Three school boys. Good start. No, great start. Turns out Chase isn't weepy in school like he can be at home sometimes. Guess it's easier to find your place in a sea of five year olds who may or may not overpower or get more attention than you. He did cry once the first week after I asked him if he was doing a good job following all of the rules. He quickly burst into a full-blown sob and said, "There's one rule that I just can't remember to follow, Mom." I nervously inquired which rule that was. After crying for what seemed like forever, he finally took a breath long enough to admit, "I'm a horrible kid. I just can't remember to push my chair in every time."
That, I can handle, Chaser.
That kid is starting to read, and you can see the elation in his eyes. I can't get enough of it, and he can't get enough of my reaction. He read a short poem to me the other day, and when I limited my praise to just a (huge) smile and a quick, "Wow, great job, Bud!", he responded with, "Aren't you going to jump up and down and clap and scream really loud for like thirty-five seconds or something??"
Uh... let me wash the raw chicken goo off of my hands, then of course I will.
And here's another neat trick: These two miss each other while Chase is at school. How that is possible in the quickest three hours of our lives I'll never know, but it's true. Enough to embrace when we pick Chase up from school, and play their little hearts out from the minute we get home until nap time. No TV needed (not even once in the last three weeks), rarely a fight, and lots of "Come on, this way Girl..." to direct their play.
As for my three hours alone with just Tess everyday? We are so NOT efficient. We light candles, drink hot chai (with lots of whip cream on hers), chat with neighbors who are out walking their dogs, dance to music in the kitchen, and fold lots and lots of laundry together.
And occasionally eat pickles.
She's killer at folding washcloths, even if the tags aren't tucked in and they're not all stacked facing the same direction. And now, all these years (and four kids, which have to be a lot like therapy) later, I don't even fix them before putting them away. That's progress, people.
Oh, and we started attending an aerobics class. I won't go on and on like we're pros or anything since we're totally the new chicks on the block, but hey, it's something. You're talking to the girl who doesn't exercise. Ever. And my sad, sore muscles are proof. Tess comes along to play in the gym during the hour long (free taught by my friend at her church) class, which will totally take the place of any gymnastics or dance class I had considered putting her in before now. She jumps and dances and copies the moves (hopefully the instructor's and not my sorry version), and giggles at me when I look silly.
Which is practically the whole sixty minutes.
As for the older boys, they've got the school routine down. Except for Trey, maybe, who occasionally forgets to listen to instructions fully and has to start over because he's too excited to get his work done as fast as humanly-eight-year-old-boy-possible.
Not because he loves doing homework, necessarily. It's all just a means to an end for his incredibly packed social agenda. Sadly (or not so sadly??), I can relate, buddy. Reading comprehension... who has time for it when there are people to see and things to do? But don't challenge him to a face-off in mental math, 'cause he'll beat you every time.
And Jack? Once upon a time, the Lord knew that I'd have four kids and the four o'clock hour would be completely nut-so in our house, so He gave me a boy who just gets it done. No instruction or motivation needed, no jumping up and down in a cheering frenzy required, just a signature at the bottom of his assignment book saying he's completed every last bit. Now you can go read happily for hours on end, my friend.
School happened. And so did Fall. A new nephew, a wedding, AWANA, flag football, a moms/school prayer group, ladies' bible study, a new ten year old, school fundraiser, multiple out-of-town grandparent visits, random ministries, plus a whole lot more.
Life is full.
But it's that good kind of full.
(Unless it's flag football in the rain. We baseball people aren't used to playing sports in the rain, you know...)