The Real Mother’s Day

Up until this weekend, the weather has been gorgeous.  Gorgeous weather means that planting runs smoothly.  Planting that is running smoothly means that I don’t get to see my husband much.  He’s been working at least 18 hour days this last week, and though we do talk on the phone and bring food out to him,  our conversations are short an to the point, with several interruptions.  I do what I always do and stay up at night just to see him, and also because I have a tough time going to sleep when he’s not home.  I’ll stay up until 11:30 or whenever he walks through the doors.  I want to give him a kiss, and then go to bed.  He however, the social one of the two of us, has not had many conversations all day.  He’s eager for conversation and listens to too much talk radio in the tractor and loves to tell me all the ways the world is ending.  He is starting to listen to sermons podcasts, and that has been better.  He doesn’t come home angry at the world then.

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Mudpie Kitchen

Those who follow me on Instagram may have noticed our creation of a mudpie kitchen outdoors this last week.

I first saw the concept of a “mudpie kitchen” from my friend, Ginny.  I love it when my kids play in dirt.  There’s something unexplainable about having them pour their sweat into the earth and sparks the most basic, the most wonderful imagination within them.  The desire for this kind of space was amplified when we started reading as a family over and over again Roxaboxen which is a delightful picture book about kids who create a whole imaginary village in a rock field.

The small building just outside our house is called “the summer kitchen” because the original owners of the house used it to cook and can during the hot summer months so it wouldn’t warm the house.  Most of the outbuildings on the farm are full of old things that have never been gone through.  They’re junk piles, really, but if you go digging you can find some treasures.  Treasures are in the eyes of the beholders in most of these cases.  The old large stove is still in the summer kitchen, as well as a rusty old cabinet, and bits and end pieces of original trim for the house.  We’ve added to it storing all of a garden stuff, as well as the bikes and sleds and any outside toys.

(This is a birthday cake, for those wondering.)

On one side of the summer kitchen there’s a pretty antique rose bush, and a piece of dirt that is mostly shaded and I have managed to kill years worth of flowers that I can’t seem to get to take root with it’s rocky foundation.  As I was debating which kind of flower would meet a slow death in this spot this year, I had an epiphany.  Nothing is ever here but dirt.  Therefore, it would be an ideal spot for a mudpie kitchen.

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Delightful Quiet

Sickness hit our house again, as Silje and David were up sick early, early Sunday morning.  It continued into the late morning.  So once again, I stayed home from church.

Normally I feel trapped when I miss my time there, but the last few weeks I have been running everywhere with the kids.  A day at home with just the 2 oldest kids was…

quiet.

It was delightfully quiet.  I actually sat and folded laundry, (and I rarely do chores on Sunday) just because I was so delighted to do it.  It was just fun to sit and put a big pile of chaos into order.

I went for a walk.  The silence of the house made the noise of the outdoors stand out.  The songbirds have returned from winter, and there were birds on the still-bare branches everywhere.

So while I don’t like it when anyone in my house is sick, and I don’t like missing the fellowship and worship of Sunday services, there was a silver lining to yesterday.

Everyone felt great yesterday, and we are actually having our best week of school in months.  I’ve been busy taking in lots of new curriculum for next year, and subsequently have about 3 different posts on homeschooling lined up.  I think the fresh books gave us all some fresh wind, even though we aren’t using them yet.  It was just a reboot to remembering what we are doing and why we are doing it.  I’ll try to spread them out a bit so those who have no interest in homeschooling don’t get overly bored.  I get pretty excited about it, though.  I can get pretty nerdy like that.

Along those lines, I’m starting to wonder if Elias will have some reading issues like David.  He’s still too young to be evaluated.  He’s over 6, but you have to be 7 before you are diagnosed with anything.  I’m not certain, but I’m keeping my eyes open.  While David had attention and visual issues, I’m wondering if Elias has visual and auditory issues.  He’s struggling but in a very unique way to how David did.  Reading up on it, I found out that if one child is diagnosed with a learning issue under the umbrella term of “dyslexia” which covers a wide range of learning issues, siblings have a 40% chance of being diagnosed as well.

I must say, the idea of addressing this makes me feel very tired.  Like I said, I’m not sure, I just have suspicions.  He still has time to develop a bit more.  I’m spending a lot of extra school time with him lately just to watch him a little more intentionally while he’s trying to learn.

Also, I should remind you that the giveaway for the free e-book on teaching from rest is done tonight at midnight, and I’ll announce the winner tomorrow.  Don’t miss out!

Sappy Days

So, you may have noticed that Knut likes to cross country ski.  The owners of the local ski gaard have become good friends, and as the snow is gone, they’ve been collecting sap in their woods for the year.  We brought the kids out there once before in a non-snowy season, not for sap collecting, but for hot pancakes and fresh syrup cooking over a fire in the woods.  That was a couple of years ago.  

Well, they were wondering if our kids would like to help them collect sap one day.  This is by no means their “sap collecting day” as they collect sap daily over quite a period.  It was just a good day on the weekend for the kids to come.  Another ski family who are our friends were coming out, and we thought we’d roast some hot dogs over a fire when we were done.

The kids loved seeing all of their favorite trails without snow.  It was strange to them to see their favorite woods naked like that, but the ski trails made for a wide path for us to follow, and the kids knew where they were, only everything looked very different.

Ingrid kept asking Daddy to “open the tree” so she could get the syrup.

I had remembered from a trip to the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center that some insects lay their eggs on the back of leaves in the fall, and I started searching around the dried leaves to find some to show to the kids as the collection took place.

I didn’t find any insect eggs, but I did lift up a leaf and see some green.  It’s the first green I’ve seen growing out of the ground this year, and I called all the kids over and they all jumped up and down.  Green.  Spring is indeed here.

The sap will be boiled for about 40 hours they said.  Our day’s collection as seen above will boil down to 1 gallon of maple syrup.  We each got to taste the sap, and it was lightly sweet and surprisingly refreshing.

A good time was had by all.