Jan 21, 2014

January Happenings

Since Christmas is so last month, January has marched right along.  Coffee dates, park days in this unseasonably warm weather, house purging, homeschool, and friends coming in and out through the front door have seem to comprised the majority of my time.  Some people get depressed a bit after the holidays, but for me this month has been filled up with happiness.
I am in a card club with some neighborhood women.  It's been a wonderful way to meet women outside my usual circle of church friends.  
In other news, Tessa has decided that her Tigger costume is her new favorite.  She chose to wear this on a playdate.  This was not a hill I wanted to die on, so I let her.  Nice photo bomb Ainsley.
I did this little New Years exercise with the kids.  I found it very telling about their personalities.  I found the link for the printable here.
I love that Ainsley could eat fries all day long and not get tired of them, misses her Ms. Martha who watched her after school last year, and wants to be able to write down all the stories she dreams up.  She loves to write.  Unlike Hunter who finds it torture.
I love that Hunter developed a love of reading this year, has found some best friends and has experienced his first sleep overs, and is up for any sort of adventure.  This boy found public school last year so difficult and is happy as a clam here at home and with his buds in our co-op.

We have these long windows next to our front door.  We also live in a relatively new neighborhood which means we get a lot of solicitors.  It seems that they always know I'm home because of my spying kids through those tall windows.  So I made curtains....out of vintage handkerchiefs lined with a light chiffon.   They are the perfect amount of thinness. You can't see me, but I  can see through them enough to see you.  Perfect.  I've already ignored about 5 solicitors since I put them up last week. Bwahaha!
My decorating mantra is "when in doubt, go bright on white, but anchor it all with some natural wood."    So clearly, this mirror needed a garland when I was taking down my Christmas decor.  I needed more of the bright. Clearly.
I just punched out a bunch of scalloped circles from old penmanship school paper and scrapbook paper and sewed them together on my sewing machine. That's just a tissue paper flower.
That's right, I sewed them.  You can sew paper.  You just line them up and sew right down the middle. Insta garland.  Let's step back and have a moment of silence for a momentarily clean living room.
Silence now over.  The clean room didn't last more than a few seconds.  My kids saw a clean space and moved right in.
Someday we will break her from sucking her thumb.  There will be copious amounts of crying and begging so I haven't wanted to go there yet.  *shudder*  I'm already paying for braces in my future, I know this much is true.  Tessa always takes the phrase "moving right in" to a whole new level.
This boy loves animals and has very cute conversations with them. We added a couple of adorable mice this last week.  We play with them in the bathtub since they can't escape little hands and into my house and start acting like the varmints they are.
"Ainswey.  You come an eat dinnah in dis chair wite here by me."  Tessa loves her sister.  The chairs couldn't have gotten any closer.
January is also clean out month apparently.  We cleaned out the garage.  Among the more interesting items discovered were my old microscope from elementary school, Tone's erector sets, and some mixed tapes.  Treasure trove.  Smithsonian worthy?  We must have hoarding issues.
For the first time since we moved in, I could park a car in our garage.  But we won't be.  Tone was inspired to clean it out today so we can move in some ATVs for the kids before we take them up to our Shaver cabin.  Priorities you know, man style. 

January has been so interesting I can't wait to see what February has in store.

Jan 10, 2014

A Battleground

Christmas is cleaned out.  Gone.  Needle explosion has been banished.  A few stray pine needles will float around the house for a few months.  This part is truth.  No matter how much I sweep, I will still find needles in May.  They're sneaky like that.  Oh hey, there's one on the window sill in the picture below.
Keeping the house clean feels like my daily battle ground.  My weapons are a broom, dustpan and three minions to whom I bark clean-up orders in rapid fire.  My house uses those same three minions against me.  I'm telling you, some days you just clear a space, stake a claim on it and call it good enough.  This chair right here?  Mine.  I clear a little path around it, grab my tea and then fiercely pretend the rest of the house isn't calling my name.  
I thoroughly enjoy starting with a clean slate after Christmas.  My parents had this deer in a frame in a junk heap when they bought their cabin and were cleaning it out.  In true pack-rat Jenny form, I claimed it, stashed it, and finally brought it out a couple years later to display in all it's wacky glory.  It was a little plain, so I put washi tape all over that sucker.  Yep, it looked good to me. In fact, mantle worthy.  It's having a moment on display here for winter time.
I posted this little gem on instagram earlier.  I had my feet up, still in my jammies (it was noonish), and I was reading one of those free Beth Moore books that she so kindly put on Amazon for free over the last week.  Wouldn't you know it, after seeing it, three friends asked me how I keep a house clean and keep a schedule.  Whaaa?  Ok, let's be really real.  I don't.  No schedule.  No secret.  I just plain don't.  I clear a path and then take a picture.  And then I crop the basket of toys out of it.  Which I did not do for you here so you can see it peeping out from under the coffee table.  Bright, primary colored toys.
Which made me think that I should share with you that my house was a battleground for me that led me on a path to true freedom in Christ.  It was my heart's battleground.  I lived for so long in a world of "shoulds", "coulds", and lived under the perception that good wives and Christians did more, were able to accomplish more, kept to a schedule, behaved certain ways, cooked certain ways, cleaned certain ways....and I found that all to be a bunch of bunk.  It was a lie fed to me from my own heart, when God was whispering no such thing.   There are many good ways to keep a house and care for a family.  If I do not, or choose not, to do them all or to do them different, that did not make me more or less a child of the King, or more or less devoted to Him, nor was He even calling me to do those "things".  Once I let that all go and decided to listen to only what fit a rhythm of love for my family and our needs, then I found real freedom.
So, my house gets clean...but not on a schedule.
We eat healthy food...but it's not all organic, nor do I fix a full course dinner every night.
We do devotions...but not at a set time, but whenever a teaching moment pops up during the day.
I do NOT get up early....and everyone is much happier.
And not a single soul needs to do things exactly my way to serve their family.  Just serve in love, and meet their needs, whatever that looks like.  I can tell you what works for me, and give you tips, but that doesn't mean it's the gospel truth way to do it.  Christian women, why do we sabotage each other in this way?  Let's lift each other up to serve our families in the best possible way without trying to prove that my own style is the best.
And while the inside of my home has ceased to be a battleground for my heart, those dang pine needles keep showing up.   And since California seems to be so confused this winter, my leaves out front are still dropping leaves...in January.   I bet I'll still be raking those suckers up in May.