Saturday, August 31, 2019


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When you start getting messages asking if you and the children are all right, you know it's time to dust off the old blog.  When I was pulling these pictures I realized that I hadn't taken a single photograph with my real camera in all of July.  I guess that's what interstate moving with six kids will do to you. 

I've been swamped here getting the house set up and starting our homeschool year off and just finding a new rhythm for all of the routines that go with managing a fairly large household.  Like, where do I store all the shoes?  What day should we clean the bathrooms?  These burning questions will plague me for at least another fifteen years or so. 

Lack of household routines can't stop birthday celebrations though.  Chris took David and Henry to Busch Gardens, per David's request--and the free annual visit for military they offer--to celebrate.  I think he thought he would be celebrating there himself, but the boys were not quite up for the extent of roller coaster riding he had envisioned.  They had fun though and rode all the slightly less terrifying rides and ate a truly ridiculous amount of park food that more than made up for the free admission. 

We did official birthday celebrating for both Chris and David this morning and the spider in the box prank (aff link) that David has been planning for weeks went off without a hitch.  Chris really jumped when the spider sprang out instead of the Swedish fish he was expecting.  David also made a pretty amazing, if not wholly appropriate birthday card, that also got a lot of laughs.  And of course, David asked for the same birthday cake he's asked for since he turned five because he likes to eat the same things that he already likes, just like he prefers to re-read only the books he already likes.  Maybe one day he'll branch out into other cake worlds--coconut maybe?  Or upside down?  Maybe the trouble is that he hasn't been exposed to the whole variety of what a cake can be.  I guess I should get baking and start cultivating better cake appreciation skills in my children.  At least Timothy doesn't seem to have any problems eating whatever cake-like substance comes his way.

All in all it's been a very successful birthday weekend so far.  Chris has gotten to do several of his favorite things:  go to an amusement park, clean out his new and so, so dirty garage, and even assemble some IKEA furniture.  Okay, only two of those things are his actual favorites. 

Now if I can just finish getting the house set up the way I want it (i.e. all the homeschool supplies find their homes where I don't have to look at them) maybe I can get my camera back out and share some pictures of the new place.  It's not Vermont, but it's ours.


PS I know the boys are all in desperate need of haircuts.  It's on my list.  With the way Margaret's hair is progressing she will be needing her first haircut sometime around her own eleventh birthday. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

On Summer Moving


We are down to our last week in Vermont and the summer has flown by.  I sat down at the beginning and made a plan which involved all the things I wanted to go see and all the books I wanted to read and I'm afraid I was a bit too ambitious and only got to a fraction of either. 

Six weeks seems like such a long time until it's passing you by. 

We did finally visit Billings Farm since everyone here said it was a must see and they are participating in the Blue Star Museum program that gives free admission to military members--which was good because while it's a cute place I wouldn't say it's worth a full price admission.  We also made it to the Vermont Teddy Bear factory which was well worth the $4 :) 

I did manage to get all of my home school planning done, books ordered, and everything printed and ready to go--except for our math.  I waited too long on that and now I have to wait to have it shipped to our new house.  Ah, the eternal problem of military homeschooling moms facing the summer move.  I've given myself a little over two weeks to get the new house settled before we start up lessons in mid-August.  Hopefully that's not too ambitious as well.  I just really need to be finished schooling each year by the beginning of May.  Especially in the south.  You need May to play outside before the summer heat gets unbearable, am I right?  Now I just need to put the finishing touches on my new reading plan which mostly involves bumping all the things I meant to read this summer to my new list.  Plus all my pre-reading.  I hardly got any of that done and I'm sure I'll regret it soon enough. 


We are really going to miss Vermont.  I knew before we got here that we would like it but it turns out that we love it.  The winter was intense but I really appreciated having all the seasons--each one is dramatic and glorious here--and Vermont even throws in an extra one.  Although I suppose mud season isn't particularly glorious per say the children really enjoyed it since mud is one of their absolute favorite things.  My favorite things are the laws against billboards and how almost everywhere you look is beautiful. 

Also the population density here is perfection.  If it's one thing I hate it's a crowd. 

Vermont is probably not the best place to live if you want to own a business or if you have to pay state taxes but it's a great place to just be.  We've already been discussing buying a camper and summering up here once Chris retires.   

Now that would be glorious. 

Monday, July 1, 2019

On Sundays

Ever since spring arrived, we've been trying to have a Sunday routine of mass and then a picnic and park visit of some sort.  It's been pretty glorious.  Warm weather is so much more satisfying when it's been such a long time arriving.  You just want to luxuriate in it :)

This particular* Sunday we veered off our routine to check out a local-ish farm in an effort to get all our sight seeing in before we leave the state.  The kids got to milk cows, pet sheep, gather eggs, drive a fake horse cart and taste cheese.  What more could a child want?  Well, Christopher could want the sheep to learn to use their inside voices.  Every time they would suddenly bleat he would jump about a foot in the air, cover his ears, give his most withering glare, and declare in a very aggrieved  voice that "my no like those animals."

You can't please everyone. 

Also, isn't Vermont beautiful?  We're really going to miss it here.  Even if they do have loud sheep.

* Particular to these pictures not particular to yesterday--I'm having a difficult time keeping up over here!

Monday, June 17, 2019

On First Recitals

Margaret started ballet lessons this year and after Christmas she was bumped up into the big girl Level I class that got to dance in the end of year showcase.  She was really excited, except for all the days that she had to actually drive to ballet class and get ready to dance.  Then she was significantly less excited.  She always loved dancing once she got going but I'm not sure it was worth the headache for me trying to get her there and then get her very particular ballet bun--which involved a lot of hair gel, hairspray, bobby pins, and a hair net--in. 

She did really enjoy dancing in the showcase though and she did not disappoint as the youngest dancer on stage, giving the audience a taste of some very spastic ribbon twirling as well as some really great binocular eyes every time she danced past the front of the stage as she attempted to see through the theater lights to find us. 

The boys enjoyed the performance immensely and Christopher in particular keeps asking when we can go back to the recital again. 

We'll see if I can work up the endurance to find a new studio in Virginia and let her dance again in the fall knowing that she will most likely alternate between being a grumpy bear who hates dancing and a lovely pirouetting mouse who lives for ballet.  Oh my little ballerina.  At least she's cute :)

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

On the Beginnings of Summer

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It's officially June here and I've just today taken down all the winter coats to wash and put away until next year.  Vermont Spring is intense.  The kids still need pretty hefty sweatshirts to make it through the mornings and evenings but I can't keep the winter coats out into June.  I just can't. 

School's been over at our house for the past few weeks so we've had plenty of time for tree climbing, bouquet gathering, standing in the street with ropes tied around us (?!?), and outdoor quilting so that's been refreshing to our frozen spirits, even if it's still a mite chilly when the sun's not shining.  Our kids never seem to be at a loss for finding ways to amuse themselves, even if I'm never quite sure what exactly they're playing at. 

Along with emerging from our winter hibernation, we've been out indulging in our newest passion:  shopping estate sales.  I always imagined estate sales as a scary, high anxiety, bidding situation taking place inside strangers houses.  In reality it's pretty much a giant garage sale where the person in charge of pricing has zero emotional attachment to the goods and at the end of the day just wants the house to be completely empty.  It's so fun. 

We've gotten some really great finds for so, so cheap including an antique slant top writing desk for David that just screams "New England" and also, "ha! You can't stack detritus all over me, I guess you'll just have to put all those random papers, books, and craft supplies back where they actually belong!" (you know, because of the slanted top).  He has no idea what's coming when we set it up in his new room.  I'm diabolical.  We also went to Donald Hall's estate sale, the author of the Ox-Cart Man (affiliate link).  He had a prolific library, as you can probably imagine, and I came home with his collection of Evelyn Waugh and most of his Russian literature.  He had a lot of Tolstoy stories that I had never heard of.  Five books for a dollar!  If he hadn't been the type of man who throws away all of his dust jackets it would have been perfect.  As it was, I left with more books than was probably strictly necessary.  I can't help myself, I have a compulsion to save all the books!  What if they were sending all the unclaimed ones to be recycled?  Let's not even think about such things. 

The one downside to going to estate sales is that it ruins other types of bargain shopping, like flea markets.  We drove down to Brimfield last month which has been a life goal of mine ever since I first heard of it and we didn't buy a single thing.  The prices were so high!  Probably because all the vendors were bringing in all of their estate sale finds and selling them at a mark up to turn a profit.  It's just all ruined.  We can't bring ourselves to pay flea market prices for estate sale finds.  Plus it's not as fun when someone else is doing all the treasure hunting for you.  Oh well :) 

Now I'm trying to balance playing outside with the kids and being a fun summer mom with getting our next home school year planned and preparing for our move later this summer.  Hopefully this is the last move for a while--this will be three in three years--and I wouldn't mind a bit of a break from setting up new homes.  It takes a lot of mental energy and somehow I don't have much of that to spare.  I've got all the school books ordered already and I just need to make all our new checklists and schedules now, which is the most draining part so I keep putting it off.

I think I'll bake blueberry muffins in the morning.  Fun summer moms bake blueberry muffins for breakfast right?  Then maybe I'll get back to the home school planning.  Perhaps.  Or perhaps I'll sit outside and work on my quilt while the kids play strange rope games. 

It's hard to predict these things.

PS David bought that rope for himself at an estate sale.  There's no limit to what you can find to delight even the most particular shopper :) 

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