If you’ve been reading my blog, you know we had a rough start to 2016. I’m still struggling and grieving, but also making progress and embracing joy.
It’s been a long time since I’ve linked up with Leigh Kramer for “What I’m Into.” February was a busy month for us, so it seemed like a good way to catch you up on our crazy life.
What I’ve been reading . . .
I closed 2015 without meeting my paltry goal of reading 40 books last year. This was bitterly disappointing. As a writer and an English major, I love reading, but I am not a fast reader and at this stage of my life, fitting it into my days can be an insurmountable challenge. However, I’m determined to make reading a priority, so I made the same goal of 40 books for 2016 and hit the ground running.
One thing I love about being a parent is getting to read so many great books with my kids! We got Adrian The Chronicles of Narnia series for Christmas. My dad read them to me as a kid in order of publication, beginning with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. But Adrian’s set orders them chronologically, so we began with The Magician’s Nephew. Camilla, Adrian, and I loved this book! As soon as we started it, I could feel myself relishing the depth of meaning in the story and the rich language Lewis used. It was deliciously satisfying! We read the whole book before Camilla went back to school in January. Then it was hard to find time to read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe because she insisted we not read it without her! We had a bit of a drive last Saturday, to visit a granite yard and procure some Craig’s List finds (more on that later), so we were able to finish Book Two.I’m always struck by the way C.S. Lewis described Aslan. He just seemed to get it. This is my Jesus.
But as for Aslan himself, the Beavers and the children didn’t know what to do or say when they saw him. People who have not been in Narnia sometimes think that a thing cannot be good and terrible at the same time. If the children had ever thought so, they were cured of it now. For when they tried to look at Aslan’s face they just caught a glimpse of the golden mane and the great, royal, solemn, overwhelming eyes; and then they found they couldn’t look at him and went all trembly.
Suffice it to say that reading about the triumph of the Witch to my family was nothing short of a deeply moving spiritual experience. When we reluctantly came to the end of that book, Adrian immediately commenced begging until I finally gave in and started reading The Horse and his Boy. I always thought Prince Caspian was next, so I feel a bit disoriented, but the kids are enjoying it so much that I’m just rolling with it!
For Adrian’s homeschool curriculum, we’re currently reading Little House in the Big Woods, another childhood favorite of mine. Adrian is a little disappointed that all the kids are girls, but there’s enough woodsy fun that it’s keeping him interested. And I’m surprised to be noticing new things myself, even though I just read it to Camilla a few years ago.
On my own, I read TheLost Wife by Alyson Richman. I enjoyed it, although I was thoroughly frustrated with the heroine more than once. Also, as I mentioned in my anxietypost, I just can’t take one more World War II novel. I get too sad and worried about this world we live in.
Back to childhood favorites, I had never read Caddie Woodlawn myself, but a friend told me several times that Camilla makes her think of Caddie—minus the red hair, I guess. Thinking it would be more lighthearted than a WWII novel, I finally picked up a copy at the library. I’m having trouble getting into it. But Camilla borrowed it from me and is enjoying it immensely!
I’m about halfway through Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin. I heard her speaking to Tsh Oxenreider on The Simple Show and I was very intrigued by her philosophy of “Four Tendencies.” She believes people respond to expectations in one of four different ways and understanding this about ourselves could help us stick to our good habits. There’s so much to say about this. If you’re interested, you can read more about the Four Tendencies and take a quiz to find out your tendency here. If you’re not interested, just skip the rest of this paragraph. Deal? I thought I was an Obliger at first, but Todd helped me see that I’m actually a Questioner. That made me happy because I didn’t want to be an Obliger (nobody does). I was not at all surprised that Todd is an Upholder. That’s a lot of fun to live with, folks! Although Rubin is a bit didactic at times (she’s an Upholder, too!), I’m finding the book helpful and hoping to put a lot of her strategies into practice. At least, the ones I truly believe will work for me! (That's my Questioner coming out.)
What I’ve been doing . . .
Friends, I am officially the mother of two busy, school-aged children with activities and a toddler who still needs to nap. Can I just tell you, I’m exhausted these days! I’m not sure how other moms do it, but this stage is very difficult for my introverted, highly-sensitive self. I loved the preschool stage and I loved naptime then! I remember sitting quietly with a book and a cup of coffee while the baby napped and the three-year-old had quiet time. (Maybe that only happened once, but I still remember it!) Right now we have activities almost every day of the week. Evangeline often skips her nap entirely, or grabs a quick one in the car and I have to wake her up before she’s fully rested. We don’t even get the weekends off! On Sundays we have play practice right after church. I’m finding it challenging, to say the least. Especially during weeks like this, when Todd is traveling for work. He came home Friday, thank the Lord! But the stress caught up to me in the form of a nasty cold. Grrr! Things should slow down a bit after Easter. We won’t have ski club and the play will be over. Phew!
In the midst of this busy season, we are also remodeling our kitchen! Because that won’t be stressful or anything. This is the explanation for the granite yard visit last Saturday. People, I know these are first world problems. I really do. But it’s where I’m living, at the moment. I’m doing my best to keep it in perspective and be grateful for the blessings we have, while also taking a step back here and there so I don’t lose my mind with a crazy busy schedule. I have to remind myself that I am not called to be one of the moms to whom I’m comparing myself. I’m called to be me and God isn’t asking me to live up to some ethereal standard concocted by Pinterest.
I’ll close by sharing about a really wonderful time we had in February. Todd and I went away to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. Our actual anniversary was in December, but in February we finally had a chance to slip away for a long weekend skiing Whiteface and staying in Lake Placid. In spite of somewhat icy conditions, we had a great time skiing together and a relaxing time away. It had been more than three years since the two of us went away together sans children and after about 30 hours, I stopped worrying about the kids. Drat that anxiety! It was a good exercise for me to go away and come home to find that they were all perfectly fine. Sometimes I think I need to control everything, but I actually need to relax and let go a little bit. This trip was a welcome reminder of that.