Friday, January 20, 2017

Week 3 - Moving Forward

Monday, January 16, 2017

I am going to try and incorporate a 30-45 minute break each afternoon for me to have some quiet time each day to recharge. Because it is clear that the success of what I am trying to accomplish with our family rests solely on my shoulders, and because it is a huge undertaking, I need to make sure that I am at my best each day. I found that by the end of last week I was really struggling to give my best to my family because I was burnt out.

Our family mission statement is coming along. We have been working on it the last 3 family meetings that we have had and have made some good progress in terms of whittling down what we want it to look like and some of our key values. Right now we have chosen 11 key values and are going to try and get those down to around 5 to focus on for our statement. Once we have created it I would like to have it printed and framed on a main wall in our home. Everyone is actively taking part in this missions statement and it is neat to see which values are most important to which kid. Some of the values chosen don't surprise me at all while others do.

Someone sent me a quote on Pinterest that I loved. It resonated with me and I have been thinking about that quote and some others that were similar and how true they are to me and my life. I think a big part of a lot of my life struggles are that I am a wild, free, emotional spirit that is constantly trying to tame oneself to fit into a neat box, but in doing so I am really just strangling myself.  The best thing I can do is to live free - even if that doesn't look like everyone says it should - and to show my kids that it is okay to be a wild spirit. It is okay to think outside the box and live outside the box. I don't want them to spend their days fighting internally with themselves. That constant turmoil is horrible. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

Here are some of the quotes that spoke volumes to me:

Pin preview      The Wild Woman has a deep love of Nature, A love for the Ancient Mother, though possibly misunderstood, it has always been in her. When she goes into the wilderness, a part of her is Soul is going home. -Shikoba-  WILD WOMAN SISTERHOOD™:
.:     Old Souls and gypsy hearts:

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The public school kids haven't been to school in a week because of the snow that we had last Tuesday. The snow has shut the entire city down for the most part and has made living here incredibly annoying. It's snow people. No one shovels sidewalks here or plows roads. So the snow just sits and turns into ice. Our rental complex did nothing in terms of shoveling or clearing the snow from the driveways and roads leading to our buildings. This despite the fact that if I had to guess the average person here pays around $1900 a month for rent. You would think that for that amount of money the management company could at least pay someone to come out and clear the sidewalks. It has been hard enough to get around these parts as a completely able bodied person I cannot imagine what it must be like to be an abled differently person. Anyone living in the Midwest (or any where else that gets snow) would be appalled at the way this city has handled this storm. It was 6-8 inches of snow. If handled properly it could have been cleared in two days time - at the most. We live right next to Mt. Hood and the Pacific Ocean both areas which get snow regularly. If we don't have plow trucks or salt trucks we could have rented them from those areas. The garbage company didn't come last week. The DMV was shut down locally around here yesterday. Packages that were supposed to have arrived days ago have been held up due to the snow storm. Seriously, I think even my southwestern family who never really see snow of this magnitude would have rolled their eyes by now at the ridiculousness of chaos and panic that has taken over this town. I am so over this "blizzard" (as one radio host called it. Ha! Blizzard my arse.)

Friday, January 20th

As I step away from electronics more and more each day I find that its magnetic pull lessens, but yet I can tell how easy it would be for me to step back into the life of constantly being on my iphone or pulled back in to Facebook. I struggle some days with not checking my email on my phone as it is so much easier than coming upstairs and logging into the computer. But yet I am choosing for it to be more difficult because it forces me to be more intentional with my time.

Being intentional is such a struggle for me. It is hard work for me and coming more intentional each day has caused me to realize how intentional I am not. And how much farther I have to go. (I know this sentiment may be an echo from an earlier post, but it is what is on my mind right now, and therefore, is what will be shared even if it is a duplicate thought.)

There have been some really cool parts of our lives that have come back that we are all enjoying. Our school day has seen an increase in cool science projects and art projects all of which the kids are really into. This is when life is fun and all of this hard work is worth it. These moments of joy on my kids faces and their excitement and blossoming creativity are what make me push through all of the hard moments when someone is having a meltdown or something is going awry and I just want to quit.

The constant prep work that is needed to be organized and not frazzled frazzles me. : )
But I keep up with it (for the most part) because I see good coming out of all that I am trying to do. I can see my purpose and my life's work before me in the eight eyes that stare back at me every day.  And I know that living with intention is my calling for this season of my life.

The walks Bob and I have been taking a couple of times a week have been tremendously helpful to me. We walk with the dogs through a nearby neighborhood and into a nature preserve whose path winds into and out of other neighborhoods. These walks are so refreshing as it is usually just the two of us and the dogs out at this time of night and we can take them off of their leashes and let them run wild and free. I think of our P-loop walks in New Mexico a lot when we are out especially when the stars are out. I wish I didn't miss New Mexico as much as I do, but I cannot help it. I know that when we leave here there are things I will miss about living here as well as this place is ever so slowly growing on me. It sometimes makes me wonder if our travels are worth it when every where you go you leave with a broken heart. At the same time, when I look at the photos that pass by on our computer when it is in the sleep mode and I see all that we have done these last 3.5 year and all of the places we have been all of it - the heartbreak and joy, the sadness and the triumph - have all been worth it hands down.

Here is a look at our week:

A morning sky & my only glimpse of the sun at the beginning of the week. 

I love these little glimpses of blue sky that I get to see sometimes. It reminds me that above the gloom is a beautiful sky. 

A new team...
The colors just don't seem right...#Riorapidsforlife

He chose 18 because that is the number of his good buddy in Cruces. 

Another morning...another glimpse of the sun before the clouds move in. 

Working on a brain activity.

Being a good sport even though the activity was below him a bit educationally. 

I am surprised at just how much Josh has gotten into the extra activities I have been trying to include in our school work.  This project on the brain was no exception. He was diligent and took his time to get things just right. 

Sarah teaching Josh the beginning letters of braille. 

It occurred to me that a great way for Sarah to gain some confidence and a great way for the kids to enter into her world would be for them to learn braille. (Plus, its pretty neat to be able to tell people that you know how to read braille. Not too many sighted people can say that.) The kids are really into her lessons and I help her prepare them before hand, but the show is hers once the lesson begins. She has been doing a great job teaching. 

An afternoon sky.

After a rainy morning the sun came out for about an hour yesterday afternon. 

This is one of the best rainbows I have ever seen. 

Making magnetic goo...

The finished product. 

Purple goo. 

Using some kind of magnetic powder and a magnet to create this fuzzy hair...

A Valentine's Day craft...





Andy decided to play with the magnets and other ingredients to make his own etch-a-sketch instead of making these cool critters with us. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Week 2: Digging In

The boys playing Axis and Allies.

Sarah trying to enjoy a pastime love: drawing. 

This picture and the one above it were the only shot I had on Monday of this week to see the sun. It was out for about 30 minutes - if you count the picture above as being out - then as quickly and quietly as the clouds opened up in this one tiny spot in the sky it disappeared gain. I have really learned how to stop what I am doing when the sun appears and just give thanks that I got to see it even if for just a short while. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

This week has been harder. The newness of what I want to implement has lost its shine and getting down to the nitty gritty of what I am trying to accomplish is hard work. BUT that doesn't mean that we aren't all committed to making these changes. Some parts are getting easier. The kids are slowly learning what is expected of them in the mornings and what our nighttime routines are going to look like. I think the hardest part with both of these parts of our day is making sure that everyone is getting the amount of sleep that they need in order to be ready to go in the morning. Sarah and Josh seem to need the most sleep. While Andy and Elizabeth seem to do well with a little bit less sleep. I have been trying to stress the importance of sleep to all of the kids though and have been working with each of them a little bit here and there to see how they can improve both their ability to be able to fall asleep (it seems most of them are having problems in this area) and also ensuring that they get the hours of sleep necessary for each of them to function at their best every day.

My awareness of how much I am not aware and just living on autopilot is pointing out to me just how much work I have to do and how far I have to go to make sure that I am living as much of my day in the moment as possible. Living with intention is incredibly hard and I cannot help but wonder if God placed this word in my head as a practical joke as I cannot possibly see, some days, how I am going to learn to live with intention each and every day of my life from this point forward.  When I start to feel I am facing an insurmountable job in trying to live most (if not someday all) of my days with intention I remember that there have been more moments in these last couple of weeks where I have felt more alive than there have been in the last several years of my life. THAT is what keeps me going.  I am doing hard work, but I can do hard things. This I know for sure.

I have never been more aware of how my feelings/moods/perspective influences this whole family. I found these last couple of weeks that when I have been in a bad mood that the whole dynamic of the family changes. The mood of our family as a whole unit becomes different. I have been aware of this before, I suppose, but not to the extent that I am now. I have known for some time that I am the heart of this family, but I guess I just forgot that the heart is what keeps a family alive. Therefore, I better make sure that I am doing all that I can do make sure that when I am not in a good mood that I can check myself to make sure that I am not spewing my bad mood vibes to the rest of this family and also that I work to make sure that I am trying to resolve my mood. I can do this by not allowing myself to get frustrated and upset by the things that I have no control over. This will be hard work for me as well, but it will be well worth the effort.

It snowed last night and is snowing still here. Like a good snow. A true Midwestern snow storm. School has been cancelled for the public school kids, Bob's office was shut down, and the city has issued a ban on driving unless you have snow chains. We have 6+ inches on the ground and counting. When your city has no snow plows, no salt trucks, and a bunch of snow it is best to just stay home. I had heard about the storm yesterday and ran to the store to stock up. I am so glad that I did so as I saw that my neighbors couldn't even back out of her garage because the snow was too high for her tires to get a grip on the road. My kiddos are loving this snow though. They have been playing outside for the better part of an hour building snow fort, having snowball fights, wrestling, playing with the dogs, and eventually I am sure, they will be sledding in a neighboring field. This snow reminds of the snow we had in Cruces last year. (I know, I know, EVERYTHING reminds me of Las don't have to remind me. ) The storm down there was epic and one like that they hadn't had for decades. I haven't read any official reports yet, but I am pretty sure that this snow storm would rival any that they have had for a quite a while up here. I will admit that I do miss snow, but not driving in slushy, icky, gross snow. I miss the kind of snow that is pure and newly fallen. The snow that you don't have to go out in, but instead get to watch your kids play in while sitting in warm home with a fire burning in the fireplace.  I like that snow.

The kids and I have been getting out a bit more during the school week. Mostly, I take them up to a local soccer field and allow them to play while I walk with Sarah and the dogs in a next door neighborhood. The exercise has been good for them and my hope is that this will help them to fall asleep with more ease than they have been having. As I walk around the neighborhood I realize why people love living here. There is so much to do and it is beautiful. I think the main reason I don't like living here is because of the cost. It is crazy expensive and that is prohibitive in allowing us to do some of the things that we would like to do as a family. I don't like the grayness for sure. That has been really, really, difficult for me to overcome especially after having moved here from one of the sunniest places you can live in this country. But I do wonder if I could get over that - or at least deal with it better - if circumstances were a bit different. I also think, as I walk around this neighborhood, that I miss having a sense of community. I had a GREAT tribe of people in Las Cruces. The best kind of people you could possibly imagine. We have no one here. I am both very introverted, but also need to be social. I need a tribe. To be honest, I am not going to try and build one here. I know that sounds terrible, but I don't think we will be here too much longer. And it takes a good 6 -9 months to really build the beginnings of a tribe. I think we will leaving or close to that by the time I could establish anything worth having, BUT what I have learned here is that I will never move some place again without first trying to establish a tribe. That is vital to our happiness in a location.  At the same time, I am appreciative of not having a community of people right now because it is giving us time to focus solely on our family and to address and mend some things that aren't going as we would like them to.

Bob and I just decided that we were going to start walking the dogs at night in order to help the dogs lose weight and give Bob some much needed exercise sits he mostly sits at a desk all day long or in the car traveling to and from work.  We took our first walk on rainy night two nights ago and so much fun doing so that I cannot wait to do it again.

Real snow!

The girls could not wait to get out in it. 

Lily was excited about the snow too!

Being chased by Josh.

Building a fort using a boat oar.

Boys will be boys...

The kids not too happy I asked them to stop for a picture. 

Just like in Las Cruces, Sammy is a blast to play with in the snow. I wonder what he thinks of this white fluffy stuff. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Today is my mom's birthday.

As I mentioned the other day, this was week was harder in a million different ways. If I am gonna live this high octane kinda life I have got to take better care of myself. I have been doing well on the spiritual side, but on all other fronts I have put myself on the back burner and it showed this week. I cannot, cannot, cannot, not take care of myself if I am going to live with my eyes wide open. I just cannot. I don't know what I am going to do that will allow me small amounts of time to recharge, but I have got to find something because this week showed me just how I cannot run on empty and create the kind of life for our family that I am trying to.

I also realized that I need to plan in 1/2 a day every week to prepare/plan for the following week. Meal plans, school plans, science worksheets, craft ideas and supplies needed, family meeting notes that need to be typed up, etc...all need to be prepared in order to make my life flow with ease. I work much better when I work proactively instead of reactively.

This big snow storm that we had is now bordering on insanity. Roads aren't plowed, sidewalks aren't salted, and the temperature has not really risen above freezing to allow for any of this snow to melt. What does melt ends up turning back to ice overnight which creates havoc. There is talk about more snow coming on Monday with a warm front following, so it may not be until Tuesday or Wednesday that this snow subsides. It is annoying to live in an area that is not equipped to deal with snow. I either need to live somewhere where the community knows how to deal with snow or in an area where there is no snow. Living in a city that falls somewhere in the middle of that spectrum is no bueno. We weren't able to get out much since Tuesday except to go out in our own front yard due to the fact that the snow and ice are preventing much travel.

My mom sent Sarah and I a booked that she purchased while she was visiting Portland called Wildwood. It's author and illustrator are a couple who reside in Portland and the story is about Portland and surrounding Forest Park. It is neat to read a book where you know the neighborhoods and streets being talked about. We took a family hike last Saturday and chose the Wildwood Trail to walk. This picture is for my mom. 

We made it to the top of the mountain. It was pretty windy and cold this day. A flurry had just begun and was blowing about. 

Pittock Mansion

The view from the mansion - which on a clear day is probably stunning - was just another reflection of the weather hear 9 months out of the year gray and dreary. 

Me and Sarah on our way down the trail.

The drop off here is pretty steep. Like in New Mexico these Pacific Northwest trails are no joke sometimes.