A day in the life of our summer

Mondays are often difficult in our household-Tim is back at work, the house (whether it started out clean or messy) needs attention throughout the day, the relaxed feel of the weekend is GONE, and there is usually school to be done.

Sunning boys
Daniel and David sun themselves on the picnic table after an exhausting time playing in the sprinklers.

Today was no different. I am working through the plans for our school this year. I have almost all of the materials gathered (the stack of books in the living room is growing–not sure where we’re going to put everything as the shelves are ALREADY full), I know what subjects we’re going to study, and have a tentative schedule in place. It’s exciting to see the collection of books from Sonlight sitting on the table. I’m trying to organize the instructor’s guide and plan out how we’ll fit in all of the subjects. It’s a hectic, slightly stressful time as the summer draws to an end and the year of school rapidly approaches.

Sweet brothers
Look at those grins and tell me if these boys don’t look like they are ready (always) for some serious fun.

What happened to my plans of losing those last 20 pounds? What about the rooms I still want to paint/decorate before the summer ends!! You can be certain that I haven’t finished decluttering and organizing the house. We never did complete the astronomy book we were studying — why did I think we would devote the summer to it? If I can’t keep the house clean in the summer, what is going to happen when we are working full time at our schooling?? AHHHH!!

Sweetie Pie Sarah
Sarah snuggles down under a towel.

Adding to all of the unfinished projects is the the general, overwhelming sense that it’s nearly impossible to keep up with five children and a big house. Everywhere I walk there are piles of things that need my attention (whether they are big, small or dustbunny size). The children’s rooms NEVER stay clean. For that matter, I can’t keep my bedroom tidy and picked up. The garage is a continual challenge in housekeeping. And none of this even addresses the outside! Let’s not talk about the lawn or the weeds or the maintenance/clean-up that should be happening around the house outside.

Joshua reading
Joshua enjoys a moment of quiet with his Sabatini book.

At one point in the morning I called a friend, unloaded some of my frustrations on her, and ended with a desperate plea, “Tell me that a good cup of coffee will solve all of my problems!” I’m not sure about the logic in that (and I hate to think what it reveals about my current coffee addiction). Taking immediate action, I fixed a STRONG cup of coffee, added in lots of milk and sweetener and sat down with the children to do some reading. In the midst of all of that I found life was, indeed much better. We read some of our Bible devotions, did a chapter in our Young Peacemaker book, and then started the first reader in our Sonlight 5 book (Seabird).

Rachel's project
Rachel’s craft/sewing project for the day.

From there the day took a very cheerful turn. I remembered that my passion and joy is in teaching and working with the children. When I get too preoccupied with the house and all the work that is never ending/always repeating I become discouraged and overwhelmed. Sitting down with the kids, discovering new books with them, seeing them delight in fresh ideas and watching them grow and learn is probably among the greatest joys in my life as a mother.

The rest of our day was busy and crazy (as usual). The house was still messy, there was/is still much work to be done and there were still arguments and disagreements among the children but somehow, in the mystery of God’s working, I was renewed. I had new peace and was able to face the rest of the gorgeous summer day with a smile.

Tim and Kath
Here we are enjoying a moment together at the pool.

It was a bright, sunny day!! The children played outside, I had several lovely conversations on the phone, did many loads of laundry and even started dinner early. Tim came home just after lunch and finished his work day here at home. Around 4:15 pm I started fixing pizzas and by 4:45 pm we were on our way to the pool. We spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening at the pool. Tim baked the pizzas and delivered them to the pool.

Pizza crew

We ate dinner there at the pool, visited with friends, and relaxed. Tim brought a Sabatini book and I worked on my chore cards for the kiddos. We went home around 7 pm. Tim took care of the night time routine and let me go for a long walk with a friend. It was wonderful to get in fresh air, exercise and good girl/chatting time!

Julee and Chandler
Julee and baby Chandler relaxing at the pool!

Tomorrow Rachel has her piano lesson in the morning and then we have friends coming over for the day. We’ll be busy entertaining and playing. I’m sure we’ll head to the pool again in the afternoon. We have been very spoiled to have so much pool time this summer.

There you have it, the ups and downs of a typical Edgren summer day. All pictures were taken today.


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Where Is Tim’s Blog? Oh, Where Is Tim’s Blog? Oh, where, oh where, oh where, oh where…is Tim’s Blog???

You may have encountered an error with one of our current blog e-mails. We could pretend it was a technical difficulty but that wouldn’t be exactly true. Okay, it wouldn’t be true at all. Tim published his blog and then altered the posting date. Gasp! Is that even legal??

Scared Joshua
This poor boy looks scared!

If you received an error message upon clicking on the e-mail notification, it is because Tim was trying to make sure the date of the blog posting matched up with reality. Since he wrote the blog at the end of July, he certainly didn’t want it published in August. Horrors! I think he sensed I was going to be blog happy this month and wanted to get credit for having written a blog in late July. Sigh. Some people are competitive to the end. Don’t even get me started on what happens when he loses Settlers of Catan (which happens at least twice a year whether he needs to lose nor not).

Car shots
This person has obviously just discovered a blatant case of blog date-stamp manipulation.

Since Tim did this little finagling after publishing the blog it means the e-mail points to an error page. Sorry about that. It couldn’t have been helped. Okay, that’s not true. It totally could have been avoided but it’s late and Tim’s in bed so this random blog is the best we’re going to do. At least it’s the best I’m going to do. No doubt tomorrow Tim will come along and fix everything (more blog manipulations–does it never end?). Did you realize just how much tweaking and maneuvering programmers do with our computer systems??? Much more than we will ever know. Well, now you know a little bit because I just told you but beyond that it’s all a great mystery.

I think I need to finish this blog and get to bed myself. I’m starting to sound a little loopy.

If you are still reading this, and perhaps are wondering if I’m going to get to the point and finally tell you how to locate Tim’s blog, read on. In order to find your way to his posting, simply click on the title, Duckabush Blog, at the top of the page. This will take you to the current Duckabug Blog site (hence the title) and you can read Tim’s blog (way down below my MULTIPLE postings–not that we’re counting or anything).

Laughing Joshua
Joshua finds this all very amusing. Does this count as a sort of blog laugh track?

Sorry for this inconvenience! I’m sure it won’t (or maybe it will-I can’t really promise anything) happen again (at least not today as I’m going to bed now).


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Day at the Lake

I think I write in bursts at a time. It drives Tim crazy (probably a bit of an extreme statement). I should say it mildly bothers Tim as he thinks I should dole out my blogs in dribs and drabs. Ah, when the blogging bug bites, I think you have to run with it. My friend De’Etta blogs several times a day. She’s my blogging hero! Not to mention she has 9 children, grinds her own wheat to make fresh bread, can study the Bible with the best of them and ‘fun schools,’ as she calls it.

David is ready to jump off the dock.

Even when I point to other multiple post bloggers (MPB’s) like De’Etta, Tim just shakes his head in confusion (or maybe it’s disgust). We watched some of the musical Oklahoma this evening. My blogging habits remind me of the song, “For Me It’s All or Nothing.” I have several blogs going at once and then a week or two will go by with neither Tim not I posting anything. Not a good way to develop a real blog following but it’s our life so there you have it.

Mama and David
Kathy and David posing at the edge of the lake.

On to the actual subject of my blog. See how easily distracted I am. It’s a good thing Tim is here to write the deep, insightful, challenging blogs while I chatter on. He always was a bit more melancholy than I.

Last week we had the opportunity to go to the lake home of one of my friends from church. I worked with Nancy on last year’s Women’s Retreat and thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her. She was kind to share her home, and little slice of lake, with us for an afternoon. I brought snacks, sunscreen, and my wonderful new digital camera. I took picture after picture. I told Nancy that I had enough photos to make it look like we had been at the lake for a week. Ha!

Sarah's float
This float has been Sarah’s constant companion over the summer–a great Dollar Store purchase!

One thing I particularly enjoyed was using the ‘burst’ function on the camera to take action shots of the children. They would climb up on the deck, run and jump off the diving board while I snapped away.

Rachel jumps
Rachel makes an incredible jump off the diving board!

Since it was a bright, sunhine filled day, I had no trouble with my flash and was able to capture the children running and jumping with abandon. Even David had me take multiple pictures of him as he sat at the edge of the dock and jumped in.

David jumping
David jumped into the lake to a waiting Joshua.

He’s made tremendous progress in his swimming skills this summer. I’m very impressed with how well he’s doing. I think he’s going to have an excellent time at the pool in Texas.

I think we’ll string the action pictures together for a fast slide show. The children (and, I must admit, I) had great fun taking the photos and then watching back at home.

Daniel jumps
Daniel’s turn to jump for the camera.

I’ve taken over five or six hundred pictures since Tim gave me this camera for my birthday. Of course, we have a big family so we have to take more pictures just to make sure everyone is getting equal screen time.

The kiddos, despite my best effots to put on sunscreen, are all turning quite brown. They will definitely have a nice ‘base tan’ for our trip to Texas. I’m not sure children really require a base tan. You don’t notice how tan they are getting until you see a blinding flash of white bottom at bath time.

Tim doesn’t like to violate the programmer code of ethics and remains a constant shade of pasty white throughout the summer. He says he’s allowed to burn but computer programmers are not permitted to have any sort of tan. I think it’s something they sign when they begin their life of programming. He does his best to find an umbrella and some shade whenever he joins us at the pool.

Tim at the pool
Keep this man stocked in diet Coke!

This blog was mainly an excuse to put out some fun pictures from our time at the lake. I do love summer!!

Rachel and Daniel thoroughly enjoyed the floats and boats on the lake. They even managed to hang on to the oars. I thought for sure we would lose one to the lake bottom.


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Blueberry Picking

I used to think watermelon was my all-time favorite summer fruit. I have many memories of eating huge amounts of watermelon in the summer when I was growing up. I especially remember these plastic red bowls that my mother and grandmother used to have. I would cut myself a large slice of watermelon, trim off the rind and fill my bowl with watermelon pieces. Yum!! Nothing quite says true summer to me like cold, juicy watermelon.

And yet…

I LOVE blueberries! I can’t get enough of them. If I am fortunate enough to have fresh blueberries in my house, I will eat them by the handfuls. I think they are delicious! They are addictive and completely irresistible. Tim teases me and says when I move I sway the entire blueberry market and am able to keep whole farms in business.

When we used to live out on the peninsula, I discovered a local blueberry farm. It was wonderful! The berries were big and sweet and amazingly affordable. A good friend of mine knew the gardener and would make appointments for us to pick blueberries each summer. I would bring a child (usually Rachel) and pick until I couldn’t stand it anymore. Then, I would be in blueberry heaven! Enough blueberries to satisfy me (for a while anyway). I could eat them to my heart’s content, freeze big trays of them, and just basically enjoy these sweet treasures of God’s creation.


A month later I would usually be totally out of blueberries. Sigh. In the winter I survived on Costco’s frozen blueberries. Costco (here in WA) carries delicious frozen berries. They make wonderful smoothies. We put them in a glass of cold milk with a little sweetener and enjoy a perfect “ice cream” like treat.

Daniel Boy

Recently several people have told me about a free blueberry picking place in Tacoma. On Thursday a friend called and happened to mention she went by the free blueberry patch but all the ripe berries were gone. I told her my mother in law had heard about a (very affordable) U-Pick blueberry place in Olympia. This friend (you have to love spontaneous people) said we should go right then and pick blueberries. We didn’t have anything going on that afternoon so I immediately agreed! We both packed lunches for our children, met at the nearby gas station and headed south on a quest for blueberries. I think she is a mutual blueberry fanatic.

We wound our way through Olympia and found three blueberry farms. Can you say Heaven Here On Earth!!! We settled on Gile’s farm and picked blueberries for $1.00/pound. Blueberry Picking in Olympia The kids did their best to help. They were all enthusiastic and cheerful (for the first half an hour). Joshua went around gathering everyone’s blueberries in a big bowl — until he was stung by a bee. He spent the rest of the time in the van reading his book. He told me, “I don’t like blueberries, I didn’t want to come in the first place, and I was stung by a bee. I think I’d like to read my book.” Ha! Even the threat that he would miss out on the bribery (I mean reward) ice cream cone from McDonald’s didn’t draw him out of the car (“We’re not supposed to be eating sugar anyway, Mom,” he told me.).

Blueberry Heaven

Ah well, the rest of the crowd rose to the challenge (I mean bribe). Rachel and Daniel were my best pickers. David was a trooper and stuck with us the entire time — even if he ate more than he picked.

David Picking Away

Sarah worked hard the first half — filling several small containers — before she ended up in the van with Joshua. It was a widely successful trip. I came home with several large bowls of blueberries and the promise to return. Michelle and I said, several times, that we would have to come back WITHOUT children and really stock up (it would be nice to make it at least a month and a half before running out of blueberries).

More blueberries

All of this writing is making me hungry. I think I’ll go have some blueberries right now!


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