1. Peter and Leo started swim lessons this week at the neighboring suburb's outdoor pool. I'm in the tot class with Leo while Peter's across the pool in level 1. The last time anyone in the family took swim lessons was 4 years ago when Peter was 15 months old and I was very newly pregnant with Leo. It took 3 days for Peter to stop freaking out about being in the water. This time, they both love jumping in and are blowing bubbles like pros. Leo's fighting the floating concept, but oh well. I'll take not being scared of the water for now. A bonus I wasn't aware of when we signed up -- we can come 15 minutes early and/or stay 15 minutes late without paying extra (it's normally $8 to get in, or $5 in the evening). My next-door neighbor and her 3 year old are in Leo's class and the other day we realized we could take turns watching the kids after class so the two of us could head over to the waterslides. It's a bit of a hassle to make sure we're done with dinner in time to get to the pool by 6:30, but the evening class lets us not worry about sunscreen and is a nice way to end the day.
2. We're finishing Week 1 of our flip-flopped summer routine with Dan as the primary caregiver and me the chief wage-earner. I was fairly worried that it would be dull as nails to do my job for more than 2 hours at a stretch, but working during the daytime has made it easier. I'm aiming to work 6 hours MWF and 4 hours T/Th. I nanny Tu/Th but hope to work while she's napping and in the evenings. That leaves me MWF evenings and the weekends to not work. I haven't worked that many hours this week, but I did a lot over last weekend to get things done before a deadline, so I'm on track overall. Next week, Dan will be out of town so I'll be back to fitting in a couple hours in the evenings like during the school year. Then we have one week in town before going to the cabin for a week -- I'll bring the laptop and work a couple hours a day there. The nannying gig will likely be done sometime in July or August, so that might switch things up again.
3. We hit strawberry season here at last. We picked about 4 berries from our garden before the birds got the rest. Now we put a net up in hopes of saving some everbearing ones. At 7am Wednesday, I went to a not-too-far farm and picked 13 lbs of berries over an hour. My legs are still sore from crouching in the wet straw. I made 7 half-pints of strawberry-rhubarb jam that night, 8 half-pints of strawberry jam the next morning (minus one lost when Leo made a jam tower), and froze a gallon plus a quart of halved berries. Total cost: $23 for berries, $4 for lids and pectin (although it turned out I had enough at home already). I'm planning to go back for more next week when they're fully in season and bring Peter and a friend (trading Leo with the friend's mom if I can). 5 year olds are much easier to manage than 3 year olds at berry patches unless you've got a 1:1 parent:child ratio.
4. The garden is going full-tilt. We're drowning in lettuce, picking snap peas and munching them before they get inside, and I picked a big bag of almost-bolting spinach. The first radishes were eaten weeks ago. The beans are climbing maybe 6 inches a day up their poles and I finally finished attaching twine for all the tomatoes to climb on. I bought some watermelon and squash seedlings when the gardening centers put them on 30% last weekend to supplement my still-puny ones. We then got a ton of rain and everything looks healthier, but having too many plants isn't a big dilemma. I put landscape cloth down around all the squashes and melons to keep down the weeds. I thought about mulch but this seemed cheaper and easier.
5. The chickens are growing and changing enough that Stripey isn't stripey anymore. They've finally figured out how to go back into the hen house without a light to guide them or any encouragement. They're almost fully feathered now and look really big and old until we see full-grown ones and realize how far they have to go.
6. The long hours are affecting bedtimes more than I expected. If Peter listens to story CD's at bedtime, he'll listen for hours before falling asleep. Bedtime has been shifted to 9, sometimes 9:30, but he was still awake at 11:15 the other day. On the plus side, he had to be woken up at 9:30 today. Leo usually sleeps until 8, at least. I'd like to shift Peter to listen to a story CD in the afternoon to have some calm downtime--maybe I'll work on that next week.
7. Next week, Dan will be in Chicago for a sacred music colloquium and I'll be fending for myself with the boys. I made sure to buy groceries for food they'll actually eat. Any other advice for handling life as a single parent for seven days? Other than my bringing one boy or the other on my own mini-vacations, I've never done the single parent gig.
More quick takes here: http://www.conversiondiary.com/2009/06/7-quick-takes-friday-vol-38.html