Monday, February 25, 2013

The pressure is off

I had so many quilting projects going on, all with deadlines, that I was starting to get stressed out. The blue and cream quilt for the school auction in May, a wall hanging that the local quilt group is making for the town's library (somehow I ended up in charge so I had to put together the packets for the blocks, collect them, and finish the top), a t-shirt quilt for a Catholic homeschooling friend, and a  brown bag project for quilt group due in April. A purple and white child's quilt top is complete, waiting for batting to pass on to Bags of Love, a children's philanthropy. 

So a nice snowy Sunday was perfect to allow me to work all day while the children helped their father move wood. This is what I had already completed by 7am and then finally finishing up at 6pm.

I still have an outer border to put on before the top is complete,but with the auction quilt only lacking a label and my portion of the library's wall hanging complete, I'm feeling a lot less panicked about my supposed relaxing hobby.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

winter break winding down

This week off from all school has been a real break for all of us, no getting kids out of bed at 6am, no homework, no piano lessons, no Scouts, no basketball, and no homeschool for the little boys. All the children did practice the piano, Will and Charlie served two funerals, and I sewed a great deal. I taught a free-motion machine quilting tutorial at quilt group on Monday night and checked out chicken coops here on Wednesday. I finished the quilt for the school's annual auction and worked on the group's calendar quilt for the town library.   

We had enough snow to sled, but now it is nothing but huge sheets of ice. I have slipped and fallen on my back 3 times this week, including once while taking the vegetable scraps out to the compost pile, it must have been a sight to see eggshells and grapefruit rinds flying through the air. Skiing is out of the question, I attempted it on Thursday, only to find myself careening out of control across the hay fields toward the woods. 

Mostly we have been doing a lot of reading, a lot of hanging out, and recharging our batteries for the last few weeks of winter. I can see the temptation of a tropical vacation, away from ice and snow, but then I would have missed seeing the bald eagle perched in a tree while running yesterday. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Its snowing again

It  has been a week since digging out from a blizzard and we woke up this morning to another snowstorm with lots more expected today. I am tempted to get out Laura Ingalls Wilder's The Long Winter to read aloud so the children can get some perspective. 

Last Saturday, our power went out at 6am and the generator kicked on, only to stop working 20 minutes later. Apparently one part was bad and the whole housing was filled with blowing snow and ice, rendering it unable to start or operate. After watching the thermostats register progressively colder temps inside as the day wore on, since the wood boiler requires electricity to circulate the hot water to the radiators, we made reservations at a hotel, but with no way of getting there. Luckily the power was restored by mid afternoon. The winds were whipping the snow sideways and straight up so there were bare patches of ground right next to 5 foot drifts. 

Sunday we went out and attempted to XC ski, but it is almost impossible in 3 feet of snow. 

Tim made us a sled run through the hay fields with the tractor, leaving a large snowpile at the bottom. Maggie and I managed to catch air after a few attempts because we built up such speed. The boys also built elaborate snow caves and tunnels through the drifts. 

We tried to get Tim to sled, but he wimped out, afraid of getting hurt or losing his glasses. I can't blame him, as I went over the hill yesterday morning I flipped completely upside down and landed smack on my back. I'll soon get some of the children out of bed so we can see how another few inches of snow softens the landing. 

Friday, February 08, 2013

blizzard prep

I moved to Maine for the natural beauty, the cheap land, and reliable snow, so after a bitterly cold 4 weeks without even a single flake falling, I'm just glad to see some snow covering the brown fields. The big kids didn't even get out of school early today, but Tim volunteered to fetch them so I could do what needed to be done to prepare for the forecasted 12-24 inches of white stuff tonight and tomorrow. So, here is my list: 

Cancelled: the priest coming to dinner tonight, piano lesson for Charlie today, and Mary's birthday Mom and daughter day out.

Stocked: another 3 gallons of milk to bring our total in the fridge to 7 gallons, 1 huge pot of soup, pumpkin bread, chocolate glop, a couple of day's worth of firewood stacked in the furnace room.

Cleaned: the play room and school rooms, and swept the driveway area of the 2" of very light and dry snow that has fallen today.

Now everyone is here and we are able to sit in the warm comfort of our house and eat our simple dinner of grilled cheese and tomato soup and watch the snow fall outside the windows.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

out of the mouths of babes

As I type, my three youngest children are playing battle with guns and swords ( courtesy of KNEX). I said aloud while mixing cookie dough, "If you went to school, you would be kicked out for that." Timmy said, "Oh, good. Who wants to go to school anyway?" Julia Ellen chimes in with every fake barrage of bullets, "Roger, Roger, pants on fire!"

So far today I think I saw 3 incidents reported on Drudge Report of children suspended from school for playing with tiny plastic toy guns, homemade guns made from LEGO bricks, or throwing a totally imaginary grenade. What has happened to letting little boys play? While my big kids have made a pretty smooth transition to Catholic school, I am perfectly content letting my little boys do school for a few hours a day, building their math, grammar, and reading skills slowly day after day, but giving them plenty of time to race around and play. They build rocket ships with the huge basketful of KNEX, make other inventions with our multiple decade collection of LEGOs, and draw elaborate battlefields on pieces of newsprint for their army men to maneuver. Yes, the mess is overwhelming most days and I have to sweep up tiny plastic bits daily, but I can't imagine even attempting to stifle their natural boyish urges to simultaneously blow things up and to save the world.     

Monday, February 04, 2013

potluck series run

With plenty of parking and some pretty loops near our home, I hosted the 2nd of the winter Potluck run Sub 5 series this past weekend. 7 of us ran between 7-9 miles in the cold (20F) and then retreated inside for hot soup and salad and many desserts. 

Today I finished up the rest of the chicken and rice soup, a bowl of salad, and the last piece of Dave's blueberry pie (with vanilla ice cream) before running 5 miles. I was so hungry that I just started eating and couldn't stop and then decided to just run despite the full tummy and the bitterly cold weather (10F). I told Will I was training for the Dysart's race this summer, in which you run a 5K with a pit stop in the middle for a slice of pie. The male and female winners who chow down get a $100 gift card to the truck stop restaurant. I wasn't too successful at a similar race in North Carolina, but with enough practice, I'm sure I could win.