Thanksgiving 2014: a Happy One!
Thankful Countdown #10: Modern Wonders

Goodbye November

Goodbye november 14

 

One Monday at the beginning of November, I spent the afternoon outside with Kaleb, raking leaves. We cleaned up the entire front yard in a lovely, warm light. Every. Single. Leaf.

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The next morning, all of the warm light was gone…it was cold, and the leaves were falling. They fell gently and consistently, like a misty rain, except leaves. They must’ve fallen for hours, and then it started snowing. Not a lot—only enough to cover the leaves covering the entire front yard.

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It was a lovely November. I did a lot of gardening: pruned the rosebushes, weeded for the last time, planted 200 new bulbs. I felt like I was having a sort of conversation with Future Amy, the person I’ll be in the spring, who will be relieved I put the garden to bed properly,  happy when the new daffodils and tulips start poking up in March and glad to greet my healthy rosebuds as they start to redden.

On the first day of November, Kaleb was at his cousin’s house and Jake and Nathan both had to work, so Kendell and I cleaned up the back yard together. All of the leaves on our catalpa tree had fallen in that night’s wind storm, so the yard was full of enormous leaves. It reminded me of how the yard feels after a good, heavy snow storm...totally transformed.

Nathan’s big thing for November (aside from turning fifteen!) was making the basketball team. He was soooo nervous about the try outs and sooooo excited and proud that he made it. To celebrate, I let him skip first period the next day, and we went to breakfast and then got a haircut. We celebrated his birthday on the Sunday before, with dinner and new basketball shoes. _MG_4890 nathan 15 bday 4x5
His actual birthday was not his favorite day, as his coach told him he wouldn’t be playing during the first game, but he stepped up and dealt with it, and was the best damn bench warmer you ever saw! J He did get to play in the second game, so things are looking up.

Jake’s November was so-so. We had to go to his parent-teacher conference together, as he’d let some things slide and then got in that cycle of being so stressed out by procrastination that more procrastination seemed like the only option. His teachers were all really good to work with him, and hopefully things are turning around. It’s always odd for me, being the parent in a parent-teacher conference. It makes me question some of the choices I made when I was teaching and hope that I was compassionate enough.

Last week, Jake went to the gym with Kendell and Kaleb. While he was there, he smashed his finger between two weights. It immediately bloomed into a fat, hard swelling, split right down the middle. He ended up having to get three stitches, which ups his total to forty. The funny thing was…that same morning, he’d gone into the dermatologist to have stitches taken out! Because, yes, it was a dermatologist-filled month for Jake. He has a whole bunch of skin issues right now (but zero acne!), one that required a biopsy and stitches and further watching.

So maybe it just wasn’t an awesome month for Jake. Poor kid. (I am counting down the weeks until his junior year is over. We’ll make it…right?) I am proud of him for continuing to work and to try to make things better, and just to hang on. Sometimes that is all you can do. Just hang on, and he’s doing it.

Haley came to visit twice this month. Once because her cousin Madi got married. Haley’s now the only girl cousin on my side of the family who isn’t married. (Mostly because after Madi, we didn’t have any more girls!) I’ve joked with her that she’s our old maid, a joke I can make because she’s only 19 and has zero interest in getting married. It was a sweet wedding. My sister asked me to take some of the photos, which I wasn’t thrilled to do as weddings are not my thing. I don’t trust my photography skills enough and only agreed to do it because I wasn’t the only photographer. I love this photo of the bride and all of the boys we could round up:

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(The dads were trying to make duck faces and it made all the boys laugh.)

And this one is pretty good too:

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I made some chocolate fudge sauce for the ice cream table at the wedding. Way too much chocolate fudge. We had two of those big Ziplock bowls full of left overs. The boys and Kendell were happy to work on the “chocolate mud” as they started calling it, nearly all month.

I love it when Haley is home. Even though it is different than before, it still makes me feel a very specific sort of peace, having all of my birds in the nest for a night or two. In the morning before the wedding, she and I laid in my bed for a while, just talking about stuff. I feel so grateful I get to be her mom, and the place we have come to in our relationship is a good one. It gives me strength to help Jake because it has taught me that things really do change. High school doesn’t last forever and our relationship is so much better now. She is so much better (not that she was ever a problem)—happier and more confident and just finding her way. I am glad to watch her progress.

The fourth graders at Kaleb’s school participate in NaNoWriMo. When you do it as a student, your word-count goal is 1,000 words. Kaleb wrote a story about the weeping angels from Dr. Who. He kept adding and adding to the story and in the end wrote almost 3,000. The days when he was working on his story were some of his happiest this month, because of course writing is good for your soul. He has discovered online video games and wants to play them all the time, and I am not going down that road with him. We’ve had a few hard times when he was pretty mad at me. But I’m sticking to my guns on this one.

My four kids nov 2014

(I wanted a good photo of the kids together, for a Christmas project. This was not it, and as I won't see Haley again until just before Christmas, I'll have to figure something else out!)

I ran exactly zero miles this month. My hamstring is still bothering me, although it is starting to finally feel better I think. I was really, really good all month at avoiding sugar and eating fewer carbs…until I got sick. Then all I’ve wanted to do is drink hot chocolate and/or orange juice. This cold is proving to be as hard to get over as my last on in July. More than a week later, I am still coughing. Kendell and Jake have had it too, but somehow I just can’t seem to get over mine.

One of my favorite November days happened on the very last Saturday. Kendell has a small Christmas lights business, and his partner went out of town unexpectedly, so I went out to help him. We did an entire, enormous house together. Sometimes Kendell gets a little bit gruff and annoyed during projects, but he was great this day. He taught me what to do and how to help him, and we worked well together. It’s strange, sometimes, where you find your bits and pieces of happiness, but I found it there, standing on a stranger’s roof with my husband.

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How was your November?

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