Saturday, January 26, 2013

Special Visitors!

This past week we had special company--my brother and his younger daughter Elia came to visit us from Texas!  They flew in on Sunday afternoon, so Bob and I, along with the 3 girls and Drew, drove up to BWI to pick them up.  Dan's wife Melinda had to stay home, since their other daughter Emily had school, so we skyped with them (which was fun, but not the same as having them here too!)
Elia enjoyed meeting her new cousin!  She was very careful with him, and she liked rubbing his fuzzy head.
Dan and Melinda gave the boys their old x-box system for Christmas, so Dan got in some quality playing time with them down in the basement.
Luke read some books to the girls, as did other brothers.
Thursday morning we woke up to a little bit of snow on the ground!  Everyone was quite excited, and the kids played outside in the morning and in the afternoon!  The nice thing was that it was pretty cold, around 20 degrees, so the snow wasn't the super wet and melty stuff that we usually get.  The girls had a ton of fun sliding down the little hill in our front yard, and then they had hot chocolate when they came inside.
The 4 girls had such a fun time together!  They really never even argued!  They played Duplos, dolls, Little People, dress-up, and all sorts of things.  Elia was just one of the crowd, fitting in perfectly! 

The only thing we really went out and did was go over to the L's house for dinner Monday night.  Ed smoked some absolutely delicious barbeque ribs in his smoker, so we had a real feast, plus a ton of fun and laughter!  Otherwise, Dan had a quiet week of relaxing, while Elia happily played with her cousins.  A real vacation, LOL!  We sadly drove back to BWI to drop them off yesterday morning.  They eventually made it home--after sitting on the runway at Charlotte for 3 hours and 15 minutes, waiting to de-ice!  We miss them! 

Foggy Brain

I'm going to blog about my brother and niece's visit, but first, a funny from today.

Drew was 8 weeks old yesterday, and he's doing pretty well, as far as sleeping goes.  If I feed him around 9:00, he usually goes until 4:30 or 5:00, and then again until after 8:00.  Of course, I don't go to bed right after I'm done nursing him in the evening, because that's my prime time for getting school-related stuff done, so I'm still feeling pretty tired and foggy-brained.

Today Bob took Luke to his pictures and game starting at 7:30 this morning, and then he and Nathan took Jonathan to his game at 11:00.  The plan was for me to pick up Jonathan after 12:00, when his game ended, so Bob and Nathan could then ref a game.  But a little before noon I had to nurse, so I was running late.  But Bob called as I just started nursing to say he would ask Jonathan's assistant coach (who lives in our neighborhood) to bring Jonathan home with them.  Great! 

So I finished nursing, got my jacket on, and got in the van to go get Jonathan.  It was as if Bob had never called!  I drove over to the church (only about 5 minutes away), and as I drove into the parking lot, something faint jingled in the dark foggy recesses of my brain . . . there was something I should be remembering . . .  hmmm . . . oh, yes!  Our neighbor was bringing Jonathan home!  Bob had called! 

I called home and talked to Caleb.  "Umm, is Jonathan home yet?"  "No . . . oh!  He's just walking in the door!"  "Okay.  I'll be home in a minute too . . ."

I keep telling people my brain is like a sieve--this was a very clear demonstration!

Here's a bonus picture of Drew.  He's intently eyeing the monkey on this thing.  Definitely not too sure about that critter. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

6 Weeks! Plus Some Adjustments

Drew was 6 weeks old on Friday!  Obviously he's adjusting well to life in a crazy household!  He's giving out tons of smiles, much to everyone's delight.  He's sleeping pretty well too.  I usually feed him around 10:00 or so, and then he will go until 4:30, and then again until 8:00--unless I have to get up and go somewhere.  Then somehow this is mysteriously communicated to him, and he wakes up in such a way that he will need to be fed again right around the time I need to get out the door.  How does he do it?!
This is a blurry picture, but you can tell that Micah loves his baby brother!  He loves holding him and giving him gentle kisses.  He's so excited when Drew is awake!  As I've said before, he doesn't see Drew as any sort of a threat because Drew is a baby, while he, Micah, is clearly a big boy!  Which is great, except . . .

 . . . That Micah thinks he is clearly a big boy.  Which means he doesn't want to sit in his high chair or take naps.  He wants to open the fridge and stare at the contents for awhile (we've never actually had anyone tall enough to open the fridge at this age, so this is a new one for us, LOL).  He wants to use markers, play in the bathroom sink, climb on the top bunk, help himself to snacks . . . and disapproval of any of these activities is met with a temper tantrum of epic proportion!  So that's been tons of fun to deal with, LOL (send me chocolate . . .)  Hopefully he will see he isn't "winning" and give up relatively quickly.  Well, I can hope anyway, LOL.           

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Starting Up Again

"First a thing is impossible, then it's difficult, then it's done." 

That quote is from Created For Work, by Bob Schultz, which we were reading every day in our character time before November rolled around, and I lost all motivation to do anything remotely extra, LOL. 

Anyhow, that quote is my new motto, as I look toward May and the end of the school year.  I will be perfectly honest and say that I do not want to start back tomorow at all!  This break has been so very nice, and I have a lot looming ahead, which makes me just want to bury my head under the covers. 

The biggest thing is of course biology.  I have been pleasantly surprised, as I tweaked the syllabus for these last 2 quarters, that things seem to be coming together, now that I am not pregnant!  I think pregnancy really was clouding my brain, LOL, because before Thanksgiving I just could not see how to work out the rest of the year.  It's still hard, however, and now I feel the burden of keeping everything we learned in the first 2 quarters fresh in everyone's mind, so they can do well on the AP test, which is May 13.  I got Nathan all signed up at our local high school, so that makes it all seem more real . . .

I still have to do my teaching at our elementary co-op, so that means I am teaching 2 weeks of a unit on space the end of February/beginning of March.  I am also in charge of the 5th week activity, which is a field trip to the Udavar-Hazy museum.  I did a lot of the legwork on the field trip back in October, and my co-leader (and pastor's wife!) Karen is helping a ton by taking over the planning of the "scavenger hunt".  Still, I'll be glad when it's over!  I taught the space unit in 2006, back when Nathan was in 3rd grade, and I was pregnant with Anna.  Now I'm teaching the 5th/6th grade, so I'll have to tweak my lesson plans a bit, but at least I've already taught it.  Next year, I'm hoping to teach in the fall, so I have it out of the way before Christmas!

I'm also the testing coordinator for the co-op, and now is the time to start getting info together to send out to everyone.  At least I did this last year, but I am very worried that I'll miss something or forget something, just because I'm thinking about something else.  Testing is May 20-22, and when that is done, I will be happy beyond words, that that means all my formal responsibilites for the year will be completed!  I also have to send in another batch of Boxtops in March, but fortunately that's not anything stressful.

I need to get back into a good routine with schoolwork here at home too.  In November, we pretty much stopped everything that the boys couldn't do on their own, so we need to start all that back up again, and I need to make Anna more of a priority, since she'll actually be testing in May.  And of course, work everything around a nursing baby while keeping Micah out of trouble!  Sigh . . . burying my head under the covers is definitely an appealing option . . .

"First a thing is impossible, then it's difficult, then it's done."  I can't wait for the "done" part!

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Switching Rooms

Our big accomplishment last weekend was changing rooms around.  Anna, Grace, and Faith switched rooms with Caleb and Jonathan.  The 3 girls had been sleeping in the smallest bedroom, on a set of twin bunkbeds with a pull-out trundle.  Faith slept on the trundle, and with it always out, the room was even smaller!  So now they are sleeping on a bunkbed with a twin on top and a full on the bottom (perpendicular to the twin).  Except Anna doesn't want to take her turn on the top bunk, and Grace doesn't want to sleep up there all the time (and I declared Faith, who does want to sleep up there, too young, LOL).  So the past few nights either Anna or Grace has slept on a little pallet on the floor.  Sigh.  Crazy girls!  I think eventually the sleeping situation will work itself out, and the rest of the room is so much nicer for the girls!  We bought these cubes from Target, and the girls have their barbies, Polly Pocket stuff, books, etc. on there.  Before they really didn't have a good place for those things, and it was a source of real frustration for me (I don't think it bothered them one bit though).  There is also more room for them to actually play with said dolls on the floor in front of the bed than in the old room with the trundle out.

Here is the girls' old room/Caleb and Jonathan's new room.  They don't have to have the trundle out, so they are thrilled with all the space!  We still need to hang up their pictures from art class, as well as Jonathan's set of hooks, a present many moons ago from Aunt Amy!  We also turned the bed bunks.  They used to be along the wall with the window, blocking the window.  The room is so much nicer with more light coming in!  Looking at the window reminds me that I need to get some new curtains for this room, LOL. 

My original brainstorm for the move was that Micah could sleep on the trundle with the older 2 boys.  I have since changed my mind on that.  Micah is not at an exceptionally obediant phase right now, and he loves, loves, loves to climb up on that top bunk.  If I put him down in there for a nap or at night, I am sure he would be up there in half a second, and I do not have time right now to camp outside the door, waiting to catch him trying, and discipline him!  Drew is sleeping pretty well, so I am hoping to just go ahead and put them in the same room--Drew in a pack-n-play, and Micah still in his crib, at least until Micah is older.  But that won't be until Drew is sleeping through the night pretty reliably, so he'll still be in our room for a little while longer. 

In the meantime, it was a wonderful excuse to go through clothes, throw away a ton of trash in both rooms, and generally clean house upstairs!  I think it was about my only big accomplishment this break, LOL, even though there are tons of other areas of our house that need the same treatment!

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy New Year!

 We had a fantastic time last night at the L's annual New Year's Eve party!  Lots of delicious food, good friends, and noisemakers for our 9:00 countdown!  It's great to be able to say goodbye to one year and welcome in the new one with special friends.
 We also had the most amazing thing happen!  Every year we have a new baby, I like to get an ornament for our tree from the place in the mall where you can get personalized ornaments--you know, a bunch of little teddy bears in a stocking or stockings on the mantelpiece or whatever, and the person working there writes the names on the ornaments for you.  I hadn't felt up to braving the mall before Christmas, but right after Christmas, Bob and I went there, solely to look at that little kiosk and get an ornament with 9 somethings on it, so we could have one with Drew's name.  Alas, they were out of all ornaments with 9 of anything.  There were a bunch with 8, a few with 10--but none with 9.  I was so bummed!  I eventually found one on Amazon, but I never got around to ordering it, and in fact I had a disturbing dream a few nights ago where we had ordered one from Amazon, but they left off Jonathan's name. 

At the party, our friends Rick and Linda said they had a present for Bob and me--and Rick pulled out a little red gift bag.  In the bag was--A PERSONALIZED ORNAMENT WITH 9 LITTLE SNOWMEN!!!
 I could not believe it!!  How did they ever know?!  I was (am!) so excited!  I couldn't wait to get home and hang it on the tree!  Of course we couldn't leave until the boys had finished up their card game, and by then it was after 10:00, so the younger ones were starting to melt down.  But everyone slept in today, and Drew wins a gold star--he nursed at 10:45, and then didn't wake up until 5:00, and then again at 9:00!  I actually felt pretty rested when I got up this morning, LOL!  What a great start to the new year!

This past year has been one where we have really seen God's provision and grace in our family, and we are so thankful for that.  Although there is much to be discouraged about as we look at the direction our country in headed this new year, our hope is always in the Lord--he is faithful!  I love the verse my friend Beverly posted today on Facebook--what a great prayer for the new year!

"With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by faith.  We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ."  II Thess. 1: 11-12