Sunday, August 29, 2010

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig... In Which I Ramble On and On

Yes, we're back from vacation.  And it was wonderful.  Glorious, in fact.

We actually sat on the beach at the Oregon coast in shorts and tank-tops, which is hardly ever possible due to temperature and wind. 

Mind, you don't swim at the Oregon coast, as the water - sweeping down from the Arctic (or at least Alaska) - doesn't vary much from 55F (about 12 or 13C for some of you) be it winter or summer - and is much more likely to produce hypothermia than anything like a good time.

But we had a good time.  A great time.  A relaxing time.

Playing in the sand, reading, flying kites, playing games, watching movies, picking agates (not many this time),  and just hanging out together.

Unfortunately, we were short a couple of family members.  Kerry had work to do (and there was much rejoicing) and my brother had a job interview (and a second interview tomorrow - praying for good results!)  We missed them, but they'll get another chance in November.

Arrived home to find chaos in the yard.  Apparently a neighbor had hired a backhoe and not used all his allotted hours, so Kerry got some of his time at a bargain - pulled two stumps, picked a huge rock out of the lawn, dug out the jury-rigged steps into his garage office preparatory to pouring concrete steps (which we Do Not Have Money to do just now...), and began a trench for his future rockery.  Very ambitious.

However... the stumps were in my flower beds and disturbed a number of plants when they came out, the rock left a gaping hole in the front yard, his office is now only accessible by jumping up a series of stacked concrete tiles, and the turf and rocky dirt from that and the rockery site are piled on and beside the driveway, thank-you-very-much.

So the boys and I spent much of Saturday screening wheel-barrow after wheel-barrow-load of dirt (removing rocks) to refill the holes in the flower bed, rescuing plants pulled out with the stumps, screening yet more dirt to fill holes left in the lawn by the backhoe, and carrying rocks to a pile that is NOT on the driveway.

And what is it about all the rocks anyway?!  Our first house, across town, had lovely, lovely soil.  Dark and rich.  And neighbors with horses (ie compost).  Things grew wonderfully.

Not so much, here.  The soil is hard and gets crusty on top.  Not much organic matter.  But lots of clay.  And rocks.  What is it with the rocks?!  Well, I suppose it's glacial till.  And bigger glacial erratics.  We've pulled rocks out of our yard nearly as big as a washing machine.  And the "little" ones (from ping pong ball to football size) just gradually bubble to the surface.  How do they do that?  And why???!  (Other than for my torment to produce patience.)

After spending several hours moving dirt and rocks around we heard from some friends whose little boys are inheriting our play equipment.  They came over to pick it up.  That Little Tikes stuff just never quits.  And - hallelujah - they took the swing set, too :D  So the whole yard is much changed.

All in all, I really needed a real day of rest today!  As I missed church last Sunday (and Kerry - who was there - didn't exactly register the details) we were caught unprepared for a potluck lunch after the service today.  Thankfully, as I think I may have mentioned, our chapel takes their potlucks very seriously, and one family (or several) showing up without food was no catastrophe.  There were even leftovers, which relieved any nagging guilt.

And, for my last little tidbit of useless information, we stopped at Big 5 (sporting goods) because Wyatt and Tate both could have used new soccer shoes last spring, and didn't get them, and really needed them for this season.  And as they tried them on, and I took a closer look at Wyatt's other shoes and remembered he had been mentioning they pinched a bit, I had a really stellar mom moment.


Had him try on a pair of regular (play) shoes and he had gone up two and a half sizes.  Really.  I bet they were pinching a little!  He brought up foot-binding and gave me stink-eye, and walked out with three of the six pairs of shoes we bought today.  (Kerry's new running shoes, Wyatt and Tate's soccer cleats, Wyatt's nice shoes and play shoes, and Gunnar's play shoes - he also went up a size and a half.)  But, we scoured the sale racks, found just what we wanted, and got them all for $120, so I was pleasantly surprised.  I don't know if homeschooling or my incompetence at anything fashion-related has much to do with it, but thank heavens, the boys couldn't care less for name brands.

And that is that.


leah said...

I haven't been up to the Oregon or Washington coasts, but the ocean in Northern California is COLD! I couldn't imagine swimming in the ocean any farther north than Big Sur- BRRRR!

It sounds like a wonderful vacation, even if you were missing a dad and uncle.

We're going school supply shopping this morning. I'm pretty sure new shoes will be needed in our house, too- boys are like puppies. Their feet grow at an incredible rate!

Felicity said...

Oh boy you are lucky! We homeschool and my daughter LOVES brand names. She doesn't always get it, but you can see by the way she looks at them...
I'm glad you had a good time on vacation. 13 degrees is COLD. Sounds like the Western Cape (Cape Town) which is quite cold, though I'm not sure of the exact temperatures. Durban on the east coast of SA is lovely and warm. Too bad we haven't been there is about 14 years!!
Your garden surprise sounds like something my husband would do, so I sympathise... I like to come home to everything neat and tidy.

melanie said...

Just for the scientific record, freezing and thawing heaves rocks out of the ground ~ But does your ground freeze ever??

At any rate, glad to have you back! And so glad you had such a grand week. Hope you get that yard ship-shape soon enough ~ and don't hurt yourself leaping into the DH's office space ;-)

Did you say when you are starting up fulltime schoolwork again? I think you did, but my tired little brain forgets...

Abi's Blog said...

Just wanted to say you are a blessing to me - I haven't blogged much lately - but I sure enjoy reading yours. You always make me laugh and since I have a medical procedure tomorrow that requires prep. today - I needed a laugh! Blessings to you and yours,
love from Texas :)

Herding Grasshoppers said...

In response...

Oh Felicity, you hit the nail on the head. While what Kerry did was very practical, it messed up my orderly world! Working our way back to tidiness.

Melanie, you're right about freezing and thawing pushing the rocks up, though our ground doesn't freeze, like Alaska's, for instance. But maybe it is cold enough to accomplish that!

And thinking about the brand names... my parents would occasionally buy us something trendy (ie expensive) but more often would offer to buy the less expensive item or give us that amount of money towards the more expensive thing. If we wanted it badly enough, we had to pay the difference. Haven't had to try that on my boys yet, but the day may come!

And Abi, praying for you today :D


h west said...

Ahhhhh. . .I love the Oregon coast. And shoe shopping. Just kidding. I've had many a shoe shopping experience only to discover that my kids' feet are 80 sizes bigger than the shoes they'd been wearing. . .oops. My Wyatt wears a size THIRTEEN in mens shoes which is outrageous. Might as well get him a couple of lifeboats. Probably the same price. . .

tammy said...

I've been told by many that a vacation to the Oregon coast is a must. When Aiden gets a little older we'll definitely have to do it, because I want to venture up into Canada as well.

So glad you all had a relaxing vacation, although it seems like another one might be in order after all you came back to! ; )

Kailyn went up two sizes this past year, which I'm thankful for because I was wondering if her now 10 year old feet were ever going to get out of a size 1! We're all about deals at my house, since we too are, what did you call it? SITKOMs?! lol! Woohoo on the great buys!

The dB family said...

Whoa, you come home from vacation to get right to work in the yard?! It must have been relaxing!

Did you find time to conquer Mt. Laundry amongst all the yardwork?

I too wonder if it's homeschooling or my incompetence, although they do know what the name brands are and are happy to receive them as hand-me-downs from older cousins and friends.

Anonymous said...

Hi Julie,
I admit your blog is one of my favorite reads...maybe because I had 3 sons ...and a daughter so I can relate to the 'chaos' of life you often find yourself in. But it is also because I love the way you make me laugh and I think we all need a good laugh ...and often. But this blog made me smile...because that is exactly what I posted on my husbands facebook as his 'status' ...when we got home from our vacation (like minds maybe) . I don't have a fb page because I could not control my time when I absolutely have to go 'check something out' I use his...thankfully this is only about 2 x's a month...I am avoiding the figuring out 'why' it is I can control on his but not mine..too scary :)
I used to sort my kids legos out for them.... yep I was one of those...kept them divided by like kind so you can imagine how many containers and the size bookshelf that took. I think you will do best by just 'letting it be' as it soon they will be gone and you will actually enjoy even that memory of yours sons.
God bless you as you continue to grow and mature as they do... there is nothing more blessed in this life! I now get to do it all over with 5 grands (but don't have to clean the mess :) what joy!!
Diane...of Salem Oregon!

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Oh Diane! What fun to "meet" you - and we were just through Salem twice, on our way to and from Lincoln City.

It's always encouraging to hear from other moms of boys who have survived the temporary chaos and insanity of life in the testosterzone :D

Thanks for all your kind words,


Ann said...

We just recently bought Olivia a pair of size 4 tennis shoes - replacing the size 1 pair. So, I'm right there with ya on the shoe shopping!