Thursday, April 30, 2009

The New Van

Here he is! Our new family member! We're trying to come up with a good name for him. He was last owned by Enterprise, and he is as big as a spaceship, so "USS Enterprise" has been discussed. Of course, that's not very catchy. I think of him as "Maximus", which seems like an appropriate Latin name for us. We'll have to see what other suggestions come out as we get used to him.

We drove back to the dealership this morning to pick up Bob's minivan, which was sitting there waiting for us. Then I drove the big guy back home with all the kids, and Bob went on to work. It's not hard at all to drive on the freeway, LOL. We stopped by the party store to pick up some pick plates for Grace's birthday tomorrow, and I about hyperventilated at the thought of parking. I told the kids we were going to park a mile away, but luckily we could pull through into a space much less than a mile away. Whew! The kids loved having more room, and being up higher than all the other vehicles, which now look like little bugs.

To revisit the issue of why we picked the 12 passenger van over the 15 passenger, we figured we would mainly be using it for long trips, as I am not planning on driving it regularly around town. The parking lots are just too small and cramped, and the kids and I all fit in the Sienna, which gets tons better gas milage. So for long trips, we will have several suitcases and pack-n-plays, and there is no room at all behind the last seat of the 15 passenger van. We would always have to have that last seat out, which means we would be storing it, and then we would only have 11 seats. We can fit suitcases in the back of the 12 passenger one, and we'll have 3 extra seats. I tell you what was frustrating is to realize that there have been NO improvements in big van technology over the past 10 years or so. A 1999 van looks the same inside as our 2008, except it might have a cassette player instead of a CD player. The seats don't fold over, and there is no split seat technology, which would be wonderfully useful when dealing with these enormous seats. They are definitely not wasting any money on this market! It is hard to go from our super-nice Sienna to this bare-bones van. But we all fit, and there is certainly something to be said for that!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Van News

We have been looking more seriously into buying a big passenger van. Originally we had thought we would wait until maybe Fall to buy one, but it has increasingly become more and more of a hassle to have to take 2 vehicles anytime we all want to go anywhere. So Bob has been spending a lot of time on the computer, trying to find one for us. He found some he liked Monday, and they were several thousand dollars cheaper than similar vans elsewhere. The catch was that these vans were near Lancaster, PA. He later found out the price differential was due to hail damage. That in and of itself didn't bother us--any van we buy will never see the inside of a garage here in D.C. (don't get me started on the tiny garages here in the land of huge houses), so it very well could suffer hail damage from us. But that's definitely the kind of thing you want to see before buying, so we decided we would make a quick trip up there Tuesday afternoon.

As it turned out, nothing about the trip was quick, LOL. Since we couldn't all fit in our van to drive up there, we left the boys with the McCs, and the girls (Anna and Grace only) with a family from church. This family actually lives quite a bit further in than we do, and there was utility work on the main road between us, so it took a lot longer to get the girls dropped off, which meant we left our house a lot later than I had wanted. The whole drive up there took longer than we had expected, and we programmed the wrong street name into our GPS. Well, it was the right street name, but the wrong small town, so we ended up in a subdivision, not a car dealership. Whoops!

It was still a lovely drive. Too bad PA homeschooling rules are so draconian--the area around York and Lancaster is so beautiful. We saw several Amish buggies, and Amish farmers working their farms with horse-drawn teams. Bob and I had a great time just being by ourselves (well, okay, Faith was there too, but that's almost like being by ourselves--she slept most of the ride!). A cheap date!

When we got to the dealership, at long last, we discovered that the van Bob had been talking to the guy about, even as late as yesterday morning, had, in fact, sold a few days ago. Hmmm. That didn't start things off too well. The hail damage wasn't too bad, and we definitely decided we wanted a 12 passenger van instead of a 15 passenger one, which Bob had been leaning toward, but we weren't going to do business with someone who lied to us! So we drove back, picking up our kids very late (9:30-9:45ish). We have such wonderful friends.

Once we got home, Bob hopped back on the computer and found some 12 passenger vans much closer, in Annapolis. A bonus--they were silver, not white, which Bob didn't really want. He went over there after work today and came back home with one! So now we are the proud owners of a silver 2008 Ford 350 van. I'll have to take a picture tomorrow. It certainly looks imposing out there, but my friends tell me I'll get used to driving it quickly. Right, Marie and Tonya?! I'm hoping that's true! I guess I will take my maiden voyage in it tomorrow. We are all driving back to Annapolis in it to pick up Bob's Odyssey, which he just left parked at the dealership. He'll take that off to work, and I'll drive the big behemoth home. Yeee-haw! and now we are free to go places as a family . . . all in one vehicle!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

More Than One Reason . . .

This morning the boys were rough-housing with Grace, tossing her onto the couch. She was squealing and laughing with glee. Call me Nostradamus, but I could foresee problems, so I told them to stop.

Caleb: "But she loves it, Mom!"

Me: "Well, she'll love it until she gets hurt. Then she'll be crying, and we'll be off to the hospital."

Anna: "Are you having another baby, Mom?"

Me: "What? No."

Anna persists: "Then who is having a baby, Mom?"

Me: "No one . . . Oh, you go to the hospital for other reasons than just having a baby. Like if you get hurt."

Anna: "Oh."

I love how they connect dots and seeing what their little brains come up with!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Weekend is Over!

And I for one am glad. Now maybe I can get some rest! Actually, all of last week was really busy too. Tuesday was the last day of our homeschool co-op. The kids have been working hard on a musical for this last unit. They started working on it (casting parts, etc.) back in December, when they had a fine arts unit before Christmas. Then they picked up with everything the end of March, and last week they had practice Wednesday and Thursday afternoons as well. Friday was the big perfermance, and they did great! The musical was called "Promise U", and the idea was that a big group of college students were studying for a test they had to pass about God's promises to famous followers over the past 2000 years. The DJ was new to the school and didn't know about these people, who were Paul, Martin Luther, Pocohantas, the Wesley brothers, Harriet Tubman, Gladys Aylward, and Billy Graham. There were little vignettes about each famous follower, plus songs, a stomp team demo, and various other special and creative things. It was so fun to watch! The kids did a great job, especially for not really having practiced all that much. Actually, the ladies who directed it really did a great job, being able to pull together such an amazing performance with so little time, and so many wiggly kids! Luke, who was really not into the whole thing at all was so funny on the way home Friday night: "You know, it really felt good to stand up there and have all those people clap for me!" Ah, self-discovery, and the joys of going out of your comfort zone, LOL.

Saturday afternoon I went to a wedding shower for a girl at church, and then I rushed home to start cleaning and making food because I hosted a baby shower for 5 women from church this afternoon over here. I stayed up WAYYYY to late Saturday night, in part because one of the honored women called Saturday night to ask if her husband and kids could just be in our basement during the shower because they live 40 minutes away. Of course I said sure, but that meant I had to rush downstairs and clean up, which meant throwing everything on the floor in a kitchen trash bag, LOL. The funny thing is that so far the boys haven't even noticed that all that stuff (mainly legos) has just disappeared. The not-so-funny thing is that when the lady came, I asked her where her family was, and she told me that another family at church had asked them to come over to their house, which is what they did. Oh well, at least the basement is really clean. And less cluttered.

I wasn't sure how many people we would have, but I figured it would be a good amount, since the shower was happening right after church. We ended up having over 20 women, plus a few daughters. Good thing we had lots of food! I made these make-ahead sandwiches out of 3 loaves of Italian bread, as well as a bean salad, and a broccoli salad. We also had fruit, and the lady who hosted the wedding shower brought her leftover food as well, which was several dips and spreads for crackers. Karen, our pastor's wife, made a beautiful cake. We hardly had anything left over! I guess the women were hungry after church! I had stayed up late last night also trying to figure out games. Normally I come up with some creative ones, but I was just so tired, plus we were out of computer paper, I discovered. Anyway, there were so many people that it would have been hard to play games, plus everyone was having a grand time just talking, so we ended up not playing anything. Another thing I could have not done last night! We did go around and ask each of the 5 women about what we could specifically pray for them, and then we had a time of prayer. It was really a nice time.

Bob took all the kids but Faith out to eat at Ci-Ci's Pizza, and then swimming at the rec center. They had a wonderful time, and it was so nice to have the kids out of the way for the whole afternoon! I'm sure Bob was also happy to not be there, listening to all the talk of childbirth and nursing, LOL.

After everyone left and Bob and the kids came home, I crashed for a 2 1/2 hour nap. I was so tired! I only woke up because I had to nurse. Hopefully this next week won't be quite so busy!

Friday, April 24, 2009

7th Grade Plans

Nathan is graduating from our co-op tonight, and we've been thinking about what is going to happen next year. For language arts, we are doing a small co-op with Christine, her oldest, and 2 other boys. They are going to focus on writing, a weakness of ours, and also literary analysis. I'm really excited about this co-op. I think it will really be exactly what Nathan needs.

I had always planned that Nathan would go on to the jr. high/high school co-op that is associated with our elementary co-op. In fact, Bob and I went to the meeting for that group last Tuesday, and we weren't considering anything else. This co-op has 4 classes that 7th graders could take--prealgebra, general science, composition I, and geography. Nathan would only have taken geography and science, since we're doing something else for English, and he is already doing prealgebra. The catch is that I have to do something in this co-op--teach a class or lab, be there the whole day for 6 sessions to monitor a study hall, or something like that. Now the only problem with that is what to do with the other 6 while I am there, especially the 3 little girls. I was really not sure about it at all. I was considering doing the biology lab, since that would be right up my alley, and because it would be a shorter period than all day, but I still would have to find someone to watch everyone.

Then Christine called Wednesday night. She had gone to an open house for Classical Conversations that is starting up really close to us. I knew about it, but I hadn't even considered it because I knew it was expensive. Well, Christine made me really interested. The K-6 program focuses on memory work and projects in math, grammar, Latin, history, science, art, and music. We have not done much with music or art, and the experiments and projects they do for science would be good as well. But here's the big thing--all the kids can go, and they have a nursery. It is expensive, but if I were to be a teacher, then that would pay for 2-3 of the kids to go, depending on how many kids were in my class. They provide what you need to cover each week, so that would be less prep work than running a lab, where I would be coming up with what I wanted to cover and do. Even though Nathan is not technically a 6th grader, it really wouldn't matter--he would still be doing new stuff, and we would still be doing the language co-op, and our regular math program at home (at CC, they just really focus on solidifying math facts, formulas, etc., not actual teaching of math). Then next year, Christine and I would focus on starting the jr. high program of CC, which has a lot of writing, and also the science that Nathan would need. The only drawback I can see is that Nathan would be a year behind on science going into high school, but possibly he could take one class (physics or something) at the community college later on to catch up. So right now, this is what I am thinking we will do. It's a big change of plans, and not anything I was even remotely considering before Wednesday. I'm praying that if this is the right path for us, then I will have a real peace about it, and the Lord will show us clearly.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Beautiful Quilt!

I am very fortunate to be related to someone who is an excellent quilter! My Aunt Rocky (my dad's sister) is a genius at quilting, and in fact all matters of sewing. She has made a beautiful quilt for EACH ONE of my children, which is no small feat! I am always so excited to see what intricate designs she will do, and what beautiful material she will pick. They are all works of art, which is why we do things like hang them on the bedroom walls for decorations, as opposed to leaving them lying around to get dirty! This is definitely an area in which I am not gifted, so I am so thankful for the time she spends making these keepsakes for my kids.

And you can see how Faith likes hers! Just look at that smile!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Twelve Searching Questions

Our pastor had this printed in our bulletin yesterday. These questions were very convicting, and I have found myself thinking about them throughout the day today, especially #10!

Twelve Searching Questions

1. Did I awake spiritual, and was I watchful in keeping my mind from wandering this morning when I was rising?

2. Have I this day gotten nearer to God in times of prayer, or have I given way to a lazy, idle spirit?

3. Has my faith been weakened by unwatchfulness, or quickened by diligence this day?

4. Have I this day walked by faith and eyed God in all things?

5. Have I denied myself in all unkind words and thoughts; have I delighted in seeing others preferred before me?

6. Have I made the most of my precious time, as far as I had light, strength, and opportunity?

7. Have I kept the issues of my heart in the means of grace, so as to profit by them?

8. What have I done this day for the souls and bodies of God's dear saints?

9. Have I laid out anything to please myself when I might have saved the money for the cause of God?

10. Have I governed well my tongue this day, remembering that in a multitude of words there wanteth not sin?

11. In how many instances have I denied myself this day?

12. Do my life and conversation adorn the gospel of Jesus Christ?

--by Richard Alderson

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Good Thing About Having a Big Family . . .

. . . you can have a great game of baseball with 2 neighbor boys.

The even better thing about having a big family . . .

. . . you can have a great game of street hockey even when the neighbors have to go home!

We had a day of beautiful weather, and Bob and the boys were outside almost the whole day. They planted some stuff in our garden (although we aren't expecting much, since we all have very black thumbs, LOL), and Bob cut down some ugly shrubs on the side of the house and painted our mailbox post. The boys played baseball, hockey, and everyone including Anna and Grace ran through the sprinklers. Anna has been DYING to do that for forever. She loves putting on her swimsuit. Even Faith spent some time outside in her bouncy seat. It was so wonderful to have nice weather!

Friday, April 17, 2009

It's a Small World After All . . .

I have really been enjoying Facebook. It's been so fun to reconnect with old friends and see what people are up to at a glance. I have a few different groups of friends--high school/college friends, White Sulphur Springs friends from back when I was on staff, people we've been assigned with other places, and people from around here that are in our church or homeschool group.

One group I have especially enjoyed being back in contact with is people from White Sulphur Springs. I used to work there on the support staff in the summers during high school, and those were some of the funnest times of my life! I also felt like I really grew spiritually those summers, and that was in part due to the great people who surrounded me. I can not wait for my kids to be able to be on staff there!

All that is an introduction, however. I became FB friends with Anne, who was on staff with me there. In fact, she was my girl's staff supervisor one year, and she was tons of fun, with such a gentle spirit. Well, it turns out that she is married to someone from Dayton Christian, who graduated a year ahead of me, and who in fact I had some science classes with!! Isn't that absolutely amazing?! So I knew both Anne and David during high school, years before they met in D.C. and married! I'm still shaking my head over it!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Faith is 2 Months!

Today we had Faith's 2-month well-baby appointment. She is 11 pounds, 4 ounces, and 23 inches long, which puts her in the 50th percentile for weight and the 90th percentile for length! Gasp! The doctor said her genes would kick in soon enough though, and I know she is right. No child of ours is going to end up in the 90th percentile for height, LOL. Faith also got her first shots. She cried loudly in outrage, and Anna was so upset for her! Her little face was all crumpled up and concerned until I got Faith settled down.

I have said before that I thought Faith was going to follow the "odd-numbered baby" mold, and it looks like she is indeed. Here are some pictures for you to compare and contrast: Which picture is who?

So the top picture is Faith, the next picture is Anna, and the bottom picture is Grace. Anna and Faith really look a lot alike, which I have been noticing more and more. It's hard to capture in a picture the same exact look, but it's definitely there! She has the rounder face, smaller eyes look of Anna, Caleb, and Nathan.

Here is one last picture of Faith. She's been smiling so much, but it's hard to capture that on camera as well! So here is a little smile, the best I could do!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Things Designed to Annoy . . .

First of all, when we arrived back home from Ohio, Bob told us that our trash can was missing from the curb when he got home. (Fridays and Tuesdays are our trash pick-up days.) He had called as soon as he got home, but they were already closed. You can bet we both called on monday morning, as a trash can is something we definitely need around here! I don't like to boast, but we happen to produce some large quantities of very stinky garbage, LOL. Well, no one knew anything. They were checking with the driver to see what had happened, and they would call us when they found out.

We never got a call, so I called again this afternoon after we got home from co-op. We had just set a bunch of bags out on the curb this morning, and they were taken, but no new trash can was left in their place. The lady at American (our trash service) said that the driver said he hadn't taken it, so it must have been stolen, and they aren't responsible for lost or stolen containers. We can buy a dumpster from them for $75 though. How convenient. And how silly. I mean really--who drives down a cul-de-sac, spots a huge trash dumpster (one of many lining the streets of the neighborhood, actually), and decides to steal it?! The lady said it's a "common problem, unfortunately". Hmmmm. So now we have to go to Home Depot to buy our own dumpster. You better believe we are spraying our address on that thing, and it better not show up anywhere else, or I will really be ticked! Who knew our stinky trash can, the one with a broken lid, was so desirable?

The second thing is that Grace lost her pacifier Saturday night. She was getting ready for bed, and she brought it downstairs with her doggie. I can verify that. Not too long after that, it was actually time for her to go down, but the pacifier was nowhere to be found. We all spent quite a bit of time searching, even though I was trying to make a ton of stuff for our Easter dinner the next day. Finally we gave us and just put her down. She eventually went off to sleep, although not without a fight, LOL, and Bob and I decided that maybe we'd just go with it, even though we usually wait until around 3 to get rid of the pacifier. But that meant that we couldn't move Grace into Anna's room like I had planned to, because Grace was fussing around so much and so long to go to sleep. We gave it a few nights, but it hasn't gotten any better, and she hasn't napped without it, which is also wearing thin. She also is waking up very early and fussing around then too for an hour or so, until I finally get her up around 7:00, when the boys are up and can help her get breakfast. Plus, I am really ready to have Faith out of our closet and into her own room. The treadmill is in our room, and I can't exercise on it when Faith is in our closet in the mornings!

So early this morning I gave up and gave her this old ratty binky I found in a basket on my dresser. I believe it used to be Jonathan's way back in the day. She took it then, although when I gave it to her for naptime, she really examined it! She really only needs it to get off to sleep and when she wakes up early in the morning. She was going through the rest of the night just fine. If I wasn't already so tired from everything else, and if I wasn't so anxious to get her moved into Anna's room, we might have gone longer without it. But as it is, I think this is one of those areas like potty-training was for us: I could try potty-training (this is for the boys, primarily) early and clean up a lot of accidents and be really frustrated, or I could wait until they were close to 3, when they caught on much quicker and with much less attendant frustration on my part. I think Grace will be much more ready to part with the binky at 3 than now. Everyone else has had no problems at that age. And in the meantime, I get more rest.

I guess we won't have that problem with Faith. She has never been that thrilled with a binky. She will suck on it if you sit there and hold it in her mouth, but she definitely doesn't search it out! Sometimes it seems like she is looking for her thumb, but if I try to guide it into her mouth, well, she's not that into it either. Nathan was a thumb-sucker, and everyone else took pacifiers--I've never had a baby who didn't take anything! Fortunately she's a pretty happy baby, so she hasn't had a big need for something to help her settle down and soothe herself.

*Update* Okay, the whole trashcan thing has now gotten plain weird. Bob did call, and after talking to a bunch of people, finally got a superviser to agree to replace the can, since it had a broken lid. He wasn't sure that was going to happen though, because this lady started off, "Well, 'replace' implies you have something TO replace" LOL. Yay! So he called me about 4:30 to tell me this. I was upstairs getting the girls up from their naps. Not too long before that, I was outside moving bikes inside from in front of our house because Anna and Jonathan forgot to bring theirs in, and Anna was napping, and Jonathan was with the rest of the boys playing in our neighbor's house. When I came downstairs with the girls, I happened to look out our open front door, and there was our trashcan, sitting right in front of our house on the street, right where the bikes had been not an hour previously! It was our same can, with the broken lid and a big paint splotch on it! What in the world?! Obviously someone took it, but how could that be an accident? "Whoops, I accidentally brought 2 trashcans in, after I got mixed up as to which house is mine!" So now we are really confused. I guess we're still going to get it replaced, but now we will have to call the company back and tell them we DO have something to replace! Totally weird.

Monday, April 13, 2009

River Cruise

Here is the boat we were on, the Spirit of Washington. It was big and new, compared to boats from some of the other companies that do river cruises. Of course, we didn't really have a choice, since we went with a group from the base, but I think they picked a nice one!
Here we are at our table, squeezed in with 8 close strangers, LOL. The tables were all full, and the tables were also pretty packed in there, so it was hard to get in and out. That was why we decided to stay outside once we got ourselves out there! I should have taken a picture of the whole dining room, but I forgot. There were also 2 other levels of dining rooms above us.

Standing on the deck at the back of the boat, the wind wasn't quite so vicious. We saw several little sailboats out. Brrr. I could not imagine being out there, bobbing around on a tiny boat in that weather. Why?! Obviously the sea is not in my blood, LOL.
Unrelatedly, I look like a giant Easter egg in my bright purple coat, don't I? Before you get on the boat, photographers take your picture, which they try to sell to you for $20 when you get off. (I don't think so!) It was easy to pick our picture out of the crowd--look for the purple blob! I was glad to have my coat though. Some ladies were frigid as they scuttled around the bloat, trying to look enthusiastic at the view with their dates, LOL.

You can barely see the Washington Monument in the background here. This would have been really pretty if all the cherry blossoms hadn't fallen off because of the rain and wind the night before!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Resurrection Day!

This is a quick post to let you know that we did indeed make it home safely on Friday! There was even hardly any rain at all, praise the Lord, so the drive went really well. We listened to Rascal by Sterling North on CD, and it was excellent. He has such a great way with words. The time flew by listening to that book! We arrived home at 6:30, ate a quick meal of cereal while I nursed, and then we headed over to Bible study. It was great to see these friends again!

The rain that the Lord held off Friday came in full force Friday night and Saturday. Bob had bought tickets through work for a lunch Potomac River cruise, so we dropped the kids off at the L's house at 10:00 and headed downtown to the dock. The cruise was really nice! We were crammed together at long tables for 10, but it was fun, and the food was really good. Bob and I both had salmon that we liked, as well as a lot of other stuff on a buffet. After we ate, there was a DJ playing music and entertaining the crowd, so Bob and I took the opportunity to walk around outside. It was freezing and windy, but we both had our heavy winter coats, so it wasn't unbearable. Even with the clouds and gloom, it was still pretty, and we really enjoyed it! I need to upload pictures so I can post some. We finally arrived back at the L's house after 3:00. We are so thankful for good friends to watch our kids like that!

We went back home where I started making food in preparation for our Easter dinner, which was a potluck back over at the L's house. Nathan made ginger snaps, I made salad dressing and cut up strawberries for a spinach salad, and I made a 7-layer bar dessert as well. I was so tired when I went to bed! I think all this activity, combined with the long drive, really caught up with me!

Today we had a wonderful service at church. It was the first time for me to be in the service since we moved to the middle school, and it really wasn't bad at all! It helps that it is in an auditorium, not in a gym or something. I think it reminded me of chapel at Dayton Christian or something, which is not a bad thing.

Then we headed over to the L's house at 1:45. We ate tons of good food and talked for a long time! We didn't leave until after 6:00! I meant to take pictures, but I forgot to actually get the camera out of the diaper bag. Oh well!

You may have noticed that nowhere in this list of weekend activities was there anything about unpacking, getting settled back in, etc. That's because that has never actually happened. So the house still looks like a hurricane came through it, strewing suitcases and dirty clothes. I told the boys we would only do a few things for school, and then they can help me attempt to get organized. Maybe I'll actually start them on their test review books for their standardized testing, which is coming up in a month.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Packing Up

We've had a great visit, but our time is just about up. Tomorrow we head back, and it looks like it is going to be a rainy drive the whole way, so I would appreciate your prayers for safety!

Today, however, is a beautiful day! We were supposed to go visit a friend of mine from way back in college, Marie, who also has 7 kids, but alas, some of hers were vomiting last night. We didn't want to have a vomit-filled ride home or Easter, so we said we'd have to get together the next time we're out here, probably in late June. The kids were all disappointed (me too!), but we made the best of it by heading to the park instead. I put Faith in the front pack, and we even swung on the swings together! Nathan did take a picture of us, but to be honest, it looked like I was still pregnant, not wearing a front pack, so I don't think you'll be seeing that picture, LOL.

Yesterday afternoon, the boys, Anna, and I went to the Air Force Museum. We only went through the WWII hanger, since we got there about 3:30, and it closes at 5:00. That was a good amount of time, especially for Anna, and not too much walking for her. We studied WWII this year in history, so I figured it would be a good time to focus on those particular airplanes. They even had a small display on cryptography, with an Enigma machine on loan from the National Crytologic Museum that we went to back in October!

We watched some interesting videos as well, including one which had Jimmy Doolittle talking about his raid on Tokyo. So fascinating to hear and see him talk about it in person, so to speak. The boys were really impressed by the actual camera footage from a fighter squadron in Germany. Harrowing! We also watched a video on kamikaze planes, and the big finale was the video on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The plane that dropped the "Fat Boy" bomb on Nagasaki, Bockscar, is actually on display there at the museum, and remembering that it was there was what made me want to take the boys there to the museum this time. I figured it would really cement in their minds what they heard on the Story of the World CDs about the end of WWII.

Now I'm busy packing and getting organized. I also need to run to Walmart to resupply the snack bags for the kids (okay, for me too, LOL). In fact, I should probably do that now, while Faith is sleeping . . .

Monday, April 06, 2009

Sleep Problems

Last night, I had a great night sleep! This is a big deal, since I haven't been having too many of them since we got to Ohio!

It started Thursday night, and it only involves the girls. The boys have been sleeping great! Grace had a bad dream once and then was cold another time, Anna fell out of bed once and needed to pee later, Faith decided she needed to increase my milk supply by nursing every 2 hours--it was a long night.

Friday we wore the kids out at Amy's so even the girls slept pretty well, although Anna keeps needing to go potty at about 2:00 AM, and then Faith has been waking up around 4:00, which is earlier than she was waking at home. Still a choppy night.

Saturday we went to Youngs in the late afternoon. Grace gobbled down a hot dog and a scoop of cow patty ice cream, which is a rich chocolate ice cream. Then we came back here and watched basketball and ate popcorn. At 1:00, Grace woke up crying, and as soon as I walked in the room , I could tell she had thrown up. It was all over her and the pack-n-play. Evidently nothing had digested, because there were chunks of hot dog and pieces of popcorn in a lovely dark brown liquid. Blech. I had to stop and think for a minute how I was going to extract Grace from the situation without increasing the mess! I got her into the bathtub, all the while thinking about how I was going to have to go back into the room and deal with the mess in the pack-n-play! Fortuitously, when my parents had this house built, they made all the doorways really wide, so it would be handicap-accessible, so I was able to just pull the entire pack-n-play out into the hallway without further disturbing Anna. It ended up taking me an hour to get both Grace and the pack-n-play cleaned up, and then Grace had to sleep in my bed with me. For the next 2 hours, I slept pretty fitfully, because every time Grace moved around, coughed, whatever, I was instantly alert, ready to grab a trash can if needed! She was fine though, as least until 4:00, when she fell out of bed. Oops! Her tummy was fine, at least. Then Faith got up a little later, then Anna had to pee . . . I was so tired all day Sunday.

Sunday we went over to Amy and Jason's house in the afternoon for an open house celebrating Jason graduating with his MBA. They had rented a bouncy castle thing, which the kids loved, and the boys all played lots of football as well. Everyone was completely exhausted, and no one over-ate, so FINALLY I had an uninterrupted night of sleep. I fed Faith at 10:15 and was asleep by 10:45. She didn't wake up again until 5:30, and NEITHER DID ANYONE ELSE! I'm hoping for another such night tonight, but we'll see. Two in a row might be pushing my luck out here! Good thing I'm on vacation . . . I have a feeling I'm not going to feel too rested when I get back home, LOL.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

A New Strategy

I've discovered a new strategy for the post-partum pooch, which seems to take longer and longer to shrink down the more kids I have. The strategy is . . . maternity clothes! Not the big ones I wear when I am actually pregnant, but rather the skinny kind designed for first-time moms with cute little tummies. I always get so frustrated the first several weeks (months?) after delivering, when nothing fits. I buy bigger pants to fit my pooch, but that means that everything else is bigger too, so the pants slide down and are super baggy in the hips. Drives. me. crazy. And when I looked for some new shirts to wear, I found that all the non-maternity ones are really clingy, and they show off every unflattering bulge on me.

A few weeks ago there was one of our big consignment sales back in D.C., and I bought several maternity tops. They are pretty skinny (I can't imagine wearing them when I am actually pregnant!), but they are loose enough that I can lift them up to nurse in them, and they don't cling to my every curve.

Today I went shopping at Once Upon A Child, a consignment store here in Ohio. I found the most comfortable pair of maternity jeans, with just the tiniest bit of elastic under the belly--perfect for post-partum wear! And a pair of khaki pants with just a few panels of elastic in the waistband--you can't even tell they are maternity pants by looking at them! I'm so happy!

This buys me a little more time as I work to get this pooch to shrink. Unfortunately, I just don't see instant results from the pilates I've been doing, sigh. But now I'm comfortable, and my pants aren't falling off. That is a good thing!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

We're here!

We had a safe trip to Ohio, praise the Lord. We were able to leave by 9:30, which is not bad for us, LOL, and we made it here by 6:45. I nursed at 9:00, and then we stopped at 12:00 for me to nurse again and for lunch. That stop took a lot longer than our normal lunch stops, but it was fine. I put Faith in the frontpack while I ordered and everyone ate. We got a ton of attention. There must have been 6 or 8 people that made a point of stopping by our tables (we were at McDonalds) to comment on the family, and a lot of other people just pointed and whispered, LOL. This was in western Maryland, close to the WV border. You'd have thought they had never seen a large family of fairly well-behaved children! Three people asked me if they were homeschooled, and when I said yes, nodded and said they could tell. Well, I have certainly seen some very poorly behaved homeschoolers (we have 2 in our co-op!), so that is not a given!

We stopped one more time, at 3:30, to nurse. We just stopped at a rest stop, since the weather was bright and sunny in Ohio, unlike the drizzly rain we left in VA, MD, and WV. I parked by a large hill, and the kids ran up and down this big hill a bunch of times. Good to get the wiggles out!

We listened to The Great Brain on CD, which made the day fly by. Faith fussed around a little, but overall, she was an excellent traveler. Grace did well too, but usually by close to 2, the kids are used to long car trips and can amuse themselves. Of course, she also had all that practice on our 4000 mile jaunt out to Utah last summer! She still fussed around some, but most of the time, she played with her magnadoodle, looked at books, and ate her snacks when allowed. It's so nice when they realize no amount of fussing is going to change the fact that we are in the car, and we aren't stopping for them! Makes for a much quieter and more enjoyable ride!

This afternoon we are heading over to Amy's house to play. She is busy getting ready for an open house this weekend. On Saturday, her husband Jason is graduating with his MBA, and on Sunday, they are hosting an open house to celebrate! Yay, Jason!