Saturday, August 28, 2010

School Daze

It's official:  my little girl isn't a baby any more.  On Wednesday she started kindergarten.  Here she is on her first day.

I ever so naively thought that sending her off to "real" school wouldn't be any different than sending her to preschool.  That I wasn't one of those moms who broke down and cried when their kids reached milestones like kindergarten.  Boy, I was wrong. 

No, I didn't cry that first morning.  In fact, I didn't even feel bad about it until after I'd left school, picked up my nephews from Grandma's, and got back home.  The boys played happily.  Suddenly something felt wrong, like something was missing.  I dismissed it as a light case of the "mommy jitters".  After all, I had lots of concerns picking away at the back of my brain.  Would she like school?  (She did) Would she make friends?  (She did ) Would she like and eat her lunch?  (Yep) Would she be OK on the bus ride home? (Not completely, but she's fine with it now) etc etc.  I found myself counting the hours until school was out.  By the time she finally got home I was more than ready to hug her.  But I thought we both did pretty well, considering.  No sweat.  School was easy.

Enter the next morning.  We almost missed the bus.  The baby cried all the way home (only 5 minutes, but still).  The boys fought and quarreled and picked on Evan.  The baby fussed, and there was no Kaylee to play with him.  My anxiety increased.  The kids picked up on it, the boys got whiny, and the baby screamed.   More anxiety from Mommy.  More screaming.  Naptime finally calmed things down a little.  It was a rough day, but I chalked it up to 2 early mornings, teething, and adjusting.  I missed her dreadfully, but we survivied.

Friday arrived.  Kaylee waved cheerfully from the school bus window while I fought back tears.  The day was worse than the previous one.  More fighting.  More Mommy stress.  While I was putting the baby down for a nap, the other 3 dumped every toy box, bin, and storage container in the playroom onto the floor and stirred it around.  CD's, toys, puzzle pieces, cassette tapes, train track, you name it.  Mommy almost came unglued.  Just after we got that cleaned up, Evan got into the art box.  Scissors, markers, erasers, playdough, etc.  Then Miles picked up the scissors and cut holes in Evan's shirt.   By this time Mommy was considerably upset.  And my state of mind was definitely rubbing off on the boys.  They started whining that there was nothing to do.  Evan rubbed chalk all over everything.  Clark did manage to cut his tooth, but still fussed and whined.   It was a complete disaster.   Until Kaylee walked in the door.  

Clark stopped whining and smiled.  The other boys happily played games of her choosing.  All was right again.  That's when I broke down and cried. 

So this is what happens when your oldest child, your helper, your little "momma" goes off to school.  I knew I depended a lot on Kaylee, but I obviously had no idea how much.  I MISS HER!  Not just her helpfulness, but her, in general.  Her smile, her laugh, her love of life.  It feels all wrong, having her gone for 9 hours a day.  I've always been a "listen to your instincts" kind of parent, so if it felt wrong, I didnt' do it.  Babies sleeping in their own cribs?  No, they slept with me.  Leaving them at daycare?  Couldn't do it.  But how do I deal with this?  Is this even a normal reaction?  Am I overly attached to my daughter?  Good grief, if I'm this much of a mess when she goes to kindergarten, what will I do when she goes off to college? 

Kaylee, on the other hand, loves school.  So I try to keep my feelings to myself.  I don't want to taint her experience, and she is enjoying it.  I suppose, like my dad always says "This too shall pass"  and I'll adjust.  Eventually.  For now I"m just hoping to survive the next week.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


I've been wanting a clothesline for a while now.  Ever since I started cloth diapering, in fact.  So when I saw some metal clothes poles listed on freecycle, I quickly latched onto them.  Since they were too big to fit in the back of my brother in law's pickup, my dad ended up bringing them over on his trailer.  Then they sat in the yard for a couple of weeks until Rich had a weekend off.  Finally last weekend we got them in the ground, and I now have my clothesline.  Granted, we should have put them in cement, because if I hang lots of wet clothes on the lines, they droop nearly to the ground.  But we'll probably have to move it if/when we take down the big tree by our house (more on that later) anyway.  And when we take down the tree, we'll put the poles in conrete.  But for now, it will do. 

A few days ago I gave all my pocket diapers a  Rockin' Green soak and hung them out for a good sunning.  It looked so cool that I just had to take a picture.  So here's my clothesline, and, as a bonus, my cloth diaper stash as well!  Pockets in the foreground, and inserts on the back 2 lines. 

It was a very hot day, so the camera lens wanted to fog up a bit, but you get the idea. 

 There's something so satisfying about drying clothes on a line.  Especially diapers.  Something like a connection to simpler time.  My grandma always had a clothesline, and I fondly remember helping her lug the basket of wet clothes out to hang (she'd always warn me "don't drop them in the dirt") and then going to get them a few hours later.  And there's nothing like the sweet, sunshiney smell of line dried clothes!

Relishing Summer

I've been doing some canning lately.  A lot of canning.  Relish.  Pickles.  Tomatoes.  Spaghetti sauce.  For some reason, it's always like this at the end of the summer.  After weeks of waiting impatiently for that first ripe tomato, everything ripens at once and it's a mad dash to get it all canned, frozen, or otherwise used up. 

 Anyone who gardens knows that by the middle of August the zucchini have nearly taken over the garden, and people are resorting to leaving the excess in unlocked cars in the Walmart parking lot.  It hasn't gotten to that point yet around here, but it's been close!  Then I found this wonderful sweet relish recipe that uses......not cucumbers......zucchini!  Not only that, it's the best sweet relish I've ever tasted.  So far it's resulted in 3 large batches for us and requests from my mother and inlaws for more.  It's too good not to share.  So here it is....

Sweet Relish

10 C chopped zucchini
1 C chopped celery
5 C chopped onions
2 red peppers, chopped
3 green peppers, chopped
1/2 cup coarse salt (I use canning salt)
6 C sugar
2 tsp tumeric
1 tblsp dry mustard
3 tblsps corn starch
5 c white vinegar

Chop all vegetables using food processor, measure into a large bowl.  Add salt and mix well.  Cover and refrigerate 24 hours.

Drain and rinse vegetables.  Place in a large, heavy bottomed pot.  Combine cornstarch and 1/2 cup sugar, mix well and add to pot.  Add remaining sugar, spices, and vinegar.  Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat and boil 20 minutes. 

Using a canning funnel, pour into pint or 1/2 pint jars.  Add lids and bands.  Process in a boiling water bath canner for 20 minutes.  Allow to stand for 24 hours before removing bands and storing. 

Hope you enjoy! 

And finally, for those needing their kid photo fix, here's a picture of my 2 helpers, all ready to freeze beans in their aprons.  Aren't I lucky to have such good help? :-)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Welcome to the new blog!

Welcome to my new web address and blog.  Actually, it's the same blog, with a new name.  I hope you enjoy!