party in person

Bubble school has been great, but only this week was the best part of bubbling up revealed: we can go to each other's birthday parties! We did that today. It was a shared party for the sisters who make up two sevenths of our school-age kids; their birthdays are just a week apart and since homeschoolers are kind, loving, and non-jealous as a group they're happy to have one party between the two of them. Not that they missed out on any party fun: we were there for five and a half hours of nonstop delight!

the kids waiting to batter a pinata hanging on a line

they still remember how to party!

There were no organized activities for all that time: the kids just like playing together that much. Even more so since usually when we're together we keep dragging them away from their games to do schoolwork! Today was all social time, and they really appreciated it. We grownups did our share of talking, but we also got in on the active fun a little bit, with some jump rope and some tug-of-war (surprisingly, the 3rd-through-6th graders beat the team of the six-year-olds and me in the tugging... those big kids are strong!). And there was food—tons and tons of food. It occurs to me that I hadn't done anything you might call "social eating" for a real long time now; today I ate many chips. On top of Thanksgiving, it left me feeling a little bit heavy this evening. I'll have to make sure to do some more jump rope!

We're so grateful to have this group; it would be looking like a long winter without them. Here's to everybody staying healthy and lots more fun to come!

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our reading this week

Honestly, one of the hardest things about the pandemic for us—now that we've got our bubble school situation going—is not being able to go to the library. We used to go every week, often twice a week. And now we haven't been once in over eight months. Yes, we could do curbside pickup if we wanted to, but it's just not the same. We're browsers; we don't go in knowing what we want to check out. So finding books online is hard. Also we're not good at planning ahead!

So we miss having a constant stream of new-to-us books in the house. And sometimes we miss having specific books. Like when we leaned from friends that there is a fifth Dory Fantasmagory book available. Ever since Harvey was a little reader we've loved Dory, and it was tough to know there was a book about her out there remaining unread! Happily, last week our friends took pity on us and got the book out, again, from their own library to lend to us. So now all three readers among the Archibald boys (I include myself in that number) have finished Tiny Tough, and I'm in the middle of reading it to Elijah. Good times.

talking turkey

Meal planning this week continues to be complicated—or maybe simplified?—by all the Thanksgiving leftovers. There's way more than usual: we cooked a whole turkey for the five of us, and we also got lots more turkey from the food swap with Leah's family. Then the same with all the other stuff. Good thing we all love turkey! After the initial Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday we had turkey and everything sandwiches for lunch on Friday and another Thanksgiving dinner for supper, and pretty much the same on Saturday (though our sandwiches were much simpler, since we brought them on our picnic). Saturday I did have to make new mashed potatoes. On Sunday evening Leah made us a beautiful turkey pot pie, but even that didn't use up all the turkey (its leftovers provided Monday's lunch). Supper Monday I switched things up a bit with spaghetti and meatballs, but today the turkey was back again, seared in the skillet with cajun seasoning to go in burritos. But even that wasn't the last of it! Not that I'm complaining, mind you! As I say, we love it. I think tomorrow I'll try turkey salad sandwiches.

winter beach beauty

On Saturday we celebrated Thanksgiving with my parents by taking a walk on the beach. That hasn't been part of our traditional observances in the past, but you know, this isn't a traditional year. It was my mom's idea, but we picked the beach: Good Harbor. They'd never been; we're somewhat familiar. The boys and I were last there a year ago, and Harvey was first there before he really knew what was going on. As always, it was beautiful beach weather.

the boys and dogs near the water at Good Harbor beach

we're at the beach!

Within two minutes of crossing the bridge to the sand, Zion had fallen in. That set the tone for the outing: all the boys got pretty wet, despite having their boots on most of the time. Boots only work when they're taller than the water is deep.

Zion and Elijah in the water, with a wave washing over Lijah's boots

look out Elijah!

Zion especially had to stop occasionally to bale.

Zion pouring water out of his boot, Grandpa looking on

it'll be fine when he gets the water out, right?

Not that anybody minded wet boots or pants. They were having fun! The dogs, of course, had no trouble at all.

the dogs running in the waves

yay for wet paws

Grandma and Grandpa were very patient with the slow pace of our progress down the beach. It was lovely to see them, and we even talked a little bit about what we'd eaten for Thanksgiving to make it seem like a real holiday thing. I don't know that the beach will be my first choice for Thanksgiving next year, but I'm certainly sold on visiting it in November.

the dogs standing on the rocks by the ocean

beautiful

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moments from the week

Harvey standing in the Concord River in his boots

cold-weather wading gear

Moments from the past week.

Harvey and Lijah sitting on the rug playing

old toys are still fun

shirtless Lijah eating a turkey leg

he's savage for Thanksgiving

Harvey riding through a puddle on a big rock

wet rock riding

Elijah sitting across a fallen tree trunk over a little dell

he wanted to go all the way across

Harvey and Zion walking along the beach, Blue running after them

Thanksgiving beach walk

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