Monday, November 26, 2018

Trapped, But Gently

Z walked by this photo and said, "Oh, Lucy looks so cute in this photo!" And she does. What Z failed to notice was the way Lucy was positioning her body in order to maximize her chances of successful escape. While she enjoys much of the attention lavished on her by E, she is not exactly a fan of being held like a baby against her will. But did she run when she saw E coming? No. And so here she is.

I feel a little like Lucy this week. Trapped, gently but firmly. In my case, I am held by a series of events and tasks related to those events. I got myself into this predicament (well, mostly), but unlike the cat, I can't wriggle away or bite my way out. My way out is through making lists, and checking things off those lists. My way out is through plowing through the week until Sunday, when the last item - getting a Christmas tree - can be checked off. Until then, it's full steam ahead.

And so I've decided that I will give myself a little break from writing here for the rest of the week. It has been a good exercise for me to come up with a little something to type out each week night, but this week I simply can't manage it without compounded my feeling of being held against my will. Should something arise that I feel simply must be shared, I'll pop in. If not, expect to see me next Monday, when I will crow about my status as a woman liberated from the bonds of creating nervous system crafts, hosting children's vespers, and getting a Christmas tree (among other things - many, many other things). In fact, if I'm lucky, I'll have a fully decorated Christmas tree to take a terrible photo of so I can show it to you.

Won't that be fun? It will.

Friday, November 23, 2018

TGIF! I Finished My Christmas Shopping!

As of today at 4pm, all of my Christmas shopping was complete, including the wrapping paper. My goal of being done by my birthday - which is on the 28th - has been met. Hooray!

I can't claim to have made this happen by myself. I was aided in part by the fact that J was working from home, and my children are now capable of occupying themselves for a few hours while I am away. I gave instructions that they weren't to bother J at all, but get what they needed to eat and drink on their own, and they did it. It's like a miracle! Except I think in reality it is the natural progression of time and maturity. Plus, they are really good kids...who can be motivated/distracted by a movie. Basically, just normal kids that can get things from the fridge themselves. If you have young children and feel like the work will never end, be encouraged! This is possible for you, too.

Tomorrow I start wrapping the presents, and on December 1 we'll have the last weekend obligations of the Christmas season to attend to. Then it's just the four of us and whatever Christmas magic we decide to make. I am very excited about this.

Happy weekend, friends!

Thursday, November 22, 2018

How We Spent Thanksgiving

Last year we didn't celebrate Thanksgiving. I was not sad about this. Being Debbie Downer and also a home educator, I am really not keen on history being taught incorrectly, and Thanksgiving highlights a lot of narratives that are simply untrue. Also, I'm an introvert and can't eat a lot in one sitting, so it's just not my fave. But I do believe in thankfulness. And I am most definitely thankful for what happened on Thanksgiving this year.

Today, the kids and I were invited to see Hamilton with some dear friends who were visiting from the US. It was wonderful - both the show and being with our friends. If ever there was a Thanksgiving I approve of, it is this one. The whole day was a real treat, and we are so very grateful for the invitation and for the time spent together. The show was absolutely wonderful (we want to see it again!), and our friends are even more so. What a privilege to be surrounded by good things on this day. I give thanks for all that we have been given.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Letting Kids Help is Hard (for Me)

Confession: I am terrible at letting my kids help me with most day to day tasks. I mean, absolutely horrible. And so I don't have them help me regularly. I know. I'm awful. This puts me out of the running for Mother of the Year, and I'm going to have to accept that. And I will accept that. Because I would rather just keep doing most necessary household work by myself. (See? Awful.)

It's not that I never allow my children to help with things. As you see above, E is using a very well saturated paint brush to "help" paint our living room. Full disclosure: I only allowed this for about five minutes. But because I rarely have her help with this sort of thing, she was fully satisfied, thinking it was a real treat. In this way, I am clearly winning with my current strategy. But I still sometimes feel like I should allow them to help more.

I'll be honest that I have no idea how to make this happen without a lot of discomfort on my end. Every single personality test I've ever taken indicates that I work best independently. It's not that I can't collaborate; it's just that I do my bit the best on my own. And so it is in my life in general. I work best alone. I don't want my children to help cook every meal or do every home improvement task. I really just can't stand it. This doesn't mean it shouldn't ever happen, but I'm just not going to be the mom that calls her children in to work alongside her each time she enters the kitchen or starts a new project. And I think that's okay, overall. In every family - in every relationship, really - we must sometimes do something because it is fun for the other person. It might feel like nails on a chalkboard, but if we love someone, we put up with doing unpleasant things.

Here's what I have figured out to make it work for me. I need to plan ahead. It needs to happen when I have plenty of patience and we have plenty of time. Z is at the age now where her help is becoming helpful, but E's help just creates more work. I need to be ready to do the extra work and not care much that this work is coming my way. It's best if the house is in somewhat decent order, as I know that after cleaning up the messes that come along with a child helping, I will be a bit more cranky than usual about finding jackets tossed over random surfaces, sweets wrappers on the floor, or a half eaten muffin stowed in E's bed.

Once the conditions are right, I just have to go for it. This is not a bonding activity for me, but my kids feel valued when I do it, so I do. That's the bottom line. I make it happen. It is good, because my kids feel good, and then we are done until the next time someone comes up with a very helpful idea. I hope no one comes up with any helpful ideas anytime soon. We've got Christmas cookie baking and decorating coming up in about a month, and that might take all the rest of the strength I have at my disposal through the end of 2018. Let's hope it will be enough.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

If It Must Be Done Perfectly, It Won't Get Done

Precision is not my strong suit. It never has been. I wish it were, but alas - I am all thumbs sometimes, including when I am painting a room. If you were to walk into this room and look closely, you would see a lot of little errors. Or maybe you wouldn't - but I do see them. It is the bane of my existence that I am both detail oriented and unable to execute a task without making some glaring, sloppy mistakes.

But! Look at this lovely room! The paint job is not perfect, but it is done. And I am incredibly happy with it. It makes the room feel more finished, and also it covers over the scuff marks that were making the white walls not-so-white anymore. The room feels cozy and calm. Even the cat seems to be enjoying it.

If I am honest, the imperfections in my paint job just fit in with the rest of our house. There are all sorts of little things going wrong, or that are a little off kilter (if not just plain broken and not fixed yet). It is a very lived in house. But my goal with my home has never been that it would be perfect; I want it to be comfortable. I want people to feel at ease when they come over. I got one of the best compliments of my life when I was told that someone who has been here, but who I don't know very well, declared my house to be beautiful and happy. Happy! I would much rather have happy than perfect or precise. I'm just going to keep on doing things the imperfect way that I do.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Home Improvements in a Rental House

I spent a good portion of the weekend painting our living room. When we moved into this house, every room was white. I know that's been the trend for a few years now, and I see the appeal in general, but for me specifically, well...I like color. I thought I could jazz things up by adding lots of colorful elements to the space, but do you know what? That didn't work. I started staring at my Farrow & Ball color card longingly. I knew exactly what color I wanted the living room to be. Stiffkey Blue is the color*, and now that it is on the walls, the room feels right. It's cozier.

I have mixed feelings about redecorating and doing other home improvements as a renter. I don't want to do a lot of work on a house that we have no guarantee of being able to live in indefinitely, but at the same time, I want our home to feel like it is ours. So when I set to work, I consider: if we had to move in nine months (which is when our current lease will end), will this have been worth it to me? In the case of these blue walls, the answer is yes. I felt similarly about the self-adhesive tiles I laid in the laundry room of our last house. These things make the space feel more like home, more like it belongs to us, as opposed to just being a place we are passing through.

Which is why I am also re-doing the flooring in the living room. I've asked permission to put down laminate, but it's a bigger job than I can do myself, so in the interim I'll be pulling up the old carpet and making the floorboards underneath presentable. If both the landlord and I like the floorboards, then I won't lay the laminate. (I'm hoping for this to be the case.) My choice to remove the carpet is both for aesthetic and practical reasons. I find that hard floors are easier to clean, and they also don't absorb strange odors. Aesthetically, they are also far more pleasing to me as well. So I'm going to go for it.

I'm also planning to replace some light fixtures. I haven't asked the landlord about this yet - I find this to be one of the most annoying things about renting, honestly - but I will. Because I already bought a dodgy chandelier that needs some TLC and new glass shades, and it will look perfect in the living room. I've also got a matching pair of ceiling lights that I scored for a song on eBay that will look fantastic in the master bedroom and the study.

But for now, while I am holding off on doing any more work before Christmas (it would be hard to have a Christmas tree in the room where I am removing flooring), I continue to stare at my Farrow & Ball color card longingly. Now that I've done one room, I know how good it feels, and I'm itching to do more - specifically, both bedrooms. For the girls I'm thinking Pink Ground (E wants pink, but we don't need it to look like cotton candy), and for J and me, I'm leaning toward Jitney. I might not paint either of those for awhile, but for now, it's fun to dream.

*We can't actually afford the Farrow & Ball paint, so I had it color matched in a cheaper alternative. So technically, it isn't Stiffkey Blue. But I'm pretending it is.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Autumn Winds Down

I've made no secret of the fact that I love autumn in London. It is my absolute favorite. And here we are nearly at the end of it. The days are growing short now. Sunrise is well after 7am, and sunset is inching steadily toward 4pm. I have learned to have patience with these short days, but this year I feel a bit disoriented. I think it's because we spent two weeks in the US, and the time change happened while we were away. It felt like a jolt into early sunsets instead of an easy slide. Still, I love autumn, and this year is no different. I love the lower light and the way everything seems softer. So I intend to truly enjoy this last bit of autumn, before we hit December and it's full steam ahead to Christmas. I've got two Saturdays to myself left in November, and I'm going to savor them.

Happy weekending, everyone.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Dressing Myself: Easier Than Ever

As mentioned yesterday, I believe in keeping the easy things easy. And if things aren't easy and they could be, I like to make them easy. For years I found it hard to dress myself. I'd try several things on and look in the mirror and be unable to decide. I had friends help me figure out things that worked well for me from an aesthetic point of view, but it still wasn't quite easy. I was shimmying into figure-shaping garments a little too often for my taste and some things that looked amazing on would not get worn because they weren't comfortable at all on their own, and were only bearable with the addition of a few layers of restrictive material between my body and the garments.

It took me awhile to realize that those body shapers were not okay with me. But they're not. It's not just that they're uncomfortable (and they certainly are), but it's not important to me to make myself into a certain shape to be able to wear clothes. In fact, it's important to me that I not alter my shape to fit some sort of body ideal for which certain garments are designed. I want to just wear the clothes. I want to wear them because I like them, they are functional for what I am doing, and because they bring me a little bit of joy. They also must be comfortable. Must.

After I got rid of the body shapers and the clothing that went with them, I began to really figure out what I wanted to wear and what made me feel good. It's taken me years, but at nearly forty-three years old I feel like dressing is truly easy. My wardrobe is next to the head of the bed on my side, and I can open it while still sitting in bed and grab what I need for the day. I know what goes together. I know what I want to add (almost always a scarf, unless it is unbearably hot), and I feel truly confident in my choices, whether what I put on is considered conventionally "flattering" or not. I don't think it gets much easier than this.

A long time ago, I wrote about my personal style, and it's largely unchanged - I mostly wear dresses and scarves, but I also will do jeans or navy trousers with a top. I've added a few fun things that I wouldn't have felt confident enough to wear before, but that make me smile quite a lot when I put them on. I now own the silver brogues shown above, as well as a rainbow space cat sweater. (Yes, it is just as awesome as it sounds.) Having what amounts to two "uniforms" that I adjust according to weather and other circumstances has made things easy. I decide if it's a dress day or a trouser day, and go from there. I've simplified footwear a lot, realizing that while I am not a capsule wardrobe kind of person, I do prefer to have fewer footwear choices which will go with most things that I own. When we went to the US, for the first time I had only one footwear choice along with me. It was fantastic, and - you probably guessed this - easy.

I'm sure that over time I will make more adjustments to my wardrobe. As life changes, what is easy changes, as does what is practical. Maybe someday I'll want to wear thing that are more complicated. For now, easy wins.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Keep the Easy Things Easy

With autumn comes less light. It seems that we are home more, though I'm not sure that's true. It just feels like we spend more time inside these walls. And suddenly all the things that we've left undone - all the little bits of stuff that have gotten left out and gotten disorganized - are driving me crazy. They are all in my way. Not only that, but I want this house to look better. Why does it have to look like such a mess all the time?

Well, it's because we haven't been cleaning it.

To be fair, we have traveled more than once since the summer ended, and it felt for a long time like we were either preparing to leave or settling back into routine once we returned. I also had that foray into creative tomato processing, not to mention the grape jam/syrup/molasses adventure. We had houseguests. There were things to do that I don't even remember anymore, but the days were used up in a hurry. There wasn't much time to get things organized, and for that stretch of time, it was easiest to just let things go.

Now it is easier if things are put away. I choose small organizational tasks when I have a pocket of time to fill, and I am gradually getting everything put away or thrown away or given away. I reorganized our kitchen countertops so that we could have the toaster out all the time, as I realized that having it tucked away out of reach of an outlet meant that sometimes it seemed too hard to both get the toaster out and drop some bread inside. I'm sure that sounds terrible, but it is what it is. As we head into the darkest days of the year, I want it to be easy to make toast, so I have made it easy.

The way I see it is that there are a lot of hard things that crop up in life, and it is best to keep the easy things easy. There is nothing wrong with making things easy if it doesn't hurt anyone - it is not laziness, though some might argue that it is. It's more about budgeting the time and energy we have available to us. I increasingly feel that we worked our way through some of the hardest bits of our girls' childhoods, so our hard isn't really that hard, but there's no guarantee for a friction free future. And there are little difficulties that crop up regularly, not to mention my desire to help bear the burdens of others, having had so many of my own and our family's burdens generously borne by others countless times. So I'm keeping the easy things easy. Starting with the possibility of making toast.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Heaviness Creeps Into the Light

I had a couple of light hearted topics to write about, and I was going to choose one of those tonight. It was a good day. My kids heard some things that I was saying to them and responded in the way I hoped they would. I got a lot done. No heavy burdens today, for me personally. But that last bit is where this all gets sticky. Just because there are no heavy burdens for me personally doesn't mean that there are no heavy burdens.

Tonight Jemel Roberson's family feels the heaviness of his loss. His baby boy will grow up without his father. And why? Because he's Black. The police officer assumed that he was the assailant because he was Black. They didn't even stop to think. They can bring in countless white assailants without hurting a hair on their precious white heads, but they see the man who has saved the day in an active shooter situation, and they assume he is the problem. It's not okay that this keeps happening. It's not okay that we have a day to remember war dead and not those who are killed in a war that has been waged against them since the founding of the United States of America, but that some people don't want to admit exists.

Today, I observe remembrance for the Black lives that have been lost due to systemic racism, especially those whose killers have not been held responsible for their crimes. May we never forget. May we work for justice, so that their families may feel peace.

Monday, November 12, 2018


There is always a lot going on in London. I could have something amazing to do pretty much every night of the year if I wanted to (and in some cases had the budget for it). I often have trouble deciding which things I'll go to, and I'll admit that my default is to just stay home. But I'd heard that the installation at the Tower of London to mark the centenary of the end of World War I was really amazing, and on the last possible day to do so, I decided that I'd like to see it. As a pacifist at heart, I have conflicting feelings about a lot of military action, but I do not have conflicting feelings about honoring lives lost in conflict, be they those who served in the military or civilians.

Originally the plan was that we would bring the children home from church and then I would head out on my own just to take a look at the torches once they were lit. But the church service was longer than usual due to our deacon being ordained into the priesthood, and likewise the lunch afterwards was longer, so we ended up passing Tower Hill about an hour before the first flame was going to be lit. Instead of going home, Z and I exited the train and followed the crowd through the crowd control paths set out for the event, and we managed to find a spot with only some small trees blocking our view.

We saw the person carrying the flame approach and light the first flame, and we watched as the rest of the flames were lit. It was beautiful, a fitting tribute to all those who never came home after crossing the channel to fight on the continent, or who died in their own country where the fighting took place. The numbers of lives lost is staggering. In some areas of the conflict, more than ten percent of the population lost their lives. At 100 years out from the end of this first world war, the impact of this is beginning to fade. I'm not sure we have learned the lessons that history should teach us. Or maybe we have learned lessons that were never meant to be taught. It is complicated, this idea of taking up arms to defend nations. But it is simple to understand the loss of a life.

So we all stood and watched those flames being lit, and I said a prayer for all the lives lost in conflicts around the world. I thought of all the places that innocent people are dying even now, with little hope that things will change soon. We live in this magical city where we can hop off an Underground train and see a beautiful tribute, and it is not lost on me that this is a great privilege, to be allowed to stand and watch the flames light up, on Remembrance Sunday, during which we remember all those who have lost their lives in both world wars and in all wars since. My life is terribly comfortable. May I never forget that it is not the same for everyone around the world.

Friday, November 9, 2018

TGIF and a Halloween Costume Pic

We've made it through the end of the week! I forgot to do one major thing today, but it can be done Monday. I'm going to let it go. This is something I'm learning to do more in my life - just let things go. For example, homemade Halloween costumes. My kids just don't care enough about it anymore to make it worth it. They're happy for me to throw together some stuff we have with stuff I order from Amazon and eBay and call it a day. The one exception to the non-homemade costume approach this year was E's wand, which my dad agreed to make when I discovered that ordering a Bellatrix Lestrange wand on the internet was prohibitively expensive. I used to make amazing costumes, but that time has passed. I'm going to let it go. E was quite happy to wear a simple black dress and her own boots, then have her hair done to complete her Bellatrix Lestrange look. Z happily wore my old jacket and silk shirt with her own jeans and boots to become Alexander Hamilton - all I had to order was the lace collar. And then Z's doll Edith already had an outfit that was suitable for Dolores Umbridge, so she got to participate as well. It was all easy to pack and easy to wear, and easy is our theme these days. There's plenty that is hard; let's let the easy things be easy, yes?


Happy weekending, friends. See you Monday.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

We Don't Exactly Bounce Back

I am not the right person to write anything about helping kids get over jet lag, because I feel like we struggle every single time. So that's not what I'm here to do. I am here to say that after nearly a week at home, we might be sort of getting back to normal. In some ways. I tried to pretend I was back to normal the day after we arrived home, but I've failed to fool anyone, including myself.

This is one of the inconveniences of living far away from where we originally came from. Going back, there are a lot of people to see and things we need to do, and we end up with a pretty packed schedule. This time I tried to build in some low key days, and I was somewhat successful, but it doesn't change the fact that there was a lot to do in just two weeks, and we were doing it in an entirely different time zone. We got pretty tired, is what I'm saying. We arrived home after an overnight flight, absolutely exhausted. Have you ever hung out with kids who have been getting progressively more tired over the course of two weeks? Have you ever hung out with them when it is bedtime, but they think bedtime is for morons?


It's not an easy thing.

And then there's unpacking, and laundry, and restocking the fridge, and in general figuring out how to fit our usual necessary tasks into the short amount of time that everyone is awake and in a good humor.

It's a challenge.

So here we are, and we had some challenges today, but we really are starting to get back to normal. We had our usual Thursday dinner. I'm about to put some beans in the crock pot to cook overnight. I'm thinking it doesn't get much more normal than that. But then, bedtime isn't yet complete. Perhaps I should let you know the true status of our adjustment tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The Laziest Breakfast

Do you ever do super lazy things to make your life work? I do. I've been thinking about what those things are for me. Mostly they are quite practical. I have a certain amount of energy each day. I pushed myself too hard for a lot of years, and then I couldn't do it anymore. So now I've figured out some work arounds. I think a lot of people would interpret these practices as outright laziness which must be fixed. But for me, these things are not problems - they are the ways I've solved problems. If you have solved problems in similar ways, I'm here to say that you are not alone. Here is an example of the laziest possible way I could do something - in this case, serve breakfast.

My E has always needed to eat first thing in the morning. She opens her eyes, and the first thing she says is, "I'm hungry." She has a deep need to know that there is food available, right away. So I make sure there is. It makes life easier for all of us. For a long time, I was able to put a sippy cup of water and a Tupperware container of cereal on the table downstairs, and she would happily go get it on her own and eat. I am not a morning person and really can't prepare anything right away - I need a minute (or fifteen) to be ready. So I would set things up the night before, and it was perfect.

But then we moved, and she didn't like going to the dining room by herself, as it feels a bit farther from the bedrooms than in our old house. She also got tired of cereal. So I came up with this handy plan. I put packages of breakfast type foods in my room with a little plate, and then when she wakes up and comes in to announce that she is hungry, I either point at them or hand them to her. And that's it. Breakfast is served. Well, first breakfast anyway. She usually has a second one later.

I find that some people are slightly horrified when I tell them my breakfast preparation method. These are usually morning people or high energy people (or both!). They can't conceive of a situation in which they'd allow their child to eat a doughnut in bed. There are also people who don't feel that I am sacrificing enough as a mother if I will allow this sort of situation to occur. But I don't want to participate in the mother martyrdom olympics. I want to figure out what works for us and do it. This meets both her needs and mine. So we do it.

Ideally, I'd like it to be homemade food that I set out for her first-thing-in-the-morning consumption. Sometimes it is, but not always. I am working my way there. I probably won't ever get there entirely, and I'm just going to accept that in advance. Sometimes I can do all the things myself; sometimes I need to outsource them (in this case, to either Tesco of Marks & Spencer). I feel okay about this. Doing this allows me to save my energy for things that matter. I'm not starting my day out on the extra hard setting. I'm easing in. It works for me.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

I'm Just Going to Keep Going on About Love

I have nothing new to say today - lately it's always the same thing that I want to tell you. Choose the way of love, choose the way of compassion, choose the way of kindness, choose the way of valuing others' needs. This is on my mind and in my heart. I am concerned about how things have been going, about how many people have been dying, about how many people are being treated so poorly. Choose the way of love, choose the way of compassion, choose the way of kindness, choose the way of valuing others' needs. It is so incredibly important.

I am re-reading The Poisonwood Bible, and I always pause at the part where Orleanna is explaining to Adah whose needs she chose to meet and when and why. Whoever had the biggest, most pressing need got taken care of first. That's it. When I read that before my children came into my life, I sort of understood it. Now that they are here, and have been for awhile, I really get it.

All of us in our family have needs. Most often, the needs of one of the children will be the biggest and most pressing, but sometimes J or I will have a need that supersedes even that of a child who cannot yet tell time. Sometimes the needs of more than one person will be about equal. The biggest needs get met first, and the equal needs get met in the order that makes the most sense. There is compromise. Many times one or more of us will have to admit that our need is just a want and sacrifice it for the good of the family unit. This is what we do. Sometimes we get a little selfish, because we are human beings, and we are not perfect just yet. But in the end, we usually get it right.

And this extends out beyond our own little family. It seems that many people think this same way. It gives me hope, knowing this. If we all have it in mind to take care of others, to prioritize those whose needs are greatest, and to compromise when many needs are equal, then everything will be okay. That's what I'm going to bed thinking about tonight. I know a lot of people who voted in a way that they might not have other years, because they believe in the value of protecting others, and that this time around protecting others looks a bit different than it might have in years past. In years past, it might not have had anything to do with voting at all. But this year, sacrifices were made. For those of you who have done this, I thank you for it. I know it isn't easy. Well done.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Voting, Authoritarianism, Etc.

Tomorrow many Americans will head to the polls to cast their votes. Some have already done so (early voting is brilliant, in my opinion) and some will not vote at all. A lot is at stake in this election, and I will simply repeat that I think it is best to vote for those who will be most kind to others in their policy making. Vote not for your own interests, but for what is best for the most people. What good can you do in the voting booth? I think the choice between self-interest and compassion is pretty clear this time around.

Z and I continue to read about and discuss World War 2. She is reading a book now about a girl who grew up in Germany during and after the war. She was in Berlin at the time of the beginning of the wall. Z was sharing with me that the schoolchildren were all confused at this time. First they were taught to follow the Nazis and that ideology, then were told to forsake the Nazis and their ideology, and then when Russia controlled part of Germany, they were told to adhere to the Russian ideology. For people who were used to doing as they were told, this was quite a lot of directives without a lot of understanding.

And this is why I cannot get behind authoritarianism at all. I have never taught my children to do as someone says merely because they are in authority, and in fact I am now actively teaching them what some may consider the opposite. It is dangerous to follow someone just because they are in charge or older or what have you. Even when it comes to me as a mother, I don't want my children to do as I say just because I say to do it, and I'm the parent and therefore the authority. I want them to do as I say because I have proved that I am trustworthy, and I would not ask them to do something without good reason. Sometimes we do need to do as someone in authority says, whether we have had a chance to judge them trustworthy or not, but we must never blindly follow anyone. We must always use the wisdom given us to determine if the person's instructions are worth following.

It would be easier, to be sure, if my children blindly followed me sometimes. The reason I am so late to sit down to write tonight is because one of my children had a question about if she could trust me or not, and it took a long time to work it out. I would've loved it if it hadn't taken so long, but trust is not an easy process, and sometimes I've got to work really hard to earn it. Sometimes I have to work really hard due to circumstances that are in no way my fault, and that can be especially hard. But I signed on to this parenting gig, and sometimes that's just part of the deal. So I put in the work.

Which brings us full circle to voting. Who is putting in the work? Who will put in the work in the long term, not just for you and people like you, but for everyone? Who will welcome the stranger and the refugee? Who can be trusted? Vote for those people. That's my advice.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Home! With a Full Lap

We arrived home yesterday around noon - I couldn't tell you if it was before or after, but I think it was before? I am not sure. I do know that our cats are very happy to see us, and that my lap has not been empty any time I've sat down since we returned. I also know that three out of four of us are very happy to be home and getting settled back into our normal space and routine. The fourth person may be happy to be home as well, but she is not ready to admit it. Home doesn't have a cousin who will entertain her every whim, so this is understandable.

We were gone two weeks and two days, but it felt like it was longer than that. I'm not sure if this is because we crammed a lot into those two weeks or if it is because there is such a big change that occurs at this time of year in London, moving from early fall into the Christmas season. Before we left, I was experiencing a bit of FOMO regarding being away from London, and I couldn't figure out exactly why. But I think I understand it now - I was missing the last two weeks of what I consider to be "just normal."

London in November is all decked out for Christmas, and people are out starting their Christmas shopping. On the whole, I like the earlier start to the Christmas season, but it turns out that missing the last two Saturdays of "just normal" is a bit of a disappointment. As a person who loves all the trappings and trimmings of Christmas, I love this time of year, but as an introvert, I don't like all the extra people that come with it. I will live. And I will mostly enjoy it! But I will also get out a bit earlier on Saturdays to avoid the crowds.

Speaking of Saturdays, today is indeed Saturday, and I don't normally post on the weekend. But I posted so infrequently while we were away that I wanted to get started again. I thought that I would post most days we were away, but the keyboard was forgotten in the early morning packing rush, I and posting from our old iPad proved to be quite a challenge. Now that I'm back at my own desk, with a keyboard to use instead of the on screen buttons, I am more than ready to be writing again and back to my usual posting schedule. See you Monday!