Thursday, December 1, 2016

Blogging Break (Again)


Hello, dear readers!

I am going to take a blogging break.

(Yes, I know. Half of my blogging is taking blogging breaks.)

This time, I am going to take a big blogging break - by which I mean that I am not going to blog, and I am also going to shut down my blog reader (I will miss you, dear blogging sisters!).

My life for the past 15 years has been in two phases (1) a steep increase in internet use (I think most people my age experienced this), and (2) a gradual weaning from internet use. Unfortunately, step 2 is much harder than step 1 - and much more heartrending. One does get so attached.

I love the internet. I love blogging. I love all that I learn from you wonderful ladies out there. But the internet has the tendency to suck me in and leave me wondering where the last half-hour went... while my floors stayed dirty, dinner stayed unmade, and a stack of children's books went unread.

I want my family to remember a mother who was fully present - who read books to her children, baked cookies and pies, and kept a clean home. I don't want family memories of "My mom checked Facebook a lot" and "My mom stared at her phone all the time."

(I don't actually have a phone or a Facebook account, but the internet does still suck me in.)

And so... a break. This is part of my continuing journey. I don't know if I'll be gone two days, two weeks, two months, two years. One of those.

If I am gone longer, I will pop back in with baby news and also with my nausea and vomiting write-up for this pregnancy.

I will also continue to answer blog comments.

If anyone wishes to email me, do feel free to do so. I love keeping up with people, and am always available via email. I am also always available for prayer requests, so do let me know of your families' needs.

In the meantime, have a lovely, wonderful holiday season, and a very merry Christmas! My love to all of you!

(I should mention that the above is not meant in any way to disparage blogging. Some of you are incredibly gifted and are used of God for wonderful purposes. Keep it up.)




Sunday, November 27, 2016

When Lightning Gets Crazy


Here are those pictures/videos I promised!

One Friday this past July, my husband took the children out to the porch to watch a monsoon. A few minutes later they saw - actually saw! - lightning strike a palm tree in our neighborhood's common area. The tree caught fire immediately, from top to bottom.





My husband was on the phone with 911 within ten seconds. This video was taken about 2-3 minutes after the strike.





The second video, below, was taken just a minute or so later. The strong winds quickly spread the fire to surrounding trees, and within a matter of seconds we had a mini-firestorm on our hands. I have never seen a fire spread so quickly.

Thankfully the rains started almost immediately, which helped to slow the fire's spread. I don't know what would have happened without the rain, because this was one mean fire. Even with the rain the fire stayed intense, and our neighbors (directly behind the trees) sustained substantial minor damage from scorched car paint and burned patio furniture. Garden hoses did nothing to stem the blaze.





The fire department arrived about one minute after this video was taken.

We've been next to a lightning strike before, which was frightening, but being that it struck a metal carport, there was no fire. This was a completely different story! Yikes.


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Making Pumpkin Pie Ahead of Time for Thanksgiving


This is so, so simple... I know I'm the last to hear about these tips. But just in case there's someone else like me out there, here is the easiest method ever for making pumpkin pie super-easy on Thanksgiving morning:

Monday: Make pie dough, form into discs, refrigerate.

Tuesday: Roll out pie dough, fit into pans, wrap in plastic, freeze.

Wednesday: Make pie filling, leave (uncooked) filling covered in the fridge.

Thursday: Preheat oven, grab out the crusts, pour in the filling, bake.

Pie in the oven in less than five minutes on Thanksgiving morning? Yes, please!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Briefly Breaking Radio Silence


Hi, everyone!

I wanted to check in quickly with you all. We are now at 24 weeks, a bit more than halfway through the pregnancy journey with our newest edition. After a miserable summer I am feeling much better. Still nauseated around the clock, and downright yucky in the evenings (and other bits and parts of the day), and still throwing up a couple of times a week, but infinitely better than July through September. Week 23 was especially a big week of improvement. I have begun doing a bit of cooking, am back at church, and am even taking the children to park days and field trips.

Life is wonderful.

(In the interests of full disclosure, I should say that life in the aftermath of morning sickness is also quite stressful. Coming out of intense nausea, still struggling with constant nausea, and becoming aware of how badly everything - housework, routines, discipline - has deteriorated, can be rather overwhelming. But the incredible blessing of being free from intense round-the-clock nausea is also thrilling and exhilarating, and it makes me intensely thankful for every moment that I feel functional, and everything that I can do that I can't do while sick.)

Baby is checking out beautifully at our midwife appointments. I spent about a month absolutely convinced that baby was babies, i.e. twins, but baby is indeed solely in the singular tense.

Maybe next time. :)

(So I guess this means that I've lost any excuse for all the weight I'm gaining.)

I have finished assembling our birth kit and am moving into my usual post-20-weeks season of feverish spring cleaning (whenever the nausea allows). Good thing, because our home needs it after a summer of neglect!

The last half of pregnancy always goes by with incredible quickness. So much to do, so little time!

Highlights, good and bad, from this summer:

(1) Losing both of our cats - separate causes, six weeks apart. Total bummer.
(2) Health problems for my husband's mom.
(3) Various health problems for our family - most minor, thankfully most are improving.
(4) A crazy fire in our neighborhood caused by a lightning strike that my husband and the boys actually saw with their own eyes. Will post video later.
(5) First visit to our State Fair for my husband and the boys.
(6) First visit to a local lake. Considering how intimidating I find travel details, this is a major victory for me.

I'm spending my time working through the nausea, preparing for the holidays, cleaning up the mess that inevitably results when I'm down for a few months, and working on getting all of our schedule, routines, and school work back together after a summer-o'-morning-sickness. Perhaps I'll post on that subject sometime too.

I don't know that I'll be around often, but I will try to check in occasionally. I hope that each of you is having a wonderful fall!

A few pictures:

At the farm:



At the pumpkin patch:

This is called the "I can't BELIEVE we paid THAT MUCH for ONE PUMPKIN" trip. 


At the state fair:



At the lake:

I thought she'd be intimidated, but she ran straight from the van into the water.


Helping Daddy make popcorn for movie night:




Being crazy. With added mud. Mud always makes things better:


At our local chuckwagon cook-off:

Enjoying the camp fire


Hiking:


Our annual Pilgrim Thanksgiving feast:

Roast chicken, cornbread, mashed potatoes, succotash, Indian pudding, stewed pompion, cranberry sauce.
All (or most) recipes are courtesy of Story of the World, Book 3. 

I should have added some pictures from our second celebration of St. Martin's Day, but this year I totally forgot before it was too late. This year we added a nighttime lantern walk to the festivities.

***

And... Little Girl turns two!

This child cracks me up. Not only is she incredibly independent and strong-minded, but she has every bit of fluffy femininity that I never had as a child. Give her the chance, and she'll change her outfit every two minutes. Literally. She adores hats, gloves, shoes, hair accessories, and everything pink - all of the things that I, in childhood, rejected with all the temerity of a devoted tomboy. It seems I have some things to learn about girlhood in the years ahead!

I'm sure it will be good for me.


Have a wonderful week, everyone! Happy Thanksgiving!



Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Summer, News, Etc.


At this time of year, the eyes of the nation turn toward one topic, and one topic only....

The 2016 Arizona homeschool convention! How was it???

Well, I'd love to tell you all.

But the truth is that I don't know. We skipped it.

Yup, that's right. After we'd made our plans, arranged for childcare, and purchased our non-refundable, non-transferable tickets for my absolute favorite event of the entire year, we decided at the last minute to ditch the whole thing and stay home

{*Crickets*}

The furiously thinking reader has now probably reached the truth of the situation, knowing that very little less than a herd of rabid crocodiles will keep me from the AFHE homeschool convention....

That's right! Two pink lines, the news of which reached us the last day of June, meaning that by the time the conference rolled around, I was too busy doing my dying slug imitation to even think about being an eager conference-goer. (Still am, actually.)

However, we are very grateful, and very excited. We are a few short weeks short of finishing our first trimester, and we heard baby's sweet heartbeat yesterday. (Yay!)

I will post a nausea-and-vomiting update soon for those of you who are here for that purpose (soon = within the next few years). I can tell you (spoiler!) that although it's been an absolutely miserable summer, this pregnancy has stayed non-hyperemetic. (*Loud songs of thanksgiving!*)

In the meantime, I probably won't be around too often. Maybe in another few months?

I hope that each of you has had a lovely summer, and that your school years are starting smoothly. Love to you all!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Entering a New Millennium!


And I'm finally here...

This is my 1000th post!

I've been blogging since 2008, so that's roughly 125 posts - or thereabouts - per year. It looks like my posting frequency peaked in 2011-2013 - and this year, 2016, has been miserable, posting-frequency-wise (halfway through the year I'm at 28 posts).

I've decided - tentatively - that I can keep blogging, assuming that I can accept one caveat - that I'm okay with not blogging.

In other words, if I can be at peace with the (very frequent, very long) times in which the blog is silent, and can accept that I can only post very infrequently, then I can keep going.

Learning to chill out is the key - never easy for an always-stressed person like myself.

But that's the goal!

In the meantime, here's to the next 1000 posts! I'm looking forward to sharing with you all.


Sunday, June 19, 2016

In Which... I Go Shopping!


I am not a shopper... except at one time of year, and this is it!

Used homeschool curriculum sale time!

Due to stomach bugs and various life events, I only made one sale this year. But it was the best! As usual, I found nothing for which I was looking, but came home with lots of great things anyway.

At used curriculum sales, I face a couple of challenges:

(1) Being overwhelmed by the sheer volume, and by the voice in my head that says, "Hurry, you're going to miss something you should have bought!"

(2) Seeing something that I want but needing to pass it up because it's over-priced. This happens fairly often.

(3) Seeing something that I want but needing to pass it up because the physical quality of the book isn't going to meet our needs (i.e. yellowed paperback books, falling-apart hardbacks, etc.).

Despite that, I enjoyed my time thoroughly and am sorry it's over till next year!

Here they my finds!

For ME: I especially need the selection on the bottom left.


Missionary Biographies - I'm especially excited about the titles from "Christian Heroes Then and Now" (top left, bottom right). We are currently reading their book about Gladys Aylward, and the children love it.



Classics and History Readers - I adore the Eyewitness Classics series (top left and bottom right) and was thrilled to find two more. "The Yearling" and "Pollyanna" are classics that I want to have in our library. (I am currently working to build a solid library for our family of good-quality classics for children and young adults.)




For Young Children:


Science:


Okay, this one is admittedly one I should have checked out before buying. It's a great book, but it takes human reproduction further than I would have liked. I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do with this one.


History:





And there you have it! A very successful day, and a very enjoyable one. Not only did I find lots of delicious books, but I met up with lots of local homeschoolers and got to chat - always so much fun.

And next time... I'll be there at the very beginning so that I can snag even more!

(Books are the only area in which my minimalist frenzy is in severe remission.)

Happy shopping for those of you heading in the same direction this time of year!