We’ve been half-timing at home school all summer, but we summered like crazy anyway. We got out to the pools and splash pads and Six Flags, and lots of parties and park days, too. In a couple of weeks we’ll lay into full time schooling again, but for now, we’re letting ourselves forget about that.
Jonah’s birthday party was balmy and laid-back at the park yesterday. He wanted a lemon-lemon cake, and a Lego Superheroes Captain America, and he got them, plus plenty of Capture the Flag with his friends and sisters under the trees. He’s nine now. So big. And he looks exactly like Jason’s school picture from third grade, only blonder.
Judah is going to be two on Halloween. So far I’ve held out on weaning him. He’s my last baby and I’m going to milk it for all it’s worth. He’s amenable to that. He talks all the time, and has way too many words for his age, but he still can’t seem to get them in the right order. His sentences go along the lines of, “Daddy work car go.” Yeah, no prepositions yet.
Naiah is seven, still easy and sweet. She prides herself on being the ultimate little sister for Jonah, plays all his games and knows all his story worlds and characters. She almost exclusively wears dresses. Yesterday at the party she suddenly fell over with a strong bout of vertigo and got sick. We took her to the doctor, and he took one look at her nose and said it was ragweed allergies. She’s been sniffing and coughing for weeks from it, and it finally got so bad it gave her vertigo. He said it happens all the time around here, unfortunately. So now she has a prescription nasal spray to help, we hope.
Anna and Sarah have a stack of business and organization books on their desk. They read them and take thorough notes on each chapter. They’re starting a household organization business with their friend Sophia. Kind of ironic, considering who their mother is. Anna’s writing a six-act play, set a few years before the start of Little Women. She’s also working on a novel.
And Miss Ella. Four head wounds in two years, all requiring emergency medical attention, all caused by incurable hyperactivity, but somehow she’s still sharp as a tack. Extremely perceptive, stubborn as heck, sensitive and pig-headed by turns. She’s going to be four next week. I’m a little less worried about her safety, now that she’s growing some common sense, but I’m always worried that I’m mothering her wrong. She’s so quick and so sly that I feel like I’m always a step behind her. But she wants to be sweet. Impulse control is tough for her. She and Jonah are very much alike in that.
I’m writing full-time now. And by full-time I mean all the time I can use both hands to type in the daylight hours, and several hours at night if I can get away from Judah in time. It’s been four weeks, one synopsis, one expanded synopsis, two character synopses, four character studies, a spreadsheet master outline, and four chapters. At my fastest I can do two chapters a week, and at my slowest, one, so far. That would put me at three to five months to finish the novel that has been bobbing and sinking and resurfacing in my head for nine years now. Ya’ll have got to try this snowflake method for outlining. The instructions on the front page are free, and they’re all you need. I was scared that outlining would take all the flow and spontaneity out of the text, but it doesn’t. It just breaks down your big, unmanageable story into small writing prompts. You can do it.
Jason is hanging in with a job he still doesn’t like, and doing well at it. He’s teaching a Bible study at the apartment complex around the corner from our house every Tuesday, which keeps him happy. He’s also been my best encouragement over the last four weeks of figuring out how to be a mommy and a writer. I feel the most like what I’m meant to be right now, and he’s made it possible. I’m really grateful for that.