Saturday, August 29, 2015

Weekly Smorgasbord

Here are some great links for y'all! Now that I'm finally about caught up with my Weekly Happenings posts I'm hoping I can get a little more consistent with these too, because this is a lot of links/thoughts/words. I never expect anyone to read it all, but it's a lot to even sort through to figure out what interests you. I know I prefer these lists to be shorter, but I hate to miss sharing a good link. Anyway, pick your favorites!

On Faith:
Posted: 05 Aug 2015 08:53 AM PDT
"Even in the Eden of my girlhood, I was taught that desire led to death. So when I came to faith, rather than give in to desire, fall into sin, and die, I decided to kill off desire instead. This is what I thought church was for. I lay down before her — the church — like I had on the dorm room floor at the moment of my salvation. I waited for passions to die. I waited to feel alive. Even as I was ingesting Scripture like it was water to guzzle for the fires of desires within, I felt that I was losing my life and my strength. If you were to ask Seth why we left that mega-church in Tulsa, he'd have a different answer that had much to do with politics and money, the shady ways of church gone high-minded and business savvy. But for me, I just left tired of wrestling desire. Church couldn't help me with it anymore."

Posted: 06 Aug 2015 09:46 PM PDT

"I would argue that it is because we are suffering in the Bible Belt, and in America, but in a strangely new and different way. We do not suffer in the way that our Christian predecessors did where we are enslaved, imprisoned and even martyred for our beliefs by those who oppose Christ, instead our suffering is at our own hands and in our hearts.We are enslaved to the dogmatism that would allow us to judge and persecute our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ from lofty pedestals of our making. We are imprisoned by our own selfishness that would cause us to grumble and complain at minor discomforts. And we martyr ourselves repeatedly on public display as we claim the cause of Christ, while all the while the sacrifice He truly made is overshadowed by our own self righteousness." Interesting take on Christian persecution in the United States that I've never thought of.
Posted: 06 Aug 2015 09:45 PM PDT
Posted: 06 Aug 2015 09:42 PM PDT
"When we drill a Bible story down into a moral lesson, we make it all about us. But the Bible isn't mainly about us, and what we're supposed to be doing—it's about God, and what He has done.But the Bible isn't mainly about us, and what we're supposed to be doing—it's about God, and what He has done. When we tie up the story in a nice neat little package, and answer all the questions, we leave no room for mystery. Or discovery. We leave no room for the child. No room for God...Because the power of the story isn't in the lesson. The power of the story IS the story. And that's why I wrote The Jesus Storybook Bible. So children could know what I didn't: That the Bible is most of all a story—the Story of how God loves His children and comes to rescue them. That—in spite of everything, no matter what, whatever it cost Him—God would always love his children… with a wonderful, Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love."

[More thoughts on this soon. Y'all know I occasionally like to turn my thoughts on a link into a whole post and this one is begging me to do just that.]
Posted: 06 Aug 2015 09:40 PM PDT
"The true message of the church is not traditional family values. Sexual purity and sanctity of life are important moral points, but they are not the central message of the church. The true message of the church is Christ and Him crucified. The notion of "traditional family values" is much too tepid and loose an expression of the law. The standard of behavior that the Cross of Christ teaches isn't just family values, but obedience to God to the point of death. If we make our stand on traditional family values, it is too broad – there are some people that seem to be acceptable under that umbrella, making the blood of Christ unnecessary. It says that if your sin happens to be more easily covered up and in line with traditional family values, you are allowed at the communion table, but if your sin is outside those traditional lines then you are not. The true law says that no one belongs at the communion table, and that no matter who you are, grace must be lavish and shocking and scandalous. There isn't one person anywhere who isn't a desperately evil and guilty sinner in need of salvation. That's why they call it "salvation"!"
Posted: 06 Aug 2015 09:26 PM PDT
""Seven years ago, I was sitting on the ledge of a thirteenth floor window. I'd tried to quit drinking so many times but I couldn't do it, and I'd finally given up. My mind was racing through all the shameful things I'd done, and I kept hearing this voice saying: 'Jump you piece of shit. Jump you piece of shit.' So I put my hands over my ears and started rocking back and forth on the window ledge. Suddenly I heard this small, still voice: 'Say a prayer,' it said. And I didn't want to hear it. It was kind of like your mother knocking on the door while you're watching porn. But then I heard it again: 'Say a prayer.' So I started praying, and I totally surrendered, and I felt an evil presence leave me. And I just kept saying: 'I can't believe you still love me. I can't believe you still love me.' Then I cleaned up my room, threw away my baggies of coke, took a shower, and went to work.""

Posted: 06 Aug 2015 09:13 PM PDT
"Discern the balance of agency: If you're in charge of making it happen, it's misguided Law. If God's in charge, it's Gospel. If it's a mixture, it's Law." Because there ain't nobody who doesn't need a pocket guide to distinguishing Law and Gospel."

Posted: 06 Aug 2015 09:14 PM PDT
"Instead, I'd like to point out a problematic, but fairly common assumption in many corners of evangelicalism — an assumption that needs to be challenged. It's the idea that sin is something out there that we need to watch out for. The reality, however, is that sin is not primarily something we need to be sheltered from, but delivered from. It's easy for a Christian family that seeks to honor the Lord with distinctive, holy living to adopt this mindset: "The world is evil, and our family is good. Therefore, we need to protect our family from the evil outside." Along these lines, training up children in the way they should go becomes primarily about sheltering our kids. We deliver our kids from evil by avoiding evil influences "outside" our home. We forbid certain television shows, monitor their internet usage, and avoid neighborhood kids. In some cases, we turn to homeschooling or Christian education." OBVIOUSLY, we're going to have to have guidelines in our parenting (and the writer goes on to clarify that his kids aren't allowed to watch some shows, even cartoons), but it's a mindset that takes this thinking too far that is dangerous. He didn't articulate this, but I think the root reason we do is a need to feel like WE are in control. That's something I've struggled with a lot in the past months and I see it as the problem in so many situations (not just within Evangelicalism, either, FWIW).

On Friendship:
Posted: 01 Aug 2015 06:18 PM PDT

"Here are a few things you need to become Somewheres: An ability to welcome the contradictions in each other. Ferocious trust. Secret keeping. A shared sense of humour. A ferocious belief in the inherent goodness and holiness in each other. An equal amount of butt-kicking and hair-petting. Bravery. Silliness. A common core. The capacity to laugh through tears. A bullshit detector. An aversion to the phrase, "I'm fine." Unconditional welcome. Time, so much time. Openness to being challenged. A lot of small and inconsequential talk to lay the foundation for the big scary talks. Loyalty like blood. Showing up at the right time. Light for the darkness. And then there is the part you can't predict or plan or program: magic. There needs to be a bit of that Holy Spirit drawing together, a sense of purpose and destiny, an answered prayer, a shared language all your own discovered at last."

This actually provoked a lot of feelings for me (see #3 here).

On Children:
Posted: 01 Aug 2015 09:07 PM PDT
"Out on the playground, she approached the boy reassuringly, like a trained hostage negotiator. "Do whatever you need with the belt," she told him gently. "Just keep it away from people." Slowly, Will began to calm down. They walked over to some woods near the school, and she let him throw rocks into a stream, scream, and yell until, at last, he burst into tears in her arms. Then they talked and came up with a plan. The next time he felt frustrated or overwhelmed, Will would tell another staffer that he needed his helper. If Robinson were off campus, they would get her on the phone for him." 

Posted: 15 Aug 2015 03:23 PM PDT
"You see, Chase's teacher is not looking for a new seating chart or "exceptional citizens." Chase's teacher is looking for lonely children. She's looking for children who are struggling to connect with other children. She's identifying the little ones who are falling through the cracks of the class's social life. She is discovering whose gifts are going unnoticed by their peers. And she's pinning down- right away- who's being bullied and who is doing the bullying."

On Community:
Posted: 16 Aug 2015 11:50 AM PDT
"This last line stopped me cold. The man is holding his hand to his chest. He's sober and sincere. There is a weight around those words. My son gave him something that he has been craving: someone's undivided attention—just a smile really."

On Education:
Posted: 06 Aug 2015 09:39 PM PDT
"His grandmother and I are raising him. I worry about putting him into the public school system. I was a teacher for many years. I've seen so much confidence destroyed by the standardized system. Every human is born with natural curiosity. I've never seen a child who wasn't inspired. But once you force someone to do anything, the inspired person is killed. I dropped out of school myself in 7th grade. So I know. I taught a GED course for years, so I've seen the end results over and over. I've seen so many kids who have complexes and insecurities because they were forced to do something they weren't ready to do, and then they were blamed when they weren't able to do it. What we call 'education' today is not organic. You can't take something as complex as the human mind, compartmentalize it, and regiment its development so strictly."

On Storytelling:
Posted: 01 Aug 2015 08:48 PM PDT
"Former Pixar story artist Emma Coats tweeted a series of story guidelines in 2011 which she learned from her colleagues at Pixar. Recently, Imgur artist DinoIgnacio superimposed all 22 rules over stills from Pixar films. See the great images below!"

On Simplicity:
Posted: 05 Aug 2015 07:33 PM PDT
A couple of people on IG mentioned that they love when I share about simplicity. I've loved this blog for awhile and this is such a great post. Look at this precious teensy little nursery!

On Happiness:
Posted: 06 Aug 2015 09:57 PM PDT
Interesting graphic.

On the Charleston Shooting:
Posted: 06 Aug 2015 09:30 PM PDT
From my friend Ann Lowrey Forster: "When young white guys shoot up schools, we focus on mental illness. When young black guys shoot up streets, we focus on depravity. When young brown guys blow themselves and everyone around them up, we focus on ideology...All are relevant in all cases."

On Inexpensive Food Options:
Posted: 06 Aug 2015 09:15 PM PDT
We had a corner store and yeah you had to eat the blueberries that day or the next. But they were like $1.00. You can't get a package of blueberries for that in Mississippi! So worth it. [As an aside, our kids' diet is probably like 75% produce. Which is great because I'm never going to be one to like make my own bread and cook everything from scratch. I'm going to be one who gives herself BIG backpats when she cooks things with cream of chicken soup because SHE COOKED.]

On Medical Abuse:
Posted: 06 Aug 2015 09:16 PM PDT
"Los Angeles, CA—Mother Kimberly Turbin (previously known as "Kelly" to protect her privacy) has filed a complaint with the Central District of the Los Angeles County Superior Court against her former obstetrician, Dr. Alex Abbassi, for forcibly cutting her with scissors 12 times ("episiotomy," the cutting of the perineum between the vagina and the rectum...) despite her explicit refusal to consent during the 2013 birth of her only child."

Glad she finally found a lawyer but ugh.

On Movies:
Posted: 06 Aug 2015 09:24 PM PDT
I cannot wait for it to hit Netflix. It's about moving and memories and hard emotions. We were thinking AP might like it but then we realized she's probably a bit to young to really get it. Peyton goes "yeah, I think this is more a movie made for older kids....and for you". LOL.

On Projects for the Future:
Posted: 06 Aug 2015 09:22 PM PDT
I want to build a Little Free Library.

Noteworthy Quotes from the Week(or Month):
"There is a lot going back and forth about the Planned Parenthood video. I'm not going to try and explain it like I know something. But let's look at a few of the topics that everyone agrees are attached to this, no matter your political persuasion: Harvested human organs. Money changing hands. Corporations. Lack of transparency. Vulnerable people. Business contracts. You can spin this pro or con, but either way, it spins bad. Very, very bad. For anyone who has ever thought they'd have done things differently had they been German in the nineteenth thirties, here's your challenge. The German people didn't have the full picture, but they had accounts that included words like these--words that don't go well together. So if you feel yourself saying, "Let's not be too hasty. Let's see what comes out about this." Understand, that's exactly where a lot of people were in the thirties. It is called the banality of evil." -Thom Chittom
"Preachers: if you can't figure out a way to tell people that Jesus died for their sins...say JUST that, and sit down." -Jono Linebaugh
"Let us make an end: as long as you are struggling like the Pharisee to be alive in your own eyes–and to the precise degree that your struggles are for what is holy, just, and good — you will resent the apparent indifference to your pains that God shows in making the effortlessness of death the touchstone of your justification."  Robert Farrar Capon
"You really only need twelve or so close relationships to be healthy. And two-hundred Facebook friends to go insane." -Don Miller 
"Deceptively editing a video to make someone sound like she'll sell you the organs of aborted fetuses is really easy. All you need is a video camera, some editing software, and for the woman to say "I'll sell you the organs of aborted fetuses." -Lutheran Satire Facebook page 
"At Starbucks this morning had 8 or so Jehovah Witnesses sit down at my table and we had a great conversation. It was the usual demonstrating to them with just a few verses how Jehovah Witness theology contradicts the Scriptures. But after almost 15 years of evangelizing to Mormons and Jehovah witnesses, I've used a new tactic that I thought I'd share. After I have torn down their worldview (which I still think is essential), I always now (and I did this morning to them) look them straight in the eye and say something like: 'We are all on a journey. And no matter what happens with your faith in the future don't give up on Jesus. The group you are currently a part of has Jesus wrong but that doesn't mean Jesus is wrong. Cling to Him no matter what.'  I have found this to be especially impactful for those involved in cults like Mormonism and Jehovah's Witnesses. Don't give up on Jesus." -Justin Bass
"Rant warning--If you name the name of Christ, stop using crass, derogatory, or profane words to address the President of the U. S. if St. Paul could write, "Honor the king" referring to the mentally unstable emperor Nero who murdered Christians, then you can speak respectfully when referring to God-ordained governors with whom you disagree politically. It is beneath you to speak in such a way. Disagree with his policies, take issue with his moral stand on issues, and critique his economic principles, but do so with a respectful tone, a spirit of humility, and with a remembrance of the greater King whose name you bear as one called Christian! Matthew 5 is our model if Jesus is our king!" -Daniel Blaylock
“I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages.” Charles Spurgeon

"I was (obviously) struck by the ‪#‎plannedparenthood‬ video exposed yesterday. It aimed a gut-punch at my core. I have been doing some hand-wringing, and I have also been on my knees.It's not hard for me to put myself in the position of a pro-choice person. Once upon a time, I was fairly vocally pro-choice, and at some distant moment in history, I was a single, teen-aged pregnant person. I know what it's like to believe in a woman's right to choose; I believed in my own right to choose. Through undeserved grace and boundless support, I chose to reject the abortion option and now have a pretty remarkable eleven year old, instead of great grief. But, I did believe in my right to choose. I thought, "This is the best of all possible worlds - my right to control my own destiny was preserved, and tragedy was avoided." It was only some years later that I came to the place of realizing that making the wrong choice would have been much worse for me, not to mention for my darling daughter, than having had the choice taken from me. I came to this conviction when I gave up on autonomy as the ultimate goal. Self-direction is good, as far as it goes - I'm an American, and by damn. But, self-direction has to be submitted to ethics and morals, and in my view, to the ethics and morals of the one true God. I know why women have abortions. Many are abandoned, abused, raped. Some, like all of us, are selfish, greedy. Most are scared and unloved and unsupported. But, we also know why Planned Parenthood (and, by extension, the abortion industry) exists. It is not to love on those women who suffer from abuse, rape, and abandonment. The purpose of Planned Parenthood is to further their abuse; it is to complete the project of woman-as-object; it is to ensure that our (patriarchal) capitalism can continue uninterrupted by the undesirable female function; it is to enable hundreds of thousands of American men as they flee the responsibility of children they sire; it is to profit from the trafficking of pieces of babies. When folks sit in judgment of the women entering abortion clinics, I grieve. I don't generally support sidewalk counseling, as I see it as an invasion and judgment at the place of vulnerability instead of a shepherding and loving when these women needed it. Praying outside clinics, yes. But, until you have been there, abandoned, shamed, and living in a society that shuns an improperly-timed child, you dare not pronounce an obvious easy right choice. A right choice, yes. That it is easy and obvious, no. But, I will gladly stand in the public square and scream the clear and obvious wrongness of those sipping their Cabernet and profiting from the industry. Abortion is anti-feminist, anti-morality, and anti-choice. It exists because we live in a country that has denigrated a primary function of women in favor of economic advantage. Years ago, I read a wonderful novel, The Cider House Rules by John Irving. It speaks to the heart of this issue, and holds the line that I held for so long - abortion is a tragedy, but often the lesser of the two tragedies in a world that has failed women and children. Dr. Wilbur Larch, one of the two main characters, runs an orphanage and delivers babies, and also reluctantly provides safe abortion in a world where it is illegal and unsafe. He often is charged with saving women from botched, back-alley abortions. He loves the children he takes in, and he grieves over the abused and abandoned women. He is heavy with the weight of it all, and always torn. Dr. Larch is the opposite of ‪#‎DeborahNucatola‬, who smacks her salad and speaks of livers and hearts and crushing in just the right places. If you hold, as Bill Clinton did, that abortion should be safe, legal, and rare, please know that Planned Parenthood is the enemy of rarity. It is the enemy of the women it claims to serve." -Ann Lowrey Forester

Noteworthy Images from the Week (or Month):

{I still think they are so cute.}

Hope you were encouraged and edified! 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Weekly Happenings #332 (August 3-9)-- More Purging, More Annie Notes, and a New A.C. Unit

[Annie told me she loves this picture and that she thinks it's so sweet because "the kiss!". She is honestly one of the least (physically) affectionate people I know. It doesn't bother her, but it's not super natural for her. She shows people how much she loves them in lots and lots of other ways. But I think it says something that she enjoys the photograph so much- children gain a lot from watching the people they look to and admire the most love each other well. There are so many imperfect things about mine and Peyton's relationship and honestly we are careful TO let them see that some too. But I hope they do see, often, how deeply we love each other and how deeply we love them.]

I woke up on Monday with an awful headache. Peyton cooked breakfast before heading to work in Philadelphia. We all ate and then I planned school, made beds, and straightened. Peyton left and I took a bath and got on the computer. We did morning school and math and then I made the kids lunch and did the dishes.
Graves had a nosebleed in the middle of the night last night and I thought I got everything cleaned up. Then he showed me more of the aftermath on Hulk's arm. Of course we eventually had to clean him up but I thought he looked so legit and suggested we play with him just a tiny bit first. I cannot believe how far I've come as a boy mom. 

Doing his hulk face. And that hair! Little mushroom head.

They rested and I had lunch and got on the computer. I finished a post and rested a bit. My head still hurt so bad.

We did English, had a snack, and read our Five in a Row book. The kids straightened their room and then had supper. I talked to a friend on Facebook and read to the kids, played with them a tiny bit, and got them ready for bed. I got on the computer and Peyton got home. We had supper, watched an SVU, and chatted. I was proud of myself for making it through that day!

I still had a bad headache on Tuesday. Grrr. We were getting a new heater/AC unit and so we were without air all morning. That didn't really help.
We sure picked perfect day to get new AC unit. Our air was fine, but the heater broke and it's all connected. And Peyton had a day off. And he wanted to use one of those credit cards with credit rewards if you spend a certain amount in four months (he's into that game now). We were all a little sweattttttie. 

I got up, took a bath before the workmen got here, and went back to bed. Peyton was already up. We ended up having to wake Graves up when they arrived. The kids watched a show and I actually snuggled with them. Then I worked on going through stuff in the sunroom. I sorted several boxefulls of stuff into donate/sell boxes. I even went through a huge box of shoes.
I'm no minimalist. Not even close. But this is a giant step. [FIFTY FOUR pairs and I still have a pair or more for any occasion I can think of. This kind of waste (in the time it took me to switch them out each season, the money squandered, the emotions used when these shoes yelled at me that our sweet house was not enough) is really disturbing. Lord, forgive me for my sin.

I ate breakfast and Peyton and I took turns watching the kids outside (the workmen were in the yard doing stuff with the outside part, too, and we didn't want them getting hurt or in the way).
A little ice water on the front porch in an effort to keep these ragamuffins out of the way of the workers.

Peyton spray painted curtain rods and repainted the mailbox and weeded around it. I did a little more work on my closet since I found some more stuff that needed to go in there.

We had lunch (Peyton picked up a pizza!) and the AC guys finished up. I cleaned out the desk in the study and then went through the big box of stuff I had put aside to keep. I got most of it to it's correct home. Then we all got ready and headed to the pool. We ended up going to the Y near our house and AP swam so well in the shallow water. We left there and headed to the library to recheck books and vote. It ended up that our subdivision votes at a different spot now. We headed there and then came home and ate supper. The kids had a bath and Peyton put up the curtain rods. I folded some laundry and dried the curtains and then used wrinkle release (I really didn't want to have to iron them). I got them hung up and got the kids out of the tub. I brushed their hair and teeth and read to them and then Peyton played with them a bit. We talked some, ate something, and I went outside and practiced shifting the car. I got on the computer briefly and took another shower (I felt so sticky and gross!) and went to bed.

Wednesday ended up being a little weird because we had some things planned that fell through, but it was still a fun day. We got up around 8:30 and we had a quick breakfast and Peyton and the kids headed to the library to check out some books. I stayed home to get some things done. They ended up staying for story time and I feel like I accomplished a lot. I took out the trash and then spent half an hour hanging (and rehanging) several things in the kids' room. I straightened and made beds in our room and the kids' room and planned school and then got on the computer. I did some dishes and they got home. I finished the dishes, Peyton got ready to meet a friend for lunch, and the kids played. We did morning school and English and then they had lunch. Peyton got home just as they were finishing and we talked while they played some more and then got ready to head to the pool. Well, it ended up thundering on the way there (bad planning on our parts). We ran by the grocery store because we were going over to some friends' house for dinner. We got home and were starting to get ready and Haley texted me to say one of the boys was sick. Bummer! The kids watched their shows and I organized some stuff Minnie had sent over, made a trip to the attic, and took a second bath. Peyton rode his bike to Lowe's twice (he forgot something the first time) and then we ate pretzels and ice cream (and I had tuna and avocado). We played with and read to the kids and got them to bed and then they said they were still hungry. They had eaten a huge "snack" and we were just going to call it supper, but that didn't work. We fixed them some veggies and they ate and went to bed. I read some blogs and finished a post and then went to bed myself.

 I found these cards I used to love about eighteen years ago. We checked to make sure they're all appropriate and I can't wait to share them with Annie. I know she'll think they're just as awesome as I did.

I got up a little after nine on Thursday and Peyton and the kids were making breakfast. I got my bath, made beds, and straightened the kids' room a bit. I ate and started cleaning up the kitchen and Peyton went to meet my dad to take a look at their storage unit (we were moving a few things in there).  I got on the computer and planned school. I finished a book and then we did morning school. I've added a few new things (we have a little magnetic mood thing and the "power thoughts" cards). Plus, I've been talking to Annie about what the Lord's Prayer means now that she has it memorized. The kids played some and I went through some more stuff in the sunroom.

This stuff went to Repeat Street (a consignment store)...

...and this stuff was donated to Gateway Rescue Mission. I hope somebody can use all this! 

I have a weird quirk where I like to take pictures of stuff before I get rid of it and there was noway I was taking pictures of every dinky toy and baby bottle we were donating, but I did want to do the clothes and shoes and a few other things. I did that until Peyton got home and then he played with the kids while I finished. He and Graves went to the grocery store and I had lunch, texted with a friend, and did math with AP. She helped me put up some math manipulatives and I popped her in the tub (Graves had taken a bath the day before due to a potty incident) and started cleaning up the kitchen.

"Calshin", y'all! (Graves slipped and told AP it was "all her fault" because she had just gotten out of the bath and dripped some water. She didn't even fuss back, just ran to the kitchen to create this. I love the way she's used art to help her deal with her emotions in the past, and it makes me grin wide to think writing might be a similar tool for her. 

Peyton and Graves got home and we put up groceries and I worked some more on cleaning the kitchen. I realized I had a good bit to do and I wanted to really clean the floors because they had gotten so gross when the air conditioning guys were here (they cleaned out the vents and they mostly cleaned up the mess but they kids had been having dirty feet and Peyton reminded me that was why) and I had laundry I needed to work on. Plus, I wanted a little time to just sit, to be honest. So he took the kids to the pool and I stayed home.

I finished up the dishes, changed over the laundry, ran up to the attic to get something, popped on the computer for a minute, and then got to work on the floors. I vacuumed in the kitchen and then scrubbed them on my hands and knees. I did the den with suction tools and then did the big areas. Then I did the bedrooms and office and then did the suction tools on them. Whew! I folded some clothes and the kids and Peyton got home. We got ready and dropped the kids off at Peyton's parents' house. Peyton and I got sushi and then went to Fondren First Thursday and had a really fun time walking around. We picked up the kids a little after nine and came home and put them to bed. We loaded up the car with stuff to send to Gateway. I wrote a post and went to bed.

Graves joined us at some point the night before so we woke up on Friday and snuggled and talked. Annie woke up and I got them breakfast and got the trash can from the street, folded some towels, and put up dishes.
Annie's latest note was for the garbage men- "watch out messy trash"- it was leaky and pretty disgusting

The kids watched Reading Rainbow for the first time and I popped in and out. I handed them their clothes and made beds and ironed the shorts I was going to wear and then jumped in the tub. I dried my hair and fixed Annie's and then did dishes and got on the computer while the kids finished their shows. Carrie and her grew got here and we had a wonderful time visiting. The kids ate lunch and colored some but they mostly spent the whole time outside even though it was SO HOT. The Howies left a little later than usual because they got here a little later than usual and the kids brought in stuff they had taken outside. I helped pick up their room (which actually wasn't very messy at all) and they had a snack and then had rest time. I got on the computer until Peyton got home. I had a sandwich and we talked and then we loaded up and headed to Mickey and Minnie's house.
[styled by Annie]

We had a really nice, relaxing visit and got home earlier than usual- around nine. We're trying to get out of there a bit earlier since Peyton's going with us and has to work the next day. We got the kids settled and I wrote a post and read some blogs and then did my Bible study and went to bed.
She told me that she loved the day =)

Graves woke up on Saturday and I fixed him breakfast and laid back down. Annie got up and joined him and then I got up and gathered laundry, unloaded some stuff Minnie had sent, stripped the beds, and took out the trash. I organized the stuff Minnie had sent (some disposable and cloth diapers she had been holding onto forever) and then unpacked some curtains I had gotten down from the attic. I took my bath, planned school, and started laundry.

[also known as "disciplining Graves"]

now, that's more like it! 

We did morning school and math and then had lunch. The kids had rest time and I got on the computer and had my lunch. After rest time, we did English and read our Five in a Row book. Then they ate supper and I put the clean sheets on all of the beds. I read to them and played with them and then Peyton got home. I put them in the tub and sprayed wrinkle release stuff on the curtains and hung them up. The kids finished their bath and went to bed and I read some blogs and talked to my friend Mal. I ate supper and went to bed.
This girl could sleep through ANYTHING. I plucked her unibrow for ten minutes and she just stirred a little. [About the unibrow: when she was an infant I bleached it with Hydrogen Peroxide but I stopped when she got old enough I knew she'd ask for an explanation. Plus, it didn't seem so bad to me. This past year, two people have mentioned it. The first was a gorgeous Guyanese girl who told Annie she had one when she was her age. The second was a little boy in the South Bronx who asked Peyton "why you daughter have a unibrow?". Peyton realized the little boy was probably used to a different cultural environment and had different expectations of beauty than our then five year old. He told him "Well, she's always had it and I think she's beautiful. She's just a little girl and we don't want to do something that will make her self conscious and worried about her appearance". Such a good and wise Papa. (And, FWIW, I don't think it was a deal breaker for the little guy- he told Peyton the next week "your daughter's cute" ) Lately, though, it's gotten INTENSE. When I uploaded her monthly picture a couple of months ago I was shocked how strong it was. And Minnie let me know that she and Cookie were "concerned". Peyton was still adamant she not know anything about it for now and I agree. But the midnight plucking procedure seemed like a good work around.] Sidenote: I'm never doing it anywhere but the reading nook chair; it worked perfectly! Second sidenote: I wish there was such an easy fix for my thumbs I mutilated became I but them so bad when I had anxiety at her age. Too bad that's a permanent condition.

Sunday was such a nice, relaxed day. I had absolutely no agenda and the kids were mostly cooperative. They got up and played and I felt terrible- my back hurt and I felt sort of sick at my stomach. When I got up, though, I felt a lot better. The kids had breakfast and I took a bath and straightened a little, had breakfast, and gathered and started laundry.

I got on the computer and they watched their shows and then I read to them some. They played and then had lunch and I put up clothes and did dishes.
There was a fly in the house and they put out these half eaten sweet peppers to "attract" him so they can catch him and put him outside. Totally unaware they're not everybody's favorite food.

I read a lot of blogs at rest time and started Their Eyes Were Watching God. They got up and played some and had a snack and I swept up play dough and sand from the morning, put up dishes, and folded a ton of laundry.

Annie has gotten more and more serious about her part in the instruction in homeschooling. She created an original tracing sheet for Graves. It reads "a baib (baby) ran awae frum its momma". She told us that needs to get back to his momma dinosaur (which Graves's little face is blocking) and it needs to not bump into the meat-eaters on either side of the path.

I did their nighttime reading and played with them and then cooked supper so we could all eat together when Peyton got home. I even cut up a massive watermelon. We all ate and I got the kids to bed and cleaned up the kitchen. Peyton and I sort of planned the week and talked and then I read some more blogs. I went to bed pretty late.

[Annie in her reading nook after bedtime, just really deep in a good book.]

I can't believe I'm caught up enough to be only two weeks behind of these! Whoo-hoo! I still need to write the kids' letters for this month and catch up on my Smorgasbord posts, but I'm feeling a lot better about the blog! 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Weekly Happenings #331 (July 27-August 2)-- Productive

[one of our craziest to date, I think!]

Looking back over this, goodness, I was PRODUCTIVE. Peyton was working a good bit, so I managed to get a good bit done around the house. Sometimes it's so hard to find the balance. I wouldn't want this every week but it's GREAT when it happens from time to time. Also, look at me catching up to the first week of August while it's still August! Whew!

Peyton was home for a bit on Monday morning and he let me sleep late and cooked muffins with the kids. I got up right before he left and ate my breakfast and started laundry. I took out the trash and made the bed and I deleted a bunch of pictures from my phone and uploaded some. I took my bath and planned school and our day. We did morning school and the kids had lunch. I took some pictures of things to sell and did dishes and then they had rest time. I ate my lunch and got on the computer. Peyton got home early and we visited and then he and Graves went outside to work on something and I did English with AP. I got ready and Carrie came over and picked me up and we went to Amerigo's. We had such a great time and then got Frostys (because Wendy's was the only place open) on the way home. When I got home, I unloaded laundry and folded some and then went to bed.

Peyton and I woke up and chatted on Tuesday morning. I had a headache so I went back to bed. I slept late and then had breakfast and got on the computer as Peyton was leaving. I took my bath, made our bed, and planned the day and school. We did morning school and the kids had lunch. I started laundry and they had rest time.
I told AP NOT to ask me a certain question again. Left the study for a few minutes and came back to find this on the desk. She gives me a run for my money.

I ate my lunch and got on the computer. I read some blogs and then they got up and I did math with AP. They cleaned up their room and the kitchen table and I organized my shoes and straightened a bit. I dusted a little and swept and scrubbed the bathroom floors. They ate supper and I did dishes. I read to the kids and then popped them in the tub and vacuumed the den and kitchen and mopped in the kitchen. I got them out and took their monthly pictures and then made a tomato tart and organized pictures on the computer. Peyton got home and we talked and I wrote a post and read some. It was super late and then my college roomate texted me because she saw I put something on Instagram. Her alarm system had gone off and she was wide awake so we talked for half an hour. It was after two by the time I got to bed.

Same exact position and it's their papa's favorite, too. He loves to hike his leg and sleep diagonally. Basically ensuring anyone else in the bed is miserable

The kids slept super late on Wednesday and we got up with just enough time to get ready and make the beds. Peyton dropped me off at Banner Hall around eleven thirty and took the kids to the pool. I just enjoyed some quite time and then met my friend Emily at Broadstreet. We had such a wonderful visit. Peyton picked me back up and we came home and he got ready for work. I found cat throw up in the laundry room and cleaned that up, gathered laundry, cleaned up some leaky kitchen trash, put up dishes, cleaned out the microwave, put up dishes, got on the computer, and did more dishes. The kids played for an hour while I did most of that and then had lunch. They played with play dough and I edited and backed up pictures on the computer. They had rest time and I sent an email and a FB message, listed items on a garage sale page, and read a few blogs.

I did English with AP and Graves joined us. They had supper and I cleaned up the kitchen and then I read to them and did their nighttime routine and they watched their shows right before bed since they didn't get to that morning. They went to "bed" and I worked on a post until Peyton got home. I had started to cook supper and cut into a squash that was rotten. I was gagging and my eyes were watering when he got home. He offered to get me take out but it was so late and nothing good was open. He ended up scooping up the kids, mid night party, and taking them to Kroger. I finished the post while they were gone. They went to bed (for real) and Peyton made us sandwiches.
Look, goofball, I know you want to do "tricks" when you grow up (which basically means be a gymnast/acrobat) and I'm sure this will encourage flexibility, but it's really no way to get good rest.

We ate and went to bed ourselves. It was pretty late.

Everyone slept late again on Thursday. Peyton had to work in Vicksburg around noon, but he made pancakes with the kids. I ate with them and cleaned up the kitchen a bit and then took my bath, got on the computer, made all the beds, and planned school. I kept finding little things that needed attention (cleaning out the filter in my hair dryer, the dust on the very top of the tub "wall"- like the part that's waterproof and cuts off before you get to the ceiling). I let the kids watch three shows and then we did morning school and had a late lunch. They had rest time and I read some blogs and ate my lunch. I did math with Annie and then the kids cleaned up their room. I fixed them supper and listed some stuff on Craigslist. They had a bath and it ended up being a major ordeal. AP scratched Graves and we had a big talk and then she got upset with him again. I came in there and she started to reach out to hurt him again in front of me. I abruptly washed her off and ended the bath for her and she LOST IT. I won't give too many details but there was tons of tears, screaming, and her trying to run herself a new bath in the sink. Good grief. I felt like I handled it well and I ended up locking the door so I could finish with Graves. I got him out and she finally calmed down. Peyton got me Newks and we ate and then I finished a post and went to bed.

Graves got up earlier than usual on Friday (Peyton had already left for work). He snuggled in bed with me and played with a thermometer (oops) and then had breakfast. Annie got up and they watched their shows and I made up the bed and actually went through some piles of stuff and organized in our room. I got on the computer, ate breakfast, and took my bath. We didn't do any school that day and we mostly had a relaxed morning and then ate lunch.
Annie has set up her nightstand as a home for Steggy. The top is her apartment and the bottom is her "storage unit", according to Annie (basically, she just throws epic amounts of crap down there so she can keep her studio neat and minimalistic; as you do). She also attached the little wooden box to be a porch and she told me that Steggy often has her friends over for a party on the rooftop like at Calvary-St. George's. Fifteen months of city living really had an impact in this girl 

I got them settled for rest time, ate my lunch, and got on the computer. Towards the end of rest time I had them straighten their room and get stuff together for the pool and my parents' house. I got dressed and we all had a snack. Peyton got home and I ran up to the attic to look for something and ended up hurting my back and getting in an awful mood. We went to the pool and had a nice time, but it was closing early for a party. We still got an hour in and then headed to my parents. We visited and ate supper and then got the kids ready for bed and headed home. We left earlier than usual since Peyton had to work the next day but Graves did fall asleep in the car. I read blogs a bit and went to sleep.

Peyton worked on Saturday and we had a nice day, overall. The kids got up and played and then I fixed them scones for breakfast.

If you're a words of affirmation person, you migt want to get on this guy's team. 

We all ate and I took my bath and made the beds. I got on the computer and then we did morning school and math.
It was a hard morning for this sweet pea. Lots of tears. The all important "best friend" Steggy got left in the car (the one car we currently own right now) and Peyton was working a twelve hour shift. Towards the end of the morning, she proudly showed me this new gal she constructed herself who is "everything like the real Steggy". Annie seems pretty content with the temporary replacement. Six is beautiful because it's hard for a long time, but not the whole time. There was a time in her life when I'm confident the whole twelve hours would be filled with off and on tears. I'm so proud of how she finds solutions herself and how emotionally healthy and competent she is.

I fixed them lunch and put up dishes, did more dishes, and changed over the laundry. The kids had rest time and I got on the computer and ate my lunch and prepared for English.
What??? (She did ask me how we'd remember that was HER sandwich and I reminded her that she's the only person in this family who saves food from meal to meal like this. Guess that didn't provide Miss Priss with the assurance she'd needed.)

We did English when they got up and then they had supper and cleaned up their room and we read and played and I got them ready for bed. They went to their room and Peyton got home and we all loaded up and went to Target (I wanted them ready for bed even though I knew we were going). I couldn't find the thing I was looking for so we headed home and Peyton played with the kids a bit.
Apparently Annie has specific shoes she wears "at night on quick trips with Papa". Yes, I made him take the four of us to Target after he'd been gone for fourteen hours and had two techs not show up. Price you pay to be a minimalist, yo. One car family and all. 

I got on the computer and Peyton and I talked a lot and then we cut up a big watermelon and ate some and went to bed.

The kids woke up and played on Sunday and I got up and got them breakfast, made the bed, took my bath, and got on the computer while they watched their shows. I had decided we wouldn't do any school, so I played with them a bit and then worked on a bunch of stuff in our room- I went through a box of VHS tapes, a box of tote and cosmetic bags (these were in addition to some I already had organized in my closet), and then a bunch of random stuff (some of my old toys for the children, some random stuff like a handheld fan and a massager device thing I got for labor and childbirth). I also organized the top of my closet a bit more, tried on some clothes a friend had given to me and then I organized and put up all my old yearbooks that had been in the sunroom in the study. I started some laundry and the kids had lunch.

I did dishes and then they had rest time and I ate my lunch, read and did my Bible study, and read blogs.
The latest note of interest. This is for when Graves yells "Rude Girl!" (his favorite insult when he's beside himself angry). Clearly, this is becoming the preferential way to communicate. I was thinking of maybe needing to add some supplemental "composition work" this Fall because handwriting isn't an areas she's strong in, but guess she's got it handled.

The kids got up and had a snack and I finished getting my closet completely organized and changed over laundry. We played and then cleaned up their room and then they had supper and I swept in the bedrooms and the study and vacuumed just the rug in the den. I sent two emails and then I read to them and brushed their teeth and popped them in the tub. I talked to a friend on FB and started working on my header for the month. Peyton got home and I finished the kids' bath and then finished up the header and wrote a post.
[Coney Island Night Party, guys]

I read some blogs and ate supper and went to bed around midnight.
Found them just like this: in the reading nook (closet), with the door closed and the lights on.

Next up, first full week of August! I can't believe how fast this Summer flew by.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Wound Up

Today was such an anxious day. Anxious in the nervous sense, not anxious in the worried sense. I guess that's preferable, for what it's worth. Actually, I know it is. But still.

I was just so wound up. Tight as a tick- as the idiom goes.

It was HSP (highly sensitive person), introversion, anxiety, all those things-as the diagnoses go. I gotta remember that. These things have names. Other people deal with them. It's also just life with young kids. It's okay. It's not a mental breakdown. It's also not a reason for guilt, which equals (nearly always) more anxiety.

All day long, though, it was this way. Sensory overload like crazy (and there's always this thing where I shame myself a bit because I have two- just TWO- children and one of them is pretty low key, energy/noise wise). Like...why is this hard? But then I remember there that were hard things when Annie was a baby who was content ninety seven percent of the time. Those hard things largely had to do with the inside of my brain and also circumstances totally apart from her and this, this does too.

Anyway, it's this very tangible, awful feeling.

It was like every loud noise produced this literal ringing in my ears. I found myself doing this thing I HATE where I speak in a very similar way to the voice of Annie's that I most despise. My pitch gets high, it's like this super bossy/whiney tone, and I can literally hear myself letting go of all control- of the situation, of my temper, of my emotions, of everything. Half the time I do it from another room and it feels so grasping at staw-ish. It's a version of myself I dislike so very much.

All day, my throat felt dry (probably that yucky scream screech I kept doing) and I was a bit shaky (probably all the caffeine I consumed in a desperate clawing attempt at self-care and headache alleviation). My back was tense and hurt and I did that thing, not a few times, where you cup your head in your hands and press really hard on the sides because for some reason that seems like it will make it all stop.

We had a busy week last week, which Peyton assured me at the beginning of would not be busy, and would certainly still hold to the opinion that it wasn't. And to his credit, it was loads of low key stuff- honestly, it was mostly full of time with our favorite people in extremely low pressure situations. Which...more guilt because how can I be like this when I enjoyed all those moments and wouldn't want to sacrifice a single one of them. It's just that people wear me out. Peyton being here so much with this new schedule wears me out, to be honest (again, it's the kind of thing I'd never want to sacrifice but it's doing a number on me). And I guess it just hit me today because I probably wouldn't have hated spending the entire day by myself. And instead I spent it with two people whose size is actually inversely proportional to the volume of noise and amount of energy they produce. Two of my favorite people in the whole world every day, but two really annoying people this particular day.

And then there's this. I'm really, really hoping (and really, really thinking!) next week will be the week the kids and I start going back to church. I think I'll finally be confidant enough to drive to Clinton, drop Peyton off, get us to church at wherever and back home for a break, and then drive back to get him that night. I'm also realizing that Friday and Saturday are probably going to have to be early nights in order for this to happen without any amount of tears or scream-screeching on my part.

Over the past few weeks, we haven't done any school on Sundays but I've done a good bit of housework and such because it just made sense and my Sabbath theology is pretty organic and flexible and spirit-rather than letter-of the lawish. But this week, I was determined to have a real Sabbath. I kept my expectations really low and had very little on the agenda. Some laundry, a nap, frozen scones for dinner, and a bath for the kids to close out the evening. Honestly, the bath was the hardest part. So again, I was pretty annoyed because I hadn't even set the bar very high.

The kids are finally in their room for the night (they probably won't be asleep for three more hours). This is a true rarity. Peyton gets off at eight on the weekends and I almost never, but actually truly never when they have baths, have them settled by the time he gets in. He and I are going to watch a movie and eat a frozen pizza. I'm also going to do the last little thing on my list and sort of try to envision what I'd like to accomplish this next week. I'd also like to envision myself next Sunday, knocking the church thing out of the park, and not being an asshole to my kids.

We'll see. New mercies each morning and all that. Thankful those mercies apply to those who struggle with insecurities, are a bit irreverent, let sensory overload define the day, and act horribly to the people they love the most.