Monday, August 25, 2014

A Week, Briefly (#1)

Our week began with our first Sunday back to church in our own ward (congregation) after a two week vacation.  We were welcomed home warmly.  I'm grateful to know good people.

That night was Family Home Evening; our lesson was on orderliness in our home, our work, and our minds.  We talked about forming good habits that allowed us to have the order we need to learn and grow happily.

After our lesson we had a treat.  J10 had made us a raspberry cheesecake.  And a fine job she did, too!  It was delicious!

The next morning we woke up full of enthusiasm for developing good habits.  Everyone woke up with a smile and worked well.  It helped that I had scrambled eggs and toast ready and waiting for the responsible workers.

We began our new year of morning devotionals (we'd slipped with the habit in the early days of pregnancy when mornings were too hard for me to function--usually we do them year-round).  We're keeping it simple with only 4 components:  a primary song, an article of faith, a scripture verse to discuss, and memorizing Romans 12. 

After that we dispersed to rest and recover from our 2 hours of industry.  Our working muscles are not very strong, nor have we been disciplined this summer.

That night the 3 littles organized a fashion show for the rest of us.  They set up changing rooms, passed out tickets, arranged seating, and entertained us.

Writing down the details of the show to keep things organized behind-the-scenes.

Little sister comes out as "cool teen"--big sister prompts her in her lines.

Daddy became the dressing room once little brother accidentally knocked down the original dressing room.

A lady ready to go shopping . . . other costumes included an artist, a waiter, and a dancer.

Little brother ended the show modeling how to be a reader.

We whooped and hollered and cheered while the 3 littles took their bows and grinned.  The big girls looked at me and said, "Were our shows like this?  We remember them being much better."  I laughed and told them they were exactly the same.  They shook their heads in disbelief.

I chronicled Tuesday in detail for our "A Day in the Life--August"  post.

Wednesday was much the same as Tuesday with a lot of organizing of school supplies, skating, hair-doing, and reading.

In the corner of one of the photos the kids were taking, I found a picture of me at the computer working on getting ready for school.

 Dad and I were able to run a couple of errands including a library run where we found 3 full baskets of books we'd ordered ready and waiting for us to check out.  We brought them home, and the kids were lost in their own worlds for the rest of the day.

That evening after dinner Dad and I dug out the swing set in the back yard so we could reposition it in a more useful, fun place.  It took 2 hours because it was set so deeply into the ground (by the previous owners of our house).  Then we called the kids out to help us haul it around.  It was a lot of work, but it was worth it because now the slide is slidier and the swings are high enough off the ground that the kids' feet don't scrape the ground.  Even the big kids can't resist playing on it now.

Thursday was much the same as Wednesday.

Dad anchored the swing set, and the little guys played until they were too hot and sweaty to function.

Included in the library baskets were 4 Muzzy video sets--Spanish, French, Italian, and Chinese.  Once I gave permission, the kids were all over them.  They chose French for their first video (we have about 25 Fancy Nancy books in the house right now which are the inspiration for that choice).

Which one should we watch?

Inspired by the video to study vocabulary . . . all on their own!
Thursday was Dad's first day back at work after vacation, so our evening was busy being sure dinner was on time and then getting used to bedtime routines without him again.

While he was gone we discovered a wet spot in the ceiling of the basement bathroom.  Something was leaking from above.  It wasn't a major emergency, and we knew in advance that Dad was having a tough night at work (his supervisor texted him in advance about certain situations), so we left it alone and went to bed praying that we could deal with it in the morning.

Friday continued much the same as the rest of the week, except for the adventure of watching Dad cut a hole in the ceiling of the basement bathroom to find out where the leak was coming from.  He determined it was either the little kids' toilet or tub, but he needed to go to bed, so the mystery would have to wait until his day off.  We duck-taped their toilet shut so no one would accidentally use it and switched to showering the little guys in Mom and Dad's bathroom for the next few days.

I love having several bathrooms!  (It's still a novelty and a miracle even 9 months after moving into this house.)

The big girls did fancy hair-dos on one another:

M12's handiwork on J10

They did my hair:

M12 loves to braid.

H5 did this one all by herself during bedtime reading.
And they experimented with the camera a lot!

I approached H5 about going to bed earlier each night.  She's been waking up weepy and uncooperative each morning.  Going to bed earlier means missing out on family bedtime reading, but I offered to let her choose 2 story books each night for a private session, and she agreed readily.

M12 and S12 made dinner for friends who had a baby last week.  It was a lovely meal of lentil soup, brown rice, melon, blueberries, green salad, and oatmeal-banana balls.  M12 and I delivered it . . . only getting lost on the way twice!  We had to hurry home to get our own dinner on the table on time for Dad.

M12 cooks the sausage for our own french bread pizzas. 
Had I known further in advance about the meal for our friends I would have made it part of our family menu, but our menu was already posted for family viewing, and none of the kids would have accepted lentil soup in place of pizza with any measure of grace!

Saturday started with a special breakfast of blueberry muffins and bacon.  While we ate I thanked the kids for their good work during the week and reminded them this was simply the beginning.  After breakfast we got to work on our weekend chores and preparation for our homeschool group's Not Back To School Picnic. 

I collapsed onto the couch for an hour with one of the kids' library books.

Eventually we headed up north to the picnic, but first we ran some last minute before-school errands.

(We left Dad at home sleeping because he had to work that night.)

It was 100 degrees outside.  Too hot for a picnic, but the park was shady and there were gallons and gallons of icy cold water and lemonade.  The kids had a blast seeing their friends and picking up our copy of the group's yearbook. 

It is a very well put together yearbook.  I'm terribly impressed!  Our favorite detail is the tiny thumbnail picture of I2 on the very bottom corner of the very last page.  He's sleeping, and the caption reads--in reference to all of the activities of the families throughout all of the school year--"Whew!  That was exhausting!  Let's take a nap!"

Our week ended as we plunked a very dirty, but soundly sleeping I2 into his bed, showered the rest of us clean of post-picnic grime, and crawled into our own beds later than usual, but full of happy thoughts and hopes for the school year ahead.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Day in the Life--August

Linking up with Tristan at Our Busy Homeschool.

Today is our 2nd day of easing into homeschooling routines.

Though I did get up and do my personal scripture study and got breakfast made (homemade granola bars), it has not gone as smoothly as the first day. :)

I2 shows me his "dinosaur's" hiding place, and the granola bars happened to be in view right behind him.

E14 forgot to set her alarm,
I forgot to wake the little girls on time.

Usually being late means missing breakfast, but as it was my fault the little girls weren't ready, and as E14 was good-natured, apologetic, and jumped up immediately to do what work she could I delayed breakfast until we were all ready.

M12 was NOT late, so she read while she waited.

A7's first day on the job of spot cleaning the kitchen floor.

There's always laundry to take care of!

H5 is learning to make her bed.

We were only 1/2 hour late.

Then I found out that kids had skimped on their chores, so we talked about accountability and made a few adjustments to our chore chart.

After breakfast and clean up were done we re-gathered around the table to write the first round of thank you notes to those who hosted us on our trip.

The empty chair belongs to E14, who was already finished with her letter before I remembered to take a picture.

While the big kids went off to complete their chores correctly, the little guys decorated their letters with stickers left over from the long car rides.

Everyone is off to independent activities--mostly reading or skating.  Dad is on his second-to-last-day of vacation, so he's busy with household projects.  Last night he fixed I2's broken closet door, so I think he's hanging it back up this morning, and he's been talking about mowing the yard.
Getting the alignment just right  . . .
and done!
 I am settling down to a long session at the computer recording the school plans for the last couple of kids for the upcoming school year.

Tired and sweaty after skating.

They were so hungry after skating so hard that the three littlest ones ate up every single piece of left over granola bar!

Tired after skating all morning.

But first I need to get the letters into the mailbox.

It is now after lunch.

M12 made it--tuna, crackers, grapes, and  blueberries.  H5 and I helped.

Before she made lunch, M12 got a cold drink ready for her Dad.

H5 cut up the pickles for the tuna

 Dad is not mowing right now after all.  Rather he's organizing the wood pile . . . it is currently a paltry thing.  Our plans for building it up did not come to pass, so we're weighing our options and organizing as an act of faith that we will be able to get the wood we want/need.

Tired, sweaty skaters are reading books or playing quiet games.

E14 has been flying through a book or two a day lately.  Nothing hard, just fun reads, but she comes to the table in the mood to talk about what she's reading, and I like that.

I've got to lie down.

But first I need to get I2 dressed.  How I manage to neglect dressing him day after day is appalling and completely confusing to me.  Dressing him in a timely manner will be one of my personal quests this week and this school year.

I never did lie down.

But I did make a chart for H5 with all of the special dates/events that will happen between now and the birth of the baby.  She caught my on my way to my room, "Mom, when is our baby going to be born?"  I decided it was time to help her answer that question for herself.  The other kids gathered around and helped me choose cute clip art to make the chart fun.  Now it is hanging on the wall for her to reference and cross off each event as it happens.

That took a long time.

Then, realizing that the girls were around, I opened up our library website and ordered books for M12, S12, and J10 for their first month's geography work.

Then S12 asked me to order used copies of the last 2 Harry Potter books for her.  She used her birthday money to pay for them.

J10 took the camera and played with it for a while.

One of at least a dozen pictures of I2 being intentionally goofy for the camera.

One of a series of pictures of A7 and H5 doing somersaults
One of a series of I2 running from the end of the hall all the way to J10.
Now M12 has the camera while J10 and S12 star.

Selfie of the "medium girls"

M12 did my hair.  (Heaven!)  And took a picture of it.

The stake seminary requirements arrived in my email inbox, so I printed them and gave them to E14 to study. 

I moved a load of laundry.

 Kids have scattered again.

M12 read and read and read.

H7 and A5 played "spa," but were so embarrassed to be caught at it that they froze.

A7 called me to the front porch to see the grasshopper she found.
We realized our apples were ripe. Most were wizened, oddly-shaped little things but there were two beauties--here's one of them.
We cut up the best of the apples and ate them still-warm from the sunshine.  Heaven!

S12 made a "potion"--I think it is a love "potion " though who her intended victim is remains unknown.

Dad has been working outside for hours.  E14 took a cold drink out to him.  It's hot today.

Eventually he DID get to the lawn--what a lot of work he did!


 The day is over.  I spent some time sweeping and cleaning the back porch while H5 and I2 played in the mud just off the porch.

  A7 got her skates back on.  I forgot to take a picture of her.  I did, however, find this spider web.

It's hard to see.  It got wiped out the next day when we moved the swingset around, but within 20 minutes I saw the spider come out of the corner and start weaving again.
We had spinach alfredo pasta with broiled chicken and cherry tomatoes for dinner.  During dinner we had family prayer and scripture study, then it was off to the church for youth activities for the oldest 3 and a Relief Society (our church women's group) presidency meeting for me.  Dad kept the younger 4 home for baths, books, and bed.

Poor J10 is one of the big girls in our family, but she has nearly a year and half left before she can join the older ones in church youth activities.  She will really feel like the middle child she is every time they leave without her.

After a brief stop to pick up some ibuprofen for Dad's aching wrist (he hurt it on our vacation and keeps aggravating the injury) and a couple of new binkies for I2 (there's no way he's ready to stop using one yet), it was about 9:00 pm when we got home.

I2 was long asleep--it turns out that A7 had snuggled up next to him in bed and read him stories until he fell asleep--but the others were still awake because Dad had spent the evening finding funny baby videos on YouTube to watch with them.

When I got into the house, everyone scurried off to bed, but not until H5 told me all about the funny baby who stole other babies' binkies.

I found that a couple of older girls had NOT completed some chores from the morning, so they had to go to work immediately to remedy the situation.  I got into bed with a good book while Dad waited for them to finish their work so he could tuck them in.  He stayed up to work on a work-required computer education course.

I fell asleep.

My day was done . . . though I think the older girls were awake for a while longer, and poor Dad's day didn't end for hours.