Thursday, August 29, 2013

not risking it

Last night Charlie, Maggie, and I got in the car to go to the last track workout of the summer. We turned around when, halfway there, lightening flashed and the rain started in earnest. "I'm not willing to die to gain a few seconds," I said when the kids started to protest. So, I didn't get to run yesterday, but I did double up on Monday with 5 miles at lunchtime and a fast 6 mile group run that evening, followed by a few cocktails at the Sea Dog. 

I did well enough on Saturday (21:23) to bring home a free pair of New Balance shoes and hope that my missed day won't throw me off too much at the Labor Day 5 miler. Last year I ran it in 35:40, so I'm not shooting for a PR.   

Friday, August 23, 2013

sewing up a storm

I thought I was beating the competition (the other ladies in my quilt guild) by bringing in this quilt to show and tell earlier this month, but then in an email I found that 2 of the ladies have finished all 3 projects, well ahead of the December deadline. 

So, this morning after Mary's riding lesson, the girls and I bought backing for my 3rd project, a star quilt I've got to baste and quilt before Christmas. I haven't been exactly slacking off, since I've already made notebook covers for the girl's teachers for gifts... 

and all 100 blocks for the school's auction quilt...

 (this is the photo from the magazine pattern, only I'm doing it in King size)

I had  thought about entering some projects in the Blue Hill Fair, but with Will starting school on Monday and the girls starting the following week, I'm a bit overwhelmed and don't really feel a strong desire to drive 2 hours round trip just to drop off quilts for judging. Instead, I'll sit on the glider with a wonderful view of fields and garden that Tim and I got for a wedding present 17 years ago and of which I finally managed to make a cushion and pillows.  

Thursday, August 15, 2013

gearing up and slowing down

Every week for the past month I have looked over the office supply store ad and circled super deals such as notebook paper and tissues for $0.01 each. My schoolroom now has stacks of supplies for each older child according to their (demands) list sent out by their schools. I guess I didn't realize how cheap homeschooling is until I was attempting to find every item needed and ended up spending hundreds of dollars on double sided tape, specially colored binders, and colored 4x6 index cards. We always just used cheap notebooks, dollar store pencils, and Crayola thin markers on sale at Walmart for $1. So, while the older ones are getting ready to start school, my youngest son has been doing schoolwork all summer....  

Late on Friday afternoon I called the counseling department of Seton, the homeschool curriculum we use. "I need some reassurance that I am doing the right thing by cutting back with my 5th child." I explained that Timmy had just turned 7 and was reading one painful word at a time. "Words like 'and', 'this', 'some', and 'know' take at least a minute to figure out. I'm getting a headache every day from banging my head against the wall in frustration!" I told the lady that my older boys also had a tough and long road on their way to reading prowess, and that Timmy had sort of fallen through the cracks in the past due to me having to spend so much time with the older children's schooling. "This past year was good, he has made a lot of progress, but it seems to be one step forward 3 steps back, some weeks."

She definitely agreed that he was young to be going into 2nd grade and the benefit of homeschooling was that the child can progress at his own rate. "Don't push it," she said. So I put away the reader and over the past week we have done 1 page of math, 2 pages of phonics, and 1 spelling lesson each day. His attitude has improved and the reading aloud he does do for phonics is faster and more confident than before. We will finish these three subjects before going back to the Faith and Freedom readers (a Catholic version of Dick and Jane). I will start some 2nd grade subjects in a few weeks, but not enroll him until he is completely finished with everything from this year. It doesn't matter how long it takes him to learn to read and subtract properly as long as he does get them eventually with as few tears shed as possible.   

Monday, August 12, 2013

hold on tight!

The ride for the next two weeks is going to be very bumpy. We still are doing summer activities such as swimming lessons and riding lessons, but now the coaches of fall sports are gearing up with soccer camp and group runs for cross country. Will was taken back to camp for the last time, his 8th week, and the Union Fair starts Sunday with rides, cotton candy, and my once-a-year dinner of a steak bomb and a Coke. On several days I'm just going to have to pick which kid is going to be disappointed, I can't physically be in 3 places at the same time. 

Tim was subjected to some of this over-scheduling induced stress this weekend while I was up at the County Half Marathon. Friday he had to pick up the girls at camp, an hour round trip and then on Saturday drop off the little boys at sailing (30 minutes south), pick up Will at camp (45 minutes northeast), drop off Will at sailing, come home and pick up Julia Ellen and take her to sailing for the picnic, and then back home. My 13 mile run may have been less mentally exhausting, but did leave me so tired that I slept 11 hours straight on Saturday night. I was the 5th female finisher with a time of 1:41, beating my old half PR by 4 minutes, and winning $50.  

Monday, August 05, 2013

in a time warp?

Will is at his 6th week of camp, Mary and Maggie got dropped off yesterday at their camp, and so I am, for 5 days, back to being a mom of 3 children, all under the age of 10. The boys have sailing this week from 9-12, so for several hours each day I will only have one 4 year old directly in my care. I could say that it is like going back in a time machine to 2004, the last time I had 3 kids, but I was pregnant with Charlie, so it doesn't really compare. 

I don't know when I'm going to get to run this week and with a big 13.1 mile race staring me in the face on Saturday, I better figure something out fast. But for today, I'll enjoy not having to threaten anyone to get them out of bed, not having to yell to get everyone to practice the piano (Charlie is compliant in that venue), and not having anyone ask me in a wheedling tone if they can get on my computer. I'm sure it has always been difficult to be a parent who expects more than the average from their children, especially with a large brood, but sometimes the constant criticism from the grandstands as well as the griping from the younger set wears me down.     

Thursday, August 01, 2013

computer free summer

Since Will has been at Boy Scout camp as a CIT for 6 weeks now, with 2 weeks left, my stress level has been much lower than anytime in the past year. It isn't due to not liking my child, but the fact that I haven't had a teenage boy harassing me every day about being able to get on the computer or not doing anything else because he won't get off. The big kid's school let them take home Mac Books and an evening didn't go by that we weren't fighting with him over time-wasting games such as MineCraft. Mary didn't seem to have as many issues as her brother, but I'm glad that they supposedly won't be able to bring them home this upcoming year. The little boys got sucked in to the world of computer games as well, but after something happened that crashed my hard drive and required replacement, I haven't let them on my laptop. The result has been them attempting to watch more movies downstairs, which led me to then confiscate the DVD player. 

We live on a beautiful farm in Maine, full of fields of flowers, homemade tree houses with rope ladders, woods to explore, chickens to chase, and a garage full of roller blades, bicycles, games, and wood scraps with which to build stuff. Summer is short and before they know it the snow will be falling and the opportunity of warm days to spend outside in shorts and flip-flops will be over for the year. Maybe I'll get the mean mommy award for trying to keep them outside and away from electronic devices, but they will have many more good memories if they do something, rather than stare at a screen.