Monday, November 28, 2005

Art Show

Nathan and Luke have been taking an art class for the last 10 weeks. It's from 2:00 to 3:30, and the class had 9 little boys, and 1 girl. Wow, brave teacher! Actually the boys were all from our homeschool group, so they were well-behaved and interested in being there, and the class went really well. Nathan and Luke had a lot of fun. Today was their last class, and they had an art show at the end. Everyone picked out their favorite 2 pieces, the teacher matted them on colored paper and hung them up, and then individually they were supposed to talk about their pieces in front of the other kids and parents. Well, the teacher called on Luke first. I was a little apprehensive when I found out that the kids were going to have to talk in front of the group, and, as it turned out, my fears were well-founded! Luke bounded up to the front, looked out at his audience, and collapsed into a puddle of silent tears. Ahh, so much like his mother, poor boy. Mrs. Mellon handled it very well though. She asked him questions about his pictures and then related his answers to everyone without embarrassing him further, so he did stop crying by the end, although he never really did turn away from the wall. Nathan was a little shy in that he faced his pictures while talking, but at least he did tell about them without any prompting or tears. Obviously, speaking in front of a group has been something I have struggled with all my life, but look at me now! I can be in leadership positions on science fair committees, lead class reunions, be in book clubs and give plenty of opinions, teach at co-op, etc.! So I have managed to cope quite well and get better at it. But I vividly remember the sense of dread that hung over me for weeks as the day to give my "oral book report" loomed closer and closer. And I vividly remember turning bright red and barely being able to talk, yet knowing that my grade hinged on the stupid report. How humiliating! I am glad that Luke has the opportunity to work through these issues without grades hinging upon them, and without a whole class making fun. It just takes time and confidence, and those do not come just from constantly being forced to get in front of people. Some people were simply not made to give oral reports in the first grade! (Or second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth as well!)

Rash Update

I did call the doctor's office this morning, and the nurse told me it was fine to put hydrocortisone cream on the whole rash. That was the extent of her suggestions, though, and she didn't have any clues as to what it might be from either. I did some internet research on pregnancy urticaria, and while the pictures do look like my rash, my experience has been totally different than their descriptions. PUPPP usually starts in the final few weeks of pregnancy, and it usually only occurs in people during their first pregnancies. It starts on the abdomen, and then spreads. Mine has never been on my abdomen at all; in fact, it started behind my armpits, and has now spread to all my extremities but is still not on my trunk! Interestingly, I do think I had this during my first pregnancy--my belly was so itchy and bumpy the last few weeks that I thought I was going to scratch myself to bleeding! But I never said anything about it, and obviously I survived just fine. Now, however, with around 17 weeks to go, I don't know that I can last the whole time! One forum I found in my search recommended bathing with mint tea leaves. Showing you how incredibly desperate I am, after lunch we all marched over to the health food store to buy some, and I am planning on taking a bath after the boys go down. Yes, me--a bath! Like I said, you can tell I am desperate for relief! I will certainly give an update after my appointment on Friday!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Ten Commandments of Christmas Tree Decorating

Well, I posted these last year too, but I thought it was certainly appropriate to run again in light of my Christmas tree decorating experiences! A girl on the Well-Trained Mind boards came up with these 2 years ago, based on an actual grandmother, and I thought some of my "new" readers would enjoy them!

THE TEN TREE COMMANDMENTS

Rule #1: Thou shalt assemble the artificial tree and bend the branches for no less than one hour for a realistic appearance.

Rule #2: Then thou shalt apply the lights beginning at the top of the tree progessing to the bottom, taking the strand all the way to the center of the tree and out again on every single branch or thou wilt be smitten.

Rule #3: Concerning the number of lights. Thou shalt strive for the perfection and beauty of not less than 10 100 light strands for a total of 1000 lights. Less than this and it shall be proclaimed an "ugly" tree.

Rule #4: Thou shalt then begin apply the ornaments. Small ornaments shall go at the top. Large ornaments for the base. Thy tree must be proportional.

Rule #5: THOU SHALT NOT ALLOW THE ORNAMENTS TO SIT ON THE BRANCH BENEATH THEM! IT IS AN ABOMINATION!!! THEY MUST SWING FREELY ON THE TREE!

Rule #6: Thou shalt consider thy work no less than every three ornaments placed by standing back and looking for "holes" in thy tree. Fill the wretched holes with ornaments.

Rule #7: Thou shalt decorate the WHOLE tree front and back. Place the old scratched ornaments on the back of the tree lest it be naked.

Rule #8: After the ornaments come the garland. This must be artfully draped in even "swags". Then though shalt humor thy grandmother to come "adjust" the parts she condemns as uneven.

Rule #9: Lastly, though mayest apply tinsel to thy tree. NOT IN GREAT GOBS but by no more than 5 strands at one time. Then though must be a good steward of thy tinsel being ever watchful to not pass to closely by the tree, lest you remove the tinsel causing a bald spot.

Rule #10: Thou must promise on pain of death to return on New Year's Day to dismantle thy grandmother's tree or guilt wilt follow thou all the days of thy life.

A Few More Details

We've been doing a few other things besides eat and play games! We're still taking care of Ned, the L's dog. He loves us because we are spoiling him! We bought a 5-pack of pigs' ears, and we have been doling them out to him every few days. He can't wait to go into his crate, hoping maybe it will be his lucky day! I feel like the grandparents, giving tons of junk to their grandkids. Poor Anthony!

Bob and my Dad have been dueling it out with our shower. Unfortunately our shower is winning. A few days ago, we were horrified to notice that one of our baseboards in our bedroom had mildew on it! Our shower hasn't turned off all the way for awhile now, dripping every so often, so we thought that must be the problem. Bob and Dad tried some things, and then they had to cut into the dry wall to try to figure out the problem. The problem is that the copper pipe itself leaks. Sigh. However it gets solved, it is going to be a hassle!

I am itching. All over. Somehow over the past several weeks I have developed a big rash all over my limbs. It doesn't look like bug bites, but rather like little pimples or something. It looks to me like a contact dermatitis sort of thing, but I can't imagine what it would be from. I haven't changed detergent or soap or anything, and I've never had really sensitive skin. The rash started with just a few bumps on my upper arm back before we went to Ohio in October. Then it spread to behind my armpits, and it was so itchy. I put some OTC hydrocortisone cream on that, and that helped. Then it just spread everywhere else, all over my arms and legs. Ack! But oddly enough it is not on my trunk at all. I would think that my pregnant belly would be a big candidate for any itching, but so far nothing there. I am going crazy! I have an OB appointment on Friday, so I'll mention it then. I hesitate to try to go to the primary care clinic for a regular appointment. The doctors there do not speak good English, and I never feel like I am really able to communicate with them. The lack of good military medical care here is the thing I most hate about Virginia--it makes me miss the nice hospital at Wright-Pat so much! So right now my strategy is just grin and bear it, but I am ready to scrape off my skin with a sharp potshard ala Job. Any other suggestions, LOL?

I keep forgetting to mention that Luke has his first loose tooth. Since he is rapidly approaching the ripe old age of 7, we were beginning to wonder if it was ever going to happen! He is pretty excited about it. I am glad that we got pictures taken in October with no big gap in the front though.

There, now it's almost like you've been here for our Thanksgiving break! : )

Thanksgiving Report

A few days ago, I was rereading a book, and I noticed this character description for the first time:


"She had . . . the wide-hipped, sturdy frame that Jude would imagine in a woman
required to carry and birth five children."


LOL! Well, I don't know about that, but after all the eating we've been doing lately, I look and feel like I now have that sturdy frame! We had a wonderful day on Thanksgiving with delicious food and warm family times. We've been playing tons of games--Life, Clue, Ginnykub, Power, Rummikub, Skip-Bo, etc. It's so nice when the boys are old enough to play more than Uno! : ) Grandma and Grandpa are having a nice, relaxing break from moving and all those boxes. I baked a second chocolate-pecan pie (recipe from Pam many years ago--it's really the only pie I like, and it's delicious!!) for our neighbors to say "thank you' for their help in cutting down a tree, but they left before I could deliver it. So after we polished off the first one, we dove right into that one too! Hey, why let a good pie get stale, or whatever it is that old pies get?!

This afternoon we put up our Christmas tree and the boys decorated it. I'm not usually this on top of things, but Grandma and Grandpa aren't going to put one up this year, since things are pretty chaotic there right now, and all of us are going to Texas for 2 weeks in the middle of December for my cousin's graduation from pilot training. I wanted us to be able to enjoy it for a few weeks before we go!

It was actually a big struggle for me to put up the tree. We have a very puny, pathetic "tree" that Bob brought into the marriage. We think he bought it when he was stationed in Alabama, so that would make it at least 16 years old. It is so scrawny and ugly. I really abhor it. I would love to get a big one (9 feet) with lights already on, since lights are such a huge hassle, and we are running out of room for all the boys' ornaments on our little excuse of a tree. Finally this year, some of the branches on our "tree" have started breaking off, so they are being held on with tape. Classy! But this means that it is finally showing its age, and maybe next year we will get a new tree. Maybe. I am not holding my breath! Fortunately, the little boys especially don't care what the tree looks like--they are just thrilled to see something new in the family room! And ornaments--what fun!! So they helped me recover some of my Christmas spirit!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

You Are Mashed Potatoes
Oridnary, comforting, and more than a little predictableYou're the glue that holds everyone together.
What Part of Thanksgiving Are You?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Cleaning and Clutter

Yesterday we started a good housecleaning in honor of Mom and Dad coming for Thnakdgiving. Now, they aren't really the kind of people who poke around with white gloves, looking for dirt, but I have a terrible time cleaning (not counting picking up) on a regular schedule. So when company is expected, we clean. Good thing we have company fairly frequently, LOL!

I made a long list, and the boys got to work on their part. I will say they were very diligent workers, and that their future wives should be thrilled that they can clean bathrooms, vacuum, etc. We were making great progress when Bob called from the DMV office by where he works. We needed to renew our registration on our minivan and the Pathfinder. They're registered in PA, but for a variety of reasons, Bob decided we should go ahead and register them here in VA. While he was waiting there, he realized that he didn't have the bills of sales for those cars, and he needed the numbers off of them. So he called me to have me look. Well, they weren't in the "Important Papers" or "Automobile" folders in the file cabinet, although there was a lot of stuff relating to our white Mazda, which we no longer own. I found that bill of sale, plus a long and detailed insurance correspondence relating to an accident that occured when we lived on the Academy and a man ran into our car at Burger King. So if anyone wants those details, just let me know, because I can put my fingers on them right away! But for actual papers relating to the cars we currently do own, well, that was a different story. So then I started looking in other somewhat likely places, places where we have papers that haven't gotten filed. No luck. I was getting very frustrated, and I really didn't have any more bright ideas. The last time we actually had these papers was before we moved, when we went to PA to register the cars there, so who knows where they would have ended up after the move?! I wandered around, praying for inspiration, and then I started looking through a big box of folders in the study. Most of the papers related to the morgage on this house and last year's taxes, but I did find a folder which seemed to have random papers in it, and wonder of wonders, there were both bills of sale! And nothing else even remotely important, so I'm not sure at all why those papers were in there. But praise the Lord, there they were! So we leaped into the car and drove down to Chantilly to the DMV office. We got there right as Bob was being called up to the window, so it was perfect timing. We stuck around until he was done, then we went out for pizza, then straight off to art class. It was a busy day, although not accomplishing the things on my list! We worked hard after dinner though, and we did finish everything on the list. Yay!

This little episode has given me a mission though--death to paper clutter. Beware a pregnant woman with latent nesting instincts who has a target! I have been filling bags with old papers. I just hate not knowing where things are, and it wastes so much time when you just have to randomly search for things. I do very well when it comes to not hoarding actual things--every so many weeks, I go through and throw away all broken toys, unmatched things, stuff lying around, etc. In fact, I just did this in Nathan and Luke's room while they were at AWANA on Sunday (the key to successful junk decluttering--do it while the kids are not around). They came back and were so amazed at the difference! "WOW, Mom! Thanks! This is SO clean! How did you do it?!" Yes, well, I threw away a whole ton of junk. LOL! I didn't say that of course. But now they can actually find what they are looking for, and they have more room to play, so they are happy. But I have real problems throwing away papers! I have figured out what I need though--I need someone to take all the kids for at least a week so I can dedicate myself to filing and decluttering! Any takers? LOL!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Catching Up

Well, blogging has been rather slow of late! What has been happening?! Obviously nothing too terribly exciting. Starting yesterday, we are taking care of the L's dog (well, specifically Anthony's dog) Ned. He's a beautiful black lab, and he reminds us so much of Pascal. He is still just a big puppy, so he has a lot of energy. Caleb and Jonathan are terrified of him when he's out of his cage, but there is also a morbid fascination, and they are the first in the van when it's time to go over and let him out! Luke is somewhat scared, but braver than the little guys. Nathan really likes Ned, but Ned bowls him over with his enthusiastic greetings! Ned definitely responds better to Bob than to me--guess he's used to a man's authority, LOL! We took him for a walk this afternoon. Anthony has a great harness thing for him--it goes around his front legs, and it really seems to be effective. He still pulls some, but not too hard at all. Much better than the choke collar we had for Pascal!

In return for us taking care of Ned, Anthony is going to give us some free piano lessons, starting sometime after Christmas! This really works out perfectly because we are the proud new owners of a nice keyboard, and Nathan and Luke are interested in learning to play. I told them I could help them read music, and I know which notes on the piano to press, but I have no idea about hand placement or any technical details of actually playing the piano! And besides, shouldn't every child take piano at some point? : ) We got the keyboard at Sam's, and it seems like a nice one for the price.

I'm so excited that my parents are going to be here Tuesday for Thanksgiving! And then it will only be a few more weeks until we head down to Texas to see my cousin James receive his Air Force wings! Lots of other family will alos be down in Texas, and we'll also get to see my brother and sister-in-law's new house in Dallas! Tons of exciting things to look forward to!

And last but definitely not least, here's a happy birthday to my dearest friend in the world, Amy! Her husband got her tickets to see Riverdance on Tuesday--isn't she the lucky one! Bob took me to see that for one of our anniversaries in Colorado. It was WONDERFUL. I would love to see it again. I know it will be a special birthday present!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Latin Christmas Gift Idea

Okay, I saw this book recommended on the Well Trained Mind board--it's called Latin For All Occasions , and it looks hilarious! Just what we need to practically liven up our Latin studies! Here's one review:

This wonderful little book was presented to me many years ago after I had completed a Latin seminar. It was a wonderful gift, and I have found much use for the various phrases, and an extraordinary amount of humour that can be derived from the blandest of statements when translated into Latin. For example, the innocuous phrase 'Darn! There goes my beeper!' becomes quite funny in Latin:
Heu! Tintinnuntius meus sonat!
One has visions of Caesar fumbling through his tunic for some beeping object.
So, if you need a little Latin on the golf course (Alterum ictum faciam); on the tennis court (minime latum!), at the beach when spotting a shark (Pistrix! Pistrix!), or you just need to say Illud Latine dici non potest (you can't say that in Latin), you'll be prepared with this volume.
It even comes with a section on what to say when at the Vatican (where it might truly come in handy). For instance you might need to say 'Ubi possum potiri petasi similis isti?' when passing a cardinal or nun (translation: Where can I get a hat like that?).
So, don't waste your time on watching reruns of Insula Gilliganis or game shows such as Periculum and Rota Fortunae -- pick up this book today, and merge the worlds past and present.
Die dulci fruere. (Have a nice day.)

Seriously, I am pleased to report that Latin is going quite well here. We finished Minimus several weeks ago, and we charged right into Latin Christiana I. I have been quite pleased to see how much vocabulary the boys have retained, especially since a lot of the words from the first several lessons are the same as in Prima Latina. They also have the first conjugation down with no problems (that's the famous one--amo, amas, amat, amamus, amatis, amant). I love Latin!

Eating Out

Last night we ate dinner at TGI Fridays. We actually ate there last Tuesday as well. Tuesday is their "Kids' Day", at least at the one by the Dulles Town Center, and so kids eat free. Well, that actually turned out to not be totally true, but anyway, more on that later! You may recall that we had eaten a few Tuesday nights at Lone Star Steakhouse, since they had the same deal on Tuesdays (obviously Tuesday is the dead night for chain restaurants in the NoVA area!), but the last time we went was not a real great experience, and I cheerfully would never go back there again. We went with our friends the P's, and I ordered a steak-ke-bob, since I was getting very tired of their plain steaks. That's the problem--I was just tired of their menu. If you want something other than a big, plain hunk of grilled meat, then you are out of luck. So I ordered the ke bob, and I got a stick with 3 hunks of meat, as well as the usual onions, peppers tomatoes, etc. There was a small hunk of meat, and it was cooked just right. The medium-sized hunk was fairly raw, and the large hunk was so raw it was mooing. Of course, I had to send it back, and they butterflied the hunk, which helped the doneness issue. When they brought it back, however, it was still just a plain hunk of meat--absolutely no seasoning whatsoever. Bleh. So you can imagine my excitement when Amy P. said she thought TGI Fridays had the same deal on Tuesdays! I knew their menu was a lot more exciting--at least it had some variety! Last Tuesday night was great. I had a delicious oriental chicken salad, and Bob had a chipotle chicken thing that was also quite tasty. And we got 4 free kids meals. So last night we were expecting the same thing, but our server told us that you can only get one free kids meal per adult meal. What?! Lone Star lets you get 2 kids meals per adult entree. He said our server last week just "messed up". So technically only kids from "appropriately sized" families eat free. Ah well, I knew it was too good to last! I'll tell what does last though--onions. I had chicken fajitas (okay, but not as good as Chilis), and I burped onions all night long. I had to have a bowl of ice cream before bed to attempt to get rid of the taste! It didn't work. Anyways, the whole thing has kind of left a bad taste in my mouth (ha, ha) about eating out. It's nice to get the break, but I don't think it's worth the heartburn on a regular basis! : )

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Introductions

It has been brought to my attention that I have been remiss in making some introductions! Some of you clever readers have been wondering if in fact the "Pam" who has been commenting recently is our former next-door neighbor from Colorado Springs. Well, yes, she is, so you all win Sherlock Holmes prizes! For those of you who don't know Pam, or never even knew or cared that we lived in Colorado, then let me fill you in. We moved to Colorado Springs 2 years after we got married and right after I graduated from Cedarville. Bob worked in Cheyenne Mountain, and we bought our first house together. It was a new house in a little development in south Colorado Springs, not too far from Peterson AFB. Bill and Pam were already moved in when our hosue was done, but they wasted no time in being neighborly. Pam is a great hostess, so we had Halloween parties, St. Patrick Day parties, Cinco de Mayo parties--you get the picture! Pam is a nurse, although you will see by reading her blog that she has recently changed jobs to more of a management/development position. Pam also sells Shaklee vitamins, and she has done just about everything I have always wished I could do--learned calligraphy, cake-decorating, Irish dancing, etc. In fact, she and Bill took a big trip to Ireland this summer for their vacation, something that has always been a big dream of mine! Although we moved out of our house 6 years ago, we have still remained in contact. She's always been a good writer, so I'm sure her blog will be filled with interesting observations and commentaries on life!

Another new blog you might want to check out is that of my friend Beverly. She is also an Air Force wife and homeschooling mother, and they just moved to Nevada this summer. We met them when we first started going to Faircreek back in Ohio in September 2001. I was only a few weeks from having Caleb, and Beverly was pretty newly pregnant with their second child. Now she and Ted have Charis, who is 5, Tobin, who is 3 1/2, and Arden, who is 2. They followed us here to D.C for a year while Ted was going to a school, but they lived in Maryland, so we didn't get to see each other much. Beverly and the kids did make it over in July before they moved, and we got to talk homeschooling and curricula for several hours! We have similar homeschooling and character goals in general in common, so if you read her blog, you can see what I was doing a few years ago!

I don't really think of myself as someone who convinces people to do new things, so I am amazed that here are two people whom I have directly influenced to start blogging! Wow! Who will be next? LOL!

Early Christmas Present

Last year I posted this entry about the early Christmas present I bought myself (it was a big KitchenAid mixer, which I am still quite happy with!). This afternoon Bob and Jonathan went off to Target and WalMart to take something back, pick up pictures (of Nathan and Luke in their soccer uniforms, since we were way too cheap to do the picture deal from the team), and stuff like that. When they got home, Bob announced that he had bought me my Christmas present already and was ready to bring it in! It is a nice, big, sturdy pan that is about 12" by 16". It is technically a roaster, and it came with a nice rack, but I am also going to use it for other dishes. I have mentioned a few times that I really need something bigger than a 9"by13" pan for casseroles. We're at a point where just our family can almost finish off a pan of whatever, so I can never make casseroles if we have company over. And what will I do when the boys are in high school?! I was talking about this very subject last night after Bible study with Amy P., and Bob heard and took note. Now this is why I love him--not only does he realize that I love getting practical gifts for Christmas, birthdays, etc., he also realizes that I would rather have them immediately so I can start using them than wait to open a box under the tree! So now I am already thinking of the huge quantities of lasagna (I'll need that recipe, Ames!), enchilada casserole, chicken and broccoli casserole, etc. that I can make--enough for leftovers another night, maybe!

I am feeling better this evening--maybe my cold will just go away. I pretty much laid around all day though. I was happy to find a bag of beef barley soup in the freezer, so we had that for dinner. Here's to planning ahead and freezing meals for when you really don't feel like cooking! Since I didn't have to actually make dinner, I did feel inspired enough to make biscuits to go along with the soup. They are whole wheat biscuits, and they're pretty fool-proof. I got them from an old Taste of Home magazine many years ago, and they are big favorites here. Since my Aunt Claire often posts recipes on her blog, I thought I would follow her lead and post this easy one.

Sky-High Whole Wheat Biscuits

2 cups flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter
1 egg
1 cup milk (I use soymilk obviously, and it turns out great)

Combine dry ingredients. Cut in butter until crumbly. Combine egg and milk, then add to crumbly mixture, stirring just until moistened. Turn onto a floured surface; knead 10-15 times. Roll out to 1 inch thickness; cut with 2 1/2 inch biscuit butter. Place on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 450 for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.

Happy Belated Veterans' Day!

We were thinking of all the veterans in our family yesterday!

We celebrated by . . . not doing too much. Nathan made waffles for breakfast, and then Bob decided it was time to make a decision. (Pause for emphasis) Actually, it wasn't that big of a deal--here's the story. Back a few months ago, maybe in June, he saw a tool set at Target that he really liked for $100. It had a rechargeable drill, sander, flashlight, jig saw and some other kind of saw (ripsaw maybe?). He never bought it, nd then he saw the same tool set on clearance for only $70 in September! He bought it then, but he never did anything about it except carried it with him in the trunk of his car. So yesterday was the day to decide whether he was keeping it or taking it back. He needed a project to do! I have a big cabinet over my double ovens, and it is pretty unusable. It has a half shelf in the back that I have a very hard time reaching. I store all my cookie sheets, cooling racks, etc. up there, laying flat, and it is hard to get them out of there. I have wanted a way to stand them up, like my aunt has. In our last house, we had a small, narrow cabinet by the sink that didn't have a shelf, and so I used it for these pans. I miss that! Anyhow, Bob decided to make a new shelf out of plywood that would have big slits cut out so that I would have spaces to stand the pans up. He used almost all the tools in the kit, was very happy with them, and so has decided to keep them. He calls it his "early Christmas present", although "late Father's Day present" might be more accurate! My early Christmas present is having this lovely usable space for my big pans and racks, of course! Yay!

I also took a walk yesterday, but I'm not sure it was the best thing. I've been fighting off a cold for this week, but last night I could just feel my chest getting tighter and starting to hurt. So I'm not feeling all that well today--a good day for staying in and reading a book. Of course I haven't been to the library since we got back from Ohio, so maybe a good old book will have to do!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Pregnancy Woes

Well, I was going to post an entry about homeschooling, since I've read some good articles and books lately. But that is too much for me right now, and instead I will complain about the minor aches and pains of pregnancy. I seem to be coming down with a cold, so I know that's making my brain fuzzy, but boy am I crabby! My real problem is that my left leg seems to be "out of joint". Has that every happened to anyone else? It's just . . . well . . . not quite right. It hurts right at my hip, and I can't really find a comfortable position. You know when you start wishing you could be put on a rack and stretched--that sounds appealing and surely it would help!--that you are in a desperate way! I remember these various vague discomforts from other pregnancies, but it seems like I should be farther along than 20 weeks to start experiencing them. {pause for reflection} Well, now I am remembering the church Super Bowl party when I was pregnant with Jonathan. I was only a few more weeks along than I am now, and all of a sudden I could hardly walk because I guess it was my sciatic nerve that starting hurting down the back of my leg. Fortunately, that didn't last the whole rest of the time or anything, but the point is maybe it's not too early for these sorts of complaints. So now I am counting down the minutes until I put Jonathan down so I can take a nap (although I can't find a very comfortable position there either!). Maybe exercise would help, although let me just say, that is not very tempting right now. It is much more fun just to sit here and gripe. LOL!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Scary

Today we had a scary happening. Ryan, our neighbors' son, had his 6th birthday party this afternoon. It was a swimming party at the local Hampton Inn. They provide pizza, pop, a party room, and use of the pool for 4 hours, all for $200. Wow, who knew hotels did these kinds of things? Pretty soon after we got there and got Caleb and Jonathan's life jackets on, I looked up to see Bob fishing Jonathan out of the pool. He had tilted forward and gotten stuck with his face in the water, but he was right by the steps behind some other kids, so I didn't see him. Talk about that false sense of security with life jackets. It was a horrible feeling, because I always read stories like that, where some kid drowns amidst a big party, with tons of people watching, and I just can't stand pools. So I consider myself pretty aware, but boy, does it only take a second. We are praising the Lord that Bob was there and hadn't gone in to change his clothes yet (so he stepped in wearing his church clothes, although it was mainly just one shoe that got wet). Scary, scary, scary. We will never have a pool, and I can't wait until Caleb and Jonathan learn how to swim--hopefully next summer. Every day I pray for the Lord's protection over my children, and I am so thankful that He answered that prayer this afternoon.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Happy Birthday, Caleb!!

Caleb is now 4 years old! Here is my post from last year on his birthday. He is still a happy boy, with such a great smile--and strangers still always pick him to talk to and rub his head, since he is by far the most engaging! Our friends, the Mc's, weren't able to be at Bible study last night, so they came over for more cake and ice cream tonight to help us celebrate the "real" birthday. My Mom and Dad got Caleb a fun game where you try to stack plastic pizza toppings on a wobbly "Poppa" pizza maker without making the pizza fall, and all 8 of the boys had a great time playing that!

I am finding it so ironic that we had our ultrasound right before Caleb's birthday. After having 2 boys, while I was pregnant with him, I sort of thought that we would have a girl. We knew lots of families that had 2 of one gender, then 2 of the other, so I just figured we would fit the same pattern. I was . . . not exactly disappointed . . . well, maybe a little I was, at the ultrasound, when we found out he was a boy. By the time of Jonathan's ultrasound, I expected we would have all boys, and I really wanted another boy, since logistically it would be easier (room-sharing and all!), so there was no disappointment then at all (well, maybe for my mom . . . : ) But Caleb is just such a special little boy, and he's such a great addition to our family--I'm so glad he is who he is. And that reassures me that the Lord knows "who" this baby will be too, and she will also be just right for our family. Actually, my faith wavered a little bit at the soccer game today! I was talking to another mom who is due in February with her 4th child. She had 2 boys, then a girl, and this one will be a girl too (she fits the pattern I was discussing earlier!). Well, she was telling me how different it was to have a girl, and the example she brought up was that her little girl will just ask to go to Target, or if the mom asks what they should do, the girl (who is 3, I think) suggests going to the mall. Ack! I hate shopping!! But Bob reassured me that if we just never go to the mall (like we currently don't), well, then, our daughter will never think of that as an option! Whew!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Friday

Well, I am slowly becoming more accustomed to the idea of sharing my "queenship" with another girl! We have been reading Caddie Woodlawn as our read-aloud lately (and the boys are loving it--what a great book!). Nathan told me today that he hoped if it really WAS a girl, that she would be like Caddie. LOL! Well, she's always been a favorite book character of mine too, so I wouldn't complain!

Tonight we brought a cake to Bible study to celebrate Caleb's 4th birthday, which is actually tomorrow. He wanted a "King Arthur" cake (since he IS King Arthur), so I made a "sword-in-the-stone" cake. It turned out pretty well. We decorated the hilt with jellybeans and Skittles (for jewels, you know), and those were a big hit. We did take some digital pictures, and after Bible study, Anthony L. actually put all of our digital pictures on a disk, so maybe there is actually a slim chance that I will figure out how to post them on here! What a great guy!

Tomorrow is our last soccer game. I won't miss getting up early to go there on Saturdays, but the boys have really, really enjoyed the Upwards soccer program. It has been great. Bob is fighting off a head cold, so it looks like I will be taking everyone tomorrow, along with snacks for after the game. Thankfully it is supposed to be nice and warm!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Ultrasound

We had our ultrasound today, and everything looked just fine and healthy. I love seeing the baby move around in there--it makes it all so real! I had a real shock though--it looks like this baby is a girl. I didn't really believe the doctor, but she was pretty sure. I said something like, "Hmmm . . . . well, . . . that will be different." I'm still trying to wrap my head around the whole concept. A girl? What on earth will I do with a girl?! I can't even do my own hair! And I can't stand girls' fashions now! And I have run into a lot of really bratty, whiny, emotionally manipulative little girls lately, so I had actually been feeling a lot of relief that we "don't do girls". Also, I sort of LIKE being the "queen bee" with no competition around here! Hmmm. A real paradigm shift. The boys were pretty blase about it all, not showing much excitement or disappointment. But we were over at the L's house, so they weren't really that interested either--just let us get back to our playing, Mom! So now I must prepare myself for all the strangers' comments in stores about how we must be so thrilled that we FINALLY got that girl we were trying for. Umm, no. Not at all. I would have been thrilled to have another boy! And we were trying to have another BABY, not a girl. I'm sure I'll be more excited later on, but right now I'm still processing it all. Wow--a girl. Hmmm.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

A Good Book Day

Today was a good book day. At our homeschool co-op, someone who is moving had several boxes of free books, so I rooted through those and got a few good ones. Then the little boys and I went to a Salvation Army Thrift store that we noticed last night on our way to Chuck E. Cheese. I was primarily trying to find bigger clothes for Nathan, but I didn't find much. This store did not organize their clothes in any fashion whatsoever--not by size, or even by gender! So that made it hard to find anything. We wandered back to the back, where the books were. They had the smallest children's book selection I have ever seen at a thrift store, and it was mostly comprised of Babysitter Club and Goosebumps books. But I happened to spot Detectives in Togas, a book for which I have been looking for a long time. I've seen it recommended in several catalogues, and Mom told me she thought Nathan would really like it after she heard some friends reading it aloud to their kids during a visit to California. No library we've gone to has had it though, so I was thrilled to find it for $ .25!

Nathan started reading it before dinner, and after dinner he wanted to know if it was a library book. He was quite happy when I said it was ours, and his next question was how much it had cost. When I told him a quarter, he was amazed.

N: "Why would a store sell a book like this so cheap?"

Me: "Well, it's a thrift store--people donate stuff to them, and then they just try to sell the stuff for whatever they can get. People know the things in there are cheap."

N: " But this book is already so exciting! Why would anyone ever give it away?!"

Ahh, yes--we are training him well. You NEVER get rid of books! Books are our friends!

Along similar lines, my friend Christine told me something funny yesterday. We were talking while our boys were having art class. I had watched 3 of her boys before we went to Ohio because she had to take her 3rd child to the ER after he poked himself badly in the eye. Christine told me that as they were driving back home, her oldest son asked her, "Mom, why can't you teach us Latin?" LOL! There's some positive peer pressure right there . . . Come on, conjugate the verbs . . . it feels good. . . everyone's learning Latin . . . it's so cool . . . LOL!

I also had a really positive conversation with our next door neighbor about homeschooling today. I went out to check on the boys this afternoon, and Caleb was helping her sweep her driveway. I went over to see if he really was helping, and Stella and I started talking. She is a high school German teacher, and her husband is some kind of motivational speaker. They are really nice. This is his second marriage. I don't believe she has any kids, but he has I think 4, and many grandchildren, and they are both very close to the grandkids. They're a really nice couple, and they were positive about our homeschooling when we moved in and they asked about schooling the boys.

Anyhow, Stella started off by asking how I was feeling, etc., and then she moved on to how homeschooling was going. I gave pretty general answers because I never know really how interested people are in the nuts and bolts of it all, or if they are going to get really defensive about public schools or whatever. But I didn't get any of those feelings from her, and she kept asking interested questions, so I kept on talking! She asked about how we structured our day, so I went through one with her. She completely agreed with how little time it takes to get concepts across to only one child compared to a classroom full of kids. She also said that one thing that has really changed for her as she has taught over the years is her understanding of how boys learn, and she wished she had been more sympathetic to their need to move and just their different motivations and learning patterns. I thought that was interesting in light of my fairly recent post on the subject. So we had a good conversation, and she was very positive about the whole idea, even coming up with some advantages herself--"I bet you can avoid a lot of the bad socialization issues that I see", she said. Oh yes, that is a prime motivation for homeschooling! I didn't phrase it like that though. : ) It's rare to hear someone who isn't homeschooling talk about the negative socialization that goes on in schools, however, so that was a nice surprise. Hopefully we're being good ambassadors of homeschooling!