June 2013 (Facebook Compilation)

June 5: Our new in-house OCD test:
Real-life picture layout on our welcome-wall (first wall you see walking into house).

welcome wall

June 8: The newest member of our crew at Willow Rock Farm: flew her home from the Palmer airport.

Plane ride home

June 13: My work over the last week: organizing (and thinning) the books in my library.

A job I haven’t done since before we moved here.

It was fabulous to discover/recognize the pattern of my “collecting.”

books 1 books 2 books 3 books 4 books 5

June 15: Got all three freezers emptied/defrosted/inventoried this afternoon. A few people commented on the soggy ice cream. (It all took about as long as you’d expect…)

Still in awe of the accomplishment, and figuring out the best way to meal-plan with the new information.

June 18: Pleased to announce that ‘that magazine project’ I’ve been talking about for months is now live.

Wyn (wynmag.com) is an online magazine focused on providing resources and hope for mental and emotional healing. Each month’s issue has a specific theme that runs through all the articles.

I am so excited to be a part of this project with amazing women from around the globe.

Please stop by and join the conversation on the blog.

June 19: Wheee 2a.m. and a gentle tiredness on top of a feeling of productivity. Got some good writing done and kids are at Gma’s so I can sleep in.

June 21:

Dunno if you can tell from these pix, but this is Griffin scratching himself six ways from Sunday.

Can’t tie him out b/c he’s helpless against the bugs, and now I can’t even walk him, because we’re both *mobbed* instantly.

Finally just turned him loosen out the front door (which I *never* do on purpose). He was back five minutes later: more itchy, but less whining. Took care of business, I assume.

griffin itch A griffin itch B griffin itch C

June 27: Vamp bucket. The mosquito magnet catches them, but this model at least has trouble getting them into the collection plate.

Freakiest part: we’re still chewed on in the length of time it takes to cross the yard, and the dog continues to be scared to go outside.

vamp bucket

Elisha [getting ready for a camping trip]: “But what do we need to bring *toothbrushes* for?!”

May 2013 (Facebook Compilation)

May 2: EEP.

So I’m slowly and in a not-actively-marketing way growing my business (Untangling Tales: Professional Bios and Story Coaching), basically praying about it, staying “available” but not pushing anything because my life is full-enough, and I’m sort of being asked for the next level.

That would be being paid for my talk/workshop on writing professional bios.

In other (big) news, my Lindorm novel is now officially long enough to be two books, and part of knowing that is announcing Book-One is *finished.*

70,000 words. (Approximately.)

Next step is proof-reading the and writing a query letter. (But you can get as many details as you want at UntanglingTales.com. Just search Lindorm for the latest.

May 7: Okay, how much of a story-geek does it make me that I’m reading the Sparknotes summary of “The Importance of Being Earnest” and cracking up multiple times?

Never saw or read the play before. Just had it referenced *again* and decided I needed to know what’s going on.

Anyway, totally worth the read. Just the *summary* got me belly-laughing. Can’t know if the whole play would be worth wading through, but this I loved.



I’m editing my novel, right?
Which means I’m entering other skins and descriptions.

Here’s what I’d just. finished. reading:

**For some reason it made me remember my revulsion in the lambing pen when large spiders, drawn by the warmth of new life, skittered across the straw and, three different times, onto the face of the new lamb itself.**

And something was skittering on my wrist under the desk.
I whacked it automatically and it *crunched* under my fingers. An ant as long as my fingernail.


May 10: And to celebrate (the previous post), I’m… scrubbing out our oddly-discolored dishwasher.


If it goes squicky again before next year, we’ll just keep suffering through. (Aaand it finally died. 11/13)

Also: Something that made me *wail* with much-needed-cathartic-laughter–

Dogs don’t understand basic concepts like moving.
Pretty much the whole time.
Every next-line started me over again.

I did not know how much I needed to laugh.
Or remember how good laugh-tired feels.

May 14: My subconscious is so *cute.*

The way things can layer and still make sense.

My dream this morning included a note from a “friend” in New York (someone I knew in the dreamworld) I’d apparently given a guinea pig to.

She (the human) was both true to her own beliefs (agnostic/atheist– no afterlife) and either very kind or “socially discrete.”

She had a note sent to me in my (1800s era) hotel room with a the item, “[Guinea pig name] went to China.”

Once I understood the animal was dead, it made sense: into-the-ground=traveling to China.

I thought it made a surprising amount of sense for a dream.

May 16: 2nd goat went into labor today, and I got all James-Harriot up-past-my-elbow in her uterus for two hours trying to straighten out the kid’s head. It was snaked back behind his shoulder, blocking progress.

I was keenly reminded of my own weakness this morning. Kept feeling as though greater endurance could have won the day.

Finally my hands were just too painful to try any more (the dizziness and weak arms were also contributing factors).

Thankfully we found a vet answering the phone (I called four numbers, left messages and kept calling back to catch the person I did).

She got a C-section.

There was only one kid, already dead. A buck, so I felt less disappointed than otherwise. But also the vet said he was probably too big to get out anyway, and that assuaged my self-disappointment.

Thing is, the adventure/ emergency forced me to cancel the dr. appt where I hoped to ask what is up with this persistent weakness.

Now I have to start over again.

Praying for a full recovery and good milk supply from our bereaved doe.

And strength for me. I’m still a bit wobbly here at the end of the day.

May 21: Words often say more than what they say: “A Fate worse than Death.”

May 31:

Girls walking through: Ow! Ow. OW.
Me (noting the fairy wings): Are those pretend ‘Ows?’
N: Yes.


We’re currently fighting a serious bug going through our house.

Melody’s fever seems to have finally stayed away (after four days of persistence), and everybody’s been pretty listless on both ends of the fever (N and E have had symptoms as well.  And it’s been interesting to observe how feeling yucky really does make you act yucky. It’s a backwards sort of nice that I can say, Woah, this is really out of character!)

Melody went through an entire square box of tissues Saturday. Elisha and Natasha picked up her cough by Sunday evening, and until yesterday (Tuesday) Elisha’s the only one who could hang on to energy.

Sunday I stayed home with the younger two. Elisha was a great helper, and Melody got dressed, which was an accomplishment compared to Saturday.

Monday both girls held their low fevers and needed lots of holding by Mama. Which was fine, accept when people want to eat, too.

Conveniently, when they’re feeling this crummy, they don’t seem to care as much about food.


Sherlock, Sickness, Snow & Story

So life doesn’t slow down just because I’m doing things besides writing.

Here’s my quick update:

A) Jay and I downloaded the first movie/episode of Sherlock last month and ordered the whole first season from B&N soon after.  But it took nearly 3 weeks to arrive.

  • This was really only an issue because of another aspect of our “new life,” and that is mail confusion.  There is another home on this mail route with the same house number and 1st-letter in the street name.  At least, that’s what I attribute the confusion to. We frequently receive their mail, and occasionally get mail with a hand-written, Wrong Address! scribbled by our names.
  • I’ve often felt it would be good neighborhood relations to meet whoever it is we’re swapping magazines with, but when we didn’t receive our eagerly-anticipated blue-ray for a long time I was really concerned that it had been mis-delivered and we’d have to eat the cost or make things awkward with the neighbors.
  • So the package’s arrival was a huge relief that had (for me) less to do with a fun couple-time than with easing my mind.

B) This week I’ve been a bit sick– nothing completely miserable, but enough to make most “efforts” quite draining.  Even so, we’ve had a few projects to manage, including a few trips to town for the making of Easter outfits and supplies for them. We haven’t done homemade dresses for the girls before, and I’m excited, hoping they’ll be able to be involved quite a bit.

  • Naturally I’ll post pictures when they’re done, but for now I’ll say it’s this pattern for both girls, and the different fabrics are a sparkly, butterfly-heavy print for them both. (Hm. ‘Butterfly heavy’ sounds… odd.) Continue reading

Kid Events February 2012

We’re still having fun with the kids.

Company got to join in the fun; Lilia seemed fascinated, but wasn’t always sure what to think of all the attention. Once again I was so thankful they’re small.

~ ~ ~

Elisha finished his kindergarten math book this last week, and yesterday started the first-grade book.  He is very proud.

“I love math!” He says over and over again.  His sisters try to burst his bubble (“Wait till you get older and it’s actually hard!“) and I try to nip it in the bud.  But at least so far they’ve not been able to dampen his enthusiasm.

~ ~ ~

Melody still loves the camera and has a standard pose that she takes when she asks me to take a picture of her.

She’s almost ready to lose her second front tooth.  The first adult front tooth has already made it’s appearance, so she might never be without “apple” teeth.

And here is Natasha modeling my latest finished project, and my first “chemo” hat.

One of my goals for my rabbit wool is to knit super-soft, super-warm, close-fitting hats for folks who have lost their hair.  This hat is for a dear lady I met last year who wore a creative range of head-coverings all summer.  She had hair the last time I saw her (a long time ago now), but because she was the one in-mind the whole time this idea grew, well, I knew she had to get the first one.

Natasha says she would like one of her own. “Exactly like it, Mama! Colors and everything!”

You can’t tell in the picture, but only the bottom half is dual-strand knitted, because I used up all my angora yarn about that time.  So I’ll have to spin some more before I can do anything new.  I like this pattern, too: it’s easy to remember without looking too simple.

Oh, and Natasha’s news is that she’s becoming quite proficient in the kitchen. She can break-up and watch the ground meat or sausage while I work on the rest of dinner, and she’s mastered the Lara(esque) Bars in Katie’s Healthy Snacks To-Go.

Today she came to me at lunch time and (rather than complain she was hungry) simply asked if there was anything she could make for lunch.

I love that attitude!  She and sibs made their own cheese tacos for lunch.

This growing independence can be fun 🙂

The Other Difficulty With Differences

I outlined my basic observation of differences here.

Another angle is that by doing things differently we begin to measure personal success in terms of success of the model we employ.

For example some parents (usually of only one child), directly attribute their child’s good behavior to their exceptional parenting skills.

This could be accurate, or it could be self-delusion.  I tend to take their gushing advice with a grain of salt, wary of such a small sample size.

Just yesterday I was talking with another mom about homeschooling and we were comparing methods (not competing, just finding out. She’s literature-based; I do half our subjects with workbooks and the other half orally).  I felt a warm, cozy comfort at our easy conversation, how we both tied our choices to our personalities and lifestyles, rather than the inherint *rightness* of the method itself.

I said so to her, saying how thankful I am to have several years “this way” behind me now, so I can compare a  track long-enough to let me see both when and how my method really works and when it doesn’t.  But how, over all, it averages out as effective.

My biggest discomfort in these “differences” interactions (whether it’s about parenting or schooling) is when someone attributes to the method what could just as easily be individual variation.  For “failures” or “successes.”

Natasha was reading by age five.  Melody, in the same environment, was still slogging through her phonics workbook at age six.  Some people asked if we were doing the right thing. If we were using the right curriculum.  And I did compare it to some other options, but felt nothing offered more than what we were using already.

Now seven, and nearly finished with those questioned phonics workbooks, Melody has a *solid* foundation that she builds on every day.  She has developed independent study skills, problem-solving skills (we’re still working on focus and speed, but we’ve got time), and I couldn’t be more pleased with the progress she’s made.

~ ~ ~

There is so much individual variation between children that I really think once you have something solid (by any objective standard you can measure), as long as it’s not actually making life more complicated (we had one of those, too), it’s a matter of persevering.

Elisha has begun the same series of workbooks– despite my intent to hold him back one more year– and I can already see that he, like Melody a year ago, isn’t quite clicking with it.

~ ~ ~

I haven’t decided if I’ll do an enforced hold until he’s older (my original plan) or keep working intensively with him.  One of the reasons I love the 50% workbooks approach is that it allows me to work independently too.

The books we use are so gradually advancing that the kids can frequently “self teach,” which is really important to me.  Not because I want to keep them out of my hair (they wouldn’t be homeschooled if that was important to me), but because I se my life as been one long string of self-teaching.

I consider it one of the most-valuable life skills they can learn, so I’m thankful to have found texts that reenforce this value of mine.

~ ~ ~

One of the reasons studying personality has been so important to me is how it allows me incorporate that understanding of equality into interactions where differences could start to look like mistakes. Like someone “getting it wrong.”

What I want to remember, what I want to extend grace over, is that correct can be a lot-broader of a path than I choose to walk myself.

The Amalgamation of Childhood

Listening to my children play is like picking apart the seeds of dreams.

Elisha and Melody have been play slave-escape stories again tonight, and Elisha restarted a scenario, carefully setting it up:

“The White Dragon will protect us from the Red Dragon–Kill it! And then help us escape to Freedom.  Carry us. But not in its jaws, on its back.”

Care to see the sources?

I love the way my kids produce stories.

When was the last time you cried while laughing?

Today, for me.

Here’s the scene:

Oh, yay, it’s snowing. Oops. I haven’t shoveled the yard in a bunch of days.  Ugh, that means I have to get dressed to go outside.  I was hoping to avoid that while sick.

[Be the adult, get dressed for the day {about noon} and stagger out to the living room realizing that simple act consumed my energy allotment for the hour.]

Thank God Jay’s back from his morning of running errands.  Collapse on the couch and confess negligence and abdication of scooping responsibility.

About this time Elisha comes back inside, glowing with smiles and cold.

Don’t worry Mama we saw it.  It’s not buried yet.

Now, I have already forgotten both that I’d offered the excitement of watching mama race the snow and a 4-year-old’s interest in poop.  I was only sick and tired and annoyed that one of my articulate children once again used a pronoun instead of a noun that would actually convey information.

I have grown to hate the words it and thing with severe intensity.  They’re like serotonin inhibitors– filling a hole that would normally be a channel, or at least a resting place, for something that could contribute a great deal more than the current squatter.

When I finally understood what the boy was talking about, he also conveyed that he and his sister were (helpfully!) doing what they could to make sure the piles were still visible.  Actively “brushing away” the still accumulating snowfall.

Keeping a straight face I politely informed him that I don’t want that job done any more, and asked him to leave things as they lay till Mother can deal with them herself.

Oh you don’t have to worry about that, Mama.

I am now worried.  This is a new phrase for him.

I be sure to stomp it.

How this could, in his mind be either helpful or reduce my inclination to worry, I think I’ll never know.  I was ready for a good cry by this point, and here was as good a trigger as any.  Jay was home and I could retreat for a little private catharsis.  But I couldn’t even speak, I was laughing so hard.  Tears streamed down my face, and poor Jay had to wait quite a while for my answer to, “What did he say?”

So I got my cry in the best possible way.  And yeah, I feel better, too.


This has been the most peaceful trip Jay’s ever been on.

And that was with the 7-years-old birthday party with crafts, donuts and snow-in-the-house.

I can’t imagine it being this peaceful if we had to keep a schedule with the outside world (school, outside work, playdates), but slowing down and doing everything with less intensity.

We’ve gone to bed later, and the kids have slept later, both of which has given me enough of my own space (in the quiet of the house) to maintain a patient, healthy attitude for them.

We’ve continued the 2-chapters-a-day Bible reading Jay started in December, and worked on the house each day as well.

Elisha has, as planned, given up diapers.  This has not (as numerous people seem to predict) resulted in the pre-potty-trained child “making a connection” and using the toilet more.  It does mean he’s mastered the phrase, “I have ah ax-i-dent.”

But, again, the work God is doing in our home (and in me) is such that even multiple changes of clothes and daily laundry haven’t squelched this peace and delight in being together.

I may never be able to articulate everything that has been growing since just before the new year began, but we are currently living in a shower of blessing, and I am grateful for a God who give good gifts.