Friday, July 12, 2019

12 January Reflections

A little (lot) lighter this time (in December, I had THIRTY SEVEN). Anyway, a handful of reflections on outside play, mothering, fashion and appearance, faith, hospitality, organizing and cooking. 

On Outside Play:
1. Herrington babies don't let the cold keep them from backyard swims in January. 

Diving into the new year like....
First day of 2019 and we ain't gonna let the cold slow us down.

On Mothering:
2. I hope my children trust me with their hearts like this. And I hope, even when they don't live in this house, they know that there is not an hour on the clock when I won't be grateful they turned to me in their time of need.
(I hope it goes without saying that I don't think cosleeping with your toddler is a necessary indicator of a strong emotional connection with them as a teenager. As parents, we all have different yeses we can give our kids without compromising our mental health, our identities, our marriages, ect. This has been an incredibly easy yes for me, a seemingly important one for Sarah Lamar, and one I think it was especially joyful for me to lean into with our last baby. And I think this can be helpful reframe if you've felt judged in a modern society for a practice as old as time ♥️)

 3. I'm glad I value creativity above compliance, I guess?
This game is called "Lizards and Catchers" and Annie just informed me that they used to play it when one of them was in time out without me knowing.

4. I wonder if my little mischief maker will be squeezed in between TWO righteous law enforcers 

stuff Herringtons say at two and a half years old, regarding their brother, who is often scolded for saying/doing inappropriate things. 

On Fashion and Appearance:
5. Nine is not too old for Storybook Jams. 
- stuff Herringtons say when their momma asks them if they think nine years old is too grown for Beatrix Potter motifs.

6. These tough little women make me laugh so hard. 
I love how Sallie is sporting these old overalls of Graves's that I found and he immediately tried on her and she became obsessed with. And how cute is AP in her beloved pink zebra biker shorts and graphic owl tee? Her after church hair here gives me such 80s/90s girl feels (plus "bacteria shoes" and Midnight on a strap, LOL). 

7. I think that Matilda Jane fox sweater I got Annie at the last Kids Emporium consignment sale I went to for $20 has been the most worn item she's owned. 
I think this is year three (or four?!?) and she's worn it with bottoms some but mostly over SO many church dresses. It's amazing how many things it coordinates be with and I don't care if people get tired of seeing her in it every three weeks for four years when it's chilly because she adores it and I think it's precious.

8. Sallie is the tallest two year old I've ever seen. Okay, she's not at all. She's like in the 50%. But our first two year old was a tiny peanut of a person and our second two year old wasn't much bigger and honestly, I'm kind of a tiny peanut of a person so my itty bitty baby who was just a newborn yesterday basically seems like an enormous dinosaur 

On Faith:
9. I don't get to take communion away. I shared this with a friend but we had communion that day after our various come aparts I thought it was a worthwhile anecdote here, too. Anyway, mine are the only children their age who take communion at Northside. Most don't because: Baptist. But whoever is allowed to because: Northside. Well, last time, Graves was so rotten and I was so embarrassed that I told him he couldn't participate if he couldn't take it seriously. As soon as the words were out of my mouth I was like "Oh, my! WWJD?!?" so I was like "nah, Bud, I was wrong, I don't get to take communion away, that's God's gift to you and you acting horrible is kinda the whole point".

On Hospitality:

10. There's a balance between caring for myself and opening our home, and lives, to others. Two of our family's three "cornerstones" this year are hospitality and health and those often- in my mind- feel at odds with each other, especially in the case of my mental health but how, more often than not healing comes, for me, community. I thought about how there's a fine line between honoring those feelings and leaning into simple, possibly painstaking tasks of hospitality and not allowing this to be an excuse to avoid something difficult for me. And I thought again about how grateful I am for people who do that for us.

On Organizing:
11. This baby lovvvvvves to sort and organize (and loves bright rainbow colors) as much as her momma.
When Sallie School meets Saturday School at the Schoolhouse in the Suburbs. 

On Cooking:12. A stick of butter is the magic ingredient and I'm a very lazy, low energy and not racist version of Paula Deane. 

So there's January's reflections- twelve thoughts over seven categories. Sharing February's soon and one day I'll be caught up! 

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Seasonal Herringtons: June Happenings and July Plans

It's July, so here are our June happenings and my reflections:

I forgot how quickly the heat drains all of us. I forget every year. Winter is so incredibly wearisome for me and this is a different tired that feels better and more healthy but it's still a real thing.
June was so fun and full. We had a great swimteam season; Annie devoured information at birding camp and is so much more skilled at identifying her favorite creatures; and our beach trip wildly exceeded my expectations.
I always say we'll lighten our school load in the summer. I don't think we'll ever be a family that completely takes three months off (I'm realizing more and more that would have DEVASTATING consequences for Graves and I don't even think it's something I could consider) but every summer I lighten the load more. It makes sense- it's my favorite season, I want to prioritize the pool which is twenty minutes away, and maybe most of all I want the children to have lots of time carved out for their friends that are in traditional school or that we just don't see as much during the year. I have specific things I want to work on this summer (math and history for Annie; reading and math practice for Graves) and other things I want to shelf until fall (grammar, spelling, and vocabulary for Annie and unessential stuff for Graves). I want to read aloud more this summer. I need to come up with a bit more concrete plans but I have these key points to guide me.
 I didn't exercise at all in June (but I did today!) and I didn't prioritize sleep well and I felt it.
 Sometimes in the winter I get isolated and I would choose this ANY day, but I realized there are parts of this season that are hard for an introvert. One Friday, I spent all of swim practice visiting with a momma I don't know and then we headed to chess that afternoon and I visited with some more new friends (plus some old ones). I was talking with a (very!) old friend about how those initial conversations can just be really draining. I do well with the very first bit of small talk and I do well with going deep but the in between is a struggle. I do think making new friend is  worth it but it sure zaps me.

And, since I typed this all out to email Peyton and Annie, here are my July plans/goals/ect. It's pretty tedious, but I wanted to share...

- make therapy appointment 
- make hair appointment
- make psychiatrist appointment
- call El
- write thank you to Beth Murray

- sort clothes to give away
- work on our room
- get stuff from storage unit and sort through it
- sort Sallie's pjs

House Stuff:
- figure out shutter color for Minnie 
- rehang stuff in Graves's room
- repaint and seal kitchen table, if possible

Appointments and Meetings:
- Dentist Appointment (All)- July 18th
- Hair Appointment (SD, Annie, Sallie)
- Therapy (SD)
- bloodwork (SD)

- work on Power Sheets
- make a booklist for Fall

- Sallie's Bday Party

- Lakeshore (word building blocks)
- Learning without Tears (Mat Man)

Birthday Fun:
- plan and host Sallie's party

Summer Fun:
- get ready for first Summer Supper (I'm thinking both chicken salads  and a watermelon will be our contribution)
- plan getaways to the farm for both big kids, individually 

Interest Areas:  
Irregular Events:
July 4th: Spend the day at BW/day off work and school
July 14th: Talking Club
July 16th: Apollo 11 Launch Party
July 18th: Dentist Appointment (for everyone)
July 19th: Cub Scout Lock-In
July 28th: Summer Supper (???)
July 29th: Sallie's Birthday Party (???)
July 1st-26th: Reading Clinic (Monday-Thursday)

Meal Theme: 
Try a different chicken salad every weekend!

Show to Watch:   

Friends to Get Together With: 
- Sallie's party
- Summer Supper
- meet the Harkins at the pool
- invite two other families to the pool (guests)
- Annie wants to meet up with Katherine, Parker, and Emily (sisters who are friends from Birding Camp)
July Reading:
An American Marriage

Sing, Unburied, Sing

Poetry Month:
When Green Becomes Tomatoes
Red Sings from Treetops
Lemonade and Other Poems
Sad Underwear
Graves's Book: Peyton's pick!
Annie's (Independent) Book: The Man in the Iron Mask
Overlap Book (from the Arrow/Literature Pockets): skip
Overlap Book (my pick, just for fun): The Penderwicks
Bookclub Book: Swallows and Amazons
Picture books (history and from Goodreads list): 
Sallie: A Child's Garden of Verses, and Switching on the Moon
Bible: Storymakers curriculum and Read-Aloud Bible Stories for Sallie

July School:  
Annie: main focus is making headway in math, doing daily independent work, practicing chess, and reading her history
Graves: main focus is Reading Clinic, letter days, and daily math worksheets
Sallie: main focus is reading poetry and doing letter day activities with Graves, when appropriate
Miscellaneous: make a dirt cake to go with worm unit

- spending time with friends 
- swimming at BW
- reading aloud
- enjoying summer food
- sleep 8-9 hours *every* night
- research more about what's happening with families at the border
- exercise 3x a week
- work on my blog 5 days/week
Annie: finding ways to have more alone time
Graves: do science with Papa and spend more time with  Papa
Sallie: learn more math

Whew, that's a lot. But it felt good to sketch out some details and really have a gameplan for the month! 

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Seasonal Herringtons: May Happenings

I realized that I never shared an update on May, so: 

We finished up all our school year activities- Cub Scouts, homeschool P.E., piano and dance (with recitals and doting grandparents and floral arrangements and bubble gum gifts for the last two!).

I finished up a three year stint at the Grief Center. Next year, the way I serve that place and the Junior League will be different. There are too many thoughts and too many tears for now but I promise to write about it when I have the bandwidth.

I had my regular talking club (almost time for the next one!), went to a homeschooling Momma's Night Out, and went to my momma bookclub.

 I read an entire novel (and want to share more thoughts on that, too).

We had Bud's birthday party and it was a legendary effort (mostly mentally) with an adequate result.

The pool opened, we enjoyed a low key Memorial Day, and swimteam started. I love summer but I face June with dread. Swimteam overwhelms me always and this year we have additional commitments pertaining to it, plus a couple of other non-related activities that will be wonderful for the kids but I'm not totally looking forward to, and for the first time ever I don't have P's help during the week. I know dreading having to be somewhere I actually love by nine five mornings a week is the height of privilege and not a good look for a homeschooler and being stressed out by camps and trips is really first world and silly but I also know my mental health suffers when I don't create margin in my life (or at least am honest that I'm lacking it for a season) and nobody is going to do that for me. That said, most of the mornings we spent there were more tear free than ever, Sallie and I have had some beautiful moments on the little playground in the back of the pool, and one afternoon I took all three kids with the warning we might only stay forty minutes and we made it almost two hours and it was delightful (with the exception of a potty accident that gratefully didn't happen in the pool- so surprised with myself that I scrubbed Sallie's bathing suit with hot soapy water, put it right back on her, and kept on rolling). 

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Sunday Hymns and Herrington Babies: With His Own Blood He Bought Her

The church's one Foundation
is Jesus Christ her Lord;
she is His new creation,
by water and the Word;

from heav'n He came and sought her
to be His holy bride;
with His own blood He bought her,
and for her life He died. 

P had a flat on the Saturday before this and he needed the van. I thought for about twelve seconds about dropping him off and coming back to get him at ten pm but I decided the Lord wanted me to keep my sanity. Ironic because I let them sleep late and bedtime was a marathon worse than I had anticipated and I think they were all up at ten. Also ironic because I had been SO excited for church this week. I'm (almost-- keeping it real) always so glad once we get there, but the getting there is a struggle. Anyway, not for any real reason- I'd just had a nice string of happy, healthy days- I was excited about going. BUT, we already had friends coming over that afternoon so the day didn't seem so long and Peyton was working another long shift that day so I decided to listen to a Calvary-St. George's sermon podcast  (and to listen to a little "Abide with Me" and reminisce and sob a bit, let's be honest). As I always say, what a blessing that we are in a place where I'm truly sad when we can't be there!

Sunday Hymns and Herrington Babies: Sweetly, Lord, Have We Heard Thee Calling

Sweetly, Lord, have we heard Thee calling,
"Come, follow Me!"
And we see where Thy footprints falling
lead us to Thee.

Footprints of Jesus that make the pathway glow;
we will follow the steps of Jesus where’er they go. 

This Sunday, we talked about Jesus's first miracle of turning water into wine. Such an ordinary miracle--different somehow from giving someone sight or raising a dead person. We talked about the disciple's part in it-- their obedience in a simple, albeit painstaking, task of filling jugs with gallons of water. I thought about the profound impact the hospitality of these people has had on me and how they are doing simple things every day to make others feel welcome. I thought about how two of our family's three "cornerstones" this year are hospitality and health and how those often- in my mind- feel at odds with each other, especially in the case of my mental health but how, more often than not healing comes, for me, community. I thought about how there's a fine line between honoring those feelings and leaning into simple, possibly painstaking tasks of hospitality and not allowing this to be an excuse to avoid something difficult for me. And I thought again about how grateful I am for people who do that for us.

Sunday Hymns and Herrington Babies: Brethren, We Have Met to Worship

Brethren, we have met to worship
And adore the Lord our God;
Will you pray with all your power,
While we try to preach the Word?

All is vain unless the Spirit
Of the Holy One comes down;
Brethren, pray, and holy manna
Will be showered all around.
Let us love our God supremely,
Let us love each other, too;
Let us love and pray for sinners,
Till our God makes all things new.
Then He'll call us home to heaven,
At His table we'll sit down;
Christ will gird Himself, and serve us
With sweet manna all around. 

There was a lot of meeting brethren this particular Sunday. We had our regular Sunday school and then a longer than usual church service where a dear lady that's in my SS and has been a teacher for the big kids got ordained as a deacon. She gave her testimony and while part of me thinks that's cheesy and such a Christian subculture thing the other part of me that loves stories- especially honest ones about the hard stuff and God's work in your life- wishes this was every Sunday. After church, we had our second Sunday get together and then we came home and regrouped for an hour and then headed back so I could go to a Children's Committee meeting. I talked a friend it bringing her little girl and my kids were SO delighted to have a friend beyond just each other (and Tequila- the love of Sallie's life). It was one of the best, most encouraging, most effective meetings since I've been on the committee, I think. My body hurt from being tired, I cried once that weekend because I was so exhausted and overwhelmed, and I totally relate to Annie who was clutching the handle on the van at one point while Sallie begged for "five minutes" and Graves thanked the hostess one last time. And I fell asleep in Sallie's bed putting her to sleep- I'm such a wimp. BUT I struggled with depression and difficult feelings so much less than I have on any other weekend that month.

I am so, so grateful for our precious friends.