Homeschool week 12

This was spring break week. We don’t really take off time from lessons for spring break, but it is inevitably a lighter week, since there is either relatives visiting, or classes happening. This week, I. was gone for three full days, from early morning until dinner time. We did manage to get in a good chunk of math on the days he was home. We begin our medieval history block in April. We are both looking forward to that.

We were expecting relatives from out of state to visit, but a blizzard (in Spring !?!) shut down the airport totally, and all flights were cancelled. So they cancelled their vacation.

My husband celebrated his birthday. It was a nice and quiet day. I made birthday scones instead of cake, since he isn’t eating sugar, really.

I went through the ups and downs all over again this week of closing my midwifery practice. I love the idea of taking clients very part time, but in reality, I just can’t do it. I had an interview set up with a former client’s family member. And I was excited. But, as the day dawned and got forth, full of happy chaos and children fighting and needing to get food made and laundry started and, and, and…I realized with stinging clarity that this is not the season for me to work outside the house. All it does is cause me stress, and that is unnecessary. It would be self inflicted.

So, I canceled the interview and felt immediate relief (less to worry about and get done) and also immense sadness. I took myself into my bedroom and covered myself with the blankets and sobbed. I thought I’d mourned the loss of my midwifery practice, but the wound was freshly opened and I felt it all over again. So long as I’m on my own (without that tribe!), I can’t do it. Because, I really can’t do it all. I can’t. This life thing is like juggling a bunch of balls and keeping them in the air. When I was serving as a midwife, that ball was priority as I couldn’t let my clients down. This meant I invariably dropped the other balls. I couldn’t keep them all going: midwifery practice, homeschooling, mothering, housekeeping, cooking. One or more balls always got dropped. And that wasn’t the life I wanted, no matter how much I loved midwifery. Life is stressful living like that.

Nowdays, the balls I’m juggling are pretty much manageable. Sometimes something drops, but not for long. Life is easier this way.

In chick news, they are all growing well. We are keeping our fingers crossed that they are all hens.



I’m not sure I’m ready, but it’s Spring! The equinox sort of crept up on me as the last week and a half was a blurry haze. If it’s not pouring rain, we’ll be making our annual vernal equinox fire outside in our fire pit and throwing in some of our winter socks to say goodbye to winter. The kids LOVE this tradition.

My fever lifted  within 18 hours, thankfully! I bundle up and sweat it off, while drinking tons of water and vitamin c. Yesterday, I felt well enough to get outside and breath some fresh air, though I was still wreaked and had a bad headache.i took the day off again.

And we somehow ended up with these beauties.


The kids are beyond excited. Each one picked one out. A Wellsummer, an Amber White, and a white crested black Polish.

I now commence to deal with the aftermath of being sick. My house looks like it’s had three children in it, eating and playing, and no one cleaning. Oh yeah, it HAS. My dear husband just gets into overwhelm so fast when I’m down for the count, and he managed the best he could, especially since he was working in Friday. The laundry hasn’t been touched, including the two baskets of clean laundry washed on Thursday. There is stuff everywhere, in each room. The kitchen… Oh, the kitchen. It is fitting, I suppose, to spend the vernal equinox cleaning up. Everyone will be helping, don’t worry. Spring cleaning!





I know, you never intended to be in this world.
But you’re in it all the same.

So why not get started immediately.

I mean, belonging to it.
There is so much to admire, to weep over.

And to write music or poems about.

Bless the feet that take you to and fro.
Bless the eyes and the listening ears.
Bless the tongue, the marvel of taste.
Bless touching.

You could live a hundred years, it’s happened.
Or not.
I am speaking from the fortunate platform
of many years,
none of which, I think, I ever wasted.
Do you need a prod?
Do you need a little darkness to get you going?
Let me be as urgent as a knife, then,
and remind you of Keats,
so single of purpose and thinking, for a while,
he had a lifetime.

-Mary Oliver

My body decided to take things into its own hands. I went to bed last night, telling my husband how desperately I need sleep and a break. I woke up this morning sick. I haven’t been really sick in four years.

This past week has been the most challenging physically and emotionally that I can remember in ever. Caring for children, 24/7, with constant sleep interruptions, has just been too much for my physical body. So, I have been forced to literally lay in bed all day, with a fever and aching head.

I wish I had a tribe. I’ve never been very good at creating that. I’m too much of an introvert, perhaps. I wish I had someone to watch my kids so I can sleep. But, I’m thankful for Sparkle Stories and Little Bear. They did afford me a little rest.

Ive been offline all day, but I just hopped on as I’m feeling slightly better and can sit up now. I saw the poem above by Mary Oliver and the tears just flowed when I read it. Today has been a crying day. Lots and lots of sobbing. I think I’ve been holding all the stress in for this past week. It’s been coming out today. Like a detox, this sickness is.

Love is all that is real. It is all that endures. Even this ick feeling is transitory. The only thing that is real is that which never changes.

This morning I found myself big time resisting. Angry that I was sick, annoyed at my body and so frustrated that I could do nothing for my children. After a few hours, I caught myself. And the book The Surrender Experiment came to mind. Saying yes to what is. Saying yes to what comes to me. So, once I surrendered, I actually felt less pain, though I’m still sick.

Letting go of the oars and letting the river of life sweep me along. I’ll be feeling better, in time.

Things take the time they take. Don’t worry.

How many roads did St. Augustine follow before he became St. Augustine?

-Mary Oliver


Lose a few friends.
Offend a few people.
Say no if you mean no.
Say yes if you mean yes.
Nice little boys and girls
never win mommy’s love anyway.
They only become beggars.
Stop trying to do it right.
Do it real instead.
You don’t have to win love.
Only live it.
Weep. Wail. Laugh like you did when you were young and didn’t care what people thought about you.
Speak your truth without apology.
Let your heart break.
Let your certainties crumble.
Be a blubbering mess on the ground of love.
Life is too short to hold it all together.
You have longed to fall apart.
You will lose ‘safety’
but you will feel
so alive.
– Jeff Foster

If you haven’t heard of Jeff Foster, check him out. He is fantastic.

Slowing down

It’s been ages since our kids have been sick. Easily a year or two, aside from a minor sniffly nose here and there. But the two younger ones are still down for the count right now with some virus. Nothing too horrible, just a sore throat, runny nose and aching ears.  I had a moment of freak out (worry) in the middle of the night the first night H. was sick. But once I turned the light on and got out my Dr. Mendelsohn book, I calmed myself back into sanity. That book has saved me countless times from unnecessary worry, doctor visits and antibiotics. Truly a treasure.

But, wow, am I wiped out. Three nights of restless children. It has totally slowed down our pace these last few days, which is a good thing.

Thankfully H. only had one night of not being able to sleep. Since then, he’s feeling better and is now just tired and sleeping. He hasn’t napped for 5 years, but he’s taking hours long naps daily right now. P. wants to sleep a lot, too, but the difference is that she wants me with her, in bed, nursing. So, that means I’m stuck in bed most of the day with her. I’m getting plenty of reading done, and napping myself. And enjoying listening to the awesome rain storm outside. Pouring rain is my favorite!

But the kink in my neck? Ouch. Hours and hours of side-lying nursing. It feels reminiscent of having a newborn. I managed to get outside this evening to clean the chicken coop while she was sleeping, but half way through she woke up, screaming and inconsolable, only wanting me back in bed.

So I lay here, enjoying the silence.



Homeschool week 10

Monday was busy. Always is. We have a few short hours in the morning to do a slew of chores, breakfast and cleanup, and then get a short bit of homeschool work in for I. He heads off by 11:30 for the rest of the day to his Naturalist class at farm school and we don’t see him again until nearly 6pm. So, as usual, this week our Monday morning was busy. Except that I. woke in a cranky mood and was just upset about everything. So, he spent his morning upset and angry, and we just didn’t get homeschool work in. The struggle to push it didn’t seem worth it that morning.

Tuesday found us up in Portland for dentist appointments for H. and P.  P. had a filling done, and it was done without any anesthesia or gas or anything. She did amazing and just laid there. H. did great, as well. We had lunch out, then headed back home. The day felt spent by then, so I decided it would be a good day to go get hair cuts for the boys. A projected wait of 12 minutes turned into an hour and we were all ready to be home already!

Wednesday and Thursday we got to stay home, and it was glorious. I spent most of Wednesday catching up from being out of the house the day before. I. did lots of math, and practiced his flute, and finished up reading Little Men. I got our March circle time going for H. and P., and that was fun. I love learning the new songs together.

Today, I. is gone all day, from early morning until past dinner time, to farm school again, as he is every Friday. I had planned a quiet day at home, full of preschool and kindergarten activities (circle time, painting, baking) but H. was up almost the entire night, unable to sleep due to a little cold. He’s better today, though mostly just sleeping, since he hardly slept last night. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to stay up almost the entire night, and I am feeling a tad nostalgic about the nights of attending home births, and coming home and having to be on all day, in spite of the exhaustion.  I don’t drink coffee anymore, so I mostly just lean into the tiredness and let it be, and get done what needs to be done.  Feeding P. Making green juice and smoothie. Cleaning dishes. Chopping wood for our hungry wood stove. Sweeping the ever-dirty floor. Making lunch. Doing our daily two loads of laundry.  I can’t quite wrap my head around dinner yet, but it’ll get it figured out.

I was lucky enough to see Dr. Wayne Dyer when he came to Portland last year, just months before he passed away.  And, his voice, quoting the Tao Te Ching, echoes in my head almost daily whenever I feel overwhelmed: “I do nothing, and yet I leave nothing undone.” This is my mantra, and it gives me strength to move forward.

Living with Zen masters

“True spirituality doesn’t happen in a cave or at the top of a mountain. It’s down here, wiping a runny nose playing yet another round of Candyland, or rocking a colicky baby at two in the morning. The Buddha is crying in the next room. How you handle that is as evolved and as spiritual as it gets.”
– Susan Stiffelman, MFT

Susan Stiffelman is one of my favorite parenting resources (right up there with Dr. Laura Markham). This quote of hers has been in my head all day.

I like to joke that I’m lucky because I don’t need to go live with monks up on a mountain, because I have three of my very own zen masters under my own roof. They are masters at being in the moment and demanding the same of me. I get to practice this stuff in real life, not in a bubble. And if I mess it (often), don’t worry. Here’s another opportunity coming at me right…NOW. (Repeat all day long.)

Synchronicity brought this awesome article  into my feed today. Thank you. Just what I needed to read today.