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.

Spring Distractions

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We’ve reached that time of year when I notice that most everyone is behind in math, but the weather is so nice and there is so much to do outdoors that I’m afraid cracking down in the math department isn’t going to happen.  Everyone is caught up in their own projects, and it’s hard to interrupt.  Larkspur is very busy in her garden and I need to get focused on mine.  I have to beg labor from all the boys, and that makes it a little tricky, but preparing soil for planting isn’t among my current abilities.  I wish at least one of them shared my love for growing things so I wouldn’t have to beg, barter, and bargain.  I have a little box of dye plants just waiting to go in the ground, and I’m very excited about transitioning into growing more dye plants.  Jonny started working to get a few beds ready for me this evening, so tomorrow hopefully I can do some planting.

I’ve been working hard to distract Silas from a little winter addiction I enabled, and he fell into:  watching children’s shows on the computer (we’ve never owned a t.v.)  It is so easy to fall into the habit of saying “Yes” to “watching a movie” far too often when you’re tired, it’s cold outside, and the one asking to watch is incredibly persistent.  Sometimes a mom’s got to do what she’s got to do, and allowing a little video watching is a sanity saver.  But some kids can’t seem to watch in moderation, and they essentially become little t.v. addicts and it’s all they want to do.  When Silas asked for a movie recently and I told him, “No, you’re about to go fishing with Daddy,”  and he replied that he’d rather watch a movie, I knew he had a problem.  I discovered a long time ago that quitting cold turkey results in a long, whiny week, but eventually a much happier child, one able to occupy himself without constant movie begging.  Right now I’m reading tons of pictures books, supplying plenty of paper and art supplies, encouraging the building of block houses and train tracks, pulling out the play dough, and of course now that the weather is warm, saying, “It’s a beautiful day.  Go outside and play.”  Together, I think we can beat this.  If we’re lucky, Silas might not even need a twelve step program.

My newest distraction is sock knitting.  I’ve only knit one pair of adult sized socks, and they didn’t excite me enough to encourage the knitting of any others right away.  Maybe the timing wasn’t right.  I have knit lots of baby socks, but those are pretty quick, not to mention super cute.  I blame my new near obsession on Instagram.  There’s a lot of sock knitting going on there.  For some reason the cute little project keepers that people post their socks in progress stored in started to really appeal to me.  So I ordered a few.  (Red foxes here, feathers and blue with gray foxes here).  I also bought a new set of double points.  And while I have plenty of sock yarn, I did buy one more skein, inspired by this photo.  Now I’m knitting socks, and planning for more socks, while my little girls ask when I’m going to finish the baby projects I have going.  Soon, I tell them.  Soon.  But right now, I’m knitting socks!

p.s.  The cake picture:  they made it together–triple layer butter/vanilla cake–gluten free-with caramel frosting.  It was huge and they ran out of frosting, but it was really good and they were proud of it.  However, this pregnant lady is begging, “No more desserts!”  I’ve got to get these kids interested in making dinner!