Our first deployment, the kids were young.
Our kids were 9, 4 1/2, 3 1/2, and 9 1/2 months.
He left for Kandahar, Afghanistan, in mid-January. I was all alone in Utah – far from family, and friends were almost non-existent.
I’m pretty self-sufficient.
Sure, I had some bad days.
We had a blizzard. I burned the garlic toast one night at dinner. We had a basement flood on Memorial Day.
Overall, we did well, considering.
Our second deployment, the kids are older.
They’re 18, 12, 11, and 8.
It’s so different, but not necessarily easier.
As a homeschooling mom of 4, deployment can be lonely and difficult at times. We have no help – no family nearby, no support system. We are self-reliant. I am an introvert.
I simplify for sanity some days, or even weeks. Sometimes, I buy storebought baked goods, rotisserie chickens for dinner, canned biscuits, and these new natural Lunchables. My time is valued and these shortcuts help us a lot when life gets hectic. We’ve even gone out to eat a few times!
Cutting corners is fine. I have to give myself a break.
I don’t want to drive 4 kids all over town every day or all weekend. I limit errands and activities to save time and money and yes, it’s hard to say no sometimes. I have to judge what’s the best use of our time and money. I can’t be in two places at once. We participate in activities together as much as possible – art lessons, classes at our local craft stores, rec sports at the same park.
Bedtime is earlier. After dinner, I’m just spent. I want to take a bubble bath and lie in bed watching Netflix with my cats.
My kids are older now and they can help a lot more around the house. The kids understand. I use Facebook Messenger Kids to remind them to load the dishwasher.
Holidays can be different. We don’t have to eat turkey at Thanksgiving. We can celebrate Christmas on a different, more convenient, day. We can eat a picnic in the living room with the TV on.
We maintain routines as much as possible for our comfort and my sanity.
We pray and read and cook and eat. We get outside and exercise almost every day, no matter the weather. We snuggle and love the cats.
We allow the tears and sadness because it’s healthy to express all emotions.
How Does Deployment Affect Kids?
Most people think deployment must just be really hard and negative for families. While there are certainly sad times, I think deployment can help families grow stronger.
My son didn’t much seem to notice anything different. I was his primary caretaker and that didn’t change. If he noticed or wondered why Dad wasn’t home evenings or weekends all of a sudden, he couldn’t communicate that question.
My son was mostly oblivious to everything during the first deployment. It was just regular life for him. Of course, he picked up on my emotions and stress. It seemed like Dad missed so much – his first steps and his first birthday. So much growth.
It was a little awkward with the homecoming and he sorta remembered Dad, but it took a little while for them to get comfortable with each other again.
Kids in this age group are not known for flexibility or handling change well. I think it’s hard to explain something complex like deployment to small children.
They wonder if he’s coming back, if he’ll be safe or get hurt. They develop abandonment issues. They become very clingy. It’s hard for them to express emotions and handle stress.
My youngest daughter was and is pretty independent and I don’t think she was too concerned about Dad being gone, but she wasn’t really able to process or express anything about it.
I kept the kids on a routine to help us all adjust more easily.
It was so super hard on my middle daughter during the first deployment. She pretty much slept in my bed the entire time Dad was gone. She struggled with abandonment feelings. She struggled with middle child issues. She couldn’t process her emotions nor express her fears. She’s always been our sensitive one.
It helped her to grow. She’s strong now as a 12 year old and amazes me every day as my helper in all things.
My eldest daughter has always had to be strong for her siblings, and sometimes even for me. She’s had to be responsible from a very young age. She was a huge help during the first deployment.
My 8 year old son is feeling it hardest for this second deployment. He’s gotten better into a routine now that we’re about halfway through. There are lonely times for him as the only boy in a houseful of girls. I help him use his time serving, helping, and learning.
He misses his Dad.
My middle girls at age 11 and 12 are pretty indifferent about this second deployment. They chat and FaceTime with Dad frequently and they don’t really feel (or don’t express) the distance. They send him photos on email and chat and create drawings for the care packages we send. Maybe they’re just well adjusted and accepting.
My eldest is now eighteen, and fairly independent. She still relies on me for advice and help, especially during crises. She hasn’t taken her driving test yet for her license yet.
But sometimes, she thinks she knows everything. She’s not very affected by the deployment. She helps at home and works with me on schedules so I can do everything we need to do. I know she’s angry and wishes her life had been different.
Don’t we all have regrets? Military life has its ups and downs but we’ve had amazing opportunities. She realizes this, but sometimes feels disappointment at our lack of roots.
She’s learning valuable lessons about fidelity, duty, love, and relationships.
It’s different as every stage. Babies and toddlers feel uncomfortable. Young kids are often confused and scared. Tweens and teens feel diffident and abandoned.
Military life builds resilience, flexibility, independence, value, and perspective.
I’m making memories with these kids – who are living for 8ish months without a father, except on FaceTime, messenger, and email. I have to make it as special and good as possible. I do try to hide my negative emotions and I try never, ever, to lash out at them when I’m stressed. I don’t want Dad to only hear about problems. He needs to be part of the joy and celebration too, so he doesn’t feel he’s missing so much.
After close to a year apart, we have to learn each other again.
Yes, it’s hard sometimes.
They know we’re in this together.
You might also like My Tips for Surviving Motherhood During Deployment.
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Making Sense of “It” by Alison Macklin is a new guide to help you navigate sex ed with your kids.
Sex is an uncomfortable topic for many and this book offers a great outline of what and how to discuss various topics surrounding sexuality with our children.
I learned about sex in school. The very basics with a little film strip in 5th grade. And health class in 9th grade—anatomy, STIs, and pregnancy – from the football coach!
Our kids have lots of questions about sex.
It’s up to me as a parent to be available to answer questions and even initiate a conversation about sex.
What about masturbation? Is it ok to have sexual fantasies? What about kissing, blowjobs, or taking The Pill? If you touch someone’s penis, can you get pregnant? If you douche after sex, you won’t get pregnant…right? Is porn ever ok?
Making Sense of “It” goes beyond the basics of the birds and the bees to give teens a realistic, no-holds barred, nonjudgmental guide on everything having to do with sex and sexuality. With this book, teens can learn about “it” all from the best contraception methods to what to expect at a clinic, even to the signs of an unhealthy relationship.
In a world where teens are bombarded with bad information on social media, are meant to feel ashamed of something so natural, Making Sense of “It” counters that with trustworthy, gender-neutral advice on how to be safe, informed, and honest about “it.”
I want my kids to have healthy relationships and that includes a healthy sexuality. We don’t buy into the evangelical purity movement. I want my kids to have real information and I have to feel comfortable talking about it and answering the hard questions. If I don’t help my kids navigate through these waters, they will Google it, ask their peers, or find the information they seek somewhere and it might not be the best answer.
This book may not be for everyone but these topics come up more and more – on social media, in classrooms, at college, in youth group, Sunday school, the playground. I want my kids to have a good, healthy foundation about their personal values before they are bombarded with uncomfortable circumstances.
I like the conversation starters at the end of each chapter. They can be used as an outright script, or as a journaling activity, or as a casual conversation.
The introduction is entitled “Dear Teen” and it is perfect.
Nineteen chapters cover most sexual topics in this 2018 climate. The last chapter offers resources for more info.
I feel this is a book that should be introduced to tweens and revisited often with teens by parents, keeping an open conversation throughout the growing years.
It’s important to discuss healthy relationships when so few of my generation had a model or knows how.
About the Book
- Go-to introductory resource on sex ed for teens, college students, parents, educators, social workers, and health professionals.
- Can be read separately or together as a family to meet everyone’s different needs.
- Includes helpful sections specifically written for parents and teens to help break the ice and foster mutual understanding.
- Conversation starters (a list of suggested questions for teens and parents) accompany each chapter to keep the conversation going and to foster connections on a more meaningful level.
- Includes “fun facts” throughout the book that delve more deeply into certain topics like average penis sizes, female ejaculation, and the need for regular STI screenings.
- Covers many different topics not often covered in health class/sex ed:
- the human brain in relation to sex and puberty,
- defining sexuality,
- the need for human touch,
- sexual identity and orientation,
- gender roles,
- feeling horny,
- various levels of “risk” in sexual behaviors, and
- signs of healthy and negative relationships.
- Also touches upon more progressive and sex-positive topics like:
- consent culture,
- sex toys, fetishes, and fantasies,
- choosing when to become sexually active,
- tactics to improve communication with sexual (current or potential) partners,
- how to get help and be an active bystander when witnessing sexual harassment and assault, and
About the Author
Alison Macklin has been with the Responsible Sex Education Institute at the Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM) for over fourteen years and is currently Vice President of Education and Innovation. Macklin is an award-winning, nationally recognized leader in sex education and holds a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Denver. She is a mother of two who lives in Colorado.
Praise for the Book
“Kudos to Alison Macklin for creating a book to help parents and teens talk more honestly and frequently about sex and sexuality. This fun, up to date, accurate, and easy-to-understand guide will help families to connect more about these absolutely critical issues.”
— Leslie M. Kantor, PhD, MPH, Vice President, Education, Planned Parenthood Federation of America
“Making Sense if ‘It’ is the Our Bodies, Our Selves for today: comprehensive, unbiased, medically accurate, and respectful. This should be on the bookshelf and nightstand of every household so that caregivers and youth alike can read it, discuss it, and learn from it.”
— Pat Paluzzi, DrPH, CNM, President and CEO Healthy Teen Network
“This book is a must read for all teenagers and parents of teens, about a subject that is often hard to talk about: sex. Author Alison Macklin gives great, practical, actionable advice on how to keep communication open and honest.”
— Jason Woods MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, creator of Little Patients, Big Medicine
“I loved it! Alison Macklin offers teen readers honest, engaging, and at times humorous information about puberty, sex and sexuality. The book is chock-full of useful suggestions for parents as well, providing tips to start conversations with their teens and keep the lines of communication open during the sometimes bumpy road through puberty and adolescence.”
— Debra Hauser, President of Advocates for Youth
“This book provides excellent information about sexual health and important advice for staying healthy and having good relationships. The overview of sex and sexuality will be extremely useful for teens and parents alike.”
— Connie Newman, MD Adjunct Professor of Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, and President 2018-2019 American Medical Women’s Association
“In this rapidly changing world of sexuality, gender and relationships Alison Macklin’s new book is just the resource teens need be ready for the wonderful world of sex and relationships. With her smarts, experience, and guidance, teens of all genders and orientations will get just what they need to make great choices.”
— Amy Lang, MA, founder Birds & Bees & Kids and author, Dating Smarts – What Every Teen Needs to Date, Relate or Wait!
Buy the book:
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Get in the Holiday Spirit with these Essential Oil Blends for your Diffuser!
The holidays can be stressful for many.
I love diffusing essential oils to get rid of cooking smells, freshen and clear the air, perk up a low mood, or calm us for bedtime.
I recently completed my aromatherapy certification course. I’m excited to share more with you about the benefits of plants and aromatherapy.
Orange oil is a favorite and frugal essential oil and I often use it as a base note for diffusing blends.
Most love the scent of citrus and there are few contraindications with diffusing. Citrus is uplifting.
I am very careful about diffusing mints, especially around young children or those with sensitivities.
Spice oils should be used sparingly and carefully as well so they don’t irritate mucous membranes.
Evergreen oils are balancing – like cypress, fir, spruce, juniper, rosemary, cedar, pine. They’re refreshing.
Florals are cozy and feminine but add a bright touch to blends as a topnote.
Diffusers only hold so much water and 5-6 drops of oils are plenty for diffusing up to 3 hours in most diffusers.
Stress Away blend is perfect for diffusing all the time. The warm scents of vanilla and lime are perfect for the holidays.
My absolute favorite diffuser blend:
3 drops Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
2 drops Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
2 drops Lemon (Citrus limon)
Holiday Diffuser Blends
1 drop Palo Santo (Bursera graveolens)
1 drop Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha)
2 drops Cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana)
1 drop Frankincense (Boswellia carterii)
1 drop Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha)
2 drops Cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana)
optional: 2 drops Orange (Citrus sinensis)
3 drops Orange (Citrus sinensis)
1 drop Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum)
1 drop Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
1 drops Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum)
1 drops Clove (Syzygium aromaticum)
2 drops Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans)
1 drop Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
2 drops Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
1 drops Clove (Syzygium aromaticum)
1 drops Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans)
1 drops Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum)
1 drop Orange (Citrus sinensis)
Pick Me Up
2 drops Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi)
2 drops Lemon (Citrus limon)
1 drop Spearmint (Mentha spicata)
1 drops Eucalyptus (Globulus)
2 drops Lime (Citrus aurantifolia)
1 drop Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata)
2 drops Pine (Pinus sylvestris)
2 drops Spruce or Fir (Picea mariana or Abies alba)
2 drops Juniper (Juniperus communis)
Try combining your favorite scents. Less is more and goes a long way. I love florals with evergreen and citrus.
What’s your favorite essential oil?
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Halloween to New Years.
Can you say S-T-R-E-S-S?
The holidays get me down anyway, and doing them alone is no fun at all. If it were just me, I would forego the whole winter season completely.
I do it for the kids.
October to January. It feels like so many expectations to make everything perfect, all by myself.
The kids are older now and they have a say. They like to stay home, mostly.
We don’t want potlucks with strangers. We don’t participate in events on base. We don’t know the people Dad works with at all.
We stopped going to church because it was so fake. I don’t want pity or questions. I’m healing in my solitude.
How We Celebrate the Holidays During Deployment:
For many families and certainly for young kids, maintaining tradition is important. It offers continuity and comfort. We have certain expectations every year. Some things can be omitted or mixed up, but other things are just necessary for the holiday to feel special.
I’m an only child, so we really never did much on holidays, except with my grandmothers and they passed when I was a teenager.
My husband’s parents passed the first year we married. We’ve never celebrated holidays with family.
It was a blank slate.
We could create our own traditions!
We like to keep things simple. It keeps my stress levels down, knowing I don’t have to make everything perfect and Pinterest-worthy. We don’t do Santa. We do St. Nicholas, but they know it’s me.
For our family of six, we have several traditions.
We make and eat latkes the first night of Hanukkah, even though we’re not Jewish. We learned about Judaism in depth for homeschool church and world history and we’ve just always continued with some of the Jewish traditions.
We like to drive around, looking at Christmas lights. This is the first year in ages that we didn’t do that. I just couldn’t fit it in with the weather, kids’ schedules, and my parents visiting.
We try new recipes for cookies, muffins, cakes.
We watch certain movies during the holiday season.
Shopmas, er, Thanksgiving, is kind of a worthless holiday for us. We practice gratitude year-round.
My eldest doesn’t even like turkey. Only one child likes dressing/stuffing. There’s hardly a point making a lot of food for Thanksgiving that no one likes. We don’t care about or watch football. We can have pizza on Thanksgiving if we want to. I can make a mini buffet of lots of little snacks or appetizers and we can all eat what we like. We can do what we want. We can go to the movies. It doesn’t matter. No one dictates to us! Maybe it will even become a new tradition.
My son just announced that he can’t wait for Thanksgiving! He loves turkey and my homemade pie. Well, then. Guess there will be no deviating from that tradition at this time.
We don’t do Black Friday or Cyber Monday. I’ve been finished with holiday shopping for weeks. We want a debt-free holiday.
We eat an awful lot of ham year-round so it’s just not special. I’m not making a prime rib without my husband here to enjoy it. We can have Chinese food, Italian, or anything we want for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinners! There’s a scary freedom to that.
There are some things only Dad can do or do well. So without him here, I have to mix things up.
We normally make chicken wings on New Year’s Eve, but I’m kinda scared of the deep fryer. We may have a living room picnic with a movie or even go out. Update: I did great frying chicken wings!
We can go to a movie on New Year’s Day. We usually have the traditional Southern pork, greens, and black-eyed peas for dinner.
We really like Chinese New Year and often make Asian food or go out for a special meal.
We used to travel over holidays.
We’ve been saving money and I don’t know if I want to venture out too far in snow or ice. I’m from Georgia.
My parents are 12 hours away by car.
My eldest works more when school is out.
I know lots of families move in with family or visit extensively to stave off the loneliness.
We are always trying to be frugal and debt-free, but I’m doing presents this year.
Yes, there is a bit of guilt that Dad’s not here and I probably spent more than I would have if he were home.
We may open some gifts during the nights of Hanukkah. We may open them all on Christmas Eve. I’m letting the kids decide but they can’t complain later.
Presents aren’t the most important part of the holidays, but they’re fun. The anticipation is exciting.
There’s only me, so I feel obligated to do all the things.
We spent the cold dreary days and nights together playing board games, Wii, reading, puzzles, baking.
Sometimes the togetherness gets to be a bit much and we separate to draw, read, cook, watch Netflix, or sit with the cats.
I want to rest in the presence of Jesus during Advent.
I want to model calm presence throughout the holidays in spite of the chaos and loneliness.
How do you celebrate holidays when your spouse is deployed?
You might also like
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Deployments are stressful for married couples.
Of course being separated – for many months or a year – can create stress on a marriage.
Deployment exacerbates any issues already existing in the relationship.
I’m independent and capable and efficient. Being a single mom for seven months isn’t that much of a hardship for me. I make most of the household decisions anyway. Some people gave me side eye when they learned about the deployment and I wasn’t sufficiently devastated as they expected me to be. I take things as they come.
I know some spouses who can’t even go to the store alone, much less successfully navigate a deployment without loads of daily help from friends and family. But, to each her own, I guess.
We actually made this deployment decision together, to strengthen our marriage, and help his career.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?
It takes lots of extra work to make marriage work in the military, and especially during long separations.
How to maintain a successful marriage during deployment:
We live in an era of easy communication. The Internet makes the impossible possible. Thousands of miles and oceans apart, and we can see each other face to face and chat daily. My grandma didn’t have that luxury, only seeing my grandpa on shore duty after months at sea, raising their two boys alone.
I’m not into small talk but I have to make myself available and chatty even when I don’t feel like it. I’m an extreme introvert.
He doesn’t care about care packages. He doesn’t want much. He asks for K Cups and garlic salt. So exciting. Also, some deployment locations limit items such as pork products or comic books, and it just stresses me out that he might get in trouble if I don’t read the ingredients on a jerky packet closely enough. I’m not going to waste time, effort, and money sending things he doesn’t want or need and that he’ll just give away to others.
He’s not much of a reader. I would love to read a book together and discuss it. But he’s not into that. I do often send him screenshots of my eBooks with highlighted text.
We don’t really watch the same shows much either. We sometimes recommend movies or shows to each other, but we don’t watch anything together regularly.
He likes sugarcoating and I’m very blunt. Texts and emails seem worse without any tone or facial expressions to lighten them. We can’t really afford to get offended.
I don’t want to come at him with only problems and bad news. I have to temper everything. But it seems that everything that can will go wrong during a deployment.
We have to make more of an effort to communicate well since we’re apart for a long time.
I’m often melancholy when I can’t share events, milestones, or something special with him.
I miss you in waves and tonight I’m drowning.
I’m using this opportunity of 7+ months of separation pay to pay off the credit card and not acquire any more debt.
I’m not a shopper anyway, so it’s easy for me to be frugal.
The kids and I keep busy and don’t fall into retail therapy to make ourselves feel better. We shop for needs and a few wants and items for the holidays.
I seem to save lots of money on utilities, household expenses, and by staying home, making it easier to pay off the debt. So much less laundry!
I suppose temptation might be an area for many marriages to worry about.
I’m not very social and I’m very private. We’re loyal. We’re committed. It’s not really an issue.
Being alone doesn’t mean I’m lonely.
I rarely talk to people, and certainly not men. I’m not around men. I’m not around anyone, really. We don’t go to church anymore. There aren’t any stay at home, homeschooling dads in my circles for me to be concerned. I don’t even chat online with anyone except my family members.
I’m not one to be easily tempted and I would recognize the potential danger and immediately extricate myself because I want to maintain integrity. Trust is important.
It might be harder for some people in different circumstances. It might be difficult for lonely and bored deployed members seeing certain others day in and day out, in close quarters. Maintaining professional distance is important. Don’t confuse being nice with flirting.
I don’t believe in a deployment sex pact or “what happens in deployment, stays in deployment.” That’s not healthy.
I’m not sure what some spouses are up against, but guarding hearts and minds and removing oneself from dangerous situations is imperative.
I’ve read about too many marriages breaking up after deployments due to affairs and it’s very heartbreaking.
It’s very depressing at most deployment locations. It’s all neutral colors, poor weather and food, little entertainment or activity. He misses us. He misses affection.
It’s hard for us too.
During the first deployment, he completed a training course that he needed to make the next rank. That was convenient and easy for us.
He goes to the gym a lot. There’s not much else for him to do.
I read a lot. Like, a whole lot. And there are no interruptions for me now!
I’m constantly improving myself. I collect knowledge.
It’s easy for me to use these months alone to read more, watch more uplifting shows, write, research, educate myself, walk in nature, pray, think…and all the things that too often get interrupted on weekends and evenings.
I keep him updated on my progress and what I’m learning so he’s not totally lost and thinks I’m a different person when he returns. That’s a very real consideration. People grow, and can more easily grow apart while separated. It’s a concern I actively counter with communication.
As a stay at home, homeschooling mom, this is my job. And now I’m doing it mostly alone for many months.
The kids keep on carrying on while Dad is away. It’s hard when I can’t share their milestones with their father. He’s missing out.
Of course, they rely on me as their mom for almost everything anyway. It takes some pushing and prodding for them to ask Dad for anything even when he’s home, and certainly they learn he’s not available to help much or take the load off me when he’s away.
I remind him to ask them about what they’re learning, reading, doing – to keep communication open and maintain relationship while he’s away. And I have to coax everyone during reintegration.
It’s different as every stage. Babies and toddlers feel uncomfortable. Young kids are confused and scared. Tweens and teens feel diffident and abandoned.
With the time change, it’s even harder to connect sometimes with his work schedule. We have to make extra effort.
He trusts me to maintain a peaceful home for these kids – who are living for 8 months without a father, except on FaceTime. I have to make it as special and good as possible.
We’re in this together.
You might also like:
A nifty little checklist to keep marriage strong during deployment.
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St. Martin is the patron saint of beggars, drunkards, and the poor.
His feast day falls during the wine harvest in Europe, he is also the patron saint of wine growers and innkeepers.
In the agricultural calendar it marks the beginning of the natural winter, but in the economic calendar it is seen as the end of autumn. Because it comes before the penitential season of Advent, it is seen as a mini “carnivale,” with feasting and bonfires.
St. Martin’s Feast is much like the American Thanksgiving – a celebration of the earth’s bounty.
Tradition says that if it snows on the feast of St. Martin, November 11, then St. Martin came on a white horse and there will be snow on Christmas day. However, if it doesn’t snow on this day, then St. Martin came on a dark horse and it will not snow on Christmas.
Children often dress up and go around with lanterns as beggars for sweets. Sound like Halloween?
How to Celebrate Martinmas
Make a Lantern
I love these examples of homemade lanterns:
St. Martin’s Bags
Ġewż, Lewż, Qastan, Tin
Kemm inħobbu lil San Martin.
Walnuts, Almonds, Chestnuts, Figs
I very much love Saint Martin.
Give to the Poor
Donating clothing to the poor is in remembrance of St. Martin cutting his cloak in half for the beggar during a snowstorm.
Pray for Military
St. Martin was a Roman soldier and November 11th is Armistice Day and Veterans Day.
Martinmas is the end of fall harvest, so breads and cakes are common.
Pretzels, croissants, and horseshoe-shaped almond sweets represent St. Martin’s white horse.
Goose is often eaten in Germany.
The legend goes that whilst trying to avoid being ordained bishop, St Martin hid in a goose pen only to be betrayed by the squawking of the geese. Around Europe, many people still celebrate Martinmas with roast goose dinners.
Beef is popular in Ireland and the UK.
If the wind is in the south-west on St Martin’s Day (11th), it will stay there right through to Candlemas in February, thus ensuring a mild and snow-free winter.
“Wind north-west at Martinmas, severe winter to come.”
“If ducks do slide at Martinmas
At Christmas they will swim;
If ducks do swim at Martinmas
At Christmas they will slide”
“Thunder in November means winter will be late in coming and going”
“If the geese at Martin’s Day stand on ice, they will walk in mud at Christmas.”
Ice before Martinmas,
Enough to bear a duck.
The rest of winter,
Is sure to be but muck!”
É dia de São Martinho;
comem-se castanhas, prova-se o vinho.
It is St. Martin’s Day,
we’ll eat chestnuts, we’ll taste the wine.
A cada cerdo le llega su San Martín.
Every pig gets its St Martin. The phrase is used to indicate that wrongdoers eventually get their comeuppance.
Martinmas celebrations begin at the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of this eleventh day of the eleventh month (11:11 am on November 11).
The kids wanted to do some fun fall activities.
It’s getting harder the older they get. Most of the fun things seem to be for little kids.
We went to the homeschool day at Pot-Luck Greenhouse.
We went for the corn maze. It was ok. It was near our house, and we went through a couple times. There were activity books.
We’re already lost!
I have this same shot when Alex was 18 months old in Utah!
I love this shot of the bridge!
We took a hay ride to choose pumpkins. They were already cut, to my kids’ disappointment.
Our Other Fall Field Trips:
Black Island Farms in Utah
Sunshine Pumpkin Farm in Germany
Appel Happel in Germany
We took a homeschool field trip to Sunshine Pumpkin Farm.
We travel a lot in fall, so this was exciting for us to do something a little more normal.
The kids liked visiting the animals.
Katie loves cows.
We took a wagon tractor ride to pick our own pumpkins.
Yummy cider and cake for sale in the farm shop!
You can also visit their English and German website. They’re about 10 minutes away from Landstuhl.
There’s a milk and egg dispensary.
I can’t stop my tears this week.
It’s October but I feel like it’s February in my soul.
It’s been a busy week. I finally made it to grocery store at dinnertime on a Saturday night. Completely out of milk and bread. This is the epitome of domestic bliss, right? Saturday night grocery shopping, alone.
They’ve rearranged and updated the store over the last month or so. I still can’t find anything and I used to have the store memorized and my list according to aisle. I wandered around the store three times before I found the bread aisle. I was hungry and exhausted and I needed to get home to make dinner.
I cried in the bread aisle at Kroger, y’all.
They’ve been out of our favorite brand of bread for over two weeks, at multiple stores. There was a preschooler having a four alarm full-blown on the floor tantrum an aisle over that echoed throughout the store, and I felt a spirit bond with her.
It was like the final straw for me this week. I just lost it in the face of so much hate, evil, and sorrow happening in the world, in our country, in our cities, in our churches. It’s overwhelming at times.
I feel so useless just going through the motions of mothering, homeschooling, housework, taxi service to the kids. Barely blogging, working just a little from home, trying to help with little tidbits where I can. Finding projects that I can do. Cutting costs, trying to save wherever to pay off debts more quickly.
My eldest just turned eighteen years old. So much potential and the scary world all wide open before her. She’s more mature, capable, honest, and confident than I was…like a year ago.
What have I done? What do I have to show for eighteen years?
I want to do so much more.
Earlier, I cried when my middle daughter carved her brother’s jack o’lantern. I am ashamed that I didn’t, couldn’t. She is an artist and oh, so capable. She runs circles around me with her abilities and energy and strength.
Today, I cried when my son dusted the entire house because he saw it needed it. They canceled his last baseball game of the season due to bad weather. His always cheerful attitude slays me. I’m more disappointed than he will ever be.
My youngest daughter’s drawing artwork chokes me up with her talent and abilities. What will she do in the future? She is fearless.
My children are better than I am.
And that’s how it should be, what I want for them.
I’ve cried every day recently, multiple times a day, about what I see in the news and on social media – the fear, hatred, evil, sorrow…but also so much kindness, joy, hope, love.
Let us love. Let us be kind.
May we have hope.