Monday, July 21, 2008

Last Week

Last week I posted mostly about my formerly-homeschooled teenagers' adjustment to public summer school...but I didn't mention what the rest of us were up to!

To kick things off, since the ground was soft from rain and it wasn't too hot (yet), on Monday and Tuesday Bantam13 and I weeded and mulched ALL the landscaping across the front of our house. It was a huge job I had been dreading doing alone.

But like an answer to an unprayed prayer, B13 broke a second-story window the week before, by throwing a tiny rubber bouncy ball at it as he was casually showing off for the neighborhood girls who had stopped by on their bicycles for a sidewalk chat. Being short on cash, he was eager to settle for a work-it-off arrangement.

An unexpected benefit was that we had quite a few nice hours of conversation while we worked. It's not often that I can get B13 in a situation where he'll talk much! He still has more hours to put in, as we haven't touched the beds on the side of the house, but every time I drive up to our house, I am proud of our handiwork. It sure did look bad when we bought the place.

As you may remember, this house was vacant for nearly two years before we bought it. Besides the weeds, another eyesore has been the many windows that look like this:

I don't know about you, but there's almost nothing in the housecleaning line that's more depressing to me than really dirty windows. I've been chafing at the bit to get to these, once I had the inside of the house in reasonable order.

So last week, with the boys' help taking screens in and out, I washed all the windows on the main level of our house, sprayed off the dirty siding around them, cleaned the screens and the sills. (There were piles of SAND in every sill that faced Lake Michigan! I had no idea that the wind would carry sand this far--we're two miles from the lake.)

Here you can see the difference--the two on the left are clean, the two on the right are still dirty:

You can just imagine my current level of satisfaction, now that my windows are all CLEAN!

And speaking of the rewards of our labors, remember the lettuce seeds I planted a few weeks ago? Well, I waited to thin them until they were big enough that we could eat the thinnings:

Ahhhh, there's nothing like just-picked baby lettuces! (I love saying "lettuces," since there are several varieties there. I feel like Beatrix Potter. Remember Peter Rabbit in Mr. McGregor's garden? "First he ate some lettuces, and some French beans; and then he ate some radishes; and then, feeling rather sick, he went to look for some parsley.")

Among our accomplishments for the week was finally driving along the lake to look for the nearest beach to our house. Lo and behold, there is a lovely, semi-private beach within biking distance! I took the kids over one afternoon, to reward ourselves for all our hard work, at home and at summer school, and we had the beach to ourselves, practically. That's our 15-passenger van, the only car in the parking lot, behind Bantam3:

I let Blondechick15 invite her new BFF's...hard to believe, but it seems, for now, like they genuinely are "just friends." The boy on the left lives across the street from us, and that's his best friend on the right. They'll both be sophomores at the public high school with Blondechick in the fall, and they've assured her they'll "watch her back" there.

They're really nice boys, but as you can imagine, this friendship has required a good bit of discussion to manage. "You trust ____, don't you?" Blondechick asked me once. "As much as I trust any 15 year old boy--sure!" I responded. But that's another post...

On the topic of the neighborhood kids, though, we had quite a nice time with a group of them one evening last week. It was Bantam9's initiative to invite them all in to play Catch Phrase, a game our kids love and which we've found to be fun for all ages old enough to read. Papa Rooster and I played too, which made a couple of the 9-15-year-olds nervous at first, but they loosened up as we got into the game. It was fun to get to know them all better.

And in other summer school news, Bantam17's bike was stolen on Friday! He was bummed but he handled the situation with a maturity that surprised me. He reported the theft to the office, who noted its exact location so they could watch security films to hopefully catch the thief. When I picked him up, he seemed disturbed but not visibly upset, and was very thankful to his sister who had waited with him. Because of his autism, I expected angry, frustrated complaining at the violation of his personal belongings and the change in his routine, maybe even a sense of injustice that it was his bike and not Blondechick's which had been stolen. Could it be the meds he's on, or is it maturity kicking in? Maybe he had just had enough time to cool down before I got there. Still, I was so pleased.

We went back to the beach on Sunday afternoon and it was a little more crowded, but still delightful. Papa Rooster took many photos, which I shall save for another post.

And at church on Sunday, we had two new families, each with four kids. What an encouragement! One of them promised they'd be back regularly; the wife's mother is at an AMIA church in Denver, and "this is just what we've been looking for," they said. (And the mom in Denver found out about us through my blog!)

Thank you, Lord, that Your favor rests upon us. May You be the one who establishes the works of our hands.

May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us;
establish the work of our hands for us—
yes, establish the work of our hands.
Psalm 90:17


Summer said...

Oh, poor E! I'm so sorry to hear about the bike. That really stinks -

Can you post some pictures of the flower beds - would love to see them :-)

mama said...

Ditto to Summer's comment about the bike!


Brea said...

We're big fans of baby greens around here, too. Of course, mine have loooong since bolted, but there's always fall and next spring! :)

Thank you so much for your sweet words. They mean so much to me. It's been an ... uh ... interesting few weeks, but I'm doing ok. Just kind of taking one day at a time. God is good, and I've had more support than I've known what to do with. All things in His time, even if I don't quite understand right now.


Jena said...

I really enjoy your blog and your thoughts on raising your kids. Teenagers are hard! Out of my three kids, I'm only homeschooling one this fall because the oldest heads off to college and the youngest will be trying public school. Transitions and concerns...this parenting thing is not for the faint of heart! Thank you for your comments on my blog. I'll be over to visit frequently!