Friday, May 30, 2014

7 Quick Takes- Decoration Day, Big-O, Mountain Tea, Mommy & Me Dates, and Up-To-Code Septic Systems

I hope y'all had a great Memorial Day weekend.   We had a relatively quiet one around here.   When you are a SAHM and have a husband who works out of the home, it's really easy to forget about everyone else having the day off.   Tom worked on Memorial Day as he would any other week day, and of course, my job is 24/7.  And to prove how totally out-of-the mainstream we were, I made the foolish suggestion of visiting a very popular local state park on that Sunday to "get out and do something fun". Had I remembered it was one of the three busiest weekends of the summer, I would have never ever suggested such a thing!   As soon as I saw the parking lot packed and stacked, I remembered the holiday.   We made a mad dash through the park and the elbow-to-elbow crowd all trying to get a glimpse at a waterfall and then jumped back into the car.   Time for Plan B.   We decided to take the back roads home (well, here, they're all back roads), picked up a pizza, and Tom and the boys piled onto the sofa to watch Wall-E for the 1,369th time while I served pizza and leftover chocolate cake.  Ah....much better.  

Memorial Day, however, was not totally lost on me.   Around here, it is called Decoration Day.   While the holiday nowadays is mostly meant as a day of honor for our veterans (and rightfully so), in these parts, it's always taken on a larger meaning as a day that everyone remembers and honors the dead.  I guess you could call it "All Soul's Day" protestant-style.  It's called Decoration Day because people here visit the cemeteries and decorate all the graves on that day.   There is no shortage of silk flowers on the grave sites now!   The cemeteries have all been trimmed and mowed and every grave is adorned with at least one, and sometimes many, silk floral arrangements.   And while silk flowers on graves have never been my style (I would prefer just a few ox-eye daisies growing wild myself), I think it is really remarkable that the people here take the time to visit the cemeteries on this holiday weekend in order to remember those who have gone before us and make sure that their graves have been tended to.   Just one of the many reasons I love living in the Bible belt!

Joah is going through a really cute phase right now.   Tom and I are calling it the Big-O stage.  You know how kids pick up things they hear their parents say?   Well, apparently Tom and I (mostly me, I think) like to exaggerate the largeness of things by referring to them as "Big Ole".  Is this a southern thing?   I'm not sure, but I say it a lot such as "you boys sure made a big ole mess!"  But of course, being southern, I tend to drop the "le" and it sounds more like "big oh".    So now everything Joah sees is not just big, it's "big-o" as in "wow, look at that big-o waterfall!" or "that's a big-o squirrel I see!" or "I see a big-o cattapillar!" or "I hear a big-o freight train!" or "that's a big-o storm cloud", or "I found a big-o stick!" or "I wanna watch Wall-E on the big-o TV", well, you get the point.   Anyhow, you certainly can't say the kid lacks enthusiasm.
Joah on his big-o trike and wearing a big-o smile.

Most of my mornings from after breakfast until mid-afternoon nap time are spent trying to find activities that inhibit the boys from tormenting each other or the dog while also making me feel semi-productive.   One day this week, I decided we should all go pick teaberry (mountain tea) leaves and make tea out of them.  John really enjoyed picking the leaves and carrying them to the house and he really really enjoyed crushing them with the meat tenderizer (of course). 
John taking a huff of the wonderful wintergreen.  
Getting the essential oils moving.

I had never made teaberry tea before but I love wintergreen and teaberry has a very strong wintergreen smell so I just figured it'd be yummy.   Nope.  It was really not that good.   I could just barely taste the wintergreen flavor and really hoped for something stronger (hmmm...seems to be a theme with my drinks lately).  I probably didn't let it steep enough so looks like the boys and I will be back in the woods again next week harvesting some more.

Letting it steep.
The final product.

So if you were thinking making a pot of fresh mountain tea, I can't offer much advice at this point. But picking the leaves was a lot of fun and John is definitely learning what is edible in the woods and what is not...something I remember learning from my father and grandmother at a young age.  He can already identify several plants by name.  Sometimes, we forget that young children are really good at seeing subtle characteristics in plants and animals.   Unfortunately, this is a trait that seems to be lost as we become older.  As I told someone once when I got chastised a bit for not sending my boys to pre-school, "well, at least they know when and how to eat a persimmon".   Survival skills first, I say.

I debated whether or not to mention how the potty-training with Joah is going.   I guess I will just say that he is housebroken but not exactly potty-trained, if you get my drift.    Is this a boy thing?   For some reason, the call of the wild is just much more enticing to him right now than any treats I may have to offer for sitting on the toilet.    I'm not too concerned just yet...mostly because we don't have close neighbors.

One of the things I really love about our small town is the library.  First, no fee is required for a library card, unlike where we once lived.   Personally, I think libraries are one thing that should be fee-free, but not every incorporated locale seems to agree.   One day a week, they have story hour for pre-schoolers and I alternate weeks with the boys.  One week, I take John, the next, I take Joah.   Part of this is because they become wild little lab rats running through the maze of bookshelves difficult to control when I take them together, but it also gives me an opportunity to have one-on-one time with each boy.  So these mornings one day a week have become "mommy and me" dates and I am just loving them!   We go to the library story hour where they read books and make a little craft with the other children. Afterwards, the two of us walk across the street to a little vegetarian cafe' on the corner (no, I'm not vegetarian, I just eat like one) and get a bite.   Each time, they will sit in their chair across from me, munching on their fruit and cornbread and telling me all about what they see outside the window, the big-o truck that just passed, the train whistle they hear, etc.   I can't help but think about how someday they will be all grown up and not want to go on "dates" with their dear old mother anymore.   So I am cherishing these small moments while I can.

And, at the risk of sounding blasphemous, I will add that all those prayers I said for our septic system to pass inspection on our Missouri house seem to have worked because we got the inspection results this past week and it passed!   There were a few electrical issues found that we have to remedy, but considering that most houses in that county have septic systems that don't pass the new codes, and it can cost a ton to get them brought up to code, we were very relieved.   So, we are grateful that we don't have to deal with that.   In two weeks, we should hopefully close on our house.   I'm still wrestling with the sorrow that comes from not being able to adopt once the closing occurs, but I am just trusting God on this one.  

That's about it.    Hope everyone has a great weekend!   Thank you Jen for hosting.

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