A few words on a Wednesday morning.

The oldest has a job for a neighbor this summer, and this week is Westmark’s VBS, meaning I can wake up one kid and send him off, then wake up four more kids and drive almost two miles and leave them off, and get three hours — three blessed hours — to myself (though admittedly shared in part with Jeremy).

I am well aware that this overload of small humans is a phase. Yes, I’m sure I will miss this phase when it’s gone. But these flashes of quiet are, sincerely, such a blessing.

Almost every day I read my Facebook memories. Some of them at this time of year are downright dour. I feel like shaking some niceness into my earlier self. I think it reveals that I need these hours of only listening to the air conditioner and refrigerator and computer fans — I need them to be a nicer self.

If I’ve seemed dour to you in real life recently, I do apologize. I’m working to adjust that attitude. Quiet time helps, but quiet time at the expense of sleep doesn’t, and it’s a tough balance to find. I’m trying. We’ll get there. Probably about the time school starts, ha.

With the hot weather and the sudden dry streak — Hope’s VBS was in the wettest part of the year so far, and Westmark’s is in the hottest and driest, because of course — we’ve been watering the lawn quite a bit. When the sprinkler hits the pet water pan, the birds notice. I’ve shown the little girls how to stand back in the shadows so they don’t startle the birds, and then they, too, can enjoy spectating the avian spa.

Big bird, big splash.
And Mr. Bluejay is done. When he’s bathing, no other birds dare be close. Pecking order is real.
Little bird, little splash.
I totally understand what it’s like to need to be away from the babies for a hot minute, Mrs. Goldfinch.

Earlier this month the kids and I met my uncle and aunt for a day at Stuhr Museum. The kids go with school tours in first and third grades, meaning all but Jenna had already been. I’d never been. I really liked it. I need another day there, and I’d like it to be with just Jeremy, if I get to do the choosing when the time comes.

Museums are one of those things that somehow drop to the bottom of the list when people are trying to figure out things to do, and that’s unfortunate. Another unfortunate thing: I find that Stuhr needs an infusion of maintenance and groundskeeping because these problems are starting to obscure the truly fascinating collection that is Railroad Town.

The tinsmith is genuinely fascinating. All the actors/workers at Stuhr have a lot of information to impart, but this guy is there full time and is knowledgeable with experience to back it up. I would like to learn tinsmithing.

My goal with this website is to have two posts a week, either mine or someone else’s. I’m OK with it taking some time to develop. Among other things, I’m terrible at returning phone calls, terrible at requesting content or issuing reminders, just generally not thrilled with the idea of management; plus, I and almost everyone else have a job or a family or both to tend to. I want This Prairie Life to be (at risk of seeming a little too trendy) organic. I want people to send me words, and I want to like them so much that I post them. So far, so good (with the “like them” part just vastly fulfilling my hopes). Eventually, hopefully, we can together achieve two a week. I concede I do need to work harder at it because even “organic” growth isn’t magic.

Here’s where I admit that achievement has never been my goal or strong point — it’s more like a pretty word for what has to be accomplished no matter what. What doesn’t have a “must” attached becomes pretty much optional in my world, for better or worse.

And with that, it’s time to pick up kids and resume the chaos. May your weather be suitable and your neighbors be as nice as mine. Happy Wednesday.

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