366/366 :: the end of 2016


It’s still Christmas. 

It’s the last night of Hanukkah. 

It’s already 2017 “in the Atlantic Ocean and beyond” (that’s what I told the kids when Brennan got upset about my “You can’t have a bath until next year.” joke before bed…).

I know as well as anybody that a new page in the calendar doesn’t automatically fix what’s not great. 2017 will not magically be better than 2016. We carry all the baggage over with us. 

But in some ways having a new year is good. As Anne Shirley says, it’s fresh with no mistakes in it yet. 

We can move forward and let go of at least some of the junk. Symbolic breaks can be effective. 

324/366 :: a quote from Chesterton’s THE BARBARISM OF BERLIN

These sincere and high-minded peace-lovers are always telling us that citizens no longer settle their quarrels by private violence; and that nations should no longer settle theirs by public violence. They are always telling us that we no longer fight duels; and need not wage wars. In short, they perpetually base their peace proposals on the fact that an ordinary citizen no longer avenges himself with an axe. But how is he prevented from revenging himself with an axe? If he hits his neighbour on the head with the kitchen chopper, what do we do? Do we all join hands, like children playing Mulberry Bush, and say, “We are all responsible for this; but let us hope it will not spread. Let us hope for the happy day when we shall leave off chopping at the man’s head; and when nobody shall ever chop anything for ever and ever.” Do we say, “Let bygones be bygones; why go back to all the dull details with which the business began; who can tell with what sinister motives the man was standing there, within reach of the hatchet?” We do not. We keep the peace in private life by asking for the facts of provocation, and the proper object of punishment. We do go into the dull details; we do enquire into the origins; we do emphatically enquire who it was that hit first.

277?/366 :: tricky statistics

So I read this thing from Nautilus this morning, and I had so many thoughts ranging from YAY to OOPS to *sigh* that I decided to post it here. It’s really not fair to call out STATISTICS for the post title – I think the statistics were probably normal, but they were represented wonkily.

So, thoughts, because I’m trying to get them straight.

1) I WAS WRONG: the benefits of handwriting are there whether you use cursive or manuscript (and the fastest way to write is your personally-developed combination). I couldn’t find the exact science for cursive because it’s not really there. Writing by hand is great for your brain, but it doesn’t matter if you’re writing in cursive or not.

2) Knowing that there’s no additional scientific benefit frees me up to admit that this quoted section of the article represents my deepest feelings on the matter: 

“And I confess I’m old-fashioned enough to think that, regardless of proven cognitive benefits, a good handwriting style is an important and valuable skill, not only when your laptop batteries run out but as an expression of personality and character. I should also say that cursive is a perfectly respectable, and occasionally lovely, style of writing, and children should have the opportunity to learn it if they have the time and inclination.” 

 I think kids should learn both styles and be able to mix them in a way to balance speed and legibility. But. If kids don’t wanna learn (to the point of true frustration) or struggle disproportionately, I think it wouldn’t hurt to take it off the table. 

I think it’s important to have options available so kids can develop interests and skills and … personality pegs. 

3) WE COULD LET OUR TEACHERS OFF THIS HOOK NOW. Oh wait. We can’t. It was already a thing, but now has been built into an Alabama law that pushes the proficiency deadline back to the end of third grade, which is the academic point when I thought kids should start learning cursive. 

Y’all. All the teachers I know wish there was a way to teach all the things without turning kids’ brains into mush. But there’s not. 

And I’m still thinking. 

253/366 :: that time we got 21 eggs in one day from our four chickens (or, this is why schedules seem like such a waste of time)


There was a snake in the coop, and there’s been evidence of rats, and for two whole weeks we got a total of 2 eggs. We killed the snake. No more (fresh) evidence of rats. But still no eggs.

We left the chickens in the coop way later than usual on Tuesday, and ended up with three eggs. I cheered, and left the chickens in the coop longer the next few days. We got two eggs each day. 

Today. We had a plan for today.

Today. After 10:30, we went outside to do a school project. I sent the kids down to check for eggs. Ginger was in a nesting box and Jilly was going in, but when she noticed Quinn she jumped to the door and went completely crazy. They were out of water so I had him open the door. JILLY TOOK OFF LIKE SHE WAS BEING ATTACKED. But everyhen else was like “Welikewater. GETUSWATER.” 

So I followed Jilly. Across the yard to Mimsy and Appy’s house. Where I noticed an egg. And another egg. Aanndd another egg. AND THEN I SAW A LOT OF EGGS. 

We knew Ginger had laid an egg. I found another one near the nest, and three across the minipath. So we were at 5 eggs for the day. There were 16 in the nest. TWENTY ONE EGGS. 

We’ve ended up with 3 broken ones. But still. 

Appy helped grab Jilly off her nest (wearing gloves) and I took her from him and carried her to the coop. Then we collected the eggs from the nest. (Special thanks to Annie for collecting all that moss and leaving it in that basket, because that was perfect to transport the eggs.)

 I put 4 in a nesting box and then had to catch her to shove her in there, because she was not a happy hen and does not communicate in English. Sad. 

I left the hatch open until she would let me touch her without jumping. That was hard for both of us. I didn’t want to get pecked by an angry hen. And she has reason for her trust issues. [Example: I totally went back out there and stole the freshest egg while she was fussing about the Loseter (Say it like rooster but with L, or “Lose ster.” I want him gone but I’m a coward.) getting food from the coop.]

I also “candled” all the eggs to make sure there are no babies. I used my phone flashlight, but they obviously glowed with no dark spots. The kids were so impressed with me, but annoyed because no babies. The next step is checking the eggs for freshness and washing them because they’re nasty. 

But we lost our grip on the day, and it’s past lunch time now. Oh well. What a learning experience!

247/366 (I think?) :: seeds and needs

I planted a few different types of seeds this evening. They all should have gone into the ground three weeks ago or before. But. What I planted in the spring didn’t do what I expected. And there was a prime planting time when no matter how hard I tried, I just was not able to do that work. 

Sometimes we’re outside the ideal time for things, and they still work. 

These seeds may grow, they may bear fruit. They may not. That’s not up to me. At this point, I am responding to a persistent “Just try it.” and I’m kind of shrugging about the whole thing.

We’ll see what happens.



Brennan had another seizure in August, so she went with us to meet Annie’s neurologist on Thursday. He was very encouraging and started her on the same medicine as Annie, at a slightly higher dose because she’s slightly bigger. She had another seizure 7 hours after the first dose. Turns out it’s normal to have increased seizure activity while the medicine reaches a therapeutic level. 

I was angry about it, once the panic eased and the aftermath was handled (all the other kids watched it).

I understand that one dose isn’t magical. But we don’t have any answers or reasons about why the girls are doing this. And I had not gotten the memo that short random seizures are totally fine – just make notes and take video if you can. (Which I do anyway, when I can, because of timestamps.)

I feel like the information floating around for the general public is very different than what people in The Loop are working from. It’s very much the same feeling as dealing with scary crazy pregnancy issues that no one talks about, that healthcare providers shrug and say “That’s normal.” about… 
I’m not trained in medicine, so I don’t know all the things. And I know from being trained as a political scientist that it’s very easy to use the exact same words but mean very different things, unless you deliberately access a common working vocabulary. Like. I can explain to you the difference between state, nation, and country, so that you don’t use those terms interchangeably anymore. I have wondered a lot in the past day how to pick different words to be sure that I’m clear with my questions. What could I have asked that would have gotten “Your child may have more seizures during the next ten days and that’s not abnormal.” as the answer? We’re not having seizures daily or weekly, or at all “regularly,” so “If she has another seizure, that doesn’t invalidate our treatment plan.” didn’t convey enough to me.

We’ll figure this out. Possibly. 


I did a test poster print of one of the images in my shop (shop.meganfloyd.com). I still haven’t written on it because my heart has been so heavy. But I’m excited about this.

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.



*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).


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.