|Your Hair Should Be White|
Classy, stylish, and eloquent.
You’ve got a way about you that floors everyone you meet.
I was just reminded how many wonderful little “weird” things there are about me. Not that I think they’re weird, of course, they’re just things many other people think are out-of-the-ordinary.
So here we go!
We have six children, ages 2-9. No twins. I want more. Very much want more.
Five out of six of our children have been born in a home setting. All six of them were born without drugs or medical intervention, and I’ve only had one ultrasound in my life (just before the one who was born in the hospital was born frank breech without any further medical nonsense).
We keep our Blessings with us in church meetings (they don’t go to Sunday School, in other words).
I am a political activist, passionate about making midwifery legal in our state.
I play MMORPG’s on a regular basis with my hubby, because I want to be a part of what he enjoys (and because I’ve met some really cool people that way!).
I recently put into action a conviction I had reached years ago (on my own), that based on my understanding of the New Testament, I should wear some type of covering on my head throughout the day.
I don’t know many women who wear a headcovering throughout the day simply based on their own personal conviction, and none of the ones that I do know wear anything but skirts/dresses. I and my daughters still wear shorts/pants/etc.
So, what sparked this train of thought?
All those conservative things on my list of weirdnesses…
And I just finishing painting my three daughters’ (ages 2, 4, and 7) finger/toe nails.
My Grandparents on my Papa’s side have lived in the mountains of western North Carolina for years. They are 93 and 92, and have been in declining health for the last several years. They love their little home in the mountains, and would be crushed to ever leave it for a nursing home. A little over a year ago, my wonderful Papa and Mama gave up much of their life to move down to NC with my Grandparents and take care of them. They pared down their lifetime of belongings so that they could fit into the upstairs of Grandpa and Grandma’s log home – two bedrooms and a bathroom (with some understandable spillage into a storage area). I could write extensively about what an amazing example my folks are to us in this, but I’ll leave it at that for now. My Grandparents are now called the GG’s (Great Grandpa = G’Gpa; Great Grandma = G’Gma).
I have other family in the mountains of western NC – several of Papa’s cousins live close to them, as well as a Great Aunt, who lost her husband earlier this year and is a nursing home. My Great Uncle and Aunt’s house is now known as “The Cottage” and is often used for out of town guests. My brother and his family live a couple hours away.
We spent the first couple days of our vacation in this beautiful area. My Mama’s Mama and sisters (along with a dear family friend) came up from their homes in Florida to see us, and stayed in The Cottage. We spent the first day at The Cottage visiting with my Florida family. It was neat to see how our Blessings adjusted to seeing lots of people who love them dearly, but whom they had not seen for a couple years, or in G’s case, hadn’t met before. We had fun exploring the property and visiting. In the evening, J and Papa made a bonfire and Papa’s cousins and their kids/grandkids came over to make S’mores with us. Lots of fun!
An interesting side-note on my wonderful hubby. J was not raised in a “huggy” family, but he has adjusted wonderfully to my hugginess and that of my extended family. He did say good naturedly, however, on the way to my Grandparents that night, “I’m not sure about this having to hug people before I even know who they are!” But … he did hug ’em! 😀
After the S’mores, we followed my folks to my Grandparents’ house (which is also Papa and Mama’s now, but we’ll just call it the G’G’s). I didn’t think they’d still be awake, but we got to visit with them briefly before we headed for bed. There is a little two room cabin at the G’Gs where J and I slept, along with our three girls, and the three boys slept in the bedroom in the main house that my folks have turned into their “sitting room.”
Good night Day 1! And now it’s time to get the Blessings’ Fall/Winter clothes down from the attic!
Just have to interrupt my vacation musings to bubble for a bit about how much I love fall! We left for vacation at the end of summer… had a blast at the beach, etc… and came home to autumn. I love it.
Last night, we had the first pumpkin soup of the season, with homemade biscuits and a big salad. Supper was followed by a little bonfire out back. No s’mores this time, but I love the smell of a bonfire in the fall.
This morning, I woke up under our new flannel sheets and shivered as I got dressed. And now, the sun is shining brightly and it is a lovely day outside. Sweaters and sweatshirts – woot!
I’ve got to get some stuff down about our family vacation or I’m going to lose it all Which reminds me – I must get the pictures off the camera. Notes to self: Order an extra memory stick. Throw away the set of spare non-rechargeable batteries when they die. And by the way… it’s okay to charge the first set of batteries before the second set dies.
Okay. Now. Vacation.
We had such a wonderful time together, and enjoyed seeing oodles of family. As I look through the pictures, every thing is so gorgeous. The ocean and sky are fabulous shades of blue, the grass is so green, the smiles so sweet …
I think what I’m going to do, for my own benefit, is to outline our trip here, then add entries about smaller batches of events. That way, I can keep things straight. And, if anyone else happens to read this, it will easier to skim.
*Left home on Friday, Sept 16, at 11pm
*Got to my folks area of NC early afternoon on Saturday the 17th and stayed through Sunday evening.
*Left my folks and grandparents Sunday around 10pm and drove to Wilmington.
*Spent Monday-Friday in Wilmington with J’s family – mostly at the beach.
*Drove all night Friday night to Hendersonville (back to the mountains) to stay with my brother and his family Saturday and Sunday.
*Short drive to my folks Sunday night, J worked with Papa on Monday while Mama and I and the Blessings hung out.
*Drove 14 hours home on Tuesday the 27th – a day drive, woohoo! Well, mostly. Got home around 2.30 am.
So, there’s the outline. More to come!
The last few weeks have been taken up in a flurry of figuring out how to fit everything into my days. I recently gained a new “hat” – that of Office Manager of our Lowe’s Installation business. I had a couple of months to adjust to that before we started school on August 1st. I think I’m beginning to figure out how those two things, plus my ordinary responsibilities as a wife, mother of six, and homemaker can fit together. The only thing that has suffered is my on-line role as officer in The Noble Knights, but that just shows my priorities are straight, in my opinion.
So school is well underway. We’re not quite as far along as I would like, but considering I have four that I am actively teaching (two Kindergartners, one third grader, one fourth grader), plus a preschooler and toddler which get some measure of “teaching” most days, I think I’m doing pretty well. Certainly *much* better than last year at this time!
In Missouri, homeschoolers have to keep a daily log of hours of instruction. We are required to get in 1,000 hours of instruction per year, 600 of which need to be in the core areas of Math, Language Arts, Social Studies, and Science. We are not required to turn in these logs; they are kept as our proof of instruction. The only reason they would ever be shown is if someone calls us in as “truant” and we are investigated. Heretofore, logging has been the bane of my existence as the lead teacher in a family who educates at home. Last year I discovered a software program I was sure would be my logging salvation. However, I found it in the middle of the year and did not implement it effectively.
This year, I am happy to report that less than a month into school, I am caught up on my logging! This is a veritable miracle, as I have been a terrible procrastinator on this in the past. And it’s so easy when I do a bit at a time.
And now, naptime is over and I must go.
“Write about the weekend” has been sitting on my to-do list since Monday, and it must move along before another weekend goes by. So here we go.
I spent last weekend at a midwives retreat with women of all ages and backgrounds – from daughters of midwives, supporters of midwives, aspiring midwives, midwives with many years of experience. Where do I fit in that list? As an aspiring midwife and an active midwifery supporter. An explanation of that could take over this little effort before you could say “baby,” so I’ll leave it at that for now.
The weekend was a time of refreshment, fellowship, learning, and doing. What a joy to be with a group of diverse women who can relax, enjoy their commonalities, set aside their differences, and learn, grow, and work together.
WORK – We spent hours working together on a bill to put before the state legislature next session. The group that hosted the retreat uses Formal Consensus in it’s decision making, allowing everyone to speak their minds, one at a time, in a respectful way, until the group comes to an agreement about each decision. It is a tool that facilitates effective discussion and insures that everyone has an opportunity to have their voice heard and their questions answered. To participant in getting “up to our elbows” in this work on next year’s legislation and to see the respect and thoughtfulness with which we plowed through it was truly a privilege. We also worked out a Legislative Values Statement – a list of “deal-breakers” which will give clarity of thought as we work toward making midwives legal in our state.
From my perspective, my part in the work of the weekend was to represent the mothers and fathers who support and/or use the services of the midwives, as well as to get to know the midwives on a deeper level and come to a better understanding of their needs and concerns. A humbling task, but one that was a joy. The midwives were respectful of and attentive to everything I had to share. It was fun and encouraging to get to know many of them more closely.
LEARNING – There were two fascinating workshops that I attended. One was on the Placenta – its function and how to deal with potential difficulties. The other was on Shoulder Dystocia and was immensely practical. This probably isn’t an appropriate place to go into more detail, so I’ll just say that I enjoyed my first taste of that type of teaching.
REFRESHMENT AND FELLOWSHIP – /nod. That about sums up the rest of the weekend! Originally we had planned to go down Friday evening with all the Blessings so I could participate in the legislative discussion, and then drive home on Saturday. However, Friday morning we realized it was far to hot to torture the children with eight hours of driving (round trip) with no A/C. After calling around, I was able to ride down with someone from my area whom I had never met in person. I’m not sure we needed gas in the tank of the car; we might have done just fine on the power of our chatting. It was a fun ride.
Because I rode with someone who wasn’t planning to come home until the retreat was over on Sunday, I got to stay the whole weekend, which was priceless. I was able to truly bond with the women there; to be encouraged and to hopefully encourage others. I was personally refreshed in a way I never expected, to the degree that all day Monday while I was running around doing the “Headless Chicken” routine… I wasn’t even bothered by it! I was refreshed physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. And I was challenged to new growth in areas I wouldn’t have guessed ahead of time.
So there you have it – my fabulous weekend!
After 32 wonderful years, perhaps I am finally growing up. Instead of being worried today about who is going to remember my birthday, etc., I have a strong desire to call/email the people in my life who have made a difference for me. Not to hint reminders about what today is, but to say Thank You! What is life without family and friends?
Okay, I originally came in to make note of something I observed last night. I have been on a high protein, high fruits and veggies, low fat, low “empty” carb, low calorie diet for a couple of months now. I’ve lost quite a bit of weight, but more importantly, I’m re-learning *how* to eat. I’ve also been exercising regulary, 4-6 times a week, including both cardiovascular, toning, and core exercise (along with warm-up and cool-down, of course). So… last night I must have had an itchy spot on the side of my thigh, because I was rubbing it rather firmly. I had the sudden realization that there was actually *Muscle* under there! What a thrill! More Muscle = increasing my metabolism = burning more calories = getting off my “plateau”. Besides that, muscle looks better than what I’ve been carrying around for the last few years. 🙂
I took some time this morning to find maps and such for our little upcoming weekend trip. We are headed about four hours south tomorrow afternoon, almost to Arkansas, so that I can go to a midwifery meeting. There is a State Park a few miles away in Arkansas that looks like a neat place for J and the Blessings to hang out while I’m at the meeting.
We’re planning to find a place to camp out and then on Saturday visit Rocky Ridge Farm in Mansfield, Missouri, home of Laura Ingalls Wilder for over 60 years. I remember going there as a young girl, and I’m eager to return and get some pictures. As a Laura Ingalls Wilder “nut”, I have been amazed as we have read the Little House Books to our children at the similarities between Laura and myself. I find myself wondering… Are the similarities just coincidence, or is it tied to the fact that I repeatedly and avidly read her books from the time I was six and a half years old? I’ve wondered many times as we’ve read to the children just how much of who I am was formed in some way by the life and writings of Laura Ingalls Wilder. A fascinating thing to contemplate.
Oddly enough, I find myself here creating an on-line journal. I’m not sure why, but I decided to give it a shot. It’s been fun getting things set up. We’ll see where it goes from here.