Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Why I haven't been blogging as often.

1. I am working on writing a first draft to a memoir of my life for my girls.

2. I am working on figuring out self publishing a children's book about the end of a nursing toddler and mama relationship that I wrote a few years ago and still happen to like the story.

3. I am facilitating Free Forest School at the Cleveland West chapter.

4. Life.

5. But I still think this is a valuable space for my words and so I will be here every so often so, you won't be forgotten.


Thursday, October 18, 2018

Ephraim is seven!

Dear Ephraim,

A lot of times you tend to be quiet and let your louder brother speak for you, but more and more you are finding your voice and you can definitely be stubborn about things, that you haven't gotten rid of.  You may attach to things your brother likes but usually you do it in your own way.
In some ways you are very much you, you have an idea in your head and you just go and create it. I love this about you. Today you showed me your American flag you had started making out of duct tape. Nothing is off limits when it comes to tape. You are also my scissors thief, in the best of ways.  If I need a pair of scissors, I always can come to you.

You are a determined little buddy, I love watching you in your athletics as it seems you have the attitude of "I can do that". As long as you want to do it,  the instructor must watch out if you don't want to do it. Then we will find you as a lump not participating, but this is very rare these days. Most things you want to try because you want to be the best at what you do.

But goodness, 7. How are you now so big. You are a first grader and you have learned to read and you are blowing through your school curriculum in a whirlwind. Now if only we could teach you to be better organized and less messy. But perhaps this is why you are the creative genius that you are.

It's fun watching you grow buddy. You are the sweetest with your baby sister. She loves you dearly and you can be the best of brothers to her. I have seen you be great with other babies, so I hope that your gift continues with kids. And I know that you also loved animals, despite your allergies to them. I think you will probably end up one day doing something that you can use your compassion towards other in, and right now you say you want to run an animal shelter.  A good thing to do for sure.

I wish the best for you this year. You will grow so much and love so much and just be a kid climbing to great heights. I enjoy who you are and look forward to who you become.

Your Mama

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

September it goes so fast

There is something about September, that it moves so fast. Perhaps it's that school is into full swing an there is never a moment where there isn't something we could be doing. There are small moments where you get to gaze and think, and those are good in themselves, but a lot of it is beginnings and learning and harvesting.

Part of me wants to go back to lazy days, but did I really have them?  Maybe I did, I don't know. I know that I definitely didn't know what to do with myself even in those types of days, and perhaps, my reminiscing self wants to tell herself that those days when babies napped predictably were good and not days to fill with mindless things or worry.  But also I need to perhaps embrace what is now, the 4 children 8 years old down to 1.5 years old. To embrace them in that they are chaotic and there are only few moments where I can steal a moment and write like this. That I have to be more scheduled about taking care of myself. (I booked a haircut for tomorrow, woot!) But this is my life and even if it is fast, with many needs to be met, it is where God has me at. I can't wish for another. I can only embrace the one I've been given.

I don't mean to say that I don't like my life. I do. I like my kids, I like my work, I like my husband. I even like my house. I think sometimes I struggle with the expectations I put on myself to accomplish everything in one day. Perhaps this is why I feel like I am flying, but that is perhaps where I need to grow to remember that I am folding this shirt and it belongs to a little girl that I love that is growing up under my care, and its a very good thing for her to have that shirt. Or these socks were once white but now grey have seen many outside walks with mama saying put on shoes or take off those socks, or this map, it maybe a kids map, but its proudly displayed in our living room because thats where some schooling happens.

So as I set out on a transatlantic adventure next week with a friend and the toddler, I am nervous. But excited. It comes with my personality of okay, I'm probably crazy, but I'm going to jump and do it anyway. I think the jump is good, at least for me. When we bought the tickets for this trip last February, it seemed forever away, and now it is almost here, and I hope it doesn't go so fast itself. I hope I can maybe slow down and just breathe it all in, every waking moment.  And I feel like I will be awake a lot with my non-sleeper toddler I have been given. But again, that's okay. It will be good.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Intergenerational Living with the aging population

I condition this that I am not an expert on this subject, these are simply my thoughts after a stimulating conversation with other women witnessing similar situations.

I see it happening more and more. Aging parents are struggling to keep up with their once large homes for the children to have space to grow up on. Children most of the time are no longer living at home and parents are left with the properties that are 5 times the size of what they need. This is the home they know and have known for 30ish years and so its hard to leave to something else.  And its expensive and time consuming to move as well.

Adult children, I do think, feel a responsibility to their parents, but our culture has taught us that independence is everything.  If you are dependent on another or if you have to take on another, it is seen as a burdening thing. It takes away supposed freedom.  In a lot of ways we haven't been conditioned to take on all the baggage that comes with an aging parent in our current culture.  And for a lot of people, the best option becomes a retirement community or a nursing home.

But what if we were to reclaim intergenerational living?  What if we were to release the stigma of a parent living an adult child? What if we were to say this is a good thing to have grandma and grandpa around instead of a bad one?  What if we were able to see how there are so many positive aspects about an intergenerational home instead of seeing that it limits our freedom?

The 1950s came with a housing boom and everyone had their piece of land and we were all separated into our little bits of independence. A cultural sense of freedom.  Then came the transportation boom and everyone had a car and everyone could go everywhere on their own time. Another cultural sense of freedom.

I think now that for a lot of us we are feeling the effects of the distance and the supposed independence. We are isolated more and more and we miss the connections.  A lot of millennials are moving back into urban areas from suburbia. They are tired of driving, they are tired of being disconnected from others. And still there is this gap with generations, parents in suburbs and exurbs and children in different cities far away from family.

So what do we do with it?  How do we solve this?  I think somehow we need to interact more with the elderly and really engage everyday with them.  I have aging neighbors that could use more help. I need to at the very least go out of my way to ask them how I could help.  They may say no, but we need to help each other more.  We need to be dependent on each other.  We aren't meant to be isolated and we are meant to love.  So how are you going to step out and love?

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Lessons Learned from a less than stellar airbnb renting review.

If you ever rent through Airbnb, there's a rating system.  Both the host and the renter get to rate the visit. It somehow seems lucrative, but at the same time it helps keep a standard for those looking for a place, and I guess helps people to be respectful of where they are staying. So maybe its not a terrible thing. :)

Post our month stay we received a review about our stay in Indy. It wasn't the best. Kinder words could have been said, and it pointed out my flaws, but also made assumptions that were not true. It hurt a bit. But after a few days of thinking about it, probably over thinking, I think I learned a few things. 

1. I am not perfect. I forgot to do a few things on the check-out, and I was caught. I had tried my best, but my imperfections were pointed out in a not so flattering way. It's good to know that you fail sometimes after all. 

2. I can't please everyone. I definitely can fall into wanting everyone to be happy with everything I do, and that just isn't going to happen 100% of the time. I need to grow to be more okay with that and this is an opportunity to do so. 

3. Its not going to matter in the long run. As a friend pointed out, its not going to stop us from further adventures, and that is a really good thing to remember. 

4. I still could remember my essential truth better. I am a beloved child of God. My worth comes from God and not from a person's review of how I clean. 

5. To remember the bigger picture, one bad thing doesn't have to negate the amazing adventure we had in our month away. My physical chemistry professor in college was big on the forest for the trees expression, and it definitely applies here. 

A learning experience it was, I know we learn more from what we fail at than what we shoot through with flying colors, so perhaps this is helpful to remember when I am struggling to remember the word for tired in German. Or when the 1 year old is refusing to nap for me. Oh, yes, the lessons I still need to learn. 

"Well, now I'll try my best
And you will be with me to never second guess
And we will show the world just how we passed this test
And we will show the world we're better than this mess" 
 The Rocket Summer - (Full song below)

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Post Indy thoughts 1

I have been hearing more and more that places where we get immediate feed back seem to be taking away from inner reflective time. That we can easily post and hem and haw if we are liked but then never really go any deeper with a surface thought.  We need to reflect and so currently this is making me think about my social media usage. Perhaps I will limit days or hours that I use it. To be more regulated. I definitely can fall into a trap about over use and I think that perhaps that's something I just need to know about myself. To set limits and stick with them.

But blogging. I think is good. I don't really do it for the fame, for the clicks, for the likes. I do it because it is how I get things out of my head. How I sometimes keep track of things for memories.  So I wanted to reflect a little about our month away now that we are back.

I'll start with something I liked about Indy, which is how easy it was to bike with a family there.  How it was super accessible and just fun to do. It led us to ditch the car many days for a family biking experience.

Perhaps because I am normally big on connection, and have plugged in deep around me at home. I think for some reason I was okay with the anonymity for a month. I guess in some ways, I still had some connections with people back home throughout the month and we did have some good friends visit once, but I didn't feel the drive to connect anymore than a smile or a kind word here or there.

I think because it wasn't the first time doing a month away, it wasn't nearly as scary doing it. There is something about that initial exposure to something that is just shocking. While there was a disorienting feeling, we were able to get a routine down and just worked with it.

Indy needs a play space of some sort for children and families downtown. While this city is gorgeous, there isn't anything where a family can just relax and play a while in the downtown so much.  Either a downtown play space or splash pad that is classy would work well here. There are a lot of beautiful spaces and I wish there were things there to draw the people to them. It wasn't say there was nothing. If you looked hard you could find things, but it wasn't obvious. But maybe that is a different thing entirely. Maybe they don't want to do the obvious because they want you to think outside the box.  But at the same time a beautifully done water play area can be quite appealing to a young family and bring in more people to an area that maybe only sees business folks or a single person.

I think where my heart stretched a bit was with the homeless situation there.  I think now in Cleveland, there are more present people too, so I wonder what is bringing about this visible rise to the population without a home. I want to at the very least learn more about the forgotten population.  I think I am going to try and read more books about the topic and also figure out how I can help locally with this and perhaps involve the kids too. I know I am usually scared to go outside my comfort zone, but I think this is something I am called to take a step forward into.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Indy Adventures Continued....

It's been a while since I posted about our month adventure. But I wanted to share some highlights of our last week.  So, I bring to you one sentence descriptions of each photo.  Hopefully I can stick to it.

1. S and H are in the "sand dunes" on the golf course at the Riley Children's Sports experience of the Indy Children's Museum. 
2. We played two of the four golf courses they had laid out which were miniaturized versions of actual course holes for kids, not quite the same as mini golf, but kind of in its own way.

3. We found the climbing structure of the children's museum and all of the kids enjoyed it even though it was in the up to age five area called Playscape.

4. I was delighted to find the 0-5 age area of the museum, as it had all the things I was used to seeing in a children's museum and it was so incredibly peaceful in comparison to other places. 

5. We found the People Mover, which is a monorail that connects three major hospitals in the city and is a delight to ride. 

6. We checked out the Rhythm Discovery Center and it was my husband drummer's favorite thing, and while loud at times, I enjoyed it too.

7. This I loved because my tiny baby is hitting a giant bass drum and its just a smile worthy moment.

8. We finally made it to the canal walking/biking path and it was one of the most beautiful things ever   including gondola boats with singing operators.

9. I was told that there were a few ndy signs around the city where you are to be the I and we finally found one on Mass Ave. 

More adventures await...

You can find an older Indy adventures here.