on becoming trees

The after-Christmas house is slowly coming back together. The bulk of the sifting and sorting falls to me, but after lunch I did exhort the kids to “go and make an improvement somewhere”. Yesterday one of the boys cleaned his side of the closet and straightened out his hangers. Today the two little boys put away the piles of laundry they’d folded.

My head space feels a bit scattered as of late, and really, scattered does not feel like the right word at all. Wide open is more the description I’d use. I have no interests that I’m currently pursuing. When I walk into the library, I browse my usual non-fiction corner, check out the bookshelf with the new releases, decide there is nothing I want then leave.

My Whole30 cookbook is a week overdue. It’s funny how different the librarians are. The one we know best and is there in the day doesn’t usually bring up the amount of my fines. I’m almost certain she’s even wiped them out several times, because $4-5+ fines have disappeared when I did not remember paying them. There’s another one who is nice as well, but she lets me know, and did let me know this last time that I owed $0.40.

The kids like to check out movies when we go. They’re currently finishing up The Silver Chair from an older Chronicles of Narnia BBC movie set. I approve the movies, but usually don’t watch them unless we’ve all planned to watch a movie together. Television time throughout their childhood has always been a time for me to get other things done.

Speaking of television, we’ve had some really great evenings the past week going over to my in-law’s house to watch the Jeopardy Greatest of All Time Tournament. Ken Jennings is the one I was rooting for, because he was the only one of the three that I remembered. I think we all drove away feeling sad it was over. I’m thankful for fun TV times like that.

Homeschooling continues to be a work and a joy. I will say that I definitely went into this underestimating the challenge of keeping up with multiple children, subjects, and grades. I kind of expected us to breeze through the basics, leaving plenty of time to explore all my books, do science experiments, and go on regular educational field trips.

We spend most of our time on the basics right now, and as I think of it, so do I. Being a mother has been a vocation of being immersed in the basics. It seemed for a while like the basics were something you were supposed to move beyond. A long time immersed in the basics can surely make one start to feel like there is no actual “movement” at all.

I think, instead, I’m actually living in a tree, or becoming like a tree. Trees do not move, in fact, they will stay in one place their entire lives. But they grow, and expand, and spread out, and every year their leaves are different. I love that now, I get to be a tree.

whole30 week one

It’s become a tradition to make cinnamon rolls for the kids Christmas morning. This tradition was inspired by a cookbook I bought from one of our old school’s book fairs. The recipe called to make your own dough, but I always used store-bought canned cinnamon rolls. I was not in a season of life where making dough seemed realistic.

This year we wanted to try something different. I thought we were in a place where making out own dough might be a fun project to work on. We told this to the nice older lady who works part time in the camp office, and she suggested we try the Pioneer Woman cinnamon roll recipe. I had just received a Christmas Pioneer Woman magazine from my friend Norma, and in the magazine was her recipe for cinnamon rolls.

We tested it out and decided it would work. The one thing we weren’t keen on was the frosting. We kept it in the fridge anyway in case we didn’t end up finding something different. One of the pre-Christmas grocery items included two cans of cinnamon rolls to have on hand just in case the other ones didn’t turn out. We made the dough up on Christmas Eve, and they were ready to bake Christmas morning. We ended up using the frosting that came along. with the store bought rolls. They turned out beautifully.

The Whole 30 program claims to help with changing your “relationship with food.” Before I even started this, one of the things I noticed about not eating gluten was that it eliminated the foods that I experience guilt with.  For example, I could have a wonderful cinnamon roll experience prior to eating them, but even after saying, “I’ll only have two”, I will eat the two, and then start thinking, “I shouldn’t have eaten these.” It is great to have relief from the feelings of guilt, but I still very often think about these foods.

I want food to be a source of enjoyment. I always thought it was weird when you’d see these cook women on tv and they’d talk about how much they looooooooved food. I didn’t think I loved food, at least not like that. But I’m thinking now that I actually do, I love food.  I love warm bread with butter, and hot apple pie. I love brownies with only a small scoop of ice cream. I love oatmeal, waffles, and Cracker Barrel pancakes. My sister and I keep each other in the loop, texting daily about what we are eating. It is very, very true what the tv cooks say.  Food brings us together, and that is what I love most.

let your light

Today ended up being a quiet work day in the house. The kids played nicely and helped me out with the tasks I asked for help with. I love those Saturdays when you can dedicate an entire day to a project, on home things, like gathering the Christmas decorations and remnants, and getting the pile of accumulating homeschool books to a bookshelf.

The snow started falling in the later afternoon. I do love the snow on a warm day like this. The floor along my bedroom wall is clear again, my bedroom closet is clean again, and the lights shine on from the living room corner. I’m not really feeling that lasting post-Christmas joy this year, but I’m admittedly not ready to take the dang thing down.

 

 

forgiving the past

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This feels like a season of letting go of old baggage. This seems to be an ongoing process in life, because this sure isn’t the first time I’ve needed to “let go”. But at I’m this point again where I’m honestly just tired of carrying around the same old thoughts and issues in life. There have been difficult seasons and traumatic events, defining moments that have shaped the way I think and live. I’m talking about the negative experiences.

It isn’t any particular person I’ve been mad at, but life itself that I’ve been mad at. It was life’s fault for all these terrible things that happen. It was life’s fault for ruining me and my love for life. It was life’s fault for making the human being’s life on this earth so terrible.

Oh and I know exactly how these things work. We deal with our crap–and right on time!–because God in some mysterious way is using this to prepare us for whatever further crap lies ahead in our life. Ugh! I can’t continue on with such an ominous “fear” of God.

I love God and He sets us free from our chains.

ch’s and clocks

The transition from the holidays back to school life is going well. We’ve got a guest bed downstairs in the school room now, and it feels so nice to just be fully present and on my belly with each of the little boys on either side of me. Math and reading, Sam and Pam.

I did have a moment of brief overwhelm, when the re-realization hit me that focusing on school for several hours in the morning adds up to quite a few hours that are not being spent on other things like cleaning, decluttering, and general home maintenance. I really don’t know how to explain this to anyone else who hasn’t lived it, but a group of people living in a house adds up to a lot of stuff and a continual need for basic home upkeep.

The internet has helpful learning resources available for free. I didn’t want to introduce screen time into school life until I felt the kids had gotten a strong enough handle on the old-school ways of pencil and paper. I felt like this was a good time to introduce typing lessons and Khan Academy for things like math, testing, and basic computer use practice. When we’re done with our downstairs work in the schoolroom, we’ve been heading upstairs to the kitchen table with two computers going while I’m working on lunch.

There are currently papers all over our living room floor from the reintroduction of Story of the World. We did book one in this series two years ago, and the kids loved it. I liked it, but by the end I’d grown bored of the neutral nature of the stories and writing style. I regret now not jumping right back into book 2 again last year. I copy the maps and/or coloring sheet, and the kids listen and color while I read with the Celtic music. The music helps me get into it more, and almost makes it feel like we’re off on a quest.