Saturday, December 31, 2011
But I pulled off my sweatshirt at the last minute and running in a longsleeved tshirt and tights in the 31F weather was inspiration enough to finish the 3.1 miles rather quickly. I don't know my exact time as the results aren't yet available on-line (I forgot to start my watch until 40 seconds into the race), (edited to add: 22:46) but I placed 1st in my age group for a $25 gift certificate and 10 points in this year's series. The 2011 series results were posted in the newsletter, "The Women’s 40-49 group has Margaret Jones winning, with 48 points. She managed to stay ahead of the next two at 46 points each. Newcomer Katherine Collins was able to break the 46 point tie with Mary Parsons by virtue of a better finish in her 6th Series race. This was yet another exciting finish grouping!"
My New Year's resolution is to train harder and run faster. I know it isn't the most noble resolution, perhaps this evening we will all pick a virtue to improve upon this year, but the better I run the less stressed I am in daily life and the longer (hopefully) I will be around to raise my children and help with grandchildren. And that must encompass at least one of the virtues.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Yesterday I ran up to Bangor for a bunch of sleds to enjoy the 6-8 inches of snow up on the farm since I don't have room or the inclination to pack them in the van for our week's vacation. Our van is large, but I already have to squeeze in 6 children, 2 cats, 2 mice, food for above mentioned animals, clothes for 7 people, snowshoes, snowboots, snowpants, 1 pair of skis, and at least 2 toys per child. Apparently the best sled purchased was a Whammo brand one with 2 sets of handles ($20 retail at Walmart), but Julia Ellen really enjoyed flying down the hill on her back on a $5 huge green plastic disk. Over the course of the day Will carved out a 1/4 mile long run extending from the corner of the front porch to the tree line. I went down face first a few times while letting the kids try out my skis and it really was fun and fast, but the long trudge back up the hill was a chore. Yes, the children have already asked for the construction of a tow rope, they must think we live at the Camden Snow Bowl or something.
This morning, after a night of rain, there wasn't a flake of snow left anywhere. I ran in a tshirt and shorts, but by afternoon the temp had dropped so much that I was back in a coat and gloves. We might get another chance this trip for sledding as it is supposed to snow Friday and Saturday, just in time for my next race, the Epic 5K Finale, the first sub5 race of the new season. As I came in 2nd this year, I figured a good strategy would be to be in some of the smaller races with a better chance of placing well.
So far this winter, the weather has been similar to Virginia in a cold year, but we haven't even gotten to the "real" winter yet, as the neighbors tell me. After a semi-jokingly said recently on a 10F day, "This is as cold as it gets, right?" They said, "Oh honey, you haven't seen anything yet."
Friday, December 23, 2011
Thursday, December 22, 2011
But this might be Will's very last day homeschooling, since he starts Catholic school on January 3rd. Perhaps he will hate it, maybe he will flunk out, but I don't want him to and I seriously doubt either of those things will occur. He is a consciencious worker for the most part and I think he will enjoy being with other boys. The things that worry me are slight. Will he be responsible enough to remember to bring home all his books and write down his assignments? Will he be able to study for tests well? Will he remember which locker is his?
I have also been prepping him in another way by having him repeat (my favorite method of teaching catechism questions), "Girls are gross," "Girls have cooties," Girls are yucky." He has been pretty sheltered from the opposite sex other than at church and, of course, his 3 sisters. I don't want him to become obsessed in thinking about girls, I want his social interaction to be limited to making friends with other boys and being polite to grownups. But this is one of those things that I can't control, after all, he is 13 and that is what many boys that age start thinking about. But I can still think going away to school will be a positive thing and I will continue to have him repeat after me, "Girls are gross, yucky, AND have lots of cooties."
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
What I have been doing is attempting to make soup that warms the bones and toes. Last week I used up 5 or 6 onions I grew this summer and made the worst french onion soup ever known to exist. Too many bouillon cubes made the broth overpowering so I pitched the whole batch in the trash. Big mistake. The soup leaked out of the trash bag all over the garage floor and truck bed leading to Tim having to scrub both out and becoming very angry. He did later scrub off the "NO LIQUIDS" notice on my kitchen trash can lid that he had marked there in a fit of pique. But yesterday I tried again with canned beef broth and the result was better, but still not close to La Madeleine's signature soup. Today's cooking experiment will be beef and barley, served with a loaf of homemade bread. There is nothing like a thick bowl of hot soup to ward off the cold so in the weeks to come, the family should expect to smell lentil and sausage, chicken noodle, and beef stew simmering on the stove.
Sunday, December 18, 2011
We haven't had any snow since Thanksgiving so I've been running almost every day, but I've got to figure out how to keep my tummy warm while running- the fleece jackets bounce up and the thin t-shirt material doesn't protect my skin. I really don't relish the idea of going for a run today, but with the first race in the upcoming Sub5 series on New Years Eve, I have to be prepared both physically and mentally for the possibly the coldest race I've ever run.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
My clan is not the most attractive bunch right now with one child needing to go in for braces with slightly buck teeth, two who refused to smile, one who has no hair on the top of her head due to yet another recent self-imposed haircut, and one who looks like he was in a bar brawl because he has no front teeth. I did the best I could with the Christmas card photo, so if you get one, don't laugh too loudly, I'm still hopeful that one year they will all be cooperative as well as cute.
Monday, December 12, 2011
Saturday, December 10, 2011
But when he wasn't understanding his letters this fall I resorted to an item Charlie and I made several years ago: the letter book. Some moms make fabulous ABC books for their kids, scrapbook-worthy with pictures of items all decorated and framed and placed on the page "just so." Not this mom (remember I don't have any extra time). Charlie and I had gone through a stack of magazines and old phonics workbooks (these are the best for those hard letters like Q and X) and cut out pictures of items, stuck them in blank book (I used some large drawing paper that I folded in half and stapled), wrote the capital and lower case letter neatly at the top and labeled each item.
Every morning, our first schoolwork is to review the letters we have covered this year by having him say aloud the name of each item on the page and try to remember the sound and name of that letter. After 3 weeks he can now recall 8 letters and is adding a new one every 3-4 days. Timmy doesn't care that our book is not anything Martha Stewart would touch with a ten-foot pole, but so far it is doing the job of helping our 5th child start on the road to reading.
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
Pupils shivered in coats, hats and scarves as temperatures fell to just 1°C (34°F).
Sunday, December 04, 2011
I told Will a few weeks ago that I would let him post his video on my blog. He has been doing a lot of stop-gap animation with stuffed animals, using a great deal of computer space and camera batteries. After forgetting about it, I hit upon the ultimate incentive for my 13 year old: a promise that once he finished his book report on The Yearling and his essay on Maine’s natural resources, I would publish his first video. So… enjoy!
Saturday, December 03, 2011
Today was the day I was going to make all the kids put on a red shirt, jeans, and a Santa hat, but several things conspired against me. Will worked at the local grocery store all day collecting food for the local food bank and didn't even get home until 3:30pm, which means dusk up here in Maine. Julia Ellen went outside and played with the neighbor's children, but refused to wear her mittens so she ended up screaming and had to be carried home and put her hands against my exposed belly to warm them up (the things we moms do for our babies). Then after she asked for a blanket, she promptly fell asleep in a chair ( I refuse to wake her up and hear her wailing, plus that doesn't make for good photos). Maggie asked for the camera to take a picture of said sleeping child and found that the batteries are dead because of Will's making stop-gap motion videos and I discovered that we don't have any replacement batteries here, even though I bought a huge package of them last week (I know exactly where they are in the farmhouse kitchen, along with my stand mixer which I need for making Christmas cookies).
So... now in addition to my other chores/errands, I now need to pick up some batteries and reschedule photo taking day, find a place to buy a Christmas tree in our new town (one thing that is cheap here in Maine), and look for some cookie recipes that don't involve a great deal of beating.