Friday, November 25, 2011

So thankful.

It is 1:30am, and the hectic day, for me, has wound down enough for me to truly focus on my giving of thanks.  Usually, this would be a time for me to sit in a quiet house and reflect, or just breathe in the quiet.  But, we will have our Thanksgiving dinner here tomorrow, so Mom is downstairs preparing for the festivities and jamming out, for some unknown reason, to what seems to be high energy Latino Christmas music.  Although it is not quiet, it is a different kind of peace.  It is a busy house full of energy that I am stopping and appreciating tonight.

As adults, we do not often spend time with our parents during the ins and outs of our day.  Yes, there is most likely a good reason for this fact.  We all like our independence, our autonomy, our way.  We talk on the phone with them (for some of us, daily), but even though we hear of their days, we do not live them.  For fourteen months now, I have not had a glimpse of my parents' life, I have been right there in it.  Although it may have been more time than we bargained for, and although the project in no way went in the way we had envisioned when we made the decision to move, I will no doubt always look back at this time as "bonus time" spent with them.  Not a visit, not a vacation, but life-sharing that only cohabitation can create.

We have something right now, at this moment, that I could not say three, or even two, months ago.  We have a light at the end of the tunnel.  It isn't until this week that I have allowed myself to start absorbing the reality that in the next few months I will be returning to my life as we knew it... of being together as a couple and as a family.  Like all life experiences, I have learned to appreciate many things.  I have learned to appreciate how hard my parents work at their jobs, how much I enjoy (and really need) a Monday through Friday schedule, how easy it is to get along with my mother, how bickering means little in the unconditional love of a family, how nice it is to be alone with my husband, and how even a family of six can be considered quiet in comparison to one of eight.  I am stopping tonight to be thankful for the time that we have spent here... and how it is ultimately helping us to get to our final house-building adventure.

I am thankful for a wonderful husband who is perpetually on the same page as me.... a page from an out-of-print book written by an obscure author that no one else has heard of.  We have crazy ideas.  We bite off insanely large projects.  We consistently take the rocky, twisted mountain hike instead of a leisurely stroll.  We are nuts.  But, we are nuts together.  I have come to realize that the two of us can accomplish pretty much anything.  It may be hard and stressful.  I may be overwhelmed and second-guess our path.  But, we work well together.  When we stood in the yard of our last house, staring at its horrific state, I saw potential and said "yes" without question.  I said "yes" knowing full well that it would make me cry, stressed out, and that I would have moments of questioning our sanity.  The right decision does not come with a pain-free guarantee.  The knowledge that their will most likely be pain should not hinder the decision to do something good, something right, something that makes your heart full.  

No regrets.  No stagnation.  No going through the motions. 

I am thankful for our amazing children.  There were times that I questioned whether or not I would ever get to be a parent at all.  Those short times of hopelessness have been replaced with this unbelievable life that I have as a mother of four.  Although at times I am desperate for a reprieve, I am so thankful for all of the time that I spend with my little crew.  At one time, I calculated how many hours of time I gain with them by homeschooling.... and I realized how much time that is in comparison to the short years that they will live with us.  Again, I am blessed with "bonus time".  Life is too short not to grasp on to any "bonus time" I can get.  If you want a farm, or you know your kids would thrive in a class of like-minded peers that isn't available to you, or you yearn to live near the ocean, or you have always dreamed of writing a book, then get on those hiking boots, hit the mountain, and make it happen.   

No regrets.  No stagnation.  No going through the motions.  

I am thankful for the opportunity to give my boys the classroom experience that I had envisioned for them.  I do not know what the future holds.  I hope it holds many more years of this custom made educational experience that we are creating for them.  Soon, I will be planning for another year in our hybrid school... recruiting students, lining up teachers, and organizing the year.  But, for this moment I want to pause and just revel in this school year that these boys will remember always.  We are truly blessed.

Six months from now, we will be settled into a new routine all our own, in a house to call our own.  We will be looking forward at the monumental task of building an entire house with our own hands.  But tonight, I am thankful for this leg of the journey.   We are truly blessed.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

All decked out.

The entire month of November has been spent in dress-up clothes for Miss Ivey.  Halloween opened her eyes to the sparkly dresses that were in her very own room.  Tinkerbell, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty... she has tromped around town in each one, much to the enjoyment of pretty much everyone who passes by.   She has even gone to her Play Pals class in costume on more than one occasion.  I told Miss Gina that there were two choices.... a happy Tinkerbell or an unhappy Ivey.  Happiness wins, of course.  I'll take Cinderella in galoshes, a huge smile, and a bounce to her walk any day.

Yesterday, Ivey was watching the intro to a Disney movie, where Tinkerbell flies up to the castle.  She said in her matter-of-fact way,  "That's me, Tinkerbell.  I was Tinkerbell first... when she was a bat."  Ahh, the three year old mind is a glorious thing!  The synapses of three year olds must fire in a completely unique way.  It's like the information must jump, skip, dance, and twirl across those little heads.  Ivey talks to herself a lot in the car.  I was listening in the other day and overheard her having a very serious conversation... with her toes.  "Hey!  We made a deal.  Now, zip it!"  I don't know what kind of deal the eleven of them made, but it sounded pretty serious.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Sawmill

Since the purchase of our very own portable saw mill, Jeff and Randy have been hard at work cutting down trees and milling beams in Randy's backyard.  As a practice run in the post-and-beam technique, the two are constructing a simple trailer shed.

With the help of Asa, they have managed to get all of the beams cut and are now doing the joinery work.  It's a slow go, but this is the trial run for what will eventually be the process that builds my new home.

Part of me is really nervous about biting off such a major adventure as milling our own lumber and building our own post and beam home.  But, there's also something very exciting with the idea of being able to design, plan, and build an entire home from scratch.  Our ideas.  Our decisions.  Our wood.  Our plan.  As two highly independent individuals, I can see this fitting our personalities quite nicely.

I expect that in the Spring, once we have finished helping my parents on the renovation of my childhood home, our adventure in house making will really kick off.  We are just months away from ending phase 1, gaining a space of our own to call home for a few years, and entering phase 2 of our wacky plan!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Hay Day!

What makes a great day for my kids?  A brand new bail of hay, that's what!
 Happy goats and happy kids... and a sunny blustery fall day.

A big thank you to Bill for delivering the hay/playground to us!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Happy Halloween!

It was a marathon on Halloween festivities for us!  First, the kids were all dressed up for their school parties on Thursday.  The girls even had a pony ride and a hay ride that day!  Asa and Addison spent Thursday with their three classmates.... playing, learning, carving pumpkins, and having a generally fabulous day.

Saturday, the kids took a visit to Gram's house.  It was a gorgeous day, and we ate lunch, gathered acorns, asked a billion questions, and the girls took it upon themselves to rearrange her Fall decor.  It really was a perfect Fall day!

That night, we walked over for Trunk or Treat at the church.  Being a small church, they were able to run amuck, bouncing from one game to the next, one jumpy to another.  Olive reached over and grabbed a huge handful of cotton candy and, before we knew what had happened, wadded it up and stuck it in her mouth.  Wet cotton candy is not exactly retrievable.  Needless to say, that girl thoroughly enjoyed herself.  They all did!

 On Monday, we went to Karen's house and celebrated Kristen's birthday... and did some old school neighborhood Trick or Treating.  We have never lived in a neighborhood, so the boys are just memorized by the whole thing!  At one point, Addison asked me if we had gone through the whole "town".  After chasing Ivey and Olive, it felt like it!

Ivey was an absolute riot that night.  She ran around, as Tinkerbell, bubbly and silly and cute.  You could hear her yelling out, "Brothers!!  Wait for me, guys!".  Being the little manipulator that she is, she managed to turn on the charm at each house.  She didn't stop with a mere "Trick or Treat".  No.  She then began some cute conversation with the people at the door.  She would point out her sparkly nails or mention their dog... and then go in for the kill.  "Can I have some more Halloween treats?"  Yes.  She used the phrase "Halloween treats".  I'd say that it worked on about 20% of the women, but ALL the males fell into her trap.  We even heard two teenage boys laughing at how they had no choice because she was SO cute.  Holy moly.  What are we in for?

Ivey wouldn't take her costume off that night, and I was way too tired to protest.  The next morning, I went in to wake her up for PlayPals at the church.  She sat up, smiled, and remarked at how she was so excited to wear her Tinkerbell dress to school.  After a little prodding, I realized I had two choices.  I could send Ms. Gina with a happy Tinkerbell or a very unhappy Ivey.  I have way bigger fish to fry than a Tinkerbell dress, so my little girl grabbed her Tiara (because every costume needs a tiara) and pranced out the door.  It seems that three year olds think nothing of a classmate showing up in a sparkly fairy dress for no reason.  I was told it was never an issue!

That brings us to today.  Wednesday.  Although we did manage to change out everything under the dress, Tink still hung out with us today.  Ivey volunteered to come along to Addison's orthodontist appointment this morning... happy as a clam.  If I knew a costume would invoke this much happiness, I would have put her in them for outings more often!  She trotted around the office, showering Addison with moral support while he got his brackets put in place.  Later that day, we did manage to switch out the Tinkerbell costume for a Cinderella dress, "while the other is in the wash".  Olive saw the wardrobe change and wanted in on the action, so while I peeled and diced 8lbs of potatoes for potato soup, the two princesses ran circles around the house.

Now, to cross our fingers that she doesn't want to deck out in the morning... I'm not sure how much more glitter I can handle!