We were up at 6:30AM for scriptures and prayers. Brandon was still feeling yucky, but he's on the mend, so he was able to join us this week. We're reading in Alma, and particularly, these chapters were where Alma is writing instructions to his sons. #6 stayed in bed sleeping (as he does most mornings), and #5 was extra ornery at getting woken up, but we got through it.
The big kids got themselves ready for school; there was a lot of reminding and supervising on my part, but I didn't do much (and did most of it from the couch) until after they had all left.
I tried to keep electronics off for the little ones all morning, and when I noticed that it was the First Day of Spring (!!!), I got the boys (and myself) all dressed and we embarked on a walk!
(There are a lot of broken trees in our neighborhood, due to all the snow and ice storms we had this winter.)
We walked all the way down our street, around the corner, up and around and down to one of the ponds (there are two). Unlike ponds in Utah, these ones aren't for public use... they are actually on property. Actually, I'm not sure if they are public or not... Anyway, there wasn't much to see (except two geese) and it made #5 very sad.
He sat on the ground and wouldn't come with me until I convinced him he could run ahead a little bit. The walk back wasn't as exciting for #5 as the walk there, but he was a trooper.
I wish I could capture the smell for you, dear reader. It had rained most of the night, and with all the trees (especially the pine!) and the rain, the scent was simply heavenly!
After we got back home, I noticed the kids had left out every ball and sled we owned. I also saw some treasures that were now exposed because the snow had melted (things like gloves and hats). So, we played in the mud a bit as I gathered these items and unsuccessfully tried to recruit the boys to help. They were too busy throwing rocks into one of the sleds (it was full of water).
At one point, as I was stopping around in the mud/grass/leaves/rocks in my boots, I meandered down to the corner of our property. I saw a different angle than one I see every day (since I'm usually looking the other direction), and it was so peaceful and beautiful and I had a really cool geeky moment. Remember in the A&E Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth? Well, there's a scene of Lizzie walking to Netherfield Park and she jumps over the fence and into the mud (go to 38:04 on the link). She is concerned for just a moment and then shakes it off, arriving at Netherfield with her hem "six inches deep in mud!" I realized that I wasn't concerned about the mud, either, because I was simply enjoying such a beautiful day. It made me happy. I took a photo to remember.
Then it was lunchtime and I let the kids watch Disney's animated "Robin Hood." While they watched, I put dinner on: baked potatoes in the crockpot, homemade chilli in the crockpot, homemade pumpkin pie cake and cream cheese frosting. (*Recipes below!) I also did the dishes, cleaned the living room, and the dining room (by that time, the movie was over). I was finishing up cleaning the front entryway when #1 got home from school.
I gave her some instructions, hung up my apron, brushed my teeth, and was off to my therapy appointment. Which was fine. As I was talking with her, I realized that I don't think I need as much therapy as I needed the medication. I'll keep going for a little while, just in case, but I'm ten times healthier now than I was several years ago. The difference, now that I'm on meds again, is almost startling! It gave me peace and comfort to know that I'm moving forward...
I was home by 5PM and greeted all the kids (#2, #3, and #4 were home from school by then --they get home by 4:15PM). I made them do their homework and some clean up (#1 had swept and mopped the kitchen floor while I was gone) so we could get ready for dinner. The missionaries (Elders) were coming over. I made broccoli and frosted the cake, and got the kids to help set the table.
Brandon arrived a few minutes before the Elders did, and we had a pretty good dinner! The potato "bar" had chilli, cheese, sour cream, salsa, butter, salt/pepper, broccoli, and... I did let the kids put a loaf of bread on the table. We had the cake for dessert, and then we moved to the living room where Brandon had to take a work call and the Elders shared a cool object lesson with us.
After saying goodbye to the Elders, Brandon had to run to the store to get some supplies for work and the kids and I cleaned up dinner.
Right after, #3 gathered up his Pine Wood Derby car supplies (actually, he didn't really help after dinner, the sneak) and took them to the screened porch so he could paint his car (it's our first Pine Wood Derby! They didn't have one last year in our ward in Provo, so to say he's excited is an understatement). I helped him get it set up, while #1 played with #6, #4 played Minecraft, and #2 and #5 were playing outside.
Soon, Brandon came home, checked on #3's car, and then we all just kind of hung out in the living room. #1 was working on a history project from school (she was creating a model of Colonial homes from North Carolina) and #4 was actually helping her. #6 was playing with a toy motorcycle, #5 was watching #2 and #3 play Minecraft. Brandon was updating our March Madness brackets, and I was simply enjoying watching them all.
Then it was bedtime; pajamas, brushing teeth (at least the younger three did, because I helped!), family prayers, and sent them upstairs. Brandon and I watched an episode of Sherlock, which we had to pause half way through, because I heard the kids were still up. When I went to investigate, they were playing War (or some other card game) and I told them to knock it off and go to bed (they did fairly soon thereafter).
When Sherlock was finished, I put essential oils on Brandon feet/chest (it's been helping him sleep better through his illness) and we went to sleep. #6 showed up around 2AM to sleep in bed with me (he does this at least 3-4 nights a week. Does it bother me? Nope).
And then this morning, 6:30AM scripture study all over again...
It was good. I made beautiful things, I got fresh air and sunshine, I played with my boys, I was involved with my family, we had the Spirit in our home, and everything was simply just the day-to-day things we do. Not all days are this busy, not all days are this normal. But I'm grateful for them, because I'm not sitting in bed just crying, anymore.
Brown 2 pounds hamburger with 2 diced onions, 1 TBS garlic powder, and 1 TBS cumin powder.
Meanwhile, add the following to crockpot:
8-10 chopped roma tomatoes
1 can diced green chiles
1 can black beans
2 cans northern white beans
1 can tomato sauce
1-2 cups water
sea salt and white pepper to taste
Add cooked hamburger mixture
Cook on low for 6 hours
*Baked potatoes in Crockpot
Wash potatoes, coat with oil spray, sprinkle with sea salt.
Place in crockpot, cover, cook on low for 6-8 hours.
*Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Pie Cake (slightly modified from Lauralyn Sargent's Impossible Pumpkin Pie recipe):
1 1/2 cups pumpkin
1 cup almond milk
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup Krusteaz pancake mix
Put all ingredients into blender and blend until smooth. Put in greased 9x13 pan. And 1-2 cups chocolate chips (sprinkle them around). Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.
*Cream Cheese Frosting (using Cottage Cheese, instead)
3/4 cup cottage cheese
4 TBS melted butter
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp lemon juice
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Put all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Refrigerate until needed!