The Weekly Ramble 8/20/23

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I don’t have too many summer vacations left.

overhead shot of food order from chick-fil-a.

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No, I’m not dying. My kids are growing up!

FishChick16 is a senior this year; her younger sister a sophomore. I guess there are two more summer vacations in my future, at least in the school years under my watch.

It’s been a long ride homeschooling. Next week marks my 22nd back-to-school week as a homeschool mom.

It’s not lost on me that almost my entire life has been marked by back to school. My parents were public school teachers. I was born at the end of one school year with my mom returning to work when I was a few months old, rare for 1972, that September.

What followed was either their return to school or mine, as I did five years of higher ed and then became a public school teacher myself.

Since birth, the rhythm of the school year has set the cadence of my days, with a brief respite between my eldest’s birth and when he started kindergarten and I began my homeschool career.

Homeschooling has been the hardest job, but the best one ever. A little different than what I ever thought I would do, but totally worth it.

I feel like I really know my kids. And they know each other. One of the girls’ stated highlights of the summer was the time they got to spend with their brothers. I think growing up and schooling up together helped foster that for our family.

fishkids together at the beach.

Of course, I can’t A/B test it. I can’t relive our lives with a different type of schooling and see the difference, but by contrast to my own schooling and family relationships, it’s night and day. We know — and like! — each other.

Better yet, I like the people they are, though they are so different than I could have dreamt so many years ago.

To be clear: Homeschooling may not be for everyone, but it was definitely a good choice for us. I’m so glad we made it happen, despite the financial costs involved.

Now as I see the finish line in the distance, I’m able to be a little more chill about it all. Four kids have made it into college; two have already graduated. The last two kids’ prospects for the same are good.

As I’ve said every year since 2003, the experiment is working!

Yesterday the girls and I went out to lunch to celebrate the last day of summer vacation. Next week is full of new experiences, including community college/dual enrollment for my elder girl.

I realize once again that these moments are fleeting. I’m trying to do my Future Self, and theirs, a favor by making sure we stop and enjoy these fleeting moments.

Speaking of which…

cover of Be Your Future Self on an ipad.

I’m engrossed in a new book currently, Be Your Future Self Now, by Benjamin Hardy and convinced Fish to read it, too. It is full of amazing nuggets and will very likely be added to my list of Must-Reads for Adulting.

One suggestion Hardy makes has given me a lot of food for thought:

Live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now!

It’s very reminiscent of the messaging in the amazing film About Time. It also brings to mind something Fish has talked about since the kids were small: nostalgia for today, knowing that we will one day miss the moments that are happening right now.

When Bryan first started talking about it, I was too thick in the weeds of raising littles to truly feel it, but I do now, and I’m thankful that he pointed it out early on.

Now, I’m trying to live like my 73-year-old self and enjoy every minute of it while it’s happening, but with renewed gratefulness and appreciation.

Fish is so insightful. He really is Mr. Right-for-Me.

side view of man driving with mountains and clouds in the background.

The girls were gone to Sacramento last weekend to visit our eldest son and his wife where they enjoyed all manner of boba, Don Quixote’s, Brazilian BBQ, pizza, and sushi.

The girls maneuvered their way through TSA all by themselves on both legs of the trip, something that was nerve-wracking to think of two weeks ago but that they are pros at now. They came home on Monday.

While I could have made the airport run on my own, Fish took time off work so we could both pick them up. He’d been thinking about it for several days with the idea of making an outing of it to take the girls to Liberty Station Public Market for lunch.

At one point he wondered if the girls might be too tired after travel and not in the mood for an outing, but he stuck to his original plan.

They noticed the effort he made and thanked him for making time for them, proving that he will never regret taking those hours off work.

We also made time for our own couple’s vacay day this week. This is something we’ve done on a monthly basis for almost two full years. Please make sure that you read yesterday’s post for all the deets and (of course) our “system” for making them happen. Don’t feel like you gotta do it our way, but maybe it will inspire you to systemate in a way that works for you and yours.

Today we went house hunting, looking at a couple of houses on our radar. It’s definitely been an experience. We learned at the end of June that we had three months to move, but most places don’t list until a few weeks before they’re made available.

We’ve spent the last six weeks getting a feel for the market. While we haven’t seen anything as crazy as @zillowgonewild, we have seen some interesting things….

Our rent is basically going to double, so I’m hoping to find something pretty for our pains. We found one that might be a good fit, but there were several people looking at it today as well, so who knows?

a table set for tea with plates, candles, and treats.

In other news, the baby is turning 15 next week so she’s having an Alice in Wonderland birthday party, the Tim Burton kind of Alice. All kinds of preparations are in the mix right now, including a multilayer cake, petit fours, Raspberry Pie Cookies, jarcuterie, tea sandwiches, and deviled eggs.

I’m particularly proud of my contribution to the theme: “drink me” lemonades!

bottles of drink me lemonades with tags.

Back in the day, I had a system for birthdays, but those are in flux now, as kids have more refined ideas of what they want to do — or very downplayed ideas. When the boys walked in to see all she had prepared, they were stunned. They haven’t had themed birthday parties in a while.

Current-in-flux birthday system includes:

  • family birthday – choose the meals, including one meal out, an activity of your choice, and a birthday cake with number candles

  • optional friend birthday (the girls are the only ones to do this) – party or more expensive outing with a smaller group

Earlier this summer, our grown-and-flown son and his wife hosted us for his birthday weekend on the North Coast. They provided the vacation house and I provided the food. That was super fun, and I can see us doing something similar for holidays in the future.

We’re on the cusp of a new future in so many ways. It’s both exciting and a little awe-inspiring and a wee bit scary, too. The psychological concept of thinking and planning for your Future Self is really fascinating!

That book Bryan and I are reading has led to some really interesting conversations about what we want our future to look like. Already I’ve written letters to future me and scheduled them to be delivered in 6 months, 1 year, 3 years, and 5 years. Wild, right?

When I signed up for this free info guide about the book, I got put on Hardy’s mailing list. A few emails later included a link to get a free copy of the book. I couldn’t get the link to work (our copy is a library copy) but maybe you will.

This video from Hardy is really interesting, too.

As for the immediate future, we have differing ideas on how this hurricane/tropical storm will play out. He thinks it will be nothing. I have run to the store for extra water and shelf-stable items in case the power goes out. We’ll be fine either way, but still. Luck favors the prepared, darling.

So, that’s the Weekly Ramble for ya. School starts on Monday, complete with homemade apple pie.

Have a great weekend! See you next week!

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