Sunday, February 21, 2016

Making Pretty

The other day I told Dru this about myself: “Every thing I am and love, my whole heart is on display here at this my home...” This feels so true right now.


If you’re here, you probably read my post about my fight with beauty. Since then I’ve come to the conclusion that to stifle the only talents I have available to me right now would be not only silly but wrong. I’m at home, pregnant, homeschooling two children. Juggling a one year old. It keeps me busy. What I have time for, or energy for, doesn’t really include anything that means leaving my house much. Dru takes me out on the weekends, usually. But mostly, I want to be at home. Making my home beautiful is an act of love, and in a sense, worship.


Making beauty energizes me. I’m making pretty at the risk of being misunderstood. But I’m really tired of that guilt fest. This is all I have to offer at this point. I can do it at home. I can do it in the cracks of my time. I can share it. Someday, this opportunity will pass. This stage of my life will pass. I’ll be able to reach outside of my home in different ways. But today, this is what I do. Not every day, because I am a mom—but as I can, when I’m not too busy or tired.


I wasn’t sure what Dru thought of my project at first. He wasn’t sure about the extra table set up in the living room. But he doesn’t mind, and he enjoys my happiness in it. I consult him from time to time regarding proper kerning and design. He wants to take the operation to school some day and have the kids play with it too. We’ll see. We both like the idea of giving these as gifts.


Is it perfect yet? No. I still have a lot to learn. I want the paint to dry a bit softer. I still have a lot to learn about simply making a stamp work well. I’m even learning how to deal with hemming without stretching seams as I go. I’d like to work with actual dyes, but don’t want to try that yet, especially with little people. Spilled dye in a rented house would be a nightmare! But I’m a happy amateur, content with where things are at now.

Thanks to all of you who responded to my earlier post about beauty. Marie Clare, for specifically saying to, “pencil it in.” My Mom, and others of you who encouraged me to keep creating beauty. And thank you to those of you who have found yourselves in similar positions and said, “I hear you!” and knew what I was talking about. Thank you so much.

Friday, February 19, 2016

About Homeschooling, I guess

Yesterday I wrote a list of things I had rattling around in my head to blog about. Then I threw the list away. Because I’m just that intelligent sometimes. Now I have some time and I’m not sure where to start.
I’ve disposed of the guilt trips concerning homeschooling. I do what I can, but I’m not letting it run my life. I have other things I want to do too, and Jube my kiddos aren’t very big yet. So we spend an hour or two at the books in the morning, then I make the kids help me with the housework so that I can play too. (More on the play later.) I follow them to their rooms and bark orders at them while they tidy. And I do more of the same in the living room. Jube knows how to empty the drainer and the basics of laundry. Havilah is easily sidetracked but we’re working on it. And although she sees dirt when cleaning, way faster than Jube, I have to teach her the ropes. For instance, when folding a washcloth that’s crunchy from hanging on the line, I have to show her how to press it down so it stays neatly folded and the corners squared. That’s something Jube would get intuitively. It’s interesting for me to watch because I’m just like her. There were tasks in housekeeping that I had to take a step back from and say, “Why am I so inefficient in this area?” and reteach myself.
For school Jube is using Math U See and CLE’s Learning to Read. I’m watching him with Math U See. He needs the manipulatives, but they’re also a crutch. I had this idea that if he truly understood math than he wouldn’t have to memorize his math facts. Humph! I don’t know where I got that but I suddenly realize that he’s got to learn them, without the help of the math blocks. So math is on the shelf for now—the book that is. However, the math facts are on the board, and we’re crossing them out as they are memorized, going to the next one. All day yesterday I asked him from time to time what 2+3 was. He’s got it now. Today it’s 2+4, and how ever more we can get down. And as soon as Learning to Read is done, we’re done for the year, regardless of where Math is at. At this point I’m thinking we’ll wrap up sometime in May. Then it’s time to have a baby the end of June.
Havilah’s doing the Rod and Staff preschool work. Today the Bible story was about when God told Abraham to offer Isaac. Jube and I agreed that that story was hard to think about. She asked why God would ask Abraham to do that. When I explained that it was hard for me to understand, the gears in her head just kind of jammed and I could see her little brain decide she didn’t have to think about that today. Which is exactly what I do with that story. She does well, but again, not intuitively like Jube. Her pencil skills aren’t like his and comprehension is lower. But I like her as my little girl and I’m really happy that she’s slower. I won’t probably even try to teach her to read till she’s six.
All of us are working on how to hold a pencil properly. My mother in law confirmed with me that yes, their pencil grips were wrong. I’ve never held my pencil quite right, but I’ve managed and was letting the kids hold their pencils at least as well as I do. But then we discovered that it was easier to just do it the good old tripod grip. It actually feels good for Jube. We spent some time experimenting with it the other day. And after I talked to my sister later on, who said she makes her daughter hold her pencil the most proper way, I decided we can to! So even I am trying to be sure to hold my pencil differently than I always did, at least when we’re doing school together. But it’s hard to remember. Especially for Havilah—my little girl whose hands must be taught to do everything properly.

Then there was the other day that I said, “I am NOT doing school today.” I had catching up in my house to do. But then the kids were bored so I was trying to think of something creative for them to do—outside. And I remembered the leaf art I had on Pinterest. So I sent them down to the park to collect leaves and twigs and such. Guess who had the hardest time with it? Not Havilah—it was Jube. His little perfectionist self couldn’t handle the artwork as an idea, rather than seeing things exactly as they were. This leaf made the elephant too fat while this one was too small. I did have to help Havilah but she was teachable. She understood that she couldn’t put all of the details on her picture that a real picture would have. But in the end she had a very respectable fish. She was the one who figured out how to put a mouth on him and do the water and sand.

Jube got stuck. It was so bad that I asked Dru if I should make him finish or not. And he said yes, Jube needed to learn this perseverance. In the end he copied my picture—even though “birds are boring.” But he did it!

The next morning some of our leaves had curled. It looked neat on our bird’s tails but Havilah’s fish looked kind of sad and she had been very proud of her fish. But when she saw it she said, “That’s fine!” The leaf art hangs in my living room and I look at it and smile sheepishly to myself. That happened on the day when I had said we’d have no school. Then I lived around the mess and helped them with it for a good part of my day. What am I becoming other than a real and bonafide homeschooling mom?
So I guess this post is about homeschooling as it is for us right now. I still want to post about my latest project that’s been making me very happy, but that will have to wait. I need to make lunch for my hooligans and this post is long enough.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

How it came to be

My mom saw a picture of this wall and said I should share how it came to be.  It was beauty created after my last post. It came to be because we needed a place to store coffee mugs. In this house I struggle with not having much cupboard or storage space. And we do coffee around here. When we have company, sometimes we do a lot of coffee. We were going to use hooks, but when Dru went out that Saturday to look for them, he couldn’t really find anything, except for these little white shelves. Now I HAD wanted hooks, but being determined not to be fussy, I said, “Yes, get them.”


I also had the black wire coffee mugs since Hannah gave them to me for Christmas a year ago. I never had a spot to hang them. So they went up by the hooks. I wanted a black board for school, lists, and etc., but that didn’t come until after my cousin Geneva sent the sign at the very top—totally unaware that I was in the middle of this project. It was a confirmation in my little heart that doing this was maybe “okay.” As for the armadillo, my mother in law gave me a whole set of ABCs like this but I was sad because I wasn’t sure how to hang or use them in this house. They’re something she actually took out of a book. All of them are laminated and tough—so far surviving all of the abuse we’ve given them. I was very tickled to think that perhaps I could hang them one at a time as Havilah studies the ABCs…and she’s not going to be nearly as easy as Jube was to teach.

As for that rooster, he was floating around the house and one day landed there. He’s been kind of stubborn about it, so there he stays.

So that’s how the wall came to be…it all just kind of floated together in a logical sequence—I didn’t know how it was going to look when I was done. But I knew I had a wall hanging from Hannah and I needed to put coffee mugs somewhere. That’s where it started. It’s a happy, practical spot for me.

After writing my last post I’ve been thinking about my little difficulty a lot. I’m finding some peace in the idea that I am who God made me and as I can use these gifts to serve and bless others, then that brings glory to God. I also think that there are somethings I need to do better about my decor in that I need to make an effort to make it practical as possible. Something living in this little house will probably drive me to whether or not I was willing.