Sunday, August 30, 2015

A Week, Briefly (#4)

Poor Mister Man fell off his trike at the church bike parade.  The x-rays showed there wasn't a break, but he's been in pain and unable to use his arm all week.  I'm worried there's other damage because a week later, he's still standing crookedly!

Summer did come back (sort of), and we've spent each afternoon busy with water play.

Rose Red and Little Sister spent some time at the piano.  When her hands are free, Rose Red continues to pick out favorite melodies and create beautiful accompaniments.

We finished 3 geography lessons this week.  Here, the kids are practicing latitude and longitude skills with a game.

We also spent time labeling balloons with various "circles" of the earth--equator, prime meridian, etc..

Pixie spent much time this week practicing hairstyles on Belle.

We also had our first art lesson--studying Genesis 1 to find the principles of art as created by God in the creation of the earth.  We were supposed to go outside and sketch, but raging thunderstorms kept us indoors, so we made collages out of old science magazines.  The little boys joined us in this activity.

We harvested our first watermelon!  It was good!!

We concluded our week at the lake with our cousins for our first book club meeting.  We read Island of the Blue Dolphins, so we pretended we were on an island in the Pacific.

We found rocks.

We found clay.

We studied our environment. :)  Baymax got up close and personal with the sand.
Nature Angel made a bowl out of the clay.

After leaving the beach, we picnicked, had our book discussion, and then we made jewelry out of shells and natural beads.

There was a playground, so we played . . . and slept.
Our cousin (the one who picked this month's book) made a wild dog target and shared her bow and arrow with everyone, so we could shoot wild dogs--like Karana.  This activity was a real hit!

It is hard to have to leave out our most treasured photos because they feature the faces of our newest family members. 

Tantrums and oppositional behavior rule the day right now.  Every day is a tremendous emotional struggle, but we see progress and joy, too.  The CASAs came over, and when they saw the kids they were delighted, telling us that the children have never been so clearly thriving as they are now. 

I am grateful for their support.

Ladybug's therapist is helping us withdraw Ladybug from preschool.  After spending time at home with us, she has no desire to get on the school bus--sometimes actually climbing my body to get off the bus.  The therapist is happy that Ladybug is in a safe, happy home.  She can continue weekly therapy appointments with her same therapist on an outpatient basis.

Again, I am so thankful for this support.

Last night was the homeschool Not-Back-To-School picnic.  It was a tremendous strain to keep track of all of the little ones in such an open, busy environment, but our friends were wonderful about pitching in  and helping.

Support--Sir Walter Scott and I are not doing this alone.  We are so grateful for so many helping hands!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

A Week, Briefly (#3)

I've been wondering why I'm so anxious about school--why I feel so much pressure, frustration, and irritation.

It's true that we've had illness and upheaval around here.  I'm struggling to get the basics done each day.  I'm struggling even to get a routine in place.  No matter what I try, something throws us off kilter.

And then I'm frustrated and anxious.

I am still taking my PPD meds, so that's not the problem.

The problem is that I'm not faithfully keeping personal devotional time.

So, goal #1 for next week is to open a hard-copy (I've been listening to audio versions, but it's too easy for me to get distracted) of the scriptures each day.  Whether it be 1 verse or 10, I need to feed my spirit.

Then I will be able to better feel the Lord's guidance in our days.

This week:
We completed our final Foundations lesson and worked through 2 Geography lessons.  We had a serendipitious moment when we discovered that one of the library books Pixie checked out from the library mentioned Matthew Maury--oceanographer and geographer--whom we briefly studied in our introductory geography lesson.  He's the first featured guest on our timeline.

We're still reading aloud together from The Jungle Book and Island of the Blue Dolphins.

We're reading Old Testament stories each morning at breakfast.

Little Princess and Nature Angel are LOVING their art-based math lessons each day (though Little Princess tends to compare her art to her sister's and sometimes cries).  Mister Man likes to sit in on them while he does his own thing.

Brother and Little Brother are learning how to sit and listen to stories.

Ladybug, Brother, and Little Brother are all coming out of the "honeymoon" phase of adoptive placement.  They are pushing boundaries, testing limits, and tantruming often.  It is exhausting, but it is also a blessing because they are feeling safe enough to express their frustration with how unfair their world has been.  With time, Sir Walter Scott and I will prove to them that we love them and can be trusted to care for them, and they can settle into the business of growing up.

Little Sister is learning to stand all by herself while Baymax is army crawling across the living room these days.  He only moves forward, so when he hits a couch or a baby gate, he gets stuck and cries, but I never tire of watching his herculean efforts to learn to move his body.

Autumn has come for a visit (summer is to return shortly), so the littles have spent huge amounts of time playing outside, and we managed 2 trips to the park this week.

In addition to other illnesses, we've had pink eye--9 kids lining up for antibiotic eye drops (yes, I tried breastmilk, but the conjunctivitis was winning) 4 times each day.

As she was one of the pink eye victims, Ladybug had to miss a couple of days of school.  I'm glad so say she loved being home, making especial friends with Mister Man.  I think being home was better for her than school is (transitions are hard, and she feels left out of what we do at home together each day).  This is a problem, though, in that she didn't want to go back to school, and I don't have the right to let her have her way.  I got her on the bus on Thursday, but nothing I tried would work on Friday.  I let her stay home after a protracted struggle that caused her bus to be late picking up the rest of the children on that route.  I've called her teacher and therapist for advice.

I feel anxious because they know I homeschool, and I don't want them to think I'm subverting their work.  I very much plan to bring her home once the adoption is final and she ages out of this preschool program, but until then we need to cooperate with the system.

We've had multiple trips to the doctor's office, physical therapy, and various pharmacies.
Dad went back to work.
Kids have been in various states of health and illness.
Church activities were Wednesday and Friday.
Mister Man fell off his bike at the bike parade on Friday night--we may end up at urgent care today for an injured collar bone;  we'll know once he wakes up this morning.
The refrigerator is freezing all of our produce, so the taco salad I had planned for dinner tonight is ruined.

Now I'm just complaining. :)

Honestly, I can see the Lord's hand in each day's work.  Every time it gets too hard, there's a small but sweet tender mercy that gives me strength to square my shoulders and go on.

Seminary starts next week--that means seeing Rose Red off by 5:30 am each day!

Little Brother was left out of games the older kids were playing, so I set him up a water-play station on the kitchen floor while I made dinner.
Belle and Ladybug share a story together.

An evening form drawing session after baths, in jammies.
Rose Red has been playing the piano by the hour--producing achingly beautiful music at times.
Ladybug loves being home to craft and play.
Little Princess faithfully practices reading.
Pixie made a blanket and burp cloth for a new mother in our church congregation.
The "Sons of Thunder" played on the hammock one afternoon.
Pixie washed and braided Ladybug's hair one evening.
Sir Walter Scott spent many afternoons helping the kids ride bikes.
Sister kisses.
When Super Star takes care of Little Sister, she really focuses on the task to be sure she's doing it right.

17 years!  Thanks for the sweet art, Super Star. :)
The kids tried to catch us in a kiss, but I always fall into laughter when they do that.
Our introductory geography lesson involved a LOT of visual aids.

The Sons of Thunder on the triple slide (We aren't allowed to post pictures of the new kids' faces until the adoption is finalized)
Little Princess
Nature Angel