You guys, we found a turtle! Spotted by Zosia while crossing the street just like it was no big deal. We deliberated for some time about whether he was a pet or a wild animal, but the determination with which he was crawling towards the creek led us to believe wild animal. We spent a little while trying to train him (with success, if you would ask Lily or Hugo, who would stand directly in his path while yelling "Here, turtle! Here, turtle!" and then claim victory when he took a step towards them before changing directions). And then we released him and he crawled away, eager to continue on his journey. Quick as a wink, and here we were thinking that turtles were supposed to be among the slowest in the animal kingdom. Just a few minutes, but he certainly captured our imaginations.
Our lives these past few months have been composed of many such little fragments. Any moment has a list of five very urgent matters that must immediately be tended to. A meal, a diaper, a guest, a game, a book. And then, five minutes later, the list changes. It creates a beautiful mosaic of a day, although in the moment, it can feel like a bit of a marathon. And despite the fact that I sometimes find that a morning has flown by and I have not gotten off of my feet once, I nevertheless have become a little addicted to the quick pace of life, to tell you the truth. It is thrilling and feels incredibly fulfilling to be able to care for one another diligently, and there's a way that a big family starts to feel like a well oiled machine.
Every now and then these days, we find ourselves with a longer stretch of quiet time, and it's that slowness that takes some adjusting to. Last week, the girls participated in a sweet little dance camp, and I found myself only with Hugo while the babies napped in the morning. We would read something like ten books, play a few games, all at the most leisurely pace. Eventually we would tidy the house a bit and get a sack. Every moment I was filled with the feeling that surely I must be forgetting something. But no, there was nothing extra. Just Hugo and two napping babies. What a funny feeling! And these days I'm realizing that it's okay to slow down the pace, since things will be quieter when the big girls are in school this year.
Which brings me to our school decision for the coming year. As many of you know, this past year we homeschooled for first grade. We loved it. We loved having Zosia around, loved the fact that we could learn so much so quickly and then spend the rest of our time learning through play. It was a wonderful year, and it was an incredible gift to have our whole family here during the year that we welcomed twins (seriously! My two "big girls" have proved themselves competent as baby holders, baby entertainers, and even baby diaper changers. It was like having two built in mothers' helpers).
However, as the year progressed, we realized that finding time for formal instruction was becoming trickier. Now, enter two crawling, cruising babies, and it is suddenly even trickier. As much as we loved homeschooling, it became clear that this coming year was not a good homeschooling year. Regardless, we felt like there were a lot of things that we had accomplished at home that were wonderful. Things like nature study, reading live books, integrating our faith into our schooling, and being actively involved in the educational process. We felt sad to be letting these things go, and started thinking and praying of a way to continue along this path.
I can't narrate all of individual events that transpired in such a small space, but they go something like this. We found a school, one that we loved, and every barrier (substantial barriers, mind you!) were lifted one by one. Our prayer for clarity was decisively answered. The girls will be in school together at a sweet small Christian school that is close by, that is very homeschooling friendly, and that welcomes (requires, even!) substantial parental involvement. And what's more, not only do they support the type of school we tried to create at home, but we feel like have a lot to learn from them.
We are all excited to imagine what this coming year will hold!