Sunday, April 28, 2013

a little bump in the road

Yesterday I woke at 5:30 to shower and take Will to Merit Badge College, but with a cold and intestinal issues, I let him go back to bed for a few hours. He spent the rest of the day helping Tim move and stack wood, getting some much appreciate tractor driving lessons. My muscles were a bit sore from farm chores such as painting the chicken coop floor and moving wheelbarrow loads of compost to the fruit trees, but I got up early again to head out for a 5 mile trail race in town. 

There were only about 30 of us, but we headed down the wooded paths at a pretty brisk clip. I was ahead of all the other women and feeling pretty confident when at mile three I fell and got scraped up quite a bit. My foot twisted and I got up running and limping along, knowing that my nearest competitor was only about 20 yards behind me. She didn't get any closer until the end, where there was a huge incline for the last 200 meters. Luckily I've been doing a bit of hill work and charged up like a crazed person to finish in 36:47. My hard work paid off, after a bit of cleaning up and an ace bandage wrapped around my knee, I took home a $100 gift certificate to Epic Sports. 2nd place got $50, so my mad rush was certainly well worth the little extra bit of pain. The next race is Saturday, a 10K, hopefully my now purple foot will be well enough to repeat a good performance.

Monday, April 15, 2013

spring break for the kids means...

This week can be whatever I want it to be, full of activities and errands, or peaceful and relaxed. Likely it will be a combination of both, judging from the length of my "to do" list. But I've already enjoyed sleeping in until 6:30, finishing a novel in bed, making blueberry coffee cake, and finishing the above-mentioned list.  

Yet, Timmy and Charlie are going to do school this week, I will still have to prod 4 kids daily to practice the piano, and I need to get in some serious running time. So, while spending each day reading in bed for hours might seem nice, I still need to fit everything in like a giant jigsaw puzzle, but without the huge school and extracurricular activity pieces that usually take up a chunk of my week. I also need to keep plugging away at the quilt I will submit to my first quilt show this summer. After 3 weeks of piecing and pressing every single seam open, I finally finished the top on Saturday. 

My first treat of the week was waking up super early yesterday to meet a small group of fellow runners on Mount Desert Island and run up the 4+ miles to the top of Mt. Cadillac. It was very foggy and almost unworldly with ghostly tortured-looking conifers appearing out of the mist. Luckily we did catch one lovely glimpse of the view of the water and islands when we were coming back down, but the bone-chilling cold stayed with me for much of the day. 

So, now after a little blogging and browsing time while sipping an iced coffee, it is time to go blast the lazy slug-a-bed kids out of their warm beds and get the first day of vacation started.     

Monday, April 08, 2013

time keeps on ticking

One of the things that I recall every time I feel a little guilty about not blogging often is that since the big kids have started going away to school, 2 hours of every day is now spent in the car. That is 2 hours I previously spent quilting, reading, blogging, cleaning, and playing with the kids. Every day now is as regimented as a new Army recruit: wake up, get ready, get kids ready, drive to school, come home, homeschool the boys, run, shower, get big kids from school, ferry some kid to piano, make dinner, bathe little kids, read aloud, say prayers, and finally put the kids to bed. 

So, what has our family been doing for the past few weeks? Well, Timmy, Charlie, and I did the Flattop race. The boys did great in the mile (Charlie 7 min, Timmy 8 min) and I did terrible in the 5K. The weightlifting I had been doing to improve my strength left my muscles so worn out, despite a 4 day break, that I could only barely manage to stay on my feet. Yesterday I did run the Bridge the Gap 10 mile race and did quite well: 1hr 20 min. I ran the first 8 miles with my friend Lisa at a 8:30 pace and felt as fresh ending it as I did starting. I've been going out way too fast and crashing at mile 2, so this was a good learning experience. It was much more fun to pass people, especially on the hills, than to get passed while gasping for breath. 

I've been quilting up a storm since I finished all my obligation projects: a tshirt quilt for an online friend and a brown bag exchange in our guild. I applied to submit this quilt in the state quilt show for judging and have until the middle of June to get it finished. After several weeks, I've now finished all the colored strips and have to connect it all with white sashing next. I'm not really looking forward to working with 34 floppy strips, all 2" wide, but now I have to get it done, and do it well, since I don't want to look foolish next to all the really talented quilters in our state. 

Will was accepted to the fancy high school so I can release the breath I was holding for several weeks. Our other option was to bring Will home for 9th grade and send Charlie to Catholic school a year earlier than anticipated. Now it is unlikely that I will be spending the next year in prison for killing my child because Will and I are at odds so often these days and the little boys will have each other to be best friends with for another year. I didn't think I could go back to more than 3 kids at home during the day, Timmy has made such progress this year without the drama of trying to get the older ones to do their work. I've actually had, despite the loss of 2 hours a day, more time this year to work with him on his studies. 

Julia Ellen is now officially potty trained, or housebroken as my Grandmother calls it. I am happily doling out m&ms as reward for not having to daily wipe a yucky bottom for the first time in 15 years. 

What is next? More quilting, more races, the arrival of our first batch of Buff Orpington chicks in a few weeks, and planting my garden. Spring is late in arriving to northern Maine, the ground is still frozen 4 inches down and there are still patches of snow here and there, but today there is a warmth in the air that hasn't been there before and the snowdrops in front of the library were blooming this morning. Happy Spring!          

Tuesday, April 02, 2013


An Easter Day that started with eating an entire chocolate bunny, multiple egg hunts, and topped off with a ham dinner was just not going to end well. Julia Ellen had a marvelous day scarfing down all the candy in her basket before 10am, then looking for plastic eggs all over the yard and house that each of her older siblings would hide, and having a nice bath before getting into her new pink polka dotted dress to go to 5:30 pm Mass. We took 2 cars because the boys got there extra early to serve and as the priest sprinkled us all with holy water from the aspergillum, Julia Ellen threw up. 

She not only barfed all down the back of my sweater and her dress, but when I quickly took her to the tiny bathroom to clean up and sat her on the toilet lid, she threw up again all over both of us and the floor. With nothing but coarse brown paper towels to clean up the mess and a miserable little girl on my hands, I sopped up the worst of it and asked the sacristan to fetch my purse and keys from our pew before taking her home in the truck. She got another bath, I took another shower and we both curled up in our  fuzzy jammies until the rest of the family returned home. 

Monday, I did call the church office and offer to come in and Lysol the heck out of the pew and the bathroom, but the nice lady said that these things happen and it would be taken care of. Perhaps next year I can avoid a repeat performance by just not buying 4 bags worth of Easter candy. I thought I was moving out of the stage of life of having to miss parts of Mass because of loud babies and cranky toddlers, but being the mommy of many sometimes means 2 steps forward and 1 step back.