Like Glitter Through the Hourglass

Raising a family is messy, chaotic and hard. I laugh with the mommy blog posts that count down the seconds until the kids leave for college. I get it. I’ve had those nights of being awakened every hour, those times when I wanted to tell a puking kid to just go away. I’ve heard the never ending litany of requests. I’ve lived with people who were under the strange delusion that I was their maid, waitress, and cruise director.

And yet…Day by day our rhythm of living wears a path in my children’s minds- a well worn path that can’t be forgotten. We weave a tapestry in our living, creating an anchor for the embroidery that will come after we are gone.

We only get one chance at this life thing-to pass down eternal truths, to make sure our kids know they are loved. It’s hard. It’s also totally worth it. These are the days that we will remember fondly as our lives draw to a close. On that day, we won’t regret the TV show missed, book unread, or the plate of cold food we never got to. We probably won’t even regret all the activities we didn’t drag our kids to. We will want to kiss fat baby cheeks on last time, we’ll want one more slow, snugly morning, and maybe even one more messy glitter creation to tack on the fridge.

I’ll try to remember that today. To slow down and savor moments. They are slipping by faster then it seems.

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The Garden

Kalen made her way through the front portal of the sleeping complex to the gardens. They still took her breath away. She was overcome by savory herbal scents mixed with the strong perfume of lush flowers. Blooms spilled like waterfalls over stone statues, terraces, and large pedestals. Gently flowing water played between the blossoms. Trees and vines twisted at impossible angles to create living sculptures. Kalen’s people were gardeners- but she had never even imagined something like this.

The most peculiar features of all were the screens. Composed of thin layers of intelligent organic membrane grown within the greenery of the garden, the screens acted as living computers. They were powered by photosynthesis and were a marvel of genetic engineering. Screens could be found throughout the garden in every size and shape imaginable. A variety of humans and engineered creatures spread throughout the verdant paradise utilizing the screens that best fit their forms. Kalen stood in awe at one screen that towered above her creating a living wall between two oaks. A small woodland creature worked furiously at a screen, hidden among the ferns.

Kalen walked up to a screen webbed between rhododendron bushes. She placed her hand on it. Enzymes within the screen reacted with her skin. Streaks of light skittered across the surface. Kalen was identified, and the testing scores scrolled at length beneath her haggard looking picture.

Barul had come to the Gardens to finish his evaluations of the new students. He was honored to be chosen Provost of this season’s Reclamation. He watched a scrawny teenage girl pull up her scores. Kalen, he thought her name was. Yes, that was it. For an older student, she showed some promise. He made his way through the cultivated labyrinth toward her.
“I see you’ve figured out how to use the screens,” He smiled benignly down at the girl as he folded his arms into the voluminous sleeves of his scarlet robe.
Kalen looked at the dark skinned older man. She reckoned that the number of delicately woven cords on his sash meant that he was someone important. “Yes”.
“How do you think you did on your testing?”
“As well as I could” She answered carefully, lowering her eyes.
“And our great city? Is it to your liking?”
“The gardens are more beautiful then anything I’ve ever seen. We had gardens at home, but nothing like this”
The old man grinned. He noticed a spark in the girl’s eyes as she spoke. She’s curious. Good. She may even be teachable. He baited her. “They pale in comparison to the gardens on Prime.”

Kalen tilted her head quizzically. She shielded her eyes from the sun as she tried to read him. “I heard a story about a garden on Prime, it was destroyed.”

Barul chuckled. “ You’ve heard tales of the Great Garden, perhaps? It wasn’t destroyed, only forgotten, then lost to our people. Now our people build gardens in memorial. Such is life.”

Kalen dared to look up, but weighed her words carefully. “I heard a different story”.
One eyebrow went up as Barul imagined the tales of flaming swords and other nonsense the child must have been told.“Sometimes stories change with time,” he said mildly.

Barul looked at the girl thoughtfully for a moment. “It is fortunate that you are among the Reclaimed. Your test scores are admirable for a villager. You may even find yourself in a Tell. Yes, we’ll have to see about that”. . . Barul trailed off. He would have to see about that, indeed. He continued through the maze of greenery.

Kalen turned back to the screen. A Tell placement would mean specialized training. Tomorrow couldn’t come soon enough.

Underhill Academy 2013-2014

Lesson Plans are finished! School supplies are organized. Here is a peek into what we will be learning this year 🙂
Math: Gracie and Maggie in Horizons Workbooks, Emily working on Saxon 8/7
Reading: Reading lists with lots of historical fiction and biographies. Read 1 hour a day, reading journals, weekly oral reports. Millie and Maggie will be read to and do daily narration. Maggie learning to read using a combination of phonics resources.
Grammar: Journey through Grammar Land. Gracie and Emily each have their own grade level workbooks to work in twice a week.
Spelling/Vocab: Gracie and Emily each have their own spelling lists and weekly tests. Emily is doing the Word Wise curriculum. Gracie is finishing A Beka grade 2 spelling and is doing Latin : a Word a day.
Science: Fall :Life Science using an elementary level curriculum, nature walks, and animal care / Spring: Chemistry using an experiment based Middle School curriculum
History: We have started a “Book of Centuries” with sections for every century from about 6000 B.C until now. Every time the children read or watch something dealing with a real person or past event, we add a “Who, What,When, Where, Why” page to our book. We are reading many biographies and watching fun history shows like Horrible Histories, Dear America, Drive Thru History and Liberty’s Kids on Netflix.
PE: Nature walks, romping with goats, yard work, and a PE class at coop on Fridays, we are looking into Emily playing volleyball at Blue Ridge for a couple of months in the fall.
Bible: catechism memorization, copy-work in Psalms, listening to Old Testament. Bible History class once a week.
Art: Class at Co-op on Fridays, Emily is also doing an online drawing class and crochet
Music: the kids will be in a musical at coop. Gracie is doing piano lessons online
PreK/K for Maggie and Millie: Book a week with corresponding cooking, play-dough, art, and craft projects.

A Work in Progress

A friend who has been working with me on writing challenged me to write a unique one or two page fictional piece. This is one of my drafts

Dreams of Leaving

There was a four way stop in Heldon, at the intersection of Bear Pass Road and County Rd 652. A traffic light acted as the unnecessary witness of the roads’ meeting. A 7-11 stood on one corner and Zeke’s Bar N Grill blared country music from across the street. A pizza place and an auto shop occupied the other corners of the intersection. This was the entire business district of the dying town.

Down Bear Pass Road, a lanky teen stormed up a creaking wooden porch. He brushed past his mom, only stopping long enough to grab a bag of chips from the kitchen cabinet.

Damien was lost in thought. He was imagining himself a hero– like that guy at the end of the book he’d read today in English.“Would I be that brave?,” the dark haired boy wondered as he tossed an Algebra book onto the bed. The characters in books made him long for… something. He didn’t know what it was yet. Damien likened his life to being stuck on a gray planet in a Technicolor universe. His cell phone buzzed.

Damien fished the phone from his jeans and looked down. Sweet. Tris wanted to meet up. They’d walked home from school together last week. She’d asked if was he was driving yet. Tris wanted to get out of Heldon, at least for an afternoon. Damien didn’t have his license yet. They ended up in a long conversation about their plans for the future and their dreams of leaving town for good. He got the feeling that things were hard for Tris at home. He’d almost kissed her. God, she was hot. Damien couldn’t believe she wanted to hang out again. He texted the girl back, getting excited. He’d meet up with her at the store in an hour. He rushed to get his chores done before he left.

The 7-11 lot was littered with broken beer bottles, empty drink cups, and other assorted trash. The scent of beer and piss mixed with the smell of pizza and gasoline. It was a sweltering late afternoon. A small wooded area next to the convenience store offered some relief.

Tris leaned against the building, on the side near the woods. She intentionally stayed out of sight of the bar, she didn’t need any drunks harassing her. She glanced at her reflection in a store window. Hazel eyes stared back at her. She looked critically at her chubby cheeks and mousy brown hair. She glanced down at her phone.

Nothing yet from Jake. They’d met online. He was sweet, he always complimented her, and seemed to really listen when she talked about how much it sucked at home. Tris was excited to finally meet him in person. She was also a little bit scared. She texted Damien a few minutes ago to meet her, just in case the guy was a creep or something. She’d heard the stories.

Jake should be here soon, the girl thought, playing nervously with her hair. Tris stayed where she was. She had a good view of the road. She kicked a green glass fragment with her toe. Granny would be so angry if she knew what Tris was up to. She told herself that she didn’t care. She was tired of it. Tris was tired of Granny’s drinking, and the yelling, and the tirades. Tris was tired of the mess that she was left to deal with while Ma worked crazy shifts at the nursing home. At least Jake appreciated her.

A dark sedan pulled up next to Tris. Music blared from the interior. A rough looking boy rolled down the window. “Hey beautiful,” he called to Tris. As he leaned out of the window, a blue inked tattoo peaked from under the sleeve of his green t-shirt.

“You must be Tris”.The first thing Tris noticed was his warm brown eyes. He had a crooked smile and a little scar above his lip.

Tris suddenly felt very shy. She gave him a half smile. “So you’re Jake”.
“And you,” the boy replied, “are even more gorgeous in real life. How’s it going at home?”.

Tris leaned in to speak with him, relieved to have someone she could really vent to. Jake was so mature, so warm, so easy to talk to. He wasn’t all caught up in trying to impress her, like a lot of the local boys.

Damien finished feeding the chickens and hogs in record time. He also showered and brushed his teeth. He bolted out the door with his hair still wet. Damien never had a girlfriend before, and Tris had seemed pretty friendly and interested last time they’d talked. He made his way up Bear Creek Rd. He could see Tris leaning into a car window, talking to someone. Damien quickened his pace.

“You know,” Jake said, “with your looks you could make a lot of money. You could get out of this place”.

“How?” Tris countered, leaning further in the window. She missed the sight of Damien jogging up the road.

Jake smirked at her seductively, “Why don’t you come with me for a ride and we’ll talk about it?”

Tris bit her lower lip. She was only uncertain for a few seconds. Jake was such a good listener. It couldn’t hurt to hear what he had to say. Besides, he really seemed to care about her.

Damien watched with disappointment as Tris got in the passenger side of the mysterious car. He cursed under his breath. He should have known that a girl like Tris was out of his league. Damien heard screeching tires as the car pulled away. Tris had finally found someone to get her out of this dump. Damien turned around and headed home.

Tris never came home again.

Top Ten discoveries this week…

1)How to read critically, and that it is a good and helpful thing. Don ‘t worry about reading this critically, it wasn’t meant to be all that good or helpful. Mostly it involves food and poop. I am the mother of preschool aged children, after all. There is a bear, some theology, and a piano piece- just to keep us a little bit civilized.
2) Xanthum Gum…it has magical properties that turn a blenderful of healthy smoothie into a puddingy ice cream. It is also high in fiber.
3)Horrible Histories: a cartoon on Netflix with some really cool history stuff. The episode we watched on the Tudors included factual information about Queen Elizabeth as well as the creation of the flushing toilet.
4) The book ‘Trim Healthy Mama”. Thanks Heather and Gwen for lending it to me! I’ve also discovered an addiction to a drink called “Fat Melting Frappe”
5) The reason that royals visited other residences during the summer was so that someone could come clean out the “poop pits” of the castle.
6) Maggie decided that she is going to have a piggie back ride on a bear when there is a new earth.
7)Millie finally figured out that it REALLY IS easier to just use the toilet, rather then deal with the mess of soiled clothes.
8) Guar Gum, Xantham Gum, and Glucomannon can all be used to thicken things, make gluten free things less crumbly, make puddings, and keep ice crystals from forming in ice cream (make ice cream smooth.) All are also good sources of fiber and add few calories. Fiber makes you poop. Xanthum gum is easiest to find, but is based on corn sugars and bacteria. Guar gum is the cheapest, and a little better for you then Xanthum Gum. Glucomannon is best for you health wise, has no calories, regulates insulin levels, and is the most expensive of the three.
9) No matter how good an impression I plan to give a visitor, one or two children will inevitably have a DIRE EMERGENCY three seconds before someone walks through the door. It may involve screaming, tears, and bodily fluids.
10) Gracie learned how to play “Frog in the Middle” on the piano. Emily is taking advantage of a chillaxin week before school starts by building towns for Sims, reading, and learning the history of the toilet.