Showing posts from March, 2016


Is it Thursday night already?

The week is a total blur. After Easter worship, as I was about to turn onto my street, the world started spinning. I managed to get us home. I may have fed the kids lunch. Then I crashed completely, falling asleep before I was even fully in my bed. My body complete gave up, as Holy Week really took everything I had and more.

An hour later I awoke and went on with my day. We still had Easter dinner to get to at my parents' house, a relaxing time, thank God. 

Nothing on my schedule on Monday, I did a little work here and there, napped on and off, and took it as easy as possible. I stumbled through the rest of the week, still recuperating from the crash.

Today I had my date with Remi, came home, ate, and crashed once again, but the post-Remi crash is routine. I fed the children ice cream for dinner, got more cleaning done, and made Jere's' dip for the weekend. 

Tomorrow will find the girls and I up at 5 and out of the house by 5:30. In the morning. We…


The wait is over.


Tonight, at Vigil of Easter worship, we got to revisit the darkness of Good Friday. We got to bless the Paschal candle and share its light with others. We got to witness two baptisms and affirm our own. We got celebrate that Jesus is alive and risen from the dead!

But the moment most awaited by a certain eight year old, whose name starts with the first to letters and ends with the last two letters of the word she loves more than any other, finally came. She may, once again, have been the loudest to exclaim, He has risen, indeed, ALLELUIA!

That first ALLELUIA is such a joy, after a forty day (plus Sundays!) fast from exclaiming it. 

Today, I am grateful for Light; for Joy; for Alleluias; for babies and baptisms; and for celebrating Easter Vigil with my entire family at worship!


As he emerged from the basement I could tell that he was not good. The throbbing of his head was apparent, so back to bed he went as we left for homeschool co-op. He got a day home alone which, despite his misery, was good. He really needed just that.

At co-op some families couldn't make it due to the holiday or illness and some had to leave early. On this gloomy Friday, it all seemed to work out just as it needed to. We got to clean up early and take some of the stress off o the Epoch staff who were preparing for a major performance this evening. It was good to go with the flow and what felt right or was needed.

At worship this evening, we were an acolyte short due to Zachary's continued headache, but Haley did an amazing job on her own. 

Good Friday worship was just what I needed tonight, but it's good to be home after a long day. The good man that my husband is, he made me food and brought me steaming frankincense-oiled water in which to soak my aching feet.

Today, I am gra…


Today didn't start as planned. 

I had trouble waking up. With everything I had to do, my warm, comfy bed seemed preferable to my to do list. Dragging myself out of bed, I thanked God for the day, as I tend to do every morning.

Then the call came. Two words pierced the blurry drudgery of the morning and completely changed things - heart attack. My brother-in-law, my sister's husband, had a heart attack. He's only a few years older than me. Thankfully, he was able to get medical attention quickly, and was in the ICU after having a stent put in when I got the call.

Suddenly the day came into sharp focus. Today. Maundy Thursday. The day when Jesus gathered the chosen few for a Last Supper.

At noon worship, our Pastor's sermon hit hard as he emphasized life's uncertainty and death's unpredictability. This could be the last Meal for any of us. Car accidents, terror attacks, or heart attacks don't tend to announce their impending arrival. 

I spent the day taking lots o…


Today was one of those days where I did a million things and nothing all at once. 

I sort of meandered through the day. I...

...listened to good music.
...took a nap.
...made a huge crockpot of chili.
...tried to decipher what teen boys were talking about to no avail.
...washed dishes.
...sorted and packaged a $600+ Frontier order and put my items away.
...prepped propetts for my Blacklight Puppetry class.
...attempted to clean up the kitchen a bit.
...answered two breastfeeding support calls.
...sent emails.
...caught up a bit with vlogs and blogs I used to frequent.
...caught up on some things I needed to do for homeschool co-op and TNSS.
...chatted on the phone with a friend.
...answered lots of questions from curious children, including a discussion about kiwis (the birds, not the fruit or the people from NZ).
...took a shower.
...forgot to shave my legs. 
...packed the snack bag for homeschool co-op. my stuff together to share during Show and Tell class at co-op.
...started organizing stuff f…

Blank Space

Blank space. My husband might joke that that's what I have between my ears half of the time. He would be correct, but that's beside the point.
Blank space. I love it. There are so many possibilities in blank space. 
My screen starts off blank. Then, hopefully, words that swirl in my brain are translated through my fingers and fill up the space. 
Canvases, puppet faces, articles of clothing, even pieces of furniture provide blank space for creativity to abound. It doesn't matter if the results are good or not so good, it's the process I love.
Blank spaces on my calendar are perhaps my favorite. Tomorrow has a fairly large one. I need to run an errand or two in the morning, perhaps do some cleaning and some homeschool co-op prep, but for the most part, I have no plans. I can paint my day however I choose.
Today, I am thankful for scheduling mistakes that free up my week a bit; for the possibilities tomorrow holds; for the amazing children who have put lots of work into the In…


Some days you just need to try on a bunch of dresses.

Well, I don't need to, but apparently Alia needs to. Seven, to be exact.

Before an afternoon medical appointment, the girls and I went thrift shopping for Easter dresses. Why? Because every once in a while when your girls say they NEED dresses, you say ok and spend a whopping $15 at the thrift store for two dresses. What they didn't tell me was that once they had dresses, they would need shoes to go with them. For another $6 or so, I said ok to those, too.

Haley looked much too grown up in the dress she chose. She's an inch taller than me now, and looking older than her almost fourteen years. Add in the new interest in makeup, and, I have to admit, she's looking so grown up it kind of makes me want to cry.

Of the seven dresses Alia tried on, she loved seven of them. She tried to talk me into buying at least three of them. I remained firm at one. The one she chose was the one that suited her, not the Easter season, best,…


I crashed. Hard.

Upon returning from Palm Sunday worship, and the pancake breakfast that preceded it, my body just quit. I could not keep my eyes open. I could not wake myself up fully when my husband got home from work or when my children had questions. I'd fall back to sleep immediately. 

This isn't uncommon for someone dealing with my health issues, but it's happened with such frequency lately that I now get to play the game of Which Autoimmune Illness Is It?

That will have to wait, though, as I track possible other symptoms and wend my way through Holy Week. For now, I'll make sure to take my supplements and medications, balance activity with rest, and concentrate on what's really important.

Today, I am grateful for illness that allows me concentrate on priorities and that teaches me valuable life lessons; children who volunteer to read parts for The Passion and do a great job doing so; for Zachary, who made gluten-free pancakes yesterday for his gf siblings to enj…


Almond cake and coffee...a wonderful break before entering the labyrinth that is Ikea. Even better than the cake was the conversation with Renee. It had been too long since we just sat and talked, nevermind since we went out somewhere together. 

It felt good being out at night, without children, with my best friend. We nearly closed down the place, leaving at 8:30PM. Quite remarkable for someone who only stays out past 8pm on Tuesdays, and that's for church choir! I don't think I've even come close to closing down any place other than the thrift store since having children.

I found what I was looking for at Ikea, and a few other items, as always happens. I also found just what I needed - time with my friend to talk and to listen, to find perspective and understanding, and to laugh at what life has been throwing at both of us. 

Today, I'm grateful for friends who don't mind combining errands with spending time together; gluten-free goodies; good conversation; catching …

First Day

She painted his nails. Thus began our first day of Epoch Arts Homeschool Co-op Spring Semester.

Twenty-three families, forty-eight students, are enrolled in co-op this semester, taking classes such as Hootenanny, Crazy 8's Math, Little Chefs, History of the World, World of Weaponry, Blacklight Puppetry, Kids Yoga, Original Teen Theater, Tricks and Tails Dog Training, Flight 101 and Seeds and Sprouts Food Gardening. 

We have adult helpers in most classes, as our co-operative is all about working together. One class, however, has a teen helper - my 15 year old son. The teacher, his thirteen year old friend and teacher of Nail Art, talked him into being the class helper. Most likely this is because he has beautiful nails, and maybe because she wants to torture him just a bit. What I love is that he went along with this and even kept his nails painted all day. He got compliments from teachers and students alike. Epoch Arts is just that kind of place. (Yes, those are his real nails in th…


It was a long night last night. It started with a thunderstorm and two children who were scared and couldn't sleep. Then, my brain wouldn't shut off. Pain and OCD-induced insomnia took over until sometime around 4AM. 

Sleeping later than I planned really threw me off. I got things done, and all of a sudden it was time for dinner, and then time for bed. Where did the time go?  It just slipped through my fingers. 

I felt like I accomplished nothing all day, until I went over in my mind all I'd done. I got up, printed stuff for homeschool co-op, put corned beef in crockpot, and then Haley and I went to the Dollar Tree, Savers, Kohls, and Costco. We came home, put stuff away, heated up curry for lunch, and, while eating, I got the last of the administrative preparations done for homeschool co-op. I started cleaning up the living room and in the process came across things designated for the theme basket I was putting together for the upcoming LLL Conference, so I put that togethe…

Friends and Freedom

I love days like today - getting out of the routine, out of the house, and taking time to enjoy the people in my life.

I love it that my homeschooling family has the time to meet up with friends and go to the movies at 10:30AM on a Wednesday - and have the theater to ourselves. I love it that my teen has the freedom to spend four parent-free hours with a friend on a gorgeous day, walking around town, window shopping, talking, and going out to lunch together.  I feel blessed that we've chosen this path for our family, providing opportunities to connect with friends and spend quality time just being. 

Today, I am grateful for friends; for unschooling; for movies that five children and two parents can agree on; for movie theater popcorn; for freedoms our lifestyle affords us; for awesome teens; and for parking lot chats.


I've spent a lot of time this week making preparations...for St. Paul Puppet Academy; for Epoch Arts Homeschool Co-op; for Tuesday Night Sunday School; for the Our Savior Lutheran Church Interpretive Movement Ministry (that needs a shorter name), for singing with the church choir during Holy Week. With all of this going on, I might have forgot about Lent, if it hadn't been for this daily Lenten discipline of gratitude.
But then there was Tuesday Night Sunday School tonight, when I found myself completely centered in Lent, looking forward to Holy Week. For that forty-five minutes, gone were the to-do lists, the I need to's and the I can't forgets. Instead, there was the journey, the Word, the reminder of the darkness from which we've come and the Light that is to come. 
Today, I'm grateful for the calm among the calamity; for the ministry and congregation of Tuesday Night Sunday School; for Words and songs that center me in the Season. and for opportunities to ge…


Children and puppets, they just make a great match. I'm not sure I've encountered a child who hasn't shown interest in playing with a puppet. 
But at St. Paul Puppet Academy, we don't just play - we get serious about our puppetry. We're serious about this ministry being about the children, about having fun, and about creativity. 
Tonight, interested families gathered to learn more about SPPA, about puppetry, and about the four crazy people who are putting this ministry together. They made newspaper puppets and learned the difference between telling a story and showing a story. They learned about how we make puppets work, and what it takes to be a puppeteer. After being an amazing audience for a puppetry skit we put on for them, the children go to explore some of the puppets and were encouraged to come up with personalities for each one they tried. 
The enthusiasm displayed by the children, I expected. How exponentially my enthusiasm for this ministry grew as the night…


I can't stop. It's interfering with me getting things done around the house, for homeschool co-op, and for other endeavors, but I just can't stop. It seems I'm addicted.

It started this past Summer when, in just one week, I devoured two books. I was at Camp Calumet and had time to relax and read, which was heavenly. Since then, I've been reading here and there, whenever I can fit five or ten minutes in. Then I picked up Joy Comes In the Morning by Jonathan Rosen. I could barely put it down. And now that I'm done with that, I've moved on to Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult. Again, I find myself curling up to read instead of folding towels. 

I absolutely love reading, but my problem with it is that I just don't want to stop. I stay up too late reading, or give myself five minutes and it turns into fifteen, and then I allow myself just five more minutes and soon it's fifty. 

It could be worse, I suppose. I could complete That Level Again and That Level Agai…

Last Minute

We almost missed it.
A few days ago, Alia and Coren decided to play a game of chess. The next day, they asked me when the Scholastic Chess Tournament was. I checked my calendar - nothing. I looked it up online - it was two days away!  Somehow I totally forgot about it. They practiced with each other.that afternoon. They practiced with Daddy the next morning. And then they went to the tournament to play against their peers. 
Out of three games, Alia won one and Coren won one and a half. They both got medals for participating. They both had fun, which is the most important part. 
I love it that Coren and Alia didn't even give a second through as to whether or not they should go to the tournament, since they hadn't played chess for a while and hadn't practiced much. They played for fun, as well as experience. Winning was a bonus, not the focus. 
While they were at the Chess Tournament with Daddy, the teen boys hung out at home and no doubt spent too much time playing on computers…

Amazing Adventures

Sometimes you just need to have a Girls Day Out.

We - my Mom, Haley, Alia and I - started out with lunch at P.F. Chang's and then successfully navigated to the Connecticut Science Center, where Alia succeeded in expending approximately 87.429 percent more energy than the other three of us combined, and in the process wore every one of us out. From there, we rather circuitously made our way to Dee's One Smart Cookie gluten free bakery for a snack before heading home. It was quite the busy day.

Something amazing happened today. We got a very nice handicapped parking space in the parking garage, right near the elevator. That we parked in the wrong parking garage- a convention center and hotel away from the Science Center - was beside the point. But that's not what was amazing. What was amazing was that I walked all the way to the Science Center, and around all million floors (ok, there are four or five, I think), and back to the car on my own to feet. No crutches, no canes. And…


Listening to Addams Family Musical on our way home from our La Leche League meeting this morning, it began to rain. Alia commented how we could really use the rain, and that it was good that it was raining. I agreed. Windows down, I didn't mind at all that a few drops here and there landed on my arm or hand. 
I've loved watching rain on windows since I was little. I remember riding in the back seat of the car, mesmerized by raindrops racing each other along the window or standing outside under an umbrella watching the splashes of individual raindrops in puddles. I have to admit, I got a bit distracted by the raindrops on the windshield of my van while at a stoplight today. It took a few seconds to come to the realization that the light turned green. 
Today, I am thankful for nourishing rain; for children who like to play in the rain; for another day of open windows; for a wonderful talk with a friend; for a comfy bed in which to rest my pounding head; and for children who deligh…


On the hottest day of the year (so far) - 80 degrees Fahrenheit on March 9th - I promised Alia I'd cook her favorite pasta dish. She'd spent a good part of the day playing outside in the beautiful weather, and was really looking forward to it. Although tired and hot,  I didn't have the heart to put it off until another day. I'm glad I did - it made not just one, but three children happy and tasted incredibly good. 

Having fallen asleep sometime after 5AM, and sleeping on and off in until 10AM, migraine from the day before still pounding, my day was not as productive as I'd hoped. However, I got to listen to children's joyful shrieks waft through open windows while I filled out forms, answered emails, put together a volunteer schedule and researched a half dozen random things. Inspired by the warm temperature and fresh air, I even got a little cleaning and organizing done.

Today, I am grateful for good food; open windows; children's laughter; warm breezes; imp…


Today has been long and strange.

Waking with a pounding migraine, things did not bode well for my day. Upon waking, I jumped right into sorting out registrations and class helpers for Epoch Arts Homeschool Co-op. Then I did quick research on laptops after my husband's father asked if he could buy us one from the store he works for. Before too long, I was off to the dentist with two children. Once there, I made up a grocery list, answered emails, talked on the phone with a friend, and did a bit of online research. Then it was off to Aldi, and back home again to put groceries away and eat something. It was back to emails, and then I accidentally took a twenty minute nap. Texts, more emails, messages, and more sorting out of registrations and volunteers filled my afternoon. 

Just as we were getting ready to leave for Tuesday Night Sunday School, Alia accidentally shut Coren's fingers in the van door. First aid applied, we were off to TNSS. My head still pounding, I probably should …


Today I spent a lot longer than I thought I was going to registering five children - ALL FIVE CHILDREN - for Resident Camp at Camp Calumet in Freedom, NH. After paying the deposits, I nearly had a panic attack. That's a lot of money, and even more still that we need to come up with in order to pay the balance. I have faith that we'll manage it somehow. It is more than worth it!

Then I moved on to reviewing rosters from Epoch Arts Homeschool Co-op's Spring Session registration and putting together schedules and payment information for all twenty-two families (47 students) currently signed up for classes. 

Honestly, it was all a lot of work ... work done with more than a little frustration at times, but also with great joy. Joy because the first registration process was so that my children can go to an amazing place where they will be safe and loved, as well as have a great time and be inspired. And the second was for our wonderful co-op community and all the members, young an…


Planning, planning, and more planning.
A dozen women gathered to finish up and confirm the myriad details that go into running the La Leche League of CT Healthcare Provider Seminar, Mini-Conference, and Leader Education Workshop. From facility details to publicity to silent auction and theme baskets to registration, we went over every aspect of two days of learning experiences, making sure we had everything covered. Only a few weeks away, there's still a lot to do. These women amaze and inspire me with all they do to make it a wonderful experience for attendees.
I attended my first LLL meeting when Alex, my oldest, was just a few weeks old. I attended my first Conference Planning meeting more years ago than I can remember. I always leave the HPS and Conference inspired in my work with breastfeeding women. 
Today, I am thankful for LLL of CT; for the Conference Planning Team; for opportunities to put my time and talents to good use; for generous companies, places, and individuals who …


I started today dragging. I had a decent night's sleep, but still lacked energy. A nice drive, a smoothie, and some good music later, and my energy levels were up and I was ready for the day.

Picking up Haley from a sleepover, my friend Alicia and I were chatting about the concept of doing things we loved and that left us with good energy versus doing things out of obligation or because we felt we should, but that left us drained afterwards. One thing living with chronic illness has taught me is to weed out things that drain my energy in a bad way, and gravitate toward things that, although they may leave me physically tired, feed my soul.

Then I walked into our friends the Myjak's house. There was laughter as I returned their daughter's sock, which ended up with Alia's clothes from the Thurday night sleepover, and collected the items Alia left behind, which included a pug shirt, a giraffe, and a snake shed. The energy in that household is one of love, acceptance, and fa…


It was a mad tea party; heads flew; battles were waged; parts of speech went to court; singers took the mic; and it all ended with the magic of giving. 

Epoch Arts Homeschool Co-op Winter Share Day was simply amazing, marvelous, brilliant, entertaining....I think Adjective is wearing off on me.

For eight weeks, students took classes such as Grammarland Theater (a play with the parts of speech as characters), Adventures Through Theater (original skit written by the 17 year old teacher and performed by children ages 10-17, in photo above), World of Weaponry (history and crafting of weapons from a plastic spoon catapult to pool noodle swords), Write and Draw Your Own Comics, Blacklight Puppetry (we crafted wearable, person size puppets), Cooking (they made cupcakes to share at Share!), Voice, Life Skills, Tinker and Take Apart, Magic, Eclectic Projects, and so much more. Today was their day to share what they had learned.

The Voice Class students performed songs, Grammarland performed their…


I went to church tonight. No surprise there, except it wasn't my church. 

I arrived to a message on my phone that indicated that the lights and heat were on and to come right in. How nice of a greeting, before I even got out of my van! Upon entering, I was blessed with the sight of two amazing women, both of whom, I have a feeling, take on way too much. Not that I can say that I don't have a lot on my plate as well...

We talked puppets and ministry and tough questions and ball pits. We did some planning, too, which was why we were there, really. 

Myriad ideas danced in my head as I left the building. What a wonderful hour or so, sharing ideas, making plans, and beginning something that will hopefully some day bear beautiful, faithful, creative fruit!

Today, I'm grateful for SPPA days, for a new beginning in the form of St. Paul Puppet Academy, for children who make dinner; for friends who host sleepovers, for a wonderful woman who plows through too many emails to help sort out…


It's the day after tomorrow and I feel like I have so much to do to prepare!

After attaching the arm sleeves this evening, the puppets are almost ready, just a couple leg straps each to go. Three puppets need straps and I somehow only have enough clasps for two. The rest of my crafting will have to wait until tomorrow.

I love these creations and the children who created them. My Blacklight Puppetry class went better than I ever could have dreamed, thanks to my students and co-teacher. 

My students inspire me every day with their fearless creativity. I teach them how to put the "bones" together and they take off from there, I can barely wait to see their performance on Friday at Epoch Arts Homeschool Co-op Share Day! 
Today, I am grateful for the ability to put my creative talents to good use; for students who teach me perhaps more than I teach them; for St. Paul Lutheran Church's Puppet Ministry,which provided the initial inspiration for the class; and for hot glue guns.…



That's how much Alia's one prescription for ten days worth of ear drops for her horribly infected, ruptured, and blistered eardrum. Thankfully, it's covered by insurance.

Our medical expenses are through the roof, mostly because of my multiple autoimmune issues. I thank God daily for the medications that allow me to walk mostly unassisted and the doctors who give me the best of care...and for the health insurance, without which I'd be bedridden. 

The reality is that my yearly medical expenses total over $100,000 a year. My yearly medical expenses are more than my house is worth. And that's just medications covered by insurance. That doesn't include everything I have to buy on my own... compression gloves, supplements, thumb splints, my TENS unit, electrodes, heating pads, and more ...  as well as the added expense of buying gluten-free versions of foods like bread, pasta, etc. Oh, and then there's the gas used to get to and from appointments with my va…