Tuesday, January 31, 2012

600 sq ft of "spaciousness"

I was talking with complaining to my best friend back in Oregon the other night about our frustrations at the twelve of us living in, and trying to work in, 600 sq ft, and this is what she said to me:  I know you're going to want to slap me, but the pictures you've taken of the mobile make it look spacious
The view from the kitchen.
She and I have been friends for sixteen years, so she knows me well, and she was right; I did want to slap her.  And so this picture post is for my dear friend, Karen.  We didn't clean up for these pictures (though we do clean everyday, multiple times day, because we have to in order to function), and they include the handling of 25 loads of laundry brought home from the laundry mat on Sunday, and then line drying 21 of those loads.  And keep in mind that our mobile home is a whopping twelve feet wide.  This is our life, our house, on any given day....
The view from the "living room."
The "living room", but I like to think of it as my master suite...lol.
The view from the master suite.

So, spacious, or not?

Donation Money

First, a big huge thank you to those of you that have donated money.  I'm sending thank you cards to all of you in the mail, and in them part of what I say is this; We promise that we will use your generous gift towards a much needed project on our new homestead....and that's our pledge to any donations we receive!  And, it goes without saying that I will blog about our projects.

After several days of discussing how to spend the money, it was decided as a family that we wanted to get our riding lawn mower fixed.  It has been broken since the summer before last.  My man and Columbus spent countless hours fixing one problem, only to have another problem surface.  It's latest aliment is an electrical short somewhere.  My man is not electrically inclined, and so the lawn mower has just sat. 

When the lawn mower works we use it for more than just mowing the lawn.  We have a trailer that attaches to the back to haul things around, and now that we are on four acres there's a lot of hauling to be done.  The boys are most excited about the idea of having the mower back in running condition, because when it is broken it makes their jobs harder.

WOW! ~ look at all of that laundry line! :)

In the mean time, I did use a little of the money to add to my laundry line (but nothing fancy like Double Nickle Farm's new laundry room addition).  The kids and I went to the laundry mat (with 25 loads) on Sunday, and on our way home we stopped to get more of what we call man litter for our humanure toilet, and I picked up some eye hooks and laundry line, too.  My man hung it for me yesterday morning, and it made me so happy (silly, I know, but sometimes it's just the littlest of things that make us happy) to have the extra space to get clothes hung and dried, not to mention how much money I saved not using the clothes dryer!

The kids and I have been busy working outside clearing brush.  Today was a beautiful sixty-degree day with sunny blue skies!  We are loving our mild winter this year!!  I can't wait to show off how much area we cleared in my This Weeks Progress post.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Mystic Mud on Facebook

You can now get your news from the mountaintop on Facebook.  "LIKE" the Mystic Mud page and be updated on our latest blog posts and happenings. 

Food Post - homemade pesto

My man got me my first ever food processor last Christmas.  I'd never really wanted one before, but one day we were watching a cooking show and it was all about homemade pesto - bamm!  I wanted a food processor so that I could make some homemade pesto, too!


If you like pesto, you will love homemade pesto even more, which I didn't think was even possible, but it is.  If you've never tried pesto - you're missing out.  This homemade stuff was like a party in my mouth. 

I sauteed shrimp and mushrooms in a little butter, lemon juice, and fresh garlic cloves.  The pesto was good by itself, but there was a little a lot something extra when I added the shrimp and mushrooms.




Pesto

* 3 cups packed fresh basil leaves

* 4 cloves garlic

* 3/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese

* 1/2 cup olive oil

* 1/4 cup pine nuts

* 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)

**  I did add the parsley, but I used dried because that was what I had on hand, and I didn't use 1/2 cup, I just threw some in.

**  I also added some salt and pepper.

If you make some be sure to let me know how it came out - I know you will love it!!  I can't wait to grow some fresh basil this spring, I bet that will make it even tastier.

Solar Shower

My Man bought this solar shower for me last week.....I know, sweet and thoughtful, huh! 

He had tried to buy me one before, but I didn't see the point and declined, so one day last week while in town without me he made the executive decision to buy one.  It bounced around in the box in came in for a few days, and then I finally shoved it someplace out of my way.  It wasn't that I wouldn't use it, I just wasn't desperate enough to use it.  When we first moved out here I kept waiting for the well the be hooked up, and during my wait I sat in my own funk, too stubborn to take a sponge bath, again, I just wasn't desperate enough.  At some point the sponge bath sounded tolerable and I broke down and tried it.  Surprisingly enough, it was refreshing, but at that point I suppose a spray bottle and a bar of soap would have been refreshing, too.

So, after spending two days working clearing brush with the kids my body was sore and I started dreaming out loud about a bath.  My man took this opportunity to heat some water and fill the bag for me.  He knows me well enough to know I was finally desperate enough to try it.

My review - This five gallon bag of lukewarm water with a short little hose and plastic sprayer would be fine for a weekend camping trip because the whole time you were using it you would know you were a mere 24 to 48 hours away from going home to your real house, with a real shower, and plenty of water as hot as you wanted it.  But, say you are someone like me who hasn't had a real shower in 27 days.....I don't know, maybe it was because I was sore and desperate and just wanted a hot something - bath or shower, I wasn't feeling picky, but it was kind of a big let down. 

The bathroom was cold, so there I stood shivering and naked in my avocado green bathtub, fumbling around trying to spray all of my parts feeling like a dog on a chain being jerked to a stop while attempting to do the natural thing of chasing a rabbit....read; the hose is too damn short.  And to turn the water flow on or off you twist the little red nozzle - easier said than done with wet soapy hands.  Obviously, there isn't any real water pressure, so attempting to rinse one handed and spray with the other hand.....it was awkward, to say the least.  I actually stood there missing my bucket of hot water.
 
The only thing I really liked about this gizmo is the rinse cycle is provides.  My body and hair actually felt clean when I was done, verses rinsing with used soapy water from a bucket does not leave a person feeling so clean.  Ideally, I would have both a bucket (to wash) and the solar shower (to rinse), but honestly, I know I'm just not that ambitious to heat water for both.  And besides, my man ended up helping me rinse my hair by holding the sprayer for me so that I could use both hands to get the shampoo out of my hair.  I'm not so sure I want to be stuck with taking showers that are a two person job.

Kudos to my man for trying, he really is a sweetie, but I think if I have to choose between this or a bucket; I'm going with the bucket.

Friday, January 27, 2012

This Weeks Progress

 I was tempted to publish this post with a blank page, because at first glance it didn't feel like we had got anything done this week, but on second thought I realized that wasn't fair.  I knew we had to have done something - I just needed to put my mind to it and remember the week.

There are no pictures of my mans office this week because he hasn't touched it.  We decided that he needed to focus on making some money for next months bills.  We knew him working in the mobile would be difficult and cramped, but there really wasn't any other choice.  Neither of us were prepared for how impossible it has been.  He has worked, so I guess it's not accurate to call it impossible, but it's been difficult.  The mobile is small (the understatement of the year), and the dinning table and beds take up most of the floor space, leaving a basic and narrow path through the place.  Between the kids needing the table to eat, and then do their school work, there really isn't any room for my man to set up and work.  I think we both felt like we were spinning our wheels on the work issue. 

By Wednesday, which was a beautiful day, we decided to take the afternoon off and go do something fun.  I think we were both so frustrated with the situation we were getting bogged down with how impossible it felt.  So, we headed out to a local Mennonite community.  It was a nice drive, and they have a general store and leather shop, so we wandered around and checked out their stuff.  Then we headed over to Goodwill to look for pants for little people who had worn holes in too many pairs, and so were at risk of going naked from the waist down. 

Somewhere during the week I came to realize that I was in a rut.  How, I don't know, we just got here.  I thought back to when we first moved out here and the plans we made to start clearing the land, but it was cold, or raining, or I was busy doing other things, and then after awhile I guess I just got used to looking at all the overgrowth and didn't really notice it anymore.  I decided it was time to get busy, and what a perfect solution to my man getting some time inside to work and make money!  Thursday, I took kids to get water and run errands.  Friday, I rounded up my work crew and we set out to clear some land and burn some brush.


Before













After
 




Before


After
 






Mom, proving she can use a power tool.



Our work in progress.







Sugar King in charge of burning brush.



We started a compost pile.
 



Wow - so much nicer:)

 It looks pretty darn good, doesn't it!?  It felt so good to go out there and work.  It felt good to take charge and see progress.  I'd go so far as to say that I now feel inspired. My muscles are sore, but I feel alive in a way I haven't in years!  Cleo stayed in the house and watched Baby Man, but the rest of the kids came out with me and helped - and we got a lot done. 

A day off for some fun:)
In other homesteading news - the tarp that we hung over our door and that we were using to catch rain water with is coming apart.  Between the snow, and a couple of storms, it's not in that great of shape, and it's not doing an effective job at catching water now.  We need to replace it, or find someplace else to hang one to catch rain water.  Having rain water to take baths and wash dishes with has made a huge difference in how many times I have to go get water from town.

Other than that there isn't much to report.  A cat has been missing for a week, we have no idea what happened to him.  The weather should be decent for the next few days, so I plan to continue taking my work crew out to clear brush to give my man a chance to work.  We hope that in a week or two he will be able to go back to working on his office. 



Beautiful Baby Man:)

The pictures are kind of messed up - it's a blogger thing, not sure what is going on.
Tonight's "thank you" to my work crew, but they had to help with the cooking too:)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Choices

In the interest of keeping our story real, and in response to a comment, it should be said that we had choices other than coming to the mountaintop.

When we bought our mountaintop property we had no means to make it livable.  We bought it solely on faith that everything always has a way of working out.  We bought it because other than taking my dad's offer to move in with him and his girlfriend in Arizona, we had no other place to go, and although his offer was generous, it didn't provide us with any long term answers to our problems. 

We bought the property because it was the only answer that we saw that we thought we could become self sustaining with.  We had decided that it was time to live within our means.  Even if that meant living without utilities, or crapping in a bucket, and even if that meant our house was only four walls and a roof.  We were ready to do what ever it took to be someplace we could afford and feel safe.  We spent a lot of time trying to figure out how we would make it all work, and then we unexpectedly came into some money, and it was just enough money to give us choices. 

We could have gone back to Oregon, we could have saved our dream house, or we could have gone someplace and rented.  All of the choices we had were tempting, especially going back to Oregon.  Oregon is home to us, and after the beating we took nothing in this world felt more tempting than the opportunity to go home.  Just the idea of familiar streets and places, the chance to revisit all of the places that held important memories - where we got married, the spot by the river where we had our first kiss and that we named our first daughter after, the coast and the countless trips we made to play on the beach...so many places to visit again, to relive better days.  They all would have been a welcome chance to renew and forget - forget the last five years like they had never even happened.

It was painful to have these choices, because we wanted needed, so desperately, to make the right choice.  We spent countless hours contemplating, discussing, and looking into options.  We went back and forth, too many times to count.  We went to bed knowing what the best answer was, only to wake up unsure, again.  In the end, even though we wanted nothing more than to go home, and saving the dream house seemed the sensible thing, or renting looked to be our best immediate option, we chose the mountaintop because it still seemed our best long term option.

Moving to the mountaintop didn't seem the easiest of our choices, but it seemed the better of our choices.  Our mountaintop represents a chance at freedom.  A chance for us to explore another side of life that we've wondered about for years, but were too afraid to do.  I'm not so sure that the last five years were a mistake as much as they were preparing us for this time in our lives.  I've spent too much time on homesteading forums and seen far too many people talking about wanting to homestead someday to believe that taking the step from our modern day life to a trailer on raw land with limited utilities was the easy thing to do.  I'm not sure if we ever really would have done it if we hadn't had a push of some sort of another from somewhere.

And so, in telling our story as it unfolds, it is only fair to say that we were not forced onto the mountaintop.  We were not imprisoned by lack of choices.  We'd like to believe that we set ourselves free from today's societal ideals of how life should be to redefine a simpler and more primal life that we desire. 

I was talking with my oldest son today about a commenter on this blog suggesting that I put a donate link on it.  At 16, he was uncomfortable with the idea because he didn't want people to give us money out of pity, or because they thought we were poor.  I about choked at that last part, because all I could think was, but we are poor.  Our children don't see the poverty that now surrounds them, because it hasn't been presented to them that way.  What's been presented to them is that mom and dad have fallen on hard times, and that they will do what ever it takes for all of us to stay together and be a family, and they've been raised to believe that family is everything.  They see our commitment to them and each other, they see us meet their needs, even if they have to wait a little while, or the need is meet in an unexpected and creative way.  And most importantly; they trust us.  They trust that we will make good on our promise to keep working for as long as it takes to make their lives as best we can on any given day.

Today, as we drove along talking, I was so proud of the man my son is becoming.  I was proud of his sense of pride, and honored that he still has that much faith in his parents.  We talked more and I asked him if I wrote a book and sold it if he would consider that charity?  No, replied.  And so then I asked what the difference was between a book and a live blog that told our story one day at a time?  Then that would be okay, he said, I just don't want it to be about people feeling sorry for us, because we don't need that.  And so I will put up the donate button for anyone who wants to reward this author of sorts for her time and effort, but Columbus has asked that you not send money because you feel sorry for him or his siblings.  He wants you to know that they are warm, well fed, safe, secure, and loving almost every minute of their new lives on the mountaintop.

On a lighter note, to other commenter's, I have removed the Disqus commenting.  There were just more problems with it than my computer illiterate self could fix.  I too, was frustrated, and so now it is gone and you have the ease of commenting with blogger comments:)

And to the final commenter who asked for more details on how our wood stove was installed - that post is coming soon.

I've enjoyed our journey together, so far, and I am flattered beyond words that you keep coming back and reading the words I put here and leaving comments - you make this new mountaintop living mama happy.  Thank you:)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Memory Lane

I was on my computer today, and I stumbled across pictures I had forgotten about.  Really, I had forgotten about these moments from our lives altogether.  These pictures are from five years ago when we left Oregon and moved into our last house.  So much happened in five years that I guess I forgot about the beginning.  I look back on our smiling faces and see our hope and excitement for our new life.  The world was wide open to us when these pictures were taken, we were just starting out in a our dream house, in a new town, and we still had enough energy to believe we could make only good things come from it all. 

The last five years have been so busy, and full of so much that was, and was not expected, I guess I just got lost in it all and never stopped to remember, so it was a surprise to come across them today.  I know these pictures are us, but it seems so long ago, more like ten years ago, if it's really even us at all.  It's hard to explain, I suppose.

These pictures are a good reminder for me to stop and pay attention to life.  Not to the house, or the water, or the square feet, or how much money we do or don't have - but to the actual lives that surround me.  Despite anything else these little people are quickly growing up, and if I don't stop to be part of it now I will miss my opportunity.

The first seven kids
 We didn't even know I was pregnant when we left Oregon, so imagine our surprise when we found out we were having our 2nd set of twins!  My Man and the kids painted the pots in the background for my mothers day gift.
Pregnant with JoJo and G-Man

Two little baby men

Our cargo container all packed to leave Oregon.

The van all packed for the cross country trip.

Saying goodbye to neighbors and good friends.
JoJo and G-Man
For the first ten years of our married life I diligently kept family photo albums, but then we remolded our house in Oregon from top to bottom, had it on the market for a full year, and digital cameras became an affordable item for most everyone and....I lost track and stopped being so diligent at all.  The Rose's birth took place in the midst of these busy years and so her baby pictures have been lost in computer files.  The Rose is five now, and for most of the last year she has been asking where her baby pictures are - today she finally got to see them. 

The Rose and her mommy.
It was a nice trip down memory lane today.  We all huddled around the computer screen and looked at pictures of moments we had all forgotten about.  Baby Man is feeling better, cake-o-saurus is in it's final stages of creation, and the football game is on.....a perfect Sunday:)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

First Storm

We had our first really big storm last night.....and it was kinda scary in this little tin can of ours.  I've always liked the storms here in Tennessee, but in the past we watched them from the safety of a real house.  I was up half the night waiting for the mobile to take flight, or a tree to fall on it.  The weather radio still isn't plugged in, so that caused me additional worry.  I need to get it programmed and find a place to plug it in that it won't get played with by little fingers who like to push buttons.  I thought I had till closer to spring to worry about it, but last night was a reminder of how volatile the weather here can be.

Baby Man has been sick.  He's had a fever and some intestinal upset (read; he's a pooping machine).  Yesterday, he just wanted to lay in bed and nap while snuggled up at the snack bar.  I accommodated him, and used the time to read some gardening books and start to plan where to place fruit trees, herbs, and vegetables.  Today his fever is down some, but he is still fussy.  I'm going to have to load him up and take him to town to wash diapers even if he isn't feeling up to it.  We will get water while we are there, and do some grocery shopping, maybe we will make it another week before we need to go back.  I keep wanting to make a schedule for going to town to do laundry, get water, and buy supplies, but unexpected needs like a sick baby and needing to go wash diapers keep coming up, so I'm not so sure how well a schedule would really work.

Tomorrow will be a day of food and football, a trial run for the Superbowl, if you will.  My Man has tinkered with the antenna to the point that we finally get a channel that plays the games.  My boys are more than happy to have a day of rest and football.  The kids and I have dreamed up this massive cake, which Columbus has named Cake-o-saurus, and we're going to attempt to create the beast.  It should be good, I just hope we all don't end up in a sugar induced coma...lol.

I hope you all have a happy weekend!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

This Weeks Progress

I'm not sure if this weeks pictures look that much different than last weeks pictures - which would mean another week of some progress, albeit, slow progress.  Freezing temperatures, and rain, is making this much harder than we thought.  In hindsight, I don't really know what we were thinking.  I guess it was more wishful thinking than actual thinking.  Nevertheless, here we are.  My man has spent two days of this week at his office storage unit gathering what he needs to go back to work - from the mobile.  We just can't go any longer without an income, so now he will have the added job of working while getting his office finished.

This week we are tired and strained.  There is a return of all too familiar tension.  We look back knowing we can't undo what's been done, but wondering how it was all so simply laid out in our minds, and has become so complicated in real life.  We still don't know what we would have changed, or if there was in fact anything to change.  It is a lesson in making peace with the knowledge that we made the best decisions we could at the moment, with the information that we had at the time, and then living with that.

I think what is hard about this week is that we didn't expect to be in this position.  We expected our plan to work, our timeline to be met.  And it hasn't, which shouldn't be surprising in a way, because when does this kind of adventure go as planned?

 This is a picture of the land we had cleared for our house.  It is down at the end of our driveway, way off of the road.  I like to walk down and look at this little patch of cleared earth.  When I look at this little area I can see that there is more here than what we have right now, I see our future.
 The driveway going back towards the main road.
 From the top of the driveway - you can see our mobile off in the distance, which is right on the main road.
 Ah, the well.  Bittersweet.
I bought myself a little something - new wool socks.  These are not my feet wearing my new socks.  These are my man's feet wearing my new socks.  I doubt my feet will ever see my new socks.  I'd be miffed, but one of my man's biggest selling points is that for the last 20 years he has let me warm my ice cold feet on him, a pair of new wool socks in trade seems fair to me
Sassafras dipping her doughnut muffins in glaze. 
I purposely don't buy premade snacks, cookies, or desserts.  Aside from cost and nutriton, it encourages the kids to cook if they have to make their own if they want those things.  Lately, they've been baking every night.

Between collecting rain water off of a tarp and dumping any of the remaining artisan well water that we have on hand before going to town to get more we have managed to fill one 55 gallon drum all the way, and another 55 gallon drum three-quarters of the way.  We've begun getting this water with a bucket and using it for washing dishes and taking baths, in hopes of not needing to go to town for water so often.  The artisan well is about 45 minutes from our house, so it is time consuming and expensive to go get water.

And so this week ends with us making peace with how we got here, and adjusting where we thought we would be by now.  We learn, again, that even if you expect the road to be bumpy, it can become bumpier still.  We regroup and replan.  We rest in knowing that the only way out is through, and so we push forward. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Busy

It's been busy up here on the mountaintop, even if it hasn't been exciting.  The kids and I went to do laundry (17 loads this week), and get water, and while out in public, and out of the comfort zone of our own mountaintop, I realized my clan was in all sorts of sad states in regards to hair care.  I've kinda been dreading cutting hair ever since we moved into our little tin can.  Just the very idea of a bazilion little hairs getting into everything sent shivers down my spine, and then they would need baths afterwards, and that's a lot of work to do both, so I put it off and ignored the covered ears and poky tops. 

Until we were in the laundry mat and my little people made friends with a woman and began answering all of her never ending questions about who we were and where we came from, and then they repeated the same interview process at the artesian well with another woman.  All the while I stood in the background, listening to the questions, weighing the kid's answers, and attempting to size us up from these strangers eyes.

I knew they needed haircuts, it's not like I hadn't noticed, but I didn't think they looked that overgrown, but suddenly, it seemed they looked more the part of large family gone native than I wanted them to.  I worry.  I worry about looking like I can't handle it.  I worry about looking like I had more kids than I could love and take care of.  I worry about looking like a breeding fool who should have known better.

And so it was time.  Time to bite the bullet, and a bazillion hairs in everything or not - cut hair.  Not my favorite job.  It's tolerable to me when the weather is warm and we can do it outside, and the boys all want buzz cuts, but winter means they want to grow out their locks for the added warmth.  That means comb and scissors, and my attempt at artist creation on head tops.

I guess I'm good (enough) at cutting hair now, but I've been doing it for 10 years.  I'm self taught (my poor man and kids have suffered a bad style or two during the early learning years), but at some point the money needed for haircuts was more needed or wanted else ware, and so it became another one of those things someone needed to learn to do. 

My mother in law bought me my first pair of clippers.  She's a resourceful type of person who takes great pleasure in feeling like she's beat the system, and getting a deal or saving money makes her happy, more happy than is probably natural - we're cut from the same cloth in these ways.  I imagine she watched my man and I having baby after baby, and in her older and wiser years realized the savings to be had in me learning to cut hair, and so she showed up at our house one day with the clipper set.  This particular set came with a how to video, I'm pretty sure that was the big selling point that made her buy it, thinking I would get my little crash course in cutting hair and then set to work. 

I actually did watch the video, which we still laugh about today, but I was terrified of cutting hair.  Nothing in my mind made me qualified to put scissors near anyone's head, not to mention make them look better than they did before they sat down in my beauty chair.  Watching the video did give me a little confidence that maybe I could do a decent enough job, maybe.  And so began my career of hairdressing.  Overall I've done alright, and I've got much better over the years, and there was only that one time that I forgot to put the guard on before I did a buzz cut and ended up with what would be named The Chemo Cut.

Good times are always to be had on hair cutting days.

I put my man to work bathing little kids so that I could keep cutting.
We bathed and cut into the wee hours of the night.  I didn't get my sponge bath until midnight, after everyone else was cut, cleaned and snuggled into bed.  We got a late start because I made the Shrimp Creole that Stephen from Standing Outside Looking In had on his blog.  He posted a beautiful, pre-eaten picture of the Shrimp Creole and my mouth watered.  I was going to take a beautiful pre-eaten picture of mine too, but my camera was in the car, and by the time I sent one of the kids to go get it for me....I just couldn't help myself, I had to have just one bite, and after that first bite I couldn't stop myself.  I figured an empty plate said everything important and that needed to be said about this dish - it was that good

Thank you for sharing, Stephen.  And if any of you want to make it (the recipe is up there in Stephen's blog link) and don't have any Cajun Seasoning on hand, like I didn't, here is the recipe for simple cajun seasoning  that I used to make my own.  It's spicy, hot enough to singe your lips (just the way I like it), but not hot enough to require medical attention.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

This Weeks Progress


The roof for the office has been started, but with a trip to town for wood one day, rain another day, and now snow, this weeks progress has been slow and frustrating.

Einstein put the red bucket under our front door tarp to catch water.
It worked so well that I moved a 55 gallon drum under the tarp.

Our pretty snow.
Sassafras and Einstein preparing to defend their fort.
Jojo - back inside warming up and looking oh so sweet.

The Rose - giving her best effort smile after surviving a snowball attack from older brothers who should have known better.

G-man - a crime fighter even in the snow.
Sugar King and Dawsy preparing for battle.

Cleo

Ever faithful Elsinore, keeping watch over her herd of children playing in the woods.


The pipes have froze.  Who knew that without running water the pipes would freeze?  Today's dishes waiting to be cleaned once the pipes thaw.....sigh

Let the muddy mess begin.
Baby Man, in all of his beautiful baby man glory.

It was a slow week, with little progress.  At times it is frustrating that mundane day-to-day tasks take so much time.  Going out to get water, going out to do laundry, spending hours heating water on the stove to bathe in, cutting wood for heat, taking the trash to the dump once a week.....things that most of us take for granted are now time consuming jobs.  Both my man and I thought we would be further along than we are now.  We are eager to settle into a routine of work, school and chores.  As it stands right now it seems like we spend most of our time dealing with meeting what ever the most urgent need is at the moment, whether that be the most prudent way to spend our time and money or not.  I keep reminding myself that these are the conflicts that make our story interesting, and that by moving out here we knew we would be facing difficult work that would take time to accomplish, but ya know, knowing it and living it are two different things. 

Neither my man nor I are down about it, just a little frustrated.  I think once the office is finished and an income is coming in again we will both feel a whole lot better about things in general.  I know that for myself, though daily tasks are more time consuming, I find that I enjoy them in a whole new way.  Heating water to wash a child's hair in a bucket, and then handing them the bucket to go take a sponge bath in the shower that has no running water, oddly feels like an intimate event.  Maybe it's that most of them are well past the point of me mothering them in that way, and have been for years now, but I somehow feel just a little bit closer to them, a little bit more connected.  I hope that one day they look back at this time in ours lives, not as a hardship, but see that I took the tedious time to care for their most basic of needs as individuals, one pot of water at a time, and as a whole, in the hours it took to heat all of those pots, and realize that responsibility, devotion and love often comes wrapped in simple paper, tied with a primitive bow.

And so this week ends with me feeling somewhat impatient, but nevertheless finding joy in the journey.  I find my thoughts reminding me to keep my faith, and to realize that this change to simpler living takes practice and is a learned skill, meaning the beauty of it all is there, I just have to learn to see it.

Have a happy weekend:)