So as I said in my last post, things have been rather busy and some things have fallen to the wayside all in an attempt to spend lots of family time together, which seems to get lost sometimes with the busyness of the farm and life in general. In the fall, I coach volleyball (now past tense as I handed over the reigns to my assistant) . In the winter, Dave coaches basketball, so he's gone from 5 (sometimes he sleeps in until 5:30) in the morning until sometimes 7:30pm if there's a late practice, or like last night with an away game 11:00 pm. Times together can be hard to find, so the website took the backseat as we realized that our family time was getting too limited and that was our priority. We knew you would understand...you can still feel free to grumble, we won't mind!
While driving to Warren to drop off some eggs to Herbs R 4 U 2, Dave looked back as we noticed the car was a little too quiet and caught sight of our two darling children hand-in-hand, asleep in the backseat. I managed to take about 12 pictures until I got the picture just-right as I was in the front seat and bending my hand back so I could remain safely buckled in my seat. We also managed to get our Christmas tree that day at Sanford's. Pictures and days like that really make you take a step back and think about life and everything you have. It takes away from the focus of what you don't have in life, especially the wants. I need this reminder every once in a while and they are usually in abundant supply this time of year.
To give you a glimpse into our daily lives, during the week Dave is out of the house by 5:30am to take care of the animals while Ethan has usually woken me up around this time. I get Ethan and I breakfast and David usually makes he way down as we are finishing and everyone is raring to go. Now see, not being a born/raised farmer, morning times are not my thing, so I'm a little slower to get into the chipper mood that my sons are in at 5:30-6am. The only time of year that I am chipper and ready to roll before 8-8:30 is in December when the Christmas excitement overtakes me. Christmas morning I guarantee you I will be the one awake first, waiting for everyone else to wake up, the excitement too much to handle to the point where I can't sleep. I'm still like a kid in that way.
After breakfast, we chat and visit with daddy while he gets ready to go to school. By the time he's out of the house around 7:30, we're ready to start "learning." You see, I decided to homeschool David this year as I am a teacher by trade and by heart and Dave and I have always wanted to be able to "school" our children. So I took the plunge. It's been a lot of fun, but I won't try and cover it up, it's not all roses and Christmas cookies...sometimes it's skunky and lima beans. So we're working on our routine and what works for us and honestly, we're still working on it! Getting our learning done with a toddler is trying at times, but I have found ways to make it work and I'm sure it will change constantly. So we school and we play and we school some more when Ethan is napping and I think about all of the time I would be missing out on when it comes to my child's life if he were in a classroom for 8 hours a day. This works for us and makes us happy, though I know it does not work for others. However, at least three times a day you can hear me tell David, "I need you to act like a boy, not like an animal." Now some would gasp in horror at this quote, however, I am being literal. David has a genuine love of animals, and knows just about everything about every particular wild animal including the continent, and with some animals, the country in which they could be found, you name it, he knows it. How much do you know about the Oryx, the Topi, or how about an Ocelot...we know extensive amounts of information. I joke that I will one day lose my oldest to the grasslands in Africa, though I know it's no joke. Throughout the day I am not sure if David is being a hyena, lion, crocodile, zebra, etc. This is both in movement and in sound. While making dinner, I do not need David and his "pride" taking down a wildebeest, which so happens to be Ethan, who is generally at this moment playing quietly and nicely by himself. When questioning my oldest about bothering his brother while he is occupying himself, he gives me some kind of lecture about predators ambushing and stalking prey (and yes, he uses scientific vocabulary). I try and keep an encyclopedia within arms reach at all times to look up new animals that I've never heard of that he tells me about, and find it interesting that whenever we go to the zoo, David will rattle off tons of information about each animal we come across, and will correct the other children on what the animal is. Going to the Natural History Museum in Washington D.C. was a real treat as they showcase animals from all of the different continents and habitats. It was like David was home...a true dream come true for him!
Dave comes home at 3:30ish to take care of the animals, visits for a couple of minutes, and depending on whether I am on the ball or not for dinner, will eat dinner with us before he and David go to basketball practice. Practice usually ends at 7:30, about the time I get Ethan to go to sleep and after a couple of minutes of talking to David about our day and reading some books, he's asleep. Dave and I proceed to crash and it always amazes our sports players when we talk of the longing and excitement of being in bed by 8pm. Hey, what can I say, we like to live life on the edge!
So when you see me in public and I look like I've aged decades and I'm about to go crazy, refer me to this journal entry, to these pictures so I can again begin to see the big picture and what's really important in my life. I know that these times will fly by and one day I will truly miss being up all night with a teething or gassy child. Even though David has promised me that he will always curl up on my lap and let me rock him when I need that "mommy" feeling again, when I'm no longer "mommy" but am called "mom", I doubt I have too many years of snuggling left. So I guess for now, pay no attention to and pardon my disheveled look. Don't feel sorry for me...I've got two active and amazing beautiful boys and they'll be gone before I know it, so I'm loving and living life right now to the fullest. I hope you are doing the same...
Have a wonderful, memorable, and blessed Christmas and New Year from the Manning family to you and yours. We are truly blessed to have you in our lives, to be a part of our hard work and celebrations, and we wouldn't be here without your love and support for our family and farm. Though they have no idea why, our animals are always sure to get a special treat on holidays or on special occasions, because we feel these blessings and celebrations should be for them too. Feel free to stop by over the holiday season if you're in the area, we would love to have you, and the cows especially are always excited by visitors.