1. I think I'm incapable of sleeping at all during my driving week. I am a total basketcase....tossing and turning, checking the clock every hour and having anxiety ridden dreams about flaking out. And my guess is the anxiety will transfer over to being nervous about Ethan waking up and getting out the door on time. This may prove to be a long year.
2. I've been watching 'Lark Rise to Candleford' when I have a spare minute....mostly while I fold laundry. Which explains how I'm able to get through so many episodes....lots and lots of laundry 'round here.
Here are my concerns:
I simply can not believe that the name 'Dorcas' was ever considered a beautiful name.
I don't like the way Timothy and Dorcas carry on like they get to still be best buddies, even though Timothy has a wife. She's not too bad. Maybe spend a little time with her?
I like those Pratt sisters.
That new school teacher!
3. It is raining and raining and raining. I would love it if it meant things would cool off around here. But it just means that the air feels like it could form raindrops at any time. The HUMIDITY!! I think it might drive me crazy. I actually walked in the house at noon today and just took off my jeans and walked around in my underwear. I was so hot. Makes me want to shave my head.
4. I went out to the garden to pick a bell pepper for our mexican rice and I spotted a Swallowtail butterfly laying her eggs on the carrot fronds. It was so amazing. I couldn't resist picking a stem and bringing it in to see if we can watch the caterpillars grow all the way through their life cycle.
5. Mathew finally got chosen to run the Audio/Visual booth for the upcoming play at Chisholm Trail Middle School. He's been shooting for that for two years and he has done spotlight for so many plays, hoping that he would get promoted for the next play. Last year, he worked up the courage and talked to the director about it and asked what he could do to be assigned to the booth. She was impressed with his directness and communication skills! I'm proud too. He has never been afraid to try or audition or pursue something he's interested in. So many times it hasn't worked out and even though I know that failure is important part of growth, it's hard to watch your child be disappointed over and over. But then there are times like this when he succeeds and things work out. It's fantastic!
This morning marked the beginning of my week to drive Ethan and four other teenagers to early morning seminary. Holy Smokes. It's so early.
And to make it worse, I tossed and turned all night worrying that I wouldn't hear my alarm and let all those kids (and their parents) down. But it all went very smoothly and we were ten minutes early.
Now if I could just manage to get back to sleep when I get home.
I headed in to Crossfit this morning and ended up having a breakthrough day! I did the workout 100% as written! I am certain I have never done that before. And I am crazy proud of myself.
Anna and Laney started Sunrunners today. They both did amazingly well, especially in this heat and humidity. You should have seen Anna whipping around that track! She's so proud to finally be one of the big kids and participating in the things she has watched them do for all these years.
Speaking of growing up, Ethan was one of the kids that showed the current fifth graders his instrument and gave them a chance to try it out. I feel like it was just yesterday that he was the little one, standing next to a tall high schooler, picking the trumpet.
I looked down in the marching band as they performed tonight and I caught his eye. He grinned when he saw me and it sent my mind back through all of his fifteen years and all that we have done together. I love him so much. He's a wonderful person.
This morning Mathew, Megan and I got ourselves up and drove over to the middle school. Time for the Fall Sports Showcase!
And pancakes, of course.
I casually remarked to the owner of this cool pancake grill that I thought that might come in handy around my house and he started popping pancakes up in the air with no warning at all.
I caught every one. And it made me laugh...what would he have done if I hadn't even tried to catch them?
After a quick meeting, we went outside and watched the kids run a lap or two around the school. Megan is running this year and she's really fast! I think she's found something that makes her feel like she has a place. I can't wait to go to her first meet.
While the race was going on, Mathew was out and about taking photos for the yearbook. He persuaded the principal to let him drop his 8th grade Reading Seminar class and take a full year of Yearbook, provided he keeps up his grades. I am so happy that he is doing something he enjoys and has found a niche.
We headed home and started in on the housework and yardwork...even though we have had loads and loads of rain and the yard is a super swamp.
I noticed that the tomatoes I planted aren't producing much and something has happened to my parsley.
But hey, that rogue mulberry tree that sprouted up in the raspberry bed is really doing well. It doesn't care that I dig it out every year and spray it with death chemicals...it just pops right back up the next spring and reaches for the sunlight.
And how about this random sunflower in the blackberries? Why would I want actual blackberries to eat when I can have this majestic flower sucking up all the nutrients and giving the flies a comfy perch from which to keep an eye on the ripening berries.
Unidentified squash, anyone?
Lush, cascading weeds?
So, it would seem that I have a knack for only growing things unintentionally. Maybe next year I won't plant summer squash and some big, gorgeous beets. And perhaps I won't plant an artichoke bush.
If that doesn't work, I could always have the littles give me meditation lessons.
Mathew served his final jury duty tonight. And while he was in the courtroom, I thought I'd go walk about outside and gather "pokeballs" for the boys. I won't bother with all the details of the game, but I will say that it's a game that sends you all over town looking for little creatures to capture. And in order to catch them, you use a pokeball. When you run out, you must go gather them at "pokestops"...which just so happen to be located at places of interest all over town.
Now, I don't care about this game.
But I do care about the boys and I thought it would be fun to surprise them, since I knew that they were always running out of pokeballs.
And here's the really cool thing: this silly game took me all over the place and pointed out so many things about our town I would never have noticed...it's like a cool tour of the cities most unique features.
Like this gargoyle head located on the side of a regular brick law office.
Which led me to this great doorway. How cute would a photo of the kids be in front of this door?
I found this old place called the Pickering house. It's a mansion that was built in 1870 for Major Isaac Pickering, a Civil War veteran, and is now being restored by a kind man who couldn't bear to see it torn down. It's really beautiful.
I also found a statue that is dedicated to pioneer children that died on the trail. It's called "Children of the Trails". The way it's designed, it looks like they are jumping across the rocks of a riverbed.
Makes me want to sneak around with the pokeman game and find cool things while the kids are at school!
Ethan has a basement room. Which he earned by attending summer school and pulling his Biology grade up to passing. And there is no doubt that he loves it and we love it. There is a dramatic decrease in brotherly fighting when they don't have to share the same space.
Also, there is this bunny.
He fell in the window well a couple weeks ago. And instead of allowing us to help him on his way to freedom, he darts down the water drains at the slightest indication that we are nearby.
So Ethan puts water out for him and cuts fresh lily branches for him everyday. (Boy, can that bunny eat.)
And I think they are becoming buddies.
Eventually we are hoping he'll be too big to fit down the drains and we can set him free. But I'm thinking he might have a hard time adjusting to life on the "outside".
Three squares and a teenage BFF is nothing to complain about.
It was my turn to drive Ethan to early morning seminary.....wait....that deserves capitals...Early Morning Seminary.
Then I met Courtney Flynn in the parking lot and we went for our run.
The next three hours was spent in the tornado of morning routines and drop offs....until it was just me and Everbee.
But wait! Today is Everly's first day of preschool!
Oh, wait! I forgot that I was supposed to make the Welcome Poster for her group. Oh, snap.
The next 45 minutes was a blur of scrapbook paper, glue sticks, photo files, contact paper, stealing velcro tabs off my General Conference megaboard, laminating, and running frantically up and down the stairs troubleshooting printer problems.
I even found this photo I took on accident....it sums it all up.
And I finished with 2 minutes to spare.
Not too bad!!
I wanted them to be able to put their picture wherever they like for the day. Wanna be in a tree? Be in a tree!
We even had a few minutes for a 'First Day Photo'. I love her little shwoofy hair flipping up under her backpack.
I dropped her off and gave a whoop and a holler as I drove home because this is a moment I have been waiting for for 15 years.
I've got 2 hours alone and I'm not paying anybody.
What to do? What to do?
I know I will not be dealing with this:
Or cleaning up this:
Nothing feels good enough for this 120 minutes. Should I sleep? No. I can sleep anytime. (No, I can't.) Should I read? I could do that when the kids are home. (I don't.) Maybe balance the checkbook? Mercy, no.
I feel like I should do some grand service for humankind or make strides towards developing a vaccine for Zika.
But what I really need is a shower. Uninterrupted. Secure in the knowledge that I will not be called upon to break up a fight and facilitate mutual understanding while yelling though the bathroom door and shampoo drips in my eyes.
I might even streak to the laundry room for a fresh towel.
So, 2 very short hours later, freshly washed and hair curled....it was time to pick her up.
She was having a good time.
She showed me the climbing game. And we left. And I was glad to have my buddy back.
I just spent the last 3 hours refereeing a disagreement between the boys over who get to use the Wii first. It was totally ridiculous and never-ending. But it felt important....like, learning-major-life-skills-important.
An agreement was ultimately reached.
Peace and cool-headedness prevailed.
I am a shell of a woman.
Megan made everyone sandwiches for dinner. Without being asked.
I am officially leaving her a bigger chunk of money in my will.
A few minutes ago, I popped upstairs to switch the laundry. When I came back downstairs, I could hear that the little girls were in the garage. I called to them and asked them what they were doing out there.
"Nothing!" the said and they scurried inside with their backs turned to me and hands suspiciously behind them.
"What do you have behind your backs?"
"Nothing!" they sang with huge grins.
So I peeked behind Anna to see what she was hiding. She wasn't holding anything, but then I noticed a bulge in the back of her stretchy pants....uh oh. I gingerly touched it and said, "Anna! Did you poop your pants??"
She hung her head in shame and said "yes". I was shocked. She's 5 years old!
"Why did you poop your pants?"
"I didn't think I could make it."
"Okay, well, go into the bathroom and do your best to clean yourself up." So she darted in there and I turned my attention to Everly. I looked behind her back and there was....a big lump in her pants!
"Did you poop your pants too?" I was flabbergasted.
"Uh huh." she said, smiling.
I started to strip her down and when I got to her undies, there wasn't any poop in her pants.
It was a big, cold scoop of cookie dough.
They were outside eating leftover cookie dough from the fridge and when they were about to get caught, they panicked and stuffed the evidence down their pants.
The worst part? When Anna emerged from the bathroom, I asked her what she did with the cookie dough. Did she flush it? Put it in the trash?
We started our anniversary off with trip to the church to attend a baptism. Which was nice (and short!) Ethan was at the high school getting measurements for his marching band uniform. I can't wait for marching band season to start! I tell you, all things become way more interesting when your children are involved.
Anywho....of course, as we tend to do, we stuck around to talk to Dylan and Jessica Clark. Naturally, one of my kids was running around with my phone and took a photo of us (gasp!) in the chapel. Shooting the breeze.
But I really needed to take the opportunity to thank Dylan for donating his church shoes to Mathew. Because he FORGOT TO WEAR THEM.
So that nice man took off his shoes and socks and gave them to Mat, then put on his combat boots that he had in his car and wore them through the baptism. Interpreting for the deaf the whole time.
Kindness, my friends.
I spent the afternoon in a bedraggled, picked over school supplies aisle at our local Walmart. I could feel my blood pressure rising steadily as I contemplated buying the same calculator for the 3rd time. Money doesn't grown on trees, people!
Mark stayed home and taught Ethan how to rotate the tires. Which he loved. He was a happy boy all day long. Maybe we're on to something there?
We dropped off the girls at the Guenthers at 6 pm and headed out to BRGR for a yummy meal. Now, I know that it's our anniversary and traditionally, we would feel obligated to get gussied up and go to a restaurant that has tablecloths. But we have suddenly realized that we don't care! That's what seventeen years buys you, I think. Freedom from caring about the weird looks we got when our friends asked us "Ooooh! Where are you going to eat for your anniversary??" And we said, "We going to go get a burger."
Well, burgers are good. We wanted a burger and we wanted it fast.
Also, we had heard there were "Pig wings" and we were not disappointed. Wowzers.
Mark tried them out. Not too bad.
And then he tried them with the spicy sauce on the sweet "wing".
And then he was in.
The burgers were fully committed to being burgers.
I ordered the "Cinco de Mayo". And Mark got the #5...
And I ordered onion rings made for a giant. We had to cut them in quarters to be able to dip them in the sauce!
After dinner, I directed Mark to a park "I'd been wanting to check out". He is always sweet and up for things that interest me, so didn't ask any questions. So trusting.
We made our way to the Old Red Bridge at Minor Park.
And Mark wondered aloud what all those things were on the rails of the bridge.
I showed him that there were couples names written and engraved on all the locks and we looked at some of the cool ones.
Written on the keys: Partners/In/Crime/Forever
Super cool fish lock.
He was surprised when I pulled one for us out of my pocket.
And he set about finding a place to put it.
It didn't quite fit up there.
We finally decided on a spot right in the center of the bridge, so we would be able to find it next time we come out.
I love him so much and I'm proud of our 17 years and everything we've done together in that time.
Having him as a partner and best friend makes the hard times easier and the good times better.