Friday, June 24, 2016

{around here} Week 25/52: Week of 6.20.16

A collection of our ordinary days, recorded every week.

Around here, I have been:

starting again, a bit hesitantly, on this little series of mine.  My camera has been sitting unused for months and it's funny how quickly you can fall out of a habit.  Seeing my children and my home through that lens, though, is so helpful to me in terms of acknowledging everyday beauty and having gratitude. It's a habit I want to continue, both for posterity's sake and (selfishly) for my own.

drinking sparkling water (lime or orange are the current favorites) with frozen blueberries as "ice" - so good and refreshing.

watching Leverage at night with Mark.

working on my Christmas prep to-do list for Big White Farmhouse.  Summer is notoriously slow for retail, so I'm taking advantage and getting things to prepare for the Christmas rush.  This week, I got in a new order of burlap market totes, tea towel sets and cloth napkins.  Love them all!

introducing the kids to Bob Ross.  They were skeptical at first, but soon grew to love him as much as their mama.  J was especially cute in the days after: "Mama, I was inspired by Bob.  I'm going to make a happy little tree.  And it's okay if I get a little messy.  I bet Bob gets messy painting too."   

reading Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend.  Also slowly making my way through The Fulfillment of All much food for thought there.  I only read 4-5 pages at a time.

watching D start to really enjoy reading.  I bought this book for him at an Usborne book party and he devoured it in one day!  He's now started in on the Flat Stanley series.  Another update on D: we received the results of his assessment and he showed signs of mild dyslexia (which is great news!) as well as more significant dysgraphia.  It's encouraging to know the problem, so we can work to find the solution.  Lots of fun writing practice is in our future this summer! 

nesting like a crazy woman already.  I have a list of home projects a mile long!  This week's highlights: we finally got a bench for our dining room and can now all fit at the table.  I also found a new welcome mat.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Thoughts on Tragedy, Kindness and Why I Blog

My heart has been heavy this week. 

I look at this blank screen and feel like there's not much to say.  I'm a bit horrified (but not very surprised) that after the sufficient six hours of "mourning", everyone's passionate opinions rise to the surface and the ugliness continues.  And here I am, unable to wrap my head around the fact that fifty mamas will never see their children again.

In the wake of such tragedy, I've been asking all the questions: How can I, a mother with a handful of children and another on the way, do anything to change the world for the better?  How do I raise these children in such a scary world?

While I wish the answer was something exciting, my heart knows that it's right here in the same ordinary life I'm living right now.  It begins with my family: teaching kindness and compassion to my children, both in word and in deed (especially in deed!).  It means praying earnestly for peace and perseverance.  It means truly listening to the prompting of the Holy Spirit for opportunities to be generous and kind to the people in my community.  It means holding fast to the knowledge that good always triumphs over evil and Christ has already won this fight.  

I think in some way, that's why I continue to come back to this space.  It's my small- SMALL - way to share goodness in the world.  In a world of absolute ugliness (I'm looking at you, Facebook), I want to be just one tiny light.  I pray for the courage to continue.  


P.S. In the spirit of spreading kindness, we're hosting a quick giveaway on our Big White Farmhouse Facebook page today!  We'd love for you to add your name to the hat.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

{learn goals} Some Goals for June

Things to Look Forward To
- starting a new routine for summer
- fresh berries for breakfast & ice cream cones for dessert
- feeling the first fluttering movements of this baby within me
- getting started on my Christmas prep to-do list (!!) for Big White Farmhouse
- warm sunshine on my skin

Things to Work On
- first floor paint touchups
- deep cleaning the entire house after a first trimester of neglect
- a new solution to corral all of our children's books
- making more time for consistent spiritual reading

Things to Think About
- a new book I'd like to read
- a skill I'd like to practice
- a topic I'd like to learn more about
- a secret kindness I'd like to do for someone
- a recipe I'd like to try


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

{book report} My Latest Reads // May

As my part of my Learn goals for 2016, I'm reading a variety of styles and genres of books in the attempt to discover new ideas and expand my horizons.  My goal is to read at least 25 this year, of which I'm keeping track on Goodreads.  Are you over there?  Let's connect!

Feeling nauseous for most of the month led itself to a lot of reading on the couch.  It was a good distraction from the yuck and helped me stay awake when all I really wanted to do was snooze!  Not too many notes on each this month - I'll do better in June.

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton
Even at over 500 pages, this book was a page turner!  A haunting mystery with lots of intersecting story lines.  I enjoyed it.

Running: A Love Story by Jen A. Miller
Not exactly the book I thought it would be, but I blew through it in two days anyway.  Lots of pain and poor relationship choices had me cringing for the author, but I definitely could relate to and appreciated her love for running.  It also had me considering a full marathon someday.

When I Found You by Catherine Ryan Hyde
This one was part of our book club picks for May.  I felt like it moved slowly, but now I'm thinking that it may have felt that way coming off my previous two reads.  Just okay for me.
My Year of Running Dangerously: A Dad, a Daughter, and a Ridiculous Plan by Tom Foreman
I LOVED this book.  Obviously, I'm living vicariously through other runners since pregnancy has put me on the sidelines again.  I'm missing a half marathon in July and these running memoirs both help and put a little salt in the wound.  Anyway, my own father influenced me to start running and this book brought all those feelings back again.  I loved the play by play of training and I'm sure only runners can understand.  I'm SO excited to get back out there after this baby's born and maybe go for the full marathon someday too.

Bakhita: From Slave to Saint by Roberto Italo Zanini
I had read about 75% of this a few months ago and for whatever reason, set it down unfinished.  Knocked out those last few pages and now feel like I have a special new saint in my corner.  Her story is beautiful.

Bloodroot by Amy Greene
A new genre for me this year: Appalachian fiction.  While it started slowly, I really enjoyed the writing, even if the plot involved a lot of poverty and family violence.  Haunting.

The Martian by Andy Weir
This book was recommended from all over, so I thought I would give it a try.  At first, I thought it was WAY too nerdy and science class for me...I definitely kept telling Mark, "THIS is what everyone's raving about?!"  But by the end, I could see the appeal.  Hoping we can rent the movie next. 


My Reading in Numbers

Books Read this Month: 7
Total Books Read this Year: 18
Books Read for the Modern Mrs. Darcy 2016 Challenge: 5
A book published this year
A book you've been meaning to read
A book chosen for me by my spouse
A book you can finish in a day
A book published this year

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

{learn goals} What I Learned in April & May


I put a lot of pressure on myself to live every day to the fullest.  Be on top of things, knock out those to-do lists, live that full and exciting life.  But sometimes that mentality just isn't realistic and I've learned that's it totally okay to let myself off the "seize the day" hook for a little while.  Slow down, enjoy my kids by just being together, remove all the extras and just breathe for awhile.

I'm an out of control busybody and I love a full plate.  But due to some physical and emotional health issues, I forced myself to take a step back from many much-loved activities.  I eased up on this blog, passed the torch for #5Faves, worked less on Big White Farmhouse and even stepped back from actively participating in my book club.  I love each of those things SO much and they bring me a lot of joy, but I also knew it would be beneficial to not do all.the.things.  In the process, I gained a lot of head space (my brain not constantly swirling with ideas and tasks), slept better and even had a smaller to-do list.  I hope to reintroduce those activities back into my life, but not at the expense of my health.   

After months of personal research, we are finally getting him officially assessed for dyslexia and hoping it provides an avenue for extra help.  We have made HUGE strides this year at home, but I can still see doubt and frustration come through when he struggles.  BUT.  We just got his standardized testing scores back (mandatory for homeschoolers in our state) and he scored above average. Above average!  I sobbed and sobbed in thanksgiving that what I know in my heart is true - it may take him longer than others, but he is such a smart little boy.  Now if I can continue to tell him so he starts to believe it too.

This is probably ironic being that I have an online business and love to write this blog.  But sometimes too much is too much.  Too much negativity, too much stimulation....I needed to shut it all off and look at life around me with clear eyes.  I think the reset is so helpful to re-evaluate why/how I use the Internet, rid myself of bad habits (scroll, scroll, scrolling....) and re-prioritize the people/things that may have been pushed aside.  I'm still full of questions: how much is too much sharing when it comes to my kids?  Is this a waste of time?  Do readers doubt my sincerity or think I'm a sell-out based on what I share?  Do I even care?  Is it time to just shut the whole thing down?  No real answers yet, but the struggle is real.        


Remember all those feelings of something being off?  Laugh along with me, friends.  This was a bit of a shock and surprise, but after letting the news sink in a bit, we're happy and excited to add to our crazy crew.  Baby #6 due in December.
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