Prelude to Homeschooling

Today we had a preliminary run for homeschooling. Angelica’s curriculum for kindergarten will not arrive for another week or so. But she has this wonderful dry erase tracing book that teaches her how to write letters and numbers. She really got into it! She liked it! We worked on the letter P, the letter R, the letter q, and the letter M, as well as the letter s. That was the hardest one though and I don’t think she has mastered it. But Angelica made great progress overall and I think she really learned a lot so we’re going to keep using that book until the curriculum comes and maybe even after that. I hope that she continues to take joy in learning. And it was nice to have Craig help starting out, but sometimes I will be school in her when it’s just me alone. I hope I can do a good job.

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Television

Since coming back from Virginia I have had a terrible time dealing with TV. At my parents house the TV is almost always running and usually pretty loud. My mom helped me by moving my chair out from under the TV so that I didn’t have it blaring directly behind my head. That definitely made a difference. But the constant TV is still leaving me with this uncomfortable feeling every time the TV is on at my house. I keep leaving the room to find someplace quiet. Of course this isn’t really fair to everyone else who lives here. Both my husband and my daughter like watching shows. I definitely don’t begrudge them that. I just don’t want to be in the same room as the running television. But me leaving makes them feel like they can’t watch TV, which is not what I want. It’s just overstimulating. And I can’t hear myself think so that I can write or read or create anything or even just enjoy some quiet.

I have a love-hate relationship with television. There are some shows that I really like, but even then I don’t like to watch them all the time. Overall I actually hate television. I’ve gotten better at watching movies. I went through a period of time where movies were too stimulating and I didn’t even like to go see them in the theater, but I improved. The TV has some really interesting documentaries that I like and some very artistic shows that I enjoy, but yet truthfully for me it is just a big box of noise and speed and anxiety. I secretly hate the TV. I tried to spend some time by myself when I was at my parents house. A lot of that is just that since I am bipolar and I have anxiety I need some time to myself in general. I cannot function if I am being social 24/7. But part of why I went back to the room I was staying in was just to get away from that TV. Everyone else has a right to watch as much TV as they want. I just can’t stand to listen to it.

I am diving deeper into art and writing. I still have all these great books to read, and I have begun with a book of persona poetry. And of course the book about homemaking that I have been writing about.

I got up early this morning and went for a drive. I like to do that, to just get out and put on some music I like and enjoy some space.

I am trying to get rid of my social exhaustion but so far I have not been very successful. I enjoy being back in my little nest with my little family, but I just don’t really want to talk that much. I keep to myself with my books or magazines or paints. I blog because for some reason I seem to be able to pour thoughts out on the page better than I can to another person. I have some friends that I would like to get together with but I just don’t seem to have it in me right now.

Truthfully I wish I could take a separate trip. All alone in a quiet little room with books to read and paints to use and a pen for writing. Just absolute silence except for the rare occasion I want to play some music. No TV. No interruptions. No conversation. Just me alone.

Introverted and Tired

The past couple of weeks have been hectic. I visited my parents for two weeks in Virginia. Some of the trip was very nice.

Travel was extremely stressful. The trip home was especially bad. I had an anxiety attack in the middle of the Dallas Airport. Luckily there was someone else there, another Christian, who helped me and kept me company and prayed for me and helped me get through the day. Our second flight had been canceled and that’s what set off my anxiety attack. Luckily the airport staff got me on the next flight out, but that was delayed because there was some sort of problem with the plane and they had to fix a part. We got home late and I was completely threadbare by the time we did, but I was just grateful to have gotten home.

Now I have returned to my quiet house facing the mountains, and I am retreating back to my quiet life of books. When I got home I had many new packages of books waiting for me. I was ordering books while I was at my parents house, and I ordered some before I even left that just hadn’t arrived before I was out the door.

I live so much inside my own head. My passion for books is only burning brighter as I get older. Ever since the day I learned to read I have been obsessed with books, but as an adult I am absolutely immersed in them. As an introvert and a bibliophile I am one of those people who just needs a lot of time to themselves to decompress and be quiet and alone. And there is nothing I like better when I am alone than to get intimate with the corporeal and spiritual realities of a good book. A book with artistic language and fascinating imagery can thrill me for hours. I’ve been enjoying some time to myself for the past couple of hours. Craig and I went on a date today, but when we got home he was really tired because he worked last night, so he went to bed and is still sleeping. Our babysitter is here, so I am free to study great books and let my mind ignite.

I know this is only my second day back but I still feel so tired. I don’t think I want to travel alone again for a long time. Next time we travel Craig will be going with us. I will wait until he can come. I am just mentally and physically exhausted. I’m in this really weird state where I’m starting to be creative again, and I’m beginning to do my tasks as a homemaker again, but I find myself feeling worn down. I want to take a rest, but my mind won’t. At this point I am not even sure what rest would look like for me. Diving into books allows me to access myself almost as fully as writing does. At the same time all the ideas and images can run me ragged. I think I need the books and the time to read and write. I am just coming down from an anxiety attack. Sometimes after I have an anxiety attack I am tired and quiet for a few days. Maybe reading and writing and homemaking will help bring me back to normal.

Baby Violet, Mountain, Family

A few days ago Angelica dressed her baby, Violet, up in one of the dresses she wore as a baby. She had a blast. She really loves that baby doll. I got Violet for Angelica on her third birthday. I also got her a bassinet, a bottle of juice and a bottle of milk, a baby bathtub, and some blankets and accessories to go with Violet. My hope is that she will pass Violet onto her children as I have passed my Holly and my Buffy to her. I hope to keep Violet in the family for years to come, as I do Holly and Buffy. I hope she doesn’t just have boys….

Right now Angelica is playing with Grace, our babysitter. I have been reading and writing, and I ran out for awhile. First I picked up a few new towels at Bed Bath and Beyond.  Then I drove up Cheyenne Mountain. The view from there is beautiful. You can see the entire town and across the prairie for miles.

My Uncle Jerry is coming Tuesday. I am looking forward to that. He has never met Angelica before. Uncle Jerry was a great uncle to me. I am looking forward to him meeting, and getting involved with, my daughter. I am excited to see him! I haven’t seen him in five years.

We got our plane tickets to fly out and see my parents at the end of June through early July. I have only been away from home for a few months, but it feels much longer than that. I am looking forward to going to the beach with my mom and to the movies with my dad. At some point while we are there I hope to see my sister. And I know Angelica would love to hang out with Aunt Bridget.

Weight, Gown

I am down almost 10 lb in 2 weeks. My wedding and engagement rings have actually gotten looser and fit a lot better. They were too tight before. I was wearing them, I always wear them, but they were really tight. So far I can’t see a big difference in the rest of my body except that my waist is a little bit slimmer. But I know it takes time. Mostly I’ve been really pleased with myself for sticking with it. A thousand calories a day is definitely an adjustment. But so far I have been strict and firm and it’s been going great. Just the fact my rings aren’t too tight anymore shows that something is going on. And it’s harder to see a difference in yourself when you look in the mirror everyday. Often other people that haven’t seen you in a while can tell easier whether or not you’ve lost or gained weight. So I don’t know whether my weight loss is visible or not but it is possible that somebody who hasn’t seen me in a while would immediately notice a difference.

I have a long way to go but so far my results have been encouraging.

Craig and I have a ball to go to, a big one, and on Saturday we went shopping to find me a formal dress. At the first store we struck out.  We went to David’s Bridal and I found a dress that fit me but I wondered if it was formal enough and it didn’t really have any style or flair. So we tried another shop across the street, a locally-owned shop. They had absolutely stunning dresses in all sizes with a lot of artistic flair. I got a dark blue dress with jewels all over it, mermaid fit, sheer up top and down the back (but not in a trashy way), sweet heart neck line, with a whole bunch of tulle that flares out at the bottom. I will definitely post pictures of it the day of the ball, which is May 11th. Tomorrow I take it in to the tailor to get it taken in, shortened, and to get bra cups sewn in.

Today the new vanity that I ordered arrived. It’s sitting on the front porch right now because the box is 80 lb and I can’t lift it or even slide it enough to get it into the house. So I just go outside and check on it once in awhile, but living on base is pretty safe. I can’t wait for Craig to put it together. I’m really looking forward to having it. It’s a beautiful vanity and having it will enable me to clear a bunch of makeup and other supplies off our cluttered bathroom counter.

Diet, Freedom, Clock

As of the Saturday before last, I have been on a serious diet! I lost six pounds in 8 or 9 days. I love my diet because it is based purely on the idea of calorie deficit. No going to the gym, which I hate. No taking long walks, which hurts horribly because of my bad foot, although if someone ever fixes my foot I’ll be taking five mile walks every day in no time. I don’t have to give up any foods that I really like. I just have to eat much less of them. I take in 1,000 calories a day most days, occasionally going up to 1200 or 1300 for a special meal out or just to keep my metabolism up. It’s great because I’m realizing I actually feel better and more awake when I eat less. And I’m not missing any foods or drinks. I can have a cup of juice or a Soda Stream soda. I just have to deduct it from my daily calorie count on the MyFitnessPal app. I love that app. The only function I really use is the calorie counter, but it is so useful. It has the calorie content of many foods in its database, so you can usually just search for something and the calories will pop right up, even for many restaurants. And even when they don’t have the specific brand or restaurant, you can find the general, approximate calorie count by searching for the generic name of the food.

I really hope the weight loss continues. I’m on a diet for several reasons. The first, and what inspired me to start last week,  is clothes. I ordered some beautiful dresses from a British company I love, and of the six that I bought only two fit. That lit a fire under my ass! Fundamentally, I don’t mind my weight. But I love clothes and when I can’t fit in clothes it is time to lose weight. Especially since these were not small clothes. They were size 18.

Another benefit is that losing weight makes me less likely to have a flare up of diverticulitis again and end up with another hole in my intestines and another major surgery. Not to mention the misery of wearing a colostomy bag. Doctors aren’t sure why extra weight contributes to diverticulitis, but studies have shown that it does.

Anyways, wish me luck. So far it is going really well. I hope it doesn’t stop.

FREEDOM! The outpatient program was a good, supportive program. Peak View, at least the outpatient side, is good. I finished last Friday. But when Monday morning rolled around and I realized my time was my own and I could stay home with Angelica I was thrilled. It is so nice to have my mornings and my days free. I’m free! I’m free!

Craig bought a grandmother clock at a local furniture store and it got delivered and assembled this morning. Craig loves it. I’ll admit it is a good looking clock, but that constant chiming is going to take some real getting used to. I hope it ends up feeling homey and serene, rather than being an annoyance.

Waiting on God, Trusting in God

I picked up this awesome devotional by Elizabeth George at the Exchange. “One Minute With the Women of the Bible” has tiny readings and thoughtful questions about what we can learn from various women in the Bible, including those who are not named. One of the entries (I like this book so much I can’t wait and just read it day by day!) is about when God changed Sarah’s name from Sarai to Sarah. When God changes someone’s name in the Bible it is like a promotion, like they have developed and changed to a new being.

She names five things Sarah did to grow and to “earn” her name change. And then she asks us readers to rate ourselves in those five categories. Today I am going to write about a couple of hard ones. Trusting in God and waiting on God. Both are difficult.

Do I trust God? Do I wait on His timing and accept it with thanksgiving? I’ve always been very strong willed, strong back boned, and determined to make things happen for myself wherever possible. And much of that is a good thing. Just because God provides doesn’t mean He wants us sitting on our butts, passively waiting for something to happen. So to a certain extent is good to be a go getter. Yet it is also vital to be willing to wait on God’s timing. For instance, I have been rather passionately looking at a worship arts program at a seminary in Dallas. Most of the program is online, but the last year of it, the year with the creative classes, are held in Dallas instead of online. I have wracked my brain trying to figure out how I could go, but after careful consideration and an honest look at the logistics, I concluded that there was no way I could go without splitting up the family. There is no way to guarantee that Craig’s deployment will run from August to May, and I’m not leaving my husband or separating him from his child during the time he does have at home. So unless something radically changes, I cannot do seminary. I will not abandon my family responsibilities. That is wrong. So I have to accept that if it is God’s will that I go to seminary, he will make a righteous path for me to go with my family. If He doesn’t, then His answer is no.

We have this common misconception in our culture that if we pray to God for something and we don’t get it, He didn’t answer our prayers. But the truth is, He did answer. He said no. We don’t get everything we want. God’s plans are greater than ours.

Sometimes even when we feel called and created for a specific purpose, we have to wait on God and trust in his timing. As pretty much everyone knows, I am a poet. But how and when my work reaches the world is up to the Lord. It is so hard to trust in His ways and His timing. I am so ambitious, so determined to have worldly success. My visions just pour out on the page and I polish them and then long to present them to the world like a gift. I really believe they are meant to be read, but whether or not that happens is up to God. My creativity and visions come from Him, and what they are used for and by whom is up to Him. If He intends for me to have 10 books published, I will be grateful and say “Praise God.” If He elects that my writing is meant for a small community only, I must say “Praise God. His works are good.”

Being strong willed all the time is not a good thing. I try to be less strong willed and more submissive to my husband, which is good and Biblical and right. (However, I am still not a doormat.) But with everyone and everything else I can be pretty strong willed. It is one of my strengths and one of my weaknesses. On one hand, I do not roll over for anyone. And Christ needs people in the kingdom who will stand up and proclaim his word without watering it down, without shame, and without apology. Besides, He wouldn’t have made me an independent thinker with a strong personality if He did not intend for me to be one. Everyone’s unique personality and gifts are needed in the body of Christ. On the other hand, sometimes we need to pray and trust God to bring us where we need to be. Not everything can be done through the sheer force of will power. I need to be better about praying for things I need and want. There is no such thing as praying too much, and if there was I’m sure I’m nowhere near that cap! And honestly, when I pray I usually thank God for things that I have, and pray for the needs of other people. That is great. We should give thanks to God and we should lift others up in prayer. But to really follow God, we need to take our own troubles and needs and wishes to Him. I have failed at this.

I am always willing to fight the good fight (and if I’m honest, to fight in general. I love to debate, especially a good, intelligent debate with logic, Scripture, science, or facts. And I always stand up for myself, even when maybe I should let things go). But sometimes we are supposed to let go and let God. Some fights we cannot win. Some fights we should not fight. I don’t think a good intellectual debate is wrong, but some people are incapable of those. They either are not intelligent and/or couldn’t form a cogent argument if their souls depended it.

And sometimes, when people do us wrong, it is best not to fight and to trust God to help us forgive and to deal with that person. All of us will be held accountable for our sins, including me, and those who have wronged me will be hearing about it from God. I have always had a passion for justice and righting of wrongs, but the truth is in many cases that is just out of our hands. So you trust God to make things right, if not in this life then in the next. You should pursue justice where you can, but also be willing to stand back and trust God.

Sometimes I worry about how we’ll do when Craig retires from the Navy, or how my Bipolar struggles will be in ten or twenty years and whether or not they will get worse. I worry about how degraded our culture will be by the time my daughter is grown and how will she find a good Christian man to settle down with and how will she have any friends. But I must trust that when I cannot take care of my daughter, that Jesus will. That somehow, he will make a way for her. That she will be able to find a community of believers and a good husband and have a good life, no matter how foul and degraded our culture gets.

I need to wait on God. I need to trust God.

Church Pews, Birthing Chair, Secret Compartments

Today we went furniture shopping and we did something a little bit wild. We bought two church pews. They are white and wooden and one is longer than the other. We are going to use them in the formal living room to be our seating there. I love the idea. It will be beautiful to have a little slice of the church in my very own home. Now I just have to find beautiful pillows for them. We found them at an eclectic furniture store called Platte furniture. There was a lot of really nice stuff in there, some old some new. There’s a grandmother clock that Craig is really interested in and the employees are going to see if they can get it to chime correctly again and if they can we will probably buy it. Craig really likes clocks. Angelica fell in love with a birthing chair. It’s this old, little wooden chair with handles on it and babies have been born on it. Personally the fact that people have given birth on it put me off a little bit (a lot of bare butt and vagina have probably been on that chair, along with all the products of birth) but Angelica loved it and Craig liked it too so that’s going to be a little extra piece for our formal living room.

Then we went to another store and we found a bedroom suite that we loved. It doesn’t come with a dresser and the reason is that there’s a bunch of drawers built into the sides of it and built-in underneath the bed. It also has a mirror and built-in lighting so that one partner can stay up reading while the other one sleeps. It has secret compartments. Seriously. You have to feel around and find them. It has outlets for charging phones built-in, and it has a tray on each side that you can slide out to have a place to put your drink at night. Admittedly the finish is not my favorite. Nice but not my favorite. But the functionality was unparalleled by anything else that we saw. I prefer other finishes but I absolutely love bed sets that have a lot of compartments and shelving and places for books and drawers and that sort of thing. Throw in a light for reading and I’m all set! So we bought it. The bed is being delivered on Thursday and the church pews and birthing chair are being delivered on Saturday.

Gratitude, Garden of the Gods

Earlier this week, right before Craig started his new job, we visited Garden of the Gods. It was absolutely breathtaking. Because of my bad foot I was not able to do the hiking trails and so we mostly had to stick to photographing what we could see from the road. But there were some beautiful sights. The rocks are very imposing and dramatic. And so orange and brown. I’m so used to living in a green landscape but it’s really not very green out here. The conifers add some green, a very dark green, but beyond that it’s mostly shades of brown and tan with a little bit of beige thrown in.

Not being able to hike kind of depressed me. I’m not an athletic sort of person and I don’t desire to be, but when I’m visiting a place and I realize I can’t even see 3/4 of it because I can’t walk that far that is kind of frustrating. I was tempted to try to walk that far and just see what happens, but then I remembered just how bad my foot and my leg hurt when I push them and that I could end up part way through a trail and be in so much pain that I can’t get myself through the rest of the way. What would I do? I would be stuck, possibly for hours, while the pain subsided. And then I would have to trek back the way I came and end up in pain all over again.

I need to go back to the doctor to find out what’s wrong with my foot but I don’t even know what kind of doctor to go to. I’ve been to an orthopedic surgeon, a physical therapist, a general practitioner, a neurologist, and multiple podiatrists no. They did find something wrong with my foot. In fact they found two things wrong. A bone lesion and a bone growth. But having surgery to fix these things has not fixed the pain. I have pain in my back too. Maybe I will go back to an orthopedic surgeon and just see what they have to say.

But I’m not going to let that get me down. I have multiple things to be grateful for this week. Here are a few.

1. My husband has gone so out of his way to make this house a home for me. He knows I miss my family and he knows I miss our little yellow cottage. He has been doing everything he possibly can to make this place a new home for me, a comfortable nest. From buying all sorts of area rugs, to buy patio furniture, to buying a swinging chair, to cleaning and organizing, to buying pretty string lights for the back patio and pillows for the swinging chair that I absolutely love, he is truly spending a ton of time, energy, and resources to make this a home that I love and feel comfortable in. It’s working too. I love how we have everything set up and I love the new additions to our home. Everything is cozy and beautiful. And today Craig has been putting up the artwork and special things that we brought with us from North Carolina. Between the old and the new we are creating wonderful home.

2. The back patio and backyard are absolutely amazing here. This is partly because it’s so much smaller than where we’re coming from so there will be so much less to mow. But it’s also because of the wonderful swinging bench that Craig bought for us and the Beautiful matching red dining set. I’ve never really had outdoor space to call my own and really use. When we first got married we lived in the condo Craig bought when he was really young. It didn’t have a balcony even so we had no outdoor space. Then in Moyock we had a small back patio but it wasn’t covered or anything and I never got around to buying one of those big tent covers for it and I just never had any desire to sit out under the blazing sun surrounded by bugs. So even though we had a nice big backyard I was seldom outside. But here it’s homey and intimate and we have a spacious covered back porch, and I’m going to be spending a lot of time outside. I already am.

3. It’s really dry here. I suppose that could be a negative too because it dries your skin out, but it’s really nice that I’ve been here about 3 weeks and it’s only rained once for less than 15 minutes.

4. I have found a babysitter and housekeeper. I am so grateful to have found people. The babysitter is young and in school so I hope that she continues to be able to work and doesn’t have to quit in a future semester because of her school schedule. But so far she has done a good job with Angelica and has been reliable and on-time. Angelica and I both really miss Linda, her babysitter back in North Carolina. The new babysitter definitely does not compare. But she’s a nice girl and I’m glad we have found someone, especially with Craig starting back to work last Thursday. The houscleaning lady is amazing. She cleans thoroughly and organizes beautifully.

5. Driving here is overall less stressful than driving in Hampton Roads. There are certain sections of downtown that are kind of stressful and involve a lot of parallel parking that I am definitely not going to be doing, but most of town is pretty wide open and the traffic is not that bad. I still get a little nervous just because I don’t do here, but overall it could be much worse.

6. The neighborhood playgrounds. I finally have a place in my neighborhood where I can take my baby girl to go meet friends and interact with other kids. To see the joy radiating from her face when she sees another kid coming up to play with her is priceless.

7. We got the best spot in the whole neighborhood. We are on the highest point on base or close to it. At the very least were at the highest point in housing, and the view of the mountains that we have is absolutely gorgeous. There are so many houses in the neighborhood that don’t face the mountain, or don’t face the mountain or the Prairie and just face other houses. But we have a beautiful view. I am a total sucker for stunning vistas. They melt me.

8. I am grateful for my mental health being manageable. This move has been such a dramatic change for me and change is difficult for anybody, but especially for people with mood disorders and anxiety. My anxiety has definitely been worse since we left North Carolina, but I’ve still been able to get out of bed in the morning and do something. I am sad about the move (which is totally different than having a bipolar mood swing), but functional. I am only mildly depressed. In spite of my anxiety I am still able to drive and take showers. So all-in-all I have a lot to be grateful for.

Park, Patio, Planes

Today was a positive, busy day. We started off our day going to the museum on base. It is an aviation museum and had several planes, including one that we got to go in and explore. We also got to go into the original hangar from when this base was just a regional airport owned by Colorado Springs. There were all sorts of exhibits and it was very technical but still interesting.

 

I took Angelica to the park with my next door neighbor A and her son Matthew. This is the third time since we’ve moved in that Angelica has gotten to play with another kid. It makes me so happy to see her interacting with her peers and having fun. Where we used to live in Moyock Angelica never had anyone to play with and the neighborhood was really lacking in amenities. There were no playgrounds or parks. Here they are all over the place (we even have a neighborhood splash pad and skate park) and Angelica has so many places to play, and I have been meeting people. I hope to get involved with the base chapel and go to some Bible studies.

Learning to play is definitely a work in progress though. I noticed that today when Angelica was playing with Matthew, and I noticed that last night when Angelica was playing with R’s son. She gets upset with other kids easily and doesn’t always know how to go with the flow. In typical only child fashion she also runs off by herself a lot. She’s never really had the opportunity to be around a lot of kids. She’s never gone to preschool. She doesn’t have any siblings. She hasn’t gone to an in-home daycare in a long time and cried and begged to be kept at home when she did last go to one. Angelica always longs for other kids to play with but until we moved here it didn’t seem like she was going to have very many opportunities. Here I am working on making friends for both her and me and it seems like she will have more kids her age to play with. We met another mother today who has a daughter who is also named Angelica, and we met another neighbor with a little girl named Piper. Then I am making a couple of new friends out in town and they have kids her age. I am still trying to get us plugged in but it seems like there is so much more Community here.

While we were at the park Craig put together our new patio dining set we bought at the Exchange a few days ago. It is red, which I love, and super comfy.  It has six chairs, a glass table, and an umbrella. We have a big covered back porch here and I want our next project to be getting a patio sofa. We have room out there for both.