That's a long title! Any chance I can actually touch on all of those things in the hour or so before we need to leave for the girls' final soccer practices of the season? Wish me luck! I also have a cheddar going "in the background" and had the wild dream of finishing cleaning the house and making a large pot of mint tea before our departure. I will likely have to scale back my wish list, since the pre-departure essentials include getting 3 kids snacked, pottied, changed and in the car. BUT newsflash: we have just had some major excitement around here - due to a major downpour bringing in Jason from his bean seed planting we got the carseat swap-outs done and the two younger ones have moved up in the ranks of booster seats, etc... Terah and Alida will be riding in different seats on the way to practice (thanks to Jason's ability to not only clean up the ones from the attic but also install them). I wasn't sure we were going to get the girls out of the car since they were so excited to try sitting in them - it's a good thing we needed to go somewhere this evening. We probably should have done it right before a really long trip as I fear the novelty will wear off sooner than I wish for it to.
I can't believe I'm about to type this but I'm finding that I'm feeling a tad remorseful that the last week of soccer is here. I won't miss the fuller schedule, but it's been delightful in so many ways to watch Kali and Alida really enjoy this season while also being challenged. Now, whether I'm ready to add Terah to the mix with Minikickers starting this fall, time will tell!
Terah is loving the signs in her life that she is growing up - and I'm loving many of them too. There still seems to be no indication of her actually making the move to her bed in the girls' bedroom but she is excellent at stripping oregano off their stems. And today she was our little gopher, returning the laundry basket upstairs and doing any mini-tasks I could think of that she was capable of. That is, when she wasn't practicing piano and trying to master remembering which is her right hand and which is her left - part of her first piano lesson homework.
Today was our first time heading to JUST piano lessons (no secret music practice this time), but it was still a longer time away from home because this time Terah, Alida and Kali each had a lesson. Terah's was 10 minutes, Alida's 20 and Kali had her normal 30 minute lesson. I'm not sure who had the most fun but Terah's body language was the best - her whole body was wiggling and her little legs kicking most of the time. I could have just stood at the doorway and watched! It feels like such a gift to have someone so skilled and kind for the girls to take lessons with; someone they feel completely comfortable around. At the end of this post, you can catch two tiny clips of the younger girls' first lesson!
It definitely felt really nice to be able to tell Jason exactly where we were going and do what I said we were going to do. I happy to be leading one honest and transparent life again! While I had quite the little dip and period of re-acclimating to "normal" life after our anniversary week, I'm mostly recovered from that and back in whatever kind of groove I'm normally in. :) It's been fun to look at pictures and video clips and listen to the songs and continue to think of snippets of things to fill Jason in on from the last year. But for the most part we are living in the present and looking to the future and feeling rather swamped with homestead tasks at present!
I did get another set of pictures from a neighbor friend today and so thought I'd share a few here with a few final reflections and thank you's! It will be entirely incomplete in the short amount of time I'm going to devote to it, but hopefully enough for the "scrapbook." It really did, in many ways, feel like a wedding: I planned for about 11 months and then in a few hours it was all over. Only this time, it was only me feeling the "planning for 11 months" and Jason was just absorbing the "few hours." So our experience of the whole thing was very different, and not something I necessarily hope or plan to do very often!
It goes without saying but should be said again: I could not have done it alone, that's for sure! I had so many people that helped out. Here's the few thanks I offered at the end of the concert: "I’m grateful for those of you that helped to nurture and encourage this idea, to my walking buddies who helped me stay sane in keeping the secret all this time. To our wonderful friends and co-conspirator musicians who were willing to join forces with me. For my mom for baking our wedding cake 20 years ago and again for this occasion. I must also mention my dad who was great at trying to reassure me how what I felt were outright lies were maybe just reframing of mostly true things – I didn’t know he was so good at that skill! A shout out to those of you who offered to take photos and especially Mark, our brother-in-law, for filming the event. Thanks to Greg for running sound, for those of you who came early to help with parking or with hosting and serving food and drinks. And for my sister-in-law Emily who did some early brainstorming with me and helped me choose this amazing location for the celebration, as well as lots of last minute details. I must also mention our three girls - I could not have done it without them and they each did a fabulous job keeping this a secret for months and months now, coming to practices, brainstorming cover-ups to slips along the way, telling me when something was leaked when I wasn’t around, etc…"
So here's a smattering of photos from the evening - ending with one of the highlights of the concert which was having our parents with us and all our siblings. I was reminded that that also happened at Nora's memorial service about a decade ago. It felt meaningful to have our families with us for the occasion - as well as so many close friends who in many ways are also family to us!blood drive next Tuesday in honor or Nora (on the 11th anniversary of her death) and a house concert with the Clymer Kurtz band - all welcome to both! In the meantime, we had a few long anticipated fun things to look forward to! We all finally got to visit the beautiful spot that our friends Meg and Kurt call home! In addition to great conversation, flower picking, eating delicious foods and looking at all the growing things, I again caught the "honey bee" bug - we'll see if it ever goes beyond a dream but on the hour drive home we were talking about putting bee hives up on our wood shed roof (would that keep the bears away?). We could have lingered by the fire for a long time - if our youngest was not about to fall apart. She and Alida were asleep before we were back on the highway - which was probably a good thing since we saw some of the most incredible lightening ever on our way home!
Well, as mentioned, it was wishful thinking. Rather than getting this post done I'm going to have to deal with Terah's mammoth meltdown and try to get to soccer on time. Terah is SO tired these days - I think she really needs an afternoon nap again (more than she did a few months ago) but we are now very much out of the routine. Makes for some tough evenings. More later...
...Terah is REALLY cute in braids for the first time but was NOT cute screaming about everything and anything in the lead up to leaving for soccer. I'll go ahead and admit that I was not all that cute either in my response. But we made it to practice with a minute to spare and Terah and I "repaired" things between us on the sidelines. Kali got through just over her half of practice before lightening made continuing impossible (the rain and thunder had been going for awhile). So we are home rather than at Alida's practice and the peace in this household is rather tenuous - as I type Alida and Terah are attempting to play soccer in the house and are both screeching at each other! Sigh!! Jason is headed out with his sister for a music jam session and I have a feeling some of us will be zonked out before the sun goes down.
So before things completely break down here, let me mention our quarterly family retreat day. If I miss mentioning it Alida likely won't let me hear the end of it - she continues to make her way through the printed blog books, giving me regular doses of inspiration to keep this up.
For weeks Terah had been mentioning that she wanted to hike to the ridge. I really don't know if she knew exactly what she was requesting but we decided to incorporate it into our spring retreat day. It was nearly noon by the time we had the chores done, breakfast in all of us, and ourselves ready to hike. I will admit that the first half of the day hadn't exactly felt all that retreat-like (but for our girls, who we did chores for so we could leave before mid-afternoon, it was a nice easy start to the day).
We ventured out and down Happy Valley Road to the first mountain entrance where we walked through the open gate with the "Please Keep Gate Closed" sign. With map in hand we headed off into the shaded woods trails as soon as possible and were soon making progress towards the desired ridge.
Long story short (or long hike...), we made it! And we didn't take any wrong turns on the way down. After a stop at a large rock for a picnic snack, Terah sacked out in the ergo on my back until the driveway. She had earned that nap and Alida was wishing there was an ergo she could fit in to do the same. I think it may have been her longest hike ever (using her own two feet anyway - the last time we got that high up, Jason had carried her in the backpack and almost didn't make it!). When we got home, we all got showers and in comfy clothes and turned our attention to some indoor entertainment - a game of Upwords of course! Everyone's mood was fine at the end since I won - but it is becoming apparent that shortly I will have to work very hard to not only beat Jason but also Kali (who was in second place). We munched on popcorn and enjoyed fruit smoothies while we played.
Once the day cooled, we headed outside for a game of croquet before the sun set. Alida was victorious in that one, also meaning everyone was happy at the end of it.
And now it is time to draw this day to a close! Terah is finishing up her bowl of vanilla pudding with strawberries and then off we'll go to snuggle and read stories - probably putting me to sleep before her!