But really, Dolly, there are still three children under 50 pounds around here. There are plenty of mane braiding and river trips to come for you, spunky pony.
To be truthful Dolly and I share this aversion to change. Once I learned how to be present in the moment I realized how difficult it can be to move on to the next. Transition issues, anyone?
Murphy doesn't so much mind Sam and Richie's arrival, but they don't quite know what to do with a pony-sized dog yet. Similarly Richie seems to believe Jane the ewe lamb is a very fat poodle with a habit of rushing in to steal his dropped grain.
We all learn and grow. And change.
In less-philosophical farm news: We planted two peach trees and an almond tree. (You can see Grace digging one of the holes in a picture posted here!) This brings our orchard to three mature apple trees, one mature tart cherry and two sweet two-year-old cherries, one young fig tree, one mature pear and two two-year-old pears, the new peach and almond trees, and five grapevines we planted last year. Oh! And a quince, a 40-foot multi-variety raspberry hedge, and three blueberry bushes. This week I hope to renovate my strawberry bed during the break between school and dance each day.
And in school news: Grace's piano lessons are a treasure hidden in each week. I know I may be stage-momming but I have to say I think she plays beautifully, and she loves it. Her shy and quiet goes away when she is practicing and a new giggly glow comes over her. Is there anything to make a mother tearful like her child finding a happiness and joy? Which is a perfect segue into Madeleine and algebra. (Yes, I am thinking I am funny.) Homeschooling (who made that word?) kindergarten through high school is its own brand of mommy crazy but it is still working for our family in part because Madeleine and Sarah are both so self-starting. Madeleine would rather "start" with math, and Sarah with literature. They work incredibly hard each day on their "schoolwork" before they play in the rain with the ponies and then get cleaned up, Monday through Saturday, for ballet/tap/jazz/modern. It is simply stunning to be as involved as I get to be. The best way I can describe how it feels to "teach" them is that I am allowed to rediscover my own love of learning while they explore new subjects. Meanwhile Grace is still loving second grade if not as much right now as she loves dance and music, Laura is a super-precocious kindergarten ballerina princess scholar, and Salvador has absorbed his alphabet and counts to 17 (skips 18 -- but goes on to 19 and 20 -- what's up with that?) at age two while he gets to know his Legos really well. How lucky am I to be seated at the same table as these children?
Something on which I don't always update you: The in-case-you-follow-small-business news: my husband's engineering, project management, site development and land survey business has evolved significantly to better serve our still-struggling Oregon economy. I am unspeakably proud of how hard and smart he continues to work, traveling the state and region and taking on new lines of work to diversify. A tiny part of me sometimes wishes we could go back to a homesteading lifestyle, selling shares in dairy cows and harvesting trees to build the new addition we need so badly at this old farmhouse. But. His skills and certifications are helping many others in the development and land use planning fields find ways to accomplish their goals as well. The office looks different than it did five years ago but, again, change is good. Right?
And finally the farmhouse renovation news: It certainly is good to have change to report on that front. The upstairs bathroom, completely unusable a year ago, is becoming beautiful! Since moving every last thing to the studs, we have insulated and had the plumbing repaired. The new black-and-white flooring is installed and the toilet and pedestal sink are in. Two custom-made built-in cabinets (squee!) hold linens and hair bows. Last to finish is the tub end of the room, but I hope to have a surprise to share next month. A dear friend visited for the first time in a year and in giving her the tour I was impressed with our progress, which is hard to see in the day-to-day of it all. New kitchen flooring, new kitchen nook with wainscot, new stairwell, new pantry, new paint in nearly every room, newnewnew! Through her eyes I didn't see the flooring still to replace or the bookcases to build, but the beauty in what we are creating. I was surprised by how much change we've wrought one spackle spot at a time.
Oftentimes I am like Richie or Sam, newly arrived at this place, not sure of what I'm seeing but grateful for the fresh growth of spring grass pushing through last fall's leaves. A change can be a surprise. And a surprise is like a present.