Mercury is in retrograde for the last time this year. Thank God.

Many posts on this site have been written during Mercury in Retrograde, or MiR, as they call it. It’s some non-scientific fluff that I like to follow and assign meaning to, because somehow it makes sense to me.

This MiR cycle lasts until November 20th. There is a great deal of inner turmoil (more than the usual amount) and resistance to change brewing in me at the moment. There is overwhelm about tasks and financial worries. There is feeling the need to plan ahead for next school year and possible sending Anna back to school.

MiR is not a good time to make commitments, but rather, a good time to explore options to be solidified later (or not). During MiR we lack the clarity and intuition that we might normally have to make good decisions or appreciate the life we have.

Nervous anxiety is pumping through my body at the moment, which is what brought me here. Seeking to escape the discomfort of the anxiety, I’ve been running around aimlessly tonight, jumping from one thing to the next, mostly online.

My new job has been stressful and overwhelming so far. I’ve loved the therapy aspect of it, but disliked strongly everything else–the management (very Big Brother-like), dealing with rules and regulations, the billing and paperwork, and the insurance hassles. I’m still doing a portion of my old job on top of the new one, so at least there’s some sense of normalcy. It’s overwhelming to even explain why the job has been overwhelming.

I cannot wait until I am fully licensed (hopefully one year from now) and am seriously thinking about doing a cash-only practice as soon as possible. Because I can’t stand billing, crappy computer networks and software, insurance, and rules in general. I want to do my own thing. I want to get paid for it a reasonable hourly rate that I choose. I want to live by my own rules and be my own boss. I just have absolutely no idea how to do that.

In the meantime, let’s talk about the good stuff. Mia and Anna have been happy with homeschooling, even though there has been some lack of direction and structure. They are happy and healthy, laughing a lot and getting along quite well these days. Mia had a paid music gig which was a joy to be a part of. In addition, she continues work on recording an album. Anna quit ballet for reasons too exhausting to write about. Let’s just say we’re all happier now, but she still wants to dance ballet…and we just don’t know where. There has been lots of music in the house lately, which has been lovely. Halloween came and went, too, and that was fun as always. Alan is good. He was Bob Ross for Halloween but unfortunately his photo will not upload.

Here are a few photos of everything else.

Thanks for reading! Until next time…

Birthdays!

Pisces birthday month is in full swing! Anna turned ten on the 14th and Alan turns 41 today. Happy birthday to Allison and Ocean and all the other March birthdays out there, too.

We’re in the middle of a Mercury retrograde period in Pisces, which has made for some emotionally draining events for some of us. But in the midst of that, there has been loveliness, too.

We revealed to Anna her birthday surprise: a ballet studio in the downstairs spare bedroom. Alan worked very hard on making it happen, and it looks so great. We received help from our families to pull it together, and we are grateful for that. Alan had a challenging month at work on top of being sick and rushing to get the room finished in time for Anna’s birthday. He did it all with the easygoing attitude and loving nature that he always has.

Anna has been exploring spirituality and healing. She is interested in learning “space clearing”, so for her birthday, we gave her an old cigar box filled with space cleaning items like essential oils, incense, lemon grass, and smudge sticks. She was very happy about it and we fully expect to have our home cleared of negative energies on a regular basis ūüėČ

Love to all and thanks for reading.

xo

Happy 10th birthday, Anna!
Anna’s ballet studio
Anna opening her “space clearing kit” that she received for her birthday. Shelly was very interested in it, too!
And an extra bonus: a lost tooth! The tooth fairy paid a visit on Anna’s birthday. What a day!
Alan enjoying a little book that Mia and Anna made for him.
It’s a little “fill-in-the-blank” book about daddy.
Candles need a little help to stand upright in a banana cream pie.

November

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.

 

Finger knitting

Today, Anna learned finger knitting. ¬†After watching a video about it, she finger knitted on her own for 2 hours while I slept. ¬†The end product is a long scarf/ rope/ belt thing that she is very proud of. ¬†Next, she will create a beanie cap, also with finger knitting. Anna seems to be good with her hands and seems to learn detailed processes quickly. ¬†She is a joy to be with–a sweet and sensitive soul.

Another week of homeschool is under our belts. ¬†This week was less productive than previous weeks. ¬†Mia did not finish her work, but that is ok. ¬†She can catch up next week. Our rhythm seems to be moving toward child-led and very relaxed. ¬†I’m remembering how much there is to learn in normal life activities and that we learn best when we are interested and curious.

We are a month into the school year, and no one in the house has been sick! This is practically a miracle. The lowered stress level, increased sleep and decreased exposure to germs at school undoubtedly have kept us healthy so far.

This weekend, Mia starts her acting class and then has a sleepover birthday party with her best friends from her old school.  The rest of us will be homebodies as we usually are.

I am struggling a bit with my mental health today. ¬†Seasonal changes are always difficult for me. I go through periods of depression at various times in the year, often aligning with changes in season. ¬†I’m also dealing with breast pain and PMS this week, which have worsened this month (probably due to my poor diet). ¬†My grandmother’s funeral is tomorrow in Finland. ¬†She was the last grandparent between Alan and me. ¬†I am thinking a lot about my family overseas and wishing I could be there with them.

Once again, I’m reminded that I need to take a step back and care for myself a little better. ¬†Things are best when I take time away from the work of motherhood and the work of being a therapist.

Stillness, sleep, and homeschooling

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.

Homeschooling has begun!

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.

20180827_093743

20180827_113747

 

 

“No, thank you.”

In recent years I’ve slowly learned to say “no, thank you” to entities and activities that I truly did not want to partake in, and am now able to do so without guilt…most of the time. ¬†I still tend to give in sometimes, but it is a little less the norm than it used to be.

This summer, I am saying “no, thank you” to all of the enticing camps and activities I could enroll my children in. ¬†I am saying “yes, please” to family time, building a play house out of pallets, tending the garden, camping, and cabin time. ¬†A few guitar, singing, and/or swimming lessons may make their way in, too. ¬†For the most part, though, it will be a summer of down-time.

I will work my regular shifts and maybe pick up some extra when I can, and Alan will enjoy what may be his last summer off. ¬†If or when he starts a job as a school administrator, he may work year-round. ¬†It will be hard to say goodbye to these glorious summers off, and because of this, I don’t think I would mind if he kept his current job forever. ¬†Teacher’s schedules are awesome.

 

Today was an awesome day. Yesterday was pretty great, too.

Today was an awesome day.  Yesterday was pretty great, too.

Though I am still stewing a bit over my getting fired because of being insulted by an insult, I am working hard to move past it and embrace all that is good in my life (and there is so much to embrace).  Sometimes I just need a little reminder.

Watching documentaries about real people in difficult situations is always helpful when I’m feeling sorry for myself.¬† My current personal favorite is the show “30 Days“, which we’ve been watching on Netflix.¬† Watching the episode about life in Navajo Nation got me back into gear pretty quickly.¬† We live like royalty compared to most people in the world.

Because I want to remember the past two very awesome days, I will record them here so I won’t forget.¬† We have good days and bad days, and in looking back, it seems that the good days outnumber the bad.¬† I am grateful for that.

Yesterday morning we had breakfast at the Seward Cafe, one of our favorite crunchy joints in town.¬† Even though it’s not the cleanest or neatest venue, we feel right at home there–amongst dreadlocks, B.O., and organic, home-cooked food.

After stopping at the neighborhood playground where we get to experience being minorities in a Somali community for a while (a very good thing), we headed down the block to shop at the co-op, which turned out to be the highlight of our day.¬† Not because the co-op is awesome (which it is), but because a special performer was playing in the cafe that morning: a virtuoso of Spanish guitar.¬† Coincidentally, this has been Mia’s favorite instrument as of late and she’s been asking to learn it.

Said Mia of the music: “This makes me feel so ALIVE!”¬† She watched and listened intently in the cafe while I roamed the store and filled the cart.

Because I am too shy to approach people, I asked Alan to chat with the musician and figure him out.¬† I could tell he was someone special–something about him and the way he played was extraordinary.

Turns out, he has a studio and teaches kids as young as 2. Turns out, Mia wants to have lessons with him.

Turns out, he is extraordinary, too.¬† Said he of Mia: “I knew right when she walked in that she’s got it.¬† The way she watches and listens and follows along, she’s got it.¬† Is she creative?”¬† Alan: “Yes.” Him: “Of course.”

That touched me deeply.¬† Here is someone who sees the light in Mia that I have always seen–and a stranger, even.¬† Someone who doesn’t need to ask her questions about what grade she’s in, if she likes being a big sister, if she likes her long hair–and then be put off and uncomfortable with her shyness and lack of interest in talking about nothingness.¬† Here is someone who “gets” her without exchanging a word.¬† That is simply extraordinary.

The best thing about homeschooling is that we can choose our people.¬† We can choose who teaches, influences, and guides us.¬† We’re inevitably taught, influenced, and guided by all the people we meet, the places we see, the experiences we dive into.¬† But there is a magic in finding that divine match: the person who appreciates and understands and respects our own path.

Tonight, Mia auditioned for a choir she’s been determined to join.¬† At first I was hesitant because it’s more of a time and financial commitment than we’ve ever taken on.¬† I tried my hand at compromising with her.¬† Would she join the home-schooler’s choir? No.¬† Would she take singing lessons? No.¬† She knew confidently and with complete certainty that this was the choir she had to be a part of.¬† So I went with her gut; I trusted her.¬† This is, after all, her path.

She walked confidently into the audition room and asked us to wait outside.¬† We did.¬† She and the choir director came out shortly thereafter and Mia was immediately asked to join the choir.¬† Rarely, said the director, can a child her age sing the way she can.¬† Again, someone who saw that light in Mia.¬† It was a spectacular feeling, and I was certain that we’d made the right choice.¬† Mia knows best. I learned that again today.

The choir performs several times a year.  They have made CD recordings and had performances on public radio.  The directors are a part of a professional vocal ensemble that is known nationwide, and they are incredible.  I think this is going to be a life-altering experience for Mia.  I am humbled and honored to be a part of it.

There is a magic in living the life you want to live, no matter what your age; there is a magic in doing what makes you feel alive.

 

two-surprise tuesday

Our newest tradition: Two-Surprise Tuesday!

Both surprises welcomed Mia when she awoke this morning.

I love the idea of starting the day with wet-on-wet watercolor painting, as is done in Waldorf classrooms.  This is something I would love to do every day, but with the hoopla of getting everyone dressed and fed in the morning (and undressed and tucked into bed the night before), that might be a stretch.

However, there is a special treat I don’t have to stretch for: having hot porridge in the crock pot, prepared the night before and ready to eat in the morning.¬† With a dollop of butter, a little cream, a swirl of maple syrup, we have a simple, wholesome breakfast that almost made itself!

But of course, as much as I enjoyed these little treats on Two-Surprise Tuesday, this  was not about me.  It was about Mia.  It was about making her feel special, adding to her memory-bank, and welcoming a new tradition to our weekday lives.

She loved it.

For more information on Stockmar paints and wet-on-wet watercolor supplies, visit:

http://www.novanatural.com/creativity/wet-on-wet/stockmar-watercolor-paints

For more information about Waldorf education, visit:

http://www.whywaldorfworks.org/02_W_Education/index.asp