The summer weather here in northwestern Minnesota has finally decided to make its appearance. We've had lovely long days of sunshine and warmth; time for working in the garden and sitting in the sun. The perennials in the beds are blooming lustily and the annuals are gradually perking up into full bloom. It's the time of year I love.
I love to sit for a few minutes each day on the wicker furniture I got last summer as a cumulative "Birthday, Anniversary, Christmas, and Mother's Day gift. It was not expensive, in the sense that it was the cheapest set I could find that did not feel like it would fall apart immediately. But it is one of the few new pieces of furniture we've ever invested in. And it's so much sturdier than the Wal-mart or K-mart variety that bends at the legs and periodically causes the uninitiated to suddenly tumble backward. (Yes, this is the voice of experience. At least one set of friends could tell a story about me having such an experience.)
I have cushions for my wicker that I keep hanging up in my hall closet, waiting for company or a day I feel the need for some extra pampering. But most of the time I just sit on the wicker and enjoy my flowers and my yard. Perhaps I drink a cup of coffee or read my devotion. Perhaps I read my current novel. Regardless of what I do while sitting in my wicker on my front porch, it's ever so much nicer once the warm weather comes. I haven't had to bundle in a blanket before heading out in the morning for several days now. What joy!
But along with the long days of summer comes the long days of "Mom being outside and kids left largely unattended." I can tell in my little ones when they have had too much freedom because the mischief level hits record highs. Even with all the older kids home helping, we can't keep up with the shenanigans.
Today I was down at church using Joe's computer, since the monitor on our main one in the house is kaput. It was the victim of one of last week's incidents of mischief. When I left the house today, I put the big kids in charge. I asked them to get the dishes done and watch the little ones.
Apparently this was too difficult an undertaking, because when I came home, Inge was crying to me about glue. I found glue in her hair. Hmm. I wondered if it was self-inflicted glue. But when I found it peeling off her entire back I decided it must not have been. But I couldn't address the issue right then. I was late getting supper on.
Then Clara and Stella needed me to apply my secret sun-burn remedy to their poor backs. I put Clara's on her in the kitchen and sent her to her room to lie down until it could soak in. I had Stella lie on her bed and I applied hers there. As I was rubbing the concoction in, Stella said, "Oh, oh, Mom, look." And there sat a neat row of little toy flower blossom train cars, each little train car blossom filled with glue. And in the center of each little flower cup full of glue sat a strategically placed Mah Jong tile. Balanced. Just so. As I finished rubbing in Stella's sunburn ointment, I noticed several other glue/toy creations scattered about the room. Sigh. Oh for uncreative children!
Joe got off the phone a few minutes later and I asked him about something, I can't remember what. He said he didn't have a chance to take care of it earlier, because of the pesticide mess. "Yikes! What's that all about? That doesn't sound good." "Oh, the girls got into that non-toxic herbal bug repellent stuff you bought the other day and sprayed it all over the garage."
Uff da! (Yes, since I live in this part of Minnesota, I can use that .phrase. Around here it is as common as, "Shoot," or, "Oh, my goodness.")
By this time I was fully into the supper rush. I was making a ground beef and potato hash kind of thing, throwing it together at the last minute, since I had nothing else planned. Since our supper was so boring, I thought I'd treat everyone by making smoothies for desert. I threw a can of pineapple chunks with juice, two cans of coconut milk, and a couple of cups of frozen strawberries, some vanilla, a little sugar, and enough milk to make about 3 qts into a gallon pitcher and whipped everything together with my immersion blender.
Ah, now I'm a good mom, right?
But as I was rinsing my immersion blender under the tap, I saw Inge's little hands reach up for the pitcher. Before I could grab it, SPLOOSH, down it went all over the floor and the cupboards, the defunct dishwasher, and any of the clutter that was sitting on the floor. Heavens to Betsy, Inge! Besides the mess, that's about seven or eight dollars worth of smoothy!
I hate to quantify everything according to cost. The bigger issue is that she needs to learn to not reach up on a counter and pull things off. Imagine if it had been something hot or sharp!
But no, the frustrated mom sees only the mess and the cost. What an evening! But the good thing is that tomorrow can only be better, right?