Things have been slow on the blog, because in real life things have been anything but slow.
The kids continue to be kids. The Boy needs to be educated. The packing isn't going fast enough. The other house is a wreck. Laundry piles up and I discovered that I packed my Birkenstocks and most of our summer clothes in some inaccessible location, thinking we'd be moved by now.
Here is a far too typical day from last week:
6:45 Wake up exhausted and sore from moving boxes, unplanting and replanting. Wish someone would tell you to stay in bed all day.
7:00 Actually drag yourself out of bed. Turn on the kettle and wish you could sit still and enjoy a nice cup of tea. When tea is steeped, drink it while making breakfast and unloading the dishwasher with help from husband who is also corralling children.
8:00 Clean off breakfast dishes, rush self and children into clothing. Gather up swimming paraphernalia, library books.
8:35 Leave for swimming class at the Y.
9:00 Run into swimming class, just on time. Watch swimming and hope that the four year old doesn't cry.
9:30 Help the four year shower, trying not to get too soaked while turning the faucet on and off.
9:45 After having gotten the four year old showered, dried, and dressed while chasing the two year old and holding the baby in a sling, wait for the seven year old to finish his shower and wonder if he'd been abducted.
10:00 The seven year old finally comes strolling out of the locker room, just as you were about to barge into the men's room and attack the bad guys who must have taken him, since he couldn't possibly take that long when you told him to hurry up with his shower this time.
10:05 Wrestle all small people into carseats. Drive down the street to the library.
10:10 At the library pick out way too many books. Haul them in the double stroller and wonder why they couldn't have shopping carts for book carrying. Suggest the librarian bring it up at the next staff meeting. Notice that nobody else seems to leave the library with 100 books.
10:47 Leave the library and pick up husband down the street and drive to the Purple House to meet with contractor of the day at 11 (the tile guy this time).
11:00 Talk about tile, show him what we want where and let the man take measurements. Clean up after previous contractors, while doing this. Water plants so that things you've transplanted don't die.
12:00 Return husband to his office. Think it is finally time to go home. Realize that you can't after all, because something special is happening this afternoon.
12:30 Arrive at very busy mall and circle the parking lot until you can find a space not on the opposite side of the mall from the bookstore.
1:00 Buy book for seven year old for book signing purposes. Wonder why you didn't buy the book two weeks ago when you were in the store. Now you are down at number 250 in line. Take four children out to lunch at bookstore cafe. Get complimented by waitress for being polite and stowing behemoth stroller under the table.
1:45 Tired, unnapped children behave so remarkably well at lunch that you reward them all with cookies (and yourself -- you didn't even yell at them, after all).
1:46 The book signing doesn't start until 2:00, but already there is no way to get close to the front on the area where the author will be talking.
2:00 Listen to one of seven year old's favorite authors. She seems so nice, you decide that she's your favorite author too.
2:15 Wander the store waiting for your turn in line. Let four year old pick out cheap paperback book for author to sign too.
2:45 Still waiting. Two year old breaks glass candle holder. Why do they sell those in a book store?
3:30 It's our turn to get in line. Resist the urge to throttle kids who cut in front of you to get the covers of their books signed after the insides already have been.
3:45 Pay for paperback you let your daughter get signed.
4:00 Go home.
5:45 Cook dinner.
7:00 Help get kids into bed.
8:00 Pack things. Goof off on the computer once in a while. Talk to husband.
11:00 Go to bed. Try to read. Realize your brain doesn't work any more.
But the day was good and at least one child is very, very happy.
When I unpack my china and crystal, I'll find out how well I actually packed it.
I just walked into the dining room where all the breakables are in their boxes and stacked up, waiting to be moved. My two year old had unstacked them and rearranged the boxes so that she could build a step ladder/seat.
I hope I packed them well and tightly. There aren't any ominous tinkling noises issuing from the boxes, so I am going to assume things are ok. If not -- well -- we don't use the china that often any way.
Although I am currently sitting in my dining room surrounded by boxes, I begin to think that our house will never actually be emptied. While I pack, and pack, and pack unendingly, things like giving the seven year old an education still have to take place.
Naturally, I have left out the books we rely on most heavily -- The Story of the World, Saxon Math, First Language Lessons, the spelling workbook, our science encyclopedias and a few other things. As more things disappear into boxes though, we're relying more heavily on library books, the internet and sadly also videos these days. Since the weather has been wonderful, the kids are also outside a lot, which is nice for all concerned.
The four year old was doing something annoying while I was driving this morning. I can't remember what it was. She's often doing something to annoy someone else in the car. I yelled back, "Cease that right now!" (Yes, I really said "cease.")
She stated, "I will not. I'll desist." And she stopped pestering her siblings for a few minutes.
The other day I posted the Mom My Car video. Which Steve-O thought I should be shot for posting and Sarah G. wanted to know who'd been filming her car. Sadly, she isn't the only one with a mom-mobile in a less than pristine condition. So in fairness, I thought I'd shoot a few shots of my van.
Click on any of the pictures for notes of what the junk you are looking at actually is.
What you can't see, is the back seat, which is where my son stores his stick and rock collection, various drawings, books, and other detritus.
1) If you only had one hour to show a visitor something interesting in your hometown, where would you go?
I'd recommend The Parthenon in the middle of Centennial Park. It's left over from our 1897 Centennial celebration. It's a full scale replica, with the added benefit of being much more intact than the original. The statue of Athena inside is pretty amazing too.
2) If you then had to find that friend a great place for a quick bite to eat, where would you go?
There are some "old Nashville" types of restaurants not too far from the Parthenon, but I can't say I think they are really my favorites. For a quick bite, I would either go to Goldie's Deli or go to Sitar, my favorite Indian place.
3) Now that you�ve entertained and fed your friend, it�s time to send him on his way. You�re not sure which way he�s going, but he�s got a fast red convertible, and you want him to see something nice as he drives. What route from your home to someplace else, either to the north, south, east, or west would you recommend to him as the most scenic drive?
I think the prettiest drive out of town is probably on the Natchez Trace Parkway. Taking a fast little convertible out on it wouldn't be all that fun though, because the speed limit is 50 mph.
I'm very happy. The kids have been really enjoying listening to the Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea in the car, but we've finished them and they've been returned to the library. Our library doesn't have Anne of the Island on CD. Enter Librivox to the rescue!
LibriVox is a volunteer site with recordings of books that are in the Public Domain. They've got a pretty nice collection of recordings with many more in progress and it's free. I'm downloading Anne of the Island right now.
I've been teaching The Seven Year Old about the Nervous System and I knew he'd enjoy the old Schoolhouse Rock song on the subject. Our Schoolhouse Rock Video is all packed up, but YouTube provides.
Naturally, I had to explain what a Telegraph line was. Not that I'm actually old enough to remember people sending telegrams as a rapid form of communication, but it was pretty funny to hear myself explaining that what they were saying was that the brain is sending a really fast message -- like an e-mail (they don't know about Instant Messaging) from one part of the body to the brain. I'm surprised the kids didn't ask why the nerves didn't just pick up the phone and call.
Schoolhouse Rock may not be up-to-date or even very accurate, but it does help me relive my childhood and realize how the world has changed in the meantime. And since my kidlets rarely get video time, they thought watching anything was pretty nifty.
I recently checked out a book on the history of art for the seven year old and I to look at. We were looking particularly at an ancient Greek statue of a warrior and talking about how good sculptors studied muscles and bones and other parts of the human body to make such perfect sculptures. This was a bit of cross-over between art and science, where we had been learning about muscles.
The Lad and I flipped through more pages, admiring various pieces of art, until we came to a sketch of some painters sitting in a studio painting a nude model.
"Is that supposed to be a live model?"
"Yes," I admitted.
"Well, um, yes." I didn't want to be a prude about these things and I don't think that one should avert the eyes from every naked painting at the art museum, but well a bunch of guys sitting around painting an unclothed female isn't something one can call exactly decent.
I told him he was right, that there were some times and places nudity was appropriate -- like in the shower. "But no one is watching me when I'm alone in there." Or a husband and wife can see each other in a state of undress. "But none of those men in the picture are married to that girl."
We discussed how frequently there are photos made that are inappropriate and designed to cause feelings that are not properly directed at the people in the photos. We talked about the right time and place for these feelings and for nudity in general. I told my beliefs on the subject and he seemed satisfied.
I'm never thrilled to have these little chats, opening up the seamier side of the world to my little innocents, however I'm glad that they do remain, thus far, relatively pure of mind and that they see indecency where I had begun to overlook it.
My friend Meredith sold her last house to the first person who looked at it after it hit the market. So even though I tried not to get my hopes up over the house hunter who was dying to see it the day we put it on sale, it was a bit disappointing to find out the next morning that it wasn't what they were looking for.
Saturday night we cleared out again for another showing and don't actually know whether anyone came or not.
Sunday we cleaned up, went to church, ate lunch out, returned to our house long enough to take the dog to a neighbor's and cleared out for the afternoon. The kids and I went to a friend's house, while Justin did some demolition at the Purple House.
When we returned to the house at around 4:45, we were greeted at the gate by our agent with the news that we not only had an offer, but it was for more than our asking price. They do want to keep my refrigerator, which I had planned to take with me, and they wanted the sign on my front gate that says, in French, "Beware of children." Although, from a monetary standpoint it makes no sense, but the sign means a lot more to me than the refrigerator -- especially because the buyers don't have kids. So we'll buy a refrigerator and keep the sign.
It ain't over, 'til it's over. However, these people clearly want to buy the house. Let's just hope all the contingencies for inspections and all go through without a hitch.
Let's also hope that we can make enormous progress on the Money Pit in the next five weeks, so that I won't be homeless for my 32 birthday, which will be 3 days after the proposed closing date.
Someone really, really, really wants to see our house tonight. Yikes. It's already pretty clean, except for all the stuff I've been putting off. Why does the baby decide today is a good day not to nap and to scream whenever I put him down?
If I don't want to add child number five to the mix any time soon, I may have to stop drinking whole milk and eating Yobaby. According to an article in the Washington Times yesterday, "Drinking whole milk and eating high-fat ice cream appears to benefit women who want to get pregnant."
Of course, maybe I'd drop the post-partum weight and the belly roll faster if I gave up on the fatty milk, but it tastes soooo much better.
My house is on the market. The sign is out front and the MLS listing is posted. I'm going to miss this place. It's where I've brought three of my children home from the hospital. It's where I've dug in the dirt and made new flower beds. It's the house I never really wanted to leave. Yet, it is also the crowded house. The house with no good place to put homeschooling things or a lot of other things. The house without a place to build a swing set.
I know I'd feel better if the purple house were livable. If we had a place all ready for us. I'm not stepping out into a great unknown. At the very worst we'd have to find temporary housing for a month or two.
Today, though, as the reality of leaving the familiar sinks in, I'm sorry and wondering what I was thinking.