recap of days 153-159/366

So we established with my post from June 1st (that sat in Draft mode for four whole weeks) that June was not any less of a lunatic than any other month this year. 

Let’s use pictures to talk about some highlights (and some absolute junk, too).

On June 1st, we still had 5 chickens. “Still had?” you may be asking. Mmhmm. Still had.

On June 2nd, we watched a movie and when I edited a photo it turned upside down. This is how life feels lately. What are we looking at? WHICH KID IS THAT?!? Do you have more candy again? WHAT. 

On June 3rd, I was awake at WHAT. o’clock, so I got to see fog as the sun rose. It was creepy because one of the middles (I really don’t remember if it was Aiden or Brennan.) said something creepy about creepy fog a day or two before. Thanks, kids.

June 5th – movie with Granma. Y’all. I don’t remember what we watched. Maybe this was when we went to see Alice?!? That sounds good!
On June 6th, I  leaned the house like a crazy person amd made two separate meals for supper. Granma spent the night. I almost got a picture of Wild Henny and her *surprise* chick. Total chicken tally at this point: seven. 


On June 7th, Jonathan had surgery on his finger. He was an add-on, so we got to the hospital at 8 and waited until almost 2 for his surgery. It was a weird day. 

153/366 :: hey june

From June 1st [with updates in brackets!]:

We’re kicking off June in high style – saying goodbye to the trauma tumor that formed on the tip of Jonathan’s smashed finger as it pretended to heal (for four months now). 

Just kidding.

 Jonathan just wandered out here to tell me that it’s not happening today and he’s not finished yet. This is when I need to be able to reliably use emoticons in blog posts. Or I guess I could take selfies of all the faces I’m making as I type. VIDEO. This is why I should vlog! 

I’m going to go back to outlining June plans and I’m going to pretend like my husband did not just walk past me and say “He says the best option is to amputate the tip of my finger.” Y’ALL.

Y’all. 

PEOPLE. 

*deep breath*

We’re off school until the 13th-ish. I’ve got a general materials plan but still don’t have the books we’re using so I’m kinda ambivalent… I’m looking forward to what we’ll study, but… well… I like to pretend like I have a better plan than is possible right now. [If we’re gonna get super technical here, I still don’t have all the books or the whole plan, but we sure have managed to get ten days done for June. Ish. Not as… well, not as according to plan as I wanted, but definitely mostly okay based on Plan, like, G. Or something like that.]

 I spent time today [seriously, sitting in the waiting area at the doctor’s office] checking for free Kindle versions of books we’ll read this next year. Lots and lots and lots of classics are technically public domain, so there are digitized versions for free. They usually don’t have pictures and, well, they’re digital. But it’s better than not having them. I can buy great copies of the books we like the most. We have lots and lots of “real” books at our house, so I don’t worry about missing that tactile experience. I’ve damaged too many books to not appreciate cloud-based storage options and digital retrieval. 

The kids have passed around a cold this week. I *think* they’re on the mend. I’m going to spray random stuff with vinegar water and change sheets (again) today. [We passed it around one more time then around Annie’s eye swelled up like WHAT and then her cheek swelled and I took her to the doctor on the 17th and she was on antibiotics for 10 days. She started getting better after 2 doses. Whew. It was creepy and potentially very dangerous, so I’m glad it’s over.]

The chicken coop is just about ready. I want to paint it. I got actual rosemary and lavendar plants to put in planters by the coop to jumpstart the herb garden/ natural pest control. [I’ve added basil to the planters and let “Paint the chicken coop.” slide completely off my Give a Hoot list.]

I typed about half of this post in the waiting area at the doctor’s office, then we headed home and now I’m on the couch. There are so many things I want to get done RIGHT NOW. But I feel kind of bowled over. [And the feeling did.not.stop. all freaking month.]

132/366 :: mmkay may

May has been weird, but not as mean as March or April. Or February (which was mostly sickly). 

I posted at thebarntales today – every year I try to take “real” pictures of the kids on a day near Mother’s Day… this year it was Friday, and it was crazy. But I loved it. 

We finished formal instruction for the year! We have some project days to finish up this week and next week we’ll do lots of reading and try some journaling. There will also be board games, because following directions and doing basic math keeps the kids from completely losing their minds. But we’ve got about a month to breathe and play and build a fresh daily routine and finish school plans. 

122/366 :: may day

I wrote 500 words about canceling Netflix, but I deleted them. And I was British-spelling “canceling.” I read lots of British English, so I like adding letters that Americans don’t typically use to words that just look WRONG otherwise. Canceling. Cancelling.

I must really need to say something, because I keep shooting off along rabbit trails, even when I’m just trying to think about what to write. It’s a sort of Bilbo-as-a-tea-kettle scenario over here – I am roiling and could absolutely shriek at any moment. It’s mostly not-bad, but life has been heavy lately so the pressure is really on.

So, I broke up with Netflix. I am not sure if I have mentioned it in a published post or not, but I also broke up with the kids’ toys. It seems like I did mention that, because I vaguely recall using our thumbs-down Instagram post image. But, y’all, what I really need to break up with is our lack of discipline, some anger issues, my dependence on high fructose corn syrup & caffeine, and … lots of other things.

And I just can’t. I am at my wits’ end and I feel like I’m drowning and what I keep coming back to is that God knows. He equips us. You know how much I like systems and reminders and signs, right? I have been thinking for a while that we need Bible verses to help us, as a family, stay on track with loving each other and forgiving each other and trusting that God just knows. We are safe, we can grow, life is hard, we can be okay.

After thinking about it for probably a week, I pulled together some Bible verses, paraphrased them, reduced them to 1-4 words each, color-coded some signs, and made pony-bead-and-chenille-stick bracelets (I don’t say “pipe cleaners” anymore because we have actual pipe-cleaning chenille sticks, and they are crazy scratchy).

Anyway.

While I was explaining to everyone what in the WORLD was going on, I kept calling everything our rainbow promise. When I think about rainbows, I think about how God keeps his promises. I’ve got it that the rainbow is technically a promise simply to never flood the whole Earth again. But. In a big-picture sense, it’s about making and keeping promises. It’s about being able to trust God.

I have been angry, yelling, frazzled Mom for longer than I care to admit. I can feel myself being absolutely NOT my best me. I could be worse. I could be a lot worse. But forget “could be worse!” – I don’t want to be like this, not for another minute throughout the rest of my life. Dealing with anxiety and depression is a constant battle. Motherhood is HARD. Life is crazy. But it’s also very beautiful and full of opportunity.

The overall promise I’m clinging to is 1st John 4:18. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” (ESV) I’m so tired of feeling like all I’m doing is punishing my kids and punishing myself and looking for the next crazy battle. I want my heart to change. I want to help my kids be the best they can be. To get there, I must rely on God’s love. His good and perfect love.

Our rainbow promise bracelets – the Bible verses I’ve pulled together – the signs up all over the house (we probably need more of the bigger one, srsly)… they’re reminders that the battle belongs to God and God always wins. I want us to make choices without using fear as a motivator or a guide. I don’t want to be overly abrasive out of fear that my children won’t act “right” when they’re older. I don’t want fear to be a part of our family relationship dynamic. I want us to choose to let God perfect us in love. 

120/366 :: end of April

Well. 

April was not better than March.

Let’s focus on some fun, good stuff:


We moved the chicken crate downstairs, where the coop is. We started the coop and Appy framed the roof and that’s as far as we’ve gotten.


Quinn overcame his… not fear, not dislike… creeped-out-ness (basically) and has become the master chicken wrangler. THIS AFTERNOON. In the space of about 30 minutes. 


We had lunch with my aunt (YAY!!), between Annie’s EEG appointment and her clinic visit. Her tests have been normal so we’re just hanging in there at this point, hoping for no more trouble. 


We finally got to go to the botanical gardens again. 


I did about half an hour of writing work for a project. Until this week, I was not confident that I have enough to say to make this project work. But after that one successful writing session, I have been able to trust that eventually the words will come out, and eventually it will all just work. 

Feared thing first, as Natalie Norton recommends. Feared thing first. 

Basically this post is all about feared things turning out okay. We’re up against one thing that is getting worse (hopefully just before it gets better): obedience bootcamp.

Nah, it’s not really bootcamp. Basically I have been yelling my head off and I have run out of convenient threats, so I’m kinda flailing, looking for SOMETHING that will help refresh our interactions. I have been praying hard and have been transparent with the kids about how disrespected and frustrated I feel. We built new chore charts – they’ve worked to advantage two days out of the last two weeks, so not a total loss. But we all have some bad habits that need to head out the door.

We don’t want to have to do anything anymore drastic than what’s been done (most of the toys are in the storage building, and we spend an awful lot of time on the couch or around the table, having meetings about things like quarreling and honor and being a jerk and cooperation and teamwork and counting to 15 slowly while we hug so that we engage our prefrontal cortex…). But. We might be about to lose the TV cables. (And Netflix.) 


Well. That’s a side view of the tip of the April iceburg. We’ve got to make it through Saturday. Then it will be May. May will be good. YES IT WILL. We will finish school work until mid-June and go pick strawberries (probably) and … Mother’s Day and DadDad’s birthday… we’ll figure it out. All the good things!

98/366 :: fiery-boy turns seven

 Not pleased about being still for a birthday portrait:  

he didn’t believe me that he was making a rainbow
  

whenhe was excited about a birthday photo because he had decided to try to block me with his foot:

his cake, and the look on his face when he realized I was talking about the SEVENTH Star Wars film when I said his Star Wars birthday movie wasn’t here yet (I don’t know what he thought I was talking about, but he kept shrugging it off like”Whatever!” until DadDad explained).   
 

92/366

Jonathan went with us for Annie’s meet-the-neurologist clinic visit yesterday. 

   
 
We’re going to start a very low dose of a medicine to prevent seizures. It should have very few side effects (maybe none). She’ll take it for two years. 

We’ll go back on April 28th to see the doctor again and get an EEG, and we have an appointment for a MRI on April 11th. WHAT WE HOPE is that the EEG and MRI are both normal and that Ann doesn’t have another episode, and no ill effects from the medicine. That way we stick to this course for 2 years and we’re done. If something shows up in a scan or if she seizes again or has trouble with the meds, then we have to keep working to find answers and appropriate treatment. 

  
We picked up the prescription last night but waited until this morning to start. We just did dose two of 1460. I mean. If she takes it for precisely twoyears and   nothing changes, it would be 1460 doses. I know it can change. It’ll change as she gains weight, even. And I know I won’t always think about it this way. But right now, I feel the days stretching out before us.

God knows. 

—–

In other news, Brennan made a notebook today. She did most of the work. She probably could have done more of it. And I will let her do more next time, and let it be all her very own wonderful work.  

 

Aiden did the best selfie ever and was like, “I TOOK A GREAT PICTURE OF ME!” His 7th birthday is Wednesday. I might be confused about how that happened, sort of but not really. I’m more confused about how we have all survived.  

 
Quinn was going to help me get pictures of the chicks in the cardboard box to show how they’ve grown, but we had trouble. The chicks can hop out of the box. And I had to Really Clean the cage today. So we forgot pictures. 

 

88/366 :: proper nouns

  
I went through an extended phase during which I refused to capitalize most words unless I was doing a formal writing assignment. But I would catch myself thinking about Ideas in capitals, as a particular sort of emphasis.  

 I laughed at myself today because I was thinking about things in capital letters. I was The Driver and saw The Blue Truck and then went with Pop to The Other Place. He showed me some projects he’s been working on – he’s cleared some brush and the forestry service has done controlled burns in a few spots.  


  Last year we were at Mom’s, I think, based on some Facebook posts. And two years ago I was on a Girl Beach Trip with my girls, Mom, my aunt and cousins, and Granny.  

 

81/366 :: a concert, in Instagram posts and additional photos

I was a hot date last night. No. Really. I’m laughing but I’m serious.

Jonathan looked me full in the face before we left and said, “I wish we could just go get dessert and NOT GO to the concert.” I might have socked him in the arm and basically told him I was going to the concert even if I had to go alone. 

  

There was a “When does the show start?” information conflict, but we left in plenty of time to see the main act (and we made it well before the show started anyway). I had credit on my Starbucks card so we planned to stop and pick up coffee. When a concert doesn’t start until almost-kid-bedtime and the venue is 45 minutes (or an hour and a half, depending on traffic) from home, coffee at 6pm is a GREAT IDEA. 

[I would like to pause the narrative to interject this: when I got ready to go to the Finnish metal concert, I curled my hair and put on makeup and dressed in a manner which was, once upon a time, totally normal for me. I’ve always been too lazy to do it ALL the time. But getting ready last night was kind of like a big hug from an old friend. I felt more like I LOOKED LIKE ME than I have in a very long time. We went to a rock themed Halloween party and I dressed about like this and was all “Yeah. I’m just me.” and we all laughed. BUT REALLY. … … Then we pulled into the Alabaster Starbucks parking lot and I got out of our minivan and thought “OOOOOOOH…. do I look like I’m trying too hard to be cool?!?” Spoiler alert: nobody knows me so nobody thought anything about it. At any point in the evening. Duh. Social anxiety.]

 

As reported, I marched into Starbucks with my phone (but without my wallet) and placed our order and then basically couldn’t pay for our drinks. It was a computer error so they comped the drinks, but I made all five of the people working laugh with my “We’re on a mission to have a miserable night!” story. 

I knew exactly where we were going, but was not sure where would be the best spot to try to park. I had to Mom Voice to boss Jonathan to acceptable-to-me parking. 

WE MADE IT. We found the entrance. The tickets on my phone worked. We got wristbands and found restrooms and saw a table with a girl selling EARPLUGS.

I’ll just go ahead and tell you: our mission to have a terrible time failed.

  

(Coffee update: They ran it through as a promotional offer so the app basically gave me a receipt and I could tip but it didn’t pull the coffee cost out of my card balance, just the tip.)

Well. We did kind of have obnoxious trouble.

We were at the back of the floor section (against the railing), and one guy kept getting jostled into me from the side (he did try to stay back) and we had two different guys in front of us who would sort of drift backward and be RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME but have plenty of space to move up and not be in any danger of touching anyone. I think I was just too short to be noticed. Because when I would yell or clap they would sort of move up. And then finally they each just moved.

  
A man taller than Jonathan stood in front of me at one point during the first act. SO I MISSED THE NIGHTWISH VOCALIST/BASS PLAYER WALKING ON STAGE to sing with Delain until he started singing. I maybe punched Jonathan in the arm again. With love. Because we were in the same building as his favorite band.

Bathroom mirror selfie. This was from between the first and second acts. 

  

   
Sonata Arctica played second. They were pretty good and the singer was hilarious.

Then. 

Nightwish.  

 
  

Their set lasted almost 2 hours and I enjoyed every minute of it. 

Until I realized they were really finished. 

Then I was like “WHEN IS IT GONNA HAPPEN AGAIN?!”

—–

We made it home before 12:30. Which is way past this momma’s bedtime. I’m dragging today. We did an hour of history reading and I said, “Let’s take a break!” That was 3 hours ago.