A Certain Mama

Have I ever told you that I’m “Mama” here? I am never referred to as Mom or Mommy or Mother- always Mama, and we’ve kept it that way quite intentionally ever since the first time Ender managed to put those sounds together for the first time.

I will probably mourn a little bit when one of my boys calls me Mom, not because it’s wrong or anything, but because I personally find the name Mama so endearing. The sound of that word makes me smile in my heart every single time I hear it. Yes, even when someone is yelling for me to “come quick” or something of that nature.

I’ve been reading as part of this month’s devotions through an older John Piper book- Don’t Waste Your Life. I’m not done with it yet, but I need to write about it today. Piper is one of those fellows that I have to read slowly, just a few pages at a time, then read those pages again before I can think on them and pray. I’ve been praying for big changes in our family life, or as our pastor would say, God-sized changes. I’m depending on God to do the things He says He will do.

It is the scariest step forward I have ever taken.

 

I am quiet here for a few reasons. First is sheerly practical- we’ve had either limited or no internet access for most of this month. As these kinds of things go, it’s been both good and bad for us. There’s been some frustration over a few online services we depend on (like online access to my library account and trusty netflix streaming to help us through our 80’s movie classics quest!) but there has also been an awful lot of nights spent sitting out on the deck after little boys are in bed, and reading out loud to each other for the first time in a long time.

The second reason has to do with that Piper book. I  have realized in the reading of this book that I’m a certain kind of Mama  and I won’t ever follow the path other people expect me to go along. This book has freed me of so many of my “am I a good mother/wife/sister/daughter” worries because I know without a doubt now that I should live my life fully and not look back. Looking back, changing, or fitting to the expectations of others would mean wasting my life.

So I’ve been living life with my boys. Being very present, leaving the inspiration behind and doing whatever it is we are inspired to do, drinking wine in the evening on the deck with my husband, talking about 10 years together coming up in just a few short weeks, and most importantly- not being the mama that stands back and takes the pictures. I’ve been in the middle of it all. Things haven’t been documented, but I was there, doing it with them.

Ezra’s first boat ride

Helping Ender learn to blow bubbles out of his nose in the pool.

The boys swimming in a lake for the first time

Fishing

Listening to Ender read Hop on Pop one silly word at a time

Praying with my husband for a way to make the life we want for our boys a reality, planning to take that next step forward . . .

Camping under the stars in a place you can actually see stars (unlike our middle-of-the-city home).

 

I do have things to share here. We’ve been *very* busy. But I’m letting go of the guilt over

  • not posting daily lately
  • not always having pictures to share
  • Not being like everyone else.

 

I’m much more interesting on my own.

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Daybook

Outside my window…

Another humid morning. Maybe we’ll stay around 90 F instead of hitting more like 95 F.

 

I am thinking…

about Ezra’s poor chin! On Friday we were out running our weekly errands and he fell at the grocery store. He fell into the edge of the dairy case and cut his lip and the bottom of his chin as well as his teeth puncturing the inside of his lip. After 5 hours in the ER the outside gashes were sealed with Dermabond and we’re keeping an eye on the wounds inside his mouth and trying to protect his chin as much as we can.

I am thankful for…

an unexpected but good family trip next week, complete with my husband coming along!

Always Learning…

Grandparents gifted us with a telescope recently so we’ve been checking out the stars! Ender has been really good at finding the Big Dipper the last few days. We got a few books too, and we’re checking out some more constellations.

From the kitchen…

We made strawberry jam last week and this week I’m planning an adventure into hand pies. It may or may not go well since I don’t have a ton of experience with pastries, but we’ll try it and see how it turns out!

I am wearing…

my blue tree skirt, a white shirt and knee socks.

 

I am creating…

Sleeves. This is the week of finishing sleeves- I have 2 one-armed sweaters in need of a second sleeve, and I still haven’t finished a sleeve for my Tappan Zee Cardigan yet.

  

I am going

to stay home and try to keep everyone cool this week. We’ve been going to swimming lessons every day for the past 2 weeks and I’m ready for a few weeks of not having to go anywhere.

I am reading…

Sweater Quest by Adrienne Martini, which has proven to be a really interesting read for me, but explaining what it’s about to a non-knitter, well . . . that’s *really* difficult.

I’m also reading the new Jacqueline Carey book, Naamah’s Curse and Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper.

I am hoping…

That the rain will stop so that something will actually grow. Everything we’ve planted this year has been drowned out, except for the gerber daisies on the back deck. I’m going to have to see about new tomato plants or give up for this year.

 

I am hearing…

Steven Curtis Chapman, Beauty will Rise.

 

Around the house…

I’m trying to maintain all the reorganizing that’s been going on lately.

One of my favorite things…

Our fresh strawberry jam . . . mmmmm . . .

 

A few plans for the rest of the week . . .

A trip to the doctor for a checkup for Ezra, a special program at the library, packing for the trip, and then getting away with my family!

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Weird

This has been a weird week.

We are down another router and we also lost 2 windows in a storm. Add in the car trouble for Superman and you have a nice view of our lives for the last few days.

I also seem to have misplaced my camera AGAIN.

But!

I’m caught up on laundry, I finished the body of the Tappan Zee Cardigan and started the first sleeve, finished 1 sleeve on my February Lady Sweater, and worked on getting our learning environment in good shape to make an official start to Kindergarten next month (aka the month that is too hot to leave the house unless you are forced to).

We’re going to try a little unit work in the next few weeks and see what Ender thinks of it. Nothing too serious, but lots of read-alouds, great pictures to explore and maybe a project or two. We’ll see what grows out of it!

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Catching Up

We have internet again.

 

*little happy dance*

 

See, I knew I had blogs I like to read and boards I keep up on, but I didn’t realize how much more we depend on our online connection! I couldn’t check my library card to see what was due back or check what was on hold or add books to our list . . . and I realized after a day or two that we use our online bill pay for *everything*.

 

So what have we been up to while internet-less?

 

:: Swimming lessons for both boys: Ezra in a parent/tot class and Ender in his first group class without a parent. Ender is working mostly on his fear of putting his face in the water, Ezra is working on not splashing the younger kids in the class. 🙂

 

:: LOTS of knitting for me. I cast on for the Tappan Zee Cardigan on June 1, and I’m down to 7 rows left on the body. I’m adding sleeves to it, so I have those to do before I’m done, but I’m aiming for a June 30 “finished” date. If I can make it by then that would be my fastest cardigan to date, and that kind of thing makes me *really* happy.

 

:: I’ve cut out several pieces for things- a skirt, pieces for a small quilt, etc. and I’ve gotten as far as a few blocks together, but nothing finished. My sewing is seriously slacking right now.

 

:: tee-ball for Ender! It has been an exciting few weeks for him! They mostly work in stations for catching, hitting, ground balls, running bases and all those  kinds of things, but they’ll play a few short games in the next few weeks. I love seeing all the 3 and 4-year -olds out there with their dads!

 

:: Planning for Kindergarten. I know a lot more now about our state’s homeschooling laws and calculating hours. Now I’m just trying to figure out how to meet those requirements while still keeping things simple. Suggestions?

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Not Missing!

Sorry to have gone missing, but I have no internet access for the time being (and for about a week before now). It’s a long-ish story about smoking equipment and horrible customer service that hopefully ends with a new modem and router tomorrow. (!) We’ve been busy these last few weeks and I have good things to show you- a bit of jam making, new knitting and sewing projects to share, and a re-do to our learning space. I’m also finishing up our school plans for Kindergarten and I’m planning to share those as well. 🙂

 

In other news, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee and I share a birthday! That made me feel a little bit better about greeting the last year in my 20’s.

 

I’m hoping to be back in this space within a day or two. I’m sending lots of “Get here soon!!!” thoughts to that modem and router!

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Seven Quick Takes

 

~1~

We spent yesterday morning driving around to more garage sales than we’ve ever managed in a single morning. At several I collected comments in the vein of “those poor little boys being dragged around to all the garage sales . . .”

The funny thing? Ender actually spent the last few days counting down to the first big garage sale-ing day of the season and every morning asked me if it was the Thursday yet.

So far we have scored some books, 2 new table cloths, some vintage buttons, and a cabinet that I’m planning to use for my sewing things.

~2~

I’m in a crafting slump. I can’t seem to get up the motivation to finish up the last details on a few projects and nothing has jumped out and said “make me!!!” I went hunting through my ravelry queue and landed on the Tappan Zee cardigan and cast on Tuesday night while we were at the ballpark. It’s the first project that has kept my attention in awhile, so I’m hoping it will be the thing to help pop me out of my crafting funk.

~3~

Ezra’s birthday is just a few weeks off . . . I’m really not sure how it’s been 3 years already! The last few weeks I’ve been having little flashes of sadness that my youngest is already three- it’s a great milestone for him, but at the same time I’m sad because it has been three years without another little one to join our family. Perhaps our two beautiful boys are meant to be the sum of our family, but I find myself still hoping for another if my body will cooperate . . . 

~4~

Ender gets to start his first organized sports experience tomorrow: t-ball. At this age they have 4-5 kids and one parent per station and they work on different skills- running through first base, hitting off the tee, different kinds of catching and running the bases correctly. We’ve spent the last few days counting down to the first day of t-ball and having repeated “how many more days???” conversations. I *heart* this kind of excitement!

~5~

I moved living room furniture yesterday trying to find the magic arrangement, but it isn’t quite working yet. I think I’m going to try pulling a few things from other rooms to see if it will help and with a little bit of help from Superman on Saturday hopefully we’ll figure out a good fit.

~6~

I’ve been organizing some schooly things for fall and we’re going to try out something a bit more formal (at least for us) soon. I’m planning a bit of a continent study to help us get to know a little bit about the outside world. My sister and her husband will soon be leaving for the mission field in South Korea, so we’re going to learn about the area where they will be and use that as our starting point to learn about a few other places in our world.

~7~

We’re off for picnics and more time outside this morning before the heat and humidity drive us back in. what are you up to this weekend?

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Summer Re-do

We are still trying to find our summer groove around here. My work schedule completely shifts in the summer so that sometimes I’m teaching as few as 5 students in a week, and sometimes I have as many as 40.  It all adds up to me being home full time Monday, Friday and the weekend, and then working a floating schedule on the other days.  I’ve been trying to figure out a workable routine for the 4 days I’m home all day and on the days where I only teach for a few hours, but we’re having a hard time getting settled in.

 

A few things going right:

 

1. Daily Quiet Time- 30 minutes of everyone in their own space in the middle of the afternoon is giving me the bit of quiet I need to recharge and be a better mama for the rest of the day.

 

2. Getting our chores done first thing in the morning. A load of laundry, checking the plants, any cleaning that needs to be done . . .

 

3. Heading outside early before the heat gets to be too much.

 

Things I want to incorporate:

 

1. Daily project time. We had this going during the school year when we had much less time. We now have double the time available to us so we should have even more project time, right?

Somehow that whole “we have the entire day ahead of us” thing makes me think the day actually expanded to be 30 hours instead of the actual 24 and I end up getting to the end of the day and wondering where the day went.

 

2. A plan. I have to face the music here- I can’t completely wing it every day. “Winging it” for a week just means that I end up with 7 loads of laundry, a dirty kitchen and we can’t find a pencil anywhere. It also means we don’t paint or create or do the stuff we really like to do because I haven’t thought things through far enough to make sure we can actually carry through with our plans.

I’ve always blamed my forgetfulness and lack of foresight on being a creative type, but maybe that’s just me. The truth is that if I don’t take a bit of time to plan ahead (even if it’s just for the next few hours) we all wind up frustrated because we can never really accomplish anything.

Mostly it just means that I need to be better about having pegs in our day in order for us to be sure we make space for the things we want to do. And it also means that we need to have a little morning meeting to see what the boys would like to accomplish that day so that we are still doing things they are interested in.

 

Maybe by next week we’ll look a little better in this routine thing.

 

And one more thing, perhaps slightly off-topic, but in the same vein in my mind: I’ve been looking at different learning spaces and house decorating inspiration and feeling grumpy about our lack of space here: my tiny little townhouse in the city . . . but I’m determined to resolve some of those issues this month. Our space can’t change, but my attitude (and our organization and furniture arrangement) can! So this month I’m working on our main living space- the room that has to function as our living room, dining room and learning space. Right now it is heavily leaning in the direction of learning space, and not in a good way. So I’m hunting inspiration! Blogs, articles, pictures . . . anything that you think might jive with the theme in our house: simple, clean, easy to maintain.

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