Saturday, July 30, 2011

Holy hysterical night terrors, Batman!

Holy hysterical night terrors, Batman! Ivey has been out of her mind for weeks now. She cries when she goes to bed, wakes up screaming in the middle of the night, and even cries when she wakes up in the morning. It seems that she is going through one of those wonderful phases of insecurity... which manifests itself in nightmares. For her, she seems to mainly dream of scary animals. One night, it was a fox in her room. (This happened to be the same night that a critter got into my very poor attempt of a coop for our older chicks and devoured them all. Strange, no?) Another night, it was a wolf that was the antagonist of the night.

I asked her, "What is the wolf doing?"
"He's in my room." She answered.
"But, what is he DOING?", I repeat.
"He's SCARING ME!" Guess that answers that!

I have tried being nice, being firm, letting her sleep in bed with me... nothing helps. One night, we put her to bed and she sat up, reading. Later on, Jeff came upstairs to work on the computer. He heard a rustling of papers. He looked around... and saw nothing. The door to the girls' room was closed, so he knew it wasn't Ivey reading her book. It sounded closer. He heard it again. At that point, he got up and walked into our room. There, propped up on fluffy pillows, carefully tucked under our quilt, was Ivey.... flipping through a book. Jeff asked her what she was doing. "Laying in my bed.", she answered, matter of factly. He questioned her, "Who put you in my bed?" "I put ME in MY bed!" She answered. What. A. Mess.

Tonight, I decided to try a different approach to Ivey's fear of her bedroom. As I took her to bed, she started getting hysterical. She wanted the lights on.... She was scared. So, I pulled out a bottle of All-Purpose Animal Repellent. Let me tell you, this stuff was hard to come by. But, nothing is too good for my little girl and her fear of woodland creatures. I explained that I had "Fox Repellant" that would scare away any foxes. She asked about wolves. "Oh, yes! This will scare away wolves, too!" "Frogs?", she quivered. I explained to her that this was an all-purpose animal repellant that would scare away any and all animals from her room. The two of us sprayed a nice mist over the entire area. Then, it was time to get in bed. She stood, frozen. "Scared of my bed.", she said, softly. I helped her spray her bed thoroughly. Now, I'm not saying this is a complete success, but I will say that, although she had tears in her eyes, I left her room without hearing her screams... and she even muttered the words, "Thank you" as I left. Let's hope this stuff works... cause Momma needs some sleep!

Friday, July 29, 2011


The Inman Hybrid Homeschool Program Open House was a success! I have been working on getting everything together-- the curriculum, the registration packets, the insurance, the schedules, and the teachers. Tonight, with the help of Mom and Kristen, it all came together!

As I prepared the Youth House for the event, I realized how wonderful this setting is going to be for our classes. Not only is it a great little building with a kitchen, a classroom, and a big common area, a deck, and a tennis court... the building itself just feels right. Having spent many a Wednesday and Sunday night over there myself, it felt like home to be there setting up. It's not foreign. It's not sterile. It feels like home. I love that we can walk home... walking past the same houses and trees that I saw when I was even younger than they are now. It's coming full circle... and I am thankful that the church has given me the ability to use it to enhance the education of my own children, as well as their new friends!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Two Days of Awesome!

 What a whirlwind couple days! Wednesday, Ellen and I took Anna, Bennett, Asa, and Addison to Six Flags to use the free passes that the kids earned for reading. We headed out in the morning, with a van packed with children, towels, and coolers with lunch. The day could not have gone better! Although Asa wanted to ride all the big coasters that he came across, we managed to keep all heights and ride preferences happy. Yes, I did make Addison choose one ride that scared him. He chose the Mind Bender, which was my favorite coaster back when my equilibrium was younger. The two of us have been discussing how to control your emotions, and how logic can conquer irrational fear. The converation started over a medicine cup of Benadryl (my kiddo has strong taste buds and the kid just cannot stand some, most, tastes). He did a great job, sucking back his fear and marching himself right on that coaster! Asa sat by himself (because Asa is, well, crazy. This boy rode the Ninja three times in a row... by himself... in 10 minutes because there was no line. He has no fear!). When we came down from the first loop, Addison shouted at the top of his lungs, "I think I left my stomach at the topppppp!".

Because neither I, nor Ellen, had babies in tow, we were able to jump out there and play with the kids on the water slides. I really enjoyed myself! It's not often that I am able to give my big boys all of my attention. I loved how Asa held my hand as we walked, and I loved being able to listen to Addison's questions and quirky comments. We stayed until 8:00 at night, leaving us completely exhausted, but equally thankful for our day.

That was yesterday. Today, I had all four children out the door at 9:30am and we headed to the other side of Atlanta. Why? Because we were going to get to see a whole lot of people that we haven't seen in far too long! My friends from back in Bethlehem, Brooke, Andrea, and Leila, along with all of their offspring, met us at the mall for some lunch, play, and general mayhem. I knew it would be good for my soul to see them, but I didn't know how much. I missed them terribly... and I still do. We have to make a point to see each other more often. Ten months is not an option. Asa and Addison jumped back in with their old friends as if they had never left. Asa walked around the mall, holding Cael's hand. It felt great to see all of those 12 shining kids' faces all together! Yes, between the 4 of us mommies, we had 12 young kids, with one on the way. We had a wonderful day of visiting, playing, watching the fish, and Ivey even got to ride the carousel before we went home. It's been a whirlwind two days, all right. But, it's been fabulous!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Don't. Stop. Thinkin' about tomorrow.

Although weekends are spent working here at the old house, trying to get it renovated for us to move into, weekday nights, and some weekend days when Roland cannot work, Jeff takes a boy or two over to our land to work... and fish. Addison is pretty much bored when he goes... spending time sitting around, reading his book.  Asa, on the other hand, takes his fishing pole, his minnow trap, and bucket... spending hours at the neighbor's pond.  

The shack that once stood as a major eye-sore at the front of the property is now gone. Well, it's not exactly "gone". Jeff took it apart, piece by piece, with nothing but a crowbar and a hammer. Seriously. No electricity.  No Saws.  Each and every piece is either stacked in piles to reuse or burned. The shack will be completely repurposed into a cabinish structure further back on the 25 acres. 

By removing the shack, Jeff has given me the ability to get a visual on how this whole thing will go down. Okay, so not the whole thing, but the driveway. The drive will be cut right through where the old house stood, across the creek and then run down the side property line. As someone who has an inability to grasp spatial relations, this visual was a must. Not only do I now see the driveway more clearly, but I see where this shack will be resurrected. I see the drives that will most likely cut across the property.... and I almost, ALMOST, can see where the house might be. 

The house is so distant a concept for me right now that I still cannot begin to grasp it. Of course, in typical Jeff/Holly fashion, we are not looking at this as much as a "dream house" idea.... It's more of a dream lifestyle idea. The goal is to work as hard as we can to have as much as we can, without going into any more debt. The goal to be mortgage-free, to live a life that will be a true example to our kids. Living simply. Working hard. Trusting God. Taking the road less traveled.  Jeff is most likely going to get a "portable" lumber mill, so that we can utilize the trees on our property for the lumber in our home.  You never know... we've done crazier things before.

While working in the yard with the animals recently, Asa asked me, "When will we have our farm and all of our animals?" I told him that you cannot just wish on a star for a dream. Dreams take a long time. They are hard work. Sometimes, you have to change them around a little to get them right. Now, I have to remind myself of this advice. Patience, grasshopper.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My Blogging Deliquency

I have been neglecting my blogging duties lately.  What can I say... it's been a busy summer, full of lots of fun, crazy activities, lots of insanely massive construction and deconstruction projects, lots of animals to tend to, lots of babies and children to care for, and, of course, I am starting that homeschool class in the Fall.  You only live once, might as well make it count!

In a nutshell, here's a run-down of the kids' summer:

-We had baby goats and a whole lot of baby chicks this summer!  Unfortunately, we weren't able to sell the baby goats as quickly as we needed to, so they are here-- sucking up all that yummy goat's milk.  We aren't really set up to have a separate area for the babies, so we aren't milking the mommas right now.  As far as the chickens go, the incubator has been running all summer.  It seems the humidity was much easier to get right in the Spring, and my hatch rate has declined ever since.  Nevertheless, the school room has seen a constant flow of newborn chicks, waiting to grow feathers and get big enough to head outdoors.

-Asa and Addison went to away camp with Anna, which was an absolute blast for all involved!  I was able to hear stories of my silly little children, and to hear of how the were in separate groups, able to be completely independent of each other for a change.

-The boys went to vacation Bible School with Marisa at Harps, and the three "big" kids went to our church's VBS here in Inman.  They had a great time, and it seems we will be listening to the VBS music on repeat for months to come-- especially "Give Thanks", as Asa wants to hear it over and over again, practicing his vocals.

 -Jeff and I took the kids to the Laser Show at Stone Mountain.  They updated it, so it was a new show for us.  We left Olive at home (thankfully!), but Ivey really enjoyed it!  Ivey totally forgot that she was watching the side of a mountain.  She thought of it as more a movie shot on the side of some horses. There's one part where it looks like the mountain is breaking away, showing a volcano scene on the inside.  Ivey shouted, "That's not a good idea!!".  Fun times.

-There has been a lot of progress on the old house.  The carport has been replaced, siding put up, windows replaced, and the front porch is in progress.  It's going to look like a whole new house!  At the same time, Jeff has been spending a lot of time down at our property.  He has taken the shack completely apart!  More on that later....

-We took the kids for a trip to the cabin in Jasper.  It was a nice get-away, although Jeff seemed a bit overwhelmed by the un-get-away-ness of staying in a one room cabin with 4 children.  For me, it was a trip away from the typical dishes, laundry, cleaning, and basically a time where I could forget the feeling of struggling to tread domestic waters, and failing.  Jeff took Asa, Addison, and Ivey down to the creek.  It seems that Ivey, although scared of caterpillars, will walk right through a big creek of mud.... sinking in past her shoes.  She was stuck, floundered around, fell, and basically swam around in it... happy as, well, a pig in mud.  When he carried her all the way back up the mountain and into the cabin, he was red faced and exhausted, and she was butt naked and caked in mud.  Now, that is one successful trip!

-On the 4th of July, we took the kids to the parade in Peachtree City.  It was HOT, but fun.  That night, we went to watch the fireworks with the Jeffers', where the boys were snatched up and abducted by a couple 9 year old blondes, who decided they must play with them for the night.  It was entertaining to say the least.  Those boys didn't know what hit 'em, and it made me smile to think that in a few short years, the whole game will change.

-We spent a lot of time trying to survive the heat.  This involved a lot of sprinklers, inflatable waterslides, and the above ground pool.  It really is unbearable to play outside without some sort of water involved, which is a shame since Olive is most happy outdoors.  Actually, we have to use different doors throughout the house in order to sneak in when she is around.  If she sees the door open, she BOLTS for it!

-Randy and Linda took us, plus Mike, whitewater rafting this month!  I think I was the most excited, followed by Asa.  Jeff could be in there somewhere, but he's harder to read (unless Disney is involved).  Addison was his cautious little self.  Our risk manager.  He was most concerned with the temperature of the water, as well as whether or not Daddy would throw him in.  The further we drove, the more nervous he became.  However, as apprehensive as he may have been, he always had a level of excitement about the whole thing.  As we approached the rafting site he said, "When will we be there?"  In unison, Jeff and I told him that were were there.  "Yay!....... ish" was his response.  That statement summed up my boy.  Yay-ish.  Apprehension aside, everyone had a great time.... and no one threw anyone overboard!

-I have been working my tushy off on our homeschool class for our 3rd grade year.  It started as an idea, and rapidly grew to a program with 6 teachers for various subjects, 10 total students (so far), and the approval for us to use the church's Youth House for our program!  We will be meeting on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30-3:00, and cover all core classes plus Spanish, art, and music!  I have been working a lot on lesson plans, advertising, and generally getting my ducks in a row.  Asa asked me the other day why I was doing this.  My response him was, "Do you remember when you said that you liked homeschooling but you wanted a class to eat lunch with?  Well.... I had to make you one!"  Although the kids put along, not thinking much about it, I stop and remind myself that, one day, they will look back and think of their crazy mother and her crazy ideas... and the crazy education that she gave them.  I hope they look back on it with fond memories of friends, fun, and freedom from the "system".

So, as you can see, there is a good reason for my delinquency.  I have been swamped.  I'll try to do better, as I love soaking up every bit of this crazy life I lead and saving it for me to look back on in bittersweetly calmer days, when I will look back and savor every last detail.