Thursday, September 27, 2007

Easy as 1-2-3

This week we said good bye to our beloved above ground pool. We were only here three summers to enjoy it, but the pool was too old to go another year. After a lot of back breaking work, it is gone and laying in sad pieces in the front yard, waiting to be picked up by the trash guys.

Well, a year ago, I was looking through a pool supply magazine that we got in the mail. They had liners for above ground pools for sale. They advertised that switching from an old liner to an new liner was as easy as 1-2-3!

1. Remove old lining - the picture showed a man happily removing lining from his pool. He was merely lifting it out. (we had to drag ours out and it took two adults and two kids to do it)

2. Install new lining - the picture showed the same man happily fitting the new lining over the pool's side

3. Fill the pool with water and enjoy. We see the man and his family splashing about happily in the pool with the new lining.

OK, let me tell you what it took to, ahem, "simply" remove the lining from the pool. First, you must remove about 40 bolts that old the top of the pool on. Two bolts per joint and there were probably 20 joints. After you remove the joints, there are 2-4 screws that hold on the rim and two more screws that hold on some other part that was under each joint. I have no idea what all the names for the various parts are. Anyway. After about 100 screws, bolts and washers were removed, we could take off the rim in sections, about 20 sections. This being spider season, each section had at least one web with a mother spider, two or three egg sacks and usually one of them had opened with 50 microscopic infant spiders with her. My skin crawls just to think back to it. OK, so, we get the sections off, then comes the rubber bits that hold the liner in place over the rim of the pool. By the time we got all of these things off and we could actually get to the liner, the pool sides were sagging.

We then removed the liner. It unfortunatly had a few inches of water still in it. Our pump quit working and we couldn't remove all the water. Now, because we were taking the pool apart, we opened up the side of the pool. My hubby got to use his saws-all and cut us a opening in the side. (he enjoyed that) My husband, my two sons and I grabbed on end of the liner and will all our might, we pulled that liner out of the pool. It was huge and heavy.

I can't imagine what it would be like to put in a new liner. Even if we had succeded in getting the liner out without cutting an opening in the side of the pool, the sides were all sagging in. How in the world do you put on a new liner on a pool who's sides are sagging everywhere? All I know, is that I never want to put a new liner in an above ground pool. Nor do I ever want to set up an above ground pool. Aside from the blow up kiddy pools we will be using in the future, if we ever get a family pool again, it will be in-ground!

So, through this entire experience, we laughed about the "It's as easy as 1-2-3" bit we saw in the magazine. Now it is becoming our joke family motto. (Our real family motto is "it never rains, but it pours", but that is another story) So, today, when the kids were acting up, my hubby said, "raising kids is as easy as 1-2-3! First, have the kid, second, raise the kid, third, send the kid out into the world" Yep, 1-2-3.

To do today

I should rename my blog: Abandoned Thoughts.

I think about my blog often, but I can't make it here. In fact, we are not doing any school work right now and we should be. But, I had to come here and I'll try and make this short for my sake and for yours.

Today's must do:
School work
Clean out van; we are donating our dying van to the Purple Heart group. They will be here between 1 and 3 and I need to get all our personal belongings out of the van
Clean up house; yeah, right. We'll I'll try hard because the bug man is coming out to spray today and I need to get a lot of things up off the floors. A lot of things....
Email people who responded to my Craigslist postings for our pool supplies.

Today's want to do:
Look up info on Scottish Festival going on in Williamsburg this weekend. We might go.
Find anniversary card for hubby. I bought on last year and forgot to give it to him. Must find it and try again this year. (it will be anniversary number 11)
Work on lesson plans for next week. Before school started, I spend several days and put together 4 weeks of lesson plans. Those 4 weeks are over and I need to work on the next couple of weeks.
so much more and no time to even write it down on the "to do" list

OK, I've had 2 phone calls, had to make one phone call, gotten one cup of milk for a kid, had to save my digital camera from the clutches of my toddler who was banging the camera against the wall, and several other kids come ask me multiple questions since I started writing this blog. It is not going well. I will never get this finished.

One more thing on the Want to do list:
Blog - I have two things I want to write about and I will tell the topic here so that when I return, I can remember. Easy as 1-2-3 and Dressing...... more to come!

Friday, September 14, 2007

No time

I don't seem to have time for my random thoughts anymore. I'm happy with what is going on in my home, but at the same time, I'm feeling quite overwhelmed and there is a sense of falling behind.

I was released from Primary on Sunday. The Primary is no longer my responsibility. I had such mixed feelings over that. Being Primary Pres was like having a fun, but huge sack on my back. I enjoyed the time and I will miss working with the kids the way I did, but at the same time, I can feel a bit more relaxed and not have to worry about what will next Sunday's sharing time be or where are all the teachers? I'm not sure what I'll do this Sunday. I'll probably make sure my three year old stays in Primary this week. She has a tendency to run off. I'm still doing activity day girls and cub scouts until new leaders are found, but that most likely won't be until the end of the month or October. I'm ok with that, I like those groups.

Even without all the primary responsibility, I still have so much on my plate. This week of school didn't feel quite as productive, although we had fun. I can't be too upset with myself. It was week 2 after all and I'm still learning. I'm probably doing more learning than my son this week.

Now, the weekend is here. When my husband gets home, I hope to pass off the toddler to him so I can do some good cooking, so good cleaning and write up my long "to do" list that I've got in my head. Oh, I was sewing a new apron for myself, but I cut out on panal of the apron wrong and now if I attatch it, it will be wrong side of the fabric out. AHHH! I was so close too, and this apron was going to look good and hold together, unlike my last one. I'm not good at this. So, do I cut a new panal? I think I've got enough fabric. Or, do I just sew the one on and let it be inside out? It is on the back anyway..... I don't know. I just want it done.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Happy Birthday to ME!

Today is my birthday! I'm, um, 21. Oh wait, I was twenty one more than a decade ago. That's OK. Whatever my age, my hubby is one year older than I am.

My birthday has always been September 11th. Now, it's 9/11. When people see my birthday, like a clerk at a store looking at my drivers lisence, they say "your birthday is September 11th? How sad!" My reply is, no it isn't, it is my birthday and I have a good time. It was my birthday long before it became "9/11". I have always felt that to not celebrate my birthday birthday because of what happened is letting the terrorist win exactly what they were trying to do - crush the American spirit.

(many hours later)
OK, I got inturrupted by life and now it is 10:40pm and I'm just now getting back to it. I had a fun birthday. My best friend and her family came for fondue dinner and we had so much fun. She gave me a Yankee Candle. I love those and I hardly ever get one, just for my birthday from her. My hubby got me a cross stitch book that is a collection of the stockings I make for our kids. I hope someday to make more stockings for the kids' families as they get older. Anyway, it was a great day.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

thoughts on a mother's employment

A week ago, my husband and I and our herd of kids went to a company picnic. It was a small get together since my husband's work is usually with a small team of people. There were about 20 (give or take a few) couples there.

I don't know any of these people. A few I had met over a year ago at a similar function, but did not remember who they were. While my husband mingled and chatted with co-workers, I listened to various conversations that were going on around me while watching my kids to make sure they stayed out of trouble. As I'm listening to all the conversations, I realized that I am the only woman there who does not hold a job. I commented this to my husband who said, don't compare yourself with them. I wasn't, it was merely an observation - I was the only woman who did not work outside of the home.

Two nights ago, I get a telephone call for a survey. I had the time to do it, so I participated. At the end of all the questions, they ask for the statisical information. One question was do I hold a full time job, a part time job, or am I unemployed. I answered, I am not employed outside of the home.

I can't say I don't have a job, I do. I am a primary caretaker to four children, I am a chef, I am a laundry maid, I am a house cleaner, I am an audio visual technician, I am a dictionary, a calculator, and homework helper, I am a teacher, I am a babysitter of other people's kids, I am a pool cleaner, I am an accountant, I am a book keeper, I shop for all of our needs, and I am a lawn caretaker. I don't just hold down one job, I hold down a hundred. And the crazy thing is, I do it all for FREE.

Just because we are stay-at-home moms, don't call us unemployed. I know working mothers do all those jobs I named plus one outside the home. I work too, but it is not a paying job.

I have a job that I love. One day I hope to return to the world of paying employment, but I'm not rushing it. The kids will grow and I'll have lots of time then. For now, I work at home and watch my children grow.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Homeschool adventures, Day 3 and FOOD!

I love working on my blog, but since school started, there hasn't been much time. My oldest child started 4th grade. It is hard to believe he is in the fourth grade. He is growing so fast. On the homefront, we have begun our homeschool adventure. This is Day 3, and we are actually in the middle of it. He is working on a project at the moment, giving me a few free minutes. It has been fun and gone very well, so far. I've learned a lot about my son in the last three days. My two other children have been pretty good. My little princess, sits at her little dest next to us. She has a pre-K workbook (previously used by one of her brothers) and she loves to sit at her desk, color "work" in her workbook. All the while she is singing, singing. My 21 month old will sometimes play, sometimes fuss, sometimes scream at us while we are working. About mid morning we will take a 30-45 minute break so I can get the youngest to take a nap. He has had a runny nose and I think it is adding to his normal fussiness. Anyway, we are having fun. I'm keeping a detailed journal of our days for two reasons - a journal and a record in case the school wants to see what we have been doing.

Other thoughts recently have revolved around food. I love food. As a result, I'm, well, as the deparment store puts it, a Plus Sized Woman. For the last six year, my weight has been on the climb. I finally said this summer, no more gain. Either hold steady or loose it. I've done both. In a fairly short amount of time with only a slight adjustment in my eating, I lost 10 pounds. Then I held steady for about 2 months. I've now lost 5 more and seem to be holding steady here too. It is progress, even if it is slow. So, that is the first thought about food.

Recently, in the morning, I've not been drawn to those breakfast foods I've so enjoyed in the past. The cereal, oatmeal, and pancakes hold little appeal to me. What else is there? I'm not a jelly fan, but jelly has sounded so good to me lately and guess what, we are out of jelly. I guess I'm having a fruit craving. We need more fruit in the house. The problem is, when I get it, my kids devour it within two days. That is great. I'm glad they like it, but it is expensive to keep up when it goes so quickly. Anyway, I'm hoping to get to the store later and get some fruit!

Last food thought, my birthday is coming up. It is next week even. For the last 9 or so years, on my birthday we have a fondue. I love to fondue. It's one of those 70's things that disappeared with bell bottoms and disco. Thanks to the 70's revival that has gone on, fondue has made it's way back into popular culture. I love a good cheese fondue. Mmmm, there are so many wonderful cheeses that you can fondue with. I don't do the oil fondue often, but we do them once in a while and they are tasty. The best of course, is the chocolate. How much more glorious can food get than that beautiful liquid chocolate! However, due to time and money constraints, I'm going to limit my birthday fondue to cheese and oil. We haven't done oil in several years. So, I'm making my shopping list and I'm very excited about the birthday fondue. It is a great tradition.
Isn't that the most wonderful food picture you have ever seen? This tasty picture comes fromt he Better Homes and Gardens Fondue and Tabletop Cooking book.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Homeschooling jitters and not burning the food

Yesterday was a very productive day. I baked and baked. I made scottish oat scones, honey muffins, 4 loaves of bread, peanut butter balls, and two batches of tortillas. I would have like to have done more, but I ran out of time. Maybe I'll try more tomorrow, maybe not.

I can't believe summer break is almost over. I'm ready and I'm not. It has been a good summer. I'll be homeschooling for the first time this year. I'm only doing one of my sons, the seven year old. My fourth grader will go to school, like ususal. I met his teacher last week and she seems very nice. He will ride the bus for the first time. Oddly, he isn't very excited about it. The last two years I've taken the kids to school and picked them up in the afternoon. This year, we are going to try the easier way and let him ride the bus. After he leaves for school, Tuesday morning, I'll be sitting my seven year old down and we will begin talking about the community, weather, reading books and doing a math sheet. I'm excited and curious how this is all going to work out.

Before I made the decision to homeschool, I read a lot about it. But this adventure is a lot like everything else that involves children - no amount of reading books can really prepare you for what is to come. My three year old wants to participate and I'm excited for her to. I think she will be able to learn a lot from this experience. My 21 month old is going to be the major challenge. I'm hoping with all of us together working on things and his toys close by, he will sit and play or let me hold him. I made a trip to the library today to get out weather books for science.

Well, tonight is another social activity, but it is not at my house! I do have to bring a dish though, so I've got a cobbler in the oven. It is apple, pear and marashino cherries with red velvet cake on top. It will be delicious. As long as I keep an eye on it and not burn it like this:

This was a cobbler I made in a dutch oven. The coals were a bit to hot and we left them on way to long. Way, Way, Way to long......