Friday, September 24

Friday evening, and all is well.

We scuttled about all week, with music lessons and swim sign-ups and other sundry activities. By today, we were all fried and ready to stay home. But we had a Sam's run looming. We were dead out of sugar and frozen veggies and avocados. Thankfully, Zorak offered to make the Sam's run on his way home from work, which meant I really didn't even have to put on shoes today. Score.

Got recruited to set up for a friend's baby shower. I'm glad her mother was willing to ask for (accept?) help when it was offered. That was cool. It doesn't happen often, around here. Most people already have their go-to list of People To Ask For Help, and it's hard to get into that loop. So. Very excited about that. The boys have also been volunteered, but they won't mind. They adore her and will be tickled to be able to be involved.

Got October's schedule lined up and filled in on the calendar. Just gotta get the Scouts to put their stuff on there. (Yeah, I know. Good luck w/ that. I'll give them a week, and then perhaps I'll hide their Class A's.)

Tried all day to contact a canoe rental company, but they evidently don't answer their phone on... um, Fridays. :-| Weird.

And now, the house has been picked up, swept up, and muttered over (the closest thing to an actual blessing. Actually, I have sage. If I throw it in with the spaghetti sauce, can I call it good?) Sauce is simmering on the stove. I'll brown up the sausage to add to it, here in a bit, and Zorak's bringing home tortellini from Sam's. Woohoo! Love it when a plan comes together.

I think James is itching to have some games tonight, so it's probably time to head down to the game closet and see what sounds like fun.

Kiss those babies!

Tuesday, September 21

I think I broke something

Sunday, we had friends over after church. I wasn't expecting that they'd come. We'd missed phone calls, and hadn't touched base, so I was in no way prepared. However, when we got to church and they asked what they could bring... I didn't panic.

It's not that the house was clean (it wasn't).

It's not that we had something ready to serve (we didn't).

It's not anything I can really figure out, other than that I must've broken a switch somewhere. The one that flips on (it's not a dimmer switch - it's completely binary) when company is coming and endows me with the power to push through and figure out a way to make it at least look like we could possibly maybe sort of (with a little effort, you know, because this is supposed to be "how we always live") have a Really Magazine Quality Home.

But it broke, and I was able to tell my friend honestly and upfront, "Well, you might as well know now, you will never see my home truly clean. I love you, and you're welcome any time, but this is as good as it gets."

She laughed and promised to return the favor one day. Bless her. I knew she was a good 'un.

And then, when scheduling James' chiropractic consultation, the office offers only two times: 9AM, and 1PM. I always want to take the nine o'clock appointment. That's so easy, in theory. We'd be up and at it early, out the door, and home again before Second Breakfast, and oh what a fine day would still stretch before us. But. That's not how it plays out. (Ever.) And so, I laughed and told her that while nine sounds delightful, one would be far more realistic.

And she laughed. It was a good-natured laugh, but still... I suspect she laughs quite a bit as we trundle in and out, sometimes with shoes (sometimes not - the littles still shed clothing in the car - if it weren't for car seat straps, we might arrive mostly naked from time to time), sometimes all brushed and coifed (again, sometimes not - I'm not sure what's in carseat fabric, but it can turn the cutest little hairdo into a Kramer-esque conflagration in the 40-mile drive). It used to be that queries of "how are you today *smile*" were met with an exhausted chuckle and a weakly muttered, "we're here". Now, meh, we're here and it's great and, um, yeah, I'm not even going to pretend that little one had shoes, anymore.

That switch seems to have controlled a number of exhausting functions in my brain: company clean panic switch; we're-really-more-organized-than-it-looks justification loop; oh-my-but-HOW-did-we-leave-the-piano-book-here-and-not-realize-it-all-week-*glares at guilty suspect* query. What's worse, it also seems to have triggered the Stressful Exoneration Speeches. I hate those. The kids hate those. All they do is make us all feel haggard and worn out. Why do we even come equipped with that feature?

But now, it just doesn't work. And you know what? I'm glad it doesn't.

My home will not be clean enough for the Queen, but that doesn't matter because I don't have a Queen and if a foreign Queen does come to visit, her security staff can either pass or fail the house on inspection. I don't care. The cookies will be good, at least. But the rest of you are more than welcome, any time, any day.

My children will not ever look upon exiting the vehicle the way the did upon exiting the house. I know this. If you've had children, you know this. If you don't get it, well, that's okay, they aren't your children, and I don't have to explain it anymore.

No, we are not more organized than we appear. It's actually probably worse than it seems. Just go with it. We do. And we're happier for it. (In a "Death By Irony" moment, we're also on time significantly more often now that the switch has broken! Love it!)

And yes, I feel like a complete dork for taking over a decade to find that switch and snap it off, entirely. But now it's done, and it feels great!

Kiss those babies!

Wednesday, September 15

Getting Ready

I'd told the kids we would do a few things "once the temperatures got below 90": build the tree house, start work on the bike trail around the property, go hiking.

Well, here we are. It's not below 90 consistently enough that I'm ready to take on anything that involves hoisting lumber over my head, and I'd really rather wait for the brambles to die back a bit before we go in and start clearing a path (it just seems to make so much more sense to let Mother Nature get a head start).

So that leaves us with... hiking. (I know. I really should have thought that list through before I said anything. But it was 113 degrees out, and I honestly thought it would never end, okay?)

I figure if I set the bar realistically (ie - "low"), and set us up to succeed (see the bar setting...), and remember to take plenty of water (and my sense of humor), it should be OK. So, for this, our first big hike of the school year, I have three goals:

1. Be respectful (this one's a constant, but I figure if I don't throw anything new at them, it'll build confidence).

2. Have fun (we're hiking with seven kids... it could go either way, really)

3. Learn one new thing (ah-ha! educational goals - see how we'll slip that in quietly at the bottom?)

If I can manage to do this and not actually lose Jase at any point, I'm going to declare it a Smashing Success and we'll all come home to collapse and eat ice cream. If he gets away from us, then I'm going to claim sanctuary and we'll all come home to collapse and start working on that tree house. I'll let you know how it goes.

Kiss those babies!

Tuesday, September 14

Busy, Busy Autumn!

Ish. Busy Autumnish. But close. We've had two days in a row with temps below 90. I'm wallowing in it. Of course, I'm also sweating my arse off because I keep insisting on wearing a hooded sweatshirt in honor of Fall! Yeah, I know. If I'd had this little self-restraint in the 1800's, they'd have shot me on the starting line for the homesteading race.

The home computer got kneecapped by a cranky motherboard. Uncle Wil said he will help us fix it. In the meantime, we're on a replacement placeholder thing that has no pictures, and I haven't figured out how to get the software we might need switched over. It's bare bones, this. But we have email, we can pay bills, and I figured out how to lock down the connection, so it's all good.

School is going well, aside from the tarbaby routine the kids seem to have going. than. molasses. (Then Zorak went and told them the joke about how to make molasses, and now I cannot say that they are slow as molasses, because they all start laughing and Jake Rabbit laughs so hard he cries, and then for the rest of the day he starts chortling and choking at random intervals, eventually emitting the punchline to the joke. I never know when it will strike. So, I've got to come up with another colloquialism to use to describe how freakishly slowly they accomplish their morning routines.)

And then there is the tendency to get sidetracked, which they come by honestly. *aherm* (looks around, whistles a tune, wanders off...)

Kiss those babies!

Monday, September 6

Autumn, the Legend

It's coming. We can't smell it, yet, but there's a change. The heat is not as oppressive, and it doesn't spring up with the sun, having waited just outside the window all night. Now, the mornings are lovely, and the evenings (mosquitoes and sweat bees, aside) are also enjoyable. This time of year is like the herald who forges ahead of the convoy, to announce its coming. We like this messenger!

The chickens have a cool set of nesting boxes, made from reclaimed deck boards. There's a great cabinet at the top, and a simple ledge in front of each row of boxes. The hens loved it. Until they defected. *sigh* The free-range thing didn't work out so well, and now the remainder of our hens are living at the neighbors' place. Ah, well, we'll build a large fenced yard, and try again. At least now, we have nesting boxes!

The Farmer's Market is still going strong. We've been enjoying these bad boys this summer. These aren't your grocery store style peach. They're... oh, my gosh, they're the kind of peaches you hear old-timers talking about picking after a day of walking fence lines and skipping rocks and catching tadpoles. So plump and ready that you have to eat them right then and there, the juice running down your arms, exploding in your mouth and quenching both your thirst and your tummy. Yep, that's what we found, the stories are true -- They are *that* sweet, and juicy, and delicious.
And now, with the start of September, we have birthdays and school days and dove hunting. Me-Wa and Me-Tae made sure the kids were ready to go, this weekend. James and John had a great time with Zorak and Me-Wa Saturday. Today, John and Jacob are out, doing the bird dog thing with Zorak. (I loved doing that with my nieces when we were little. Can't wait to hear how their day goes.)

Kiss those babies!