I have been waiting to post until I have time to upload photos and do a proper, pretty post about our long-anticipated anniversary trip to New England. The thing about going away for a week is it takes about 3 weeks to prepare and 3 weeks to catch up. I am not joking.
Pre-trip: Should we stay home and work on our barn before winter? (Probably, but scratch that. You don’t have a 15th anniversary every year.) Are we sufficiently on course with school to take off for 5 days? (Yes and no.) Is the broccoli crop going to burst into flower while we are gone, or should I process it now? (Yes.) Do the children have enough (presentable) underwear and socks? (No.) Is our Air B&B reservation all lined up? (Yes, after days of deliberations about which one we want.) Is our vehicle reliable? (Not without a bunch of oil fed to it every couple hundred miles.) Do we have a dog sitter? (Yes, at the last minute.) What about the mail and the packages that are coming? (Stop the mail.) Shall we take bikes? (Not this time, only to regret it every day.) What about food? (Buy it at Trader Joe’s close to our cabin for less hassle and kind of a lot more $.)
We don’t get out much, especially not without a lot of forethought and planning. It’s what happens with a family, animals, and a job that isn’t terribly flexible. At least, we don’t usually go far. But 15 years is 15 years and we haven’t had a just-us-two trip for a very long time. We tried to balance the need for some down time with the responsibilities of parenting and decided that 5 days would probably about max out the children and their caregivers. (And their parents. 🙂
So that was the big deal in the beginning of October. Once I find the camera, I will endeavor to post some more photos, but here is a cell pic of the Portland Headlight for your enjoyment.
We hit leaf peeper season square on target in the White Mountains. It was absolutely breathtaking, and so relaxed. If we were hungry, we ate. If we were tired, we slept. (We did that kind of a lot. Neither of us knew how bone-weary we were until we didn’t have any schedule yapping at our heels.) If it was nice outside, we went on walks. If it rained, we read by the fireplace or watched “Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage”. We were so relaxed, in fact, that we lost track of which day we were scheduled to check out of our cabin until the cleaner showed up. I can assure you, after checking our email confirmation to see that we were indeed supposed to be cleared out by noon, we checked out faster than we ever have in our lives. It was feet first back into the real world, running. Somehow we had forgotten that we were planning to start south in the afternoon and get a motel before picking up our scattered crew at various grandparents and aunts and uncles the next day.
Post-trip has been all about battening down the hatches and sealing the leaks before winter. The goats needed to be moved, since their portable pen was on a piece of the neighbor’s property while we were gone and he wanted them off. The lawn needed to be mowed and the weeds whacked down one more time. We only have 5 acres, so it’s very manageable. When we stay home. The last of the plants in the garden kept putting out astounding goodness.
We hopped back into school as well. Alex is doing 9th grade algebra and I am finding myself doing the lessons right along with him most days. He was frustrated and bombing his lessons even after listening to the video teacher. I cannot tutor something I never mastered, and while Gabe is a terrific algebra teacher, he isn’t here all the time to help us out. I am actually enjoying the study and the orderly rows of equations after I have applied the distributive or commutative properties. Alex is not so much into it, but it boosts his morale to have me figuring it out right with him. I am hopeful that with enough practice, it will all become a little more elegant. Right now it’s just time consuming and occasionally it makes us both cross.
Elegant. What a laughable way to describe homeschooling. Somedays I think we all must be a little crazy. There has to be a better way to get an education, no? We are not die-hard homeschoolers, as in “It’s the only way to go, so help us, Lord.” We weigh our choices every year, trying to determine if this is the best fit for our family. So far it has always been the best fit, but elegant it is not. I would describe it more as a mash-up of lovely-learning-is-a-lifestyle with messy-who-let-the-monkeys-out?
Being away from the rush made us both aware that we really belong in the fray of everyday life. As exhausting as it may be, this is the life for us.
I have only one condensed observation to share about being married 15 years: As we were watching the marriage DVD’s we kept looking at each other and laughing, “We know this!” But we didn’t always know; it took a lot of years to figure some things out. (The last session is titled, “How to Stay Married Without Killing Anybody”. ) The point is, if you are committed to not just making your marriage work, but actually really enjoying it, the years cannot help but become better!