On Sabbatical

Small Things-0083

Happy Easter! I hope you are having a happy one. We were late to Easter Mass (as usual) despite my best efforts. I didn’t get any great photos of the kids before they were out of their nice clothes and dressed to play outside. We had our traditional Easter scavenger hunt on Sunday afternoon, something we have been doing for years. I’ve never made Easter baskets, but the girls decided early on in Lent that they wanted them this year. They took matters into their own hands and I wasn’t involved other than on the frequent occasions when either Lark or Beatrix wanted to show me what they had pulled together so far. Each girl was responsible for her sister and one little brother. They (mostly) spent their own money buying little gifts at the dollar store. I did provide the baskets, new mini bolgas, a gift I had planned for the scavenger hunt anyway. They loved doing this so much that I suspect it will be a new tradition.

My sister, Abby, visited last week with four of her boys, so we had a rowdy Holy Week. So you don’t have to do the math, we had 12 kids in the house, 9 of them boys! It was a really wonderful few days despite the endlessly hungry tummies and piles and piles of muddy clothes.

Abby loves history and is a planner who likes to visit lots of places. Being a homebody myself, and totally daunted by the thought of taking 12 kids anywhere, I convinced her to stick close to home with the field trips. One day we ran around the grounds of nearby Chatham Manor, on another she took a handful of kids to a local museum while I stayed home with the younger kids. Mostly the kids played outdoors and got really dirty. Abby and I took walks together every day and talked about our childhood. We focused on the good parts, weary of all the bad. After all these years, the happy memories are the strongest. We had nighttime talks about how strange it is that we are both so close to forty now. Time to get our acts together, right?

On a self-care note, I have put myself on a mental sabbatical of sorts. I’m working hard on stress management (thank goodness my taxes are done.) I am hopeful because I feel like I am making progress. I am trying to re-program my brain. I want to learn how to relax, and let myself off the hook a little. I can’t clear my plate and schedule, but I can work on the way my brain reacts to the endless to-dos. All of the reading I have done in recent months on auto-immune disease has led me to believe that my tendency towards perfectionism and over-achievement, and all the go, go go, may be part of what caused me to get sick.

Part of my “sabbatical” is to read light(ish) fiction this year. Easy reading, and recently published (I have a tendency to only read older books, and am challenging myself to read new ones.) I picked up Lilac Girls at the library, though being set during WWII I’m not sure it’s going to be all that light. (edited to add: returning it today. Not a bad book, just not what I am looking for right now!) Any suggestions?

p.s. I forgot that this post is full of bunny photos! As much as we love him (yes, Larkspur made him an Easter basket) we think that Benjamin Bunny is lonely, so we will be bringing home a friend or two for him in a couple of weeks. I had him neutered about a month ago, and have been getting bunny socialization tips in preparation. Baby bunnies!!! So exciting!

(The photos of me were taken by my sister. Thanks, Abby!)

Almost Fall

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Can you tell which window pane just got replaced?  It was kicked out “accidentally” a couple weeks ago and the chickens quickly figured out that there is cat food just inside that door.  (I am pretty sure they had some help.)  I heard, “Chicken in the pantry!” more than once. Now that the window is fixed, they just stand there looking confused.

Early mornings have finally started to cool off a little, and I laughed seeing Larkspur outside in her mud pie kitchen wearing a wool hat the other day.  Totally unnecessary, but a sign that she’s ready for summer to end.  I am too, though fall has a tendency to make me sad.  I think it’s a combination of seasonal depression and too much going on in general.  Busy schedules overwhelm me.  When I am stretched thin I start finding myself on the verge of tears frequently.  September is always the worst. If I can just get to October, things will calm down and I’ll be able to exhale.

Our old cat Winifred disappeared last week.  We knew she was in her last weeks (longtime thyroid issue) and kept debating whether or not we should have her euthanized.  She was still happy to eat and be pet, and she was Larkspur’s favorite, so we kept holding out.  Now I regret it.  She must have died, and we can’t find her anywhere (outdoor cat).  We are in a similar spot with our even older cat, Silas.  He’s seventeen years old, and while he isn’t ill, he is just plain old.  He’s thin and totally deaf.  He sat in my lap the other morning and I cried thinking about the first year Jonny and I were married, when Silas was a kitten who would sit in my lap purring while I studied.  It’s hard to lose the pets that have such a strong link to our youth, I think.  I’m going to try to convince Silas to move inside before it gets cold outside.

Oh man, sorry that this blog just became the most depressing thing you’ve ever read!  Just a couple more weeks, and all will improve.  In the meantime, I’ll try not to write about elderly and dying pets!

On a positive note…

Just kidding.

But seriously, I promise I’m laughing.  Even if I don’t have a positive note to end on.

(edited to add, because folks are asking:  the peg toy is a Montessori color sorting activity.  You can get them (affiliate link) here.   And here is a link to Larkspur’s hat pattern.)