Teacher’s Left the Monkeys Out…

I have been scrambling to find creative channels for all the energy running around here now that the books are done for the term. The new books came before we were quite finished, but we hustled them off to storage. This year instead of allowing myself to sink lethargically for a week after those last lessons were done, I decided to be super productive and repaint our bedroom. It was a good time to do it, since Gabe had a five day stretch off work. It is feast or famine in this line of work. :O

I spent my birthday painting trim in our room. It was fun, although careful painting always leaves me muttering after a few too many hours of strained concentration. But that day I didn’t cook because my friend Ellen paid for our pizza supper. Wasn’t that the kindest thing anyone could have done? We ate on the dock down by the pond… Meat lover’s with stuffed crust for the small people and roasted veggie with parmesan for Gabe and me. The boys had gone out earlier and picked huge bunches of wildflowers and forsythias to put in jars down there so that it would be festive. They even stripped a bunch of blossoms to float on the water. 🙂

Gabe and I took off the entire next day, with my blessed parents doing babysitter duty. It was a spectacular May day. We loaded our bikes on the back of the Suburban, but the first business was picking out a carpet piece for our room. Then we went to a tea room and had teeny cookies and tall glasses of iced tea. The vehicle needed a top-up at the lube place and then we thought we should have some protein before biking, so it was convenient to grab some roast beef sandwiches.

We rode 16 miles of Rails to Trails. It is hard to describe the joy for this Quality Time/Outdoors Lover. There were violets blooming so thickly along the trail that you could actually smell them as you breezed past. The redbuds were in their heyday and all the birds were happy. Let’s just say Gabe hit on the perfect birthday gift, the two of us tooling along, stopping occasionally to look at the river, to eat Toblerone, to pick flowers, and maybe to rest our legs. 😉 Even with the stops, we got to the end in two hours. The end of the trail was quite close to Gabe’s sister’s house, so they picked us up, sparing us a 16 mile return trip. Chipper as we may think we are, those bike seats can come to feel a bit “gnarly” as Gabe so aptly described it.

We had supper with my sister-in-law Ruby and her husband, lingering long over dessert before we headed home. It was just a delightful day all round, and my mom and dad were exhausted instead of us. 🙂

The next day we finished painting the bedroom and replaced the carpet. Thirteen years ago we painted our bedroom a pale grey. It needed freshened, but I wanted to keep it grey since that lends itself to any other accent color. When I went to pick out paint, I bought Reflection for three walls and- wait for it- Earl Grey for the accent wall. 🙂 🙂 I suppose it could just as well be called Iron Filings, in which case I would not have bought it. (Please don’t tell me I am the only one who is swayed by the names on the paint sample chips.) I love the end result! We have teal and orange throw pillows and a glittery new curtain, but all the rest is same old, rearranged. (Oh, and I am in the process of gluing hundreds of muslin “flowers” on the lamp shade, but I ran out of glue.) That night as I cleaned up the brushes and paints, my friend Michelle stopped in with two gorgeous boxes of cupcakes. Or that could be two boxes of gorgeous cupcakes. Either way, it was so sweet. You can see why I cannot ever be really cynical. I know too many nice people.

As for the children’s activities those painting days… I think they pretty much ran loose in the outdoors and hung around wherever Gabe was working. One project we started them on is blazing a switch back trail up to the top of the ridge. Every time we want to go on a walk in the woods, I end up hauling a chunky child or two straight up the side of the ridge and carrying them back down when we come home because the grade is so precipitous that they just slide. We don’t go on as many expeditions as we would like because of this fact. So now they have a trail up half way and the little tots can climb up easily on their own. Until the trail stops, of course. One of these days they will manage to get it all the way to the top. I think they are starting to catch on that this is busywork. Gregory said today, “This could become sort of a chore.” And Alex thought that the trail could require a lot of maintenance. Tee-hee.

Oh, and it is So Hot  already. Please, please, please, may we go swimming? The first time I finally caved and let them go into the water it was still April. They lasted about 20 seconds. I thought, good, now they won’t beg for a long time. But it really has been warm lately, so they have been puddling around in life jackets around the dock. I just sit and watch. It is a little muddy yet for my taste.

Alex has graduated to driving our little tractor slowly along in our garden/orchard plot, stopping every now and then to pick up the piles of rocks the children gather. Some days they do that in the space left vacant by math. 🙂 We are building a fence around it before we do planting, hopefully rabbit-groundhog-deer-proof fence.

This morning we zoned little garden plots for the three middles. Alex has plans for popcorn and gourds later in the season and Addy is sharing my garden. 🙂 It was so funny how different they felt about what they wanted to grow. Rita was all enthused about veggies: broccoli, peas, beans, lettuce. Olivia wanted lots of flowers. Gregory has a mixture of flowers, ornamental corn and one melon plant that we hope doesn’t get frost bitten. In the end he deigned to plant some lettuce for my sake.

The boys started a little cottage industry of making cross bows out of craft sticks, hot glue and rubber bands. They ended up with about 10 orders from friends and just like that a thousand craft sticks and the new pack of glue sticks was gone. Also most of my bamboo skewers became arrows. They are learning things, like paying for supplies and being kind to nonpaying customers. And I found out exactly how far one can get on a lampshade project with one glue stick.

We are about to enter a period of feast-time, with Gabe finishing up a seven day stretch of work tonight with an entire long weekend off. Oh, glory! And a church picnic to boot!

Tell me, how are you occupying the busy little people who are done with school?


2 thoughts on “Teacher’s Left the Monkeys Out…

  1. It was fun to read this! I have children swirling around me fighting, so I won’t stay long here. I think your vacation projects sound like lots of fun. We need to get organized here and think of things to fill the lives of all these little humans home for the summer. So far they have played in the mud and folded laundry…..

    The birthday sounds wonderful. Happy birthday, by the way!

  2. This was a perfectly charming post. I could almost smell those violets and hear the birds beside the trail. What an amazingly delicious day! Our small people are keeping busy building tree houses, creating vast ponds and rivers in the mud and soon… Very soon…spending glorious hours on the water slide which we have ambitious plans to improve. Our water bill during the summer are exorbant, but well worth it in my opinion since I am out sliding almost as much as the kids.

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