I've had a rough spring. Rough as in some major depression for the first time in years. Rough as in I don't really want to talk about it. I've been cocooning as much as possible. I may not have been here, but life did go on and we had plenty of fun times as well.
Have you heard of this idea to get rid of 40 bags of stuff from your house over the 40 days of Lent? I'm not sure where the idea originated, it's all over the blogosphere. Part of last year's process:
Basically you recycle or throw away 40 bags of stuff from your house. Pick a size of bag (grocery bag, kitchen trash bag, lawn and leaf?). I use a kitchen trash bag size. You can get super specific and say how many bags you're going to clear out of each area. That's a little to "planny" for me but maybe it will work for you. instead of counting the bags as I go, I'm going to pull out 40 bags and put them somewhere separate so I can see clearly how many I have to go. I end up with a mix of trash and donate, so I make the donate bags apparent by tying bright yarn around each tie. At least once a week I load up the car with donate bags and drop them off somewhere. I don't want those accumulating around for more than a month!
I'll be doing my whole house this year, but my main focus will be the basement. God help me.
Do you want to join in with me? Imagine how easy spring cleaning will be after you take 40 bags of stuff out of your house! I'll be updating my progress on Fridays.
Oh, my. Today was really about doing too much. Had these cake layers in the oven by 7:00.
Jack and Reg hung out while I baked. Jack and Lu call this grandma "Reg" as in "Regular Grandma" as opposed to their great grandma. We share our house with my mom, and she's been out of town a lot for work lately. The kids miss her like crazy.
Jack went to church and then a friend's while Lucy and I went to her meet. It was crowded, and poorly run. Something went awry and Lucy's level wasn't given awards, only "good job" ribbons. Lucy was really disgusted because she "didn't want a 'good job'".
I love watching her compete, but I do have to admit I now understand how parents can fall in that trap of really wanting their kids to do well at this type of thing. When I am there I want her to win!
Jack's contribution for tomorrow.
This wonderful man arrived home after a twelve hour work day into the midst of dinner, dirty dishes, tired kids and me shouting like a drill seargent. He quietly cleaned the kitchen up around me, got the kids ready for bed and generally brought the insanity down several notches.
Finally finished. Raspberries will go atop the chocolate cake tomorrow.
Fridays are all about being with our good friends. A whole FAMILY of good friends. Seriously, how often does that match up happen in life? Our Friday mornings are go, go, go so that we can get out the door to pick up their two oldest kids for homeschool bowling. I made oatmeal pancakes for the kids, really one of the best ways ever to use up normally unusable leftovers. Before we could leave the house poor Jack had his least favorite activity to get out of the way. And poor me, I had to give it to him (this is normally not my job).
I'm trying to insert some funny bowling thing to say about the team below, but I don't actually know enough about bowling to come up with something witty. Lucy received that hat at her first gymnastics meet, and it has barely left her head since.
Back to my friend's house. Oh, this little face is so scrumptious!
We eat lunch together and then my friend and I usually craft while the children play. They all get along so well together. Lucy and Jack are thrilled to have little siblings around. The kids often call each other by their family nicknames, which is so sweet to hear.
Jack and Ishaan were making a fire in the backyard. They were having trouble with the flint and steel and came in for matches, but there were no matches. They asked if they could ride their bikes to the store for more and we said sure. Only later did we realize how hysterical it was that we let 9 year old boys ride to the store for matches in the middle of the school day. My friend tells the whole story here. Check out the supercute picture of us all at the table, too. Yep, we are all laughing like fools, pretty much how we spend every Friday.
We left at about 4:00 and I had to stop at the evil empire. Well, "had to" in that I needed both crochet thread and flaked coconut and either Lucy or I would probably lose it if we had to go into more than one store. That's how they get you! Then I went home and seriously did feed my kids that box pizza.
My friend who is also documenting this week on her blog mentioned that she was a bit hesitant to do so because all her days would look the same. So true, but that is how it is in both our houses in the winter. I went out last night, and Lucy had gymnastics tonight and those are the only times we've been gone since Sunday. We more than make up for it in the summer and for now I love the feeling of settling in.
We have two flights of stairs to the basement, two flights to the second floor and two flights to the attic. The house (which is split up into two) is only a total of 1900 sq ft. That's a lot a stairs for not a lot of house. Our foundation is at least 150 years old, while the house is only about 65. Our inspector told us there were lots of char marks on the top of the foundation. We speculate there was a fire at some point, and maybe people freaked out and compensated with LOTS of stairs? Anyway, this is what greeted me down the laundry hole this morning.
The back stair is even worse. Ughh... the box hole.
I delivered treats to our chickens. Poor Jupiter is definitely a goner. That damn fox must have snuck back around and dragged him off through the field. We found a trail of feather evidence this morning.
Jack and Lu traipsed down our nearby creek with ice whackers over their shoulders.
My current favorite super fast, always have the ingredients around meal. Lunch for us and meal share to give to our friends tomorrow.
Jack and Lu have had "pussle" envy, now we have our own. Thanks UPS man. Chuck another box down the box hole.
Lucy has perfected a technique to make really large bubbles that will then lay on the surface of the bath water. It's kind of complicated and impressive to see.
With the excitment of leaving the house for gymnastics we completely forgot to take anymore pictures. Oh well, off to heat up water for my new bed cozy!
Oh, if only I had a picture for you of how I started my morning. While in the kitchen, I saw out of the corner of my eye through the dining room window a flash of something black moving very quickly by. Hmm... my black cat was standing next to me. I moved to the kitchen window to see what it was, and saw a large red fox trying to drag my rooster away. I ran out the back door in my bare feet screaming like a banshee, "You let go of my chiiiiicken!" I raced right at the fox and s/he dropped my rooster and ran off into the woods. Jupiter and two hens took off for the coop. I glanced up at the door and saw that Lucy was in hysterics, so went in to calm her down. Then she shouted something about the fox running toward the coop and John and I ran back outside. I was met at the door by my smartest hen. She was right by my feet and although normally she won't let anyone touch her she was smart enough to let me pick her up. John went looking for the fox, and I was able to get all the ladies back into the coop. Not an easy feat during the daytime!
Not so good for poor Jupiter, though. He has not been sighted since I saw him take off for the coop. I figure it must be one of three things: he's scared out of his wits and hiding somewhere; he's injured, hid and died or that damn fox managed to grab him again on its second pass. In good chicken news though, one of our best mothers is broody, so we are saving up eggs for her to sit on for our first batch of the year.
These coconut flour pancakes are so yummy, especially if you aren't eating grains. I make them once a week for breakfast and then have leftovers for snack.
Lucy's second math block of the year is based on the second installment of an amazing math story John created for her. It involves a brother and sister, mermaids, a land called Aquanumberia and arithmagic. Every day she hears more of the story and has to solve problems in order for the characters to move forward on their quest. Today she met the Equals Knight's daughter Adda for the first time, heard her rhyming verse and had to solve ten addition problems in order to free her from the spell she was under. She's using shell manipulatives for the harder ones.
What a difference a year makes. Last year getting Jack to write ANYTHING was a major battle and frustration for both of us. It is so much easier for him now. And for people wondering why we are having an Old Testament block, here's a essay with bits about why.
I have to include this Garden of Eden picture from Jack because I simply cannot stop laughing about those bushes.
I love grocery delivery day!
I talked to my best friend in Florida on the phone.
Jack talked to her son, on of his best friends. They've been buddies since they were 15 months old.
Listened to "The Hobbit", crocheted and knitted.
Left the kids with a sick daddy and a well thought out dinner for Jack to prepare.
Knitted and chatted with a sweet friend. Two of my very favorite things.
Well, my day really started at about 10:00 last night, when Lucy was struck ill. We didn't sleep much last night and had a late start to our day today.
Lucy followed me around the house on her pallet. Her super kind and somewhat indulgent father actually carried her on it like a little package of sick girl. Stomach illnesses throw me for a loop. I feel like I have no good protocol for them. Cold? Fever? Migraine? I've got a plan that works. This stuff? Not so much.
Jack worked on his cursive - thank you Handwriting without Tears for your tear free, cheap and effective product.
We painted the 4th and 5th days of creation. Lovely, not quite a magical as yesterday, but still good. He hasn't externalized much about the stories, but I can tell that they are really reaching him in a deep way. He was so contemplative while painting these and then drawing the 6th day of creation. He was, though, quite horrified by Adam and Eve being naked in the garden. Completely on his own he came up with a timeless remedy - foliage.
Then, after a full day yesterday of being fine, the poor boy relapsed. Back to bed he goes. I love that he always has a backup book waiting closeby in the the wings. Current - Daja's Book Waiting - Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane, a great series for 3-6th graders (and um, me) written by the author of Hunger Games. Jack said I could include this picture as long as I didn't title it, "Sick Jack".
I took this picture of my crockpot, because I was going to be all "Yay, me! Dinner's in the crockpot", but instead the soup turned out to be WAY to labor intensive for soup (I mean, it's soup!) and not actually that good.
I crocheted together this Valentine's banner, and now I have to make another one. As in, I don't think I can stop myself.
Placated the sickies with some Tom and Jerry on the laptop.
I'm mobbed by adoring fans whenever I step outside.
I love this idea of documenting a week in your life. That idea is an annual one, but I like even more the idea of doing it seasonally. Our winter day is so very different from our summer day. I photo documented a week in our summer last year, and had every intention of doing autumn but somehow it didn't happen. In the middle of winter carnival craziness, I'm going to fit in week of our real life in winter. When I woke up this morning, I immediately didn't want to start today. Jack was sick, the house was a mess, I felt a grump, but, the whole point of this is to document my real life, so here goes.
Frittata for breakfast. Oh, how many eggs we consume. Oh, how I wish I could find a million new egg recipes.
Flute lesson for Lucy while Jack worked in his cursive workbook. He LOVES cursive, but hates to print.
Lucy and John gathered eggs and took a walk,
while Jack and I reread the story of creation, discussed and then watercolor painted the first three days. We had about 45 minutes to ourselves for this and it was really a magical moment between the two of us. There was understanding, reverence, beauty! In other words a Waldorf SCORE! Please let me hold this in my heart for some time when things don't go according to my well laid plans.
Heated up lunch kindly provided by a dear friend. Jack received a camera for Christmas and is now in cahoots on the "My Real Life" project.
I obsessively crocheted hearts like these and these. Yes, really! Me! The crochet hater!
I told Lucy I wasn't going to teach her to crochet till third grade, so she went, found a book and set about teaching herself.
Laundry and more laundry.
Yep, there I am again, back at the stove. I feel like I spend hours a day very close to that spot. Oh, I DO spend hours a day very close to that spot.
Now for some more crocheting and Downton Abbey. Not a bad way to spend a Monday night. My sweet lunch providing friend Sonia is also planning on documenting her week, so do check out her blog if you get a chance. Rumor has it there will be a convergence of our real lives on Friday.
One of my main kid/school goals for this winter is to be outside together (no matter the weather!) at least an hour a day and to take a family hike on Wednesday afternoons. I made an exception the day it was 3 out and windy, because I'm just not that hardcore. We did have to do some work for the chickens that day though, so that kind of counts. When we worked in Orlando we had much more of a car trek before we could start our actually trek, now we feel lucky to have several great hiking spots very close to us.
Lucy pretty much hates hiking. She cries and whines before we leave, when we first get out of the car, and when we are on our way back in the second half of the hike. Its a fine line to walk between pushing her a little further and also knowing that we may have to drag her back the rest of the way. She does like about half of the hike though, especially if water and sticks are involved.
This spot is a popular place to hike and the paths quickly get tramped down and icy. We've got lots of Yak Trax to go around, and Lucy's boots are finally big enough to hold on a pair.
In a first for Lu, she made it back with much fussing. She started whining and teased her about setting a new record and making it back to the car before she started crying. She actually laughed, stopped and DID make it back to the car, where she promptly fell asleep.