"Look," Myra says, "it's actually kind of easy." Seated in penmanship form she circles her pencil in whorls that perfectly match the width of wide-ruled lines. "I can't wait to show Grammie," she says.
"It's nice," I say. Askew at her elbow lies a key of all the different sketch exercises Grammie assigned to the big kids. She pauses, finds her place in the key and starts the next shape.
"I bet Zeke is doing this now," she says.
"Oh," I say.
"Now," she says, "I'm gonna have to start doing ACTUAL school work, don't ya think?" She looks up, all eyes and eyebrows.
"Suuuure," I say.
"Yup," she says and continues down the exercise list, determination, more like an accessory than a burden.
"Where are the other kids?" Myra says. Sunday afternoon, slack and leisure, the house tidy, quiet, and full of sun, we settle into quiet corners. Craig and I hold down opposite ends of the leather couch.
"Napping," Craig says, "so they can go with me tonight."
"Oh," Myra says. She darts off, a dead run down the hallway. We hear a thump on her bed. All the kids want to volunteer in Daddy's class. Even Joe begs each Sunday.
I note how as we've limited their exposure to marketing and some of the trends their peer pine after they find different things to desire, different goals to strain for. Trimming out tv seems like a gift more than a burden.
Craig falls asleep on the couch, and I while the afternoon away in quiet.
5971. Libby gives birth to a perfect baby, sweet niece, Wylie Sparrow.
5972. I make two raspberry pies. Enough of the drips on the bottom of the oven begin to smoke that we have to fill the house with fans and open the windows. The result, though a little burned, is delicious.
5973. Jack and I figure out how to make sourdough pizza crust. Whole wheat too! Everyone agrees, it's a real find.
5974. Heavy whipping cream, bread-n-butter pickles, balsamic glaze, dried mangos, a few kitchen essentials restocked.
5975. Fresh almond ice cream.
5976. We harvest the first garden cucumber. I give it to Jack, but he gives me lots of samples.
5977. I get the curriculum library almost organized while the big kids help Craig at work.
5978. Joe skins his knee climbing trees out back. It forms the thickest scab I've ever seen. By some miracle most of it falls off on it's own. "Now, I'm gonna find my scab," he says. "It would be FUN if I found it."
5979. I finally figure the ins and outs of dying baby items safely. We collect the supplies and begin the process, a stack of muslin blankets ready to transform.
5980. "I cleaned my room," Joe says. "I'm gonna go see," I say. "You gonna look under the beds?" he says. "Yeah," I say, "ya wanna go finish?" He nods.
5981. Myra and Joe run something over to Cerissa. Betsy mopes around, cries, and finally settles on my lap. "Are you looking for Myra and Joe?" I say. YES, she nods emphatically.
5982. Tomorrow Jane turns 12, such a lovely age. We prepare for the unfolding of a young woman over scape of this next season.
5983. We fall each night into bed completely submissive to the refreshing lull of July. Summer tarries on.