Whelp! Not really sure how to jump back in after my six week absence from writing here. My only excuse is that I've had some other things that have been occupying my every last brain cell on top of the ones that are already occupied by normal things like how much toilet paper we have, when everyone's meds run out, and the usual personal hygiene triage (I clipped and painted my toenails last night and am feeling very fancy indeed!)
I've been spending most of my time reading. Reading for work, reading for fun, and reading for the non-paying part time job I've carved out for myself at my church (which has been incredibly gratifying, just time consuming).
This pile looks positively quaint next to the way it looks now. I'd go take a picture right now but if I lose my focus now it might be another six weeks before it comes back.
AS DO THE CHILDREN AND THEIR SCHOOL NEEDS. In spite of some improvements in general maturity and motivation and attitude, middle school homework continues to be an all hands on deck situation. James needs lots of gentle encouragement to get through his reading log (except that now he has discovered Big Nate and is OFF TO THE RACES). Wes is weirdly independent and doing great on homework, but sometimes needs a little bit of support because they have started reading about some hard topics recently. And Mary is a stereotypical people-pleasing girl, so we are all set there.
(Last night she took her shower in my bathroom and I used the time to do a home pedicure and we sang "You are my Sunshine" the whole time and then I brushed her hair and we read a book snuggled up on the couch, before I tucked her in with some cute giggles about a funny song we'd heard earlier that day and lots of hugs and kisses. This is basically how I imagined parenting to be for the first twenty six years of my life and have not found to be true until now. THANK YOU, GIRL CHILD!)
The kids started school and then I started school and that's going...nominally well. Hey, who wants to look at some pictures?
We've already had our first episode of strep for the year. James came with me to work and watched movies on a sleeping bag in my office during class. It was so restful and easy to concentrate!
Before my classes started Ryan rented us a sailboat. We had a blast, but we also had a heat index of 108 and I thought I was going to perish. Working out a fall time to go now.
On the lake! On a Friday morning! It was super great.
On the other side of the temperature coin, the air conditioning went on the fritz in my new office and my office was below sixty degrees for a few days. I cannot stand being too cold, so this was a problem. A nose running, headache-y kind of problem. When I was still being a good sport about it I took a few selfies of the ways I'd devised to keep warm, like this one where I was wearing my lab coat. I didn't know what a great picture it would be and now I kind of regret making that goofy face. Maybe I'll pretend that's how I always smile and put it on my professional Twitter anyway.
More temperature! I finished my Global Temperature Anomaly crochet project AKA the scariest craft project of all time. The part in the foreground is the temperature anomaly in 1916 and the part by my feet is 2016. It was a far more visceral way to interact with the data than I normally do, which is in Matlab. I am kind of addicted to crocheting now and need another project. Maybe one that doesn't fill me with existential dread.
James and Mary continue to make an adorable couple.
The other day I took the children out for some exercise before school (yes like dogs) and when they were all near each other I asked to take a quick picture and they took the best picture I've ever taken of them.
I took this when they were all hanging out together at church after Charley got back from a weekend long Scout campout. James got so excited to see Charley walking across the lobby that he chased him into the men's room and tackled him. We missed him so much. Wes asked us what it would be like when Charley goes to college and NOPE, we are NOT THINKING ABOUT THAT.
Wes was officially trained to carry the figurative Light of Christ/literal fire into the church on Sunday mornings. Methodism: trusting ten year olds with fire for a couple hundred years. Nobody use too much hairspray. He tied an awesome knot with his belt, which he credits to his training at sailing camp. That boat's not floating away!
How I found them when we came back inside from our Friday evening ritual of hiding in the front yard after Ryan dropped Charley off: attempting to occupy the same five square feet of the house.
I went to a fancy dress up screening of Downton Abbey with a bunch of friends and managed to get myself into the dress I used to wear to weddings in my pre-kid twenties. It was SO MUCH FUN. Everyone in the theater was dressed up, even the men. The scarf was an important addition, especially after the tiny thread holding the two sides of the top gave out under the extreme pressure midway through the movie (ironically while I was eating a special themed menu item called "Mrs. Patmore's girdle buster).
More of the three younger kids trying to occupy the same five square feet of space.
Looks like Charley took a picture of his *skull collection* with my phone.
We went out to eat and the kids acted like they've never been inside a building before.
Then we retired to the hot tub.
The other night my friend texted to ask about her kid's math homework, which was STUPID, and I procrastinated dinner by proposing an alternative solution for her to send to the teacher. (I don't know if she did).
We went to a doctor's appointment, to continue the theme of kids unnecessarily sitting within arm's reach at all times.
The other day I was cooking dinner and heard a weird noise and turned around to see THIS. Sadly, she belongs to Wes's friend and does not now live with us because I love her.
James and Charley had a swim meet today. They both did such a great job and it was really fun, except that they each had five events and I had to make sure they got to the blocks at the right times, in two different parts of the pool since Charley's longer events started on one side and James's shorter events started on the other, and there were a couple of hours there where one of them was swimming in every other event and it was CHAOS. It was also hotter than a swim meet in September has any business being. But so, so good! I tell you that to tell you how great it was that after the swim meet we dropped all the kids off at a birthday party and went on a date to this pub that was having an early Oktoberfest with my favorite local tuba-themed polka band, the Tubameisters. That first beer after a hot swim meet is a special, special thing. Also: pretzels and cheese.
So that's a reasonably good summary of the past six weeks. Kids started school, Ryan and I went sailing, I started school, school is hard, choir is fun, last week the kids ate pizza twice and spaghetti twice and vegetables zero times, we do seventh grade homework until ten o'clock at night sometimes, books are good, and it's too hot.