Showing posts with label good neighbors. Show all posts
Showing posts with label good neighbors. Show all posts

Sunday, August 13

First Showing, School Books

We showed the house today! It was nerve-wracking and scary and hard, but we did it. I don't know if they liked it or hated it, but they were kind and made it painless. They stayed for two hours, their children played and ran amok all over the property, and we got that dreaded *first* out of the way. If this isn't the house they need, that's OK. It was a good experience, all the way around.

After they left, I took pictures, thinking to put them up online and get the word out. But that's not going to happen yet. All I see in the pictures are things I want to fix, tweak, clean, change. Nope. Not just yet. Or, maybe a few now... and then I can update the album as we go? I don't know. Although I DO know that taking a photo of a room is an excellent way to assess its condition even when you think you already know what it needs! Wow! There's something about a photograph that allows us to step back and look with a critical, unbiased eye, which is pretty cool. I'm not sure at what point we'll have done enough work that it'll warrant calling a realtor to come take over. Who knows? Always be learning, right? Sometimes, we learn the hard way. That's OK, too.

Meanwhile, Jacob and I are working through The Iliad right now. He asked if I'd read a bit aloud tonight. I jumped on it, as I've been wanting us to read together more. Yeah, that was a trap. It was the end of Book 2, where Homer lists all the ships, all the leaders, all the dalliances that brought about the leaders... it's a lot like reading I Chronicles, but with harder names to pronounce. No wonder he didn't get through it during the week. Good to read, but not gripping. Well, unless you're into genealogy. I'm sure it's fascinating to somebody, just not for us. We continued on through Book 3 to make up for it. Now, that was fun!

Now that we've got the first showing out of the way, a lot of the house de-cluttered and an idea what needs to be done next/first/whatever, I feel much less tense about the whole process. We'll just work our way through the photos, right? It's a start, at any rate.

Tomorrow, school! A little work in the foyer and hall. Then dance. Always dance...

Be encouraged, no matter how weird things get, there's good to be found!

Dy

Wednesday, June 7

The Gauntlet Is Run!


Whoa, y'all. That was an insanely busy week. I am not going to bore you with the logistics (there were many, and they are boring), but it was a gauntlet. And we made it! It was a little bittersweet.

Thankfully, it was a gauntlet filled with good fun, great people, and fat little baby legs! Ohhh, that makes everything do-able. (It also highlighted that nobody left in my house has squishable thighs. Also, that it would be weird if I checked.)


My sister-in-law, y'all? She is a Rock Star! I love her so much, and I hope my brother-in-law does, too, because we must keep her forever and ever. (And how very far away we are -  I need her closer.)

While the family was here, we took them fishing one day and to the water park the next. We got a pontoon boat and spent a day on the river, then a day of rambling about in the woods.



(Z got to do most of the fun stuff - I was running a parallel activity plan that involved hauling children to and from Space Camp, ballet performances, and a photo shoot. So I missed some of the fun in my alternative life as an Uber driver*.)


Finally, there was Space Academy graduation and a day exploring the Space and Rocket Center, followed by the graduation weekend - ceremony one day, party the next.


We saw them off on Monday and then sort of liquefied in the living room - it looked like a crime scene in here, with limbs draping off edges and debris all over the floor (it rained the day of the party - three cheers for hard floors that don't care!) We rested and came down from the high of spending time with friends and family.

Tuesday was about all I could handle on the not caring part, though, and so we cleaned. And cleaned. And sighed contentedly.

Now it's time to look ahead. Jacob is at rocketry camp this week, in preparation for joining a competitive rocket team in the fall. He's quite looking forward to that.

James starts work at his internship on Friday, and I can't even begin to tell you how excited he is about that!

John had tooth extractions this week, to prepare him for braces. He's excited about that all being done and is running his own gauntlet this week. But it'll be good soon.

I guess the rest of us should consider a plan for the Fall, and some ideas for Summer. First, though, we'll give thanks -- for opportunities, for fellowship, for savoring the bittersweet of life and time.

Be encouraged!

~ Dy

* Not actually for Uber, but now that I think about it, this is totally going on my application when I apply...

Saturday, May 20

Hiking. And Ticks.

In an effort not to embarrass myself in front of the Scouts, I'm going to try to hike daily this last month before we head West. (Have done what I could in preparation so far, but we've had school and ballet, and the woodland creatures Disney told me clean houses have not arrived - so either they lied, or I'm in line to be the evil stepmother. *shrug* Either way, nobody's cleaning the house if I'm on the trail.) I am so excited about this - not just Philmont, but getting out and hiking daily! However, I'm a little queasy about the ticks. This has been a bad year for them, and it's still early days.

A couple of weeks ago, I read this article about a bacteria the Lone Star tick carries that can cause an anaphylactic reaction to meat. Meat! This is apocalypse-level horror, folks. Many people chimed in on the thread when I'd posted it to Facebook, sharing their experiences with just that very thing. Blessedly, there is an OIT doctor in Atlanta who is familiar with it and will help patients monitor their reactions. It appears to abate with time and is not a life-long sentence. Still, I'd rather avoid that, if at all possible.

Of course, the very next day, JakeRabbit found a Lone Star tick on him. We've since found several more - and this, in spite of our high garlic intake and use of spray. GAH! I have a macabre collection of ticks taped to the fridge, now, each one named in honor of its last meal and dated. If we get sick, I'll send the relevant ticks in for testing. (Which reminds me, I may want to get a box or something for those before graduation. I doubt a dangling collection of dead animals makes for pleasant party decor past, say, Halloween. Gross.)

This week, a friend shared more information, this being Notes from the Southern Tier Lyme Support Conference. Please take a moment to read this article. This is good information. It's overwhelming and helpful.

Yesterday, another friend shared a book she's been using for years to help her family deal with Lyme disease. With so few doctors conversant in what Lyme looks like and how to address it, this looks like a fantastic resource to have on hand. Hopefully, the situation will improve with time and advocacy on the part of patients. Until then, you may want to check it out. (I don't recommend staying out of the woods - there's too much to be gained from time spent outside, and a life lived in fear is a life only partially lived. However, ain't a thing wrong with gearing up, learning everything we can, and living a life in knowledge and pro-active engagement. Still trying to pare that down to a snappy saying, but you get the point.)


So that's been fun. I hate ticks. But I do love nature, people, and this crazy life.

Be encouraged!

~ Dy

Thursday, April 13

The Push

Well, "the push" turned out to be more driving. Blergh. But all the kids' teeth are now up to snuff, and John's had a consult with a new oral surgeon. I'm not entirely sure how it's Thursday again, but there you have it.

We did get the wall cleaned and rinsed. The kids have decided to paint the load panel, too, since it's proud of the wall and incredibly ugly. Seems sane.

We've peeled another large swath off the basement couch. Our first "real" -- as in, new, not off the classifieds, only ours, bought with cash and straight from the store -- sofa was an Ashley sleeper sofa that we loved and loved... for about two years, until the cushions gave up, the upholstery started cracking and peeling and we realized Ashley doesn't count that as a defect in materials or workmanship. Actually, they seem to think of it as a perk. I don't know. Weird business model, but whatever. We bought a replacement that we love off Craigslist and demoted the poorly made Ashley to the basement. But it was kind of gross, and we weren't sure what to do with a couch that wasn't appealing, and wasn't in particularly "good" shape, but wasn't legitimately trash, either. We are loathe to throw away things that still have utility (which explains so much, really)... In a fit of creative implosion, I decided that we would just peel the rest of the material off and paint it! (Thanks, Pinterest!) That was two years ago. Turns out, it takes a lot of focus and determination to peel bonded fabric completely off a 6' couch... The kids pick at it while they're playing video games. Every once in a while, I'd muster up the umpf to go down there and just work on the couch, but the basement heebed me out and I couldn't stay down there too long without succumbing to the overwhelming urge to toss everything out and set it on fire.

Anyway, it's almost to the point that we can paint it. Probably a summer project. If it doesn't work, then we'll buy a slipcover for it. But if it does work? We'll have a weatherproof party couch! How cool is that? So many of my ideas could be incredibly fun and delightful finished projects, or they could be four cinder blocks away from the neighbors telling their children not to go over onto that property. I never really know until we've tried. But I have to try.

Speaking of neighbors, we have new ones. They've been busy trimming trees and clearing the property of debris. The kids heard someone in the bushes, whistling to the birds. And one of them waved back as we both pulled out of our drives the other morning. So, I'm hopeful they'll be good neighbors and will think of us as good neighbors. We need to make something and go welcome them.

We're in a bit of a lull with the kids' things. Jacob is back to Just Ballet Class, no rehearsals, and we're all appreciative of getting three extra days back during the week. John's waiting on the ACT scores to be released, but we've tweaked the plan for the next test in the meantime (no more prep, lots more reading, more books, more words, and, uh, keep plugging away at the math). James is in a holding pattern on future plans and trying to figure out how to get enough sleep without just sleeping from midnight to noon. (It's tricky. I get it.) And the Littles - they are great. They're biking and making movies, crafting and making food, all with a nonstop background chatter in voice for characters they've made up. We don't get it, but we love it.

Be encouraged!

~ Dy

Friday, February 3

The Best People In The World

Do you know who the best people in the world are? They're the ones who "get" your kid. The ones who believe in her and have high expectations for her, but who step in with grace and affection and love when the kid gets overwhelmed, or makes an honest mistake, or even does something boneheaded.

They're the ones who give you room to laugh and shake your head and remember that we were all once just-barely-grown and trying to figure it all out.

They allow you to shed your frustration and come back to a place of support and encouragement.

They're the ones who point out what they love about your child when your brain is freaking out and you're starting to wonder if the only real options available are homelessness or living in the basement. (Which, they're not. But the brain is a crazy organ with a warped sense of humor.)

They're the ones who willingly write up a letter of recommendation on only 12 hours notice because someone didn't read the application all the way to the end before taking a deep, panicked breath and starting on the essay.

They're the ones who share their own stories with your child -- about missed deadlines, or botched labs, or fender benders, or whatever mishap your own kid is currently beating herself about the head for. (We actually spent about half an hour at book club a couple of weeks ago sharing stories of freak car incidents we'd all experienced, to encourage a young man who'd had One Of Those Days. In the end, he was able to laugh - mostly at us, and our ridiculous stories - and realize that he hadn't doomed himself to being That Kid forever and ever.)

They laugh gently, they cluck sympathetically, they point out that it doesn't mean you're awful, it means you're human.

And humans are fantastic if you give them room to be!

The best way to find these people is to be one of these people. If you have this, feed it regularly and roll around in it - you're all doing good work, and it matters. If you don't have this, fire it up. Roll up your sleeves and go love on some kids. You'll find your people. They tend to create a symbiotic energy, encouraging and loving on each other and each other's children in turn. It's a beautiful gift you can give to yourself, your children, your friends, their children, and so on. It really is.

Be encouraged!
~ Dy

Saturday, January 14

On Encouragement

Encouragement is something we all need. It's something we crave. We don't all necessarily want it in the same way... For example, I have one child who loves some high fives and goofy accolades from friends, acquaintances, strangers on the sidewalk - he's pretty much willing to be encouraged by anything... and another who is much more encouraged by a quiet positive comment that can't be heard beyond the two of you, or by receiving a note or a card, than by anything loud or likely to draw attention her way. Both are receptive to encouragement, but they are not encouraged by the same thing.

I wonder if we sense that aspect of it, but don't quite know how respond to it. I know I struggle with "knowing" how to be encouraging. I hear friends express a desire to be encouraging. It's often accompanied by a semi-apologetic self-deprecating half-laugh. 

It always catches me off guard coming from them, because I hear it from some of the most encouraging, uplifting, strengthening women I know. These are the women who I trust with my most precious things: my children's struggles, my own fears, my worries. I trust them with my hopes, my crazy ideas, my broken nature. They are the ones I know will actually pray when they say they will. They mean it when they say they'll help with anything. They extend good faith and assume the best when there are disagreements.

(And if you're thinking right now, "Wow, Dy, you are one lucky gal!" Well yes. Yes, I am. I don't know how it happened, and I absolutely don't deserve it, but I'm not about to point it out to anyone who could fix it differently.)

I don't claim to know the answer, but I would venture to suggest that being encouraging isn't a thing in itself. I'm starting to believe that just by being in relationship with others -- real relationship, where you share your lives together, and you know each other -- your presence and interaction are, by their very nature, encouraging. 

When you know whether someone feels better by laughing or sitting quietly, and you care about them, you learn to bring that to the table (or, if you're me, at least try to be calm and quiet if that's what they need) when you come to them. But really, the fact that you're *there* is the root of the encouragement. You're traveling along with them, not expecting them to go it alone. It doesn't have to be perfect. You don't have to be perfect. Just be there. Be willing. That is so encouraging.

Be encouraged (and encouraging!)

~ Dy

Thursday, December 22

Community

We have the neatest community, and today was such a treat -- we got to catch the final hours of the opening exhibit of Rice Ball Press, the brainchild and labor of love of Elaine Landers. She recently graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design and has started this business. Although the business is based in Atlanta, our wee community got first dibs by virtue of being where she's from. Score!

The art was impressive. And Elaine was on hand to explain the backstory for each piece (storytelling taken to its full expression), as well as how the various types of art were made (Em was in heaven!) She's not only incredibly talented, but quite kind, and we thoroughly enjoyed our stop at the gallery.

Take a few minutes to visit her site and see what she has up. I didn't take any pictures other than this one:



Mostly because I can't do her images justice, and they really deserve it. (Isn't she lovely, though? Quite an impressive lady.)

One of the things she shared that I so appreciated, and I hope the kids caught hold of, as well, is that she graduated with a degree in printmaking and a minor in photography -- but she'd started as a sculptor. It was only as she explored other classes that she found things she loved more. And it wasn't until later in her academic career that she found her niche and passion, where she excelled and was happiest. What a great reminder for young people, that you don't have to know exactly where you're going when you set out on your adventure. Just move forward, in a good direction, and be open to the lovely paths and rabbit trails along the way. You never know when one of those will turn out to be your trail!

Be encouraged!
~Dy

Tuesday, December 6

It's a Party! With Party Food!

This fall, I've been part of the most amazing book club. It's been a source of humor, support, prayer, encouragement, ideas and insights, thoughtful conversation... You name it. We've also managed to read a couple of books. But that turned out to be the excuse, not the purpose. Tomorrow, we party.

The gift exchange plan is that the adults have drawn names and are to give gifts that we already have lying around, or can make. Wish I'd thought about the potential for this at some point in the last year of purging and wardrobe capsules and decluttering. I'm down to offering up a spare cast iron skillet, or maybe a SCOBY... So, I think we're going to go with making something. (But it's 10:30 and I don't know what. The odds that it will be "something laminated" are increasing as we approach midnight, I'm not gonna lie.) The kids are doing a similar gift plan, but they're planning on doing a Dirty Santa exchange instead of drawing names.

Em crocheted a mermaid while we read today.

I.... I've got nothing like that up my sleeve.

So James and I were thinking homemade treats would be nice. But of the group, we have varying degrees of dietary restrictions: sugar-free, dairy-free, egg-free, wheat-free, peanut-free, Keto, and Paleo. Plus one who can pretty much only eat cotton candy and nuts. (It's not that bad, but if I'm going to feed her, I take a picture of the ingredients, or the label on a product and text her, "Can you eat this?" Because if I guess, I will guess wrong!)

James happily decanted some of his vanilla erythritol, slapped a bow on it, and went back to studying. John grabbed a carabiner, which he hails as "the most useful thing since the pocket knife", wrapped it, and went back to studying. Jacob made a bracelet. Jase found a recipe for mint chocolate cookies that meets ALL of the dietary limitations of the group, so that's what he wants to make in the morning.

I still don't know what I'm going to do for the gift exchange, but in my search for inspiration I found some neat links to random things you can feed people who have special dietary requirements and thought perhaps you would enjoy some of them. (I've been full-on Keto for the last year, and feel amazing. But we don't really eat a lot of treats and sweets and such, so I haven't looked for alternatives. We make our mayo and sriracha and everything else can be killed or grown. Boy, was that search eye-opening! I had NO IDEA how far recipes had come for the dietary-restricted diets! Dang, people, way to get creative with your bad selves!)

First up, I found this recipe for what the author says is a lot like a Jolly Rancher. It's made with xylitol and either LorAnn's candy flavoring or unsweetened Kool-Aid. Oh, and a hot plate. (We do not have a hot plate, or a mug warmer, much to James' sorrow, so we used the coffee pot. It seems to have worked.) I didn't get pictures of the process because I am so far out of that frame of mind you wouldn't believe it. But it's a very low key process. We didn't add enough flavoring, I think. Prototypes are like that. But we also did not napalm anyone in the kitchen, break the coffee pot, or poison the dog. Plus, it's very satisfying to get xylitol to crystallize.

Then I found this mother lode of links for mug cakes. Paleo, low-carb, crazy, rampant cake recipes! I haven't made them, yet, but we did put Meyer lemons on the grocery list. I'm kind of toying with the idea of having batches pre-made and bagged with mugs set out, so guests can just pick their mix, dump it into a mug, and IT'S A PARTY!

If I can get up and out the door early enough tomorrow to buy some Swerve, I really want to make these Butterfinger Bars by Maria Emmerich.

And my sweet friend who has to preview ingredients graciously sent me her own pumpkin "pie" recipe after Thanksgiving... I doubled the egg count, threw in a titch of stevia, and we ate the whole danged thing. So she's getting a ramekin of that with whipped coconut cream tomorrow. In a heart shape, because I love her, and I'm a dork, and it'll make her smile.

Then we'll sit and catch up on each other's lives over the last week. We'll share a few quiet minutes while the kids play The Resistance and yell in the other room. We'll refresh our spirits and bolster ourselves for the coming week. It's good stuff.

Be encouraged!
~Dy

Monday, July 7

Fourth, early

Our little town had its annual Independence Day celebration last night, so that's when we had friends over and cooked out. The Charter service man came to switch out our modem in the morning. Hopefully, that will reduce the amount of downtime our internet suffers. He was fantastic, Charter, we're not so thrilled with so far. Then we commenced the preparations for the party.


We could not have begged for better weather - sunny and bright, but breezy and comfortable. Wow. Just wow. Z rocked the asado action on the smoker, and I think if we hadn't had guests I'd have eaten the whole thing myself, keeping the kids at bay with a poky stick - so, unbelievably good! Thankfully, part of my filter is still in place and I didn't assault the guests. Or run cackling into the woods with the pan of asado.


The teens got restless about an hour before the fireworks began. They wanted to get down to the square while it was still light and see the sights. Since none of the adults were quite ready to roll yet, the boys asked if they could take their bikes. We have a million bikes, so there were plenty for everyone who wanted to ride, and off they went. I'm guessing they had fun. We put eyes on them when we arrived at the square an hour later, and everyone had shave ice and was laughing. No blood, no limping. We called it good. It was nice, though, to run into friends who volunteered that they'd seen the boys and spoken with them and were so glad to see them. I love it when people volunteer good things about teens. They get it, and they get the kids. That's good stuff, right there. The rest of us, big and little, were happy to take our time moseying about in the meantime.


The fireworks were, once again, absolutely spectacular. It's one of my favorite parts of living here. Well, the whole thing, really - the show is amazing, the people are sweet, the food is fantastic. It's a good combination.


After the show, everyone (plus a few we picked up at the square) came back to the house for a bonfire and to finish off the desserts. That was, quite possibly, the perfect ending to a lovely day.

Today, we laid around doing nothing. It was delicious. Jacob told me he really needed a full week of that, and then interrupted himself to add, "Oh, wait! You have Circe coming up, which means Dad will be watching us, and we'll have a week of doing nothing. Oh, that's perfect!" And off he ran to share his revelation with his siblings. Z grinned when I shared that story with him, but he didn't deny it. I guess Kinderspringa shall become a tradition. They could do worse, really.


Have a safe and thankful weekend!

Kiss those babies,
Dy

Sunday, April 6

Friends Make Everything Better

It seems like friendship is this year's theme. That makes me smile to my toes, really.

Yesterday morning, EmilyGirl and I slipped off for brunch with a friend and her daughter. It wasn't a long visit, but it was a sweet visit, and I'm so glad we went. Of course, the boys were a bit flummoxed. "Wait. What? Where are you going? Are we going? Should we load up the gifts now? You're going alone?! Weird." Can you tell Em and I haven't done anything like that before?


Em mentioned that she needed more felt. (We'd just bought her a huge pile of felt the day before, no questions asked, for a surprise she wanted to make for Easter. Already she needed more?) I raised my eyebrow. She smiled brightly. We stopped for more felt after brunch.

This was the surprise: Easter Baskets for everyone!


Then we all loaded up and headed to a birthday party for a very special little boy. He's turning four. Dear heaven, that's a cute, cute age. We weren't there five minutes before James had him in his arms, letting the little guy give him a tour of their chicks and chicken tractor. Although we'd built the chicken tractor and know it inside and out, James enjoyed the enthusiasm and joy of the little guy showing off his special things. 15 is a pretty awesome age, too.

Isn't that an idyllic setting? There are a lot of bodies hidden by flowers and trees. It was a perfect day to hang out with friends and celebrate together.

The kids gave the Little ones Easter baskets, homemade foam swords, and a shield (they made a sword for his little sister, because it's hard to observe a birthday with no gifts for you when you're wee tiny, and also so they can play together). Z and I apologized pre-emptively for all the things that are likely to get broken and bruised because of our involvement.

We came home, worked hard for an hour, and then the day disappeared into game time. The day was stacked pretty heavily with Highs when we did our Highs and Lows at dinner. What a great day!

Kiss those babies!
~Dy

Sunday, September 23

A Busy Day, and a Night with the Moon

We had a crazy, lazy, busy day. Yes, really -- all of it at once. The kids were up and at it early this morning, in anticipation of playing video games with friends for the morning. Zorak and I slept in, in anticipation of... not moving much until we had to.

Friends came - we talked, worked, played, and generally had a lovely morning.


Then more friends came - we talked, watched the children play, relaxed, and generally had a lovely afternoon. Our friend, Larry, helped James with his computer project, which absolutely made James' day. (Although right now there's a second computer piggybacked onto my monitor, hogging up the leg room under the computer desk. James and I don't seem to use the same ranking process to determine what makes for a great set up. He says it's temporary. I'm hoping our definitions of "temporary" are not equally askew.)

Before we knew it, it was time to eat and head out for International Observe the Moon Night up at the NASA Educational Building in Huntsville. That's one of the things we love about living here: this place is a full-up cornucopia of fantastic opportunities. Science, art, history, music - you name it, Huntsville has it, and usually it's hosted by a group of civic organizations so odds are the event will be full of knowledgeable people with a passion for the topic at hand and an interest in sharing with those who are interested.

Tonight's event was no exception. We were treated to face time with some fascinating people who shared with us about robotic design, imagery technology, colonization research and programs, geology, astronomy, and more. We wished we'd had time to go earlier the event. An hour and a half just wasn't time enough to see and hear all there was available. But we're all really glad we went and enjoyed the time we had.

Kiss those babies!
~Dy

Monday, June 4

It was!

It was absolutely crazy. And magnificent.

Friday's airsoft gathering went well. We had about nine boys, all properly attired with safety gear and low-end guns. (Minor Injuries Only, for the win!) We moms stayed on the balcony, figuring the 16' height would keep us out of firing range. It did. That's where we kept the food, too. It was a blessedly normal, witty, engaged group of women. I'm fairly sure I was the loose peg in the wall, and that's okay. Gives me an opportunity to work on my Don't Be Weird Around The Nice People routine. We'll see if it worked. The boys, at least, I know had fun, because they only came inside when thirst drove them in, and there were small, polite, but clear protestations when it was time to go. They all agreed they'd like to do more things together. Mission accomplished. (I told Zorak that night that I really loved all the boys - they were just the right kind of weird - sweet, quirky, fun kids.)

That evening, our friend, Daniel, arrived with his wife and son. He's been stateside, studying Chemistry, for several years. His wife and son joined him in the fall, so this was the first time we were fortunate enough to meet them. And she's pregnant with Baby #2!! I didn't know (Zorak may have known, and thought he told me, but there's a lot he thinks he's told me and didn't) -- so there was a lot of happy squealing. And I cannot tell you how hard it was for me not to just fondle her and swaddle her up and wallow in her adorable, beautiful pregnantness. But *aherm* I restrained. Also, watching her stand up from the table, I realized she may look "just adorable" to me, but she's probably larger than she's ever been, hot, off-balance, uncomfortable, and none of the joints are connected properly at this point. It really does look better than it feels. James made her sage water, and we kept her fed, and tried to pamper her as much as possible (she's quick, though - like lighting - up and helping any chance she gets!) Their son disappeared with the littles, the tiny herd making random appearances to dance, sing, or just make a lap around the living area.

We had a little cookout for them Saturday. It started out as a little cookout. We ended up with 30-some-odd people, and I'm not particularly clear where the line goes from a small gathering to a large crowd. It was a delightful outcome, regardless! The weather cooperated nicely, and we were able to spread out onto the balcony, the upper meadow, and the front yard. Naturally, we didn't get a single photo.  However, I didn't fret about the cleanliness of the house, or about putting people to work when they arrived. So this was probably the most enjoyable gathering we've had - internally, at any rate. No stress, no worries, just a really great time with some really fantastic people. More than once, I found myself standing at the edge of a cluster of people, just smiling and giving quiet thanks for having these folks in our lives. We are so rich.

The Bigs left for Scout Camp early Sunday morning. They'd packed at some point over the weekend. (Mostly at The Last Minute, and I've already got a list of things to bring to them on Family Day.) We got them headed off and then the rest of us went to church. From church, we hit Sam's for dry goods and travel food (because it's one glamorous outing after another when you have pantry locusts!), then took a lovely stroll along the river before heading home. Daniel and his family pulled out around five, and that felt too soon for them to leave. We hope they'll return again and again. Our door is always open.

And then, it was quiet. SO quiet. Jase promptly passed out. Zorak played video games with Jacob. EmBaby worked in her little MineCraft world James had set up for her before he left. I sat down with a few books and drifted in and out of sleep.

Kiss those babies!
~Dy

Saturday, October 1

It's the First of October!

October! Wow! We really need to get our outdoor projects wrapped up, and get some firewood stacked for the winter. Today, however, we're airing out the tent...


And heading into the woods with friends...

And generally having a grand old time.


Kiss those babies~
~Dy




Sunday, April 3

A Busy Beginning

The big boys camped this weekend, so the littles and I worked around the house, then headed out for a little yard-sale action. I haven't had the umpf to try this with all five, yet, so a dry run with the smallest three seemed the most do-able. (I figured if it works with the least cooperative, then we're golden.) They were awesome and fantastic. I'm sure the stop at Dollar General for junk food before we hit the list of sales didn't hurt one bit.

Didn't find any bookshelves or patio furniture, which is what I'd hoped to find. But we did score some awesome lamps (for the bedroom re-do that I had to mention to Zorak when he got home and wondered aloud where on earth those lamps were supposed to go... it's, um, a project... for later... when your arm is healed and you build me the Farmhouse Bed for my birthday or Christmas... or something), a Springform pan (I now feel like a real grown-up), Dockers (for the child who can't just go grab something from the basement because, well, that's the joy of being the eldest - we don't keep spares for your random and uncontrollable growth spurts), a necklace (because who can pass up a string of pearls a'la Maggie Simpson for the girl, right?), a terra-cotta pot (to plant things in, because we do not have a single pot for planting things in, and this comes up a surprising number of times throughout the year, believe it or not - so, now we do!), and some other things I can't quite remember.

Then the pollen hit. And it laid the three smallest quite low, in a sneezy, snotty pit of springtime despair. Ew. We called it a day and went home to snuggle with the tissues and clary sage oil. *sniffle* Meatballs, salad, and a movie. Jacob was excited to be able to pick the movie for a change.

The bigs got home at some unholy hour. I have no idea. I was sound asleep, in spite of trying to stay awake through three episodes of Eureka and two chapters of some book. (The book was my downfall. It's like having someone read me a bedtime story, but without needing someone else to do the reading. Out like a light in two chapters!)

What with the pollen and the general trip exhaustion, we did not make it to church today. We did not make it much of anywhere past the compost bin, actually.

And then, this afternoon, we had company. A sweet couple and their precious little baby boy. They're new here. He just started working with Zorak. She and the wee one have been staying with family while he house hunts, and they think they've found something. (*yay* it's on this side of the river!) They're expecting Baby2 in August. That poor woman has got to be exhausted beyond reason, but she's quite lucid and sweet and chipper. I wanted very much to offer up any of the beds for her to take a nap, but instead just held the baby so she could eat with both hands. (Didn't want to scare her off on the first visit.) Still, I should probably tip her off that this is a safe place to hide if she needs a nap in the future. We'll watch the babies, just close the door and pull the curtains...

And there we are, another week is up and running!

Kiss those babies!
~Dy

Saturday, July 10

Gardening, Homesteading, Frugality

No, not really. But doesn't that sound like I've been thinking hard, and have come up with something exciting to share? Or maybe more of the same, but couched in new terms!

Nope, sorry. It's about all I can do to keep the kids sorted out with school, plan the next term's work, and start shifting the boxes in the foyer out to the car to be shipped. The fact that the Growing Season is pretty time-sensitive doesn't help much. Not really.

We have no clue what we're doing, as evidenced by our lack of fertilization every. single. year. Or by my recent attempts at growing beans, without figuring out how best to, oh, I don't know, *harvest them*, before we put them in the ground. (Or, hey, even before they ripened! Or maybe just before I pulled them off the plants and *then* tried to figure out how to store them.) On the plus side, our overall disorganization and lack of ability means that most of this year's crop is still, technically, organic. Not Gov't Certified Organic, but Organic in the Way That Most People Really Care That It's Organic. But we don't have a label for that. As a matter of fact, we don't even have labels for the stuff we're putting up for our own pantry.

Which brings me around to the title, and my immense joy that there are Other People who have A Clue, and share their knowledge with us. What a blessing!

I've blown quite a few hours tonight (this morning? The sun should be coming up soon...) reading new blogs that I've thoroughly enjoyed. They seem to offer a blend of humor, honesty, and information that works for me. Perhaps you'll enjoy them, too.

Kathie, at Two Frog Home, has a baking fetish that makes me envy, and a craft fetish that makes me wish I had that genetic pre-disposition (but I don't. So I will continue to hope somebody will pass the quilts along when they are done with them.) Not to mention, she lives in Montana, and I'm pretty sure that's where God retired when He finished creating the world. *sigh* So beautiful!

From Kathie's wonderful Friday Favorites posts, I found this recipe for Tibetan Butter Tea, which I'm going to have to show James in the morning. And then, of course, had to poke around at Gracious Hospitality. But they don't mind me poking around at four in the morning. They're hospitable like that. ;-) (And yes, I am winding down, and it's about time to stop. talking.)

Also, Kathie had linked to the Urban Homestead (now called The Path to Freedom). I'd heard about this family's project, but had not seen the site. Wow! What a source of encouragement! It's amazing what they have done with 1/5 of an acre, and makes me ever more excited about progress on the Forever Home's land. (Caution: it's a little overwhelming, and can be depressing, or at least it was for me, until I realized *they've been at this since 1985!* This doesn't happen overnight! Just keep going, one plant, one corner, one lesson at a time.)

I've added a new category to entries: good neighbors. This will be the posts with links to other blogs or websites that I don't want to lose. It's good to keep up with good neighbors once you've found them.

Kiss those babies!
~Dy
And, that said, I'm going to save this post.