I learn something new every place I live.
Not just one thing, mind you, but many. Most lessons I learn are based around service. Things people have done for me or service they have offered me. Sometimes the harder lessons are learned- things I really wish someone would have done for me but didn't. I then learn to give that service when I am able. I become more aware of what people in my situation may need, so when I come across it I do my best to offer that service. In fact I more fervently seek out those opportunities to serve. I really believe it is important to serve others and to find opportunities to serve.
Case and point- One such lesson was learned very recently.
We have a pretty big yard which we love to bits. It is full of lots of amazing trees and it is a great place to hang out. The kids and I spent almost every day out there in the summer and the weather has been great lately so we have been spending every second that we can out there now.
That being said- all of those beautiful trees lose their beautiful leaves.
And we decided that we would teach our children work ethic and we would rake the leaves by ourselves instead of having our lawn service do it for us.
Plus it saved us $50. Now before you ask the question- it was totally NOT worth it. If you are ever faced with this decision in your future- just pay the money and save yourself a lot of heart ache and hand ache and back ache (from landscaping duty)....
We had a very short window to get the raking done- the city has a program where if you leave your huge pile of leaves in the gutter they will come and pick them up- they were starting this on friday so we needed to have the leaves in the gutter by then. Because of other commitments (trick or treating and the library) we were left with wednesday and thursday as our only days to do this. Justin got Wednesday afternoon off so we thought that would be a great time to do it. But we are great procrastinators and 'find something better to do-ers' that we filled up that half a day pretty quickly so we were left with Justin pulling landscaping duty solo for about 40 minutes. He did what he could but was more focused on getting a big pile for the kids to play in. Which they loved- but it didn't get the leaves to the front gutter. He also sustained some pretty wicked blisters.
So this left thursday. I knew I had to take matters into my own hands and the kids and I got out there and raked half the yard and it took us about 2.5 hours. Well it took ME 2.5 hours. Lets just say they weren't getting the whole 'work ethic teaching' thing.
But they entertained themselves so it meant I could get to work.
Here comes the service learning part. While I was laboriously working I saw that across the street my neighbor was out on his yard too. With a leaf blower. This guy keeps an impeccable yard. Beautiful. He is always working out there and I wouldn't be surprised if I looked out one day and saw him cutting his grass with scissors and a magnifying glass. But today, this day, he was using a much coveted leaf blower. I kid you not when I say that he had a total of about 3 leaves on his lawn. I swear he was doing it just to rub it in. You know, 'I have a leaf blower, na na na na boo boo...' I know he wasn't intentionally doing it. But in that moment when my hands were aching like they have never ached before, and my back was killing me and my kids were running through the leaves the WRONG way (away from the street), and the trees were shedding their leaves just as fast as I could rake them, the last thing I needed was my across the street neighbor using his leaf blower to blow the 3 leaves out of his yard and the first thing I needed was a leaf blower.
So lesson learned that day: Buy a leaf blower, when we have money, and seek out any woman raking her leaves whilst watching children. I guess the important lesson learned is to SEEK out opportunities to serve. They are everywhere and if we don't look for them we won't find them. I know he didn't intentionally decide to blow his 3 leaves right then (and I'll be the first to say it- I am being a little hard on him). But a valuable lesson was learned (the hard way).
We did eventually get our whole lawn raked - we went out there right after supper when Justin got home to finish it and we raked until way after dark (about 9). I had to give each of the kids a glow stick just so we would know where they were in the yard.
And the worst part of it all- if you looked in our yard you would NEVER know. NEVER. I just don't know if I can do it again. I need my dad to come for a visit- with his rake- or better yet- a leaf blower!
(Turns out I can do it again because I had to a few days later- in total I raked about 8 hours and Justin raked about 6)
Noni loved the leaves so much- he would just dive into them like they were water and then I would cover him with leaves and try not to think of all the bugs that may or may not be in those leaves....
Another lesson learned though- it feels good to work hard. It feels good to do it yourself. To accomplish something. Even though I joke about the leaf blower it really was good to be out there as a family and working. I don't think we get enough opportunities like that as 'city dwellers' and I think it is a very important thing for children to learn. So despite my dislike for raking we will continue to do so, with our kids. And we will continue to seek out service opportunities as well.
In other hard working news-
I also forgot to mention that I ran my second ever 5k race on the 29th of October and I did awesome! I beat my last time by 7 minutes (In my defense that last race was my first and I had done no training prior). I ran it in 27:20 which I was pretty happy with. I know I am not fast- I never have been but I know I can do better so I am looking forward to the next one. Maybe I can train myself to be fast... I am actually considering a half marathon in May!! Any one want to join me? I have no pictures of the day it was too cold and rainy (and a tid bit snowy) for Justin to bring the kids- he still has yet to see me race... Next time he needs to do it with me- we just need to find someone to watch the kids!
Also I am happy to report that, with the exception of a little bit of snow on race day, we have not received any lasting snow. The weather has been incredibly pleasant. Even the other day when we were at the temple I was debating whether or not I needed a coat. I like that feeling in November. Despite other opinions (specifically Ruby) I am NOT looking forward to snow. I am NEVER looking forward to snow. But I suppose if it is going to be cold anyway it may as well snow... I guess the more appropriate statement is that I am not looking forward to COLD. I am NEVER looking forward to cold. It could be warm everyday for the rest of my life and I would be happy....