Tuesday, March 24, 2020

On Social Distancing in Spring

Well we are social distancing here in Virginia and the governor shut down schools for the rest of the year and all non-essential businesses.  None of that disrupts our life very much because Chris has a government job and apparently I hardly ever leave the house anyway.  The kids have been missing their activities and friends and David especially has missed a lot of boy scouting events and trips but they are hanging in there.  After all, no one in our house is exactly short on finding someone to play with. 

Overlarge families are made for times such as these.

Of course having an overlarge family also means you get a lot of accusing looks when you are just doing a regular Costco run for two weeks of supplies.  I told Chris he needs to make a sandwich board sign that reads "I'm not hoarding, I just have six children and a pregnant wife."  I mean, I legitimately need two packs of chicken breasts to feed all these boys and five double boxes of Cheerios does not actually last that long round these parts.   We did buy toilet paper as well while it was back in stock which was probably a good decision since it was all gone again two days later since everyone here is apparently still panic buying.

Pretty much the only thing I actually miss going to are our nature study outings with friends.  We've been keeping up with our insect studies on our own though and the kids had a lot of fun watching the butterflies we raised and then releasing them.  They've also been catching a lot of minnows in our marsh which necessitated dragging the fish tank out of the garage and setting up a habitat for our new pets.  I think I prefer releasing our nature finds back into the wild, but I'm constantly overruled in this area and our new Virginian menagerie seems to be off to an auspicious beginning.  I suppose I should just be happy that it's not mice again.  I've had to institute a "one in, one out" rule for the minnows though.  I remember what an overcrowded minnow tank results in, even if the children conveniently do not. 

The children were not been pleased to find out that school cancellations do not apply to our home school, but we only have five weeks of lessons left so hopefully they can power through.  Especially since they really don't have anything better to do as everything has been cancelled.  I'm very grateful that all this has coincided with spring's arrival--and that we decided to buy a house with a good bit of land.  This would all be much worse if we were stuck inside the house all day.  It's so much easier feel hopeful and calm when everything is warming up and blooming and you can sit outside and breath in the fresh air while you yell at the children to not bring any more stray fish into the house. 

I hope you all are hanging in there, especially those of you who are not homebodies by nature :)

On Late February Snapshots

It is no longer February but things have been crazy so I thought I'd just dump these pictures here out of a compulsion to post things in order no matter how absurdly late :)

The end of winter was full of wild swings in temperature around here.  We are currently living in that east coast sweet spot where you are just south enough to probably not need intense winter gear, but occasionally you might so you just make do because that's a lot of kids to outfit for a big snow maybe. 

Christopher is a master of the make do philosophy.

Also we celebrated Shrove Tuesday, kicked off Lent, and made our friends Valentines.  So now you can rest easy that we did in fact due things in February. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

On Turning Seven and Being Caged

This is nearly two weeks late but, well, here we are.

For John's seventh birthday he asked to go the Natural History Museum to see the dinosaurs which we never got to do while actually living in the area since the hall of dinosaurs was closed for renovations for just the four years we were there.  Convenient.  I made a whole plan for us all to go up but at the last minute Chris realized he was on duty and couldn't leave the area so we changed the plan to go to the local zoo because clearly live zoo animals are the next best things to extinct fossil animals. 

He had a lot of fun, especially at the prairie dog/peacock exhibit where I stood for an eternity waiting for that peacock to turn around so that I could take a picture of its feathers.  I don't think I've ever actually seen a live peacock with its feathers on display like that before.  He actually started rattling them which was surprisingly loud.  I'm not sure if he was trying to attract the ladies or frighten my children or maybe both?  I'm not even sure if he was supposed to be in the habitat at all or if he just really likes the prairie dogs.  From what we observed during our visit, the peacocks just do what they want at this particular zoo.  Actually, with a feather rattle like that, they probably just do what they want in general. 

When we got home it was time for some special birthday dessert.  In lieu of cake John requested banana pudding which pleased everyone except Henry.  It came complete with trick candles which pleased mostly just me.  John asked for pancakes for dinner which I felt did not exactly go with pudding but it was his birthday so pancakes it was.  I do endeavor to give satisfaction.

Upon further consideration I'm not sure there really is a birthday dessert that goes especially well with pancakes so.....I guess it doesn't really matter. 

It was a lovely day all around and I still can't wrap my mind around the fact that he's seven.  Maybe next year we can actually get up to see the dinosaurs :) 

Saturday, January 4, 2020

On the Twelve Days of Christmas

Well we're winding down the twelve days of Christmas here and gearing up to jump back into regular life.  I'm gearing up anyway, the kids are pretending it's not happening and will likely throw four gigantic fits come Monday morning lessons. 

I really love the weeks after Christmas day.  We just take all the things most people cram in before Christmas and then do them at our leisure when everyone is off and has all the time in the world to relax and really enjoy them.  We do things like build and eat gingerbread houses, put together crazy large Christmas puzzles. drive around and look at lights, open presents I've saved for later (books, family games, sketchpads), go for hikes, have New Year's Eve fondue, celebrate my birthday--granted that last one wouldn't necessarily be on anyone else's Twelve Days To-Do list, but I mean feel free to add it to yours if you're so inclined :) 

This year we have a friend who's throwing a big Twelfth Night party so the festivities will end with a bang.  Don't tell her, but I'm also planning on abandoning all of my leftover Christmas cookies at her house so they won't be living in my freezer into the new year.  It's a win-win. 

If you haven't started celebrating the Twelve Days at your house I highly recommend pulling back from the pre-Christmas frenzy, having a nice calm Advent, and then really doing it up once the real fun begins on Christmas Eve.  Of course that means that the Christmas decorations don't come down until after Epiphany which is a real bummer since it would be a lot easier to do that during vacation time, but I suppose you can't have everything.  It's worth it, I promise!

Happy Christmas everyone! 

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

On Christmas Preparations and Christmas Day


It seems like Advent flew by this year, which I'm sure I say every year but it's still true.  We had Thanksgiving dinner, I blinked, and all of a sudden I was baking sugar cookies for Saint Nicholas and trimming the tree on Christmas Eve.  We had a lovely time in those fast flying weeks.  We had lots of visitors, made Christmas cards, fit in all of our traditions, and even tried our hands at making pomanders which are currently drying out in the garage--hopefully.  Next year maybe we can do them in time to actually have them dried in time for Christmas.  I did manage to finally dry orange slices in the oven without burning them which was very satisfying.  With as many brown orange slices as I have produced these last several years, it might even be considered a Christmas miracle :)

Christmas morning came early with the first children popping their darling tousled heads into our bedroom at four am.  If anything could really be considered darling at such an unseemly hour.  I'm inclined to think not, but you'd have to ask Chris for certain because I was unaware of the festive beginnings until around five-thirty after the coffee had already been brewed and the oven preheated.  That man of mine is certainly a keeper. 

We did stockings and presents and french toast and went to mass and then the kids spent the rest of the day playing outside--jumping on the trampoline and waiting for daddy to get the new zip line set up.  After getting a brisket into the oven, I decided to ignore the mess of ribbons and paper scraps and general Christmas morning detritus and sit down with one of my new books until the little ones woke up from their naps.  I managed to read two whole pages before I heard the delightful cries of an over-sugared fourteen month old calling me back to my actual current life.  Now that he's officially down for the evening, I think my book is calling me back up to my bed where maybe I can get in another two pages before I fall asleep. 

I hope you all had a lovely day and continue to celebrate Christmas all season long!  We're just warming up over here! 

PS Henry likes his shellacked alligator head way more than his face is letting on in that picture :)
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