Friday, May 29, 2009

Deja Vu All OVer Again . . .

We moved here when Jonathan was 1. The next summer, when he was 2, he developed a terrible fear of trash trucks. I don't really remember when this phobia passed, but I can safely say that he is no longer scared when they roar up and down our street. (And I never did move him into the back bedroom, like I had mentioned in the old blog post, so the phase must not have lasted too much longer.)

Now Anna was of course the queen of all phobias. She was hysterically terrified of dogs, cats (even fat, old, slow ones), Muslim women who cover, the vacuum cleaner, etc., culminating with the absolutely humiliating episode with the clown at Golden Corral last summer. Ironically, the one thing that didn't really bother her much was the trash truck. Amazingly, Anna seems to have gotten over all these fears, and I think the clown episode was the last big thing like that (praise the Lord). But I can see a pattern that our kids get scared around 2.

So on Tuesday I was sitting upstairs in the hallway folding laundry when I heard the trash truck rumble down our street (and right by our house because I forgot to put the trash out because of the holiday, LOL). All of a sudden, Grace, who was in her room, starts sobbing loudly. I thought maybe she had gotten stuck somewhere, but when I got in there to see what the problem was, she started crying, "Trash truck! Trash truck!" Sigh.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

New Commissary Strategy

Today we made another big trip to the commissary. It has only taken me almost 5 years of living here, and 3 new babies, to figure out the ideal way to work this. I have always done school in the morning of a big trip, fed everyone lunch, nursed, and left right after that. Then the baby would fall asleep in the car, wake up when we got there (about 35 minutes later), and be really crabby by the time we were done (almost 2 hours later). I would nurse in the parking lot before we drove home, and the baby would again fall asleep on the drive, getting another nap that wasn't long enough. We would get on the road around 3:30, which is the busiest time on the main highway we take because at 4:00, the whole road going west becomes an HOV (high occupancy vehicle) road. So at 3:30, all the single commuters are scrambling to get on the road before the witching hour, and the road is quite clogged.

This time, we still did school, and I nursed around 11:00. Then I got everyone lunch while Faith played. We left around 1:00, and Faith napped in the car. I nursed again as soon as we got there, so she was tanked up and ready to go. She was happy the whole time, and she fell asleep as we got to the frozen food section. We left around 4:00, and she slept the way home too, which was a pleasant drive because we zipped right along, with very little traffic. Then at home, I waltzed inside to nurse while the boys unloaded over $600 of groceries! Luke said, "Lucky!" in a very envious voice when I announced my intentions. Time to get out the birthing videos again to remind him he's glad to be a boy, LOL.

So now that I have it figured out, that must mean it's time to move, right?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Pool Party

We such a fun time today! We had a Memorial Day pool party at the house of a couple who is in our OCF (Officers' Christian Fellowship) Bible study. There were 6 families there, and we had a serious OCF mind meld going on. We planned this thing Friday night, at Bible study. We agreed that I would bring a fruit salad, Christine would bring veggies/chips, Elizabeth would bring a green salad, Amy would bring a pasta salad, and Chrys (whose house has the pool) would provide the plates, utensils and drinks. We all brought our own meat to grill. I'm sure you can tell right away what is missing from this menu . . . . . . baked beans! You can't have a cookout without baked beans, especially since we were only bringing hot dogs to grill! I decided I would bring baked beans as well. Tim and Amy also noticed this sad lack, so they also showed up with a pot of baked beans. There was one other family, who weren't at Bible study Friday but called Chrys to see what they could bring. She said . . . baked beans! Because no one had said that at Bible study, LOL. So we ended up with 3 pots of baked beans. There were, however, surprisingly few baked beans left over, so they were a popular choice. I guess if there is a toxic cloud hovering over northern VA, you'll know what happened, LOL. Some serious bean consumption.

We also had the mind meld thing going on for dessert. Sara and I both made chocolate chip cookie bars (although she drizzled melted chocolate over hers--a very nice touch!), and Chrys bought a delicious chocolate chip cookie pie thing from Costco. Very yummy! Chrys also had angel food cake with strawberries and blueberries, as well as chocolate sauce and whipped cream for toppings. Caleb LOVED this. He had 3 slices with strawberries and chocolate sauce! I am going to have to remember this as an easy dairy-free dessert that he loves!

Here is the pool area. They even had a diving board, which the kids thought was great fun. Bob demonstrated his diving talents, and everyone agreed he had been hiding his light under a bushel. His family, especially Paul and Rose, were big divers, so although Bob was never on the diving team, he observed. Ed couldn't believe that he has known Bob all these many years, but didn't know he had diving skills, LOL.

Here is Bob, holding court in the hot tub. We had 18 kids of swimmable age there, not counting Bob (or the 2 babies). Vernon and Chrys have kids, but they are grown and have children of their own, so this pool hasn't had such a workout for quite a long time now!

Here is Grace enjoying the food. She did swim with Daddy some, but she definitely put away some food--2 hot dogs, 2 helpings of baked beans, fruit, chips, carrot sticks, and tons of dessert. Where does she put it all?! We enjoyed eating on the screened in porch, and on the built-in bench on the deck right past the porch. It was such a nice set-up for a party. I brought the pack-n-play so Faith could nap there, and also the bouncy seat so I didn't have to hold her the whole time. It was too humid for that!
While it was very humid, it was also warm and sunny for most of the afternoon. Around 3:00, it started getting cloudy, and there was a rumble of thunder. We were all ready to eat dessert by that time, so everyone got out of the pool and did that. By 4:00 it had started raining, as we were all cleaning up, and by the time we got home it was a downpour! We were thankful the Lord kept the rain away so we could swim (well, not "we" as in all of us including me, LOL. I did not even bring my suit, and I sat on the lovely screened-in porch and enjoyed visiting with the other ladies). It's wonderful to remember our brave soldiers and their sacrifice together with other military friends!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Hmmmm . . .

Trying to think of something to say here . . . I feel like I should post because I haven't posted since Tuesday, but I'm not being inspired by anything! No one has done anything particularly funny, nothing is new, and while we've been busy, it's been with a mishmash of things not particularly newsworthy in and of themselves.

One thing we have been busy with is cleaning. Our neighbors called Thursday morning to say they were going to hold a garage sale this morning, if we wanted to be in on that. I knew there were things we could stand to get rid of, so I called off school for the day, and we thoroughly cleaned the garage, making a pile in the middle of stuff to go. The boys and I brought down our old double stroller from the shelves over our garage door, and Anna and Grace thought it was perfect for their dolls. But double stroller technology has actually come a long way since we received that one as a gift when Luke was born, and when Grace was born, we bought a much newer one off craigslist, which is much improved. So we definitely didn't need two double strollers, even if one could be used as a doll stroller, LOL.

One good reason to weed through junk is that we found out we are on the fall move list a few weeks ago. Of course, the email was vague,and ended with something like "don't do anything like sell your house because you may NOT actually receive an assignment", so we'll see what happens. So far, nothing. And even if we did get another assignment, we might turn it down and stay here. Things are going really well, as far as homeschooling, our church, and our friends, and it is hard to think about starting all over with finding co-ops and other opportunities as Nathan gets older and goes into junior high and high school. But it is always motivating to go through junk with an eye of "would I really want to move with this, and if not, why not get rid of it now?!"

The garage sale was this morning, and we sold pretty much everything we put out. Yay! Plenty more room in the old garage now! I was so reminded of the fun Amy and I used to have when we would hold garage sales together back in Ohio! One of us would be a "pretend shopper", and look at things and ask questions about them. If you brought attention to something and acted like you were thinking about buying it, then the second you put it down, someone else would snatch it up! Human nature. Anyhow, we would have a great time people-watching and seeing what things people will buy when they think they are geting a bargain.

We actually moved all our stuff down to our neighbor's driveway this morning so she could watch it for us, and we left mid-morning to go to Zachary L.'s homeschool graduation. He is going to go to Cedarville, my old alma mater, for college. I'm sure he'll have a great time there, but we will miss him here, especially the boys! Bible study night just won't be the same for them.

This afternoon another neighbor had a big party. "Dr. Joe" is the one who also throws the great neighborhood Christmas party each year. This party was to celebrate his birthday. He is Italian, and an excellent cook, so the food was delicious. All the kids are still over there playing dodgeball in his front yard. I had to put Faith down for a nap, so I escaped back home to the peace, quiet, and air conditioning. I forsee showers for everyone, and then a good night's sleep because everyone is going to be exhausted! Tomorrow night we are planning on going to a free Marine Corps band concert at Wolf Trap with our Bible study group, so the social activities just keep on happening!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

New Term

The kids had their standardized testing last week. They take the Standford Achievement Test through our homeschool co-op. I'm not too worried about Nathan and Luke, other than just careless mistakes, but this was Caleb's first year of testing. I didn't want him to get some wild hair and fill in the bubbles willy-nilly, or in a pretty pattern or something! We'll see when the results get back in a few weeks . . .

But now that we're done with testing, I feel like it's the start of our "summer term". We're doing a few things differently right now. For one thing, we're going easy on math. I never thought I'd say that, but we're not actually doing math every single day. The reason for this is that Nathan and especially Luke are really far ahead, and I'm not sure that's the best thing for high school. We pretty much school year-around, with short breaks every 6 weeks or so, and that means that when we finish a book, we just roll right into the next one--skipping the first 30 lessons or so that are just review of the previous one. Now that's all catching up to us. Nathan, who is finishing 6th grade, is on lesson 57 of Algebra 1/2. Luke, who is finishing up 4th grade, is on lesson 32 of Saxon 7/6. So if Nathan were to finish Algebra 1/2 in the Fall, and go right into Algebra 1, then do Algebra 2 in 8th, geometry in 9th, trig on 10th, calculus in 11th, then I could probably pull together a linear algebra course or something like that for the last year. But do I want that? He would need to keep his calculus fresh for college, especially if he goes into engineering, which is what he is leaning towards now.

Luke would be finishing Algebra 2 by 7th grade, and that just seems ridiculous. So we're just stepping back and slowing down. The boys think they have died and gone to heaven, LOL.

We are also slowing down in Latin. We're done with Latina Christiana II, so we're ready to move into Henle Latin. That's a high school course, and I don;t know that we need to rush right into that, so we're just reviewing vocabulary and grammar chants daily, and I give Latin review sheets that I've made up every week or so. Also, we'll be working through Ligua Angelica this summer, which Memoria Press calls a "Christian Latin reading course". I had kind of forgotten I even had this, but something made me think of it, so I pulled it out. It is a bunch of Latin hymns, and the kids translate them and see the various cases in action, so to speak. I think that Nathan and Luke have the depth of understanding to be able to do it pretty independently now, as opposed to a few years ago when I actually bought the program! It will be a good review for them.

In place of Latin, we've started Greek! The 4 boys and I have all learned the alphabet, and I'm debating how much farther Caleb and Jonathan will go. They will be starting Prima Latina in the Fall, but they are really enjoying doing Greek now. I know Caleb especially really feels like one of the big boys. Each day I've been transliterating English words and writing them with Greek letters for them to translate, and Caleb has been doing great at that! I think that's pretty much the level I'm going to keep him at though. We're using Elementary Greek, which looks like a wonderful program for Koine Greek, but I think it would be too much for him as we get deeper into the grammar of Greek.

As an interesting Greek aside, did you know that we Americans mispronounce most of the letters of the Greek alphabet as opposed to how a real Greek person would pronounce them? My parents have a Greek officer living with them right now, and when we were back home on spring break, he led us through the alphabet. For example, the letter that looks like our letter u is called "mu", which we would all say as "moo". But they pronounce it as "me". Or tau, which looks like a letter t, is not pronounced "taw", but rather "tuf". So we say the alphabet the Greek way, but I make sure they know how Americans say it all too, just in case they join a fraternity in college or something, LOL.

Those are the main differences. We're plugging on with grammar (Rod and Staff), spelling, and writing, and we're going through a Bob Jones science book with everyone. We're not doing any history except library books now, and we'll start back with Story of the World Ancients in the Fall, this time with Caleb and Jonathan as well.

Speaking of Caleb and Jonathan, I am really making them a priority, since I felt they got the short end of the stick with this last pregnancy, especially as I had to do so much exercising there at the end. They are definitely not as far ahead as Nathan and Luke were at those ages, LOL. Jonathan is not sure he likes this added emphasis on his schoolwork . . . Good for his character, I always say. He is definitely the naturally laziest one so far!

So that's where we are. Summer is a more relaxed time just because we have other things going on. Nathan and Luke will be doing a camp at the Air Force Museum the first week of July. The kids and I will be out there a week or so early to drop them off, and then they'll stay out there and spend some special time with Grandma and Grandpa. They will also go to Camp Caleb the end of July, and while they are away, the other kids and I will most likely be doing the tutor training for Classical Conversations at one of their parent practicums. That will be fun for Caleb, Jonathan, and the girls too, as they will have special classes as well (just the nursery for Faith, of course! They don't start classical education quite that early!). In the middle of July, we are very much looking forward to my sister-in-law Melinda and adorable niece Emily coming out to visit for a week. We will definitely not be doing formal school while they are here!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Lake Fun

Rose lives in this beautiful old house on a lake. Well, actually the lake is across the street, so the kids do have to be careful crossing the road. The drivers are crazy! The best thing about the house is the huge porch over there on the side. She has a 3-person swing out there, and it is just so lovely to sit there.
This is Rose's lakefront. I'm standing on the road right in front of her house. There is quite a bit of grass over here, and past the trampoline she has her own private dock. The speck out in the water is her boat. She gave boat rides all afternoon.

Caleb, Jonathan, Anna, and Grace are all on here, along with Bob, Matt (Rose's ex-brother-in-law), and Wally, Bob's brother in law. I thought maybe Grace wouldn't like the boat, but she did! Caleb and Jonathan both got to drive the boat some, which was quite thrilling for them!

Nathan and Luke couldn't be bothered to go on a boat ride--they were too busy fishing. Here Luke has just caught a fish, and Bob's brother Dennis is demonstrating how you hold them by the bottom of the mouth, which paralyzes the fish so it doesn't wiggle around. I don't think any of the boys actually touched a fish however, LOL. All the boys caught fish. The lake is private and definitely not over-fished, so the kids caught a total of maybe 20 fish, including some bass which we had to throw back because it's not bass season (who knew? and who could tell?!).

Here Dennis is demonstrating to an eager audience how to clean and fillet a fish. Dennis is an avid hunter and fisherman--the type of person you would want to be around if there was ever some sort of catastrophic event, and we all had to scrounge around for food. He'd be eating well, LOL. Nathan was very impressed with his expertise. Dennis was so patient with all the kids the whole afternoon, running between all the kids, casting lines, helping reel fish in, getting out hooks, and finally cleaning all the fish. The boys were very sad that we had to leave before we could cook them all up and eat them. The boys had the best time Saturday, and now they think Rose's place is paradise, LOL. We need to go back sometime when we can spend more time up there. We had to be back Sunday so Bob could teach children's church.

First Communion

The main reason we went up to PA last weekend was for to celebrate the First Holy Communion for Bob's niece, Amanda. It was also a good reason to see Bob's family, who we hadn't seen for awhile, and have them all meet Faith.

The service was at the local Catholic church, and let me tell you, they were not really a church interested in having visitors return! There were 40 kids taking their first communion, and the church was absolutely packed with relatives. Here is a picture of 3 rows of Bob's family, for example, all squashed together like sardines!
As we got there, we were a little early because Rose had warned us that it would be really crowded. The lady in charge of their CCD program was talking to the parents, and she didn't like it that there was not complete silence while everone else was finding seats. "What part of 'be quiet' do you all not understand?!!" she hollered. Okay. Then she came up to the front later to tell us all that there needed to be "reverant silence" until the service started. That is certainly a reasonable goal, but there were so many people there, including a lot of little children, and there wasn't even any music or anything to mask little sounds! So there was not silence. Then the priest came up, without his robes on. He said, "WHERE do you people think you are." Just like that! It wasn't even a question, just a condemnation! Then he went on about how he knew Catholics knew how to be reverent, but definitely implying that no one else did! So like I said, not a real welcoming church!
Our kids were so tired from our long drive the night before. Faith slept through most of the service, and Jonathan and Grace also dozed off. Here Jane is holding Grace.

Afterward, we took a bunch of pictures outside. The church had a professional photographer who went around and took pictures of each family. I hope the one of all of us turned out, because it was quite a good showing.
Amanda looked really beautiful. Anna definitely thought she looked like a princess in her dress! The brother of Chuck (Rose's ex-husband) has his "special friend", Steve, who does hair, so they came over early Saturday morning to do Amanda's hair. He did a lovely job. I should have been paying closer attention! As a side note, Matt and Steve were definitely the nicest of all Chuck's family, including his girlfriend Suzanne, the one he had the affair with that ended the marriage. She happens to look almost exactly like Rose. Interesting family.

Here are all 6 of Bob's living siblings together. This is a rare occurance, so I made sure pictures were taken to mark the event! Bob's oldest brother Dennis is on active-duty right now with the Army Reserve, and he was able to make it from New Jersey. The back row is Bob, Dennis, and Paul, and the front row is Ann, Rose, and Jane (left to right).

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Welcome Theodore!

Our really good friends, Ed and Elizabeth had their baby Theodore Joshua last Thursday at 8:57 PM, and I thought you might like to see him! I got to go over there Sunday night and hold him for awhile. What a doll-baby! He was 6 pounds, 11 ounces and 19.5 inches long, so smaller than any of mine have even been. I just love holding newborn babies! Their soft, fuzzy heads, the newborn baby smell, the way they scrunch up their faces, like they are trying the muscles out--so cute! Our kids haven't gotten to meet Theodore yet, and they are all anxiously awaiting that opportunity. The boys especially are glad that SOMEONE around here is having boy babies! We are all looking forward to seeing Theodore grow up. I know he will be a blessing, just like the other 4 L. kids are to us!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Drive to PA

( . . . cue ominous music . . .)

I mentioned we had a wonderful time up in PA this weekend, and we did. We also had about the worst drive ever to get up there! But let me back up even further, to last Thursday. We had lots of errands to run, including the Christian bookstore, Walmart, Target, and the library. The ONLY thing we had to get at Target was a pair of blue dress pants for Nathan, who had outgrown his last pair. At the checkout, the cashier was talking about the kids. I can't emphasize enough how often this happens, but somehow I was distracted over it. Maybe because she was trying to figure out the girl/boy breakdown, and she only mentioned 3 boys. I told her 4 boys, but as I was looking around, I only saw 3 . . . oh yes, Nathan was getting a drink, which led to everyone wanting water. When we finally made it out to the van, I realized that no one had the bag containing the one thing we bought--Nathan's pants. So I ran back in, the cashier looked at me like she had never seen me before--and the pants weren't there. I guess the man behind me picked up that bag too. Sigh. We went off to the library, with me feeling totally frustrated with myself for not noticing. On our way back from the library, I called Target to see if anyone had, by some miracle, turned the pants back in. The lady said no, but then she told me that if I brought in my receipt, I could get the money refunded or get another pair of pants! What?! I couldn't believe that, since Target has such an unforgiving return policy! And maybe she's wrong, but we high-tailed it right back there. I wasn't going to let that get away! So all's well that end's well--we got the last pair of blue size 12 pants. But it was certainly an omen indicative of how the next day was going to go!

Thursday evening at 11:00 I was finishing getting a little bit of school work out before filling snack bags for the trip Friday, when I became aware of a noise from the kitchen. "Hmmmm," I thought, "I didn't start the dishwasher, and I'm not running a load of laundry . . ." I went over to investigate, and when I opened the door of the cabinet under the sink, water sprayed out everywhere. Ack! We have a separate faucet for filtered water, and the thing that attaches it to the cold water line just . . . unattached somehow. What a huge mess! I was sooooo incredibly thankful that this did not happen Friday night, however. I can not even imagine the flood in the kitchen and basement that would have resulted from that! So we got the water stopped, but it was a huge clean up. Finally we went to bed around 1:00 . . . but as I went into our room, another door opened, and Jonathan stumbled out crying. Yes! He had an accident! So we had to get new sheets, start laundry, move Caleb to the top bunk, etc. It was a late night.

We got off Friday afternoon at 2:00 to drive to the Poconos in NE Pennsylvania. We have made this drive before, although the last time was almost 3 years ago. It usually takes us about 4 1/2 hours to get there, so we estimated we'd get there by 7:30, with nursing stops. We started out in a lot of traffic as we left town because of construction, but we were able to go around that, so everything was great. I entered in Rose's address on our GPS, and we set off. It took up over to I-81, which is quite a bit farther west of where we live, but we didn't really think about that. It was until we'd been driving awhile that I happened to look at a map and realized that we really added on quite a bit of mileage. How did that happen? I honestly don't know. We stopped aroun 4:15 because Faith needed to eat. That was poor coordination on my part--we should have been able to drive more than 2 hours before she needed to eat, and I knew we would have to stop a second time. We picked an exit with a Wendy's, Subway, and McDonalds, so we could eat an early dinner, but we never saw the Wendy's or Subway. We just kept driving--over 5 minutes off the road (we were actually in the town of Shippensburg, Carri!). Finally we found the McDonalds, but we could not figure out where the other restaurants had been. As we drove back, we saw a big shopping center that was TOTALLY hidden by trees if you were coming from the freeway, and that's where the other restaurants were--less than 1/2 mile away from the freeway exit! Oh well.

We got back on the freeway, and promptly came to a complete stop. No one moved for a long time. Of course, we were 10 miles away from the closest exit, and there was a big gully in the median, so we couldn't turn around. Occasionally we would move up a few car lengths, then everything would stop again. We were expecting a major car accident or construction or something, but eventually things started moving, and we could never see any problem at all! Totally weird, and a huge time sink.

We made good time the rest of the way, and we thought things were looking up. At least we'd get there before dark. We got off the highway onto a smaller PA road. The road that runs through Rose's town was off this main road, so we were expecting a bigger intersection. I even thought I might recognize it. We drove for a long time, blindly obeying our GPS thing. We were a little suspicious because it told us we were to turn onto "Unnamed Road". As I said, it was the main road through Rose's town, so I was pretty darn sure it had a name. But maybe this was a shortcut? When we got to the Unnamed Road, it was little more than a paved cowpath. I told Bob there was NO WAY we were turning on that, so we kept going. The GPS recalculated, and told us to turn on another road. At least that one had a name, but it still did not look at all familiar. But we turned, and we turned again, and we wound around and around on small, dark PA back country roads, with me getting more and more alarmed becuase nothing looked right, and I knew the lake wasn't that far away from the main road. Finally we reached the lake . . . and IT WAS THE WRONG LAKE!! I about had a heart attack. It was getting dark, and it seriously looked like the kind of place where the axe murderer would step out of the woods in front of us (of course, we were in the big van, so we could have mowed him down . . . but what if we ran out of gas?!) . . . Bob was in favor of driving a little farther, but I told him we had to turn around NOW so we could at least make it back to the main road before darkness completely fell, and we missed one of the crazy turns! I looked at the atlas and found the lake we were at, which was a good 10 miles away from Rose's lake. We made it back to the main road, praise the Lord, and then it was easy to get to Rose's by looking at the actual atlas, which apparently has her lake down at the right place, unlike our GPS system! We rolled in around 9:00, over 7 hours after we left! VERY stressful drive. VERY crabby Claire, who could not believe that she had trusted a mechanical device 2 times instead of her trusty atlas. Never again!

So you can see what a surprise it was to actually have a very enjoyable weekend with Bob's family! I was expecting some kind of major fireworks! I'll post more about being there later. I've got to get kids down, since we're in the middle of standardized testing!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

I have a lot to blog about, as we had a wonderful time up in PA with Bob's family. But first, I am enjoying a lovely Mother's Day with Bob and all my beautiful children! Since I really, really don't like going out to eat on Mother's Day, and I like cooking myself even less, Bob usually grills out. Today he grilled some filet mignons for us all. The commissary at Ft. Belvior sells beef tenderloin, and he got it sliced up into steaks. DELICIOUS!! Much better than at a restaurant! Now I'm just relaxing, and I'm hoping later on tonight to be able to visit Elizabeth and Ed and meet their new little baby Theodore, who was born Thursday night!
Faith celebrated Mother's Day in her own special way. As I nursed her during church, she blew her diaper out the top, covering her dress, diaper cover, the blanket, burpcloth, and my dress. Poop was literally dripping off of her, and I was so thankful there was another mom back in the nursing area with me to help! She ran and got some bags for the diaper and wipes, as well as for all the poopy clothes! I finally got everything fairly cleaned up, and I was so thankful that I had a spare outfit for her in the diaper bag! That's the good thing about having just been traveling, LOL. She had obviously been saving up for this special mother/daughter bonding moment.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

School versus Life

Last night I remarked to Bob how well things were going! Faith is sleeping really well, I'm feeling so much more rested and energetic, I'm getting everything done for school that I want to get done each day, and even the house is staying cleaner! So I was all prepared to post today about what we're doing school-wise, but of course, as soon as you breathe the words "everything's going well", you know what happens! Something to derail the whole thing! Last night that something was Nathan. He stumbled out of his room at 1:00 AM and promptly threw up his entire dinner into a trash can. (Yay for him making it! He hasn't always been so quick on the uptake, LOL.) Then he proceeded to throw up about every half hour at first, then it slowed to every hour or 2, for the rest of the night. Poor Luke came and got me each time while Nathan suffered not very stoicly, poor guy. I think it was a total of 8 times, mainly dry heaves. He threw up the last time at 7:30 this morning, and since then he has been better, even eating a piece of toast and some applesauce, but still . . . not much school was done today because we are all so tired.

I do think there has been some little virus going around. One night last week (Thursday maybe?) Jonathan announced he wasn't feeling so well. A little while later, he went over to the kitchen trash can and lost his dinner, and that was that. Then Sunday morning Luke woke up not feeling well. He stayed home from church with Bob and threw up twice (VERY unusual for him--he never throws up), and then he felt fine by the afternoon. No one ran a fever or had any other symptoms of anything at all, so I just vaguely put it down to something not agreeing with them or whatever. But now that I think back, that is an unusually high occurance of vomiting for our household, so I think it's a bug! And now Nathan, "The Boy with the Pillow-Soft Stomach" has it, and his poor tummy can't get over it. Actually, as I type this, he is back in the bathroom, moaning and groaning, so I guess he is not all better. Poor boy.

I am praying that Caleb especially doesn't get this because we test next week, and I want everyone to be healthy! And we certainly don't need Grace to have another spell of no eating, where she drops back below 20 pounds. And Faith is so little . . . Hopefully this bug will just leave our house without bothering anyone else!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Birthday Weekend

Well, the birthday weekend is over. We celebrated Grace's birthday Friday night, but Bob's birthday was the next day, Saturday (it's on your calendar, Aunt Claire!). He celebrated by getting up early to go to men's group at church, then coming home and making the kids lunch while I went to a baby shower for Elizabeth, and then taking all the kids but Faith swimming! It was so nice of him to stay with the kids while I went to the shower, because I had such a lovely time there, even though it wasn't very "celebratory" for him!

People on Facebook were asking what his cake was. I particularly liked Amy's suggestion of a 12-passenger van cake, LOL. Very appropriate, since that was definitely the big "gift" for this year! But the truth is, Bob didn't get his own cake, I am sad to say. One cake is about all I can handle for a weekend. We had our church small group meet here tonight, so I made one of Bob's favorite desserts for that--chocolate-filled oatmeal walnut bars. MUCH, much better than cake.

Right before small group started, we finally got around to opening Grace's presents. Friday night Bible study was at our house, and we were rushing around trying to get dinner cleaned up when people started arriving, so there was no time. Then there really wasn't a good opportunity yesterday either. Fortunately, at 2 she has no concept of what should happen for a birthday, so she didn't know what she was missing, LOL. She was happy to open them this afternoon, and she got some fun things, like a little princess puzzle, a talking "piggy bank" with big plastic coins, and a set of fake food that you "cut" apart with the wooden knife. All the kids at small group enjoyed her new presents too!

Now we have one more month until the next birthday, which is Jonathan's, on June 2. He has ben counting down the days since March! Nathan and I are trying to talk him into a "joint cake", like they had last year. Nathan is pushing for an aircraft carrier, but Jonathan is not sure. I think he is just being difficult, since he knows Nathan wants it, LOL.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Happy Birthday, Grace!!

Grace is 2 today! I can't believe it was 2 years ago today that I was induced with her. Her labor and delivery were definitely not my favorite, but I learned a lot of lessons there!

Grace is such a fun little girl! She is not as girly as Anna--definitely not as into pink and shoes as her sister--but she loves her big sister and all her big brothers. Luke is her favorite though, I must say. I think that she will have more of Luke's personality as well. She loves to look at books, especially this Little People farm book that Bob's brother and sister-in-law got for Anna a few years ago. It has foam animal figures that fit into the pages, like a little puzzle, and she will sit for a very long time, taking them out and putting them back in. She is starting to like dolls more, carrying one around the house a lot. And of course she loves little Faith. As it turns out, "Faith" is an easy name for little kids to say. I guess "f" is an easy sound! Anyhow, you can tell that is what she is saying very clearly!

For her cake, I made a pink and white doggie, like the beanie baby one that she sleeps with. She was quite happy with it, and it turned out pretty cute! Here are some better pictures, including one with her actual doggie. I wanted the pink to be lighter, but I added too much color paste. I didn't expect it to darken up so quickly! I used a big pyrex bowl for the head, and a small one for the snout (that was all one cake mix). Then with the second cake mix, I used a pyrex casserole dish for the body, and a really small bowl for the 4 paws. I really needed a little more cake, because the paws were tricky, but it was fine in the end.