Showing posts from March, 2017

Happy 11th Birthday, K.!

K. turns 11 today. Not only does this advanced age surprise me a bit, some some of his older siblings are completely taken aback by it as well. I think we are all so used to K. being our little, little boy, that him suddenly being a big boy takes some getting used to. When you bring home such a delayed, infant-like two year old, that it is difficult to imagine the next year much less an eleven year old. But here's the proof that it does happen. 
We celebrated last night since D.' s show that he is in (The Miracle Worker) opens tonight and plays all weekend. K. ordered potato pancakes for dinner and cherry pie for dessert. 
TM is holding the candles and that's one of K.'s good friends, P9, next to him, who came and joined us.

Of course, when your big brother holds your candles, he's going to tease you a bit as well. K. is trying to blow it out while TM keeps moving it away.

Thank you, Grammy, for the Hot Wheels monster trucks!
And a new skateboard, which had been a…

Annotated reading list on trauma

A friend asked me to post my reading list of trauma. Who could resist such a request? I'll admit, that like all my reading lists, this one is a bit idiosyncratic. I'm also going to focus for the most part on actual books. There are plenty of websites out there with lots of up-to-date, accurate and helpful information. I would suggest Googling 'trauma parenting TBRI' to get a good list to start with. TBRI being Trust Based Relational Interventions. But sometimes you want something more in depth, or not on a screen. Books have their place. I'll list the book, say something brief about it, and also include a link to a previous blog post if I've written more in-depth about that particular book before. The book title itself will be linked back to Amazon via my Amazon Associates account, which if you click through and actually purchase something, you help to support in a small way my little book habit.

Ready? Here we go.

First, general information about trauma.

The Bo…

Mea culpa

This is my open and blanket apology to all my friends and correspondents to whom I have not been in contact with or replied to.

I'm sorry.

You should see my inbox and answering machine messages; things are really piling up. I've been rotten at reaching out and replying and pretty much anything else which requires me to leave me little introverted and overwhelmed bubble. I feel pretty darn guilty about it all, but evidently not guilty enough to hit reply on an email or message or to pick up the phone.

I wish I could tell you what is up... because then I would know, too. I think it's a variety of factors. Still adjusting to our two new girls, adjusting to more of my children getting older and becoming adults, J.'s job change, the stress of contemplating moving, the stress of actually doing something about moving, missing good friends who have moved away, cold weather in springtime, too many unknowns, etc., etc. It all makes me want to curl up in bed with a stack of books…

More brain and trauma stuff

I just finished reading The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk. Boy, talk about a fascinating book. I might actually break down and buy myself a copy just to have as a reference.

Perhaps one of the most difficult things for people to wrap their heads around is how systemic the affects of trauma can be. Even for those of us who live with people affected by trauma, we can sometimes forget or not understand what is really going on inside our child. From the outside looking in, it seems like a simple problem. Yes, what you experienced in the past was horrible and rotten. But now you are in a good place, with people who love and care about you and will be sure that your needs are met. You are now safe and secure. That should do it, let's move on. It can feel frustrating when the person affected by trauma doesn't seem to want to get on that particular train.

What recent brain science is learning, though, is exactly why it is s…

The further adventures with boxes and cats

J. finished painting The Folly this weekend and it looks great. I want to paint an unfinished wood bookcase that was in it before I show it to you, though, so you'll just have to wait another few days to see the final product. In the meantime, I have more cat pictures for you.

Here is a picture of the recycling piled in the mud room. I had some things to add to the pile, so did what any person would do, threw it into the empty box.

The empty box which then meowed in an annoyed tone of voice.

My to do list in pictures

Just a typical Saturday around here. I taught piano lessons while J. wrangled children and made pancakes. Not much cleaning has happened, but we've done some other things.

The folly is all primed and ready for its real coat of paint.

We have a new mailbox all ready to put up, to replace the hideous (and breaking) plastic one that I have detested from the moment I saw it 16 years ago. (Nothing like taking care of little things right away, huh?)

I got to the library, because (oh, the horror), I was out of any fiction that I wanted to read.

I also made it to the grocery store so we have food for tonight and the rest of the week. That always makes my children happy.

This is going to be turned into dinner.
While I was at the store, J. took the younger six to the park. It sounds as though it was a more exhausting trip than usual. I think I got the better end of the bargain this time.
D. also made his weekly bread and it is cooling on the kitchen table.

Thus, we have nearly made it to th…

Friday bullets, March 24, 2017

This will be quick, I have a lot of painting to get to.

J. is enjoying his new job, though much of the it feels as though he is drinking from a fire hose, as far as trying to learn everything he needs to learn. Yesterday was a momentous day, and possibly a turning point, when J. mentioned that only two people started their conversations with him by saying, "So, is it true that you really do have 12 children?"The internet is not always a bad thing. Yesterday, we were reading our teatime book, and one passage had one of the children wandering around her house reciting Ophelia's mad scene from Hamlet. Not wanting to waste an educational moment, I paused and asked the assembled children where the quoted lines were from. D. made an educated guess and said, "Shakespeare." I then asked which play. TM then chimes and and says, "Hamlet. Is it that part where she goes crazy?" We all pause and look at him a moment, and P. asks, "How did you know that?" …

A work in progress

I don't think I've ever shown you one of the really, truly, ugly parts of the house. It's that room I've been talking about, which we've called 'The Folly' ever since we moved in. It earned its nickname because it is the room above the little garage which was (mistakenly, in my opinion) added on to the side of the house sometime in the 1920's. Wanna see?
The entrance to The Folly is through the living room. Here's the doorway. We're pretty sure this doorway used to go out to a lovely wrap-around porch which was taken off to make room for the ugly garage.

You go in and have to go up a short flight of stairs.

Here's the view of the room from the bottom of the stairs.

Oh, don't forget to look up to see the snazzy ceiling. This particular covering was also on the roof of my former kitchen when we first moved in. I don't miss it.

The room itself, before we pulled up the carpet. Yes, the fireplace works, but there is no flue covering and …

Lesser of two decorating evils

I posted this on my Facebook page, but thought you'd all like to play along, too. TM and I have been working all day up in the folly to make it look just a little more attractive. (It was... and is... the worst room in the entire house.) We have it all empty now, which was no small feat, and are moving on to slapping artfully applying paint to the walls. Like everything else in the house, we have chosen a lovely beige, the color which delights realtors and house buyers everywhere. That leaves us with the floor. The room has vaguely shag-like carpet laid down (not actually installed) on brown industrial-like tile. You know, the kind that was found in your school cafeteria. The whole packages is... not so attractive. Here's my question, which is worse? Leaving the carpet, which makes the room feel a little warmer and cozier, or taking up the carpet and showing the tile, and maybe finding a throw rug to put on it.

Ready? Head to the comments to vote. I honestly don't know whi…

Canning dreams

Even in the midst of current and future upheaval, our late afternoon read aloud has remained constant. I think it is a big reason as to why the vast majority of the children around here have been navigating the changes better than I expected. Everyone needs constants in their lives.

The book we are currently reading is Then There Were Five by Elizabeth Enright. It is actually the last book of the Melendy Quartet, four stories about the four children in the Melendy family. I will admit to really only being familiar with the last two, this one and The Four-Story Mistake, which is one of my top favorite books from childhood. In The Four-Story Mistake, the family moves to the country into a delightfully odd house, where they find a hidden room, the door of which had been boarded over. This story fuelled house fantasies for me for years. I love these stories because I like the children. They were written and set before and during World War II, and I long for their uncomplicated existence.

What it's like inside my head

Last week was not great, if you hadn't already figured that out. I don't do change well, and, frankly, this is a lot of change. Plus, right now we are in the lot of change part which is not terribly enjoyable and has far too many unknowns to be at all relaxing. I pretty much spent the past week alternating between panic, despair, and depression. I wasn't a lot of fun to be around at all. I certainly didn't enjoy my own company.

You want to hear a little of the soundtrack to which the hamster in my brain endlessly ran on its wheel?

We're moving soon.... there's so much to do... I need to pack some boxes and clean and make things look nice... we really need to get some rooms painted... when are we going to get that done?... J. sure is gone a lot with this horrible commute... I suppose we could pay someone to paint... is it worth it? ... is anyone going to want this house? ... they probably aren't going to want this house... why are putting money into things i…

Here, read these...

since I'm evidently not writing.

First, the smaller people have watched this video about how to make sugar bowls more times than I can count, and I expect I will be trying to make them for some birthdays eventually. Edible sugar bowls

Next comes an interesting article about children and unstructured play.

Related, sort of, to that is an article about the effects of nature on the brain.

Since we're outside, what better thing to do than to ride horses? Plus horseback riding can positively affect a person's brain.

Finally, I have a new article published: Dealing with Sibling Rivalry. Feel free to click and share early and often.

Homeschooling: How to make a lapbook

As I've been cleaning out, I've come across a lot of old school work from the oldest four. When we first started homeschooling, I took meticulous records. Writing down every single thing we did, and keeping every single scrap of work completed. It filled binders and binders. Somewhere, oh, long about D., I stopped. The meticulousness had already gone down hill and because we live in a homeschool friendly state, I didn't really need to spend my time this way. My blog, started a bit after that became my de facto record of previous lessons. Trust me, when I say it is far more interesting to read on the blog. My older children did mock me a bit for the amount of workbook type work that I kept. Funny, they didn't find it all that interesting to look at, either. The things they liked best were the stories they wrote and the bigger projects that they did.

My favorites looking back, were some of the lapbooks we made together. I know some people think that making lapbooks is to…