it’s been awhile since my last update–i’ve had my hands full (pictured above)
so here’s a little family update–
Bryan is still enjoying his new job and has started playing guitar in the wednesday night praise band at church
Zuzu loves being a big sister (or “little mama” sometimes) to wendy. she’s learning lots in her little 2-day-a-week preschool (like how to hold her pencil with an “alligator chomp”). both of the big girls have been in our church’s preschool for the past month, and they love it, but i’m dropping them down to one day a week starting next week. i really struggled with that decision and might go back to two days a week, but ultimately i felt like our schedule was too hectic when they were gone all day two days a week (plus, i missed them!). so we will see how it goes! if i can’t get my work done, then we might have to go back to two days–or have a little extra help from their awesome grandparents =) anyway, zuzu is my little extrovert, so all the church involvement we’ve started this fall has suited her just fine.
June is so very ready for potty-training, but i am not! i feel like the worst potty-trainer in the world because of all the difficulties i’ve had with training zuzu. i suppose i’ve got to get over it and plunge ahead. ah and ready myself for cleaning up accidents, so oh so many accidents.
Wendy is supposed to get on a schedule this week. she’s a little over two months old, so nursing every two hours needs to stop. i honestly haven’t tried to schedule her at all until today though, and she’s taking to it (so far..) pretty well. the ultimate goal is to have a schedule for all three that meshes together–and provides a 3-child-coordinated naptime every afternoon (one can dream…)
As for me, i’m teaching online and keeping my head above water. I did reread “the old patagonian express” by paul theroux–a nonfiction travel book about taking a train from boston to patagonia. and some various poetry books. not much writing right now, though i plan to get to it soon–in the next month or so. right now i’m giving myself a little leeway with expectations
how is it possible that you are four years old, cuteface? you are officially my Big Kid. you are all gangly arms and legs and growing so fast. i love your white-blonde wavy hair and sparkling cool blue eyes. i love how much you are not like me–my extrovert (“mom, i need to have people around me all the time. all the time!”), and little mama (“mom, june is stuck. i told her not to do it”), and goofball all the way. you love to read (possibly as much as i do) and i love to read to you–going through our chapter books this summer has been such a pleasure, and i love watching you discover wonderful books for the first time. you are an awesome big sister–way better than i ever was–and you never get tired of laying next to wendy to “talk” to her and play with her (and hardly ever fall on her, ha). i really don’t know how i’d do it without you actually. you always have something surprising and interesting to say–playtime with horses and princesses is some of my favorite time of the day (though can i please not have to be a car or a marker all the time? it is really hard to make a marker emote.) sometimes i worry that i’m not giving you enough–you’ve got two little sisters who are so little and need so much–and i pray for you all the time, that God will fill in all those places that i’m lacking. i pray that God will capture your sweet tender heart very young–i’m a firstborn too and i hope you know that i love you no matter how smart or successful or obedient you are. i can’t wait to watch you grow another year.
So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say. But to sacrifice a hair of the head of your vision, a shade of its colour, in deference to some Headmaster with a silver pot in his hand or to some professor with a measuring-rod up his sleeve, is the most abject treachery, and the sacrifice of wealth and chastity which used to be said to be the greatest of human disasters, a mere flea-bite in comparison.
Virginia Woolf, a Room of One’s Own
In the dream the string had broken
and I was trying to
pick out its beads among all others.
The large coral beads,
the beads of turquoise and ivory—
these were not mine.
Carved and ridged with color, burnished, weighty—
my hands passed over them without regret or pause.
The tiny ones,
almost invisible against the white cotton bedspread—
these were mine.
The hole in the center
scarcely discernible as different from the bead itself,
the bead around it
scarcely discernible as different from the bed or floor or air—
with trembling fingers
I lifted them
into the jar my other hand cupped closely to one breast.
Not precious, merely glass, almost invisible.
How terrified I was at the thought of missing even one.
While I live, I thought, they are mine to care for.
Then wakened heavy with what I recognized at once
as an entirely warranted grief,
frantic for something plain and clear
and almost without substance,
that I myself had scattered, that I myself must find.
Never Say No by Mark and Jan Foreman
The Foremans are the parents of Jon and Tim Foreman, the lead singers from the band Switchfoot. I liked that this book was not so much an advice book, but more a “how we went about raising our kids” type book. The first section of the book was my favorite—mostly about being present with your kids, enjoying them, letting them take risks. I also liked the chapter on limiting technology and getting the kids involved with the home in chores, etc. I did have a few disagreements with their strategies, but overall I thought this was good for parents who are trying to raise creative kids and aren’t afraid to go against the mainstream way of doing things.
Design Mom: How to Live With Kids, a Room-by-Room Guide by Gabrielle Stanley Blair
Though my kid are all younger than this authors’ kids, I still enjoyed reading her tips and looking at the lovely pictures. There were some things that she advised that would not work for our family, but some things that would—I’ve been trying this year to give my girls as much independence as I can, so I loved her ideas for hanging clothes where they can reach them (right now we use a stool, which is fine for zu, but I might install hooks at June’s level so she can pick out her clothes too).
Love the Home You Have by Melissa Michaels
I barely finished this book—just skimmed it really. I thought it’d be a book I’d love, but the advice was stuff everyone has heard before and the writing style was much more “bloggy” than it should’ve been. I think this book would’ve been more interesting if it were instead a design book—glossy pages, pictures of examples—rather than an advice book. or maybe some sort of mix of the two, like Nesting Place by Myquillan Smith.
Reading Novalis in Montana by Melissa Kwasny
lovely vocabulary and imagery. The first section of the book was my favorite, since it had such a sense of Place (seems like it should, with the title!). the last section was my least favorite mostly because I sometimes tire of reading poems about greek mythology, and it seemed like an odd fit with the poems that were so much more personal earlier in the book.
Thin Skin by Drew Myron
her press did a beautiful job with the book—it’s a mix of photography and poetry. She tends to use ocean imagery and to write about relationships; my only criticism is that I wished for come more concrete details at times, things that were more specifically and not universally applicable.
For the Girls:
Uncle Wiggly’s Storybook
A Child’s Anthology of Poetry
Little House on the Prairie
This book was highly recommended, but when I picked it up from the library I didn’t expect to learn much—when we moved a couple months ago, we gave away, sold, or discarded probably half our possessions, easily. So our house of course was decluttered. Oh I was wrong! Kondo’s method of decluttering left me getting rid of 4 bags of trash and 2 bags of donations. That seems like a lot but it is really nothing compared to most of her clients, who get rid of 30 or 40 or more bags of trash.
Through reading her book, I realized that while in most areas I was pretty economical, I had some soft spots where I was holding on to far more than we needed or that “sparked joy” (her criteria for what you keep: whatever brings you joy). I got rid of a lot of my clothes, much of which were hand-me-downs from sisters or friends that I’d been wearing because they fit and were useful, not because I loved them. I got rid of a lot of photographs that meant nothing to me (tossed 3 entire photo albums worth). Paperwork was a big area where I needed to downsize—I kept things way past necessity (do I need paperwork from 2008? No.). I went through the girls toys (yet again) to see what they actually play with and what is just taking up space.
Everyday bryan came home from work to find a bag of trash waiting by the door and trashcans stuffed full. Yet I know there is still more I could do—two areas where she recommends discarding things but I disagree:
she recommends keeping only what you truly love and what sparks joy and what you’ll read again. I agree with that to some extent, except that I plan to homeschool, and I want my kids to have access to classics that I may not read again (except to read aloud to them) but that they should have easy access to (the Narnia series, Treasure Island, Heidi, Leaves of Grass).
- Clothes for other seasons / sizes.
since I have 3 girls, I do keep tubs of old clothes to hand down from one girl to the next. I try to be picky about what I save—the girls tend to have more than they need—but I think, counting all the many sizes from newborn to 4T, I have about four or five Rubbermaid containers full. I did also have a small tub for maternity clothes, though I think that most of my clothes are so threadbare now (3rd time around!) that I’ll keep very few items.
I also disagree with her idea that things should not necessarily be kept where they are most convenient but should have a place elsewhere in the home, all in one place rather than scattered about (for example, keeping a stack of notebooks in your room and on the porch—she’d say pick one place). with little kids and a newborn on the way, I’ve set up a “newborn station” in our bedroom (a drawer with diapers, clothes, wipes; a rocking chair with burp clothes nearby and a lamp to read by; a pack in play and rock-n-play for her to sleep in), though I do plan to move her to her own room eventually.
Overall I highly recommend this book—I think anyone can benefit from her ideas on decluttering and organization, and her tone and voice is so charming and funny that it’s a pleasure to read.