It's been a while and kids have grown. They let us sleep in, they are able to go to the kitchen and find food for themselves when they are hungry between meals, leading to fewer random meltdowns. We have found a bedtime routine that is more of a family moment than a nuisance. They change their clothes and wash their teeth, pick out stories and then we read stories and sit by the bedside until they fall asleep. Every other day is my turn to read stories and kids are super cute - they giggle, dramatically react to the story, tell me about their day and their dreams. Liisa, who is able to fall over her own feet in the middle of a harmless lawn, shows me her new bruises and tells me "I wish I wasn't so clumsy". Siiri asks for a good night hug, which is a nice development, because she used to stiffen up and wiggle away from physical signs of affection.
The best part about the kids, aside from them being healthy, is that they play together. They whisper their secret plans and they team up. Yesterday they were both being fake dramatic over everything for one goal: going to the beach. "Mom, lets go to beach!". I said, "Lets not, it's really windy and not very warm." Then Siiri was laying on the couch (indoors!) saying "It's sooo warm!" and Liisa threw her eyes up to the ceiling, "Mom, it's really too hot in here, we have to go to the beach!". After a couple of hours of this, and them playing indoors and outside, there was a moment when I asked them to come to the garden with me, but they tried giving me an ultimatum: only if we also go to the beach. I looked outside - super windy - and I looked at the kids, who were melting away from the 'heat'. I reacted with equal fake drama, "Heeeey, it's not very warm and it's so windy, where did you get your beach idea?" and Liisa fessed up: "It was Siiri's plan!". Siiri giggled as if to say: it was worth a try.
The garden is excellent. It's so big that I never manage to do everything that "needs" to be done and in stead I just do everything that I want to do. I no longer make plans to get something done because I'm not very good at predicting how long something might take and I might end up disappointed. I take my tools with me and I go to the garden - sometimes I dig up plants, sometimes I propagate black currants just to see how it's done, sometimes I pre-germinate seeds and plant them side by side with dry seeds to see if there's a difference in seedling survival. I always have something unfinished in the garden - my most recent project is a flowerbed of a size that could pass for a small city garden.
With a garden as big as we have, I really don't have to choose what I can fit here and one of my flaws is that I don't like to choose; I want it all! I'm really unrealistic in that sense. It applies to my life in general - I want a garden and a good job and cute kids and a wonderful husband and hobbies and travel and new experiences. It also applies to the garden: I want to grow everything that I possibly could grow, partly because I am greedy and I want fresh greenhouse tomatoes and apples picked straight from the tree and partly because I want to see how different kinds of plants grow. I have learned more about general plant biology within the three years in the garden than during my PhD studies. By the way, I defended my PhD two years ago.
As I don't have to choose, I grow pears, apples, sweet cherries, sour cherries, black currants, red currants, white currants, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, asparagus, groundcherry, bell pepper, plums, strawberries, raspberries, green peas, beans, garlic, onion, potatoes, countless herbs and several other things I forgot to mention or don't know how to translate. I have built 6 raised beds (1x3 m) and I have dug up a lot of ground to grow even more. Not to mention my flower beds with countless perennials, including roses, hostas and daylilies.
The location of the house has become somewhat troublesome. It is still okay to drive to Tartu as it takes 20-25 minutes to drive to Siiri's school, however, neither me nor Erkki works in Tartu anymore. Liisa is still in kindergarten, which is another 10-15 minutes drive so we don't always take Liisa there and let her play at home. And by play, I mean: watch Youtube on iPad. During the summer both kids are at home and we don't take them to town unless we need to. They don't get as much social interaction with other children as kids who live in the city and can walk to their friends homes. However, even in our previous home we had to arrange all such meeting because Siiri's friends didn't live that close to the rental apartment either and it was in the middle of the city with lots of traffic. And then we had to arrange even the moments when children went outside, which is very different here.
Siiri and Liisa still have a lot of time when they choose to play with the computer, phone, or iPad, and we donõ't restrict that, but they also have plenty of moments when they just run outside to snack on fresh greenhouse cucumbers, pick wild strawberries that grow in the wild parts of our garden, ride their bicycles or hide out in the playhouse. They are calm and content and very well-behaved most of the time.
Even with the stress of tremendously increased home workload, from mowing to pruning, me and Erkki are getting along as good as ever. We recently celebrated 10 years of marriage and 14 years of being a couple and we spend evenings together watching carefully chosen series on Netflix. We don't spend as much time together as we used to, especially because of our work schedules, however, when he calls to say he's on his way home, I have only positive emotions.
Also, after I defended my PhD, I basically got my dream job. The location is far away and it's not always easy, but it's really cool! That's a longer story and I won't get to it now.
With all this going on I'm kind of afraid to really say how things are. If I really spell out that my life is as perfect as I ever could have hoped for, will I jinx it? Lets hope not because things really are too good to be true. When I write a blog post, I'm being honest and I describe an aspect of my life the way I sense it, keeping in mind how it might seem from outside and I've been reluctant to really write what my life is like now: with a considerate and smart husband, cute and clever daughters, warm and comfortable house in the middle of a crop field, interesting job, a large garden and a pear orchard. Sometimes people have some disaster and they say "I never knew what I had until...", and here I am thinking "I know what I have and it's too good to be true. I wonder what disaster will ruin it." Three years later, still no disaster, so I might as well write a blog post.