Friday, March 28, 2014

One year of blogging--I am a writer!

I started writing here in March of last year. I didn't really have much of a plan or a goal other than to show up and write. For me, there were a lot of obstacles to making this happen.
  1. FEAR--What if no one likes my writing?
  2. Not sure what I want to write about
  3. Not sure what is mine to share
  4. FEAR--What are the potential consequences of sharing my family life on the internet?
  5. Not sure what my strengths are when it comes to writing
  6. I am a bit technologically challenged and don't really know anything about how to blog
  7. FEAR--What if all the things I think are really cool and smart are actually things everyone else already knows?
I would have liked to start my blogging journey with a lot of confidence, knowledge, and a well thought out plan, but I could have been stuck there for the rest of my life. I just decided to start and figure it out along the way.

Writing gives me a window into my own thoughts, into how my thinking has evolved over the years. I remember writing poetry and short stories as I was growing up. I still have some of that writing today. I like to reread it sometimes. It is both fun and difficult to have a permanent record of who I was at a particular time in my history. I feel an affection for the girl I used to be and also cringe occasionally, thinking, "Oh, honey, you just didn't have a clue back then!" This written record of my development challenges me to let go of the idea that I ever did or ever will have anything all figured out. It allows me to see that everything is a process and gives me some assurance that progress is happening.

Over the course of this year, I became aware that I actually have a feeling that comes up inside me when I need to write something down. And I know now that I had better stop and write or those ideas will either pass me by or else pile up inside me until I feel like they have just got to GET OUT. This year I have rediscovered that I am a writer. I am a writer because I WRITE. Not because anyone reads what I write, or likes what I write, or thinks my ideas are cool and smart. I am a writer just because I show up and write.

Tiny rubberbands and yarn and fabric

The Rainbow Loom made its way to our home this holiday season. My house has been a sea of tiny rubber bands ever since. I thought it was just for bracelet making, but my kids have figured out how to make little dolls, charms, coin purses and other things with it as well. They have been inspired by other kids' how-to videos and they have made their own how-to videos.

As my oldest daughter began to feel that she had done everything that could be done with the Rainbow Loom, she started researching crochet and found that she could make little hearts or bows much like she could with the rubber bands. And the next thing I know she comes out of her room and has crocheted half a hat. I had a good laugh about that.

For me, this has been the winter of crocheting hats. Most nights this winter I have come out of my room in the evening to model a new hat for the family. Then once or twice a week, my husband takes hats off to the post office to mail to a family member or friend who requested a winter hat. Though I always enjoy yarn work, in the winter especially, I have been a regular hat factory this winter. It has bordered on outrageous.

So my girl could have asked me to show her how to crochet a hat, but instead, she figured it out on her own. What an awesome thing for her that she knew she could figure this out by herself! And she did not stop there.

Next, she started watching videos on how to sew clothing. She asked for the materials, we got them for her, and a couple hours later she comes out with most of a skirt and needs some help with threading the elastic through the waistband. Then she made a shirt for herself and each of her younger sisters. From the time we walk in the house with the materials, it is only a matter of an hour or so before she has her projects completed. I cannot buy materials fast enough to keep up with her creative energy!

It has been incredible to me to watch my girls go from knowing nothing of this Rainbow Loom, to figuring out how to make anything they can imagine, and then to see my daughter's love of creating with the loom move into a love of creating with yarn and then fabric. But the best part for me has been to watch her develop a confidence that she can figure out how to do the things she wants to do on her own.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Finding a new rhythm and giving up on our usual

When we first started talking about moving, I can tell you now that I had very unrealistic ideas about how that would actually unfold. Every step along the way has taken a lot longer than I ever dreamed. Once all the boxes were unpacked, I thought we'd get back to our usual. But I tell you what....moving is a lot of work and I think it took something out of us. We needed some time to rest and recover and then really had to begin at the beginning to establish a new healthy rhythm.

Good sleep Our whole day has shifted about two hours later. I have certainly heard much about the virtues of starting the day early, but surprisingly, the world has kept on turning. I think it started because we were all just tired from the move, but it has continued because it works for us now that my husband is working on Pacific time. We get more family time with him in the evening if we all sleep later, eat later, and stay up later.

Good food I knew we needed to transition back to home cooked healthy meals. Of course, it is all too easy during busy times to eat out or buy something at the store that requires little preparation. I, in particular, feel so much better when I eat at home and stick to whole foods. So I started putting more time and energy toward meal planning and preparation. My two big kids became interested in this and now they are preparing dinner most nights. They search for recipes, make a grocery list, and then do the evening meal preparation with very little assistance.

Exercise We started getting out every morning for exercise. In the past, that had so often not made the list because there were books to read, projects to work on, chores to do, etc. But we put it at the top of the list and we are all so happy with this change! I alternate walking and jogging while the kids ride their bikes. If I tried to run without them while they are still in bed, I would enjoy some time alone, but some of the kids may not get exercise. I would also miss out on their motivating remarks, such as their excited exclamation "OH LOOK! Mom is RUNNING!" and "Mom, your butt jiggles when you run."

Chores Our approach to chores had always been pretty informal. The kids were asked to pick up after themselves and then I would do the cleaning. Since I injured my shoulder during the move, I wasn't able to do some of my usual chores. The big kids were very willing to help me out during that time. Now that they have been trained to do certain household chores, they have continued to help out daily. And really, we have hit a point that this makes a lot of sense. The little two still leave a lot of toys out, so it is enough for them to pick up after themselves. But the big two do a lot of projects at their desks, so they have more time, energy and ability to pitch in on general household chores.

Learning Once all these other things had fallen into place, it was easier for all of us to get back to work. I started having weekly meetings on Sunday evening with my older children. During these meetings, I hear what they have been working on the previous week. I write down what I want us to work on for the coming week and what they should be working on on their own. They write down what they want to work on and get better at. All four kids get a main lesson time with me during the day. The big kids have time to work toward their own goals and all four have time for play. We set aside the evening for family time which includes dinner, chores, play, and a read aloud time before bed.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Settling in

Settling in after a move is no small thing. It has taken all our time and energy to live it, leaving nothing left for sharing. The move has also changed us and I have found myself feeling stuck about what to write in this space because it may not be my usual. That has kept me away from writing longer than I would like.

So, today I will start with an update since it has been a long absence.

Overwhelmingly, we are feeling happy to be where we are. Though we felt like adjusting to life in the big city would be hard for us small town folk, we actually really like it here. We feel like we accidentally ended up in the perfect city, neighborhood, and home for our family right now. We are having fun exploring this new city, eating at new-to-us restaurants, shopping at new-to-us shops, hiking on new-to-us trails, etc. We are having great success meeting friends. Friends really make a place feel more like home. Already we feel our horizons broadening in many ways.

I feel like I have a great many stories in my head that are ready to be written. We have been busy taking everything in and I haven't taken the time to write anything down, but it feels like we are at a point that I could begin doing that. We are in a pretty good groove now and I see an opportunity to make some time for my writing---regularly!