Showing posts from June, 2019


Remember when I was moaning about how cold it was in the dead of winter? When I couldn't fathom every being warm again? Remember when I moaned about the very cold and wet spring we had when there was no decent weather to just sit outside and read? We've had a couple of nice days between then and now, but...

Now it seems as though the weather has decided it is necessary to go the other direction. We are in the middle of a string of 90+ days and it is uncomfortable. The humidity is high and the sun is hot. There's nothing like living in a place that has a 130 degree difference. Especially when my preferred temperature range, and the one where I'm most comfortable and happy is between 68 and 78 degrees. We haven't been there much this year.

Despite the uncomfortable temperatures, J. has been sweating it out in the barn finishing the stalls. He is so close to being done. I'll show you the in progress pictures and then tell you what still needs to be done.

This is E…

Friday bullets, June 28, 2019

Let's see if I can remember everything I was going to share with you.

TM is back safe and sound from Ecuador. He had a great experience and took some amazing pictures (of course). Here are a few of them. The cathedral in Quito
Which they climbed up and up

to the top.

He also got to walk on the equator.
Aster was extremely happy to see him when he got home. She was a good dog while he was gone, but she missed her boy.I realize I never shared D.'s birthday photos.

And speaking of D., a friend sent this the other day. This is D. in the middle surrounded by a H-S family child an M. family child. Last weekend some of us took a walk around the forest preserve. The trouble is, because of our less than ideal weather, the hay field between it and our house is still waiting to be mowed. It made the walking a little challenging for Y., but she did it. That was about the equivalent of months' worth of therapy there, having to lift her feet up and over the grass for the entire field. R. con…

The power of being known

Our van's air conditioning is out. Again. It's become an annual event to turn on the air on the first hot day after winter only to discover that the small leak in the coolant system that cannot be located has done it's work again over the summer and emptied the system. Because some of us will be driving up to Michigan next week, it seemed kind of important to recharge the system so the poor children stuck in the back of the van didn't expire before we arrived. This required the logistics of figuring out when we could be without the van, when the shop had an opening, and how it all would work.

Our local dealer is incredibly nice and found a way to squeeze up in. M. is home so we have access to a second car. The van is now in the shop to have its ability to cool restored. (I truly cannot tell you how happy this makes me.) As J. and I were driving home after I picked him up from having dropped off the van, he mentioned that he feels as though we will use this place foreve…

Reassure me

We are heading to the beach next week, and it suddenly entered my awareness that I had two girls who were in desperate need of sandals, swimming suits, and some more summer clothing. I took advantage of a free afternoon to go do some shopping. (Not my favorite thing!)

What started out as just a recognizance trip turned into a full blown shopping trip once I made the choice to buy a lot, take it home and have them try it on, and then return anything that might not work. This is not how I usually function, but it suddenly seemed easier than going back, collecting the girls, and having them try things on in the store.

So for ~$200, I brought home, two pairs of sandals, three (new, not thrifted) swimming suits, 6 or more pairs of shorts, ~8 t-shirts, and 2 summer dresses. Nearly everything will work, but I'll be taking back 5 or 6 items that didn't fit. It will probably drop my total bill down to $170. If I do that math, it averages out to $9 an item, though the shoes and new swim…

Go outside and plant a tree

Yesterday I finished the book, The Man who Planted Trees: a story of last groves, the science of trees, and a plan to save the planet by Jim Robbins. It was good. It was incredibly depressing, but it was also fascinating. I recommend it, but know it advance that it will make you despair a bit.

Other than realizing that the world is going to hell in a hand basket in more ways than one, the book was also fascinating because it shares how much we do not know about how trees work. It seems they are so much more complex and interesting and weird than we ever expected, as well as being able to do so much to heal our very broken planet. Truly, it made me want to run out and buy trees to plant in our yard.

Now you may think that the healing that trees can do is pretty much ecological, and you would be correct, but it seems that trees and growing things and green spaces also heal on a different level as well. Take, for instance, this example,

"Kuo and her colleagues  [Dr. Frances Kuo with…

Two years

Today is the two year anniversary of us being in this house.

When we first moved and I talked to people about surviving major moves, they all said that it took about two years to really feel as though they were settling in. This was hard to hear. When we first moved, I was desperate to create the kind of support system and comfort level that we had left. Why I thought that I could create in one year what took over thirty to build is beyond me, but that didn't stop me from trying. I didn't want to wait two years until I began to feel comfortable.

Yet that is what I had to do. I can tell you it is with some great relief that I say we have reached the two year mark. The second year in a new place had it's challenges, but it increasingly felt better. I know people now... and I often even remember their names! We have met more neighbors, we have met more people at church, I am starting to sort out the social aspect of our homeschooling, and everything just feels less new. I don…

The end of June always does me in

We've had four birthdays, today is our anniversary (28!), TM is in Ecuador on a mission trip, K. leaves this weekend for a youth group retreat, we're trying to sort out schedules for an upcoming vacation, plus all the other usual things which go on around here. We (okay, the adults) are tired of dessert. All that to say why things have been quiet. I am now going to try to get a ride in on Emmy before I head into Evanston to meet some friends.

But what I really want to say is that I love this man, and marrying him was the best thing I ever did. He is my best friend as well as being the world's best father and husband. Happy Anniversary, J.! Here's to (at least) another 28 joy filled (and adventurous) years together!!

Read this book

I finished a book earlier this week that I loved and spoke to me deeply, and I want to share it with you. Let's start with this.

"Yes, the world is broken. But don't be offended by it. Instead, thank God that He's intervened in it, and He's going to restore it to everything it was meant to be. His kingdom is breaking through, bit by bit. Recognize it, and wonder at it.

War is not exceptional; peace is. Worry is not exceptional; trust is. Decay is not exceptional, restoration is. Anger is not exceptional; gratitude is. Selfishness is not exceptional; sacrifice is. Defensiveness is not exceptional; love is.

And judgmentalism is not exceptional...

But grace is.

Recognize our current state, and then replace the shock and anger with gratitude. Someone cuts you off on your commute? Just expect it. No big deal. Let it drop, and then be thankful for the person, that exceptional person, who lets you merge. See the human heart for what it is, adjust expectations, and be grateful…

Just kind of an ordinary summer day

Today was one of those blissful days where I never had to get in my car to go anywhere. I planned on spending the day catching up with laundry and paying the bills... because I know how to have fun. G. and I did the barn and the birds first thing, then I sat in the sun and had my breakfast outside. This having breakfast outside thing, sitting quietly, watching the trees and the birds while I sip my coffee is one of my very favorite things about summer. Sometimes a child will join me briefly or play beside me while I sit and sip. L. joined me this morning, crushing up some of the wild strawberries in the garden to make 'ink'. (Don't worry, these are not eating strawberries. They are small and bitter. Every year someone tries one hoping that this year they will be sweet, but they never are. L. can make as much ink as she desires.)

One interesting thing that happened this morning was R. decided to play with a toy. I know that this sounds hardly newsworthy, but it actually is.…

How we celebrate Father's Day

Well, the short story is we don't actually celebrate Father's Day. It's not that my children don't have the most amazing father whom they adore, it's more that when you have three children who share the same birthday on a date that often falls on or very near Father's Day, you celebrate birthdays instead.

B. turned 24 and G. and L. turned 10 on Saturday. We were all able to be together on Sunday, so we had a big birthday celebration. Don't worry about J. I made three different pies for dessert... cherry, peach, and apple. J. loves pie.

Here are pictures of the three different rounds of singing Happy Birthday to each of the birthday children.



And G.:

Overcoming the fear of duck eggs

We have these ducks who lay an egg a day, plus the baby ducks are going to soon be laying eggs. All of this means, we are going to be drowning in duck eggs. We use what we can, but I would love to be able to sell some as well. I find, though, that many people are more than a little hesitant to buy duck eggs, and I can't figure out why, because they're very useful and tasty things.

So, to help people over the duck egg hurdle, I made up a recipe for you... with pictures! Plus, when you have eight dozen duck eggs kicking about the house, you really need to do something with them!

Without further ado, I want to tell you about mini crustless quiches which live in your freezer and are a quick and nutritious breakfast for your hungry hoards. I made two variations today, though I have a couple more I want to try. I started out with bell pepper and pepperoni crustless quiches which are dairy-free because some of my people can't do dairy.

First, because we leave our eggs dirty and o…

Friday bullets, June 14, 2019

We've had two late nights in a row, so I don't know how long this will be.

We think the baby ducks might be starting to lay some eggs. We are finding little white eggs, about the size of a chicken egg, every so often. We don't have chickens who lay white eggs, so they must be from the ducks. Often eggs are smaller when a hen is first starting to lay. Once they get going, though, I'm going to need to create a bigger market for duck eggs. I've done a whole bunch of nothing this week. The weather has been beautiful; the perfect temperature for just sitting outside and enjoying the sun. So that is what I've been doing.H. has totally embraced the reading game this year. She has been dutifully reading and reading and reading. Her card is about one third filled with stickers after just one week. I never am really sure how much she is actually getting out of her silent reading, but all that sitting and staring and sounding out words on her own certainly cannot hurt.TM l…

At least I didn't have to buy the book

You ever have one of those days when you look around your house and are suddenly horrified at the state into which things have fallen? I did that this morning. Piles of things that I had stopped seeing and had become part of the landscape... the Easter center piece on the dining room table complete with dead flowers... I'm pretty sure even the dust bunnies had dust on them. It was bad.

So I spent a good chunk of the day cleaning up and encouraging other people to help out. It felt so good to get the piles of junk lying around put away, to straighten up the furniture and move some things around, to get some of the layers of dust taken care of so people would stop drawing pictures in it. The downstairs living areas actually became a place I wanted to spend time in again rather than a place I walked through quickly because I couldn't stand to be in it.

It's a funny thing about cleaning and making things look nice, it tends to have a domino affect. Not only is the downstairs a…

Knowing how one learns

Nothing like figuring out what you want to do when you grow at age 53, huh?

I would love to become a certified therapeutic riding instructor. I love everything about therapeutic riding, and have loved every minute of volunteering at Horse Power. There are several ways to become certified, and the academic one near me had an information meeting, so I went.

I'm afraid I am too much of an autodidact, even though I loved taking classes when I was younger. Actually, I realize now that what I loved was the learning that happened from taking classes, the papers, projects, exams, not so much. Now, further away from my school years, I find myself even less patient with someone else's learning agenda.

Over the years as I have taught myself various things, I have learned how I learn best. I would happily get any number of advanced degrees in any number of fields if that consisted of giving me a syllabus and resources and letting me take it from there. I'd be more than happy to have a…

Adoption 101

Things are better around here now. Today R. even went outside and played water gun chase with everyone. More surprisingly, she even let people spray her back without it becoming a 'thing'. I just never know what kind of day we're going to have when I wake up in the morning. Life is not dull, that's for sure.

This is not going to be the most interesting post, because I realize that I need a place to put all my Adoption 101 posts so they are more shareable. Feel free to click through and read the ones you might have missed, but really this is just to make my own life a little easier.

These will be listed from oldest to newest.

Adoption 101: Indiscriminate Affection

Adoption 101: Free Time

Adoption 101: Prepare to be Humbled

Adoption 101: Glitches

Adoption 101: The Process (though since the adoption process is constantly changing, this could be rather out of date)

Adoption 101: Files Can Lie

Adoption 101: Life After Coming Home

Adoption 101: Chronological and Emotional/Developmen…

Some days

Some days, helping a child heal from past trauma feels like a never ending task.

Some days, you just are so tired of having to be the emotional stand-in for all the mothers who have left.

Some days, you would just like to ask a simple question and receive an easily given answer instead of it becoming an all day scream-fest followed by hours of disassociation.

Some days, it feels as though nothing is ever going to change or get better.

Some days, it would be pretty darn nice if the child who takes up so much of your day could just like you a little bit.

Some days, you wish you could control your temper just a little bit better.

Some days, it would be great to feel a little hope that things will get better, but the Swiss cheese that is her brain doesn't hold great promise for that.

Some days, you wonder how so much of life can be so very difficult for this child, yet when it involves getting something she really wants and doesn't want anyone to notice, her functioning seems extr…

Friday birthday bullets - June 7, 2019

Today was my birthday, and a lovely day it was.

During the summer, J. gets Fridays off. It's lovely. Today was our second Friday, and we are loving having him home for an extra day every weekend.We finally have warm and dry weather. Hooray!!I have one garden planted and will spend the weekend planting the other one. I still have a lot of seeds to put in, so I hope that we have a warm fall so they have enough time to produce actual vegetables.I got to spend part of my birthday at Horse Power, the therapeutic riding program I volunteer with. I love the combination of horses and special people.J. has been working on building stalls in the barn. He is part way through the first of three. The most difficult part is figuring out how to make everything work. I also got to ride Emmy a bit today. The big news is that I was able to canter on her briefly today and lived to tell the tale. She is calming down and having P. here to ride her as well is incredibly helpful in getting her back to rid…

Plenty of peonies

I spent much of the day driving to Wisconsin and bringing home 11 bales of NEW hay. This is a very good thing and has lowered my stress level considerably.

Because of having spent so many hours driving, you get pictures. Our peonies are blooming. We have more than two dozen of them growing around the house with many different varieties. I can't figure out which one is my favorite. Pretty much it is whichever one I happen to be looking at that very moment.