There are so many things to do after an extended time away from home, and our first few days home have been consumed with these. That and soaking up Alexe.
Laundry. I'm finding myself far more interested in personal environmental stewardship after my time in the woods. Though everything needed to be washed when we came home, I ran the dryer only once.
The grass has grown while we were away. Alexe had it cut a couple times, (she's not allowed on the riding mower anymore,) but we were still looking at a hay field.
Thursday evening we suited up after Alexe came home from work and went for a family walk.
The walk took us by our friend's house, where the kids disappeared while we sat on the porch and chatted. We saw them for a moment in the kitchen for a rehydrating session, then they were off again.
Alexe redecorated their room while we were away. They love it, especially their personal bedside lamps.
We have by no means been rushing the chore list. Sure when we first came home there was a dishwasher to fix, a very hot Shadow to shave, a fallen tree to cut up and remove from the chicken yard, a lawn to mow, the unpacking, catching up on all the finances/bills I've ignored for the summer, etc., but they've all been taken care of at a leisurely pace, interspersed with walks, long breakfasts, and family re-aclimate time.
We started this puzzle on Friday. A gift from Nonni, this was our first time opening it up and giving it a whirl. The number of pieces was a bit daunting, then we realized the puzzle was actually three puzzles, all with similar shading, all in one box.
We put in a noble effort.
After many hours over two days, we got this far. The pink/purple skies of all three puzzles, with no distinct shading to tell piece from piece, broke our spirits, and it went back in the box.
Annaliese stuck with me and the puzzle for quite a while, these were more Caspian's speed.
I took to the lawn early on, and after cleaning the battery terminals and charging up the battery, pumping up the tires, and refueling, our little lawn tractor started right up. I made it through the first round of mowing, and had started the second round when I hit a pipe sticking out of the ground. The mower deck exploded.
Luckily, the thing that shattered is a part made to break away, an aluminum hub assembly that holds the mower blade to the mower deck. With a phone call I found a guy outside of town with a small engine repair shop, the kids and I hopped in the truck to go find him, and $10 later I had a new part. Took a few minutes to bolt it all back together, and we were back in business.
Saturday morning we walked down the the farmer's market, all of three blocks from the house. Each time we go to town, it's a pleasant chorus of "welcome home" from almost everyone we see.
A little sprinkler fun. It's hot here, certainly a change from VT, but in terms of MS, it's very reasonable for August. The thing we're not enjoying are the ants and mosquitoes. We've all had a few run-ins with the fire ants, and the mosquito population is reminding us how lucky we were in VT, where the bug population was so low after the scouring of the state's waterways by Irene last year. (u.Theo connected those dots for me.)
Alexe seems to be rejuvenated by her family's return, and is busily readying her fall garden.
Annaliese inspecting our future home. This spot, a 30 acre farm within the city limits, two blocks further up our street, is a place Alexe and I have loved to visit since we moved to Water Valley. It has a peaceful, happy feel to it, (it smells like my grandparent's yard in Vevey,) and manages to feel private and secluded. We tried to buy it a while ago, but though it has been empty since before we moved here, the family has never been ready to sell. Alexe has run into the heirs, sons in their late 50s, a few times this summer, and they seem to be prepping to list it, which makes us daydream.
We sat Alexe down and watched Despicable Me with her on Saturday night.
Getting ready for church. Yep, that's my wife. And those are my wife's legs.
This little monkey woke up from her nap, and was racing around the house with blue marker on her face. Alexe planned a little welcome home gathering at the house for Sunday evening, and the kids were prepping for it for days. Then, during nap time the day of, they went at each other with markers.
Friends of ours brought the best party favor ever, a bouncy castle for the kids.
After a late night of racing around the house and yard with their friends, the kids woke up tired and cranky. They've had a morning of cozy vegging in the living room, (outside it's been dark and violently storming,) warm soup and sandwiches for lunch, and are now napping. My morning has been spent on this machine, catching up on banking and bills, and now I'm headed out to work in the yard a bit. In a relaxed, leisurely fashion.
Any day now I've got to start packing for Burning Man.