Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Day

Last Friday the kids were off of school, so we planned a little day trip. I said that we could leave after morning chores, which were extended to mid-morning chores after Adam created a "skating rink" with half of a container of baby powder:
As you can see, it was immensely fun and messy, which also describes each boy involved. They didn't care about washing it out of their hair and went around looking like they had grayed prematurely.

With the house decently cleaned up (and smelling baby fresh), we headed out to a state park. We were mostly alone and it was clear and still. An old spring cellar and stream captivated the boys' pretend play for a happy hour. They caught scores of box elder bugs on the stones. Some went up Max's shirtsleeve and he was brave. Zach found a frog, named him Oscar, and built him an island.

Then they skipped down through a fairytale ravine to the waterfall,
where they got their shoes wet and told me that they weren't even cold.
 Adam sang "He's Got the Whole World in his Hands" to the echoing ravine walls.
Max climbed up the mossy sloping rocks.
The three oldest crossed a stream by shimmying up a fallen tree and reached the peak on the other side. Of course we had to get a group shot, for me.
Later we roasted hot dogs. Jacob brought back this stick when I sent them to hunt for some skewers. He loves to get a laugh and then smiles shyly to himself.
They're growing up, offering their advice to me about how to build a fire, gather sticks, and anything else that I could improve on. When I was singing a camp song to them, Zachary said, "Don't sing it so crazy; none of the other moms do it so crazy!" When I asked him how the other moms do it, he said, "Just not like that!" The song was "Michael Finnegan." 

"Michael Finnegan" and "Michael, Row Your Boat Ashore" are my Michael's favorites. :) I've never known a more pleasant person. Having him go to kindergarten this year has removed such a happy part of my life. I can't wait to see him--and all the kids--every afternoon!
We brought a rake to make a leaf pile--it ended up being big enough to disappear in!

Just before sunset we built castles on the beach and dragged sticks to draw in the sand. On the drive home we blasted both the heater and our favorite camp songs. It was a perfect day.

Today I organized the mud room and did laundry. One kid work up early from his nap and pulled out all of the linens in the closet and spread them around the floor. He then dumped out every container in his path from upstairs to the main floor. (He told me he was mad because he wanted me to nap with him!) I read him a dozen storybooks and held him for a long time. After school I helped kids prepare a presentation and practice piano. At dinner a kid knocked his plate of spaghetti and glass of milk on his brother. When I was cleaning that up, another kid poured his plate of spaghetti and sauce into the freezer to cool it down. They all did their chores. No one would do his homework, however, nor wear pajamas ("The real strong guys don't wear shirts, just like poor people, and I am the strongest guy in the WORLD!" he told me). My neighbor came over to give me some mail and the kids were running circles, most half clothed because we were trying to change for bed. Eric came home and helped with the schoolwork. The kids listened to scripture time and said simple, happy prayers. (Max: "Thank thee that Mom is coming home and Dad is coming home." He says that every prayer, omitting "Dad" if he's not home yet.) Jacob put a star sticker on his belly and marched around chanting, "Sneetch!" They were giggling so much that they could hardly brush their teeth. We kissed and hugged them. When the lights went out, I breathed in and out. Today was perfect, too.