November is almost done and here are some things I’d like to remember:
Both girls are playing guitar and enjoying their lessons with their teacher, Will King, who has been teaching Mia since she was eight years old and is truly the best teacher we we could ask for. Mia has been playing piano and writing songs with piano accompaniment. She fills the house with her beautiful music.
Mia finished her fall term of Acting I at the Children’s Theatre Company (she loved it!) and Anna took (and loved!) ballet and modern dance at her new ballet company. Saturday mornings during Mia’s acting class, Alan and I had special date time with Anna. We usually ended up going to the Wedge for groceries or the Wedge table to hang out with a chai and a treat. Anna dances ballet beautifully and with ease. It is a joy to watch her.
Alan went hunting two weekends this month with his brother at their family cabin. Luckily he did not kill anything but he did have a nice time out in the woods. On one of those weekends, my two sisters came over for a night of karaoke and other fun things (adult-sized sleeper pajamas included). Over another weekend, I attended a silent retreat–the same that I attended last year. It was restorative and gave me some space to process some inner turmoil I’ve been carrying around for a while.
I added more clients to my caseload to increase my income and this has me working 3 solid days per week. Though I was skeptical about how this would work, Mia and Anna have been very happy with their lack of supervision.
Both sets of grandparents are enjoying visiting Mia and Anna when Alan and I are at work, and this has become a special bonding time for all of them. It’s incredibly wonderful to witness the relationships between all of them. We are so grateful.
We’re working on finding a recording studio for Mia to record an album of her songs and hope to start this in the new year. We’re super excited about this.
We celebrated Thanksgiving with my family this year in my hometown. It was extra special because of my dad’s journey this past year. We are thankful for each day we have my special dad in this world–and of course, thankful for all of our family and friends, too.
Winter at St. John’s University
Me at silent retreat
Mia on the piano
Almost two weeks of homeschool are under our belts. Mia, Anna and I are happy and content with how it has gone so far.
Mia says her favorite aspects of homeschooling so far have been the freedom, nature walks, and the sleep (she has slept roughly 12 hours per night, sometimes waking up at noon). Anna says her favorite things have been time with mommy, outside time, and her fairy project that we’re working on this week.
We start each day with reading poetry from The Waldorf Book of Poetry. Sometimes I read it, sometimes the girls read it, and sometimes we create artwork in response to it. We light a candle when we start our work and keep it going until we’re done. At least, this is what I’ve been trying to do. We’ll see how many candles we go through.
Anna will work through Jacob Streit’s book, And There Was Light, learning the creation story in the Old Testament and creating art in response to it. I read one chapter to her at a time. This story is an important part of the Waldorf curriculum in the 9th year. It is a beautiful story. I am hoping to get through it by the time Anna turns ten in March.
Mia is enjoying her English curriculum from Oak Meadow, and I am enjoying it along with her! Today she read a poem, The Buddha’s Last Instruction, by Mary Oliver in her book, House of Light. The poem is beautiful and so is the curriculum. The curriculum encourages deep thinking and creative expression. I am very happy with it.
My favorite aspect about our new homeschooling experience is stillness. We have long periods of silence. It is peaceful and restorative. This is something I don’t know if we’ve ever experienced in a school setting.
My least favorite aspect of this new adventure is that I am working two days per week and one additional afternoon per week. I would like to be home 5 days a week homeschooling and taking care of the home. I love it so very much. And, I also do love my work with clients outside of the home. Life balance is key, now more than ever.
Today was our official first day of 4th and 9th grades! It was wonderful, delightful, and warmed my heart in a way I haven’t felt in a long time. I can hardly express how much I love these girls and love this new adventure we’re on together. There will probably be bumps in the road and hard days ahead, but not today. Today was a great day.
We’re “winging it” a bit with this homeschooling plan. Mia has more structure, but Anna, not so much. There are a bunch of loose ideas in my head that I hope to intuitively navigate and pull together in a cohesive way (which magically happened today). The most important thing is that the atmosphere is loving and relaxed. Everything else is a distant second.
This morning we visited a local nursing home where Mia played guitar and sang some old folk and country songs for the residents. Anna sang “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” while playing her eukelele. It was lovely. Mia and Anna genuinely enjoyed it and love the company of the elderly. Our hope is that visiting the nursing home will become a regular part of our routine from now on.
After that, we had lunch and did some school work. We tried to do a guided meditation that I like, but we all ended up laughing so much that we had to give it up. While I worked with Anna, Mia worked on her online classes on Khan Academy and on her English curriculum from Oak Meadow. Together we wrote in journals, read aloud, drew, observed animals outside and walked around the lake when we’d all had enough school for the day.
Here are a couple photos from our special day.
Today is the day! I am forty.
I started celebrating yesterday with my friend, Allison, who treated me to lunch at Common Roots in Minneapolis. It was lovely.
Today, I am simply grateful and happy to be alive. After what seemed like months of processing and preparing for this day, now that I’m here, I feel blessed and fortunate. I have received the gift of living 40 years. I hope for at least another forty, although I know it’s out of my hands how long I am here!
This morning I woke up to Alan delivering breakfast in bed, along with the Sunday paper–which I read in bed for over an hour while enjoying my delicious birthday meal.
I spent the rest of the day sitting by the bonfire, going shopping at Goodwill and Half Price Books, and cleaning out our “office”, which will soon be our homeschooling space.To finish off the day, we shared a delicious dinner that Alan made.
I feel so very loved.
I’ve been looking through this blog and am feeling very grateful for it. And to think that I nearly deleted it at one point! Through this blog, I have somewhat kept track of things over the years. While I am embarrassed by how revealing I’ve been at times and how much I’ve had to say, it also makes me feel humble and human and compassionate.
Our cat, Phoebe, was hit by a car just before Halloween. It was shocking and traumatic and I’m still working on getting over it. Having lost our old cat Jezebel just one year before, it was almost unreal to go through that kind of loss again. Within 48 hours of having lost Phoebe, we adopted a new cat and eventually named her Shelly, which was the name chosen by one of Mia’s best friends, Gabi. Shelly came from a farm in Lonsdale, Minnesota and she has had a litter of kittens and is possibly pregnant now. She fills that void in my heart that only a cat can fill.
Here she is:
Around the same time that Phoebe died, I received a letter informing me that I’d passed the national licensing exam for marriage and family therapy. This was a very exciting thing. This means I am now have the title of LAMFT. After 4000 hours of working with a licensed supervisor, I can take the oral ethics exam and earn independent licensure (LMFT) as a marriage and family therapist. At the rate I’m going, this will take me about three to four years to achieve.
The job I have now is a very good fit for me and our family. I am in charge of my own schedule. The hours are flexible and I can take as many clients as I want, provided that I meet the minimum requirements. I work independently most of the time and spend a lot of time driving around. I see lots of different towns and go into people’s homes. I find it interesting and inspiring, and I am really grateful for it. I love working with people in this way, and am grateful I followed my heart those years ago when I started down this path.
We had our family photos taken this week with a Groupon for JC Penney. As usual, the photo session there was rushed and awkward and most of the photos turned out terribly. But we did manage to get a few good ones, and here is one of Alan and me that I love:
This is my last year of being in my thirties. I think I’ve officially hit my “midlife crisis” phase of life. This picture helped me feel a little better about myself because it turned out nicely and magically hides the things I don’t like about my appearance these days. I always wanted to age gracefully and not feel badly about getting older, but now that it is happening to me I am not feeling graceful about it at all. It is very difficult to embrace the changes.
We got a decent family photo to use for Christmas cards, but Mia really doesn’t like it, so I won’t post it. Here is a cute one of our sweet girls:
I guess we’re all growing up. Some of us are just further along than others.
Since I decided to stop writing in this blog in October 2015, my life has been largely undocumented. I’ve taken photos of my children and taken some family photos, saved some mementos, and become increasingly lost in the pleasures of daily life.
But, I realize that in 30 years we might want to remember what was going on in 2015-2017. So here goes, in a nutshell:
- In July 2015, we lost our cat Luna and adopted our dog, Penny. This is the same month I decided I needed to leave the church I was a part of.
- In September 2015, Mia and Anna were in 6th and 1st grades at their old school, respectively. We prepared to sell and sold our old house, bought a new one, and prepared to move. I took a full-time job, was interning and working on my graduate degree. We were stretched thinly. It was a very trying time for all of us.
- In November 2015, I finally mustered the courage to announce to Alan’s family and church friends that I was leaving the church.
- In December 2015, I finished all of my academic and internship requirements for my MA. I had still to write my thesis, which ended up taking 1 1/2 years to complete.
- In April 2016, we left our home of 13 years and moved into our new home. Alan gutted the kitchen and flooring throughout the house, and we lived without a kitchen for a while.
- In September 2016, Mia and Anna began 7th and 2nd grades at their new schools. They were devastated and cried for days. I continued to work at my full time job and going to school and felt increasingly drained and unhappy with our lifestyle. Alan was still working his job as usual. Our kitchen was complete.
- In December 2016, I quit my job, started a new one, and quit it after 12 days. I was unemployed until June 2017 and it was a very memorable time. There was a lot of healing, discovering and self-care that happened during that time.
- In October 2016, we lost our beloved cat, Jezzie, at the age of 19.
- In March 2017, the stars aligned and we found our new cat, Phoebe, who fills the void that Jezzie left in our hearts.
- I completed my Master’s thesis in April 2017 and received my MA the same month. I walked in my graduation ceremony in June 2017–the same month I accepted the job that I have now. I love the job.
- September 2017: Mia and Anna are in 8th and 3rd grades. They both love school. There were no tears this year. We sold our old car and bought a new one. I am studying for the national exam for marriage and family therapy. Alan is content in his job. We appreciate his summers off more than ever. We had the best summer this year that perhaps we’ve ever had–maybe because we finally appreciate what it means to have time off and time together.
- Anna loves ballet and swimming. She would do both all day if it were possible. Mia loves being creative and has a wonderful sense of humor. Mia writes songs, sings, and plays guitar. Anna plays eukelele and sings. We have family karaoke days where we all sing for hours. Mia and Anna are exceptional children: both are extremely kind, generous, and wonderful people. It is an absolute honor to be their mother.
- Alan and I have been married over 17 years now. Wow. I feel increasingly aware and grateful of the incredible gift of finding him, marrying him, and sharing my life with him.
- I took lots of photos and video of the above events and many more events, and I hope someday to get all of these organized.