Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Never Ordinary Days

Oh, how I would love me an ordinary day here or there.  It seems like they are far and few between anymore.  I know I have to establish a "new ordinary" in my head-a way to accept/come to terms and even love the fact that my daily life will almost always be somewhat unpredictable with all the variables that six children bring to it.  I am finding my way, but not very successful.  So often I found myself working toward deadlines, or rushing through ___ to get to ____.  And meanwhile like sand through the hour glass....

(Isaac home=laundry basket on dining room table.)
My wonderful father picked Isaac up bright and early from his campus and then dropped him off at the bus station (after filling his stomach with a much appreciated breakfast).  I picked him up a few hours later and he is home and boy is it easy when we don't have to make the drive.  I know the kids are excited to see him tonight and he is very excited for exams to be over.

Speaking of exams, Abbey's last ones are today and I am sure glad those are over.  Isn't it funny how you can't really "win" as parents when it comes to exam weeks?  I'm not sure who is worse, and I've had both at times-the kid who treats exams week like any other week, which makes you nervous and a little naggy, and sometimes downright frustrated and panicked, "Should you really be doing that, don't you have exams to study for?"  Or the kid who is so worried about them that she (sorry Abbey I just gave you away) takes out all her tension and stress and misery on everyone around her, herself most of all.

I was the first type of exam kid, I'm sure, so it's just now, as the emotional sounding board/investor in education, that I am experiencing the elation of having the week behind me, excited for the worry/tension/stress/naggyness to be gone from my heart.
I made this peanut butter fudge the other day-so easy and so good.  I just tried that one piece.  Oh, no I didn't.  Maybe a row.

After a massive wrapping session, I reread this chapter just to remember that once upon a time, things were simpler. But then I got to thinking about it, and no they weren't.  Maybe less gifts to wrap, but I wasn't baking my own bread, and making my own fires, and rationing sugar so I couldn't make fudge when I had terrible cravings.  I wasn't worried about whether my husband would make it through the woods while a screaming black panther was chasing him, or scaring bears away from our milking cow during snow storms.

Things might have been simpler and some (me) could argue better for human nature all together, but they weren't easier.  I think we traded panthers and bear and sugar rationing for a whole other set of issues, but that's another post for a day when I've had more sleep than I've been getting lately.

A few years ago for Christmas I bought myself the complete set of hard-covered Little Houses and I still love them so much.  So many sweet lessons and reminders.


19 comments:

  1. Oh boy did this hit home today. My husband and I sat here last night in a panic over the craziness that has become our new "normal". I would love to tell myself that things will calm down, but with 6 kids I think I would be fooling myself- I suspect I'll look back on these days as the easy ones! (oh how that scares me!)

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  2. One of the nice things about have a range of ages in the house is that I get to re-read these stories to different "sets" of kids. My 6yo boy is LOVING the Little House books right now. We just started "Farmer Boy".
    It's a very different season for us right now--I am very sick--and there are NO ordinary days anymore. I do have hope they'll be back.

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  3. Final exam week. My first experience with this as a parent. I don't think any of us handled it all that well. I'll be so happy when it's over (tomorrow.)

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  4. Glad Isaac got home safely. Katie and I made the 12 hour drive home yesterday! And yes, could not agree more in regards to exam week. Unfortunately, BOTH of mine were just like sweet Abbey! I too adore the Little House books and again, agree. Like isn't necessarily harder, just different, different problems. I gave a devotion a week ago about the fact that Christmas has NEVER been perfect (not from the very first one), so why should we expect it to be?

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  5. I still read them every winter. When we get an Iowa blizzard I always pull out The Long Winter and read it all day. Praying you find your way...your kids are so blessed to have wonderful parents! Merry Christmas!

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  6. I'm glad, too, that your son is home! I still get out The Long Winter when I have a couple of hours to myself (hardly ever) and read, read. read. That particular one is my favorite of the Little House series. What a good idea, to read a chapter to the kids about the Ingalls Christmas. I will have to do that! P.S. Have you and your family ever watched The Waltons movie called "The Homecoming". It was before the series. I think you might like it.

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    1. I switched subjects suddenly from the Ingalls to The Waltons, but I love both of those families.

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    2. Kathy Olson, you just made my day, although you didn't know it. Every Friday night we have movie night at our house. I was looking for a Christmas movie to watch with our kids, but didn't want the same old Rudolph again.

      I'm also in the middle of missing my brother this holiday season. He was a helicopter pilot, and we lost him when his helicopter had mechanical failure this summer. He was an absolutely amazing man and father. He grew up in the Waltons era, and always had them in his mind as the ideal family. He's one of my 12 siblings, and grew up on a farm, so we were kind of like the Waltons in a way. Anyway, I'm trying to keep him close this Christmas, and I think that movie is just what we need to watch with our kiddos tomorrow night. Cozy, warm, family, and reminds me of my brother. Thank you. Kathy

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  7. Yes. Yes. Yes. Goodness where to start... I have had THESE EXACT THOUGHTS while reading Laura Ingalls. Many times. On the radio the other day they read a Dear Santa wish list from one hundred years ago - the child wanted a doll, nuts, and oranges. It made me really sad. I wish I could make nuts and oranges so special that my children would be delighted to get them in their stocking, instead of candy that spins on a piece of plastic or whatever. Or my friends' kids who get things like iPods in their stockings. Where will it end?! But I am thankful that we can have oranges anytime we want - we eat them like crazy all winter long, and we are healthy and our bellies are full. Caroline Ingalls and Laura Ingalls both lost sons in infancy. I am so thankful that my children were almost certain to survive their childhoods.

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  8. I haven't been blogging lately because of all the "busyness" around here too. Time seems to have gotten shorter. So I know how you feel.

    And I love the Little House series too! And so do my girls!

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  9. Oh my goodness, I do the same thing. One of my favorite Christmas books. Christmas in the Big Woods. You are right about the simpler part but in our minds it brings us to a simpler time - childhood and the Christmas memories we have. Christmas is much simpler as a child!!
    I so enjoy your blog - love the way you think. Blessings to you and your family this Christmas.

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  10. We are in the thick of it over here too Sarah. I can't wait for Friday!! Our little 2 year old is such a breath of fresh air compared to algebra 2/trig and chemistry:)

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  11. For me, life was so much easier when the kids were little. As busy and tiring as those days were, there was order to my family life. There were naps and bedtimes and evenings to recover a bit and reconnect. As they grew into the middle and teen years, chaos theory seemed to rule. It's so hard for personalities who crave order and discipline and accomplishment. Unfortunately, in life, when you complete _______ and, then, _____, there is ______lurking around the bend - or surprise - __________!!!! And, boy, can that drive us crazy. What's the best way to handle it? If you figure out a way, let me know, because there are some in my household that can use the help! I have learned to live with it - but I think I lean toward my mom's personality - more relaxed about things. She had six kids, too - and took a nap every day. She still does! I can't remember my last nap. I think our lives are busier/more complicated than our mom's, don't you? I suppose that's because we have made it that way. When you didn't have a car, if you couldn't walk or bike to it, you didn't do it! As child #6, I wasn't even a Girl Scout! (I tease my mom about that, but I had a wonderful, carefree childhood.) No pearls of wisdom here, just want you to know you are not alone. Hang in there!

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  12. We are working our way through Little House right now. we just got to These Happy Golden Years. It is amazing how this series can span the ages of all my kids from 19 to 2 (ok, well maybe not 2, but soon he will totally be into it). I got all the audio versions last spring and I know we will listen to them again and again!

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  13. We adore those books too.

    It's very tempting to read those and get jealous of how simple life was in "the old days"—I mean, could you imagine kids nowadays who would be happy to just get mittens, candy and a rag doll for Christmas?—so I love your point about how life wasn't necessarily easier then. Like you said, we traded in the problems they faced back then for a set of new, different problems, and neither set is necessarily better or worse. Such a great reminder.

    Still, though... it's hard not to be jealous of parents who could keep things so simple for Christmas and still make their kids so happy!

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  14. My 6 and 8 year olds are obsessed with Little House--my husband brought home the first 3 seasons and they are in LOVE! It has even replaced Full House reruns...

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  15. I was like Abbey, super stressed at finals time. It was much worse in college. I think you will find a way to calm her so she can stay focused on her studies. I would hit a panic point and somehow a phone call to my mom did the trick...my mom would marvel at why I was so stressed...and she would talk me through it. One time my mom was gone and I had to talk to my Dad...it didn't calm me down..but I did ace the test! And I am also like you, that I end up pressuring the ones in my house that are laid back during crunch time!

    As soon as I saw the page, I knew it was Little House on the Prairie! What fond thoughts of reading that book for the first time...simply the best!

    That fudge looks amazing! And enjoy the laundry basket on the dining room table...means your college boy is home!! Merry Christmas, Sarah! hugs, cathy

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  16. I was so sad when my girls weren't interested in reading my Little House books. I read them to my oldest when she was little but she never really was into them. Mine all fell apart :( I should re-read them some time though. I love boos like that with "simpler" times.

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  17. The Little House Books are also among my favorites. In fact, I listed them today in my list of books that I read with my children on my blog at www.beckyhasbeenblogging.blogspot.com. We find in those pages the gentle reminders of simpler times gone by but their lessons are still true today. I appreciate the positive and spiritual theme of your blog. Keep it up!

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