A few unrelated thoughts from lately

I haven't written a lot of gemlog posts this year. The main reason is that Julian didn't sleep well for a long time and I felt very tired. For most of the winter and spring he woke up at least 3 times a night, usually around 12 a.m. and 2 a.m., at 5:30 a.m. at which point he would be awake for the day. And sometimes -- not as infrequently as one might hope -- he would wake up at 9 or 10 p.m. for good measure. In my experience, getting up that often at night is not too difficult for the first week, or even a month, but by about 7 months and beyond I felt very discouraged. I found myself thinking longingly of the days when I used to sleep for a whole 4 or 5 hours at a time without interruption.

On his first birthday, which was May 16th, I felt pretty disappointed, actually, because for many months I had been counting on 1 year being a milestone where he was weaned and sleeping through the night. Both Silas and Micah were finished with nursing and sleeping 12 hours a night by their first birthday.

By about 9 months I learned that prolonged sleep deprivation does interesting things to you. Energy is low, of course. Creativity does not thrive. Short term memory is poor. It's a lot harder to stay positive. Another thing that happened was I found it very difficult to solve problems, even simple arithmetic problems that I could remember being able to do easily. It was also difficult to make decisions, like "Should I go to the store and get bread?" I would compare decision making at that time to lifting a large, heavy river rock. Not impossible, but requiring a huge effort.

Concerning decision making, about a month ago I read Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns and I appreciated this humorous quote:

"Hit ain't sacrilege. Miss Effie Belle says when she cain't think what to have for dinner, she asts God and right off He gives her an idea. To my thinkin', that's sacrilege."
Miss Love really laughed. "There's not a woman in the world who hasn't prayed what to cook for dinner, Rucker!"

Thankfully, over the summer Julian has slowly started to sleep better and better at night. He still wakes up 1-3 times per night but lately it's been 1 more often than 3.

This may sound strange, but one Bible verse that helped me when I have been tired from getting up with babies at night was Psalm 119:62:

At midnight I rise to give you thanks for your righteous laws.

KJV says "righteous judgments". There was something about it that calmed me down when I was so exhausted I was desperately thinking, "I need sleep. I HAVE to sleep. I'm SO tired." After all, God knows how much sleep I need. At some point during newborn care I have to stop bargaining and wheedling with God to please, please let this baby stay asleep. or please, please let this baby take a nap and confess that, after all, I am not in charge and God is.

Lately we have been getting ready for our first year of homeschooling. We enrolled with a local homeschool group a few months ago. Slowly we've been going to some of the events and meetings and started ordering curriculum and school supplies. Silas will be in kindergarten and is doing Alpha-Phonics reading program, Getty-Dubay Italic Handwriting, Math-U-See and swimming lessons. In the evenings he is studying a technology book with Christopher, who agreed to take on science instruction. I don't like doing messy lab experiments and wasn't keen to teach science. We found the book The Way Things Work by David Macaulay at a yard sale for just $1. Silas has always had a hunger to know how things work. He pores over the illustrations for hours. Christopher was horrified that I spent over $100 of our allotment money on stickers and activity books from Rainbow Resource. I just wanted to make kindergarten fun. So far that purchase order has not been approved however, so the thrifty half of our marriage may yet triumph.

I enjoy shopping at our local Costco but they have raised their prices quite a bit, just like every other store. Last shopping trip I decided I just couldn't lay down $21 (or was it $23?) for a bottle of my favorite avocado oil, so I decided to try baking with coconut oil for awhile. There was a large bottle of organic coconut oil across the aisle for quite a bit cheaper than the avocado oil. Whether or not coconut oil is a healthy oil to cook and bake with seems to be controversial and depend somewhat on whether or not you think saturated fats are very bad. So I'm not sure about that. I think I would try to use it in moderation. I do like the smell of coconut, though, and I was pleasantly surprised by the strong, sweet and slightly floral fragrance of this Kirkland coconut oil. I use it mainly in the baked goods I make for breakfast a few times per week. Christopher usually has a snack at work for his breakfast and the boys don't know the difference, so I haven't had any complaints about the coconut oil so far.

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