Saturday, March 01, 2008

Light at the end of the tunnel

The wave of winter illness struck us almost two weeks ago. The first two kids to get the virus that causes fevers for up to seven days, have now got their appetites back and are merely drippy nosed. Those two happy ones are the Adrenaline Junkie and the Happy Boy. Somehow they managed to get sick on the exact same day (unless I misread symptoms). Now the Pillowfight Fairy is sick with the fever and off her feed. So far, Tim and I have not come down with it. I've been fighting something like a cold the whole time. As of today, however, I'm beginning to think that it's Spring allergies.

It's not easy going through a wave of illness like this. I'm grateful that this time the parents were well, during the bulk of the kid-sickness. We are still on the brink of a serious case of cabin fever, however. At least we have had nice weather for the last week. There were a few days when we were able to get outside for walks or playing in the backyard (hence my suspicion of allergies) and that seemed to help us a little. The trees and flowers are blooming and it feels like spring. Day by day we are getting closer to being well... the light at the end of the tunnel.

My husband is planning on doing a post on our project today as we took turns taking care of kids while the other parent worked outside. I will summarize from my perspective. We planted a vegetable garden. Yesterday, Tim moved around dirt to level things out, killed a bunch of weeds with Round-Up, and mowed. Today he roto-tilled the garden area for me. Then I raked it level, divided it up and made rows. Then I bought seeds and planted. It doesn't look all that big when you see it in context with our huge backyard. But, it is really a very big garden.

I've waited four and a half years to plant that garden. It is an early spring garden, so I've planted cooler weather vegetables: carrots, cabbage, lettuce, spinach, radishes, onions, chives, parsley, basil, and brussel sprouts. Next weekend, we hope to get supports in so we can plant grape vines and snow peas. We decided that a spot in our small orchard would work for our compost pile. We have almost finished our backyard. Once again a light at the end of the tunnel.

I'll be spending a little time every day watering, weeding, and eventually picking fresh veggies. There will be a lot of weeding. The weeds have spread widely since we've moved in. We keep underestimating how fast the weeds go to seed, and kill them after they've gone to seed. As a result, we have more weeds. So much of this coming growing season will be a fight against the weeds. We will need to eradicate them from several large sections of our yard and then put down ground cloth and wood chips. In the garden, I expect that I'll be pulling weeds nearly every day.

Since finances have been a little tight after the big project from last year and several unexpected expenses, we don't think we will be finishing up all the landscaping just yet. But to make the patio area pretty, I think I'll sow several packets of wildflowers that I already have.

Getting outside and making things look nice again has been really satisfying. I'm sure it will take a few seasons yet before everything is just the way I imagined it. But, it is getting there.

As for the sick days we have had recently, I've had a lot of "light at the end of the tunnel" thoughts. Our oldest child is five years old. Five-year-olds are still fussy and clingy when sick, but they are much easier to work with than a three-year old or an infant. The three year old is super fussy and clingy when sick, but at least she can talk and communicate how she feels, if she's hungry, or if her food is about to come up. The baby (or I should say toddler, since he's walking) is as hard to figure out as ever. If he's not happy, something is wrong.

I realize that sick days will only be getting better as the kids get older. The Pillowfight Fairy is ten times better as a sick child now than when she was three. I have wondered how many of those people I know who decided to stop having kids after one or two, decided this after a bad bout of sickness while the kids were preschool age or younger. I know it crosses my mind on those really tough days.

Somehow, as my kids get older I am seeing another light at the end of the tunnel. We still hope to have another child, but even so I'm not going to be having pregnancies much longer. I'm forty. If we are blessed again, it will be our last I think. Eventually, the baby years will pass. The Toddler years will pass. Preschool years will pass. I will get to rid myself of spare toys and baby clothes, maternity clothes and bottles. Some day we will no longer need booster seats at the table. I am looking forward to the older kid stages.

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