Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Daybook for May 26, 2015

Outside my window... hearing the frogs in our little pond.  It's evening and the kids are in bed, and now I have a chance to write a bit.  

I am thinking... about too many things right now.  We are finishing up the school year and I need to start thinking about planning for the next one, and I just am not motivated.  I am kind of in a rut.  I also want to make some plans to redo the school room as the dining room and get a new table to put in there.  Waiting to finish the school year before thinking of moving furniture around.  The plan is to tear off the wallpaper that was here when we moved in, paint, get laminate flooring put in that room and the den, and put all the school stuff in the living/dining room.  The current school room will get the new table, a china cabinet, and the old radio.  My grandaddy's speakers are too big to move in there, so they will stay with the school stuff... we have to decide if we want to get a different china cabinet or if the one we currently have will work.  Current dining table will go, and the school table will just move in there.  I am having memories of measuring furniture and making a to-scale diagram with my roommate of how we'd arrange furniture in our dorm room for the next year... thinking I need to do the same for this rearrangement of rooms too!

This is where I think we will get the new table from: Simply Southern Home Decor.  I want one that is 7 feet long and 42 inches wide.  Okay, I really want one 8 feet long, but it would be too tight in the room I want it in.  I want the basic style, the first one at that link, with five chairs and a bench for one long side of the table.  And I want to paint the room grey with bright white chair rail and crown molding.

I am also wanting to plan some trips to the Creative Discovery Museum this summer, because we have a membership pass for all of 2015.  And I want to take the kids to play in the fountains downtown for an end of the school year party, maybe get together with some other homeschooling families to do that in a couple weeks when we are all done.

Baby Tim, less than 2 months old.  He was disgruntled in all of his first holiday photos.  Here, he plays baby Jesus with our mom holding him in the church nursery pageant.  I am considering captioning this one with both "Early Vocational Sign" and "I hate halos!!!" 

And I am thinking about my brother's ordination, coming up in just one month!  That is about the only thing I am motivated on right now - I am making a PowerPoint slideshow of old photos and such.  I am going to smatter some of my favorite silly photos of Tim throughout this blog post that I am planning to include (if he and/or my mom doesn't veto them).  I wish I could get out of this blah and be motivated to get moving on some other plans... reading a book for my moms' book club which, ironically, is on planning and organizing life for a homeschool mom to make the day to day things go more smoothly.  But all I really want to do is work on the slideshow, and maybe go on vacation with just my husband and do nothing.  And maybe just go out somewhere pretty with a camera by myself and take photos.  And sit and read about planning without actually doing it.  I have thought to myself that if I could just be pregnant again, then I'd be motivated to make school plans, organize the house, etc., because then I'd have a reason to want to slowly but surely get things in order.  But even that probably wouldn't help because I have a phlegmatic personality.  It is nice that I can blame it on that when I feel lazy, ha.  I was so much more motivated when I was pregnant with Lucy, though... but that may be because it was our first year homeschooling and so I was still fresh. 
From about 9 months to 2 years of age, we would say, "Tim-Tim, do your grin!" and this is the cross-bite squinty eyed response we would get.  Baby brothers have huge entertainment value.  Sorry for the poor photo quality; this was probably taken with 110 film on a $10 camera in 1989.  We called him Tim-Tim at this age despite the random sticker with the name that my mother tried to get us to call him but in vain. 
 I am wondering...  why it is so hard to just try to live a natural, healthy lifestyle.  Okay, because I am not motivated, maybe.  If I want to feed my kids healthy foods most of the time, I can't just rely on store bread and cold cuts to be lunch.  Which means there is food prep to be done alongside our homeschooling.  I need to motivate myself to train Caroline to do some of this.  Some days it is hard to think of ideas.  Today I sauteed bok choy and mushrooms in coconut oil for myself mostly, but the kids had it on the side with some leftover soaked oatmeal bake stuff from yesterday's breakfast.  Cutting up fresh fruit takes time.  It seems like it is often 12:45 before I get a chance to start on lunch some days.  I am in a rut on meal ideas for easy lunches and recently discovered a tuna mixture to put in avocado halves - that is easy and yummy and healthy.

I hope it doesn't sound like I'm complaining, because I love, love, love to cook.  The kitchen is one of my favorite places to be, and feeding my family well is one of the most important things I can do for them.  I just sometimes wish I had a grandmother living next door who would be preparing the lunch while I take care of the little one and read with the medium one and answer the oldest one's questions... a grandmother from another century who wouldn't be microwaving boxed stuff, but cooking from scratch.  That would sure be nice!

Aww, the cuteness might make my heart explode!!

I am also wondering why the city of Rome wants to make it even harder for decent people to feed their families healthy foods.  Chris went to a city commission meeting tonight at which another citizen was applying for a permit to keep a few chickens, based on the guidelines created when we were trying to get permission to keep our hens.  I didn't go... did I mention my lack of motivation lately?... I am disgusted at the effort we put forth a couple years ago only to get turned down, and the time and energy it takes to attend meetings that take place at dinnertime on weeknights when you have children... well, let's just say that they know it is a lot of work for people to take the time to care, and they like it that way.  They like that people only make a stink when they oppose something, and that minorities who are essentially activists for a cause are easy to dishearten.  It is hard to see that your time was essentially wasted when you try to be reasonable and they tell you that you can't do what you want on your own property because your neighbors, while not directly impacted by it, "don't like the idea of it."  The man who applied for a permit for hens this time was denied - by more votes than we were, even though he had more property.  Huh, you say?  He met the recommended guidelines that they came up with for our situation, yet they still voted to not let him have any hens.  He has over two acres of land!  The only reason that some commissioners stated was why they didn't approve us is because we only have about a third of an acre of property.  One commissioner voted that we should be able to keep our hens two years ago despite not having the recommended amount of land, yet he voted against this guy tonight who has lots more land!  This man lives in a wealthy neighborhood and had a few of his neighbors, including the president of the HOA there, speak in opposition to his request.  So, the commission once again caved to what they perceive to be the majority... chickens in a rich people neighborhood?  How scandalous!  So, only three of nine voted in his favor, and I knew ahead of time who those three would be.  The city commissioner who two years ago told me that it doesn't matter if my chickens wouldn't impact the neighbors because after all, they wouldn't allow a drug dealer to live next door to me, even though that wasn't my business and didn't impact me negatively... huh???  Exactly how is it a person's "private business" to sell drugs next door to me when that increases potential for crime and traffic on my street?  Apparently she thinks that both dealing drugs and owning chickens are harmless activities that are only banned because people perceive them both negatively.  I want her to tell me the last time a chicken killed somebody, brought crime to a neighborhood, or increased the comings and goings of random people to a neighborhood (unless people were driving by to gawk at the freaks who have - gasp! - chickens in their back yard behind that fence, because we sure weren't selling the eggs to the public the way a drug dealer is selling something!)... so anyway, that got me riled up again, sorry... this same commissioner who made this comparison apparently said at tonight's meeting, "Well, dogs are domesticated animals, and chickens aren't."  Then what are they, wild?  Feral chickens?  Deep sea creatures?  This is the kind of stupidity we are up against in this town.  All I want is some fresh, non-GMO, more nutritious eggs from chickens who are exposed to sunlight and eat plants and bugs like God intended them to do.  Yet another discouraging hurdle to healthy living.        

I was so proud of this photo... taken in motion, with his Kindergarten diploma, with my at that time new zoom lens.  I loved my SLR camera and made good use of it in becoming the family historian.

I am praying...  for the endurance to finish up the school year, and in thanksgiving that I found a doctor who will test my cyclical hormone levels and will actually know if they are off and what to do about them if they are, after one doctor brushed me off and another was willing to help but didn't know about normal hormone levels unless I was already pregnant.  I will be glad to know if something is off, or if everything is normal and it is just taking longer to get pregnant this time for no particular reason.  I so was wanting to be pregnant by the time my brother is ordained... don't know why, but just so I can feel like I can enjoy it better somehow.  There is still a chance, and I sure would love to have all his newly-ordained priest friends give me and a new tiny life a special blessing.  I may just need a blessing in hopes of achieving pregnancy instead though.  I am realizing that so many more people than you even think lose babies.  I have been seeing prayer requests for a couple who were just recently in a car crash and lost their two year old as well as the baby the wife was 8 months pregnant with... how devastating.  And so many people who keep miscarrying baby after baby... and it makes me think, well, why not me too?  I haven't done anything special to deserve to avoid the same pain that happens to so, so many other mothers.  A depressing thought, and maybe I am not in the best place to do so myself, but I am praying for these families and offering up my own sadness and fears for their own heartaches.   

I am sure it will look good to have a photo of a newly-ordained priest in an Alcatraz prison cell as a child...

I am thankful... that my children have creative imaginations.  With summer vacation coming, I am starting to see those articles that talk about how to keep kids from being bored, and also the ones that say parents should help their kids learn to do something constructive with their boredom rather than expecting to be entertained by them.  Well, I guess I don't entertain my kids, because they don't come up to me and say, "I'm bored!" "Play with me!" or "Aren't we going to go somewhere fun today?"  They really don't.  Maybe because I don't play with them in the first place - that's what they have each other for!  Maybe because they have limited structure already... we do their school stuff in a structured way, but it doesn't revolve around them and scheduling most of their day.  Lucy does get bored at times when the older ones are busy with schoolwork, but she doesn't know it is boredom, and she often will entertain herself well much of the time.  She will join me in the kitchen or I will read her a book in between helping Cecilia and Caroline.     

I love this goofy photo for some reason.  By this point he had become Timmy.  Sometime while I was in college, he grew up and became Tim.  It was very sad.

This is what happens when your baby brother thinks you are awesome... he thinks your high school boyfriend must be awesome too and gets him to spike his hair for him so he can be equally awesome.

I am hearing...
nothing.  Apparently it is past the frogs' bedtime now.  Oops, I take that back.  Chris is watching Strongbad on his laptop/tablet thingy (I can't keep up with the technology; it is a "Surface" which is kinda in between the two).  Somewhere in the last decade I must have become geeky, because I actually think Homestar Runner is funny now when I hear it.

I love this one too... it makes me want to yell out "Jenga!!!" like those old commercials.

Learning at home... Cecilia made an iceberg today to see how most of it is under the water and only a small portion of it sticks out of the water, and she looked at Google Maps to see where her grandfather's father and his siblings grew up in Superior, Wisconsin.  We were amazed at how close they lived to their local Catholic church and school, to the bar that one of them owned, and to Lake Superior itself!  Caroline studied the Great Lakes this year herself and looked in to see where the town of Superior is located (it's on the "wolf head's nose", just for reference!).  We are trying to wrap up our study of birds using the Burgess Bird Book for Children... and had a real-life example of the fact we learned about crows eating the eggs of other birds as we watched mockingbirds build a nest in our fig tree, lay two eggs, and then have them both robbed by a crow, sadly.  Caroline has finished her math book and I am trying to decide if I want to keep using that program or switch to a cheaper one next year with reusable texts rather than consumable workbooks.  We only use two workbooks in all our curriculum - math and a series called Maps, Charts, and Graphs.  The Maps series is cheap each year, but the Math U See workbooks cost a lot more.

Cecilia and her iceberg.  Not Tim.
From the kitchen... I made roasted slices of butternut squash be pizza crusts tonight.  We had baked oatmeal soaked for 24 hours in raw milk, which I got at the farm in Rockmart (yes, that is a real name, and no, I have yet to see anyone selling rocks there).  I also made raw milk into yogurt and exploded a thermometer in the process... ah, science experiments in the kitchen.  In order to not kill the good enzymes in it, I only heated it to just shy of 110 degrees.  Then I whisked in starter yogurt as well as grass fed gelatin.  I made four quart-sized jars and did one with no gelatine, one with 1 tsp, one with 2, and one with 3.  The no-gelatin one was very runny, as expected, and the whey was pretty separated, but it stirred up nicely and has been perfect in smoothies.  The 3 tsp jar is very thick, but too... well, gelatinous.  Almost chunky.  but very well-incorporated, no separate whey.  The 1 tsp jar is a nice consistency - runny, but not like water.  I haven't dug into the 2 tsp jar yet.  I am afraid that I may have killed them anyway though during incubation... I put them in a cooler lined with a towel with a steaming pot of just-boiled water.  I am assuming it got over 120 degrees in there because the thermometer only went that high, and it shattered.  luckily the yogurt jars were lidded, so it was all still safe from glass shards.  I also have sauerkraut and pickle relish going on the counter... hoping the kraut won't grow mold in the process this time.  The pickle relish smells divine but I am going to let it go a bit longer; it's only been working since Saturday evening.  I couldn't find pickling cucumbers so used regular organic ones; hoping that doesn't matter.  We also got spring water from Cave Spring this weekend, so now we have that for drinking and cooking, yay!

I am pretty sure I was laughing as I took the picture because the sun was in his eyes.  That's what big sister are for.

I am reading... A Mother's Rule of Life for my moms' book club, Beautiful Babies, and Swallows and Amazons.  That last one is a read-aloud to Caroline and Cecilia and has been very engaging and makes me wish we had a lake and an island on it nearby where I could just set them loose for a week this summer.  The second one is a book about traditional nutrition for fertility, pregnancy, and beyond, recommended to me by a Natural Family Planning counselor.  I love it because it encourages eating lots of grass fed meats - especially liver, raw milk, pastured eggs, fermented cod liver oil, fermented veggies and condiments, limited but soaked grains... and fun stuff like oysters and clams.  Too bad those are hard to come by in Rome, GA.  I looked for whitefish roe at Kroger and was sadly disappointed!

And this is one I always hoped to show to his future fiance as an example of his dorkiness... darn, guess the joke's on me.

To live the liturgical year...
Pentecost was this past Sunday, one of the biggest feasts of the liturgical year.  We had 12 cookies - one for each apostle, except Judas was gone then and Mary was there instead when the Holy Spirit descended on them - and we lit a candle on each to represent the tongues of fire.  Then the kids sang Happy Birthday to the church and blew the candles out - because a "great wind" came into the room when the Holy Spirit came.  The cookies had avocados in them as the fat, and so, so much dark chocolate... this is the recipe.  

More not-Tims.  Cecilia felt sick, so she missed out on the tongues of fire excitement, unfortunately.

One of my favorite things... trying new recipes!
So adorable!!!
I am creating... Uhh, sauerkraut?  Not much else right now.  Oh, and the slideshow.  That counts.

I love this one... me with my awesome 1996 sunglasses, ha ha.  Great example of sibling love!
Around the house... See the aforementioned home improvement/furniture swapping project plans.

When he entered the seminary, my dad had the hilarious idea to give Tim the Pope John Paul II 1000 piece puzzle.  Yes, Catholics have this sort of thing in our basements.  We did this puzzle once as a family and I think it is the only big puzzle we ever did.  You can see why - we thought that if all puzzles consist of a person wearing mostly red against a solid white background, then it just wasn't worth the frustration.

Pondering these words...  From Pope Francis:
"Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things'. Here, in four words, is a spiritual and pastoral programme of life. The love of Christ, poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, enables us to live like this, to be like this: as persons always ready to forgive; always ready to trust, because we are full of faith in God; always ready to inspire hope, because we ourselves are full of hope in God; persons ready to bear patiently every situation and each of our brothers and sisters, in union with Christ, who bore with love the burden of our sins."

And then we grew up into this.  Neither of us are quite so cute any more...
But we're still just as goofy.  Including the cat.  Actually, the cat is just plain stupid, bless her little heart.  And we love her for it.

A few plans for the rest of the week... 
* Sign up for summer reading program at the library
* Catholic homeschool conference in Atlanta on Friday afternoon... I will take the girls to my parents' house and go to the conference, hopefully for some much-needed inspiration.  This conference is FREE, so come on out if you are a local Catholic homeschooler!  It is at the Cobb Galleria, and you just walk in, so need to register.  And there will be free coffee!!!
* Pick up half a cow at the Decatur Farmers Market on Saturday - yay!!!!  I have been missing my grass fed beef for a while since we ran out!

A picture thought I am sharing...

And this one makes me want to cry.  How did he grow up???  Why isn't he this little four year old that can sit in my lap any more??  And where did that awesome green rug go???  And that hard-shelled suitcase behind me??  And this is why I want my own children to have more siblings!!!  Waaa!