It's SPRING!

Dear Family,

Our week started with some explosions of the more disgusting
variety. I told Mom that she should really be grateful, since the
five of us kids hardly ever threw up. Not so in this household,
where the 2009 Stomach Flu Count is up to two and counting.

But that was all early in the week. The subsiding of the vomiting
coincided with the weather warming up, and we've spent many happy
hours out at the Mudpit. I think that Ben would have stayed out
until it got dark yesterday, making sand muffins. And I did so much
rope-jumping yesterday that now I can barely walk. (I made the
mistake of following up on a ten-year-old neighbor's challenge: "How
many can you do in a row?" One hundred, it turns out, before I begin
hurting a lot and my chest threatens to explode. Jumping rope was
never this aerobic 20 years ago!)

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Out of the blue this afternoon, Jem started saying things. "Ready,"
and "stop," and various other random words. His voice is super cute.
(Unfortunately, "mamamamamama" has become a sort of all-purpose
whining noise, without any clear affectionate overtones, so I hope
he's not actually saying what I'm hearing.)

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Jeff got a new client this week! It looks like too _much_ work, and
how to balance it, may end up being our "problem," if his luck
continues. He'll be meeting with the husband-and-wife team from the
Animal Law Coalition on Wednesday. :) Let's hear it for Free Thought
Design!

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Think you're a patient person with a sense of humor? Quick test:
find an 18-month-old helper, bring helper into a bedroom with you,
and--with helper--put sheets and bedding onto the bed in under
twenty minutes. Come on--why is it taking you so long, anyway???
Bonus points: repeat on remaining two beds without steaming.

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We did a fascinating experiment this week. On Friday evening, after
pear pancakes had been consumed by all, we set up the computer
monitor in the living room. Then we sat down with our two boys, and
put a DVD into the drive: "Planet Earth," an 11-part BBC documentary
featuring incredible footage of some of the rarest animals and
unmolested-by-humans landscapes in the world.

But forget about the movie plot--the fascinating part was to watch
the boys. Jem kept saying "Whoa! Whoa!" (approximately 354 times),
and waving vigorously to all the animal close-ups, which he
helpfully noted were "dogs." Ben, oblivious to David Attenborough's
narration, required a running commentary. "When are the animals
going to chase another animal again?" he kept asking. No trauma at
all when the wolf caught the caribou. "When's next Friday?" he keeps
asking.

The most the boys had seen prior to Friday was footage of
themselves, in our yearly video. Now their eyes have been opened.
Which made watching _them_ a once-in-a-parents'-life sort of
experience. Bittersweet comedy, even for an un-pop-cultured person
like me.

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My cooking series continued tonight with a super-fun sushi-making
class that went even better than I'd hoped. Eight or nine households
attended, and we went through about 25 cups of rice--that's about 50
nori rolls, and at least 15 people who learned that sushi is not a
mysterious art! (Everyone thinks it's really great that when I was
growing up, make-your-own sushi was what we had when Mom didn't feel
like cooking.)

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Daylight savings' time is such a crock. Every day has felt like it
is several hours shorter than it used to be. Plus, Ben and Jem are
now going to bed later and getting up earlier, due to the
lengthening days. By midsummer they're going to be staying up later
than we do. It's a good thing they're such cute boys...

Am going to get to bed. I hope you all have been enjoying spring and
warmth and sun, wherever you may be adventuring these days (though I
know, Athena, it's always summer where you are!)

Love,
Sarabeth

P.S.
When I first sent out an e-mail announcing the Village Meal last
week, the subject was something boring like "Thursday's Menu." (The
meal was Un-Chicken Noodle Soup, Lentil Salad with Chopped Veggies,
and Westhaven Greens Salad, plus dessert.)

Then I tried an experiment. I sent out the same meal announcement,
with a different subject heading. This time, it said "There's still
time to sign up for CHOCOLATE CAKE!!" The result was that more than
90 people showed up for dinner on Thursday, which is more than I've
ever cooked for in the common house.

I guess people must really like lentils.