Sweet Freedom

Ten days of school left. Four of them are half days, so that means I only have 18 lunches left to make. Twenty-six days til we leave for Maine. And zero major PTA events left this year. Yeeha!

Today is my younger son’s 6th birthday. We are not having a formal celebration til next weekend, and frankly I feel like I spent all day today yelling at him. I realized I need a totally new approach with him. I can no longer be surprised when he is bad (not listening, continuing to do the thing I said not to do, lying about doing things he wasn’t supposed to). I have to assume at all times that he is going to be difficult and have a plan for how to respond. He and my formerly sweet baby girl have been ganging up on me a lot, drawing power from their greater numbers and shared worldview (playtime is always, Mom is a bore and to be disregarded). Not fun.

Today was difficult, honestly. Muggy, cloudy, threat of rain that didn’t happen til after dinner. The guilt of not celebrating my son’s birthday. Wanting to just relax after the pressure of the last few weeks, with PTA, yet feeling guilty about the state of the house and all the other things I’ve been neglecting. I did some kamikaze vacuuming and decluttering. I hovered around my older son til he finished cleaning the guinea pig cage, dragging him back to it verbally more than once (it’s a multistep project, and we went out in the middle of it, so he was distracted). We decided recently that he is responsible for always maintaining their water supply, for feeding them in the mornings, and for cleaning the cage on the weekends (I do everything else). That’s reasonable, and I think eventually he will get the hang of it all, but right now he is still being scatter-brained about it.

One good thing is that I finally finished filling Raised Bed #3 with dirt, and tomorrow I will plant pumpkin seeds. I toiled outside in the mugginess for quite a while, loading up the wheelbarrow and dumping the dirt in, while the younger kids played with water balloons. That kind of mechanical work is soothing to me. I don’t mind it.

As I worked, I pondered the area behind the garage. Right now it is wasted space, a sad dumping ground.

I’m not exactly sure how much sun it gets, but probably enough for something. And there’s a half-dead tree that could come down. The garage wall would be nice for trellises. Something to think about it, and to start clearing out.

In other garden news, I have aphids on some of my tomato plants and cabbage worms munching through my broccoli. I picked everything off by hand and am hoping that will do it. First time I’ve ever really had a pest problem.

Last week, I gave my mom a big bag of Butter King lettuce and arugula, and still had plenty left for my salads, turkey sandwiches, and steak tacos.

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Out in the front garden, I had a total garden geekout the other night. I saw these sprouts coming up and they looked familiar to me.

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I Googled “will zinnias self-seed?” because they seemed to be in the same spots where I planted zinnias last year. Answer: Yes! Woo-hoo, flowers that come back on their own! Happy lazy gardener.

I’m so very glad this upcoming week will be slow. And by slow I mean: food shop; buy hay at pet store; mop kitchen floor; pay bills; close out budget for May; take That Cat to a vet; do PTA paperwork, phone calls, and financial stuff; finish paperwork for travel soccer; help at kindergarten end-of-year party; go to end-of-year pre-K classroom visit; plan make-up birthday event; plan for Father’s Day/hubs’ birthday; go to Phillies game. And all the usual stuff. But that is slow compared to how things have been. Hoping to make homemade pesto tomorrow, with my basil leaves, and otherwise put some thought into our dinner menu.

Somehow last week I found the time to read this book.

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I took it from a display of Mother’s Day-themed books at the library last time I was there, not knowing anything about it. It’s really good; the author writes about her mother’s (and her own) life in Africa and especially about the war in Rhodesia. For the first time ever, I found myself interested in visiting Africa, and I actually ended up reading all about Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) on Wikipedia. Of course… of course… they were farmers. There just had to be a farm angle.

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