Archive for July, 2014

Dear Delightful Thoughts of School,

I realize I sat down here thinking “I’ll just make a quick list of things I should focus on tomorrow to make sure all the priority 1’s get accomplished before I get distracted by priority 2’s.” which opened the door to your whole raggedy lot, but


No, I don’t want to make ‘activity dice’ or come up with other activity rotation plans to help occupy the pre-K and toddler at key points in the day. No, I don’t want to immediately mentally reread every montessori/charlotte mason/classical ed homeschool organization/misc education book I’ve ever read or even think about Educating the Whole-Hearted Child which I am normally up for (and thanks a lot for reminding me that that one bit the dust, thus creating a neat little bunny-trail to all things mold-hatred related!)

No, I don’t want to make cool Bruce Lee clips to show and an accompanying poster of his not fearing the guy who has done 1,000 kicks, but the one who has done 1 kick 1,000 times thing-a-jig as a ‘kick’ off (yes, yes… very clever! Or at least punny.) for our highly neglected, much remedy needed copywork efforts or consider what tactic I will take to do the actual remedying.

I don’t want to try to find the recently and hastily relocated school books we own, figure out what we need, order books, consider creative/effective memory work review ideas, consider putting a few ‘teacher’s hung up on something right now’ go-to things in place, try to adapt Shurley English to replace Essentials for Orion in a way that doesn’t make it annoyingly/unhelpfully overlap other things we will be doing, figure out how to get that awesome music program that was supposed to be life-savingly simple but instead has been a pain in the rear to even load despite tech support tips to actually load/run, decide which subjects go where/when/how/in cooperation with whom on which days, or whether or not to start where we left off last year or just start at the beginning of the next book, or what pattern our weeks/months/days off will take to fit everything in or any of the other multitudinous aspects of this too quickly approaching year.

No, I don’t want to figure out how to make up for the lost time of not starting punctually, whether or not to formalize our currently ‘let’s dabble in this’ approach to various language stuffs, or start comparing options of how to simplify our school year by doing something completely different (what about that one that you looked at end of year last year, how much would it need adapted, let’s compare… STOP IT!)

And no, I absolutely do NOT want to answer or return the persistent phone calls of that ‘free online school’ I foolishly signed up to get EMAIL information from before making that last decision against looking for something completely different!

Just take that whole messed up, missing pieces, advanced level, no edges, all the pieces look the same puzzle and stick it back in the box, duct tape it shut and lock it in a safe behind an equally secured vault behind a fastened door somewhere until the potatoes have been dug/stored, elderberries picked, labor day is prepared for, end-of-summer activities are wrapped up, the girls’ room has had the crib traded out for a loft bed, the bunny she’s been waiting for since the end of June has been picked up, the youngest is potty-trained (ha!) and no longer using a sucker (what teeth?), the pool is no longer green or is torn down for the year, the trim-mowing is finished, the gutters are up the right way with covers to prevent future clogging and flooding during heavy storms, I’ve quit my most recent ‘I’m not cooking/we are using disposable everything’ binge and proven that we can still cope in that ‘normal’ situation of dishes and meals, cleaned out the fridge from the massive milk spill, cleaned out the freezer that thawed for an unknown but apparently extended period and then refroze, am consistently milking in a way that makes using the milk for human use afterwards somewhat more conceivable, the dog no longer looks like a home-less coyote (he doesn’t generally require much upkeep, truthfully, but he is rather late for his biannual brushing 😉 ), Lithany’s playhouse door has been replaced, I’ve met up with or called all the people to whom I owe visits/calls and… STAHP! Stahp it!

At the very least, come at me when I’m doing something that allows me to ponder life the universe and everything while doing it, and not when I’m just trying to get to dreamland.

Because, let’s face it. Try as you may to come singularly and in an orderly fashion with good timing, anymore you bring all that extra ‘to do’ baggage with you and tromp into the room much like a herd of stampeding elephants with no sense of rhythm having recently been introduced to roller blades! I am now but a pitiful shambles who can’t think of what I should do tomorrow beyond contacting one of the basement companies we decided not to use and finding/returning or at least renewing our now overdue library books because everything else is so convolutedly trampled beneath your onslaught. Pretty certain there were 2-3 equally urgent items that were supposed to be on that list.

Hopefully, I can think of them tomorrow.

If the stupid elephants stay out of the room long enough.


We’ve had an incredibly crazy ‘back to real life’ transition after vacation. Just crazy. And disruptive. And uncomfortable. And stressful. And overwhelming. (The trip itself was amazing and awesome and definitely worth the post-trip stress and probably its own blog entry, however, I’m busy marveling at something tonight that I want to share instead.)

At one point, I came back from the barn close to tears because to top off the rest of our ever-lengthening ‘this needs done immediately’ list which lay atop the ‘pick up sticks’ list of things that needed done before the next urgent thing could be tackled (yes, it’s so overwhelming as to need that kind of confusing description!) was the looming possibility that Dandee’s mastitis was returning with a vengeance.

It never actually LEFT in the first place and started before we ever left on the 3rd. I was still getting (get out your ‘farm speak’ translator!) subclinical signs from the milk, though the quarter was in much better shape than the day I left, the antibiotics in her system were either to the point of drastically waning or gone and this was conveniently coinciding with the quarter steadily ballooning/forming hard spots over the last couple of days -all signs of it blowing up again. In which case, I would be going back to hot packing and milking every 3-4 hours which FEELS like constant milking all day and all night (and which makes getting ready for a long trip more difficult, I speak from experience now!)

Matt calmly, lovingly, encouragingly reminded me that none of these temporary nuisances are going to last forever, but I was still feeling like a complete and utter basket case… an exhausted one at that. After he left, I found myself pleading: “God, I am willing, if not exactly perfectly able at certain moments, to handle all the rest of this mess with the eternal perspective of a Christian, but I just can’t deal with mastitis on top of it all without curling up in a corner and whining pitifully for several days or maybe a month… or two… or 12… and in a padded room at that! Please just fix that one part!”

I probably wasn’t that eloquent, but He understood. He always does.

And knowing full well that God is not a genie and being cognizant of fact that God can/will do what He will do and that my job is to praise him whether it lines up with my ideals or not (but still trying to keep in balance the equally true idea that God also loves to give good things to His children… these kinds of tensions are at least one of the reasons why writing about spiritual things accurately is so difficult, FYI! 🙂 ), I went to bed dreading/resigned to an even fuller, more stressful day ‘tomorrow’ hoping only that I wouldn’t blow it completely in the face of adversity. Matt may be amazing, but he probably can’t handle it all by himself while I sign myself up for a vacation in the psych ward, so…

Now there simply isn’t any reason I can think of for actively developing mastitis (especially mastitis that’s been hanging on that long despite 2 rounds of antibiotics!) to reverse itself without some form of intervention as you nursing moms may know.

Yet, the milk looked almost perfect the next day.

And do you know, I haven’t once done an extra milking. I have spent an extra 5-10 minutes massaging the affected areas/very carefully stripping out that particular quarter each time which is but peanuts… putting a drop of water on a forest fire.

Instead of blowing up into a big issue like I expected, after a few days of fretful “Is it actually better? Why is this hard spot smaller today? Will the whole things be hard as a rock next milking? Clogged because I’m not taking proactive action (didn’t have time to do such things, or I would have at least started hot packing and milking 1-2 extra times as a precaution) Is this quarter ACTUALLY IMPROVING? Am I the delusional victim of wishful thinking?” it feels next to normal tonight. Now it’s not a blind man seeing or feeding the 5,000. There’s no guarantee it won’t be rock hard and completely plugged tomorrow. (hey, it happened to my substitute milkers right after the first round of antibiotics wore off and I was pretty sure that’s the road we were traveling again a few days ago!)

But for now, it appears that ‘the problem has resolved itself’ (my husband’s favorite Gulliver’s Travels line). It’s a ‘little’ thing.

But if you consider how great God is and how very small my daily ‘problems’ are by comparison (both to God Himself and to the scale of problems worldwide), God’s grace in these little things is a pretty BIG deal. Worth celebrating. Worth noting. And I thought it might even be worth sharing.