I got up early-ish (6:30 am) with Fiona, and Erin was already up. The middle two kids slept another hour and a half. So we seem to be reverting to our usual sleep-wake cycles. Erin likes to be up before everyone else (this after years of being the night-owl to end all night-owls) so she generally tries to get to bed so that she can awaken at 5 a.m. with a gentle nudge from her alarm clock when necessary.
She was doing Sudoku puzzles on-line, challenging herself with hard ones. To think that she laughed at my obsession with them during one week of our holidays. She then spent some time entering books from the children's/young adult novels section of our [extensive] home library into the database she's set up on the computer.
Noah and Sophie got up. Noah has turned 9 today but opted to wait until his dad is home later in the week to celebrate. Sophie, Noah and Fiona played with Duplo and Playmobil in the attic. Sophie has been using fabric in her Duplo creations lately, with impressive results. The kids had breakfast. Erin started playing a bit of piano.
I needed to get the dog to the vet, but darned if I couldn't find the van keys anywhere. I retraced my steps from last evening a dozen times but couldn't locate them, so I phoned and cancelled the appointment. Then I found the keys in the crack between the front door and the deck ... just a little bit of keyfob was showing -- I can't believe I found them! They must have fallen out of my shirt-jacket pocket as I was feeding the dog in the dark last evening, and got kicked into the space.
So all was well. We headed off to violin/viola lessons. Fiona has a 5-minute "lesson" where she shows off her pre-violin skills on her cardboard violin exactly the same way every week. Then Erin gets an hour; she's polishing up the Czardas by Monti and a couple of Suzuki Book 8 pieces and working on spiccato and sautillé bowing and finger flexibility. Noah gets 45 minutes; his lesson was focused on 3-octave scales, sight-reading, vibrato and polishing up a Seitz Concerto movement. Sophie gets half an hour or so; she worked on polishing the "Theme from Witches' Dance" in Suzuki Book 2 and on left hand position and technique.
Afterwards I spent some time with my mom (their teacher) discussing ways to integrate the new crop of ready-for-orchestra violin students into the community orchestra I run. The kids played in her guest room with the toys I grew up with.
Then we went to the post office to collect the mail, and to the grocery store for ingredients for Noah's birthday cake a Mocha Semifreddo that he requested specially. There's a good reason we normally shop in the town 75 minutes away on the days we have piano lessons there (piano doesn't start until next week) -- it took us trips to three different stores in two different villages to find Oreo crumbs and whipping cream. Then we delivered invitations to the GRUBS club harvest festival to some of the community members who had volunteered services or donated supplies to help get the community garden off the ground this year.
We decided to stop at the Donation Store. It's sort of a thrift store run by a community association, but there are no prices ... you just donate money as thanks. They had immense amounts of clothing, so we picked up 6 items for Erin, 3 for Noah (including a beautiful cotton sorta-golf shirt and some awesome Umbro tearaway pants) and one each for Sophie and Fiona. The younger girls had just got piles of hand-me-downs from cousins, so that seemed fair.
A crow was trying to open a hazelnut, dropping it on the road in front of the store in an attempt to smash it, I think. The kids chased down the rolling hazelnut and stole it! Poor crow.
We went home and grabbed a very late lunch. Erin went back to the piano. She spent an hour or two playing only the left hand part of every piece in the Royal Conservatory Grades 5 through 8 albums ... I have no idea why; sometimes she is so weird. She pulled out a loose premolar in the midst.
Noah was off reading. Sophie played a bit on the computer. I called my friend and had The Talk about the kids' Sleepover Issue, which went just fine. Sophie and Fiona and I cooked up Noah's mocha semifreddo.
I cooked supper while the kids did the day's accumulated dishes. Noah went out and ran some energy off the dog and discovered 3 fresh bear poops on the corner of the property. Apparently our puppy isn't yet as attentive to intruders as we'd hoped she'd be. We don't really mind the black bears, except when they take all our apples. These poops were pure apple sauce. (TMI, I know, sorry!)
I managed to get a block of time booked next week with our cider-press friend.
After supper Erin went on-line to the Wondertree SD Village. I had her read through the weekly report I'd done on her behalf for the program for last week, as a sort of example for future reports I expect she'll do on a weekly basis. She seemed satisfied with the format and content.
She did another Sudoko puzzle and then grabbed the very book of Sudoku puzzles I was working through while we were on vacation ... the one she teased me about being obsessed with ... and obsessively did another couple of puzzles.
Noah and Sophie played with Duplo and Playmobil again, doing more "Euwy World" story-telling. Sophie spent some time typing into the computer a list of all the novels she's been reading lately. Noah and then Sophie played on Neopets for a while.
We watched a packrat (a western woodrat, actually a member of the squirrel family, if I'm not mistaken -- cute with a bushy tail) chasing moths on the outside of the window of our family room, after climbing up on the woodpile. It was fun -- he was nutty, and didn't seem aware of our presence.
We started the readalouds earlier tonight, since the kids wanted more chapters. My voice is now hoarse.