Friday, May 29, 2009

The Secret Clubhouse

Last year Lydia struggled to learn to ride her bike. She took one nasty fall about mid-summer that completely shook her confidence for the rest of the season. This spring she picked up that bike and in a matter of minutes was riding it all over the place. In acquiring that skill she has found a new freedom. 

Her bike rides out the driveway are frequent, and in the beginning often alone. At first she would take off and ride to the Y in our driveway. Then she would go a little further to the little tower, and eventually she was riding all the way to the neighbors, about 3/4 of a mile. 

Soon she was including Nolan on her little adventures. Nolan is not riding yet, but he was perfectly content to run along side while Lydia rode her bike. The amazing thing is how well he could keep up. That boy is fast. 

They began asking for snacks to take with them, and would spend hours on their adventures. When I'd ask them where they had their snacks, they would tell me they went to their secret clubhouse. Later I learned that there were several "secret clubhouses." They had chosen some spots were they could hide away and be alone. One was in the softness of a pine thicket. Another one was in the woods in a place that wasn't exactly hidden, but you had to cross the ditch on a log to get to it. And one was in a small clearing that was behind a patch of blackberry plants. 

After many weeks of using only what nature provided for their clubhouses, they decided they wanted a little something more. The older brother was recruited and a small shelter was planned. They decided to build in the spot behind the blackberries. Even with Kellen's help they were having a difficult time getting something together. Time to let Daddy in on the "secret."

Tim started with a weedeater to clear out their path and their spot a little better. Then he and the kids took some pallets and scrap wood and put together a little shelter. 

It isn't much, but the kids think it is perfect. They have a stump to sit on, and took a small bench out also. They can use the top of the shelter for a leg up to climb the tree. And they took TP out there, just in case.

You can not see it from the driveway. All you see is a little path that winds into what looks like a bramble. It is close enough to the driveway that the kids can hear you call from there. The "secret clubhouse" isn't exactly secret anymore. The first thing the kids do when friends come to visit is to let them in on the secret. But they love to go out there and play. Kellen reports that it is a wonderful spot to go and read a book. 

Yesterday when I went out to take pictures, the goats decided to follow me. They sniffed it out and checked around, and decided there was better eating elsewhere. 

Somtimes living here is hard. It seems there is an endless amount of work to be done. At times it is overwhelming. Watching my little girl set out on her bike, her little brother closely behind, for grand adventures in the woods and their secret clubhouse gives me a whole new perspective, and makes it all worthwhile. 

Thursday, May 21, 2009

2 Doctors, 2 Staples and 5 Hours Later

Last night we were up at the neighbor's farm. Tim was helping bale hay. Kellen was helping too. I was working in the garden, and the rest of the kids were supposed to be swinging on the tire swing. They were not. 

Instead, they were playing on the neighbor's porch. She has her porch decorated with lots of interesting antique and flea market type items. One of them is a very large triangle dinner bell. It hangs from the porch ceiling. 

Apparently, Nolan thought the dinner bell looked like a piece of gymnastics equipment. He decided he would hang from it, up side down. Needless to say, the hook in the ceiling was meant to only hold the dinner bell, not the dinner bell and an almost 50 pound boy hanging from it. 

The dinner bell and the boy came crashing down leaving the dinner bell unharmed, but the boy with a large knot on one side of his head, and a couple inch gaping laceration on the other side. Luckily Tim was close enough to see and hear the event, and attend to Nolan right away. The cut was such that we decided we better let a doctor look at it. Tim, Nolan and I headed to the immediate care that is closest to us. The other three kids stayed with Mamaw and Papaw. 

We didn't have wait long to see the doctor at the immediate care. She thought that the cut did need a little something to help it heal properly. Just as Tim and I were congratulating ourselves for taking him to the doctor and our wise choice of choosing immediate care over the ER, she informs us that we will have to go to the ER. Huh?

She thought that the cut need to be closed, but didn't think glue would work well on Nolan's particular cut. She thought he needed stitches or staples. She doesn't do stitches, and the office did not have the tools needed for staples. We would have to go to the ER. Grr.....

At the ER they took us into triage right away and then seated us in their immediate care waiting room, where we waited and waited. Then they took us to an exam room where we waited and waited. In fact we waited so long that Nolan had fallen asleep by the time the doctor came to exam him. He stayed asleep during the exam, but was rudely awakened when receiving two staples in his head. 

He cried and howled and howled and cried while we again waited. Finally the nurse came in with the instructions and paperwork we needed before leaving. It was almost 11:00. Thankfully Nolan quickly fell back asleep once we were in the car. 

This morning he is feeling fine. When his siblings came home from Mamaw and Papaw's he proudly exclaimed, "I have two staples in my head." I'm sure he won't be feeling so happy about it when they to be removed next week. . . 

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Life lately has seemed like one never ending "to do" list. I feel like I'm just treading water trying to keep everything afloat. The busyness combined with the never ending list of tasks to accomplish shuts me down. It seems I can't concentrate long enough to get anything finished. 

As I sit here right now, typing this post, there are two other unfinished posts sitting in my drafts. There is a pile of folded laundry on the table with a basket half full of unfolded laundry next to it. The dishes from lunch are half done. The half that fit in the dishwasher got cleaned. 

If I were to get a grade card right now, the teacher would have to list me as incomplete in all subjects. 

Homeschool - Incomplete
school? Plenty of incomplete text books in the cupboard. Lots of life lessons and unschooling going on around here. 

The Garden - Incomplete
We planted some more this morning. Still have a few tomatoes, peppers, okra, and herbs to plant.

Financial Peace - Incomplete
We've really enjoyed and learned  from the work book and small groups with this class, but we are woefully behind in things like creating the monthly budgets and setting up the cash envelopes. 

Paperwork - Incomplete
A few days ago I began to organize my desk, sorting things into piles that needed to be dealt with. Never got them dealt with or put away, and now they are covered with several more days mail, and various items that get piled on my desk. 

Homemaking  - Incomplete (teetering on the edge of Fail)
Where do I start with all I'm behind in this subject? 

It is all very overwhelming and frustrating especially to a doer personality like mine that likes to check things off the list and complete tasks. No matter what task I begin on, I get distracted or pulled away and nothing is ever quite complete. 

But then I realize that what I need to do most in times like these is to stop. To breathe. To look at the big picture. 

Then and only then do I see that all these tasks and my frustrations at not completing them are temporary. They are not lasting. They are not what matters. In the only "grade card" that matters, I am COMPLETE, in the life of Christ.  

When I take the time to stop. To breathe. To look at the big picture.  I get a small glimpse of that contentment and peace that is ours regardless of our circumstances. And resting in that peace I can now get back up and work on some of those tasks that I need to complete. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Nolan's 5th Birthday

Yesterday was Nolan's fifth birthday. He ended up sleeping in our bed awhile the night before his birthday. When he woke up in the morning he stretched and said to me, "Today is my birthday. I am five. I think I've grown some."

Kellen could not wait to give him the present he made. Kellen made Nolan a Link shield and sword with items he found around here. The shield is the top of a five gallon bucket, and the sword is a broken walking stick and scrap wood. I think he did an excellent job, and Nolan was thrilled with the present. 

Our homeschool co-op picnic also was yesterday. Since all of Nolan's friends were there, we took a cake and celebrated at the picnic. We even sang happy birthday to him there! 

When we got home we ate cake with Mamaw and Papaw and opened more presents. He was thrilled with a new Wii game that Grandma and Grandpa sent. Of all things he was very excited about the new boxer shorts Mamaw and Papaw gave him. In fact, after all the presents were open, he exclaimed, "I'm going to go change my underwear," and ran off to put his boxers on. Of course, there is a little more to that story. 

Nolan does not like to wear underwear. For months now he would try to get away with out putting underwear on. He told me his underwear were too tight. They were a bit snug so we got some the next size. Still he didn't want to wear underwear. Apparently boxers were what he needed. Now, he is excited to wear underwear. Go figure.

And after that we went to church for our Financial Peace class, and Nolan got to play with his friends some more. Poor kid was already tired. He fell asleep on the way there, but he had fun, and we all slept very soundly last night. 

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Homeschool Day at the Capitol

Thanks to Betsy  for taking video of the performances at Homeschool Day at the Capitol this year. Below is the video of the band which Tim directs, and Kellen plays in. Not much footage of Kellen, and all you see of Tim is his back side, but you can hear the band, and see the other member of our family who stole the show. 

Friday, May 01, 2009


Life has been a little crazy around here. Can you tell from the lack of posting? 

School is winding down, well truth be told, it has come to a screeching halt. With me going to work, and the outside work that needs done at this time of year, book work has become practically non existent. Really that doesn't bother me. We are doing lots of educational things. They just aren't in the text books. 

We participated in a Cultures Fair this week. Our country was the Czech Republic. We put together a small presentation and cooked some Czech food. We had a lot of fun with the project and learned a few things too. 

The garden is beginning to look very green. We've been working a lot in our garden. This is the first year that I am really making the kids help in the garden. They have helped before here and there, but this year it isn't an option. There is too much to be done, and they need to help. 

I've been using a little trick that I read over at Owlhaven sometime back. I'm giving the kids specific, quantative amounts of tasks they have to complete in the garden. Instead of saying, "Help me weed the peas." (Well the ones the ducks haven't eaten, but that is another story.) I tell the kids, "Weed two rows of peas." Or for Nolan I say, "Pull two buckets of weeds." The "buckets" were small containers potato salad comes in. They have also helped put onions in the trench, shovel mulch, and put seeds in holes. They aren't exactly enthusiastic, but they really are doing an excellent job of helping.

The last few days the forest has suddenly become very green. We had some hot days followed by some cool rainy days. Apparently that was exactly what the trees and fauna needed. They have come alive, and it is beautiful. 

I've been working quite a bit to try to earn some green, and get things back on track. It has been a huge help. It has not been without it's down side though. We are all tired. It has been an adjustment for everyone, and it hits the kids the hardest. It really hits me when I'm leaving for work and Lydia says to me, "See you tomorrow mom." Tomorrow? 

I have been working five days. Things are caught up and back on track. It isn't time to quit, but perhaps to cut back. I'm thinking three days will help keep the finances where they need to be, and keep the family and homestead work where it needs to be too. 

Tough choices we moms have....