Why The Seasons are Constant

Do you ever wonder when you see the glorious fall leaves and feel the change in the air, why it is that God gave us the seasons?

You can ask anyone their favorite season and usually get an instant reply. Sometimes it is personality based, sometimes how it makes our soul feel, sometimes because of what people the season may bring to us.

At its most basic, we need the change of seasons to alternate rest and production. Though the world is filled to the brim with busy people and go go go, we don’t always realize the downfall to trading our former technology free (and yet in some way much harder) lives to our current seamlessly immersed scheduled lives.

There is a natural cadence to the slowdown of fall. Yes the work doesn’t change for all of us, but in most cases it forces us to take more time. More time adding layers, more time warming up the car in the morning, more time getting out of bed and putting feet on cold floorboards.

In my opinion, God gave us these seasons so that despite the turmoil in our lives, or perhaps the joyous glory, we would always have a constant.

In our house autumn is that constant that resets my internal clock. It turns my focus inwards on my home, on teaching the kiddos. We have been studying the Empire of Rome and they have been amazed to see that despite its existence thousands of years ago, many of our current dates, our calendar and even some celebrations come from the roots of Rome.

We have learned of Saturnalia (now our Christmas) a time of gift giving, partying and liberty for freedmen and slaves, of Janus (the two faced God who looks back on the old year and on to the new ) hence the naming of the month of January. This among many others, has shown them that despite the wars, the famine, the pestilence of history, as humankind we have felt a kinship and a bond with counting and naming our days.

In our current events, this pandemic has been its own season, all encompassing, straddling years and days as it becomes a temporary normal. I say this with the greatest of hope that it is not forever, though some days it may feel that way. I think in some ways the world will never be the same and yet the more I read of history I know that others long before have had these same feelings of doubt and wonder and history has since long forgotten their trials.

This fall though we are not “done” with this pandemic (the virus exists on earth and always will) the season has felt more written in pen and ink than pencil. It seems more sure, on stronger footing. For me although there are days we struggle the school year is flying by and my favorite season is proving its worth in a waterfall of color and rain.

I am thankful for the consistency of autumn.

Mrs. Fix It

Well. I never really did a post but suffice it to say my goal was to buy a house by the time I was 35 and I met my goal!

For those who want to know…see my post “This Old House” about our 1925 Craftsman.

It isn’t a complicated story. We rented for 4 years, starting looking for a house to buy. The owner threw out the idea of buying from him. We weren’t sure if we would stay in our location too long so we didn’t give it much thought.

Oh man. Then the search began in earnest and we learned something. We have almost completely opposite taste in houses. Cue laughter.

The Husband wants sleek and modern, fully finished with shiny things. I want old, wood floors and creaky stairs and “character” (she says with emphasis).

After a few months of searching, our landlord approached us one last time about buying. As most serious conversations, we sort of looked at one another while standing in the kitchen and shrugged…”why not?” We couldn’t find “the house” anyway and this one was affordable and best of all….WE DIDN’T HAVE TO MOVE.

Well, easy enough right? It really was. For the first time home buying experience it was pretty great. So we slipped quietly into homeownership with all the grand plans ( mostly mine) of transforming this old dame into a more functional house for our family of 6.

February will mark 3 years since we bought the house. Do you want to hear all about what we’ve done? Well I’ll tell you. In the last 6 months I have replaced broken blinds and painted my lower kitchen cabinets. In the last year I have had new plants and landscaping put it and a new baby Japanese Maple tree was planted.

That’s it.

I know. The grand plans I have made (I literally have a “House” book) have most definitely not come to fruition. However, one thing which we have COMPLETED (and by we I mean our contractor) is a basement renovation. As it was the basement had a mish mash of DIY (not the good kind) and a mixture of old electric knob and tube and unfinished everything. Despite the Husbands many protests, we hired an architect to draw up plans for both the basement and the main floor.

Now that we have learned the first lesson of renovations (i.e. everything will take twice as long as you think) we are finally on track with a contractor we like who has finished the basement and who we will now try to woo into finishing the main floor. WHOO HOO.

He has already been enlisted for a new deck in Spring and next year we plan on tackling all the outside projects, deck, new cedar shingle on the top story and maybe if we are feeling truly moneybags…a new coat of exterior paint.

Despite all these grand plans we have now hit a bit of a seasonal lull and still itching to get things done around here.

Enter, me, the new handywoman. I have bought more tools and paint and had more trips to Home Depot this year than I ever have in my life. I am learning to be self sufficient in little fixes around the house and its actually been pretty fun.

My last project was a 7ft tall Douglas Fir bookshelf (yes I have book problems). Is it perfect? Nope. But it is square and it’s level and I’m pretty proud of myself. There is a really fun story about how I built it once, then discovered the wonder of Kreg Jig pocket holes and so ripped it all apart and rebuilt it. Yes, really.

As you all know, this year has been unconventional at best. Usually I can plan some trips each year, set some fun goals. This year there are no trips, goals include staying sane during this pandemic and not gaining 50 pounds. Where does that leave us? Well, it leaves me in my house constantly evaluating what I can change to make things more functional and enjoyable with four delightful children running around. Sense the sarcasm. I do love them but sometimes they are A LOT.

Yes, I only have one goal for 2021. Stay sane enough to start the project machine back up next year…oh and try not to buy anymore tools. Ha!

And, GO!

Follow Me in Merry Measure

It has begun. Today marks the birthday that begins the busy season of 5/6 of the family birthdays as well as Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Eve.

Today we celebrated in subdued pandemic fashion. This year the boys are 8. I still remember the night the doctors/team came into my room and told me it was probably time to take them out.

I also remember with the wisdom of already having a child, I requested one final nights sleep before our world changed from 1 child to 3. Thus in direct part, the boys can only specifically blame me for being exactly 1 day before their father’s birthday as well as awfully close to Thanksgiving some years, as it is in 2020.

I remember thinking as I watched their little little chests struggling to breathe, how someday it would be a distant memory, how I would eventually not feel like my heart lived outside my chest most days. It was so tough leaving those little fellows in their little NICU boxes and driving home. Bug didn’t know it then but she was my reason for tearing myself away. I had her to care for and to love and squeeze when I couldn’t hold the boys. For those who don’t know, they were born at 29 weeks and they were both under 3 pounds. It was a whirlwind.

Today I watched as they woke up before the sun, enraptured by their birthday balloons. They watched too much TV, ate too much sugar and were about as loud and boisterous as usual. My little men. Growing into big men. What a gift it is.

Tomorrow we celebrate the man of the house, coincidentally on Thanksgiving this year. He will insist on at least 4 cups of coffee, at least 1 Monopoly game and will of course downplay that it is his birthday at all.

This year has been an odd one for many of us, yet deep down we still hold fast to our dearest traditions. To celebrate, to enjoy, to sing and blow out candles and give hugs. In these times I am thankful for a “big” family. We are mostly loud and very busy, our house is rarely clean.

It is a house with merry celebrating and glad hearts (most of the time).

I am thankful for many things on this Thanksgiving Eve, my 4 wonderful children are pretty high up on the list. They teach me lessons I didn’t know I needed. They help me stay young at heart.

Given the uncertainty of our world right now I am thankful for a God who is a Father, who loves without expectation but wants absolutely the best of everything for us.

May your heart be thankful in this busy season. Take time to slow down and wonder at the family that you have, the friends who love you and keep celebrating no matter the occasion.

Happy Thanksgiving Eve.

The Season of Change

Despite the constant pandemic and election news, the world has continued to rotate around the sun. The seasons still come and Autumn is upon us.

I’ve done all my favorite cliche things, had a fire, watched You’ve Got Mail and gone on windy and rainy outings. We drink all the cider and cocoa we can, eat pumpkin pancakes at least twice a week and inhale pumpkin scones like no ones business.

Literally everyone in my family is a Fall baby, although Bug is on the edge, having been born on the Solstice and ushering Winter in her wake. Perhaps this is the reason I love it so, or perhaps I love it because of growing up in Washington where it rains constantly and forces you to read all the books.

This school year is 5 weeks in and we are getting into the rhythm of things. I am sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for the boys to finally be reading well so that school makes more sense for them. They are all hard workers and I have days where I would rather stay in bed all day than teach 3 children and a toddler, but I tell myself it’s for the greater good of the world and thus another school day begins.

I have a lot of sympathy for all the unintended homeschooling going on this year. For the 2 parent working families, for the single mom’s and dad’s, this year contains a staggering amount of challenges for educating our kiddos. For those who have no idea what they are doing, but are still trying, I salute your efforts. Above all else, READ, read, read, read to your children. Have them read all they can get their hands on. Enjoy the time you get to spent with them. Although siblings can drive each other crazy, this is also kind of a neat time for them to grow closer and lean on each other through all this.

I wanted to share a poem I found in an old book. Unfortunately, I don’t know the author (if you can find out who let me know). Hopefully it cheers you up as you form a new routine around this school year and all its challenges.

Happy Fall!

BE NOT AFRAID

Be not afraid to work your way

Thru life’s descending sun.

Because of fear you’ll lose that ray

By which your battle will be won.

Be not afraid!

Be not afraid to face the strife

Thru which we all must go.

Without a fight there is no life,

Be not afraid!

Fear not to live and grope the dark

To find your own success.

For after all life is the spark

That lights the fire to happiness.

Be not afraid!

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“Nothing happens to anybody which he is not fit by Nature to bear”

-Marcus Aurelius.

One Day at a Time

Day 67:

Well, we are still in this folks. Slowly easing back to real life. Each day learning new things about this particular virus and what it can do.

We are in the home stretch with our school year and the kids and I are all just DONE. We are done with trying to focus and keep a normal when things are going crazy all around us.

To just put the cherry on top Skittle went and broke his leg while dancing, so that has put a crimp in our style as far as outside sojourns. Thankfully he can still get around with a little wheely chair and hopping on one foot. It has been a challenge to deal with an already emotional little guy who is processing having a pretty massive injury that has slowed him way down.

Broken leg aside everyone is pretty healthy and growing. The baby (who is almost 2.5) is starting to talk a bit more and wanting to join in all the big kid schemes. For some unknown reason she has also decided to start waking up at 5-6am again. Consequently I have started trying to go to bed early to combat the crack of dawn calls of “mama!” It seems simple enough, but when kids are up at 6 and then not really asleep until 8-9pm it leaves very little time for silence and remembering I am an adult aside from being a mother.

I am treasuring my alone time when I get it, and taking some measure of peace in knowing this is not forever. History is a constant repeat of highs and lows and I think though this temporary insanity feels unbearable, we will marvel down the road that we made it through.

Cheers to another day together.

 

E