Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Contingency plan the thousandth

I thought more about my What a diff post and realized that, duh, I now have FOUR children, ages ranging from 2 years old to almost 10 years old. 

In 2009, I "only" had two children, an almost 4 year old and a two year old.  Wow.  Double the laundry, double the food prep, quadruple the clean up and fighting.

No wonder.  One would have thought that was obvious.

Not to mention that they are all boys, energy abounding, with a preference for wrestling and racing all around, led by the oldest boy who has freely admitted that he stirs things up to a frenzied pitch on purpose if and when he gets "bored".

Or the fact that I am trying to keep up with a preschooler and a toddler while simultaneously trying to stay on top of a homeschooling schedule for a 9 and 7 year old.


The one thing I have to remember, always remember, please please please remember, is that life is constantly changing; and with that, I have to be continually adapting to keep the pace.  It is hard, as I usually feel like I am adjusting woefully late in the game.  I need to get better at that: the continual re-address and problem-solving part of parenting.  It never ends, but somehow it slips off my radar on a semi-regular basis.

Furthermore, as a homeschooling mama of four, everything depends on me.  There is no outside structure.  It is all me.

This is good and bad.  Good, in that I prefer autonomy.  Bad, in the fact that I tend to be a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants, inspired-to-action kind of gal.  I can do routines, but the day always seems like it gets away from me.  And I think it is making life harder.

It feels like we are all floundering, particularly in the morning hours.  I have a skeleton outline for the day, but reeling in the boys for our various tasks and assignments can be arduous.  Set expectations make everything easier.  I know this. An established, daily structure makes everything easier too.  Instead of having to think about it or question "what's next?", we flow.  Like a little stream. 

And with all that, I need to actively impose further order to my life, for all of us.

My plan is to start parsing out the day with a timer.  Seriously.  I am going to use it as practice to divide up our hours into manageable chunks, giving the boys an understanding of what to expect so it isn't pulling teeth to move to the next phase of the day, or for me, to wonder what we should be tackling next.  I will do this until it becomes normalized.

I need to identify hot spots, hone in on our routine, and make sure that I have plenty of down-time with the little guys to be able to give them my full attention.

And now . . . I post.  Speaking of the devil, I've got a little four year old wiggling all over me who obviously needs my attention. ♥

Sunday, May 10, 2015

What a diff

I try to re-read posts from each particular month from years' past on my blog.  I like to reminisce, compare notes, remember phases and stages, and gain a bit of perspective every time.

Tonight it was the months of May.  I came across this post from 2009 called "What I've been thinking about recently..." and felt amazed I had enough space in my mind to contemplate that long of a list.

My mind is clogged with trying to stay on track with schoolwork, chore routines, housework, attitudes and unruly behavior, mitigating fights, and all the endless problem-solving that goes with all of it.

Things have changed.  There's no doubt about it. I've been feeling as much, but wasn't quite sure if it was just a sense of overwhelm or if I honestly have less space in my life for . . . what? Fancy? Extras? Contemplation? Freedom of thought?

Whatever it is, the difference from May 2009 to May 2015 is distinct.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Mystery solved

I recently listened to a fashion podcast when it dawned on me: the people who are really into style and fashion are the ones that are very interested in it.  It's something they really enjoy.

It cleared up an old mystery for me; which is, why I have never had any fashion sense.  I'm just not interested. Sure, I like to "look cute" . . . but when it comes right down to it, I just don't have it in me.  Ditto on the make-up and hair.  I'm not willing to commit the time and effort when I could be doing something else. So that's why. Whew! I thought there was something wrong with me.

I used to assume it was a deficiency not be imbued with any sense in this area, but now I have the maturity and experience to realize that it takes all kinds.  We all have our own specialties. What a gift.

Mind blown. Again.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Barf festival

My goodness.  Getting at blogging is harder and harder for me these days. Shucks, I just sent out our 2014 Christmas letter just last week.  Pretty much anything other than daily survival is hard to get to at this point in life.

I feel like a college student, talking about how busy I am all the time.  Blah blah blah.  But seriously.  I am enmeshed.  Hopefully it doesn't sound like all I do is complain about how I can't keep up with life.  Eegads.

We were at my parents for three weeks this March/April.  It started off with a bang, with five hours at the airport resulting in a cancelled flight, subsequently rescheduled for two days later, and a 4 year old who woke up throwing up the morning we were supposed to leave.  We bit the bullet and decided to go for it, but realized a day later, that, oh dear, we had probably spread the stomach flu all along the way. Crap.

All five of us slept on the bathroom floor the second night we were at my parents' house, sometimes crowding around the bathroom two-and-three at a time to puke our guts out, until there was nothing left but black bile.  Truen had it the worst, then Eliah, then Diego and me, then Jamie.  If Jamie had had it like Truen or Eliah, we would have never have decided to travel.

But travel we did.

The entire first week was spent recovering from the Norovirus (we all barely ate for days and everyone was weak and thin), broiled in hyper-vigilance over cleanliness and sanitation so as to not spread the virus to my parents, sister, brother, sister-in-law and their new baby.  I wiped everyone's butts wearing disposable gloves, used a spray bottle with bleach solution like a vigilante, and didn't allow anyone touch that sweet little babe until the second-to-last day of their week-long visit.  Eegads again.

It was hard not to be able to cuddle that plump little lass, but the very thought of a 3 month old with the stomach flu prevented any temptation whatsoever.

Also: for the record. I can remember my midwife saying at one point that "activated charcoal does wonders for the stomach flu".  We had given Jamie charcoal the morning we left, but didn't have the experience or insight to administer it to anyone else as a preventative measure.

However, as I was laying on the bathroom floor the morning after a night of puking my guts out, I realized that that is what she was talking about.  Taking it after the puking starts doesn't make sense, because you won't be able to hold anything down. But taking it after exposure to inhibit or damper the side effects, that makes sense.

I immediately told my mom, who started taking it along with everyone else in the household.  My mom did get sick (usually a 1-2 day incubation period, spread by fecal or vomit contamination), but she never actually threw up.  She had the body aches and a tender stomach, but barfing was not in the picture.

So the actual experience and recovery time will be much, much better with activated charcoal.

FYI for future reference.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Unseasonably warm

 E-yi-ya has gotten into the bike craze too.
Bbbbbb-bbbbbb-bbbbb (this is a motor-tricycle)

 Puddle-stomping on a sunny morning --
The boys are outside before breakfast most days.

 Examining the interesting swirls and patterns in the drying mud.

Posing with their spears --
I can't get boots on Diego to save my life. 

 Truen, the threatening monster.

Eliah dipping his finger in the mud and sampling it like melted chocolate.
They were waiting for Blaine to come home at the tree-line on our driveway.
They often wait for him to come home,clambering into his vehicle and asking, "Any treats??"

Sunday, March 15, 2015

He did it!

Truen decided it was time. This spring. Seven years old.
Time to learn to ride a bike.

 And by golly, he did it.  It took him two days --
First he rode down the front walk, learning how to balance and steer.
After awhile he added pedaling and voilà! He did it.
He has been riding so much since that his little buns hurt.

He named his bike "Bird Wheel" and rides for hours every day.
It is a another dumpster-diving treasure I dug out the summer of 2007,
a few months before he was even born.
And now he's riding it.

Monday, March 09, 2015

My few favorite instances from this morning


Mama: "Where's the ball?"
Eliah: "Dere ball!!"

~ A first for Yi-ya, putting two words together.


"Mama, the geese are coming back!  I heard their voices."

~ Diego, after opening up the back door to a warm 40 degree F morning.


"Look!  There's a MANIA of pine cones up there!!"

~ Jamie, pointing up into a big black spruce in the front yard

And finally . . . Truen's determination to start riding a bike this year.  He's serious.  I think he's going to make it happen this year.