Daily Life

No Place Like Home

The weekend was long and finally over. It was a good weekend. I was at my parents house and I was with my kids but Alex was home and I was not. I love my parents and I am incredibly grateful for all their kindness and hospitality. I’m just a homebody though and like to be home. And I am super glad to be back home with my husband. And not just for help with diaper duty, though there is that.

Monday was my niece’s birthday and my sister had rented an 18 foot blow-up bouncy water slide. It was so high. I had an excuse not to participate, thank goodness, because I am so afraid of heights sometimes. My oldest five kids are not afraid and they were climbing up and sliding down for hours. I don’t know how they could walk after that. Maybe today they will be sore. It was probably the most fun birthday party I’ve ever been to. The kids played with their cousins all week and the party was a good way to end our stay.

We drove home that afternoon and got there right on schedule. Yes, I had a schedule I made and kept. We had to go pick up our fair entries and premiums. Once the kids saw that they were excited to have more entries next year. I was excited just for the ribbons. It was a fun experience.

Once all that kerfuffle died down I got down to business and assembled the IKEA furniture I had been pining after for ages. Last time I’d done the assembly I had to basically assemble everything twice or more times. I remembered that and this time I only did it once! Yay! I still have a couple more things to put together and then to the task of putting everything away. Like there isn’t enough to do. I have a bunch of errands to run on top of meal planning and grocery shopping.

Covid hit my county this past weekend. I’m wondering where it came from. I’m also wondering how it will effect the school year. The school board already pushed the start date back two weeks to implement teacher training on a new platform. I have six kids in school this year and the circus that is distance/ online learning is not something I look forward to. So much uncertainty. This year has been a tough one. I know there are tons of people who will be glad to see it go. I guess we just make the best of it all and do the best we can. There isn’t much else we can do.

Daily Life

Missing

Last night and this morning were stressful. There is a holiday around here where we celebrate our pioneer heritage and some celebrate with fireworks. I didn’t use fireworks and never saw any but we sure heard them. For over two hours. Boom! Boom! Boom! I am half deaf and didn’t know they were going on until later.

After prayer we sent the kids to bed and the dog wasn’t sleeping where she normally does. We’d left her out back to go do her thing. We looked all over inside the house. Called outside. Walked around the neighborhood. Drove around the neighborhood. She was nowhere to be found. I told the kids she’d probably be home by morning.

I was wrong.

I had gotten up several times in the night to check and see if she was outside the front door. She wasn’t. I prayed and worried myself sick. At just before six as the sun was about to peek over the horizon I got up and dressed and got Michael up and had him come with me to drive around and look for our dog. No sign of her. We figured the fireworks scared her away. We always put her in the house during fireworks. This year all the festivities were canceled due to covid so I didn’t think about it.

When we came home from the first drive of looking I put a notice out on Facebook about what happened and a picture. A friend suggested I call the police. I did. They didn’t have her but would let me know if she was brought in.

I was restless and teary the whole morning. I had done all I could. It was a waiting game now. I sat at the table making rolls and Benjamin came up behind me and gave me a hug. He said it would all be okay and that she would be home soon. It was so sweet of him and I really hoped for the kids’ sake that it was true.

A few hours later a friend commented on my post that a woman on another Facebook page had found my dog. Yes! My stomach had been clenched tight for hours and it finally relaxed. The woman called me and we confirmed that it was indeed Skylar, my dog. I kept crying but this time tears of gratitude and happiness. We went and picked up Skylar. The people who found her said they found her in the back corner of their yard just shaking. She had managed to get herself over a mile away through lots of fields to where she ended up. When we got to her and saw her we were so happy. She jumped in the van right away. The kids were petting her and talking to her. Lauren and I were crying. I think the dog was relieved, too. She doesn’t do well when we’re gone and to be lost probably put her over the edge. She stuck closer to me than usual the rest of the day.

The kids think that I don’t like the dog. I really do and I hope they realize it now. She is with me pretty much all day and though I sometimes need a break, I do care about her.

When we got home we said prayers of gratitude. Gratitude that she was returned to us so quickly. Gratitude that she was alive and unharmed. Gratitude for the help of others in finding her.

I really hope she never goes missing again. She will definitely be inside on all firework holidays and days surrounding them from now on.

Daily Life, Dating My Sweetheart

Saturday Stuff

Alex and I try to make it a point to go on a weekly date now that the kids can all be left at home. For years and years the only date we could manage was a movie for us after the kids were asleep.

Yesterday we told the kids we were going on a date. They cheered. I think they just didn’t want to do anything and if we are gone they can play with wild abandon. Fine.

We always end up running errands on dates (we usually do lunch dates) and this time was no exception. Before the errands we decided to just get Subway sandwiches and as we were walking in to get them three airplanes flew overhead. It looked like they were practicing dogfighting. Alex loves watching that so we thought we’d head over to the airport to watch. We changed our mind and thought maybe we could see them from the park.

We got to the park and there was a lot going on there. A food size crowd of men and boys were gathered to LARP (live action role play). Oh good! Dinner and a show. Haha. Imagine an incredibly cheap version of Medieval Times. Alex and I sat and watched the battle. It looked a little unorganized but they were having such fun. They had their swords, mace, arrows, sticks, and shields. Most weapons made from wood and pool noodles for safety. Some had on kilts, some arrayed in metal armor and some just in tshirts and basketball shorts. They would divide themselves into groups and the battle cry would split the air and they would charge.

I think I’ve watched more fights than they have because I am pretty sure you aren’t supposed to turn your back to your opponent and run. And way to many people were hit in the back. Only a coward would get a man in the back. Luckily though they had a resident magician that could heal all the injured and dead.

Once a warrior’s toddler ran onto the field and the mom had to quickly scoop him up out of harm’s way.

It was fun to watch. I am not into LARPing but I could see how it could be fun. They were enjoying it. Plus we got free entertainment out of the deal. We never heard the planes fly over again so the park turned out to be a better choice than the airport.

When we got home we took the kids to an activity at the park. An ice cream social. They ate their ice cream and played with a few of their friends. (For those worried about covid, we are lucky. There have only been a couple cases in our area and that was months ago.) It was nice to be able to visit and catch up after months of not seeing friends.

When we got home the kids immediately asked to go swimming. The water is still cold but the kids have fun anyways. The weather is taking a cold and wet turn for the next few days so they might as well take advantage of the warm days. A storm system moved in a few hours later and we went to sleep with lightning dancing about and thunder rattling the house. I watching lightning storms so I get disappointed when they happen at night when I’m tired and can’t keep my eyes open enough to watch them.

It was a good fairly productive day. There’s always going to be more work to do. I sat on the front steps after the swimming and was holding Evangeline when Noah came up and asked what I was doing. I said I was just enjoying the day. “Because it is gorgeous outside?” Yes, because it is gorgeous outside. I told him he made it all even better.

Daily Life

Weekend Ramblings

The weekend started out with busy waiting. In order to save gas money I took Alex to work. We drove the 45 minutes to get him there at 7 a.m. He was off to work whilst I had errands to prepare for. Grocery shopping for two weeks worth of food so I don’t have to go out again anytime soon. I sat in the car in a parking lot and planned the menu while I waited for the stores to open. Sam’s Club opened at 9 so I had two hours to wait. I planned all the meals (tedious- but since they are written in my planner maybe I’ll be smart and reuse them at a later date), I planned the day out, read my scriptures and then called my sister to talk for awhile. I’d left all the kids home with my oldest babysitting. I love having a built in babysitter.

I decided to go to Hobby Lobby first because I needed a couple decorative storage boxes. I walked up and down every single aisle (love that they are open again!) and they didn’t have what I was looking for. But I did find a few things I love and couldn’t resist buying. Then I thought I would check out Tjmaxx and see if they had what I was looking for. Waste of time. It is sad to see a store so empty. The shelves were mostly empty. There were just a few knick-kacks. Hopefully things get back to normal soon.

I finally got to Sam’s and managed to get through in less than an hour. They even had toilet paper stacked super high. And there were no limits on items like the were last time I went.

I picked Alex up and we went and had lunch. There is an Indian restaurant we’d been wanting to go to for years so we had lunch there. This particular restaurant has two locations one was where we were and the other is in our old college town and is connected to a gas station. In spite of the location, it has really good food. The last time we’d gone I was two days away from having my fourth baby and barely fit in the booth- like I had to squeeze myself into the booth and I was pinned between the table and chair back. It was ridiculous but made it memorable. The new coronavirus measures put in place made for an interesting meal but the food was good. What is interesting about Indian cuisine is how it resembles Guatemalan food in flavor. Alex said the flavors are reminiscent of each other because they use a lot of the same ingredients.

Our plan after eating was to go get some new shoes for both of us. We’d worn ours out. I found a new pair of workout shoes and Alex found some comfortable ones for work.

Shopping days aren’t my favorite. It takes so much time. Planning, driving, shopping, driving, and putting it away. Luckily the kids can help with putting it away. I don’t think they mind so much because then they see what I got and can see what they get to eat. They eat so much!

Later I did give two of the boys haircuts and Alex as well. They all needed it. I like when its warm outside so I can cut their hair outside and keep the hair mess outside. Cutting hair is low on my list of things I like to do. Actually it is not even on my list of things I like to do. But when I can save a bunch of money then I’ll do it. Then I can go pay someone to cut my hair soon. It is down below my waist and it is getting a bit out of control. I just don’t know what to do with it.

A storm came blowing in on Saturday afternoon and Alex and I went outside in the windstorm for fun to watch it. The actual rain was just blowing by about a mile to the east so we enjoyed seeing the clouds speed by. The wind gusts would come in waves and I could hear it coming as it whipped through the trees with a low, loud whoosh!

Sunday we had church at home and probably will for a while yet. I can’t see us being able to keep masks on all the kids at church. We’ll see. The lesson I gave was on making good choices and being kind. We had singing time and it was so fun. We went through some longer songs with 7-8 verses and sang them at different speeds. The kids loved it.

Since it was a chilly and rainy afternoon we worked on a puzzle I had been saving. It was an Eric Dowdle puzzle of Old Nauvoo. Alex and I were married in the Nauvoo Temple so it was a fun reminiscent puzzle to do. It was 500 pieces and I’m surprised we got it done in just a couple hours and one sitting.

Before bed we watched a scripture video about what we’ll be studying this coming week. I love all the stories but this is a particularly good one. The kids all sat and watched it and we discussed some of the doctrine if talked about.

Right before it got dark I checked the weather. That storm Alex and I watched, that was a cold front coming in. Snow was forecast for the next morning. Yep. Snow. In June. Alex and I went out and covered the cold sensitive plants- tomatoes and squash. The weather wasn’t supposed to freeze but we covered them just in case. We didn’t want to lose the months of work and have to buy big plants. This is the first year we’ve grown the whole garden from seed rather than get the plants from the store. It’s looking good. We have tons of tomatoes, squash, carrots, cabbage, onions, strawberries, raspberries, and radishes. So many radishes. Alex pickled radishes last week and we have so many more. We have 13 tomato plants. If all goes well, I’ll be super busy canning tomato sauce this fall.

That was the weekend. Just kind of a chill weekend which I am totally okay with.

Daily Life

Long Weekend

It was Memorial Day weekend and we used it but I didn’t have much fun. It was a lot of work. It was raining on Friday and Saturday all day both days until it finally cleared out Saturday night. Sunday was very slow, I even got a nap in. Monday I managed to sleep in until 7.We did a bit of yardwork- I weeded an insane amount but 1-inch weeds are tedious to pull.But the bare ground looks good. (No picture of just dirt- sorry.)Alex worked in the house on the rainy days finishing the closet we wanted built. We have decided that when we do the remodel that we are hiring drywallers. We can do it but we are so slow at it. This closet that we built will be nice though. It will not be some awkward empty room. The kids are still deciding who gets the room. I want none of them to have it. Guest room, folks!We have two cats and zero mice. We wondered where the mice went. Did the cats eat them? We never saw proof, we just guessed. On Sunday morning I found proof. Yellow feathers in the garage. Mostly eaten bird carcass. Apparently they take care of mice and birds. I’m sad about the bird part. I love birds. But the cats are good hunters so I’ll take the occasional bird casualty if it means no mice.We watched a few movies over the weekend. The kids enjoyed Sonic the Hedgehog. They said it was one big commercial for various companies. Kind of lame. Alex and I watched the new Emma adaptation. Other than one maybe two quick scenes-that were entirely unnecessary- we loved it. It was quirky but well done. I’d buy it and watch it again.Monday afternoon we had a picnic in our backyard. The grill was out of propane and so was the town. Alex started a fire in the fire pit and we cooked the meat that way. We set up all the hammocks (I’ve collected 3 over the years) and all the kids had fun swinging in them. It was a fun night topped off by watching Jurassic Park. Our friends stopped by for a bit and it was good to see them. It was weird having people knock on the door again. After almost three months of not having anyone over it throws a body off. The kids loved it.Earlier a neighbor also stopped by to drop off a bunch of rhubarb stalks. The kids were excited. My friend made a rhubarb crisp for us one year and my kids loved it. So do I. I will have to make it for them soon. I chopped the stalks up and put them in the freezer for later. I have a rhubarb plant but it isn’t nearly as big as my neighbors’ plants are. I guess I need to find a sunnier spot?It was a pretty productive weekend. Now maybe we can relax a bit now that summer and warmer weather is here. Maybe. There is a giant project looming. The kitchen. Oh well, work is a good thing. We’ll make time to play.

Daily Life

Deaf in a Pandemic

I am frustrated and fed up with this whole virus thing but I guarantee it isn’t for the reason that you think.

This reaction to the virus is discriminatory. Let me tell you why. I am 30% deaf. That means I miss A Lot! I don’t fit in with the deaf community (I don’t know sign language and don’t know any deaf people anyways) but I can’t hear almost half of what is being said. 95% of the time I don’t complain, it’s been this way for almost forty years. It is all I know. But it is frustrating most days.

I can’t hear a lot of the things my kids say. All their little stories- I don’t know what they are saying. I ask them to speak up and kids really just don’t get that concept. They have two volumes- practically whispering and yelling. I say talk louder, I want to hear what you are saying and they turn down their volume. Same thing if I get closer to hear them. They take it as a cue to get quieter.

One can only say “what?” so many times before the other person get frustrated and says “nevermind”.

This virus reaction has made it worse because I can read lips to some extent and that fills in some of the gaps. People are wearing masks now. This takes away the opportunity for me to read lips and it also muffles any sound I might have understood. I ask people to repeat themselves and it is to no avail. At the bank the other day I explained the situation and the girl kindly took off her mask so I could understand. I was so grateful for that one small act.

I’m just ready to throw in the towel sometimes. I mean really, when my neighbor came over to talk the other day I wanted to hear him but if I leaned in a little to hear better he would back off. Stupid social distancing. I can’t hear you folks and it is hard pretending I know what you are saying. “I smile and nod because I have no idea what you are saying.” That is pretty much a deaf person’s motto. We try but it is difficult. If everyone came with captions it would be so much easier. One of my sisters is in the same boat as me so I know I am not alone in my thinking.

Enough of my rant today. The consequences of not hearing what was said got to me yesterday and it was upsetting so I just had to get it out. Hopefully we can get back to normal soon because this virus is effecting so many people in so many ways- big and small. It really just needs to end.

Daily Life

Monday and Tuesday

I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times: I am not good at this school from home thing. Rumors are that school in the fall will be a continuation of the same. Please no.

Both days I spent hours upon hours working with each child individually. One subject at a time we finished all their work for the year. We are almost done. A few more subjects, a few more tears, a few more threats, a few more meltdowns. That’s all. We can handle it. Right? We have to. My sister told her kids that summer school will be open so they better get their work done so they don’t have to go. We are all getting desperate.

On Monday I had a bunch of energy. I even managed to get the kids to help me weed the dandelions from the front yard. We got several buckets filled. We have about a fifth of the front yard to go. They didn’t mind the work for the most part.

We stayed busy all both monday and Tuesday with school, weeding, cleaning and of course the kids played. I am tired at the end of the day. It is a good thing.

So I have to laugh. My neighbors are all retired and apparently keeping tabs on what’s going on is what they like to do. Saturday Alex and I went on a morning walk and we were stopped by one neighbor who was looking at another neighbor’s yard. A sprinkling system was being put in and he had no qualms about inspecting it. As he finished showing us the spectacle he said we better get to our two mile walk. Shows how close he watches, I usually only walk a mile. Haha.

Then yesterday as I was weeding another neighbor came over to talk. We talked about weeds but then before he left he asked how far I walk every morning. I told him as much as I have time for. See, nothing gets past these people but it can be a good thing. Nothing gets by them so I get the extra eyes on my house and kids.

Tonight though we had a bit of a tragedy with the chicks. Turns out the big chickens are bullies of the worst kind. We had a chick die. Lauren discovered it and it was hers that died. Poor thing. There were tears shed. It is unfortunate. Alex spent two hours building a separate yard and shelter for the little chicks to stay in until they can better defend themselves- get bigger. It is upsetting to put time effort and money into something only to have it die. I feel bad every time we lose one.

Today Lauren made a toy for the cats. That’s all well and good but she insisted the cat be in her room while she made it. I told her it was a bad idea but let her make her own choices. She is allergic to cats; most animals, actually. She paid for it tonight. Itchy eyes and all that comes with it. Now we have to wash everything in her room tomorrow. I don’t think she’ll make that choice again.

Tomorrow I have to take Elizabeth to the dentist. She’s been worried and crying all week. We’ll see how she does. I’ll give an update tomorrow. Until then though, I’ve got to get some sleep.

Daily Life

A Day Out of the House

This morning was grey and kind of chilly. And the wind had started up a little. I decided I can handle the cold. I really don’t like cold wind though. At all.

I was in kind of a bad mood. Defeated is more like it. I was upset because last night Alex and I worked on a detailed list of every item needed to fix the house up. We only got half way through and didn’t even get the labor in yet and it was at almost $40,000. Y’all, that was supposed to be my whole budget. The wind was out of my sails and I was down in the dumps. I was really looking forward to getting it all done and out of the way. So today as I went about trying to do stuff, I thought of ways to cut costs and also what we could do ourselves to save on labor costs. It comes down to doing the three/four important rooms and the rest will just be done cash flowed and one at a time when we can do it. Welcome to the real world.

Despite all the mental setbacks I got up and went for my walk anyways. I wasn’t in the mood to listen to scriptures or say my prayers or walk. But I did them all anyways and I am glad I did. Praying lately has been hard for me. I read all the sad and hard things that are going on in the world and it is such a heavy load. There was this one family in particular who’s story I was following and I would just weep every time I thought of them. It was getting harder and harder to spend my walks just crying and praying for these people. The thought came to me though that it wasn’t my job. Christ had already done the heavy lifting for these people– the whole world in fact. He’d already felt it all and taken care of it all and knows the best way to help. Life is hard but we weren’t meant to do it alone. He already did that.

There is a story in the scriptures about a man named Enos. It was my favorite when I was little and it is still one of my favorites. He goes hunting and while out there he remembers his father, Jacob, talking about the Savior. He starts to pray and he prays all day and into the night. First about himself and the help he needs and forgiveness for his sins. Then he prays for his family and extended family and then basically everyone. That is how I feel sometimes. I have to cut myself short because I could literally pray all day and all night sometimes.

I did feel better by the end of my walk. Good thing too because I had to take all the kids to the dentist today. Just a side note, none of us had a fever. Had to get checked before we could go it. The dentist appointment was the usual crazy juggling it is when you take 8 kids at the same time. But the news was all pretty good.

It was lunchtime so I went to Little Cesar’s and got pizza. I will say one thing though: if Covid-19 continues to spread like wild fire it will be because of people like the one person who came into the store after me. I went in and kept my distance from the person in front of me. A person with incredibly bad manners came in after me. There wasn’t much room to begin with but instead of taking note that I was giving the person in front of me space, she took it as an opportunity to get in line next. Didn’t acknowledge me at all. No “are you in line?” Nothing. Didn’t look at me. Am I wrong to be upset? I didn’t say anything to her but I just thought it was a bit inconsiderate.

We took the pizza to Alex’s work and ate lunch with him. He took the kids on a tour since the machines were all turned off during the lunch hour. The kids enjoyed it.

We went to Sam’s Club afterwards. I left all the kids in the van and I hurried and did the shopping. I loaded all the groceries into the van and then went to start the van. It wouldn’t start. The kids had turned it on halfway to run the air and radio. They killed the battery. I called Alex to come jump the battery and as he was on his way the lady who was parked in front of me came to her car. I asked if she would help me but she said she couldn’t because the battery in her car was in the back. Okay. Poor design choice. The empty spot in front of us was quickly filled and I probably scared to old man when I came up to him as he was opening his door. He agreed to help, thank goodness. It took just a few minutes and we were on our way. I thanked him and wished him a good day. The kids now know to turn the car on all the way or not at all.

That trip took up most of the day. We got zero schoolwork done. I read on Facebook today some lady said that it isn’t homeschool, it is crisis school. She is completely correct. This situation is nowhere near normal. Crisis school indeed. But I told the kids to expect hours of school tomorrow. We’ll hope we actually do it and survive.

Daily Life

Monday Again

This distance learning has worn itself out. It overwhelms me to the point where nothing gets done. I was reading a post from a friend that works full time and she’s overwhelmed. I can’t imagine the stress that comes from having to work and also keep up with the kids. She has four kids in school from third grade to a graduating senior. My thoughts go to if something doesn’t give, how do they plan on doing school next year? I guess just open up and hope for the best?

But, I’m going to look at the bright side of this. There are some perks: no handshaking, no people shoving themselves way too close in the grocery store lines, the amount of social obligations has gone way down, etc. This is almost an introvert’s and germaphobe’s dream. Kind of. Silver linings, folks.

But seriously, as everyone knows, this pandemic is beyond awful. I ache for all those suffering from it in various ways. I am just inconvenienced. Many have their lives changed forever and I pray that they get the help and comfort they need.

We didn’t do a whole lot yesterday. I tried. I sat with a couple kids while they did their school work. It took a bit of cajoling and we didn’t get done nearly what we should have gotten done. If I don’t sit with them they leave and nothing gets done. So I sat there and crocheted pot holders and watched a couple episodes of Hoarders.

I don’t like “reality” television for the most part. The Bachelor and the like just makes me cringe and hide. I can’t watch it. At all. But the psychology behind hoarders and addiction and obsessive compulsive disorder fascinates me. The patience of the people helping the hoarders astounds me. The normal reaction is to be disgusted but they are so understanding. One lady I watched yesterday was the most with it of any of the episodes I have watched. She knew she had a problem, she was disgusted by it and wanted to change but didn’t know how. The doctor working with her said something over a couple episodes that struck me. She said that these people needed to feel the emotions. They needed to just feel it and let it pass. They didn’t have to listen to the addiction they could talk back to it. It struck me and I realized that the advice she gave can be used in so many aspects of life. Emotions dont stay around long if you acknowledge them and feel them. They leave after that and we are free to move on. Anyways, I found that interesting.

For Family Home Evening we didn’t do much. I made some s’mores rice krispie treats and we watched a conference talk about whether we are casual or careful about the gospel. It was a good talk and a good reminder that we need to take it seriously.

After that we watched the new episode of Studio C on BYUTV. A couple of the sketches were good. Comedy is hit or miss. Everyone has a different sense of humor. I enjoyed it. We went to bed after that.

End of another day.

Daily Life

The Week Begins

Yesterday my 5 year old came up to me and said, “I’ve had some bad things happen in my life, but I can handle it.” She was very serious. I asked what bad things she was talking about and she referenced the time she used the veggie peeler and cut a bit of her finger and nail off. A very tiny bit. But if that is the extent of her hard life then I think things are going well for her.

Noah’s long awaited bike came. Alex stopped on the way home from work to get it. Noah was so excited! He told the neighbors walking past all about it. Then he assumed he would be an expert at bike riding. Not so. He came in later and told me he’d fallen off his bike. I looked at his elbow. He hadn’t seen the blood until I did. Then the howling began and lasted way too long.

Last night as I was going to empty the dishwasher (normally I make the kids do this but was feeling generous- thank goodness) and three of the wheels popped of quickly in succession. Down went the drawer crashing into the one below it. One wheel had been broken for months and we’d been hobbling along. Not a possibility anymore. When it rains it pour apparently. I’m incredibly grateful that it is fixable so I ordered the parts on Amazon.

I’ve been fixing things a lot lately. It would be so much easier to just buy new things- appliances and furniture. All my appliances/furniture are eight to 20+ years old so it’s not like I am being frivolous with wanting new stuff. I make it do and use it until it can’t be used or reasonably fixed. I’ll save up to remodel my kitchen and then I’ll buy new appliances. Kids are hard on furniture so I’m not getting new stuff until we are out of the destructive child phase. It will end someday, right?

We went for a walk around the block. Twice. Noah wanted to ride his bike but he knows he’s not allowed to go alone. He’s been begging me all day long. So I went once with him and Elizabeth and the dog. Then I made Alex go with us and Evangeline wanted to go too but we have to carry her. Noah is getting better and it was such a nice night! We didn’t need jackets or anything.

It is funny how we rarely see our neighbors in the winter. It’s like we are all in hibernation and as soon as it warms up they all come out. My street is retirement row. We are the youngest ones on the street. They’ve all been self-isolating for weeks and tonight they all emerged from their dens. All the men were out gabbing it up. It is always the men. Their wives all stay indoors doing who knows what and the men go visiting eachother for hours. It makes me laugh. I was reading a book and kept looking out the window and noticed my neighbors were in a different spot every time. It looked like one was trying to go back home but the other one was following him.

I did absolutely no schoolwork with the kids today. My sister in law is moving her family to Virginia (coincidentally to the same town I lived in when I was there 15 years ago and my first son was born there) and the cousins wanted to say goodbye. That sent me into event cleaning mode. We got the whole upstairs cleaned up. It was needed. I may or may not have shoved most of the stuff in baskets and shut them in my room. Don’t judge. Then we sat out on the porch to visit. Works for me. (I did clean out the baskets later though.)

The house smelled and so Michael volunteered to take the chicks out to the garage. I opened all the windows and turned on the fan. Made all the difference in the world. Next week it will be warm enough and they will be old enough to stay out in the garage. I am so excited for that day.

Well, I’ll end here. I need to get the kids in bed because I definitely need to get them back on track as far as school goes. A couple of them did do some assignments but we need to do some more. As usual.