Monday, December 31, 2007

Year in Review

I decided to look back at what I thought was important enough to blog about this past year.

I started off in January by blogging about our search for a shiny new trash can. I am happy to report that at Sams on Friday, I found an almost 13 gallon shiny trash can with an attached lid that I think will be too heavy for Grace to push over. It's not as "stylish" as the ones at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, but it's also not $200, and I can use regular trash bags with it. It's been working great!

In February, I was 28 weeks pregnant. We did a ton of traveling, out to Colorado for Nan's funeral, and also to Ohio. I failed my glucose tolerance test, and I was weary of being pregnant. But someone on the WTM board had an inspirational post on being 28 weeks pregnant that got me through the next few months.

March brought evidence that Anna can be a real stinker. This trend has continued as she has grown older.

In April I stressed about my upcoming delivery, so it was good that Caleb distracted me with this custom designed crest.

On May 1, Grace Elizabeth was born. Here is her birth story, in case you happened to miss it the first time around.

June was filled with posts like this one , where I moan about things like mastitis and not getting enough sleep. I'm glad that month is over!

In July, Anna was back to her old tricks, with a black eye and a microwave "incident" . Also, we grew Dan's Chia Shrek, which certainly turned out to be . . . something.

Our beloved Pathfinder bit the dust in August, and I wrote a touching eulogy for it. To be honest though, we haven't really missed it. (Now that I say that, I better prepare for a huge snowstorm, where its 4 wheel drive would have been priceless, LOL.)

A memorable part of September was the stye in my eye. Later I read some posts on the Well Trained Mind board that said breast milk is the best thing to take these painful things away. Hmmm. Well, it was too late for me, but it was so painful I would have definitely tried anything, had I known about this potential remedy. I'll have to leave some milk in my freezer for such a time, LOL.

In October, Nathan had a tick bite under his eye. Thankfully there have been no signs of Lyme's disease, and in fact, I had forgotten all about the incident until I read about it my archives!

I bought new shoes in November, and I am happy to report that I just thinking yesterday how comfortable they are. Yay for taking things back!

Well, that's what struck me as I skimmed back through the year. That is what I like about blogging--I can remember all these little things that seemed so important at the time, but in reality were not too big in the whole scheme of things!

Friday, December 28, 2007

After Christmas

We've had a wonderful week of vacation, with no school at all. The boys have mainly been downstairs, playing with their new Bionicles and Transformers. Anna has been playing daily with an adorable tea set from Aunt Melinda and Uncle Dan. The boys got several new books, including a different Star Wars cookbook ("Darth Malt") and a visual dictionary of all 6 episodes. That last one has been pored over by all the boys at one time or another! A while ago I found a $1.00 Star Wars coloring book at Books-A-million, in their bargain stack, which I gave to Caleb. It's turn came yesterday, although the boys didn't color much in it. Instead, they traced the pictures onto paper, presumably to color those. How thrifty! All I know is that this activity has also kept them all very quiet, LOL.

Nathan starts Upward basketball next Thursday, so I have been making him (and everyone else) go outside and practice basketball, as well as run laps for awhile each afternoon. Conditioning, you know.

We had our house appraised yesterday, and I'm glad that's over! We got it as clean as possible, and the man was supposed to come between 10:30 and 11:00. He finally got here right around 11:00, and I was so worried that I wasn't going to be able to keep the house clean any longer! The boys were watching Jonathan's new Lone Ranger video (from the $1 bins at Target, woohoo!), but I knew that was going to soon be over. And I was sort of following around after Anna, picking up whatever she got out. This appraisal is for us to refinance to a 30 year loan, and we're going to need it, since I don't see how we could ever put the house on the market and try to show it with all these kids, LOL.

Last night we ate dinner at Chick-Fil-A and headed over to Walmart for a few things. While there, Bob spotted at $19 mini-trampoline, so we bought that. I guess it's a late Christmas gift, but we figured they could bounce around in the basement and work off excess energy on rainy days. As a funny aside, my parents have a mini-trampoline as well, and this is how the boys refer to them, as in: "Which Grandma and Grandpa are you talking about?" "The ones with the trampoline in the basement." On some visits, the trampoline isn't even out, so you'd think that wouldn't be the thing they remember most, but who knows how their little minds work. Anyhow, now we have one of our own.

As for me, I am spending my post-Christmas vacation up to my ears in reptiles (well, now that I can let the house go again, LOL). I would just like to say that before I started this research, I thought I didn't care much for reptiles. Now I know that I thoroughly despise them, and that they are totally and completely nasty, with the possible exception of geckoes, which are small and fairly cute, as far as reptiles go (not far, LOL). Yuck. Every single book I got out of the library has tons of pictures of these horrible creatures killing their victims in all sorts of gruesome ways, I guess because the experts tell us that in order to keep kids' attention nowdays, things have to be gross or something. And now I am seeing them when I close my eyes, and dreaming of them at night. Ewwwww! I will be so very glad when my 2 teaching weeks are over!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas From Our Family to Yours!!!!

We had a beautiful candlelight service last night at church, followed by a night of wrapping presents and frosting our birthday cake for Jesus for Bob and me.

In the morning, we woke up, had breakfast, and then we opened stockings. After a quick nursing break, we opened presents. We all got such wonderful things! We ate our big meal at 1:00, and after another nursing break, we all went on a walk to the playground/football playing field. The weather was beautiful today! When we were in Colorado, we liked to go on Christmas hikes with our neighbors, Bill and Pam. I want to start that tradition up again! The boys are playing happily and quietly downstairs. Bob and Anna are napping. It's so nice and quiet! After we eat leftovers or something, we will have our birthday party for Jesus. After all, his birth is the reason we have anything to celebrate on this day or any day!

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! II Cor. 9:15

One last thing--we are also celebrating a new member being added to our family! My cousin James got engaged to Sarah yesterday!! Congratulations! What a wonderful time of year to become engaged, and we are so excited for you!!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Preparations Wrap-Up

We cut out sugar cookies on Thursday. Nathan made the dough in our big mixer, and it turned out great (and a little puffy because he added a little too much baking powder due to a doubling miscalculation, LOL). We used our regular Christmas cookie cutters, but we also opened a box that I had bought many, many years ago while we were still in Colorado. It was a set of cutters to make a Nativity scene. Those cookies we decided to decorate before baking with an egg glaze that I had read about on The Pioneer Woman Cooks. We painted the glaze on, and it was really easy. Unfortunately, the cookies puffed up a lot, and so you can't really tell what was supposed to be colored on the final product, so it was not a rousing success.

We decorated the other cookies on Friday afternoon with our regular powdered sugar glaze. In the decorating process, you can really tell that all my older kids are boys, not girls. The frosting technique is "pile it on and add tons of every kind of sprinkles"--no detail work, LOL. Finally I finished whatever it was I was doing in the kitchen and decorated a few cookies myself. I did a teddy bear first, and I carefully spread yellow frosting on the head, arms, and legs before putting red frosting on the tummy and adding eyes and a mouth. "Hey! You made Winnie the Pooh!" was the surprised cry of the boys. Using more than one color had not really occured to them. Then Jonathan asked if he could put sprinkles on my cookies. I told him no because I really don't like sprinkles. "WHAT?! You don't like sprinkles?!" Everyone was astounded, LOL. AFter that, the boys were a little more artistic, but when we pick out cookies to eat, I noticed that people like to pick Jonathan's. And why not? Pound for pound, he is the king of putting the most frosting and sprinkles on! Artistry only goes so far, LOL.

Sunday afternoon Bob's sister Ann, her husband Wally, and their daughter Christi came up to visit from Richmond for the night. We had such a fun time with them. Ann and Wally played cards with the older boys, while Christi read lots of books to the little ones. Ann, Christi, and I stayed up too late talking, but it was such a nice break to just sit around and chat. Christi is getting married soon, so she was full of wedding plans to talk about, and I was full of marriage advice, LOL. This morning, Nathan made pancakes for breakfast, and then we sat around and sang boisterous Christmas carols, such as in the picture. We sure were loud! I mean, festive!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Lost Evidences of a Past Me

We've been busy cleaning the past 2 days. Bob's oldest sister Ann and her family are coming Sunday afternoon to spend the night, and then we have an appraiser coming on Thursday because we're refinancing our house. Yesterday we spent a good deal of time on the upstairs, and this morning we worked on the basement.

After we got the main part of the basement done, I went to straighten out what we call the playroom down there--the only unfinished part of the basement, the part where the water heater and furnace are. It's a good size room, though, so we have carpet down in the middle of it, and that's where the boys play Lincoln logs and army men. I rarely make them clean it up, so they love it, LOL. We also use it for storage, and we have boxes along one wall.

After I shuffled around some tubs of clothes, I noticed that some of the boxes on the floor had *gasp* water marks on them. Hmmm, I thought. How odd. These are book boxes-that can't be good. And it wasn't. The box that had the most damage was filled with notebooks sitting upright, so most of them had terrible mold and had to be tossed without a second thought. It was really hard though. There were some old high school yearbooks, and also ones from my international school in Okinawa. There were lots of notebooks from high school and college classes. These may seem like a no-brainer that I should have tossed years ago, but you know, it was always sort of comforting to have those papers downstairs. Like I may not remember how to solve a differential equation now, but look what I used to be able to do! It's like another beautiful language! This was me, before my brain atrophied and wasted away from having all these children! Also, I had a lot of school projects saved, from my state report ("Utah") in 5th grade all the way up to my senior project in college ("Transcriptional Regulation of the Human Apolipoprotein A1 Gene").

Some things weren't so bad off, and I left them out to dry while I think about what to do with them. I suspect that I'll have to throw many of them away too, but I guess I'm just sort of giving myself some time to get used to the idea. And some of the books I really want to salvage, like my vertebrate zoology lab manual, which I am sure will come in handy when the boys need to dissect things, especially if we just order the kits to do ourselves. I had also saved a great deal of stuff from my high school English classes that I was planning on using with the boys. I had a really great teacher most years in high school, and I think my grasp of grammar is pretty good because of him, compared to what I've heard a lot of other people talk about. We also had these killer cummulative vocab tests each week, and I have a lot of the lists, which I was planning on using. I have all that stuff sort of spread out everywhere, so we'll see what happens.

It was so discouraging though. I don't really save that much "stuff"--knick-knacks and things. But books are really important to me, and I felt such a sense of loss as I threw all these notebooks away. It's almost a loss of identity because those things are pretty much all the kids could page through that identified and proved the academic life I had before I had kids.

You may be wondering why I wasn't more concerned about the water and where it came from. The air conditioner empties water by where these boxes are. So I am positive that the boxes got wet back in the summer, which is why the mold in the boxes was so bad now.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

School Update

Yesterday, because of Nathan's late night, we took a day off of school and had a game day. We played Rummikub, Clue, Pictionary, and Ginnykub. Luke was not at all sure about Pictionary, because, as he said, "I am not a good drawer". I assured him that you didn't have to be an expert artist--you just had to be able to get the main idea across--so he reluctantly tried it. We all had a great time! Of course, it helped that we didn't play teams. We just rolled the die to make our way around the board, drawing whatever category we landed on. And after awhile we did away with the timer too--no pressure! It was fun to see their thought processes in their drawings. This is a great thing about big families--there are always plenty of people aroudn to paly games!

On a normal December day, however, we are sort of doing "school lite". This means that I get out their Latin sentences to translate, math, and English the night before, and they do those in the morning. Then usually (but not always) we do memory work and Latin later, as well as maybe mental math or math facts review. That's about it for formal school, though, and it allows us to run errands in the mornings if we need to , or spend the whole afternoon baking, or whatever we need to do. And I don't get too worried about seeing their vocab leaking out their ears as I sit and watch them, LOL. We are also reading The Best Christmas Pageant Ever out loud, and since we are studying the Civil War in history, I got out a ton of Civil War books from the library. Sometimes I read them aloud, but often the boys just pick them up on their own and read them. January we'll pick back up with a heavier load. The break is so nice though. Let's not talk about starting back up again, LOL.

The boys had their last day of co-op last Tuesday, and it was the grand finale to a little fine arts unit. They had an art show, with pieces they had worked on the previous 2 weeks matted and displayed for the parents to look at. Also, one of the moms does pottery, so she brought in her wheel and did a demonstration, complete with spiritual application. It was really neat. It is exactly for things like this that I am glad we do this co-op! I am all for the fine arts, but they really are not my forte, or even a high priority just on my own, so it is a good thing the boys can get exposure in another setting, with people who actually have lots of talents in these areas!

When TnT starts back again the second week in January, they will be doing a unit on reptiles. And I am teaching the 3rd and 4th graders. Ack! I guess I'd better get cracking! Amazingly, I keep finding better things to do with my time, other than plan lessons for reptiles. The lady who is teaching the second 2 weeks of the unit is doing dinosaurs, so it is up to me to overview reptiles. I had thought I would actually start with a quick run-down of animal classification as a whole, so the kids can understand why reptiles are reptiles, and how they differ from, say frogs. That won't take up an hour and 15 minutes though, not to mention the second week! Also, one of the boys in the 4th grade class has some learning issues, and he is going to be a real challenge. I need some kinds of hand-on activities, more than just worksheets or listening to me talk, because I know he will not be able to sit still or even be capable of doing much writing. But I'm drawing a blank for activities. Hmmm.

So that's what we're up to school-wise!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Nathan's Amazing Technicolor Christmas Rash

Well, here is what Nathan looked like when he and Bob got back from Bethesda and after his shot of benedryl! There was hardly a spot on his poor body that wasn't raised and red! We were impressed with Nathan's wish to celebrate Christmas so completely by decorating himself in seasonal colors, LOL. Very festive!
He took his first doses of prednisone and liquid benedryl last night too, and when he woke up this morning, the mysterious rash was all gone. But he has to take the prednisone for 4 days. We will certainly keep on top of that, because we do NOT want this crazy thing to come back, like it did yesterday!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Nathan's Mysterious Skin Ailment

**Update below**

After care group was finished last night, Nathan came up and showed me a hive that had mysteriously popped up under his left eye and was really itchy. I immediately gave him a chewable children's benedryl pill (with Caleb's food issues, we have these around all over the place!). Then I asked to look at more of him to see if there were any more hives. Well, there were some on his back as well. When he went upstairs about an hour later to go to bed, I had him take 2 tsp. of Zyrtec, another antihistimine. By the time he was actually in bed, the bumps on his back were smaller, and he said he wasn't itchy anymore, so I assumed the whole thing would pass. We had tried to figure out what could possibly have caused this reaction, but we came up totally blank. He hasn't eaten any new foods, I haven't used any new detergents, etc.

This monring when he woke up, his back looked better, although there were still small bumps on it. He also had some on his legs, but his face looked just fine. I told him to take another dose of Zyrtec, and Nathan promptly got distracted and forgot all about doing that.

At 4:00, his face started to get more and more red. This first picture is from about 5:00. His shoulders were also starting to get worse, as well as his arms, and he had hives/rash on his buttocks too. At 6:00 I told him to take another dose of Zyrtec (and realized that he hadn't taken one this morning). I started making plans to take him in to the doctor tomorrow.

By 7:00, his face was much, much worse, and his arms were like one giant hive all over. He was incredibly itchy and hot all over. We decided Bob would take him to the ER at Bethesda, so they left about 7:15 for that trek. This picture was taken right before they left.

They are almost there now, so we'll see what the doctor says. Hopefully they can give him some sort of steroid or something. Bob did come up with one new thing Nathan had this weekend. Bob was TDY to Texas last week, and he brought home a stalk of sugar cane for the boys. They sell this at Walmart down there! We had read Swiss Family Robinson this past summer, and that was one thing they were always snacking on, so Bob thought we'd give it a go. Luke allowed that he would eat it, but only if he were starving. Nathan thought it was okay and chewed on quite a bit of it. Still though--that was Friday afternoon and Saturday, and the hives didn't start until Sunday night. Weird.

**Update: They left Bethesda about 10:45. The docs gave Nathan a benedryl shot after determining that it was, believe it or not, an allergic reaction. Wow! How enlightening! Unfortunately they had no idea what could have caused it either. They sent him home with benedryl and prednisone to take over the course of the next few days, which will hopefully do the trick. The shot has so far helped Nathan's body not be so "3-D", but Bob said it was still pretty red and bumpy. Poor guy!

Christmas Party Weekend

We had the most social weekend I think we have ever had! It started off Friday night, where we had a Christmas party at Bible study. The kids (there are 15 kids for 4 families) acted out the Christmas story,complete with costumes. A few years ago, for AWANA at Halloween, the kids all had to be Bible characters. So I cut up an ugly brown sheet into tunic things that the kids wear over Dad's t-shirts, along with belts and headscarves (also out of the sheet). Voila! Your generic Bible character costume! These 4 costumes stood us in good stead once again. Nathan was Joseph, Luke was a shepherd and a wise man, and Caleb and JOnathan were shepherds. In a surprise casting move, I was the Angel of the Lord (sans costume, LOL). It was a lot of fun. Then we socialized over snacks for a long time, not leaving until after 10:00.

Saturday we had our first party at 3:00. The German family down the street had a neighborhood German Christmas tea, with all sorts of German foods and drinks. Some of the food I really liked, and some, well, not so much. It was fun though, and I drank 2 cups of tea, as well as a few tiny sips of some sort of mulled wine that is "the smell of Christmas" to Oliver and Ellie. Everyone thought it was really great stuff, but boy, I do not have any sort of taste for wine, because I really didn't like it. I guess that's a good thing, as you're not really supposed to drink while nursing, eh?

I left about 4:30 and rushed home to finish tidying it up. Saturday night my ladies' Bible study was having a Christmas progressive dinner, and the kids were all going to be at our house, eating pizza! They started coming at 6:00, and of course I was nowhere ready for them. I still had to make my spinach strawberry salad, and as we were getting ready to leave, I remembered that I had also said I would take tacquitoes. Whoops! So I took the box of them frozen to heat there. How classy!

We went to Jenny's house for the appetizers/main course, and that was a great time. After we ate, we did the white elephant gift exchange game, where you can take presents away from people. I kept opening the "good" presents, which were promptly stolen, so I ended up opening 3 presents (out of only 12). After the presents, we all came and retrieved our kids before heading to the L's house for dessert. While at the L's house, we played a fun Mad-Libs version of "Twas the Night Before Christmas", and we also sang Christmas carols around the piano. Once again, we didn't leave until after 10:00. Hmmm. I wonder if these late nights might have any impact on children? Oh, I'm sure not, LOL.

Sunday we went to church, and then rushed home to have a quick sandwich and nurse Grace before heading over to another neighbor's house for yet another Christmas party. This neighbor, Doctor Joe, is an older man, and each year he invites all the neighborhood kids to listen to him tell Christmas stories that he has made up. They are nice fairy-tale like stories, each one centered around a Christmas tree of a different color. It's a good time for the kids, and afterwards he and Stella always put on a huge spread of food.

After stuffing ourselves again, we went home and again straightened up because at 6:00 our care group from church was meeting at our house. We only meet every third Sunday, but this was the lucky weekend! So once again I nursed quickly, whipped up a quick pan of gingerbread for dessert, and then welcomed people here. And once again I was nowhere near ready for them when they came! We had a good study, but after everyone left and we got the kids down, I was so very glad to be done with all our socializing. Our calendar for this next week is blessedly completely blank! Ahhhhhhhhhh.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Born Good?

Last night I was getting ready to give Anna and Grace a bath. I told Anna to go upstairs and get ready for her bath. She immediately said, "NO! Uh uh! Why?!" And then she scampered happily up the stairs because she really loves baths, LOL. You can't tell me those words aren't hard-wired as a default response pretty deeply into their little beings! The trick is over-riding the automatic programmed response and replacing it with "Yes, Mommy!". We're still working on that . . .

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

An Early Christmas Present

This time of year there are always discussions in the paper, on message boards and so on about what kind of gifts women hate to get. The general thought seems to be that women don't like practical gifts; however, this is NOT me. Bring on the practical gifts!!

I have wanted for a long time a collapsible rolling file cart from Office Depot. You may wonder why that particular item has caused such yearning in me. I wanted it for the library. We check out many, many books at a time, and I have always carried them in a big Land's End tote bag. Recently we have also had to branch out into 2 small auxiliary tote bags that the boys carry because we were just plum out of room in the big bag, and my arm was about to fall off from hauling it around. A long time ago I read a thread on the Well Trained Mind board where many people recommended this rolling crate thing, and it sounded like a great idea to me.

So last night Nathan and I prepared to go to the library when he called me out to the garage to "look at something". There, in the front seat and with a red bow on, was this cart! I was so excited! Bob decided he should go ahead and give it to me so that I could actually use it, instead of just waiting for Christmas. It was so nice! I just wheeled my heavy load right in! I know everyone was looking jealously at it--or looking at it anyways, LOL. They were probably thinking, "Why does any lady need to get out so many books?!"

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Now we can move on to other parts of Christmas. . .

The chocolates are all done! Yay! Every year I am always a little surprised when I reach the point that I am sick of chocolate, and yet every year, that point is reached, LOL. Last night I made a peppermint bark to use up the rest of the dark chocolate, and I still haven't even tasted it. I am just not interested. Blech.

We bought 10 pounds of milk chocolate, 5 pounds of dark chocolate, and 2 pounds of white chocolate. We used it all except for about 1 pound of the milk chocolate. We'll have to make something yummy with it--in February maybe, LOL.

The biggest difference this year was that Nathan was really my partner, not just my helper. He did some of everything--painting the molds, filling them, rolling out other fillings, etc. It was really fun to work with him, and it was so nice not to have to do it all! I guess this is why people have children! LOL! And of course we had some really great discussions while working about Pearl Harbor, current events, etc.

The thing about not doing it all myself was that I had to let go of some of my anal perfectionism. This was really hard to do. I can still remember the lady at Marway's Cake and Candy Supply Store in Colorado Springs, where I took the candy-making classes, talking about how you want people to realize your gifts were "hand-crafted, not home-made" or something to that effect, because of their great quality. And let's face it--a 10 year old boy who doesn't normally pay tons of attention to detail is going to be sloppier and less careful than someone like, well, me, who always got charater qualities such as "neatness" and "diligence" at award banquets in school. (Yes, I went to a Christian school obviously, LOL). But I managed to let it go fairly gracefully and not rush back to correct everything I thought wasn't quite good enough. So the bottoms of the chocolates aren't quite as smooth as they should be, and sometimes they are a bit swirled because the chocolate started to set before the mat got put in the freezer. They still taste great! And I think things like this will help Nathan pay more attention to details. He did greatly improve over the course of the week.

By the time the boys are all in high school, I'll just sit back and let them make tons of chocolates. Then I'll rake in the money. I knew there was a reason we had so many kids! LOL!

Thursday, December 06, 2007


When we woke up yesterday, we were surprised to see snow on the ground! Jonathan has been asking oh, I don't know, probably at least once a day when it was going to snow. I told the boys not to get too excited because I was sure it wouldn't stick around, but it did! We got about 2 inches, enough to make 4 boys very happy!

The boys had a "school date" over at the L's house while Anna and I were at the dentist, and as we were coming home, they were excitedly talking about playing in the snow. Their friends, the 4 McC boys, were coming to our house at 4:00 while their mom had a doctor's appointment, and they really wanted to play outside with the McCs. I sort of stammered around because, I tell you, it is hard enough dealing with 4 boys, snow suits, gloves, boots, hats, etc. I really can't fathom doing it for 8 boys between the ages of 3 and 10! Finally I told them they could play outside after lunch, but that we would probably all stay inside to play at 4:00.

After lunch, Christine called to say that her doctor apointment had been rescheduled. She didn't want to impose, but her husband, Craig was home (he had been going to accompany her to the appointment). Her boys were really looking forward to playing with ours, and would I mind if Craig brought their boys over and took them all sledding or something? Oh my!!!! I was so excited, not to mention my boys!

We began the long process of finding which boots and gloves fit which boy this year and suiting up, and the boys went outside at 2:30. The McCs came about 3:30, after their piano lessons, and they all disappeared to the hill at the end of our cul-de-sac. I kept sticking my head outside every so often to hear squeals of delight emmanating from the bottom of the hill, but I didn't see them again until after 5:00. They were red-cheeked, sopping wet, and cold, but they had a wonderful time! Between both our families, we had 7 sleds. Jonathan and Joel (the 2 youngest) had tried riding down by themselves, but they were a little scared. Then they found our 2-person sled, and they rode down together the rest of the time. The older boys had tales of thrilling rides, near-misses, and spectacular crashes. I was so thankful Craig was there to prevent any fatalities or extreme boyish foolishness!

Meanwhile, I had sat in my warm, quiet kitchen, painting chocolate molds and listening to Christmas carols. We were all happy, LOL.

After dinner, Nathan cleaned up and collapsed on the couch. "I'm not moving from here until bedtime! My legs feel like spaghetti!" Ahhh--nice words for a mom to hear. They all slept like rocks last night!

Anna "Graytooth"

Right before we left for Thanksgiving, I happened to notice that one of Anna's top front teeth was gray. "Hmmmmmm, that's odd," I thought, and then I pretty much forgot all about it since I was busy packing. But while I was relaxing in Ohio, I noticed it again and mentioned it to Mom, jsut to make sure I wasn't imagining things, LOL. She agreed, and I made an appointment with the dentist for yesterday.

In the meantime I did some Googling, and I discovered it was from trauma to the tooth. Well, that's easy--she is always falling. Sometimes it's an accident, and sometimes it's her own fault--espcially when she wails dramatically and collapses in a heap on the floor but tragically misjudges the distance from the coffee table or whatever and bumps her face. Yes, it's a hard life she leads. Anyhow, as far as narrowing down when this particular incident might have occured--well, I had no clue. I can vaguely remember several times over the last few months where we've had to get an ice cube because she fell and her mouth was bleeding. I never noticed anything after the fact, and she certainly has never seemed bothered by anything in her mouth after the blood stops!

So Elizabeth watched the other 5 (huge "thank you"!!) while Anna and I went off to the dentist. She has a cold and didn't sleep well, so she was a real bear when I woke her up. I was worried that she would be totally uncooperative, but thankfully she was fine. She even let them take an x-ray with no hassle! As it turns out, this particular fall, whenever it occured, knocked the tooth backwards, out of alignment. There's no infection in the roots, and since we don't know when it happened, the dentist said it may still heal itself, since baby teeth have immature roots that can heal. We are to go back in a month for her to check on it again.

Anna waited until we got back to the comfortabel environment of the L's house to be grumpy again and throw a tantrum as we were ready to leave, LOL. See, it's not that I am a great parent, it's just that my kids are naturally very wary of strangers, so they keep quiet around them and are generally cooperative, all the while watching suspiciously. Then, when they know there's no threat from strangers, they feel free to act out all the bad behaviors of their sin natures!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Arts and Crafts Weekend

Nathan really enthusiastically jumps into things. Right now it's Christmas. Friday after Anna's well-baby appointment, we stopped by the cake and candy supply shop to get stuff to make chocolates. He was ready as soon as we got home to dig right in and get messy. We got our Christmas tree up Friday night, which meant he started thinking about what presents he could make for everyone in the family. This led his thoughts to the clay that we bought at the teacher supply shop when we were back in Ohio, so he got that out Saturday morning and started "sculpting". And of course, whenever one boy starts something like that, all the other ones join in, so yesterday was "clay day".

Nathan's next thoughts turned to sewing, so Saturday afternoon he asked me to get out the sewing machine and show him how to use it because he wanted to make "something" for me. I was busy dealing with a mountain of laundry, plus clay all over the place, so I really was not in the mood, but eventually he prevailed. He spent a good deal of time practicing sewing straight lines, and then he and Bob went off to Walmart to find some fabric. They came back with a soft and fuzzy red throw--everything else was "not thick enough" for their purposes. Eventually it came to light that Nathan wanted to make Bob and me new Christmas stockings.

This morning we did not got to church because Anna was running a fever (I think from her shots), Grace was really congested and coughing, and I had a sore throat. We decided the better part of valor was staying home and not exposing the church to us! So Nathan and Bob got to work on the stocking project, using an existing stocking as a general pattern. Nathan did all the sewing, and I must say, he turned out a very nice looking stocking! I was most impressed! I'll have to take a picture and post it. The blanket was just the right sort of material needed. Nathan sewed up a second stocking, and then he moved on to painting the clay pieces from yesterday while the other boys took their turns on the sewing machine. Who would have thought such a non-crafty person such as myself would turn out boys interested in sewing?! The other boys also did their painting, although Caleb came back for even more sewing.

Tomorrow we are supposed to start the chocolate making, and I am hoping I feel better for it. It was great having Bob here this weekend to do all this crafty stuff with them. I don't really feel like doing that stuff even when I'm feeling great, LOL. I am such a slacker mom because the mess is so not worth it to me. But obviously it is worth it to the boys, so I'm glad they had fun. I suppose it is wholly appropriate that December be "craft month". Can I get it all out of the way for the whole year in one month?! Just kidding . . . sort of.