Truly, the garden is ahead by four weeks. We had rhubarb at the end of March and lilacs blooming at the end of April. It's so early, that now we feel behind on gardening and it's not even May yet. ::sigh::
It's been a social and overall, busy time for both Olivia and Adam, this spring. They've been down to Massachusetts several times for unschooling potlucks and most recently, a Thursday-Sunday Doctor Who Gathering hosted by another unschooling family. We took them down and dropped them at Marcia's where they hung out in a group of about ten people, made meals together, played lots of Werewolves and watched plenty of Doctor Who.(Alex and I also combined trips and stopped by Ikea a couple of times on our journey to and from and picked up some items for house projects.)
Adam has been sketching a great deal and creating skins for Minecraft, many of which are inspired by his current reading. The kids are both preparing for Homeschool Prom, coming up May 11. Adam has chosen his tux and without giving too much away, bow ties are cool. Oh, and the boy is growing. A lot. He's just a smidge away from being taller than his sister, but don't tell her that. Several weeks ago, I took Olivia out shopping for her dress and approximately four hundred dresses later, she found a really beautiful gown. Now we just have to track down all the other bits and pieces and fret about hair for the next few weeks. These are the kinds of things we do now, having teens in the house.
Both the kids have been instrumental in the current reorganization and rearrange we're conducting in our home. More on that in a bit, though the guinea pigs seem to like their new spot.
And oh! The reading. So many books, stacked on nightstands, on tables, chairs and piled into library bags. Every Monday evening, the kids attend a Dystopian Teen Literature class hosted by Wendy, another homeschooling parent. So far the kids have read:
Harrison Bergeron, Kurt Vonnegut
The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
The Long Walk, Richard Bachman (Stephen King)
I Am Legend, Richard Matheson
Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood
The Giver, Lowis Lowry,
Among The Hidden, Margaret Peterson Haddix
They will be finishing the course by reading Last Light by Alex Scarrow and Into The Forest by Jean Heglund. It has been a rigorous reading schedule, though easily handled by Olivia and Adam, enough so that they've continued their personal reading (light stuff, like all of Tolkien's works, that kind of thing) in addition to their course material. Of course, part of what they enjoy most about the class is the discussion with other teens that happens during and after the session, that it has me thinking about the possibility of having the group continue, even just to talk, once the course has ended. And their book sharing has resulted in some humorous moments at home, too. I will say again, how grateful I am for the really close relationship those two have with each other. I'm oh so grateful.
Meanwhile, Olivia has been attending Driver's Education twice a week and also driving for two hours a week. She has been enjoying the class and the driving and finished all her drives early (she's an organizer, that one) which meant that today, after her permit exam and achieving her driver's permit, she got to drive us around Portland doing errands. In fact, just minutes after driving us out of the parking lot, and across town, she aced a between-two-cars-parallel-park, during lunch traffic in the Old Port (narrow, cobbled streets, lots of pedestrian and car traffic, busy) in our minivan that she had never driven! She even navigated and parked in the Trader Joe's parking lot. On a Friday afternoon. Wicked sharp. What this means is that she has a whole year to gain driving experience before taking her test for her license. I think that works out rather nicely. Tomorrow she's driving us all the two hours to the Fedco Tree Sale.
We switched some rooms, yes, again. In November, we swapped some bedrooms around and I still haven't blogged about that yet because I still haven't completed all that I want to upstairs in the way of repainting or redesigning. That's all coming soon, I assure you. We recently also switched rooms around downstairs. We took all the art and office stuff that had been too cramped in a little bedroom upstairs and brought it downstairs and put it in what used to be our living room, mainly because it's our brightest, sunniest room and can be closed off, perfect for when those projects get messy or I need to write or create uninterrupted. The guinea pigs were also moved to this room. It's still comfortably cluttered, but there's more access, more room to create and it's full of light and warmth. In order to get to that point, there was a lot of mess, and a lot of sorting and sifting, first.
Eventually, we restored order and we've been creating happily in our new family art room since.
We even got around to making a place for all those souvenir ticket stubs my family seems unable to part with. I saw this on Pinterest and Alex cut a slot in the top of the frame for me and we printed out one of my photos and voila! Organized memories, just like that. Sometimes it's those simple, little projects that offer such a sense of order and satisfaction.
What I haven't showed you yet is our new living room space, but that's because we haven't put the finishing touches on it yet. I will share soon.
And All The Other Things & Stuff
So in all these weeks that I haven't posted, I celebrated my 41st birthday (it was lovely and wow, do I smell nice, now, since my family treated to many of my favorite scents.)
I've been baking some, as needed, as in, the kids are traveling to spend five days with a group of teens, I better bake something.
Last night, Alex and I got a little dressed up, left the kids at home and had an adult evening out at our first Maine Tweetup at the gorgeous Grace Restaurant and met loads of really nice Mainers who, eh, also tweet. It's a thing. It was good. We laughed, a lot. And we got hugged before we left, which was also good and not the least bit weird. Honest. (#metweetup)
In between, we've shoved piles on the dining room table aside to make room for grilled cheese and soup lunches, we've both lost and found our patience, trying to make a room with too many doors and windows and hardly any wall space work as a living room, we've driven back and forth to Portland countless times, walked the beach, fed guinea pigs their first dandelions of the year, and consoled grumpy cats missing their favorite busy people. We've discussed books and books and more books, complained bitterly about books to movies and sighed with relief at other adaptations, mostly. (It's true. Alex and I are officially outing ourselves as Game of Thrones haters. Truly. It's so terrible. Like, we're hoping it makes a swing to campy, because that's the only thing that can save it at this point.)
Finally, today also happens to be the fourth anniversary of my mother's death. Her loss is still very painful, though more manageable somehow. At other times, not so manageable. Like when I think about how she's missed so much-her grandchildren (all four of them) growing into beautiful, knowing, creative, adventurous people, mostly. Mostly it's that, and how they sometimes have her expression or tilt of her head. Sometimes it's the simple state of being motherless, even at age 41, that rakes at me when those quiet moments of grief steal in and carve up space, unbidden, flooding me with more and more memories, things and stuff I have to process, mull over, and be with. It's alright. It's life, it's busy and messy, cluttered and ordinary. But when it's not, the things and stuff of life are orderly, transforming, extraordinary, brilliant and shining.