Friday, August 18, 2017

Hitting the Reset Button // Updates

Wow, I almost can't believe it's been so long since I've posted on the blog. I've been thinking about getting back into blogging and came here to see what I could see. Apparently, some elements of my blog have changed in my absence -- there's now a "missing image" block from Photobucket indicating that I need to pay a $399/year fee in order for them to allow me to use their site as a 3rd party host. Hmmmmm.......yeah, I'll pass on that. But now I gotta figure out just what images are being pre-empted and do I want to use them anyway. Decisions, decisions! (I'm halfway tempted to scrap this blog and start over - but there are some posts that I still refer back to.

It looks like my blogging took an abrupt pause in early 2015. That year and the following year were very difficult. My life started changing dramatically mid-October, 2015. First, my good friend at my church and her family moved away out of state. She was our main pianist and her husband was our assistant pastor. Their children and my Gracie played well together and she was my main Mommy friend here in Memphis. About a week after they moved, our pastor unexpectedly resigned our church. I think it was the very next day after that (or possibly the next week after - time gets muddled in my mind, but it was a very short time), my mother called me, coughing her head off so much that I couldn't understand her. Her pastor who was with her talked to me and said that she was on her way to the ER. Gracie and I left the very morning to go see her and take care of her. To abbreviate the story (which can be read on CaringBridge), a month or so after that, my mom was diagnosed with cancer (squamous cell carcinoma), and we (Gracie and I) spent the five months helping to take care of her, tag-teaming with my brothers, my heroes. It was a long-but-too-short battle that resulted in a bittersweet ending: My mom fought bravely, manifesting a testimony of strength that has been inspiring to me; but the Lord took her home to be with Him. In the middle of that battle, my church began seeking a new pastor and we are blessed to have a man whom I have known for over a decade and who is the perfect pastor for our church.

When we came back home in April of 2016, I had to transition back to a new normal for my life. It was a very difficult year. I have never been so glad to see a year end like I was to see December 31, 2016. I had started the 2015-2016 (Kindergarten) school year early in July. It sounded crazy, but I was ready, and Gracie was ready, so I thought, "Why not?" I can see that God led in this decision as well as others because when we went to go take care of my mother, we were ahead. I quickly learned that hospitals and homeschooling do not mix very well -- at least not when there are many interruptions. Over the next 5 months, we did not progress very far in the normal academics, but my daughter learned much about LIFE and SERVING. Towards the end of my mother's illness, I could see a jump in Gracie's reading ability. I remember her being able to read the words on the bucket of Easter candy (motivation, right?) at the nurse's station. She also learned how to read hundreds (100, 200, 300, 400, 500, etc.) by reading one of my mother's medical bags. We were blessed to have been able to be a part of two great churches in the area. Anyway, by the time we got back, I did a double-up and triple-up, and let's-skip-this-and-that (because she was doing quite well on it already) on her schoolwork so that we could finish up Kindergarten. I had her participate in a homeschool kindergarten graduation with one of her friends from American Heritage Girls in early May even though we didn't finish her work until June. I also spent some of that time trying to produce some order in the house (a little hard to do since we brought home a trailer-load of stuff from my mom's house).

One of the best things I did was decide to keep things as simple as possible for the next year. I had some added responsibilities as the administratrix of my mother's estate, but, for the most part, I tried to keep things simple. We continued to do American Heritage Girls, violin lessons, and soccer in the fall, but I did not resume swimming lessons until February of this year. (Amazingly, she did not regress at all, but seemed to be better than she did 16 months prior to that!) We enjoyed a wonderful trip to California to visit my brother and his family for my niece's wedding. The only downside was that we started 1st grade in late August instead of in July. I didn't want our school year to be interrupted by our trip, plus I didn't even get all my school materials (backorder) until August. We also enjoyed seeing my husband's side of the family in Atlanta for Kinsey Christmas in March. We enjoyed a full day of activities together (Coke Museum, escape room, Georgia Aquarium). Somehow, I had to really push to finish First Grade by my self-imposed end date of the last Friday of May. I think we were both kind of glad to be done with First Grade.

I took the whole month of June off. I intended to use that month to, once again, attempt to produce order in my house. I did as much as I could do, and my husband began a project that I had asked to be done for my Christmas present -- turning the utility room (catch-all room for man junk) into a pantry/storage room. Well, he took off a week from work, and wouldn't you know it? We had a horrific storm come through Memphis and we lost power for three days. That put him terribly behind and between needing to work on the weekends sometimes and just being exhausted, he hasn't yet finished my pantry. I'm at a stand-still with my plans-of-great-order until it is finished. I have hopes that Labor Day will see it completed. There's not that much left to do, but since he has removed the panel to the electrical fusebox and has not allowed me in the room at all, I can't even try to do any of it. Not that I have the time or the ability to do a good job with it. So I will be patient. But it's going to be amazing. Two preview words for you: Happy Color and really cool IKEA hacks.

I have made a few small changes to our homeschool plans for Second Grade and we did a "soft start" on July 10th. I will post more about that another time. So, if anyone is still here, comment below to say Hi, to share some homeschooling tips. or mention a few things you would like to see on the blog. Since so much of my life has changed since 2015, should I go ahead and change addresses and start a new blog with a new name and a new location?

In the meantime, I do Instagram at @mrskinsey. I think that's also my Twitter handle, but I mostly lurk on there. My personal Facebook feed is already overloaded with people I actually know and I know I don't have time to do anything with the 21st Century Keeper at Home Facebook page, so don't feel compelled to join that. In fact, just typing out that long name is almost impetus enough to rebrand with a (shorter) new name, etc. for the blog. Suggestions welcome. Prizes will include a Thank You and a shoutout.
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