A Week, Briefly (In Which We Visit a Pumpkin Patch)

With the pressure of a mid-week call to jury duty heavy on my mind, I decided that we would not dive back into traditional school only to be interrupted after 2 days.  Instead we began a David Copperfield marathon.

As part of our Morning Meeting (which happens every day whether we have school or not), I discussed the importance of civic responsibilities such as jury duty and motherhood.  The older kids were quite intrigued about serving on a jury, but we all agreed that a mother at home is far more important than a mother on a jury.  I've been praying fervently for several weeks (after my personal efforts were all denied) to be excused from jury duty so that I can be home to care for my family, but I got the kids to commit to praying as well.

For the main part of our morning, we put together a bunch of snacks, and the oldest 6 girls and I headed to the basement for 2 hours of David Copperfield while Sir Walter Scott watched the youngest 6.  We read and ate and ate and read until it was time for the babies to nap and the littles to have lunch.

In the afternoon, Pixie finished the play mat quilt she's been working on for one of her church leaders who just had her 5th baby, most of the other older girls read library books, and the littles rode bikes and played in the mud while Sir Walter Scott spent 5 hours mowing the lawn of an ill member of our church congregation.

It is an unfortunately blurry picture (the focus is getting harder and harder to work with).  The red squares make crinkly noises, and there are textured ribbon loops for Baby to play with.  Pixie even attached some plastic teething loop toys to it.  Each fabric has a different texture, and some of the squares are actually knitted in various patterns for even more texture.
I did laundry and kept a prayer in my heart.

In our Morning Meeting we talked again about the power of prayer.  We reviewed that Heavenly Father always hears us, even when He answers us in a way different from what we want.  We continued praying in faith.

Sir Walter Scott had to work, so we set up our reading camp in the main living room of the house with plenty of creative toys for the babies and pulled out a bunch of favorite building toys for the other littles to play with in Mister Man's bedroom.  We successfully read for over 2 hours (with interruptions) and sighed with happiness at many of the plot threads that are being tied up in satisfying ways.  Though we quite love the Micawbers, Mr. Micawber's bombastic speaking style makes his chapters harder to enjoy than the chapters about Little Em'ly and Dora and the Wickfields.

Little Princess enjoyed playing with the pegs while she listened to me read aloud.
 After lunch we headed north to our favorite pumpkin patch and spent several happy hours petting kittens, climbing hay bales, exploring the corn maze, and choosing an enormous pumpkin for our front porch (though it looks so small now that it is on our porch!).

While the other kids snacked and played, Rose Red and I spent an hour or so in the sunshine reviewing verb conjugations and vocabulary words for her Spanish test on Wednesday morning.

We arrived home in time for me to call the jury information line.  I'd spent the whole drive home trying to settle the butterflies in my stomach by reminding myself that whatever would happen God hears and answers prayers according to His wisdom.

The recorded voice informed me that I did not have to report the next day, that I could consider my duty served, and that I am now excused from jury duty for the next 3 years.

I almost cried.

I was so relieved.

I called the children together and told them that our prayers were answered in the affirmative, that we must consider my release a miracle in our lives, and that prayers of gratitude were in order.  The older girls breathed a sigh of relief (except Super Star, who didn't realize that jury duty was far more than a 1 day commitment and who thought a day without Mom would be a nice break), and the littles grinned and cheered and promised to remember to be thankful in their prayers.

They kept their promises.

I woke to lightning flashes in the sky and the growl of thunder.

Oh!  How I love a thunderstorm!

I woke joyfully, knowing that I have the privilege of spending time with my family--my messy, demanding, frustrating, and wonderful family.  If anything, this threat of being forcefully pulled away from home, has reaffirmed to my mind and heart just how deeply I love and appreciate my role as mother and manager of our home.

Oh!  How I love being a mother!

I made pumpkin pie oatmeal for breakfast and got organized for a spur-of-the-moment celebratory trip to the temple with Sir Walter Scott.  The kids rallied to the cause and helped us out the door.

We were home in time for lunch and to put Baymax down for a nap (Lola was already asleep).  I gathered the older girls together to read David Copperfield for an hour and a half while the littles had their quiet time and Sir Walter Scott looked up family names to take back to the temple with our teens in the late afternoon.

I took everyone under 12 with me to our favorite nature park for a little walk in the brisk autumn air.  As we turned in the path to head back to the van I said, "Each one of you gets to find a beautiful red leaf, a beautiful orange leaf, and a beautiful yellow leaf!"  The kids scurried around to find and show me their treasures.

We collected far more than 3 leaves per child.

We noticed gorgeous orange leaves falling from a tree.  They twirled and fluttered in the breeze, and I called, "Oh!  Look!  Go catch them!"  The kids danced in the path as they chased and caught the leaves.

When they brought their treasures to me and I got a closer look, I suddenly felt ill.  The shape . . . it couldn't be . . . I looked more closely at the tree . . . tree? . . . vine? . . . it was!

Poison Ivy!!!!!!

That was the end of our outing.

We put the leaves down, held our hands away from our bodies, and raced to the pond where we rinsed off as best we could before heading home for another half hour of rinsing and washing.

We're okay.

But we won't be collecting leaves again anytime soon. :)

We finished David Copperfield!!!!

It took such a long, long, long time, but I will tell you that when we got to each of the various climaxes of the several threads of the story, the tension and attention in the room was palpable.  Several time I was moved to tears as I read.

And the main climax?

The really, really good one?

It was really. really. good.

We had girls squealing, groaning, sighing, clutching pillows, jumping, rolling on the floor, and nearly crying in anguish as we worked our way through the final chapters.

It was awesome!

That Charles Dickens . . .

He's a keeper.

Or a classic.

A classic worth keeping. :)

We were at loose ends on Friday--done with David Copperfield, not ready to do regular school, unable to go on an outing because of Rose Red's class and Super Star's appointment with a podiatrist.  The littles rode bikes; Pixie designed and sewed another Halloween costume (using fabric scraps we had on hand--free costume!); I did laundry and dishes and made a grocery list; Belle read books (Oh my!  I'm reading them, too, and they are wonderful!  I highly recommend them.)  Sir Walter Scott took Baymax (and then the rest of the kids) across the street to the high school soccer tournament and spent some time watching the games.

In General
Here are pictures of the girls before the homeschool Halloween dance last Saturday.  Pixie designed and sewed her costume (she's the wolf), and Super Star's (Red Riding Hood).  Belle (the huntsman) purchased her shirt for $.50 at a thrift store and made her own axe.

They won the prize for best group costume.

(Rose Red was grounded--she stayed home with me and helped put the littles to bed.  Sir Walter Scott chaperoned at the dance.)

Our preschool book of the week was The Three Little Pigs by James Marshall.

Every day someone did some sort of jigsaw puzzle.

And Legos got a lot of use, too.

The mornings are darker and colder.  I can't quite bring myself to send the littles outside first thing, so I've been setting out activities to help them get focused as the day begins.  Play dough ruled the mornings this week.

Warm temperatures are expected to return this weekend . . . I don't know that I can bring myself to return to "regular" school.

But then I don't know what to read next either.

So I have some searching to do this weekend:  for motivation and a great read aloud.

(linking here)


  1. I totally love David Copperfield too! Also, I must commend you on how beautifully done your girl's hair is. I know it's a challenge with various textures of hair.

  2. I love the costumes. They are marvelous!! I am so glad you were relieved from Jury duty. I was so glad to be relieved earlier this year.
    Blessings, Dawn

  3. I've been called up twice for jury duty but here in Australia, if you have dependents you are exempt and just fill in a form to let them know. David Copperfield is wonderful. We loved A Tale of Two Cities also.

  4. I love miracles!... so happy for you. I also love the Halloween costumes. I have a friend in St. George who loves to make costumes too, and she is now doing all the costuming for the local theater/play production company--and loving it! The girls are developing so many marketable talents!

  5. That quilt is marvoulous! Such a great job. I'm glad you escaped the poison ivy. That would have been horrific. Great costumes. Love the pictures of the pumpkin patch and the kids.

  6. So glad you did not have to leave home to serve on a jury! The quilt was so cute and I love the costumes!! Looked like a great week!

  7. Wow, what an exciting week. The suspense about the jury duty must have been hard to deal with. So glad you didn't have to go! Also, you now have me fantasizing about a David Copperfield reading marathon . . .


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