Tuesday, June 27, 2006

I am Necessity

You know, the Mother of Invention?

in other news,

Long, tired day today. I am still recovering from the efforts of this weekend, and assorted other stresses.

I finally went into the girl’s room today and cleaned it out. It had gotten bad in there, and they were beyond their ability to put it straight. I ended up cleaning out two big black trash bags and one white trash bag full of toys to go to the thrift shop and two big black bags full of trash - mostly broken toys, papers, and their fan. Yes, their fan. They had a window fan, and decided it would be interesting to stick a spoon into it. Several times. I found that it hand broken blades, and one side no longer ran at all. I don’t know what to do with them sometimes. But their room is neat - they have been allowed one lovey each to sleep with, and their closet is neatly organized - albeit still quite full of toys.

Johann is getting too mobile for comfort. He can hoist himself out of his exersaucer with his arms until he is on the tray, then slither over to the couch. I found this out Saturday, when I left the room for a minute to go to the bathroom. Ay-yi-yi. I can only put him into his crib now if I have to leave him alone for a minute. Nowhere else can hold him, and I am not ready to give him free run of the house. None of our rooms, besides the kids room, are laid out to be able to use a gate easily. That is what I did with Glady and Juliet - blocked off the living room in the Hillsboro house and let them putter about. I can’t remember what I did with Pippa.

The Summer Reading show is going smoothly. This is so good - normally the fist couple of shows turn up a myriad of problems that only appear in front of a live audience and require adjustment. I sewed the grass skirt to its backing (it goes on one of the tables he works off of), shortened the strap on the big carrying bag, and made the cover for a prop into an ‘envelope’. For the day after the first show, this is good. We’ll see how tonight goes.

Speaking of which, Phil will be home soon. I need to get him some dinner. The rest of us ate already - Chicken drumsticks, rice, and watermelon - yum!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Next Year's Resolutions

Every year I do this, like a New Year's resolution (which I don't do). I promise myself I will not be up until the wee hours of the morning helping Phil get ready for Summer Reading. I promise myself I will start months before the deadline, have everything planned and completed... and every year I end up going to bed a 3 in the morning. *sigh* At least this year I got everything done, and even felt comfortable enough with what I was doing to take on a couple of last minute sewing projects that, to be fair, we didn't know about until yesterday. I am pleased with that, and next year I am going to do better. As a matter of fact, maybe I'll go get started on it now...

Nah, nap first. Then plan a weskit for a road trip theme.... hmmm. Map fabric maybe?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Fragraria virginiana

Yesterday Phil and I celebrated our ninth anniversary. Neither of us can believe that it has been that long since we joined hands in Hill Village Bible Church and vowed to one another. We had a nice, busy day topped off with a quiet family dinner.

After dinner I had the privilege of going for a walk and picking strawberries. It seemed appropriate, as the sun started to set on the longest day of the year, to be kneeling and searching for tiny red jewels scattered through the jungle of pasture grass. Down at that level the scent of green grass, with the elusive odor of ripe strawberry wafting occasionally, and the spicy tang of DEET overlaying it all, I feel closer to the earth than I have in a while. I pondered that God made strawberries as an aid to prayer, because you kneel to pick them and they are enough to inspire the most grateful praise. Ripe, sun-warmed berries are a treat fit to entertain angels with.

Every year, even if I have no time to pick enough to put by, I give the first berries to someone else. I don't know when I started this, but now it is my little tradition, to share my favorite things. This year the first three strawberries went into three little girl mouths, and the first blueberry (off the early bush we planted) went to Phil. He would never have any interest in picking berries, but he enjoys the fruits of our labor. Glady has joined me in my hunt for them this year - the first year one of the girls has been willing to bring some home and not just eat them. In a year or two they will have taken over completely, for I have no time to spend hours or even days of my summer picking berries. In historical readings, it is pretty clear that the mother was at home, keeping the house, while the maidens picked the berries.

But for a few stolen moments I gathered living rubies, and was very happy.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Last Day of School

The girls have gone to school for the last day of this year, I am enjoying the last few moments of relative peace for the next three months. I don't know whether I am nervous about having them home all day long, or excited. I am afraid the routines that had been imposed upon me by the school day achedule will get lost as I concentrate on the business over the nest week or so. I really want to continue mock-lessons over the summer to keep them fresh for next year, and to get started on Pippa for the fall, as I will be working with her more next year than the once-or-twice a week I did this year. She wrote her own name yesterday, I was so proud of her!

Phil is back to work. However, he is also still recovering. Because the veins in his legs are so damaged at this point - if you're curious, look up chronic venous insufficiency - he has to lie down a lot with his legs elevated over his heart. So he is a bit frustrated about things like building the needed props for Summer Reading, which is bearing down on us like a train at this point - a week until the first show.

All in all, I need now more than ever to stay focused. Phil compares it to juggling - in order to keep all my balls in the air (business, kids, house, Phil, me, Dad, critters and garden) I have to stay balanced. If I burn out, I drop balls and then bad things happen - shows don't get put on the calendar, checks get lost, kids watch too much tv, I don't get enough sleep - and it takes me so long to catch back up. So. I am off to make a good list.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Death Before Dullness

This is supposed to be about dishes, but it is really about much more than that. Last week, Phil challenged me to write down my dishes issues. What he was referring to is the fact that I struggle with keeping the dishes clean. I have a tendency to look at the stack waiting by the sink at night and say "I'll do it in the morning." I do do them in the morning, but it wastes valuable time I could be using elsewhere. On occasion, and fortunately it is becoming rarer, I don't do them in the morning. So why? asks Phil, and I don't know. is my answer.

But now I think I have a glimmer of the truth, and it is that I am bored easily. And there are few more boring tasks than washing dishes. They have to be done over and over, and sometimes the same dish three or four times in a day. My subconcious says why bother? and so I struggle with it. The solutions I have come up with are that I have to retrain my brain to do the dishes after every meal. Even doing them twice a day isn't enough - but at that, it is more than I was trained to do growing up, and I have to fight those ingrained habits with all I have unless I want to doom my daughters to this fight later in their lives. I have to start the girls on helping with dishes. They love to help rinse, but I don't often allow them because it takes so much longer when they are helping. But Glady is old enough to wash almost on her own- and has done so once. And just because I feel guilty that I am not doing them is no reason to not ask someone else - whether it be Dad, the girls, or Phil - to do them.

I have found that my mind can do repetitive tasks if I switch it off and let it cruise along on muscle memory, but this tends to leave me on hyperfocus mode, and I can literally ignore everything. As a wife and mother of four this isn't a good thing, although it has served me well in the past. So now I try to use music, chatting with someone who is willing to hang out in the kitchen with me... anything to keep my mind going while my hands are busy.

So, I'm off to do some dishes - right after I make my office calls for the day, give the girls a snack and drink, feed the baby and walk the dog, just to name a few of the chores clamoring for my attention at this moment.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Date Night

Phil and I had one of those improbable conjuctions of events last night that actually left us with the house to ourselves. Well, not quite to ourselves. I think Johann would say that it left him with his two favorite people to await his every whim. But we saw it differently. The girls went up to Nana and BoPop's house for a sleepover, and Dad went out for the evening. Phil and I cuddled on the couch, talked, played a game, and played with Johann.

Whether it is because we are an old married couple now - approaching nine years, can it be that long? - or just because we are tired, that was one of the more satisfying evenings we have spent. We talked about watching a movie, but decided that it would be nicer to listen to music and play a game. Phil bought me a game quite a while back that we hadn't played yet, so we got that out, parked Johann in his exersaucer by our knees, and played with it for a while until the lad got too adventurous and we kept losing cards to him. Then we put it away, picked him up, and let him travel across the couch cushion between us. He was delighted. He has learned how to climb well enough to scale his Papa, and he kept up a running commentary of "uh-oh. Ah! Ah! Dat, dat..." as he shuttled back and forth between us.

Later that night, when Phil had to put his leg up - he still has to spend a lot of time with it elevated - and Johann had wound down, we all curled up on the bed and Phil and I read while the baby fell asleep. And that was our date night. They are few and far between like that, where we have the house quiet around us, and while there was undoubtedly chores to be done and business meetings to be had, it was so nice to take the night off and just be with one another.

Friday, June 02, 2006


Standing outside in the rain this morning, waiting for the bus with the girls, I noticed the comfrey is blooming. We have a crescent-shaped piece of land that is isolated by the driveway, and on one side my mother planted comfrey probably fifteen years ago now, when we moved in. It has gradually taken over, despite Dad taking most of the roots out twice in the last three years. This year there is less of it, but still there are silvery green fountains of leaves, topped by scorpiode flower spikes. The flowers are lavender purple, with a tiny, neat edge of white at the opening of their bell shape. They hang down, and in the rain must make a nice haven for tiny insects. I know that in the sun they will bring both fat, fuzzy bumblebees, and hummingbirds to the yard. The comfrey has taken over the one side of the Crescent, the horseradish the other, and at the feet of both these large plants creeps the mint and Johnny-Jump-Ups.


Etymology: Middle English cumfirie, from Old French, from Latin conferva a water plant, from confervEre to grow together (of bones), from com- + fervEre to boil.
: any of a genus (Symphytum) of perennial herbs of the borage family with coarse hairy entire leaves and flowers in one-sided racemes

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Eating habits of the very young

Johann is still primarily eating breastmilk. However, periodically I introduce him to something new. He likes the darndest things, too. Last week or so, Sharon introduced him to pickles and he adores them, not that we let him have a lot, but still. He likes Cheerios, of course, and the usual babyfood (mangoes, sweet potatoes, Hawaiian delight... can you tell Grampa was picking the food out that day?). But he also goes for steamed broccoli, and last night fell for watermelon in a big way.

He got three pieces and spent the rest of the meal reducing them to tiny shreds and covering himself in the juice. I think he ate some, but it was hard to tell. It was so hot yesterday that he was dressed only in his diaper, so at least it was easy clean-up. We did figure one other thing out last night - he likes otter pops, but don't open them first. He chewed on his popsicle like a little wolverine. Phil kept trying to take it away from him - playful - and Johann wasn't giving it up for anything! When he had turned it back to liquid I put it back in the freezer - he'll get it back today.

He's figured out how to access the milk - I was wearing a scoop neck top and he was trying to pull it down yesterday. Little stinker is going to have to find a different way to get his drinks!