I spoke to a treasured old friend about how to cope with pumping 'round the clock--she's been-there-done-that. She had several good suggestions, one of which was, "Watch documentaries with your kids."
That is what we're doing.
Textbooks, workbooks, pencils, pens, and notebooks are put away because I simply cannot keep up with them. The computer monitor (we don't have a TV) is out on display, and we're watching DVDs borrowed from the library.
This week we learned about:
Lions and Cheetahs
The Statue of Liberty
American Founding Fathers
Cultural differences in how babies are raised and how people live around the world (The movie Babies is so outstanding! I cannot recommend it highly enough!)
How Things are Made (roller skates, ice cream sandwiches, strobe lights, etc.)
Our dinner table conversations are more interesting than they've ever been as I ask leading questions and the kids (at least the younger ones) fall over themselves to be the first to tell Dad about what they learned during the day.
It may not be the best way to learn as a habit, but it is the best way for us at the moment. I'm guessing this "moment" will last a month . . . or even two. :)
The older kids are listening as I read aloud to them from Standing for Something. We made it through the (lengthy) introduction and the first chapter this week. At first the little ones headed off to play in another room as I read, but by the end of the week they were voluntarily bringing their drawings and coloring books into the living room to listen along with the big kids.
On Friday I had an exceptionally warm, fuzzy moment when I looked up from the pages from which I was reading and really looked at the blessing of having my children gathered around me while we read and talked about high ideals.
Each day of the week we also did a Walk at Home video. I wrapped Baby L securely to my chest while the rest of us "walked" in the living room. It gets a little crowded, so I moved halfway out into the hall, but we all got some exercise before sitting down to watch movies. On Thursday Dad even joined us before showering and heading to bed after work. My favorite is when the little guys run down to the basement to grab canned fruits and veggies to use as weights when they exercise. I3 used little tuna cans one day!
We had our usual run of outings--youth activities at church (for which E14 made a double batch of chocolate chip cookies), dance rehearsals, soccer practice. The older girls also got to spend half a day with some friends. They came home chattering gaily about their adventures--one of which was jumping on the trampoline in below-zero weather. The mom who hosted them warmed them up with hot chocolate when they came shivering back into the house.
We also participated in the homeschool talent show. E14 and M13 joined two friends in a clogging routine to "Grand Old Flag." They did a good job, and I'd post the video of them except that it is terribly blurry and such a huge file that I don't know how to manage it.
All of the kids in our family (except Baby L) performed a song and dance routine to the song "Sisters" from White Christmas. We knew the girls would all do their parts well, but none of us was sure about whether I3 would cooperate on stage when the big moment came. Our worries were pointless! He ran on to the stage and jumped into his sisters' arms just the way we practiced all week. Other than the fact that we forgot to pick up and put on the feather boas that are the one prop the girls use, the routine was perfect. Even without the boas, they were darling. Again a fuzzy, overlarge file means we'll just enjoy the video ourselves at home.
My favorite part of the talent show is the slide show of pictures of talents that cannot be performed on a stage. I submitted various pictures of things our crew has done--from art projects to baked goods to beautiful hairstyles to sewing projects.
On Friday Baby L was supposed to have a well-baby check up, but I had a flat tire on the way to the doctor's office, so that's been rescheduled to next week. In preparation for the appointment, I kept a feeding log one day and found that he's drinking over 30 oz of milk, and I'm making just over 20 oz for him. While I'm frustrated to not be able to give him all of what he needs, I'm so grateful that my milk supply is slowly but surely increasing; that means that the 16 herbal pills (multiple doses of 3 herbs--fenugreek, blessed thistle, and marshmallow root) I'm taking each day are worth the effort. I also added several cups of Mother's Milk Tea to my daily routine. I have some brewer's yeast that a friend gave me, but I'm not sure yet how to use it--time for some research.
I never picked up the camera even once this week, but the little guys took a few pictures of each other:
We had a whole weekend of snow, so hopefully the kids will go make the most of it before it melts away in the week ahead!