Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Tuesdays are for Lunatics

Tuesdays have been just nuts for quite some time now. I think it goes all the way back to January when we had a full day of school for Max and swim lessons for the twins then skiing, and finally boy scouts. We actually had to suspend boy scouts for a few weeks till we were past skiing because of problems with him being a total bear in school on Wednesdays.

Anyway, eventually intramural skiing ended and then Max did the fitness club and the technology club on Tuesdays, which gets him home just before 6, I try to feed everyone something as fast as possible, and then he was off to boy scouts. Only sometime around the time of the wooden car races, Chris got roped back in as a volunteer and so here we are.

This morning I spent literally three hours sewing patches on boy scout shirts. Most of those on Chris' shirt, but Max's shirt was getting too small, so Chris bought him a new one, and that meant transferring his patches from his old shirt to his new shirt. Partly it took that long because those things are hard to get a needle through, but mostly it took that long because I just don't have very good hand sewing skills.

Then I worked very hard at my paying work. tappity tappity.

And then it was that crazy hour when I have to feed everyone, so I did--bean and rice burritos with lettuce from the garden--and then Max and Chris went off to their Den meeting which was a BIG DEAL because Max got his Arrow of Light badge which only happened because Chris worked his tush off to make sure that every t was crossed and every i was dotted and I'm just so proud of them both I could burst.


Then I made a ton of cupcakes because the twins are graduating from preschool tomorrow and it just happens to be Ben's turn to bring the snack. So we are throwing our usual nutritious stuff to the wind and bringing in iced cupcakes.

The boys all really desperately need haircuts but I can't seem to find two hours to get them all over together. They're all supposed to be in bed, but I hear footprints, so I'm off to chase the offender back to bed and see if I can get two rows done on the Shetland Garden shawl. I'm so close to the final border.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

I Would Have Done It Differently, But That Doesn't Mean This Isn't Right

It is a special kind of irony that tomorrow marks my return to paying work while everyone else takes a break from work to honor the dead. Nevertheless, I am grateful to be back at my desk, typing away at a project aimed at middle-schoolers. I have been interviewing for more "standard" positions, too. Initially I was looking for temporary work, but then an opportunity for a part-time permanent position came up. It's not in education. I haven't done anything like it in years. The pay can't compare to freelancing--but it would be every week, rain or shine. I met and liked the other person in the office. I met and liked the person who would be my boss. If it doesn't come through, I don't know if I'll keep looking for something else. Freelance work, like it always does, has passed through it's difficult pause and there will soon be plenty of work again. But if offered the position, I believe I'll take it. The work would suit me, and getting a supplemental paycheck regularly would suit me, too. I would continue to freelance, but no more taking on two full-time contracts and one more part-time on the side.

Regardless of whether or not I end up doing some work outside the house, the beginning of June marks the beginning of a full swing back into employment, and even though I won't see a paycheck for that until some time in July, that's a good thing. Still, I have some mixed feelings about it. Last summer, although work wasn't slow, it was a continuation of work I'd been doing all spring, so I was in a groove, and I was able to fairly easily find a half-hour slot here and there to do a reading lesson each with Ben and Milo. This summer I wanted to do the same with RightStart Level B. We tried that a bit last summer, but I couldn't quite swing it with work and the reading lessons. Now that both boys are independent, self-motivated readers, I feel I can let them coast a bit and focus some on math.

Except that I might not be able to. More than I ever used to before, I'm trying to be more aware of when I'm piling my plate impossibly high with a list of things that just can't be done. There's a reason I'm knitting all the new babies sweaters--in size 12 months. That's doable. Anything smaller might not be. This week I started and finished a sweater for my nephew--but that was only doable because a) I wasn't working yet and b) it was a v-neck sweater vest. No sleeves. Oh yeah, and because it's a size 2T. That's like 1 inch wider and 2 inches longer than a size 12 months. It's my own design, but it borrows inspiration from the Jaeger sweater I'm making for Milo, so I only had to rip back and redo a few sections (mostly because there are two cables on one side of the sweater and none on the other--which means when you divide for the neck, the side with the cables needs a few more stitches in order to measure the same as the side with no cables. Cables pull, like gathers.)

Even though it's summer, there will still be piano music to practice (for the kids, but it doesn't happen if I don't make it so), swim practice and swimming meets, work and more work, the small garden in the front yard (which is doing beautifully and will only need weeding and eating at this point) and the large garden at Tudek park (which is doing beautifully, but still needs the second round of corn sowed and some melon plants--and the endless weeding--and the tomatoes will soon all need staking). I keep going back in my mind thinking that I should have somehow planned this all out better, so I'd have more time for summer schooling. And I can think specifically what I would have done differently (including skipping the whole lack of work thing entirely) but I always follow this thought up with an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for having had such a wonderful spring with my kids and my husband. We are so broke, and sometimes it really does hurt, but I've another opportunity to appreciate my husband anew. I've had another opportunity to appreciate what great kids I have. So. I might not be able to squeeze in RightStart this summer. That might just be too much.

And then I think, "It could actually be a good thing if they started kindergarten at the same level as the other kids in math. It would give them a reason for going to school and something to get excited over." And I have to laugh at myself. I wanted to tell them all about math first. It's still hard for me to share them. I still want to be my children's first and only teacher. I like being with them. I love teaching them. But it's clear to me that God had another path marked for me. And I'm ok with that. I would have done this life differently, had I been able to plan it all out and make that plan a reality, but that doesn't mean this way--the way things have turned out--isn't perfectly right. After all, it still involves Chris and three wonderful children and one goofy, ball-chasing dog (There's another example right there. I would totally have chosen cats. Not for anything would I have ever predicted I'd one day be a standard-poodle person. But enter Chris and his allergies and here we are.)

Anyway, tomorrow I have work (and a lot of leftovers from our party today) and that's a good thing.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I'm Taking a Brief Sabbatical

Back from Toronto and belatedly asking your patience as I take a bit of a break from blogging to focus on other projects.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Saturday Evening

Pukey McPoodleface is lying by my feet sighing dramatically and passing methane every few minutes or so. Thanks to the wonders of Immodium, she hasn't dyed my carpet any new colors since the wee hours of the morning, but the girl is NOT herself.

I've cut the duration of my stay in Canada in half in order to accomodate May's stringent budget, but I do still have to go for a little while, so today I covered both gardens in straw in hopes that everything will survive the coming frost and I washed about 300 cubic feet of laundry so that none of my children will go naked while I'm gone. Nevertheless, I'm not packed. I don't even know which knitting project to bring (speaking of which, the third of four 2nd cousins was born this past week and is doing well. She is also a girl and she officially puts me three baby girl sweaters behind in my knitting. So maybe I should bring the almost-finished baby girl sweater and finish it--except that sounds like it will require a lot of concentration--the finishing part--and I think I should go with something that is mostly straight stockinette).

You know, I really am blessed. I spend an extraordinary amount of time with my husband (since we both work out of the house) and I never think it's too much. I never wish he'd go get a different job, just to get him out of the house. I'm not saying there aren't moments when I'm not tempted to thwap him on the head, because of course there are. He's a mouthy guy and I'm a woman with a temper. But most of the time I think he's funny and I'm awfully glad to have him around to get to all the things in high places. I feel the same way about my children. I love Saturdays and the extra hours with the kids. I love Tuesday and Thursdays because the twins DON'T go to preschool. I love the days when Max DOESN'T have extended day more than the days when he does. This time period -- two almost-kindergardeners and an almost-6th-grader--it rocks. Three basically happy young people, trying their best, seeing every glass as half-full--and I get to witness it and cheer them on. I'm really grateful for that.

A special Happy Mother's Day to my sister-in-law, for whom this is her first Mother's Day. Her baby walked this week and my what a big boy he suddenly seems. That first year goes so fast. She seems like she's always been a Mom now--funny how you aren't--and then you are. And you don't look back. So congratulations, K. I think you're a really great Mom.


I have been up for 45 minutes with Pukey McPukeFace and I have just ONE question: Whose idea was it to get a dog?!?

And who fed her 5 t-bones over the last 24 hours?

I might be guilty of the first, but I personally only gave her one t-bone. I do not deserve this bit of fun.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Squash, Beans, and Tomatoes, Oh, My!

After today's temp agency interview and paperwork festival, I came home and changed again into gardening clothes. I mowed, I raked, I dug up dandelions. I filled a large plastic bin with dandelions. I'm still not done. There are more dandelions to track down and dig up in my front lawn. But the yard looks better for it.

I planted the cherry tomatoes in the raised-bed garden. I put bean, squash, and watermelon seeds in the second, smaller front-yard garden plot. I put some sunflower seeds among the radishes, since the radishes will be long gone by the time the sunflower seeds get tall enough to shade them.

I eyeballed the rest of the tomatoes and peppers and decreed that if they're not hardened off by now--they never will be. So they're going out to the big garden plot tomorrow. Plus I need them to be living independently before I leave for the conference--so out they go. Hope at least half of them survive.

Monday, May 07, 2007


Today was busy. I started off with a few hours at a temp agency, registering for some paying work since my project which was moved from mid-April to early May, has been moved to early June (which they say is the latest possible start date now). Since I really can't afford to take 3 months off in a row, it was time to start bringing in some cash ASAP. Although technically I can't work at anything meaningful until I'm back from Toronto.

After the temp agency appointment, I ran home to change into gardening clothes and worked on the front yard until 2:30. It's starting to shape up nicely, although mulching around the bottom of the holly tree made me realize how much damage creeping weeds did to the lawn around it. Later in the summer when we have more money, I'm going to have to rake and reseed the portion of the lawn around that tree. I like to grow tomatoes. Grass seed--not so much.

Then I showered and changed into workout clothes. I picked up Max from school and we went to YMCA to burn calories on the treadmill. Max actually likes the treadmill, so even though it smacks of a "grown up" workout, we allow that one. After the workout, we ran home and picked up some plants I wanted to get transplanted into the community garden. The twinks came along, too. Chris ran off to find something he needed for painting tonight. Max was really very helpful in shlepping water from the spigot to the garden for the transplants. Now they just need to survive the ups and downs of spring temperatures. No problem at all for most of what we planted, but I put in two exploratory tomatoes and a few sweet peppers. They won't like the night-time temps if they get too low.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

::Happy Sigh::

Oh, that was so much fun. It was like we had an Internet party for my shawl and everybody came!

I've been checking accuweather faithfully and I'm tentatively setting next Thursday as the tomato transplant date. The weather is supposed to be beautiful and stay that way for a couple of weeks starting, well, today. (Which is good because I promised myself I'd get out there today and do the first spring mowing.) I'm going to dig out the twinks shorts and some tennis balls for Emily and we'll make it a Very Nice Day to Be Outdoors.

Here are some photos from a few days ago. We were working on our Mother's Day project for this year.

Emily says she needs a haircut. And a ball.
I taught the twins to master braking on the hill leading from our house to the school.
Milo setting things right after a crash in the grass.
Chris practicing on his unicycle.
No pictures of Max from this day. He was playing with a friend.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Gardening Progress

This is going to be a LOT shorter than planned because the thunder storm is messing with my connection.

Anyway, I went over to the big garden plot again today to work some more on the battle against the weeds. (Chris has given me a new Native American name: Many Weeds. That is officially my NA name for the summer.) Here it is, about a half hour into things.

I weeded and weeded and weeded. About two wheelbarrows full of these guys.

Then I roughed out the rest of the paths. There will be four biggish sections. Two each for corn, four for tomatoes, one for Max's watermelon plant, one for a couple of squashes. There will be four smaller sections that will have a variety of peppers and bush beans. Tomorrow morning I'll go back and clean up the paths some, plant the bush beans, and generally tidy. Then there's nothing to do but keep fighting the weed battle and wait till things have warmed up enough to PLANT THE TOMATOES!!! and everything else, too. But really, by September my name will no longer be Many Weeds, but rather, um, something catchy involving tomatoes.