Third week of August, and I’m back.

This week was a bit unusual.  I guess we had more than our usual share of appointments and important things to attend to, keeping us away from home more than I would like.  I also made the decision to go ahead and start school with the kids tomorrow, rather than my original plan of waiting until after Labor Day.  When my kids (boys) start getting “bored” and start fighting, I know it’s time for a change.  I decided I would rather use these last few hot weeks of Summer to get a head start on the year, occupying little hands and minds, and take a break when it is nice and cool this Fall.  So I have been hustling to get my lesson plans ready.  I am accepting the fact that there is such thing as being too prepared  (I think that can set you up for disappointment) and that it is okay if I haven’t quite got everything squared away either in my mind or on paper.  It is also okay if my house is still a bit of a mess (although I am cleaning today!) and I am still surrounded by unfinished projects when we start tomorrow (despite the fact that I had hoped that much more would have been accomplished this summer, so that everything would be just “perfect” when we started school.)
We have five children, more than our share of animals, a garden that requires a lot of work, and we live in a small house that we are renovating by ourselves (and have been for eight years.) This is my life and if I lose the ability to enjoy the process, I am going to be in trouble.  We live very deliberately, but sometimes our very own choices can be the source of exhaustion and discouragement.  Does anyone understand what I am talking about?  It’s sort of a you make your bed, now you have to lie in it situation.  Usually I love my bed.  I made it this way for a reason and I am thankful for it,  but sometimes it’s a bit lumpy and I want a different one!  The bottom line is that all I usually need when I start feeling this way is a change of thinking.
A lovely surprise this week was the discovery that my new banana shrub is blooming.  I wasn’t aware that they bloomed again late summer.  These little flowers smell so sweet, taking me back to my Grandparent’s house where a banana shrub grew when I was a child.  A not so lovely surprise was the pain one of my wisdom teeth started causing me, resulting in my having it pulled on Thursday.  The anticipation of having it pulled was far worse than the actually pulling of the tooth, and the recovery, both of which have been relatively painless.
Our first round of Black eyed peas were ready to be picked this week.  There are hours of shelling peas in my future as we made two plantings of them.  That’s good though.  It’s peaceful meditative work.
This picture is deceptive, making it appear that shelling is a family affair.  They abandoned me after a few minutes, and ate more than they shelled.  Truthfully Jonny ran to the store, and took all the kids so I could have a few minutes by myself.
An hour or so later and I was finished.  There were black eyed peas and cornbread with dinner tonight.
And sort of random, but possibly related to the amount of time I have spent these past few days organizing school materials, I discovered a love for Squirrel Nut Zippers.  The candy, not the band.  Although I think I remember liking the band when I was younger and wilder.  I almost never eat candy, and these are not good for you, especially the day after having a tooth pulled, but they are really yum and make it easier to plan math lessons I found.
So with the return of our “regular” homeschooling life, I will be returning to the blog, not that I was ever all that absent.  This spot really helps me to stay in the moment, and for that I am grateful.  Truly I am very excited to wake up tomorrow and get started on our new year, my fourth year as a homeschooling mama.  How strange that my fat, bald, baby boy is now a tall, thin, long haired fourth grader and I have all these other little ones as well!
p.s.  This morning I didn’t expect Trouble to be alive when I went to check on her, but just in case I took her a bowl of oatmeal with a handful of blueberries from our precious freezer stash.  She was not dead and she picked all the blueberries out of her oatmeal.  So, the decision we made today was to bring Trouble inside and give her a bath.  That was interesting.  She is resting in our downstairs bathroom now and likes the latest concoction I created for her to eat:  cooked egg yolk, rolled oats, a bit of honey, cottage cheese, and grated apple.  She is very alert, but she just won’t stand up!  Having her in the bathroom will make it much easier to keep a close eye on her and excercise her legs every hour or so and offer her food and water.
This is not what we meant to do.  Seriously, today was the cut off day for Trouble. I’m a wimp though, and should probably stick to growing fruits and vegetables and stay away from this animal husbandry stuff.

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