Fall Adventures

Our suitcases have gotten a work-out the past month.

With my niece’s wedding and our annual family reunion almost back to back – I didn’t even get the suitcases back in the attic before we needed them again.

As soon as we got back from the reunion – Angel Girl had just enough time to wash her clothes and repack them before leaving on an epic adventure with three cousins.

11999053_903684599725264_6864385375566096415_nTo Disney World.

Yes. My baby girl flew on an airplane and is spending a week exploring the Magic Kingdom far, far away.

And she’s having a wonderful time.

I do get a daily text.

“Magic Kingdom, lots of rides!”

“We’re in line to meet Anna and Elsa!”

“Epcot!”

Meanwhile – back at the farm – we were busy getting Buddy packed up for his week in South Dakota at Teen Pact Survival.

While his sister is hobnobbing with Mickey and Goofy, he will be in the Black Hills dressed in camo, sleeping in a sleeping bag and learning survival skills.

And loving it.

IMG_2931He obviously didn’t pack lightly.

But I’m just thankful he had something to pack!

Would you believe that he outgrew almost all of his jeans over the summer? Talk about a growth spurt!

So yes, I am that mother who ran to town the day before he left frantically buying her son new socks, undies, and jeans. 🙂

And now, with my children in different parts of the country – I am that mother with a very quiet house – temporarily, at least.

Am I feeling left out on this adventure thing? Oh no.

I didn’t put my suitcase away yet either.

Jan and I have a 25th anniversary trip in the works.

Our turn is coming – soon! And my suitcase is ready and waiting!

But for you – I’m enjoying the quiet – because I know it won’t last long!

Tender Transplants

I’ve spent a great deal of time digging in the dirt in the last few weeks.

I’ve divided African violets, re-potted house plants, and transplanted tender seedlings into larger containers.

Tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, cabbage, eggplants, cauliflower.

eggplant seedlingsIt’s a slow, meticulous and rather messy job,  but it does give one a great deal of time to think.

While my hands were covered in potting soil and I carefully moved the tender root systems from one container to a larger one, it suddenly came to me that I am in a transplanting season in life.

My kids are growing up fast and and leaving. They are being transplanting from our home to homes and apartments of their own.

They’ve outgrown their old lives just as my seedlings have outgrown their pots.

They need more room.

But, unlike my plants, I will not be the one to transplant my children. It’s time for them  to do it for themselves.

New jobs, new classes, new friends.

New problems, new responsibilities, new decisions.

On their own.

As I looked down at the tomato seedling in my hand and saw it’s fragile roots, I realized how vital a strong root system is to a plant.

How much more so for my children!

tomato seedlingsAnd my momma heart prayed, “Take care of the roots, children!”

Those precious roots that your dad and I have tried to build into your lives.

Roots that will anchor you in the bedrock of strong faith.

Roots that will help you stay strong when the world is storming around you.

Watch those roots!

Tend them carefully.

Water them.

Give them good soil.

Let them grow deep and strong.

Please children, hear your momma’s heart.

Take care of the roots.

Across the Pond

MattMatt’s heading to Oxford.

That’s in England.

Over 5000 miles away.

He leaves Monday.

Yes, Monday.

We’ve barely recovered from Dagmar’s graduation and now we’re packing Matt up for a month in jolly old England studying CS Lewis, Tolkien and the other Inklings.

He’ll be eating and sleeping and walking right where they did.

At Oxford.

Over the ocean.

In England.

5000 miles away.

On his own.

I’m okay with this, really I am. I think.

He’s beyond excited.

I’m excited for him. Really I am.

He’s on the adventure of a lifetime, arranged his own flight, bought his own ticket, researched phone options, and bought the needed electronic adapters.

All on his own.

He’s leaving on Monday.

For Oxford, England.

Across an ocean.

Alone.

He’s ready.

But am I?

Jinxed

CDs
I don’t think CD players like me.

Maybe I’m jinxed or something – but this is getting kind of crazy.

I like to have a CD player in the kitchen so I can listen to music while I work. Sounds simple – right? Ha!

Things started to go wrong when we were still living in the hovel. I had left my windows open one Sunday when we went to church and a freak rain storm blew in.

Of course my CD player was sitting right under the open window.  It was history.

My wonderful sister Sandy got me a new one for Christmas and I greatly enjoyed having music to work by – for a while – until one of the kids ran through the kitchen really fast and knocked it down.  It, too, was history.

Things didn’t get any better in the new house. My sweet husband got me a wonderful new one. It was all silver with a sleek modern design – really nice! It worked pretty well, too.

Well – at least most of the time.

But then one day I went to switch on the radio and it wasn’t there. The whole player had simply vanished. I found it later in one of the kid’s rooms. Their CD player had broken and they just couldn’t go to sleep without listening to Adventures in Odyssey or Jonathon Parks – so they borrowed mine. Long term.

My dear husband felt sorry for me  and offered to share one of the CD players he had in the shop. I don’t even want to know how many layers of dust he had to remove to make it presentable!  I took one look at that behemoth and said, “We’ve got us a Boom Box!”

This thing is old it still has a cassette player. Remember cassettes? They’re those square plastic things that you have to rewind to listen to. Oh yeah – it’s old.

It’s also a monster. The speakers alone as a big as dinner plates!

I smiled.  This thing wasn’t just gonna play music – no – it was going to blast music!

There was just one problem. It didn’t like me.

Jan put a CD in and it played beautifully. A few nights later I put a CD in and that monstrosity wouldn’t even turn on. So I asked Dagmar to fix it for me. She simple walks in the room and the silly thing lights up.

She laughing says, “Wow, all I have to do is walk in the room and it works!”

I laughed too. But it wasn’t really funny.

I push the buttons to start the first song – nothing.

Jan walks in the room – pushes the same button and the room is full of music.

He walks out of the room and it stops.

Seriously people. It stopped. I am not kidding.

It doesn’t like me. It seems the only way I can listen to music is if Dagmar or Jan are standing in the room beside it!

This just isn’t fair.

So – if any of my dear and wonderful children are actually reading Mommy’s blog post – please know that all I really want for Christmas is a new CD player for my kitchen. With a radio. And  a clock.  Maybe an under counter model. And if it could remind me to water the plants or put sugar on the grocery list that would be even better! 🙂

Okay – who am I kidding.   With my luck the whole thing will explode – or not pick up any radio stations unless you stand in a certain way with one foot touching the south window and the other one over your head.

Maybe all I really want is my fancy silver CD player back. At least it played music on Tuesdays, Thursdays and every other Sunday.

I’m jinxed – I tell you. Jinxed.

(Did I ever tell you about the set of three cordless phones I got for Christmas that got zapped in a freak  lightening storm? It was about 2 AM…)

Of Fence Rows & Character Building

We have some very overgrown fence rows.

I guess that’s the downside to buying a run down farm.

beforeThe quick and easy way to clean a fence row is to hire a bulldozer to push it down. The problem with that is  1. We would lose the mature trees. 2. It leaves a huge mound of fence posts, dirt, trees, and barbed wire that is both an eyesore and impossible to do anything with and 3. It’s expensive.

Good thing we have lots of cheap labor. 🙂

The children and I spent hours in the fence rows in the last weeks.

It was a huge job that seemed daunting when we started out.  I wish I could say that Jan and I were confident that we could finish – but we weren’t.

Neither were the kids. They gave us one of those “Are you kidding me?!” looks when we gave them clippers and told them to get started.

"To find the little woodsmen.. in me"We cut wild raspberry thickets, gooseberry bushes, small trees and an unnamed green vine that is covered with the biggest nastiest red thorns ever.

We raked and piled and hauled off trees and branches.

Little by little we made progress.

You could look back and see what we’d done. Our paths were marked by piles of brush.

after

We were hot, sweaty, sore and scratched up. But proud of what we had done.

It reminds me of a passage from the classic book Where the Red Fern Grows. Billy is honor bound to cut down a very, very large tree.  It takes him days and he is tired, sore and discouraged.

Then his Grandpa starting talking, “‘You know Billy’, he said, ‘about this tree-chopping of yours, I think it’s all right. In fact, I think it would be a good thing if all young boys had to cut down a big tree like that once in their life. It does something for them. It gives them determination and will power. That’s a good thing for a man to have. It goes a long way in his life.’

Determination and will power. Smart Grandpa.

We not only cleaned fence rows – we built character.