Monday, May 31, 2010

Beach camping... ahhh

What with it being the long Memorial Day weekend, we gathered up the kids, the camping gear, and a couple of friends and took off to Rhode Island. We put up camp in the rain, cooked in the wind, and finally crawled into our sleeping bags for a good night's rest. Friends had one tent, hubby and the boys had the second tent, and the girls and I took the third. I woke up to birds chirping in the trees overhead at fajr then prayed and went back to sleep. I gave myself permission (with the consent of my family) to sleep long after hubby and the kids were all up. I love tent sleeping. Or rather tent dozing-and-waking, listening to the sounds of leaves crunching while other people walk around outside, the sound of logs popping in the campfire, the whisper of wind against the tent, the tap-tap-tap of a little bug who keeps flying in the the tent in some disoriented way. After we all officially got up, we made tea on the open fire (hot cocoa for the kids), and had watermelon, oranges, danishes, chicken kabobs, roasted potatoes, and hot dogs for brunch. :) I love the way you can conglomerate camping meals and it all tastes good together. Then we packed up the tents and camping gear and drove 5 minutes to the beach, where we proceeded to spend the rest of the day. I got the kids suited up in swim gear and they all hit the waves. Z, my younger daughter, yelled and giggled and squealed until her throat was hoarse. AR, my older son, is usually pretty moody, but even he was happy all afternoon playing in the waves, his only complaint being when a crab pinched his finger. S, my baby boy, followed our friend Misbah around like a little puppy in and out of the water and exploring some big rocks covered in snails and barnacles. A, my teenage daughter, and I went hunting for sea glass and collected a dozen pieces in clear and green colors. Sitting on the sand in the sun and listening to the waves washing in and out on the shore does my psyche a lot of good.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Finding quiet in odd places

We had to take our cat to the vet for an emergency c-section at 10pm Monday night. Hubby stayed home with the three little kids, and the teenager and I loaded up the cat and the three kittens she had already managed to deliver and drove 30 minutes through the dark of night to get to Tufts vet clinic, the only one open 24 hours a day. The only sounds in the car were of Nunu mewing her pain and the teen and I murmuring comforting reassurances to her. Once at the vet, we turned our beloved furball over to the doctors and sat in the waiting room, speaking very little. The teenager patted my arm and held my hand and laid her head on my shoulder. We met with the doctor three different times, and then finally at about 1:30am it was decided that Nunu had to have surgery. It was life or death. We agreed, and were sent home. We drove silently back through the night, my teenager and me. We spoke a little about our relief, how it was fortunate we decided to take her in to be seen, about how grateful we were that Hubby has a tender heart for animals and agreed to pay a small fortune to keep Nunu alive because he knows how we all love her. Then we arrived at the house, dragged ourselves in the door, prayed, and slept. It wasn't a great night, but it ended well. It was quiet. It was peaceful. I will accept that with gratitude.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Secret Garden

One of my favorite books as a child was "The Secret Garden," by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It's the story of a young girl who is orphaned and sent to live with an elderly uncle in England. She spends most of her days alone and her main joy is in discovering an abandoned garden and bringing it back to life. She spots some tiny plants struggling up through the weeds and fallen leaves and clears the way for them to find the sun again so that they can bloom and grow.

I felt like that little girl today. This past January we moved into a home with a decent sized front lawn and a big back yard, and the only problem was that it apparently hasn't been tended to for several years. To be honest, it is a completely overgrown wilderness. Or it was. Until I started digging into it. I realized after looking around that someone had once lived here who had done a lot of gardening and planting. We found that the stick pile outside the back door was actually covering a raised garden bed, so last week hubby helped me clear that off, and I planted a vegetable garden. I then noticed that the area on the opposite side of our garage, facing our neighbor's house, was a huge weedy mess that I needed to clean up, but that it had peonies and hostas growing around it- it was another garden spot! I climbed in and began pulling down tree seedlings that were sprouting up in the middle of it. I rooted out grass and started getting out the weeds, and then I found under all that there was not just an area where something had been previously planted, but a full, bordered and arranged garden bed hidden under the grass and weeds. There were iris beginning to bloom, and under all the weeds I pulled away, I even found a fully grown, bright red strawberry! I showed our neighbor who told me that it had been at least four years since the strawberry planting woman had lived here. Imagine, that these untended little plants had struggled and grown all this time under there. As I pressed further back through the climbing and creeping vines, I found an old grapevine, all set to produce a big crop of grapes for this summer! Amazing. What a wonderful afternoon!

Friday, May 21, 2010

In search of the quiet

I'm trying to figure out which things in my life are keepers, which are unnecessary, and which must absolutely be rooted out.

Some of the unnecessaries:
* Spending too much time on the computer
* Cell phone that leaves me constantly accessible

Got to stop:
* Over-committing
* Thinking I only get time to myself when there is leftover "extra" time (which there never is)

I'm still working on this list.

On the flip side, I also need to figure out what I need- that I'm not getting- in order to be peaceful. This includes:
* Time to devote to my hobbies (even late night will work)
* A day off every week from homeschooling, housework, and cooking
* Time to enjoy my kids, when we are just having fun and not trying to get something done
* Date nights with my husband (we've had one since we got married, and that was our 7th anniversary, the first anniversary we remembered to celebrate)
* The freedom to dream about possibilities without being laughed down or "reasoned" with

It's a start.