Alright, I admit it, I am a slacker. My kids go off to school everyday, my husband goes off to work, and here I sit, twiddling my thumbs. So, why, you may ask, has it been almost a month since I have updated you on… well, anything? There really is a logical explanation. You see… ahh… I um… Okay, so maybe there is no good excuse save for my aforementioned statement: I am a slacker.

I assumed that when the kids started school, I would blog everyday simply because I would have nothing else going on. That has not been the case. Then I started the Photo 101 program back in early November thinking that it would get me back into the habit of blogging again, but I was bored after the first week. Then I planned on posting on Thanksgiving, which I never got around to doing. Apparently I was too busy eating pumpkin pie and cheering for the Seahawks. (Who won, by the way, just in case you missed the game…) Then I planned on posting every day in December, which I have already failed at since yesterday was the first, and, obviously, I forgot to post.

The funny thing is that I lay in bed at night and have all these ideas and thoughts running through my head. And I think to myself that first thing in the morning, l will share them. But once morning comes, they are gone. Well, not technically gone I guess, the ideas are still there, I just cannot seem to remember exactly how I wanted to share them. If I were a smart girl, I would either a.) get out of bed and write my ideas down before they get lost in my sleep, or b.) I would simply blog at night, when my mind is most active. The problem with getting up to write down my ideas is that I am already so warm and comfortably snuggled into my bed. And the problem with blogging at night is that once my kids head off to bed, my brain turns to ‘read mode.’ I am very much a night-owl, so I used to be able to do both, but now that I have to get up 5:30am to get my kids off to school, I turn into a pumpkin around 9ish.

Truth is, I am absolutely amazed at just how fast the days go. In theory, I should have time to clean the house, shower, blog, work on a project or two and still have time to spare before the family comes home. But I really don’t. I usually find myself rushing around at the last minute trying to put my stuff away and figure out something to make for dinner. If I am successful, I have my act together before anyone gets home, if I’m not, (which is more often the case) well, I am sure the other four members of the family are wondering the same thing as you: What on earth does she do all day?

Many moons ago, I enjoyed making crafts, but with three kids running around, there was not much free time for such things. Until last summer, it had been years since I had really picked up a project. You see, my very dear friend had a birthday coming up, and it just so happened that we were going to be back in Idaho for the occasion, and I wanted very much to make her something. I did not have time to make a cross-stitch picture, so I decided to learn how to crochet. I was a master at making chains (very, very long chains), but my skills ended there.

So after much snooping, I came upon a pattern for some slippers. Now that I think about it, I am not sure how many people actually want crochet slippers for their birthday, but that is what I made for her. I used all of my very limited skills to put together a pair of slippers that fell off her feet. But I had so much fun making them for her.

If fact, I had so much fun that after I finished her slippers, I made a pair for each of the kids. I even put little pom-pom’s on Catheryn’s to turn them into Tinkerbell slippers. When I ran out of people to make slippers for, I ventured into the world of granny squares. I made what felt like a million and a half squares and then crocheted them together into my very first afghan. Then I found a pattern for a Care Bear and I actually was somewhat successful at making Catheryn a Grumpy Bear for Christmas. Now I am making snowmen, just because they are cute. I have made toy nets and scarves for Care Bears and a snow hat for Nathan’s favorite CowCow. I have learned so many new things in the last few months.

And I have loved every minute of it. I had forgotten how therapeutic making things could be. How good it feels to make something with your own hands. How nice it is to give somebody a gift that you put your heart into. And to think, it all started with a pair of slippers for my favorite curly-haired friend…

Of course when the kids come home and ask what I did all day, I can’t very well tell them that I have been making them gifts for Christmas, so I just smile and say, ‘Ah, not much.’ And then we sit down to the meal that must have taken me all day to prepare…

Resuming an Old Habit

There was a time not too long ago when blogging was such an important part of my day, that my day didn’t feel complete if I didn’t share something. Sometimes it was a story or a memory. Other times it was simply a picture and a quote. Daily life happenings made their way onto the pages of what was slowly becoming the story of our lives. When I began blogging about three years ago, I didn’t exactly know what my purpose was, but as time has passed, I have begun to realize that this is my memory book. Life has a way of passing by so quickly that simple things are often forgotten. A day at the park, goslings in the spring, a road trip that resulted in a flat tire in an isolated ghost town. Being able to read the stories and relive the memories has become very special to me.

I have realized that my purpose in blogging is to give us a way to look back over the years of our lives. Everything from farming, which was a very special time for us, to hitting the road in our RV, which we found incredibly liberating. I want to remember how we felt as we visited new places. I want to look back at the pictures of my children, who are growing up way too quickly. This blog is my way of doing just that.

Unfortunately, as time becomes short, blogging is one thing that gets set aside if needed. That happened last fall, and try as I may, getting back into the habit of regular posts has been more difficult than I would have thought. I write things in my journal almost daily, silly things, random thoughts, stories, but I don’t get around to sharing them. And yesterday, as I was reading through my journal, I realized just how much of our story is now missing from the blog.

It may take me a week or two of sharing whatever I can come up with in order to make blogging a habit once more, but I don’t want anymore of our story missing. As I read back through the pages, I want to know that the story is complete. I want to know that we truly lived.

Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be.  ~Grandma Moses 

2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 6,500 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 11 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

An Unexplained Absence

Hello there, Stranger! Or am I the stranger? I forget. Either way, Hello! I have missed you, though the fault is all mine. My absence was caused solely by the realization that I am not super-woman (who knew, right?), and unfortunately I cannot do everything, though believe me I have tried. My desperate attempts to accomplish more than humanly possible in a day have resulted in my picture under the word insanity in the dictionary. My list of “things to do today” was becoming unbearably long and something had to give. A few somethings actually. And a seemingly normal blog post was my wake-up call.

I have a tendency to leave the computer on during the day, and whenever I manage to find a few minutes, I will sit down and work on a post. A normal post usually takes me about 12.5 sit-down sessions before I manage to get it somewhat done. Some days I cannot even get that far. I can live with that. Most of the time. But on one sunny Saturday afternoon, after 19.28473 failed attempts at blogging, it hit me: I was spending far too much time attempting something. Even when the attempts were (somewhat) successful, they still consumed too much time. Not to mention the days when they were not even close to successful. And while I was spending my time grasping for the impossible, my three kids were here. Right in front of me. Requesting, demanding, my time, as they have the right to do. What I found was that my specialized time with them during our home school lessons was not enough. They wanted my time all of the time.

So I decided to compile a list of my daily goals and expectations. Homeschooling is my top priority, followed closely by sleeping (’cause nobody likes Mama when she’s a bear), regular household chores (you can only fit so many dishes inside an RV), working (have to support the RV lifestyle somehow), and showering (per Rob’s request.) After running out of time day after day after day, I realized that I was spending too much time reading, running and blogging. Three things that are not high on the priority list.

So I had to simplify. The three items at the bottom of the list were on the chopping block.

Running. I walk an average of 10-12 miles a night at work, possibly even more now that we have hit Peak Season, so even though I am not out there running every morning, I am getting more and more fit every night I go to work. I am getting stronger, healthier. I can feel it. When the season is over, I can hit the road again, and I know I will be in the position to do so.

Reading. If only I could make a living reading books… Getting lost in a good story or learning about somebody else’s fascinating life is one of my favorite things to do. Not to mention that reading the classics is helping me to better educate my kids. But finding the time is a little challenging right now, so I read aloud to the kids a lot. I have always read to them, but lately we have been reading some great classics. They loved Summer of the Monkeys and are currently enjoying The Secret Garden. And every now and then, when I can keep my eyes open for just a few more minutes, I sneak in a chapter or two from my own personal book. So even though I am not devouring the books the way I might like, I am still getting in some quality reading time, and I cannot complain about that.

Blogging. This is the big one for me. And the hardest to let go. I compromised with myself and decided just to blog on my days off, about once or twice a week. That way I can stay up after everyone else is in bed (like tonight) and I can let my mind wander at will and not feel guilty about neglecting anyone. During the day I have not been turning the computer on at all, which has helped everyone. I have come to realize that I was depending on it a little too much, and I do not want my kids to think that it is a necessity in life. I think this is why my absence has been so long, I needed to make sure I was taking myself seriously, which I fail to do most of the time.

I have found that if I don’t set out to do more that I possibly can, then I feel better at the end of the day. Trying to accomplish certain things and failing always leaves me feeling defeated, and that wears me down. But being realistic about my goals and expectations, and actually being able to finish everything I start, well, that makes me feel good about myself. It boosts my self-esteem. Makes me feel like a rock-star. All right, perhaps that is pushing it a little bit. (Or a lot.) But I think you know what I mean.

So while I value your amazing companionship, I hope you will understand if I don’t come around every day. At least not for the next month or so. When Peak Season is over and things slow down a little bit then I will be back for our almost-daily visits. Driving you crazy as usual. That is, after all, my specialty. 🙂

Finding the Time

Why is it that when your days are full, the things you don’t have time for are the things you enjoy most?

I was telling Rob that I haven’t taken any pictures since school started. Taking pictures, one of my very favorite things, and I don’t have enough time to squeeze in an hour with the camera. Not to mention it has been a week since I blogged. I thought I might miss a day or two, but not a whole week. *sigh*

I suppose that is just how life works. You have to take care of your obligations first – work, school, work. If you happen to have time left at the end of the day, you can fill it in with luxuries – taking pictures, blogging, reading. I just seem to have misplaced all my free time…

For what it is worth, I have missed hanging out with all of you on a daily basis. I miss the easy, relaxed pace of summer, but I suppose nothing lasts forever. I know that this is all for a good cause, though, and it will be more than worth it in the end.

So, until next time, whenever that may be…

Why do you blog?

Not too long ago, The Daily Post asked the question, Why do you blog? I didn’t pay too much attention to the question at the time, probably because I didn’t really know the answer. But, as is usually the case, the answer came to me when I least expected it.

This evening, I sat and read through my farm blog. It has been retired since June of last year, and yet as I sat here reading it, I felt as though I were back in time.

I remember exactly where my computer sat in that old house. I remember the view out of my bedroom window. I remember so clearly the sound of the sheep at breakfast time and the chickens as they headed down to lay an egg. I remember the smell of fresh hay and the dirt in the garden. I remember the newly planted fruit trees and the way the tall pasture grass would sway in the breeze.  

Reading my old blog brought all these memories back to me. The posts reminded me of how it felt to be there, and suddenly, I’m back in that house, watching my sheep graze in the pasture.

And I’m missing them so much I can hardly breathe.

That is why I do this. Because life changes. But reading about it takes me back, even if only for a short while, to some of my favorite moments of the past. I am creating my own time capsule. I am preserving all my most precious memories. I don’t remember the exact reason why I started blogging, but I know why I continue.

Lessons Learned From My First Year Of Blogging

As I was glancing back over previous posts, I realized that it was a year ago today that I published my very first post. It was in a different blog in a completely different life. As a matter of fact, just about everything about life has changed since that very first post, and yet, here I sit. These days, I am determined to continue this post-a-day challenge if it kills me. And trust me, some days I am convinced that it will.

I have learned so many things from this blogging adventure. First, I have learned that my brain has absolutely no organization whatsoever. Try as I may, there are many days when I can’t get what it says on the screen to make as much sense as what’s in my head. Those are the days when I find myself digging frantically through recent pictures, desperately searching for something I can post. (The next time I post a picture with a random sentence to accompany it, you’ll know why.)

I have also learned that when I find something funny, I am usually the only one who thinks so. On the other hand, the days when I am embarrassed to hit the “publish” button, usually bring in the most support with comments. I’m beginning to think that my mind is a little more backwards that I had originally thought.

Next, I have learned that despite being exhausted and on the verge of a melt-down a mere half hour from the daily post deadline, I cannot walk away. No matter how much I have wanted to on a few occasions, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I didn’t hold up my end of the bargain. (Another good time to dig through those photos.)

Finally, I have learned that I adore and rely on my three loyal readers. I love seeing your numbers come up on my stats everyday. In a way, I do this for you now. I can’t possible leave you without any nonsense to read. So, thank you for humoring me. And for encouraging me. After all, if you’re going to stick around to read it, then I’m going to write it.

I still have no idea what I’m doing most of the time, but I guess that is half the fun. So, if you are up for it, I’m going to keep working on this blogging thing. You never know, maybe someday I’ll actually be good at it. That’s not very likely, but I’m having fun in the attempt, and perhaps that’s all that really matters.