month

Life Lately

Has the “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers” line from Anne of Green Gables been over-used yet? Because that’s something my heart has been sighing pretty much all day every day. It’s as unoriginal a thought as a (white, suburban woman) person can have, so, unsurprisingly, here we are.

2019 10 19  Leaves 01.jpg

The kids had fall break last week, Nolan for the entire week and Caden and Brooklyn for two days. Thursday and Friday, when they were all home, felt just like falling back into our old, familiar rhythm again. As though this whole Kindergarten thing were nothing more than a momentary blip.

Of course, it was different in that I KNEW it was a blip in time. Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday in some ways seemed to last forever, but in a good way, in the way that it was hard to dive back into routine and actually need to wake up to my phone alarm again on Monday morning. But unlike so many of the never-ending days of the past five years, I knew there was an end to it all, there was a slight relief to it, that I could count it down on a single hand.

2019 10 17 All Farm 08.jpg
2019 10 17 All Pumpkins 02.jpg

Our weeks have a rhythm, more so than our days. Where most days in the past five years felt more or less the same, it’s our weeks that seem to loop now, instead of individual weekdays. Preschool on Monday, playtime on Tuesdays before I go off to a writing class and rush home to delivery pizza and dance class for all. Wednesdays it’s back to preschool and don’t forget to pick up the groceries. Thursdays are for eating lunch with Caden and Brooklyn at school before volunteering all afternoon, and Fridays equal preschool again and an afternoon movie.

Then, somehow, it’s the weekend. The weeks don’t usually feel quite so long anymore. Especially once I fit in errands (Target at least once, maybe Costco, and do I have any returns to make?), an inevitable appointment of some sort (dentist, chiropractor, optometrist), bringing a meal to a friend, writing, reading, and the cleaning and meal prep/consumption/clean-up of regular household function: the rest of my “free” hours fill up quickly. (Though ask me about that again in a few days if we continue this streak of rain, clouds, and sub-50-degree temps.)

+++++

“When I was a baby,” is Nolan’s current favorite go-to line. Some things are factual. “When I was a baby, I could only crawl,” is more or less accurate. Others not so much.

“When I was a baby I couldn’t say ‘puppy’ so I said ‘po-pa’,” being one.

“When I was a baby I was in a tree and then I fell out of the tree and you were there and then a lion scratched me right here on my cheek,” is another.

Sometimes he even projects into the future. “When I was 10 I drove in a car and then I climbed in a tree. And I lived in my own house and it was pink.”

2019 10 19 Nolan Leaves 01.jpg

“But Nolan, you’ve never been 10,” you might say. You would be wrong. He was 10 at some point in the past and you’re a damn fool for thinking he wasn’t.

These statements are absolutely, positively not up for dispute. You just have to nod your head and agree with him or else you’ll realize you’ve enmeshed yourself in a debate with a three-year old void of all reason, facts, or logic, over whether said three-year old ate hot dogs with ketchup when he was a baby or not.

+++++

Some thought-provoking reads from around the Internets:

This article on the privilege of obtaining an elite degree…and the pitfalls.
This one on why it’s not just about the cooking.
This post from Emily P. Freeman.
This beautiful poem from a fellow Exhale creativity member.

+++++

“We have homework,” Caden announced the second week of school. He strode into the house, plopped his backpack on the ground, and rummaged through his folder for the orange math worksheet, “Mrs. Hawes said we HAVE to do it. It needs to be done in pencil and you need to sign it when I’m done and I need to do it right now and I need a pencil.”

He sat expectantly at the counter while I rummaged in the drawer for a pencil. He and Brooklyn sat down and completed their simple worksheets in a minute or two, working seriously the whole time. And that’s more or less how the school year has gone. They’ve adapted to kindergarten like fish to water; I think they would sleep in their classroom if it were allowed.

At back-to-school night, the second or third week of school, they couldn’t contain their enthusiasm. “We’ll show you where everything is!” they told us, giddy with excitement. They showed us around the school, showed us how to go through the lunch line, which table they sat at. They explained the rules and showed us the different classrooms with all the importance of freshmen.

“No sloppy-poppy!” Brooklyn says while she’s coloring. “That’s what Mrs. Hawes says.”

And “There’s no scribbles in elementary school!”

And “Name on your paper - first thing!”

And more. Almost every day they come home with another tidbit of information about their teacher which means that by the end of the year I expect to know Mrs. Hawes more intimately than I know some of my closest friends, despite only seeing her a handful of times myself.

DEAR KINDERGARTEN TEACHERS: THANK YOU. You are doing the Lord’s work. These kids hero-worship you. And I hope they talk about us at school even half as much as they talk about you at home.

+++++

+++++

Believe all the five-star reviews. This soup is perfect, even more so with a loaf of crusty, homemade bread. My only quibble with the recipe as it’s written is that it absolutely should be doubled.

I’ve already made this applesauce cake twice this fall. And I’ll probably make it at least once more. All of Deb’s recipes are fantastic but this one has become tradition.

This blueberry oatmeal is my favorite. Topped with a little dark brown sugar and some chia seeds when I can find them in the pantry: yum.

+++++

The more I think about it, the more I realize just how much the weeks continue to blur by. I’ve said yes to some things, things I wouldn’t have said yes to with three kids under five at home. I’m taking a writing class (it’s giving me LIFE), volunteering at school, doing some design work here and there, heading up a committee at church. Somehow the time and space I thought I might have with two kids gone all day and another a few mornings a week has never quite materialized.

Especially as we rush into the end of the year. Halloween blurs right into Thanksgiving and then into Christmas (and did you see how LATE Thanksgiving is this year??) which means my mind is already crammed with all the shopping, meal planning, parties, gifts, etc. (I possibly had a meltdown to Tyson about ALL THE THINGS in the next several months that need to be done in addition to ALL THE REGULAR LIFE THINGS last night. It’s fine.) Basically, I’m living this meme:

its-october-which-means-halloween-is-here-which-is-basically-4285724.jpg

Of course, to the kids, Christmas is still a lifetime away. Two months is an eternity in their eyes. Heck, Halloween is in less than a week and that’s unbearable enough. (“Is it Halloween yet? Do we get to wear our costumes today? Is it trick-or-treating tonight? Can we eat candy?” MAKE IT STOP.) I remember, as a kid, just how long the time felt between each break, to get from one holiday to the next. I empathize with them, even as my brain feels scrambled with all the to-dos.

Hang in there, everyone. Buckle up during this last mad rush of the year. Enjoy the colorful leaves if you can, a mug of something warm in the afternoon, and bake up that applesauce cake SOON. This time of year might fly by, but it also doesn’t keep.