Category Archives: home

School starts soon….

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11 days to be precise.

It’s a big year here.

Sunny begins middle school.
Broder begins high school.
Kjell begins his Senior year.

It’s tempting to focus on how fast it has gone, since that first day of kindergarten for Kjell, walking him to school with Broder toddling alongside me, and Sunny kicking from inside my womb, determined to make sure she was a part of things, even then.

I could wax about the days when they were sweet and little and they really had no choice but to adore me, as I was their whole world. (Those were good days, days that validated my choice to be home with them and stroked my ego).

But I would be missing so much of these days.

I see Sunny, strong and confident, entering into 6th grade after a rude awakening to the world of mean girls during her final year of elementary school. She could have let the cruelty of unhappy, petty people crush her. Instead, she faced them. Told them they were wrong, and not nice and removed herself from their talons. There were wounds, that is for sure. And she will carry those scars forever. But, just as the physical scars she sports on her face (car accident at 2.5), she is not ashamed, she is proud to have survived.

Broder has been waiting for high school since he was born, I am convinced. He worked hard in middle school, he learned to study. He found out what it was like to be afraid and learned that his dreams may take more work to come true than he could have ever expected. It would have been easy to give up. To be a victim. Instead, he is marching into this next phase with fierce determination. And he will make his mark.

Kjell, after so many years my sweet one, he is now(though still sweet) firmly on the path to manhood. He makes good decisions, not always the ones I would make, but the right ones for who he is and who he wants to become. His growing independence both thrills and terrifies me. My heart breaks knowing this is the last year he is my baby at home. My heart soars seeing him walk into his future.

Over the last week, I have said a couple times, to a couple different people, the following:

I love this time of my life, my kids lives. I am look at them and I get excited about the adventures that lie before them. The unbelievable potential each child holds, and how that will blossom as they move away from the tethers of my mother-love, my sometimes smothering mother-fear. I know I can’t protect them forever, I know too, that I can’t dream big enough for them.

That is theirs.

And I can’t wait to see where those dreams take them.

My day began…

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With a cup of coffee, a marathon laundry folding session and a very compelling podcast.

I was listening to one of my favorite podcast teams, the witty ladies at Stuff Mom Never Told You, and they were interviewing Emily Matchar, the author of “Homeward Bound” and about what she deems the Cult of New Domesticity. This resurgence of crafting, cooking, canning, home birthing, all things natural, which she contends is both fueled by and in backlash to, our ultra-wired world.

Etsy, Pintrest, Instagram, food blogs, parenting blogs, all these venues are so fun. And exert so much pressure.

When I started staying home with my kids, almost 17 years ago, I was a bit of an oddity among my lifelong friends. Those women were finishing advanced degrees, climbing the career ladder. However, I was safely cocooned in the conservative, evangelical world that (still) is Wasilla, AK. Staying home with the babes was exactly right in my part of the world. I was free to proudly fly my hippy flag(as long as I also participated in MOPS).

I sewed my nursing clothes, ground my own grain, baked my own bread, roasted my own coffee beans, had an out of hospital birth, made my own baby wipes, hung my clothes out to dry (because we didn’t have a dryer, but still), canned and baked, even went down that freaky road all the way to drinking raw milk and making butter with the cream I skimmed off the top.

I did all this, I still do a lot of this, because it was/is me.

I have been sewing since I was a little girl, i made doll clothes and prom dresses and my wedding dress. I have always loved to cook and bake. My goal, since a young young age, was to have a pile of kids and be home.

(so, perhaps my measly 3 kids doesn’t quite qualify as a pile of kids, and since I send them to public school, I do lose A LOT of credibility)

And now I am in my 40’s. Quite comfortable with who I am as a woman, as a parent, and I look around at the moms I see in their 20’s and 30’s, and often my heart hurts for them.

It’s all such a contest.

Is your fridge filled with organic produce? Or better yet, produce you grew yourself, using poop from your backyard chickens as fertilizer? Are you going to use that fresh home grown, chicken poop fertilized produce to create an authentic Ethopian dinner from scratch in your spotless and perfectly decorated, cleaned only using non toxic cleaning supplies you made from lemons and vinegar, kitchen? And when you present this dinner to your perfectly groomed children (not to mention your impossibly handsome, cross-fit loving husband who never leaves his sweaty workout gear on the floor) who are wearing impossibly cute/hip hats you knit for them while they were studying their Latin during the quiet time of your homeschool day, will your plates sit on delightful and charming placemats that are your beautiful children’s reproductions of famous pieces of art? have you made sure the lighting from your mason jar chandelier is just right, so when you go to take a picture and post it for the world to see, your friends/family/instragam followers will be struck dumb with awe at this representation of your perfect life?

No?

Well, you fail.

I suspect this is nothing new, this pressure. No, I know it is not. I have felt it, still feel it from time to time. Maybe not to have the perfect house, or perfect kids (I got over that a loooong time ago). Oddly, unexpectedly, the pressure for me now comes in the form of fitness and body. A different rant for a different day.

And although I know that some pressure within society is not only normal, but needed to move us forward and keep from imploding, the pressure I see on the 1/2 generation younger women is heartbreaking.

Now I recognize that for some women, these home pursuits are truly a heart’s desire. It was/is mine.

But not everyone’s. And that is ok.

If a woman wants to work and hire someone to clean her house (with or without homemade cleaning supplies). I say yay! I would love to have the number of her cleaner.

If a woman chooses to homeschool. yay! Public school. Yay!

Grind your own grain. Yay! Eat out at local restaurants 4x a week. Yay!

Make all your furniture from salvaged pallets. Yay! Hire a designer and claim the credit for your fabulous home. Yay!

I think it’s long past time where we, as women, stop trying to outdo one another and start helping each other to do our very best. At what ever OUR very best may be.

And with that, I am going hop off my soapbox and bake some cookies.

From scratch.

Tulsa musings…

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The heat has lessened. Most days it hovers around 90, which is remarkably more tolerable than 110. I am in awe of the men and women I see around me each and every day who seem completely unfaazed by the temptature. Every day I see people who are not sweating.

I wish I were one of them.

But not me. No, I spend my days in a state of sopping. Mst of the time I wear a baseball cap in the hopes that the extent of my perspiration is somewhat disguised.

I don’t think it fools anyone, as my face is a perpetual state of flushed and my shoulders, chest, armpits, calves, ankles and feet are constantly shiny with moisture.

It’s fairly disgusting.

However, there is a plus side, my skin has never looked better, any toxins in my system must be being flushed out with the copious amounts of water I drink.

And I am tan. Which is seriously awesome.

And I am still wearing sundresses and sandals while my Alaska friends are breaking out the fleece jackets.

Good Heavens, where does the time go?

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when I sat down this evening, I thought it has maybe been a month since I posted last, not nearly 3!!

We had a long dreary summer here in Alaska, perhaps the rainiest on record.  32 days in a row where it rained.  We got to the point where we would mow the lawn, not when it had a day or 2 to dry out, but when it was just sprinkling asopposed to the rain we were getting most of the time.  The good news in all of this is that it was a banner year for mushrooms around south central Alaska.

I began working in July, and now after 2 months, it is beginning to feel like I have a handle on the job.  The hours and days just fly by and for the most part I enjoy each and every bit of it.  I love being a part of a place that takes women’s health so seriously, and a practice that so passionately believes that women should be able to give birth where and how they choose:  be that at a hospital with an epidural, a birth center with  favorite music playing, or at home on the living room floor surrounded by friends and family.

The diversity in my workplace: economic, educational, political, religious, both among those of us who work together, and the women we serve, is incredible.  Every day we learn something new from one another, and every day, our differences and beliefs are respected.

Working full time has been an adjustment, and not all of it is rosy.  I miss being with the kids all the time, and they miss me too.  i miss the lazy days that Dave and I could have together when he was home and the kids were at school.  I miss my house ever being clean.

Most of the change, however has been good.  Remarkably, we eat even more meals together because this is the time we consistently have as a family.  Knowing that we have a limited time, has forced all of us to be more organized in preparing meals, and now, more than ever, we are eating home cooked dinners, as I plan things out where I never really had to before.

I have given up most of the volunteering I was doing at the kids’ school, in fact, I don’t even pick them up from school 4 days a week!  I actually pay someone to pick the kids up from school and drop them at home (we don’t have bus service as a charter school).  It is all so different from when last year (and each year before that) when I was in the classroom, in the lunchroom, and on nearly every field trip.

We are hosting another student teacher from Germany this year.  Right now she is slated to be with us until nearly Thanksgiving, that may change, and she may be with us longer, to the end of her stay in the US, which runs through January 2011.  Magdalena is delightful, and we all enjoy her so very much.

after shoulder surgery in June, I decided to start running again.  It has been years and years and years since I have run on a regular basis, and it was hard going at first.  But on August 15, with the encouragement of family and my good friend Myrna who was with me every step of the way, I ran (without a single step of walking) a 5k race through downtown Anchorage.  I was not fast, and it was not pretty, and I was not last!  I look forward to more of the same in the months and years to come.I have set some pretty crazy goals for myself over the next couple of years, and this 5k was the first step to reaching them.  It felt good.

It has been a post about me, me, me.  And I feel like I should apologize, but not tonight.

I want to promise that it won’t be 3 months until I write again.  I wish I could.

It is busy around here these days, but some things will never change, and among those that stay constant are the following:

there is always a place to lay your head,  always coffee in the kitchen, always time for a lively conversation, and always, you are welcome.  Come and visit.

The first month of summer…

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Our first month of summer is over, and wow, what a month it has been!

We have been going full speed ahead since May 6, when my friend Kathie and 2 of her boys, Peter and Anders came for a 10 day visit.  That same week, we got a surprise ( and somewhat heart-stopping) visit from Roy and Carol (my beloved in laws) who came to Anchorage for some urgent medical testing.  Things turned out ok on that front, and we look forward to them coming back in November for some follow up appointments/treatment.

While Kathie and crew were here, we got to get in a little bit of early season hiking, and lots of visiting!  It is good to have friends that like the sound of your voice.

Kathie returned home on May 17 and 3 days later my sister Carol, her husband Brad and their sweet little girls, Beata and Lydia came for a 10 day visit.  Our kids finished school that day and we began to play full force.

May 25th found us at the airport, sending Kjell off on his grand adventure!  5 weeks in Germany!

Then it was off to Talkeetna, a charming little town about 2 hours north of Anchorage.  We stayed in a cabin there, and enjoyed a couple of days away from work.

Carol and her family left on Memorial Day, Dave flew back to work the next day, and on June 1st, I woke up early and caught a ride with a friend to the local surgery center where I had some repair work done on my right shoulder.

On June 2nd, while still in a narcotics induced fog, I accepted a new job.

So, on June 8, I returned to work at the church and gave them my notice.

And that was the first month of summer….

Next Tuesday…

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I will drive my oldest child to the international terminal at the airport:  hug him, kiss him, and weep like a crazy woman as he prepares to board the plane.

That plane will leave Anchorage,  fly over the North Pole, and land in Frankfurt, Germany, where Kjell will begin a 5 week adventure.

I am completely excited for him, and completely unprepared to let him go.