We survived our first week back to homeschooling co-op and orchestra days. We looked at plant cells under the microscope in the biology class I am teaching and I was happliy taken back to college botany lab. I was more excited than most of the kids. Some of them are freaking out a little over the class because they assume biology is hard and I’m hoping to convince them that biology is fascinating and fun. Throughout class several of them kept making bad jokes about mitosis and I had no idea what they were talking about. I kept thinking they were asking genuine questions when they weren’t and it was all very confusing. Middle schoolers are a tough crowd.
Seth started college and is adjusting well and Jonny had another round of in-person interviews. Gabe is going to swing dances and Keats is practicing viola for hours and hours. (In case you were wondering what the big boys are doing. Wait-I didn’t mean to lump Jonny in with the “big boys” but I guess that’s what I did.) August has flown by, and I don’t really mind. It’s never been my favorite month. It’s typically too hot and too full of school preparations for me to really relax and enjoy those last days of summer. And honestly, this summer has been crappy anyway.
There have been some nice days. One afternoon, Beatrix and I filled buckets with goldenrod and I spent a week dyeing dozens of skeins of yarn in shades of yellow and green. It wasn’t my original plan to dye so much with one plant, but every time I pulled skeins out of the dyepot, glowing yellow, I started more. I can’t seem to get enough yellow. I also love the olive green shades that result when I add a little iron to the dyebath. I’m going to do my best to update my neglected shop next week with my goldenrod skeins. I showed Mabel a couple of sunny skeins and asked her if she would wear a sweater that color and she answered, “Sure!” though her favorite color is no longer yellow, but a tie between pink and purple.
Through it all, I’ve been meaning to write here, but guys, I can’t go two minutes without an interruption, and actually two seconds might be more accurate. I used to write five blog posts a week! What happened? My kids got older and started staying up later and I also got older, and more importantly, more tired. When I was in my thirties, I could have kids in bed by 9 and then I’d write blog posts, knit, and do other projects till midnight or later. If you find me awake at midnight these days it’s because someone’s throwing up or had a bad dream, and I’m not happy at all. I’m in a new season, that’s for sure. Mama goes to bed by 10. Lights out at 10:30 (unless my book is really good. I try to avoid pageturners for that reason-ha!) A couple of my kids stay up later than I do. There’s not a quiet waking moment. And I can’t write unless I have quiet. It’s a conundrum!
A couple of months ago when we moved Mabel’s bed into the big girls’ room, we put a chair in it’s spot. Most nights, two out of three of my older boys (Gabe and Seth) take turns sitting down in that chair to talk with me. (Keats isn’t a talker and it kills me.) Clearly this isn’t the solution to my lack of quiet time, but an acknowledgement of the reality that there are times in life when our priorities shift, and rightly so. These boys won’t be with me for much longer. My advice if you have older kids, specifically teenage boys that aren’t going to crawl in the bed next to you (like my girls do): put a cozy chair at the foot of your bed.
And now, back to the Herman Melville story I am reading so that I can help Keats and Gabe who have been assigned it in their literature class. No risk that I’ll be tempted to stay up past 10:30 to keep reading.
p.s. Jonny made the pencil holders for me to use in my 3 year-olds class at co op. I sharpened a set of chubby, triangular pencils on both ends and he cut them in half to make smaller pencils and then drilled holes with a 7/16″ drill bit into chunks of maple to make cute little holders for them.
p.p.s. I started that indigo raglan sweater over three years ago and finally pulled it out of hibernation at Silas’ insistence. I’m on the second sleeve now!