Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘family’

This is the best picture after 912 takes

Take 912

I’ve been thinking a lot about my last status update on facebook

Sometimes the re-entry after vacation is brutal! Monday I ran Friends of Scouting at Boy Scouts, today was a little league board meeting, tomorrow is a day camp board meeting, Thursday is a cub scout event, Friday is small group (at our house), Saturday is Pinewood Derby and Sunday I teach Sunday School at church. Throw in there 5 baseball practices, coop, homeschooling, an orthodontist appointment and a girls night. I’m exhausting just thinking about my calendar

There were a smattering of comments, one of my friends from high school said, “What a great mom!!!” Though it was a nice comment, it made me feel incredibly terrible.  I felt like a liar.  She doesn’t know what my every day looks like.  I didn’t post:

Just spent the last two hours on the phone with the insurance company, followed by the last twenty five minutes on the phone with my husband where I finally blew my top at my 6-year-old and yelled “WHAT IS THIS THING ATTACHED TO MY HEAD?!!!??  OH THAT’S RIGHT, ITS A PHONE!!!  I WILL TALK TO YOU WHEN I’M DONE!” Where my husband gently rebuked me and said, “That’s not very nice.” And I quickly retorted in self defense, “You’ve missed the last billion times when I’ve quietly signed I’m on the phone to him and made crazy eyes at him to underline the point that I’m busy and mouthed the answers to a million stupid questions”

Not only did I feel like a big old faker, but I felt terrible, like a co-conspirator with Satan, helping to make all of my “friends” on facebook feel a little bit inadequate or not up to par.  Not that I’m the bar that everyone should hold themselves to, because I am definelty not.

When we see these little snippets of all of our “friends” lives everyone seems so awesome.  Everyone is always smiling, with perfectly clean houses in the back ground when I don’t even remember the last time I’ve washed my kitchen floor and it’s going to take a week to catch up on my laundry and the only smiling I’ve seen on my rag-a-muffin kids is when they’ve succeeded in teasing their brother into tears. Or people with less money than us are taking awesome vacations in warm tropical climates with their perfectly toned bikini ready bodies in the middle of winter, when I of course am still trying (in the very loosest term) to shed this baby weight from 6 year’s ago and its 32 degrees and raining outside.  Or Moms who are showing these amazing breakfasts that they’ve whipped up for their kids hours before I’ve even considered being up and even though I could make pancakes shaped like Mickey Mouse’s head with a side of bacon and freshly squeezed orange juice, I’m just going to set the cereal on the table and feel at least smug that their is no high fructose corn syrup in it.  Or maybe they’ve posted these amazing pictures all dolled up out to dinner with their best friends and I’ve lived here for three years and still haven’t found my Washington BFF yet.

I know how inadequate facebook can make you feel.

I remember distinctly last year when a friend had been rather prolific on facebook for about a week.  She was witty and funny.  She was posting links to tons of blogs, which I never get to read because I’m too freaking busy to catch up on blogs.  I remember thinking, how the heck can she find time to be on facebook when she homeschools her two girls (who seemingly could run academic laps around my kids)?!?  Then later I found out she wasn’t really doing very well physically.  I did feel bad for her because I do love her, but mostly, I felt relieved.  Her struggle made me feel better, because I was feeling a little bit jealous and rather like I sucked tremendously at this whole work/life/homeschool balance thing reading her news feed and thinking how the heck does she do such a great job homeschooling her kids *and* be able to read so many blogs.  I private messaged her and she sent me back the sweetest response ever.

Okay, it’s been 30 minutes, and I’m still laughing at the idea that I live some sort of “balanced” life. Seriously, you’ve got no idea how funny that is (and here I’ve been all…where does Chanel find time to travel to see friends and knit and play board games and have house guests and drink wine)!!!

Then I went through my newsfeed and looked at all of things that I have shared.  According to my timeline, I live an awesome life where I have it all together all the time.  According to my timeline, I’m awesome.  I’m a prolific crocheter, a philanthropist, I have witty kids who are amazing, a loving husband, best friends, and I love God.

And I do.

Think about that for a second.

All of those wonderful great things that you share on facebook are who you are.

I am sorry if I made your week seem inadequate to my busy schedule.

I’m sorry if you went to kids school and proceeded to feel like crap when they asked someone to head the teacher appreciate week and in the back of your head you felt a little bit of pressure from me.

If it makes you feel better, I can’t quite remember the last time my twins got a bath.  We ordered pizza last night because my refrigerator contains condiments, beer, rotting lettuce and a jar of pickles.  At 11:03 am, I still haven’t showered.  I fed my kids cold pizza for breakfast (and I’ll probably do the same for lunch).  I just put away the Christmas decorations yesterday, almost a full week after the Epiphany.  I finished making my extended family and friends’ Christmas presents well before Christmas but haven’t mailed them out yet.

Please know that I, most assuredly, do not have it all together.

Also know that I really don’t want to see all the nitty gritty of your life.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, I want to know that you’re normal, but I mostly want to see the good stuff.  I want to see your adorable kids, I want to know all the awesome stuff you do, because I want to know that I can be better at some of those things that I struggle with.

I found this gem this week, and I am weaving it into my heart, may this burrow itself into your heart too.

“You deserve better than to define yourself by your own interpretations of secondhand lies, spoken by the Accuser through the mouths of others. Know that I [God] love you. You were wonderfully and fearfully made, planned out from the beginning, assigned a special place in Creation and in the story of salvation. You are not a failure; you are part of My success. You will stand, for I am able to make you stand. You are an instrument in My hands; a vessel formed by the Potter, a branch grafted in by the Master Gardener. You deserve better than the things you tell yourself so often, simply because of the One who created and redeemed and is refining you.”

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

I have given up hope that Dave will ever say yes to another baby.  My ovaries might be overacting every month, all dressed up with their good bra and matching panties and cleavage shirt on and ready to go, but they’ve got nowhere to go and no one to go with.  All little insinators of mass fertilization are blocked at the gate and alas, it’s always lonely up in my reproductive tract.

This week friends came over with their baby and she was the first baby to put her tiny little feet on our stairs.  This house will never hold a baby crib or hear late night feedings.  This poor, poor house.  All those sweet baby kisses and laughs just broke my poor little heart too.  Though there isn’t much I can do about getting a baby*, there are a lot of things I can get instead.  First, I decided I wanted a dog.

Dave:  Want kind of dog do you want?

Me:  I don’t know.  I’m torn between a big dog who we can take camping and would run with me if I ever decided to run again, and who can run around with kids and jump in the car.  Or a little tiny dog who I can carry in my purse and dress up every day.  I think I have it narrowed down between a Labrador and a Yorkie.

And when you tell an engineer you’re thinking of doing or buying something, it results in extensive research.  An engineer never impulse buys.

Dave:  Turns out that Yorkies aren’t very good with kids.

Me:  I guess we could get a lab now and then when the kids are grown we could get a Yorkie.  It will be our airplane dog.  She’ll fit in my purse with the little bow in her hair, and we’ll take her everywhere in your airplane.  We will name her Kathrine Elizabeth Cordelia.  A Yorkie may be the perfect retirement/empty nest dog.

And so the hunt for a Labrador began.  I scoured Craigslist and the local shelters.  We needed a puppy, because I really wanted one.  And we already have Frank, the killer bunny, and 20 chickens.  We need to train a puppy not to kill our already existing pets.

Serindipideously, Sunday evening  I found a puppy available to adopt Monday morning from the Humane Society.

I printed out the preliminary adoption application.

Me:  I don’t know how to fill out some of these questions.

Dave:  Like what?

Me:  Well, it asks how old everyone is.  Should I lie and say the twins are 6, every web site says “not for kids under 5”.  I don’t want them to rule us out because they don’t know how awesome our twins are.

Dave:  Just put 5 and 11/12.  What else?

Me:  There’s this trick question, ‘How often will your dog go outside’  What is the right answer?  2 hours, 4 hours? 

Dave:  How about, ‘ as much as he wants to’.   You know these aren’t hard questions. 

Me:  What if they won’t let us have a puppy.  What if we don’t qualify.  How ironic, we can raise 5 humans but not a puppy from the pound. 

When we got to the humane society we were an hour early.  We were the only ones there.

10:15 another car pulls in.

10:25  A truck pulls up.

10:35 Another car drives in the parking lot.

10:40 Two guys get out of the truck.

10:42 A lady emerges from her car.

Dave:  Well, if someone gets out, we all have to.

Me:  Do you think they are all here for Licorice?

Dave:  You could ask them.

Me:  No way. Then we’ll have to block them at the door.

By 10:50 There was quite a crowd around the door, including a few families with little kids talking about the puppies they were going to bring home.  I was getting quite anxious.  And deciding if I wanted this puppy bad enough to break a 4-year-old’s heart.  I did.

Dave:  Well, it looks like you and that other guy might be the only ones who can read directions, since you’re the only ones out of this crowd who has the preadoption application.

Me:  Or maybe everyone else is already preapproved.  I’m getting kind of nervous. 

The whole time, I’ve been positioning myself closest to the door.  So that I can be first in when the door opens (which I am not).  Fortunately the first two people in line hadn’t filled out their predoption application.  Thorough reading and direction following FOR THE WIN!

Me:  Hi!  I’m here to adopt Licorice!  

Her:  And will there be a problem with any of your other household members who aren’t with you.  Why aren’t they here?

Me:  Well, we didn’t want to break their little hearts if we didn’t get her.   If we don’t, they’ll cry and want something else, and we might end up going home with Giana, the geriatric diabetic cat over there with 4 teeth.

We went through a very quick interview and were left with the dog.

Please ignore my shaved belly, I'm now unreproducable.

Hedy

Me:  Oh, my gosh, I think if she likes us and we like her they’re going to let us take her home.

Dave: That’s kind of how it works.  I don’t think they’re too picky who takes the dogs home from the rescue shelter.  I think they really only care if you have $250. 

And $250 later we were the proud owner of a lab puppy.

When I brought her home, the kids were ecstatic.  We fight about who gets to sit closest to her, who gets to hold her leash, who gets to take her out to poo.  I can only hope that they are just excited about that next week.

We decided that though we loved licorice, she needed a better name.

Stormy, Abyss, Angel of Darkness, Gold, Killer, Cocoa, Richard Parker.

Me:  That’s a boy name.  And if she was a he, I’d name him Sean Connery or Indiana Jones.

Nate:  How about Christina? 

Me:  I don’t think Auntie Red would appreciate us naming a dog after her.  If she was yellow, we could name her Sunny, after my grandma. 

Dave:  I love that!  Sunny, is now the forerunner. 

Me:  I’m pretty sure my grandma wouldn’t appreciate a dog being named after her. I don’t think she even liked dogs, and I’m not sure if I could ever yell at a dog with my grandma’s name.  

We consulted the great internet.  I searched for famous women mathematicians.  I was partial to Sofja 

Mike:  Are you sure that’s a woman?

Dave:  Why a mathematician? 

Me:  I just think it would be better to be named after someone who discovered Calculus rather than a piece of candy.  Let’s keep the bar high. 

Dave:  How about Heddy, a beautiful smart actress who invented wifi?

Me:  It’s perfect!

And so is she!

A canvas for crochet torchet

*without losing a husband, and I’ll choose this guy over a new baby every time.

Read Full Post »

Bedtime is one of my favorite parts of the day.  It’s not just the peace that comes after a long day of noisy boys.  Nor is it the moment when all the kids disappear into their rooms and I can have an adult conversation without any arguing or fart noises, without any sounds of armed attack or crying or complaining.  That is nice though.

It’s the whole bedtime routine I love.  The reading and the cuddling, the singing, the tucking in, the million drinks of water, the giggling and talking long after they were tucked in.  I especially love it when Dave is home and he sings to the kids.  Dave has this amazing ability to remember any song he’s ever heard.  He can sing all the words, he’s got the general tune.  From a tone deaf wife, who can’t remember the words to the “Wheels on the Bus”, I’m constantly amazed.  I rarely participate in this nightly singing ritual.    It’s too much pressure for me. I am glad that my children haven’t inherited this fear of performing.  Nathaniel will sing along whether it’s the hundredth time or the first he’s heard the song.  He’ll sing along even if the song’s in a different language.  It’s rather sweet.

Dave’s song selection runs the gambit from Contemporary to hymns.  The twins especially love the duck song, it’s usually their first request, it’s the Freebird of our house.  They also regularly request The Man in the Moon Song,but Dave normally saves that one for the eve of a business trip.

When Dave is gone, the song repertoire is much smaller (and sometimes replaced with an extra chapter or picture book).  I class it up with songs like: Jesus loves me, The Barney Theme song, the ABC song, George of the Jungle, or Jingle Bells Batman Smells (as an aside, my cousin taught the kids this song when he came to visit.  When he left the twins told me how impressed they were that he had made up such an amazingly awesome song right on the spot. I let them go on believing he was the author of that little gem.)

Some nights, when Dave is singing, I’ll walk down the hall and hear Our God is awesome God, in Spanish.  Or maybe some B.I.G.G.Y.  Nothing is really off limits for Dave, but each session is normally ended with a hymn.   Nothing sounds sweeter than a couple of five-year-olds singing about Jesus.

 

Read Full Post »

Last spring started the beginning of my “we-will-survive-the-zombie-apocolypse” plan.   We went to the feed store and brought home 6 chickens.  Originally we only wanted  4, but then we were afraid that some of them would be roosters, so we bought 2 more.

The original bunch of ladies

Then mid winter, I decided it would be a great idea to let the ladies out to free range.  Bobby the Bobcat thought it was a great idea too.   Poor Henrietta.  We saw him drag her into the forest.

Marshall:  Wow! That was very nature documentaryish

Me:  I was thinking of the theme song from “Lion King”

Mike:  Hakuna Matatata, means no worries.  Wait?  Why are you thinking of that song?

Me:  No, I was thinking the Elton John song, “The Ciiiircle of Liiiiife” but Hakuna Matata works well too.

McKayla:  Aren’t you going to go rescue her?!?

Me:  No way.  I’m not taking a chicken away from a hungry bobcat and I am definitely not taking a chicken to the vet.

bobcat

Once Bobby got a taste for our ladies, he was unstoppable.  The next day Mike came running in screaming that the bobcat was inside the chicken coop.  Awesome, just awesome.  There went Pooper McPooperson.

We had a bit of a reprieve because Dave chased the bobcat around the yard with a look of menace in his eyes.  Whatever he did worked, and the bobcat was scared into hiding.  Yet when Dave went to China, Bobby came back for some more.  My cousin was spending the week.

Him:  Um, cousin, are your chickens supposed to be out?

Me:  No.

Him:  Oh man!  Bobby is back!  Marshall bring me your baseball bat!  We’re going to protect these chickens!

Somehow Bob had scared the ladies out of the coop and was picking them off one by one.  There went Ducky and Big Momma.  Poor, Poor big Momma.

Now we’re just down to two.  And though we’re not supposed to have favorites, I am a little upset that Mrs. Noisy was the one that made it.  I’m pretty sure she thinks she’s part rooster.

We're the queens of the roost

We’ve bobcat proofed the coop and bought 18 baby peeps.  I don’t know what it is about peeps that makes them so darn adorable.  It makes me sort of forget how disgusting adult chickens are.

Aren't we a little bit adorable

I’ve already started naming them.  Collette, Francesca, Henrietta the second, Katherine, Elizabeth, Genevieve, Victoria…

Nate:  Those are girly names.

Me:  These are girls.  And they’re the only baby girls I’m going to get to have.  If my ovaries can’t overact, I’m going to have 18 babies chickies.

Jake:  How are we going to know who is who, they all look the same?

Me: Maybe we could tag them.  We could write their names on the tags.

Dave:  You’ll be hard pressed to write Genevieve on a small tag.

Me:  Maybe I could crochet them little bonnets.  How tolerant do you think they’ll be of Harry Potter sweaters with their initials on them?

Turns out I wasn’t the first one to think of it.

A CHICKEN SWEATER?!? That sounds AWESOME!

 

Read Full Post »

Supergluing his head back together

8:00 am  I’m awoken to my phone chirping that I have a text message.  I roll over and it’s from McKayla, “Can you pick me up, I’m feeling sick”.

We’ve been battling the weirdest stomach flu ever at our house.  It started with Nathaniel who complained his tummy hurt and the announced he was going to throw up and then promptly threw up all over the bathroom.  Afterwards, he was completely fine.  He ate dinner, he helped clean the kitchen, he read to me, I read to him and he fell asleep.  This was followed by Michael screaming his stomach hurt and then throwing up all over the other bathroom, declaring himself better and going back to bed.  And then Jacob woke up in the middle of the night to cry how much his tummy hurt, “Why does God make my tummy hurt?  Please pray over me!  I think I might die.” We tend toward the dramatic in this house.  Everyone woke up one more time, threw up all over the floor and then went back to bed.  We would have labeled it possible food poisoning, except the following night Marshall was hit and Michael once more.  My poor, poor carpet. On the bright side, my bathrooms are sparkly clean.

So, when McKayla said she wasn’t feeling well, I came to get her right away before she threw up all over the halls.  She’s having a hard enough time without being known as “the girl who lost her breakfast all over the halls”.  I don’t think anyone could ever live that one down.

9:00 the glamorous life of homeschooling 4 boys.

9:23  SQUIRREL!  no, not a distraction, an actual squirrel.  The largest squirrel we’ve ever seen.  It was looked less like a squirrel and more like a cat with a bushy tail.  It sat right by our bird feeder, stared through the window with a look that said, “WTF People, why is this bird feeder empty?  This is unacceptable!”

9:40 back to learning.

11:17  OH CRAP PEOPLE!!!!  GET YOUR BATHING SUITS ON RIGHT NOW!!!!!  GO!!!  GO!!!!  GO!!!!  WE HAVE TO BE AT SWIM LESSONS IN 13 MINUTES!!!!

11:22 

Jake:  Oh no mom!  I forgot to take off my underwear!

Me:  Oh, well.  That’s okay, you can swim with them and we’ll come home without underwear.

Jake:  I don’t want to go home with no underwear!

Me:  Sorry, We don’t have time to change when we get there.

11:26 Jake:  You don’t have to worry about my underwear.

Me:  I wasn’t terribly worried, but why don’t I have to worry?

Nate:  ‘Cuz he was getting naked back here!

Jake:  Yep, I took off my swim suit, took off my underwear and then put my swim suit on.  All while buckled into my car seat!  Now I can have dry underwear!

Me:  For the win!

11:30  We make it to swim lessons right on time.

I have thought about doing something with those 30 minutes of freedom.  I could totally go run for 20 minutes, but then I’d have to give up the entertainment of watching swimming lessons.  For whatever reason, Jacob is absolutely terrified of water.  He doesn’t like getting his head wet.  He doesn’t like letting go of the wall.  He doesn’t like the whole idea of getting in the water.  It’s rather comical.  Though its rather hard to swim holding on to the instructor like they are your personal life raft during a tsunami, it’s hysterical to watch.  When they got to the pool the instructor had them put on floaties that go around their middles.

Jake:  This is ridiculous, there is no way this can ever hold me.

Instructor:  No, really this works great.  Let go from the wall, I promise you won’t sink.

Jake:  No, thank you.

Jake’s swimming looks, less like swimming and more like motion by electrical shock.  Meanwhile, Nathaniel swims circles around him trying to convince him he’s completely safe.

Jake:  NATHANIEL!  You are going to drown.  Touch the wall!

Nate:  I’m fine. Perfectly safe.

Jake:  MOM WE ARE GOING TO DROWN!!!  (we tend to the dramatics here)

12:15  We arrive at home.  I’m not sure if it’s the combination of the chlorine and the screaming at the pool or the lack of caffeine but I have a killer headache.  Lunch is made, school is wrapped up and I decide to lay down before my head splits into two.

 

1:00  “Mom, are you asleep?”

Me:  I was.

Random child:  Can we jump on the jumpoline?

Me:  Okay, open the door so I can hear you.

For the next 45 minutes I hear kids happily bouncing on the trampoline intermingled with whinnying, complaining, crying and laughing.

I’m sure you know where this is going.

1:45  I hear mike scream like he was just pounced on by a tiger.  Followed by Nathaniel screaming and then Jacob screaming.  At first I wonder if maybe zombies attacked them and they are now pinned inside the trampoline net.  This may not seem like a likely scenario, but it’s probably as likely as all three of them being hurt simultaneously with enough damage to elicit the amount of screams I’m hearing.

Mike comes running in the house dripping blood from his head “He broke my head!!  Oh my gosh!  HE BROKE MY HEAD!!!! CAN YOU SEE MY BRAINS???  (the drama)

I assess the head damage and it’s minor.

Me:  You’re fine.  Jump in the bathtub so you stop bleeding all over everything.

I assess Nathaniel.  He’s completely fine.  No blood anywhere.  We can’t find Jacob.  McKayla goes to look for him.  Marshall gets out all of the first aid supplies.

Marshall:  I am completely qualified to wrap his whole head in gauze.  I have almost earned my first aid merit badge.

Me:  Okay, Tell me exactly what happened.  Marshall I think we can hold off on mummyfing your brother for a few minutes.

Mike:  HE BROKE MY HEAD!!!  We were jumping and Nathaniel’s chin hit my head and broke it!!!

McKayla:  I found Jacob, he was crying under the bed scared.

I look more closely at his head, but can tell if it’s ER worthy or not.  I call Dave.  He doesn’t answer.  I call him 4 times in a row.  Still no answer. I call my mother-in-law.  No answer.  I take a photo of his bloody head and text it to dave.  I call my best friend whose been to the ER for two head injuries on two separate kids.  No answer.  I call her cell.

Me:  THANK GOD YOU ANSWERED!

Her:  What’s up!  Did you know they sell vanilla vodka!  I have some in my cart!

Me:  Why do you live so far away!!!  I need Vodka!  (I promise, we always speak in such a way that requires all of these exclamation points).  How did you know that you needed to take the boys to the ER?

Her:  The copious amounts of blood on one kid and being able to see his skull on the other one.

Me:  What does skull look like?  Do you think I could text you a picture?

Her:  Didn’t you just meet your insurance deductible?

Me:  I know, but I hate the ER.

Her:  Just think of it as a little break.  Bring a book.

2:15  So off we went to the Urgent Care. There wasn’t anyone there but the intake lady was on the phone.  A nurse came by to see if we were okay.

Me:  Um, can you look at his head and let me know if you think this might need stitches?

Her:  Oh, yeah, that’s probably going to need some s-t-a-p-l-e-s (in a mock whisper).

Mike turns a little green.  While we wait for the doctor I text Mike’s coach.  “Mike probably won’t make it to practice.  We’re at the ER.  Tragic trampoline accident.  Mike’s head vs his brother’s chin.  Chin wins”

Mike:  Did you call dad?

Me:  I did but he didn’t answer.  I texted him a picture of your head.

Mike:  Is he coming?

Me:  I haven’t heard yet.  Probably not.

Mike:  Oh, I kinda need him.

Me:  What am I?  Chopped liver?

We get back to the doctor and explain the whole story. She washes the wound and offers us staples or super glue.  I was really trying to sell the staples, but Mike wanted the super glue.

Me:  Come on!  Don’t you want to see the medical stapler?  Maybe it’s run by an air compressor.  Kachunk!  Kachunk!  Kachunk!

I don’t know why that didn’t win him over.  I can’t imagine why he wanted Dave and not me…

Mike:  Do you think I can go to baseball practice?Doctor:  I don’t see why not.

3:45 We head home, Mike quickly changes into his baseball clothes and we’re off to practice.

 

6:00 Home from baseball everyone quickly eats frozen pizza, prepared by chef McKayla and changes into Awana uniforms.

6:30 All of the boys are dropped off at church.

6:45  I run home and take a quick shower, down some more Advil, because my head still feels like it might crack open at any minute and my eyeball will fall out.

7:15 I run to a Cubscout leader meeting.

8:15 I leave the riveting leaders meeting, mid discussion on Fish drops and run to pick up all the kids from church.

9:00 When we are all finally home, Dave inspects Mike’s head.

Mike:  How big is it? Do you think my brains will leak out?  Do you think we should make a doctor appointment to get my bones checked?  Don’t you think my skull has to be really wimpy because Nate’s baby chin could crack it?  Should I wear a helmet all the time? Should I sleep sitting up?

No wonder he wanted Dave.  All these unspoken fears he’d been carrying around all day.  Poor kid.

 

 

Read Full Post »

Thankful tree

I love Pinterest.  I love all the ingenious (and sometimes not so ingenious) ideas.  I also hate Pinterest because I should be doing all these great ideas, or at least some of them.  Why don’t we ever playing outdoor bowling with our old water bottles and glow sticks?  I am a failure as a mother.  You see where this leads?  It’s never good.

I don’t think I did anything that I pinned for Halloween. No giant spiders made of Styrofoam balls, no cookies made with various candy pieces to look like Haunted mansions, no spooky decorations made of pipe cleaners.  It was rather anticlimactic and depressing around here.

I’ve decided to get on the ball for Thanksgiving.  We made a thankful tree.

The directions I found used butcher paper, but I knew that if I waited to go buy butcher paper, I’d never make the tree.  I cut apart paper grocery bags and taped them together in a tree shape.  First thing I’m thankful for:  God is an artistic God.  So, glad he’s in charge of the trees not me.  Otherwise all forests would be incredibly spooky looking.  Note to self:  Next year put up the thankful tree October 1st.  It can add to the decor.

Once I taped up the tree  trunk and the kids helped me attach the limbs, I cut out leaves from construction paper.  Again, glad I’m not in charge of leaves.  Knowing how much of a procrastinator I am, I cut out all the leaves for this week today.  Our tree is rather unique.  It has maple leaves, oak leaves, and hand leaves.  I am storing the leaves on my fridge for easy access.

Each of us picked a leaf and wrote what we were most thankful today for.  I love what they all picked, completely on their own.

thankful leaves

McKayla (not pictured):  My family

Marshall:  I’m thankful for candy.

Mike:  I’m thankful for pets.

Jake:  I’m thankful for books.

Me:  I’m thankful for a Merciful God.

and Nate’s:

thankful leaf

I can’t wait to see how full this tree looks on Thanksgiving!

Read Full Post »

Yesterday was the first day of school for all the kids residing under our roof.

first day of school

The poor, poor, teen’s bus picks her up before 7, long, long before 7 am.  Really, I should put all of the sympathy upon myself, because though I have nowhere to go, I woke up early and made her some pear bread.  Okay, I made it the night before, but I woke up early to serve it to her.  It makes up for the fact that I refuse to drive her down the driveway, across the street and 1 block north to the bus stop and then sit in the car with her and the heater on.  If I am going to drive her to the bus stop and wait for the bus, I might as well drive her to school. (and that’s not going to happen)

Her:  “But all the other kids’ moms do it!”

Me:  Then you should ask to sit in one of their cars. I am not wasting fossil fuels on that! Some poor brontosaurus died so that millions of years later we could make gasoline.  His life shall not be in vain!  I will be PISSED if in a million years we are still using fossil fuels and my decomposed body is being used to warm the car for a lazy teenager.

Her:  Mom!

Me: I will walk you to the bus stop and keep you company.

Her:  Never mind.

It was also the first day of school for all the homeschool kids here at BDB Academy.  Oh boy!  Normally we start the week after all the public school kids.  We have  a “Hahahaha Suckers! We homeschool” extravaganza week filled with empty theater movie trips, empty swimming pool swims, empty mcdonalds playland lunches, empty park trips and empty museum visits.   Alas, with company coming soon and public schools not starting until after Labor day, I figured our “Hahaha Suckers” week followed by company would probably give us a start date some time after October 15.  Though I would be very happy with that, I don’t think the boys would be happy finishing up the year in August.

reading

The first week of school is always meticulously planned and organized.  Normally, I over schedule, overbook and generally make everyone cry on the first day of school.  I think the past 4 years in a row has ended with everyone in tears by the end of the day, including me.  What I’m trying to say is that it’s terribly fun!  Don’t you want to homeschool too?

I was very much dreading this year because I’ll have a 7th grader, 4th grader and two kindergartners.

kitchen table schoolin'I’m not even sure why I was dreading it.  What could be harder than homeschooling with twin toddlers? And I survived that.  By the way, don’t you just love Nate’s long nap tousled hair?  My gosh, it seems like yesterday that they were that little.  It kinda makes me want to cry thinking about those block playing, sipping drinking, nap taking boys who can now pick up a book and read it or ride a bike. Yep, blubbering mess over here.

Just one more picture of those cute baby cheeks!

cute baby!

Yep, blubbering mess over here.

Nonetheless, I was dreading the first day of school a little bit.  It may have something to do with that I’m crazy and I tend to think I am much more patient, have more time than I actually do, and have the stamina of a race horse. Or it might have to do with the fact that we are doing 3, yes THREE, cores from sonlight this year. After yesterday I have determined that I will be incredibly hoarse this year.  If I start to sound like a chain smoker, rest assured it’s not because I actually took up smoking, but because I’m reading aloud for an hour and a half a day not to mention all the other talking I’m doing helping everyone learn everything else.

science experiment 1.1
It might also have to do with the constant complaining the last few weeks as books have been showing up in the mail or as they’ve been slowly accumulating at home?

Marshall:  Whose Pre Algebra book is that?

Me:  Yours!

Marshall:  WHAT!!!  THAT LOOKS WAY TOO HARD???

or

Mike:  Why is there a stack of paperbacks on the bar?

Me:  Those are your first readers for school.  Aren’t they exciting?

Mike:  WHAT?  I only want to read about World War II!

I am relieved and glad to announce that there hasn’t been one official complaint on my choices of curriculum so far.  I was informed that Writing and English are Mike’s official worst subjects, but I expect that to change pretty soon, and even if it doesn’t, I’m okay with that.  You don’t have to like it, but you must be proficient at it.  That is my new mantra.  Or it may be rephrased if I am channeling my inner Tiger Mama to “you don’t have to like it, but you must excel at it”.

homeschoolin

We actually started kindergarten weeks ago to get a head start on the year.  It’s always easiest for me to skimp on the youngest because they are so easy to make up later.  Hence, the four lessons of phonics each day last June and July to finish Nate and Jake’s phonics book before this year.  I have vowed that won’t happen again.  Thankfully we now have a 4 week buffer built in.

isn't that kid handsome!

The day ran smoothly and surprisingly efficient. There does need to be a little tweaking done here and there.  I didn’t anticipate crying when Marshall and Michael shared writing time.  Nor did I anticipate how much Jake and Nate enjoyed reading to Michael.  I also didn’t anticipate starting on time and finishing an hour early.  That was very nice!

I also can’t tell you how thrilled I am with the Bible curriculum I picked this year.  It’s hard to find something that will feed and engage a 12-year-old boy while still keep the attention of a 5-year-old.  The combination of scripture reading, drawing, coloring and writing has everyone excited.

loving the Lord

We are kitchen table homeschoolers.  Though I could technically have a school room, we seem to gravitate to the kitchen and that’s where we spend most of our day.  This year I have decided to overtake the game room.  I’m hoping that this will in turn, corral the mess that we seem to generate.  We shall see.  Our downstairs is also freezing.  Whoever designed the heating in our home deserves to have their duct work designing license revoked.  Hopefully by employing the fireplace downstairs we can warm up the whole house and make the downstairs less frigid during the winter here in the arctic tundra of the Pacific Northwest.  Again, we shall see.  We may be frozen out and slowly trickle upstairs.

Bible study

All I know for sure is that today, the second day, everyone wanted to start early.  There wasn’t any complaining or crying, it went incredibly smoothly.  I couldn’t ask for a better day!

Read Full Post »