Monday, September 15, 2014

A Week, Briefly (#4)

I woke up Sunday morning and knew that the illness was winning; however, I had church commitments that could not be passed off to someone else without causing significant difficulties for others, and I had promises to keep to my children, so I pushed through.

By Monday morning I was useless.

One of the best blessings in my life is my husband.  He was off work on Monday and took the kids to the zoo for the day so that I could stay quietly in bed.

I love him.

H5 tells me they're watching the hippos here.

If you ask him, I2 will tell you that the ostrich is his favorite animal.

The joey is nursing.

After the zoo the kids came home hungry (in spite of the picnic lunch they took), and I was feeling well enough to rustle up a snack and hear all about the day.  After that I went back to bed while everyone did quiet things . . . except for Dad, who ran errands and brought home pizza for dinner.

I love him!

Tuesday was a back to school day for us.  We moved very slowly, and I spent a great deal of time on the couch.

"Copywork is my favorite!!!"

She's in Alma 37--well on her way to finishing before she's 8 years old.
M12 and I decided that the science plan we had for her this year will wait until next year.  She's still part of our science club so she'll get some good science that way, and given the math challenges she's facing this year she'd have too much on her plate.  Given the relief we both feel, it is a wise decision.

 I2 climbed onto the wood-burning stove knocking a metal decorative piece off the mantle.  It landed on his finger, cutting and bruising it badly.  It took several hours to stop the bleeding, and I spent a long time that day watching and wondering if his finger was broken.

In her free time A7 made balloon animals.  They helped cheer up our very sad, hurt boy.
A spider on the left, a mouse on the right.

More of the mouse

His favorite is this shark.

Eventually he felt well enough to do school.  We talked (appropriately enough) about our hands.

Though I thought he wasn't ready for preschool, and he gets to do Kid School with A7 and H5, he kept asking, "Where my school?  I do school, too?"  So, now we're going to do some sort of small activity just for him a few times each week.  We taped this first project to the wall, and he is ever so proud!!

Then he was tired and still in pain so he snuggled up for a story with Dad just before he had to go to bed to get ready to work all night.
I thought I was on the mend enough to go ahead and plan to attend our first science club meeting Wednesday morning, but I coughed, coughed, coughed all night long and knew that I couldn't in good conscience share those germs with others.  I spent a long time trying to communicate with our club leader to see if she wanted the kids to attend without me (this is not a drop-off club).  When we finally got the go-ahead it was a mad scramble to get out the door.

E14 "graduated" from the club last year, so she stayed home to work on regular school work.

I dropped off the 4 middle kids and kept the two littlest ones with me.  I had planned to run errands, but I was so hungry we ran to the closest grocery store with a deli and bought a snack.  We ate at the store in the cute little restaurant section--just the three of us.  I loved paying close attention to them, and they loved the whole experience. 

We were sure to pick up an extra treat for the rest of the kids, and the little guys loved sharing with them.

I was exhausted, so it was another afternoon on the couch for me.

E14 is still struggling with time management.  We sat down together to work on her grammar lesson shortly before 6 pm with a 6:30 pm deadline looming over us for leaving the house to get to the church on time for youth activities.  I was tired and dreading trying to teach patiently.

I was so relieved when she showed glimmers of understanding!  There were entire sections of the assignment that she could do on her own--a huge blessing compared to last week when she needed her hand held through every single question.

Hooray for learning!

Everyone had a blast at the church--even tired old me because there were a couple of moms who were willing to chat (I hid with my little kids in an unused room, but they found us--I warned them that I was still contagious, but they stayed anyway).

The rest of the week just went by day by day with school for everyone.

I2 made a maraca.  Then I played the recorder and he played his maraca, and we danced to our "music."

"Daddy, will you play wif me?"

E14 working at her desk--she hardly ever appears in pictures because there's not much variation to her days lately.

M12 and A7 during a lesson.

I2 shared his preschool with his sisters--watercolor painting!

Dad took the kids on a walk, and E14 made this bouquet of wildflowers.

Over the weekend Dad found the source of the leak in the basement ceiling--the toilet in the kids' bathroom!  The wax ring that seals the toilet had just disintegrated over the years (before we ever bought the house) and must have been leaking for months and months because the entire subfloor was soaking wet, and the water was creeping into the drywall, too.  Dad ripped out the floor and as much of the subfloor as he could.  Then he closed off the bathroom until his next day off when he can continue work.

I continue to be daily thankful for having more than one bathroom!  I know it's a luxury, but it is also such a blessing!!!!

Dad still managed to keep his promise to have a movie night with the big girls while I was at a Relief Society activity (self defense class!), and he then took the 3 little ones on a date on Saturday to the hardware store and then out for ice cream. 

Have I mentioned that I love him!?!?!

Looking back on it, the theme for this week is that we need, love, and appreciate the Dad of our household.
Hooray for Dad!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Week, Briefly (#3)

It is early on Saturday morning.  I2 woke me at 5:30, and because I am now getting up at 5:10 on weekdays, my body is awake whether it feels rested or not.

He's asleep again.

I'm glad.  He seems to be suffering from the same lethargy that has affected the whole family this week.

I have used my awake time to get a batch of granola into the oven and read a few "inspiring" blogs about homeschooling.  I have been feeling discouraged all week, and I hoped to find a little something that would help me feel less so.

I did not.

I should have known that what I would find is opportunity to compare myself to others and come up wanting.

When I need inspiration and uplift, I know the place to go is the word of God.  I will do so in just a few moments.  (I've done it now.  I'm glad.  I have no idea why I didn't keep my usual routine and start with my scriptures in the first place!)

This week Dad was really sick, J10 had a fever on Sunday and Monday, the littles were mildly ill, I felt crummy for a while but managed to fight it off, and the older girls seemed okay but probably were fighting the bug off, too.  We all spent the week schlumping around the house with sagging shoulders, tired eyes, headaches, and a general listlessness that led us to a sense of failure and self-doubt.

Poor M12 spent a good deal of time crying on Friday over her math.  I sat with her listening and offering to make any changes she felt would be good--different program?  Slow down?  Go back one level (we advanced her 2 levels after last year's math was soooo easy and our review of the Saxon scope and sequence made skipping seem like a good idea)?  I told her that math is not important enough to cry over and I'd rather see her happy than doing advanced math.  She insisted on staying where she is.  She said she was just too tired that day.  She's probably right, but it still hurts my heart to see a child crying over schoolwork.

That's not how I want to operate here.

I feel more hopeful after writing this (the act of writing always helps me see more clearly).  We've been ill.  We are not our whole selves right now.  This week is not indicative of the entire school year ahead.  We've probably pushed too hard (that would be my fault) and need some time off.

In the mean time we did make some good memories:

After school on Monday the little girls gave us all pedicures, but the camera battery was charging, so there are no pictures.  They set up mini spa stations to wash and lotion our feet.  Then they painted our toenails.  It was worth the spilled nail polish on the living room carpet.

I2's portrait of Noah

Here's I2's version of The Great Flood

A7's rainbow and ark on the day we read about The Great Flood

And H5's as well

I2 helping himself to a snack of leftover breakfast

A7 and H5 are loving learning about oceans with Hands of a Child activities

S12 is flying through her math review books with great success

Our picture study one day inspired these little guys to study on their own

Keyboarding skills

M12 is now A7's violin teacher.  The first couple of lessons were about identifying parts of a violin and what a measure is.

Sometimes the kids like to come upstairs to work.  The plastic crates are how the older kids organize and keep their school work ready.

One night when I was especially struggling, E14 offered to clean up the kitchen and make dinner.  I cried because I was so relieved.  She made cornbread and chili.  It was delicious, and I got a good rest.

Gathering around the table to enjoy E14's good dinner.

The chili!

For Kid School on Friday the littles made pumpkin streusel muffins for lunch for all of us.

A7 saved a moth from drowning in our wading pool

Water play is even more fun when you have "friends" to swim with.

Filling up the pool on a hot afternoon.

After "swimming" the little guys helped themselves to carrots and leftover pumpkin muffins for a snack.

Even some of the big girls joined the littles for some water play after finishing their school work.

I heard laughing, laughing, laughing one afternoon.  When I looked outside I found the kids sliding in "trains."

E14 worked on building a railing around her tree house.

This is our upstairs stair landing.  I think it is delightful what kind of places the kids will find to work on their projects.  Though I must admit that our little stained glass window is a favorite of mine, as well.