Ahhh, my favorite time of the year - the beginning of school. It feels like the beginning of everything.
Earlier in the summer the kids begged to go swimming and I reluctantly gave up hours to sit and watch them jump and splash and call my name every 3 and 1/2 seconds.
By the end of August when they're thrashing around with apathy or agony of boredom and I suggest a swim they act like I'm sentencing them to a death march. By this point in the summer they have exhausted every argument they could possibly have with every combination of siblings in the house and therefore have nothing left to do or say.
But there's a bright spot. School starts!
Life will have structure and purpose. And the heat that wears me down like a steam roller will be swept away with the beautiful September clouds.
Monday morning was like an awakening here. The children all got up early and I know for a fact that they all brushed their teeth, which I could not certify happened each day in the summer. There were places to be and things to do and I liked it.
Our three littles went out the door to public school and the older six were at our homeschool table ready to start when I got home from my walk.
I know I'll be sick of all this come about February, but then Spring will be right around the corner and summer won't be far behind.
So Happy New Year! I'm throwing pencils into the air.
Wednesday, 18 August 2010
As the summer keeps trying to slip away, I continue to try to catch at it's hem and hold it back.
A trip to Home Depot scored beautiful blue Adirondack chairs for pool side sitting at 25% off and 15 bags of sand box sand.
We have an extravagantly large three tier sand box behind the house and I have never begrudged the area it takes up. Our sand box has provided countless children hours of sifting, pouring, building and scooping. I remember one little boy who came to us for a short while in foster care who wasn't about to talk to anyone here. He chose the sand box every morning and by the third day of sitting with him and driving my car over the sandy roads to his house, we had become best buddies.
Our sand box is uncovered and uncomplicated and a certain amount of cat poop finds it's way in, but when it dries it can be easily popped into the air and over the side with a shovel.(actually it can be fun) The sand has been around for so long that treasures from some other time and kids are buried deep, waiting to be unearthed and delighted in.
The 15 bags of sand brought a few of the kids out to give it a try. Wait...don't go just yet summer.
Wednesday, 11 August 2010
Our little orchard has finally started producing this year. James has battled the deer with a huge fence around the perimeter and won. He has his beehives next to the trees pollinating happily all day long.
And the trees have cooperated and given us peaches!
They look a little odd but let me tell you - when you bite into them the sweetest juice runs down your throat and it tastes like heaven!!
Sunday, 8 August 2010
Do you ever get that thought that if you could just do that thing over again, you would do it differently? Maybe you would add a bit more sugar to the cornbread or you would have stopped at the library first instead of picking up the kid at the soccer field who was fifteen minutes late coming out to the car anyway.
There are lots of situations I have looked back on and wished I had done things differently, but we don't often get second chances - or thirds of fourths.
But when it comes to parenting, I've been given about 64 tries. Really. At least that many kids have come through our home, whether for a life time or a few days and each one has given me another turn, another try, another chance at being their mom.
Kids are all different, but they need pretty much the same things. They need shelter and food and safety (those are the easy things) and acceptance and boundaries and encouragement and someone to be their advocate and times of joy and a mom who enjoys them and the list is endless. And with some kids I've bumbled through, at best, trying to meet their needs and finding a way to affect their hearts. Not all of these tries have been successful. Some kids have left here and I can't imagine what will become of them. And I wish I could have done some things differently.
Tonight I tucked eight kids into bed. Our littlest guy Sam is only six years old and I've been given another chance to love him and be the mom that he needs. Will I get it all right? No, but if he is my last....Can I just tell you that I will cherish this one last try at it?!
Wednesday, 4 August 2010
With so many boys so close together in age I've had to come up with some creative ways to organize and pass the clothes down from one boy to the next. I have a whole system of marking the tags in each piece of clothing and labeling the crates in the attic so that I don't mistakenly bring down the Easter baskets when I really was looking for winter boots.
And we pass EVERYTHING down.
Well, except for underwear because that's just disgusting.
And not shoes because I have discovered that unlike girls, who wear shoes to cover their feet, boys have a much wider range of uses for their shoes, which makes them good for basically nothing after they wear them.
Boys apparently use shoes for..
a. Brakes. Why bother to peddle backwards when you want to stop your bike, when you can much more easily drag the top of your shoes into the pavement and rip them to shreds?
b. Shovels. That rock in bedded in the yard must be removed and "oh look" your shoes will do the trick if you kick and dig with them until the dirt has covered the shoe so deeply that you can't remember what color they were originally where they looked so nice on the shelf in the store.
c. Exterminator. I have seen boys sneakers with a sample from every family, genus and species of animal in North America smashed into the heels of their shoes. Run bug - run!
d. Amphibious Vehicle. Every puddle calls their name.
And they often smell. I don't know if boys don't change their socks often enough or if they have sweat glands in their toes, but I'm just saying that you should not breathe deep in some of my boys closets.
So it's off to the shoe store tomorrow to buy each boy all new shoes because I threw all the old ones in the garbage.
Monday, 2 August 2010
When kids come to our house, they often come with i pods - fully loaded. I never say much at first but I know that what is sliding out of the ear-buds into their ears are often words that are about a life that we don't live here.
They don't think anything about it.
It's what they listen to and I don't say anything about it.
I just wait.
Over time they see a family that loves. Not love like they're listening to - but love that is clean and right. They hear words that heal and not tear down. And they meet a Savior who draws them to worship.
And soon they come to me and ask me to take off certain songs from their i pod because they don't sound good to them anymore. And then they ask, "Who sings that song that goes..."Oh how He loves me"?
And I don't say anything, but little by little I see their i pod lists changing along with their hearts.
Emma has a completely remodeled i pod and spends many days producing plays with her little brothers and has actually gotten them to perform praise dance with her - which is remarkable in itself.
When I sit and watch this group of kids sing to Jesus I am amazed at His power to gently make new creations of us.