December 5, 2018

November 2018

My sister, Verity, does a monthly recap of things and I thought, that's a really good idea. So, RECAP!

November started out with guests. My sister Meredith had surgery to repair a hernia, so we got to have her two littles stay with us awhile. Delaney and Ridge are THE BEST, and we love having them. It's good practice for my kids too. If you can calmly handle an irrational 2 year old, you can handle ANYTHING. When Meredith was a little more recovered, Troy and I drove them back up to Idaho. It's nice having relations close.

Then I started decorating for Christmas.... before Thanksgiving.... yes, I am one of those people. The thing is, it takes me FOREVER to do anything these days. And while a few years ago, I could decorate everything in a weekend, it's just not realistic anymore. I think it took me about two weeks to get things up and set the way I like. (I have 8 trees.... I need more.... I also need help.... but my basement is SAD and TREELESS.... I also want garland to swoop around the ceilings.... after Christmas sales.... yes, yes.... after Christmas....)

the Pink Tree


the Santa Tree

Santa Tree Close Up
Of course, November also means THANKSGIVING. We continued our tradition of Apps & Pies for Lunch. This year we had an apple pie (Thaddeus' & Daniel's favorite - and I used the apple pie filling I canned this summer!) , a peach pie (with filling I canned this summer!), a lemon meringue (Blayne's favorite), a pecan pie (Troy's favorite), a pumpkin pie (family fave), butterscotch brownies (my favorite), monkey bread (Taylor's favorite), and lots of yummy appetizers. We opened up one of our "test jars" of pickles.... Then we spit them out, and fed them to the garbage disposal. We also got the rest of those pickles, and threw out the contents. Then I wrote FAIL on that recipe card, and now we know for next time. Besides, my backyard neighbor makes THE BEST dill pickles, and she shared her recipe with me. MISCHIEF MANAGED.

Thanksgiving dinner featured all the traditional dishes: turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy, candied yams, roasted asparagus and broccoli, and probably a whole bunch of other stuff, but I can't remember. All I know is that afterwards, we made lots of dinners with the leftovers, and I didn't have to cook the whole rest of the weekend. 

Troy and I got to go shopping on Black Friday. We went to a few stores, but honestly, foot traffic was not bad, although we were there in the afternoon. And with the stores opening up so early, and then the online shopping... it was no big deal at all. We were searching for birthday presents for Thaddeus and Blayne. It was super nice that we hit up the stores though, because Blayne wanted art supplies, and the GOOD markers and paper are pricey. We scored big time, and one item we thought was not on sale (but were purchasing anyways) was actually half off! Meanwhile, Thaddeus has really been into airsoft with his friends, so we got him an airsoft gun and ammunition. 

I ALSO bought myself a pressure canner. I just leveled up my self-sufficiency BIG TIME. I've mostly done potatoes so far. It will be getting a LOT of use this next spring and summer, because I plan to grow a LOT of green beans. I've also canned my own beans, and OH MY LIFE, I will never ever but a can of beans again. It is literally the easiest canning I have ever done in my life. I put a 1/2 cup of dry beans in clean jars, add a 1/2 teaspoon of salt (which is OPTIONAL), and cover them with hot water. THAT IS IT. They cook while they're being processed, and turn out beautifully! It is seriously so easy, and I am thrilled, because I want to get to the point where *I* make the canned food that we eat. Like, the things that I purchase ALL THE TIME. (Beans. Tomatoes. Green Beans. Etc.) 

Canning diced potatoes

This made me laugh. 

And that is our November! It's so much easier to recap like this. I LIKE IT. 

October 23, 2018

Falling

OH MY LIFE.YOU GUYS. 

LIFE IS HARD RIGHT NOW. 

Incredibly, frustratingly, exceedingly difficult. 

It's been hard for awhile now, which is why I haven't really been around much. I mean, the kids are getting bigger... and older...and having bigger, older kid problems. It's actually been really, really hard. We have had a lot of sleepless nights around here. And I feel responsible for the problems... like, it's my fault that there are problems in the first place, because my brain doesn't work, and I irresponsibly passed that on to my kids. 

My three older kids have all been diagnosed with mental illnesses... depression, mostly, with a sprinkle of ADD in one, and a dash of a crippling social anxiety in another. Lots of BIG TALKS around here about cutting, and other means of self-harm, and suicide, and drug overdosing, and emotions, and thoughts, and feelings, and on, and on, and on, and on. 

Frankly? I'm so friggin' exhausted. 

I really miss the days when our biggest problem was a missing toy, or an imaginary friend. 

We have SO many new rules. We  have SO many new internet filters. We have safety plans, and counselors, and medications, and side effects of medications, and teen angst, and hormones, and oh-so-many questions with no answers. 

Today I was able to get TWO children to school successfully. I guess it would actually be three, since Blayne is now being home-schooled. And the fourth MIGHT have to start down the home-school path, but we're still not really sure, and we have to go and talk to another counselor first. 

I am SO sick of talking. No lie, the only time I have to myself is a 7-10 minute car ride after the morning school drop off. I CRAVE alone time.

Troy, of course, is at a loss of what to do. Who can blame him? There's not a clear path when you're navigating through different brain chemistry's. And his usual, playful teasing is hurting people's feelings instead, so he doesn't want to talk to kids, because then everybody gets all upset, and TEARS. SO. MANY. TEARS. 

So, that's the update. We are restructuring our ENTIRE EXISTENCE in order to be just a teeny-tiny bit more helpful to the people who live in our home. AND IT IS NOT GOING WELL. #JOYFULPARENTING 

And although I haven't been posting, rest assured, I am WRITING. IT. OUT. because that's what I need to do to process things. I just haven't, you know, made those things public... and I won't, dear children of mine that read my blog, so chill out. (that last sentence probably won't go over well with them... too bad, so sad.)

May 16, 2018

Spring

We are all alone again. 

Meredith and her kiddos came to visit us for a bit, before heading down to Arizona for a summer internship.... (Tyler is required to do 2 internships as part of his undergrad.) Then my parents came for a few days, because DANIEL turned TWELVE and was ordained a deacon.  He got a new suit for church, and next week he gets to pass the sacrament. It's pretty exciting. 

Meanwhile, we are in the final weeks of school, and I'm trying to figure out what we're going to do for the summer. We have guests coming and going throughout, sprinkled with our own adventures, and I need to get the calendar finalized. It takes a long time to be organized. Don't get me wrong, I totally LOVE and NEED to know all the details, it's just so exhausting to coordinate everything, especially when you've been putting it off for awhile. 

What else.... we have a new dog! Morgan and his family moved, and there are no dogs allowed at his new place. So we got to adopt a cute little blonde cock-a-poo. His name is Sammy, and he likes Troy! Lucky likes everyone in the family, but he prefers to sit by me all the time. But SAMMY will sit by TROY! It's real fun, and now Troy doesn't have to have his feelings hurt by a dumb dog that just loves his mom a little too much. 

I had my third round of Tysabri yesterday. I think it's going welll. Unfortunately, you can't tell if a drug is working or not with MS without imaging. However, the three middle toes in my left foot aren't numb! I haven't had feeling in those toes for almost 10 years. I think it's a good sign, and proves that some reparations are being made. 

I've also been working outside a lot, getting the garden ready. I have some more plantings that I need to get in the ground tonight, Typically, I'd be seeing results by now in some of my cooler weather crops, however, Sammy ate my garden and my little baby plants, so I've had to start all over again. Step one for starting over was to put up a short fence all around the vegetable garden. I have some plantings that aren't fenced, but Sammy doesn't seem to like rhubarb. I also have FOUR NEW TREES. I have three apple trees, and a peach tree, and a smile on my face. Also, I got a huge pot to use for water bath canning. I've never done this type of canning on my own. I've volunteered at some canning facilities, but typically, all the food I've grown has been eaten fresh, dried, or frozen. I was nervous, but after researching the process, and quadruple checking myself, I made a small batch of cranberry rhubarb chutney, and YOU GUYS... NAILED IT. The seal on my cans was super tight. And my chutney turned out super delicious, and now I just want to CAN ALL THE THINGS. I'm hoping that in the next year or two, we can be totally self-sufficient on our garden, and that we can harvest enough food to feed our family and stock our pantry. I'm pretty excited about it. 

Think, think, think. I know I have so much more to say, but can' recall exactly what at the moment, so.....yeah. I'll be back soon, PROMISE.