Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Checking in Mid-Week

It's been awhile since I updated the blog! It has been extremely hot and humid, and I certainly haven't been spending any time outdoors, so you would think that would lead to plenty of blogging time. Obviously that has not been the case! We've been very busy though. Here's a brief update to catch everyone up.

1. Friday, July 22--Bob, Nathan, Jonathan, and the 3 girls drove up to WSS to pick up Caleb from his week at Camp Caleb. He had a really fun time, and I think it was even better because it was a really small week--only 5 boys and 1 girl. Caleb even did the zip line at the end! He had been very scared and nervous about doing it, so we were all so proud of him for conquering those fears and doing it anyway. I still don't think that was his favorite thing to do by any means, however.

2. Saturday was the day for potlucks. First off, we had a "kick-out" party at the McC's house for Rivendell. We were saying goodbye to the C family as they head off to Hawaii for 2 years (we are seriously looking into space-A flights--wouldn't that be totally fun?!), and we wanted to get a group shot before they left. And here we all are! Lots of kids! Five families, and 22 kids (plus Siri's bun-in-the-oven, as well as a few kids who are graduated from one family). It was boiling hot, but the McC's have a big blow-up water slide from Christine's sister-in-law, and the kids all played on that and ran around with squirt guns. We adults sat inside where it was cooler and talked.

The second potluck on Saturday was dinner time, and that one was at our house. Our church small group was saying goodbye to a family who have been here for 3 years. John's assignment is over, and they are heading back to their home, but we are going to miss them so much! Elya is Anna's age, and the girls have had so much fun playing dress-up and other games together at our house.

3. Sunday night Bob's sister Rose drove down to visit. She had a meeting Monday morning with a supervisor in an office not too far from us. She will have to come see him other times, so we are looking forward to more visits! Hopefully she'll be able to bring her girls along too sometimes. Speaking of her girls, Madison packed up a bunch of her old dolls for the girls. They were so thrilled with them all! They ahve been playing almost nonstop with them! I should have gotten a picture of Rose and the girls with the dolls before they went off to bed, but I didn't think about it! Instead, here is a picture of all the dolls, lined up very neatly and orderly by Anna. I think she was inventory-ing, LOL.

4. Monday I drove around like a taxi-driver. Nathan's AO group had a mini-reunion with the northern VA kids down south, so I drove him and Jessica down to Burke for bowling. Then I rushed back, got Anna and Grace, and drove them out to Tyson's Corner for Elya's birthday party. (They had waffles with all sorts of toppings as their dinner/cake there--isn't that a great idea?! They loved it--"We had WHIPPED CREAM with our DINNER!"). Then I rushed back home because Bob was taking Nathan and Luke to a football camp, which is actually all week long in the evenings.

5. Tuesday we had 2 little girls from church, plus their 8 year old male cousin, over to play. What fun! The girls dressed up and played with the doll house, especially. The boys played Monopoly. Nathan and Luke suspiciously asked if Caleb and Jonathan had roped him into playing, but they said that he had told them he liked playing Monopoly, and wondered if we had it! So they had a nice game.

6. Micah has been busy all on his own. I was talking to my mom on the phone on Friday, and I happened to glance in his mouth and notice that he has a tooth already! Bottom right. It's in quite a ways already too! I had noticed that he had been pretty drooly and a little more fussy, so I had wondered if he might not be teething, but I was expecting a tooth to come in another month or so! he's only 3 1/2 months now! He's our earliest teether, that's for sure. I'll have to go back and check Caleb's calendar, because he was early as well, although I think it was 4 months for him. He was a real biter (of me!), so hopefully Micah will not be that way . . .

Micah has also been loving the Johnny Jump-Up, as well as this little exersaucer thing we have from the McC's. He likes standing! He'll spin himself in a circle in the jumper thing, but only counter-clockwise, LOL. That Johnny Jump-Up is a real classic--the L's bought it for Anthony, some 22 years ago. They used it for their 4 older kids, then we borrowed it and used it for Nathan down to Faith. When they had Theodore, we gave it back to them for him to use! Now we have it again . . . that's 13 kids! Pretty impressive!

So . . . that's what's been happening. Now I need to buckle down and get ready for this next school year. I have a rough lab list made out, but I need to fine-tune that and get the order in. I need to really plan out the year, as far as physical science goes. Some weeks we'll only cover 1/2 a chapter, and I need to decide for sure which weeks those will be, plus get the assignments all planned out. I also need to type up all the memory work for next year, and make final decisions aobut what poems we're going to memorize, and where each poem will go in the year. I also need to finish pulling the science facts from the physical science book. And I need to plan out my 2 weeks of teaching for the elementary co-op. I teach the last 2 weeks of September, so I need to have that all done before Rivendell starts up and I'm swamped! I know I am focusing on trees, so at least it's something I like and already know a lot about! And of course, if I ever get bored, I need to work ahead in Latin so I can keep teaching that class. Once I get all that done, I can really relax and enjoy my summer . . . ha! And now you know why I probably won't be blogging much in the next few weeks either!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Potty-Training Update

Well, I am sure everyone has been on the edge of their collective seats this past week, wondering how Faith was progressing with her potty-training. You know, the more kids I have, the more I realize that I don't have all the answers. I was such the expert when I just had one!

So . . . Faith did not pee one bit in the potty Saturday. VERY frustrating. Sunday was the day we needed to take Caleb up to White Sulphur Springs for his Camp Caleb week. Bob was going to drive him, and he very kindly offered to take all 3 girls, along with Nathan. I said no, but Bob insisted that I needed a break. (What a man! This was our anniversary as well--what a present!!) So off he drove, with Faith in a diaper. When they got up to WSS, they were early for Caleb's check-in, so they went up to the gorgeous new hotel so everyone could go to the bathroom. After Anna and Grace went, Bob suggested letting Faith try, since her diaper was dry. Everyone thought this was terrible idea, but Bob went ahead. And what do you know?! She sat right up there and peed! Wow!

After they got home on Sunday, Faith went again a few more times on the big potty, each time wanting her diaper on afterwards, NOT panties. And that is how the past week went--Faith peed most all the time on the big potty, and she wore a diaper the whole time. She only had maybe 3 (pee) accidents all week, so at least our diaper consumption rate has fallen way down. She still has not pooped once on the potty however. Maybe that challenge will be met next week? Who knows! I have to say that I have never had a child who did well with wearing a diaper while potty-training. And most have wanted to wear the big-girl panties! I'm not sure when to make wearing them an issue. Right now I'm just concentrating on her staying dry, and not pooping in them!

Faith--my easiest delivery, my most challenging child!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

18 Years!!

Bob and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary by going out to a fondue restaurant near us. We had both seen the coupon in one of the advertising mailings, but I wasn't sure anything would work out for tonight, since we had to take Caleb up to White Sulphur Springs for his (first!) week at Camp Caleb. Bob made the reservation for 6:45, and we made it right in time!

The coupon was for a cheese fondue course, salad, and main course. We chose their special Latin American cheese special, and it was good. They brought us bread, veggies, and green apple chunks (?) to dip. The veggies were the best, we both thought.

For the main course, they brought us each a plate of things to fry in a pot of oil. Literally! I wasn't really expecting that. We ate at a fondue place in Colorado, and we definitely did not fry meat in a vat of boiling oil, LOL. I think we grilled them on a little hot plate or something? Anyhow, we had 3 chunks of teriyaki sirloin, 2 chunks of filet mignon, 3 chunks of chicken breast, 3 shrimp, and one ravioli. The teriyaki sirloin was by far the best. I attempted to eat 2 of my shrimp, but I eventually gave up. NOT a fan of shrimp. Blech. There were also potato pieces, broccoli, and mushroom caps to fry.

The server also brought us a bowl of tempura batter and a bowl of sesame batter, so we could dip our meat in those if we wanted to, and have a crispy coating. I tried both the mushroom and shrimp in the tempura, but even that didn't imrove the taste, LOL. There were also a ton of dipping sauces for after the meat was cooked--teriyaki, sweet and sour, curry, etc. It was all good and fun, like a science experiment, but it also was a lot of work! I told Bob we were paying for the privilege of cooking our own meal!

After we were done with the main course, we chose to have the chocolate dessert fondue too (duh!). That was $5 extra per person, but it was totally worth it! YUM!!! The restaurant had a bunch of different chocolate choices, but we chose the "flaming turtle", with dark chocolate, caramel, and pecans. It was so delicious I can't even describe it! I could have eaten the chocolate with a spoon, LOL. There were strawberries, banana slices, brownie chunks, pound cake, rice krispie treats, cheesecake, and marshmallows to dip. When we finished all that, the waitress asked if we wanted anything else! We got a few more pieces of banana and strawberries, but we were pretty stuffed at that point.

Bob and I agreed that what we should do next time is just come in for the dessert! Neither of us are huge appetizer or cheese lovers, and cooking our meat was a lot of work. The chocolate, however, was to die for, and it didn't require any extra work! It was $15 for a small bowl, and that would be a fun date some night after the girls are down!

Anyhow, we had a fun time celebrating our anniversary! It sure beat Wendy's, which is where we stopped to eat after our wedding!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Brief Reprieve

When we got home from Bible study last night, it seemed like a good idea to finally move Faith into the crib in Anna and Grace's room, and let Micah sleep in the crib in Faith's old room. Everyone slept just fine, except all the girls were up at 7:00, and shortly after that, Anna threw up all over the comforter. Great! Grace threw up a little later, but I'm not sure that wasn't a sympathy vomit. Grace has a "suggestible" stomach, just like her sensitive older brother Nathan, LOL.

Anyhow, in all the excitement, Faith peed in her diaper. Eventually we all got downstairs, Nathan and Bob went off to launch a rocket with CAP, Anna threw up again, and Faith sat on the potty for awhile. While I was on the phone, she started making weird noises and swallowing funny. I knew what that meant and shoved her head into the trash can, where she promptly threw up. We sat on the couch for a little while, and then Anna threw up again. At that point I put Faith back in a diaper, because I didn't want to be cleaning up 2 bodily fluids today. (And I'm not even mentioning the possibility of diarrhea. Wait, I guess I just did.) You have to draw lines, LOL.

Right now everything seems calm. We'll see how things shape up after naptime for Faith. Judging by the temper tantrums, I'm thinking naptime is going to come early. We might try panties again after nap. Yesterday was actually a fairly good day. It took a lot of coaxing and pressure, but she sat on the potty a lot and peed on it a lot. She did not have any accidents, (yay!), which was impressive because we had 3 little kids over to play. So I think we are on the right track. We just don't need any stomach bugs to mess things up!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

1 Step Forward, 10 Steps Back . . .

Yes, we've started potty-training Faith. We ran a ton of errands on Monday so we wouldn't have to be gone much the rest of the week. Over the course of the past few months, Faith has had opportunities to sit on the little potty, but she has only actually produced anything on very rare occasions. I knew we would have to go cold turkey, so I put her in panties Tuesday morning, fully expecting lots of accidents. Good thing I was expecting them, since she had several big ones that morning, LOL. She'd sit on the potty for awhile, get up and walk away, and promptly pee a huge puddle all over the floor. Sigh. And since we were all drinking apple juice (pushing those fluids for lots of peeing opportunities), 2 cups also got spilled all over the floor. I spent a lot of time on my hands and knees, mopping up messes of one sort or another. Faith did not produce one drop of pee on the actual potty. She also pooped in her panties. Grrr.

After lunch Tuesday, Faith got it in her head that she would like a piece of gum. Ha! I told her she could have a piece of gum when she peed on the potty. I called everyone else in the kitchen and asked them if they had peed on the floor that day (the answer was unanimously "No", you'll be relieved to know). So I ceremoniously passed out gum to everyone except Faith, who had a rip-roaring temper tantrum while I ignored her. Eventually Faith settled down, went over to her potty, sat on it, and *voila* peed in it. Yay! The rest of Tuesday went by very well, with no accidents. I was cautiously optimistic.

Yesterday went well also. She peed on the potty the whole day, with no accidents (no poops either, but hey--none in the panties is good). Bob came home from a business trip, and he was enthusiastically positive about her pottying success!

Today, however, we took all those steps backwards. Good thing I was only cautiously optimistic, LOL. She had accidents all day long, starting with a huge one in the laundry room while getting oatmeal. Nothing like cleaning your laundry room before even eating breakfast to start the day out right! By 1:30, she had 4 accidents, plus one poop in her panties, and I was tired of it all. I put her down for a nap, even though that is very early for her, and she slept until 5:00, which was lovely. When she woke up, I told her she could go outside if she peed, and she sat down on the potty and peed like a champ. She went again in the potty later, although then she went outside, ran around for a bit, and promptly pooped again in her panties. Sigh. Baby steps . . . I'm still waiting on the child who just trains himself. I'm not holding out high hopes for Micah, either, LOL. Bob took me out tonight, and we split a piece of cheesecake at Cheesecake Factory. It was so nice to get away!!

Tomorrow's another day. Have I mentioned how much I dislike potty-training?!? More cheesecake may be in order!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Mattress Issues

I've been having trouble with my lower back and hips lately, and I think it's because of our mattress. We bought this mattress after we moved to the Air Force Academy, back in 2000, so it's 11 years old. I guess I don't think of that as terribly old, as far as mattresses go, but it certainly seems to be showing its age! We didn't get a pillow-top, so we do flip it, and I thought it would last longer.

Neither of us really want to spend a lot of money on a new mattress right now, so when I was in Walmart last week, I decided to buy a memory foam mattress topper on a whim. An anniversary present for us! It was 4 inches think, and I did absolutely no research on it at all. Thankfully I did start looking into mattress toppers before opening up the huge box, because if we had taken that thing out, we would never have gotten it back in there! So now we know more about mattress toppers that I ever wanted to. It turns out that the 4 inch mattress topper is only 1 inch of memory foam, and 3 inshes of just regular foam. The foam isn't very dense either (2.5 pound density, which is low--you want at least 3 if not 4), which means it would quickly get all squashed down. Also, most people complain about the memory foam toppers being really hot. I am definitely a "hot" sleeper, so I was thinking that didn't sound so good.

We did more research and discovered that now they are making "gel" memory foam toppers. The gel is supposed to help wick away the body heat so you don't get as hot. That sounded good. Also, it doesn't seem like a good thing to get a topper that is too high--then it is really hard to turn over or even get up from. Considering how much time I have spent pregnant, I don't need anything to make it more difficult to get out of bed!

We looked at a bunch on Amazon (since they qualify for free shipping), and we read a gazillion reviews. Most people love them, even if they do conced that they are hot, but some people didn't like them. One lady, who is a side-sleeper like me, said that her hips and back felt better after sleeping on it, but now her neck is having problems, and she feels like she just exchanged one set of problems for another.

Once we hit upon these gel memory foam toppers, a lot of people mentioned that they got similar ones a lot cheaper at Costco. We looked online at their website, and what we found sounded great-- a 2.5 inch thick topper with gel that comes with a cover, for around $130 less than a similar one on Amazon. We went to Costco Saturday afternoon (it was a total zoo of people), joined, and came home with the topper, which was $10 cheaper than the website's price! (And also a bag of dark-chocolate covered acai/blue berries--YUM! Those are seriously addicting, and now the bag is gone . . . but I digress . . .) A lot of people had also complaimed about the smell of these things, so we brought it straight down to the basement, unrolled it, and let it air out and puff up in the bedroom down there.

By nighttime, the odor was hardly noticeable, so we hauled the thing upstairs with Nathan and Luke's help (it actually wasn't that heavy or anything), put it in the cover, and set it up on the bed. I was so ready to just effortlessly fall into a deep sleep and wake up so refreshed! That didn't really happen though. It was definitely hotter than just our normal mattress. I didn't wake up sweating, like if there was a plastic mattress protector on or anything, but it was noticeable. I guess we'll never need our flannel sheets again!

I also wasn't totally in love with the sensation of sinking down into it either--good thing we didn't get an even thicker one! Elizabeth had said she used one and liked it when she was pregnant with Theodore, and she felt like it was hugging her gently, and she slept really well on it. I'm not really liking the hugging though--touch isn't my love language, and I already have a ton of little people all over me all through the day, so I guess I want my mattress to leave me alone, LOL.

So we've slept on it for all of 2 nights now, and my hips and back are actually feeling better, which is good. But my neck and shoulders are worse, and I woke up this morning with my arm asleep. I really struggled with that all during this last pregnancy, but after I had Micah, I stopped having that problem. I don't want it to start again! And although all the write-ups talk about how you will sleep deeply and not toss and turn, I was consciously awake several times during the night, and I had a hard time getting comfortable. Finally I laid on my back, with my knees bent, and that was very comfortable--but I don't really want to sleep like that, LOL. I like sleeping on my side!

So I'm not sold on the thing yet. One thing in its favor, however, is that Bob seems to snore less on it. Hmmmm. That might make it worthwhile. And really, how could we ever take it back?! There's no possible way to compress it enough to get it back in the box!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Yankee Doodle Dandy

Here is Micah in his cute little 4th of July onesie from my mom! It's a good thing the 4th wasn't any later, because he would not have fit into it! Micah was 2 months old on June 9, but we were in Ohio, and I didn't get an appointment for after we got back either. So this afternoon he finally had his 2-month well-baby appointment, a few days before his 3 months old! He's a big boy--15 pounds, 15 ounces, and 25 1/2 inches long. I just don't know what is different in my milk this time that is producing this giant baby! He's obviously a happy, healthy baby, so the appointment went just fine. Jonathan was the designated helper who went with me today. It's nice to spend some more individual time with the boys as we go to these appointments! Micah did get his first shots today, which he was less than thrilled about. I hope he still sleeps well . . .

I thought I'd throw in a family shot as well, for good measure! (Did you note that Nathan is pretty much as tall as I am?!) We had a 4th of July potluck at the L's house last night with our Bible study. Ed smoked a ton of pork, so we had barbeque pork sandwiches for the main course--yum!! Then we all headed over to the local fireworks display that we have gone to the past 2 years. It's fun, and it's not too far away, so we don't get home at a terribly ungodly hour. Going downtown is great as well, but right now, it just doesn't seem worth it! This is so easy!


Nathan spent last week at Allegheny Outback!, an adventure camp for high-schoolers put on by White Sulphur Springs. The L's drove Jessica and him up to WSS last Saturday morning, getting there in plenty of time for the 11:00 showtime. Once all 12 campers arrived, they played a game to know each other's names, and they did some team-building exercises, an obstacle course, and a "trust fall", where you had to fall off a platform and everyone else caught you. Nathan reports that they finished an hour ahead of schedule, so after they finished dinner, Jared, guy counselor, announced that in 15 minutes they should be starting dinner. Instead, they played more games. They spent that night in the AO village, in cabins.

Sunday: They packed up a bunch of different bags--a day pack, with lunches and rain gear; a frame pack with flashlight, mess kit, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, Bible, rain gear, and sweatshirt. Clothes were optional--as in, this was for the over-night hike, and you didn't have to pack any to change into, LOL. The other clothes were in duffle bags. Then they went to the high-ropes course, and they learned belay for rope-climbing. In teams of 2, they had to climb up the 40 ft. cargo net, get onto the beam on top, get onto the platform, cross a log, go across several wires, and jump/fall off the end platform, whereby you are lowered gently to the ground. Nathan forgot his camera for this, but it would have been a good photo opportunity. Then they hiked a short distance to their campsite for that night.

Monday: They hiked out from their campsite (8 or 9 miles) to a waiting van, which drove them to Ohiopyle, a town near a PA state park. They had to carry all their equipment up a huge hill, where they set up all the tents. Then they ate dinner and went to bed.

Tuesday: They did white-water canoing on the Youghiogheny River. Nathan reports that this river is very stinky, and indeed his sport sandals and clothes bore this out. His boat flipped twice because the 2 least experienced canoers were put in the same boat! But it was fun.

Wednesday: They rock-climbed and rapelled. It was fun, but Nathan had no details he is allowed to add about this day. (?!?)

Thursday: They went white-water rafting. It was the birthday of one of the girls in his raft, although they did not sing to her. They all had to row, and they had 2 guides in kayaks, 1 guide in a raft with 2 people, and 1 guide in a raft with the lunch (sandwiches). They stopped halfway through the day to eat. Several people fell out over the course of the day, but all were rescued with no problems. In one rapid, all but one person fell out of one raft, so the lone guy had to fish everyone back out of the river. Then they drove back to WSS and told all their adventures to Dailey.

Friday: They cleaned up all their equipment, ate lunch back at the hotel, and got picked up by parents.

Nathan had a grand time, but he was dirty and exhausted, so he was not thrilled that we were continuing on to visit Bob's parents so they could meet Micah! But we had a good visit with them, as well as Bob's siblings that live in the area. Nathan survived and made it back home to sleep once more in his own bed. After 2 washings, his clothes finally did not smell, but it took a third washing with bleach for his sandals to start freshening up!