Good Monday morning.
Well, I am still thirty-eight. Thank you for your birthday wishes. If last week's blog has a theme I suppose it is that I am aging. You can read more about that --- > here < --- if you missed it last week.
The birthdays come one after another in October. This past weekend we celebrated my niece's fifth birthday. Both my sister-in-law & my brother-in-law have October birthdays. Tomorrow is my sister's birthday. Jessica & I tentatively have some *super special* plans for her birthday; I'll share more about those plans next week. Today I am going to share (with commentary) pictures from the many events & excursions that have dominated our lives since circa last Thursday.
Last Thursday was a most excellent day. I told Trey a few weeks ago all I wanted for my birthday was to have the yard done. Thursday morning Trey took the kids to school. I sipped my coffee in the quiet house & eagerly awaited the morning's visitors. Just as I finished my first cup, two gentleman arrived. They kindly listened to me prattle on about how much I hate weeds & would they please, please rid the flower beds of weeds, trim the bushes, edge the flower beds, & stuff the flower beds with new straw.
The results are pictured below. I didn't take any close-ups of the beautiful edging. What I should have taken a picture of was the vine growing in one of the flower beds prior to my magical friends' arrival Thursday. It was an aggressive vine literally growing up the side of our house. I could see it outside one of the kitchen windows when I entered the kitchen. Were I not afraid of snakes, I'd have long ago plowed my way through the large bushes abutting the house to deal with the vine myself.
I took these photos because I am so pleased with the yard, but I also took them because I want some nice shots to use if & when we put the house up for sale. Here's where you can help me. There are actually two ways you can help me. Trey is not as enthused about selling our house & moving across town as I am. I am confident he'll get there, & you can help speed this process along by randomly making positive comments about people & businesses & general happenings in the vicinity of the 71203 zip code. If you have a *negative* comment re: the 71203 zip code, please do not share it with my husband. This is going to be a group effort, but I have faith in all of you.
The other way you can help me is by buying my house. If you've fallen in love with it, drop me a note & we'll talk price. If you have a friend looking to move to the Western part of Ouachita Parish who enjoys soaring ceilings, a gas stove, & granite in the kitchen & beautiful golf course views, send them my way. I'm kidding . . . but really I am not.
The yard was not the only great thing that happened Thursday. I spent some time alone running errands & buying coffee from various local establishments as I flitted throughout town doing fascinating stuff like buying a new paper towel holder at Hobby Lobby. I know this doesn't sound all that exciting, but I enjoy running errands by myself. I enjoy stopping to get a cup of coffee somewhere without having to have five conversations with the kids about why we're not buying every pastry in the coffee establishment. I am just speaking truth here.
I was in a good mood when I picked the kids up from school. We stopped by the house to change into the lovely fall-themed attire my mom bought them specifically for the carnival we attended Thursday evening.
I told them to show me how excited they were; I got nothing more than an Aloof face from Henry.
Henry perked up once we arrived. I was excited about a new addition to the games this year, the T-Rex Toss. If you look closely you can see the fake pieces of meat strewn on the ground; these are what the kids tossed into the T-Rex's mouth. I hope to see the T-Rex toss make a return to the carnival next year.
Reagan told me about two weeks before the carnival she wanted to get some cotton candy. As you can see if you scroll through the pictures below, not only did they both eat cotton candy, they also went up in a hot air balloon with their daddy, their cousin Maisie, & their Grandmama. I was kind of nervous about both the cotton candy & the hot air balloon, but we all survived.
I have no idea how to dose for cotton candy as it is literally just spun sugar. I made an educated guess regarding how much insulin is needed to cover cotton candy, & I overshot the mark apparently; about an hour after downing her cotton candy Reagan got to eat more candy because she had too much insulin in her system. The exercise she got participating in countless rounds of the cake walk may also have contributed to her numbers hovering around eighty for much of the evening. Eighty is not bad, mind you, but it is not reassuring when she's been pumped full of insulin & is running around excitedly playing games.
I took this photo below while the kids were waiting their turn to board the hot air balloon. It was a perfect night all around, weather included.
The kids didn't have school Friday due to the Homecoming presentation Friday morning. I slept the sleep of champions Thursday night. The kids slept until around eighty-thirty Friday morning, & I didn't get out of bed until nine. We spent the day cleaning out some of the toy containers in the living room. Henry selected several "baby" toys he wants to give to his cousin, Kristian, & every ten minutes I gave the kids a lecture about how much junk they have.
We needed Friday at home to rest from the carnival & prepare for Saturday & Sunday. We left the house early Saturday morning for a nine am soccer game. Well, Reagan & I left early for the game. She had to be there about thirty minutes prior to game time. Trey & Henry straggled along later.
These are our MEH, it's very early on a Saturday morning faces.
After Reagan's team stormed to victory on the soccer field we had about an hour to kill until the day's next planned activity, a birthday celebration for cousin Maisie. As all respectable families do, we opted to use our time wisely by going to Target.
I can report that holiday-themed cups are already making an appearance at Starbucks.
In honor of Maisie turning five, the kids were given about an hour inside Chuck E. Cheese. Goodness, the things I could say about Chuck E. Cheese. Trey tagged along behind Henry, & I tagged along behind Reagan. Each child needs an adult supervisor who can hold their little cup of tokens as well as keep track of all those tickets they win playing games. You don't want to lose any of the tickets because at the end of the visit they can be redeemed for incredibly well-made prizes that definitely won't break as soon as everyone is buckled into the car.
We fled Chuck E. Cheese's around lunchtime. We had a nice lunch together, after which Maisie opened her gifts & I avoided eating an entire cupcake by satiating myself with a few bites of my mom's cupcake.
After the birthday merriment ended I made a strategical mistake. Instead of heading home with the tired kids, I visited a furniture store with my mom. She is considering purchasing new furniture for her living room, & she wanted my input on a few things.
Needless to say, we all had to leave the furniture store before any decisions were made. As my mom & I were attempting to discuss fabric options with a kind salesman, Reagan & Henry were loudly fighting over a chair. Mind you, we were in a furniture store filled to the brim with chairs, but the kids both wanted to sit in one specific chair. I promptly left the furniture store & took the kids home to bathe them so they could relax & have the downtime they so clearly needed while I did some laundry & mentally prepared myself for LSU's contest with Mississippi State (Geaux Tigers!).
Sunday was not a day of rest either. Sunday's schedule went like this: church, lunch, home to change, back to soccer field for a make-up game. After the soccer game Trey took the kids home, & I bought groceries. By the time I unloaded the groceries, got everyone something to eat, loaded the dishwasher, & oversaw the details of preparing the kids' lunches/folders/backpacks for a new week of school, it was after eight o'clock. I withered & watched a little bit of Jurassic World.
Believe it or not, Henry was invited to THREE birthday parties over the weekend (well, four if you count Maisie's), none of which were possible for us due to Maisie's party & Reagan's two soccer games. The birthday-party stage of parenting can be dicey at times. In exchange for kids who sleep all night, a great many of your waking hours are spent in places that often smell like feet.
I told you Thursday was a good day. Normally I teach two classes on Thursday, but the community college had Fall Break last Thursday & Friday. Thursday I was alone for much of the day, & then I ended the day in a throng of people; the latter was enjoyable for me in large part because of the former. At the beginning of this year I wrote a blog titled, "In Defense of Silence & Solitude." It is, among other things, an explanation of my decision to leave the high school classroom. I made that decision last October. I made that decision for several reasons (reasons about which you can read more if you care to by clicking on the link to my blog from January of this year), but one thing that triggered me, if you'll allow me to use that phrase, was that it was October, & I love October, & I was weary & a bit miserable all too often.
I hesitate to say October is a busy season for moms as I don't want to imply there is a non-busy season for moms. If you have young kids, you're always busy. Even if you're at home "doing nothing," you are busy. You're busy making lunch or doing laundry or pouring milk or finding small toy parts. Still, the invitations & events come one after another, & this avalanche often begins in October. Last October I was so frustrated that I wasn't enjoying October because it is my favorite. The Supreme Court begins its new term. The weather finally cools down. College football is heating up. The promise of November & December still ahead is exhilarating. Magical things like No. 2 Ohio State losing to unranked Purdue happen in October.
Today I am going to have lunch with my mom, & then we're heading back to the furniture store we had to exit early on Saturday. The kids will be at school. I was going to rant today about how tragic it is that we over-schedule our lives. I was going to discuss the Biblical concept of the Sabbath, of the need for a day of rest. I think it's a worthwhile concept. We see Saturday & Sunday on the calendar, & we rush to fill every moment with a party or carnival or game. I don't think it's a healthy thing that many families spend almost no time in their home simply being together. Most of us write a fat check every month attempting to pay off a house in which we do little more than sleep.
Anyway, I'll stop now. I am determined to find my own Sabbath even if it comes on a random Thursday when I am able to run errands alone & buy coffee all by myself or on a Monday in October when I can sit & eat lunch with my mom before we go obsess over fabric samples.
I hope you have a great week. I will, the Lord willing, see you next Monday on what will be the fifth Monday in October. If you're going to have to face five Mondays in a month, may that month be October.