Ups, downs, and joys

(She was slightly “over” the monthly sticker thing this month)

I’m not going to begin this blogpost with yet another apology about life catching up with us or time flying by.  These days, it seems to be a given.  Four kids have had growth spurts sending me scrambling to find seasonal clothing to fit them in time for the next heat wave and summer vacation.  We renewed our enrollment with Seton Home Study School for another academic year.  I’m grateful for a solid education for our children and also a special services department that helps me find great resources for Trooper and Sunshine.

Little Bit turned three earlier this month.  She’s such a feisty, imaginative little imp. She loves to trot around the house carrying her brown-and-white stuffed dog, whom she has named “Snowy” after the dog in the Tintin books.  She’s talking up a storm and asking all sorts of questions, mainly beginning with “What’s THAT?”

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Spring has brought a spot of nature to our yard.  We have apples on our two apple trees this year, and we have had not one but three house finches nesting in our porch eaves.  Just when one set fledged and we thought it would be time to pressure wash the porch down at last, two more nests appeared almost overnight!

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And then there was the episode of the stray cat.  I had seen that cat a few days before, looking utterly bedraggled, but it hadn’t stayed around.  Then, on the Saturday before Mother’s Day, Miss M happened upon it in our driveway. She immediately named it “Polka Dot” (it was once a lovely tuxedo/calico kitty).  Rascal and Princess came out and fed it small amounts of food and gave it water.  Polka Dot did not move on that day, as we made a bed for it in a crate and I posted a notice in our neighborhood forum (as well as warning Haus Meister about it via text, since he was away on business).  Close to dusk, the trio moved Polka Dot into our fenced backyard deck area so it would be safe from the coyotes in the area.  However, we were the last stop in Polka Dot’s nine lives, and Mother’s Day morning found me digging a quick grave in the backyard with Rascal’s help before the smaller girls woke up and wondered where our overnight cat had gone.  A promise of a trip to Dunkin Donuts did much to dry tears (and give me some much needed coffee)! So that’s the tale of our 24-hr cat.

Our Spring has been full of house painting projects but we did turn our attention outdoors a but.  We thought about planting a garden but are satisfied to keep some houseplants alive and two tomato plants on the porch.  After my Texas rosebush came into bloom, I really think I’d like a rose patch.  One bush for each child.  What a fun variety, and a tribute to St. Mother Teresa’s famous quote, “How can there be too many children? That is like saying there are too many flowers.”

Which brings me to the big news of this update:

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We knew officially that she was coming on my birthday back in January and she will join us around Haus Meister’s birthday in September.  What a gift from God!  The kids are quite excited and while the boys were hoping for a brother to counteract the reign of pink in the Haus, they are rather more complacent since we moved them into our old spare room.  Now their LEGOS are safe from the marauding habits of the Toddler Mischief Squad!

That’s all for tonight’s update. I hope this missive finds you all well, and enjoying the early days of summer!  God bless!

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Spring just keeps getting closer…

…which is nice to think about considering 3/8ths of the family are currently down with a flu bug. Ugh.

…and my oven door is broken (temporarily. It’s just a hinge, and Haus Meister is calling around town for a replacement).

But to our great excitement, my mother-in-law informed us that a garden plot next to one of hers at a nearby community garden is open! As said garden is on the same grounds as our farmers’ market, Haus Meister stopped to talk to those in charge while he was there on Saturday. Once we get the application sent, we’ll have our own spot of prime gardening area! Yippee!

So of course the farming bug bit all of us (age 4 and up) over the weekend, even the ones simultaneously afflicted by the flu. Borrowing Square Foot Gardening from my in-laws, I planned a grid of all the requests we could reasonably attend to/hope would grow. Princess kept asking for pink vegetables–like pink carrots, etc.–so she had to make do with seeds for an Atomic Red Carrot. 😉  I know I want bell peppers and tomatoes and Haus Meister wants pole beans and green onions. The kiddos want carrots and radishes ala Peter Rabbit and we know the plot already has lettuce plants that over-wintered. This is very exciting and will be a great project for the kids to help out with their dad. They have taken turns visiting their grandparents’ garden plots already and like to help out there, so it was fun for them to think we’d have space of our own.

But somehow this wasn’t enough. When the local animal shelter advertised that they were being overrun by rabbits, there was a moment when the kiddos wondered if it would be possible to keep a rabbit. I mentioned that it would be fun but there are enthusiastic toddlers in this house who might over-love a rabbit (read: hug to death, but I didn’t want to tell it quite like that), so it wouldn’t be a good idea until some of them were older. Rascal suggested that the rabbit could stay in a cage in his room. I reminded him that he would have to clean the cage, as rabbits don’t just run outside for their business like the dogs. That settled the issue for him.

Not so the Farm Boy. The night after the rabbit discussion, just as we finished night prayers, I heard Dino’s voice pipe up: “Hey, Mommy? Sunshine is bigger.” Not thinking much about it, I replied, “of course. You’re all getting bigger every day.” Without missing a beat he responded: “So can I have a rabbit?”

Poor guy. He would love backyard homesteading or any “farm” activity. My favorite example of this was when he came up to me and asked me for a “chick tank.” I realized after a moment he meant a chicken coop.  And really, if we could petition for the housing association to allow a couple of hens as “acceptable pets” and could get the kids to help us clean the coop, I would be fine with it. Especially if we had one of these in the yard:

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Hobbit-hole style coops! Huzzah!

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It’s like your own personal Shire! Of course, the kids would want to play in them…..

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So there’s also these herb garden coops.

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For goodness’ sake, even Williams-Sonoma is hopping on the bandwagon here. What is taking our HOA so long? 😉

Haus Meister even found a farming simulator computer game that Dinosaur likes to watch. Dino spends the time telling Haus Meister where to go, what to harvest, how to run the vehicle, etc. He’s a “backseat farmer,” who alas, will be virtually farming for some time yet.

Except for the garden plot. That’s for real. Come quickly Spring!!!