Kindergarten, 2nd and 5th Grade

Can you tell?

Does Ivy look like the one who was up and dressed and ready? Excitedly talking to Jane all morning about how fabulous school is. Impatient for us to hurry up and get there already. Last week she told us, “The first day of school, to me, is like a holiday.” (I’m not actually sure she’s not some sort of alien robot because none of this behavior sounds like something a daughter of mine would do.)

Does Clara look like she spent the morning in virtual silence? She spent all evening crying at the thought of another school year and left this morning as if I was marching her off to a firing squad rather than a new school year.  (This one is for sure my kid.)

Does Jane look like the bundle of nervous energy she was? Torn between her older sisters’ enthusiasm and dread, she didn’t know what to think.  (I sympathize with Clara too much, I tried not to chime in.)

Can you tell that I’m holding the camera looking forward to seven hours of being able to pee without anyone asking me a question?

Can you tell?

Does it look like Ivy was just as enthusiastic about school as when she left in the morning?

Does it look like Clara is dreading tomorrow just as much as she dreaded today?

Does it look like Jane’s answer to, Did you like school? was “Not very much.”

Does it look like Jane and Clara were about to release their pent up energy, tiredness and frustration by picking on each other until they both cried, making up and then repeating until bedtime?

Can you tell that between the preparation, the drama, the fighting and the essay homework that I was assigned, that I felt like I paid for every solo bathroom trip?

Can you tell that it was still worth it?

 

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Delay Due To Wasps

I have a reputation for diving into projects.

I like to jump in feet first (not head first because that would be silly – you never know if there are rocks) without checking the depth or looking for alligators or figuring out just exactly how much time I will need before I can drag myself back out of the water.

When I couldn’t stand our strange, uneven, brick and 4×4 back steps any longer – I ripped them apart.  I had a plan (I always have a plan.) and it even included new steps. It also included removing old wood chips, sand and boards around the landing area, making a new brick landing and reseeding with grass. John wasn’t super happy when he came home one day to discover the two foot drop out the back door. Not even my elation at finding a nice concrete pad underneath it all (or my plan) seemed to bring him any joy.  Probably he knew what was coming next – a lot of months without back steps.

He was totally right.

But we have steps now!  And a nice brick landing. And… a really big disaster of gravel and dirt and half ripped up weed barrier. But that’s okay, because this month I was doing the final step of the project. I would haul away the sand and gravel and replace it with dirt, throw some grass seed on it and it would be done.

And then I saw them.

Great Black Wasps.

I’m not sure if you’ve seen them. And while I was unwilling to put my finger in the picture for size reference I can tell you that they are well over an inch long. Huge wasps. Scary looking wasps.

And totally fascinating.

Because, of course, I put my shovel down and looked them up. I found out they are non-aggressive and not even the Orkin man removes them as a matter of cause. They are solitary nesters, excellent pollinators and feed a ridiculous amount of grasshoppers and katydids to their young.

So I watched the wasps, and discovered that there were a number of holes, right in the sand I wanted to remove. I watched longer and saw one dig her hole deeper. I watched them come and go and not bother the dogs that walked over the top of them or me sitting a few feet away. I watched one fly back to it’s nest carrying a katydid. (I did mention that they were quite large right?!?)  I got my camera and watched a bit more…

Then I sighed and put away my shovel.

I ripped apart the steps a year ago… at this point a few more weeks isn’t going to make a difference.

Forty!

John turned forty this week!

That’s a number that scares some people but not my man.

Nope, he’s quite convinced he’s more awesome now than he was at thirty.

And you know what?

I totally agree.

Happy birthday Honey!

 

Perfiditas by Alison Morton

Years have passed since the events in Inceptio but our main character Carina is no less awesome for it.

It’s possible she’s quite a bit more awesome, or maybe it was because this book dives a bit deeper into the culture of Roman Nova (the society founded by Ancient Romans and ruled by women ever since) but regardless I enjoyed this book even more than the first.

Carina continues to overcome obstacles by being a general kick-ass lady, and yet stays remarkably human and even, dare I say, feminine when dealing with controversy as she finds herself thrown into the middle of a conspiracy to overthrow the government.

Would I recommend it? This book certainly earned the “thriller” in it’s series title (Roman Nova Thriller Series). I had a terrible time walking away from it once I was a few chapters in. Which is basically the best problem one can have with a book. But, of course, start with book one.  Starting midway through a series has the potential to upset the natural order of the universe. Consequences can be dire, don’t risk it!

You can find a review of the first book here: https://behindthewillows.com/2017/08/02/inceptio-by-alison-morton/

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I discovered this book because I’m a proud member of Rosie’s Book Review Team!

My Oldest Frenemy

I saw my oldest frenemy over the weekend.

I was really happy to see him but my toes were sort of scared.

Yes, that is a turkey vulture.

Yes, I used to work with him.

Yes, he is a ham.

Yes, he bit my toes.

No, I didn’t wear real shoes then either.

Yes, he got car sick.

No, that’s actually worse than it sounds.

Yes, I love him anyway.

 

Total Eclipse

We drove into the path of totality to watch the eclipse on Monday and, yes, it was worth it.

Worth the drive, worth the crazy last minute plans, worth the insane heat, worth the traffic on the way home and the fact that it came at the end of a marathon week of capoeira and most of us hadn’t slept a real night of sleep in days.

The adults bounced around in excitement, the kids (if not quite as enthusiastic as the adults) were still excited. And it was truly awesome to watch. Full totality was just what they said it would be, an indescribable corona, sunsets all around, bats, a major  temperature drop… it was a thing that gives me goosebumps to remember.

But… as with most things in life, it’s not always about what you do, but who you do it with. Eight people who can happily jump in cars at the last moment and drive off into the sunset with barely a plan are hard to find. But there we were. Four adults who could be happily, geeky together as they reuse the same adjectives over and over in their excitement……and four kids who can play together in a truck for hours… and hours… and hours.

Two car loads of people swapping seats and stories across Illinois.

The total eclipse was an indescribable hiccup in the Earth’s journey.

But friends……friends make the world go round.

 

No Screens in the Car

John and I are mean spirited and old fashioned in our parenting and we are at our nastiest in the car where we won’t let the kids play on screens while we drive.

Clearly we are monsters.

We enforce this rule because we want the girls to grow up with the skill of being able to occupy themselves without a screen for more than five minutes without succumbing to a case of “I’m bored’s”. I do realize that this is probably a skill they will never need to use once they leave my house. That’s fine. My dad made me learn DOS, I’m just passing it on to the next generation as well as I can.

The other reason we are sticklers about this particular rule is that we are not shelling out the money to get them each some sort of handheld screened device and you know what would happen if there was only one to share…

Fighting. One screen does not divide among three girls. We know this. Oh do we know this.

Instead my poor, deprived, screen-less girls current favorite thing to do in the car is to “collect” all the edibles we drive by.

“I get this side!”

“I get this side”

“WHAT SIDE DO I GET?!?”

“I get the corn!”

“I get soybeans!”

“I get that wheat!”

“Yeah, well I get ALL the corn!”

“You can’t have ALL the corn!”

“I got those strawberry patches!”

“I DIDN’T SEE STRAWBERRIES, THAT’S NOT FAIR!”

“I got this corn too!”

“YOU HAVE TO SHARE THE CORN!”

Yes, that’s right. Currently my girls’ favorite thing to do in the car is to fight over the cornfields we drive by.

Proof that it doesn’t really matter what you do as a parent, when in the mood kids always know exactly how to push each others’ buttons.

On the bright side, it’s working – they aren’t bored.