Never Tamed

The other day, my kids convinced me to stop at the feed store to take a look at the chicks.  They had this idea that we should buy a few and try to tuck them under our mama hen, and see if she would accept them.  Alas, the chicks were too old and not the breeds we were looking for, so we went home chick-less.  The women working mentioned that they would have turkeys in the next few days though.  My first irrational thought was, “Ooooh!  Turkeys!  Let’s get some baby turkeys!”  Reason quickly returned as I recalled that Jonny is already in the middle of building two portable chicken coops (a new smaller one got started over the weekend for our mama hen and her chicks, the big one is kind of on hold right now.)  He also needs to put another stall on the goat barn for the babies that we hope are coming later this month.  We really don’t need any turkeys, definitely not, but it’s awfully easy to get infected with spring craziness.

My kids are definitely infected, especially the littlest four.  A few weeks ago, when I was planning out their Easter scavenger hunt, I bought gifts for the hunt that would encourage quiet, peaceful play (ha ha ha!!!)  Books, and a few games.  And while my plan didn’t really work (still crazy) we did add a few great books to our library and the games were good choices as well.  The book that surprised me the most was Dear Pope Francis.  I had no idea what an absolute treasure it was going to be.  It is filled with letters written to him by children.  Each letter is accompanied by a photograph of the child, the original letter itself along with a drawing, and then Pope Francis’ reply.  My kids LOVE this book.  (I’ve even caught my older boys reading it.)  I also bought a copy of The Funny Little Woman, possibly Silas’ favorite book and one that we’ve had out from the library over and over, and a new to us book, Sam and Dave Dig a Hole.  I highly recommend that one!  My little boys love it, and as always, Jon Klassen’s illustrations are great.

I bought three games, hoping to cover all ages.  The older boys received Risk, which they really like, but also find frustrating because they rarely have time to finish a game, and their younger siblings don’t really allow for setting it aside and returning to it later.  Thinking mainly of the girls, I bought Into the Forest.  They like it even more than I expected them to, and have spent hours playing.  It’s a nature heavy, food chain themed game, with lots of different variations in how you can play, from simple games perfect for the girls, to more complicated ones that appeal to my older kids too.  And finally I bought a cooperative game called Max.  Job is almost old enough to play, and the girls have been playing with Silas.  It’s a simple game, but one they are all enjoying.

Today’s task is to clean out the art and game cabinet.  Just like the pantry and the refrigerator, it seems to need a good clean out every few weeks.  Every time I re-organize it, I get rid of a few more things, and try to make everything a little easier to access both for me and my kids.  My thought every single time is, “There!  Now it won’t get so messy!”  And of course a few weeks later, I find myself looking at the same disorganized chaos with a sigh.  All things return to chaos sooner or later at our house!  And I will continue to do my best to tame it, knowing full well that this is a job that will never be finished.

December 18

Jonny made a big burn pile today, so most of my kids are smudge faced and filthy right now.  They wrapped apples and carrots in foil and roasted them.  I know they ate the apples, not sure about the carrots.  We burned some crazy things like an old bed and piano bench.  We are doing a major overhaul right now, time to let lots of things go.  Jonny has his workshop emptied out in the yard, and it looks like a tornado hit.  We must look a little destitute because a neighbor’s relative whom we go to church with, called our church office and reported that we were in dire straits: no electricity, no heat, not enough to eat.  Crazytown.  I think I got that cleared up.  We’re just messy country folks, with a lot of (smudge-faced) kids running around, but thankfully we aren’t going hungry and the electricity is on (and has been).  I asked Jonny if maybe he might be able to hurry some of these messy projects along.  I doubt it!  And, people will talk, they always have, always will.  No harm done.

I put out some advent things, and then promptly put them back away.  Job and Silas are at a destructive age!  The nativity is on the mantle and it will stay, even though it’s been rearranged multiple times.  I am happy for the kids to play with it, and that is why we have a wooden one, but when they start chewing them, that is a problem.  The kittens are into all sorts of trouble, and I am sure they are going to love the Christmas tree.  I’m kind of giving up on making much pretty this year.  And I don’t feel too sad about that.  (Seth is reading over my shoulder, and pointing out that just last night I said that I was sad that I can’t make anything pretty.  Okay, he’s right.  But I came to terms with things over the past 24 hours.)  This is life with children and animals.  It’s good.

I am feeling motivated to set up some little Montessori practical life activities for Job, now I need to clean out our art cabinet to make room.  That cabinet always needs cleaning out! Today I got out pin punching for the first time in ages, and it was a hit.  Then they were back outside, where it’s actually a little chilly today.  The forsythia is blooming, and today on the way home from a friend’s farm (those are her white goats) we saw ornamental cherry(?) trees in full bloom!

Jonny is reading Adventures in Yarn Farming in the evenings, and last night he made me laugh when he matter-of-factly said, “I just skip over the knitting patterns.”  He is getting a little sheep crazy, I’m afraid.  I’m not ready for sheep.

One of you asked somewhere recently, maybe on my book list post, my thoughts on graphic novels for reluctant readers.  I didn’t reply straight away, thinking that I ought to do a post about that.  But I can sum up my thoughts pretty quickly.  I started purchasing graphic novels for my boys a couple of years ago, mainly Tintin, after they discovered them at a friend’s house and loved them.  One of my older boys was a very reluctant reader at the time, struggling and just not motivated.  But he would read Tintin!  He still picks up graphic novels from time to time, and we have bought some others over the years, but he mainly reads regular chapter books now.  He read The Chronicles of Narnia over the summer and is always up too late reading.  I used to have to assign books.  Not anymore!  So my feeling is that if you have a child who is having a hard time with reading, but is interested in graphic novels, they are worth a try.  They probably won’t ruin your kid’s potential for reading regular books later, but may actually help them reach that place.  That was definitely my experience.

Okay!  I think those are the scattered thoughts I wanted to share.  I hope you all have a great weekend!

(The cross stitch above is one I’ve been working on for too long.  It’s from this book.)