Wednesday, January 21, 2015


I'm sure you could tell by my recent post that I have been working through what I've come to call a "mothering slump" in recent weeks and months.  Too true.  It has been hard, slogging through the day, feeling like all I do is break up ugly fights and scold young boys.

But then, like the clearing of a summer storm, everything has gotten better in a matter of days.  It seems like everything has worked together in conjunction to refresh my weary spirit.

I went to a friend's house last Friday, someone I really connect with, and hashed through life for seven hours.  Seven hours!  And we still didn't cover everything. So many of my thoughts have very little outlet at this point in life - it was extremely cathartic to talk and talk and talk and talk.

The first term at our little homeschool ended, switching out books, poet, artist, and memory work.  Out with the old: The Princess and the Goblin, The Story of Marco Polo, Emily Dickinson, and Norman Rockwell.  In with the new: The Jungle Book, Langston Hughes, Carl Larsson, and our new poem The First Snowfall.  I am absolutely reinvigorated by our new material.

Another recent change is in our daily schedule.  Blaine just started going to and from work an hour earlier each day.  He is very pleased getting home at 4:30 PM with more sunlight in his day and doesn't mind getting up an hour earlier.  On our end, we are enjoying having him home earlier in the afternoon.  Additionally, in conjunction with the baby sleeping in until almost 8:00 AM (very, very new), it also has allowed me and hour or so in the morning in complete silence and solitude.  Bliss.

Thinking about it, that is perhaps the biggest factor in my recent buoyancy: morning solitude.  I have had it in the past, but not since the birth of baby #4 in May 2014.  A year and a half.  It has been rough.  I have been biding my time, trying to stay optimistic that it will return, but have felt wearier as time wears on.

I am cautiously optimistic, hoping it sticks and won't turn out to be just a short-term anomaly.  I have felt a significant difference in my energy levels and attitude throughout the entire day.  Significant.  That time worth its weight in gold.

To top it all off, the three older boys have broken through the spiraling fights for the time being and have been playing together peacefully, enmeshed in a world of make-believe that keeps them inspired and happy.  Today they were playing house under the stairs; yesterday, it was something akin to "army camp".  What sweetness there is when peace ripples throughout the house.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

It never ends, but it never should end

I had an epiphany last week while listening to a podcast.

Organization is a continuous process, not an end-goal.  It is as unrelenting and daily as dishes or laundry.

Mind blown.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Monday, January 12, 2015


I am finally at the place in my life where I am drug-out, bone-tired by bed-time.  It seems like it used to be "just tired" when it was time for bed - I'm sure I was sleepy, but this?  I am weary.  I'm not sure if that is just where I am at in the mothering journey or if it goes with the territory of being in my late thirties.  I have no idea where anything sits along that line.  Is X a sign or aging of simply the wear-and-tear of mothering?

I have many inspirational ideas for wonderful posts, at least in my mind, where I am able to thoughtfully process through life.  But when I sit down - poof - everything goes up in a puff of smoke.  I don't have one thoughtful thought in me.  Or perhaps it is all submerged.

I've experienced various levels of identity crisis in this mothering journey, the confusion of trying to sort out who I am amongst the duty of life and serving others.  It sounds so dramatic, and perhaps less pressing to those of a different temperament, but it has been a weight on me at times.  I look back to my daybook entries or blog posts, even from early motherhood, and I see a girl who has not yet become - still paddling along as I always had, exploring little nooks and crannies, full of energy,  interest, and fun.

But now? I'm the hag that says, "I'm not going to argue with you, just do it" and "Don't give me that look" or "I'm going to give you a chance to do that again" and "Are you ready to be kind?" or "I'm ready for boys to get the table ready for din-ner" and "Time for before-lunch clean-up!"  And so on.

"Free-time", or even down-time, basically doesn't exist - I always have a long agenda of items that need my attention, from the physical reality surrounding me to paperwork and life records.  I'm not even sure what I would do if I had TRUE "free-time".  Even writing this post makes me feel a little jittery, expecting to be interrupted at any moment.

Am I complaining? I don't think I am even though it may feel like it. (I dislike the feeling of "wallowing" in negativity and I especially detest presenting myself in a negative manner.)  I know I am out-processing reality as I know it.

I feel like a changed person - like a train on my tracks, there is no turning back.  Every year brings new challenges and victories.  I am getting better at the balancing of life (housework, organization, meal planning, schoolwork, household management, etc.) - I know I am - I can see the results around me.  I look back at my past self and see just how much I had to learn.  I'm sure that will be the story until the very end, but it is just so amazing to me.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Lil' Eliza Jane

 A niece!  The sweetest thing.
Born "on Christmas Day in the mor-ning". For realz.
Sweet Eliza Jane, named for my sister.

 Here she is, three days old.
Erik and Ashley are smitten. (Of course!)
I can't stop smiling whenever I see her.

 She was a breech baby until 39 weeks. Un-un-un-un.
Then she was posterior. Un-un-un-un.
Then Ash pushed for 5 hours after laboring on and off for three days. 
UN-UN-UN-UN. (Lil' Eliza's head was at an odd angle.) (She had a tilted conehead.)
In the end Ash feels good about her birth, and I'm so glad.

One week old, lips pursed.
"It is amazing how fast they change." But seriously.
I thought she looked more like Ash this time,
though when she opened her eyes I saw Erik.
I can hardly wait to smooch and snuggle her come March!

Thursday, January 01, 2015

2014 Booklist: Completed

  • Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles : Winning for a Lifetime - Mary Sheedy Kurcinka
  • Better Late than Early: A New Approach to Your Child's Education - Moore & Moore
  • The Explosive Child: A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children - Ross W. Greene
  • Emily Dickinson: An Interpretive Biography - Thomas H. Johnson
  • Between the Woods and the Water: On Foot to Constantinople: From The Middle Danube to the Iron Gates - Patrick Leigh Fermor (first chapter only, would like to read in full)
  • The Way of Boys: Promoting the Social and Emotional Development of Young Boys - Anthony Rao
  • Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and Whole-Foods Lifestyle - Diane Sanfilippo
  • Nurture by Nature: Understand Your Child's Personality Type - And Become a Better Parent - Tieger & Barron-Tieger
  • The Nourished Kitchen: Farm-to-Table Recipes for the Traditional Foods Lifestyle - Jennifer McGruther
  • MotherStyles: Using Personality Type to Discover Your Parenting Strengths - Janet Penley
  • Why Gender Matters: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know about the Emerging Science of Sex Differences - Leonard Sax
  • A Woman's Journey Round the World - Ida Laura Pfeiffer (audio) (half-done)
  • The Elliott Homestead: From Scratch: Traditional, whole-foods dishes for easy, everyday meals - Shaye Elliot
  • Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child - Anthony Esolen
  • Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad (audio)
  • A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens (audio)
  • Coriolanus - William Shakespeare (audio)
  • Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men - Leonard Sax
  • Around the World in Eighty Days - Jules Verne (audio)
  • Mitten Strings for God: Reflections for Mothers in a Hurry - Katrina Kenison
  • The Heart of Learning - Lawrence Williams
  • The Call to Brilliance - Resa Steindel Brown (skimmed)
  • Take My Advice: Letters to the Next Generation from People Who Know a Thing or Two - James L. Harmon
  • Family Feasts for $75 a Week - Mary Ostyn
  • The Sane Mother's Guide to Raising a Large Family - Mary Ostyn
  • Mary Poppins - P.L. Travers (audio)
  • Fed Up with Frenzy: Slow Parenting in a Fast-Moving World - Susan Sachs Lipman
  • The Stay-at-Home Survival Guide: Field-Tested Strategies for Staying Smart, Sane, and Connected While Caring for Your Kids - Melissa Stanton
  • The Cat of Bubastes - G.A. Henty (audio)