Staying Home

May 16th, 2015

We have been whirling through life this week, going away every single day from Sunday on.  Today, it was so nice to just stay home!  Whew!  It meant our kids could do what they wanted without having so many requirements and restrictions.  (Of course there were jobs and chores, but there was free time too.)

To kick off this stay-at-home time, I picked up three of our nieces last night and brought them here for a couple days while their parents “go on a honeymoon at the Grizzly Mountain Lodge” (quoting Susannah).  (If you are familiar with the Berenstein Bear books, you’ll recognize this place.)

After breakfast of bagels and strawberries (and eggs for those who wanted one), we had our Bible time.

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Those who couldn’t read so well (or not at all) colored pictures and then answered questions.

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(I have to throw in here that I had not combed my hair before this, and in fact, never found a few minutes to comb it all day.  So glad nobody dropped in!)

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The kids came and went outdoors all day.  They loved working on this big hole in the garden.

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Before they started, either Susannah or Sylvia came in and asked where my garden was.  I was so embarrassed that it’s so covered with weeds and looks the same color as the yard that they had to ask were it was!  I’m tempted to just not plant a thing and let them excavate all summer!

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The hole is a major one (Paul did a lot of the work solo one day, just spending time alone outside), and they were working and making a step in the side to help them get out.

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Hannah is just positively in her element taking care of Charity.  Those two are almost always together, and Charity has her own personal entertainer and assistant.

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Here Hannah is giving her rides by pushing her around in this pink chair.

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When it was close to time for lunch, I asked Andrew to set up a table outside.  I decided we’re going to eat every lunch and supper outside if at all possible.  That will eliminate so much work and stress for me, because the number of water spills with this crowd won’t even fit on the chart.  When it’s outside, I don’t even have to register it in my mind.  The clothes will dry quickly, and the ground will soak up the rest.  And food crumbs don’t matter either.  Mega win in my book!

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As people got finished their lunch (primarily of pita chips with hummus and spinach artichoke dip and grapes), they just hopped down and started playing.

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I was going to have the kids clean all these maple seeds (”helicopters”)  off the trampoline, but Charity just laughs and laughs and Hannah pours them out of her hand.

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You can tell Susannah is a limber acrobat!

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Now Charity is off the trampoline and the real action begins!

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Charity was exploring maple seeds on the back porch.

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She decided to see what they felt like on her tongue!

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When it was nap time, I made everyone take a nap or quiet time (for the oldest four).  All but Paul and Hannah had a specific place they needed to be and stay until I told them they could get up.  I desperately needed a nap.  I then laid down and slept for almost 2 hours.  I felt much better when I got up.  I felt a little badly for all the kids.  They were all awake, but in their places, and believe it or not, quite happy.  I have no idea who slept and who didn’t, or how long they had been awake, but what was most important was that I slept!

Of course it was time to start supper.  The kids went outside to play, and soon our daily rain came.  This time it wasn’t a storm, just a 20-minute down-pour.  Everyone except Rachel and Sylvia came inside while it rained.  These two played outside in the rain, and even in the mud hole.  That meant before they could be inside, I had to hose them off in the tub (100 cheers for a shower head on the end of a hose!) and get them in dry clothes.

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Let me tell you a little story.  As soon as it stopped raining, they went back outside.  I had failed to tell them to stay out of the garden.  I was cooking at the stove and looked out the back door just in time to see Sylvia down in the mud hole and Rachel Anne starting to climb down in.

My voice reached a decible level that I seldom ever employ as I projected a command from the stove all the way across the yard to the garden.  They heard immediately, obeyed immediately, and came inside.  I stopped the supper prep again and this time only had to wash hands and legs and feet.  I ignored the mud on the seat of Sylvia’s shorts.  I let them know no one was allowed in the garden for the rest of the day.

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Sylvia and Rachel are best buddies.  They are seldom apart and so far always happily playing the same thing together.

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We did manage to eventually eat supper.  I think it was around 6:00 or 6:30.  We had “baby hot dogs” wrapped in a spiral of biscuit dough, green beans, asparagus, pouches of applesauce, and some grapes left from lunch.

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Earlier this week when I was grocery shopping, it was so hard on me to buy canned biscuits for this little project.  In my mind, surely I would have the time to throw the flour, salt, shortening and baking powder into a bowl to make biscuits for these hotdogs.  But, I imagined that I would find it a daunting task at the time.  I have never been so glad I bought biscuits in a can!  I felt like I could barely find time to open the can, roll out the biscuits and cut them in strips as it was.

After supper was over, Paul told me that these were good biscuits, but he liked the ones that I made “the whole way” better.  That made me feel good. :)

Susannah had two burning desires all day, and has asked repeatedly about them.  One was the play with the water hose.  *groan*  We did not do that today.  The other was to ride bikes “on the road without a yellow line in the middle” (our neighbor’s lane).

After supper, I told them all to put on socks and sneakers, and we headed across the field to our neighbor’s lane.  I even left all the dishes and scraps out on the table.  I knew if we were going to fit this in, we had to get started.

I pulled Charity in the wagon while the others rode bike.  Often someone else wanted to ride along too.

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Paul discovered how much fun it was to ride through mud puddles.

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Before I realized it was happening, Sylvia found out how much fun it was to go wading in mud puddles!!

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I was so glad that in my haste I had not found her own sneakers, so I put this junky pair on her that I have a piece of elastic in instead of a shoe lace.

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She had the time of her life walking and running through this puddle.  I didn’t let anyone else join her.

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Fortunately everyone else was having fun riding bikes and didn’t seem to mind that restriction at all.

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I finally got a picture of Sylvia running through the puddle.  It made some impressive splashes.

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When we were about ready to head home, they all wanted to climb trees.

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We took a few minutes longer so everyone got a chance to climb at least once.

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Charity was happy to climb around holding onto this tricycle.

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One monkey even swung from the branches!

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When we got back home, it was after 8:00.  I remembered Miriam telling me that if Charity eats supper around 6:00 or 6:30 she will be outrageously hungry by 7:00 the next morning.  I decided we better snacks so I don’t have to manage that level of hunger first thing in the morning.  Since the chairs were all outside, I had everyone sit on the floor to eat some teddy grahams, cherries, and milk.  (And yes, the floor was clean.  I had swept it after breakfast.)

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After that we did a major bathing operation to get the mud and dirt off everyone.  It seemed like a big task for that late hour, but I didn’t want the bigger task of mud and dirt all over the sheets and covers and teddy bears and Minnie Mice and blankies, etc.

I’m sure we’ll have a repeat of the mud tomorrow.  I’m already strategizing in my mind how we can plan a water hose playing time just right to get the most of the mud off right before we take the Saturday baths.  Hmmm…wonder if I can make that happen.

P.S.  Our meals for these couple days are not our usual fare.  However, spending time with my nieces and facilitating them having a good time is a higher priority than having down-home, made-from-scratch, roasted-over-the-hearth meals.  (On top of that, I have almost no loaf bread in the house, so we won’t be having many sandwiches.  I’m not making bread again until Monday.  It will be the bagels Miriam sent until then.)

Somebody turned the PTO on!

May 15th, 2015

There was so much dirt covering the whole gang…

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…and then a downpour went through!

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And it was all while I was trying to fix supper.  Needless to say, supper will be a bit late.  And there are moments when it feels like someone turned on the PTO on me!