Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Maybe I'm not entirely broken anymore

So, I don't have it all together. I really don't. I may seem to flawlessly take on the job of mama with four kids that home schools, but there are many bumps and bruises along the way. Last week we spent most of it being sick, this week it seems we are recovering, though at the same time we are still not 100%.

I think what I'm referring to is that right now, I don't feel like I am at a place of a major breakthrough or drama piece. Life is what it is, I'm not in near mourning and I'm not figuring out what to do with a new baby, nor am I pregnant or trying to piece together something huge of what I thought was but isn't or even planning for a crazy excursion. Instead I've got ho hum life going on, and its wonderful and messy and I yell probably way more than I should about doors being left open and legos being within the baby's reach. I think I'm learning what it is to be in a routine and to see who I am when I'm not in crisis. I am still chock full of sin and I can't hold my tongue to save my life, but I think its nice to be here in this brief lull of everyday business.

I have been doing a lot of forming the community that I need around me in the last 7 or so years, or however many I've been in this house, which I think technically is now 8 years (Wow! Time is going fast). I say that because I think I had to learn that because I couldn't really count on my past being my current social set up. I had to create the community I needed. I had to be the one to make calls to set up play dates, sift through the dead ends, form groups and just say hello or linger to listen when a person had something to say. And while I know really this wasn't me doing it, but God's grace and the abilities he gave me to do so, but I know I still had to say yes and be open to whatever his will was for me.

There have been moments where I wasn't my finest or was completely awkward in everything I said or did, but thing is, people didn't give up on me. So maybe I am not so terrible as I tell myself. Perhaps I am a little bit likable and not maybe the pretentious know it all that I see as myself. Or maybe that is the sinful me but the me that lets grace be part of her can be pretty okay. Whatever I may be, I am thankful for this journey and I'm thankful to be here in tis place with this husband and four kids of mine if full reality that the only chaos I can control is to keep kids out of the road and perhaps keep the lego bricks away from the baby for another day.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

When to slow down

Today we went apple picking. It was late in the season so the apples were scarce, but overall it was an enjoyable experience. However, my oldest went along and he really shouldn't have.  Because when he got home I checked him out as having a 102 deg F fever. The thing is, I didn't realize he was not doing well until we were almost there, and at that I just thought he had got the cold the majority of us had had last week that seemed to be lingering in parts. I was the event planner for this event for the homeschool group, so I needed to be there, at least with that late of notice. I limited what he had to do, and his brother was a super helper with helping me cart B around and being adventuresome despite circumstances. And when he got home B fell asleep for a good hour and then he actually seemed much better after resting.

So who knows what it was, but I felt bad for having him out, even though I didn't know beforehand and I probably should have just gone home. I guess perhaps I struggle at knowing where to draw the line. Fever is usually it, but he wasn't acting feverish all morning and he decided he wanted to go. He would have been allowed to stay home with his dad because he works from home now, and so it would have been okay. But he went. I guess I need to stop beating myself up about perhaps not the best decision, to stay, but also that I couldn't predict what happened. What would friend me say to me? That I didn't know, that he seemed okay in the morning before we went, that the fresh air was going to be good for us.

The rest of us enjoyed picking apples, my middle guy enjoyed it the most because he could climb the trees as high as he wanted. My middle girl enjoyed climbing as well and S enjoyed sitting amongst the orchard. Next time we go apple picking remind me to go in September as apparently that is the best time for it. It somehow seems off though because of the fall connotation to apples, but oh well. Goodnight.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Weekly writing

I have been reading the book, "She's Still There" by Crystal Evans Hurst. And its amazing. I think honestly if you frame it right it can help you to work towards bettering any situation if you have the intention that you want it to be better and are willing to do something about it. I picked it up under an Elizabeth Foss recommendation and because well I do sometimes think that I have lost me along the way of the craziness of life. Let me tell you, its held up to its esteemed recommendation.

I know everyone seems to be talking about self-care these days, and I think this was one of my means of achieving how to know how to do that for me. There are the usual healthful diet and regular exercise, of which I try to adhere to, where I struggle is with up keeping regular habits that are beneficial in thought so as to change the outlook of things around me.

So in trying to figure that out, I realize that writing helps me tremendously in my mood and I had gotten away from it for so very long. I blamed the baby and the homeschooling and just about everything. I guess I wasn't really ready to own up to the fact that I needed it. But I finally decided that this was my one habit that I needed to continue and so here I am.

As for today, today I'll tell you how my children truly amaze me. I shared on twitter how the children decided to make a lemonade stand this afternoon. And they did it. They cleaned my drink pitcher, they made the lemonade, they made a sign with the price and product, they hauled out the table and chairs, they found the cups to distribute and they even brought out extra quarters for change. They did this all while I was hauled up in my bedroom with the nursling that wouldn't let me go. Their dad was nearby watching from a far, but still, they did it all by themselves. It made my mama heart proud.

Apparently, Ephraim "read" a book that featured a lemonade stand in it, so he then got the idea and carried it out. This guy has a born initiative that I did not teach him and I love it. It seems to work well with his brother's personality that smooths out the kinks with the conversing with people and the knowing the exact proportions of things. But honestly I am still amazed. They actually had customers too. And Helena told me that she said thank-you and she said that customer was like Maui and said "You're Welcome".  Her little personality makes us laugh so much at times.

Tomorrow is Stellamaris's feast day, so we shall see what that brings. Sweet dreams.

Cincinnati reflections part 3

I realize its been months since we took our trip to Cincinnati, but I think I am a slow processor. I would not work well as the latest iPhone model for sure. I'm more like my 4 year old android holder phone that has to be poked 5 or more times to load a page.

I may have touched on this all before, but one thing I think Cincinnati did for me was stretch me in my thoughts of how we live. I used to think that since I lived in the city that I was an urban dweller, but really I still have a yard and a driveway and a whole house to myself. My kids don't have to go to a park to play outside they can run around in the yard or just walk to a neighbors house around the corner. When we were there I realized that even though this is the city of Cleveland, we are still spread out a ton. There is so much freedom and green here and I appreciate that immensely because of my experience. Now if we could only get rid of the mosquitoes so I could go outside and not be bitten 5 times in 5 minutes we'd be good. But we do live in a city that doesn't have a budget for that and in the end that's okay.

When we came back we were actually sad that we couldn't walk to everything, that things just felt more car oriented here and it was a bit of a letdown. But maybe we were also more adventurous when there and honestly Over the Rhine isn't as easily maneuverable by car as here is. There are a lot more smaller streets and a lot more one ways there, while Old Brooklyn, despite its million pot holes is pretty driver friendly. It's also pretty bike friendly too, and that we appreciate living here and liking to bike.

I am going to say that I may say this all very badly because I don't usually talk about race on the blog, but one of the major learning things from being where we were in the city compared to where we normally live was that we were no longer the majority race. My kids noticed it right away, and it called to mind that whole issue of being color blind. We really aren't color blind. Being different colors doesn't make one of us better than the other, but we are different colors. So my kids noticed that. And I think it was good for me to have to discuss that with them. I think also, even though I consider myself not to be prejudice about someone of a different color, I think I had to come to grips with what my comfort level was with being around people that were different than me. I think I learned that part of me was scared, and I needed to adjust that and get over it. My kids on the other hand made friends with whomever would willingly play with them and that pretty much meant everyone at the playground that was willing to run circles with them or run the slides backwards. My oldest even made friends with the playground attendant because she was super friendly, to him it never seems to matter if someone is different. He's going to ask you about those differences and in that form a bond with you in doing so.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


I'm 34 officially today. I think overall it was a good little day. The kids were sweet in their birthday moments of wrapping up toys of theirs (H), making me a lego creation (B), or creating a print card (E), or sleeping better finally (S). But even if these graces didn't happen, it was just a good day. I think I realized that one of the things I really enjoy is baking with my kids. So we made some brownies from scratch together and just made them be our celebration cake.

I also went to the craft store, which is another favorite of mine, and I enjoyed that a lot. I like art and making things. Even though I don't think I have the time or talent to be an Etsy shop lady, I do enjoy it. Honestly, its my favorite thing in the world to get a kiwi crate with kids and just see what they create. 

My children, are well, themselves. Helena is loud and emotional about a lot of things and today was no exception. She fought playing soccer with her team, even though she begged to play with her brother last spring. If I ran around with her, and this meant with a baby in the Boba, she would do it, but otherwise she flailed. And maybe this means she's a bit young to be playing, and probably she is. But I think to some extent it's good that its hard for her and even if she gets 30% of what's intended out of it, that is something. (That's her in the pic running in that orange flash.) 

I think its hard to be everything she needs. She's in this phase of I can't. And I wish she wasn't, but she is. I think its her wanting more of me because she has a baby sister that gets a lot of attention and her brother's get a lot of attention with their schooling. I try to make a point to take special walks with her, but sometimes that's not enough and she wants more. And I get that, I do. Sometimes its just hard to give. I do want her to know she is loved though, and I hope she does. 

And I didn't mean for that to be about H but that was where my mind was. I think a lot about my relationships with my girls, just because my own relationship with my own mom is a struggle at times. I want these girls of mine and my boys too, to know they are loved just the way they are. And for some odd reason birthdays make me think of this. 

So here's to 34. I'm hoping for more patience and more I love yous. I am praying for more peace in my restless heart. I want to remember more that I am okay and it's going to be okay. And just to smile at noticing the little things, the way the kids play together, the way the flowers grow, the way my husband walks down a street to meet our crazy crew when we've been at the neighbors. 34, I'm ready. 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

A terrible blogger I am..

I haven't been blogging lately. I've been journaling more and that's okay. For me it's hard to be able to be open about a lot of my stuff that I am going through currently because well it's other people oriented and while I will share with you in person, I'm not sure the it needs to be documented on the internet just now.

I remember in a blogging conference about 2 years ago that the one presenter said that no one is balanced and that occasionally you have to drop a ball. And as long as its not something that is essential that its okay to do. I think that's me right now, I think with the baby I am just not able to keep up with this blog right now and that's got to be okay. I mean it is okay. It may be dissappointing but I'm living life as full as I can and trying to not sacrifice sleep over these extra things.

I wanted to talk more about our Cincy trip, but I just didn't get to do it, and again that's okay. Just know that it was excellent and stretching and we hope to do another month trip next year. I think Indianapolis is the front contender for us to live. Anyone live nearby that would like to visit?

Photo credit: https://maryqop.org 

I want to end with a reflection that I had yesterday post confession.  As I was looking up at the cross, I just kept looking. I guess you could say that I was staring but in thought I guess too. Our church has a crucifix that is centered behind the alter and then has golden beams coming from behind it. It made me think of how tragic and how terrible the cross was really. We think about how terrible anyone innocent dying is, and we cry. And then we think of Jesus dying, completely innocent, dying for us. I mean the actual dying, the suffering is pretty terrible. And yet from that is light, from that is something greater, that we can be redeemed. And maybe I needed that yesterday because there is a lot of heavy in life, and a lot of suffering and a lot of just yuck. But there is light and there is hope through it all. I think I need to remember that, and maybe you do too.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Cincinnati Part 2

So uprooting the family for a month wasn't all fun and games, there was definitely a learning curve and I felt it a lot that first week. We had to learn how to deal without a yard and how deal with less space and less things.  We had to learn the best way to get around the neighborhood.  We had to learn what was the best place for us to go to as family just to get energy out as my three bigger kids have a lot of it. And we had to get used to just a more urban living style than we were used to in Cleveland.

Surprisingly, we didn't actually eat out more than a few times there in an actual restaurant.  But honestly, our family isn't in an eating out in a restaurant state.  We have a baby that barely lets you sit down and a toddler who doesn't really eat full meals and bigger kids that get restless if there isn't somewhere to run immediately after eating.  So we did eat out I think 4 times, and one of those was to Jimmy Johns. We did however, do a decent amount of take out, much more than we would normally because we usually like to keep the budget in tact on a normal month, but we wanted to experience the food the city had to offer, so we did.  I'd like to say I had a particular favorite, but I think we are dessert people so Holtman's Donuts on Vine, and Graeter's Ice Cream, Green Man Twist and Brezel were our favorites for sure. Maybe its just that its easier to do a treat from a shop and eat it in the park for us that these were our destinations of choice.

Being where we were a grocery store like we were used to wasn't in the neighborhood.  There was a small Kroger however, and an open market.  The open market was great for fresh produce and we used it often for that, and fresh baked bread. I think my one regret was not using the open market more for things like meat and cheeses. I have a routine to shop on Mondays and the market was closed on that particular day each week. A lot of things were closed Mondays in Cincy, it was interesting learning that for sure. I probably could have broken my routine, but for some larger buys we checked out Jungle Jim's or went across the river to Newport, KY to where a newer shopping area, containing all the standard box like stores, was.

Something that we looked for right away being the practicing Catholics that we were, was a church to worship in for Sundays. We ended up trying four different churches, there were at least 5 within walking distance of 20 minutes or less, so about 1 mile or less radius of where we were. The first Sunday we ended up at St. Francis Seraph, which was church attached to a friary. It was the closest church to us so we figured why not. Ben enjoyed it the most because there was little boy the exact same age as him and he is a people person to the max. I was sad there wasn't any kneelers in the pews anymore, though the church besides that was beautiful architecturally. The next week we ended up at the cathedral St. Peter in Chains, it was a Saturday mass so it was low key and not very chatty parishioners, but again a beautiful building. The third week we ended up at Old St. Mary's which was by far our favorite church, and we realized that we had attended here a year ago on our passing through.  This time, however, we attended a mass in German.  I thought of my dear friend who just moved to Germany the whole time and how we really are a universal church being Catholic. I highly recommend this parish if you are ever in Cincinnati for a Sunday and need a place to go to mass. The last church we checked out we actually drove to, because it came recommended in its beauty by a friend.  But honestly, I don't think we saw an ugly church the whole time. There was so much richness in the architecture of the churches there, architecture nerd me was pleased to say the least. The last church was called Mother of God Catholic church and it was in Covington, KY. It was covered with art on the inside and was gorgeous, we even had a Stellamaris sighting in it. The only thing I wished we were able to do was go to the earlier mass because somehow we ended up with a contemporary mass, which when Catholics do contemporary means its 1980's all the way with he music. It really didn't fit the grandness of the place and I kept thinking about the great organ not be touched while the guitars in the front took its place.

So I'll leave it at that. Tomorrow is our tenth anniversary, so I'll want to post on that for sure. Peace.