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Sixth and Eigth!

It’s that time of year again–school has started up! This summer felt particularly quick. I’m not sure if it’s because we had so many fun, memorable things packed into a majority of it, or if it’s because the kids are getting older, and our time all together feels like it’s going to become more scarce. Great. Now I’m gonna cry. 😢

Fourth, First, and Kindergarten!
This year, Claire joined Evelyn in middle school. That meant they were back to sharing a room, and have been spending a whole lotta time together. The nice thing about about a shared struggle is it often brings people together. Evelyn has been the big sister, helping Claire figure out how to work her lock, and find her classes, while Claire has renewed Evelyn’s excitement for school.
Probably the most bittersweet for me as a mother is sending my kids off for the first time. Some are apprehensive, some barely remember to say goodbye over their shoulder as they sprint inside. Zoey was somewhere in between. Henry and Kate were more than happy to walk her to class for her big first day.
And, they’re off! And wow, my windows are really dirty. 😅
Any apprehension I had about sending Zoey off into the great big world was put to rest when I pulled up to the curb to pick her up. She was wearing her adorable I HEART KINDERGARTEN crown, and was beaming. She loved every second of it, and couldn’t wait to go back.
She loved kindergarten as much as I figured she would.
That means at home, it’s just Jack, me, Peter, and Adam. That’s right… I’m the only girl left at home. Well, technically, the boys are still severely outnumbered by the sheer number of cows, hens, and mares, but I’m the only human female here. Basically, I’m the queen all day long.
I don’t know what other queens do in their castles, but in mine, I put the men to work, and I’m right alongside them in the trenches. Since school has started, we’ve updated electrical outlets, deep cleaned under the sink, painted the storage room, shoveled out the stalls, painted gates, weeded, mulched, patched walls, and picked up hay.
Peter’s FINALLY gotten his hands on the vacuum now that his siblings aren’t first in line to use it.

We’re a little over a week into school, and though we’ve made huge strides in getting things done around the home and property with only two children at home to watch after, the biggest change has been the quiet. There is a huge difference in seven children at home versus two children, especially when those two children are independent boys who wander off to do their own thing a lot of the time. If I didn’t thrive with periods of quiet to hear myself think, I’d almost think it was lonely. Almost.

If I ever need to find the boys, noise is the way to recall them. As free-spirited as all our kids are, there are a few things that make the kids come running, and one of those things is the lawn mower. Sometimes Adam still takes two naps a day (🥳), so that usually makes Peter my mowing buddy.
As the summer draws on, the pastures are always in need of a cut to keep the weeds at bay, and the start of school was the perfect time to attack the thistles, jimson weed, poison ivy, rose bushes, milkweed—

Uh, whoops. As noisy as a mower is, it also has the tendency to rock Peter to sleep. I know he’s nodding off when his head starts jerking back and forth, and not in the direction the lawn mower is moving. When that happens, it’s time to call it quits. I pinch his head between my knees for safe keeping, drive the mower back to the shed, and carry Peter up to bed.

Poor kid! Fell asleep at lunch. Again. 😅
Having a couple of days of school under our belt, we’ve settled into a routine. I take Evelyn and Claire to school as the sun is rising, and usually before I’m back, the boys are all up. Despite pleading with them to sleep as long as they can, they’re simultaneously going through growth spurts. Most often, I find them having their second or third breakfast by the time I’m back. Thank goodness the hens are laying eggs like clockwork, and the garden’s producing, or they’d probably start eating the baseboards.
The middle kids don’t have to be to school until nine, which gives us plenty of time to lackadaisically get ready. Even when we know it’s coming, goodbyes are still hard. It is HILARIOUS to watch Adam cling to his siblings. It’s not so much that he misses them, so much as he misses being carried around everywhere by them. He gets the occasional ride from me, but not that he’s a walker, he has to keep up. 
Adam monkey clinging to Kate. “Please don’t leave meeeeee!”

One of my favorite parts of the day is the drive to school, and back again. I love being surrounded by open fields, and listening to music with the kids on the way. We are so blessed that so much of our driving is surrounded by blue sky and green fields.

Though the boys and I have been getting lots of work done during the day, school hours also seem to fly by. Just as soon as they’re gone, they’re back again.
I try to take it easy on the kids with chores, especially the first few weeks of school, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised how often everyone has stepped up to help, regardless of whether or not they’ve been at school all day. That’s particularly helpful since the garden is gushing vegetables, and the orchard is spilling over with fruit. All that food needs to be put up when it’s ready, or it’ll be a waste. It’s surprising how fast ripe food from the vine will spoil if it isn’t canned, jammed, dried, or frozen.
And that siren call of the mower? It’s just as strong with the older kids. After dinner, they’re outside, zipping around on the mower like pros. Who needs television when you have a zero turn mower, and acres of untamed pastures?
What brings us the most joy, is taking the time just to exist. There’s plenty of rushing around to get things done, and make sure everything that needs to be checked off is, but if we don’t slow down and enjoy it once in a while, what’s the point of having it? Evenings—especially ones we don’t have anything planned—are my favorite.
So far, so good at school, and prayers that everyone is safe, successful, and motivated (😅) this year for another round of formal education!
School is back in session! Maybe we need more hooks…

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True stories of raising children, remodeling, braving the elements and plotting out life, all while living on a humble acreage in central Indiana.

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