Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tooth Troubles

Not from Micah, for a change, though! Anna and Faith had dentist appointments Monday morning. Anna had a small cavity on one of her molars where she went for her cleaning a few weeks ago, so she was getting that filled. Faith had never had a dental cleaning. To be perfectly honest, I don't usually start taking my kids until they are at least 3, if not 4. (Bad mom! And I actually have gotten better about this--Nathan and Luke were the latest to go for the first time!) But Faith has been eagerly awaiting her first visit, since Anna and Grace love the dentist and are always talking about how they can't wait to go back again. So I decided to make an appointment for her while Anna was getting her cavity filled.

Faith did really great! Anna was called back first, and when the lady came for Faith, she walked back there like a big girl, holding the lady's hand! I brought all those leaves to cut out, so I worked on those out in the waiting room while I waited. When the lady brought Faith back out, she was singing her praises about how she was so obedient and quiet (?!?). I was glad to see that Faith has this other side, LOL. But anyhow, the hygenist said the dentist needed to see me, so I went on back. It turns out Faith has a cavity between her 2 front teeth. Ack! You know, the boys have never had a cavity, none of them, and now Anna and Faith have each had one?! Hmmm. Ironically, Grace didn't have a cavity in her check-up, so she was entered into the "No Cavity Club" drawing, along with the names of al the boys--and she won! She won a ticket to a movie. Ha! I guess we'll just drop her off someday so she can use it. Kidding! Not sure what exactly we'll do with one ticket though. I guess Bob and I could go on a date and just buy one ticket, but I think the last time I actually sat in a movie theater was when "Jonah:A VeggieTales Movie" came out. I think I was chasing a toddling Caleb up and down the aisle, LOL. Meh . . . movies . . . they don't do it for me. Anyhow, I thought it was funny that Grace won.

So the dentist told me that usually they want patients under 3 to get oral sedation for fillings. That costs a TON, if you can imagine--like $300 extra, and insurance doesn't pay for it. BUT since Faith was so amazingly quiet and cooperative (?!?), they felt like they could try the laughing gas, which is only an extra $50. None of my kids have ever had laughing gas, so I have no experience with that at all. I guess she has to keep a mask on the whole time? So now my fervent prayer is that this obedient, cooperative Faith will again be the one who shows up at the dentist's office on Oct. 20! And believe me, toothbrushing and flossing supervision for the girls has taken on a much higher priority!

Teaching Update

My first week of teaching at the elementary co-op went well. I think the kids enjoyed making the leaf identification books, and I think they liked that I had brought so many leaves to show them. Most of them had never really thought about what kinds of trees were in their yards or wherever, and they enjoyed learning something new. Now we just have to pray for good weather next Tuesday so we can go on our hike. The 5th and 6th graders were going on a field trip today, and they ended up postponing it because it looked so threatening all morning long. It never did rain.

I came home with all the co-op kids, and we had Rivendell at our house, since our pastor was having a luncheon at our church, where we usually have Rivendell. This was actually a blessing from the Lord! I put an exhausted Micah down in his own bed right after we got home, and Faith went down about 3:00. Normally Faith doesn't take a nap on Rivendell days, and Micah doesn't sleep as well. They were both so tired from their stimulating morning! Fortunately Micah was very co-operative, and he was ready to nurse at 11:00, which is when the 3rd and 4th graders switch classes. So the floater came and watched the 3rd graders for a few minutes while they packed up, and stayed with the 4th graders for a few minutes after they came in. It worked so well! That was a real answer to prayer!

After I ate a quick bite back at home(after 1:00-I couldn't get out of there because a bunch of people needed to talk to me!), I taught memory work, and then science. Whew! I pretty much talked from 9:30 until 4:40. I don't know how teachers do it, day in and day out! So exhausting! I think being a full-time teacher is definitely a calling from the Lord. And those women, like my friend Marianne's mom, who retired this summer after teaching 30-some years? Wonder woman! They have all my respect!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Busy Time

These next few weeks are shaping up to be totally crazy! The main source of extra stress is that it is my turn to teach for 2 weeks at our elementary co-op, so I'm busy preparing for that on top of my physical science and Latin classes (and of course all the regular homeschooling teaching and grading for 5 people, LOL). And next Saturday is a consignment sale, and the following weekend I have a ladies retreat with my church Friday and Saturday, and then we head up to PA to celebrate Bob's mom's 85th birthday Sunday and Monday! And of course football takes up every evening, plus 2 games on the weekends. I figure if I can just make it through Oct. 11--then things will settle down a little bit.

So I'm teaching 2 lessons on trees for the elementary co-op. I really like trees, and I taught a chapter on them last year in life science, so I already had some ideas. Unfortunately I did not use my summer time wisely and plan everything out then, however, so I've been busy the past week. Tuesday we're going to touch briefly on the different parts of trees, and I'll bring in my tree cross-section slice that Ed L. graciously cut for me last summer. I've gotten quite a bit of use out of that thing! Then we're going to talk about the basics of tree identification using leaves--simple, compound, opposite, alternate, pinnate, palmate, serrated margin, complete margin, lobed, --those sorts of term. I drew 14 leaves (that is what took so much time, LOL) that illustrate those terms, got them copied on to green cardstock, and now I am cutting them all out (for 26 students!) so they can glue them in the appropriate places next to descriptions on white pieces of cardstock, so they have a little tree guide for themselves.

Then, Lord willing, we will take a little field trip the next Tuesday to a local park, where we can hike around and see those 14 leaves on actual trees. Well, only 13--I used the buckeye to illustrate palmately compound leaves, and I haven't seen a buckeye anywhere around here yet! Oh well. This is actually a big prayre request because we have been having quite a bit of rain, especially on Tuesdays of late! The boys and I were laughing ont he way to Rivendell last Tuesday (in the rain). Last year we primarily had nice, sunny days on Tuesdays. The only thing that has changed is that the C family moved to Hawaii, so clearly they took the sun with them. Come back!! LOL!

Back before the co-ops started up, the kids and I went on a hike at this park so I could find a good trail and make sure I knew what trees were on it. It was hot, the girls were whiny, as were some of the boys, and somehow I lost my notes once we got home. Story of my summer! So I knew I needed to go back to make sure of my plan!

This time I was smart, and just Luke and I went on Wednesday! We had a really nice time, and it was great to spend some time with just him. He didn't whine or complain once! We headed up the trail we went on last time, and as we got to the highest point of it, right in the middle of a nice oak/hickory forest, there were several wasps flying around the trail. After evaluating the situation, we decided to turn around and go on a different trail, LOL. No need to be a hero! Luke was understandably skittish because as it turns out, when he was at WSS this summer, as he and the rest of the campers were coming back from rapelling, he stepped onto a yellow jackets' nest, and he got stung several times. The poor kid behind him got stung even more times though. So yeah . . . no need to repeat any stinging opportunities!

We identified all the trees we needed to, but the real stars were the amazing fungi fruiting bodies that had popped up all over the forest with all the rain we've had lately! So big! So many colors! So cool! Here are a couple of examples, but I'm not going to identify them because, well . . . I'm just not that into fungi. And I don't have time to look them up, LOL.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Early Teething is a Real Pain

Micah has been a real pill lately with this teething thing. He was so crabby for most of August, which was bad enough, but then he started biting me while nursing. Ouch. I flicked the cheek, pushed his face into me, etc., both of which would stop the biting, but he wasn't really learning any lessons, as far as not biting me the next time! Then early this week he bit me so hard on my right side, and I've really been struggling to nurse these past few days (although not anywhere near the struggle my friend Beverly is having with her newborn (6th child)--while her husband is deployed!). I have been in so much pain!! Wednesday and Thursday I actually stopped nursing him on the right side most of the day. I did pump a time or 2, but mainly I just gave it a rest, hopefully to heal. I also took a ton of motrin! That all has been helping, as it is a little less painful today. I still didn't nurse him all the time on that side though. Gah.

It makes me all stressed and tense to even think about nursing because it hurts so badly (and this is coming from someone who delivered a 10 1/2 pound baby naturally, LOL). Caleb was my other big biter, and he bit me so hard he drew blood a few times. Coincidentally, he was also my other early teether. Hmmmm. Anyhow, in Caleb's case, he tested positive for all these allergies when he was 7 months old (wheat, milk, eggs, peanuts). I continued nursing him for 2 more months, with me cutting out all those things from my diet as well, but I gave up the good fight then. I think the allergies were sort of a good excuse for me, since the whole nursing experience with him had been more stressed because of all the biting. I really don't want to duplicate those feelings with Micah, but it is really hard to be excited about the thought of nursing him for 14 or 16 months, that is for sure.

I am hopeful that he will settle down and learn some nursing boundaries soon--and that maybe we'll have some sort of a break from all the teething! He is so young that a lot of the tricks I usually use for teething just don't work for him. For example, I let my babies chew on frozen bagels, or suck on frozen peaches in one of those little net things with a handle. They love those things! Micah has only started rice cereal on Tuesday, and he still has trouble holding onto things really well, and actually getting them into his mouth! Poor guy! I have noticed that he seems to be nippier in the football hold, so I'm only nursing in the cradle hold, especially on the bad side. And no one can be around me, because he's nippier when he's distracted. You can imagine how easy it is to keep everyone away and quiet! Ha!

So this week has been discouraging for me. I'm hoping next week will be better.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Red Cabbage with Bacon

For physical science lab last Tuesday, I needed some red cabbage indicator, so I had to boil a cabbage. I remembered having this yummy red cabbage dish at our friends' house, so I thought that would be a good way to use the cabbage! I called Ania to find out exactly how to make it, since it had been awhile., and she gave me the scoop--just like her Polish mom makes it!

Red Cabbage with Bacon

Chop a small red cabbage finely (if you have a smaller family than ours, you could probably just chop half a cabbage--it makes a ton!). Put in water, and boil until tender, between 5 and 10 minutes. (I brought the water to a boil after I put the cabbage in, and that worked fine.) Drain in a colander, and then immediately put back in pan. Put a few tablespoons of vinegar in, to make the pink color stay. (You can always add more vinegar later if you don't get enough in for flavor.) Add a teaspoon of chicken bouillion, and a teaspoon or 2 of sugar, as well as some salt and pepper. Chop and fry 6-7 pieces of bacon. Stir the cabbage into the grease. (Or I guess if you use a small skillet, then stir the grease and bacon pieces into the cabbage! I just fried whole pieces and crumbled them after I was done, because I don't like chopping bacon.) Then taste, and if there's not enough flavor, add a little more vinegar and sugar. So delicious!

I've never made cabbage because I've always heard how terrible cabbage smells when boiling. I didn't think this smelled very bad, though, so maybe green cabbage is worse, or this just doesn't cook that long . . . or maybe my nose is going in my old age, LOL. Anyhow, it was good and easy. We were having a roast and rice with gravy, and this was a good side for that!

Friday, September 09, 2011

5 Months Already?!

Micah turned 5 months old today--and his 5th tooth also poked through today! So now he has 3 on top and 2 on bottom. Crazy! In the picture, Micah is holding court as king of the table at WSS in his bumbo. He likes to be in on all the action!

And here is a picture of Micah with his Grandma and Grandpa! It was so great to spend time with them this weekend, and Micah enjoyed it too, even though he looks a bit scowly here!

The New Hotel

This past year White Sulphur Springs built a brand new hotel in a big meadow up the hill from the old building. Now I absolutely love the old building. It has so much character, plus so many wonderful memories for me! But I must say that as a busy mom of many, I LOVED the new hotel. It was so. very. nice. A lot of the rooms connect. We had two rooms, each with a double bed, 2 twin beds, and a (twin) fold-out love seat. Can you imagine?! Beds for 10!! There was so much SPACE! Here's a picture of the room where Micah, the girls, and Bob and I all slept. Faith got the pull-out couch, and Micah was in a pack-n-play. The furniture was beautiful and so well-made--and all donated by a company in Denver! The whole hotel's worth of furniture, plus linens! Now THERE is a business man who can really say he supports the military. Everything was SO comfortable too. The mattress was really nice!
Here's a another view of our room from by the window. You can see the counter for the sink--the toilet and tub are in a little room by themselves. In the old hotel, the bathrooms were so tiny, and I always worried that a toothbrush or something was going to fall fromt he sink into the toilet! No worries here!

Here is the room where the older boys all slept. It was a little more narrow, but still very roomy.

This is a nice lounge/gathering area in the middle of the second floor. There's another area like it on the third floor. It was nice for reading or talking or playing cards. On the walls were beautiful pictures of the WSS property taken in different seasons and matted and framed beautifully. I really enjoyed looking at all the pictures. Down the hallways there were old black and white photographs of the old hotel on the walls. I love old pictures!

And finally here is a picture of the lobby area from the railing in the second floor lounge area. It's a really nice place to have conversations with friends as well! It looks out to the big porch, which stretches across the entire back of the hotel, and then out to the hills beyond the meadow. Beautiful view!

So while the old hotel had character, the new hotel feels very . . . luxurious, I guess. I really felt pampered, and it was easy to relax there! It is rare to feel like there is room enough for our family at a hotel, but here there was plenty of room! I really hope we can do a week of family camp next summer, maybe while Nathan is on staff and Caleb and Jonathan are at Camp Caleb or something. I'm looking forward to it already!!

Catching Up--First Day of Co-ops

Okay, whew! I am back in contact with the rest of the civilized world! I didn't realize how completely cut off I would feel without email. I think maybe we are thinking about getting at least one smart phone whenever we actually replace our dinosaur phones (got when I was pregnant with Faith--and they were the free ones then!). We actually got our brand-spankin'-new router delivered Wednesday afternoon, and Nathan set it all up after football practice. Bob was TDY, though, and I just haven't had time to do any blogging until now. I want to have a separate post about our weekend at White Sulphur Springs because it was so great--the new hotel is SO nice (and I took some pictures!), and I had some free time so not only was I able to finish science preparations and get a little ahead in Latin, I was also able to read the second Harry Potter book! Anyhow--another post for all that.

We started both co-ops Tuesday morning, and I don't think there could have been a gloomier day to start! It rained continuously, as it has pretty much the entire time since Tuesday. Yesterday had to have been the worst though. I had to drive to Walmart to get stuff for next week's science lab (denatured alcohol, ammonia, a fire extinguisher--that sort of stuff, LOL), and I also had to drive to my friend Kimberly's house for our weekly Bible study. I thought the car was going to float off the road! These past few days have been much more impressive than Hurricane Irene, I have to say. Finally the sun has peeked out a bit this afternoon, which is a welcome sight. Football practice was cancelled the past few nights (well, Nathan had practice Wednesday night), but that was actually a nice break for me, since Bob was gone. The kids need to be able to get outside and run around though.

So, back to the co-op . . . Rivendell went very well. Again the skype connections were great, so it wasn't a problem at all to have one student be represented by a computer screen in science class! At one point in the afternoon Nathan came down to the basement, where I was doing memory work with the little guys, to tell me that I had neglected to tell him about some literature reading he was supposed to have done, as well as some terms he was supposed to have defined. Whoops! I later found the assignment sheet in the school room (Jenny gave it to us at a meeting AT MY HOUSE!), and then as I was going through some papers piled up on the kitchen counter this afternoon, I found an envelope from Jenny that had the reading enclosed for Nathan. So (*cough*) now you know that I am really not organized at all, and things are indeed slipping! I need a better system for mail. Someday I'll organize that . . . I just need some extra time . . .

I think we are getting back into a good school routine for the other days of the week as well. We've been getting a lot done each morning, especially with Caleb, Jonathan, Anna, and Grace, so I've been very happy with that. Anna is really coming along with her blending, but she's still not really reading. I think she will benefit with more consistent work! Caleb and Jonathan are both (finally) finishing up their math books from last year. Now they'll be able to skip the first 30 or 40 lessons (well, I have them do the tests every 10 lessons), since everything is still so fresh! This summer I started them doing this Xtra Math website each day to help with their math facts. It's like doing flashcards, but since it is on the computer, it is infinitely more exciting than doing flashcards with mom, LOL. And it takes none of my time!! So they are definitely going to continue that.

Christine also sent me these lovely assignment sheets that she had made up for all her boys. I changed the categories to exactly what we needed and printed off several weeks' worth for the boys. Caleb and Jonathan just check off what they have done, but it is helpful for Nathan and Luke to be able to map out what all they need to accomplish each day to be ready for Rivendell on Tuesday and Latin on Wednesday, as well as making sure they finish their regular math and grammar. I think it's good preparation for college to be able to do that.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Off the Radar

This is a quick post to let everyone we are still around! We had a great weekend at White Sulphur Springs, but when we got back home, our internet stopped working after about an hour. After a long conversation with Verizon, it was determined that our router had failed, so they are supposed to be sending us a new one. In the meantime, we are without internet access! I checked email briefly at Rivendell, and now Nathan and I are at the library to pick up a video we had requested. But for the next few days, you had better call if you want to get in touch with us--we're back in the 90's, communication-wise, LOL.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Almost Ready

We're almost ready for co-ops to start up again on Tuesday. We did school last week, but I ran around like a crazy woman in the afternoons to finish up last-minute errands. I was able to get my 2 posterboard maps of Europe laminated (although the teacher shop moved--without consulting me, if you can imagine--and so it took much longer than I had planned), and I got Nathan and Luke's Spanish books spiral bound at Staples. It cost $9 per book, but they cut the binding off and put the spiral thing on. The books look great, and hopefully they won't fall apart like Nathan's book did last year. I got my Home Science Tools order, so we're set for labs. Christine sent me some nifty assignment sheets she made for her boys, and I changed them to fit our subjects and printed them off for my boys. Hopefully this will help keep everyone organized!

We also set up the girls' new bunk beds. I had hoped to post a picture, but I haven't gotten around to taking one yet. We still haven't completed all the furniture switching-around that will take place once we take down Faith's crib, though, so maybe I'll wait to take pictures until after that. Faith is sleeping on the trundle bed though. The first night she was up and down so many times, Bob finally put her back in the crib. The second night she was up and down again, but not as much. The third day I stopped letting her take a nap in the afternoon! She has still been up and down some (mainly to go potty), but it has definitely been greatly reduced!

Micah has not been as fussy this week, which was such a blessing. His third tooth came in last Saturday, and he worked hard for it, based on how fussy he was the week before! Now the other top tooth is SO close to poking through. You can see white, but there is still a tiny bit of gum over it. I thought we'd get a break after this tooth comes through, but there's another tooth on top the is really close as well! He's going to have a mouthful of teeth by Christmas--just in time for a big turkey dinner with us, LOL.

But first we have one last weekend, and we're spending it at White Sulphur Springs! I hope it is really relaxing and refreshing--I'm a bit nervous about the start of a new school year! I had a disturbing dream last night, where we were going to move in 24 hours, so I was trying to sort through all our clutter. But I knew it just wasn't enough time, and I woke up very flustered! I think I still feel like I'm not ready to start, and there's more to do to be ready, and so that's why I had that dream. But as my friend Kimberly said, the co-ops are starting on Tuesday, no matter how ready I am!