This morning while Andrew was busy in the kitchen, I tackled the front yard. We try to follow the "leave the leaves" principle (see here, here, or here), but I also worry about snakes a little bit, which means that I have to worry about where rodents are going to nest a little bit, which means we do have to tidy up the yard a little bit. We get a lot of leaves.
Admittedly, no one wanted to join me outside (even though it was gorgeous) until I had already done most of the work and created a ginormous pile for them to jump in (all the better for rodents to nest in and snakes to hide in, I know, but they don't nest or hide in freshly raked piles, so we were all good).
Zoë and Phoebe were the first to join me.
That meant Zoë got the pile all to herself for a while, which she didn't mind. Being one of six kids is fun, but it's nice to feel like something is just for you every now and again.
She jumped and jumped and jumped until the pile was flat and then she'd ask for me to fluff it up for her again. She even helped a little bit, but I was just so much better at it than she was.
"You're such a good fluffer!" she told me, and then, having realized what she said, burst out laughing.
Prepare for a tangent...
When we first got married and we were discussing what quirks/traditions/wishes we were bringing from the families we grew up in to the family we were creating, I told Andrew that I can't say fart. We were never allowed to and it just sounds so crude to my ears. I simply could never!
He said, "Well, what did you say in your family?"
So I said, "Fluff."
"Fluff?!" he repeated.
He almost didn't believe me because—according to him—no one says that. Further, he—specifically—would not be saying it. So I had better bring something else to the table.
"My friend's family used toot," I suggested.
Toot was an acceptable compromise, so for the last fifteen/sixteen years we've been using the word toot as a euphemism for passing gas.
Recently we started watching Bluey at our house. Alexander and Zoë love it and the rest of us find it rather entertaining as well. When season 4 first came out on Disney+, however, the episode 'Family Meeting' wasn't included because the plot line revolved entirely around...fluffing.
But they decided to release it later because it's really pretty innocent...and also hilarious...and oddly vindicating. Turns out people do say "fluff" after all.
(I told you so, Andrew!)
If I had a dollar for every time an American has told me I say/spell things incorrectly, I'd be a rich, rich woman. I'm becoming more and more of a descriptivist rather than a prescriptivist as time wears on (and to think I considered myself a descriptivist when I was doing my undergrad; if I could see myself now). People say the things they say; isn't it neat that we both agree and do not agree about what things are called and how we should spell and pronounce those words?
Anyway, I'm not-so-secretly thrilled that I won the "fluff" battle (you know, fifteen/sixteen...seventeen? years later (it's seventeen! I just did the math)). And now the kids think it's funny to say.
And so it happened that Zoë started laughing after she told me, "You're such a good fluffer!"
"I don't mean that you're a tooter," she said between giggles. "Though you do tutor us every day because you're our teacher. Get it?! But you are just really good at making leaf piles, though!"
It's one of my skills, among other treasures such as being proved right seventeen years later. What can I say? I'm talented.
Once our leaf pile was well-fluffed, we had Phoebe give it a try. She did not love it.
Although she appreciates leaves individually...
She was not a fan of the pile at all. She didn't like going in alone. And she didn't like when Zoë told her to not be afraid because they could go in together.
So Zoë waded back out of the leaf pile (such a sweet little rescue) and Phoebe mostly stayed out of the leaf pile after that.
Zoë on the other hand could get enough. She even had my bury her so she could be completely covered with leaves and then burst out of them like...the only thing that is coming to mind is "like a girl jumping out of a birthday cake," so I guess we're going with that. She said it was very relaxing under the leaves and that they sounded like waves crashing over her when I would drop another little load on top of her.
She offered to let me try it, but it sounded a little too itchy for me.
Here are some more pictures of Zoë enjoying her leaf pile all to herself:
Phoebe really wanted to use the rake, even though it was a bit big for her.
Phoebe is getting braver and braver about taking steps all the time.
The boys finally decided they couldn't let the girls have all the fun! First Alexander (dressed as Owl-Man) joined us and he had a blast in the leaves with Zoë. Benjamin (dressed as a Creeper from Minecraft) joined us for a few minutes, but then left to go ride bikes with his friends.
He's getting to that age. And he had friends in town. So...
I'm sure he'll be wanting to make up for having missed out on the bulk of the leaf-jumping we did today, and that's fine with me. The back deck really needs to be cleared off as well. So he has plenty of material to make a new jumping pile.
Here's Alexander flapping his way to the leaf pile:
Here they are getting ready to race (with Zoë situated in the back because she's "so much faster"):
After having watched the bigger kids have so much fun in the leaves, Phoebe looked like she might be interested in exploring the leaf pile, herself...but it was a false alarm. No leaf piles for Phoebe.
Here's a token picture of Benjamin in the leaves, however:
Rachel, Miriam, Josie, and Grandpa spent the day playing teenager+ games at Grandpa's house—like Cutthroat UNO and things like that—so we spent the morning without them. And then Benjamin, Zoë and Alexander all went up to hang out in Reed's yard, so all of our kids were either at Reid's or at Reid's.
Except for Phoebe.
So I put her down for a little nap after taking some time to appreciate the way her hair curls around her ears and the back of her head.
When she woke up we read some stories and then headed downstairs to set the Thanksgiving table.