Thursday, July 30, 2009

Slowing Down With My Ambitions

A few posts back, I talked about all of my ambitious plans. Well... the weather has been hot and we are back in school so I find myself slowing down on my projects.

I used to love summer... back when I was a kid... when I lived somewhere where you didn't need air conditioning for most of the year. My parents still live there. Only about two weeks every year is it hot enough to wish that you had air conditioning, then it cools down to reasonable levels again and you find you can make do with a box fan just fine. Where we live now in the Sacramento area, it gets beastly hot during much of the summer. Even this year which has been milder than usual, it has been over a hundred plenty. Even though we have air conditioning here, the house still radiates the heat after dark and I feel wilty.

As for the schoolwork, it has been going fairly well. I have managed to get two girls to do their work all month, with only one day off to play with cousins. Even so, schoolwork takes up the majority of the day. When I'm not activity working with one child, another needs attention, housework needs to be done, life goes on. It still surprises me how much time work takes up. Intellectually I understand that since I am homeschooling my kids that I am effectively a "Working Mom". I have a full day's work beyond the general homemaker tasks. Emotionally, however, I still think that my time is my own since I'm my own boss and I have flexible hours. Reality is that being one's own boss means that you have to be the disciplined one and flexible hours means that if plan A falls through, use that flexibility to make a plan B. I find myself bouncing between overworking myself and goofing off when the kids go to bed. As a result my extra projects have slowed down and I tend to save some jobs for school holiday weeks. We've been doing school for four weeks that means I have only two more weeks before our first school break. I have a huge list of things I want to get done in that week. But anyway, what kind of progress have I made so far on my ambitious plans?

1. reclaiming the garden: We did put in drip irrigation but, we still are having a bad garden year. I harvested the few remaining carrots and one miniature cabbage. We still have the peppers, garlic, tomatoes, corn and beans growning. But, weeds are still a problem (they like the heat and I don't). Of the remaining veggies the corn and tomatoes are doing the best (though the corn is spindly and small). Our fruit trees have been doing well. Though we are thinking we need to take out our pear trees (they keep getting hit by blight).

2. We still need to frame our final remaining picture of baby E.

3. I have made good progress at putting away baby things. Very few things are still out.

4. The Fairy's fancy dress in still in production. I'm down to getting the skirt attached and final details. It isn't as much fun as when I started the project, so I'm having to force myself to work on it. It needs to be done soon, she just had another growth spurt. I'm a whole month behind since I planned to be finishing up the Junkie's dress this month.

5. I did clear off some space for the current school year's books.

6. I have cleared up a kitchen counter pretty well, but it is in constant danger of being inundated again. I know what I want to store in my plastic bag cabinet, so now I just need to find a way to make it happen (in a easy to work with manner).

7. I didn't put it on my previous list of ambitions, but we have been wanting to redo our garage. Someday we would like our garage to have the walls and ceiling finished with drywall and have appropriate storage and electrical outlets for our preferred uses for it. In preparation for this I inventoried our haphazardly piled garage stuff and put like things together. I also discovered things that we don't want which can be tossed or given away as appropriate. The next step in the process will be to dismantle a really awkward work bench that we don't want and which gets in the way of using a big chunk of wall for storage of tools. After rearranging things, it looks almost civilized in there.

I haven't gotten everything done, but I haven't given up yet. At least with a big to do list, I can work on whatever fits my convenience the best at the moment. I am trying to not add too many other new projects on until I finish a few more that I already have. I have lots of ideas waiting around in my head though.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Dress update and the first day of school

I mentioned that I was going to post pictures of the completed dresses I made for the girls. The matching summer dresses were completed at the end of May. Here's a picture:

I think they turned out well.

The fancy dresses are still in progress. I am in the middle of constructing The Pillowfight Fairy's fancy dress. If I worked on it faithfully every night it would be done by now. But, I am not up to working on it every night.

We also just had our first day of school for the new school year. What? Early you say? What better time to be indoors than during a Sacramento summer. I'm pleased to say that it went well. The lessons went quickly. The kids were happy to be doing school again. They had structure and purpose in their lives again. As a reminder this is the first year that I am doing two kids in a structured format, with the toddler as the wild card. The Fairy is starting second grade and the Adrenaline Junkie is starting Kindergarten. The lessons were mostly review for the Fairy today. They were more challenging for the Junkie, but not too difficult of a stretch. The Junkie got plenty of play time (often with her little brother) to get out her wiggles. The Happy Boy managed OK too. He did try to get me to turn on the computer for a video or a game, but could be convinced to play with other things instead. He and his sister spent a good thirty to forty-five minutes going back and forth between the kitchen and dining room while opening and closing the sliding door in between while pretending they were characters from Bugs Life. They did make a tremendous mess of play food on the kitchen floor supplemented by a dozen board books and a toy alligator. But they also were able to clean up the mess without help. About an hour later I did discover a half-eaten nectarine on the floor of the kitchen. But these days, that is a blessedly small mess compared to what the Happy Boy is capable of. He is getting tall enough to reach things on the counter tops and has snacking tendencies. On the whole I am pleased with the day and hope we have many more that go as well.

For those wondering about when my husband is going to update his blog, I have no idea. He just got a new shipment of rings and has started making a chain maille outfit for the Adrenaline Junkie. He loves his new hobby. So your guess is as good as mine.

We seem to be in a crafty mood lately. He makes chain maille. I make dresses and am planning some crocheted shawls to go with said dresses. The Pillowfight Fairy has been knitting a scarf (hopefully the first of many) which she hopes to sell close to Christmas for extra money. No special craft for the Junkie yet (though I am contemplating fulfilling a promise to make a toy "church mouse" and getting her to help). The Happy Boy has obsessions too. He likes to put foam letter stickers on paper in mostly straight even lines. He can easily do this for an hour a day (or until his two year old body has to wiggle out of his seat and go running around the house in circles).

With all of our idiosyncrasies I think I am losing track of whether our daily life is amazingly dull and boring or odd and exciting. Or maybe we are oddly boring or dully exciting. I can't actually say that I've ever been normal, but I think our family is continuing to be different but in many ways that are different for us. Does that make any sense? Well, at any rate, we are managing to maintain routine life while adding in a little variety. And yes chaos is still alive and well in our household and I am still working on finding order in the midst of it.