Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Place to Grow Up...

Yep, we're moving to the country! Yesterday we signed the rental agreement and the move in date is in 3 weeks. The top picture is the west half of the new place. The rest of it is a 2½ acre field behind the barn. I took a couple pictures, but the kids were having too much fun exploring and I was too busy being on the lookout for wasp nests to take any more.

The Front Yard.
This is the area directly west (top left corner in the overhead view) of the house. It's fenced off so there will be no wandering children meeting the small pond north of the driveway. There is a small deck off the dining room that these pictures were taken from.

South of the Driveway
This sight (which is what you see from the front door) literally took my breath away when we first viewed the house. The big pond is beyond the willow trees, and right now it's mostly dry. I think there's some sort of blockage in the creek that feeds it, to blame for that. It would also explain why the small field south of the barn is slightly soggy and happily growing cattails.

The Barn
With Emma racing to catch up with Dolly, PC and Butler who had already headed for the back field. I was standing next to the chicken coop to take this picture, but I forgot to take a picture of the coop itself. Maybe I didn't think of it because there are blackberry bushes trying to take over the chicken yard. Speaking of blackberries, the kids had a blast picking and eating as many as they could reach. As I helped Ricka pick her very first berries, I said to her, "Careful! Don't pick the green ones, Ricka. Be careful, you don't want to get snagged by the prickles" and I guided her tiny hand through the brambles. She was so excited to be able to pick the berries just like the big kids, that as we wandered back toward the house, she said to me, "I pick da prickles all by myself! I pick some more prickles?" Apparently, in stressing the dangers of the thorns and prickles, I didn't use the word 'berry' or 'berries' enough!

Inside the barn there are 3 stalls, a work bench/shop area and small feed room. There's another room that you can only get to from the woodshed area on the left (or north side) of the barn, and a fully insulated loft accessible via the outside stairs or a ladder and trapdoor inside.

The back field from the barn.
Here the older kids were heading out to see if there were more blackberry bushes along the back fence. Ricka saw me pull out the camera and smiled for the shot and I'm not sure why Emma was just standing there. Maybe she was already heading back since it looked like it was going to be a long run to catch the other three kids.

The kids still haven't seen the inside of the house, and I didn't take any pictures of it yet, but I think they'll love the inside as much as all the room to run outside! But for now I have to get busy packing!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Tea for Two

Once Upon A Time...

On Wednesday, Dolly and I got a rare chance for a special Mommy/Daughter time at home. I've wanted to somehow arrange some one-on-one time with each of my kids for a while now. Ideally, I'd like to take one of them out for the day and do some window shopping or fun shopping or lunch alone or some adventure with just the two of us. But I haven't figured out a system that will work yet.

This week, it seemed like 3 hours just plopped out of the sky for Dolly and me to have a special afternoon. PC was at a friend's house and was still gone for the afternoon, Grandma C. stopped by and took Emma out for some special Grandma&Me time and Butler, Ricka and Hal were down and out for naps(you know you haven't blogged about your infant much when you have to go look up the blog name you picked out for him way back when! Because you couldn't remember it on your own after three days of pondering it!). Suddenly Dolly and I found ourselves with no distractions and a long, lazy afternoon stretched out in front of us.

So, we decided to have Tea for Two outside on the deck.

We even dressed up for the occasion. And posed for pictures.

Dolly took this one.

And I never realized how hard it was to take a picture of yourself! Centered? What's that? 3 Chins? I was pretty sure there's only supposed to be two of them. Look at the camera? We were - why does it look like we're looking over our shoulders again! Eventually we figured it out.

The challenges of Biscotti and Gloves!

It really was a lot of fun. I loved to see Dolly so excited and it was wonderful not having a million interruptions intruding on us. When I first realized that it would just be Dolly and me for the afternoon, I asked her if she wanted to have a cup of tea with me. Once I got her attention away from the book she had settled down with on the couch, she jumped at the idea. She had been asking me for a cup of tea on and off for a few days. It's just been so warm out that a hot cup of tea didn't exactly sound appealing to me.

I got to surprise her over and over again; first by having her choose some pretty tea cups out of the dish hutch (we usually just use plain old coffee mugs at the dining room table). I got to surprise her again by setting up the table outside. Once the table was set, I surprised her a third time by adding snacks to our tea menu. And finally, she was surprised that we were going to dress up all the way to necklaces and perfume just for tea by ourselves. She chattered the whole time, and we each had at least 3 cups of tea before the clock stuck twelve and we had to start putting everything back the way it usually is. But even the cleanup was a thrill for Dolly, because we didn't want to disappoint the other kids by having them see the evidence of our afternoon and the realization of what they missed out on. It was especially heart-racing since Butler woke up before the last of the table outside was cleared. He was still waking up though, so he didn't notice Dolly's suspicious behavior as she darted in the house with a wad of table cloths behind her back or sidled past him with the empty teapot disguised by a dishtowel draped over it.

And then the fairy tale ended and we had to return to Real Life where we all lived Normally-Ever-After.
The End.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Little Bird

Dear Emma,

I was thinking of you while I took my shower today. I was thinking of how you're my Little Bird – you know, that's what I often call you in my mind. You flit all over the place. Actually, your feet rarely ever both stay on the ground at the same time for more than a few seconds. Sometimes this constant motion bothers me, but you are very agile because of it. You love life and it shows in every single thing you do. Last week you started to fly in the word world. I bought a book for you, and you fell in love. Now you're trying to read everything you see. Did you know, that at this time, a year ago, you didn't even know 5 letters of the alphabet? And of those letters, you didn't even know all of their sounds. I love that I can watch you spread your little wings and soar. There really isn't a way to describe the joy and excitement I feel when I watch my little ones learn how to read.

But it's not just your new discovery of reading that I was thinking about this afternoon. I was thinking about your little phrases and how I love your originality. Like when you ask me for an after school snack by saying, “Can I please have a good afternoon snack?” Or when you would like me to get to you and you want me to know you're happy to wait patiently, you say, “Mommy, when you get in a minute can you...” I was thinking of how you let so many negative things just roll right off of you as if you don't even see or hear or feel them. But I know you must notice some of them – sometimes I don't understand how you can continue on so cheerfully as if those negative thoughts or words never even happened.

My little Blue Bird – that's what you are really. With your bluest blue beautiful eyes. You may have brown hair, but if you ever hold still long enough for someone to SEE your eyes... well, that's all they will see – those dazzling blue eyes with little flecks of ice sparkling in them. The other day you asked me if I liked your smile 'because it's so cute' and you screwed up your face into what you were sure was the loveliest of smiles. I told you I thought your smile was beautiful, but I didn't tell you that I was thinking of your spontaneous smile rather than the posed one you were demonstrating just then. I love how you're so confident of yourself. You know who you are, you love how you are, and you leave it at that and look to see what you can love about someone else. Don't ever lose that, Little Bird.

You're athletic, and I have rarely seen you wear yourself out even though you seem to never stop moving. I think it's actually impossible for you to really hold still. But it's not just your body that is always going. You are always thinking, scheming, planning, organizing, dictating, executing, demonstrating, talking, singing, debating, challenging. Your mind is always going and it's one of the strongest things about you, and you are a very strong little girl. You have a will of iron too. Maybe steel would be a better word choice. You can move mountains if that's what you want. My challenge is channeling that will of yours. But once you've made up your mind, there's no easy swaying of it either, and that can be a good thing too. You never hold a grudge, you are quick to forgive, and you do so unreservedly.

You love to create your outfits, and you have a definite talent for color coordination. New clothes make you bubble with excitement. And you love lotions and perfumes and *gasp* nail polish! I think you like anything sparkly – but so do I, so I can't hold any judgment there. I love that you appreciate other peoples' outfits and say so. I just need to remember that your noticing, probably means you long for others to notice yours too – and say so. Actually, I think that what I love, is how you manage to make everyone you know, feel special and important. You make everyone you meet, feel like they matter - and that, is a special talent.You have figured out a way for each person that you meet, to matter and be important to you.

Well my little bird, tomorrow will be a busy day for us, and I should have gone to bed long ago so I can enjoy it with you. I just wanted to write this before it got pushed away into the back of my mind and forgotten forever. I love you, Emma. I love you from your wispy brown hair and gorgeous blue eyes all the way to the bruises and scabs that cover you from head to toe – tribute to your constant motion. I love you from your stubborn will to your sweet forgiveness. I love that you remind me how much there is to love about everything around me. And maybe tomorrow, I will remember to tell you a little bit of how much you brighten my life!

~ Mama