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.