Another great day in the yard. We waited until Sir Grumpy Pants finally went down for a nap and then vaulted into the back yard, peat pots and soil in hand. Theseus repotted the tomatoes (4 varieties - 3 beefsteak and 1 cherry), giant pumpkins, watermelon, peppers (2 varieties - 2 to go), the remaining two acorn squash, a lone white pickling cuke and a lone soybean. He also repotted the clipping I took from a ropey plant he bought me for my birthday - the one I almost promptly killed. As it took its last gasps, I clipped three pieces from the least-dead part; two clippings died, and one has lived long enough to be repotted. You can see it here, when it was still living in a rocks glass in my bathroom. Its new pot is the one next to it in the photo. (I have no idea what kind of plant this is). There are also five clippings from the other birthday plant, which hung on a little longer but eventually also succumbed to my black thumb. So far all five clippings are doing fine in their rocks glass and will be repotted in a few more weeks, once their roots are longer.

While Theseus busied himself with the seedlings, I fed the compost and reclaimed some soil from peat pots whose seedlings died earlier in the spring. Then we set all the plants out in the sun for a bit and took to the lawnmowers. As usual, I steered the trusty rider - Ol' Bess - through the large parts of the yard and Theseus took the push mower to the narrow, oddly shaped areas where the rider won't fit. Now all the weeds are the same height, at least. Right?

Oh, actually: before we mowed the lawn, we rescued another turtle from the woods. The lot across the street from us is marshy, and there are often turtles traveling back and forth from the marsh to the lake. This turtle had kept close to our fence and had crawled under part of the massive brush pile we've created, which was blocking his (her?) path to the lake. I climbed over the fence, but I couldn't get to where it had crawled. We waited a little while for the turtle to turn around and crawl out from under the brush pile, and then Theseus reached over the fence and pulled it out. I carried the turtle down to the lake, the same way we did last time, and we left it alone to make its way to the water in peace. I know the turtle would probably find its own way to the water eventually, but I always feel bad when we find them rustling through the leaves. Turtles out of place. So, we help.

After the baby woke up, we ate and did some chores inside. The laundry never ends. We gave the baby a bath before bed and I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the bathroom - a slight sunburn on my face. Or maybe it's just dirt. Either way: awesome. :)

- Antiope

Also, this:

- Antiope

My! Orders! Start! January 9!


And another happy announcement: Theseus got confirmation that the fire department letters were mailed yesterday. So we'll hear something on that by the end of this week!

I'm so happy and relieved - I might throw up! Now I can stop feeling guilty for buying a coffee before school or worrying how expensive diapers are. Theseus and I have been waiting anxiously for this news for weeks (months, actually) and now, finally...

Because of the time I've already spent on mobilization orders within the US, I only have 250 days on my "clock." So that's about 8 months; if my math is correct, these orders should carry me to September 15. And that's perfect, because it will almost seamlessly lead into the fall semester (there's a little overlap, but I'll make it work). I know I still owe you all a post about that - maybe tomorrow? It feels a little easier to write about school now that I know I'll have employment to back up the committment.

As far as the fire department, we don't know what exactly it means for us - we don't know when Theseus would start, where/how long he'd have to go for training, what the hours would be like, etc. But knowing is always better than not knowing, and I am confident we will be able to tackle whatever new challenges it brings.

Wow. I really feel lighter. This has been a fantastic day. :)

- Antiope

This week Austin discovered he can get places by rolling. Suddenly, the sweet little baby who would fall asleep in my arms has boundless energy and wants to roll and squirm his way across the world. So far we have been keeping him somewhat contained in a section of the family room we call "Baby Land," but I can see this won't last much longer. Items on the outer edges of Baby Land - a box of cat toys, our book shelves, the rocking chair - will have to be relocated once he realizes he's capable of the next stage of locomotion: crawling.

Where does the time go? He's 7 months and 1 week, 18 lbs with a growing mop of blonde hair, chunky thighs and a giant, crazy smile. I look at him and I can actually see him learning things. Seems like, seriously, yesterday that I was counting down days until my next ultrasound and waiting for Theseus to get home.

Crazy, right?

- Antiope

I love this weather.

I have some photos to post for you, but not as many as I'd hoped, and I can't post them right now as I have too much to do and not enough time to do it and here I am procrastinating anyway. Hopefully tomorrow, while it's raining, I will have enough time to sit down and download my photo card. I also have to work on completing some Halloween projects, so we'll see how far I get.

I don't have a lot of time, but I just wanted to type a couple lines for you to let you all know I'm back in NJ and feeling warm and happy. The time in NY with Mer was wonderful but stressful at the same time. Austin travels very well and he loves people and isn't afraid of anything, but doing all the carrying and feeding and scheduling and changing and soothing by myself was tiring. Mer helped as much as she could (she is such an amazing friend to me, she and J both) but I missed the wordless communication I have with Theseus. He starts unsnapping an outfit while I get a diaper and wipes. He carries the baby while I get the diaper bag. I set the baby up in his high chair while Theseus gets a bib. Two cogs moving together.

I came home to a really cool Halloween display in our yard (with lights!) and rearranged furniture inside the house. Theseus had also begun decorating inside, cleaned up the living and dining rooms, taken the air conditioner out of the bedroom, changed the sheets and remade the bed, separated the laundry by color (!) and washed most of it, disassembled and boxed up the baby accessories we no longer use, and had lunch waiting for me when I got back to the house.

He separated. the laundry. by color. I nearly fell over.

So it ended up being a little more stressful and tiring than I'd anticipated, but I'm glad I went away for a few days. Three nights apart let us both recharge. Next time, though, he gets the baby. :)

I'll write more about my time in NY tomorrow. Now: time to study!

- Antiope

I know I've kept you waiting - sorry!! Things have been hectic around here.

But I'm happy to present... the freshly-painted nursery!
So as you know, I'm back from New York - what a fun (extended) weekend!

I drove to J and Mer's house on Thursday. The trip north took about 2 hours, which wasn't bad. The last leg of the trip took me through a breathtaking stretch of snowdusted mountains. The ride was very easy; I arrived at their house just after 1 p.m.
J came to visit yesterday!
I'm leaving for NJ tomorrow morning, but I wanted to leave a little post today to let you all know I haven't dropped off the planet. Once I'm back at the house and settled again, I'll get back in my blogging routine. And with school starting on Sept 1, I'll have whole new things to talk (complain) about. :)

Massachusetts was refreshing this week. I met up with two friends from high school, changed my name at the social security office (finally... nearly 4 years later...), ate vegetarian tacos with T and J, spent a day and a half surrounded by my huge extended family of Nam Knights, got a beautiful new hair cut, watched a Patriots preseason game on tv (can't do that in NJ), smooched my niece, and woke up to the sound of rain.

Last night I had trouble falling asleep, so I flipped through the channels looking for something interesting. I ended up watching Juno, which I've seen about a hundred times, but still makes me laugh so hard (and cry so hard). It really is such a sweet movie. If you haven't seen it, you should.

Well that's it for now. Life will be back to normal after tomorrow, so expect to hear more from me. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

- Antiope

Oh Saturday, I had such plans for you! There was laundry to be done, an end table to continue sanding, a lawn that desperately needed mowing, dishes to be put away, a shower to be cleaned, the list goes on.

Instead I played on Facebook and read some blogs until after 1:00. By that time the ambitious sound of my neighbors (on all sides and across the lake) mowing their lawns had begun to annoy me. Why are you still inside? my lawn complained to me through the open window. It's going to rain tomorrow, you have to mow me today!