11-19-19 Cramming Fun

Have I mentioned that I’ve been editing a lot lately? Well I have. My editing work ebbs and flows, but the past few weeks have been particularly intense. Because of that, I have felt a little distanced from the family, locked away with the computer. It was extra special to get to go to the zoo yesterday and today I wanted to squeeze some more fun in with the kids in case the schedule picks up again.

So today we attended two shopping center trick or treat events and went to an orchard to buy a bushel of apples.

I’ve really enjoyed the extra smiles over the past few days!

10-18-19 The Zoo

We waited until last night to tell the kids that we would be going to the zoo today. And to make it even better, most of their cousins would be there too! The kids got very excited (except Baby E, who was convinced he might get eaten.)

We spent over four hours at the zoo with 15 kids eleven years old and younger. No one got lost and no one got eaten, so I call that a successful outing! We did a lot of walking and we saw a good number of animals. The kids got to see a lion pee and that was definitely a highlight.

The kids were exhausted by the time we got home and bedtime came easily. I took a ton of pictures, but I’m really tired this evening too. Hopefully tomorrow I can post some. 🙂

10-17-19 Green Noah

I spent some time this afternoon looking at Halloween costumes for the kids. C has outgrown most of her dress up clothes. I can always fall back on superheroes for the boys, so they really aren’t a concern.

As I was browsing amazon, I came across a really cute prairie girl outfit and the thought struck me that maybe C would like to dress up as Laura Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie. I did a quick search and found a boys’ outfit too, so if he wanted to be, Big E could be Almonzo. Boom! Perfectly dorky, perfectly splendid homeschool-kid-halloween costumes!

I brought up the images for the kids to see and they were immediately on board.

“But who am I going to be?” asked Baby E. Good question. Most of the characters in the books are girls.

“You could be the dog, Jack!” C answered.

“No.” Baby E replied.

“You could be a horse. There were lots of horses in the books!”

“No,” he responded. “I know!! I want to be Green Noah!!!”

Now, if the dog in the Little House on the Prairie books is an obscure literary reference for a Halloween costume, Green Noah takes the cake. I mentioned recently that we were reading a book called “The Children of Green Knowe.” (spoilers ahead!) In the book, the main character is visiting his great-grandmother who has a rambling English garden filled with bushes trimmed to be different animals. There’s a deer, a peacock, a squirrel, and more. But the most sinister is “Green Noah.” Green Noah was a tree that many years ago had been shaped into the figure of Noah (to guide and watch over the animals) but it was eventually cursed by an angry Gypsy woman, and because of that no one trimmed it any more, and it became overgrown and scary and one day it uproots itself and tries to attack the main character of the story. Thankfully it is struck by lightning and in the end Green Noah ends up as firewood.

So… that’s who Baby E wants to be… Green Noah… an angry, overgrown tree statue that attacks people and gets struck by lightning. This is the costume he picked out…

PS- we haven’t settle on anything definite yet.

10-14-19 The Bookstore

This afternoon I had the opportunity to visit my old workplace. A friend of mine that works there has taken a new job and the office was throwing her a going away party. It was wonderful to get the opportunity to spend time with her and so many others.

On my way home I decided to take a detour. I had seen ads for a used bookstore, and as I love books, and as their facebook page seemed promising, I decided to check it out.

When I was living in NYC, one of my favorite places to go was the Strand bookstore. Located near Union Square, Strand is the largest bookstore I’ve ever been to, with miles of books. They had an annex location as well, which happened to be near my first apartment. It was hard for me to pass either location without going in, browsing, and buying books.

When I stepped into the bookstore today, for just a moment I felt transported back to Strand. It was not nearly as large, but was very big and had the distinctive smell of old books. Housed in a warehouse, there were countless aisles. I wandered around, getting lost among the shelves, reading titles, and dragging my fingers along the spines. If I had had time, I would have spent hours there, but I didn’t. I settled on one book for the kids, with a promise to myself to visit again when I have the time to really enjoy it.

I made my way home and back to the kids and we ended our evening reading their new book.

10-12-19 Walnuts, Shadows, and Books

As I watch the sun dip down beneath the horizon a little earlier each day, I know it is coming- The long winter. My heart races a bit when I think back to the dark commutes to work, followed by the dark commutes home to dark evenings with dark dinners. With the dark came the illnesses, the constant barrage of sickness and injuries that marched us through the cold winter months. The long nights when Tim worked late and I nursed sick children and then dragged myself to the office the following day if they were well enough to leave.

Everyday I have to remind myself that it isn’t the same. The dark evenings don’t matter so much because I have the kids during the day now too. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I was under the weather this morning, so today was pretty lazy. We collected more black walnuts from under a neighbor’s tree. I sat on the driveway and hulled a huge pile and spread them on the shelves to dry in the sun. I bagged up the ones I had dried over the past few days and hung them in the garage to finish curing. We will be opening them soon.

I checked our persimmon tree and the fruit is not quite ripe and I still don’t know if the wild grapes are poisonous, so I need to research that. I’m contemplating getting a bushel of apples and making jars of apple sauce and apple butter and maybe some cider.

This evening as the kids traced their shadows on the driveway in chalk, I sat with a book and read to them. They have taken a liking to mysteries, and I had recently picked one up I thought they might enjoy. It was an easier lift than our previous book and a faster read. We stopped for dinner, and after we ate, we curled up on the couch and I continued to read. My plan was to only go through a few chapters, but the kids were so engrossed, and I enjoy reading to them so much that we ended up going through all 142 pages! That was over two hours of straight reading and my voice was definitely feeling it by the last few chapters.

They are all asleep now and I am enjoying the last few minutes of quiet before I crawl in bed myself. Goodnight, friends.

10-11-19 An Unexpected Encounter

Last weekend we visited my in-laws. Saturday morning we had a birthday party to attend, but on the way I wanted to make a stop and see a dear friend. Tim had to go to work and wouldn’t be joining us at the party. When I pulled out of his parents’ driveway the low tire pressure light came on. I turned around and got Tim outside to look at it.

Now Tim and I have been married for going on twelve years, and one thing I know is that we definitely approach these types of situations differently. I overreact and Tim under reacts! When I see any lights come on on my dashboard, it takes me less than three seconds to imagine myself stranded on the side of the road never to be heard of again. (see… overreaction.) Tim, on the other hand, sees a light come on the dashboard, does a mental calculation about the chance of getting to his destination, and quickly ignores (at least in my opinion) said light. (under reaction.)

I should note that if Tim was telling this story, he would say I overreact and he reacts right on target, but he’s not here so you get my version. 🙂

But I digress. So, I dragged Tim out to the van and he checked everything, drove it for about 20 seconds and told me it was fine. Which it probably was, but he hadn’t been in my head where I was already stranded on the side of the road with three kids in the back.

Somewhat annoyed I got on the road determined to put air in the tires before going much further. The first gas station I went to didn’t have a machine, but thankfully the second one did. (and to make it even better, it took credit cards!) So I started filling up the tires. (btw- they were all low, but not too bad, so Tim’s under reaction was probably on point.)

As I was filling up the tires, an older woman drove up in an SUV. She got out and asked me if I knew how to run the machine. I told her I had figured it out and she asked me if I could help her too. I said sure and she waited for me to finish with the van. I pulled it away and she parked by the machine. She handed me her credit card and I got to work.

As I was bending on the ground filling the tires we started to talk. We got on the topic that I homeschool my kids and she mentioned that she had been a teacher for about 30 years. She listed the schools she had worked at and they were all familiar to me. I told her I even attended one of those schools for my kindergarten through second grade.

It was then that she told me what her name was and my jaw dropped. I was putting air in the tires of my second grade teacher!!! I hadn’t seen her since 1988! When I told her my maiden name she reached out and hugged me and we both got watery-eyed as we began to fill each other in on our lives since we last met. She remembered me and that I had a sister. I introduced her to my kids. We laughed and cried and smiled. It was an amazing experience. We made sure to exchange information and we took a few pictures together to document our reunion. We have since texted back and forth.

It really was a special experience and I laughed later at how annoyed I had been that Tim hadn’t come to my rescue over the tires. If he had, my teacher and I would likely have never crossed paths again.

I spent the rest of my day telling everyone I ran into about my unexpected encounter and she was doing the same thing. 🙂