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Winter Weather

Before I begin, a caveat: I didn’t want this to be my first post since Christmas, but I sort of expected it to be.  While it would have been preferable to be more on top of this, I’m forcing myself to write this even though it’s been longer than I would like.  I don’t know if my logic just then made sense, but no matter.  Now I’m done, on with the post.

If I were any more cliche, I would have called this post “Snow Much Fun.”  Of course, I wouldn’t dream of doing that.  But we did have an awful lot of snowy fun over the past week.

We have gotten a LOT of snow this winter.  I mean, we’ve had more in the past, but it’s snowed substantially at least three times, enough to play outside in, plus flurries.  Every time we’re “running low” on snow and patches of grass show through, it snows again, and our snow supply is replenished.  It’s pretty nice.

I’ve always loved snow.  Watching it come down, watching it land, going outside in it, the crunch of it under a pair of boots, the freshness and whiteness it drapes over the neighborhood.  It makes everything feel calmer.  And when you live with twelve siblings, that means a lot.

I believe I already mentioned the snowfall we had back in December.  Since then we’ve had two which we played outside in, plus a few “top-off” flurries which were enough to cover the grass.  In fact,  it’s snowing as I write this, and we played outside in the snow just yesterday.

“Pics or it didn’t happen” is one of Mom’s many mottos, so I’d better prove myself.

Poor Freya doesn’t love the snow as much as I do, I think.  She came out both times, but ended up crying, with snow crusted onto her gloves and down her boots.  Poor thing.  But I think she enjoys the hot chocolate.

Niko made a pretty cool-looking snowman.  The snowman didn’t last long (when the first batch of snow melted, he was reduced to a pair of legs), but he was neat while he was standing.

Both of those pictures were from the first of our 2021 snow days; the second was similar, but there was less sculpting and more piling snow into a sliding hill on our lawn.  Here’s Junie enjoying the slide:

It looked more fun in real life, but that gives you some idea of what was going on.

I planned on having this post focus solely on snow, but we’ve had enough other things going on this week that I’d best mention them as well.

Milo turned seven months old, already.  He is the sweetest, happiest baby in the world.  And I’m definitely not biased, or anything.

Milo, apart from being adorable, has the fairly hilarious problem of only being able to scoot backwards.  He gets himself into all sorts of predicaments backing under things, such as our ottoman:

We also had a lot of fun burying him in clean laundry the other day.  Normally this wouldn’t be worth mentioning, but we got such a cute picture I need to include it while I’m gushing over Milo anyway:

On the subject of cute people, Freya had some fun trying on Grandmom’s glasses:

I guess I’d better be done bragging on my siblings now, since another (fairly) important thing happened this week: my birthday!  It was a marvelous day consisting of present-opening in the morning, then a drive to Paigie’s house to drop off Pippa for her babysitting job, then a trip to IHOP with Grandmom (yum).  It ended with a birthday movie (Harry Potter, of course).

A collaboration between Junie, Cora, and Niko (I think – I’m sorry if I’m forgetting anyone!) yielded my birthday cake, which was stunning, not to mention tasty:

I guess I’d better put in a picture of myself opening presents, too, for Mom’s sake.

That was me opening my crocheted present from Mom.  This year she’s crocheting each of us a mini-me, in an outfit of our choice, with an accessory of our choice.  This is mine, side-by-side with the photo it was based on.

Those dolls haven’t been the only thing Mom’s been crocheting of late, as busy as they’re keeping her.  We also worked on a Valentine’s Day MCAL (Mystery Crochet-Along) as a family.  It only lasted two weeks, but it was a lot of fun.  Every Saturday we were sent another part of a pattern, but we didn’t know what the end product would be until the MCAL was over.

The first week was the doll’s body and hair, which was about a million tiny curls.  Mom and I (well, Mom, anyway) had fun pretending to be mad at the pattern designer for assigning us to make so many curls.

The final product was supposed to be a Cupid doll, but I didn’t love how it was supposed to look, so I sort of went off-script and made a more modern-day Cupid, named Tristan.

I like how he turned out, even if it wasn’t quite how he was supposed to!

I guess I’d better post this and stop “post”-poning it now.  (And my apologies for the terrible pun.  It was unintentional, but then I noticed it and thought I should acknowledge its presence.)

Maybe this time I can post again within the month! . . . Hmm, or maybe not.  We are about to enter a pretty crazy birthday season, after all.  We’ll have to wait and see.

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Festive Times

Now that Grandmom’s Christmas is securely in the past (in fact we started school again today … Sigh) I probably ought to write my promised Christmas Post.  Even though it’s already the 4th.  Better late than never, huh?

Anyway, Christmas was wonderful as ever.  Actually, Mom observed that this year’s Christmas was maybe better than most.  Not in the way of gifts, per say (though I am delighted with all of mine!) but in the air of joy and peace which filled our house.

Christmas Eve Eve (which we refer to as “Christmas Adam” in our house) had our church’s candlelight service.  I’ve always loved candlelight services.  It’s so pretty: the specks of glowing light, the wavering beauty of a handheld flame.  Like stars in the night.  Of course, the effect was someone detracted from by the fact that I had to wear a mask.  (It’s a lot harder to see a candle through fogged-up glasses.) But I still enjoyed it a lot.

Christmas Eve the oldest four of us (which is Pippa, me, Bea, and June) got to go to Grandmom’s church’s candlelight service.  That was slightly less enjoyable for me, mostly because I didn’t like the music as much.  But it was still good.

Afterward, we had some friends and family at our house for a small party.  We exchanged early gifts and ate dinner, and had a generally pretty fun time.  Also, those of us who can crochet presented Mom with the Nativity we’d been secretly making her for the past few weeks.

There was also a Milo photoshoot which might be worthy of note.

After the party finished, Pippa and I were allowed to help Mom stuff stockings:

The past couple years we’ve been allowed to help her arrange the presents under the tree, too, but this year we were sadly excluded from that.  Still, Mom managed to do a pretty good job without us:

Then it was off to bed, and the next day was Christmas.

I’ve said already that Mom thinks this was our best Christmas in recent years, perhaps ever.  I feel similarly, even though I couldn’t quite muster a festive feeling for myself.  We moved at a slower pace than we have recently, opening presents one at a time and exclaiming over each one before moving on.

First there was the Waiting, which occurs every Christmas morning, but never gets any easier.

Then we opened our stockings, which were great, with gloves and chapstick and a TON of candy.  (Mom made us pause there for a photo, which I was not happy about at the time, but is actually pretty helpful here):

On the very first present opened (apart from Secret Santa presents, which are rarely very exciting), which was a storybook for Freya, written and photographed by Pippa, everyone crowded around Dad to hear him read it.  Everyone forgot about their own presents and listened.  I don’t know why it happened, but it was lovely.  And apparently, Mom took another picture while I wasn’t paying attention:

We spent much of the morning/early afternoon playing with our new toys and trying out anything else we’d gotten.  I crocheted during that time, not because I’d gotten anything to crochet with, but because, exciting as my presents were, there wasn’t really anything I could do anything with.  Yet.

Then we headed to Pop-pop and Debidee’s house, which was absolutely delightful.  Debidee had prepared a sort of one-sided gift exchange, where we all pulled a card with a number corresponding to a small gift bag.  We opened the gift bags; they each contained a pair of festive socks and some chocolate.  Then there were larger wrapped gifts, also randomized and corresponding to the numbers we’d been given.  They all held LEGOs.  (Mine were Harry Potter, which is perfect because I love Harry Potter.  Such a coincidence!) Then there were yet more – personalized this time – gifts to be unwrapped.  I was given a “Draw-Through-the-Year” workbook and a blank book and guide to write your own children’s book.  I’m excited about both of them! Actually, that entire half-hour of gift opening was awesome.  I opened the socks and chocolate, and I thought, “Oh, good, I love socks.”  Then there were more presents, and I was like, “Legos? Cool!” and was perfectly ready to be done opening presents; and then I was given yet more, which was even more exciting.  It was crazy and terrific.  And the dinner (crab bisque, I think, which I didn’t try because I’m a vegetarian; and rolls and veggie meatballs and vegetables) was delicious.  And then we went home and that was that.

The next week passed uneventfully, I suppose, but it was great because we didn’t have school and I could literally spend the entire time writing and drawing and having a generally good time.

Then came New Year’s Eve, which was nice but equally dull.  Some of the older kids (it’s Bea, Pippa, June, Niko, Coraline, then me in the picture below) got to stay up until midnight, watching The Great British Baking Show and then The Truman Show.  We didn’t really properly hail in the new year, but it was still fun to stay up late, eat popcorn, and watch a movie we were promised last year but still hadn’t seen.

The next day was “Grandmom’s Christmas,” which was as exciting as, if not more than, the real thing.  She sent most of us out of the house to buy donuts and prepared Christmas while we were gone, stuffing her stockings (mine is black and grey, which is perfect) and arranging presents all over the place.  I received a new mug (it’s very pretty, sort of blue-green), a box of Earl Grey tea (one of my favorites!), a beautiful leather-bound sketchbook, and a set of socks.  We spent that afternoon lounging about enjoying ourselves (actually, Niko hosted a very serious Connect Four tournament, but I didn’t participate) and then Christmas was done.  And what a lovely Christmas it was!

And there’s my Christmas post, written in a single evening.  I am so proud of myself.  Now I guess I don’t need to write again until my birthday? (Just kidding.  Maybe.)

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‘Tis the Season

As Christmas draws dangerously near, I decided it was about time to post something describing the Christmas season in the Young household.  (And hopefully I can get this published before Christmas this time!)

December is always a festive month.  Maybe less so this year, due to COVID, but we’ve managed to have a remarkably joy-filled season.  We bought our tree way earlier than we normally do (seeing as the fire department was down to about a hundred, disappearing fast, weeks before we normally would have bought our tree).  The fact that we bought our tree early didn’t really mean we decorated early, and it waited for nearly a week before we got around to putting on the lights and ornaments.

Here’s a picture of Lewis decorating the Christmas tree, and down there is a picture of Niko, doing the same thing.  I couldn’t find any pictures of the finished Christmas tree, but it is particularly pretty this year.

Milo had a lot of fun with the lights on the tree (or at least, Mom and Pippa had a lot of fun with him and the lights on the tree).  This one’s a keeper, in my opinion . . . The second one . . . Not so much.

So that was that.  We (well, Dad and Grandmom) also put lights up on our house, which is still fun because we never used to do it at our old house.  Isn’t it pretty?

Also, we got snow the week before Christmas! This was super exciting for me because I love snow and we’ve never had it before in this house.  The picture was taken early on; it actually snowed a lot more than that and we were able to play outside in it.  Bea made a really cool snowdog which I’ll include a picture of, if I can find it.

Isn’t that pretty impressive?

Anyway, we enjoyed the snow (even though it was gone by Christmas Day … sigh …).  Apart from decorations and the general air of excitement waiting for Christmas, we don’t have many yearly traditions.  Pippa made a sort of advent where we opened a new Christmas children’s book every day, and Dad read them aloud to us.  That was fun on the few days that we actually had time to and remembered to do it.

The above is a picture of most of us crowded around him listening.  I was sitting on a chair behind the photo-taker, but I was there.

I made a countdown to Christmas, where every day you pull off a little bit of paper and it has a Christmassy dare and a snippet of a drawing behind.  Here’s a picture of what it looks like behind all the scraps of paper (and since I made it, I always got to know what the next day’s dare was).

We got a family photo taken at church a few weeks ago.  I don’t think that was because of Christmas, but it’s still a decent photo, so I’ll put it in too.

And because, surprise surprise, Christmas has come and gone (and I haven’t published this), I think I’ll leave this off here.  We’ve still got “Grandmom’s Christmas” coming on New Year’s, so I’ll post about both “real” Christmas and Grandmom’s then.  (Maybe.)

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Thanksgiving Fun

First of all, special thanks to Coraline for the title of this post.  Second, I’m ever so sorry I forgot about my blog (again).  My memory about this is obviously not too great.  Normally I can keep on top of things like this, but having no system in place makes my blogging scarce at best.

Anyway, this past week (actually several weeks ago now … Whoops) held Thanksgiving, which has always been one of my favorite holidays.  Getting the family together, talking and laughing over a particularly enormous and delicious dinner – it’s the best holiday, to me at least.  Well, second to Christmas, of course.  However, this year I liked it slightly less than normal, because of a five-mile run in the morning.

I think I’ve mentioned before that running is very much not my strong suit.  We (Mom, Dad, Pippa, and I) started in September 2019 with the Couch-2-5K training program, which literally starts you at one-minute running, one-and-a-half minutes walking, then builds up to 25 or so minutes running without any walking breaks.  We completed C25K in time for a 5K last November (2019, that is) and haven’t stopped running since.  Then, sometime in early November, we were informed that we would be jumping from the longest we’d ever run being 5K to it being 5 miles.  Which was a LOT of training for about three weeks. Pippa and I built it up a half-mile at a time until we could run the whole five miles.

Here’s my family’s corner of the group photo at the run.  (I don’t think we meant to all stand next to each other, but it was convenient for sure.) It also includes Aunt Paigie, because there was no easy way to crop her out.

As you can sort of tell from the photo, it was wet and dreary and overall NOT good running weather.  Though it could have been worse – at least it wasn’t too cold.  (*Trying very hard to be positive, since I like the cold.*)

I came in twelfth, I think, which sounds like it could be impressive except that there were only eighteen or so runners.  Anyway, we were done running by 10:00, so it really wasn’t that bad.  But not the best way to start Thanksgiving, in my opinion.  I can run (slowly) but I still haven’t found a way to enjoy it – though I don’t hate it as much as I used to, so I hope it’s growing on me.

All right, moving on.  After the run (and the pumpkin pie and Gatorades which followed) we spent a long time at home, doing not-too-much-of-anything.  I’m pretty sure I did a lot of crocheting and typing.  But, as I said, Thanksgiving was a while ago, so I’m not entirely sure. I think it was about four when we headed to Pop-pop and Debidee’s house for Thanksgiving dinner.

Which was fun, as always.  And tasty. 

We got plenty of photos there, but I don’t have space for all of them, so I’m just going to include one or two (okay, or three) here.  Above is a picture of Pop-pop and Milo.  I really like that picture, because you can tell they’re so genuinely happy, and it’s bad enough quality it doesn’t look staged.  Also, Milo is making this sort-of happy, sort-of terrified expression, like he’s not sure what he ought to think of Pop-pop.  It just makes me smile.

The second photo is Mom and Dad in their Puritan costumes.  This is the one they smiled for; they also took photos where they made fake serious faces.  The funny thing about those was that Dad’s looked real, and Mom’s was ridiculously affected.  I’m including the smiley one because I like it better, since it’s a better representative of Thanksgiving.  (In my opinion.)

The last photo (above) is a selfie of (from left to right) Pippa, Junie, and me.  I included it because it has me (and I think was the only photo from Thanksgiving which did) and it’s a selfie, which I never take.

Anyhow, that was Thanksgiving.  A fun day, particularly after the 5-miler was over.  And, more excitingly yet, it’s now officially the Christmas season!

(And, since it’s now closer to Christmas than Thanksgiving, I’d better end this post here and get on with a Christmas-season one!)

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Life Updates

To begin with – I am so, so sorry that I’ve forgotten about this.  Well, not forgotten, but not written anything, either.  Life has been hectic, what with finally coming out of quarantine and our school starting (back in very late August), and a retreat one week and a camping trip the next, and trying to get in at least twenty minutes of typing on my novel every. single. day and going on runs and – You get the picture, don’t you?  So, anyway, I apologize that it’s been so long since I last posted anything.

As I spoiled above, life has been fairly crazy recently.  We “officially” came out of quarantine back in July, I believe, but nothing really started up until September.  School started on August 31st.  Now, my siblings and I have been homeschooled our entire lives (except for 6th grade, when I chose to try public school for a year) so school hasn’t changed much this year, except that my brothers Lewis and Teddy, who were public schooled the past two or three years, came home again.  I find my schoolwork fairly easy and usually manage to finish it by Wednesday or Thursday (yay for homeschool, that that’s possible!) but it still adds a lot of pressure to my time.  Especially on science test weeks.  Also, Pippa (age 16) and I go for three runs a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, so we get up early on each of those days.  I don’t hate running as much as I used to, but it still makes those days significantly less enjoyable when I’m starting school already worn out.  I’ve also been doing, as stated above, lots of typing.  I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned the book I’m writing before.  Quarantine has been really, really great for my productiveness, and it’s now … 467?-ish pages long.  Give or take.  It outgrew Google Docs, so it’s now on several documents, so I don’t have a page number without unnecessary math.  Which I detest.  (Unecessary math, that is, not having my book on several documents.  Though that’s not my favourite, either.)

Three weeks ago, my sisters Pippa, Bea, June and I left for a two-night retreat with a girls’ club that we attend; it was at a Christian camp with a river and canoes and forests and a rope bridge, and I don’t have any pictures of it, but it was enjoyable.  And then – a mere six days after getting home from that – our entire family departed for an eight-night camping trip, in three separate places with two different groups of people.  That was lots of fun, even when it rained the entire first day in our tents and was bitterly cold each night.  The first leg of our camping trip was three nights in tents, with two or three fellow large (ish) homeschooling families.  Here follow three photos from that first (very rainy) leg of the trip.

The first is Lewis and Verity on Boulder Field (at Hickory Run State Park, where we camped), the second is a contingent of Youngs and several friends next to Boulder Field, and the third is me on Boulder Field (Don’t I look like I was having so very much fun?!).  Boulder Field is not all we did there, but it’s all we got photos of.  Oh well.  We also hiked (in the rain.  Figures, right?) and biked lots and lots.  Then, after three nights of sleeping in tents over lots of rocks, we drove three hours to another state park, Blue Knob.

I’ll admit that I enjoyed the second bit of our trip much more than the first.  Dad had rented a “cabin” which was really closer to a house, complete with beds, bathrooms, heating, a full kitchen, and, well, everything, really.  (See below.)The entire first day we were there it rained (I will admit to having prayed for that.  I wanted nothing more than a full day of nothing) and most of us stayed at the cabin, crocheting and chatting and doing crossword puzzles.  Dad took several crazy people on a sopping-wet hike in the rain (I did not go.  Do I really need to say that?).  Fortunately, photos were taken so that I could know I had made entirely the right decision – they all look so wet!  They say they had fun, though.  Well, good for them.

Meanwhile, we stayed home and had a lovely (and dry) time.  Junie and I walked around in the rain a bit (see below again) but didn’t stay out long – it was so nice inside!

The following day was dry and cold, and we drove to Gravity Hill.  I’m not convinced it wasn’t an illusion, but our car did definitely roll entirely the wrong way when Dad put it in neutral, so it was maybe worth going.  Maybe.  We had a picnic (yum) on a nice chilly field under sunny skies, then parked halfway up Blue Knob Mountain and hiked the rest of the way up.  Dad took a picture of us at the top.  We’re not all in it, but it gives you some feel for how beautiful the view was. 

The day after that we had to be packed up and gone by 9:00 in the morning!  Maybe that’s not too hard for most people, but when there’s thirteen children and they all want breakfast … We might have been a little bit late. 

After leaving Blue Knob we drove for about an hour and a half, and spent two nights at our friends the Weavers’ parents house in Howard (in central PA).  It was very cold sleeping (and not quite as comfortable as a sofa in Blue Knob, I admit) in a tent, but I like the cold, and I enjoyed the last bit of our trip as well.  The first afternoon I spent reading Agatha Christie’s book N or M?, which was very good and I recommend; then the second morning I read another of her books, Black Coffee, which I enjoyed as well only maybe not quite so much.  The second afternoon we went for a mile or so long hike and an even shorter bike ride.  Unfortunately my bike wasn’t working properly (it was making all sorts of strange noises.  Hmm) and the bike ride was not as much fun as I hoped.  Then the following afternoon we went home. I don’t think we got any photos of Howard … Wait … Oh!  Here we go!Sweet Milo with some sweet Milo’s tea … (above, though I probably don’t need to say so)

Pippa, who recently turned sixteen and got her learner’s permit, riding the four-wheeler. (I will admit to being a teensy bit jealous.  But not much.  The four-wheelers are LOUD.)

Aaaaand I’m not sure where this one’s from on our camping trip, and it doesn’t show everyone at all (for instance, I am not in it.  I’m hiding behind Pippa.), but this does give some idea of what it’s like in our car.  You’ll have to imagine the smell when we’ve all been in there for three hours.  Though it’s not really as bad as I just made it sound, especially once all the littler kids have fallen asleep.

We arrived home last Saturday, and, however much fun we had, I was glad to see my bed again, and have my daily cup of tea.  Not to mention get back to working on my novel.  Though getting back to school and thrice-weekly runs were somewhat less exciting.

I’d better leave off here before this post gets too much longer!  My life is obviously not quite as dull as I sometimes think it is.  I will end here, with two photos, one of each of our cats (Puzzle and Inkling), just in case I ever mention them later. (And yes, because I think they’re adorable.)  Puzzle is on top (sporting a Santa’s hat I crocheted), and Inkling is under him.

All right – now I really, really, really have to be done!  Thanks for reading!

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Milo Walter Is Here!

Since my blog is new and I haven’t posted much yet, this won’t mean quite as much to my readers as it does to us, but anyone who knows our family will understand exactly what these words mean and how incredible they are:

We had a BOY!

After eight girls, my first biological brother is finally here.  Not, of course, that we haven’t had boys before – we have three boys, and they are wonderful, but they are all adopted, so this is my first biological brother and I am incredibly amazed and delighted about it.  And so it is with great, great joy that I introduce to you all …

Milo Walter Young

Born July 3rd, 2020

Weighing 6 lbs 13 oz

What’s particularly crazy about the fact that Milo is, well, a boy, is that we specifically asked God for a boy this time.  After eight baby girls Mom began to realize that she might never get to have a baby boy, and then, more than nine months ago now, she asked God that, were there to be another baby, could it be a boy.  He answered that prayer, all those months ago, and we didn’t even know about it until a few weeks ago.  I am still filled with awe every time I think about it.

We met him on July 4th, as he was completely healthy.  Apart from Mom’s spiking blood pressure (which I think is maybe a bit more under control now, with medicine?) and a bit of worry over how much weight Milo had lost, we are doing very well.  Maybe a little bit in shock, though.  After all – if a Young baby can be a boy, then it seems as though anything should be able to happen!

Notice Milo in the center/back, held by Pippa? Isn’t he just so tiny?
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Family

Youngs in Quarantine

This COVID-19 crisis seems to be taking over everyone’s lives, changing every aspect of everyday living.  It’s been forcing people into their homes and away from the things which they would typically be doing. Most importantly, it’s causing families to stick together much more than they normally would. Since everyone is at home, which normally would only happen on a weekend, there’s a higher stress level than there would normally be. Everyone is antsy because we can’t go anywhere or really do anything.  We’re all stuck together in the same house, which is stressful and at times a little exhausting.  But thankfully, it has its upsides, too.

Firstly, the boys, Lewis and Teddy, who would normally be at school, are home.  Normally, whenever they’re home, Lewis and Teddy are obsessed with school, constantly talking about their teachers and friends and the other things they get to do there.  Because they’re both adorable, they tend to become teachers’ pets, and that can lead to strife at home, as well, because they think that they should get away with anything at home like they would at school.  But since they’ve been home for a few months now, they’ve sort of “detoxified” from school, and are back to their sweet, playful, not-school-obsessed selves.  This has been surprisingly wonderful.  I won’t pretend that they don’t ever argue anymore, or that they don’t ever talk about school, but they are kinder and more fun now, and they play with everyone more than they ever would when they went to school every day.  It’s impressive how much their moods affect the rest of the family – when they are grumpy and think of nothing but school, no one seems to be very happy.

Also, obviously we’ve had a lot more time on our hands.  School flies by when we haven’t got any appointments or playdates to distract us from our work, so we’ve been finding ourselves with a lot of four or five-day weekends on our hands, especially now we’re nearing the end of the school year.  Therefore our house has been crowding itself with all the stuffed animals we’ve crocheted since quarantine began.  I’ve made several stuffed dragons, an owl, a pony, a few little dolls, and more things – and all of them are still around my bed, waiting either to find a new home or for Pippa to get frustrated and move them for me.  What’s more, we’ve quite ambitiously decided to make stuffed toys for every child in every family at our church, which is a huge undertaking.  Fortunately, Pippa has taken charge of this and made enough stuffed animals for several families now, but I will have to think of something to crochet for them at some point.

One of the many dragons which now are cluttered all over my room, finished in late April, thanks to having extra free time.

I’ve always loved to write stories, but finishing them has never been my strong suit.  For the past three or four years, whenever I finish my school, I’ve asked Mom if I can type.  Generally, I’ll work on a particular story for a  month or two, then give up and start another, but in January this year, I started a new story which I am not even thinking about quitting!  It’s over 170 pages long and grows daily.  Fantasy is my favorite genre, so almost all of the short stories I’ve written were that, but I’ve never tried to make up my own fantasy world before, so I tried that this time.  It’s doing really well and I don’t think I’m inclined to stop writing on it until, well, until it’s done.  Especially now that Grandmom is reading it and really enjoying it!  Yes, I am very excited about this book.

Also, we’ve been spending much more time outside than we normally would, and have been finding even the chillier-than-average May temperatures very enjoyable.  Though Mom and Grandmom both say they’re itching for warmer temperatures, I am relishing these last days of frosty winds.  They’re already fading all across America, though, so I’m expecting a blast of heat soon!

A small contingent of the Young children, enjoying the lingering chills of winter.

So that’s what we’ve been doing over the past two months.  It’s been hard, but the extra time has been nice–though we’re all excited to be allowed out of quarantine and to go back to normal!

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About Us

The simplest way to learn my siblings’ names and everything would be to use a list.  A quick, simple, read-through-the-names-and-learn-what-you-can way to see who I am and who we are.  Unfortunately, I don’t believe in lists of children, as families are far more complex than anything which would belong on a list.  So in this case, a brief summary, perhaps – still simplified far more than would be preferable – is the best way to learn our names.

First, fifteen years ago, there was my mom, my dad, and my oldest sister Philippa, along with the dog, Gulliver.  Then, fourteen years ago, I came along, probably stealing much more attention than Pippa would have liked.  After me came Beatrix, a year-and-a-half my junior, then Juniper, a year and a half after her.  Mom and Dad started thinking about adoption not long after Junie was born, and my brother Nikolai, from Bulgaria, who is my age, came home only a few months after our fifth baby, Coraline, was born.  With them, we started a whirlwind of family-growing, during which we added one family member per calendar year for eight years.  A year after Niko came home, Delphinia (nickname Delia) joined us, from the same orphanage, and months after she arrived, our sixth biological baby, Annis, came along.  The next year Lewis arrived, this time from China, and the year after him came Verity.  Then, the following year, Thaddeus (called Teddy) came home, also from China.  And the year after that, which was 2018, Freya was born.  She is now one year old and will turn two in July, the same month as our newest member is due.

This is us, in age order. It’s a bit hard to figure out who everyone is, because the ages and order-in-which-we-came-home are messed up by the adoptions, but it’s Pippa, then me, then Niko, then Delia, Teddy, Lewis, Bea, Junie, Coraline, Annis, Verity, and Freya.

My name is Romilly, and that is my family’s story, about as abridged as I can get it.  Apart from Lewis and Teddy, who both attend school (except for right now, when everyone is trapped at home due to COVID-19), we are homeschooled.  In sixth grade, I did decide to go to school for one year, so I can’t brag that I’ve always been homeschooled, but I am definitely a homeschooler and probably can associate with many of the stereotypes which people would peg on us.  Yes, I do spend an awful lot of time reading, and no, I don’t play any sports or have many friends outside of the family.  But that’s all right because the friends which I do have, the ones who I live with and grew up with (and am growing up with!), are so great.  I don’t know what I would do if I hadn’t been blessed with such a wonderful and maybe strange family.

Our life is loud and crazy and at times chaotic, and we don’t always love and treat each other the way we should.  But that’s not all there is to this life; there’s also love, and laughter, and friendship.  I am so, so grateful to get to be a part of this life, this wild, insane life which gives us all so much joy.  Especially since my room is usually a safe retreat when the living room is too crazy.

Of course, there’s much more than feelings to our house, and again, there’s more than noise and an underlying friendship.  There’s always activity, motion, people playing with LEGOs, people crocheting, people (okay, I guess mostly me) writing stories and reading probably more than is good for their eyes.  Our house may be full of action, people doing their own things, but our family does come together every day, every meal.  There are usually cookies waiting for “tea-and-snack” at four o’clock, and there’s always an extra place on the sofa for a movie night.  Or at least, an extra place on the floor.  On movie nights, the couch seems to be first come first serve.

So, even though life is busy and sometimes a little wild, there’s always a chance to sit back and rewind.  A quiet corner to step back from the whirlwind of activity which is always swirling in the living room, and catch your breath.  A brief walk around the neighborhood if you need a moment to think.

And life continues, through strange times like this one, through the rough times.  It’s easy to get caught up in the action of the world, so in some ways, I am grateful for us to be stuck at home together right now.  When life is wild, the best way to take a break from it is to retreat to your home, even if it is quite as loud.  We’re taking advantage of this chance to deepen some friendships and end some feuds (which are mostly caused by the Legos, anyway).  And, since it’s always good to get out of the house, we’re trying to stay as up-to-date on our jogs as possible.

This quarantine has also given us a chance to jump into some new hobbies (cough cough, this blog), or at least to continue old ones.  Since we’ve been trapped here, we’ve been getting a lot of crocheting done, and I’ve made immense progress on a project I started in January, a book I’m writing.   We’ve also somehow managed to continue our daily scurry-up of the living room, so our house is still as neat as ever, which, okay, doesn’t really mean that much.  I have to admit, I’ve had the most productive month crocheting-wise, reading-wise, writing-wise, and exercise-wise ever.  I suppose having to stay at home and therefore getting school done by two every day has some upsides.

Now, I don’t know if I’ll be a good blogger or if I’ll post only once in a while, but for a short time at least I plan to blog quite often.  So watch this space!