mid-June, mid-June, mid-June

We’ve turned the corner into summer.  School year things are all finished and neatly tied up, waiting for mid-summer prep.

:: in the garden

We’ve had our first tomato.  A cherry tomato divided into quarters makes for just the smallest bit of a taste, but oh the promise of things to come!  We’ve had our first pile of squashes, and it shows my naiveté and exuberance that I still don’t believe I planted too much squash.  We’ve had our first cucumbers, and I’m thinking I should put in more.

MORE! seems to be my rallying garden cry.  I have never in my life experienced garden abundance, and I want this year to be the YEAR OF ABUNDANCE.  I can only imagine what it’s like to not ration tomatoes.  To have cucumbers coming out my ears.  To not treat red bell peppers as precious, precious (expensive) items.

There are still a few spots left in the garden beds, hmmmm.  More, more, more!

:: we love negative

My mom is coming towards the end of her medical testing and everything is coming back negative, negative, negative.  We love negative.

:: summer = routine revamp, or up-vamp

Summertime means summer schedules, and we’ve started this summer out with a bang.  A bang called chores.

We’ve never had the kids do regular chores outside of taking care of themselves and their things.  Isn’t that enough? It seems like a never ending gargantuan (which I tried hard to spell like an inversion of orangutan) task.  And for a very long time, it has been enough of a task.

But times, they are a changing, and the effort of establishing and then keeping on top of chores for the next 16+ years is trumped by the possibility of raising children with a false and harmful and despicable sense of entitlement.  Taking care of yourself only takes you so far – now it’s time to be a part of a system bigger than yourself, my children!  Welcome to the wonderful world!

Establishing a chore routine (establishing any kind of new routine) takes an awful lot of parental energy, and now as our baby is nearing two, there is some parental energy left over for chores.

They seem to kinda like doing their chores (surprise, surprise).

And while we’re working on routines, we are also working on training the children of the house to get all the way through their morning routines in a reasonable amount of time, and without prompting.  Yes, you may pray for us that we will be consistent, consistent, consistent.  That Mommy will get out of bed, out of bed, out of bed.

:: yoga teacher (that’s me)

I have now taught three yoga classes in a row, and I have some thoughts on the matter.

1) It’s delightful to be Teacher, Source of Knowledge, rather than Repressed Know-It-All (a childhood label still sticks to my insides).  (And while we’re on the subject, why does exuberance and delight in knowledge equal a know-it-all?)

2) I absolutely love touching people.  I have a deep, deep reverence for bodies.  It’s always a surprise, getting to know someone else’s body, the way they look is often very very different from the way they feel.  Flexible people can have tense, hard bodies.  People who are very tight can have delicious, soft, giving bodies.  More than a surprise, though, it is a knowledge.  We store everything in our bodies and much is revealed there.  A privilege and a gift, teaching yoga.  Sometimes I say to myself, giddily, like I’m whispering behind my hand, I get to touch people.   Cooooool.

Enjoyed this post on the subject.  Eight Things I Learned From 50 Naked People

 

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Summer

The calendar tells us that summer is approaching.  We have such lovely winter weather here.  A few days of “winter”, a few days of “summer”, and a lot of days of just perfect.  But the sun doesn’t lie, and the days are getting longer.  The kids are going to bed before the sun and we’re starting to wish we could stay outside in the garden just a bit longer.

I’m thinking forward to the dog days of summer and how we hibernate inside for the duration.  Maybe our routine could use a bit of a shift.  Spend time outside in the early morning and the late afternoon.  Do school work and activities through the midday.

Somehow we missed our window for a spring break.  Between the church schedule, the piano schedule, and the charter school schedule, our own personal spring break got scheduled right on out.  Homeschool blogs were talking about needing a break and a lift in February and March.  I’m a late bloomer.  Here in late-April I’m ready to scrap “rejuvenation” altogether and move straight towards our summer routine, with a significant let-up on the “should-dos”.

In the meantime, we’re taking a week off of piano practice and taking (yet another) week easy on school pressures.

Next year we’ll take a spring break.  Promise.

 

garden

I love my little raised garden beds.  Yesterday we added some white and yellow violas, more green onions, the row of lettuce you see waiting in the foreground.  The broccoli is making actual broccoli and two of the six potatoes have put out their first leaves.

The carrots haven’t shown up yet and I’m a little worried.  But then again, I can’t remember when we planted them, so they could very well just still be germinating and doing their thing, unseen.

Two itty bitty nasturtium plants have poked their first green leaves out.  (More hope for the carrots).

Currently I’m working on the patch right between the girls, under the lilac tree.  Weeding out the terrible runners from the invasive weed we call grass, debating over whether to buy dirt to help the heavy clay soil loosen its suckitivity (spell check says that’s not a word), making the first section of the brick mowing strip that will eventually curve the whole length of the wall.  Feeling a little rising panic that we aren’t going to get the flowers in on time and will miss out on a whole year’s worth of flowers and hummingbirds and butterflies.  (This is a familiar panic, I’m hoping this is the year to overcome.)

There is lavender waiting, and the first batch of strawberry seedlings to line the flower beds.  Also coming soon, creeping fig to cover the unsightly (but sturdy) block wall.  Block walls make for yucky photos.

The kids practically live out in the backyard.  They love to go round and round, talking through some imaginary scenario.  Some days they hike mountains as adventurous naturalists with backpacks, yesterday it was a parade that ended with a dance fest (50s and 60s rock and roll), ballet-style.

(Sidenote: Devo has a recording of someone else singing the Beatle’s Here Comes the Sun that gets a fair amount of play time.  Yesterday the Beatle’s original came on and Lia was miffed at all the changes these musical imposters had made.  Haha.)

Working in the garden is never a sure thing.  As with everything else when there’s a baby around, gardening is an exercise (sometimes strenuous) in detaching from accomplishment and results.  But at least we can retreat to the ‘wing wing’ (swing), and pass the time lazily in the sun.

Next up, gigantic tomato cages.

If it’s not bolted down

:: we live on a ship

I have long said that our house is like a ship.

If it’s not bolted down, it’s going to move.

Less stuff! is my usual battle cry.  But we are in a pretty sweet spot with our possessions right now.  We use and love pretty much everything we have.  (Mostly.  Mostly love, mostly use.)  I look around and the things scattered hither and yon are not clutter, they are useful and frequently used items.  That have been removed from their place of repose.

We seem to be very good at “a place for everything” and not very good at “and everything in it’s place”.

I get a little morose and wonder if they are ever going to get the message.  Then I remind myself that two of them do sleep through the night, and that two of them (almost, almost three) do not throw temper tantrums, and that three of them take their dishes to the kitchen after every meal.  And maybe this pick up and drop tendency is also only a matter of persistence and time.

Oh, dear me, I do hope so.  If my facebook feed were left up to un-judicious posting, it would contain mostly professions of yoga love and food cravings.  If this blog were left up to un-judicious posting, it would all be about dealing with the mess.  I have a continual need for mess-therapy.

Right now we just need people to leave things where they belong.  Heed the word, people.

And if that’s not going to work (obviously, obviously that’s expecting too much from a family of adventurous explorers and curious investigators, despite my best strenuous efforts to quell the impulse to pick up something and discard it in another part of the house or yard), then we need safety locks and safety latches.  Lots and lots of them.

You know how restaurants (like, say, Panera) have their artsy pictures bolted to the walls?  I covet.

 

:: fear

There’s a manhunt on in our area for a cop-killer.  Everybody is on lock down.  And I didn’t get the memo until after we had backed out of the driveway to go to the library.  And because I wasn’t smart enough to figure our how to announce hahajustkiddinglet’sgobackinsideafterittookusfiveminutestogetinthecar with any reasonable sort of a reason, I told them why.

And fear entered our home.  Lia closed and locked the doors.  And through the day there were many, many manifestations of her fear.  “I’m scared and it makes my tummy feel funny”.  “What about Ramon?  (Our gardener who we see all the time) Is he not working outside today?”  “Let’s look out for helicopters.”  It came up again and again and again.

I watched this from a quiet place, amidst the more-than-usual chaos of feeling stuck in the house.

You can’t meet big stuff head on with Lia.  You have to come around it, and let her come around it.

Of course, I have no answers.  That, perhaps, is the hardest part.

 

:: sickies

Other news from this side is that everyone seems to be on the mend.  I lost my voice, but that’s to be expected after days and nights of being coughed on and snotted on and spoon shared.

I’m bone-hungry all the time.  Kiri’s still nursing a bit, and I’m not getting enough of something.  Legumes and grains and green leafy vegetables in large, continuous quantities are just not cutting it.

Lia is loving Read, Write, Type.  I love it, too.  Phonics, spelling, reading, and typing all at the same time!

I found that the library has Magic Tree House books on CD.  Awesome.  We’ve been flying through them, and finally Amelie gets to hear all the stories, instead of just looking at the pictures.

This week we planted half of our garden beds.  My dream is coming true.  Oh, they’re so pretty.  And we had such a good time planting them.  I hope they survive the cold weather coming tonight.  And if they do, I hope they survive Kiri.

We made a paper mache dome for our Hagia Sophia today.

I’m having a problem with apostrophes.  They are continually cropping up in the wrong places as I type.  I don’t know whether to blame this on the auto-correct function or the “obviously I’m texting, so I am not required to use proper grammar” syndrome or just another random manifestation of Mommy Brain.

Garden beds and Shakespeare

:: garden beds

I bought four 4×4 raised garden beds yesterday.  They are on clearance at Lowe’s – great price and good reviews.  Will I regret not getting six?

Ooh, I’m all ready to plant them – kale, swiss chard, more carrots (Amelie picked and ate all of our current crop), broccoli (we want to see it flower).  But first we have to dig up grass, rearrange sprinklers, and save up to buy the dirt to fill them with.  Kind of dampens the enthusiasm.  Where’s that spoonful of sugar?

Or better yet, a twitch of the nose.  Healthier.

:: Shakespeare, etc.

Book recommendations.  Marcia Williams’ Tales From Shakespeare and More Tales From Shakespeare.  Shakespeare plays – comic book style.  Brilliant and hilarious.  We own one and it is dog-eared and tattered from repeated readings.  The other one is at the library – one year we checked it out for three months.

Marcia Williams has a wonderful list of books – Canterbury Tales, Greek Myths, the Iliad and the Odyssey, King Arthur, Oliver Twist, Robin Hood.  We’re adding to our collection slowly but surely.

On a related note, we have discovered the graphic novel (comics) section of the library and they are so much fun.  Benny and Penny, Pigling: A Korean Cinderella Story, The Collected Allison Dare (Little Miss Adventures).  

 

 

heart garland, epicness, a recipe, and a surprise

:: heart garland

Today I did something entirely frivolous.  I put something pretty on the wall!

Our walls are still mostly (almost completely) bare.  Part of that is indecision on my part, part of it is because I couldn’t find the box with the things I knew where I wanted them to go.  Found the box a week ago, and today I made our lives a little bitty bit prettier.

This is the girls room, by the way.  The beautiful, long desired headboard, the deal-of-the-year comforter.  I love the blue on the wall.  The chair doesn’t actually belong there.  I have my eye on IKEA Hemnes nightstands (but in what color?).  And I’m on an eternal craigslist quest for a wood chest to put all of our dress up clothes in.

The garland is, of course, a pinterest find.

:: epic happenings

On our way to the UCR botanical gardens, we experienced silence in the van for approximately four minutes.  It was epic.

Also epic were the butterflies.  Monarchs, gulf fritillaries, painted ladies, we saw them all.  Up close.  I’ve never been so close to so many butterflies.  A white-haired volunteer came over to the butterfly garden and taught the girls how to pick up monarch caterpillars and why milkweed is called milkweed.  She couldn’t hear much of the knowledge the girls were showering on her, but she whipped out her iphone and showed them photo after photo of butterflies she has seen.

I have now added milkweed and butterfly bush to my list of desired plants for the back garden.  Imagine,  your own butterfly garden!

 

:: homemade grapefruit soda syrup

We have made our own Grapefruit Soda several times recently.  It’s like homemade Fresca.  Even the skeptics in the family love it.

 

:: p.s.

I almost forgot.  Kiri fell prey to an aspiring hair stylist today.  (And we all know that this is just the beginning of the mischief Kiri and Levi are going to get into together).

It’s not tooooo terrible.  She just looks a little shorn, a little bit like something nibbled on her.  I’ll trim it up a tad tomorrow.

Well, now I don’t have to decide whether or not to trim her bangs, Levi did it for me.

 

 

 

The Back Porch

:: I have a yellow gingham bunting hanging on my back porch.  I really should bring it in before the elements destroy it.  But it is so pretty, I want to leave it up just a bit longer.

:: There is a black phoebe bird sitting in the lilac tree.  It appears to be teasing the hummingbird.

:: I suggested to the girls that getting muddy is an activity best suited to before dinner, not before bedtime.  I spoke a little sharper than intended, but I can’t help but smile at the streaks of dirt on Lia’s face.

:: We can see the “mountain” from the back porch.

:: I’ve sketched out a general plan for our garden.  The borders planted with flowers and perennial herbs, edged by flat bricks.  Raised vegetable beds on the right side.  The circle on the right (was it for a jacuzzi?) maybe an herb garden.

It’s fine, but it’s boring.  I want something unusual like meandering paths or a grape arbor or a hideaway.

In the meantime, we’ve cleared just enough space along the back wall to put in tomatoes.  Mom and I have big plans for a lemon cucumber.

:: The girls come outside in the evening while waiting for Kiri to cry herself to sleep (boo).  I’ve pegged this time with no small ones to sit and read uninterrupted with the big girls, but the call of the cool evening is stronger than the couch and a book.  I love watching them flit around like little sprites.

:: The little sprites have washed off the mud and are ready now to tiptoe into their room and go to sleep under the flower garden on their bright pink quilt.

Snot, Kiri, and the Garden

:: I got to yoga today and discovered that I had a smear of baby snot on my shoulder. Or maybe it was drool. (Two teeth coming right up!) I was reminded again that pink is the best color for hiding snot. Not black.

It wasn’t too noticeable (no boogers, thank goodness) and it brought a smile to my face.
I love my life and today I’m extra mindful, extra grateful that I get to spend my days doing something I love.

:: Kiri has a wonderful life. There are so so many benefits to being the fourth baby. We say that she is the most loved baby…because she has the most people to love her. That baby girl is just showered with love.

Someone creeps in to our room every morning to see if Kiri is awake yet. The three older kids sit on the bed and pass her around, so everyone gets some of the early morning smiles. On the rare morning that they get distracted with activities in the living room, Kiri looks around, and I imagine she’s a bit puzzled.

She’s always going adventuring. Someone will come and get her and carry her off for some sort of frolic. When they’re tired, they bring her back.

I’ll often find her perched somewhere next to a little girl and a pile of dolls. Or snuggled up with Lia and a book. Or being loved on by Levi. When she’s in the walker Levi can take her places, too. He likes that.

They turn to Kiri in times of disappointment or tears. She’s better than a stuffed animal when in need of a little comfort.

She’s such a bright, warm, calm little being. We look at each other several times a day and I nod in agreement, It’s a wonderful life.

:: So the backyard is a disaster. Neglected. Forlorn. Ugly. Morning glory vines taking over everything. The creeping fig vine had half fallen off of the back wall due to an unfortunate incident with the clipping shears (six months ago). Undernourished roses. It’s pretty bad. And embarrassing.

But, see, we’ve been house hunting for almost four years now, always intending to move soon. So I haven’t been able to justify putting a bunch of money into a garden we will up and abandon. I just can’t bring myself to do it. I. Just. Can’t.

I think I’ve finally come up with a solution that will help me to break out of this state of utter garden dejection and paralyzation.

We are going to weedwhack a great deal of the garden down to the ground (leaving up only beloved and flourishing perennials). Rake the soil to expose the roots of the weeds so that they will die. Let the next batch of weeds start up then rake the bejeebees out of them, too.

Then we are going to buy a $13 packet of seeds (butterfly habitat!) and sow liberally. All over. No planning, nothing.

If I decide later in the year to plant tomatoes (but what if we are going to move? says the voice), I’ll just dig up whatever already grew. So there. POA stated.

Now I just need to buy the string thingy for the weedwhacker because we used the last bit of it today and we’ve barely gotten started. Courage, Leilani!

grumpy gardening (but nice photos)

We stayed out late in the garden this evening.  Sandwiches for supper (really really need that outdoor table I’m searching for…), and a game of tennis/soccer/football…one ball per child against one Papa.

Mommy was in the swing, playing with instagram.

And, if the truth be told, feeling overwhelmed by the weeds, the patches in the watering system, and the total lack of vegetable plantings…  On the one hand, I feel like I need help … if someone would just dig up the little garden patch, I’d be good to go.  But on the other hand, what a wimp, Leilani!  Just get out your hoe and dig it up!

And then I remember that our hoe recently disintegrated.  I’ll blame it on the hoe.  Or the lack thereof.

The sunflowers are growing for our sunflower house.  And hopefully by the end of the summer, the rose patch, the sunflowers, and the (soon to be planted, if it kills me) tomatoes will hide the glaringly ugly cement brick wall on the left side of the garden.

I can’t bring myself to take pictures of that side of the garden, and that really limits my photographic choices.

There is no picture of Amelie because she is going through a clothes-shedding stage.  That, also, is limiting my photographic choices.

Thinking Ahead to Summer

A couple of days bordering on hot, and a few delicious summery evenings have me thinking ahead to summer.

This is Southern California, don’t forget…we’re usually a season ahead.

(Perversely, the weather has turned cool again this week and I have to wear a long sleeve shirt if I’m outside.  But I’m still dreaming of summer…)

I’m thinking of …

~ a large turquoise table in the garden, with mismatched chairs

~ leisurely dinners in the cool of the evening

~ a string of lights

~ bird feeders

~ a swing for two…or five

~ a play canopy hanging from the tree

~ roses and tomatoes and lemon cucumbers

~ a sunflower house

~ playing in the sprinkler

~ a kiddie pool

~ hot chocolate with biscotti

~ a wind chime

~ lazing around on a picnic blanket

~ soccer and badminton and baseball

End of the Week Round-Up

End of the Week Round-Up — by no means all inclusive.  Or even representative.  On further reflection, maybe I should retitle it End of the Week Weak Stream of Consciousness.

1) Herbs.

Can I ever have enough herbs?  There’s nothing like running my hands through the basil.  Or the dill.  Or the thyme.  Or the rosemary.  I cannot imagine a life in which I have enough herbs.

I have five run-of-the-mill basils, a purply basil, a purply ruffly basil, and a spicy globe basil.  And yet still I ration.

I have one dill.  And it was so intent on flowering, that I let it…it seems against the cosmic order of things to thwart so determined a process.  Next year, more dill.  MORE DILL!

And speaking of more, next year (or, perhaps, even this year) MORE TOMATOES.  Here we are at the beginning of August and I’m rationing tomatoes.  This is wrong, very very wrong.  (I don’t think the tomatoes like their new place in the garden…too much clay?)

2)  VBS recovery.

See, I said that Pharoah was cute.  I think I’ll name this picture Reason #23,986 Why I Love This Man.  Not everyone has a rockin’ Pharoah for a husband.

As I said, post-VBS, the children have {all} been down with a mild cold.  Perhaps “down” is the wrong term.  Maybe I should say that they’ve been “up” with a mild cold…up at nights, that is.  I have the sneaking suspicion that I’m going to succumb (how can I not, being bathed continually in snot?  hey, that rhymes).  But I’m ignoring my sneaking suspicion and consuming vast quantities of vitamin C.

3) New (to me) blog genre (or would it be a category?)

I’ve been perusing the crafty blogs this week.  I need a new bookmark category because all my new favorites are getting lost in the home decor category.  Here’s a few, maybe you haven’t seen them::

Posie Gets Cozy

Angry Chicken

Not Martha

All Sorts

4) This week’s sewing funSnack Bags from angry chicken.

They are like  old-fashioned fold over baggies – remember those? – made out of fabric. So easy, so quick, so cute, so usable!  They are even easy and quick when little someone’s sit on my lap and do all the sewing.  Or, serging, rather.

In her video tutorial, angry chicken uses a serger.  I have a serger.  My mom bought it for me, oh, five years ago.  She used it to sew me an extraordinary bridesmaid dress in a feat of sewing daring and prowess.  And I’d never gotten it to work since.  I became, through a number of hours of pouring over the manual and peering into the machine, proficient at threading the thing.  But I could never get it to make a decent serge.  (Or whatever the terminology would be). And getting to a Joann Fabrics class just never got to the top of my “I really should do this” list – it remained firmly entrenched in the “I feel perpetually slightly guilty that I have not done this” list.  Do you have one of those?  (I recently starting actually making that particular list – hoping to check some of those things off and release some guilt into the stratosphere).

Well, cute and reusable snack bags were inspiration enough.  I retrieved the serger from its resting place in the garage and the girls and I watched a youtube tutorial to freshen up my threading skills.  We threaded it, and as I was fooling with tension knobs, I discovered two more knobs around the back side.

{blink}

Voila.  Now I have a working serger.  Thanks, Mom!  I’m going to use this gift alot!  Five years later.

The girls picked their fabric and sewed their bags, including a small one for a friend’s birthday gift, and we filled them with homemade crackers. Yum.  They didn’t last 24 hours.

Coming towards Spring

Forgive me if I don’t sound quite like myself.  I just finished reading Under the Tuscan Sun, and her writing style is so pervasive, I even dream like she writes.  Which definitely isn’t a bad thing.  Unless it’s that chapter on weird Southern and Italian religiosity.  Spooky and creepy.

My little angels are all tucked into bed, with visions of apple turnovers dancing in their heads.  This week we made apple pastries twice.  Galettes (also known as ‘rustic tarts’) and, tonight, turnovers.  Minimal sugar, maximum yum.  I’ve been reading, again, Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.  This time it’s the pies and galettes that attract me.  The savory ones, particularly.  Doesn’t that sound like yummy winter food, something baked in a crust?

The farther I get into this local eating bit, the more I wish I could reorganize my cookbooks into seasons.  A few are, but most require much paging through to find these winter and early spring dishes.  But, hey, what a great way to waste time, paging through cookbooks!

So I’m not sounding like Frances Mayes, good.

I began reading The Secret Garden to the girls this week.  I was going to start with Laura Ingalls Wilder (we started a year or more ago, but didn’t finish), but Little House in the Big Woods just seems like more of a fall/winter kind of book.  And here it is, coming on to spring.  So Secret Garden it is.

Lia is loving it.  With not too many questions on why the movie and the book are different.  Note to self: don’t let them watch movies of classic books until after reading the book.  It seemed like a good idea at the time, to get them interested in sitting still and listening to a long story, but now I’m second guessing.

It puts Amelie to sleep.  Literally.  Every time.

Tonight for our Sabbath dinner, we celebrated the Lord’s Supper.  (I like that better than the more churchy word, ‘communion’).  I had gotten little tiny wine glasses for the girls at community services, just their size.  I love taking it out of church and into the family, into real life.  When we were ‘remembering’ Jesus, Amelie remembered, “He got owies.  On His left foot.”

Speaking of meal times, we’ve been saying this prayer before meals.  I got it from a great book called All Through the Day, All Through the Year: Family Prayers and Celebrations by David Batchelder.  By day two, the girls already knew their part.  One person leads, the others respond in the bold.

I was hungry:

and you gave me food.

I was thirsty:

and you gave me drink.

I was a stranger:

And you welcomed me.

I was naked:

and you clothed me.

I was ill:

And you comforted me.

I was in jail:

and you came to see me.

Lord Jesus Christ,

may our Lenten fasting

turn us toward all our brothers and sisters

who are in need.

Bless this table, our good food,

and ourselves.

Send us through Lent with good cheer,

and bring us to the fullness of your Passover.

(together) In the name of the Father,

and of the Son,

and of the Holy Spirit.

We bit the bullet, took the big breath, and let Amelie sleep at night without a diaper.  Starting right after coming back from the youth retreat (didn’t want her peeing in the lodge bed).  And, lo and behold, no accidents!  Ironically, yesterday she wet her pants twice (once in bed, after a nap).  But not at night!  No more diapers for Amelie!  Hooray! <small celebratory hop>

Levi has been happy happy this week.  Practicing his three steps, standing and balancing, standing and dancing and balancing, and generally laughing as often as possible.  He thinks he’s so funny.  Because he is.

We’re starting to look forward to the arrival of Grandma and Grandpa, my mom and my sister, in late March.  I hope and pray (O God, won’t you answer my sleeping prayers!!!!) that Levi be sleeping ALL night with NO waking and NO crying, IN the girls room…before they come.  Because if he’s not, all of our hard work will go down the drain.  Because it’s one thing to let the baby cry when it’s just you around, but you can’t do it when he’s sleeping outside your grandparent’s bedroom.  You know.  But I’m optimistic.  We’ve come so far in just one short month.

Devo sensed an impending breakdown, I think.  He shoved me out the door to the farmer’s market this morning, and stayed home with the kids.  Then he (literally) shoved me to the bedroom after lunch to take an hour’s nap.  I think we’ve had three weeks where he’s been very busy, and with him preaching next Sabbath, next week promises more of the same.  I just need a little break every now and then, and I’m so thankful he made me take it!

Now if we could only find some time when we’re both home and both not busy.  Not tonight.  Not tomorrow.  Not tomorrow night.  Sunday?

The neighbors are playing beer pong (hit the ping pong ball into the beer cup, have to drink the beer).  The swiss chard bed is planted.  The leftover apple galette is tempting me.  It’s supposed to rain this weekend.  I really do love my life.

Been up to much

Rachel was lamenting that the Rachel of five years ago would be appalled at what the current Rachel does not accomplish (she has two little ones and is pregnant with number three…Abigayle, isn’t that sweet?).  I just saw that the picture of Devo and I on this blog is from our fifth anniversary.  As in, two years ago.

But if I got it all done today, what would there be left to do tomorrow?

<snort>

(Rachel, I hear you!  More grace everyday!)

I did kind of mop the kitchen floor today.  When releasing the steam on my pressure cooker, it spurted all over (anybody know how to not make a mess doing this?).  I thought it was all on the stove and deck, but when Amelie came in to get the ketchup from the fridge (she was setting the table), she slipped on the big puddle on the floor and hit her head HARD.

What is it with me and head injuries?  Why can’t we do broken bones?

Of course, the food was just at the point where it needed to be lifted off the stove and out of the oven.  But instead we sat in a chair with a bag of frozen beans and calmed ourselves down (convinced my heart to stop going thump thump thump).  Soggy broccoli is much preferred to hospital run.

(The roasted yams, potatoes, and carrots with rosemary and garlic didn’t burn.  It was YUMMY.)

Lia entertained the squawking Levi, getting his food out of the fridge and feeding him.  Also deciding to put a glob of pureed vegetables on his tray, like we do with finger foods.  🙂  She was so helpful, my mommy heart went pitty pat. So I guess at this point it was really saying thump pitty pat thump pitty pat.

The point being that I flung a washcloth on the floor and swiped at the slippery puddle with my foot.  And managed to get a bunch of other spots at the same time.  That counts for kind-of-mopping, don’t you think?

Piano practicing is really going well.  I am amazed at how much Lia has learned in the last few weeks.  Her hand position and coordination have improved by leaps and bounds.  She spends what seems like hours picking out tunes she knows or making her own.  She can sightread her little pieces, first try.

Just in her piano practice alone, she is reading, writing, tracking from left to right, and learning math – counting, fractions.  We were laughing while playing a music game this week because I told her, Music is math you can hear, cooking is math you can eat!

Our weekend in the mountains went really well.  There was snow, but it wasn’t too cold.  And I had lots of help from our friends.  The kids and I enjoyed taking walks up and down the mountain and playing in the snow.

Valentine’s Day passed us by.  We thought we’d declare Monday another Valentine’s Day, but that one passed us by, too.  Too.  Tired.  Maybe we’ll try again next week.

I think it was Friday night that I was putting the girls to bed and told them that it was time to stop talking.  Amelie says, “But I love to talk.”  Very matter of fact.  I just about died trying not to laugh.

Amelie is in a new phase.  She is intensely involved in her inner landscape.  Which means that anything you say to her, you must make her repeat, or it will never penetrate through to her REAL reality.  She is always carrying on lots of imaginary play with whatever toys she has.  The more vocabulary she has, the more we find out what’s really going on in her little mind.

She is making her first forays into the world of arguing.  Anything I say (after I make her repeat it back) is followed by a “but…”.  She has also begun to tattletell, but I haven’t been able to explain what she’s doing well enough so that she can identify it and stop.  So, until then, we have a local police officer, morality director, and general gossiper.

I put Levi to bed in his crib in the girl’s room tonight.  I wanted some time on the computer.  And the freedom to have a snack. I have decided to try for regular naps (whether needed or wanted or not).  Today was fairly successful.  I’m aiming for an 11am nap and a 3pm nap.  Or somewhere in the general vicinity.

Children’s Choir is coming along.  We worked on Hallelujah Chorus tonight, in two parts.  And it was fairly successful.  I have some really good singers with good ears this year.

We spent Monday and Tuesday morning in the garden.  I’m trying to learn to garden the way I clean house – that is, do the more visible things first.  Or, as I kept saying to myself, “more bang for my buck”.  Interesting garden mantra, but it works.  Keeps me away from spending hours fiddling with minute weeds in a square foot of earth.

So now I’ve collected most of the toys that have languished all winter under dead plants, we’ve mowed and weedwhacked, scrubbed out the summer pool and relocated it to the garage, and pulled all the big milk weeds threatening to go to seed.

One bed is ready for swiss chard.  One I’m thinking seriously of making the herb bed…it’s easiest to access…but first I have to find places for all the strawberry babies that invaded it this fall.

Looking back, I’ve accomplished alot this week.  I sewed two beautiful toile covers for my big pillows.  The pillows have been sitting upstairs, uncovered, for two years.  And now they are beautiful and have been requisitioned as comfy seats for the play castle.  Someday they’ll make it to the living room.

I made a springy flower wreath for the front door.

Last week, I had the girls paint Valentine’s colors on pink paper and put the paintings in ‘their frames’.

And I did some other things, too, but I can’t remember them now. Not surprising.

Today was Ash Wednesday and now I’m thinking of Lent.  Late, as usual.  But better late than never.  Question, how to make it kid-understandable.

White House Garden

So you might have already guessed that I’m a huge fan of gardens, especially kitchen gardens.  I’m always peering at plantings and seeing what there is to see.   And you may have guessed that buying locally grown food is my newest revolutionary soap box and lifestyle change (even had a long conversation with the grocer at vons this week about signage on fresh foods).

So I’ve been excited about the White House kitchen garden Michelle Obama has started.  Not only does this video deal with gardens and food, it deals with parenting!  Found it on Kitchen Gardeners International, one of my perennial bookmarks.