08 June, 2016

Goodbyes, pikelets, and boys

After being stressed yesterday about the finish of school and all that means for changes in schedules etc., it's been a great day so far (4.30pm right now).

I got up with my husband at the usual time and we had a quiet breakfast on our own! He then went off to work as usual. I dashed as fast as I could to my desk and got some good work done in the quiet of the morning. At 9.30 the first boy appeared and I woke up the other two snoozers because we had special guests coming at 10.
Australian pikelets for morning tea (mini pancakes)

It was a goodbye. A young family who we've shared the last five years with is returning to the US. We've chatted to them at church and school, seen both their young boys born, and had them over on a number of occasions. 

The mum was instrumental in helping overhaul the outdated design and process of the magazine I work on. (I told the story of her being an amazing answer to my prayer for a designer here) Together we also created some memorable covers for the magazine. Our friendship was strengthened by working together and it was sad when she had to stop working on the magazine (see here). She's not just a designer, but also a photographer and has taken several family photos for us in recently years, most notable was the one we used for our prayer card last year in Australia.

One of the fun things has been to see the relationship between her two little boys and my big boys. Her little ones love my big ones and my guys are wonderful with them. We have great memories. One of the best was when one of my guys looked at her eldest as a baby who was squinting a little in bright light and kindly called him an "evil baby".

We'll miss them when they're gone, but alas it is the way of life as missionaries. We say more goodbyes than most (though probably not as many as those in the military).

So this morning my friend came over with her boys to play, a play date with two- and four-year-olds in a house of 11-, 13-, and 17-year-olds doesn't seem feasible, but it worked. We still have toys (trains, cars, cooking toys) that the little boys love and remember. When they arrived they ran past me holding the front door, trying to get inside as fast as possible.

It was a fun morning that had varying participation from my recently awoken boys. But overall my guys did well, even consenting to one last photo with all five boys together.

We had a late lunch (I made pikelets [mini pancakes eaten cold] for morning tea with our guests, though my boys ate many, many more than our guests did and hence weren't in a hurry for lunch). Then I had a little lie down (still recovering from my cold-induced asthma), washed up some of the morning's dishes, and then have worked on the computer in quiet most of the time since.

The boys have not been on electronic devices all day (as is their tendency and our fear for the summer), there's been creativity and I'm happy! I know that not every day will be as smooth or nice, but often the first day after school is out is bad and today hasn't been.

Tonight we're going out for our annual end-of-year celebration. Another all-you-can-eat restaurant, specialising in meat! When tummies are moderately full we're going to broach the topic of time-use during the summer, as well as reassigning some of their regular chores to fit a different more flexible schedule. The big goal is them developing better self-control over how much screen time there is, as opposed to us being the policemen of screen time. The disincentive for a pattern of poor time use? The loss of screen time in a big way. We'll see how it goes—both tonight and the rest of the summer.

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