I have to admit, despite all the planning and the talking it through and the schedule shuffling and general pomp and circumstance that accompanies a trip to the other side of the globe, it kinda snuck up on me when she left. I have never been heli-skiing but I can imagine that it must be a similar feeling when that chopper peels away and you are left standing silently at the precipice with only one way down...over the edge. Of course I felt a little bit lonely on that edge, despite having five kids and my mom to keep me company for the next two weeks, I was surely going to miss my lady. But it was also a bit exhilarating, like we were having our own little adventure.
"You guys wanna get something to eat?!" I called out to much cheering from the back of the family traveler. And magically having all of them in a loud and busy restaurant by myself was almost easier than when we are all together. From the oldest to the youngest they sensed that, with only one of me, everything was sort of tenuous and if somebody went into a high speed wobble it would all come apart very quickly. And so we've been navigating this line between things fresh and exciting and a sense of normalcy with our regular routine. It's normal with a twist of, what's going to happen next?!
So far spring has not sprung in these parts and with wind chills below zero since Mama left we've been feeling even further from Bali. The sap is running a tiny bit when the Sun warms it enough to go but we've had it freezing in the pails a couple of days when I didn't think it had run and left it overnight. So, the next day we bring it inside to melt on the kitchen table and the kids drink sap by the spoonful pretty much all day!
Saying yes. This is a staple in the diet of the best parents I know and is not always as easy as it sounds. So when the kids dig out an oldie but goodie like the wood burning kit I am trying to put my own agenda aside to get them rolling. The rules are simple - don't burn yourself or anybody else and unplug it when you're done. Naturally it requires constant parental oversight for the littlest and pretty much a never ending supply of clean wood but they are so happy to have a new tool to master.
It's the little things. A great holiday gift of 2x4 blocks which had been banished to the barn as an 'outdoor only' toy gets brought back in for a little treat on a cold day. The wooden equivalent of a great cardboard box (aka - the best toy ever) and you can also play in the empty bucket carrier!
Goodwill. $5. Shoot the Moon, a toy from my youth thrifted at the local Goodwill and has already paid itself off a hundred times over in entertainment value. Especially for Harper who hides the ball on his big sister while she's playing just to send her into orbit...it's not all roses all the time - don't get the wrong idea.
One for the Papa. Cracking into an overdue project just to keep things interesting and maybe give Amanda a little boost when she gets home and there's still 18" of snow on the ground. Plus the kids are getting to be expert nail pullers, unscrewers and vacuumers. Harper is the foreman and boss of keeping the tool batteries charged. Ani is in charge of ice for everyones drinks. Ezra is either reading or looking for arrows in the snow from his new archery habit (sometimes he misses the hay bale). Calvin is either skiing, skating, dancing or dreaming about one of the three with his headphones on. Ada is either working on a fabulous craft project, talking my ear off or playing Heart and Soul on the piano. Again. (Note to self - teach Ada new song for piano ASAP). My mom is either reading to the kids, making them snacks when I said no snacks or looking up obscure conspiracy theories on Youtube. Amanda is in Bali!! Life is good.