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water babies

The boys have spent a lot of time in the water the last few days. Monday, of course, it was nearly four hours in the pool. Yesterday was cooler, but we brought the bikes to Walden and rode trails for an hour or so until they were warmed up and ready for an hour or two in the pond. Today for park day I had no anticipation of swimming at all, with the temperature in the 60s and rain in the forecast. Of course, I should have known better! Good thing the swimsuits were still in the car.

Elijah wading into Freeman Lake in the rain

just swimming in the rain

Zion's and Elijah's, anyway, even though I suggested they bring them inside where they could dry (Harvey is a better listener). And when we got to the park I requested they stay away from the water; even though we had dry clothes, other families did not. But then it started raining, and we all got pretty wet anyways. And a few kids changed and went in, and reported delightedly that the water was warm: way warmer than the air! While we parents worried a bit about what would happen when they came out, it seemed cruel to deny them the opportunity to try.

Not everyone went in; some of the kids, far from having swimsuits, were wearing long pants and hadn't brought dry clothes. A few of them were pretty unhappy about it. But there were other fun things to do besides swimming, like directing the course of the streams that were flowing down the hill across the beach. And in the end, everyone got wet, either in the lake or in the rain. So we all learned a valuable lesson: when you're going to be by the water, bring a swimsuit. And a towel, definitely a towel too.

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spectator sport

Zion is interested in baseball. Not enough to want to join a team—or rather, his interest in baseball is outweighed by his lack of interest in participating in organized activities—but he and I have had lots of fun playing catch since he got his new mitt for his birthday. We're throwing that hardball hard! So when I let him know that the Lexington Blue Sox season was starting up June 1 he was thrilled to hear that we could go to a game. How about opening day?! Unfortunately, the opening day yesterday was rained out (I don't know how the players felt about it, but two boys at my house were very disappointed!). But that just meant that tonight was opening day instead, so at 7:30—when we'd usually be doing bedtime!—Zion, Elijah and I headed to Lexington to be sports fans.

Zion and Elijah sleepily watching baseball from aluminium bleachers

night game

We aren't usually, you know. I don't think any of the boys have been to more than two sporting events where they don't know anyone playing. So we were excited to see that Lexington on a Thursday evening plays host to a wide variety of sporting contests and practices. In the few minutes before the baseball started we were able to take in some soccer, softball, and even cricket! Unfortunately there wasn't anyone on the skate park. Not many people in the stands for the Blue Sox either; I kind of expected a crowd, but never mind, we had our pick of seats in the tiny bleachers. Not that the boys stayed there long: after an inning of attention they left to watch the game in between bouts of active play. Which makes sense! How can you watch those skilled athletes at work without wanting to get in there with some athletics yourself?

And they sure were good. My favorite was watching the throws all the way across the diamond from third to first, like laser beams. Way harder than me and Zion throw! Zion liked that the catcher could throw to second from his knees. This hitting was fun too, starting with a solo home run in the first inning. That fence is far away! The Blue Sox dominated, scoring 11 in the first four innings; we had to leave then since it was way past my bedtime, but no worries because that was all the scoring they did so we didn't miss anything exciting. The Bulldogs got one run in the eighth, but that was it. The Blue Sox have been the league champions the last two or three years, and it looks like they might be on the road to another title. And we were there at the start!

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a joyful occasion

Today is my parents' 50th wedding anniversary. Seems like a big deal! The boys calculated that means she's been married for two-thirds of her life; for my dad it's even a bit longer, since he married young. We got the celebrations off to a good start this evening with a cookout at our house for the honored couple and my brother and his family (the main attraction for the boys was playing with their cousins, who they haven't seen since last summer). Then the real party comes tomorrow afternoon: my mom's been planning it for months, and it's going to be the most elegant affair of the season. Fun too, because I'm in charge of games for all the kids. I'm already tired.

moments from the week

Elijah running across a little stream on stepping stones

running stepping stones

Moments from the past week.

the boys and a friend having fun singing at church

kids come to big church

the boys eating rolls at the Farmers Market

opening day at the market

Freeman Lake in the rain, with some kids swimming and others playing on the beach

rainy day lake

Blue sitting on a trail watching Zion, Elijah, and Scout running up

adventuring with dogs

grandparents and cousins around our picnic table with lots of food

family cookout

kids playing dodgeball

anniversary party entertainment

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outdoor birds

The chicks are growing up. We've been weighing and drawing them every Monday, and today we did it for maybe the last time—it was almost impossible to keep them on the scale. They've got real feathers and tails and everything, and it's about time for them to be living outside. Our brooder is very small, and as rambunctious young things they need to be moving around way more than they're able to when stuck inside it. So yesterday I fixed them up a little mini run, and closed the "chick coop" off from the main coop so that they could have a place to hang out without being bothered by the main hens. I finished that all up at about 4, and brought them out thinking that I'd leave them to make their home there overnight. But as the temperature dipped into the 50s and I heard their concerned cheeping drifting in the windows I felt sorry for them and, as dark fell, bundled them back into the brooder for one more night indoors. Today they were out first thing in the morning, and it's supposed to be a lot warmer, so I'm leaving them no matter how hard they cheep. They'll get used to it, right?

pollen nation

The last few days everybody's been talking about the pollen. I don't know that it's been worse than any other year, but for sure there's a lot of it; and a few days ago there were "massive pollen clouds sweep[ing] through Massachusetts", which is something you kind of notice. Some people are keeping all their windows closed, but we can't do that. Sure, yesterday I could write my name in the pollen on the kitchen table, but the fresh air is worth the price. None of us are allergic, necessarily, but with as much pollen as there is we've been sneezing and coughing just from all the particles assailing noses and throats. The news keeps saying that the season of visible pollen is about over, but last night with the fan on there was enough that it was keeping me awake in the middle of the night, I know you have to reproduce, plants, but could you please do it without involving the rest of us quite as much?

these kids can swim

A fun thing about parenting is seeing the kids grow and develop, and a fun thing about being kind of unschooly is getting to be surprised by some of that progress! Like, now that it's turned conclusively summery, I can see that I don't have to worry nearly as much as I did at the beginning of last summer about any of the boys drowning if they fall into deep water. Harvey was already totally there, of course, but I don't remember Zion being such a confident swimmer out of his depth without a life jacket. Now he doesn't seem to have any concerns. And while Elijah isn't going to be swimming across the lake any time soon he's very interested in jumping out of the boat into water just a little bit over his head. And, comfortable splashing around with the big kids.

Elijah swimming, goggles pushed up on his head

yay water!

Of course, there's still plenty of room for improvement. Elijah is so dense he hardly floats, so he needs to work some on his technique. And none of them swim as well as their cousin, who's on a swim team, or Elijah's friend who at seven is such a natural in the water she looks like a seal as she flips and dives. But they're in great shape to enjoy a summer in the water! And six hours of swimming over the past two days seems like a good start.

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hardly hearing

The weather was perfect for swimming yesterday, and of course I spent a lot of time in the water. Under the water, even. Super fun! But the problem is that every time I swim I get water in my ears and the water does something to block them up. So now I can't hear out of one ear. I was going to write "I'm suffering a bit because..." but then, on reflection, I realized that wasn't entirely true: I'm actually not minding it that much. Sure, it's annoying to not be able to have a conversation with Leah unless I've got my good ear turned towards her. But so much of my time is spent with children who produce a constant stream of noise, so it's actually not the worst thing to have it abstracted away a little bit. At least for now. If it lasts any time I might start to get frustrated. Plus there's the concern that it will happen again next time I go in the water. Which for sure I will this summer! Swimming is the best.

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