Thursday, September 30, 2010
None of that actually happened.
My photos look a little funny since they are all taken in my bathroom mirror (no tripod and no spouse to capture the pics!) and you'll notice that there aren't 30 of them. That is because I soooo didn't have enough self-stitched clothing to wear in public. All that sewing I do? It has resulted in an awful lot of it is pajamas and pants for ever-growing boys, and very little for myself this past year. I did wear something self-stitched every day, but it was a pretty constant repeat.
The blue tree branch skirt is my own pattern, and I made this last summer. It was one of the first skirts I ever made for myself and I still wear it quite a lot, even though I'd shape it differently now.
Another skirt. This is a red linen, my own pattern again, and my first attempt with a faced waist band last summer. I *love* this skirt and wear it all the time April-September.
This blue cardigan is the Shalom cardigan I knit last December. I love it so much I'm working on another in a basic grey.
This black blouse is a recon from an XL swim suit cover I found for $2.00 a year ago. It sat in my sewing cabinet all year and I finally took it out, cut it up and re-fit it in July.
The only outfit I don't have a picture of is a brown and blue skirt I wore with a white blouse- no idea why I have no picture of that outfit, but I missed taking pics every day that I wore it.
1. I did NOT have enough self-stitched items to properly undergo this project. I would have been okay if I had counted knit socks and this had been a warmer month, but I just don't wear socks in September unless it really is cold enough to do so.
2. I wear WAY too much black and white and I really need to branch out. Those outfits above? I have about 5 other black shirts that were partnered with those skirts/jeans on the other days. I don't know if it's just because it's easy for me or if I'm really that boring. I love bright things, but I'm always worried about it being too much, and I have a serious problem mixing and matching. I have this overwhelming feeling that anything patterned must be subtle and it should be matched with a solid- at least when it comes to my clothes.
3. I need to include items for myself in my crafting plans or else I'll never do them. There is always something else to make for my kids, but it's okay to be a little selfish and make something for myself once in awhile. I used to do that, I need to get back into that again.
4. I need a tripod if I'm going to take better pictures of myself. The bathroom mirrror really didn't work. Of course, I *did* plan to have a spouse present to be the photographer, but at present time I can't depend on that while Brian is traveling so much.
I asked him if he needed anything.
"Just snuggles, Mama." He was almost asleep before he finished the phrase.
It wasn't long before alarms went off and it was time to greet the day. It was all too easy to turn it off and cuddle a little longer with my littlest.
But ignoring the alarm means less time for all there is to do, and that pile never gets any smaller. The simple daily household chores are the hardest for me to complete, at least on Wednesdays when I teach so long that I cannot stand to sacrifice the few hours I spend with my boys that day to be wasted on washing dishes or clothes.
So on Wednesdays I ignore and put off, leaving Wednesday's work for Thursday when I have a bit more time before I teach again. But Thursdays I drag because of the weight of Wednesday's load and I find Wednesday's work spilling to Friday and even the weekend.
The feeling of trying to "keep up" on everything that needs to be done is almost more exhausting than the actual work. When I write it all on paper it seems to work, but when it comes to the actual getting up and "doing" on Wednesdays it all falls apart and I find myself scrambling to catch up before the weekend comes.
So this week? No more scramble. A new routine begins tomorrow. I shifted absolutely everything off of Wednesdays that was possible, and while it is still a very full day, I hope it will alleviate the overwhelming feeling that I'm constantly behind. This girl just can't live that way.
I don't know why I feel so compelled to do *everything*, I just do, and after 29 years I'm finally starting to figure out how to reign that in to some degree.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
I am listening to... back to Steven Curtis Chapman's Beauty Will Rise.
I am wearing... Jeans and a black long sleeve tee. Simple and easy is the motto this week.
I am thankful for...
I am thinking... about God's grace. ALWAYS about grace.
I am reading... The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and A Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola. Our family read aloud is Alice in Wonderland (tonight will be our final chapter!) and then on to The Wizard of Oz.
I am creating... I'm having a little stand off with the mitten thumbs right now, so I started the hats for the boys. Ezra's is the fish hat, and Ender's is this sweet elephant hat. [rav links]
Still in progress: the KAL shawl and a baby gift for a little one due any day now!
Always learning... We are still taking advantage of being outside before icy weather starts up, so there isn't a lot of "real work" going on here. Instead, we're collecting pine cones, comparing leaves and going on long walks.
Around the house... with our recent lay off news the remodel is on hold a bit. We are still replacing the two broken windows since those are necessary, but the other windows, the paint and other "freshening up" decorating will have to wait.
I am planning... on nothing for awhile. After last week I'm counting on nothing to be what it actually is.
I am hoping... that the job that is supposed to come through on Monday actually does and commits to the full project they have planned. It would mean a solid year of work for Brian. This project has been "supposed to start" for a few weeks now, then was announced to be premanently on hold, but now is slated to start 9/27.
I am praying ... for steady employment for my husband. He has worked in this industry for almost three years, and while there have been slow weeks and even a slow month here and there, there have never been periods of "no work". The constant back and forth is wearing on both of us and last week was one of the most worrisome for us so far, as it sounded like the company he contracts for would decide to pull out of this city altogether. He has been looking for other work for almost 2 years now. We continue to pray.
One of my favorite things... morning oatmeal now that the days are cooler.
A few plans for the rest of the week... finishing the room swap we started last week, another library trip, an introduction to estimation for Ender, and a quiet calm weekend.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
In that moment everything moves slowly and sound disappears and you worry about the strangest things.
Where are the other kitchen towels?
Why is my floor so cold?
We've been here before: we call it the land of lay-off, a.k.a. all too familiar terrain.
We praise God for giving us the grace to deal with the news the day of the call, for reminding us to find our hope in Him, and we're especially grateful and humbled that He caught us just one day after the call with the opportunity for temporary work out of state. We do not know if it will last a week, a month or longer, but we praise Him for the work while we have it, and our prayers continue.
I'm beginning to think the true title for this place should be "On My Knees" as I perpetually find myself there.
Monday, September 13, 2010
I am listening to... a Blue Whale book on tape. Ender's Blue Whale project has hit week 6.
I am wearing... Jeans and a black button down blouse. I'm adding my shalom sweater later when I start to get cold.
I am thankful for...
I am thinking... about a tiny re-vamp to one portion of our schooling that is taking far too long for a Kindergartener.
I am reading... The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and A Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola
I am creating... mittens (still in need of thumbs and lining), the shawl KAL (part way through section 4!), and finishing a sleeve on SOMETHING.
Always learning... We've been sticking strictly with phonics and math only for the last week and then heading outside for the rest of our time while the weather is pleasant. Ender is still firmly occupied with blue whales (though he is starting to branch out into other types of whales) and the most common game around here is "you be krill and I'll be the blue whale. Watch out or I'll eat you!!!"
Around the house... we are getting ready for a bit of a remodel. We have plans for new windows after some were broken in a storm, a new coat of paint for several rooms, and hopefully some new flooring for the kitchen if we have enough money left over after windows.
I am planning... for fall meals. Right now the plan is for 2 weeks of meals that repeat through November and make good use of the crockpot on the days I work later in the evenings.
I am hoping... for a bit of grace as we adjust to Brian's new work schedule, the beginning of the studio's full schedule, and a little change to our schooling.
One of my favorite things... playing Acquire and Settlers of Cattan into the late hours with my brothers (which only happens once or twice a year).
A few plans for the rest of the week... getting all the vacation laundry caught up, a room swap, getting back into the swing of a full time work schedule, and flag football for the boys (I'm pretty sure that is going to be a riot!).
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
In the mean time, won't you check out some of the other great places around the web?
What You Don't Want to Do
Ann Voskamp's upcoming book
We'll see you Monday!
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
The first day we used the toothpicks as our counter of the day and practiced counting out the correct number. On day 2 we practiced making groups of 5 with the toothpicks, and on day 3 we practiced crossing the 5th toothpick across the other four.
Then we were on to the fun part! On the 4th day we learned how to make numbers other than 5 with our tally marks. Ender tried each number in turn, and figured out that it was pretty easy to do after the first few.
On day 5 we added in how to write the tally marks. I wrote numbers down the side for Ender and he tallied the numbers first with toothpicks, then on paper. Right after we finished this work he asked to add tallies to his math journal. If he adds work to his math journal, I *know* he likes the work!
Monday, September 6, 2010
Friday, September 3, 2010
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
"My child is so smart/talented/funny/musical..."
In my teaching experience it's rare to come across a child who has absolutely none of each of those traits, but I also understand that the parents just want me to see the very best of the child they love so much.
I try to make it clear that interviewing for the open positions isn't like interviewing for a job. The child and I will have a relationship for a full school year, if not longer, and it's important that we are able to work well together. I'm looking for a connection, not a candidate.
I suppose the odd thing about me as a teacher is that I don't particularly care to work with the "most talented" of students. I do have some very talented students, but that is not what brought me to work with those children. The bulk of my studio is comprised of kids who just like to play music. They may never go to music school or build a career on their skill, but after lessons with me they will love to play, they will have a solid knowledge base for their instrument, and most of all I hope that they will look back on the relationship we built together and know that I respected them and their work and that the time we spent together each week was important to me.
Every child should have an adult like that in their life.
You see, it was a piano teacher who so greatly affected my life, who told me I was good enough all on my own without the best talent or biggest successes- that I was following God and that was enough.
I hear her words like it was yesterday. I sat at the grand piano in her studio unable to play- only 14 and already mired in the quick sand of comparison. "No matter how gifted you are there is always someone better. Comparing yourself to more gifted people only makes you ashamed of your own progress, when you should respect yourself and the progress you've made through hard work."
Sometimes the hurting person is the boy who has been told he "can't", the little girl who is convinced that it doesn't matter how hard she works because the work will lead nowhere, the child who finds themself stuck in comparison and self-criticism.
The worst lies we hear are the ones we whisper to ourselves.
In the end, whether they play for just one year or for the rest of their lives, the best lesson I can teach has nothing to do with music. I spend the time I have with each child teaching them to navigate the small failures that lead up to those crippling words, "I can't do it." if they go un-guided.
The truth is that in 13 years and a few hundred students I've had just a handful of students go on to music schools and develop a career around their talent. I know it's not a tremendously impressive track record, but again- the most important lesson in my studio isn't even about music.
Ann Voskamp invites us to consider what it means to be Jesus' hands and heart in a hurting world. To share your own thoughts or read more, please visit Holy Experience.