Thursday, January 31, 2013

book of the quarter

I read a lot, and I mean that I frequent several local libraries and take out stacks of books to read each evening. But most of what I read is okay, not extraordinary. However, I came across Romancing Miss Bronte, a fictionalized account of the life of Charlotte Bronte, by Juliet Gael that blew my socks off. 

Yeah, I've read Jane Eyre several times and was impressed by the writing and the story, but I didn't know anything about the Bronte sisters themselves (I got kicked out of Honors English in 8th grade for not being able to enjoy/comprehend Silas Marner, a truly boring book that put me off of classics for 20 years). Ms. Gael has done a remarkable job of turning Miss Bronte into a real person, not just a long dead writer. 

I highly recommend this one for a long sit down with a bag of Pepperidge Farm Mint Milano cookies beside you and a cup of steaming tea on the side table. It is a long novel, so you will need sustenance, but well worth the effort and all those extra calories from the cookies. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

sub zero

Tim just left to go pick up Will from Camp Roosevelt, where the Boy Scouts worked on their Camping merit badge. Will and another boy planned to sleep outside to satisfy some sadistic requirement, why he couldn't have done this when we lived in a more hospitable climate I don't know, but I think the low was predicted at -2F. We have been through a cold snap with highs around 0F and lows some nights down to -15F. It took me a while to figure out that I should tuck in my shirt when running, the wind just snuck fright up underneath my jacket and shirt. My poor tummy was red with cold even after taking a hot shower. I found out that skin turns sort of rubbery when exposed to such bitter cold, my mittens had to stay on even if I was sweating, to protect my hands from frostbite. 

I was so concerned that I bought the kitties a heating pad for their bed in the barn loft, finding them the next morning both curled in it, practically on top of one another in their quest to stay warm. Unfortunately, we haven't had any more snow and there isn't enough left from 2 weeks ago to ski or sled. So we have all the uncomfortable aspects of winter, but none of the perks. However, we are managing by spending lots of time quilting, knitting (Maggie's new hobby), and playing games. Before we know it the air will warm up, the grass will start growing, and the garden will be ready to plant peas. But for now we are huddled together for warmth and staying close by the fire.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

sub 5 banquet

On Sunday evening I watched Tim drive the rest of the family to Mass (I went earlier) while I prepared my hair for the annual running banquet to give accolades to the best runners in the Bangor area.  I didn't know what to wear, but I wasn't the only one, as there was quite a variety, from semi-formal dresses to jeans and hoodies. My friend Lisa (the 50-59 age bracket winner) said, "It seems strange to see everyone wearing their clothes." Our prizes weren't as fancy as last year's gear bags (which Mary has commandeered for basketball), but I was surprised to find that I won the award for "Outstanding Female Racing Season," basically the most improved runner category. 

My goal this year was to run every race in the series, but I blew that on New Year's Eve by missing the first race with the flu. There was no way I could have even walked it with a 101F temp and being dizzy enough to barely sit up in bed. I don't know what my revised running goal this year is, but I'm going to petition for sports bags again next year as prizes for sure. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

insulated immune systems?

I don't know if it is because we now live in a very cold climate or because the big kids now spend the majority of each day in overheated rooms with many other children, but my kids have been sick more this winter than any other. Just like a brand-new teacher has 10 times as many colds that first year teaching and develops immunity over time, my brood has been immersed in a germ-filled world for the first time and it seems that every week one of them is sick. Mary now has the flu, despite receiving the vaccine, and will stay home today. 

In homeschooling the child just picks up where he left off and is usually able to do some small amount of work, even if it is just listening to Mommy read a biography aloud, but in away school, a sick day means making up missed work, which is sometimes a daunting task, especially when recovering from illness. With one of my feet in away school and the other in homeschooling, I don't know if I get to experience the best of both worlds or the worst.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

prolonged absence

This year being the first that I have had to haul kids to school I am finding little time to do much else, other than the essentials. 2 hours of my daily life is now spent in the car driving them up to school and picking them up. Tim does more than his share by going into work at 5:30 so he can pick up Mary after basketball practice and games after his long commute. This frees me to stay at home in the late afternoon to make dinner and get everyone else working on practicing the piano and doing homework. Piano lessons themselves take up another 4 hours every week and Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts require another huge time commitment between the meeting themselves and the hour driving. Squeezing in time to run and quilt are both higher priorities than blogging (especially since I wouldn't have much to write about if I didn't do other stuff). 

If I had time to think about it for more than a minute, I would likely berate myself for not having my almost 4 year old fully potty trained. I would chastize myself for my 6 year old not being further ahead in reading. I would get angry at myself for my 8 year old still not knowing how to tie his shoe and having to say "no" to my 10 year when she asked if she could take dance lessons. I would be anxious that my 12 year old is disrespectful to me and my 14 year old won't stay off the computer for more than 2hours without having panic attacks. But I don't have the time to stress, I only can keep my head down, put one foot in front of the other, and keep going forward each day. 

One thing that the last 15 years of parenting has shown me is that little steps over time do lead to major progress. In the next 6 months I know that Julia Ellen will be using the potty, Timmy will be finished 100 Easy Lessons and onto real books, Charlie will learn to tie his shoes, Maggie will be involved in theater camp and riding lessons and will have forgotten about dance, Mary will mature with the right guidance, and Will will turn in his school Mac and be spending the summer as a CIT at camp with no access to anything electronic. In the meantime, I need to maintain momentum, a positive attitude, and a full pantry to survive.