moments from the week

Zion blowing on a little fire

winter fires are hard work!

Moments from the past week.

Elijah lying on the ground next to his fallen bike


the kids gathered around a globe

geography time

the kids working on a fire by a tarp shelter

this, too, is school

Harvey looking down at a rickety bridge over a frozen pond

adventuring again


is it my bedtime?

One minor benefit of blogging regularly for so many years is that it lets me see how well I've been managing my sleep schedule. Writing is often the very last thing I do in a day, so by checking the date posts are published I can see how long I've been keeping myself up. And it's been pretty late the last couple weeks! There are good reasons to stay up late—it's the only time I get a moment to myself, a moment to think without being assailed by the constant noise of our lovely household—but overall I think I'm better when I manage to retire at a reasonable hour. When I'm up til all hours I'm tired the next day, and then things don't go well and I get frustrated, and then I need even more time the following evening to calm down and collect myself. A vicious cycle.

Even worse, I don't even get to share the evening time with the one member of the family I'd actually like to hang out with by that point. Leah needs to go to bed early; most nights she barely manages to stay awake longer than the kids (in fact, often she doesn't even do that!). So really, I ought to go to bed early and get my quiet alone time in the morning when I'm not collapsing from tiredness. I'm going to try it... keep an eye on those post times if you want to know how I'm doing!

all kinds of learning

This past Sunday I titled one of our "moment" photos "playing with fire", because that's what the Bubble School kids are into these days. Both school days at our house last week they spent all their outside time making campfires and boiling water, and yesterday in Acton they were excited to do the same thing, with the additional fun of building a shelter by their fire pit (since our friends' yard isn't blessed, like ours, with a playhouse). Some of us parents were slightly worried about the possibility of conflagration—they were doing their fire-building in a corner of woods thickly carpeted with fallen leaves—but when I went out to check I saw that everything was so wet they could barely keep their kindling burning without constant effort from the lighter. So probably no conflagrations were likely, and we could rest easy with an occasional check-in glance out the kitchen window. Or so we thought!

No, the kids didn't set anything on fire (though they did succeed in getting the fire in their ring to be self-sustaining after a half-hour of sustained work!). But a neighbor was even more concerned than we were, and she came over and, after staring for a while, asked the kids if their parents knew what they were doing. Well of course we did! And as we heard the story afterwards, the oldest of our wonderful gang of kids—not Harvey, he's the second-oldest by a month and a half—had the presence of mind to answer. "Yes, they do, thank you," she said. "Goodbye!" (She emphasized afterwards that she said "goodbye").

Now of course, if they were hardened juvenile delinquents they would have scoffed at a question like that—or worse!—but our homeschool children are sensitive! There were some tears when they came in to report to us, and it took some work to reassure them that no, they hadn't actually done anything wrong. Some people just like to... involve themselves in other people's lives. It was too bad, but even as some kids were upset it was awesome to see how they supported and comforted each other. And even better, they went back out and relit the fire that they had stamped out after the neighbor's visit. And this time they set a guard to make sure they'd be ready if she came back!


egg consumption outpaces production

It's surprising to me lately how many eggs we eat. Our friends with a new flock of chickens just told me that their hens kept laying right through the solstice; ours do no such thing. While it's true that they kept up production a little bit longer than last time I complained about it, they closed up shop for the winter after the second week of December. I can't be too upset: we do live just down the road from a farm where we can get day-old cage-free eggs for under $3 a dozen. But we need so many! When our hens are laying I don't really notice: we get four or five a day, and use as many, so it was kind of like water from the tap. Now with having to go to the store it's like we're in bottled water mode, and I have to pay attention in case we're going to run out. So, say, I can't plan to make french toast for breakfast and a Spanish tortilla for supper on the same day. It's hard!

On the plus side, visiting the store is a delightful experience, and the kids can use the trip to buy candy. So, while I'm looking forward to the return of the light and the eggs, I bet they're fine with things the way they are!

moments from the week

the boys walking on the ice at the Old Reservoir

on ice

A few moments from the past week.

Zion burning holding a leaf to a fire in the kids' firepit

playing with fire

Elijah in his bat-ear sweatshirt exploring a stream in the woods

a bat in his natural habitat

the boys walking on the rocks along the shore in Gloucester

climbing by the sea