Been kind of in love lately with this guy. Which is handy, he being my husband and all.
He turned 34 on Wednesday. We took a long, child-free walk out at our favorite spot. Saw a blue heron on the way in, and on the way out he flew next to the truck for a good long minute.
Talked about this and that and held hands and watched the dogs enjoy themselves.
It's not that we live life in a state of ecstatic happiness all the time, because we don't. I have anxiety often. He gets restless, often. Sometimes our best conversations are about celebrity gossip.
But he's my favorite person to be anxious, restless, and discussing the Kardashians with :)
On Thursday, K invited the whole town courtesy of a half-page ad in the newspaper to join him at the official unveiling of his project. Despite frigid temperatures, a ton of people came, oohed, ahhed. The mayor said some nice things. Binnie prayed. These are the three guys who got the vast majority of the work done. I'm proud of all of them, but mostly of that one in the middle. I can take no credit for the last venture; frankly, I thought it was a bad idea. But 15 months after starting, it's in the black, looks fantastic, and he did it in less time and for less money than I ever would have believed.
I was 22 when we got married. A very adult decision for a mere kid-- but boy, has it panned out.
Two nights ago, we were discussing re-incarnation. Caspian piped up in his little-boy squeaky high voice that he wanted to come back as our son. Annaliese agreed.
Boy, that made me feel like we are doing something right.
We've pressed through our annual change-everything and the cafe is spruced up, in the front, with Dixie's name on it and a fryer in the kitchen. We have fried chicken on our plate lunch special today and homemade french fries and onions rings every day now. It may not be healthy, but it's pretty frigging awesome nonetheless.
Annaliese is seven. Caspian is awesome. Husband is not sickly at the moment, wrapped up with his project, a third of it already rented, and happy in the woods with his chainsaw, fencing the back pasture.
I sowed my first seeds yesterday (cold-weather transplants) and K and I have been playing Uno and rummy like maniacs.
One of the few downsides of disconnecting the Internet at our house is that I have to blog at work. So clearly, that hasn't happened.
The upsides are many, though. We're playing Uno and rummy and go fish. We're watching (a lot) of old-school movies, on DVDs no less. I swear the days are longer, and who doesn't need more time?
2014 has been a wild year of ups and downs. But it has refined my focus: family, and winning. Those are my goals these days.
The kiddos had an awesome Christmas and New Year. Epically, we watched all three Lord of the Rings movies, the first Hobbit, the second, Hobbit, and we're going to see the third in theaters tomorrow, so our conversations are full of Mordor and Legolas and orcs.
It's been fun :)
Annaliese turns seven on Tuesday. Seven. Seven! I might be freaking out. I always freak out. She's chosen to invite ten or so friends over to the house next Saturday for a pajama pancake party. She wants chocolate cake, with chocolate icing. No problemo, I say to my princess. Anything you want.
At Caspian's Kindergarten breakfast. My baby lost his first bottom tooth yesterday and he's rocking school, soccer, life. Proud of my little man.
Sometimes I have a third baby lech. So I hold someone else's, and it goes away. Fun to pinch thighs and then hand them back.
We read The Witches. Kids loved it. Roald Dahl... love him. Fitting to read him in the British room, too :)
The customary and usual store anxieties, but the weather is perfect, the babies are beautiful and healthy, and we've got enough money stashed away to carry us for the foreseen future. I have twenty-four chickens, two roosters, a fat sow of a pig, a bull near maturity... is it any wonder I spend so much time feeling rich?
Turning 32 on Thursday. K is making me chocolate cake with peanut butter icing. Tomorrow I'm taking the kids out of school and heading to Memphis with them and my mama to go fall shopping. I'm digging October.
The weather has turned crisp and cool, courtesy of a thunder storm that struck near our house and fried our router, so we have been Internet-less since last Thursday and kind of enjoying it. Work's been more difficult, but we are reading more, cooking more, and the kids have never played outside so much together. Of course, the cooler weather has something to do with that.
Whatever the cause, it's been super fun at home lately.
Annaliese, my strong-willed, bossy, opinionated little girl, is a strangely passive soccer player. She runs next to people with the ball, tentatively kicking every now and then. In other words, she's not the best, but her smiles are beautiful and she seems to enjoy it.
Caspian was a horrible player last year, content to look at the sky and constantly asking for breaks. This year, with no input from us, he has morphed into the tallest and most aggressive kid on his team. He dances when the game is going well, swings his fists when it's not. He pursues the ball up and down the field and really is pretty darn fast, faster than the other kids I see out there.
This is his best friend Graham. They played against each other last night. At one point, the two of them were duking it out next to the goal and Graham scored. Caspian gave him and high five and told him, "Good job!"
With the advent of cooler temps, K attempted to get into the woods to do some woodcutting. His chainsaw did not cooperate, but fun was had anyhow.
Goat feeding. I'll admit these animals have won me over. Feeding time is hilarious, with the chickens lurking under the cows, and the cows driving off the goats, and the two little sheepies running to and fro.
Not a bad way to spend a Sunday...
It's our anniversary the day after tomorrow. Nine years. Pretty cool.
It's a hectic week here in the Valley. Lots of work, soccer, school, etc. I told the kids on Sunday night that there was a good chance K and I would be a bit stressed, and they needed to pitch in and help so we could check off the things that need checking.
And guess what? They have. We rocked Monday and Tuesday. Homework, check. Games, check. Family dinners, check. Decent bedtimes, check.
We were talking about some of their school's rules last night and Annaliese said "Some rules are appropriate. Others are stupid."
Hopefully we will get caught up from our time away this week. Didn't much enjoy not seeing K on Sunday or after dinner last night. C'est la vie.
After nearly nine years, it's still this guy...
Uncle-Cousin Nick came home with us after BG and stayed for a few precious days, stolen between his two years in Moscow. He's Caspian's godfather and one of our favorites and can come back anytime.
Got to go inside one of the coolest Valley houses that's been bought and will be renovated, thankfully by someone other than us. It was amazing. And infested with fleas. We did not know that while taking this picture.
First time back at the local seafood joint after the staffing shenanigans that went on this summer. It's been an eventful time for me, between the W-M dispute and the two employees, one a friend, who quit mid-shift during the busiest week of the year. I've come to several conclusions... don't hire friends. Trust people's actions, not their words.
We have had a long, slow month in-store. It was anticipated, is entirely normal for the season shifting, and I was doing a good job about not freaking out about it until suddenly I wasn't. I am officially freaking out. People need to come buy some m-fr$#ing groceries. Lordy.
My typical reaction to business not being what I'd like it to be is to focus on a new area of expansion. I have ideas, folks, but on the other hand, expansions take money, and people, and a lot, a lot, a lot of energy. And I have none of those three things. So let's hope business swings up and we can ride a plateau for a little while and I can come home at decent times and work decent hours and have two days off a week and not think about the store every waking moment of my life.
It'd be nice. I had a bad dream last night, a really bad one, but after the dream ebbed away, my first thought was "hey! It wasn't about work!"
There is a local merchant here who worked six days a week for four decades. He provided for his family, did not become rich, but did his job with integrity and knowledge day after day, year after year. And then he retired. People miss him being in the store but boy, he's having a ball, finally doing what it is he'd like to do with no daily commitments. He's a role model for me. I don't want to franchise, get rich, or stop working. I'd just like to make a modest living and work about 45 hours a week.
We'll see. I guess I'm nervous because the balloon of the book is dying down and it's hard to predict the settling point.
But! all is well. Kids are amazing. Husband is... at work a lot, but in between amazing. House is beautiful, and I hear there will soon be a screened porch :) Fall is coming, my favorite season, a season I will forever associate now with being heavily pregnant with Annaliese and walking the dogs endlessly, putting acorns in my pockets to take home to windowsills and wooden bowls and thinking always of the future and what it might be like, to have a daughter and someday another child and a husband and a home.
Annaliese accompanied me to the chicken yard this afternoon. She was telling me about sharks. Her class is talking about them.
I have thoughts about this.. why? I have done my best to keep my shark-phobia to myself, and now they're going to teach her fear at school? Arg! Annaliese saw a picture of that girl who lost her arm surfing and she was telling me about it as I gave the chickens scraps and fresh water.
"It was gross, Mama," she said.
"Not her fault she lost an arm, kiddo," said I.
"It gave me chicken bumps. NO.... turkey bumps. It gave me turkey bumps."
Sharks give me turkey bumps too. But unlike her school, I'm gonna keep it to myself.
K has taken over the more frequent documentation of daily life, but I've missed checking in too.
In my family, houses have names, and so for the first year-plus we lived here, it really bothered me that I didn't have one. We thought of a lot of options... K was pushing hard for Turtle Hill, as I remember... but this place we have landed is not at all grand. It's a 1940s bungalow with an awkward 80s addition that we've cloathed in cedar and cypress that will take a good five years to mellow to the gray we want as opposed to the orange it came. It's a Mississippi hill farm. It's hard to find a good name for a place that doesn't sound... overly inflated, shall we say?
I read the kids Pippi Longstocking and the description of the horse on the porch and the nonsensical air of the place reminded me of home. You're fairly likely to find a barnyard animal on the porch here. It's a place of whimsy, butterflies, big old trees and goats, and so I christened it Villa Villekula.
(I can't tell you how relaxing it is to have the name in my head.)
I have many plans awaiting our home but sadly, a complete lack of skill to execute them, so I am focusing on the garden and the rose bushes and the things that I am capable of impacting.
But what K has made already is pretty spectacular. The plan this year is I get Wednesdays off every week, barring emergencies, and both the children are in school now, which means I get to spend some time appreciating this corner of the world we are calling home. It's a beautiful one.
Feeling very lucky these days.
Can you tell?
This boy... five now, riding the bus with his sister to kindergarten. Handsome and smart and loving and... everything.
He's the one who really loves life at the farm. I found him underneath the azalea bushes the other day, crooning to our dog Olive, singing her to sleep while making a neat pile of mudballs.
More soon. Have to go meet the bus. But I want to get back to this.