Thursday, September 18, 2008

Idle Hands

While not always the devils workshop, idle hands can definitely cause trouble! I think I've been a little too indulgent with my free time in the evenings. All of a sudden, it's piling up so high that I HAVE to take notice. Sigh. The baskets of laundry my dear husband has kept up with washing, but are waiting for me to fold and put away. The stack of mail I need to sort. The boxes and stacks of outgrown clothes I need to sort, donate and list on Ebay. The other stacks and boxes of things from re-arranging the basement 3 weeks ago that I still haven't put away. Matthew's birthday next week and I have nothing done for it! And worst - tomorrow is Talk Like a Pirate Day and I have NO activities planned! We've celebrated it for the past two years. The kids love it. It's been on my calendar for months, but I've done nothing. And now it's here!

This is it. Tomorrow I have to knuckle down and be responsible. I will fold that laundry. I will sort the mail and pay the bills. I will put away the clothes and the boxes and plan out Matthew's birthday. But tonight, I blog.

Monday, September 15, 2008

One Week Down

I'm now one week into my transition back to work, and so far, so good. (Wow! It's hard to type with your fingers crossed. Shoulda just knocked on wood.) I'm really enjoying being back at the office and absolutely LOVE having that clear distinction between work time and family time. My evenings are mine, to spend with my family or do small household chores. But most importantly, this doesn't seem to be adversely affecting my family. For that I feel truly blessed.

My husband is doing great getting the kids ready, fed and on the bus. They actually said that they prefer it to me...I am not really a morning person. Hopefully it will continue to go well and it won't affect his work or school too much. Adam is much happier being back at school. Matthew is adjusting to kindergarten better than we'd dared dream. Anna...she perhaps likes daycare a little TOO much. She was longing for me by the end of the week and wanting reassured that she would be home with me today all weekend. But all afternoon, she has been restless and talking about school. The toys she has. What her teacher says. Wishing her school friends would come help her pick up her toys. Wishing her school friends would come over to play. I guess if we're going to have even a minor bump with her adjusting to daycare, this isn't a bad bump to hit.

So, while most folks dread their first day back at work after the weekend, I am looking forward to tomorrow and am glad that my babies are, too.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

WFMW - Morning Rush

Last week, I posted about the problem I had with going back to work and my husband getting the kids on the bus and off to daycare. I didn't think they'd like my checklist. Turns out I was wrong. Although we did need a little more. Along with their morning checklists (pack snack, brush teeth, put on shoes, etc.) they have papers that they need to take every day. Things like their lunch selection that they have to turn into the teacher each morning. And what if one of the kids gets a warning or told that they need to do something after school? How would the parent getting them off the bus (me) easily know that the one putting them on the bus (him) had made this mandate? We ended up with a whiteboard hung above where the kids put their backpacks. There is a small checklist for each child printed out and taped at the top of the board. Then we can write under each child's list if there is a reminder for that child in the morning or if there is something that I need to know when they get off the bus. Add in the days of the week magnets I picked up at Target with their papers for that day under it and we're good to go. Or at least we have been good to go so far...5 days in.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

So Much to Say...

It seems like there is so much to post about today. Politics, cloned animals entering our food supply, gardening update, but what has had the most personal impact on me today was the first day of my family's transition week. Adam started 3rd grade, Matthew had his kindergarten orientation and Anna had her first (albeit brief) experience at daycare. Each day from here on out will be a little more letting go as I transition back to work. Although really, every day from the day they were born has been a period of gradually letting go. But I don't think I'm alone in feeling that sending the child off to school is one of the more significant events. And going off to work means leaving them in their dad's hands in the morning. Sure, he's perfectly capable, but he isn't me! I just pray that this adjustment goes smoothly for us all. (You can pray for us, too!)

Adam was so excited to get on the bus and head off to be with his friends. School is just one big social event to him, and he has been missing it. Even though I'm used to sending him off and am confident that he will be safe and will be of good character, it still falls short of being easy to watch him step on that bus and take off.

Tomorrow I have to send Matthew off on the bus to be in someone else's hands. For 7 hours. It would be easier if he didn't still seem so fragile. It's not just his physical frailty (I almost wept when he put on his new sneakers today - his little toothpick legs looked even more so with clunky shoes on instead of the barely there sandals) or his emotional/sensory issues. I also worry about whether he will have the character to withstand all that the world throws at him. Will he make good choices? Will the teachers and aides protect him and guide him as I would hope? He had his hour orientation today and couldn't get out of there fast enough. He was withdrawn and eyeing potential hidey-holes the entire time. Every now and then looking a little further out to find activities in which he can immerse himself, but still withdraw. He had done so well in pre-K last year, but it just seemed to be a bit too much for him today. His teacher and I both said that he'll be fine, but it seemed that we were both trying to convince ourselves as much as the other. Not what I expected of the day at all.

Anna absolutely loved "school", as she calls daycare. She was there for 3 hours and did not want to leave, crying when I got there that she hadn't gotten to take her nap yet. She is still so young, still forming so much of her character. I worry about the guidance that she will receive, but prayed in earnest for guidance for myself for the choices that I made for her. I think this was God's will for her, and I have to trust that I made the right choice in whose hands to leave her.

But then, I'm not really putting them in the teachers' hands. I have to remember that I have placed them in God's hands. God who never really gave them completely to me, is only allowing me the privilege of serving Him by raising my children to be a servants after His own heart. Surely He will protect my little ones...but it's sometimes hard to see that through the tears.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Works for me Wednesday

Over at Rocks In My Dryer, it's backwards Works-for-me-Wednesday. This week's assignment is to present our dilemma to you hoping for a solution that will help us out. My dilemma is how to help my husband get the kids off to school and daycare without forgetting any of the necessary steps. (School starts tomorrow and I go back to work part-time on Tuesday.) For now, I have a checklist to hang by the door, but I think he (and the kids) are getting sick of all my checklists. What works for you?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Mood of Success

I've decided that success, at least for me, is much more subjective than I once thought. I'm very much a rule follower, not just in the "do this", "don't do that" sense of things, but also in determining whether things are complete and meet a certain standard. That has always served me well in my academic and professional pursuits. While it hasn't crippled me in my personal life, I must admit that aspect of my personality hasn't always been to my benefit.

This spring, we decided to put in a much larger garden than last year. We had just started with the square foot gardening last year with two 4'x8' beds. This year, we added another 4'x8' bed and 8 1' square boxes for squash and melons. I started this endeavor with not only high hopes, but high expectations. With an entire bed devoted to peas and green beans, I assumed that we would have not only enough peas and green beans to eat fresh, but also a few to freeze. I expected to have squash coming out my ears. But it was not to be. I'll spare you all the details, but late frosts, snacky critters, wind storms and a wet end to the summer left us with much smaller yields than I expected.

Based on the criteria that I had for a succesful season, I'd have to give us a 'D'. Up until this past weekend, I was feeling pretty down about it. Trying to eat more local products is something that has become important to me. Our garden was to play a large part in that role. Also, my husband loves veggies. I had hoped to provide him with plenty of his favorite foods this summer, but without the bounty in the backyard, it was a little harder to do than I had hoped. Another failure. I don't know what it was, but somehow this weekend, I let myself stop feeling as if it had been a failure that didn't live up to expectations. Perhaps it was hearing that others had experienced the same problems that I had. Perhaps it was realizing how much I learned and how much hope there is for next year with improved gardening practices. Or perhaps I'm just getting too lazy to try to live up to my own standards. Whatever the reason, I started looking at what we DID get out of the garden for our efforts with a sense of accomplishment. The tomato sauce in the freezer, the baskets of squash in the dining room and all the produce still to be harvested - they all show me that all was not lost. We could have done a lot worse. So, whether it is a case of my standards slipping or giving myself extra credit for lessons learned, I would no longer give myself a 'D' for my summer gardening...maybe even a 'B'.

In case you're interested, here is our garden's report card (so far, anyway):
  • Broccoli: was a waste of space - something ate the leaves.
  • Green Beans: just enough for 3 meals - we'll cover the seedlings with a starter house next year to protect them.
  • Peas: had 2 weeks of snacking on them - these need to be covered next year, too.
  • Snow Peas: planted too late
  • Chiles: We got 2 peppers. Total loss due to late frosts.
  • Bell Peppers: Lots of late blooms that will never mature. Total loss due to frosts.
  • Thai Basil: I didn't list all the other herbs we had scattered around, but this was our first year with this one. It did great and was a great addition to all our thai meals and curries!
  • Eggplant: Harvesting one this afternoon. There are 3 small (tiny) eggplants on one bush. None on the second.
  • Brussel Sprouts: still going strong. Hope to harvest something soon!
  • Butterstick Squash: Did OK, but was cramped by brussel sprouts. Will be on a trellis next year.
  • Zucchini: OK, but cramped by sprouts. This will be trellissed, to.
  • Delicata Squash: We started out with 2 plants and 8 squash. Ended up with just one. The others were all rotten on the bottom before they were able to ripen. Being in the same bed with the tomatoes kept them too moist on the ground. We'll try these again next year on a trellis.
  • Spaghetti Squash: All I can say is WOW! We had two plants and got 12 good sized squash. Lost a few to rot because I ran out of space on the small trellis so they were on the ground.
  • Butternut Squash: Wow again. Still on the vines, and too hard to count, but I'm expecting about a dozen.
  • Sugar Baby Watermelon: Watching 2 that might be ready soon. Harvested one beauty too early. :(
  • Crimson Sweet Watermelon: Late contender when the chipmunks or squirrels kept eating the Sugar Baby seeds. Has a couple of melons close to ready, but I'm not sure they'll make it.
  • Turnip Greens: Great! Not for us, but kept our pet bunny fed for many weeks this summer.
  • Scallions: Terrific. And Matthew's favorite thing to pick for me.
  • Tomatoes: Coming out of our ears at the moment. Anna picks and eats the cherry and grape tomatoes - only about half make it into the basket. None of the heirlooms did well at all due to frosts, but the hybrids that were still available for the third replanting did better than I could have anticipated.