Sunday, May 31

A Weekend To Remember

The first words Zorak spoke this morning were, "I'm getting old, aren't I?"

And men say we ask no-win questions? I wish he'd just asked me if his jeans make his butt look fat. I mean, technically, yes. (On getting old, not looking fat. He looks great. And I know better than to ask - either question.) The whole birthday observance does tend to note such an accomplishment as surviving another year. That yearly survival thing is tantamount to getting older.

But on several levels, I do wish he'd be a bit more cheerful about it. First, it beats the alternative. Second, um, I'm not far behind, and I'd rather not face my ensuing birthdays with the fear that he thinks I'm getting old. Gah. Way to set the bar, honey. Happy Birthday.

Zorak half-jokingly confided that he has a plan to arrive 20 minutes late for church, which puts us in about halfway through the opening prayer. PCA'ers do love their corporate prayer, that's for sure. We nailed it today, and slipped in (as quietly as seven people can slip into a completely silent room that has no sound dampening). Church was lovely. You know you have a good preacher when the verses are Genesis 46:8-27, and he can actually make an interesting, applicable sermon out of it.

We spent the rest of the afternoon trying to convince ourselves that we should go out and work. But it was "warm" out. And when it stopped being "warm" (yes, I'm using euphemisms), the "vampires" were out. So. We stayed inside and worked. Hung out. Played a bit. It was, after a holiday of sorts, right?

James lost a tooth this weekend.
John lost two teeth this weekend.
Smidge is just dying of anticipation over tournaments and the team party.
Jason FINALLY started walking today.
Emily is one tired child, trying to keep up with her brothers.
AND, I have to find the disks for my camera, because this computer doesn't have the stuff it needs to upload pictures from the camera or the memory card. So, no pictures just yet. (If you know where I've put it, though, please shoot me an email, okay?)

And so ends another weekend. As usual, we did not accomplish all that we hoped we would. We did accomplish the important things, though - time with the kids, and getting the skivvies washed for the week. Good stuff, that.

Kiss those babies!

Friday, May 29

The Non-Agrarian Report

I don't know why we're doing this. I really don't. Zorak's pretty good at it, but what made him think I would be of any benefit is beyond me. The man obviously didn't marry me for my farmwife skilz.

There's a tree, down in the meadow, a huge, sprawling tree, that's been left to its own devices for such a long time. After "the mowing" (accompanied by "the twitching", and that one point where a blackberry bramble came up behind me and stuck me in the neck, and I nearly flew right up over the front of the mower, thinking I'd been nailed by a cottonmouth...) well, after all of that, and a few days to recover what's left of my dignity, I realized the tree is no longer nestled into anything, but stands proudly in the middle of the meadow.

It could have quite a bit of character, I thought. If properly trimmed, it could offer more than just a place for ticks and snakes and whoknowswhat to hide, but it could also provide a shady place to the babies to play (but not with the snakes), and for us to rest during the hot summer days.

So once again, my flights of imagination overruled my common sense, and I got out there with trimmers and clippers and a saw. I'll get pictures today. I swear to you, I think it's a poison ivy TREE. I kid you not. John was with me, and I warned him to stay away from the poison ivy. But then we noticed it was everywhere. Then we noticed it was not growing *on* the tree, it was growing *out of* the tree. As if it were the tree. Huh. Weird.

Since I haven't reacted to poison ivy yet, I set John loose to hack down the stuff the mower couldn't take down (it is so nice to have a child proficient with a machete, weird as that may sound), and I got to work. Got all the lower limbs, got the suckers off, and then I scaled the tree to start working on the upper portion. All was well, until I realized the tree was absolutely *covered* in little bitty caterpillars. And spiders the size of my thumb. And poison ivy vines. Not a realization you want to come to, twenty feet up in the air.

I'll skip the part about calling for a spotter, but I will say Zorak has learned a lot about working with the less-capable in the field. He remembered to warn me before he grabbed hold of my leg to steady me. Heaven knows I might have panicked and scrambled up to the top of the tree, thinking I'd been nabbed by a rare Alabama Python! And it's hard to blog from the top of a tree.

The children have also learned to at least wait until Mom's back on the ground before you start snickering. Although John did offer to go up for me next time.

Kiss those babies!

Saturday, May 23


Well, that was odd. Tried to hit "enter" and posted an empty post, instead. And here, I thought I'd had enough coffee to get started today!

The boys are off on a Cub Scout hike. Three miles in the mountains. It's a gorgeous morning, and both Zorak and I are railing a bit against the fact that I'm the one who loves early mornings, getting out of the house on Saturday, hiking, (he just... doesn't) and yet he's the one co-opted to go this morning. I suggested we all go, but the idea of carrying Jase and EmBaby three miles in the mountains didn't really appeal to either of us. Then I thought perhaps I could go, and he could stay, but the boys expect Dad to go, if he can. Plus, he enjoys seeing them enjoy themselves. That's one of the things parenthood does: you do things you may not enjoy, just for the smile on the children's faces. It's a wonderful kind of selfishness that makes me love him all the more.

And so, the Smallest and I are home, wondering what to do next. I hate the thought of tilling or mowing with only the Littles. Maybe we'll just go dig. Or prune. Or gather limbs for a bonfire. Or maybe just ride around the property on the wagon? Since Zorak fixed the Little Red Wagon, we've had a lot of fun hauling children and limbs and more children and the occasional plant.

What to do with a quiet Saturday morning?

Thursday, May 21

So late! Not sleepy!

It is a sick bit of humor, this whole technically not being nocturnal thing. Gah. And it only gets worse as summer approaches. (Although today, I had to give kudos to Zorak and I. It is the end of May, and there we sat, side-by-side, out in the yard, not complaining. Four years ago, by the end of May, we'd stopped venturing outside at all, let alone for leisure.)

Thank you for the great food ideas! I'm excited about trying some, and y'all got me lookin' for fun and feeling groovy. (I'm also trying desperately to get another song out of my head, so please forgive any further random lyric placement. It's all I've got, unless I want to go wake up one of the kids and make them talk to me of other things until it goes away.)

Zorak is the KING, folks. He rocks, and somehow, some way, managed to get the mower running. (And, as an added bonus, it now seems to be impervious to my diabolical efforts.) I mowed for two and a half hours. My butt is still numb, seven hours later, but the lower meadow looks almost great! Best. News. All. Week.

In his spare time, he has also been building me a pantry shelf for the basement, to replace the plywood and plumbing tape one we scabbed together two years ago. That one served us well, but it's a little ugly. And, being comprised mostly of scrap, it's a little saggy at this point. This new one's purty. And strong! It has a metal screen back, and doors up top, and will fit everything from coffee cans to five gallon buckets to coffee bags to canned goods and even those little sacks of coffee beans. To celebrate, I think I'll do groceries tomorrow!

Kiss those babies!

Wednesday, May 20

Productivity and Ruts

Sometimes, I have no idea how we accomplish anything at all. It's just sort of a mystery, to be honest. And yet, we had a productive day, and are looking to have a productive rest-of-the-week. It's a mystery I'll take!

The mower is now working again. So says Zorak. I will believe it when I've mowed more than a quarter acre with it and haven't broken it (again). Why, yes, I am starting to develop a bit of a complex regarding my effect on lawn equipment. Bless him, he says it's not my fault. Every woman should have a man who is willing to say that. Even if there is nothing to indicate that it's true. It's still Very Sweet of him.

Speaking of my Very Sweet Man, I need some summer meal ideas. Normally, we have a full repertoire that we enjoy eating, enjoy preparing, the whole shebang. But lately? Meh. On all counts.

When I have a plan for supper, it usually leaves Zorak thinking he should have hit the buffet for lunch that day. He is never, ever ungracious about it, but you can just feel the disappointment radiating from the phone as he manages to choke out, "Oh. Yeah. That'd be fine." It's deflating, for both of us.

Of course, when I figure we'll just wait 'til he gets home and then figure it out, that's the day something exploded at work, or didn't get signed in triplicate, or whatever, and he never had a chance to eat lunch. (Considering he does not eat breakfast, this means he arrives home ready to eat laminate flooring and wash it down with cold bathwater, if necessary.) Also somewhat deflating.

If this could reasonably be called "a rut", we are stuck in it. I suspect we are too close to it (or not hungry enough yet) to sort through it quickly and subjectively. Everything we came up with that sounded remotely good for the next two weeks' menu centered on wintery, thick, body-warming meals. Probably not "just the thing" for heading into Southern Summer. So I thought I would beg for help from my fantastic readers.


Kiss those babies!

Tuesday, May 19

Hoo boy.

Autumn Ridge Nursery.

We're going in.

Kiss those babies!

Man, alive!

Today was one of those sumo wrestler days. One of those skulking, sumo-gone-bad, street thug wrestler days that began with a cranky repairman, a vomiting toddler, and an attack of stream-of-consciousness monologue torture from one of the children. Thankfully, we are a crafty bunch and we managed, by working together and refusing to take ourselves too seriously, to slip away from the insanity and survive somewhat unscathed.

The weather was absolutely gorgeous ALL DAY! As a result, the kids accomplished very little in the way of school. They'd no sooner finish a chapter or a review, as they'd slip out to frolic in the trees and meadows. Granted, I can be a bit of a slave driver when necessary, but even I didn't have the heart to drag them back inside on a day like today. There'll be plenty of time to work in August, when none of us wants to move.

Tonight it's downright chilly. I'm tempted to sleep on the balcony, happily shivering into the early morning hours, if only because I know that come August, cool nights will be only a taunting memory, right alongside the days of choosing to be outside in the afternoons. Of course, since I cannot think of a way to explain my cold, dew-covered, balcony-dwelling self to my Beloved, I'm opting, instead, to stay up far too late with the doors open and the fans on, in the hope of luring the cool air into the house. I'm too cold to type well, but it feels SO nice!

I called and got the specs on sending the camera in for a cleaning and repair, so it'll go out Thursday. Hopefully, it'll soon be back and functional, and I got PHOTOSHOP ELEMENTS and cannot *wait* to try it out! (It was a Very Thoughtful Gift. I'm hoping to manage to get some frame-quality pictures out of it, to have done up nicely and given as a Thank You. That sounds so lame, written out, but in my head it sounded better than a pint jar of apple butter...)

And that's about it. Smidge's team won today's game. No more ball 'til Thursday, so we plan to work like industrious little farmers between now and then. TONS of gardening/farming/Forever Home news, but it will have to wait until I'm done reveling in the joy of being chilly just one. last. time.

Kiss those babies!

Sunday, May 17

Fences and Neighbors

Either our neighbors are going to have to get a grip on their chickens, or they are going to have to accept a certain amount of depredation on them. Either way, something's got to give. The chickens scratched the tea garden to pieces. They also went nuts on my oregano plant. I think that whole section of the yard is now in shock.

As I patted the plants back into place and put the mulch back where it belongs, I found myself thinking dark thoughts, like chicken stock and chicken casserole and chicken taxidermy.

We got everything put to rights, though, and then enjoyed the rest of the day. Church was lovely, and nobody fell asleep. We came home to rain, off and on, so we did pretty much nothing other than play Quiddler, watch a movie, and do laundry. Zorak grilled during a break in the cloud cover, and we enjoyed kabobs and beans for supper.

One wouldn't think one would be quite so wiped out by such a low-intensity day, huh? Surprise! I'm beat! And so, to bed.

Kiss those babies!

Life in the Spring: Ball and Gardening

Mondays through Fridays:
Wake, eat, study, eat, baseball, eat, bed.

Wake, eat, baseball, baseball, baseball, eat-until-we-pass-out.

Wake, eat, church, work on the Forever Home, eat, bed.

This is why monks don't usually blog. It's very difficult to make that much unyielding routine sound interesting.

John's team finished their regular season today. They ended the season 10 and 3, a respectable finish. Tournaments begin at some unspecified point in the future, and they're a strong team going into it. I think they've got their eyes on the Championship. John really wants to see his name on a banner at the fields. :-)

Smidge's team is sitting at 8 and 1, with a make-up game to be played tomorrow. They have Unspecified Tournaments, too. Hopefully at the same fields as John's team. Then we're done. For the Spring. Fall Ball registration starts during the Tournaments, though.

Right now, Smidge says he wants a break (he loves his Mama), and John says, "Of COURSE I want to play Fall Ball!" (I tell myself he still loves me...)

We've had total failure on both apple trees this year. No clue what happened, but there's only one apple between the two trees. The pears are thick, but now we're getting "June drop". We suspect they're too heavily laden to handle the load. I don't know if it's too late to fix that. If it will ever stop raining (and we aren't at the fields when it's not raining - farmers cannot play baseball, that much we've learned), we'll thin the fruit and fertilize and see if that helps. Regardless, we've definitely decided to add more fruit trees to the Forever Home. Hopefully, a wider variety of fruit will help offset bad years like this.

James put in a tea garden. He started with just three plants, but hopes to have about six or seven varieties once he gets it established. It's darling, and we're looking forward to enjoying tea from the garden!

We have herbs in, and the Earth Boxes are planted with peppers, tomatoes, and lettuces. (I know, it's a little late for lettuce. Like I said, baseball and farming... not so much for the unorganized.)

OK, ok, you got me. It's us. We just don't know what we're doing, and we aren't organized enough to multi-task efficiently. Ah, but at least we're learning as we go, and enjoying the company along the way. That's something, right?

We'll be back to our regular, less-routine routine soon!

Kiss those babies!

Friday, May 8

Too Good Not To Share

Got these from Me-Wa (Ward). Some of them made me laugh so hard!








Kiss those babies!

Monday, May 4

A Truly Exciting Day

Zorak headed off this morning to keep the world safe, and the mortgage paid (he's got mad multi-tasking skilz) while the Small Ones and I got to lounge about, reading literature and discussing Latin declensions (we do not multi-task, which is why it took us all morning).

It got exciting later, okay?

We had one of those Gosh-Why-Can't-They-Schedule-Games-Around-Sibling-Groupings evenings, when Smidge had practice in town, and John had a game at the same time, out of town. Gargh. We have trouble finagling those even when we're both in town (mostly because Zorak and I waste a good hour trying not to make eye contact while we both pretend we don't mind driving "all the way down there", knowing full well we'd both rather be home in our sweats, watching Netflix - so, it takes us a while to draw straws and get on the road). Since there was only me to avoid making eye contact with... um, myself... I called on the kindness of John's coach to let John hitch a ride to his game in Falkville (the town that takes its baseball Very Seriously), so that Smidge wouldn't have to be abandoned at the park for some unknown period of time while I fine-tuned the Cellular Transporter and Astral Travel Machine.

OK, no, I don't have a Cellular Transporter. Or an Astral Travel Machine. Though that'd be pretty durned cool, wouldn't it? I do have a Cellular phone, though. And we hit the ATM. Oh, and starter fluid, which I pretty much need 80% of the time, now, if we actually need the Suburban to get somewhere. Anyway. After Smidge's practice, we headed down to catch what I thought was the last 15 minutes of John's game.

I was So. Wrong. They were at the top of the fifth (they only play five innings, so, theoretically, the end of the game). The field was muddy, the ball was muddy, the bats were muddy, and the kids were muddy. It was nasty, and I can't believe they played. (I told you they take their baseball Very Seriously!) The score was 1-0, Falkville. Dang. That's so... wait, what's this? Four runs! Wow. Nice!

Falkville came up to bat and got three runs. Score's tied.

(Does this mean we can't go home yet?)

Why yes, yes it does.

THREE innings later, the game ended with a single run. 5-4, victory for John's team. Even James, who pays NO attention to the games, was riveted to the fence. I don't think I've ever seen two teams scrabble so hard for every little run, every out, every play. I'm tellin' ya, every child on that field today should be proud of what he accomplished. It was amazing. We didn't get out of there until 8:30!

We piled back in the Transporter. And, it failed to transport us. The miraculous starter fluid even failed me. Finally, we had to get a jump to get going. Then, that wasn't enough - the Suburban choked and died backing out of the parking space, and we had to get another jump. Gah. How embarrassing. In the dark. 45 minutes from home. At night. With all those kids in the car. And did I have snacks? NO, we ate them while waiting for Smidge's practice to end! Talk about lack of foresight. We really must procure a replacement vehicle soon. And hide more snacks in the car.

I need to take some Thank You Goodies to the wonderful friends who hauled a child, and the other wonderful friends who bailed us out of a pickle. Yup. Wonderful People. We are Very Fortunate, indeed.

We have to go back tomorrow, for Smidge's game, and I don't wanna!

We came home, ate hummus and pita bread, and everybody crashed. I think Smidge may have fallen asleep with floss still stuck in his teeth. That was one tired bunch of kids! This Mama is tired, but wired, so I do think I'll curl up with some ice cream and a Netflix and decompress before turning in. Sounds like a plan!

Kiss those babies!

Sunday, May 3

Rained In

We planned to go to church this morning.

But the creek is right at the upper edge of the drive.

It's raining... still raining... looking to rain even harder by lunchtime.

It'd be no fun at all to get out, but not be able to get home.

And so, we're rained in for the day.

Kiss those babies!

Saturday, May 2


We have glasses full of flowers all over the house. It's beautiful. Tulips, roses (well, A rose - the first rose of the season), irises, and whatever those things are EmBaby's holding. They've lasted the longest. I suspect that's because they have the roots still on them. The dandelions don't last long, but everybody's made a wish, now. The clover are on the porch, much to EmBaby's dismay, but they make James so sick. So, clover bouquets on the porch were a compromise.

It's beautiful, and it smells nice. But we're running low on drinking cups.

Maybe I'll ask for a couple of vases, and more Mason jars, for Mother's Day?

Kiss those babies!