Showing posts with label Just Life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Just Life. Show all posts

Just Chatting



I pour a little half and half in the bottom of a pink marble mug, and top it off with sub-par coffee because we are out of the good stuff.  The kids are eating breakfast and watching an episode of Little Bear.  There are some TV shows that wind kids up, and some that are calming to children, and thankfully Little Bear is of the calming variety in our household.

I go around the corner and settle into the homeschool room.  I set up this room so we'd have a quiet(ish) corner of the house to do work in, but I've also found it serves quite well in the morning when I am trying to sneak in some personal Bible study time.  I am working through Hebrews (again), and close my eyes to run through the first three chapters in my head.  I was hoping to have chapter four memorized by now, but I always am too optimistic on these things, no matter how hard I try to be realistic.

And now quiet time is over, the kids are starting to get bored with Little Bear, and I am still sitting down to attempt to write this chatty post.



On Being "So Busy" And Feeling Like Myself

Elizabeth wrote a similar post about hobbies recently, and she mentioned that although she would never want to poo-poo those who are single when they say they "are so busy" (because doesn't every stage feel so busy?), the difference when you have kids is that you're busy, and any time you start something there is always the possibility of being interrupted.  I fully concur with that.  There are so many things I don't try to do, or posts I don't start to write, because I know I'm going to get interrupted.  But this is me breaking the pattern and spilling out some words anyway, even though I will likely be interrupted in the next five minutes.  Something is better than nothing, right?

March is the first month this year where I've actually felt like myself again!  I don't know what it was about January and February, but I just felt somewhat lost both months, like I was running to catch up to my life.  I realized I probably had to let some things go, and cut some things out of my life that were discouraging me.  I quit Bible study because it was just too much right now, put myself on a social media diet because I was escaping to it too often, and planned a few spontaneous field trip days for me and the kids because I used to do that all the time and I miss it.  

(I didn't know what photo to put in this section, so here is me in January, before my non-burgundy roots started to grow out. Maybe I should get my hair re-done one of these days...a hair appointment has never hindered me from feeling like myself, just saying.)

On Not Hating Spring Anymore

Though I do actually enjoy the winter, seeing some signs of Spring has helped bring me out of the duldrums as well.  I took the kids to a park twice this week, and we could have been in short sleeves, it was so nice.  The grass is greening up in town, and I am keeping my eyes peeled for flowering trees to start budding so I can whip out my camera and get some spring-time pictures of the kids (the only thing I regret about living in the mountains is that we don't have flowering trees).






The kids like to bring me "flowers" from outside, even though it's really just handfuls of dead grass (don't try to tell them that though).  But I was pleased to see the other day that in the midst of the grass and dirt clods that were left on my counter, there was a small, green, fern-like plant as well.  So spring is coming, even in the mountains.  

I used to hate spring, hate it, because up here it's mostly just mud season.  Snow is melting, but nothing is growing yet, and your shoes are constantly muddy.  But somewhere in the last couple years I realized maybe my loathing of spring was based on a limited, immature view of it.  When I was young, I hated hiking too, but now I enjoy the exercise.  When I was young, I hated going on mountain drives because it seemed boring, but now I love to explore new roads in the car and find all the gorgeous views.  When I was young, I hated spring because it was muddy and dull...and it's still rather muddy and dull, but when you look closer, you can see the signs of life returning after a long winter, and there is something more refreshing about it now.  Everything starts new again.  There is a redemption to it that I never saw when I was young.

Of course, it also helps that I can now drive to places where there are flowering trees (I love flowering trees).

On Medieval Guilds, Juggling, And Music

We are on the countdown until the end of the school year, and I have been tracking the days on our calendar and the lessons left in our curriculum book daily to make sure they are lining up.  I am not one who thinks you must finish the book before the end of the year, but I also don't want to reach our last day and realize we only have a few more lessons left.  The Type-A side of me would not be able to rest.  We are mostly on track though, and I am thinking of tripling up on our math lessons for a couple weeks so we can finish math early and take the last month of school to just focus on "fun stuff" - history and science.  I think it might be a nice way to wind down the year.

Speaking of winding down the school year, and also speaking of history, our co-op is doing our big spring event next week, a medieval "guild".  Each family is supposed to pick a trade, make some goods, and dress up in medieval garb to come barter at the marketplace.  I cannot tell you how much mental anguish I have gone through trying to figure out what to make.  I had signed us up to be weavers, but then realized how ridiculous it was to think that I could "weave" (knit) enough...something...to trade at the guild, all by myself.  Because of course my little non-knitting kids would not be a help.  I was thinking about shifting to some other simple cloth-related craft, but couldn't come up with a tight enough idea.  So after much frustration I switched us to being the jugglers.  Juggling is kind of a trade, right?  Court jesters and all that?  Okay, no, none of us can actually juggle, but we can make some pretty neat little juggling balls, and it's a lot simpler than weaving something.

And speaking of co-op, we also did a field trip the other day to an "inside the orchestra" event, and it immediately made me regret not taking up the violin in my younger days.  It also made me want to break out my flute again.  It's really tricky to learn how to make the flute actually make noise, and I already have that part down from years ago, so I'm halfway to playing it, right?  In reality I am not a very musically talented person, but I so wish I was.  Enthusiasm counts for something, I think.



On Book Clubs And Reading Too Many Books At Once

Despite never thinking I could keep up with a book club, I have found myself in two book clubs over the last year.  I get excited about book clubs because it's so nice to read a book and have someone to talk to about it.  I love reading a book at the same time as friends or family so we can discuss it later.  But I will also admit that I get a smidge stressed about book clubs or buddy reads, because I am such an ADD reader.  I can't stick with just one book!

Recently I decided enough is enough and I would just read one book at a time, and read that book clear through before picking up another one.  That idea lasted for all of one book before I was back to reading a chapter here and there from five books again.  The problem is that I am a mood reader, and my moods change so often.  I also have a terrible time deciding what I am in the mood for and feel like I have to try five books before I can decide...and then I inevitably never decide and just continue piece-mealing five books at once.

(Who am I kidding, it's more like 10-15 books at once.)

I am going to try the one book thing again, maybe with my most recent bookclub book, Far From The Madding Crowd.  Have you read that one?  PSA: It's free on Kindle.

Chime in, do you play musical instruments, enjoy or hate spring, read too many books at once, or have experience with medieval guilds?  

Tips and tricks appreciated.

An Update, With Thanksgiving



Over the last week or so, I have heard several people mention how Thanksgiving is a hard holiday for them.  Maybe they lost relatives around that time of year, or they moved and are away from family.  To be honest, I think I could have dedicated more thought to this over the years.  I haven't had any sort of major traumatic event happen close to a holiday in my life to this point, and I can see how that would kind of ruin a holiday.

I bring this up only because our church is going through some hard stuff right now, right before Thanksgiving.  I wouldn't call any of it "traumatic", but I can see a little more personally how some holidays may become difficult after a major change.



But it also seems to me that Thanksgiving specifically would become a little more important in those circumstances as well.  I think in our American culture, we get so caught up in the trappings of Thanksgiving - the family, the turkey, the football, the pie - that we forget what the whole point of the holiday is.  It's for giving thanks to God for all He has blessed us with.  Sometimes it might be harder to see those blessings in the middle of all that is lost.  But they are always there, and how insulting to the Creator if we throw all His good gifts aside just because we don't have that one gift that we want.

All that to say, I'm thankful for many things this year even though this November has been filled with more heartache and stress and loss, in my own life and those around me, than some in the past.

I'm thankful for my precious children.

I went upstairs today to clean up the boy's room, and found a stack of papers all about fish beside Wyatt's table.  They are crinkled and bent from multiple readings.  He's his own little person, and I love seeing who he is becoming.  It just was a tangible little reminder at how much of a privilege is to raise and shape five precious and unique individuals.  I love that I get to do things like pick up dirty socks, change dirty diapers, and straighten wrinkled papers for all of these precious people.



I'm thankful for my husband.

Derek and I haven't been getting much couple-connection time lately, because he has been so busy tearing out flooring, putting more in, tearing apart bathrooms, and painting kitchen cabinets.  He's been working so hard to bring our vision for this house to life, and still doing his best to take care of the kids and me (especially since we all came down with a stomach bug last week).  He's something special.

I'm thankful for this house.

The remodeling process has been rough, and we've had multiple setbacks - from unforeseen delays, to ordering the wrong thing, to contracting a stomach bug, to even theft (someone stole $1000 worth of wood from us - how does that even happen?)!  I think I have finally accepted that I am not going to get the entire house put together before the Christmas season, and the Christmas decorations are just going to have to go up while we are still moving in.  It's a messy Christmas, and that's okay.  It'll come together eventually!



I'm thankful for my family.

This is a season of upheaval for us, in our house and in our church, but the people are the same.  I'm so glad I have my family (and friends too!) to lean into right now.

I'm thankful for my church.

Aside from the aforementioned upheaval, I can see that so many people are trying to handle everything in a godly way.  Maybe we won't always completely succeed, but the heart is there, and seeing that lets me know we are in a good place.



I'm thankful for my Bible study group.

So many of the ladies made me meals and watched the kids during the move!  They have showered me with love during a transition year, when I was sad about the need to quit our MOPS group in favor of homeschool stuff.  I needed the help with this unexpected move, and they stepped up and filled the gaps.  They've been such a blessing to me.

I'm thankful for audiobooks.

With the way the last three weeks have gone down, I'd be out of luck for my book club if we didn't have audiobooks!  Time to read a physical book I have not.

I'm thankful for the Hallmark Channel.

When you are really in a Christmasy mood but can't decorate (aaah!), Hallmark Christmas movies fill that Christmas-shaped hole.  We signed up for Fubo this year during the month of November and December specifically for football and Christmas movies.  You don't even need a major satellite subscription anymore to watch the channels you want!  What an age we live in.



I'm thankful for Christmas cards, and all the people who send them.

It's easy enough to keep up with people through social media these days, but it's not the same thing as when someone sits down to write out your name and send you a Christmas card.  There is so little of the personal touches anymore because of social media, but at Christmas everyone suddenly remembers that the mail exists, and there are wonderful people at a mailbox on the other side of the line.  It's a special thing.  Christmas cards, don't you ever die out.



I'm thankful for Christmas.

I'm thankful for all the fun Christmas trappings, and most thankful for the Savior who we celebrate.  The gift of our salvation through Christ's birth, life, death, and resurrection - that's the greatest gift, and He is the only thing that never changes.



Happy Thanksgiving Week, friends!

I'm hoping to get back to a regular posting schedule soon - I've got something about "The Anatomy Of A Hallmark Movie" in the works in my brain, so stay tuned! 


Donuts And Peanut Butter Cups: Currently



Thinking: I had so many posts planned, and everything has fallen to the wayside!  It has been a crazy couple weeks.  More on that to come soon (not pregnant, though I'm not going to lie, I miss my itty bitty baby!  Georgie is getting so big).

Feeling: Quite excited about our upcoming Seattle trip!  Those of you who follow along on Instagram saw that we scheduled our 10-year anniversary trip to visit the Pacific Northwest.  Of course along with all the other craziness, the whale-watching tour we booked was cancelled, so we've been scrambling to see if we could find another one.  I am really hoping we see some whales, because Wyatt is very into marine biology right now and is so excited for us to report back how many orcas we spot!  He's cute.

Reading: Books about reading.  I have three books about books going right now: Anne Bogel's I'd Rather Be Reading, Book Girl by Sarah Clarkson (I'm reviewing this one, so stay tuned - I have mixed feelings so far), and Lit! by Tony Reinke, who wrote another book I love, 12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You.  So far my favorite is Lit!, but I'm less than two chapters in for all of them, so we'll see which book wins.  I'm still pretty sure it's going to be Reinke's book.

Listening To: A lot of audiobooks, in particular Middlemarch by George Elliot.  It's a chunker, so it's a great one to listen to on audio! (Bonus!  Audiobook only $5 right now!)  I started watching the BBC series, and then stopped watching and started the audiobook.  Confession: sometimes I like to watch the movie first, especially on difficult books, because seeing the movie makes me want to pick up the book.  I'm trying to stay just ahead in the BBC series of where I am in the actual book, and it's been a lovey experience so far.  I'm going to feel really accomplished when this one is done.  Middlemarch immediately gives you all the reading brownie points, right?  It's long.

Buying: A new purse and a couple of new shirts for our Seattle trip.  The purse was very needed (I haven't bought a new fall/winter purse in years).  The shirts were just for fun, because it's nice to have a couple new things to wear on an anniversary trip I think.  Plus, all the plaid is calling my name!  Hello fall!

Drinking:  Venti iced coffees with pumpkin spice instead of classic syrup.  It's my work-around to the pumpkin spice latte, because $5 for a three-sips-size-cup is ridiculous.  I don't think they even charge me any more for substituting pumpkin spice in my iced coffees, and I still get my taste of fall.

Eating: Too many donuts from King Soopers and peanut butter cups from Trader Joe's.  Have I mentioned it's been a stressful couple weeks?

Working On: Getting our homeschool routine re-established.  We had one good week before things happened and life got crazy, so our routine has gone to the dogs.  Somehow we are ahead in reading and math, and about a week behind in everything else.  Next week will still be nuts because of our trip, but after that I just want to focus on getting back on track.  We started so strong!  Why does this always happen, even when I think my homeschool plans are really realistic? Oh well.  Se la vie. I'm giving myself a little bit of a break, and I think we'll catch right back up really easily after our trip.

( Me and my TWO school-aged kids!)

Loving:  The way it feels like fall is in the air.  Usually it still feels like summer here until closer to October, but it has cooled down quite a bit in the last couple weeks.  I don't hate it!  The leaves are on the verge of changing, and I just feel like this fall is going to be a good one.  I'm looking forward to cooler weather, baking, candles, and reading by the fire.

Wishing:  Kids didn't have to grow so fast, and life didn't hurry by so unrelentingly.  Every now and then I'll look at my little bunch, and I just get this bittersweet feeling.  I wish we could just freeze them here for a while longer.  I'm trying to slow down so I don't miss it.

What are you all up to "currently"?

Things I Regret (And Don't) From My First 30 Years



It's here! This week the third decade of my life is coming to a close.  There is something more significant about those decade increments, and I wanted to mark it here on the blog in some way.

I've been toying with different blog post ideas.  I've seen some people doing "30 Things I Learned Before 30", but I couldn't bring myself to write a post like that.  Most 30 year olds are still in the I think-I-know-so-much-but-I-don't-realize-I-really-don't stage, and that includes me.  When I reflect back over the last 30 years, I don't think I'm qualified to offer anyone advice.  I know less now than I thought I knew at 20 years old!  I've spent too much time with people further down the road and much wiser than myself to offer anyone life lessons from a still relatively shallow well of experience.

What I can do though, is look back over these first decades of my life and say what I've regretted, and what I never will, so here we go.

What I Regret From My First 30 Years

Caring Too Much About What People Thought In My Teens

Doesn't every teen care too much about what their peer group thinks?  Yes.  Does every adult wish they had cared a little less about what their teenage peer group thought?  Probably also a yes.  I was so insecure as a teenager, and I can't say that I could have really done anything differently to change that - confidence must be earned in some way, must be grown into.  But I still wish teenage Callie could have had a little more spunk and individuality.

Going On The Birth Control Pill

This one is a bit of a mixed bag, because I am obviously so thankful to have the children I have, and our rather frustrating journey to parenthood brought them to me.  God is sovereign and always had a plan.  But I went on the pill unquestioningly right before I got married, and I didn't know about it's potential abortifacient effect, which conflicts with my pro-life beliefs.  I didn't know it would seriously mess up my hormones so that when we were ready to start trying for a baby, things wouldn't work right.  I'll always wonder if there could have been another child, I'll always wish I did a little more research about birth control before succumbing to that cultural norm.  I just didn't know.

Not Getting Serious About Budgeting Sooner

This year I finally realized that grown-ups should have budgets.  I feel stupid even typing that.  It's not that I had no budget at all through my 20's, I knew what I had to spend each month and I had varying success at staying within that limit.  I didn't really overspend (except for one dark period between 2014-2015), but I didn't think enough about future goals and plans.  I didn't "give every dollar a job".  When I think of all the dollars I have wasted by allowing them to slip away without a plan every month, it makes me kind of sick.  I wish I had taken one of those financial peace classes or read more about making and managing a budget before I got my first grown-up paycheck.

Not Witnessing To My Coworkers

I got a job at a great dental office the year after we got married, and I worked there until I got pregnant with Clarice.  My sister even worked there for a while, which was so fun.  That office saw me through the birth of three of my babies, and I so appreciated the people there.  I worked there for almost 7 years.  And in all that time, I was too chicken to witness to my coworkers.  I was a good employee, and I know some will say that you should "preach the gospel, and if necessary, use words", but let's be honest, that's a cop-out.  No one ever got saved without the use of words.  I should have loved them enough to be vocal.  I kind of wonder if the Lord took me out of that job because I was blowing my chances to tell them about Jesus.  To me, this will always be one of my biggest failures.  From an eternal perspective, it feels like a waste.

Not Filming My Kids More

Not to toot my own horn, but I have kind of knocked it out of the park when it comes to taking pictures of my kids and documenting their babyhood.  But I've also had a video camera in my back pocket for years now, and I'm such a slacker on filming them!  In "my next 30 years" (you know I couldn't resist that country song reference!), I want to get better at filming their childhoods, before they slip away.



What I'll Never Regret

Putting My Trust In Jesus For My Salvation

Let's start with the most obvious one!  When I was four years old I asked Jesus "into my heart", and over the next years I learned and grew into my faith, made it my own.  I will never, ever regret asking Jesus to save me from my sin, turning to Him alone to save my soul.  It was the best decision I ever made, no matter how long I live.  I am so thankful for my Savior.

Being Homeschooled

When I was 8 years old, my mom made the decision to pull me out of public school.  She did this at a time when homeschooling was not common, and looking back at it now, I so admire her bravery.  I am thankful every day for her decision. Being homeschooled allowed me space to stop thinking so much about what other kids thought, and start caring a little more about what God thought.  That first regret in the list above could have been so much bigger.  That decision by my mom to homeschool me became a major part of my testimony - without it, I don't know if I would have grown in my faith or walked with the Lord through high school at all.  It's a big reason why I always knew I'd homeschool my kids.  I wouldn't be who I was today without it, and I never look back at homeschooling and feel that I missed out on anything.  Instead, I gained something precious from it.

Getting Married Young

When I was still in hygiene school, I remember walking into the office one day with a sparkly ring on my finger.  I was so happy and excited.  I remember one of the front office ladies looking at me with concern.  "Are you sure?  You are so young.  What is the rush?"  She didn't get it, and a lot of people didn't get it.  They didn't understand that I was committed to not sleeping with anyone before marriage, so living together was not an option.  They didn't get why I didn't care to "have some fun" first (marriage is fun, people!).  They didn't recognize that when you already know you're going to marry this person, there is really no point in waiting just for the sake of waiting.  They didn't think a 20 year old was mature enough to make that kind of decision.  But we were absolutely committed to each other, and we got over every rough spot together.  I love him more now than I did then.  Did I have growing up to do?  Yes, but I got to grow up with my husband next to me, my best friend.  I'll never regret marrying him young.

Not Drinking

That whole "drink a little more lemonade, and not so many beers" (you know, from the song?) does not apply to me!  There are a multitude of reasons why I don't drink, and I won't get into it here.  That could be a whole other post, and it is a post I've attempted to tackle several times but was never satisfied enough with the result to share.  I think there is liberty here for Christians, so I'm not going to judge you if you do have a drink (without getting drunk, of course, see Ephesians 5:18).  But I absolutely think it was a great decision for me to never open that door.  I don't want it or need it to relax (a bubble bath and chocolate does the trick), I don't need it to have fun (I honestly feel sorry for people that do), and let's just think for a minute about the money I've saved over the years by not creating that (potentially addictive and risky) habit.  I don't imagine I'll regret not having a drink in my next 30 years either.

Having Children In My 20's

I started having babies in my early 20's, and had my last baby in my late 20's.  People are always surprised at how young I am, considering I have five kiddos, and sometimes they're even a little judgey about it.  But I'm quite happy with how it turned out.  I'll graduate my first child at 40, and probably my last before I hit 50.  When you are young you have more energy, and I'll hopefully be a younger grandma, which will be fun.  I might even get to see my great grandchildren, like my grandparents have.  Having babies young isn't always possible, and I want you all to know that my heart aches for every woman who wants to be a mama, and for whatever reason she can't.  I know young motherhood isn't possible for everyone.  But I don't regret it a bit.  I personally don't see anything but positives attached to becoming a mom when I was young. I'm glad we didn't wait too long.

Having A Big Family

I've written about this at length, so I'll keep it short here, but goodness, I'm so thankful for my five kids.  Our house is loud and chaotic and full to the brim with joy, and I wouldn't change a single thing.  I'm so proud of my big family.

Quitting My Job To Stay Home Full-Time

There was a crossroads in my life a few years ago.  When my first three kids were little, I was able to work just one day a week.  I didn't have to be away from them very much, and was still able to supplement our income.  It was a blessing.  Then things started shifting, becoming a little more stressful at work, and they told me they needed me to work more days per week.  I hated the thought of giving up that job at the time.  But I didn't want to spend more time away from my kids, especially with another baby on the way and kindergarten looming (I wanted to homeschool).  After I quit, I felt so free (and also a little guilty and insecure about no longer contributing my "extra" to our income, but that was silly and I got over it).  I don't think I ever realized how much even just one day a week was taking from my energy, and now I have it back to give at home.  If you are a working mom, I'm not trying to send you a message, so don't read this section that way, please.  But for me, I'm so glad I let that job go and came home full-time.

Starting This Blog

If I'm totally honest, I struggle with this little online space sometimes.  Blogging has changed so much, and I've changed so much too.  There are times I still love having a place to share my thoughts, and times when I am afraid the whole thing is pointless.  But as I write this today, I'm glad I've documented the last decade here.  Would I remember so much of my 20's if I hadn't taken time to write about it?  Without this space, would I have slowed down, formed my thoughts enough to be able to look back now and see God's hand in the journey from 20 to 30?  I don't really think so.  I don't know what the future holds for this blog.  My children are growing, and life keeps speeding up.  I imagine it will look different in another 10 years than it does today.  But I'm so glad I take some time to write about my life here, and God's hand in it all, if for no one else than for me, to stand as my "ebenezer".  It's a reminder of God's goodness to me.  I don't regret writing here.  And thanks to all of you who have read my posts and stuck with me through the years.  Without you, I don't know if I'd have this record at all.

And just for fun, remember that unofficial 30-year-old beach shoot from my vacation?  Here are the outtakes.  The tide was coming in, and the waves just kept coming in higher, and that water was cold!













Here's to the next 30 years!



Currently (June 2018)





Currently, I am...

Wearing:  I simple green t-shirt, and my favorite pair of shorts from H&M that I bought two months ago and am already wearing out.  Clearly I should have purchased a back up pair.  They were only $10!

Making: Body butter. A friend of mine posted on Facebook a couple months ago about this homemade body butter that she makes for herself and her girls.  Well, I happen to be a little obsessed with body butters, but I can't seem to find one that I really like since Bath and Body Works reformulated theirs, oh, 5+ years ago.  So I thought, "hey, why not?"  I finally got around to trying it this afternoon.  I added some essential oils to make it smell good, but I'm thinking that might be a wasted effort.  This particular recipe contains cocoa butter, and oh my goodness, the smell is strong.  It's cooling right now, and my whole fridge smells like chocolate.  I'm not mad about it.

Drinking: Peach-Pear La Croix.  I long ago learned that I don't love pop so much for the sugar as for the carbonation, so a flavored sparkling water will do!  The latest flavors I picked up were Coconut, Passionfruit, and this Peach-Pear.  I think Peach-Pear might be one of my favorites.

Eating: Nachos for lunch.  Not the healthy kind (is there a healthy kind?).



Cooking: I'm cooking out of the Fix It And Forget It Lazy And Slow Cookbook.  When I flipped through it at the library, I had to have it.  Basically the cookbook is broken up into weeks for an entire year, and each week gives you the menu, the shopping list, and directions on how to make the meals each day with the minimal amount of effort, using your slow cooker.  It's basically a ready-made year-long meal plan.  I've never been good at meal planning, so I'm all about someone doing the work for me!  I've made two recipes from it so far.  one was stuffed peppers, and it was great.  The other is Chicken Vegetable Soup.  I think the name of that recipe is generous, because there are literally only two vegetables in it - chopped up celery and corn.  We ended up having a change in dinner plans for the day I made it, so I haven't had any yet.  Derek had some for lunch and said it was more flavorful than you might expect for a vegetable soup recipe that only has chicken, celery, and corn in it.  I'm skeptical.  We're going to have the leftovers for dinner tonight.  I'll report back on Instagram or Facebook.

Reading:  Right now I am finishing up Voracious by Cara Nicoletti.  I am loving this book!  Each chapter is a little mini-memoir about her experiences with different books, and the food in those books.  Then she includes a recipe inspired by each book.  I'm not a food-memoir type of person typically, but this book is right up my alley!  I definitely recommend it.

(Remember how I was reading it before vacation when I hurt my knee?  I'm finishing it up now!)

Listening To:  Right this very minute I'm listening to the audiobook of Renegades by Marissa Myer.  You might know her as the girl who wrote the Lunar Chronicles.  I have to confess, I only made it through the first two books in that series, and I haven't felt compelled to pick up the rest - mainly because there are some weird experiments on humans (or human-like creatures?) that are ethically horrible, and I was a little weirded out by it.  Renegades, however, is funny and interesting so far - basically it's a superheroes story similar to X-Men, and some of banter between the villains and heroes is cracking me up!  I don't know if it's meant to be funny, but I am amused and loving it.

Also listening to Georgie fussing from her crib, so I'll be back.

Wanting: More time to read!  I just visited our local library sale, and I have too many books now.  I wish I could whole up for a week and knock a few off my list!  I'll try to show you guys what I found soon.  I got everything for probably an average of $1 a piece.  Not too shabby!

Buying:  This probably deserves it's own post, and you guys are going to laugh at me...but I bought a grain mill.  You know, so I can grind my own flour.  Ugh, I feel like a weirdo just typing that.  Basically, I like carbs.  I like bread, muffins, cookies, and cereal.  Since I like my carbs so much, I thought I might as well make them as healthy as possible.  Enter the grain mill.

I promise, I'm not turning into a crazy health food nut that won't eat white bread (we've already established that I love carbs).  But this is a fun kitchen project that is bringing back my love for baking, and I'm excited to give it a try!

And no, there's no hand-crank.  It's of the push-a-button-and-the-flour-is-ready-in-4-minutes variety.

Watching: The Bachelorette.  I just can't help myself.  If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that one of the contestants is from my (tiny) home town!  We actually saw the film crew while they were here.  And thankfully the guy is representing us pretty well so far, so I know who I'm rooting for!

Thinking: I've wasted a lot of years being discontent with where I live, and I feel really dumb about it now.  It's beautiful here!  How many people get to live in the mountains?  No, there's not a Starbucks around the corner, but there is a cute little down-home ice cream shop that sells coffee.  No, there's not a Target I can go wander around when I need to get out of the house, but there is fresh air and wildlife and hiking trails, and all those things are free.  Yeah, a lot of people left, but a lot of people came.  For the first time in my adult life I feel entirely content with my my house and town, and it's a lovely feeling.

(The only thing I'm bummed about is that our church is so far away, but it's not even a big deal to drive!  And we're making friends there too.  I've just started focusing on what I have instead of what I'm missing, and it's making all the difference.  Contentment is a wonderful thing.)




Loving:  This lovely summer weather!  I don't know why, but summer seemed to come all in a flurry this year, and the novelty has not yet worn off.  I'm sitting outside to type this!  It's so pretty!

Praying: For rain.  I love the warm weather and all, but I don't love wildfires, and that's where we might be headed if we don't get some rainy days.

(Also trying out this linkup here!)




Let's Catch Up - Vintage Books, Etc.

 


Time for a good, old-fashioned life update post!

The last couple months have been so busy, mainly because of one thing: vacation.  First I spent a couple weeks getting ready for vacation, which took a lot more effort than normal because I injured my knee.  Then we were gone on vacation.  Then we were home and recovering from vacation.  Now we are finally settling back into a routine at home, so I have some time to sit down and write!

Vacation And Last Day Of School

Speaking of vacation, I will eventually get around to writing a post and sharing some of my favorite photos.  It was such a nice getaway, and so needed!  My philosophy of vacationing is that we get away so we are happy to come back home again, and our fun-filled week left me with just that feeling of being full and happy to be home.  It was so nice to go visit my brother-in-law and sister-in-law in North Carolina, and they are fantastic hosts who really made the whole thing relaxing.  We left feeling refreshed, and we are bringing that vacation feeling back home with us into the summer.  

I think I officially love vacationing in the middle or end of May.  We get back right in time for warm, beautiful weather in the mountains. It's been so warm and lovely the last week, and I've spent a lot of time lounging and reading on the porch in the sun.  May vacations kick off the summer with that vacation vibe to set the tone, and now I'm in the right frame of mind to make this summer relaxing and adventurous for our family!  I sat down last week with my bullet journal, the library calendar, a cookbook, and a kids' activity book and laid out a summer plan.  I'm hoping to fill this summer with good memories and good food!

We also finished up our last day of recorded school for the year last week (I say "recorded school" because we'll probably continue some casual schooling through the summer).   I'm kind of shocked about how easy it was to cross off 172 days, in retrospect.  That's a lot!  But it didn't feel overwhelming at all, even with having a baby.  I'm working on a post with all the lessons I learned in our first "real" year of homeschooling, so stay tuned.

Of course, when I told Wyatt that it was our last week of school, he got rather sullen and said, "But Mom, I don't want to stop school in the summer."

I was baffled.  "Why?"

Wyatt: "Because I like it."

"Why do you like it?" (I was expecting an answer having to do with seeing our Bible study friends on Wednesday or something.)

Wyatt:  "I just like it.  I like doing school."

I tell you, after a year with some frustrating moments standing out in my memory, it's encouraging to know that from his perspective, he is just remembering the joyful parts of learning that we've had.  I guess I'm not failing him after all.

Nancy Drew And My 30th Birthday Party

My 30th birthday is this month.  Starting way back when I was 25, I informed Derek that I would like a birthday party for my 30th, and this past weekend he delivered!  

We started off the day with some family time first and we went shopping at our local antique mall.  I've mentioned before that one of my favorite series to read as a girl was Nancy Drew (for me and every other girl I know).  Well, I found out recently that though the Nancy Drew books were originally written in the 1930's, they were re-written after 1959 to make Nancy and her pals more "modern".  In my reading about this, I learned that this was done in part to correct some racist language in some of the books, but there is some anecdotal evidence to indicate that the rewrites weren't completely for the better.

So obviously now I feel like I HAVE to read a pre-1959 book.  Are the new books noticeably different?  How exactly did they make Nancy "modern"?  DO I EVEN KNOW NANCY DREW AT ALL?

Well, I am happy to report that I found a Nancy Drew printed in 1948 at the antique mall!  I'll try to read it soon and report back with my findings.











(I also found one of these "Best In Children's Books" volumes.  This is a vintage book series with excerpts from children's literature, short stories, and some early writings from authors like Richard Scarry and Laura Ingalls Wilder.  I'm sort of casually collecting them.)

After the antique mall we made a quick stop at our Sunday School class picnic.  We switched churches last year (it's still a little fresh to write much about it), but we are feeling so happy and settled at our new church now.  We found one of the rare churches that still does Sunday School, and it's a model that really works for our family since we have to commute a bit to get to the church.  It's nice to get to know the people while we are there on Sundays, instead of feeling a bit excluded with a small group model that we can't participate in on a regular basis.

But anyway, back to the topic at hand - my 30th birthday party!  



Derek sent out these pretty invitations to my close family and friends, and we all met to have dinner together at Olive Garden.  It was lovely to have all the people who are dear to me gathered together as I prepare to enter a new decade.  Derek also played Ben Rector's "I Like You" (which is currently "our song"), and he gave a really sweet, short speech and said a bunch of nice things about me.  I tell you, I could have cried, but I was too happy.  My heart was full.


 (Me before dinner.)


(We tried to get a quick family shot after my party - this is as good as it got!  Not pregnant, that's just a food baby - ha! )

Other Worthy Of Mentions

Guys, I went to our annual library sale last week, and I got SO MANY BOOKS.  It's a little out of control, honestly, but I see those bags of good books waiting for me and I get so excited!  I also made a second trip on Sunday for their final bag-of-books-for-$6-just-to-get-rid-of-everything sale, and grabbed a bunch more books, which came out to dimes a piece.  My goal for the next year-ish is going to be to read two of those library sale books a month.  Maybe I'll write a post soon sharing all my finds, and you can help me pick what to read first.

Speaking of books, I feel like my reading is way too subject to my momentary whims.  I am definitely a mood reader, and for that reason I either fly through a book that interests me within two days, or I start a book and abandon it before I reach the halfway mark because something else catches my fancy.  This is why I usually have 10 books going at any given time - I have bookish ADD.  

THIS IS A PROBLEM.  

I feel like these bad reading habits really affect how much I enjoy any given book.  And when I start and stop a book several times before finishing, it also makes it difficult to give a good, thorough review (you may have noticed some of my reviews are dashed off a lot more haphazardly than others on Goodreads - this is why).  I'm trying really hard to be more disciplined about finishing the books I start, or giving a book a fair chance (at least 100 pages) before I decide I'm not enjoying it and pick up something else.  Am I the only one who has this problem?

Maybe I should start a support group.

What are you all doing to welcome in summer this week?  (I know, summer doesn't officially start until middle June, but in my book, if it's warm and green, it's summer!)


When You Feel Unsettled



I'm sitting here typing this, and there is a tinge of smoke in the air.  Despite some beautiful flowers poking through the ground and dressing the trees, it has been such a dry spring.  It's hard to enjoy the summery weather when you know the sun is sucking more moisture out of the ground.  I'm praying for rain or a big, wet snow to prevent wildfires this summer.  We've already had one just this week.

It's not the most comforting feeling when we're leaving on vacation this month.

The last couple weeks have been just weird and unsettling.  I hurt my knee two Sundays ago.  Badly.  I was peddling the bike at the gym, and my knee started hurting when I got in the car.  The next morning I couldn't even straighten my leg without pain, much less put any weight on it.  

I had surgery on that same knee seven years ago, so this feeling was familiar.  I was convinced I tore my meniscus again somehow, and I was going to need surgery and be on crutches for six weeks.  I was a soggy mess the rest of the day, crying because I'd be on crutches for vacation, and I had so many end-of-year events that week, and I couldn't take care of the kids...crying just from the stress of it all.  I shared what happened with different friends as my mom drove me down to the doctor's office, who then ordered an MRI.  I was pretty convinced my May was ruined.

Then my knee felt surprisingly good the next day.  And even better the next, and the next, until the day of my MRI, I could almost step on it.  Results came in.  No tear.  I was walking without crutches the next day.  I just don't even see how that's possible with how my knee felt just a few days before.  Because it was bad.  It felt like something had torn, but this week I'd say it's pretty much healed.

I'm crediting all the prayers.  God definitely healed my knee way sooner than I expected, and it was a gift.  

So I'm hanging on to that thought, as I sit here and catch a whiff of smoke, wondering if there is another fire someplace.  Derek isn't home right now, and he has some hard work-related things to deal with that will affect our whole family.  Both of these things are stressing me out.  But then I remember my knee, and I say a prayer and take a deep breath.  Rotten things happen every day, and sometimes they work out, and sometimes they don't, but this week I remember that we have a God who cares about it all.  When we feel unsettled and anxious, we are supposed to come to Him.

"Cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you."
1 Peter 5:7

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
Philipians 4:6

I know those verses are so much used that they can almost seem cliche, but they will never seem cliche to me.  How amazing is that, that we have a God who cares for us?  And the proof of that is Jesus.  When we trust in Him for our salvation, our eternity is secure in Him.  If He died to save us from our sin, our biggest, most insurmountable problem, then He can handle all these little problems too.  And even if it doesn't work out like we want, we have Him, and that is all we truly need.

So I'll cast my cares on Him, and go work on some packing.

Happy Friday, Friends!

First Week Solo



I have officially survived my first week alone with all five kids!

I'm not going to lie, we had a couple rough moments, but overall I think we are developing a little bit of routine to these newborn days.  Georgie has been sleeping in later than the other kids, which has worked out pretty well because then I can get everyone else up and eating breakfast, and then pump a bit before she wakes up to eat.

The kids are still pretty enamored with Georgiana, and they take any opportunity to help me with her.  Clarice especially - she scrambles around grabbing whatever she thinks I might need for Georgie, and it's adorable to see her little toddling run.

As I type this, Georgie is sitting in her swing with her polar bear wubbanub in her mouth, taking in the whole room, and Clarice is settled on my lap (yes, I'm typing while cuddling my two year old - talented, right?), and the bigger kids are playing in their rooms.  

Anyway, just to give this post some direction, let's talk about things that are making my world spin just a little smoother this week.

Maternity Pants

I think this is the first pregnancy where I did not immediately abandon maternity pants after birth.  I'm chalking it up to H&M's excellent maternity pant selection.  What can I say?  They still fit, and they don't really look like maternity pants, and the waistband helps suck my tummy in a little.

JJ Heller

Something about her music makes me just appreciate my life, even the chaotic moments.  

Coffee

No explanation needed.

My Kindle

There really isn't a better way to read books while nursing than on a Kindle.  I've finished two books this week - Strange Fire by John MacArthur (which I've been working on for a while - it was good), and The List by Siobhan Vivian (probably wouldn't recommend it - I felt like there were almost-opportunities for some solid points about beauty, but the author didn't quite make them work, and too much teenage misbehavior tarnishing it up).  Now I'm working on The Wednesday Wars, which is completely delightful so far.  It reminds me of the early seasons of The Wonder Years, and I loved that show.

Tylenol

Not for the reasons you might think, because birth-wise, this has probably been my easiest recovery yet.  No, the Tylenol is a lifesaver because sometime early this week I slept on my neck wrong, and I've been having awful neck and shoulder pain ever since.  And wouldn't you know, my chiropractor is closed this week?  So Tylenol is my friend.  Ibuprofen would be my friend (because it's better than Tylenol), but it thins your blood, and I'm already on Lovenox because of that one time when I had a deep vein thrombosis.  Doubling up on blood thinners is generally a no-no.

Meals From Friends

I am just floored by the amount of meals we received this week from my mom's group friends!  I haven't had to cook anything in nearly two weeks.  It's been glorious.

Newborn Snuggles and Paw Patrol

These usually happen simultaneously - Paw Patrol keeps my big kids occupied, and I get some quiet newborn snuggles in.  There have been some moments this week when we're all crying, but these quiet sweet moments, with soft newborn hair tickling my cheek and all five of my precious kids gathered around me - it just makes me happy to be alive.

Next up - date night!  Despite my not making it to 40 weeks for my late-pregnancy reward plan, my mom is watching the kids anyway so we can still see Murder On The Orient Express tonight!  I'll let you know if they ruin it or not (crossing my fingers...)


Solar Eclipses & Personality Types




Confession: I was this close to not doing anything for the solar eclipse this week.

My thought process was that solar eclipses are cool and all, but do I really want to spend $10 a piece on glasses?  And how many stops will I have to make with my FOUR kids to find these stupid things? And will it really be worth it since it's only a partial eclipse where I am anyway?

I think I've reached that point in pregnancy where anything that requires too much effort and isn't absolutely necessary just isn't really worth it to me.  Plus, I was a little paranoid about the kids hurting their eyesight.

So I really had no plans for anything, until I was laying in bed last Saturday night with sudden anxiety when I realized that I might be depriving my children of something. What kind of homeschool mom skips a solar eclipse?  On the first day of school, no less?  What was I thinking? How could I have even considered stealing this experience from my kids?!

In my sleep-deprived haze, I settled on cereal box projectors, which I was more comfortable with anyway because of the whole eyesight thing.  We had a grand ole time decorating them and checking the eclipse on Monday.  The kids did try to glance at the sky a couple times, but I scolded them enough to put the fear of retinal scarring into their little hearts.  I'm glad I actually did something with them after all!  We had 93% totality, and it did start to feel like evening there for a bit, which was cool.  Complete totality would have been better, but in 28 years another eclipse is coming through that puts us right in the path of totality, so I'm just going to wait until then.

 (That's glitter on my nose, from our decorated boxes.)



(I didn't realize I needed to make the hole so tiny for the box to work, so that's why there are several holes.)

On Monday evening after that eventful day, I went to work out and I tried out a new podcast.  Despite it being a fun day, I was having a particularly anxious/getting-down-on-myself type of day at the same time, and I needed a distraction.  I listened to Personality Hacker, and I came home feeling like I understood myself better and determined to find out Derek's Myers-Briggs type so I could understand him better.  He took the test, and I thought I'd take it again too just to see if any of my percentages changed.  I was confident I would still be an ENFJ, and I like that type.

Imagine my surprise when the test tells me I'm now an ESFJ!  What?! No!  I knew my type!  I have a type!  You can't just change it on me!  I retook the test.  Same result.  I read the description.  It didn't sound like me. I retook the test on a different website.  Now I'm ISTJ.  Huh?  I read the description.  Nope.  

At this point it's 11:00 PM, and I'm exhausted, so I put the computer away and decided to figure it out later.  It took me at least a half hour to fall asleep, because this was all just so upsetting.

I woke up in the morning and pulled out my laptop again (I get a little obsessive about things when I'm pregnant - yes, I'm blaming pregnancy).  I retook the test again and adjusted some answers - it said ENFJ, but now I felt like I cheated.  So read an article about cognitive functions (which is what this whole crazy test is based on), and it seemed to me I'm an Introverted Intuitive, Extroverted Feeling.  Which would make me an INFP.  I read the description.  It sort of sounded like me, but not really, because I'm just not a dreamer.  I don't think of myself as a dreamer, I don't daydream about things or invent fictional characters.  I call myself an optimistic realist.  

I went back and read the ENFP, INFP, ENFJ, INFJ, ISFJ, and ESFJ descriptions, and then all the descriptions of their cognitive functions, and I finally decided that I'm...wait for it...an ENFJ.

So that was a lot of effort to tell me something I thought I already knew!  Ugh.  I'm just going to own that type now though and not retake the stupid test.  I read somewhere in the midst of all this that it can be hard to type a person if their personalities are really underdeveloped, or if their personalities are very developed.  I'm going to say I'm just a very developed person.  Because very developed people clearly spend 3+ hours scouring the internet with anxiety, trying to figure out their type.

Now I'm completely exhausted and have been dragging myself through the day.  I had things to do this week, Personality Hacker!  Sheesh.

So out of curiosity, what Myers-Briggs personality type are YOU?  
You can start with this test here.  And I'm sorry in advance if this leads you on a wild goose chase that keeps you up half the night.  


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