A Week, Briefly (#22)

Over the weekend we had a storm.  It took out our rope-swing tree.

This tree stood a good 30 feet tall before it fell.  Can you see the deer that came to feed?  They were brave!  They just looked at us and ate leisurely until I3 waved his arms and really yelled at them.

 This is the week we said goodbye to our outside-the-home-homeschool activities.  This week's calendar was full to overflowing; next week's calendar is almost empty.

The older kids are panicking, "What are we going to do?"

I am answering, "We will breathe slowly and deeply."

There are still church activities to attend, and the end-of-season soccer banquet is this coming week, and the homeschool camp out is only 2 weeks away.  It's not as though we're crawling into a hole and never coming out again.

E15 finished up her first year of early morning seminary.  She only missed 2 days; one was for a vomiting-up-her-guts illness and the other was the morning after she broke her arm when she was so exhausted and in so much pain.

No more 5:00 am (or 4:45 am in E15's case) alarm clocks for the summer!!!!

We had a morning of quiet reading and discussion on Monday.  Then we made apricot jam/syrup with the 20 lbs of ripe apricots I'd purchased through Bountiful Baskets.

They sing while they work.

A8 and I3 were playing outside at this point, but they came in later to help.

We met up with other homeschoolers to play "Bubble Soccer."

It was hilarious!

Figuring out how to wear the giant "bubbles."  They weighed 25 lbs apiece!

The blue and the red on the ground, ran into each other and bounced apart!

A8 in her bubble.

H5 on the ground--she couldn't get back up. :)

It was hot, hard work running around in the bubbles.  A8's cheeks were pink, pink, pink!

Hello, J8!

S12 scraped the skin off her knuckles by holding on to the handles in a funny way, so she just slid into a bubble on the ground for me to get a picture of her.

The kids played in several 10 minute "halves"--big kids on one field, littles on another.  It was a serious work out!

The older girls had the opportunity to attend a special Q&A meeting for the youth with one of our church leaders.  It meant an extra night away from home for the family, but it was worth it because the girls came out of the meeting just glowing with excitement, and S12 said, "I got an answer to an important, private question I've had for a while."

We participated in our last Explorer's Club meeting; it was a field trip to an urban farm.  There's a couple who bought a beautiful old house in the 'hood, put in some raised beds, and invited the drug addicts, ex-cons, and prostitutes in the neighborhood to help them garden.  Over the last few years it has become an astonishing success, and they've been able to purchase additional lots, additional houses (for office space, intern housing, etc.--one of the houses cost $1), and a giant warehouse that they're turning into a "makerspace" using donated time and funds from wherever they can get them.  They're successfully getting kids and adults off the street as well as raising enough produce, eggs, honey, and fish to support their own family, allow other families in the community the same opportunity, and open a stall at a local farmer's market. 

Not only did we get a tour of the farm, but we got to pull up our sleeves and contribute to the work ourselves by weeding some of the gardens.

You can see the neighboring lot is some sort of trucking business.

The house on the extreme left is one they're fixing up for intern housing.  The brick one next to it is a burned out shell--arson is a regular event.

They grow and harvest their own bamboo for staking plants and temporary building projects.

S12 outside the hoop house that holds their aquaponic equipment.

This is what Baby L thought of the day.
(There are more pictures, but they include the faces of some of our friends, and I haven't asked permission to post them.)

That night there were additional youth activities at the church, so J11, Baby L and I headed out the door.   I left the rest of the kids at home so that I3, H5, and A8 could get baths and get a good rest before the events of the next day.

We had our final dance performances for the season--two in one day!  It made for an exhausting but fulfilling experience.  Dad had to work, so I had to keep the little boys and help with costumes, stage entrances and exits, and all kinds of stuff with my hands already full.  Baby L was remarkably sweet-tempered and I3 tolerated waiting around in hot, stuffy dressing rooms for hours on end with astonishing patience. 

The shows were both successful--H5 stole the first show though when she exited the stage the wrong way after her first number and threw her arms around one of the nursing home residents in a giant, spontaneous hug.

We were going to have school the day after the dance shows, but we woke up so exhausted that I knew any formal school was going to be a bust.  We already had two young children arriving at 8:30 am to be babysat for the day while their mom attended a field trip with one of her other children, so we let our small house guests be the guides of our day.  It was a pleasant, quiet day filled with drawing, block building, marble run designing, and imaginative play.

But that night was our Explorer's Club award dinner.  I was in charge of awards, and it was good fun.  It looks like after 15 years, though, Explorer's Club is coming to an end.  I was ready to leave the group because the new leadership was going to take it in an uncomfortable (for us) direction; however, these leaders are stepping down, and after such a strange year, many of the participants aren't planning to come back. 

I could step in as the new leader, but is that a good idea?  That's a question I'll be grappling with over the next few weeks.

J11 thought these carrots were picture-worthy.  I agree! 

I3 thought Baby L should wear underwear, too. :)
Saturday arrived.  We planted our garden (finally!), did a medium-deep cleaning of the kitchen and family room, and sent Dad and the older girls off to a graduation reception for one of their friends in the church youth group.  I stayed home to put the littles to bed . . . and realized that I'm fighting off some sort of upper-respiratory thing.

(Here's hoping that I win.)

The week ahead is much quieter . . . though it will start with a bang when we meet up with cousins at a park to celebrate some birthdays.


  1. Wow! I can't even imagine taking over a such a huge project that the Explorers Club sounds like. You would have the girls to help, but little L1 is so little. :) If you decide to do it, I know you will be fabulous! Enjoy the breather this next week promises to be.

  2. Love the pictures! And wow, you have deer!! I'm so impressed.

    Your extra-curricular schedule is so impressive - even your "down" schedule!! :)



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