Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Chaotic, or Eclectic?

     Today, we turned on the heater for the first time this season. I'm always challenging the family to push through October before turning the dial on the thermostat. This year, October was warm! It was chilly yesterday, but we wore shoes and sweaters. Today, the wind is brutal. It is blowing through every tiny crack and crevice. I am grateful today that I can have heat blowing, on demand, in all the rooms in our house. I am also grateful for the warm blanket that is over my legs while I sit on a comfy sofa with my laptop to write this post.

   Yesterday, I played Christmas music while Mr.TheZoo made breakfast. Healthy whole-wheat banana pancakes, recipe courtesy of 100 Days of Real Food . She says to freeze the leftovers, but there aren't any of those here.
     The Christmas music was fun! The Zooligans thought I was being a nut until they heard the Charlie Brown Christmas song. Then they did the dance and appreciated that this was helping motivate me to tackle a
 decluttering project rather than remind them of their academic duties.

     A neighbor and friend came over in the afternoon for a cup of tea and conversation. I was able to finish a hat that I had been crocheting for one of the Zooligans, and my neighbor showed me a new crochet motif that she discovered in a fantastic pattern book from the library. I wish I could remember the title so that I could share it with you, but she promised to share the book with me again. I've been looking at making a snowflake blanket (someday), and her motif looks like a snowflake at the half-way mark. I'm excited!
     I also managed to get a couple of more dishcloths done for my friend at Kelli Gau Studio . I promised them several (gulp) weeks ago. I was agonizing over the fact that they keep coming out rectangle shaped instead of square. I've made literally dozens of this same dish cloth. I was certain they were all square. My oldest reminded me that mine have been washed and dried several times and are shrunken. I conceded, and am now ok with rectangle dishcloths. Sort of. But, Kelli is getting rectangle dishcloths stitched with love and much prayer.

   In the evening, when it was much too late for littles to be up, they helped dad walk the dog. Then, one of the older boys said a phrase "Kee-ko kee-ko blasky!". It was from when he was about five years old. He's now 13.  We used to have a Curious George movie with a couple of other short stories on it. One of them had a ridiculous (my favorite) song. Zooligan 2 couldn't understand the words, and thought up that phrase. We all began using the phrase, now it's a family favorite. While we were all up too late, anyway, we looked around online for the song. It's part of a stop motion animation called 'Mouse Soup - Long Ago and Far Away'. The actual phrase is 'don't be so bombastic'. Sounds like a great kid's song, right?
     Go ahead and click on the link. It'll take you to you-tube, and you'll spend 25 minutes that you can never get back. The last song in the story is the one we enjoy so much. The level of ridiculous in that song is what makes it delightful. To me, that is.

     My yesterday. Was it chaotic, or eclectic? Or maybe it was 'just' life.

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Thursday, November 6, 2014


Do you need a call to challenge? I like to think that I do. I need to challenge myself to begin or end a habit. I need to challenge myself to kindness, or maybe to look or feel a particular way. 
Recently, I have noticed that I really don't need to formally challenge myself. Challenges area already present and at the forefront of my life.  I am challenged to raise seven people to be kind, mindful citizens. That one is a loud, persistent, no way to ignore it except completely on purpose. This challenge has built in constant reminders!  I am challenged to get up and walk around, you know, doing stuff all day. I can choose to ignore it, but that other, loud challenge is there needing clean clothes, food, and education, among other things.
I have the challenge of teaching a mix of great kids, some of whom are on the autism spectrum, and some who aren't. 

This challenge isn't boring. There is nothing boring about it at all. 
Tedious, sometimes. Overwhelming, often. Boring, never.

If life begins at the end of my comfort zone, then I've been at this life thing since the beginning of mine. There has never been a comfort zone. I don't know what a comfort zone feels like. 
Okay, maybe that isn't entirely true. I really, really like being at home with Netflix running, the smell of some yummy treat baking, and a project happening. Inside my house. With just my family, and no socializing. I am comfortable there. People can run around without shoes, or autistic kids can indulge in stimming, or neuro typical kids can just indulge themselves in being weird without judgement. I can allow my little autistic boy to show his affection for me with a head slam into my arm, or light 'punches' to my backside, because, while he will occassionally seek out a hug, mostly he doesn't want arms to close in around him. This is my comfortable place. But life happens there. It's challenging and hard. Things aren't usually comfortable. There aren't Hollywood Style happy endings. There's always another beginning, another challenge, another hard thing to face. But I choose to believe that it's a good life.
There's love there. That's what motivates me to rise to the challenge. That's what makes it good.

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