I finally upgraded my blog to wordpress and a real URL. You can find me at PathsIHaveNotKnown.com now. I've put it off for months, if not years, in fear of losing my community of "followers" but finally bit the bullet and went thru with it. Please take the time to click thru and update your feed (if you have one). I truly appreciate it.
One of the few words Malachi regularly says is "hero." He will say "badguy" too, but mostly what I hear is "hero."
Heroes are a bit of a big deal hereabouts.
And in that annoying motherly way that I have fully embraced I am always trying to turn it around into some sort of lesson.
"Heroes fight bad guys like this!" Zeke will proclaim while he flips around the livingroom wildly, punching and kicking with a wild abandon, "Pow, Pkshaw!" Malachi, wanting to join in but also aware that he is much more stout and much less agile then his brother, crouches down and does a sort of tai bo punching the air in front of him bit.
I sneak in, "Yes, and heroes help people that are in trouble."
"Spiderman is a super hero." Zeke will suddenly announce in that way he has, full of knowledge, over his mac and cheese.
"Heroooo!" Mal will add for emphasis.
"You know who else is a hero?" I will attempt, "Daddy is a hero. He works hard every day at his job, and then he always comes home and helps us make dinner and take baths." But they are already sword fighting with their forks, ignoring me.
"Heroes are strong!" Zeke will yell, jumping off the couch in a superman pose.
"They are strong, and they are also kind." I will helpfully add.
But he just ignores me, "Momma, be the princess and I will kiss you and wake you up." And I lay back on the couch while the boys take turns fighting the dragon and bestowing a kiss to break my spell-sleep.
In the end I mostly gave up. The image of the hero that's been built by the Disney movies we let them watch, the old school video games they play with Josh, the fairy tales I read, and the comic book figurines and posters we are culturally surrounded by is just too strong for one momma to overthrow.
But the other day I heard Malachi's voice, "Heroooo!"
And Zeke came bounding into the bathroom, "I'm a hero! I can help you!"
...maybe that image can be nudged a bit after all.
Two heroes who have dressed themselves to play in the rain. A hero always has a flashlight.
Over 6 years ago Josh and I drove a half hour into Idaho country fields to meet his old minister over coffee. Both the minister and the two of us had moved to different towns but he had still agreed to come back and marry us. This was the required talk-things-thru-and-get-advice-before-you-get-married meeting, and although it was a bit after-the-fact for us we still went.
What I remember most clearly was Kevin asking what things we fought over, what problems we had, and me admitting in the way that only a newlywed could that we mostly found ourselves at odds when each was pushing to give into the other's wishes.
His laugh was all grace as he told us that wouldn't last for long.
Last week we discovered that the last cupful of apple cider had gone bad. It had sat in the fridge untouched for a full two weeks while Josh and I both waited for the other to drink it.
I couldn't help but smile when Josh interrupted my shower to tell me how bad it smelled.
Six years and that still happens to us fairly often.
It's often hard, always being the youngest wife, the youngest mother. I get tired of the shock every year when people ask how long we've been married, the inevitable "How old are you?!" that comes after. Every. Time.
I'll admit I wonder. What it would have been like to be on my own. Not a daughter in my father's house, not a wife in my husbands house. Just me in my own house. My friends all have stories of things they did in college, places they went, adventures they had. I've had few adventures, gone few places, and all the ones I have were as a couple. I don't have any stories that don't include Josh.
But there's a comfort to it as well. Six years. It's a comfortable number, long enough that we've worked all the kinks out.
Well...except that pesky leaving things in the fridge for the other to enjoy...
Maybe when he said it wouldn't last long he was talking more like 10 years.
1. A friend, I cannot say a good friend, because she is more an acquaintance level friend, is having a very hard go of it right now. Or really for the past 3 years, honestly.
I knew a bit, but not the depth of it. Until Saturday.
And she has been very much in my thoughts and prayers since then. Why do we never reach out? Us mothers? Why do we never tell anyone when life gets a bit hard? Or really hard? Or near insufferable? Why do we never take care of ourselves?
2. The boys are playing outside in the rain, footie pajamas + rain boots + sweaters + hats + flashlights. It's adorable. When they come back in it will be all homemade cinnamon rolls and hot black tea (because my children love black tea and hate hot chocolate...because there is something wrong with them).
3. I spent some time this week figuring out the new Facebook. I hated it. I can see why they did it the way they did (although even THAT took an hour) but it wasn't serving my purpose very well.
Anyways, it ended up all for the better because it inspired me to really think about what my purpose on Facebook is...and to then reorganize it to better suit that.
Yesterday I finally implemented those "lists" everyone's been squawking about and yes, I think now I get it. My new plan now that I have my "close friend list" is to really only keep up with that. I decided the perimeters for being a "close friend" were A. that it was a relationship that I wanted to devote real time to fostering, and B. that the persons updates and links were positive to my life, not negative. It was surprising how often the two didn't meet and it took soul searching, and hard, hard deletions.
I tend to be addicted to friendships even when they aren't adding anything positive to my life. Facebook has, if anything, quadrupled the problem as its that much harder to let go. It isn't good for me, though, to have so many draining relationships, and so little time left over to spend on relationships that I wish were stronger.
Using the same "positive only" rule I even pared back my google reader subscriptions to 22! I'm so proud of myself.
Oh the time I'll have....
4. I hinted towards prayers and decisions to be made before. I can go so far as to say that Josh and I are looking for a new church (again, yet again). I cant say yet where we are moving... If you are the praying type keep us in yours. We're sick of being homeless.
5. I'm going to admit that life is just a bit hard right now. I'm a tiny bit down, and finding it difficult to get back up. It's the rain, and a slight cold, a bit of stress about deadlines and to-do lists mixed in, family drama. I'm trying to take care of myself- taking all the right pills, giving myself a little bit of a housework and parenting perfection break. But I'm also going to reach out a bit.
It's funny how a bout of the flu can freeze time. We've spent the morning cuddling, reading, singing, telling stories, and watching movies- all in our pajamas and with nary a care towards what time or day it is, and very little more towards the basket of towels that need to be folded or the dishes piled 3 feet high in the sink.
Cries of "Help! My poop is water and it's all over my chair!" aside, it has been rather nice.
I wish we could capture this kind of calm without the necessity of a sickness or snow storm. When did I forget the value of a day of rest?
Values. They are slippery beasts. You place them neatly in a row and then realize while you were distracted living they went ahead and re-ordered themselves into a new list. The ones that were meant for the top have slipped far enough down that you can't see them anymore and others that you placed very firmly at the bottom are apparently creeping upwards.
All of this is besides the point however, because what I really wanted to show off was my "new" kitchen table.
I spent a chunk of my labor day weekend painstakingly sanding our kitchen table and chairs down by hand (except the table top which got the electric sander treatment). It was just the kind of work I enjoy best, however, keeping me outdoors with hands busy and a mind free.
As I sanded bars and corners and seats and legs I prayed for the bums that would grace them. Now there is a value that I have placed very high on the list in my mind but tends to drop in the list that I'm living. I firmly believe in the power of prayer, and at least now I know that table is generously soaked in it. These are the things that matter.
The painting process required more concentration, and since it was performed late at night, in our garage, it made me a bit woozy besides. But when Josh had carried it back into the house I went over the entire surface with some wood wax, and another "protective coat" of prayer.
It struck me while I worked how very much of our lives revolve around this tiny room; how many of our conversations are held here. This in a very real way, could be called the center of our family; where at least some combination of us meet 3 or even 4 times every day. It's where we have our meals obviously, but its also where we entertain, where we home school, where we do crafts, its often my "desk" while I blog, or plan meals, or write thank you cards, or letters. It is most often where I read my bible.
I've never refurnished any furniture before, and honestly I'm not sure how long the paint will last. It may chip. I may regret that clean white after the 1,000th spill or 100th time it's been colored on or the 1,000,000th time I've wiped off handprints. But I cant say that I'll regret the time I spent working on it.
I find that I did a lot more then update the look.
This weekend marked the end of summer for our family. Last vacation over. Weather noticeably cooler. Preschool (at home) officially begun. Summer decorations boxed away and autumn decorations placed out. Storage containers of long pants and sweaters sitting in the bottom of the boys closet, waiting to be sorted.
We said goodbye/hello in high fashion, though. We spent the morning of Saturday at Greenbluff, picking nectarines and the first of the apples.
Then whiled the afternoon away with a visit from good friends.
(TV- the babysitters secret weapon)
Sunday morning was the usual rhythm of church, lunch, nap/dog park. But after that we went to enjoy the last day of the county fair. The boys seemed to each have a very distict goal for the evening. Zeke- to ride a horse.
Malachi- to touch as many animals as possible. But in particular a llama.
Its bittersweet as always. Fall is my favorite season but summer is oh-so-fun.
I'm post-vacation exhausted and I have a to-do list 4 miles long. Vacation-worthy laundry piles, trips to the library, the grocery store, and home depot (I need some furniture wax to finish our refinished table). At least half my list is phone calls, emails, and meetings for this event, which I'm planning.
I have another 4 mile list of blog posts rambling around in this head of mine. All unfinished. It's getting so noisy up in that noggin that I'm almost unable to even attempt to finish any one of them though, so I'm going to have to carve time to purge.
Zeke and I start preschool-at-home next week. We're doing a homegrown literature based curriculum two days a week and I'm scrambling today to put the finishing touches on our plans. I had at first thought we'd start with fairy tales but then decided Zeke isn't quiiite there. Maybe this winter? We're beginning with Going on A Bear Hunt, instead. A family favorite. Then transitioning into another bear classic, Blueberries for Sal.
How we will fit two mornings a week at home doing "school" on top of mindful mamas, weekly mobius, homeschool co-op, library story time, and regularly scheduled playdates is beyond me. I'm reassessing and reevaluating how we spend our days. Daily and weekly rhythms are ready for updates now that this is a distinctly baby-free zone and summer is fading fast. I'm afraid that its going to be mindful mamas that's cut, or at least dropped to a very low priority. In many ways we've outgrown the group but I've been going for over 3 years now. I've never been a mom without the mamas and its going to be scary to let go.
On top of that Josh has spent very serious time praying while I was gone and big changes may be coming for our family and the way we practice our faith. It's going to cause ripples in just about every direction if it does.
In two weeks I'll have been counting for a year. I had sort of hoped to reach 565 by the 565th day. That's not going to happen. In the last month especially I have lost the habit of counting. But I'm still chugging along. Re-commiting to joy, to finding the littlest moments of grace.
420. Homemade (and grown) pesto.
421. Driving with the music up way too loud.
422. Books you've read so many times they are like old friends.
423. Riding bicycles.
424. Weeks of work paying off.
426. The happy stompings of brand new tennis shoes.
427. Homemade pizza.
428. Sunset walks.
429. Water slides.
430. Instant friendships.
431. New family members.
434. The hottest day of the year.
435. Count downs.
436. Little boys with smeared lipstick demanding for a kiss.
437. Sweet tea with some extra "sweet".
438. Long long drives with never a hiccup.
439. Time to think.
440. Wrestling matches.
442. The majesty of God's creation. The drive from Spokane to Boise and vice versa is not the prettiest drive ever; I don't even take the prettiest route available. But any views of nature at all bring awe and worship.
Just for fun: