Right at the end of 2019 my kids fell ill with croup which was a first for us. Mr. 2 felt terrible, and it was scary to hear that cough, but they all pulled through. We ushered in 2020 with a few sniffles.
I had three goals for this year.
1: Spend less time on my phone
2: Take more family nature walks that included my husband.
3: Find a project I could work on. Something that I could use as an artistic outlet that would bring me joy and give me a sense of accomplishment. I chose a monthly phenology wheel. It was intimidating at first, but turned out to be really fun and I’m very proud of it.
Our normal rhythm started back up after the holiday. We really missed morning basket.
Miss 3 turned 4 at the end of this month, and she asked if we could spend some time for her b-day exploring a creek where we’ve found some great fossils, and further down there’s a little waterfall. It’s a beautiful spot that we’ve visited before and made a huge impression on her. She also asked for a unicorn themed party and a cake with REAL strawberries on it. My in-laws joined us for her party at home later that day.
Our family nature outing took us to one of the many nearby lakes, where the water receded to leave a bit of a sand and small rocky edge for the kids to play on. It was windy and chilly, but of course it didn’t bother them at all. The weather warmed up quite a bit later on this month and we also visited our favorite local nature spot by our house, but it ended with Miss 4 taking off her shoes and accidentally stepping on a honey locust thorn from a fallen tree. We had to head home pretty quickly to tend to her wound.
Miss 5 lost one of her top teeth (naturally), no outside forces knocking this one out! =)
We started The Wind in the Willows as a family read aloud and it quickly became my all time favorite children’s book!
I started noticing that I was feeling a little off with some odd neurological sensations of tingling in my head, hands and feet accompanied with dizziness and tension headaches. I visited my doctor who ended up taking x-rays of my cervical spine and discovered that I have mild to moderate scoliosis with a little bit of degeneration of my spine, which after telling my mom about was apparently something I’ve had my whole life! Go figure!
I visited a holistic wellness doctor later who talked me into switching to a whole food vitamin brand and a probiotic, but she wasn’t able to help me with my dizziness and tingling sensations.
Mr. 7 lost another tooth (top left), soccer season has started and my husband volunteered to be the coach for Miss 5’s team which she named The Dragonflies. School is still happening, hikes are still happening, Covid started appearing in the news.
More visits were made to our beautiful nature spot and picnics by the pond reading Wind in the Willows. We’re lucky to have such a peaceful place in the middle of 6 million people.
My doctor ended up referring me to a neurologist who also took an mri of my brain and spinal cord to rule out anything serious, we found out pretty quickly (but felt like a lifetime waiting) that everything was normal there. I still had symptoms with no answers.
My health really started becoming an issue. The dizziness and tension headaches were tiresome and I started having heart palpitations that were not anxiety related. I also had what I self diagnosed as silent reflux.
I went through even more testing for the heart palpitations with all results coming out normal, and no one could officially diagnose me.
My health is now at the forefront of conversations with my husband as we were at a loss!
I was able to finish up school with the kids, we had final exams, and we even finished early since we took very little time off.
For the first time, we had an extra long summer break with, as it turns out absolutely nothing to do thanks to the lock down. Also, soccer was canceled, and we wouldn’t be able to attend any summer library classes, or dance lessons.
My husband did continued to work through the lock down, and we were able to pull through financially.
We had a lazy few weeks off from school, but started getting restless pretty quickly. I tried a few unit studies to keep us occupied. The kids and I enjoyed the weather and outdoor time at our local nature spots. We pulled out the projector for a few outdoor movie, and camping nights with the kids.
One-on-one baking with the kids and teatimes happened frequently. We really tried not to stress over our new reality of social distancing. I have avoided the news and doom scrolling. Life as my kids know it (besides the lock down and social distancing requirements) is normal. This month was full of read alouds, baking, teatimes, sunshine, dinners on the patio, and catching fireflies in our backyard.
Oh, and Mr. 7 lost another tooth this month!
Miss 5 lost one of her bottom teeth suddenly and without warning, which startled us all. A quick trip to the dentist let us know all was fine.
We celebrated Father’s Day, and the kids themed teatimes were getting fancier and fancier, challenging our baking skills (thanks to watching the Great British Baking Show together).
Our summer reading stack was chosen, but I abandoned a series of books by Steven K. Smith that didn’t align with our family morals (kids lying to parents repeatedly) which reminded me again to pre-read our books!
The weather really warmed up and we started exploring more outdoor areas around us locally. The kids have been jumping into the creeks with their clothes on, and making mud pies for me to judge.
We have been contemplating moving out of the metroplex and into a small town somewhere on the outskirts with more land and view. We took a handful of short road trips to check out different areas and dreamed up what life could be like out of the concrete.
Hot, hot, hot. We spent more time inside playing games. We started taking the kids to a state park with easy access to a river. Reservations were made and it wasn’t crowded at all. Turns out our river trips would be the highlight of our summer. I wish we could have camped out there, but we never did. We made it there 4 times this summer. It was about an hour drive one way and the days were long, but we came home sun kissed, and very happy.
We made our annual 4th of July cake, and more teatimes were had. We found a toad in our kiddie pool, and Miss 5 was the only one brave enough pick it up.
The kids found a tiny creature in the garden and thought it could POSSIBLY be a baby dinosaur, but found out it was a newborn squirrel. We took the it to a woman in Fort Worth who rehabs them, and never saw him again.
The house across from us was bulldozed and that offered a few hours of entertainment. We were able to meet our soon to be new neighbors who have two boys, one being the same age as our oldest.
Mr. 2 turned 3 this month, and we spent a quiet b-day celebrating him at home complete with a Beat Bugs themed cake.
Since not a single doctor I went to could diagnose my health issues, I decided to take matters into my own hands and drastically changed my diet to eat more alkaline/low acidic foods, and started back with my daily yoga practices. Miraculously, the yoga helped most of the dizziness and tingling symptoms, which tells me I was probably out of alignment. The alkaline diet didn’t help too much with the reflux, but it set me on the right track to eating healthier than I ever have
This is the month of birthdays and the end of summer celebrations.
Miss 5 turned 6, and she asked for a Polly Pocket themed cake. She was given her first jewelry box among few other things, and her siblings made her some thoughtful gifts. We also moved her into her own room so she could have space and order without her belongings being destroyed.
We celebrated our oldest turning 8 and headed back to the river again, but were advised against playing in the still, and low waters since they discovered brain eating amoebas!
We went hiking around the river and up the side of a cliff, but it was hot and part of the trail had a slippery slope of rock, which scared Miss 4 and me.
We abandoned the trail, and came home early for a quiet b-day celebration. Mr. 8’s big gift was a pair of roller blades in lieu of the skateboard he asked for, and he’s pretty good on them! I also found him a used desk on marketplace.
I turned 41 and spent the day snuggling the kids, and reading through another Bible I bought for myself. My husband worked all day, but celebrated with us afterwards.
Homeschool 2020/20201 was excitedly welcomed at the beginning of this month, our official 3rd year in. We were all ready for a new books, and new adventures! Even though it’s still hot here in September, the nostalgic feelings of fall are just around the corner. We did all of our fun “back to school” themed activities like picture taking, apple taste testing, and fall crafting.
We had a surprise pumpkin plant pop up in our yard. I was able to harvest a few small white pumpkins for decoration, and we even built a fairy pumpkin house.
Lessons were in full swing. We didn’t seem to skip a beat and jumped right back into it all. School was smooth sailing for this month!
The kids and I headed back to our regular nature spot. We made fancy palmiers and lemon curd (that curdled) for our many teatimes. We enjoyed read alouds outside, and our sweet neighbor friend even joined us for a few of them. We all enjoyed being able to share that tradition with her.
My husband’s b-day was this month and we loved on him with homemade baked goods. He’s been working so hard for us, leaving early in the morning and sometimes not coming home until after the kids go to bed 6 days a week. We are both exhausted, but always thankful he has the work.
Miss 6 got herself stuck in our tree one afternoon, and I had to call the fire department to get her down. I’m sure we were the talk of our neighborhood!
I abandoned the alkaline diet and on a whim, and switched to cutting out all grains, coffee and dairy. It CURED my silent reflux symptoms. I’m still amazed. For the first time all year, my health issues have gone away, and I feel normal again.
The best news of all this month was that I found out I was pregnant with baby number 5. I did have to take a few sick weeks, and I struggled finding a new school rhythm that worked for us. Subjects needed to be shifted around, and I couldn’t figure out what or where.
The kids were pumped up about Halloween, but for the first time I felt pulled away from celebrating this holiday. We didn’t take the kids to our regular trick-or-treating neighborhood, but we did do a really fun candy scavenger hunt at our house, then had a read aloud picnic outside while the kids wore their costumes. That evening, we visited their Grandparent’s, where they were given their fair share of candy. We came home and watched a family movie, then called it a night.
Our tiny master bath remodel has begun. The walls have been knocked down, so no turning back now!
It was a beautiful month with beautiful weather. We announced the pregnancy to the kids and family. We had a quiet Thanksgiving at home. We watched the Macy’s Parade, played in the backyard, and a had a nice grain free dinner complete with two pies. I was surprised to find so many delicious, grain free recipes out there!
We bought a fake Christmas tree and put it up as soon as it came in, and made salt dough ornaments for it. We were so ready for Christmas this year, and decided to start decorating as soon as possible.
I realized another change that needed to be made for school were break weeks. I was hoping we could focus on our lessons for a good 11 weeks and then take the following week off after exams. However, we lost steam before then. We’ll be going back to the Sabbath school schedule of 6 weeks on 1 week off so there will be less burnout for us.
I’ve really been getting into holistic medicine and have stocked our medicine cabinet with essential oils, whole food vitamins, and various herbal tinctures. I’m trying to bump up our immune systems, hoping this will be a good first line of defense, before we try other medicines.
We started off the month with a picnic by a different part of the lake, and spent a few hours there watching the kids play and fill their clothes with sticker burrs.
Five days after our picnic, we lost our baby at 13 weeks gestation. It hit me harder than I ever imagined. Our second loss, but this time around it feels like we might not have another chance. That feeling of finality almost seems like too much to bear at times.
And then Emily, a very dear homeschooling mama who was also pregnant with number five suddenly passed away. Her tragic passing hit our homeschooling community hard. She was a friend to many, she was always so encouraging, a believer in Jesus, and a incredibly bright light in this world. It’s an inconceivable loss.
If you feel in your heart you would like to donate to her family, her husband Joe and their four young children so they can spend the next year or more readjusting to life without their beloved Emily, here is their GoFundMe page. Here is her Instagram page for you to scroll though to see all of the light she brought to this world. We are all so heartbroken over the loss of Em and her unborn baby.
We ended up trading out our fake tree for a real one, and welcomed my parents for a (too short) visit for Christmas. After the hard year and even harder December, seeing their faces really helped my heart.
This was the year we spilled the beans about Santa and fully shifted our focus to Advent. My grief from the loss of our baby really kept me from baking much of anything with the kids or reading many picture books.
But, as I type this on the last day of the year, my heart doesn’t feel as heavy from the loss.
I do feel this is the beginning of my healing both physically and emotionally, and I’m looking forward to celebrating the full 12 days of Christmas with my family into the new year.
Peace and Love to you all.