We bought a new computer-a Mac-and that has taken some getting used to but I do love it. I was so nervous about it-my oldest kids were laughing at me-but I was just really nervous. I fear two things-making a mistake and losing all our family pics, and making a mistake and spending four hours talking to someone I can't understand halfway around the world. The latter has really happened long ago, the first one never (as I type that my heart flutters, knock on wood.)
The change forced me to through my entire photo library which was ridiculously full of meaningless photos. I more than halved the entire library and it is so nice and organized and I am thrilled.
The change also has me thinking of new ways to scrapbook-I think I might use chatbooks instead of printing photo collages and just stick a little book in the big scrapbook every year or so, along with a few old-fashioned paper pages. I've been looking for a way to cut down the time AND to stay on top of each event as it happens-adding captions as I remember them in my old mind-not when I am rushing to catch up and forgetting everything, and I think this is my answer for the three youngest kids. It had been feeling like a duty and now I feel happy about it.
She found her old carrier that she spent days and days in and it sure brought back memories.
(We also have a new smile for photos as you can see.:)
Abbey visited and we both couldn't get Valentines chocolate hearts off our mind, and so we sat in the car outside of Rite Aid after our purchase and split each chocolate.
Janey was so so happy. She misses Abbey so much.
As a side note, I love rides back and forth to college. It's the best time to talk and we sure do about everything under the sun. I've said it before but the drop off never ever gets easier.
On one of the nice warmer days, Patrick was able to go fishing with his BF and this is second only to basketball on things that make Patrick happy.
On one of my "escape from my rut" contemplations I decided that I needed to find some really good books. My friend loaned me this one and OH BOY did I love it. It is very much like "The Glass Castle". I highly highly recommend it. Know that there is some language but this is a true story and it is part of the story. I will never forget it and have been telling everyone I know to run out and buy it. There is so much to think about-so much to talk about-I really feel like this book just has to bring about some great conversations from politics (not nasty politics, but thoughtful politics), to poverty, to parenting and more. If you have a Marine in your life, I think they would enjoy this especially.
I also started writing down little things I have learned on this parenting journey. I am sure I have written about all these things before but as they come to mind I want to jot them down. Some things come to mind as I hear or read terrible advice given to younger moms (pretty much everything in those parenting magazines), or I relearn a lesson that I've learned several times before, or I talk with friends that I admire so much as mothers.
-If you constantly feel overwhelmed and stressed when you are a mom (unless you just had a baby and even then this can still apply) you need to eliminate things from your life until you feel calmer and life runs more smoothly. There are things you can't and shouldn't eliminate-kids :), and church, and maybe kid's school (unless it's preschool, which isn't at all necessary.) Children rebel against crabbiness, and stress and rushing in the home. They also rebel against lack of attention and lack of consistency. There are things that maybe are hard to let go of, unless you think of it as a temporary letting go for a season of life. With each child added to the family, things need to become more centered on home life and house running and child raising. This is BIG work-enough that it deserves most of our attention. This is not mainstream thought by the way. The underlying mainstream message today is "don't change your life for your family" at the same time mainstream talk is saying "family comes first". Those two trains of thought are completely incompatible. We only have ONE husband to pay attention to, we are ONE mother to each of our children, it is enough to be that ONE well, if we are anything at all. These roles reap the most reward when they are our priority and some of that reward is our deep satisfaction and joy in family life.
-If you are wondering how someone seems to do it all-I'd say, "stop comparing" but also "no way" while still being present to their family. There are no miracle workers out there and no one who has more hours in the day than anyone else. I doubt very much anyone has such an arsenal of time management and skill that a life spread with many big things does not magically cause considerable stress on a family of young ones. I think sometimes the culture we live in today is a giant spreader of delusion. I called it lies, but my daughter corrected me and said that sounds too purposeful and maybe delusion is a better word. She is right. I try to teach my kids that what they see online or on the TV or on social media, must be taken with a grain of salt and some real sensibility and discernment. We moms need to do this also. Usually the behind the scenes perfection takes a big personal toll or the toll often times gets handed off to the kids. We all know what reality looks like-it's what is right in front of us and has nothing to do with a screen at all. We need to pay way way more attention to our reality. Even when it comes to advice or information, if we take the time for thought and connection-real connection with our own families, we will get the answer-the answer is rarely "out there" from some "expert", but what's in our hearts and our minds when we are calm and connected enough to our families to listen to our heart and mind. (See first paragraph.)
-If there is something running very true and similar among close happy families, it is a culture of family togetherness but at the heart of it all, it is a strong marriage. A marriage where the husbands builds up the wife and the wife builds up the husband. A marriage where the wife is pointing out to the children her husband's strengths, and not his weaknesses and vice versa. The best book I've ever read on this subject is called "The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands". It is excellent.
-If there seems to be not enough time in the day step away from the tech-phones, laptops, etc. It is a time sucker like no other and little distracting minutes add up so quickly to hours out of a day and the cost is way way too great, not only for us but for our families too.
That's all for February!