Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Apples on a fall day

What a beautiful day we had today! After one last week of 100-degree weather, fall blew in last night with a lot of dust and noise -- but he's finally here!

Nevermind that we're sniffling and coughing from our first fall cold, I don't even mind. (I'm clearly feeling better than yesterday...) The boys don't seem to care either -- they were just excited to put on pants this morning and then go out to rake the leaves that blew down yesterday.

Middlest declared it a First Day of Fall holiday -- which meant we needed to bake something! Fortunately we just went apple-picking on Monday! Friends invited us up to Tehachapi, and after a fun, full day of playing and baking, we came home with four big bags of apples to munch and bake up at home.

Yum! I suppose apple pie isn't exactly what the doctor ordered, but it's pretty close. ;)

And in honor of all those farmers who care for the orchards that allow us to eat apple pie...

After Apple-Picking by Robert Frost

My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still,
And there's a barrel that I didn't fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn't pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.
I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough
And held against the world of hoary grass.
It melted, and I let it fall and break.
But I was well
Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
And I could tell
What form my dreaming was about to take.
Magnified apples appear and disappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing clear.
My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend.
And I keep hearing from the cellar bin
The rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking: I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall.
For all
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.
One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
Were he not gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it's like his
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep.

Monday, September 21, 2009

One Big Family Reunion

My paternal grandmother turned 80 years old yesterday, and we had one serious party to celebrate! It had been six years since the last big gathering, and I hadn't seen one of my cousins in 20 years. Plus there were a few new additions to meet!

This was the weekend by the numbers. It all began with one gorgeous matriarch...

And one handsome patriarch...

Gramma and Grandpa had 4 sons and one daughter.
I'm one of 15 grandchildren.
Add 9 spouses, and that adds up to one big family...

Including 10 great-grandkids (including a newborn in Ohio)...

Five sweet boys...

Two toddlers in pink...

...and brown...
One cute baby to pass around...

Four terrific teens...

To get them all together, it took...

11 plane tickets
4 domestic flights
1 international flight
6 long distance car rides
4 hotel rooms
9 overnight guests
-- and added up to one very full house!

We gave Gramma one amazing scrapbook...

And together consumed...

7 consecutive meals
5 coolers of beer and soda
5 gallons of lemonade
10 gallons of iced tea
10 pizzas
4 big salads
42 pieces chicken breasts
3 dozen shrimp skewers
4 dozen fruit skewers

60 meatballs
4 trays of appetizers
4 dozen free-range eggs
3 packages of bacon
2 dozen waffles
3 batches of pancake batter...

Which kept us energized for lots and lots of silliness...

Plus 2 games of Scrabble...

3 games of Battleship...

3 movies
One guitar lesson with Auntie Brookie...

2 sessions in the pool...

Assisted by...
6 glow-in-the-dark wands
1 weekend-long backyard spy game
and hundreds of bubbles...

The party included one furry doggie...

And was recorded by numerous photo shoots...

...using 10 cameras
6 laptops
and producing
1165 pictures!

And it all ended all too quickly with too many tearful goodbyes.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday Nature Study

"And God said, 'See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be given as food.'"
--Genesis 1:29

We headed out back this morning, with our picnic blanket, apple slices and oatmeal cookies, a basket for collecting -- and my camera.

I've found myself shooting less lately, and I miss it. My blogging is uninspired without it! I still have so much to learn, but this morning was just about hanging out with the boys and being present to whatever we discovered.

We spread out the picnic blanket in the shade of my parents' backyard, and I read to them from "A Kid's Herb Book." They climbed the giant evergreen magnolia tree, collected unripened pecans as the birds above us threw down their rejects, and made seed piles.

Littlest found a tiny ladybug larva on the stem of fallen branch...

After about an hour, it started to warm up, so we headed to our own very sunny garden, and pulled up arugula, parsley, basil and carrots for lunch.

Then we came inside to make pesto and pasta. It was extra spicy from all the arugula, but full of vitamins. I've found that picking their own greens inspires my kids to actually eat them! They wouldn't touch pesto otherwise!

Go read Jimmie's post about why nature study is important for Christian homeschoolers. But, first! Could someone direct me to the blog hosting the Friday Nature Study meme? I can't find it anywhere! Thanks. :)

Edited to update: I found it! Go see more Friday Nature Table at The Magic Onions blog!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Children and church

Christian has a new post up about taking unschooled children to "Children's Church."

This can be such a challenging issue. As adult Christians we want the fellowship, or the litany, and to be fed in the Word, and we want to our children to feel at home at church, so they'll continue to be a part of the Body as they grow up. Some people go from church to church looking for a place where children are welcomed and families have options -- not just a place to drop off their kids, not just a program to entertain and "educate" them, but a place where Christ resides.

For me, the issue has always been ensuring that I respect what my children are ready for. My oldest son wanted to be with me until he was a toddler, and then he wanted to be where he could play and move. I volunteered in the nursery, but he was fine without me, too. My second son was totally different. He wasn't ready to leave my side until he was 5. So, he didn't. He was either with me in church, or I was with him in Sunday school.

My third son is just now old enough to attend Sunday school without me. I've been a nursery volunteer since before he was born. I haven't seen much of the inside of the sanctuary in that time, but that's okay. This Sunday, I took him in, got him settled, and then sat in the hallway listening to the class for 45 minutes.

I hadn't planned to spend the hour eavesdropping, it just worked out that way. (Honestly, I just needed a nap!) I did want to make sure he was truly okay with being there. The initial activity centered on coloring, which he doesn't care much about. But they didn't make him do it. He just sat and chatted, and the teachers were very sweet.

We are fortunate to be members at a fairly small parish, where the rules are not so firmly in place as to make flexibility for each child impossible. I know some local large churches where new parents would never be allowed to stay in the nursery with their toddler, while both parent and child take time to get comfortable there. But that's been regular practice while I've been involved in our nursery -- partly because it was important to me.

I'm typically not afraid to make my opinions known when I think it's really important. And I'm willing to step in and help if that's what it takes to make things how I think they should be. Not everyone feels comfortable doing that, and I'm sure it could get messy and obnoxious if everyone were like me!

I think the important thing is to know what's right for your child, and not to give up or give in if it's clearly not working. Try something different. Don't be afraid to ask for changes. Pray about it, and do what feels Right.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Labor Day

"Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!"
--Matt. 25:23

We spent today working together in the garden, sprucing up and doing end-of-the-summer chores. We were grateful for weather that was bearable into the afternoon.

I raked up old mulch and dead grass, Scott cleaned the pool, and the boys helped move things into the garage and line a flower bed with bricks. I hoped that might make the emptiness more cheerful.

It's rather brown and bleak back there right now, but at least it's tidier now.

The tomato plants are still producing, but look withered and worn from the extreme temperatures. But the winter squash plants are finally taking off, and there's new growth on the watermelon plant! The first few vines produced nothing, so we'll see if the new ones fare better.

It's time to pull out the corn, and plant peas, but I didn't get to it today. We came in, cleaned up, and decided to join friends for a movie.

Littlest got to hang out with his Papa, and the rest of us went off to see "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" again -- a fun treat after a hard day's work.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Just a funny

My eldest son sat next to me, munching on a pear he'd picked from my parents' tree. This was dessert after a lunch of sliced ham, a cookie, and milk.

"What would your Perfect Day be like, Eldest?" I asked.

"Cookies for every meal!"

"Hahaha. But you wouldn't really want just cookies for every meal, you'd be hungry all day."

"You're right. I'd want there to be trees where the branches are ribs... pig ribs. And the sidewalk is made out of bacon, and the street is made of steak."

"So, your Perfect Day is all about the food?"


Yeah, what can I say? That's my kid.
Related Posts with Thumbnails