Blog Archives

It’s Not as Bad as it Seems (alternate title: yes, I am a wee bit dramatic)

As much as I loathe & despise the circus that passes for administration of our government lately, and no matter our opinion on this type of hunting (if it angers you, it IS worth researching that what, why, & how of it all, and to keep in mind that we must do the best we can with the mess we’re given),  it is worth it to look further than the headline and dig down far enough to look for what actually happened.

When I first saw the pictures and headlines (they were not from TMZ!- I have standards! 😂), I was sickened, I was saddened, I was disgusted, I was angry. I wanted to say “what do you expect with a last name like that?”

But I waited, I looked further. I’m glad I did. I still have opinions; on the “administration”, and on hunting ethics. But  I am reminded that things are not always quite as bad as they look.   And from that I am reminded that:

in the entirety of our lives, things are not always as bad as they look.

When I get a terse text response from my husband, things are not always as bad as they look. He is not angry with me; or disgusted with me; or wishing he hadn’t married me; or wishing I had never been born; he is very busy working hard to take care of me and my children and he doesn’t have time for a long flowery text!

When I realized that I scheduled a grocery pick up smack dab in the middle of my daughters photography class, things are not always as bad as they look. I am not going to be banned from ordering groceries online for pick up; I am not going to be excommunicated from the cult of Walmart; I am not going to have to skip the photography class and waste tuition money;  I can just reschedule my grocery pick up and wait a day or two for the bank to sort out which charges need to be refunded.

When I realize that I have completely lost the intentionality I used to possess in my ventures and have become lazy and I am allowing myself to be driven rather than taking control, things are not always as bad as they look.   Yes, I became lazy. But I have not ruined the rest of my life and the rest of my children’s lives; things are not so hopelessly messed up that there can be no recovery;  it is not time to give up in despair; I can start where I am, realize that just as I got into this mess gradually, I will have to take time and baby steps to get out of this mess  gradually;  I can start here, start now, and keep moving forward.

So I think my lesson to myself today is that I can always learn something from any given situation, no matter what my opinion of the characters in the situation is. I can always find ways to learn more, grow more, be better.  Maybe someday I will grow to be able to love those I despise.

(I see the arrogance and the ugliness within me that is at the root of me thinking I can despise anyone. I am not wallowing in that, or gloating in that, or thinking that it is right and good. I am confessing it honestly, and truly hoping I will grow beyond it.)

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C’mon People Now! (or: siblings cleaning their shared bedrooms)

Ay yi yi.  It’s that time again. Every day, around 4 or 5 o’clock (depending on how the day has gone), I call out “redd up time!”

This is the signal for the children to clean their room as well as their “zone”  for the week. I have divided the house up into seven “zones”, one for each child still living at home. They are responsible for their zone for one week at a time. When I say “redd up”, they need to put away anything that is out of place in that zone,  dust or wipe down or clean certain things that apply to that zone (there is actually a list of instructions posted surreptitiously in each zone), and then vacuum that zone.

This brings next to zero problems. They know the drill quite well, they know the benefits we all reap from having a tidy house, and they know that I will tolerate no nonsense about not doing your job well.

Their bedrooms, however, are, for some reason, a different matter. I think it’s because they consider their bedrooms “their space”, and to an extent, they are correct. I try to give them as much ownership as possible (even if we disagree about what looks good 😉). But I require certain things that we still need daily reminders and practice on. One of the biggest problems we have in the shared work spaces is the division of labor. Who is responsible for what?

At first glance, it seems simple: each of you clean your own things and whatever mess you are responsible for. That leaves the pile of dirt, trash, and odds and ends that no one wants to claim responsibility for. AND the arguments about “yes, that is actually mine, but I’m not the one that got it out/left it out”. If any of you have the answers to this, feel free to let me know! For today, I chose to play this song. LOUDLY.  😝

Essential Oils for Moms (& $50 in oils FREE!)

If you’ve been sort of interested in oils, maybe wanting to try them out, now is an excellent time to do it! There is a special going on until the end of May that can get you up to $50 in free oils!

Summertime fun is ramping up, lots to go and do and lots to see. If you have little ones, that can also mean lots of “owies” on the playgrounds. My kids are too big for me to carry a diaper bag anymore, but I do keep a bag that’s more than a purse with odds and ends in it that I need for the kids. I like to have a comb and extra hair ties, and a box of tictacs as a small reward or distraction when a trip to the grocery store is extra long. One of the things I also keep in there is a bottle of lavender essential oil. It was one of my “gateway oils” and it’s still one of my top 5 favorites because it has SO. MANY. USES. I drip some on cuts and scrapes, on bee stings and mosquito bites, on sunburns, and on the backs of the kids’ necks when they’re tired, grumpy, or overstimulated. You can learn more about lavender here.

Another one I always keep in my bag is peppermint essential oil.  Another powerhouse oil with many uses to a mom and her children. Our chief use for the kids is for carsickness. We have a big, 12-passenger van and the ones in the back get a bit queasy sometimes if the road is extra curvy or if they’re working on “one more chapter before we get there!” Some like the beadlets (it’s a small, biteable capsule with diluted oil inside), others like the Touch bottle (it has a rollerball so they can put some diluted oil behind their ears and on their tummies), and others like to just have a drop of oil on their palms to rub together and inhale (being careful of their eyes!) You can learn more about peppermint here.

When friends ask me what supplies I recommend for new moms, those two oils come on my list way higher than things like strollers, high chairs, or baby swings!

If you’re interested in trying them out, May is the month for you. The most frugal option that will get you the most “bang for your buck” is to purchase one of these kits: A Family Essentials Kit which has SO many great oils in nice, compact, purse/diaper bag sized bottles OR a Home Essentials Kit, which has the same oils in full size bottles AND a diffuser! When you purchase either one of these kits through these links, you automatically receive 50 points in your account (points are roughly 1 point = 1 dollar), which you can use toward your next order of oils! There is no minimum purchase for that next order, you can just get the free oils and that’s it!

I will be more than happy to go through your kit once you receive it (within days- they ship quickly!) and teach you all about those amazing, powerful oils that you’ve go your hands on! You can email me, text me, give me a call, or Skype/Facetime- whatever works best for you 🙂

That “something exciting” I hinted about

I’m going to be teaching sewing classes!

I’m so excited!
I’ve loved sewing ever since I taught myself, 20 some years ago, and I was able to support myself and my daughter for a while by doing seamstress work for others, and later I clothed my family almost entirely with clothing I had made myself.
I put it aside for a while to pursue other interests and ventures, and now I’m getting a chance to dive back in and share the fun and satisfaction of creation with other women!

If you or someone you know might be interested, here is the link to sign up. We are limiting the class to the first 10 women to sign up, but if there is enough interest, I will definitely repeat the class!

Sewing Class Signup

KonMari and Family Closet

We have a family closet in the laundry room. It’s one of the things I love most about our new home: I’ve wanted to do a family closet for over 10 years and it’s only now worked out. We moved in here in the summer and things were grand. Now that we’ve pulled out the cool-weather clothes but not yet put away the shorts, it’s pretty crowded!
  
Tonight I’m working on applying the KonMari method I’m so fond of and looking forward to much easier laundry jobs and more appreciation and care of possessions 😊

If you haven’t read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I definitely recommend it!

BOOKS!!

I’ve always been an avid, drooling bibliophile. Thankfully, my children either inherited the gene or succumbed to the inevitable contagion. 😉   
Yesterday I scored all these treasures at a secondhand shop (in addition to finding some really groovy bamboo yarn to make myself either a hat or scarf with as we read), and they were almost as excited as I was. They all gathered around as I pulled book after book out of the shopping bag and handed them to the child I guessed might want to be the first to read them. There were small squeals of delight and then no sound but the turning of pages and quiet voices reading to the baby. It was so fun! 

I read the Inkspell series recently. They didn’t make it onto my list of favorite books, but there were a few golden nuggets that stuck with me. One was when the father explained to his daughter why you should take a new book along to every trip or memorable experience in your life. You store those memories in between the pages. Thereafter, each time you read that book, you will be transported through space and time and relive that experience. I always knew that to be true, but never quite put it into words. It fully explains the secret delight I feel anytime I see one of my children curled up with a book.
Bonus: quite a few of these are their assigned schoolwork!  

Also- should I make a hat or a scarf with that yarn??

Screens! Atten-HUT!

  
Early morning school prep. More than 1/2 our school is online at Ambleside, so I like to save time by preloading everyone’s tabs for the day. Now that we’ve bought a house, & won’t be moving anytime soon, I hope to buy the dead-tree versions of the books we read for school. Meanwhile public domain e-texts & kindle books are what we use.
We’re only 3 days in, and I haven’t put in all the formal classes for the kindergartner and first graders (giving it a week or so to acclimate them to the schedule), but so far we’re having no problem finishing before lunch! I’ll let you know how that’s going in a month or so when the novelty has worn off 😄

First “First Day Of School” in 17 years

Today was our first day back to school after our first ever summer off in 17 years of homeschooling. The schedule was so safe and comforting to my autistic self. I think my children enjoyed the rhythm and predictability too; the earlier wake up time had an adorable effect on this little tyke and I’m looking forward to a quieter bedtime routine than we’ve had for a while.  
My oldest two are in charge of scheduling their own work, as long as they meet a weekly quota. They are feeling so grown up and I’m trying HARD to remember that the scheduling and regulating is itself a lesson and it requires me to stay out of the process (at least until Friday!).
Six students this year, 17 years of homeschooling, and I still feel like a noob venturing forth for the maiden voyage! 😂

 

Ordering Automotive Parts: Complications or Hidden Benefits?!

If you’ve known me for long, you know that I LOVE my truck.

Like, unreasonably.

My dad and I have been spending more and more time together, getting to know one another, and we discovered that we are both particularly fond of the same make/model truck. Go figure, huh? 😉

I’m still planning reconstructive jaw surgery for when my jaw hit the floor when he GAVE me a truck of that very make and model.

I. Love. That. Truck.

It is an ’88, which means, Oh! Joy! it needs work and tweaking and care. I always suspected (and have discovered to be true) that my happy place in deep down inside the grimy workings of an old pickup truck. Bonus? I have a 150 lb. dog that refuses to be far from me while I explore aforementioned workings.

My Happy Place: Dog + Truck

My Happy Place: Dog + Truck

Today, I changed my oil and oil filter for the first time. (I know, total newb. But I HAVE replaced my front brake system and dealt with the fact that my rear tire completely fell off driving down a busy highway- the lug nuts hadn’t been sufficiently tightened and the wheel studs were stripped. The badly bent tie rod was taken care of by someone else because we were moving that week) The oil pan drain plug was stripped and I needed to order a new one. The first time I called our local shop (because I *really* like to keep my business local whenever I can), I was told that a new one would be $7.99 and could be shipped in & available 2 days from now. I told them I’d call back in a few minutes to let them know if I wanted them to go ahead and order it. After conferring with The Mr., I called back and learned that it was only $2 and would be ready to pick up tomorrow morning!

Moral? No clue. Maybe always call back later? Or just know what you’re doing so that you can call someone on it when they quote you  ridiculous price… Yeah, that definitely sounds better 😀

People Don’t Suck

Some days, I am peopled-out and I kind of think “people suck”.

Not really, but I just can’t people anymore.

Today, I am peopled-out because I planned a week full of people. But it’s been really really good. I’ve had good times with good people and really enjoyed myself. I had something pop up and force a cancellation of some people-time, and even though I have used up all of my people-ing (& it’s only Wednesday!), still I am bummed because I just know some good people!

I’ve had calls, texts, comments, and conversations this week that were so comforting, or encouraging, or someone sharing their needs and fears that are so similar to mine, or someone taking the time to give me helpful information… and it makes me wonder how I’ve ever thought that people suck.

People are great! And sometimes it’s that very greatness that exhaust me so thoroughly.

I remember the first time that I came across the phrase “theory of mind” and looked up what it means. I was completely gobsmacked. Totally. That’s just CRAZY!! I went around for the next few days dumping all my newfound information about Theory of Mind at people I knew and finishing off with “You can DO that?!? Just whenever you want?!? It just… HAPPENS?!?”

I’ve had moments of it, they stand out in my memory as startling, blinding flashes of epiphany. It boggles my mind that people walk around like that all day. It’s like having x-ray vision, or like that movie where Mel Gibson can hear thoughts… it’s got to be mind-crushingly overwhelming!

Which brings us back to the exhausted part of knowing so many really great people. Now that I know about Theory of Mind, it’s something that I try to intentionally implement in my interactions with people. (We won’t speculate on my range of successfulness.) I do think that understanding about Theory of Mind has helped me understand why I get peopled-out and makes me realize more that it’s not that “people suck”, it’s that my ability to process people-interactions sucks.

So. Thank you for your patience with my overwhelm, and thank you for trying again to connect with me. 🙂