Thursday, April 28, 2022

Ambleside Year 1 Thoughts

In just three weeks we will be done with Year One from Ambleside Online, the curriculum we used for 1st grade.

This is a general post on my thoughts, what I learned, what I would change, what we liked and what we didn't. 

I was very apprehensive about Ambleside Online before I started. I was scared I couldn't do it because of my chronic illness. I was worried I was too stupid, that it was too hard. In fact, I was so worried I actually started out in August of 2021 doing my own "curriculum" and thinking I would put off Ambleside for another year but it wasn't...working. Reuben was six, and he was ready. I decided to jump right in and started full Ambleside in September of 2021. 

my two sillies

I'll be honest. We fell right in love. It is not hard, it is not confusing, and it takes about an hour a day, 4-5 days a week. Ambleside is rich, the readings are life-giving; the books are rivers of living water to the parched American soul. The current 6-year old American soul is being fed a steady diet of Disney plus, ticktock, and 60 second board books. The books in the Ambleside curriculum are living in every sense of the word. I might have known what a living book was in definition, but I know now what a living book is because I myself have been nourished from them. And I will never be the same.

I needed to read Trial and Triumph and Parables of Nature just as much (or maybe more so) than my son did. It filled some hole in my soul I wasn't aware that I had.

During term one, we did not add in any foreign language. This was the only thing we "dropped" from the curriculum. Every other scheduled reading we did as assigned. I just wasn't ready to add in a foreign language yet--it was enough for me try to figure out nature study, picture study, and music study! For term one, Reuben's favorite book was Trial and Triumph (T&T) and his least favorite was the Blue Fairy Book. He also loved Just So Stories. I think my least favorite was Burgess Bird-- mostly because I always forgot to do the prep work in advance (print off the coloring page and find a picture of the bird we would be discussing/ load the video beforehand). Also, teaching a subject I know almost nothing about was very challenging. I know what a bird is, but beyond that... however, now at the end of year one, I know a few birds by sight! Reuben can recognize Robins--we have a family of them who live in some trees in our backyard. It is amazing to hear the birds twitter and recognize them as friends. 

I think my favorite book is Island Story. Learning the history of Great Britain from such a beautiful book has been very fun!

I thought since Reuben is very sensitive he might be afraid of some of the more sensitive readings (like Trial and Triumph) but he was not. He may not be able to watch television because he gets really afraid at any sign of suspense; but apparently living books are not scary. I hope my son never faces anything like the things the brave Christians faced in T&T but hopefully these stories will give him courage. Reading Trials taught me that every age faces some kind of persecution. We, in the 2000s, are not perfect, and each age will face trials. We need to be watchful, wary, and in the word. 

I got through term one while battling serious autoimmune issues and also doing two co-ops (yes I am insane). We dropped one co-op. And caught Omicron in December. Reuben and Brian were sick for three weeks. It was a really hard time. I started term two of Ambleside a week later than I expected because of illness recovery, but I give thanks to God that I have learned so much, and come so far. 

We finished term two mid April, and are on week 27 of term 3! Hopefully (baring any illnesses) I will make it to week 30 before our summer break. I plan on finishing up the last six weeks of term three in August, and staring on Year 2 in September. 

Some notes on our choices (like math/ learning how to read)

For Math, we did Masterbooks Year One. I loved how it taught math through storytelling, and how short the lessons were. I did not like the way they taught numbers, but I got over it. They use "houses" (like a 10s house and a 100s house) to teach place value, and it got to be a little much using beans and the such to count. I would rather have used an abacus---and many times we abandoned the place value village they use and just used our abacus, so meh. Reuben actually just finished the year one book, so I picked up Masterbooks Year Two and we have started on that this week. 

For reading lessons, we did the delightful reading kits from SCM. We did the first kit, which I loved, for half of kindergarten and through term 1. When we started term 2 we started the second delightful reading kit. I liked this one less. It comes with letter cards that you have to sort through each time you do a lesson and they are extremely annoying. I feel like I spend 10 minutes trying to find the correct letters for the short 5-10 minute lesson!! We just quit using them and started using a white board and that helped my frustration a lot. I will save these kits to do with Becky when she starts school! 

What didn't I like? I am not a fan of A Child's Book of Poems by Gyo Fujisawa. For term one and term two, the poems are delightful, and all by the same author (term one is Robert Stevenson and term two is A. A. Milne). The book for term three is filled with poems by so many different authors that, to me, it does not have the same endearing continuity that the first two terms have. Reuben does not seem to have an issue with it, at least he has not said anything (and I keep my thoughts to myself about his curriculum, I don't want to influence him). In fact he LOVED the poem we just read about Winkin, Blinkn and Nod, and he always begs to read more than one poem (and I usually oblige him). 

In term two we also added in some light Spanish language--we are using short videos from this channel. I need to pick an actual curriculum I guess? Perhaps I will find one over the summer before Year Two. We also added in a Timeline in term two--just one of Reuben's own life, starting the year my husband and I were married. It's been fun. We added his birthday, his sisters birthday, and the start of covid-19 to his line. What history he has seen in his short six years!

Another thing I love about Ambleside is maps; I printed off a map of the area of study (there are links in the Ambleside forums for maps) at the beginning of the term and placed a map in each book so we can look at it as we read. It is awesome to see and trace the very place he just finished narrating about on tangible paper. 

We did all the free reads. I read all the books to him except for the Red Fairy Book. After slogging through about 1/4 of it I switched to the audiobook and I have never been happier. Now we listen to 1-2 stories from the Red Fairy Book every 2-3 days. Those stories are so long and I would get so tired reading them!! I would say, collectively, Charlottes Web and Little House in the Big Woods were our favorite free reads. We even read half of Charlottes Web over again! I did not quite understand Pinocchio or the King of the Golden River, but Reuben loved them so I kept reading.

And that was year one. Now near the end, I am doing very well health wise, and looking forward to a nice summer break and Year Two free reads. 

How are you? If you did Ambleside--I would love to know your thoughts! I didn't talk about narration, and I am sure I missed other things; let me know if you have any questions. Goodnight and God bless.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

I quit all my diets

For the past eight years I have been trying to heal myself with food (and supplements, but mostly food). I use food as medicine. 

Well...I have taken a break from "diets" once before (when I was pregnant with Reuben) and also had a six month stint of healing in 2019 where I was able to eat mostly normal; but for the most part I have been restricting some part of my menu. For eight years.

I ended up very depressed over my food choices and the rules I had given myself. My husband was concerned. He kept asking me what was wrong but I didn't know...I just wanted a donut! I just want ice cream and enchiladas, I thought, but I couldn't have them. Or, could I?

Rashly I thought why not quit? What is the worst that could happen? I could be in pain; but I am already in pain. Nothing could happen. Everything could happen. I could eat regular for a week and go back on a diet if it doesn't work. 

So I quit.

Four years of Paleo. 18 (ish) months of keto. Weston A Price diet, on and off. Gaps. All have helped and taught me a great deal about my body, discipline, and food. 

It has been about a month. The first week was great. I ate all my favorite foods. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on Ezekial Bread. I buy that bread for the kids and you know what? It is absolutely delicious and did not give me a stomach ache in the least. I have always wanted to try it! I made my favorite wild rice and kale salad (haven't had rice in at least two years?) and ate potatoes. I even went out to a restaurant and ordered food and didn't have to ask for a special menu or worry about if something was gluten free. I just enjoyed a nice date with my husband and kids. I made hummus from scratch and ate gobs and gobs of my sourdough bread. 

It was food heaven. I tried to avoid sugar when I could, and eat gluten free if it wasn't sprouted, because I know those are my two biggest triggers, but I didn't want to make any "food rules" after so many years of restrictions.

I had a bit of bloating, but I ignored it and just focused on eating what I craved.

The next two weeks were really hard, which totally took me by surprise. I started feeling a lot of guilt over eating what had previously been "bad foods" for me. I also begin to worry and obsess over gaining weight. On the gaps diet, I lost a lot of weight (it happens when you only eat soup) and was down to my pre pregnancy (with reuben) weight of 145 pounds. I thought I looked great and I also felt great, but one cannot eat soup forever. 145 pounds is about 10 stone, or 66kg. I had not been this weight in seven years and I felt really good about myself when I hit that number!!! (ugh. beauty is not a number but for me after gaining so much pregnancy weight it really made me feel less ugly) For the first time in a long time I recognized the person in the mirror, I looked like myself again. And it felt good.

I am still struggling today with negative thoughts over weight gain, but I am trying to let go and love my body through this new stage. I have indeed gained weight but my clothes still fit and I am trying not to let it get me down. The scale says I weigh 155 today. However, I am active, exercise, and this is a new experience for me so I need to just roll with it for awhile. I do yoga 3 times a week for 20-30 minutes each time, and I also do HITT twice a week for thirty minutes. I go on walks with my kids and garden and also sit in a chair and read books. And I enjoyed donuts last week from a local donut shop that were beyond delicious and I also had some ice cream a few nights with my husband after the kids went to bed. Food I have not had in over 6 years. I went six years without donuts! (okay, I do remember having a few gluten free ones but come those really count???) 

I have also struggled to come to terms with what is healthy. Before, healthy was me adhering to all my diet rules. Healthy was the paleo diet. Healthy was my keto diet. I had a list and I stuck to it and...sometimes it helped. I didn't go into these diets trying to give myself an eating disorder or to make dieting my identity but slowly, I see where I have erred. 

I gave up my diets to the Lord. I do want to heal, and I want to abide in Christ, but I don't want these changes I am making to come between me and God and joy. 

Don't even get me started with trying to figure out how much I can eat!! I feel like a little baby learning things all over again.

One of the main reasons I wanted to quit dieting is for my kids. They have lived with me through all these diets. Reuben is six now, and I want him to see "regular" food for the next few years. I don't want him to have ideas about "bad food" and "good foods" (we can have the talk about preservatives later, because are those even food?) but you get the idea. I want us all to be able to eat the same thing and for meals to be easy, fun, and honestly affordable. Have you seen the price of food lately? How are people making it? 

We needed a reset as a family. So badly.

And, how am I doing? I have been bloated. I know the sourdough bread, unless I fully ferment it for over 8 hours does give me a stomach ache. I had one time where I ate something and I had gall bladder (at least where I think my gall bladder is??) pain. But I have had no other issues! I checked my blood sugar and it has been fine. It's amazing. Look at what God has done, look at what I get to enjoy. Every time I eat I marvel at his goodness and feel so in awe that this is my life now. I am praying I can get over the hurdles that doing a complete 180 in my food choices and that this can just become my new normal. I want to be as many others are; living my best life, growing and cooking my own food, eating fermented veggies and the occasional donut and moving my body as much as possible in this technicolor world God has made. 

I feel free. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

what I would tell myself as a new mother

I was thinking today what a crazy whirlwind the last seven years of child raising has been. Two (or three?) chronic illnesses, two babies, six has been a lot. And how fragrant has my Lord become to me due to the trials I have endured!

What advice would I give to new mothers, whose wombs are full of sweet first flutterings of life? Oh, how I wish I could go back and bestow some wisdom on myself. 

I want to write a motherhood book, but there are too many on the market today and I don't have time. Yet I always write here. 

So here I am. Mulling over all the things, and what would I choose to speak on if I had thirty minutes uninterrupted from sticky fingers and probing questions and potty breaks.

I would start with the trials. Oh, dear new mother, I would are about to undergo some discomfort. Western life is all about comfort and ease, and the I-can-get-it-now mentality. Two day amazon shipping? Check. Netflix binge with Chinese take-out every Friday? Self care culture, mani-pedis and bubble baths. New clothes, new shoes, new you every year. Most women I meet have not endured many trials. They (like me) floated through a life that was all about them and their accomplishments and interests. But motherhood is new, unbroken ground. Suddenly there is a lot less time for yourself and your dreams. Suddenly you are holding a squirmy, ungrateful child and scrubbing floors for a man who doesn't understand how hard you work and how demanding parenting is. You wake up (and go to sleep) "on the clock of motherhood". There is never a moments break; many moms have no help and babysitters are either too expensive or hard to find. 

Motherhood is slow. It isn't easy and there is no quick gratification. You are about to be uncomfortable for quite awhile, and I am not only speaking of labor and delivery. Motherhood is messy. There are no promises. Your child may grow up to be a Yale graduate or he could end up homeless and sleeping on benches in NYC. He could die at six from choking on an apple, he might turn 18 and tell you he hates you as he packs his bags for Japan. There are no assurances for perfection or love, only the Bible and the promises of God--that is all you and your fragile heart have to cling too. And cling you must, because mother's hearts are easily broken. 

There is nothing dazzling about changing a poopy blow out diaper at 2 am after only sleeping for 1.5 hours. There is nothing to cheer about when your precious snowflake is caught cheating, lying, stealing and fornicating. 

What I am saying is you (and your husband) are about to have all your buttons pushed for weeks, and maybe years, on end. And that is just the young years! 

Be easy on yourself. Don't have the hard conversations when you are burnt out, sleep deprived, and tired. Make time to laugh. Eat cake, cuddle the babies and take turns getting up with them at night. Live guilt free. Screen time, take out, and locks on the bathroom door were made for a reason. Be diligent with how you feed your children (and their minds) but don't punish yourself if they watch Daniel Tiger for three hours while you cry in the bathroom and text friends. Try and read your bible while you cry; definitely pray.  

Realize no one is going to save you. This was big for me. There is no knight in shining armor that is going to swoop down and rescue you from tantrums, three year olds who hit, potty accidents, spills, mud, broken or torn things, sisters who give the baby a impromptu hair cut, sharpies on faces...extended family drama in the middle of a sleepless night, fridges that break, crying children and piles of dirty laundry. Clean up your own mess and train those children. If you don't do it, no one will. 

Your husband is not a knight and he isn't there to liberate you from all the discomfort and pain that child-rearing brings, especially if he is working long hard hours too. He needs a break just as much as you do! Don't try to pin that saviors robe on him. Jesus died so you could go to heaven, not to rescue you from orange juice spills and sleepless nights. Run to Jesus in these weary days of motherhood, he will be your rest. Point your husband to God and remember the promises of the Bible.

Don't despair. God created motherhood to draw you closer to him so you can abide and rest in the comfort of his loving embrace. Support other mothers you know. We are all exhausted and a little help (a meal, a text, a card, some cute stickers, a dinner out, a matcha latte in the park...) goes a long way. Be the village you want to live in.

You can do it. God believes in you, or he wouldn't have made you a mother. His plans for you are good! 

That's what I would tell new mothers. What would you add?

Thursday, March 24, 2022

The Worst Day

Yesterday was the best day. It was rainy, I went to bible study, we did school in the afternoon and I successfully made three meals that I think everyone ate. I can't remember much more. I read books to the kids. 

Are all the days supposed to be a blur??? 

Today was the worst day we have had in awhile.

Kids crying, bad attitudes, crazy scribbles on classwork, tantrums, kids yelling at me, one kid hitting, me trying to remain calm, me hiding in my husbands office asking him to talk to "his son". Me hiding the bathroom (well I did have a reason to be in there) and listening to the kids yelling "MOMMMM MOMM WHERE ARE YOU" when they had just been distracted by blocks, and I want to pee alone. Me wondering how long it would take them to find me if I didn't say anything. 

So many big feelings. 

This was all before lunch.

Hubby made lunch (hamburgers on the grill! yum!) and I tried to de-stress. Big deep breaths. Remember that we have good days and bad days. Hold it together. Trust in the Lord. I put on some piano music and angrily washed the dishes.  

After lunch, we went grocery shopping. Reuben usually stays home in Daddy's office and plays Minecraft when I go shopping; but because of the attitude and screaming he did at me, he was grounded from playing this game and had to go with me. More crying. I think he cares about Minecraft way too much. But it is a fun game, I play too. 

Anyway, we got through grocery shopping and as I handed over the hundreds of dollars for my few bags of groceries the kids were calm again. We went and picked up our raw milk and then I made it home. At this point I knew I was deteriorating fast--I was having a panic attack (anxiety attack??) about how behind I was, we had gymnastics in just 2.5 hours and I had no idea what I was making for dinner and my kitchen was a mess of grocery bags and non perishable items that still needed to be put away. My poor sourdough starter was staring at me and I couldn't remember if I fed her last night; and my kids were whining to be taken on a walk.

Maybe. A. Walk is what we all need, I thought. A nice refreshing outdoor adventure to restart our day. I could get some space from my wild things, they could enjoy the spring breeze on their bikes and I might just think of a good idea for dinner while they rode. 

We got ready; went out. Becky started crying 1/4 of the way into our walk. She was going fast on her balance bike and was complaining the seat hurt her bottom. As she was crying, she was screaming "My bottom hurts! My bottom hurts!" all the way down the road. When we got to the cul-de-sac she started wailing. I ended up carrying her bike most of the way back while she alternated screaming for her brother (who was far ahead on his petal bike) or screaming about her bottom hurting. At one point she lay down in the road. 

I was half dying of embarrassed laughter and half wishing I could disappear into the sidewalk and also  restraining myself from joining in her irrational hysterics. I rarely scream at my kids, it has happened, but its rare. I do get testy when they push my buttons (mud on my fresh clean carpet? spilled juice in a bedroom when we don't take juice in the bedroom?? You get the idea.) but I know that dirty carpets can be cleaned again and juice hopefully comes out of cheap Lowes flooring. Yeah, the relationship with my children is not worth ruining over some spills and messes. But man I wish I could have figured out a way to get my child to stop screaming about her butt hurting while walking home.

Anyway. We arrived home and I knew I was just done. I texted my husband he was on his own for dinner, threw some bread and peanut butter and jelly and apples and a can of olives and some plantain chips in a cooler and drove my fussy lovelies to the park where I sat on a bench and contemplated my existence while watching my children do dangerous things on the monkey bars. 

And then Reuben did his ninja warriors class at gymnastics and we all survived and Becky cried all the way home because she was overtired and she cried when I put her to bed but fell asleep in five minutes. 

Wow, what a day. I am so grateful though to be alive and to be living the good and bad days with my children. I know its a blessing, and I wouldn't be anywhere else. But if tomorrow could just be a bit better than today was...

I need strength and I also need my kidneys to stop hurting, thanks. At least I think that is what this pain is. I hate having health problems that won't go away on top of normal life stuff. 

Anyway, I went to a thermography appointment about the lumps in my breast and they say it does not look like cancer. I now need to go to a gynecologist to get them to double check, and also to find out if it is a lymph node or a cyst or something else? 

I haven't called to make the appointment yet. I think I am nervous. I was so sure I had cancer when I found these pea sized lumps...but now I am not so sure. I will update my blog when I know anything more. I need a vacation. 

To all the mothers out there...we are in this together. You are not alone. Unless you are using the bathroom. Just kidding, definitely not alone there. Someones fingers are peeking under the door... 

Chocolate and tea and a nice man to talk to in the evenings definitely wonderful. Don't try to think too hard that you wouldn't have the wild things without the man... clearly they got all the bad behavior from him anyway.

Love you all!

Monday, March 7, 2022

various subjects that have kept me up at night

Today I was reading Jonah. Lately when I read the Bible I am struck by how parallel it is to my own life; and today was no exception. I thought, wow; I am just like Jonah! How so you might ask? When I see others sinful misdeeds I wish them all the 'just desserts' and ponder how God will teach them all the hard lessons...but for myself I want mercy. I excuse my own bad behavior and pray God will spare me the lectures and trials. 

Of course, God has spared me many times when I did not deserve it. Also he has instructed me with the truth of the gospel and that sword of truth does not fall lightly. 

I don't know what I have been doing this year. It was been a crazy year, at least from my perspective. War in Ukraine, Covid, politics, little mouths to be fed and taught and I need to pull out my spring wardrobe because its getting warm out. And all of that happened today! So far this year I have been trying to deal with the stress I have been living under. The burdens I have carefully constructed and insist toting around must go; Jesus died for me. I want to abide in him. Yet still I get stressed as I try to figure out how to take my kids to violin lessons and switch the laundry. I get paralyzed sometimes, that I am not enough, that I am failing, that I can't do it. And that is not a fun place to exist as a mom! I keep trying to do it all on my own, but that will never work. It is only by the grace of God I can do anything, and I must submit and use his strength. God is so good. 

We have about 16 weeks of school left to fit into 12 weeks! I am trucking along. I am actually proud of myself. Homeschooling with a chronic illness isn't something I thought I could do, and yet here we are only four weeks behind!!! I have one of three choices...I could do a light summer program with the last four weeks, breaking up the readings. Second, I could add them to next year (year 2) schedule. Third, I could double up some weeks right now... I guess a forth choice is to move them over to free reads? But I don't really want to do that. I want to do it "right" (is there a right??? I need to let go of this idea that if I 'fail' and miss a week or two I have actually won, because of all the other weeks we did and the amazing feast of education he received...think about what he is getting, not what he isn't, right??)

I'm trying to do option three curently. I have decided to try and add a reading or two to our week and see if it works, maybe I will even try two weeks at once? But that all depends on if I can keep going; so far this year we have had strep throat, the stomach flu and I overdosed on Ivermectin and was sick for about three days from that (do you want that story time here?? let me know. its crazy and includes me bleeding out of my ear.) There was also the week I took off because I was so stressed about having breast cancer (still don't know for sure) and I had to work through some hard things there. 

But here I am. Still here, thriving, and watching my children be nourished by the truth beauty and goodness of this amazing world God made!

I made chicken for dinner with roasted veggies and...I get all that, and God. And a new sunset tonight. So what do I have to complain about? 

How are you all? I have more to talk about but I have run out of time...

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Crisis Point

 A lot has happened. 

On one hand, I realized I had slowly made "health" an idol in my life. I thought my life would start again when I got better, that I would be a good mom when I healed, that my own health would bring joy and happiness. Now, health is awesome and I definitely want to heal (Yes I am still sick. I am above 50 percent but I would love to be back at 100!!) but I shouldn't put my health over GOD. 

I can be a good mom and have a chronic illness.

I can be a good wife and have a chronic illness. 

I can be happy and have joy in God and have a chronic illness.

It is sweet to re-center and have God be my everything. Suddenly, my health isn't as important as I thought it was. God is everything, and he will be enough. 

This week I have thought so many things through. I get sunsets every night from my home AND God? What more do I need? Why do I complain so much?? I get matcha lattes at lunch and God. I have more than I need, because I only need God.

What else is happening:

We are knee deep in Ambleside Year One, Term Two. I am doing the Gaps diet but staying in ketosis and it's helping! I can do an enema no problem and laugh at myself for being wary of them. They are wonderful and healing and need to be a part of our culture. Yes I'm weird but look it up. Russia is attacking the Ukraine and I am praying. I need to say no to more things because I keep doing too much and I need rest. 

I have an appointment in two weeks to check for breast cancer. I already think I have it, but who knows. I need to remember to put frankincense EO on myself. Hopefully I don't have it but I can't think of what else this would be. 

Husband joined me on the keto diet...I had to have him join. I can't make extra food for people. 

I am excited for rest, and I will definitely let you guys know if I have cancer. 

Sunday, February 6, 2022

I have not felt this good since 2019

Yeah, the title says it all. If you know me (or have been reading my blog for awhile) 2019 was the best year ever!!! I was able to eat gluten again, felt great and healthy and had energy. While I am not currently eating gluten or really much of anything (going through gaps stages again, I am on stage 3) I am feeling good, and that means a lot to me. It means my energy isn't all going to survival, it means I am able to hang out with friends, laugh, relax, and live a little! 

Unfortunately, maintaining this kind of strict diet isn't feasible long term, but maybe it will heal me more and I will be better when I hit full Gaps again in a week or two. 

Life and all its seasons are perplexing, are they not? Today was the rush rush of getting out the door for church and then relax at home after cleaning the kitchen from lunch. Then we got a call from a friend about wood from a tree that had fallen into her yard, so Brian went and collect the wood for our stove! I took an epson salt bath and now I feel sleepy. But brownies (for everyone but me) are in the oven and I have a cup of tea, so life is good. The school day looms tomorrow with all its business but today, at least for the next few hours, I will rest. 

God is good, and as I meditate on his goodness and sip my tea, I can't wait to be part of this incredible journey of life that He has given me. Yes, I have problems and yes, I have things I could complain about, but today I am going to choose not to and just to contemplate the lovely world around me and enjoy some of Gods many wonders. 

Happy Sunday friends!

I finally finished this crazy green shawl and have been wearing it everywhere. This one is called "Campside" if you want to google it; it is by Alicia Plummer. Did you know I am working on two more shawls? What is wrong with me??! Oh well, next winter will be cold too. And I am not a minimalist on knitwear, lets be honest! My kids each own at least three hats, all of them made by me! 

Friday, February 4, 2022

Becky's Forth Birthday

she's four and she had a blast. she said it was her best birthday ever. her favorite gift was probably the fish game from daddy and the sparkle packaging and the boa and tutu, but she loved everything. 

Happy Birthday wonderful Becky!

Wednesday, February 2, 2022


I have talked about this probably way too much on this blog, but I and perhaps every other mother on the planet regularly struggle with balance. Remember last semester when we were doing two co-ops not to mention babysitting, cooking Gaps, violin practice, and homeschooling? Remember how I admonished myself for doing too much? (and promised I wouldn't do it again?) Well, I need continued admonishment; when will I learn my lesson? 

It all started with a feeling that I wasn't doing enough. If you are a homeschooling mother (or probably just a mother in general) you will understand. I am not doing enough, I thought to myself, so I signed my kids up for gymnastics. Now, they LOVE gymnastics. But I miss my long day at home, because I scheduled the gymnastics on one of two "stay-home-all-day" weekdays. Why did I do this to myself? I don't know. Also, its very expensive. The gymnastics will be short lived and shall be canceled when the weather improves. I want to give it at least another month, so the kids get more than 4 classes. I also will be writing myself notes to not sign up for anything else and stay home and homeschool my kids. The more we do outside the home, the less I get done inside the home. There needs to be balance and right now I am not feeling very balanced. 

Another thing I have been feeling is lonely, and wow did God spring forth friends! I met a random lady with a four year old at gymnastics and suddenly I have invited her over to my house. I have also met with an old friend who I haven't seen in about 18 months and reconnected. Suddenly I need to make time to see people on top of all the other stuff we have going on. Today I saw the old-friend and while my friendship fellowship gauge is bubbling over in fullness, as a family we did zero homeschooling and my routine is kind of a mess. 

How do I do this? How do I homeschool, cook, clean, have friends, maintain a relationship with my husband, make time for myself and my hobbies, spend quiet time with God, work out, shower, and sleep??! It makes me dizzy to think of all the things I do. Today I picked cooking, having friends, and sleeping. All those boxes were ticked but everything else was half done or abandoned. I mean, is this normal?? Or am I doing something wrong. 

I know when I overload my schedule I exist in perpetual anxiousness that isn't good for my family or my health. When I under-load our time, sure, things may get done and boxes checked, but I am left lonely and my kids act up because they also need to get out of the house sometimes. Maintaining my community is hard, for sure! 

Perhaps what I need is grace. And a little helping of reality. Grace because every week is different, every season is not the same. And the reality: I only have 24 hours a day in which to live my life, and I should work within these bounds. If God wanted me to fit 78 hours of stuff into an 24 hour window, he would have given me 78 hours to work with. But he didn't.

A friend I was texting said something along these lines: there is a lot of truth, beauty and goodness to behold and wonder over. (and I would add: The feast is great, but we can't fill our plate with large slices of everything: a little bit of this and a little bit of that will go a long way.) 

Don't bite off more than you can chew! Will I learn my lesson or will I be saying the same thing next month?! Stay tuned to find out!

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Adventures in Jewelry Making

We are doing jewelry making for handicraft this semester and I am in love! Beads are fun (though not great to sweep up when they roll on the floor) and making necklaces and bracelets and even earrings is surprisingly easy. I want to try to document our creations as much as I can. This was our second project, and we made necklaces. 

Each child picked out their own beads and strung it themselves! What are you guys doing for crafts this year?

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Reuben Scarf

This was for Christmas for my Reuben. A nice warm scarf for fall in lovely autumn colors. He loves it! I knitted it in the round and "made up" the pattern, if you can even call it a pattern. Hooray for winter, wool and scarf wearing. 

Monday, January 24, 2022

Whale Hat

 A creation for Becky. A whale hat! She has worn it EVERYWHERE! 

This is the whale hat crochet pattern by Hello Happy Crochet. We both love it and she has gotten so many complements when she isn't wearing it upside down! Tee-hee.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Potter-y Scarf

I made this for a friend at church! She traded me sourdough bread for it--thats what got me interested into making it again. A fun knit, and a lot of rows. Glad to be done!

I actually really like how I made this scarf in the round. It has a nice weight to it and its so...squishy and comfy. Maybe I will make myself one in Hufflepuff colors. I'm such a hufflepuff.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Hats for Squishes

I'm finally getting around to posting my 2021 Christmas knitting!  This hat I made for the little boy I babysit, and I also made one for his little sister. I hope he and she liked them!!!

The pattern I used was my own, and you can find it here. It's called "Fun Flappy Ear Hat" and is crochet with bulky yarn. Whee!

What are you guys making lately? I have too many works in progress!!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

The State of Things

Our first week back of homeschooling is going fairly well. We are detoxing from too much media time (we don't have TV but...during the great December sickness I did let the kids watch a lot of Daniel Tiger / Pepa Pig on the computer and occasionally play video games...) I really do not like employing media as an entertainment source but like any mother I have my flaws and weak spots. And having sick kids and a sick husband for three weeks made me turn to media. It's okay, I forgive myself. Which means, I am not going to let the mom guilt bury me.

Maybe I should make a post about why I don't like media? It really boils down to it makes my kids complain, whine and fuss, and sometimes cry when I turn it off. They can't regulate. We are a much happier family without it!

In other updates to my 2022 Amazing Life of a Stay at Home Conservative Mom of Two Saga, it's really cold. I don't like it when it gets below freezing and it has been in the 20s all week and I am cold. I hate being cold. I don't want to go outside!! Everyone is cold. Sweaters abound and warm fires in our fireplace are the highlight of everyones day. It is Not My Favorite thing to be the first one to wake up in the morning and start said fire in our frigid house, but...I can be thankful anyway. If that's the only hardship I must face today, I am blessed indeed. 

Also, on an unrelated-to-the-cold-front I have started making sourdough bread again. I know, that's so early-pandemic 2020 of me. But the kids have been enjoying my mistakes thus far as I navigate bread baking once again! Also, butter is delicious. Gaps diet, heal me soon!! 

Beckys birthday is in two weeks. Did I mention that? She's going to be four. It feels like a milestone. She's so sweet and headstrong, I just love her to pieces but I wish she didn't hate every single thing I cook for lunch or dinner. Yesterday she disliked breakfast (eggs and sourdough bread) lunch (soup and rice) and dinner (tacos--usually she likes tacos but these had bell peppers in them). I told her I was sorry but this is what we are having, and braced myself for the tears and crying...usually its one thing she dislikes, but all three is a bit wearing for this exhausted mama. 

Her whining gives me hives, I swear. Yes, all of the above is probably something I need to address parenting-wise, but it is what we are navigating at the moment. She equally finds my authority annoying? We are coexisting and I hope I am doing this right. At least I know I am reading her enough books. The child never wants to stop reading, and every time I try to get up she's brining me another book with that cute look in her eyes. She also wants to be outside and is sad that neither I nor her brother want to play when its twenty four degrees Fahrenheit outdoors. I realize that there are many other places in the world where this would not be considered a cold day, but bear with me. Here--this is a COLD DAY. I will say inside with my wool and my fire, thank you. We went out for a bit to do our nature journaling but this mamma wants all the blankets and some tea, thank you.

I feel mostly...unfulfilled lately. Like I am missing something. Many moments are so busy (cooking, cleaning, homeschooling, parenting) that when I do catch my breath I am left reeling from the climb of it all. I keep searching and reaching out to God. He is my foundation, my everything, and all else is mere paper idols. I just wish it would both slow down and speed up, all this hustle and bustle! Or that I had more arms. I feel like I am missing something, something I am supposed to be doing. What is it? I don't know either. Perhaps I just need more sleep.

Getting rid of Facebook and limiting my social media has helped me prioritize what is important to me, but it isn't enough. More must fall away, until only Truth, Beauty, and Goodness is left. Yes, I am aware I sound like the poster child for a Charlotte Mason Education, but it really is all-consuming.  

The more I age and raise my children the more I notice how trivial the things of the "the world" are. Who can name a famous person from 100 years ago? 200? All that matters not, it is only a passing fancy. Fame and fortune distract from God as people look to the rich and forget to look to the One who made them. They strive after wealth and forget to strive after God.

I don't know about you, but I have become convinced that women joining the workforce en masse is a massive trap. For one it degrades the quality of the home and the lifestyle of the family unit. If I work outside my home, the chores and atmosphere (and also lets be honest the food) in my home is going to suffer and decline in quality. One person really is needed to fulfill this support role, I am a big believer that one person in a family should stay home and manage the diets and atmosphere of the home. In my family, this is me. I support my husband and make sure he eats healthy, goes to bed on time, and can do his job well--the job that in turn supports the lifestyle I cultivate. It is a huge cycle. Take myself out of the home and suddenly the cycle is broken and must support itself; it will not thrive or survive. 

Many women want to stay home but have to work due to debt. It is sad that this is also a trap. I hope to raise kids that will not go into debt if possible. The government (and/or our culture?) has created this monster--we are told we have to have a job and a degree to mean something, to achieve something, so we do. And the home and our children suffer for it.

Why furthermore do women have to be just like men to be seen as successful and achievers? And why are men (the majority who used to work) seen as something we should strive for anyway?? After living this quite life staying home, raising my children daily and working hard at making our home a beautiful and relaxing place to live in--I can't imagine giving all this time and energy to another "workplace" instead of my home in exchange for money. What a cheap, unfulfilling way to spend my existence. 

And who, then, would take care of my home? My children? My husband? Why, it and they would all fester and go to dust. There is goodness in working inside your home, it is worthy, it is wonderful and it is needed. Don't believe the lie that your energy is best served elsewhere, and don't try to serve two masters. It won't work. Having a job or a career does not make you anything. Fulfilling the role God made you for (glorifying him) is what will bring everlasting joy to your heart and is the only thing that will bring peace. Money, fame, fortune, are all idols--and yes, being a stay at home mom can be an idol and a distraction too! 

This blog post is a lot longer than I expected and went in a entirely different direction. Head musings are wonderful things when I let them out, sometimes. I'm chewing on these thoughts, but I am seeing so much more of the degradation of the family in these years, and it is sad. The family needs support and without it, how can it stand under duress or tribulation? It cannot. Mothers and Fathers must dig the trenches and do the work or when the flood comes, there will be nothing prepared and all will drown. 

Thursday, January 6, 2022

My Husband was Right

It turns out my husband was right about that pocket knife. Not that it was unsafe, but when I caught my six year old trying to saw the sofa with it, I realized I may have overestimated his level of maturity. In other news, I now own my very first pocket knife! Whohoo!! 

How are we all? We are finally pulling out of the sick. We have not started homeschooling again, but will on Monday. I'm excited for our term two of Year One, where we will do jewelry making for our craft! Lots of amazing learning ahead! 

My husband has a lingering cough, and Reuben is still gaining weight back and healing. That was one long haul of sickness. I have not exercised in forever and our routine is long forgotten! Pull it together, I tell myself, and I wonder if I can. 

Through it all I tried to rest in God, but I definitely hit rock bottom at least twice. Reuben kept having reoccurring fevers of 102 and I was doing everything while worrying about my sick husband and child. It was exhausting. God is good. The only way I survived was clinging to his promises. The promises of joy and of rest in heaven and of his everlasting presence. I have learned and grown a lot in December and been stretched in ways I would rather have avoided, but God knows what is best for me. 

Now it's another year, and that also has caught me by surprise. Its already January 6th and my brain is stuck in pre-Christmas festivities. We still have our presents under the tree for Grandparents and Aunts and Cousins and I need to set a date to celebrate Christ's birth together! Since my husband still has a cough, we are waiting at least another week. We also have two birthdays in January. My Becky turns 4 and I turn 35 (I think??) and what a crazy start to the year. It reminds me of January 2019 when I had an awful eye infection for most of the month and was quite annoyed. Now I am less annoyed because I have learned to go with the flow of what life hands you, but I do feel a little windblown. Where has the time gone?

We are throwing Becky a wonderful little birthday party where guests will make necklaces and enjoy birthday cake and princess dresses. She is so excited to turn four.

That's about the just of it. Love you all, and maybe I'll have time to write again after the craziness of homeschooling and loving my family. I really do love being a mom and a homemaker (most of the time) and just marvel at our little family and all God has done and continues to bless us with. Happy 2022!