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!