Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry Christmas 2007

This year we asked for family gifts. One gift for the whole family. Everyone did a wonderful job getting us what we asked for and instead of coming home with a truckful of stuff the kids may not use (and we don't have a place for), they all got wonderful gifts (that fit in our home) and they'll spend hours on. They got a tether ball set for the back yard, an air hockey table (we put it in the schoolroom -- I'm thinking that's a mistake, but the kids are excited!), a karaoke machine, a mini-trampolene (for one person at a time), an indoor horseshoe game (made of foam- YES!), a putting green (with a LOUD automatic ball spitter-outer-thingy)...and many more cool things. As usual the kids were thrilled...this year, I was particularly happy, too - especially when it came to finding a home for all the gifts!
Ds#3 asked for a toaster for Christmas -- and got one. We haven't had a toaster for over a year, now. With 6 people each wanting at least 2 pieces of toast per meal, a 2 or 4 slice toaster just wasn't cutting it. I can do 8 pieces in my George Forman (which I LOVE), so we didn't replace the toaster when it died (which overworked appliances in a big family do). Ds#3 isn't allowed to use the George Forman by himself, so he missed making toast. His grandma granted this particular wish and he's been making his own toast since...
Christmas Morning...I just couldn't resist putting a picture of Dd#1 in her rag curlers. You know they're growing up when they're willing to wear curlers Christmas Eve.
P.S. We're firing the elves...Santa brings stuff in the kids' stockings and all the rest of their presents Christmas morning are from Dave and I. The bigger kids "help" us Christmas Eve. This year, the boys found girls' panties in their stockings as well as some kids getting multiple toothbrushes and some kids getting none, some kids getting lots of candy, some kids having it sparse...thankfully, they all share well.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas parties in red and green

Christmas pants - I think everything for the kids (socks, toothpaste, razors, pencils) bought in the month of December should be wrapped and put under the tree. Dave thinks otherwise and the day before Christmas bought the boys red and green sleeper pants. They were so excited! Oh, well, they'll look cute opening their gifts...

Ever since Dd#2 got a digital camera/camcorder for her birthday last month, she's an expert on digital cameras. Here she is trying to show her great aunt how to use one. Our aunt really did need the help. She said she "hated to have a 10 year old have to teach ME how to delete pictures off my camera." Dd#2 was pretty proud of herself.

New baby and Santa hat Grandpa -- just too cute not to put here...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Blue Christmas

Here's a peek into our house : After our little Christmas Tree incident last year, we had to go Christmas Tree shopping. I told Dave that if he wanted a real tree (something I've never wanted) this would be the year to get it. Next year when I have a toddler crawling around, I'm not going to want to worry about pine needles dropping on the floor. He said he wasn't dying to have a real one this year, so we went to Hobby Lobby. They had 50% off all their trees.

I've always wanted a silver and blue Christmas tree, but Dave hasn't thought that seemed much like Christmas. This year, he let me have just what I wanted. So I bought silver and blue metalic wrap to go around the tree. I've been thrilled with our Christmas tree this year. We decorated it with blue glass balls we've had since our first year of marriage (that year I put blue balls & white from our wedding bouquet on the tree -- that was lovely, also) and a package of white and blue candy canes from the dollar store. We leave our tree up until Epiphany, January 6th, so I have a while to enjoy the tree, yet.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

2nd Place

Ds#4 won 2nd place in the library's poetry contest for Kindergarden. The theme this year was "If I could go anywhere..." In the K-12th competition, there were 900 entries submitted this year. I think all the kids did a great job!!

Ds#4 had all the ideas, I looked up words in our Rhyming Dictionary (I've LOVED that thing!) and suggested them to him, and he came up with the line. I did help him with meter and syllabication, but the rest was all him.

People have asked him what a canimal is. He made it up when he didn't like the words available to rhyme with animal. He described it to me and submitted a picture of one with his poem.

Rescuing Animals

If I could go anywhere, I’d rescue an animal.
I like them a lot,
but I’ve never heard of a canimal.

I would rescue a baby elephant
when it gets lost
Or a baby lizard
stuck in applesauce.

A baby dolphin
bit by a shark
Or a beaver’s dam
made of bark

A baby alligator
without a dad
He ran away
and made his mom mad.

If I ever found
a yellow striped canimal
I’d rescue it too,
because it’s an animal.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Song for a Fifth Child

Dave said that my love for this poem fanned my desire to have a fifth baby. How rediculous...that's absurd...well...maybe... (pictures of MY beautiful fifth child from Kim Ross Photography)

Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth
empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
hang out the washing and butter the bread,
sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I've grown shiftless as Little
Boy Blue (lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew
and out in the yard there's a hullabaloo
but I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren't her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
for children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Homeschool Subject Poster Planner

I've needed a way to get the kids to do school first thing in the morning while I'm still comatose from being up at night with the baby. It allows us to keep the kids on track with a glance and allows them to be as independent as possible.

This method wouldn't work if I wanted to keep lesson plans or have any complicated organization. Their planners work well for having each child doing the same subject matter in history but assignments on each person's own level.

I put the poster in landscape mode and divided it into 4ths (for my 4 kids that need to do school). Then I divided their 4th into 6 lines (that gave each a 2" space to write in) for the subject I wanted each child to do on their own.

When they complete a subject, they put a pencil checkmark on that day and that subject for their name. When I get up, they get a sticker for doing it without being told. Throughout the day, we mark it off with a checkmark only if I'm up when it's gotten done. Their books are either in their desks or any math papers or other assignments are paperclipped to the poster so they know exactly what they're supposed to be doing.

This has worked well for a whole 2 days so I thought I'd share.

Monday, December 10, 2007

First Reconciliation

Ds#3 had his First Reconciliation. He said he was a little nervous, but he didn't act it. As we discussed it, he said he wanted to go to a different priest than Daddy and I -- he was a big boy! I didn't get to go because the baby was really fussy with his cold (and I was super exhausted, already). So, Dave took him without me. I just prayed really hard for them from home.

Ds#3 was nervous and his Godfather told him he had a present for him. That cheered Ds#3 up. Daddy said that Ds#3 knew his Act of Contrition much better than Daddy did, so Daddy was pretty scared, too. When Ds#3 was done with his first confession, he felt much better. He said he'd been more scared than he thought he would be, but when it was done, he felt pretty happy with himself. After the sacrament was a cookie reception that Ds#3 REALLY liked!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

First Reconciliation Craft - Lapbook

An illustration of this is listed on my website at First Reconciliation Lapbook.

Ds#3's First Reconciliation will be tonight. With the pregnancy and birth, I was thankful for CCD. However, his preparation wasn't as complete as the girls' had been (with CCD & preparation at home) and I didn't realize it (or pay attention) until last week. So, we did a crash course. He understood the concept, but not the specific procedures or vocabulary. I'd worked with him early in the school year on the concepts, so he was great on that.

I used Dd#1's lapbook we created for her 1st Reconciliation as the primary "text" to teach him. It turned out to be just perfect.

Here is the lapbook Dd#1 created 4 years ago for her First Reconciliation :

We took a file folder and covered it's front and back with white typing paper (to make it white - with the significance of purity). Then we covered all of that with a fine tule. We also tied gross-grain ribbon on each flap that opens with the bow on the front covers.

Front :

  • On the front cover is a booklet she made about The Good Shepherd and the procedures of Reconciliation.
  • We also attached a pin she received from her Godparents on the occasion.

Inside :

* In the shape of the 10 commandments, we cut 8 pieces of construction paper that we attached together with string. We folded the 10 commandments and she wrote 1 of each commandment, in her own words, on the inside so it was like a book form. Then, we glued the front and back cover of the commandments so the book was "open" to the inside left of the file folder at the top.

* The piece of accordion folded pink paper you see next to the 10 commandments is the Act of Contrition she wrote out from memory. Then we folded it accordion style and glued the top fold to the center top of the lapbook.

* Below the 10 commandments, is her handprint cut out in 5 different colors. On one finger of each hand she wrote the procedures of Reconciliation. So that on the first handprint, in the thumb she wrote 1. Make the sign of the cross and tell the priest how long it's been since your last confession. On the 2nd hand print in the pointer finger she wrote 2. Confess your sins. On the 3rd handprint in the middle finger she wrote 3. Listen to the priest. On the 4th handprint in the rimg finger she wrote 4. Say the Act of Contrition. On the 5th handprint in the pinky finger she wrote 5. Listen for Absolution. Say Amen. Thank the priest. The handprint booklet was stapled in the bottom of the palm (so that it opened down) to the bottom of the inside left flap.

* We cut heart 3 shapes and stapled them into a booklet on the inside right flap. She wrote Examination of Conscience on the front cover. Opening the booklet on each page she wrote one reflection that she felt applied to her. "Have I said my morning offering?" "Have I minded my parents?" "Have I paid attention in Mass" "Have I talked to God through my day?" "Have I acted like Jesus would to my siblings?"

* She listed her sins in a rectangular booklet we taped at the top and glued to the bottom inside right flap.

*In the middle of the center inside page, we stapled the program the church put together for her First Reconciliation ceremony.

* At the bottom of the center inside page, we stapled a booklet of pictures with her and her friends at the cookie reception after First Reconciliation.

Fussy boy

Is he spoiled ALREADY? I just didn't see how he could be. For the previous 4 days he fussed and was so unhappy unless he was nursing or being held. He wouldn't even sleep well without being held.
Then the night before last I noticed that he was gagging quite a bit -- I see, he caught his sister's cold. So, I'm hoping it's just a little cold that's making him fussy. Last night he slept well, so hopefully he's feeling better (it's a cliche, but 'it's so hard to tell with babies' how they feel or what's wrong).

He's been breaking out. Dd#2 is tracking what I eat to see if it's something in his system that I'm doing. Dd#1, as an infant, would break out when I drank Orange Juice. Everyone says it's 'baby acne'. He's not as cute this week as he was last week -- but he's cute, anyhow!

Monday, December 03, 2007

God is good (and I'm tired)

People who have been asking how things are going -- the title of this entry pretty much sums it up.

  • The baby's circumcision is healing beautifully, thank you for your prayers. God is good.
  • Dave got out the Christmas decorations and said he has no expectations of me to help unless I want to. God is good.
  • No sign of yeast in me or baby. God is good.
  • For Dd#2's 10th B-day - Dave brought home flowers, his mom had all the girl cousins for a sleep-over, and my sister took her shopping to make this year special for her when I didn't have the energy to. God is good.
  • Ds#3's First Reconciliation is comming up this week - what a beautiful passage into being one of the "big kids". God is good.
  • Dd#1, who wasn't particularly excited about the baby, has been making a sincere effort to help with him and it's been paying off. Meanwhile, several of her friends have been making an effort so that she can get out and have "big girl" fun...and it's been paying off. God is good.
  • My milk supply seems to be evening out. While I still have plugged ducts and sleep & I are having love/hate issues, things are "functional" (which is as much as I can expect --although I am looking forward to the day when I have more energy.) God is good.
  • Dave has been as gentle and considerate and loving as he could possibly be with me. God is good.
  • The girls were spontaneously invited to be picked up by friends and taken to the Geography Bee (something I've wanted them in but couldn't quite make it happen). God is good.
  • Friends have been showering us with meals and other items. God is good.

Friday, November 30, 2007


I thought I was one of the few who still had my boys circumcised. You hear so much bad press about it, I thought it was one more thing I was bucking the culture on.
  • I love the religious significance of it.
  • If God asks it of us, who am I to say 'no'.
  • A nurse friend of mine said she sees less infections in men & their wives for men who are circumcised.
  • I do want the boys to look like their dad and have similar experiences as he does -- since he's the one who will teach them what being a male is.
My pediatrician said that he doesn't know about the coasts, but here in mid-America, 85% of his clients have their boys circumcised. In spite of all my research & reasoning, I still feel anxious each time we have it done.
So, Wednesday we had our 2 1/2 week old baby circumcised. Our pediatrician went on vacation the week before, so we had to wait a bit. He said that few parents chose to watch, but I figure if we could make the choice in putting him through that, the least we could do is watch what he has to go through and be there with him. Dave's seen it before -- it was the first time I was upright enough to attend.

The nurse put a pressure bandage in his diaper to help with bleeding, even though he wasn't really bleeding much at all. The dressing was huge compared to his diaper. I'd been worried about cross-contamination with the yeast in his poop that was almost taken care of, but not completely. By the time Dave dropped the baby & I back home and went back to work, I changed his first diaper since the procedure. The pressure dressing had acted like a funnel and he had gotten poop all over the wound. I called the Dr. who said that if the bleeding had stopped, I needed to soak him, unwind the gauze and wash him with soap and water.

AAhhhhhhh!!!!! I don't even give baths to slippery infants without Dave, let alone scrub open wounds!!! I knew I couldn't do this alone and Dave couldn't come back home. I called my sister who came over at one o'clock that afternoon to help me do this horrible thing to my delicate baby. It took us 20 minutes and 2 water changes. The baby screamed more than he has in his life and was rigid and kicking and flailing. It was horrible. It was all Sara & I could do not to cry through it -- but that wouldn't have helped us get through it faster. Midway, I was shaking so much, we had to switch places and I held him down while she washed. Then we switched again and I finished up. He nursed and nursed afterwards. He's too young to even give him over-the-counter Tylenol without the Dr.'s prescription. It was one of the 2nd worst days of my adult life - serious anguish (the first was when I had to hold 8mo old Dd#2's ankle down that was broken so they could get an x-ray. The look in her eyes was like she couldn't believe that her mama would cause her that much pain. Horrible.)
Originally the Dr. thought that he'd sleep the day after the circ. After all that pain, he didn't sleep more than 10-20 minutes at a time and wake up crying for over 24 hours. My poor baby, and I had to be the one to do it to him....
That meant I didn't sleep, either. I've still got 1 plugged duct that has been plugged for over 2 weeks, now. I was getting 2 more. With lack of sleep, my milk supply diminished. The baby wanted to nurse all night long and all the next day. Finally at 3pm Thursday, he fell asleep for 2 hours -- which meant I slept for about an hour and a half. The more I rested and slept the evening, the more milk I was able to make and the more he slept.
I'm not unhappy about the decision to have him circumcised, but I am prayerful for his quick healing. This is our 3 week old baby -- sleeping ...like a baby.

Newborn daze

It's really "daze" and nights.
When people ask me how I'm doing, I tell them
"I'm better than I was and not as good as I will be."

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Oi Vey...what a first couple of weeks...

I've nursed 4 children successfully with little thought (except the first one -- a learning curve went with her about everything).

I was shocked at how sore I was nursing the first baby, but after that...it's been really no big deal.
  • I don't like leaking, but I love not washing bottles.
  • I love that I don't have to store formula or heat anything up.
  • I love that I don't have to worry about which nipple or bottle is best to buy.
  • I love that baby's spit-up doesn't smell that bad or stain.
  • I love that baby's poop isn't toxic (until he starts eating solids).
  • I love how healthy it is for baby and that the milk changes as the baby grows to suit his needs.
  • I love that it helps keep baby from getting colds.
  • I love that it's like a drug in helping baby sleep.
  • I love that it helps me bond with a defiant toddler whose driving me crazy.
  • I love that it's FREE!
As much as I appreciate how wonderful God is in giving me this easy FREE way to feed my baby the best possible nutrition...if this had been my first experience nursing, I think I'd have quit by now.

It hurt. It's been 3 1/2 years since I last nursed. I expected it to. It really hurt. After just coming off of my most painful birth, I had to breathe and concentrate through the pain like I did during labor. I always make a lot of milk and it comes in really quickly, so I wasn't surprised at all when my milk came in after 24 hours. It hurt so bad to nurse that I was painfully engorged in a few hours and had plugged ducts & mastitis in a few days. I went to bed and within 12 hours my fever was gone. I tried pumping, but it felt like razor blades cutting me.

The midwife's nurse came for a visit at 5 days post partum to weigh the baby (pic at right) and was unhappy that he was still loosing weight. I'd been cracking & seeping and peeling. She said it was a classic case of yeast that had gone into my ducts. GREAT. After she left, I started bleeding and the baby got a HORRIBLE diaper rash from the yeast. Through several conversations and many articles from this website, I got a prescription for Dr. Jack Newman's all purpose ointment, Gentian Violet & grapefruit seed extract for me. The baby refused to nurse with the grapefruit seed extract on me, so I tried that orally and it made me really sick to my stomach (boy, I couldn't blame the baby for not wanting that stuff). I kept him naked for about 4 days and nights trying to air out the yeast on his bottom and get light to it. (I had to do 3 loads of tiny baby clothes, cloth diapers & receiving blankets each day to keep up - but I couldn't imagine how bad that diaper rash hurt with all those open sores). I used a 10% vinegar-to-water solution each time to clean his bottom (no wipes) and the all purpose ointment. Things weren't getting better very quickly, so I used Montistat on his bottom. His rash flared red and swelled, so I switched to Lotrimin. That seemed to do the trick along with the Gentian Violet orally for him.

Between all the laundry, and mess and hassle of applications on me after every feeding and applications on baby after every small bowl movement, it's been a fair amount of work these first 2 weeks. The kids have been very understanding, though and Dave's been accommodating with all my efforts - the house has been pretty trashed, though. Things are almost all better. Just in time for his circumcision next week.

I got a call today to pray for a 2 day old baby from our church that had to be rushed for heart surgery. My small hassles are so insignificant compared to what some people have to deal with. Please be with that baby, Jesus, and be with mine. Amen.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Baby Bath

After all the information about yeast, one of the suggestions was a daily baking soda bath for the baby's bottom. So the kids and I gave Ds#5 a bath together.
Ds#3 gathered supplies while Dd#2 was our photographer.
Dd#1 and I did most of the getting him clean parts. Ds#4 just asked tons of questions.

It must've been a soothing experience for baby, because he went right to sleep.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Rainbow Baby

So, you've seen the blue..that tured to purple, while the rest of Ds#5's body was beafsteak red.

Now..presenting...our jaundiced baby (due to the higher hemoglobin levels in home birth babies, they look more jaunticed than their blood levels reveal).

Who can tell me what you get when you mix deep red with yellow????
Dave calls him our Oooma-Loompa Baby.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Quote of the Day

Dd#2 running up and down the stairs immediately after Ds#5's birth, not being able to contain herself in wanting to express to someone her heart bursting with love...
He's so SWEET! He's so WONDERFUL! He's so BEAUTIFUL!
Dd#1, less than impressed...
He's so BLUE!!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Birth Story 2007

Last Wednesday I was 12 days post date waiting for baby and tired of waiting. I tried 5 different things to put me into labor...the baby stayed awake for about 10 hours inutero from the herbs, but no contractions.

Thursday at 10am, the Certified Nurse Midwife came to my house and broke my water. No going back. If I wasn't in labor by the next morning it was off to the hospital with pitocin. **BLECH**!

We tried about 5 different things to put me into labor all day...no dice. Finally, at 3pm I consented to 3 doses (an hour apart) of caster oil. I have significant digestive pains regularly -- and they're worse when I'm pregnant. Putting myself in that pain with the idea of contractions on top of them...sounded absolutely gruesome -- but not as gruesome as a hospital pit-drip birth (I had one of those with Dd#1...it was a very bad experience).

I took my 3rd dose at 5:45 and the midwife went to dinner (with my permission and promise to call if things got rolling fast). My first contraction started at 6:10. The midwife called at 6:15 to ask how I was doing and see if she should cancel her food order. No, stay, we've got a while. I spent the next hour on the potty in serious pain. (It wasn't worse pain than I had imagined, but definately just as bad as I'd feared.) My contractions were coming fast, but were short and I really thought we had lots of hours of this when she called at 7:30 to say she was on her way and check on me. As soon as I hung up the phone I got into some seriously painful contractions. At this time I was laying on my bed begging her to hurry (in my head). Dd#1 layed next to me and held my hand and Dd#2 quietly came in and out. Dave and Julie helped me where they could and I just tried to get through each one. I was waiting to get into the birthing tub until things got pretty bad because the best relief comes in the 1st hour you're in the tub and I didn't want to waste that relief on easier contractions.

The midwife got there possibly 15 minutes later and everyone worked like mad to get the temperature right in the tub we rented for pain relief (and I was sure ready for some relief). I had my eyes closed and could just hear what was going on. They got me in the tub and although the contractions were pretty horrible, I could relax between them in the water. I eventually had a hard time holding myself up in the water between contractions, so Dave got in with me to help me. The midwife wasn't checking me, only the baby's heartbeat (I yelled at her each time she touched my stomach -- she said she was used to it). I remember Dave asking her how she would know when it was time to push. She said "Jenn will know." At 8:45 I felt my body pushing HARD and thought to myself "it isn't time, yet," but I couldn't help it. 2 more contractions and hard pushes later our wonderful (he was quite less than beautiful) baby was born.

The labor was 2 1/2 hours. I don't recover as well from fast labors and a week later am still waiting to feel up to walking across the house, let alone wanting to leave the house. I'm usually raring to go out by day 3 after labor...but not this time (or with Dd#2 whose labor was 2 hrs 9 min.)

This was the most painful (non-pit-drip) labor I've ever had -- and the most wonderful birth experience I've ever had. He was SERIOUSLY blechy looking when he was born -- vernix everywhere, bruised so much he was blue from coming out too fast (I probably wasn't completely dialiated with that first push and pushed him past, anyway.) Then he tured beat red as the umbilical cord has to stop pulsating before they clamp it so he starts with lots more blood volume. The red and blue together -- made him purple. That was my rainbow baby's home birth. They took pictures (I couldn't BELIEVE they did that!) and they are SERIOUSLY disgusting. So I'll just show you one.

Monday, November 05, 2007

RC History

Here's an overview of our history using RC & SOTW. I mostly use SOTW as a supplement as it fits into RC History (Roman Catholic History). (The parts in italics are parts included in the program - book pages are given in the program, you have to buy the books, mapping software, audio tapes separate - this program could get expensive if you try to buy everything...be choosey & utilize your local library when possible or go in with another family and just buy some of the books and trade)

Overview & Understanding RC History :
  • The history program covers history in a chronological 4-year cycle, so if you started in 1st grade, you'd get through all of recorded history (at ever deepening levels) 3 times by grade 12.
  • The program is divided into 4 levels (K-12) called stages so all children in a family can learn together.
  • It is designed to be flexible, so the parent makes all the decisions (which can seem overwhelming when you're first looking at the program.) You can go through the program as fast or slow including as many or few resources, activities, assignments as fits your family situation and allowing your child to work at the level that is best for them.
  • A method of teaching called "CONNECTing with history" that includes all learning styles and integrates other disciplines (writing, art, geography, literature, religion...) in with history.
  • An underlying structure with Christ at the center of all history (think of a cross with the horizontal beam being time and BC time on the left, AD time on the right & Christ at the center) and Christ at the center of everything God wills in heaven & earth (think of the vertical beam of the cross with the top being happenings in heaven and the bottom being happenings on earth and Christ at the center where it meets the horizontal beam)

Nuts & Bolts - RC History includes :

  • book suggestions for each level - these are further broken down by priority
  1. core readings
  2. basic assignments that are optional, but helpful
  3. additional literature for further study if you're so inclined
  • mapping suggestions
  • timeline suggestions
  • poetry selections
  • questions to ponder and discuss
  • writing assignments to reasearch
  • some units include the WONDERFUL Novel Inquiries literature study guides
  • hands-on activities (and book suggestions with craft/art projects in them)
In Action - how we use RC History :

For us the "CONNECT" aspect works on a monthly basis (about 1 unit per month). The hardest part of the program (for me) is to wrap my mind around how much & what to assign when throughout the month. I plan the kids' school 1 month at a time to accomodate RC History & the pace we want to go through the program.

C - Consider : ask the introductory questions given in program (jr. high & high school level), Mama reads the background reading as prep. (1-3 days)

O - Overview : read the overview of cultures from program (jr. high & high) to be studied in that unit & assign other overview reading from Kingfisher World Hisotory (jr. high), Usborne World History (elem), Oxford (jr. high), Bible - for example, they are all reading the same stories in the Bible, but you'll decide which bible they read from or that you'll read to them based on their level, etc. (all) (2 days)

N - Notebook : assign literature readings- what you have on-hand & suggestions from RC History, narrations, writing assignments, art & projects... (all) (2-3 weeks)

E - Explore : this really goes along with Notebook time & specific activities are given in the program - mapping, bible readings, get movies that tie in from library, religion tie-ins (I don't want to give you the impression that religion is separate in the program, it's all tied in)

C - Concentrate : prepare for end project, finish up writing assignments, do timeline, etc -- goes with Notebook in my mind.

T - Tell : This is my kids favorite part. They've done writing assignments or narrations (depending on their age) throughout the month and then they select a project that summarizes or focuses on what they've learned that month. (2-3 days)

It really took me quite a while to wrap my mind around the program. For our family is works GREAT and combining all the componants just took practice on my part. I love the way the program focuses on Catholic history while not neglecting secular history. I also like that it includes so many things (poetry for memorization or enjoyment, the academically challenging Novel Inquiries, art projects, deeper reading suggestions if we want/have time for them...) and that all the kids can learn the same topics at the same time encouraging family discussions, impromptu play-acting, etc. It is a very teacher-intensive program in my mind, but definately worth the effort.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

No news is good news

I won't be induced on Saturday (today), afterall. The baby is growing more than we suspected last week and seems very healthy & reactive. I was dialated, but now am not, so induction at this point would mean such extreeme measures (Pitocin in the hospital) that it seems obvious to wait. This last week (41 1/2) is when I usually go into labor on my own, anyway. So, I'll just wait on God's timing some more. I'm not nearly as miserable as I was last week, I finally started sleeping, again. It's AMAZING how much better I feel with 4 or 5 hours sleep compared to 2. Thank you for your continued prayers and support. It makes a world of difference!

Friday, November 02, 2007

My next book adventure

I saw an interview of Clarence Thomas on 20/20 about his new book. I don't have any knowledge of him since the Anita Hill scandals. The interview was really impressive. THEN, I got my new issue of Imprimis (a free publication from Hillsdale College that I get TON out of reading - click on "free subscription" on the left side of the link) and it was another interview of him. I am going to HAVE to read this book!! I'm amazed how much the interviews and world view of this guy speaks to me. I would think that sitting here with a bunch of kids and homeschooling, that I would have so little in common with a black Supreme Court Justice. I'm really excited to get a hold of this book!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Hullabalu

I wasn't sure if I'd make it to this year's Halloween party, but I got a good night's sleep the night before and was able to attend. (My WONDERFUL homeschool friends were already going to make sure that my kids could attend, whether I could or not.)

The mummy race was a GREAT game that we played for the first time this year. It's destined to become a classic. My Indian brave (you can just see his war paint peeking out of his mummy bandages on the far left) lost the race, but enjoyed it, nonetheless. On the right, you see the remnants of a game well played (and the kids had almost as much fun racing to clean it up!)

Next is a pic of my St. Fancis doing the monster mash after loosing a game of hot potato. Many of the kids (the boys in particular) were hesitant to participate in the dancing. My children had no such inhibitions, and eventually, even the older boys joined in.

The craft award goes to the mom who had a couple of 2x4's leftover in her garage. She used her circular saw (Cari's quite a multi-talented lady) and cut them into squares & short rectangles. She had her kids sand down the edges (I would have gotten sooo many whinney complaints about that part) and the older 2 (10 & 11 yr old girls) drove a large nail in the top of each. Then she spray painted them all orange all over. It was a BRILLIANT craft. She brought paint shirts & paint & let the kids paint their own jack-o-lanterns. Then she had raffia & black ribbon cut for the kids to tie onto the nail top. They all looked sooo cool. The picture at right is my Cleopatra in front a paint shirt rushing through the craft (she rushes through ALOT of things) -- someday we'll laugh at how much we have say, "Sweeheart, S-L-O-W D-O-W-N!! I thought my kids did a particularly poor job (the were much more into the dancing & ripping toilet paper apart), so when we got home I had them draw jack-o-lantern faces with permenant marker. The results were so pretty that I'm going to keep them for decorations for next year!! (and I don't usually decorate for Halloween!)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Complain - again

We're talking about induction.
I'm about as miserable as I can be without actually being in labor. Being off the progesterone has not been fun. I feel shaky and out of sorts. My skin is crawling and it almost hurts to wear clothes (not because they're too tight, but everything is hypersensitive - temperature, texture, sounds, smells...) I want to cry, alot. I'm having a really hard time sleeping - as I relax, my body will have a huge desire to move (pace, wiggle, flip flop) or I'll hear a non-existant doorbell in the middle of the night and be fully awake with my heart racing. My mind won't process information and everything seems disjointed - like a dream state. I'll see water running and hear water running and not be able to put together that they're coming from the same source. I'm nauseous and having a hard time eating or drinking & the baby doesn't appear to be gaining much of anything the last 2 weeks.

We've got it tentatively planned for Saturday...maybe I'll go into labor on my own.
I'm just holding onto Jesus really tightly -- it's about all I can do.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Quote of the Day

Ds#3 commenting on my increasingly large tummy :
Mama, if the baby gets too big, it'll explode inside you.

Thanks, honey. That's so reassuring.

Jealousy & Thanksgiving & Prayer requests

Anne answered my tag about homeschool books here, and then she went and had her baby before me!! I'm jelous and thrilled for her all at the same time (especially as I'm in pain with this baby kicking the )*(*$ out of me since 3 this morning.

Congratulations, Anne!!!

I was due 3 days ago and no sign of baby, yet. All 6 of us had colds this weekend with a couple kids having it much worse than others. Friends brought in dinner (of which I was sooooo thankful - Thanks Kerri & Julie!) and I'm ...REALLY ready to have a baby (although anxious, too -- as I recall it sort of hurts). My midwife is fine with me waiting another week and a half or so until my body goes into labor --- which is just what I told her I want -- but do I really want to wait?? (picture of my midwife's waiting room last week with some of hers & some of mine all watching TV together first thing in the morning)

I just heard from another friend that her new baby had to be in ICU due to severe breathing problems after a C-section birth at 36 weeks and her new baby blew a hole in her lung from the effort of breathing. She's home now, but has to be on a monitor and has had a couple of episodes where her breathing is an issue. Her parents had to learn CPR before she could go home. Please keep baby Maria in your prayers.

A dear friend of Dd#1 was diagnosed with a recurrance of cancer. She's 12, was in remission from brain cancer 2 years ago & just underwent back surgery, but they couldn't remove all the tumor. She will undergo intensive chemo in the upcomming weeks as she heals from surgery. Please pray for Emilija and her family.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Quote of the Day

Ds#4 has been obsessed with the thought that his new baby brother is inside a water balloon.
Mama, can we cut you open to pop the balloon, so the water spills out and then
we can have the new baby come out?

Talking about being cut open by a 5 year old and constant badgering about popping the water balloon inside me hasn't been very comforting, lately.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Kids "Helping" Accident #548 & 549

Dd#2 (did you suspect someone else?) asked if she could bake a cake. She's done this many times on her own...so, OK. I stayed in my recliner in the other room. Dd#1 came in to tattle that her sister was making a layer cake. Even though I discourage the kids from making 2-layer cakes (more dishes, more mess, etc.), she's done that before...and the directions are on the box...and she can read...so, OK.

I came into the kitchen an hour or so later. A cake blob greeted me in the oven, along with every baking utensil & ingredient known to man (many that were not required in the baking of a boxed cake) was on the counter and the table. First I had the girls start to clean up their mess. Then, I turned my attention to the cake. It turns out she'd used a 5" round, an 8" round and an 8" square to make her layer cake. There wasn't enough batter, so she'd mixed up 2 cake mixes. Since there weren't directions for the "layer cake" she'd conceived of, she'd thought she'd wing it. "Yes, I know how to make a cake like this." I walked away in disgust, turning my attention to the mess in the kitchen, and let her continue to poke the cakes at 4 minute intervals waiting for them to get done. Low & behold, it was time for the kids to leave for Religious Education classes and the cakes still weren't done. After she was in the car, I realized that she'd turned the oven off after the first stabbing (to detect for doneness) and had only been setting the timer over and over, without the oven being on.

An hour after she left (it really was Divine Mercy that she had to leave) I had the cakes baked. They did turn out.

Oh...#549 - As I was cleaning up her cake mess and opened the fridge... the blender base (that I'd asked her to wipe down and put away 3 days in a row) fell on my head.

P.S. The blender does not belong ontop of the fridge, but under the cabinet.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Baby Story 1997

Early in spring 1997, we finally decided to get a puppy. (Well, I decided and pressured Dave until he gave in). He always said we’d have a dog and I firmly disagreed. Then I saw a puppy in a pet store and started doing research on breeds assuring Dave it was just an academic interest - we weren’t getting a dog. I fell deeply in love with Golden Retrievers - Dave’s dream dog. I overcame all Dave’s rational objections (not enough space, tremendous training time, Dd#1 being only 1 yr old...) not with reason but with pouty faces.

We started an intensive search for the perfect puppy and were about 2 weeks from making a final decision when we found out we were pregnant. We thought we were about 3 weeks along, but were really almost 2 months pregnant (all that puppy talk distracted us from charting NFP). Dave swore the puppy thing is my maternal instict kicking in and next time, he'll get me that puppy BEFORE I get pregnant (hindsight hint - it didn't happen).
The pregnancy (other than being miserable because that’s the nature of my pregnancies) was uneventful, healthy, and happily much easier than with Dd#1. In the first 2 trimesters I was frustratingly exhausted and threw up most of the time, but as with Dd#1, the more time went on the better I felt so that by the due date I felt just like every other pregnant woman.

Throughout the pregnancy we were expecting a boy. The ultrasound was pretty conclusive and that baby was kicking the ....out of me. At a stress test 4 days before I got induced, we found out she was a girl. We were stunned and went to the hospital without a name chosen. Dave was holding me to my promise to have a Jessica after we compromised on Dd#1's name. I still didn't like the name and couldn't reconcile calling her a name I didn't like.

Dd#2 was born in late November and weighed 8 pounds 1 ounce and was 21 inches long. We went to the hospital for induction at 11am and they broke my water at 2pm to get things moving (my contractions just petered off). After 2 pushes she was ours at 4:09 in the afternoon.
My big fear during pregnancy was Dd#1's adjustment to the new baby. She was incredible! She was more in love with her new sister than we were (if that's possible). She wanted to hold and touch and be near Baby all the time. They were both such a joy and a blessing. (They don't always feel that way about each other, now.)

It amazed us how hard it is to get work done on the house with children around and yet how motivating that same factor can be. The big project of that year didn’t start until 6-8 weeks before my due date. Dave completely gutted and renovated our upstairs bathroom. What a messy, difficult job at an already stressful time. Dave said that 3 out of the 4 holiday seasons we’ve been together we introduced extra stress : 1994 we bought a house and moved, 1995 we had a baby, and 1997 we had a baby and redid the bathroom - you’d think we’d learn timing. He ripped off the walls and ceiling down to the wood & lathe and put up new drywall, redid the electrical and most of the plumbing. He left the old-fashioned tub, but built walls and tiled them to create a tub/shower with new fixtures and lighting. He ripped out the sink and installed a vanity, medicine chest and lighting. He ripped out the recessed toilet (who recesses a toilet into the wall?) and reinstalled it fixing all the walls. He ripped up the flooring and had carpet laid. It was definitely stressful not having much use of our main bathroom while I was 9 months pregnant, but when it was done a year later, it looked and felt wonderful.

My new baby had a broken collar bone we didn’t know about until she was 2 1/2 weeks old. The pediatrician said I'd broken it pushing her out. That was the last baby I allowed to be induced, those labors are more difficult and I didn't want to chance doing that to my baby again. That year was a rough Christmas. We had our new baby with a broken collar bone, it took 3 1/2 weeks - almost Christmas, until she stopped crying with the pain and could finally start sleeping. We all caught some wicked cold and had to miss some of our families’ Christmas celebrations. I had to go to bed for a few days when I had problems healing from having the baby. My mom helped out a ton that December. I’d been exhausted, discouraged, drained, and frustrated. David was exhausted, stressed, and frustrated. It seemed like a miserable Christmas. As I looked back on it, it was a most beautiful Christmas. Dd#1 must’ve watched "The Little Drummer Boy" over 100 times that month, while cuddling with the baby and me as I nursed by the Christmas tree lights. Friends and family showered us with what we needed to get through. Isn’t it funny how time can do that to a memory? The distance of time blurs our memory, or does it bring life into sharper focus so we can see what was really going on?

As winter turned to spring I had a very difficult time adjusting to 2 children. I had a hard time bonding with the baby since I didn’t get much one-on-one time with her. She was a lovely baby with a fabulous disposition and so easy I questioned the pediatrician that something must be wrong with her. Dd#1 had slept through the night at 6weeks, but at 1 1/2yrs, Dd#2 still woke up several times in the night. As Dd#2 turned 6months old, I started sleeping a little more and though the girls had opposite nap schedules, I realized I had my coveted alone-time with Dd#2. As my brain began to clear when she was around 9 months old, I realized I'd had post partum depression. It didn't feel like depression, but it was classic symptoms.

The baby was incredibly physically strong (which was one reason I was sure we were having a boy) and was about to crawl at 8 months...until I fell down the steps carrying her. My feet went out from under me and I fell half way down the steps landing on her leg, but her head cracked hard twice on the edge of the steps. After 10minutes of uncontrollable crying she started falling asleep. Dave rushed home and we took her to the emergency room. They checked her out (while she screamed the whole time) and said she was probably OK and sent her home. All weekend she cried on & off and favored that leg. By Monday she was still very uncomfortable (she was a very stoic baby and it can be hard to tell the difference between a surprised cry and just fussing), so I took her to her doctor. During the x-ray when they had to twist her ankle and hold it while I held her thrashing screaming body still to take the picture. After that painful x-ray, we found a broken ankle. A broken ankle doesn’t sound bad, but that was my 8month old baby I had hurt and had to hold down while they hurt her again. I barely remained standing and can hardly breath every time I think of that afternoon. They put a cast on her leg and she immediately felt better and didn’t need much Tylenol after the cast. She looked so adorable and pitiful.

The cast was on for 2 weeks and during that time I took both girls (yes, in her cast) to a friend’s parents’ home in Tennessee for 5 days without Dave. My kids were as good as could be, but pretty unhappy. Dd#1 desperately missed her daddy and both girls missed home and their normal schedule. I was never so happy to get home!! I won’t leave the state without Dave again. What was I thinking? There’s no lasting effects, but Dd#2 had been just ready to crawl when we fell, and I think that it delayed her development for at least a year. But boy could she move fast!

Dd#2 subsequently had a very high tolerance for pain and almost never cried as a baby (unless she was hungry). She was quiet and content to stare at everyone's face -- such a happy baby. She didn't sleep much and caught every cold that winter. Dd#2 was such a sweet baby. Her eyes would become brown and her brown hair had a blonde spot (all her hair eventually turned blonde and her blonde spot turned white). She wanted to be held all the time and ate past the point of being full. Daddy was so much better at burping than Mama (but I had nursing down pat.) She started her "terrible two's" at 13 months and they didn't start to ease up until she was 4 years old. We came to find out that was just her personality (and an additional reason for homeschooling). I pulled out the "boy" blanket I crocheted for our new baby and it was so soft and comfey -- but I couldn't put those boy colors on my new baby girl, so she rarely used it.

Now, Dd#2 is the most excited in the house about our upcomming new baby!!

Monday, October 22, 2007

8th Grade Education

At http://www.truthorfiction.com/ they show this as "unproven". From the intimate knowledge of my grandfather, who got his highschool diploma in the 1930's and the knowlege that provided him, I don't doubt that this was an 8th grade graduation test. I also have a couple of 8th grade grammar textbooks from 1911 and am blown away by the information and analysis required by 8th graders then. I got it in an e-mail, but was so impressed by it, that I thought I post it here.

Remember when grandparents and great-grandparents stated that they only had an 8th grade education? Well, check this out. Could any of us have passed the 8th grade in 1895? This is the eighth-grade final exam from 1895 in Salina , Kansas , USA . It was taken from the original document on file at the Smokey Valley Genealogical Society and Library in Salina , KS , and reprinted by the Salina Journal. 8th Grade Final Exam: Salina, KS, 1895

Grammar (Time, one hour)
1. Give nine rules for the use of capital letters.
2. Name the parts of speech and define those that have no modifications.
3. Define verse, stanza and paragraph
4. What are the principal parts of a verb? Give principal parts of "lie", "play", and "run."
5. Define case; illustrate each case.
6. What is punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of punctuation.
7 - 10. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.

Arithmetic (Time, 65 minutes)
1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.
2. A wagon box is 2 ft. deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?
3. If a load of wheat weighs 3942 lbs., what is it worth at 50cts/bushel, deducting 1050 lbs. for tare?
4. District No 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals?
5. Find the cost of 6720 lbs. coal at $6.00 per ton.
6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.
7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft. long at $20 per meter?
8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.
9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance of which is 640 rods?
10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt

U.S. History (Time, 45 minutes)
1. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided
2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus .
3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.
4. Show the territorial growth of the United States .
5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas .
6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.
7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton, Bell, Lincoln, Penn, and Howe?
8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849, and 1865.

Orthography (Time, one hour) (Do we even know what this is???)
1. What is meant by the following: alphabet, phonetic, orthography, etymology, and syllabication.
2. What are elementary sounds? How classified?
3. What are the following, and give examples of each: trigraph, sub vocal, diphthong, cognate letters, and lingual.
4. Give four substitutes for caret 'u.' (HUH?)
5. Give two rules for spelling words with final 'e.' Name two exceptions under each rule.
6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.
7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: bi-, dis-, mis-, pre-, semi-, post-, non-, inter-, mono-, and sup-.
8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound: card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, cell, rise, blood, fare, last.
9. Use the following correctly in sentences: cite, site, sight, fane, fain, feign, vane, vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.
10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication.

Geography (Time, one hour)
1 What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?
2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas ?
3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?
4. Describe the mountains of North America
5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia , Odessa , Denver , Manitoba , Hecla , Yukon , St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspinwall and Orinoco .
6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S.
7. Name all the republics of: Europe and give the capital of each.
8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?
9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers.
10. Describe the movements of the earth. Give the inclination of the earth.

Notice that the exam took FIVE HOURS to complete. Gives the saying "he only had an 8th grade education" a whole new meaning, doesn't it? This also shows you how poor our education system has become... and, NO! I don't have the answers

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Baby Story 2000

With the cradle sitting out and all the baby items around, each child wants to know who I bought/made what for and birth stories are abounding. Here's one about DS#3.

Ds#3 made his thrilling entry (we were expecting our third girl, not our first boy) in 2000. He weighed 7lbs 12oz and except for getting a little stuck and bruised was healthy and wonderful! Dave was busting his buttons to call everyone with the surprising news of a son.

This was the first time a baby came without induction for us and it wasn’t the romantic image I had expected. Dave is notorious for sleeping through night-time happenings and when I woke up at 3am with contractions (although I didn’t tell him that’s what I thought they were); Dave only wanted to go back to sleep instead of giving me the back massage I'd woken him up for. Angrily, I decided to let him sleep. I went downstairs and cleaned the kitchen until I couldn't deny that this really was labor. I showered and called my girlfriend about an hour after I'd woken up to come take me to the hospital thereby leaving Dave in his bed. She refused when she found out Dave was still sleeping. I told her I'd just walk to the hospital myself - we lived about a mile away- rather than take that horrible man who would rather sleep than help me during labor (he still didn't know I was in labor). She threatened to come wake him up herself (by throwing rocks through his bedroom window if needed) and call the police to come pick up a pregnant lady in labor walking by the side of the road in the middle of the night if I didn't wake him up.

He woke up when I switched on the light and curtly told him I was going to the hospital with or without him. Then I proceeded to curl my hair with a curling iron and blurry-eyed, he couldn't understand why I wouldn’t speak to him. By the time we got to the hospital (about 5:30am?) and the nurse was asking him questions about my labor progress, he politely suggested she talk to me since we were having a bit of a communication problem just then. Thankfully (for me) he’s wonderful at assuaging my anger and I forgave him just as the contractions got tough.

Ds#3 was turned so I had front and back labor, which made natural childbirth more difficult, and I asked for pain killers once. My girlfriend, who was Ds#3's Godmother-to-be, and Dave were shocked, but the nursed talked me out of them by reminding me of the side effects, but giving me the choice. Praying with Ds#3's Godmother in the delivery room was an exceptional experience...and I’m so thankful I didn’t leave Dave behind. (I think he would’ve been a little upset...)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Kelty for Mayor

While their daddy is gone for the evening, helping with the campaign, the kids chose to spend their time engaging in their daddy's passion...

What's your favorite homeschooling book?

I've read...a few...(that's putting it mildly), but not as many as some people I know.
My old stand-by favorites are :
  • Catholic Education : Homeward Bound by Kimberly Hahn - it was from this book that I internalized the "greenhouse" analogy (We're trying to raise an exotic flower in a caustic environment - a child that attains Godly virtue and balance despite the world's standards [in the world, but not of it]- and can withstand the violent winds of his environment. The only way we can strengthen this exotic flower is to grow him in a safe, loving environment, until he is strong enough to be able to withstand the caustic environment without immediately withering.)
  • The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer - I began to see the value in utilizing the child's God-given "stages" of life to promote academic excellence, rather than fighting against the child's nature. This was my first introduction to a "classical education" and while I don't use this book as a bible, I do refer to it once a year to sharpen and define my own choices, rather than rely on the book's suggestions. It's a jumping off point for me.
  • Real Learning by Elizabeth Foss - contains the striving for beauty in the everyday that I sorely lack and great literature, which I love. It's a Catholic Charlotte Mason style way of learning that I don't attain, but I do admire.

I'm wondering what your response will be. I'm tagging Amy, Heather, Anne & Jen who can post their favorites on their blogs, or you can place a comment here.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Quote of the Day

Dd#2 to both her brothers who were making mindless, annoying noises with their tongues :
You're so immature.

She TAUGHT them how to make those noises and at any second might join in with them...

Pregnancy Complaints #349

This last part of pregnancy has been tough. I don't even feel like blogging or talking on the phone. The physical pains already described here in this space haven't diminished -- some more have crept in. Serious insomnia even with taking Benedryl every night (although I'm getting lots of reading in). I've also been struggling with intense mood swings (they don't swing all that positive, though) and depression. Dave and all my friends and my midwife have all been working hard to keep me on an even keel, but I'm still fairly tossed by the waves of what's going on inside of me.

Dave and I had a long talk today (after our fight last night- we didn't throw anything at each other, it just felt horrible) and I thought from last night that he didn't want to be my friend any more. It was a terribly painful realization last night. Today, I told him how desperately I've needed him and no matter how much I didn't want to be so needy right now, I just am. He said that each pregnancy takes HIS best friend away from him and that he knows this is hard on me, but it's hard on him, too. I told him that I missed me too and I can hardly wait to get back the person I used to be. We agreed it's just hard all around. He understood me. Then, after making sure the kids were packed and shipping them off to his mom's, he took me out for dinner. My painful realization last night was a misunderstanding perpetrated by both of us struggling to keep up with this. Life is hard, but God is good. (terrific Pam Thum song)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Getting to know you

1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? A drug addict adulterous mistress who had breast cancer and committed suicide in a movie my mom saw called "Valley of the Dolls." I've never had the desire to watch the show and isn't quite what I would choose for my children.
2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? yesterday. Pregnancy hormones are doing a number on my emotions this last month.
3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING yes - It's neater now than when I was in school. Since I starting homeschooling and knew I'd be an example to my children, I polished it up.
4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT? ham (when it's with swiss & miracle whip)
5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS? I'm working on our 5th
Yes, but not too good a friend. I don't think I'm as good a friend as my friends are to me.
7. DO YOU USE SARCASM ALOT? honesty is more biting, so I don't feel a need for it.
8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS yes, with the exception of a finger tip that needed sewed on when I worked at Arby's (for a short time), I've never needed surgery.
9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? I would be seriously tempted...but when I went white water rafting and ended up under the boat 2 times, I promised God that I wouldn't needlessly risk my life anymore.
10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? captain crunch
11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? No, but my shoes are rarely on.
12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? I am, but only by the grace of God.
13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM? Atz Chocolate Chip Mint
14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE? Their overall appearance and how they carry themselves.
15. RED OR PINK? neither
16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? my mouth gets me in the most trouble.
17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? my Grandma Handlin
18. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? none for either. I walk around the house in a big t-shirt when I'm pregnant. (Aren't you glad you don't live in my house and are subjected to such a sight?)
19. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE shredded wheat cereal
20. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? the kids fighting, whistling, asking questions of each other, cabinets closing as the whistling one is emptying the dishwasher, the dogs nails clicking on the ceramic tile as she paces from kid to kid hoping to be fed (since they're in the kitchen)...the general clamour of our day
21. IF YOU WHERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? normally, I'd be a pale blue aqua, but I'm a little off right now, so I'm a seafoam green that's a little too bright - life is taking more effort and I'm forcing myself to exert the energy to keep up.
22. FAVORITE SMELLS? Brewing coffee, baking cookies, pumpkin spices, lemon-scented cleaner, a slight smell of bleach
23. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? my neighbor, Katie, who wanted to make sure I was doing OK
24. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? Diane has one of the most ougoing fun personalities of anyone I know -- OF COURSE I like her!!
25. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH? there's not a single one
26. HAIR COLOR? dark brown
27. EYE COLOR? dark brown
28. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? I have a hard enough time just keeping track of my glasses, let alone a tiny see-through disc. And I just can't bear the thought of sticking stuff in my eyes all the time...nope.
29. FAVORITE FOOD? the reality is NOTHING sounds good lately. I guess non-pregnant would be homemade german chocolate cake heated with Breyer's vanilla ice cream on the side.
30. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? definately happy endings, no contest
31. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? The last memorable one was The Pursuit of Happyness
33. SUMMER OR WINTER? I honestly like them both (and have things I don't like about each). 34. HUGS OR KISSES? hugs, but I'm not even too keen on those (I don't like being touched, much).
35. FAVORITE DESSERT? I already described one, so these are my runners-up ...

Mrs. Smith's Razzleberry pie (I love raspberries) heated with vanilla icecream
Pumpkin pie with whipped topping (I can only eat small amounts of this, but love it)
Brownie topped with vanilla icecream & a little fudge with a lot of toasted pecans

36. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW? I'm finishing up a book about President Bush's first term in office and media bias against him and I'm about to start Helena by Evelyn Waugh for a book group I'm in.
WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? We don't have one. The kids lost it, so we're just scratching up the pull-out keyboard drawer of our desk.
37. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON T.V. LAST NIGHT? A Heroes episode I taped
38. FAVORITE SOUND? Silence -- ohhh yeah!! (and church bells - which signify quiet to come)
39. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES? neither -- I guess of old music I like Electric Light Orchestra and ... ummm... Steve Miller Band (don't let my kids listen to that music, though).
41. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? I like to throw parties...I don't know that it's a talent, though.
42. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? in town

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

My Cookware Set

This is another e-mail discussion I'm having with friends about what cookware we use and what we think of it. This is my response :

I use Analon Titanium and LOVE it. I've only had the set for 3-4 years.

+ In learning to cook (and not minding their mama), the kids have cut through the non-stick coating by using metal utensils, but nothing has started to stick, yet. + Even in frying refried beans in the 14" skillet for 3 hours (where the water boils out and you replenish it) and burning them terribly and leaving the pan overnight (something I do often), NOTHING has ever stuck.
+ Other 12-14" skillets I've had didn't distribute the heat as well and food didn't seem to cook as evenly as it does in these pans.
+ The bottom is smooth (one of the brands has ridges in the bottom) and so there isn't a problem with thing sticking.
+ You're supposed to be able to put it in the dishwasher if you use liquid detergent. I use powder, so I've rarely tried this, but thought it was cool!

- It does have smooth rivets that hold the handles on, and occasionally, I'll have to use my Pampered Chef scraper to get dried egg off the rivets (the kids go a little crazy when they scramble), but it comes off easily and quickly.
- The other negative may be that the heat-resistant handles get hot when placed over another burner that's turned on. It doesn't happen quickly, though, and it wouldn't occur to me to pick up a pan without testing the handles first (it has occured to the kids who forget to use a hot pad).
- It's also SERIOUSLY pricey -- but I'm so thrilled with the way it cooks and how nice it's stayed even though I stack it all together in my cabinets, that it was worth the price for me.

http://www.amazon.com/Anolon-Titanium-Dishwasher-12-Piece-Cookware/dp/B00008CM50 - this set doesn't contain the 14" skillet (which is one of my most-used pans in the house). Amazon customers gave it GREAT reviews, too!

http://www.epinions.com/hmgd-Cookware-All-Cookware_Sets-Hard_Anodized_Aluminum - this is the website I used to compare reviews of cookware set. I read most of the reviews of the major cookware sets and chose Analon Titanium from that.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Blessing of Animals

I tried to talk Dave out of it. I tried to talk the kids out of it. I thought he was crazy. I knew I'd never do anything so insane (mostly). At church for the Feast of St. Francis, they had the Blessing of Animals. It sounds sweet doesn't it? Kids bringing their puppies to get a blessing.

Unless you have multiple children (which he does) and are planning on taking a dog that's afraid (therefore freaks out) with other animals - especially dogs. This is not some tiny lap dog. Maggie growls & goes crazy at the sight of other dogs 30 feet away through a pane of glass (which she broke last year trying to go through the window to get to the dog 30 feet away). This is a full-grown black lab who is incredibly strong and can take any of the kids and I on a ride if she decides to run and we hold onto her leash. This dog can't be walked because she won't mind (she doesn't heel, or stay...) She's super sweet in the house and adores all humans -- just not other dogs.

So, he took all 4 kids. A dog who will be 2 feet from other dogs. And a blind hamster to get blessed. I'm totally thinking it isn't worth it and stayed home in my recliner and sent Dd#2 with the digital camera. This is a picture of DS#3 with the blind hamster, Eaty, in a rubbermaid container after it's been sprinkled with holy water. Dave said he had a hard time keeping DS#3 from jumping off the half wall while he held the hamster container -- he knew that our son would hit the ground with the poor hamster still in mid-air in it's container. Eaty appears to have survived the ordeal.

I guess Dave had a hard time restraining Maggie and said it's nothing I should try. The kids told me that everytime a dog barked or howled, Maggie joined in. It was incredibly sweet of him to try. He said Ds#3 appreciated it the most, since Eaty is his miracle pet.