The Children Spring 23
April 9, 2023
Taylor and the kids have been enjoying church a lot lately. Taylor is getting involved with classes and the kids are going to choir and Awanas.
Anna June is still being a challenge these days — seems like I write that often! She asked me recently to tell her all the Spanish words I know, so I’m trying. She wanted to know how to say ‘I want to go outside’ — which I think is something like Quera vas campo… maybe? I guess I need to break out the old Spanish books.
April 12-13, 2023
Spending the day with Marvin today, as Taylor and Anna June are on the Turtle Center field trip. We’ve had a good day, though Marvin is still sick.
He’s thrown up, had an earache and going to the doctor. Anna June is sneezy and coughing, but seems okay.
She keeps asking me about “patterns” and asking if things are a pattern. She seems to be very good at seeing them. She truly fits the descriptions I see online of “the sensitive child.” Lots of empathy and responsiveness and imagination is part of that personality, they say. She’s that.
The other night as I was sitting on her bed at story time, she noticed me rolling my head uncomfortably against the wall, so she got up and got me a big pillow for my head. So sweet!
We keep talking about homeschooling, as we have since before Marvin even started school. Maybe soon, or maybe next year. Maybe a group thing? Lots of possibilities.
April 14, 2023
The doctor ordered an x-ray of Marvin’s chest. It’s very concerning, so we’re doing the nebulizer treatments and an antibiotic… he seems to feel okay today, but no school.
Turns out it’s pneumonia! So we’re treating them both for that.
April 16, 2023
Kinda returning to health and happiness now… but too sick for school. We are seriously considering not taking them back, since they seem to get sick again every time they go back. And they’ve missed so much school.
April 21-23, 2023
A shooting in the Food Lion parking lot has us worried about taking the kids anywhere! The world is going crazy!
We’re definitely making the move to home school. The kids seem happy to be home, so it’s going well so far.
A great day with the kids yesterday! We played with them a lot and had a fun time inside and out! Working learning into the fun is the main idea of this approach to school.
Marvin spontaneously wrote a big sentence on the sidewalk when we were “chalking.” Then he had a meltdown because June altered one of his letters!
Taylor took a very calm and constructive approach to his fit, and he got over it quickly. I need to work on being more calm in the face of their outbursts.
April 27, 2023
Marvin asked, “What is infinity?” Mom and I both said, “I don’t know.”
Anna June said, “Infinity is forever!”
Astounding! But this homeschooling may be a challenge! Child-directed learning.
May 4-7, 2023
June still wants to resist anything she’s asked to do. Otherwise the homeschooling is going pretty well. We’re trying to do something good every day, and we’re working out a schedule. Lots of exploring so far.
Marvin was in a play/musical at church this morning, so we had a nice family time! He did great, though he said he hated it. June wanted to be in it too, but not old enough.
She sang Jesus Loves Me for Granny today, and her voice was so beautiful! She was really trying to impress Granny! She gets all the nuances of the melody and the emotion!
She said she wants to be a rock star. And a princess.
Hope I live to see her grow up!
The Children, Winter ‘23
June was holding a pretend meeting with someone, though it was not clear to me who was involved. She was very serious about it all, and at some point, she said to the imaginary group, shrugging her shoulders, “All the boys are so stoopid! They don’t like their wives!”
I didn’t ask what she meant by that.
We have all been sick a lot as the weather cools off. But we’re decorating for Christmas and visited the Live Nativity, which the kids loved, especially the animals.
And Christmas was good! Excited, happy kids all around! A new trampoline was the big gift, and they’re excited about that.
Had a great visit with John at the Sikes family gathering and oyster roast! So good to see him! He even came by on his way home and we had lunch together.
And had a great visit with Gene! We spend about three hours talking about all kinda stuff, reminiscing, talking about the world. We’re both feeling our mortality deeply these days.
The kids are ever-challenging! June is not responding to our best efforts to get her to obey without threats of punishment. She just cruises above it all… wide open all the time! Bedtime is usually hard, sometimes impossible. But her potential is still shining through. She’s so engaging and so smart! How to keep her and everyone around her safe and within reasonable limits without crushing her spirit is the challenge.
I’m going through a bunch of old photos of some of the older times with family — not easy task.
Another interesting story from June during some phonics activities… the word “backpack” somehow prompted a story of some animal friend of hers named Dory, who’s a tiger she met when she went to the jungle with her “sisters.” When I was shocked at the idea of a tiger, she hugged me and said, “She love everybody!” And she has a sweet tiger family.
Taylor and the kids are going to church pretty much every Sunday now, and they seem to be enjoying it. It’s a bit hard for me with my background with Southern Baptists, but they seem to all be very good folks.
February 17, 2023
Documenting here that last night, June predicted that, in 100 days, Screven would have a “really strong storm” and we’d better make our house strong enough not to get blown down! (That should be about May 27 or 28…)
I got to see my dear cousin Marilee and her husband, Bob, recently, and Taylor and the kids met them. Was so great! Family connections!
Then we visited with Linda and John on the way home and that was great too!
Then on Sunday, Stewart and I went to see Gene and Sarah. Really good visit, though he’s still not doing very well.
Marvin and June seem to be doing great in school, liking and getting along well at home most of the time! Though June has been on a stubborn streak all week — nothing terrible, but she just wants to resist everything!
Spring is here, tho cool weather still in store. We’re thinking of adding a deck.
Things are going well with the kids, though Marvin is having some issues with anxiety and various complaints about things physically wrong with him — his gums, his head, etc. He talked to the school counselor about and we’ve talked to her. She seems not overly concerned, but she asked about deaths or other trauma in the family. It could be related. He is still sad about Bob’s death.
June’s just wild! Hard to reign in. And she want us to have another baby.
My health issues continue, so that may not be a possibility!
I do hope we’re raising some strong children, as it seems as though the changes in the world are going to demand much of them. Maybe they will be “the generation” — the one who actually stands up to the authoritarian trends this world is facing.
Children raised to treat all others with kindness and respect is truly how we extend ourselves into the future.
We’ve all been sick a lot lately — seems the kids just keep picking up things at school.
It was the Winter Solstice. June was almost asleep, but she looked up at me and said, “Daddy. I been having bad dreams about people getting dead.”
I tried to stay calm. I said sorry, and tried to comfort her, but I was shook. I asked her what people, and she said, “Everybody. Even you.”
Again, I tried to comfort her and stay calm. Then she said quietly and very seriously, “ Did you know that your grave is beside mine?”
I said no, and tried to continue to comfort her.
I remembered that early the day before, she had said something about having a really bad dream. She didn’t say what. I didn’t ask. She’s an old soul whose awareness penetrates the veil in both directions. She remembers past lives and sees our future.
The Family, Fall 2022
[Continuing as chronological, tho already blogged much of this as current… hope this not too confusing.]
July 23, 2022
Oh lord! June’s pretending to talk on a phone (one of her dominoes), and she tells me that her pretend brother called and wants to go on a date. I tell her she can’t, because she’s too young, plus no dates with her brother! She calls him back and says, quite emphatically, “I’m not going!” Then she tells me that he’s not happy and is threatening to have her arrested! Oh lord. She’s four.
The kids are in school now. Things are going well so far, though the run up was hard! Getting ready and being emotionally prepared has been stressful for us both. June was doing “pretend school” tonight, and came out of her room in a skirt and wearing her backpack. She struck a pose and asked, “Don’t I look cute!!?”
June has been sick and missed a few days this month … we’ve all been sick off and on. I guess stuff they’re picking up at school. I got a negative on a COVID test, so I guess it’s not that. June is loving school and Marvin’s hating it. Everyone else seems to be doing okay, though I don’t hear much from the other kids. Lucy went on a tour out west with a circus group, had a great time.
June continues to amaze us with her learning — and drive us crazy with her stubborn willfulness. She loves playing with scrabble letters and dominoes and is learning letters and numbers. She also has the concept of adding! She loves trying to write her name, and other letters and numbers. She uses very advanced words and phrases such as “a gust of wind” and “illness.” And she’s forever asking “Why?” or “What does that mean?”
June and Marvin loved our Eden family gathering at Gene’s. Baby Hugo was the cutest thing, and June and Sophia loved playing with him together. Eight kids in their generation there.
We were playing with the TicTacTony toy, which has red and blue discs. June arranged them as a flower and said, “It’s called the red and blue flower, written by James Carolina!”
A weird comment from the girl: “ All those boys are so stoopid! They don’t like their wives!” Shrugs her shoulders. (As part of some fantasy play with a pretend meeting- June on her “phone”!)
She’s learned the concept “equal.” And, amazingly, she read correctly all the numbers in the table of contents in one of our books! I had to help her a bit with 109, but she got the other hundreds correct.
The Children, Spring 2022
[Continuing the chronological blog here, tho some of this I’ve already blogged as current journaling. ]
One of June’s favorite comments lately is, “Now here’s the plan!” We hang out a lot. Today, Marvin and mommie are off on a field trip, so we’re doing mud pies, scooter rides and playing on the clay hill today. She’s really fun to hang with. Her amazing skills and saying continue to get better. She recognizes several letters and numbers, writes some of them, and can count her fingers. She can go through the Poppy’s Feelings book with almost word-for-word accuracy, and she knows most of Groovycorns by heart. She regularly corrects me if I read a word wrong in any of our regular story books. And she’s making progress on going to sleep on her own!
Today (April 17), she tells me, after a lecture on listening to me and doing what I ask her to do, that I need to listen to her. So I said, you need to listen to me! She replied, quite sweetly, “We need to listen to each other!” Her newest saying, with great gusto, “Oh Baby!”
I’ve been wondering if anxiety and stress can cause dissociation…
We met up with some of Taylor’s family this week, Jerry and Karen one day, then Walt came to visit, and then we met Jerry’s sister in the park. The kids loved seeing “Poppy” and the Easter basket he brought!
June had me playing with stuffies for about an hour today—so much imagination! She creates these complex story lines punctuated with songs and interpretative dance. Her songs really catch up the emotional tone of what she’s singing about in amazing ways! One was “I’m so happy!” and another was a sweet, high melody about being sad…
Marvin’s 7th birthday (April 28) was great fun for all, with surprises galore. Though it wasn’t a party per se, Marvin’s friend Xavier came over with Michelle, his mom. Also Granny, Kay, Leslie and kids, and Mrs. Dot all were there, so was fun. Taylor made a truly wonderful chocolate cake, and we got the kids a Nintendo Switch with a TV screen, so Marvin was very happy!
June and I are hanging again, as Mom is off to town. Bike and scooter rides already, plus playing, a little TV, and some drawing. She’s always engaging.
May began with sweetness and love, cuddles and conversation, lots of happy moments and opening up to each other. We’ve all been pretty healthy, tho the allergies are bad with all the pollen. We also had a great teacher conference with Marvin’s teachers and speech therapist. They were all very complimentary about Marvin’s work in kindergarten. And good news – June gets to be in Screven Pre-K next year! She needs the connections and outlet. She’s always grabbing me, “Play with me!” – so I’m down on the floor listening to her stuffy stories. She’s a wonder, but she’s very challenging.
She’s so happy that she’s going to school next year! She asked me the other night if she was going to school tomorrow! It may be a long summer! She’s a big on the ADHD side for sure, and focus is sometimes a problem. She told me today (May 14) that she can watch TV and play at the same time… guess she gets that from me. She’s often distracted by something, anything, in the midst of some task or mission. Yesterday she set up a little store in the living room with her toy cash register and lots of toys to sell! I hope the Pre-K is ready for her!
Marvin is doing so well in Kindergarten, so it seems likely June will be fine in Pre-K. We’ve noticed that Marvin actually seems to have calmed down a lot since being in Kindergarten this year. And it seems that playing video games helps him calm down as well. Engaged! Most of his problem behaviors — meltdowns, crying and screaming, such things — are all much better!
We’re looking forward to a family gathering with my siblings and families in October. A good conversation with Liana recently, she is positive about coming, tho Lucy is probably going to be too busy. It’s been more than 2 years since we got together, and a year since Bob’s memorial. We need to get together.
The kids are sick this week (June 1) since a swim last Saturday. We’re both tired but healthy. June said today that when its her birthday she thinks there will be an avalanche. I asked her if she knows what an avalanche is and she said, “I know what an avalanche is! It’s when a rock falls down from a cliff, and it kills you!” Another day she tipped my hat back and said, “Now you look like a bro!” She’s full of cute comments!
We had to cancel June’s birthday party (June 9) on account of a COVID case at VBS First Baptist. We had cake and gifts with just us. Sad.
Stressful month so far, as we’ve been anticipating Marvin’s heart procedure at the end of June. But it’s done now (June 24) and we’re home and he’s fine! It was a two-day ordeal, tho the medical part was less than an hour, and remarkably, he’s not had a lot of impact from it, and he’s improving rapidly. We’re so relieved!
A great conversation with Liana yesterday (July 9) and she’s still positive about the family gathering. I’ve begun the blog and I’m hoping everyone will read it, even Marvin and June, one day!
We went for a fun trip to St. Simons (mid-July) and Taylor and Marvin climbed the lighthouse while June and I sat below and waved. She didn’t like the ghost stories that preceded the climb! She has been WILD lately, going through this defiance thing. Trying to talk to her, ended up giving her a spank, but that doesn’t seem to help. I need a new approach!
Mom’s off to a workshop today so me and the kids… hanging out. June’s in her bedroom pretend reading to herself, one of her favorite things to do. She ‘reads’ off and on when I’m reading bedtime stories to her… amazing how she remembers the words to the stories, even over weeks later… And the complexity of her play with little characters and stuffed toys is narrative driven.
An amazing comment from her the other night. I told her I loved her, and she said, “I love you too! Usually, I love the whole world!”
I think she does!
The Children, Winter 2022
January 7, 2022
Our fifth Christmas together was wonderful, very sweet with lots of visiting with family. The Woodards at Granny’s Christmas Eve dinner, John and Manna and family came for a visit, and the kids got along great! Also a visit to Marvin’s family in Cherokee! Wild and very fun visit, lots of cousins and most of Marvin’s dad’s family. Though Marvin was pretty sick after we got home.
January 15, 2022
We’re putting a playground swing/slide together, and June is actually being very helpful. She can put the washers on the bolts, hammer in the T-nuts (she’s quite proficient with a hammer!) and screw in the bolts. She even knows which way to turn them to go in or out! I noticed when I asked her to take some out that she intuitively knew which way to turn them! Pretty amazing! Lots of adults don’t know that. In addition, I was very impressed with her work ethic! She made sure those T-nuts were hammered all the way in, and she kept at it even when she was tired. She really wanted to be helpful and not just play, she followed instructions and was very cooperative!
February 3, 2022
We were sick much of January, though didn’t seem to ever be the Omicron- though we were worried.
I’ve tried to get in touch with Liana a lot recently to no avail— am a little worried an not sure what to do. So hard.
Trying to get the kids moved into the other bedroom. Things are up and down, sometimes I’m just hanging on by a thread…
February 27, 2022
Juney continues to spout amazing stuff! Says “ actually” a lot! And this morning over something she said, “What are they damn looking for!?”
March 5, 2022
March has started off well! June continues to amaze—playing in the sand, making castles and telling elaborate stories about the people who crash them down! She likes my “talking stories” at story time, and now she’s making up her own! What a trip! She’s very involved in them lately, suggesting topics from her imagination and then correcting my efforts to turn them into stories.
Challenging! And her Why? questions! “Why do we have bones? Why do we need walls?” Almost anything that occurs to her, she asks why we need it. Challenging to find answers! I wish I had a list of all her questions!
March 11, 2022
June learned to pump her swing yesterday! I had tried to get her to do it several times before, she kinda got the idea last weekend. Then yesterday she was begging me to push her, and I just started saying “Pump, pump!” In rhythm with her swinging and she got it, started doing it. She was so excited! Screaming and laughing and saying “I got it!”
No sick kids the past month, so we’re happy! And they’re in their own bedroom! They were fine by themselves all night, so all good!
March 20, 2022
Everything seems to be back on track now! We survived a late freeze last week, the yard looking great. The kids are getting along well most of the time! More outside time means a happier Juney! Marvin is pretty addicted to the TV/tablet stuff!
A big breakthrough! Talked to Liana for the first time since the Bob Memorial. She had heard that Stewart and Julian are selling Mom’s house, so we talked a good bit, and agreed we needed to talk more often. She told me more about her medical issues, which is very worrying to me!
Also saw Lucy a few weeks ago! She was on the way back to ATL from a visit to St. Pete. So good to see her! Life has gone so crazy! The split, the move, the virus, the world! Never see anybody! Sad! Maybe things will get better this summer!
Brother Gene is not doing so well lately, but we’re hoping for a sibling reunion this summer. His issues are spreading, getting treatment. Very worried. Also worried about Stewart since he’s moved to Brunswick and I never see him! John and Manna and the kids seem to be doing well! Hope to see them soon!
March 25, 2022
Marvin can read! And June is potty-trained!
And June told me, “ Dad, one of these hippos doesn’t work properly!”
Wild kids, Fall ‘21
September 16, 2021
Miss Anna June is wild lately! She and Marvin have fun, and they’re not fighting as much, but they ARE wild! Loud and running around the house on these rainy days! They need outside time!
June and I walked to city hall today, and she liked that! A bit shy of Barbara though. She’s learning so fast and remembers everything! Her language skills are over the top, and she’s very print-aware. Be reading soon! Still a big fan of Doc McStuffin!
September 26, 2021
I talked to everyone but Gene on my birthday. These talks seem so much more poignant since Bob’s death. Time is short for all of us. Everyone seems to be doing well, though Liana is sick. She said she’s tested negative twice so probably not the Rona. Scary. I am so ready for this Trump and his effects and Coronavirus to be gone from our lives! The two most destructive events in our national life in my 3/4 century of living.
October 17, 2021
I had a long and difficult talk with Liana this afternoon— bad news about her possible RA diagnosis. Lots of pain in her hands for a week or so. She’s delaying g her plans with Dani, and she’s not coming to Bob’s memorial in Dixie. So the chances of seeing her get slim. Maybe I can go to Atlanta, tho it’s a hard trip for me now. She’s also still pretty hurt over everything and it’s hard to know what to say to her other than that I wish I had handled things differently. Regrets are bitter medicine, and no amount of sugar makes them go down any easier.
And what’s to be done about it all now? It’s a hard conversation to have. I think we both feel a little better after talking. I hope so. I need to communicate somehow.
November 21, 2021
We had Bob’s memorial service last Sunday. Powerful and hard, but a great family experience. I think everyone appreciates the family more now. Taylor loved the family gathering and loved everyone. I think they all loved her too. Though there was some negativity.
November 28, 2021
Things are going so well lately, so sweet! The kids are doing well, bedtime has finally settled into a new routine for them, story time is good, no fighting or difficulty over it. Marvin usually goes right to sleep, June is going to sleep fairly easily with me, no crying for Mommie or getting up and down now.
They’re getting along better usually, tho June can be a stinker sometimes! And I’m a happy man!
December 5, 2021
Things continue to go well! The kids are still trying at times, but overall that’s better. June has been really stubborn a lot, but she’s also very sweet, too!
Marvin learned to ride his bike without training wheels yesterday, so we let him ride to the playground today and he did great! He was very responsive and good, able to manage the bike well! June’s frustrated because she can’t keep up on her little trike, so we’re gonna get her a bike. She’ll be riding in a year! Bedtime has been a little harder lately, but still okay. Christmas decorating is under way!
December 18, 2021
Things continue to go well on most fronts… June is being a trial lots of the time, but we are dealing with it. Marvin is doing well in Kindergarten, maturing well!
No movement on the Liana front— the other kids seem to be doing well.
Recipes frequently referred to…
Chaga/Reishi tincture (double extraction)
Decoction of Chaga and Reishi:
>2 Tbsp Chaga, c. 2 slices Reishi in 16 oz water.
>Simmer 1.5 hrs., adding water to maintain 16 oz.
>Strain and add marc to CR2.
CR1: Alcohol extraction Chaga:
>3 Tbsp Chaga.
>4 oz. alcohol (40%).
>Soak for 4 weeks min.
>Strain, simmer marc in water about 1 hour, reducing to about 2 oz. water (this can be repeated if desired).
>Strain water, then mix the two liquids.
CR2: Second extraction, alcohol:
>Put marc from decoction in 2 oz. alcohol (40%) initially.
>Keep adding marc and alcohol to this jar with each future decoction, plus enough alcohol to keep it covered, recording date when added.
>When CR1 is ready, be sure it’s been at least 2 weeks past last addition to CR2, then strain and mix with CR1.
>OPTIONAL: If decoction is available, add an amount equal or less than the quantity of alcohol in the CR2 extraction.
Lemon Balm/Blue Vervain tincture:
>2 cups dry Lemon Balm
>c. 2/3 cup dry Blue Vervain
>add alcohol to fill jar to about 18 oz. (3 mos. supply?)
>Tbsp each: Astragalus, Eleuthero, Ashwagandha, Nettle.
>teaspoon each: Red Clover, Echinacea, Elderberry
>Overnight infusion in Qt. water
Decongestion Tea (kids):
>Mullein, Catnip, Chamomile, Tulsi, Marshmallow
—use about 1 tea bag each.
Four Thieves spray:
>dissolve Tbsp salt, simmer cinnamon stick in 12 oz. water.
>Clove Oil – 45 drops (or simmer cloves in water).
>Calendula Oil – 30 drops.
>Eucalyptus Oil – 30 drops.
>Lemongrass Oil – 15 drops.
>OPTIONAL: Peppermint Oil – 5 drops (or simmer herb).
Comfrey/Plantain Healing Oil:
>1/4 cup Comfrey root (chopped).
>1/2 cup Plantain leaf (dry).
>Infuse in 8 oz. Olive oil 6 weeks.
>Add Clove/Peppermint/Lavender/St. John’s oils for pain
Ensalvation of Healing Oil:
>4 oz. oil
>3 or 4 Tbsp Shea Butter
>About 3 tsp beeswax beads (=2Tbsp bulk)
>Onion, ginger, horseradish (1/4 cup powder)
>Chopped habanero (1 or 2)
>Chopped fresh Rosemary 1/2 cup
>Zest and juice of a lemon
>Turmeric 1 Tbsp.
>1 Qt. apple cider vinegar for 6 weeks
>Strain, simmer marc and add that water and honey.