Saturday, May 24, 2008

Important Things You Should Know

Also known as, News From Here For Friends and Family Members Who Care About the Mundane Details of My Life.

We're schooling year round this year due to time we had to take off for moving and a new baby. I didn't take much time off when Grace was born, but we missed a few days and just focused on the most important subjects. I'm taking off this week to plan the next couple of months. I want it to be a really productive summer in terms of academics, brushing up on our weak spots and finishing whatever we haven't gotten done yet. Silas is also more than ready to learn to read, and in fact chastised me just yesterday because he isn't reading yet. ("Mama, you haven't taught me to read yet! You said you were going to teach me to read!" Um, yeah, we talked about that last week...) Pretty amazing for a kid who could have cared less till a few months ago. Elizabeth has plowed ahead in a few subjects and finished several books, like reading and math, so we will be able to focus more intensively on her areas of struggle. The goal is for a strong start this fall. I'll have a 3rd grader, a kindergardener, and a preschooler this year. WOW!!! I can't believe it.

Grace singlehandedly created 2 loads of laundry in the past 12 hours. She is more talented than any of my other children have been in this regard, and trust me, that is saying a lot. I'm doing 20+ loads a week right now. Part of it is just that she has a sensitive little tummy. I have to be careful what I eat, but more than that I have to carefully watch that I keep foremilk/hindmilk in balance and that I don't stuff her too full. I am all about following baby's feeding cues, but if Grace eats too much it's not pretty. However, she is growing at an astounding rate and she's all rolls and chubby cheeks, so she is certainly getting enough. She'll be moving from newborn clothes to 3-6 month size this week.

Billy and I are sick with sinus infections. Although we live in a warm, wet, moldy climate, it probably has more to do with too much sugar and too many late nights watching multiple episodes of 24 taking care of a new baby.

I finally fit into my fat jeans this morning. You know, it is a little disheartening to have a baby and then not even be able to wear your fat clothes. I still have a goodly ways to go, but at least the weight is starting to come off. Time to break out the confetti and cake celery! I've come a long way from my first pregnancy when I prayed daily (no joke) , "God, please don't let me get fat." I'm no longer obsessed with being skinny. But it would be nice to be at that ideal size for reasons of pure vanity.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Ice Cream

I scream

You scream

We all scream

For ice cream!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Day in My Life--May

It's once again time for Little Jenny Wren's "A Day in My Life." Actually I'm a day late posting. There was just no time last night to tell about my day.

I woke about 4:30 this morning with a noisy baby. She and I moved to the rocker recliner in the living room for the rest of the early morning so everyone in the back of the house could sleep. We both fell back to sleep and I dreamed that I was having a party but couldn’t find anything to wear. In my dream I was also doing mountains of laundry. Someone removed the wire shelving from above the washing machine and wouldn’t put it back, which was a catastrophe in dreamland, just as it would be in real life. I love my laundry room!

I ended up oversleeping with my snuggly baby, and jumped up just in time to fix Billy a quick breakfast before he left for work. I made the kids and me some toast with the bread I made yesterday. It’s from the last of our wheat, which isn’t readily available here. Fortunately my parents should be able to bring me some more soon.

I showered and quickly dressed the kids and we took Elizabeth to speech therapy. She was having a difficult time with the R sound, but a few sessions with our therapist friend from church have solved the problem. Her therapist said she doesn’t have to come back any more!

After her session we dropped by the dollar store for pencils. Elizabeth had a few dollars burning a hole in her pocket, and she insisted on buying a small gift for each of us. I put a limit on how much she could spend, or she probably would have spent it all. One of the things I love about my girl is her giving spirit. She loves to give gifts!

At home I put on a load of laundry (from the real laundry mountain) and nursed baby Grace, who is 5 weeks old now. Then warmed up leftover spaghetti while the kids watched Dora the Explorer. I’ve tried to be even more conscientious about using leftovers since the cost of food has gotten so high.

Elizabeth got the mail and came in shouting, “Jack is here! Jack is here!” Billy and I have recently gotten hooked on the show 24, 6 years late to the party. We don’t have cable so we have been ordering the complete seasons from Amazon, which saves bookoodles of money. Season 4 arrived today. The kids are not allowed to watch it, but E knows we have been keeping our eye on the mail box!

After lunch I sat down with the middle littles while they fell asleep. They are not fans of naps, but still really need them. I have learned that it works much better if I supervise them until they are asleep. Silas lays down on the futon and Sarah and I take the rocker recliner. It usually doesn’t take long before they are out and I can go about my day without wondering what they are up to! Elizabeth is reading over my shoulder and giggling at this as I type. She has been working on her school work while I get the littles down. Somehow new pencils made it more fun today.

I was ready to shift into high gear for the afternoon when baby woke and needed to be fed. I enjoy the chance to read, rest, or spend time with God during our nursing times, and I try to not take them for granted. The newborn stage is so short. There are times when I feel frustration that I’m not being more “productive”, yet what is more productive than nurturing a sweet little life, an eternal soul made in the image of God? Mopping can wait. I did coach Elizabeth on her schoolwork during that time.

Finally I was able to spend a couple hours cleaning and doing laundry before it was time to leave for church. I accomplished one of my goals, which was to clean off the top of the pie safe. In our last house it became an unsightly collection spot for this and that. When we moved in here I thought perhaps if I put some nice decorations on top we might avoid that. No such luck. It looked worse than ever.

I filled my biggest mixing bowl with all that stuff!

Whew, much better! It’s a beautiful piece of furniture, and I hate to see it cluttered with junk.

We have family suppers at church on Wednesday night. Last night they served red beans and rice. It is soooo nice to not have to cook on that night!

I didn’t actually get to attend church because Grace needed me. I spent most of the time in the nursery. I don’t typically leave my babies till they are older, just because they are so tiny and I don’t like to subject them to all those germs if I don’t have to!

We visited with friends for awhile afterward and got home about 8:00. We put the kids to bed and watched a couple episodes of 24. Actually we would have headed to bed earlier, but Grace was having tummy trouble and we would have been awake anyway.

Finally Grace fell asleep and we turned in around midnight. Sweet dreams!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Two Links and a Lactation Tip

I've discovered a couple delightful blogs lately. One is 4 Reluctant Entertainers, a blog dedicated to Christian hospitality. It's artful and encouraging.

The other is Blue Yonder, also delightful, even if I was tortured there by pictures of incredible pies today! Oh my!

Now for the tip, since I have to post things in threes.

When my other babies have gotten too much milk, they just unlatched in frustration. Grace, however, seems to think if she just drinks FASTER! AND! FASTER! she can somehow manage the deluge. Then we end up with choke, cough, sputter, gag, cry...It hasn't equalized with time. Finally I tried a tip I read once--let gravity work in your favor. Feeding babe while laying on your back sounds tricky, but it's not really hard and it works. No sputtery baby. I know I'm not the only one who's had this happen, so perhaps it will help one of you moms out there!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Down the Rabbit Hole

Have you ever had a day that just felt like it came from Bizzare-o Land? That was my yesterday. Everything from kids stuffing flowers in their ears to accidentally dumping ice water on the 4-week-old, to dreaming up new ways to aggravate each other that I wouldn't have thought of if I lived to be 100. Today I'm happy for new beginnings!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Home Sweet Homeschool (links)

Teen Graduates High School, College in One Week

How Long Should a Homeschool Day Be?

(Hat tip, Jess at Making Home. )

Reading Placement Test (scroll down, it's the San Diego Quick Assessment)

I was delighted that Elizabeth, who's 7, is reading at a 5th grade level. This was especially encouraging as we get back into the full swing of things since baby's birth. I've focused more on just the 3 R's for the past few weeks. A trip to the library is on the agenda for tomorrow, and a full re-evaluation of where I'm achieving and failing as a teacher is coming up very soon as well. I know I have areas of both. I never doubt our decision to homeschool, but it's the scariest thing I've ever done.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Ice Cream Shop

When we lived downtown, we were half a block from an old-fashioned ice-cream shop, a community fixture. We paid our favorite shop a visit yesterday after Silas's birthday party.

The owner bought it many years ago when he was just 17 years old.

It's a treat for the eye as well as for the palate, filled with brightly-colored old-fashioned delights...


Pennsylvania Dutch hard candy...

And stick candy, just 15 cents each!

(Would you believe, I didn't even get a picture of the ice cream!)

Frugal Birthday

To celebrate his 5th birthday, Silas wanted to take a few friends fishing. We chose an easy-access park on the water.

Dessert: brownies and sandwich cookies.

Favors: 4/$1.00 water guns.

It was easy and relaxing. We didn't catch many fish, but we sure had fun.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Cheap Lunch

I'm not a fan of fast food, but if we are going to occasionally splurge on cheap, nutritionless treats that don't even really taste that good, I don't see any reason to spend more money than necessary.

Yesterday the kids and I each got a double cheeseburger from McDonald's dollar menu. The dollar menu isn't where McDonald's makes their money, though. It's the side items.

So instead of buying fries and drinks (we usually get a cup of water, honestly), we hit the dollar store and got 3-for-a dollar cheetos and a 2-liter bottle of Sprite.

Total to feed all 4 of us, with leftovers? $6.

From now on, I think I will keep a small stash of 3-for-a-dollar chips in the van so all I have to do is add dollar sandwiches and water in a cup (unless we bring our own drinks). That leaves a few more dollars for real eating out, which is a lot more fun!

Frugal Fridays hosted by Crystal.


Guess what I got?

Guess what somebody gave me?

Maybe this helps!

Yes, a treadle sewing machine!

Billy's parents generously shared this lovely family heirloom with us. It looks to be in good working order. And it's beautiful.

Show and tell Friday hosted by Kelli.