Friday, October 18, 2019

Colder weather, cleaning, decluttering, and life

The kids really enjoy playing with magnets!

Lydia made this costume. She is a remarkable seamstress.  She did NOT get that from me.

Butterfly on Kevin's finger

It got cold enough to legitimately close the pool. Kevin gathered the troops and got to work. It is closed now for the season. We had such a great year of swimming but I am thankful to have a break from working on it.  It takes many chemicals and a fair amount of tender, loving care to keep it pristine. Or even close to pristine.

Our sun room often degenerates into a total disaster.  The kids do art in there and often leave it super messy. I cleaned it this week. It still looks pretty good, 3 days later.

I'm also in the midst of a moderately subdued decluttering frenzy.  I've been going through clothing and working on getting rid of stuff we don't need.  It is always exhausting work and I'm not someone who gets attached to things very easily.   And of course some people in this family are mightily attached to some things.  Not that that is bad -- everyone is different.  There is a place of balance where we enjoy what we have but we don't cling to everything.

I felt peaceful at the cabin last week when we just had a couple of small suitcases.  It was simple not having piles of stuff. So part of me wants to throw away half our belongings but hello, I'm only 1 of 11 people so I can't just toss things wholesale :-).

But I can comb through clothes that Daniel and Rose have outgrown, and give them away. I can go through the pantry and organize it so that we know what we have and don't buy more of what we don't need.  I can look at my books and get rid of some of them.

Really, I do get rid of books sometimes :-).

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Brief Getaway

Kevin and I snuck away for a short trip earlier this week. We left Sunday, October 6th and got back the 8th.

We drove all of an hour away to a nearby Ohio State Park, where we rented a cabin for 2 nights.  It was a simple cabin but very comfy.  It had a kitchen, including a coffee maker that only sort of worked.  We spent 20 minutes the second day struggling and finally succeeding in making coffee with it, though we had to boil the water on the stove and pour it into the makeshift filter.

We were really roughing it.

We didn't do anything particular during these 2 days. We went for walks. We slept a lot. We played with the VR headset. Kevin cooked.  I washed dishes by hand.

It was really good for us to get away.  My brain was so relaxed in an environment where there was little I had to do. At home, there are always 50 things I COULD be doing.  Ok, maybe that is an exaggeration. But then again, maybe it isn't.

The rest of the week was insanely busy.  I was running kids to and from orthodontist and eye doctor appointments and various things of that ilk.  Oh, I got my new compliant driver's license. That was a major accomplishment.

Next week life is settling back into more normalcy.  I hope.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Oculus Quest

The Oculus Quest is a virtual reality headset.

Kevin bought one a few days ago.  Now I was totally cool with that.  It is expensive but well within our financial reach.  Kevin and the kids love games.  I was like, that's fine.

The big surprise is how much I LOVE IT!!  Wow, the Quest is amazing!  Unlike previous versions of Oculus headsets, the Quest doesn't have any wires to it.  So Kevin has set up "safe spaces" in a few rooms (obviously after cleaning up the room so there is nothing  to trip over) and we can play ping pong and boxing (which I didn't like -- I don't like some mean tough guy punching me in the face even if he actually doesn't touch me.)

Here's my favorite thing so far though -- roller coasters.  It is like being on a real roller coaster in many ways.  It feels like it, but without the jolts and bumps that can hurt my aged back.

So yes, so much fun.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Confessions of a (Reforming) Workaholic

Unless one is a genius, one does not get a Ph.D. in engineering without working really hard.

I am not a genius, so yes, I worked hard.  In graduate school.  In undergraduate.  In high school.  In our home, having multiple children.

Working hard and getting stuff done makes me feel accomplished and worthwhile. I have spent years and years working on realizing that my value is based on WHO I AM, not WHAT I DO.

I've had seasons where I was laid up.  The last was a year ago post emergency hysterectomy.  I sat around for weeks recovering from major surgery. I really didn't struggle too much with self image at that point because yes, I had been cut open and an organ removed and there were minor complications so it made sense I would be weak and unable to do much.

Well, I'm sick with this stupid little illness, and last night I had dream after dream after dream of trying to get my kids to the airport for a nebulous flight whose departure time I did not know.  In the dream, things kept going wrong.  Alarm clocks didn't go off, I couldn't find shoes, I had one kid run away from me and get on a random bus.

There is a correlation. When I feel frustrated because of sickness, I feel out of control.  When I feel out of control, I have dreams like this one.

So, deep breaths, deep breaths.

I have minor asthma which flares ONLY during illnesses.  My minor asthma has flared up the last few days. I know that trying to power through asthma just makes it worse.  (I have very unpleasant memories of the Kendig swine flu epidemic of 2009, when asthma kept me confined to bed for almost 3 full weeks.)

So I need to rest.  But is super frustrating because I've got stuff to do.  But if I push too hard, I will not recover as well and might indeed get worse.

So yeah.

Working hard is a good thing.  Being chronically lazy is not healthy. BUT being a workaholic isn't good either.

Psalm 127:1-2

1Unless the Lord builds the house,
the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the guards stand watch in vain.
2In vain you rise early
and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—
for he grants sleep to a those he loves.

If my kids were going to starve or suffer from me resting, I would have to push through. But reality is that they are just watching more screens while I recover. And that is Ok. That is better than Ok.  That is good, for me to rest when I need to.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Still Hot, Still (Kind of) Hard

The illness keeps making its slow way through the family.  I have said it so many times -- if we'd all get sick at once it would be a nightmare, but a short nightmare!  It says something about our immune systems that people get these sicknesses slowly, over the course of a few weeks.

Something good, maybe?

Joseph had it this week and was sick ONE day, which is great.  I have it now.  I've been pushing through it for a few days, getting a bit more rest when I can but also extra busy because I'm helping little sickies.

Three youngest kiddos got it at the end of the week. Sarah lost her voice for a couple of days.  Rose has coughed a lot, and last night threw up copiously in her bed from coughing, poor sweet. (And poor me -- I cleaned it up!)

But I keep trying to have a good attitude about it.  It isn't anything really, really, really serious.  It isn't polio, or smallpox, or even the flu. It isn't strep throat (we checked for that.)  It is just a stupid virus.

This is a totally little thing, but I was wanting to watch some college football and we don't have ESPN and I had the vague idea that most games were on ESPN.  Nope, lots are on regular TV and we can record them. So that's fun. I don't even understand football all that well (not the subtleties) but I do enjoy watching football on TV.  It's so mellow watching big men crash into each other.

I will never encourage any of my children to play football.  Micro concussions.

So that's it. Sickness.  Couching.  Fatigue.  But we're fine.

Oh, it is still very hot for September and we have been able to swim in 82 degree water, which is awesome.

God is good all the time.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Hot September, Hard Week

First, some pics

Kevin changed the oil in one of the cars with Daniel's enthusiastic assistance.

I bought slime. The kids love slime.

I bought generic Wiki Sticks. The kids love Wiki Sticks

Blue eyed girl

Naomi in her work shirt.

After a cool couple of weeks it got hot hot hot!  Like mid 80's to low 90's this week!  We spent a lot of time in the pool, which was delightful.

So it was a hard week.  I don't even really know why except that I'm just tired mentally and somewhat physically.  We have an illness going around, and that was part of it. Poor Angela lost her voice for 2 and a half days!  Like it was gone. She also had a horrible sore throat.  Several other kids also had bad throats, though not AS bad. I took Angela to the doctor and it wasn't strep throat so that is good.

So yeah, I'm just tired.  The last few days I gave myself time to write several chapters of a Star Wars fanfiction that leaped into my mind.  I really enjoy writing.  It's soothing and fun.  Sometimes I feel guilty about taking the time but I think the mental health aspect is important.

And...people are yelling.  Bye!