can start it. Halfway is better then no-way, right? Although opening my hood each and every time I want to drive my car is incredibly annoying. But we have food. I did a grocery run after church, before I developed The Sick. 

This vacation is looking nothing like what I envisioned! 

It is a good thing I serve an amazing God, who sent his son to die on the cross for me, who has taught me to give thanks when times are hard and to rejoice in the small things. We have good things to eat, soup and bone broth and amazing friends who have provided advice and homeopathic remedies as these colds progress. 

Our Becky is pretty much all better. She's back to her smiling helpful amazing self, and its such a breath of fresh air to see her run around and play with all her Christmas presents and cry over how much she hates soup. She's been a much needed burst of joy in the midst of all the sickness. 

Today, I finally got Reuben to eat something, and he threw up. Everywhere. Right after that Brian said he was too sick to help and put himself to bed. Becky had just woken up from a nap and was crying. I dug deep and took the trash out with the yuk in it, helped Reuben get a glass of bone broth to settle his stomach and put him to bed early after a shower (he later ate a rice cake with PB on it!! win!!) and helped the little girl find a snack because she was just hungry after a long nap. Then I questioned the resentment inside my heart at my husband. Instead of tackling the hard things with joy and giving thanks to God for me not being completely laid up with this flu...I was angry at doing all the things (once again) by myself. So I went and listened to a short sermon by Paul Washer and felt the peace of God descend as Paul reminded me to look to the cross. 

I can serve my husband during his illness and I can be content with the cross of Christ while I pray for Reuben and Brian's (and myself) health. God is good, and its not about me. Christ laid down his life for me and for my family so I can clean up after a sick child and take care of everyone without a grouchy attitude. I was not put on this earth to chase after my own comfort or assert my own rights, but to serve the cause of Christ and magnify his glory, in whatever way he wishes. 

Love you all. Pray for us! I am hopeful these awful colds will subside soon and we can get back to the business of homeschooling and living life together. Soon "Sickmas 2021" will be a vague and long forgotten memory, but the Cross is forever.

Saturday, December 25, 2021

A deadpan rendition of our Christmas

I started Christmas Day bright and early, by waking up at 2am. Why? I don't know. I was having a herxheimer reaction so I went down and threw some logs on the fire and took some of my grape seed extract and had a drink of water and checked on my sleeping babies. One was sleeping the wrong way in her bed but I didn't want to move her, so I just covered her up and internally smiled. Then I proceeded to lay in bed for the next four hours trying to go back to sleep and instead was privileged to relive all my awkward and embarrassing moments from the past 35 years. Middle age is great, let me tell you. Yay.

The kids eventually woke up around 6:30am and I heard Becky crying about there being! no! stockings! where! is! my! stocking! I put a pillow on my face.

Eventually I got up and informed her I had put the stockings in the spare room and locked the door, because she is three and I wanted everyone to be awake and present for the great present plundering of 2021. I opened the door and showed them the stockings. Reuben went to the couch and thought his sisters stocking was his. I directed him to the correct stocking.

Daddy said he would shower and pull himself into enough pieces to come downstairs, so I had leftover spaghetti for breakfast with lentil noodles (taking a day break from the gaps diet because Christmas) and the kids had sugary cereal I don't buy but Daddy was nostalgic while shopping, and desired to eat his childhood for Christmas breakfast. Yes, I wanted to bake...but may I remind the reader I woke up at 2 am and I felt like someone had ironed my brain. There was no baking.

But we did have breakfast and I avoided 3405 questions about when they could open their stockings. Eventually daddy came downstairs and we had stocking time! It was lovely. Next to their stockings was a sword and shield for each of them. They loved everything. My husband opened his stocking, and I hope liked everything too! I received ni-no-kuni-2 in my stocking. That was the only thing in it. Last year I didn't get a stocking so I will call this a level up. My husband did not celebrate with stockings so, it is a foreign concept to him, but as someone whose love language is gifts and acts of service (yes even in that order) it meant a lot to me that he tried. Hah! I'm not complaining, I have a great husband who works so hard for us and loves me and our family to pieces. So he's not an intuitive gift-buyer. Things could be worse.  I will have to settle because I don't have time to build up resentment in our marriage, the years are going fast enough anyway.

The kids were delighted with their stocking stuffers. After they opened everything we put it all away in their room and they ran outside to play knights and bash themselves with the swords I had just given them... and eat all their candy. I was smart this year and only included enough candy for today! The candy is all gone and I feel 100% satisfied with this idea. Also, Reuben received his first pocket knife for Christmas and loves it to pieces but Brian thinks he isn't quite old enough and while the kids were doing melee battles in the yard, we exchanged words over it. In the end he forgave me and I think it's fine. The pocket knife I bought him is called "my first pocket knife" for goodness sakes! Marriage. Next year I will do better at communicating...I am bad at communicating. 

I tried to take a nap, but was woken up by Reuben, playing daddy's new video game "Spyro The Dragon" and yelling about it. Maybe I should not have bought that one. Hah! To picture the rest of my day, just imagine Reuben asking every thirty minutes to play that game again. Actually, that will probably be the story of my week. I'll let you know.

After being thus awakened I got up and showered! We had lunch and opened our under-the-tree presents while reading Christmas stories and also our advent. I got a paint set that I am quite excited about and a book Brian loves and desires me to read. It's called Way of Kings and it's gigantic. I think it will take me all year to read it. 

And then we all relaxed until dinner time. Becky tried out her circle paint craft with the spinning table, Reuben played Minecraft, I played my new video game Ni-no-Kuni-2 (thanks again Brian) (also why does this game start out just like the first one with the death of the main characters closest female mother figure??! over it...) and Brian took a nap. 

That was basically our Christmas! I have our dinner dishes to clean up and the next week of staycation to look forward too, if Brian gets better! We need to go grocery shopping and I want to spend some time planning out our next semester of lessons and reading over the plans... A lot to do in a weeks time! Exciting things ahead. We also need to buy blank paper. We are very short on blank paper and if I don't remember to purchase some I will have a very sad little girl who might draw on the walls.

Now I need to get my sugared, overstimulated-with-screen-time-and-treats children to go to sleep. Please send prayers. And chocolate. 

Thank you Jesus, for being born. We need you and I hope you had a good Birthday. I'm sorry I let so many temporary discomforts ruin my mood. May I have more of your joy and let go of control. 

Here is to vacation, planning, and 2022.

Friday, December 24, 2021

It's looking to be an odd Christmas

I spoke too soon, didn't I? Brian is sick! He says he woke up around midnight with a fever and the poor chap has been miserable all day. The kids and I made Christmas cookies while I dosed him (and myself) with zinc and vitamin C and other natural necessities. I do have a sore throat today, and a runny nose! I want to stay on top of things (I can't believe I'm not horribly sick too but probably tomorrow??) I am fighting it but hope to escape without the rest of the malady. It would be a true Christmas miracle. 

This Christmas is looking a lot different than what I envisioned. I wanted to go to our Christmas Eve Service but we couldn't because Brian is sick and my car is still broken (his is a stick shift so I can't drive it). I wanted to spend the evening with him curled up eating chocolate, but he has been in and out of sleep all day and barely eating the soup I made him. I'm eating chocolate and blogging, and have some delicious tea next to me! I wanted to see my family tomorrow but we had to reschedule them coming over because no one wants to catch the death flu we have. It will be just us. I didn't have time to make anything special for breakfast, but might attempt some baking in the morning. Also, I thawed some bacon. Bacon and egg sandwiches? Usually I make cinnamon rolls, but I didn't prep anything...maybe I can before I go to bed. That's a good idea... soak some flour in yogurt and make cinnamon rolls in the morning!

The kids and I read a lot of Christmas books and we made a stack of more to read tomorrow. They also watched Blippi on my computer while I lay in an almost-sick coma on the couch and took an afternoon nap while contemplating my existence.  Ah, parenthood. We had leftover sourdough pizza for lunch and for dinner I reheated the soup I made for daddy's lunch. Reuben ate his but Becky wouldn't touch it, so I sent her to bed thinking I could go get her in five or ten minutes and cajole her to eat so she could read more books. She was asleep. It must be her early Christmas present for me. 

Before all of this, around five we opened our Christmas Eve Presents (do you do this in your family?) and we had hot chocolate and a fire. Well, we have a fire every day, but it was special today. We all played with our gifts before dinner. Reuben picked out a gift from under tree by himself, and opened a lego Minecraft set that Becky bought him from Target (We let the kids pick out a gift for each other, and then they receive one from me and one from daddy for under the tree gifts, and a stocking) and I helped Becky pick hers out so she would be sure to open one we could do together. I bought my own Christmas Eve present to unwrap (same as Becky) of a jewelry making kit. We will be crafting jewelry for our handicraft next semester. Reuben also has one to unwrap tomorrow so we can all make jewelry together and go through the book each week. I'm not even sure if this is the best book, we are all beginners. But I am sure we will have FUN together!! 

I'm looking forward to starting our second semester of Year One soon. I know I am not perfect and it will never go as planned but I am preparing and praying that it will be a good semester. 

Also I have never wanted ANYTHING MORE. Please, someone buy this for me for my birthday. (hint, husband??)

This Christmas is different, but I can still worship God and we can still be together. I am rich, I am blessed, and I have so much to be thankful for. Here is to 2022, just around the corner, and here is to Christmas, that comes tomorrow. God bless you all!

Thursday, December 23, 2021

merry flumas

Last Friday, Reuben caught a cold. Before I knew what was happening he had a fever over 100 and was absolutely miserable. I have only seen him this sick once before, when he was around two. Four days later he started getting better, but Becky showed signs of catching--and suddenly she was extreamly sick. Her temp got up to almost 103 (it was 102.8 at one point) and she also was miserable! I have not slept in over a week because sick kids wake up. A lot. 

Christmas has totally caught me by surprise. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, and nothing is done! Becky is finally feeling better (today was her first no-fever day) but she is still quite sick with a runny nose and a cough.

Oh, and did I mention my car is broken down? It broke Monday (the 20th). I've been home all week with sick kids, and also I have not been able to do any Christmas shopping for our food even in the evening! Brian drives a stick shift and has been working quite late...I don't know how to drive a stick shift. I need to learn. I am afraid I will break his car...

I do have all our gifts so no worries on that point (I bought those back in October when it looked like Brian would lose his job over the vaccine; I wanted to have a Christmas. Luckily his workplace is no longer mandating the vaccine, though they strongly encourage their employees have three doses...and while they still mandate masks for every employee, they are not making those with religious exceptions do weekly testing, so we feel like his job is secure...though no one is promised tomorrow!) (Whew, that was a long parentheses...) Well, our car needs a new battery. And Brian can't fix it until he has his vacation which doesn't start until...Christmas Day. He has a week off and I am looking forward to a family staycation for sure!!

I am very grateful he receives any time off at all, I know there are many who work on Christmas...but its just been an period of adjustment for us. His first day off will be the day of Christmas, and all the shops will be closed. 

I mean, we have food, and I suppose I could order grocery delivery (but I am shocked at how expensive it is) anyway, I have rummaged around and am making soup, apple crisp and a chicken for Christmas lunch. It will be good, and I suppose being stuck at home means it will not be laden with sugar. Perhaps I should thank my car for stranding me at home for the holidays...

I am learning to make do in the difficult times, when my car is broken and my husband is working extra, when my kids are sick and I was also sick the week previously with a kidney infection that I am still slightly fighting. I am learning to rest in the peace of God during times of change. This is Brians second week back into the office 2-3 times a week and it has also been a whole adjustment. Remember when he was sent home for covid over two years ago? It was extremely hard!! Until we figured it out, got into a rhythm and now, have really learned to love him being home. I miss him popping in to grab water, or hug the kids on his way to a bathroom break, and him spending his hour with us at lunch. And the short commute. Man, I really miss the short commute. I am hopeful he can become a full time work at home employee, but that is not an option right now. 

I'm learning to savor the good moments. Like Becky sleeping a lot when she was sick and me reading homeschool books (I'm working on Know and Tell right now!) And Reuben and I making a Nativity Scene. And us reading our advent in the evenings, and reading lots of books during both kids recovery phases. And how much time I have had to clean my home (since we are not homeschooling for three weeks). And trying to work on my own health by doing a detox bath or castor oil pack every other day... There has been a lot of good wonderful things to savor even during the hard times. Reuben playing Minecraft for the first time... such fun and wonderful memories even if the kids are sick. 

I'm so happy we adults, though sleep deprived, are not sick. Even if we missed every single event that I had scheduled out-of-the-home for our week before Christmas, we still were able to worship and glorify God.

I'm a bit nervous about starting homeschooling again in a week (With term two of year one of Ambleside!!). It will be rough to wake up early again and get into our routine. This is me grinning like a madwoman, because it's the truth, I have been enjoying sleeping in!! (And with the multiple wake-ups with sick kids it is extra needed) and the afternoon naps. Next semester we are not doing a co-op but will still be attending violin and adding in some fun gymnastics. I'm excited (and wary) at the amount of things to do!!

And, I want to film some more paper sloyd tutorials for my YouTube channel over Brian's week off. I really hope I don't catch the death flu. 

How are you all? Merry Christmas! May the flu also pass you by.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

in constant flux

I keep writing blog posts in my head as I'm falling asleep. The next morning I don't remember them, but I do know I had some good points. Alas, they shall be known only unto God.

We are one week away from finishing the first term of Ambleside online. I love it. I more than love it. It is everything I need and everything Reuben needs. It speaks to me and is teaching and growing not only him but myself. I couldn't imagine doing school any other way. I am so glad I like it, even if it is a lot of work and tedious at times. But it is oh so wonderful. What a rich and truth-filled curriculum that nourishes the soul.

Thanksgiving was good. I rested a lot, spent money on linen clothes, indulged myself in child-free time and read too many books. 

Am I glad to see the tail end of 2021? Meh. 2020 was horrible. I wrote about it. It was one of the worst years of my life. But God is still good. 2021 was better just because it wasn't 2020. During 2021 I had zero pregnancies and zero miscarriages! It's been a deeply healing process. I am wrestling with the fact that I do, yes, want more babies. I will always morn that I didn't get the family I dreamed of in my head with eight children and an off-grid homestead, but I can't complain. God blessed me with a Reuben and a Becky and I am honored that I get to experience their childhood and be their mother. I would love to have another baby (or three), but I am 34 with the body of an unhealthy 64 year old. I don't know if I would survive the process. 

Even though I eat extremely healthy and try to take care of myself, not only can I not have more babies, I can barely cope with a regular life. Life with Lyme disease and gut issues and whatever the else is wrong with me is not fun. I wonder if I will ever heal; and I wonder oftener if I will ever stop feeling guilty over all the things I cannot do.

I can't do too many things in one day. I have lyme anxiety that is quite crippling at times (yes, yes, saint johns wort...) Some days just existing is painful and I am too tired to read books.

But I am still grateful, and I am learning to think of what I can do; not what I can't. I can play the violin, I can take my son to violin lessons, we still are doing our Friday co-op and I read to him a lot. We have fun doing crafts together and I am always able to invite people over, even when things are bad and I can't go places. And I do have good weeks--we had one just last week. Every time my body suddenly becomes normal it is almost a shock to have it break again, because I guess I just think maybe I'm healed. One can't stop hoping. Every time we go through this cycle (the good weeks) and I get hit by a very bad day or a bad week or two, I grieve all over again (and cancel plans. I always make too many plans on good weeks).

Anyway, I mostly just wish I knew what was wrong with me. I guess we can't have everything we want. 

Recently I have not felt much like blogging. It comes and goes too--but I am glad I kept an online journal. Every so often I go back and read old posts and have either one of two reactions "wow, I don't remember her (the girl that wrote that in in 2018 or 2019) or wow, I wonder if I am still that smart/funny/whatever. I feel like Lyme disease has fried my brain sometimes. At least I can spell better. Dyslexia is fun. 

God is good and I'm still here. I've almost made it though another year (well, hopefully, I mean its not Christmas yet, I guess I could still keel over)

I need to take more epson salt baths.