Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Happy Birthday, Luke!

Luke turned 13 yesterday (2 teenagers in the house now!), but we have actually been celebrating all weekend! Friday night we brought cookies-and-cream cheesecake squares and cookie dough truffles to Bible study (along with blonde brownies, which Caleb made all by himself, for those who don't care for dairy, LOL). The truffles were really good, although I had trouble dipping them, and they didn't look as neat as in the picture. I slightly overcooked the cheesecake bars. lthough they were good, Luke and I both agreed that we like chocolate cheesecake better!

Sunday afternoon, Rivendell took a field trip to Medieval Times. Bob took the oldest 6 kids, and various members of the other 4 Rivendell families (that actually live here!) also went. Bob said he should have told them to announce Luke's birthday in the middle of the show when such things were announced. Luke was very glad he had not thought of that earlier! Everyone was very happy when Rivendell was announced, though. Definitely a fun thing to do with good friends on a birthday weekend!
Luke went ahead and opened his presents Sunday night after they got back, since Bob is TDY this week. Here he and everyone else (note the medieval attire) are poring over this Sports Illustrated For Kids book of football top 10 lists that I found by browsing Amy's Amazon wish list. It has been a huge hit! Luke was also thrilled to get the Tim Tebow autobiography from Grandma and Grandpa. He and Nathan have been taking turns reading it. Dan and Melinda sent him a book called Boyhood and Beyond: Practical Wisdom on Becoming a Man. I've started reading it out loud to everyone at the dinner table because it has some really great lessons in it. Lots of good books!
Here is a puzzle of Neuschwanstein also from my parents that I'm sure we'll be starting as soon as we figure out a good place for us to work on it! "After Latin is over"--that seems to be my answer to just about everything right now! Bob and I went to this castle on our honeymoon, and I can't wait to put this puzzle on our wall downstairs in the basement!
On Luke's actual birthday yesterday we had his birthday dinner. He picked chicken packets. I made 20 of them (they're pretty large--each one is 2 crescent rolls pressed together), but we only had 3 left over, and after lunch today, those 3 are gone as well. And Bob wasn't even there! I can't make enough food for any sort of left-over meal!
So we had a lovely weekend celebrating Luke! We're so glad he's been in our family for 13 years, and we look forward to seeing how the Lord is going to use the gifts and talents He has given Luke as he grows up!

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Correct Way

Grace, to Faith: You aren't saying "no" to Micah right. You don't say [sing-song-y voice] "Nooooo, Micah, noooo". You say [firm, no-nonsense voice], "No, Micah. No."

So if anyone needs to borrow an extra mother hen who knows the right way to say "no", just let me know!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Micah's Terrible, Horrible, Very Bad, No Good Night

Yesterday evening was our small group meeting. Bob and Nathan were at basketball practice, so I left the kids at home with Luke. I left small group early though, because Micah hadn't slept well all day, and I knew he would be a handful.

Well, I could have stayed longer! Micah was so tired and crabby that Luke put him down before 7:30! I figured he would jsut sleep all the way through, since he was so tired.

But at 12:30, he woke up, crying loudly. When I went in to check on him, he was clearly running a fever. I nursed him, gave him Motrin, and took his temperature (101.5) with our handy-dandy new thermometer, which Bob had to hunt around for downstairs since it wasn't where I thought it was. I held him for awhile after nursing, but he just would not stop crying. No matter how I held him, he kept crying. I took him downstairs for awhile, and we rocked in the big chair in the schoolroom and looked out the window. I tried putting him down again, but he cried for a solid 20 minutes with no sign of stopping, so I went in and got him again.

All this crying is so unlike Micah! He sounded really uncomfortable, so I started thinking maybe an ear infection or something, since he is still snuffly. Finally, a little after 3:00 AM, I did something I have never had to do with a child before--I put him in his carseat and drove around!

It was so weird being out on the roads so early. I was the only person on these big roads that are crowded with cars at pretty much every other moment of the day! Of course, I was sooo tired that I was worried I was going to fall asleep at the wheel, and then Bob would have no idea where I disappeared off to, and he would worry . . . So I concentrated on staying awake and singing to the radio, LOL. After 5 minutes or so, Micah finally fell asleep, and I drove home, where I put him back in his crib.

I figured he would sleep late, but I set my alarm for 6:30 so I could call to make an appointment. But he woke up crying again at 6:15! After I nursed him, he fell asleep quicker this time (no driving required!), and I made an appointment for 10:30 this morning.

There was all this unexpected traffic, so we were 10 minutes late, but Micah napped in the car and was so happy at the doctor's office! He smiled, blew raspberries, and generally acted like a boy who would never cry for 3 hours straight. His ears checked out (lots of wax though--another prodigious producer!), and his lungs and everything else were just fine. He's finally passed 20 pounds (20 pounds, 5 ounces to be exact). He cooed and played with his shoes on the way home, and he ate a sunbutter and jelly sandwich in his carseat. Now he's getting ready to take another nap while I run errands. I guess he just wanted to spend an hour and 45 minutes driving to and from Bethesda with me, plus the actual time in the hospital! What fun!

So who knows what all that crying was for? Gas? Who knows! I am praying tonight is not a repeat performance, however!

Friday, February 17, 2012

New Thermometer!

Yeah . . . it's a slow news week. Once upon a time, many moons ago (14, to be exact), Nathan was a baby, and I bought a brand spanking new Braun ear thermometer. It has served faithfully, only needing 1 new battery all these years. Late last year, the battery died, and I brought it downstairs to reminder me to change the battery. But no one was sick, and I never got around to it. Then someone knocked it off the counter, and it fell apart. It probably still was fixable, but I never got around to that either, so . . . the parts are still (somewhere, buried under paper) on the counter.

But this week Faith got sick and was running what I would guess was a 101 degree fever, but I realized I could not verify that without my thermometer, because I didn't feel like fighting the rectal battle with a very grumpy sick 3 year old. So after Luke's orthodontic appointment yesterday, we stopped in at Walmart to repenish our childrens and infant motrin supply, and also to check out the new thermometer technology. We decided on a Exergen Temporal Scanner Thermometer, which works by you simply running the scanner from the middle of the forehead over to the ear while pressing a button.

I LOVE this thermometer! No more searching around for a clean probe cover! No more wondering if the reading was incorrect (or just getting a plain "error" message) due to massive wax buildup! (I don't like to brag, but certain members of this family are world-class ear wax producers. It's a gift.) Today Jonathan and Luke were just feeling run-down and bleh, so I took their temperatures too. They're just running slight low-grade temperatures, nothing big. I think it sounds like what Christine had earlier this week, so just another little virus running around. But taking their temperatures was so EASY with this handy-dandy new thermometer!

May it last at least 14 more years!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Low-Key Week

We're taking a light week this week as far as school goes. Caleb and Jonathan didn't do any school at all on Monday--they went snowboarding with Bob! Bob had wanted to do the same deal he got when he went skiing with Nathan and Luke, but alas, the hotel was all booked up. It worked out for the best however--Caleb really wasn't feeling well Sunday. He rested all afternoon (missing his basketball game) and went to bed early, and he felt better Monday morning. Bob left with them to drive to PA about 7:30. The weather was beautiful, and they had a grand time! Jonathan did not like falling down and losing his glove, although he pointed out that only actually happened once. Caleb did not feel it was like rip-sticking at all, and he complained about his aching leg muscles for days afterwards! But Bob said they both did really well. Bob also wanted to point out the instructor was right--fall on your bum, not your front.

Everyone has been somewhat sick this week as well, it seems. Nathan was sick last week, and he has just had a hard time kicking this bug. He didn't feel well at Rivendell on Tuesday, and he had to miss CAP a second time in a row. He's finally seeming better now.

Faith was a little bit snuffly Monday, but nothing too bad. She was in the nursery at TNT on Tuesday morning while I was aiding, and she did just fine there. Christine brought her and Elena back to their house in the afternoon so the girls could nap a little, and she called me while I was still back at the church to tell me that Faith was sounding terrible! She had a bad cough and just didn't seem like herself. She was definitely running a fever that night, and Wednesday she was a sick little girl. She fell asleep on the couch by Nathan around 5:30 while I was making dinner, and I could never get her to wake up enough to eat! So finally I just got her pajamas on and put her down. She slept until 7:30 this morning, when she got up to pee. Then she went back to sleep in my bed until 9:30! She is still coughing a bit, but not as badly, and she's not running a fever anymore. Yay!

Now Jonathan is feeling sickly, as is Luke. Everyone is just sort of snuffly, coughing, and feeling puny! Well, everyone except me, thankfully. I feel fine! Micah has been snuffly and coughing as well, and he ran a little fever over the weekend. That seems to be all gone though. Anna isn't snuffly, but she slept funny last night and has a crick in her neck. She has loudly moaned and complained about that all. day. long. She took a nice long shower tonight, and I gave her some Motrin, so hopefully the kinks will get worked out. She didn't appreciate my attempts at giving her shoulder rubs! I definitely have felt like I have been surrounded by germy, whiny kids all week long!

Luke had an orthodontic appointment this morning (which is why we didn't get much done today). He had a bracket come off, but they ended up putting some kind of ring on there and giving him bands to wear. I realized that he just celebrated his one year anniversary of wearing braces in Phase II back on Feb. 14. I can't believe we didn't celebrate! Ha! I know he'll be celebrating getting them off, that's for sure (whenever that may be)! Nathan too!

So there are some not-very-highlights from our not-very-productive week!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Anna and Grace

Today I "aided" in our elementary co-op for the morning, which means I spent time doing the character lesson, taking prayer requests, helping the kids eat lunch, and helping them exchange their valentines. I aided for the K-4 and K-5 classes, so I got to spend time with Anna and Grace in the their TNT environments, which was so fun! I had Anna's class first, and one mom, who had recently taught those 2 classes was commenting on how sweet my girls were--especially one of them, but because there were kids coming in, I couldn't hear which name she was talking about. She was talking about how this girl was more quiet, so I automatically assumed she was talking about Grace. Wrong! It turned out she was talking about Anna! I was shocked!

Well, as the morning went on, Anna really hardly said 2 words! That's not totally true--they had some free time, and she played happily with some of the other girls (there are only about 10 kids in her class total), but she definitely didn't chatter away, even at lunch. And she's definitely a chatterer at home, LOL. But she LOVES the co-op, and she considers these kids GREAT friends of hers. it was just surprising to me to see how shy she did appear to be in that environment!

So then the classes switched, and Anna's class went off to learn about France. Right now the kids are al studying "Europe". Last week Anna and Grace's teacher taught them all about Poland, since she is a native of Poland. The girls came home spouting all sorts of random facts about Poland--they were both listening very attentively, I can assure you! I don't think they had ever really put together that Grandma B is Polish as well!

Anyhow, Grace's class came in, and I was VERY curious to see how they all interacted. Last week when I had picked the girls up (which I only did because Christine was over there aiding that week--normally I am teaching science, and the other Rivendell ladies pick everyone up), the aide told me that one little boy just loved Grace--he calls her "Beautiful Grace", and he always wants to sit next to her. Awwwww . . . so sweet! Well, the little boy actually sat on the other side of the table, across from Grace, today, but he is a little cutie, LOL. And I was shocked to see how confidant Grace was in there! She talked to the kids, and just in general acted like she was at home. Huh!

This is such a big switch from church, which is the girls' other big social weekly experience. There, Grace hardly says a word in class, and she acts PAINFULLY shy, as if the act of cutting paper is too much for her. Although, maybe I should ask her teachers specifically on Sunday. Those reports were from a few months ago, and maybe she's had this blossoming transformation, LOL. Whereas Anna has always seemed perfectly comfortable there even when she is the only girl with a bunch of boys.

It just goes to show that you can't pigeon-hole your kids' personalities!

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Another Birthday Season Kicks Off!

Of the 10 people in our immediate family, 9 of us have birthdays from February through June (and then Caleb gets all the hype and attention when he has his birthday in November). So yesterday we started our time of birthdays with my birthday! Since it fell on a Tuesday, we spent the day at Rivendell, where there was a lovely party for 3 of us celebrating birthdays this week--Monday for Emily H., yesterday for me, and today for Faith. Quite a special week!
Our party had balloons for each of us, and not one, not two, but 3 different cakes! I made a castle cake exactly like this one I made for Grace's 3 year birthday for Faith. I wasn't as careful this time, because I was making it at 10:00 PM Monday night, LOL, but it was fine. Then Emily's sister Amanda made a yummy big frosts chocolate chip cookie, and Christine made a delicious flourless chocolate cake! So for someone who doesn't even really like regular cake, I had wonderful options!

The weather was absolutely beautiful yesterday, so we were able to eat the cake outside, which I'm sure saved a ton of wear and tear on the church's vacuum. I love it when the weather is nice on Tuesdays and the kids can really run around outside. We had a very special treat in that my other friend Christine and her 2 daughters were able to come by for the party! Look at these 6 beautiful little girls! So fun!

After we got home, the kids ate leftovers, and Bob and I went to Cheesecake Factory for dinner. We split my favorite, a Chinese chicken salad, and then we split a piece of Hershey's chocolate cheesecake. It was so good, although I would have to say my favorite is the chocolate mousse cheesecake. Still, no bad options there!

I got some fantastic gifts too! My brother and sister-in-law sent me a book off my Amazon wish list that I've been dying to read ever since my friend Johanna recommended it--Amelia Earhart's Daughters. I also got a Baby Blues book and a CD called Hymnworks, which features hymns, played on a piano, interwoven with classical music pieces. It is absolutely beautiful. I have it as a cassette tape from way back, but there is never a tape player around to play it anymore, you know?! I've already listened to it, and it is so relaxing and enjoyable. I highly recommend it!

Faith's birthday is today--hard to believe she is already 3 years old! I barely made it to the hospital to have her, and she continues to grab life by the horns--she's not afraid of much, except for anything that lives and breathes and is not a human, LOL. She is not an animal lover! her favorite things are her "bear blanket" and her Cedarmont Kids DVDs. She adores those and will watch them as many times as I will let her. And if she's not listening, then she will sing the songs--loudly, and over and over. It is really sweet to hear old Sunday school songs being sung again, like "Climb, Climb Up Sonshine Mountain", and "Do, Lord". She's a lot of fun!

Here she is with the shiny pink "princess" balloon she got yesterday. She loves the balloon and drags it around everywhere, but when I tried to take a picture of her with it, she got all shy and uncooperative. So you'll just have to take my word about how happy she usually is! I guess she only cooperates with the dentist!