Summers End

Yes, yes, it isn’t officially fall yet. I love fall and I can’t wait. Summer is in fact beginning to run out, however, it has been one for the books.

The season of summer though. Wow. This year it was full of ups and downs and obviously no blogging, although some writing was done here and there. I have had so many thoughts or random topics to blog about but unfortunately a small person or household management, or just straight wanting to turn my brain off has prevented much blogging this summer.

We have been busy maxing our park time, camping with the family, playing in the pool and finding shells at the seashore. Oh and ice cream, all the ice cream. Basically it was all the things it should be (aside from almost 2 weeks trapped indoors due to wildfire smoke).

Oh and the Husband and I celebrated being married a decade with a whirlwind 9 day trip through Europe. Well Scotland, England and France to be precise. At some point I’ll need to write a whole separate blog post on the trip because I did bring a writing notebook and I did have moments of absolute silence in which to write. Hooray!

It’s officially September now so yesterday we opened up Bug’s 2nd grade curriculum (yay!) which made it pretty real. We won’t start until September 10th but she starts extracurricular activities next week. I already feel over scheduled, which I don’t like at all so we may have to pull back on some things, especially once swim starts again….oy…vey.

About a month ago I made a small list of things I wanted to do before Summer ran out. A family bucket list if you will. Truth be told, we had a great time just hanging in the backyard most days. Thankfully with homeschooling we still can fit in a few more adventures under the sun. I am so grateful that we get to begin another year of learning. I’m already buying so many books based on educational premise. As I look forward to the next few weeks and finishing the bucket list I’m also trying to look forward in the year and make more meaningful time to write.

Summer puts everything so off schedule, in a good way. Having a list was nice but I feel like this summer went so fast because I didn’t plan much family wise and the Husband and I were focused on our trip. Thankfully given our time away I had time to think about my goals and writing goals and think about what should change when we got back.

I had a goal this year to attend a writers retreat which doesn’t look like it will work at this point, however, I have decided to pick a chill weekend and go stay somewhere overnight. To meaningfully unplug, let the silence invade, and see if I can make some progress on any of my works in progress.

I hope that as Summer winds down for you, you allow yourself a moment or more to breathe, to look forward to a simple schedule in the fall and to take time for your personal goals. I think for me this means purposely (and often far in advance) carving out time to be creative and to put aside electronics and distractions and just observe the world around us as the seasons change.

May your fall be without lament and full of purpose!

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The One Where I’m Over It

This school year is so so close to being done. As in this Friday I no longer have to get a sleepy daughter going in the morning, prod her to get dressed and brush teeth and start our school morning. I’m so glad because I am over it. Like a kid I see the summer approaching and I am wiggling in my chair with anticipation.

Its been a long year, !st grade aside, there has been a new sibling born, job stress, new activities to add in the mix and many, many celebrations and family events.

Best part of this year being over? Despite a slow start (and a somewhat doubtful husband) Bug is now reading merrily along. Just as I knew she would. She has picked up the beauty of reading and can now be found an hour after bedtime greedily devouring a book. By no means are we at a Herman Melville level yet but she is LOVING reading, which really is all you need.

The boys had a successful year at preschool. They made friends, participated in a talent show, made lots of art projects and walked many miles to and from school.

Despite taking at least a month off for the arrival of baby E, we have managed to finish before Summer breaks through. Hallelujah!

And what a summer! The only consistent thing on the schedule is a weekly 30 minute piano lesson which means we are FREEEEEE!

Kicking off the summer will be our annual family 4th of July BBQ. Shortly thereafter with much excitement, the husband and I embark on our 10th Anniversary trip. That’s right folks, its taken 10 years but for 10 days we will be enjoying each other’s company and having a conversation where no one ask for snacks. To say I’m looking forward to a full nights sleep or 7 and food I don’t have to cook would be an understatement.

To all of the teachers out there I think I finally get it. To all the parents out there, let’s try to live it up like the kids and embrace summer with all its crazy adventures.

Ciao for now!

Monday Monday

The sun has appeared at last. It isn’t a fluke. The glorious PNW is coming out in all her glory. The mountains are snow capped, the fields are filled with blooms and the waters are sparkling.

Spring has finally sprung.

Meanwhile, over here though we are reveling in it we are also still busy with school and life and the new baby (who is 4 months old now!).

Today despite Fuss having a spring cold we packed up and headed to the glorious blooms of spring tulips. Uncle Roe came along to herd the small ones and add to the general merriment of the day. First stop, coffee, always the coffee.

Everyone sated and happy (except baby E who hates the car seat) we headed out for a drive in the country and found ourselves parking the car at Roozengaarde. For $7 (kids 5 and under are free) we walked through the gates into a beautiful garden complete with picturesque windmill and rows upon rows of gorgeous tulips.

The kids loved looking at all the different colors, and the boys, lets face it, mostly liked the muddy paths. We took lots of pictures and baby E fell asleep in her carrier as it was just to much for her to take in.

Arriving home after much fresh air, my sweet brother in law hung with the kids for an hour so I could run errands ALONE (score!). Windows down and music up, sun shining almost felt like a vacation.

Post lunch the boys are watching a movie (because now Giddy has hopped on the sick train-despite being perfectly fine) and Bug and I are working on school work. Math is up next, not my favorite. Baby E is napping though which is nice. In about an hour when school is over for the day I will release them to the backyard and much opening and closing of the screen door will happen, along with numerous requests for snacks and swimsuits, etc.

It may be 57 degrees but here in the PNW Spring has sprung and we couldn’t be more excited.

Hope you all are enjoying this lovely time of year.

ta ta for now!

E

This Old House

Let me start this post by saying, my love of old houses is rather new. I grew up in a standard one story house on a block in a neighborhood. There was nothing extraordinary about it, save the fact that it contained my childhood and a whole heap of wonderful memories. The husband and I have moved so many times but it was always apartments, simple houses, etc. This last time we moved into an old town we also moved into an old house. This was partly because we needed more room for our family and the fact not much else was on the market.

We have lived in this 1920’s craftsman home for over 3 years, in the next year we will finally start looking for our forever home, but I felt I must put in writing all the wonderful things about this house, things which made me fall in love with old houses, and craftsman houses in particular.

I’m going to miss the pink glow of the sunrise basking the snowy Olympics (Olympic Mountains) as it rises in the East. The fiery sunsets over the farmland and the glisten of the river as it winds through the valley. Watching the sun cast its rays into every room in the house at different times, shadows dancing as entertainment for the wee ones.

I’ll miss the smell of wood smoke as cedar logs crackle in the Winter. The gathering around of the family by the fire to get cozy. The freezing feet popping out of bed onto the wood floor and rushing downstairs to the warm heart of the house, the kitchen. The old stove and the clock that buzzes gently within it, broken for who knows how long. The builders cupboards in the kitchen, an awful shade of mustard and often sticky, but housing all the plates and cups and bowls on which we eat each day. I’ll miss the door to the basement, which is mysterious and creepy to the littles, a curiosity when we take things down to storage that they want to explore.

I’ll miss the glorious built in drawers, the closets whose lights turn on when you open the doors. The bathroom door which traps people within, unless they know the secret technique of push and turn hard. The creaky stairs that are far to steep and echo the voices as we call to each other from upstairs and down.

I’ll miss the wide front porch, a greeting place for all our guests, the kids climbing on the wide rail to wave goodbye. The giant trees on the corner of the property which cast a shadow on the corner of the house yet still seem friendly. I’ll miss the kids sitting on the porch on the 4th of July with the flag waving and they waving alongside to all the passersby.

I’ll miss the Japanese maple in the backyard, which has been conquered as the easiest climbing tree, small feet dangling in triumph as they climb to its lofty yet small branches. The gate that sticks the more we use it each day, locking and unlocking as we go to school and swim and dance, never complaining of its excessive chore. The old cherry tree, which covers part of the yard in ripe cherries every year and blossoms so beautifully for a few weeks.

I’ll miss the corners of the house sloping down gently upstairs, folding the upper level in a hug and making it even more cozy in the kids small bedrooms. The large windows and oodles of natural light everywhere in the house. The window panes echoing a simpler time.

Most of all, I will miss the place that the boys will remember as their first house, the one they have always known. I will miss the milestones and memories that it contains. I content myself with knowing some day another family will live here, as countless have in the last 100 years, and they will fall in love with this old house as well.

To the places which hold our memories….a salute and thanks for keeping us warm and providing a background for years worth of memories.

 

Self Sufficiency

2 posts in one week! The sky is falling! Maybe its coming out of the newborn fog or just wanting something that I can do for me (besides running…counting the days) but here we go.

Self sufficiency. Something that can be taught, that some people naturally have and that unfortunately many people don’t think is a priority.

One of my great parenting challenges and goals is raising children who can think for themselves, but to take it further, are able to solve problems and do the work. It is so easy in this day and age to just buy something new or throw things out and start over. We live in an instant society and just as instantly things are thrown to the side or deleted as it were, to make room for better or newer.

Life skills that won’t leave my children sobbing by the side of the road because they can’t change a flat tire is what I’m aiming for. I’m so grateful I had parents who taught me to think for myself. I never felt defeatist, like just because I hadn’t done it before, I couldn’t do it. I was taught to try, try, try again until I got it. If not then okay, find another way. Persistence and self sufficiency go hand in hand. The people who make it are the people who refuse to give up, even if it takes 100 times to find the right way.

Think of all the things we wouldn’t have if it weren’t for these independent thinkers (the lightbulb anyone?). One of the things that I really enjoy about homeschooling is that Bug can try a different way if one doesn’t work for her. She isn’t being forced to put a square peg into a round hole, to think or do math one way, she can find what works for how she thinks and be even better at the skill she is working on.

Today I completely patted myself on the back because I did something totally outside my comfort zone. Last Friday getting out of the car while taking all the kids to the dentist I dropped my phone and shattered the screen on the pavement. Yay Fridays. A few people grimaced when I showed them my sweet tape job, “time for a new phone huh?”. Sure, yes I could have ordered a new phone, but it was only the screen that was broken. I ordered a new one while the kids were getting flossed and polished and it came today. Thanks to the genius of YouTube I painstakingly took my phone apart (including motherboard removal, I felt so techy). After a frustrating hour because I was simultaneously trying to get the kids to clean up the playroom I turned on the phone hoping it wasn’t horrifically damaged. Lo and behold it powered up fine and my new screen is glaringly shiny and wonderful. $20 later and I had solved an issue. Yes it took time and work but I did it! It might not seem like that big of a deal, but having a problem and solving it with a level head and patience is quite the mountain to summit.

Being able to take all kids out by myself, knowing how to connect jumper cables, do my own taxes or clear the storm drain (which is just neighborly really) makes me so thankful for the things I was taught and which I hope to teach.

It is so important to me to be able to pass on this ability to my kids. To fight through things that seem hard and learn important lessons.

So for all of you readers out there, next time you hit a bump in life, I encourage you to not give up. Try again, find another way and know that yes, you can do it and you are capable of learning new things and accomplishing goals.

Go get it!

A Moment of Silence

Its been just about a month. A month of sleepless nights, of being tethered constantly to another human being, of feeling my normal productivity levels plummet.

Having a new baby is glorious, yes its all sunshine and rainbows and nothing beats those baby snuggles. Here’s the thing, no one likes to talk about the insanity of no sleep, of the short temper, the desperation in the middle of the night. The reality is that having a first baby versus having any after that is a total game changer. Being responsible for more than 1 human means your focus slips, things fall through the cracks.

This too shall pass. Yes its crazy, but there will be moments of surreal happiness. The first time I took all 4 out of the house and I didn’t die..win! Or this morning. The boys were up at 6am because why not, its Saturday after all! They were insanely loud because all of our children are so shy and quiet (haha!). Baby E was up and cranky from 5:30-6ish and I rocked and pleaded with her until she passed out. You can imagine I was none too pleased to be woken up by the loud twins downstairs arguing about some toy. Sigh.

I came downstairs in full fury and sat on the couch and called them over. They both were duly chastised and I realized that there was no going back to bed for me. Besides, my husband and I each take a “sleep in” day and it is his so I figure I’ll make it up tomorrow morning. Presented with this reality and the fact that the espresso machine would wake up the other 3 people in the house I had the boys put on their boots and coats and we trudged out in the semi darkness for a coffee run. As much as they drive me crazy, it was fun listening to the chatter as we got our coffee and cider. It ranged from whose toothbrush was left in the car to the author of “Scrooge” and where all the castles are (not in “Ameerica”). Skittle insisted on 2 straws in his cider and Fuss wanted to know where all the rain in the river goes to.

There is something so tiring and yet invigorating about those pre dawn hours. I can’t wait until they are filled with sleeping children and a morning run for mama.

Until then I will enjoy these little moments of silence.

The One Where its been Forever

For a host of reasons it has, unfortunately, been a while since I put thoughts to page.

Thankfully right now the minions are being entertained by animated Dr. Seuss and I am actually sitting down.

Fall has been a whirlwind. Today marks the beginning of week 7 of first grade for Bug, the boys are loving preschool and wishing every day was show and tell day. We had our first big fall storm with winds and rain and branches littering the roadways, thankfully we didn’t lose power this go around. I am looking forward to the end of the week when we get the wood burning fireplace inspected/cleaned so that once again on the cozy days we can snuggle up with a good book and the crackling logs.

Another thing is also on the horizon for fall. After much asking, pleading and praying, Bug has been given her wish. A baby sister will be making her appearance in the next few months. I say few because we don’t really know. I had severe pre-eclampsia with both pregnancies and this one has been different thus far due to a daily baby aspirin and my own slowing down. Our goal with this little girl is 32 weeks and I’m almost to 31. This would mark the longest I’ve ever managed to keep a bun baking, which is exciting, it also comes with all new territory I’ve never experienced. At this point I’m pretty confident we will have our sweet little girl home for Christmas (another first) and I can’t imagine anything more wonderful and exhausting than combining the advent season with a newborn.

The small ones have adjusted fairly well to our new boring life. I spend most afternoons trying to sit or lie down and thus they have had more screen time than I like, thankfully it is just a season and once the littlest one arrives we will get back to our daily outings of hiking, exploring, and many more adventures. I am very thankful the boys have 6 hours of preschool a week. It is strangely quiet without their constant narrative.

I hope fall has been good to all of you. The changing colors and crisp air never ceases to thrill my soul and I hope for many more good years with my littles enjoying my favorite season.

There is much to catch up on and at least 4 more posts in my head, for now I just wanted to say I’m alive and well and finally getting back into some me time.

Happy Fall everyone!