Friday, May 24, 2013

"Shattering" News

Our three oldest boys share a bedroom.  Everyone is familiar with the stereotypical rambunctious boy.  Put three of them together and one can imagine the potential for disasters and chaos.

Therefore it should come as no surprise to learn that the light fixture in the boys' bedroom was broken today.  Shattered into hundreds of pieces.

The surprise is who broke it.

It was me.

After a quick clean-up of the mess in their room (thank you LORD we picked up the stuff out of the floor before it was showered with glass), I tucked Tyler into bed for his nap.

Dale, who never-ever-never sleeps in the day decided he wanted to nap too.  Ok, whatever.... I humored him and let him stay up in his top bunk.  At least the house would be quiet for a while.

I was headed out to look for Tyler's lamb - a must have - and heard Dale say something about a teddy bear.  So I grabbed one.  With my right arm balancing Daniel on that hip, I used my left to send the teddy bear up to the top bunk with an under-handed toss.  From the doorway.  Completely across the room.

I flinched as soon as it left my hand, certain it would hit the fixture.  

And it did.  And the fixture cracked.

I watched as 3/4 of the square of glass broke loose and then fell, in slow motion, to the carpet below.

Where it shattered and scattered.

We all stared in stunned silence.  

And then I laughed.  And prayed I'll have the grace to laugh when my rambunctious boys do something equally stupid and accidentally break something.

It's all just stuff anyway.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Round and round...

The end is in sight.  Once next week is complete we are calling an end to the 2012-2013 school year.  The end is pretty arbitrary, though.  Current math and phonics books were finished weeks ago.  We've only loosely been following our schedule the last few weeks, and our learning will continue to a certain extent throughout our summer break.  It's just what we do.  Nevertheless we all see next week as a closing point and I think I am just as ready - or more so - as the boys.

At a time when I have so much on my plate and on my mind, I am trying to slow down.  Breathe deep.  Enjoy the dailiness of life with these 5 people of varying ages and personalities.

So yesterday morning after our Bible reading and morning routines we ditched the schedule and to-do list and headed for the hills.  Ok, it's not that hilly, but we drove out to the country to check on the garden after the previous day's storm.  We also had a turtle that had been captive in his box in the laundry room long enough.  It was time for a new life for Sammy Turtle.

Before heading to the garden we stopped off to visit with my Dad and Grand-dad.  What a privilege to be able to sit and visit mid-morning on a weekday, a baby in each lap.  Checking the balance scales.... yep....definitely out-weighs "doing school".  

Then it was on to the garden where some of us dodged the standing areas of water from all. of. the. rain., and some of us sloshed right through.  For Tyler, who was wearing his trusty rain boots, that was no problem.  But as I loved on Alan in a brief moment of stillness that afternoon I asked him his favorite part of going to the garden.  "Getting my shoes wet," he answered with a smile.  Wet tennis shoes...again.  They'll dry.  They always do.

Mr. Turtle was released, camouflaged in the brown leaves beneath the oak tree.  Marked with a 'B' (I'll just leave you to wonder about that one) in case we ever see him again.  Bees were watched.  A butterfly observed.  A slilpper squirmy tadpole was caught (and released).  A tiny katydid was spotted and examined.  Slimy mushrooms that looked like squished raisins were plucked.  The garden was explored.  All of this weighed against "doing school"..... and real life wins again.

Upon our return home routines resumed, math worksheets were done, spelling words practiced.  Rooms cleaned, dishes washed.  "Real life" of a different variety, but necessary.

My last slow-moments of the day before the hectic rush of brushing teeth and tucking in and straightening up the messes the whirlwind left behind were spent combing my sweet girl's hair after her bath.  She loves singing and being sung to lately.  She sat with her vintage Fisher Price van in her lap - one little person left to ride - and I combed as we sang "The Wheels on the Bus" over and over and over again.  I'm glad that song has lots of verses anyway!  We'd barely finish one set of "alllll ...through...the townnn!" when she'd be asked for "moe! moe(more) town!"  So off we'd go again.

And here I sit, the verse of yesterday's trip all through the town complete and the wheels on this bus are already going round and round.  I've ditched routine again already just to write this blog post and one little person has woken early and joined me.  We'll proceed with this day, trying to soak up all the good parts, not fret over all the not-so-good parts, looking for balance in all the "real life" - the parts that demand our attention, and the parts that quietly wait for us when we're ready.  And the wheels go round and round....

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Gardening, warts and all

We've been spending more and more time out at the big family garden recently.  It's mostly my Dad's garden, but all of us like to help out so we can reap the rewards!

Rewards that have already started coming, like fresh green onions and, now, new potatoes.  There is something fun and almost addictive about digging potatoes.  Your best luck comes underneath the biggest plants, the ones that have a sprinkling of pointy purple blooms.

For the most part, potato digging is done blindly, with one or both hands buried in the dirt at the base of the plant, feeling for potatoes.  Some of them are just under the surface.  Others are deep enough I am buried up to my wrists in the soft sandy soil.  You have to determine by feel if the potato is big enough to pluck up or if it needs a few more days to grow.  Because of their roundness there is hardly any way to bring them up except for getting your fingers underneath and then bringing your hand up like a scoop.

On our first potato digging this year I was surprised to come across a potato so soft it was nearly mushy.  Why would this potato have rotted under what appeared to be a perfectly healthy plant?  I scooped and pulled, working the lump up to the surface, perplexed the whole time about what exactly I was feeling.  With my other hand I pulled back the lowest leaves of the plant and squinted at the dirt covered lump.  Was that a mushroom?  

And then the sandy lump blinked.

It was a toad!  A knotty brown toad just the size of a ripe potato, and completely covered in sand.  I laughed at my find, thankful I hadn't given it a good, hard squeeze!  After the boys all had a turn inspecting our unearthed amphibian we returned him to his home under the potato plant.  I hope he eats all those beetles I keep seeing there!

Getting ready to leave the garden recently, we handed our first broccoli harvest to Brooklyn for her to hold while we gathered up and finished up.  Next thing we knew, there wasn't much left to the broccoli.  We all agreed it was a good thing we didn't ask her to hold a potato!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tyler Tales

Driving home Saturday from a weekend trip we passed through the city just after dark.  All of the boys were enthralled with the brightness and colors of all the neon lights and traffic.  Much to our amusement, Tyler was inspired to burst into a song that went something like this:
"The lights are bright in the city!

Big rigs drive in the city!
Big rigs don't honk at night!"
Every night after supper we pack leftovers up for Daddy's lunch the next day.  Last night Tyler took things upon himself to pack up Daddy's lunch and he was so proud of himself!  A Brussels sprout in each cup and a sweet potato on top:

He was a little concerned that he couldn't find any chicken, but we assured him there was more in the fridge. 
Before we even knew he had loaded the tray, he had taken it and put in Daddy's car.
A few weeks ago Daddy took advantage of being home alone with the boys (and their art gear) to make Mother's Day cards.  My little creators all made more than one.  Along with all of the hearts, flowers, hand-holding stick people and Angry Birds (everything these days must. include. Angry Birds.  Even Mother's Day cards, apparently), Tyler had his own ideas for a picture.  "I'm drawing a rocket.  And it says 'No grownups allowed.' "  
My favorite recent Tyler Tale came from bedtime prayers last night.  With the whole family lined up on the couch, Tyler cuddled up next to me and began his "thank-yous".  
"Thank you God that Brooklyn is so cute.  And thank you that Mama is so lovely."
For the mama that doesn't always feel so lovely, that sweet little prayer was good for my heart!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Love blooms.

My dear husband has been taking advantage of the spring wildflowers lately and has surprised me with a couple of beautiful bouquets.
(And something cool and sweet to sip on one day, too.  Hence the straw in the pic)

Not to be outdone, one of my dear sons decided he needed to show his love for me with something green and growing too.  

Too bad we are fresh out of wildflowers on our little plot of ground.

Hence the tree branch on my kitchen counter.
It's good to be loved. :)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Buffaloes Go to Tea

We got together with our homeschooling friends recently for an etiquette tea party.

 First up: a lesson on basic manners and table setting.  (Fork on the left and no elbows on the table, please!)

Then all the kiddos got to choose a tea to sample.  My favorite part was seeing them 'doctor' their tea.  I think every cup had sugar and honey and cream in it.  As far as I know, Tyler was the only one that actually liked his tea.  At least among my crew.  But that's not surprising; Tyler's been begging tea off his Daddy and me for over a year now!
Next up our lovely hostess had prepared an awesome relay-type game to practice a proper table setting.  The kids took turns choosing the proper item from a table of mixed items....
...and racing down to the other end of the porch to place it on another table:

Then it was inside for sandwiches...
...and back out for a game of charades:
For reasons I do not understand, the end of the charades game brought the crew to spontaneous screaming. Maybe it was all the sugar they put into their tea earlier. ;)

Everyone managed to settle down for some yummy desserts, a sweet end indeed to a fun day!