A life in the day…no, wait.

I might have that backwards.

It’s hard to be calm and cheerful when this is your normal view for weeks.

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Fortunately as of today the fires closest to us are contained or going away from town. We’re grateful that so far there have been no lives lost and minimal structures.

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Confessions of a Clean Freak Mom

Image Source: Upsplash

There’s the tip of the matter, I’m a clean freak. A clean freak who lives with a lot of lovely tiny humans who are mess freaks. I’ve learned to take it in stride, really, and my OCD tendencies are a lot more relaxed than they used to be. I will still turn the toilet paper the right way and move the knife block flush with the wall, but as I turn more and more house duties over to the kids, I’ve learned to let go of the spotless house image.

It was hard unfollowing the blogs and “inspirational home” boards on Pinterest, because the perfectly staged rooms and houses triggered a quiet, calm, and peaceful something in my soul. Nothing out of order. Matching colors. A room I could hang out in for hours. Happy sigh time. The peaceful something always lasted a fleeting moment, however, and something else inevitably replaced it.

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The Speed of Life

Time, slow down! Every time I look at the clock hours have passed, not minutes, and I’m at a loss to know where it’s all going sometimes.

The irises are just about done, though there are a few late bloomers still showing off their stuff. I had a couple new blooms this year! One plant I’ve had for 3 seasons, but it hasn’t bloomed before. It was a pleasant surprise. 🙂 The other is Pride of Ireland, which my mom gave me last fall. She didn’t know it was on my want list, which made it an even better surprise. The greenish tint is a little lost in the photo, but it’s quite unique!

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Irises and Indy Reviews

We keep talking about trying to make “Indy Reviews” a thing. Indy often parks himself on the Dearliest’s lap to watch fishing, survival, dirt moving, machining, and a few other categories of YouTube videos. He lives in a very black and white world, Indy does, and he either likes someone or he doesn’t. There is no maybe, only yes or no.

The other evening they were watching the channel of a young couple who build and restore custom camp trailers. Here was Indy’s review:

Indy: “I don’t like her.”

Dearliest: “Why not?”

I: “I don’t like the way her eyes look. She looks like she wants to tell me what to do, and I don’t like her telling me what to do. Also she doesn’t know how to use a nail gun.”

D: “…what?!”

I: *points to her nose ring* “Right there. She missed and hit her nose.”

I have been busy with battling a wicked cold (we won and are all well again, yay!) finishing school, and weeding irises. Here are a few pics of the flowers, although nothing new is blooming…yet! I have hopes for at least one new bloom that should open by the weekend (*squee!*).

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Ah, family life.

The difference between males and females can be summed up thusly:

The girls hold Seven, she fusses, they offer soothing words of comfort, shushes, and more active rocking and bouncing. They aim to settle a soul in unrest.

The boys hold Seven, she fusses, and one says: “If you’re going to be emotional I’m giving you back to your mother.”

Another says: “Oh, you want to fuss? I can fuss too! WAAAAAAH!” And they waaaaaah together for a short while.

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One of the children needed olive oil in the ear to loosen up some wax. When an irrigation kit showed up to further help the process, Squeaky immediately managed to convince the victim that water gets squirted in one ear and comes out the other, bringing the wax with it. There was much horror, then much relief when I explained that wasn’t actually how it happened.

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Indy and Saucepot got into a spat, at the end of which Indy sidled up to the Dearliest, wrapped his arms around him and with sickly sweet tones said, “Oh I love my Daddy” (all the while looking at Saucepot).

“Alright you little manipulator,” the Dearliest said. “Stop arguing and eat your soup.”

“Yes Daddy,” he replied. “Umm, but I’m not a manipulator. I’m a manip-you-now.”

*

I overheard the kids discussing math, specifically what types of problems they liked or disliked. “I love division,” Squeaky said. “I don’t know how to do it, I just love how the word sounds.”

This from the child who as a crawling baby started in room A (where child A was playing quietly), making herself annoying until child A carried her to room B (where child B was playing quietly). There she made herself annoying until child B carried her back to child A. And round they went, until child A and B both stood in the hallway arguing over who was going to deal with Squeaky, all the while Squeaky sat between them looking back and forth with a big grin on her face.

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Pokado finally caught a Seven smile on camera! She started smiling responsively at 5 weeks…hard to believe, really. I’ve never had that early a smiler before. Cooing started at 4 weeks, and now at 2 months she’s already rolling from her back to her side. Crazy girl is going to keep me on my toes!

Irish Taps, Marathon Knitting, Machines of Unusual Size and Other Things

I do love a good Irish dance. My mom sent me this video ages ago, and I (and all the kids!) have enjoyed watching it so many times I decided to share it with you. Comments are worth reading a bit too.

Another video, this one completely random, that the Dearliest shared with me. It struck my funny bone, mostly because I would totally do it. I wouldn’t have thought of it on my own (running and knitting are in very different boxes in my brain…they aren’t even close to each other), but now that I know? Yeah. Totally.

On the home front, last week the Dearliest (and Pokado) made another trip to Oregon, this time with his brother Patton. They each took their truck hitched to an empty trailer in order to bring home these monsters of machines.

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A metal fabrication shop was upgrading and upsizing, so the Dearliest managed to acquire a drill press and vertical mill for close to scrap value. He says once they’re set up he’ll be able to do work in minutes that would otherwise take him hours. I’m happy it worked out for him!

Another random aside, this is what happens when you forget to pop the lids when you’re warming honey bears. They get into an argument.

Speaking of arguments, Arc and Indy got into one the other day, and Indy came stomping into my room loudly proclaiming his ire. He proceeded to barricade the door, explaining to both Arc and myself how he planned to defend himself and Arc was NOT coming in.

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We have started walking again, which feels wonderful. I can scarcely believe it’s been over a year since I walked regularly! I barely managed a full block the first couple times out, but I’m happy to report I have graduated to two. Go me!

More updates coming soon, but for now I will toss out that I’m slowly sharing a new story on the writing blog. It’s proving difficult to write (ah, emotions…), but the goal is to finish it by the end of June, Lord willing! Keywords: sanctity of life, recovery from miscarriage and abortion, chips and nanites.

By the light of the headlamp.

In the first few weeks after Seven was born I had opportunity for more reading than usual. I recently made the acquaintance of several self-published authors (thank you, MeWe!), and consequently I downloaded a sample of their books. It was the perfect time to explore new things.

A Sassy Creek Christmas (Shelia Stovall) I do like a good Christmas novella! New for me here was a story told from an elderly lady’s perspective. So often the protagonist in such books is young and beautiful or dashing and daring. I loved reading about a decades-old marriage. I loved how she related to the people around her, and they to her. I admit to being frustrated by the role social media played in the plot, but by the time it was mentioned I was too committed to the story and characters to stop. You can take that as a testament of good writing. I have very strong opinions about Facebook. 😉

The Farmer’s Daughter (Lisa Howeler) This falls in the romance genre, which is not typically one I read. The things I’d heard about it suggested more substance and less of the wandering eyes and longing sighs so many Christian romance stories focus on, so I gave it a go. It was fun! The characters felt more realistic, the relationship element didn’t feel rushed or forced. I appreciated that the story included hard decisions and difficult circumstances without going into explicit detail. Ultimately it held a message of redemption and forgiveness, and when I got to the end I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the characters. Happy me when I learned there’s a sequel in the works!

The Samurai’s Honor (Walt Mussell) I have an affinity for Japanese history, no doubt encouraged by my short stint with Japanese brush painting and too many hours watching Rurouni Kenshin in my ill-spent youth. The cover of this book captured me before I knew what it was about, and I grabbed it without even reading the synopsis (this was a first, but shows perhaps the power of a good cover). It’s a short, delightful read full of family relationships, suspense, and glimpses into 16th century Japan. The young protagonist made for a unique perspective, and the mystery kept me turning pages. I didn’t realize it was a prequel until the end, and I look forward to reading The Samurai’s Heart soon.

The one that got away.

The Dearliest made a quick trip to the Willamette Valley last weekend to pick up a piece of machinery. While there he took to the coast for a few hours to go surf fishing. He didn’t land anything, but he detailed a fight with something huge, something decidedly not a surf perch. Every time he made progress reeling it in, it took off again for deeper water. Eventually it broke the leader (what is a fishing leader?).

He described the creature’s behavior on a fishing forum, and others shared experiences with similar fights. Theories ranged from sharks to octopuses, but the Dearliest narrowed his possibilities down to a sturgeon or a huge lingcod, both of which are in the area he was fishing but aren’t usually found close to shore.

Side note: you know you live with a fisherman when you go to wash dishes and…

In other exciting spring news, I spent 2 days organizing seeds and making labels for the ones we’ll start in the greenhouse. Then a few days later my mom sent me a box with rhubarb plants she’d scored for free and peonies on a deal. Yes, plants excite me!

With the onset of nicer weather I’ve been crocheting less, but I did make this scarf up in time to wear for St. Patrick’s day. Unfortunately, it doesn’t behave the way I was hoping, and it’s probably destined for frogging at some point.

I also found a pattern for baby sandals that are really just for show but are soooo cute I decided Seven needs some for Easter.

The urge to write has come ’round again, so I walk around these days with a pen in my pocket and a notebook at hand. I’m trying to pick up where I left off 2 years ago, researching for the lost princess/ Bible smuggling novel and making progress on an emotionally charged (for me) short story about miscarriage and abortion. Both are proving difficult for different reasons, so this week I took a break and polished up the swashbuckling in The Red Flag, which some of you may remember from days past. Way past. It’s still one of my favorite stories. 😀

Lastly, the Dearliest has been following the construction of a high rise building in San Francisco. It’s a fascinating time-lapse (although I only catch a couple minutes here and there). This video shows the dismantling of the huge tower crane by way of an even huger mobile crane, although as the timestamp shows there are other uses for it…

When left to their own invention…

Seven and Saucepot

Life with a newborn is different. There are days of no chores, there are nights of no sleep. There are tears of gratefulness, there are tears of no sleep. Seven is, by all accounts, an easy baby, but this last week was a struggle and it’s not just the cold going through the house. I decided to ignore school for a while, and I told the kids they had to practice their instruments and do their chores but that was it.

One afternoon I wandered through the dining room and noticed the table was covered with carboard scraps, craft sticks, straws, scissors, rulers, and hot glue sticks. “See what we’ve been building!” Squeaky said. And she showed me her house-scape.

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LK showed me the parking garage he and Arc built for their constantly growing collection of mini cars.

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And Pokado showed me a covered trailer and an articulating, rotating excavator she was working on for Arc’s upcoming birthday.

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Even Indy snuck in a project and proudly showed his airplane to everyone. 

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As I told the Dearliest, I’m not going to tell them. I’m not going to tell them that what they learned building their creations counts as school. Engineering, math, art…

To me, this is one of the greatest beauties of homeschooling. It doesn’t have to come out of a book. It doesn’t have to be behind a desk. It can be hands-on, it can be imaginative, and it can be fun.

 

Bygone Days, Part 2

Still missing my Grandma more than I can really express in words. Maybe that’s why I started this project. In the beginning I only meant to work with the song, but then I remembered some pictures and…well, it just grew into it’s own thing.

Here’s the direct link to the video in case the embed doesn’t work properly. I’m still learning my way around Rumble. ETA: It looks like the full screen option doesn’t work on the embedded video. Interesting. The direct link will take you to Rumble’s site if you prefer a larger picture!

In my first post about my Grandma’s passing, I mentioned a Romanian pianist that we befriended on the Alaskan cruise. The last day of the cruise, he gave me a cd he’d recorded for Grandma and me. He’d stayed up most the night working on it with his keyboard and laptop, and it contained all the music we’d grown to love.

Our favorite piece was “Bygone Days” by Eileen Ivers. We heard it at least once a day on the ship and I loved it so much I started learning it by ear. When I returned home I looked up the original, and this is when I discovered Eileen Ivers was one of the original fiddle players for Riverdance, although “Bygone Days” wasn’t part of that production.

Within the year following the cruise, Eileen Ivers came to my home county on tour and my family went to go see her. When Grandma announced afterwards that she was going to go tell Eileen Ivers about the Romanian pianist, I watched with curiosity. Grandma quietly moved her way through the crowd, coming up behind the fiddle player and startling her.

Eileen Ivers listened casually at first, signing an autograph here and there, but quickly become more focused on Grandma as the story of “Bygone Days” continued. She was thrilled to hear her music was traveling the world on a cruise ship and very kindly thanked Grandma for sharing. I appreciated both my Grandma’s determination to spread joy and Eileen Ivers’ response to her.

It’s a memory I’ll not easily forget.