Five Finds Friday (a video, a broken dryer, and – of course – an earring)

 

It’s really only been one week since I last typed one of these?

You’ve got to be kidding.

 

 

funny

 

These guys are still funny.

 

 

fashionable

 

Have I mentioned these before?

It’s totally possible.

I love these ear cuffs from Noonday.

 

 

My ear is pierced twice in only one ear.  (Once upon a time in high school or college Emma and I both wanted to get only one ear pierced, so we split the cost and each had one ear lobe pierced.  That’s the entire story.)

Anyway, I should ask Emma if she wants to split the cost of this earring, since I sort of only want one so I can wear it in the second piercing.

 

flavorful

 

What if I were to go completely insane and try to consume less sugar?

What desserts would I then enjoy?

I’d love your recipe suggestions.

 

faithful

 

This quote.

When she transformed into a butterfly, the caterpillars spoke not of her beauty, but of her weirdness.  They wanted her to change back into what she had always been.

But she had wings.

  • Dean Jackson

 

feels

 

A week or more ago Piper told me that our dryer handle had broken off in her hand.

 

 

Which was unfortunate because how is one supposed to open a dryer without a handle?

As life would have it, I forgot about the dryer handle and what Piper had told me.

I never mentioned the dryer handle situation to anyone.  Because I had forgotten – remember?

Days passed.  No laundry was being done.  (That happens sometimes.)

And Bergen causally said to me one afternoon, “I fixed the dryer handle Mom.”

Then I remembered that it was broken.

I headed to the laundry room to inspect his repairs.

A zip tie cleverly attached.

I still can’t decide which makes me happier – the dryer being repaired, his ingenuity or the fact that I never even asked him and he took his own initiative to accomplish a task that genuinely helped our family.

 

 

 

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Dr. Bonyfide, Science Books: A Timberdoodle Review

 

This was the year that I knew our science would take a giant shift in the Wildwood Halls of Ivy.

London started high school which means the rules all change and there is a particular order and type of science that she has to cover.  She’s taking Biology this year but I didn’t want to have all of the kids take high school biology because, of course, my elementary students couldn’t keep up with that.

We’re still doing a weekly Nature Study together because it’s important to me, but this year I decided to have London take biology and Bergen and Mosely (7th and 8th graders) are trying a new to me science curriculum called Science in the Age of Reason and I was swayed right in the direction of Timberdoodle’s elementary science offering of a special book series called Dr. Bonyfide.

The Dr. Bonyfide series has four books, designed to do one book per grade, beginning in the third grade.

 

 

We’ve begun with the first book, which is available in Timberdoodle’s third grade curriculum kit.

Otto is in the third grade and Piper is in the fourth grade and they are both doing this science together.  The book is designed to be used as a workbook that the student can write in but I have found it to be no problem at all to have the kids both write any answers in their own notebooks and to leave the workbook blank since they are sharing one book together.

 

 

The books progress through various bones of the body, the first one focusing on the bones in the hand, arm and shoulder.  The second book, targeted at fourth graders, covers the foot, leg and pelvis.  The third book – for fifth grade – moves on to the ribcage and the spine.  The sixth grade book, book number four, wraps up with a study of the head, face and neck.

The book is written as if a “doctor” is teaching your student and his name is, of course, Dr. Bonyfide.  The entire text of the books are written in a rhyming pattern.  The students are given x-ray glasses, there are two pair, and certain pages have designs and information that can only be seen and read while wearing the x-ray glasses, thus giving your students “x-ray” vision.

My two kids adore the x-ray glasses gimmick and are still quite enthusiastic to pull out the glasses when they are called for, even when the reward is a corny little science joke.  They always laugh or groan and hold their glasses, anxiously waiting to use them again.

 

 

The book gives the scientific names of the bones and the students are working on memorizing and identifying all the bones named properly and – let me tell you – that is hard.  Proximal, carpal, phalange, metacarpal, scaphoid, hamate and tricky words like that – for third and fourth graders.  Truthfully, I had my doubts as we waded through the words and read the rhymes together and I have been tempted to not have Piper and Otto memorize these bone names.  But each lesson I have been surprised at their desire to recite all the names to me, to hold up  their hands and identify proximal and distal bones and to learn their correct spelling that I just keep moving along, page by page.

 

 

We have been taking it slowly.  Repetition and clever mnemonics are built into the reading and they do actually seem to be working.  There is no teacher’s guide or manual and nothing that really says “Read this much each day” or anything like that.  (Unless I have missed that entire bit.  And hey, I have missed things before.)  But we have just been reading a few pages each day, reviewing as we go and making steady and sure progress.  I’ve been impressed at how the kids are recalling big words and hard information.  The rhymes and the pace do seem to really help.

I think my plan is to do two of the books this year – the third and the fourth grade books – since I have a student in each grade.  As long as Otto can continue to keep up, I think we’ll keep trekking along.

 

 

I still struggle a little to decide whether I think my third grader actually needs to know each of the tiny bones near the wrist (and I seriously had no idea we had so many tiny important bones working so hard down there) but they both seem steadily interested and enjoying the progress and the pace, so I’ll put aside my thoughts and not allow those to hold them back as they learn.

I also think these serve as great, clear and straightforward reference books for my older students when they need to identify and memorize various bones.

 

 

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slice. of. life.

 

Not all days go according to plan.

In fact, very few days actually do.

Today we rose on time and started school in an orderly fashion.

Mosely baked us fresh and warm chocolate chip muffins (which she hopes to begin selling soon, matter of fact).  There was a history lesson about Roger Williams and narrations about Benjamin Franklin, a grammar lesson about prepositional phrases and one about the four types of sentences.  (I remain unconvinced this is actually important information.)  Novels such as Henry and the Clubhouse, Because of Winn Dixie, Count of Monte Cristo and The Hobbit were all read by some student residing in my home.  A science experiment was completed that involved the use of the blender and the iron and a bunch of cotton balls.  Another student had to start fresh again on a science test that went south and I noticed the penmanship of my third grader has greatly improved and looks impressively tidy these days.

 

 

And then SURPRISE – the cousins appeared.  Some of our family’s very favorite people were driving through our neck of the woods and they pulled right into our driveway (which they called “the middle of nowhere”) in their truck with the beloved Virginia license plate and we ran outside to hugs and cheers and welcome to our house.

 

 

It’s so sweet to see them – two people who have known me since birth and with whom we share a family heritage and a strong similar facial structure.  My Bergen’s middle name was her maiden name.  She was my momma’s flower girl.  And I was hers.  And her daughter was my flower girl.  And then, of course, my daughter was her daughter’s flower girl.  It just kept going on of its own free will.

We sat on the porch and she held my grandbaby and we put the school books away and the kids ran around in the bright sunshine.  (Speaking of grandbabies, I think I’ve finally settled on a grandmother name.)

 

 

I watched a friend’s two sons for a little while and then she stayed with mine for a little while when my realtor sent me news of a house for sale that I might want to look at.  The entire decision making process in a house hunt is pretty much mentally exhausting and draining to me and I have found it to be one of the more difficult decisions I have had to consider and a large portion of the difficulty of it has been the deciding something this giant alone.  Can I just admit – it is not my favorite?

 

 

Then came car shifting and kid switching and boys off to Trail Life and Piper and I to a Mother Daughter Book Club that continues to be a pile of sweet as we sat under a park pavilion and talked about A Hundred Dresses and crafted sweet dress bookmarks together.  It was darling and I love building up a community of girl friendships for my ten year old and for myself.

 

 

Once home again we gathered in the living room to share our nightly ritual of Nature Notes and our family journal and prayers before bed and we half heartedly held hands to pray because I was too tired to rally the troops to all stand together and I hugged and kissed all the faces I love and fed the cat and turned out a bunch of lights and locked all the doors and tidied the kitchen and found a bowl of leftover pasta to heat up because I couldn’t remember if I ever actually ate dinner and I sat down to my own stack of work and jobs and lists and emails to return and giveaways to complete.  (Side note – you should follow Travelers Rest Here on Instagram.  I hear they’ve got all sorts of fun giveaways over there.)

And it was an incredibly full day but not an unusually full day and it was pretty nice and mostly all filled with good and sunshine and friends and smiling faces and if this post makes you tired, well, it does me too.

 

 

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from there to here

 

Growing up one of my primary chores was to mow the grass.  This chore was far more pleasant than bottle feeding the baby calves or cooking dinner for picky brothers.  We had a riding lawn mower and I could spend my time looking like I was hard at work so no one would talk to me or bother me, but all I was actually doing was just sitting still and imagining things.  (I applied the same principles to my assigned task of raking hay on the tractor too.)

I have always been a daydreamer.  Always spent far too much time in my head, working through ideas and dreaming up plans and home rearrangements and bold adventures, telling myself stories and imagining perfect scenarios for my future and the futures of everyone I know and loved.

One of my favorite teenage imaginings was to picture what my life as a grown up would look like.  I would offer myself different scenarios.  What if I became a reporter and lived in big city and had no need for a car and walked a few blocks right out my door to everything I needed? I would fantasize about my home and my future children and my future spouse.  (Who somehow always happened to be whatever cute boy I currently had a crush on in school.  Can you believe I once had a crush on a boy named Phoenix?  PHOENIX!  Was that his real name? I cannot even remember.  But he wore a metal phoenix on a necklace.  And in my mind he was “edgy”.  Oh goodness.  That memory makes me laugh now.)

This weekend I woke up in my bed, like always, and for some reason all I could think about were those hot summer afternoons sitting on that green John Deere lawn mower or riding atop that (also) green John Deere tractor and spending hours of each summer just thinking.  Thinking about what my life would look like after high school.  After college.  When I was the grown up and I called the shots and I had a family and a daughter who could mow the grass.

Looking across the landscape of my bedroom in that early morning light, flooded with thoughts of precisely what I used to daydream I would have, clear as memory can make it – even down to the particular boy or the particular dream job I thought would fulfill me, I had to laugh a little.  Genuine laughter coming out of my mouth before my kids woke up.

At that moment, in my bed, under the gray crumpled comforter, lay myself and two boys who must have made their entrances in the middle of the night.  A gargantuan dog lying in such a comical position with his legs high in the air and a calico cat settled quite contentedly directly on my stomach.  The morning sun was creeping in and the light was lovely.

 

 

I think it’s safe to say that for all of my dreaming, for all of my imaginings, for all of my big plans and alone thoughts, my life looks absolutely nothing like I imagined it would.

And this is not a complaint.  Goodness, if some of those dreams had come true I’d be a city girl with no children and no connection to the earth or dirt or real food.

It’s funny what we think we want.

And how, as grown ups and as regular people, we have to shape our dreams around what actually is, instead of what could be.

Which is not to say imagination is wrong or wasted.

I loved those long afternoons of cutting grass and thinking big.

I still love moments of escape where I am engaged in a mindless but productive task and I can redecorate my house in my mind, envision a family gathering a decade from now, imagine a world where certain situations work out perfectly and my life can look a little more like a Hallmark movie and a little less like a reality show.

 

 

But I’m old enough now to know that, for all my daydreaming and big ideas, the present is really where it’s at and mostly where I want to reside.

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Five Finds Friday (Bergen is very funny, a chance to help and a really great documentary)

 

It seemed like I had a little more time to do things this week.

Oh, that’s right.  It was our rest week from school.  Of course I had more time to do things.

Today the kids and I and some friends went on a dual purpose outing – a field trip and an interview for Travelers Rest Here.  The couple was a fantastic pair of humans beginning this charming and exciting tea farm.  They shared about their lives as I asked them questions and I was impressed slash overwhelmed slash in awe of all they have thus far accomplished and we all looked to be about the same age.  When I asked him how he was checking off all these boxes, he laughed and replied, “No kids and no sleep – it’s amazing what you can do.”  I laughed with him and knew he was entirely accurate.

I still pick where I am and what I’m doing and the people with whom I am doing that.  But it is nice to hear it acknowledged that you actually cannot have it all.

And with that encouraging bit, it’s Friday.

 

 

Also – I’d love to have a new Five Finds Friday logo.  Maybe I’ll assign that to one of my children.  Or if any of you guys feel creative, you just let me know.  I’m thinking simple and with a large actual number five instead of the word five.

 

funny

 

The other day Mosely was bemoaning the woes of the plight of girls entering puberty vs. boys entering puberty, particularly about the vast unfairness she feels in the fact that boys are never culturally required to shave their legs.

She was standing on the landing of our house declaring these troubles to her rather disinterested younger brother.

Bergen, who was at that time literally lying on the floor of his bedroom, said, in a most serious fashion, “Don’t talk to me about the worries of this world.  I’m lying in a sunbeam.”

 

fashionable

 

Their pieces are for certain my go to jewelry.  (Not earrings, that title is for Noonday and Magnolia Market thus far.)  But more than any other necklace, I wear my Death Before Dishonor Co. arrow of courage necklace.  (I have it on right now.)  My favorite bracelet is always my freedom eagle bracelet.  (In fact, recently I caught the chain of my necklace in the blade of my car’s windshield wiper – it’s a long story – and I broke it.  They were so kind to replace my chain for me!)

And look – you can also get the arrow as a bracelet.  I love that!

 

 

Maybe you’ll remember the story I wrote last year about Melanie and Tim and their business.

Last month Tim was in a serious motorcycle accident.  He’s doing better now but it’s a long road.  Tim’s other work as a painter is in question now because of his shoulder injury.

I like Melanie and Tim.  And I know from my own life that it feels impossibly hard to be in a position where you need help and you have to ask for it.  Especially financial help.  It stinks.  But we also know the harsh reality of medical bills and little to no income being generated.

There’s a Go Fund Me account for Tim & Melanie and that’s one great way to contribute.

And you can buy their jewelry – and that’s a great way to contribute.  (Think Christmas gifts you guys.  Tis practically the season, especially if you buy early to spread out your expenses.)

And – can you also pray for the Clark family and share this information?

 

flavorful

 

It’s SOUP season.  I heart soup.  Every meal.  (Well, except breakfast.  Is there a breakfast soup?)

Some of our favorites are:

Crock Pot Pasta e Fagioli – this is made weekly.

London’s Potato Soup – The recipe is in her brain by now.  You just have to visit us to have some.

Instant Pot Tomato Basil Soup

What are your favorites?

 

faithful

 

This song.

 

 

feels

 

Is it because they’re brothers and I am a sucker for a good family dynamic?  Or because their lyrics are heartfelt and sincere and honest?  Is it because my favorite bands are usually a person or two and a guitar primarily?  Because they’re southern fellows who love their momma and their daddy?

I don’t know.

But I love The Avett Brothers.  There are approximately two bands that I will basically purchase any form of music they produce.  And these brothers are one of those bands.

This week I visited an actual movie theatre and watched a documentary that director Judd Apatow had created about the Avett Brothers.  It was being shown for one night only in the theaters and I am so glad I was able to watch it on the big screen.

I didn’t think I could like them more.

But now I do.

It was just lovely and sort of magical to watch their creative process, to see them piece together one of my favorite songs, to see their brotherly camaraderie, to hear their music and to get a glimpse of their regular selves.

I probably had this cheesy smile on my face the whole time.  And I’m okay with that.

 

 

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redemption: questions unanswered and perhaps rhetorical

 

I believe in redemption.

Redeeming relationships.

Redeeming situations.

All sorts of redemption

really.

But is redemption possible in every situation?

I guess,

speaking specifically of the miraculous role God plays in redemption,

the answer has to be

yes.

God can redeem anything.

Any situation.

Any wrong.

Any relationship.

God can,

as in

He has the ability.

But we know,

because we live and breathe it,

that every situation

that every relationship

is not redeemed.

Not right now.

And I wonder

how hard should we fight for redemption?

How much effort should we give?

Is it okay to allow some relationships

to just live in the in-between?

 

 

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An Afternoon at The Glade

 

One of my favorite parts of small-town living has always been the community aspect.  I love knowing the people who bake my favorite loaf of brioche bread and having the coffee shop owner as an actual friend.  I like seeing people I know when I drop my (overdue) books off at the library and having a chat about our weekend plans.  When we order our crepes they are generally accompanied by a hug.  It’s a genuine privilege to work together with my kids to pick up trash along the biking and walking trail we use routinely.  It’s an investment that pays off in a myriad of ways, both personal and professional. And the loveliest part is, the pay off isn’t the reason.  It’s just icing on the cake, you know?

The best pay off is the fact that my family feels known in our town, comfortable and a part of the solution and the growth of what our town is becoming.  My kids have babysat for the brioche bread baker and they’ve already started talking about becoming a volunteer at our local library and they have picked out their favorite shops and restaurants for their first jobs as teenagers.  They feel less like consumers and more like contributors and I think that’s a wish all parents should have for their humans and all towns should have for their residents.  There’s no future when we all feel like takers and tourists.  

For almost the last decade I’ve been visiting the exact same salon to get my hair cut or to get a purple streak put in it – remember that?  It’s where Piper got her adorable little haircut last year and it’s where all of the kids have been getting their haircuts since forever too.

The Glade Salon and Day Spa is super convenient since it’s right in TR, but it’s also just really charming.  I love a good haircut, as much for the experience itself as for the end product.  I love having someone wash my hair and The Glade stylists always add in this extra special addition of aromatherapy as they shampoo and condition your hair.  It’s dreamy, you guys.  Plus, I’m a die hard Aveda fan and a self professed hair product junkie.  I try a wide variety of hair potions and gel and mousse and goo and always find that very few deliver what they promise better than Aveda.

When my friend and talented stylist Brittani sent me an email this summer asking if I would be willing to have some photos taken while I spent a spa day at The Glade enjoying many of the special treatments the salon offers, I spent approximately two seconds making my decision.

Y’all.  What mother (of one or two or six) would turn down an opportunity to sit quietly for an afternoon in a lovely salon that smells like mint and rosemary and clean and happy and have people paint her toenails and massage her feet and lie still in a room full of candles and soft music?

Of course I said yes!

Brittani is my go-to stylist and of course I’m quite prejudiced toward her work.  Over the many years of haircuts she’s also become my friend and she’s had to listen to far too many stories of highs and lows and nonsense.  All stylists are part therapists, aren’t they?  And she’s pretty much the best.  (To be fair, all of the stylists at The Glade are top notch.  We have six heads in our house and that’s a whole lotta hair and a heap of haircuts so we’ve been in and out for a very long time.  Marisol and Eden and all of the other ladies do fantastic work and are fun and friendly and encouraging and experts in their fields.  And probably great stand in therapists too.)

On this visit Christy, who works the front desk and exudes happiness and welcome and just southern gentleness, greeted me and offered me my choice of tea or water and escorted me to my first station – a facial.  To my memory, I have never had a facial.  I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect.  The facial occurs in the same room that massages are given so it’s quiet and welcoming and smells so pleasant.

 

 

My facial was a half hour one and at first, I thought an hour would be a ridiculously long time to receive treatment only on my face.  I was wrong.  I would have loved to have kept lying there for an entire hour.  (So if you add this to your wish list for Christmas, ask for the entire hour.)  It was a luxurious feeling.  Truthfully, I’m not entirely certain what was happening to my face.  My eyes were closed, after all.  I just know it was calming and refreshing beyond description.  There was some sort of magical thing happening to my eyes and what felt like little feathers sweeping across my cheeks and cool breezes on my eye lids.  I don’t know guys.  I don’t even care.  I just want to go back again.  (And I’m not going to pretend this doesn’t feel a little weird to share these pictures with you – but, as that was the deal, I’ll do my part.  When I was lying on that table and feeling all the fluttery feathers across my face I would have agreed to all the photos anyway, just to lie there longer.)

 

 

After the facial came the full body massage.  This was not my first massage and I know there is a generation of people who think massages are wonky and they feel uncomfortable with the whole process.  My mom was one of those people.  I, however, am not one of those people.  It takes only about two seconds to get over the weird feeling part and to just relax and be grateful that a professional knows how to knead out the never fading lump of pain I carry on the right side of my neck, born first of years of nursing and carrying babies and now my permanent stress indicator.  It’s nearly always aching and in need of rescue and the massage therapist knew exactly how to handle and ease that tension.  It was fabulous.  One of the luxuries I would indulge in weekly if my income level was different would be a massage.  Add in those hot rocks across my back and that’s just magical.

(Isn’t it a little funny though, what your hair looks like after a massage?  They’ve added in aromatherapy oils and massaged them into your hair and although they feel fantastic and smell incredible, they do a number on the appearance of my hair post massage.  Completely worthwhile, but maybe remember to bring a hat for the ride home.  Actually – at The Glade they washed my hair afterwards for me so that I didn’t walk out with an oily head full of hair.)

Eventually I made my way to the back of the salon where I was seated sort of like royalty to receive my pedicure and manicure.  Foot massages rank right up there for me with creme brûlée and banana pudding and white wedding cake.  (Those are my favorites desserts.)  My kids often bribe me with at home foot massages.  I’ve learned which kids are better at the gig than others and I keep that in mind when the bribery comes up.

The foot massage experience and pedicure at The Glade were obviously more professional than my at home silver bowl versions.  It’s worth it to me to have someone else paint my toenails.  I do a notoriously terrible job at it.  And don’t even ask me to paint my own fingernails.  It’s so hard for me.

I felt pampered getting both my toe nails and my fingernails painted because I almost never get my fingernails painted.  I’m not a nail chewer, but I am busy and polish has a hard time sticking around on my nails – but it looks so pretty while it lasts.

 

 

By the end of my experience at The Glade I was totally relaxed and thoroughly impressed.  If I could schedule one of these afternoons each week, well, I certainly would.

 

 

______________________________

 

 

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plate spinning

 

I guess last week I took an accidental hiatus from writing.

And from responding in a timely manner to my emails.

I’ve felt a lot like I’ve been swimming underwater and the struggle to “get it all done” has been overwhelming.

This is the song a lot of people are singing, I know.

Life is full of all the things and the list of people who can do All The Things for you is short.  In fact, my list usually feels like there is just one name on it.  My own.

I’m guessing this is not an incredibly unique feeling that I am describing.

Maybe we’re all carrying too much on our shoulders.

Maybe we all need to breathe more purposefully and walk more slowly and focus more intentionally.

Drink more water and sleep a little longer and hug your kids a little more often.

Tonight, in Target, Otto asked me to race him down an aisle.  I looked at his face.  It’s really cute.  And it’s looking nothing like a baby and everything like a boy.  I set my bag down.  He looked surprised but pleased.  And I raced my eight year old son.  Him in flip flops, me in cowboy boots.  We ran fast and loud and it was a legitimate tie at the end.

I laughed because it was funny and I laughed because it was fun.  And because I haven’t laughed all that much this past week.

I have a lot of spinning plates.  Plates careening and crashing all around it feels like some days.  Homeschool.  Work.  Broken and busted relationships.  Mothering.  Healthy and healing relationships.

My friend and I talked briefly about that last night.  Her spinning plates.  My spinning plates. The fact that we both feel as if the plates we’ve got going currently are all essentials.  We’ve laid down or let tumble all the ones we could.  Offered up unnecessary ones and let friends and family hold the plates whenever we could.  But what’s left, the plates still spinning, are kind of the non-negotiable ones.  And they’re wearing us out.

Yet, simultaneously, they’re the plates we’re called to spin – right now for right here.

I’ve watched this friend.  I’ve seen her plates all turning in concentric circles and I see that it is a lot.  And I’ve thought how she’s doing a great job, a noble job, of the spinning she’s being asked to do right now.  It’s not the same spinning she was asked to do six months ago or two years back.  It won’t be the same spinning she’ll be doing by next summer and certainly not by this time next year.  She thinks it looks like a mess, but I think she’s beautiful.  I think her work looks like the gentlest labor of love and it looks like art and it looks difficult but worthy and I think she is rocking it, spinning her orbs.

And this post has gotten away from me a little, like my plates can sometimes do.

Yesterday’s teaching at church was about work – and doing the work in front of you.  Not having idle hands.  Not being busy and looking busy but actually being unproductive in any valuable sense.  I was drawn to the idea that in all my spinning, I was forgetting my primary focus.  My first job.  My current biggest plate – the education of my children.  This briefest of windows where I am leading and guiding and instructing and walking alongside and that it actually is a privilege that I want.  A privilege I picked.

When you’re needing a lesson, everything can be your teacher.  My son in Target who just wants to run where you’re supposed to walk.  My chance encounter and a few minutes with a sweet friend.  A sermon.

All a bunch of little lessons I’ve been needing to hear.

To do the work in front of me right now.  To spin the plates in my hands, hoping that even when they look like a mess to me, if I am spinning them for the right purpose at the right time, they might just spin their way into something beautiful.

 

 

________________________________

 

 

 

run of the mill and catch up thoughts

 

Let’s just have a little rundown write-as-fast-as-I-speak sort of post, shall we?

Alright then.

Piper Finn attended a tea party birthday gathering today that just sounded like all sorts of sweet fun.  She told me that she learned how to walk with a book on her head and how to fold napkins into shapes and there were tiny sandwiches shaped like stars and it just sounded like the best sort of way to celebrate her friend turning ten.  A friend recently told me that ten is just about her favorite age and I have to say – it is a pretty special age.

My own ten-year-old, and the birthday party attendee, also lost a tooth today and our entire household rejoiced as it came out of her ten year old mouth because oh my the drama that that tiny tooth brought with it.

 

 

I really pushed the limits on my Yukon today as the gas light warned me of imminent doom when I was just painfully far on a back road away from gas stations.  We eeked on into the station and I think I thought I had a 25 gallon tank but apparently I have a thirty gallon tank because we poured n 29.95 gallons.  I keep meaning to google the actual size of my gas tank, just for fun and to see how close we cut it, but I also keep forgetting.

This morning I dressed myself in clothing that made it appear as if I might work out at some point in my day.  I pretended that the possibility was true.  I even went to a location where running or swimming or any such physical activity would have been appropriate.  I told myself that I would take advantage of the locale. Instead, I sat still with my toes dipping in the water on the dock’s edge until I got tired of the sun and just sat on a towel in the shade.  Basically, I just don’t care for exercise.

I let Bergen choose our quote.

 

 

We started reading the book Wonder together as a family.  Oh you guys.  We’re only about one fourth of the way through it and already I have laughed so hard that I had to stop reading and I have done the same with crying too.  It’s been a while since a book was so well received by every family member right out of the gate.

And my train of thought ends right here at this station tonight.

 

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Five Finds Friday (Puck perches, a leftover success and a breakfast solution)

 

Sometimes I feel this need to apologize to you all for not writing every day.  Like I’ve got some quota to fill and I’m letting someone down if I don’t post daily.  Sometimes I feel as if the person I am letting down is me.  But goodness, y’all.  This pace is hard to maintain.

The website for TR, homeschool, driving kids to events and activities and soccer practices and appointments and theatre camp, the prepping and planning of meals for half a dozen people like three times every day.  This sounds like a rant, a whine.  It feels a little like it too.

Anyway – thanks for continuing to read when the posts are hit or miss, when the days are not predictable and the weeks run on and off the  rails unpredictably.  It’s a terrible tension I feel at almost every minute of my life (and I’m guessing I’m not alone in this feeling) of wanting to be both connected and disconnected, engaged and disengaged.  I get a little tired of feeling as if my life is happening at my fingertips instead of in my living room or in my yard.  Lately I think I sit down too much and stare at squares (technically rectangles I guess) too much and the tension lies in the fact that it is both money producer and time waster.   Some days it is hard to turn it off and some days that is all I want to do.   The tension – do you feel it too?

It’s a moment of “Here is the problem.  Now, what am I going to do about it?”

I’ve got the question down.  I just haven’t decided the answer.

For today, for right now – I’m going to share this week’s Friday Fives.  One foot in front the other.  Do the next right thing.

 

 

funny

 

This cat.

Constantly showing up in silly places.

 

 

 

fashionable

 

I saw my daughter wearing this shirt this week.  (She says the company does sales often for $15.)

 

 

I think it’s so cute.

 

 

flavorful

 

We don’t own a microwave.  I forget why exactly.  I think when we moved to this house about five or six years ago there was not much counter space.  I stuck it in the laundry room.  We never missed it.  I gave it away one random afternoon and no one noticed.  (The only person who cares now is my dad on his random visits when he wonders aloud, “How do you people nuke anything in this house?”  Maybe he’s why I don’t have a microwave.  That and the word nuke.  Of course, he also wonders aloud, “How do you people clean anything in this house without paper towels?” because I never have those either.)

The only time that I think a microwave would enhance our lives is when we are heating up six different types of leftovers for our Mother May I? meals.  That’s a real hassle to get out a wide assortment of pots and pans.  Especially since our oven only has three working burners.

Anyway.  This week a friend introduced to me a new way to use my friend Instant Pot to heat up leftovers.  It’s some sort of genius I tell you.

This is what you do.  Put your leftovers in glass bowls or jars.  (This is generally what I use anyway actually.)  I’m talking mason jars or even a larger glass bowl.  It just needs to fit in your Instant Pot.  This morning I used three regular sized mason jars and they fit like a dream right inside.  Pour one cup of water into the bottom of the Instant Pot.  Close the lid and turn the manual setting to 15 minutes.  That’s it.  Since the kids have been taking their theatre classes this week we’ve been packing lunches in the morning.  Today, before I took a shower, I put the mason jars inside – tomato soup and mashed potatoes in the jars.  (Hey, their choices.)  Then I just left the jars inside the Instant Pot until we were about ready to go – left them on the stay warm setting and then we just transferred the contents to their thermoses.  Easy-peasy.  No pot to clean.  Just added the jars to the dishwasher and away we went.

I’ve tried the same method earlier this week for a bowl of rice.  Just put the largest glass bowl that would fit inside my Instant Pot and did the same thing to reheat the rice.  It was so simple.  And it stays hot until you’re ready.

The friend who told me about it said she actually stacked her glass containers on top of one another.  Hers were square.  I don’t happen to have many square glass containers currently but I like that idea too.

 

 

faithful

 

I talked with the kids this week about our time management struggles and the increased need I have to put in a few more hours of work each week and looking for a place to fit that in.

Breakfast was one area suggested that the kids could take some responsibility and help out.  We divided the weekdays up – giving each kid one morning of the week – and they will be in charge of making breakfast that day.  I’ll have the menu and the materials in the house, but they’ll prepare and make and clean up breakfast on their morning.  I’ll be in charge of the weekends.

They were so sweet and cooperative, not a one of them complaining about having a day to be in charge of breakfast patrol.  I’m so thankful for big kids and their willing spirits.

Bergen took his job seriously this week and whipped up scrambled eggs with a side of apple cider donut.  That’ll do just fine, son.

 

 

feels

 

One of my favorite parts of parenting is watching my kids develop their own skills and talents.  Watching them take a streak of this and a touch of that and making it their own.  Watching genetics and environment, nature and nurture, chaos and kindness add up in their individual lives and in their hearts, in their mannerisms and in their talents.

I’m especially fond lately of London’s stick figures and tiny doodles that appear everywhere.  This one is in her Time Line that we keep for History.

 

 

 

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