Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Thy Word

This is a pattern for cross stitch by Paula Vaughan. I started it almost two years ago, and it got put on hold whenever my sewing projects ran into my evenings. It was one of those things I worked on when I didn't have anything else to work on, which meant, I hardly ever worked on it.

Now that I have my evenings to "put my feet up" Dale has allowed me to use the time to read or cross stitch, as long as it is relaxing, and I can sit while doing it. I would just post a pic of the leaflet cover, but I am on the wrong puter for that, so here is a link to one I found online.

Thy Word

Monday, April 28, 2008

Wife Swap

A man was sick and tired of going to work every day while his wife stayed home.
He wanted her to see what he went through so he prayed:

"Dear Lord: I go to work every day and put in 8 hours while my wife merely stays at home. I want her to know what I go through. So, please allow her body to switch with mine for a day Amen!"

God, in his infinite wisdom, granted the man's wish.

The next morning, sure enough, the man awoke as a woman He arose,
cooked breakfast for his mate,
Awakened the kids,
Set out their school clothes,
Fed them breakfast,
Packed their lunches,
Drove them to school,
Came home and picked up the dry cleaning,
Took it to the cleaners
And stopped at the bank to make a deposit,
Went grocery shopping,
Then drove home to put away the groceries,
Paid the bills and balanced the check book.
He cleaned the cat's litter box and bathed the dog.

Then, it was already 1P.M.

And he hurried to make the beds,
Do the laundry, vacuum, Dust,
And sweep and mop the kitchen floor.
Ran to the school to pick up the kids and got into an argument with them on the way home.
Set out milk and cookies and got the kids organized to do their homework.
Then, set up the ironing board and watched TV while he did the ironing.
At 4:30 he began peeling potatoes and washing vegetables for salad, breaded the pork chops and snapped fresh beans for supper.

After supper,
He cleaned the kitchen,
Ran the dishwasher,
Folded laundry,
Bathed the kids,
And put them to bed.

At 9 P.M ..

He was exhausted and, though his daily chores weren't finished, he went to bed where he was expected to make love, which he managed to get through without complaint.

The next morning, he awoke and immediately knelt by the bed and said: -
"Lord, I don't know what I was thinking.I was so wrong to envy my wife's being able to stay home all day. Please, Oh! Please, let us trade back. Amen!"

The Lord, in His infinite wisdom, replied:
"My son, I feel you have learned your lesson and I will be happy to change things back to the way they were. You'll just have to wait 9 months.........You got pregnant last night."

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Hair, Flowers, and the Garden

I love playing with the girls' hair. I don't know how anyone can say long hair is frumpy or boring. Here are a few of the styles we love to do around here: (They are much easier than they look! And they are excellent for keeping hair back out of their faces):

Recently my mother bought us one of those old fasioned oilclothes for our table. I have been wanting one forever, and she suprised me by ordering it. I found some pretty silk flowers I had in storage and did the following arrangement:

Of course with spring, there is the garden planning and plowing. Our good neighbor does the plowing for us. Here is the result of his thoughtfulness:

You can't really see it in the picture, but our fruit trees that we planted last year are budding nicely. We won't get fruit off them this year, *maybe* next year. We planted some blueberry bushes too this year, but I'll post a pic later of those.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Craziness, Moodiness, Busyness

That about sums it up here. Our schedule has been crazy lately. I mean the "at home" schedule. We are in the throes of our end of the year projects for school, planning our gardens, ordering books for next term, etc. Not to mention the usual hum of a family full of active children.

Moodiness... yeah, that's me. I have been in what my mom lovingly calls a "funk" since the last post. It seems I am entering a new phase to grieving. I am uncertain what to label it. It involves a wide swing of emotions (as if it didn't before) but it seems to be getting worse, not better. I have had more crying and meltdowns in the last week than I have had in the last month, it seems. I continue to have very vivid flashback and memories of Aaron, and when we found out he had died, and the ugly aftermath. The more we get into spring, the more I brace myself against it. I don't want to get on with life yet, I don't want to move forward, I don't want embrace spring. I'm not ready to "let go" yet, if that makes any sense.

Busyness... oh, the normal routines of homeschooling, laundry, cleaning, cooking, and now a new dimension has been added in my mornings as I have been hanging out laundry. I know, that doesn't seem like a big deal. It is fine, I don't mind it, believe me. But It takes about half an hour or so, depending on how much there is that day. Mornings are extremely busy, so I have had to adapt to that in the schedule. Mornings are and intense mixture of whatever I need to do with the kids for school, laundry, kitchen clean up from breakfast, etc. In the afternoons, I try to do less intensive activities like mending or sewing. When supper is over, my day is pretty much done for now. Dale continues to enforce my "feet up" time in the evenings. In fact, due to the rough past week, he has started enforcing that when he gets home. Anything that isn't done by then has to wait. Oh, and on top of all of that, I have been potty training Jerusha.

Not that I mind. After pushing, pushing, pushing for several weeks, I have seen the ugly effects of that so I am trying to be good about pacing things out more, and not feeling guilty for taking the time for myself.

I still have a hard time with brain work. Seriously, this bothers me. It takes all manner of mental gymnastics to orchestrate school, research work on the computer, music practice, sewing projects, sharing whatever reading books they need to for a lesson, etc. And that is before lunch. After lunch, if I am organized in the morning, the children can do their individual work, mostly without me. Mondays are the worst though, because that is naturally a high organizational day for me. I plan the week's menu, so I can do up the shopping list. I plan a good portion of the schoolwork for the week, though not all of it. I try and catch up on laundry form the weekend, and email. I work up any thematic unit study pages we need that week. That is a lot of brain work for someone like me. I am definitely scatterbrained these days.

It takes me twice as much brain power to do anything compared to what it used to take. If I have to repeat myself or do any kind of organizational acrobatics if something changes, then it really tires me out, makes me very cranky, etc. I find I get overwhelmed very easily now. What used to be welcome challenges in the schedule are now something akin to emotional bombs. Can you say , "critical mass" ?

On the bright side, I am still working on our matching dresses for church, and enjoying it. I can tell, because I keep bemoaning the fact that I am not getting in as much sewing time as I want. I am also enjoying music playing and such still, and again, have the same happy problem as with the sewing. In fact, on the immediate future list for music is : Sunday morning two of my children and I will be doing an instrumental trio. Benjamin on the piano, Elizabeth on the recorder, and me on the flute. Sunday night Elizabeth has a flute solo. I have a special offertory almost ready, and started on another. We are working on a family song. I am also almost ready with a violin solo.

We are busy, to be sure. Not a moment goes by that my thoughts aren't on Aaron. I can't help but wonder what milestones he may have hit by now. Things don't really feel "normal" yet. It is too soon to expect that. But at least I can function with some grace and confidence now, even if it all still seems meaningless sometimes. I still resist the changing of the seasons, which is ridiculous I know. It is strange that even amidst the sorrow there is God's peace. And I know some of these posts seem so dark and so sad, but know that there is no doubt in my mind that God's love hasn't ceased, His provision is evident. He is my Healer, My Counsellor. And yes, He doeth all things well.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Great Blog I Read This Afternoon

The Pipers have a wonderful section in their blog about how to help a grieving friend. She articulates much of what a grieving mother experiences, and doesn't know how to explain it to others. I have added a link on the side bar you can click on if you are interested. I found the site through Raising Arrows.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

First Time This Season

Oh yes! Ihung out laundry for the first time this year! Woohoo! Now, that must be a sure sign of cabin fever-- getting excited about that. In fact, this morning I was waiting with bated breath for the washer to stop just so I could stuff on the lines. Ahhhh... tomorrow and Friday look like more of the same, only a few degrees warmer.

Makes me think of some spring cleaning. Here is what projects and cleaning I would like to see done this season:
-Plant the vegetable garden
-Plant a memorial garden
-sewing, sewing, and more sewing (you don't want to see THAT list!)
-Wash curtains
-Wash windows
-Go through all the clothes in storage and in use
-Sort and get rid of a bunch of the stuff in the basement
-Finish Dale's office (it is almost done.. but not quite)
-Plant the blueberry bushes (that is actually on the list for tomorrow)
-Put up the tetherball set

That is all I can think of for now. We'll see how much we really get done. We ordered some new school books for next term today too, so I'll all that to organize once we are done with what we have. I am seriously thinking about having the children do a few things during the summer. Like my mom pointed out, usually by July they are looking for things to do. I'll be glad to help them out with that. :)

Made a little progress on the girls' pinafore dresses. I made a small mistake with the lace collars yesterday that I had to fix today, so that ate up some time. Overall, I like how they are coming together. Maybe these won't be too bad to do afterall.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Now honestly....

We are "teetotalers" here but even I got a charge out of this.

If you were alive around 1919 you might have seen this slogan:

Now, really, would you qive up drinking?

(For the record, Dale sent this to me from work. :) )

Monday, April 14, 2008

Monday Madness

Yesterday was the usual.. church, rest in the afternoon, then church in the evening again. I almost didn't make it to the evening service. I was feel particularly emotional and edgy and experiencing something like sensory overload. At the last minute I went over and played piano and sat through service. I played with a 'tude, I thought, but after a couple of the ladies complimented my playing. Go figure.

Today was more of the same with the usual Monday craziness thrown in. Mondays are a high organizational day. I do the menu for the week, the shopping list, a major pile of laundry, and a bunch of printing up and planning for the week's schooling. Some weeks there is more to do than others, but there is always some. I have tried to do some of it on Saturdays, but obviously, that doesn't always work out. All this organizing and planning ahead a bit is helpful later, but very taxing on the brain and I feel like I spend the first half the day being pulled in at least 6 different directions.

I planned a somewhat lighter day for school today, and that seemed to help my end of things at least. I still didn't accomplish everything I wanted to do, but so what? I would have done more after supper, but I was encouraged by Dale (who was correctly reading my tension level as "high") to call it day and rest and relax for the evening. I have to say, I didn't put up any fuss over it. To tell the truth, I have been looking forward to this time all day. I am so mentally disjointed, and an emotional time bomb right now.

I was reading in a little booklet a kind hearted friend sent me. It has several uplifting poems in it. Here is the beginning two stanzas of one that particularly blessed me.

By: Catherine Janssen

"When broken dreams had brought me down so humbly on my knees,
I gathered all the faith it took to calm my troubled seas.

When hope seemed lost, it would return just when I'd need it most,
And I knew from whence it came- the hand of the Heavenly Host."

I was reading from The Valley of Vision this morning. I read several of the prayers in effort to calm my turbulent emotions. One line read:
"Thou hast given me the ordinance of song as a means of grace..." That is what I have felt like since the Lord returned my joy in music. When I sit and have time to just play and enjoy it, I can feel the encouragement, and grace of the Lord. What a blessing that is.

I never did get a chance to play at all today, but maybe, in light of my dark mood, I should have just dropped everything and played until I felt better. I didn't, and won't now, but I will certainly make time tomorrow. I have a violin piece and a special piano piece I am working on. Not to mention the hundreds of hymns that are available to play and experiment with in the hymnal.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Slowing Things Down for Today

We did a bunch of regular cleaning this morning, and then after lunch I went over to church to practice for a while. Well, now I am just taking it easy and resting. I just felt like I needed some regrouping time today. I have been pushing and pushing for the last several weeks and decided that when you are making lunch and crying your eyes out, it is time to take a break. Aren't I a genius? ( NOT!)

It is in the middle 60's here today and very clouzy out. The thunder and lightening storm last night was our first for the season, and didn't last very long. It is supposedly cooling off some tonight and over the next few days so we will probably have to start up the woodstove again. We let it die out last week because we just didn't need it. The body heat from all the children and baking or cooking was enough for the thermostat in the front room park around 68 to 72 on a daily basis. It did cool off a bit overnight, but never enough for our furnace to trip on. We have that as a back up in case the wood supply gives out or it gets too cold in the house.

I was planning on getting a couple hours of sewing in today, but it will be the Monday, and I know I will be more productive after a good rest this weekend. I can rest about half a day today, and about half tomorrow. That works for me! So, the only thing on my agenda right now is finishing this up and working on some cross stitch. Oh, could you pass the bonbons please?

Homeschooling Fun

Anyone interested in doing a unit study on Benjamin Franklin? We started one last week and WOW there are lots of hits on Google. I got several free printables... worksheets with Q & A's, wordscrambles, picture drawing, crosswords, and matching games. The very best thing was a hit on a PBS site that had a video simulation about making the kite and a lightening rod work. Of course they have all manner of warnings not to try it in real life, as it is very very dangerous. :) Here is the link: (we had lots of fun with this!)


Friday, April 11, 2008

Husband of the Week

Just as I was signing in to do a new post I heard this noise outside... THUNDER??? Wow. It IS spring, eh? So, depending on what this little storm does, I may have to sign off here quickly.

Another week has passed. Busy as usual, full of ups and downs, as usual. I hit what we call "critical mass" this afternoon around lunchtime. I was getting so flustered and frustrated over everything. I have been running full bore just to keep on on the basics, and still not quite doing it. Never mind the "extras" that I see that I would like to do. It still takes quite a bit of energy to focus to get things done, but that is getting better. It seems like I spend a lot of time and energy redoing or re-instructing kids.
"Don't forget to put the stool back when you are done so no one will trip over it" (this is repeated ad nauseum).
"Jerusha, no honey, you can't play in the flour."
"Don't forget to shut the basement door when you come up." (repeated ad naseum)
"Put your shoes away" (repeated ad nauseum)
"Hangs your clothes neatly, so I don't have to re-iron them!" (repeated ad nauseum)
"Jerusha, don't take that from Caleb." (ad nauseum)
"Put your clothes away neatly so your dresser drawers will shut" (repeated ad nauseum)
"Jerusha, don't touch that" (again ad nauseum)
You get the idea here.
Anyway, Dale called me on lunch hour and I must have sounded particularly tense because he ordered me to stop doing what I was doing (folding laundry) and to eat lunch (it was 1:30 and I had gotten the littles down for naps a few minutes before). Then he laid down the law, in no uncertain terms. I was to lay down, or rest with my feet up until Jerusha got up from her nap. I hoped she would take one of her abbreviated versions, but alas, she slept until after he got home from work! I admit I was up and about before she got up, but I did rest for a couple hours. It did help. I even snoozed on the couch for about 15 or 20 minutes while the children were finishing their schoolwork.

What does all this have to do with the title? Well, a lot when you think about it. But the reason why he is getting a very special mention right now is because he volunteered to stop at JoAnn's for me since he is so close to it at work. That way I don't have to take the time to drive all the way up there for a few things that he is willing to pick up. Not only that; I needed lace. Poor fellow... by the time he got through figuring out the difference of flat lace and gathered and eyelet and whatnot... he must have had a headache. He picked out some very nice lace, I have to say. He also got me some interfacing (which he is pretty well versed at by now) and some bias tape. Isn't he a saint? So, I have no excuse but to get to the sewing.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Jerusha's Jumper and what's next....

Here is the little screamin Mimi, um, I mean Jerusha, in her new jumper. Oh, and "new" church shoes too. We got them last Saturday while out at the thrift store. She was, and still is, thrilled about them.

Next on the sewing table is our matching church dresses, a table cloth to hem for the kitchen table, and further down the line bloomers and/or slips for the girls.

I need some lace right off for the girls pinafore dresses so I am at a stand still after doing all that cutting out the other day. However, I got out some fabric squares I cut out a long time ago and started sewing them into Nine-patch blocks. At least SOMETHING is getting done. Also started helping Elizabeth with her jumper. She did one shoulder seam, and had to rip it out. I felt bad for her, but like in all of life, you "rip what you sew". :P

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Tulips and Peepers

For the last several nights I have heard peepers out back. The sound of that makes me think of my mom's house. Except..not so loud. The peepers she has would deafen you. Ours are much more pleasant to listen to. Their evening song blends in nicely with the warming air, lulling you to sleep. I also couldn't help but notice the tulips coming up along the church walkway. Ahhh spring.

Except something is missing. I don't feel the usual exuberance. In fact, the more Spring-y things get, the more resistant I am to embrace it. I just don't feel ready. Dale said it could be a reluctance to have more distance between myself and Aaron as afar as time and events go. That could be. The change of "his" season to spring marks yet more passage of time. The more time that passes it seems like I am more and more the only one that even remembers his birth and death. I know it isn't going to make an impact on others as it does to me. I understand that, and don't expect anyone else to really grieve like I do, or miss him like I do. It isn't that. It is just seems like others conveniently overlook the whole situation and babble on and on about trivial stuff that I couldn't care less about. Yes, I am back doing music. That doesn't mean I am "over it". Nor is it a cover up for how I am feeling. I am doing music again because now it seems right. It's as simple as that. It doesn't take away any of the pain, nor does it add to it. But it is enjoyable again.

I am still in some pretty deep grieving and it disturbs me to think that other people may assume that I am not bothered by Aaron's death anymore, or that it is on the back burner of my mind. Believe me, he is not. Everyday he is at the front of my memory and thoughts. This morning while in the shower I was thinking again that I should be listening for the cry of a baby; they always seem to be hungry when mama is in the shower or just sitting down to eat. Or when working on schooling, or doing dishes, or cutting out a bunch of fabric, that I should have been interrupted by a hungry baby, or changing his diaper, or rocking him, or playing with him. I know from experience the complications of homeschooling, baking, washing clothes, doing ANYTHING with a baby in the house. I miss it. Especially when I keep thinking that Aaron "should" be here cooing, and smiling, maybe starting to roll over, or whatever milestones he may have reached by 3 1/2 months.

So, I try to keep busy to help keep my mind off of those things. I'd like to say it is working, but the only thing it is accomplishing is keeping the fidgets away.

Dale fears I am overdoing and continues to encourage me to take "alone time" in the evenings. I obey, and never have regretted it. I usually don't realize it until I get in my "safe place" with my feet up and the cross stitching out, how much I needed to get away for a little while.

Tonight I was pondering all of this and thinking ahead that since Spring has sprung, I should start thinking about the garden. Some of the children have already requested certain crops. Pumpkins seem to be very popular this year. I am planning a memorial garden too, and the girls asked if they could plant petunias. Why not? I was looking through a magazine this evening and came across a memorial resin stone that said: "Gone yet not forgotten, although we are apart, God has you in his keeping, I have you in my heart." Well, that started a flood of tears I haven't had in a while. I just cried and cried, and couldn't stop! Dale heard me and came in to hold me and let me just cry it out. After I got under control we were able to chat a bit. I'm glad I have him!

On a more practical note, I finished Jerusha's jumper and she wore it today. She was well pleased with it. I will post a pic tomorrow, as Dale is on the puter with the pics on it. I also started cutting out the twins' pinafore dresses for our matching outfits. I will sew those up first, then move onto Jerusha's dress, then mine. When I get them all completed we'll have Dale take a pic and we'll post it here.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Canned or fresh?

If I get a choice between canned or fresh, I choose fresh everytime. I don't mean just for vegetables either. Canned music... ptooey. I don't care for it. I was in a church once and they had their soloist singing to prerecorded music. It was awful. The music, not the singer. She had a sweet voice that was ruined by canned music. It was too bad. There is such a thing as canned prayers, or prayers that are recited over and over from a prayer book. I have always thought of that as vain repition, and never have been endeared to it.

However, spiritual growth is a continual process, and I discovered a book of prayers that I am loving. Now, all you hard-core fundamental baptists don't go gasping and thinking me a heretic. Let me explain!

The book is called "The Valley of Vision". The preface states the prayers in the book are from the Puritans. I bought this book last summer when ordering school books. I saw a recommendation in a Non-puritan but Christian publication for it, and thought "why not?". It wasn't expensive, and at the very least, could be used as some sort of tool for teaching literature.

The book, along with boxes of school stuff arrived in due time. I organized the school books for when we started our first term, and put the prayer book in our room, and promptly ignored, then forgot about it. It wasn't intentional, I was just looking for a quiet moment to open it up and enjoy it.

Fast forward to Christmas, when Aaron died. I found I couldn't pray, at least it seemed like it. I wasn't bitter or mad at God. I just coulnd't find the words to express what I was feeling. Some time went by before I could even utter some of David's prayers taken from the Psalms.

One day I found that book of prayers. Actually it was only a couple weeks ago. I opened it and started reading. What wonderful words, given in what sounded like poetry to me! I read one or two over prayerfully, adding my own words, taking out what didn't apply, but using what was in the book as a springboard, so to speak. I know that at one time I would have NEVER even considered using a prayer book. But let me just honestly say, that right now, it is wonderful. It helps me to be ABLE to pray. I can read and pray the words with my heart, just like I have done with the Psalms many times. I don't see anything wrong with it. It is not like I am repeating them as a mantra for salvation or to earn favor with God. I am using it to help bear my heart to the Lord. And like I said, I add in what applies to my situation. Isn't it better to have help from a prayer book, than to not pray at all?

I do recommend this book, "The Valley of Vision". Even if you don't use it as a prayer book, the prayers are like beautiful poetry. They really get your mind stayed on Jesus.

So, though I prefer fresh, there are times that canned is needed. Sometimes canned veggies are all that are available. Sometimes canned music can be a blessing if there are no musicians to acompany the singer (providing the canned music is godly). And sometimes, a prayer book can be the help I need when communicating with God.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

What Was I Thinking? Part 2

Yesterday and today were more very busy days. We pushed to get some cleaning done yesterday, along with some extra baking, and then there was the usual laundry, schoolwork, chores, cooking, etc. I also cut out and started working on a jumper for Jerusha. All the cleaning and extra baking was because today we were planning on a family outing to run errands.

Dale and a business meeting over at church this morning, then we went out after lunch, first to a thrift store. We were in hot pursuit of some much needed church shoes for several of the children, and a couple pairs of sneakers. We also let the girls each get a dollie dress, and the boys each a straw cowboy hat. They were thrilled with their little treats. I tried to find some suit coats for the boys, but that was a total flop. Oh well.. had to look while we were there. We then went to Walmart's and that is where the "what was I thinking part 2" comes into play. The girls and I found some fabric we fell in love with for our matching dresses. I also allowed Esther to pick out some fabric for her next sewing project...a jumper for everyday wear. The pile of fabric that we were to take home and sew up made the lady cutting it out drop her jaw. She then gave me the understatement of the year: "You seem to have quite a sewing project to do!". No kidding lady, you don't know the half of it.

The fabric I got for my skirt and blouse aren't exactly the same as the fabric for the girls' dresses, but it is the same color family with some of the same colors. As soon as I finish Jerusha's jumper I will start on our matching outfits. Lord willing I will have them done before anyone outgrows them! I will post pics when they are all done too. :)

Esther and Elizabeth will be starting their new sewing projects-- jumpers. They will be doing most of the work, but with Mama tutoring them every step of the way. I think they will enjoy making something pretty for themselves. It will mean a lot of hands on time for me, while helping them, but I know it will pay off later.

In case you are keeping tally, on our sewing list for this spring/summer:
Matching church outfits for us ( two pinafore dresses, 1 heirloom type dress, and skirt and blouse); two everyday jumpers for the twins, one jumper for Jerusha, and a short sleeved dressy summer jacket to match a dress I made last summer that I never got around to. That doesn't include slips, or bloomers.

Thank the Lord I cleaned and oiled my machine last night!

After we got home I went over to church to make friends with the piano again and do the florals. I spent much longer than I had intended, but the practicing was going well, and I was actually enjoying myself. No distractions, just time to relax and play and have fun. Doing the florals took longer than I had thought, but it got done and looked pretty decent, if I do say so myself.

So tomorrow morning I will start again as church pianist. Another day, another step. I think the missions conference was the catalyst for me in getting back into doing some music. Whatever the reason, the time feels right again for it.

It was a little hard today as we had to drive past the cemetery twice where Aaron is buried. As we drove by I got a lump in my throat so that I couldn't talk, my eyes welled with tears, and that terrible pull at my heart. It amazes me how such a little soul, with us for such a short time can leave such emptiness in me, and such an indelible print on my heart.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

What Was I Thinking?

I get these bursts of energy and push to get a bunch of stuff done. Then my mind goes into a planning stage... what I want to do for spring cleaning, how I want to clean out and organize all the kids clothes ,what to order for school next term, what music we all need to be practicing, and what is on the sewing lists.

Do you notice what all of those things have in common? None of them are small projects. They are all pretty big and involved. All the "doing" serves a couple of purposes. One is to get things organized and cleaned, obviously. Another is, to occupy my mind with something that takes brain work, but not too much brain work. Just enough to keep my mind busy.

Today I went digging through some of my patterns for the girls. I noticed that they have been growing, and will be needing church dresses in the somewhat near future. One set I think will fit them for a while yet. However, it is my custom to make them all matching dresses at least once a year. I haven't even felt like thinking about sewing, to tell you the truth, except to maybe do a quilt block here or there but even that has been infrequent. The thought of digging out pattern, orchestrating fabric selections, and cutting it all out and then finally sewing it all up... well, that is overwhelming to me right now. However, necessity is beginning to get the upper hand. I figured that as with the music, maybe the same thing will happen with the sewing. Maybe if I just jump in and start, I will find the enjoyment I experienced previously.

So, I gave the twins some choices of patterns. I already picked one out for Jerusha. At her age, I reserve the right to still make that choice for her. Well, my sweet twins picked out a nice pattern, but I groaned and rolled my eyes. OH NO! Pinafore dresses. Great, just great. I swore last year when I struggled getting a set done that I wouldn't do them again. Well, I put the pattern in there thinking that with the other choices there was a good chance they wouldn't pick it. Wrong! I should have known better. The dresses are cute, but it was one of those moments when I wish I could take back my "you pick and and I'll make it" statement. At least whatever I make for myself will be in matching fabric but simple and classy.

I had another headache today, again generating from my sinuses. I was able to take a nap in the afternoon and that seemed to help a great deal. I didn't get all my goals done today. I was planning on using some time after supper for catching up a bit but Dale summarily dismissed me to relax and put my feet up for fear of me overdoing things. Thankfully he has more wisdom than I do in this matter. When I get going I just go until I have a major break down or something. Dale reminds me to pace myself and to remember I still am not up to 100% yet, and I shouldn't expect to be for a while.

School was back to the normal agenda of things. We all got in music practice for a while. That was good. A good example of me going all out would be the fact that I practiced piano, flute, and violin today. I seem to have inherited the "All-or-Nothing" gene.

Something I have been doing everynight is writing in my journal my goals for the next day. I try to limit it to no more than three per day, so they are goals I can easily make, and if I don't, it is okay too. That helps me pace myself. For example, tomorrow my goals are: 1.) Finish the ironing 2.)Cut out a jumper for Jerusha 3.)Clean the bathrooms and vacuum the floor.

Okay, so I snuck in two things in that last one. Supper tomorrow night is sloppy joes on homemade whole wheat bread, spinach salad, and green beans.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Homeschool experiment

For the last couple days we have had very full schedules for school and chores and general everyday stuff. Today, since we were all a bit tired (too say the least!) I tried an experiement with homeschooling. I tried to limit any worksheets. Not that there is anything wrong with worksheets, per se, but my kids usually take to the hands on type of learning much quicker than a worksheet. For the record, they have done their share of worksheet schooling.

So, for today, here is what we did:
MATH: Mighty Mind puzzles, math wraps.
ENGLISH: Charlotte's Web fun puzzles and acrostic poem writing; read-aloud.
HOME EC: Help making quiche for supper, hand sewing (girls), work on quilt (Benjamin)
MUSIC: Instrument practice; wrap about notes
GEOGRAPHY: Coloring sheets on PA. state bird and flower.
BIBLE READING: daily individual reading
SCIENCE: "Tigers" dvd (nature commentary)
SPELLING: oral drills
MEMORY VERSES: oral recitation and drill

I think that is it... at any rate, it went well enough for the most part. I had a wicked splitting sinus headache all day, with varying degrees of dizziness. That is why I am home tonight from church.

I found that today's homeschooling didn't take any less time than the usual. The children seemed to enjoy the break from the normal routine however. It was a bit harder on me, however, trying to keep track of who has done what and working the rotation on the computer (we had an interactive puzzle online to do too). But, everyone got their work done, and it was a pretty fun day overall for them.

Now if I could just get rid of this headache....

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Break Throughs and Break Downs

Such is life. You take several steps forward, then one or two back. Some days it seems like several. Some days maybe half a step. Thankfully, as I look back over the last three months, I see a general trend of moving forward in the grieving process. There are ups, and some very sharp and steep descents, but over all, it seems that things are moving in a healthy direction. Frankly, where I am now, and what I am able to do now, is nowhere I thought I would be. A couple months ago I never would have predicted my walk now. What I mean to say, is that a couple months ago I was completely immobilized with grief, and filled with a great emptiness.. if that makes any sense. Now I am able to do much more than I thought I would be able to at this point.

In fact, for the last week plus a few days I have been on the run from the time I wake up until late at night. First with the preparations for the conference amidst everyday life, then with the conference itself. All the misgivings and uncertainties I had regarding housing missionaries proved to be complete and unadulterated horse-hocky.

It all worked out, as you all and deep down I knew it would. Only about half the family was able to come this time. This worked to my advantage in a couple of obvious ways. One was on the practical side of things in that there wouldn't be as many people to feed and take care of. Though the missionary family was very mannerly, and helpful, you feel the burden of responsibility as hostess. The other way it worked out was that without Mrs. Rooney being there, I wasn't "on" for entertaining, really. My dh and Mr. Rooney chatted for hours and went soul winning and whatnot. But if I wanted to go take a nap I could, without wondering if I should just sit and visit. In fact, it did happen twice that I had opportunity to escape to my bedroom and chill out by myself. One day I even took a nap. :)

I did strike up a friendship with the oldest daughter that came along. She played the piano (VERY well, I might add) for us at the meetings. She also did special music with the kids. She and I did a flute/piano duet and a violin duet on another night.

Therein lies the "Breakthrough" part of this. Up until now I haven't been able to even think about playing any instruments. But with someone to actually play with, I was able to get through that, and enjoy it again. I found out, after taking out a special arrangement book for piano yesterday, that I am very rusty at piano solos. So, I will just take my time and practice something just for the fun of it.

As for the Break Down part, I did have one night after we retired for the night when I just had a good old fashioned cry. There are many times still when the thought of Aaron just causes my heart to drop and my eyes to well with tears. I expect that will last a lifetime, and I am okay with that. It goes back to the disability theory. I am learning to live with this loss, but there will still be times when my limitations are very evident.

Speaking of which, after our wonderful guests left us Monday morning, I kind of had the day off. Dale was still home from work, so he said for me to just rest, relax, regroup. He said that I at least earned the rest of the day off, if not more, after all the work I put in over the last week. So, after doing a little organization for school, a couple loads of laundry, I got into some comfy clothes, and enjoyed a day of mental and physical rest. I can't believe how tired I was, and didn't even realize it until then.

Today I was pretty much back in the saddle, though by the time supper was over I was so overwhelmed with the day that Dale told me to just call it good enough for today and put my feet up for a while. You know how it is.. juggling the schooling, catching up on laundry, orchestrating things mentally: "Benjamin you practice piano, Esther you do the stuff about Pennsylvania, Josiah do the Charlotte's Web unscramble, Elizabeth you read the George Washington book...etc." then switching it all around and making sure you record everything. Whew! Oh yeah, there was bread to make, Home Ec to do, Jerusha to chase, and Caleb to teach as well.

I also had to do some stuff on the computer for school, and home. I got to thinking that the girls are growing fast, and I need to be thinking about some sewing. I dug through my patterns and such and found several options for church dresses. I have to admit that just thinking about tackling that project gives me a headache and overwhelms me to no end.

I have a humongamous pile of laundry to fold and ironing to do. The kids folded all their stuff, but I never got to Dale's and mine. The carpets need vacuuming.. the floors need mopping... but oiy vey! I am out of energy for that today.

Somebody needs to keep reminding me to pace myself and take it slowly. (Yes mom, I hear you!!!! ) I forget and get going and then later pay for it. It must be that "all or nothing" gene.

There is our update for now. I will post a pic of the kids singing together tomorrow. I am on the wrong computer for that right now.