Honestly, the highlight of my Halloween probably falls around 8:30 or 9:00 pm. You know, that special time when you wave the kids back from the door, frantically shushing as you crawl in stealth mode towards your curtains and pull them closed from your position laying on the floor underneath the windowsill as your husband runs through the house making sure that every light is turned off and there are no visible signs of life.
That’s what we call closing time:)
Then we roll right into today… November 1st, the day when breakfast is coffee and Kit Kats and it’s time for some good…ish housekeeping;)
Sunday I slept through church… attended Bedside Baptist….
That’s a little joke I picked up from college friends,
Hhmmm… starting to wonder if I wasn’t in the cool crowd…
It’s hip, right?!
Usually, I make it. I just remember the mind body connection: If your mind can move your feet, just have faith that your bedraggled heart may yet wake up, literally smelling the coffee with any luck.
… I’ll save the rest of my profound thoughts on that for a different post, today I’m more wrapped up in, Why I love cleaning, and how I balance that with choosing what is best.
I’m Martha, fo sho… as in Mary sat at Jesus’ feet, but her sister Martha glared at them while she finished melodramatically unloading the dishwasher.
Sometimes it’s just not easy to choose what is best. I try to be mindful of this as I embrace my gifting for service .
Part of the joy of cleaning for me is in the idea of preparing a place.
In fact , I almost think that Summer is finally catching it’s train, because I prepared a place for Fall.
With girls heading here to s’more it up at the Van Meters, I kissed the Indian summer goodbye by dragging small plastic pools, squirt guns and the water wiggle hose back to their waiting spot in the storage room.
No more water wiggle hose b-ball or trampoline… no more kids hiding in the bushes with squirt guns and running barefoot to plastic pools to fill them amid shrieks and flying beach balls and no more flavor ice in the freezer, because even the freezer gets to make room… bags of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and lunch ice packs are already moving in.
I don’t know how many of these Halcyon summers we have left, and I should let that wash over… I guess… as I bustle by inhaling the coming season and letting go of each failed goal of summer.
Even though S’more night was still 90 degrees, I’m glad I did some clearing around the screened porch and patio. I opened up a place to peck away with Windows 7, a place for Bedside Baptist to meet, for painting and reading… and counting spiders:)
Also, The s’more fire needed a bit of help and the girls needed a place on the dining room wall for post its with their ideas for service projects.
Retiring our summer reading solved both problems.
Seasons change and we get to make room or let it pile on, but we don’t get to stop it.
Not since my children were much younger, has the coming of the trash truck brought such excitement!
The kids spotted a truck in the neighborhood just after noon and their hopes soared. With no pickup for over a week, trash has officially become a situation.
L & K Services, the secret wizards behind making our gross trash magically gone, recently got bought out by Waste Management, who probably would like to do the same, but lack a crucial element,
the garbage guys.
Now, we’re living in the prequel to Wall-E!
Strolling down the tree lined streets of our beloved neighborhood has taken on a whole new dimension. To start with, there’s the special aroma which emanates from the piling trash. If it was a perfume, it might be called Meat Diaper and I’m not sure that it could, or should, ever be replicated.
I think the combination of allowing the bags to marinate in the summer heat for an extended time frame, followed by raccoons ripping so many of the bags open, so that the bouquet can be enjoyed by all, at the very peak of ripeness, is the special secret.
Yep, trash folks, we are ready for you!
The kids had bubbles and party horns, but lost faith in the final hours of waiting, so in the end our trash men were only greeted by the colorful sidewalk chalk that we left behind.
no more triple dip
no more snowman (okay, that one was on Malcolm in the Middle… Hal vs. The Trash Man… no???)
Hello … sanitizing the trash/recycle bins before they go back in the garage, yowza!
Thank You Homes Association Board, for the hard work that happens behind the scenes and Thank You Wonderful Garbage People everywhere! We’ll see if we can’t produce a little less refuse in the future to help lighten the load.
Last Friday our family set out on another Van Meter Vacation Adventure! What is the ideal American Vacation for the family with a 10 and 11 year old?
There is so much to do! By the end of our 1st full day we had visited The White House,
gone through and seen The International Spy Museum!
I should have bought the gnome:)
Here are a few White House photos…
The next day we had a rental car (Did I mention the Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Rally? 900,000 bikers in DC, roads closed, fun driving). We headed out to Mt. Vernon, the Washington National Cathedral and The U.S. National Arboretum.
Later in the day, it rained, which thinned out the crowds a lot, so we walked around and saw memorials. We made it to the Korean, WW II, Vietnam and Lincoln and were able to take our time, since relatively few other folks were out and about.
Hub was up with the chickens getting our Washington Memorial tickets, so that was our first stop and it was very cool. Great Views up there!
After that one, we hit The National Air and Space Museum and then The Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.
ate one of these on route to the paddle boats.
I think the huge amount of ice cream trucks that are always all over the place was sadly my kid’s DC highlight.
We were already walking eight to twelve miles a day, so paddle boating seemed like a nice way to round that out. When you add all that to playing in our tiny hotel pool DC Vacation Triathlon!
Then on Tuesday, we took the metro to Arlington National Cemetery.
There’s a hop on, hop off tram tour that’s an absolute must for many reasons. You can catch a breeze, take a break from all the walking and enjoy an informative narrator who explains what your seeing along the way.
After Arlington, the kids got to experience their first cab ride, to our next stop, The National Gallery of Art.
I loved it, but I was also reminded how great we have it in KC because The Nelson is pretty amazing. I could have spent all day going through the gallery, but we were losing the kids, so it was time to walk on over to The U.S. Botanic Garden, which the kids thought was pretty cool.
Finally a little feet off of floor time at the hotel, because they also were pretty excited to have cable. We caught up on lots of HGTV at night and the kids loved Chopped Junior.
Our final full day of Vacation started at the office of our congressman
Hub had set up a tour of the house and senate.
Our very last, official DC destination was The Supreme Court. You can walk in, sit down and hear all about it, which is so great because we were wiping out by then!
Next, I watched the How To Portion (Cut) Salmon Filet episode of The Savage Kitchen on youtube.
Sadly, the fish wrestling didn’t go quite as smoothly for me as it did for those guys:
I console myself by remembering that the people on youtube are professionals, who’ve had some practice and probably have better knives than I do. Also, their fish probably isn’t from Wal Mart’s freezer. I think my fish didn’t want to come apart easily, because he was bitter about ending up there.
All told, this part was just a bit vile and unwieldy. I feel bad for Jonah. Ewwwwwwww…
That salmon was cold, floppy, slippery and hard to handle. Also, the skin was just so fish-like, which I found a little disconcerting. It looked nothing like the Filet-o-Fish!
Now that its marinating in the fridge, I feel like it may be a good time to clean the kitchen… before it starts smelling like Long John Silver’s dumpster and maybe take a shower myself.
I do like to label stuff. You never know when you’ll become distracted and the labels may help archaeologists of the future.
I had to do the pecan toasting twice because I had too much going on the first time around and I forgot to turn off the fire when they reached perfect toastiness… but didn’t realize until they hit cremation:(
Nevertheless, four and a half hours later we’re maple pecan crusted and headed to the oven…
I’m totally calling this one a win, Hub didn’t get sick and both kids ate it! Yea!
Countdown to Summer is on! I think my kiddos have about 8 school days left, woo hoo!
This is the time when I like to start thinking about goals and ideas, things I want to intentionally get on top of with my kids, during this time. I love the shake up in our schedule, it’s always new and full of possibilities.
Last summer we did a family reading challenge. Which we’re definitely going to fire up again, it was pretty easy and fun.
First Thing: Make a Poster and hang it in a prominent location in your home.
For ours, I looked at some summer reading posters online for inspiration. I found some cute clip art Popsicles and then got out the sharpies and copied a mashup of all my favorite ideas.
Then the plan was for each of us to fill in our Popsicle as we finished new books. If your not a weird parent who loves to draw and color, like myself, have the kids make something.
Step 2: Stock your place with piles of enticing and delightful books!
Whenever you need a little space… it’s silent reading time! It’s a win win for everybody!
I searched online through various reading lists from all over and wrote down the ones that had reasonable parent reviews (I check common sense media or amazon.) I also look at the reading level and go for a mix of challenge and freebie. Then I just add them to my holds list from the public library, so I could run in and grab a pile every week or so, even if we were rocking a busy schedule and didn’t always have the time to troll up and down the aisles.
Step 3: Have fun reading and adding titles to your poster! This year, whatever we do will be bigger, ours was on an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of typing paper:(
We ended up writing super tiny.
Last Step: When summer ends, look back with satisfaction.
I needed to hide mine because the kids mopped the floor with us and wouldn’t stop busting our chops about it.