Birthdays

So of course the day after I blog about not needing home to be tidy and decorated, I decorated for Pentecost. You can get the origami paper for the flames from Door Number 9 on Etsy. Don’t worry, the rest of my kitchen is still dirty.

In addition to today being the birthday of the Church… Raphael is 5.

He asked for a golden dragon.

It came with a nice hardback copy of Farmer Giles of Ham.

Yes, he is so excited that that is tape stuck in his hair.

Not pictured are the copy of Lego Batman 1 for the Wii and the high backed booster seat he finally grew big enough to ride in.

I felt really guilty about buying him a new booster seat for a birthday present, but he needed the booster and honestly after a collective total of 14 birthdays and 16 Christmases, there just isn’t much we don’t have already.

Turns out he’s so excited to use a seatbelt that I needn’t have worried.

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Marthas are Messy

It’s very peaceful here this morning. Tree arrived last night and I was up too late and didn’t do my dishes, but I got up and got the dishwasher and clotheswasher running and drank coffee and waited for the children to start appearing.

Himself got up early to work on a broken freezer to tool cabinet conversion project he has.

Raphael is watching Wild Kratts. Julian is pulling all the board books off the shelf. David is reading A Series of Unfortunate Events. I’m making a PDF of the Clue sheets because the Clue-crazy boys on my block have used them all up.

And as I look around at the mess and the insanity up here, I know I’m more at peace with the clutter inherent with people who live and breath and make and are in their home that I could ever be in a house that is painstakingly decorated and curated.

Decoration and curation and painful order are also an expression of self. They just aren’t the expression of myself. Or my children’s selves. Or Himself. Although Himself is the most consciously distressed by the mess, and so I make an effort to keep mine in check for his sake. And keeping messes in check is less ‘run around cleaning up after everyone’ and more ‘finish what you started and stop squirreling’. Which is pretty hard for all of us. Thus the mess. At least we’re happier this way than in a painfully clean house with nowhere comfy to flop around and llama-face.

Many, many essays call on houses to be clean and orderly as a fundamental expression of the Christian life in the domestic church. But as for me and my house… we all make things. Compulsively and unstoppably. We cook, we grill, we garden, we embroider, we knit, we woodwork, we paint, we cosplay, we educate, we science, we write, we shoot, we chainmail, we photograph. We pray. And it’s all visceral and tangible and messy and imperfect. But it is us. We are sub creators. We would wither on the vine without tools and materials and conundrums.

A house does not have to be always painfully cleaned and ordely to express the domestic church. It is the love of those who live within it that expresses this.

For thus says the LORD,

The creator of the heavens,

who is God,

The designer and maker of the earth

who established it,

Not as an empty waste did he create it,

but designing it to be lived in:

We live, and as we live, we make, and as we make, we love.

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Rapidly Changing Circumstances

1. I know I resolved to write here daily, or at least more frequently, and I was pretty good for, oh maybe a month. Then my world went into a weird spiral of stuff that I can’t really discuss here. I don’t handle massive changes well. And so much is changing so rapidly that I can barely keep my head on straight.

Which is a long way of saying, “Well. Back up on the horse.” At least this is a goal, which means I can keep working on it, instead of it being a resolution broken beyond mending.

2. So there’s that Yanny versus Laurel thing going on. The idea that perceptions can be this variable is really fascinating for me, so I have conducted some completely unscientific tests on what people around me hear.

Myself: Laurel
Himself: Yanny
David: Larry
Emmanuel: Laurel
Elijah: Larry
Raphael: Buttcheek
Julian: Attempted to take off his diaper

David’s friends were bemused by the whole thing, but humored me. They’re good kids.

Also, writing is increasingly a more objective media than audio/video. I’m even more distressed at the increasing purponderance of audio video these days over text.

3. Speaking of video, Melanie’s husband Dom finally rickrolled me, with a Laurel/Yanny video. I lasted a good long time in the rickroll phenomenon before I succumbed though.

4. Also about E&E: I asked them which middle school they attended, mostly because I wanted to know what middle school our neighborhood fed into. David chastized me for being excessively nosy, and I explained that while they were in my house, I had a limited parent’s responsibility for their welfare, and that meant I was allowed to be mildly nosy and ask where they went to school. Ten minutes later, Himself arrived home and spontaneously greeted them with “Hello, adopted children!”

5. Yesterday, I assigned David 8 pages of history to read. David complained vigorously about having to read so much since it was more than one section. So we ‘compromised’. I told him he could read the next section (2 pages) but he had to write a summary essay on it. We discussed how to pull out the main idea from each paragraph and he wrote an essay, which I then typed, correcting the spelling and making some grammatical repairs, which he then recopied. It is below, because I think he actually did some pretty good work here.

Warring states were united by powerful kings. This also happened in ancient China. There were six warlords. Each controlled a section of China. The army of Emperor Qin was the strongest army. They had one million men. The other warring states hated Qin, so the Qin conquered them one by one. He was so worried that he forced the warlords to live in his capitol so he could keep his eye on them. He also had thousands of books burned. He didn’t want anyone getting ideas. He was killing and burning to keep his power intact.

This essay took All. Day. *shudder* But he got it out in the end, and it did consist of reading, history, composition, handwriting, spelling, and grammar. So it’s only missing math, and he does plenty of math for fun. He’s doing another one today, which seems to be going much more quickly. I don’t know if it’s confidence brought about by yesterday’s essay or the promise of Lego Mindstorm robotics work with my dad afterwards.

6. Speaking of writing, this reminds me of some recent research, which says two spaces after a period may be objectively better than one. I don’t have access to this paper so I can’t comment on their methodology. But I found the note that one’s personal preference was associated with the differences to be both interesting and not very surprising.

7. Julian is losing his shit and I gotta go. If I wasn’t already ADHD, motherhood would make me so. Toodles.

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