A Week, Briefly (#11)

Monday morning began with both a celebration and a sinking feeling.  The celebration was in honor of H5, who has finished her entire Sonlight K language arts and reading program!  Here she is with all 27 little books that she has read so far.

She is ever so proud to have accomplished this much, and is delighted to be working on the next group of readers--which are set up like chapter books, so they feel "grown up."

The sinking feeling came when I realized I'd forgotten to have us make our "F" quilt squares last week, and it was time to start our "G" week.  I2 is quite aware of routines, and this break in our routine did not sit well with him.  We ended up working on our quilt squares for only a minute or two, then putting them down in order to keep to the schedule he likes.   Here is our "G is for grass" letter project.

The girls are able to sew their squares on their own, so they happily sewed away, but I2 and I did one stitch at a time, here a little, and there a little until it was finally finished on Friday morning--just in time to start the letter "G" quilt square.  I2 is sick and tired of sewing, but I'm not pushing it with him.  He literally does one single stitch whenever I happen to pick up the quilt square and see him at the same time.  I'm confident that this system is okay because on Saturday he picked up the quilt square on his own and made lots of stitches (which tied his square in knots. :) ) and was quite proud of himself (I hid while I picked out the stitches that kept the square from lying straight enough to be sewed into a finished quilt--thus far, he seems to be none the wiser.)

I tried to take the littles on a walk in the afternoon, offering to take the big girls, too.  The older ones declined, except for S12, and the rest of us set out.  We were stopped by two dogs who were not on leashes or penned in their yards.  The first one was right next door to us, and the neighbor (very reclusive--we've failed to make friends so far) insisted that the dog was just curious, but when she called him back, he wouldn't obey her at all.  It was scary for us all to be trapped in the road by a growling, uncooperative dog who didn't seem "curious" at all.  Then the dog in the next yard came barking and racing off his back porch right out to the road at us.  Fortunately, he seemed more interested in barking from his own turf, but we were nervous, and if we hadn't had to face the neighbor's dog again would have turned back for home to drive to a walking trail.  We picked up some sticks, and thus armed, carried on.

Only a few houses later we saw the enormous dog that scares the pants off all of us.  He's penned, but he's so huge it would take nothing for him to leap the fence and come at us.  He watched us quietly for some time, but as soon as we turned the corner to come around the block at the back of his property, he let loose with a terrifying barrage of barking and jumping.  He never got out, but he has escaped in the past, so we were quite on edge.  By the time we got to the back of the block and the bottom of our back yard, we were done.  We gave up on our walk and played in the yard instead.

But being outside at least got our minds and bodies working.  I cleared some weedy trees springing up in our yard, then got ambitious enough to grab the tree pruners and go to work on our apple tree.   It wasn't long before the older kids came out to watch, and then help.  This was a blessing, as I'd never have been able to climb up and work the way E14 did.

The little guys loved the downed branches, and spent hours building forts and cars and nests.

Eventually we had to come inside and get dinner ready.  While the water boiled for pasta, I found A7 entertaining I2 with our map of the world. 

Tuesday began with my second day of driving the seminary car pool.  Once I was home we settled into our normal school routines.

Having learned our lesson that walking in our neighborhood was not fun, I packed the little guys up for a trip to the zoo in the afternoon.  (We only live 4 miles away and have an annual family pass).  It was so fun that I decided we'd take the whole family back on Wednesday.

That night was our weekly poetry night.  Everyone, from I2 to E14 stood and recited a memorized piece of poetry or scripture.  And A7 got the chance to perform a song on the violin for us, too.  It is lovely that there are enough of us to be a satisfying audience for performances.

I documented Wednesday for our monthly Day in the Life series.

Thursday was a partial school day because we had dance rehearsals and some significant shopping to do.  The kids rehearsed while the moms worked on costuming because our fall show is only 3 weeks away.  It was a busy two hours for all.

Then I packed up my little crew and headed for the thrift store to get I2 some winter clothes that actually fit his ever-growing body.  While we were there we also shopped for dance shoes and various bits and pieces of basic costuming needs that had been outgrown by everyone this past summer.

I2 got bored quickly and chose to express this with violent, piercing screams.  I quickly learned that he had no intention of stopping even though he'd contritely say "I'm sorry, Mommy," when I asked him to stop.  As soon as I turned my head to look at another child coming out of the dressing room for approval he'd start up again, so I had E14 take him outside. 

I'm so thankful when the older kids are my helpers!!

Once we were done there, it was off to regular (non-thrift) store to find a birthday present for S12 and J10 to take to a party they'd been invited to.

Fortunately that was quick and easy, and we finally headed home to Daddy (home for the evening for the first time in 8 days!) and leftovers.  The kids had wanted pizza, but I'm glad I didn't cave because there was plenty for everyone.

Friday!  Hooray for Friday!

G is for gumball and glitter.  I2 quite enjoyed counting and gluing gumballs.  A7 actually enjoyed helping him far more than this picture shows. :)

H5 continues to love her workbooks.

J10 pulled an interesting slip from her jar of writing prompts.  She was encouraged to write with something different, on something different, wearing something different, in a different location than usual.  She chose to write with watercolor paints on construction paper, wearing this ensemble while sitting in our van.  She came in an hour later with one page written and a huge smile on her face.

And Dad was home for the whole day.  During the day he took care of Dad-jobs, but by afternoon, he was ready for a full on tease-the-kids-until-everyone-is-wrestling session,

That was Halloween night, and though we'd already done all of the celebrating we planned by attending our church social, E14 had been invited to to trick or treating and watch movies with an old friend.  Once she was done with school, Dad took her up north.  The rest of us settled in for a quiet night at home with pizza and read-alouds.

Saturday came.  I had a church meeting to attend, so I left Dad at home with the crew.  While I was gone they did every single load of laundry that could be done, folded it all, and put it away. 

I cried.

I'd left supplies for pb&j sandwiches for lunch:

I was so hungry by the end of my meeting that all I could think was, "I hope they left me some bread so I can make a sandwich."  Imagine my delight when they greeted me at the door with, "We saved you a sandwich, Mom!" and presented me with a covered plate and a glass of cold milk. 

Sometimes heaven is in the simplest moments.

These three found the jar of counting toys and played invented games all afternoon with them.

I wish so much that I'd gotten a picture of my big girls all playing games--Apples to Apples, Yahtzee, Uno-- on a bedroom floor.  They played together for hours, being the best friends that sometimes they forget they are.  But because they hole themselves away to play their games I don't always see what they're doing.  I didn't discover them together until I searched for them to ask them to babysit for the afternoon.

Dad and I left the big girls in charge while we went on a marathon grocery shopping trip that lasted for over 3 hours.  We filled the car with food and sundry supplies, barely making it home in time to see M12 off to her babysitting job that night.  I was so glad to have him with me because even with his help, my body was so achy and tired that it was all I could do to get dinner on the table afterward.  Fortunately . . .
H5 loves to help me in the kitchen.  She successfully browned this pan of ground turkey for our taco salad dinner that night.
Our week ended well.  The best part was having Dad home at the end of the week and getting to include him in our activities.  It's hard to believe a new week is already beginning!


  1. I would cry too if all my laundry was done! One thing that people who don't have a big family do not understand is the teamwork aspect. Yes it is a lot of work but there are so many opportunities and blessings in doing things together as a family.

    I think we drive matching vehicles :)


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