A Week, Briefly (In Which Rose Red Gets Stitches)

Our school week began on the weekend because Super Star made chicken noodle soup as part of her home economics class.  It was the first time she handled a whole raw chicken, and it rather grossed her out.

But she survived.

She also had to chop 2 onions, and that was a true problem for her as she is very sensitive to the onion fumes.  She wore a pair of swimming goggles, put a clothespin on her nose, sang songs of woe, and muttered, "I'm going to be rich when I grow up, and I'm going to eat pizza every day, and I will prosper, and I will never, ever chop onions again . . ."

I laughed so hard, I cried.

The soup was delicious.

The next lesson learned was a practical lesson for Rose Red.

Be careful when handling sharp tools.

She thought she'd be cool and slice up a pair of old jeans to look like designer ripped jeans.  She found an old utility razor blade (where?!?) and set to work.

She sliced her left index finger open necessitating 2 stitches and the purchase of a great deal of hydrogen peroxide to get the blood out of the carpet and the jeans and the towel . . .

There's no long term damage, and Sir Walter Scott can take the stitches out himself in a few days.

Be careful when handling sharp tools.

We let Rose Red's injury be an object lesson for the littles.

Lola wasn't as interested in sharp objects as she was playing with Super Star's pretty shoes.

We hunkered down and read Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library for our cousins' book club meeting this week.

The whole thing in one day.

We took breaks for meals and baby care, and I sent everyone outside to enjoy the October sunshine in the late afternoon, but otherwise we read and read and read.  The littles listened to various portions of the story--as long as they could play quietly they could stay in the room with us--but mostly they played outside because they needed to wiggle and talk more than we could tolerate as we worked our way through 289 pages in a single day.

I think we found a good balance for everyone's happiness.

I did make Ladybug mad by not having quiet hour (I figured the quiet play they engaged in as they listened to me read sufficed in that department) or her school time, so while the dinner rolls were rising I took her reading and math outside to her and spent 15 minutes one-on-one.

She felt better after that.

It was a fun book.  We got something of a geeky thrill in recognizing book titles and putting clues together ourselves as we read along.

As they listened:
Pixie sewed Halloween costumes.
Super Star completed a 600 piece world map puzzle.
Belle embroidered an inspiring scripture quote for her Personal Progress project.
Nature Angel embroidered a Cinderella picture of her own design.
Little Princess embroidered a smiling sunshine.

Rose Red missed the first part of the story due to her Spanish class (she got 26/28 on her quiz!), and the rest of the day she curled up in a ball nursing her sore finger and sore shoulder (due to the Tdap booster I requested after she cut her finger).

I took the Littles' journals out to them in the late afternoon and had them narrate to me (finally) what they remembered about our pumpkin patch outing a couple of weeks ago.  They all grinned madly as they told me about climbing and jumping on giant bales of hay.

And we finally got training wheels for Mister Man's bike.  Being short one usable bike has been good for teaching kids patience and sharing, but has become rather a daunting challenge over time.  Mister Man was so, so, so happy to get to ride around the driveway with everyone else!  We'd tried teaching him to ride without training wheels, but he's just not ready for that yet.  The lovely part is that the training wheels have a special lever that allows them to be twisted up and out of the way without taking them completely off if someone doesn't need them.

In the morning we discussed the power of small, simple acts of obedience--how they add up to a lifetime of service to the Lord.  We also worked on learning the days of the week in Spanish, studied Pieter Bruegel's painting The Peasant Dance, and had a very interesting time studying the ancient Mayan civilization--we spent a long time looking at pictures of babies with boards strapped to their heads to change the shape of their skulls.  Pixie asked, "What happens to brain development when the skull is deformed like that?"

Good question.  I've spent some time researching, but I've not yet found a satisfying answer.

Pixie spent time editing photos for the upcoming YW in Excellence program and working on the Halloween costumes she's making.

Super Star worked on science.

Belle spent quite a bit of time on Latin.  I'm happy to report that she likes it and is doing quite well in her studies.

Mister Man finished reading Wild Places, and we're now trying to decide what science book he'll read next.  He also narrated a journal entry to me about his new training wheels and how it feels to ride a bike.

Rose Red and I worked on Spanish vocabulary--a review of verbs from the last chapter that she was starting to forget.

Ladybug finished her 3rd reader, was introduced to the "ck" phoneme, and reviewed sight words.

Nature Angel read a biography of the artist Raphael and practiced subtraction with regrouping.

Little Princess worked on her 7-year-old challenge, embroidered, and practiced counting money.

It was rather a productive morning!!

When cousins came for our book club meeting, we spent a couple of hours just enjoying the autumn sunshine and each other's company.   Then we played a game inspired by Mr. Lemoncello (or perhaps Ms. Zinchenko) during which the kids answered questions about books and then hunted for clues around the house.  The clues were rebus pictures that the kids then had to put together and solve in order to find a treat.

They did it!

(Your eyes are fine, it's the focus that's bad.  We still haven't replaced the lens that Lola broke some weeks ago.)
What a fun end to a great day.

A chilly drizzle kept us indoors in the morning.  We discussed putting on boots and coats and going outside anyway, but the littles have more and more been in the mood for Legos and blocks and other indoor pursuits, so we honored that and had a quiet morning.

Morning Meeting
Individual School
Therapy (Ladybug and Brother)
Symposium (we had an awesome time studying the Erie Canal!)
Babies' naps
More Individual School (Mister Man finished Can't You Make them Behave, King George?)

Then the sun was out and the ground was dry, so we headed outside for the afternoon.  Sir Walter Scott took Nature Angel, Little Princess, and Little Brother to the library for an hour or so.  Rose Red took Baymax on a walk in the woods.  Pixie did Lola's hair.  I studied toy catalogues and contemplated Christmas purchases while I sat on the front porch available to listen to the stories small people wanted to share with me about their accomplishments and outdoor discoveries.

We had dinner early so that the big girls could join the other church youth for a trip to the temple.

Sir Walter Scott was home with me, and he gave me the wonderful gift of an evening jog--I've been having a hard time getting out in the mornings lately due to Baymax's recent round of poor sleeping and avid nursing.

He read stories to Ladybug, Mister Man, and Brother while I was gone.  Then I read stories to Baymax and Lola when I got home.

Nature Angel and Little Princess dove into their library books and never came up for air until bedtime.

A good, good day.

This was an emotionally trying day.

We had a lovely morning doing our regular school routine, but then we headed off to dance practice.

Pixie had contacted some of the other mothers in advance organizing an after-practice practice session for the dancers in the dance she choreographed herself.  Just when it was time to get started one of the other mothers (with whom everyone in the group is having difficulties) tried to step in and take the time for her own daughter's dance.  Pixie stood up for herself and got her time; however, this mother again stepped in during the practice and tried to take over how to practice, how to teach, and how to re-choreograph the dance to her liking.  Pixie tried to hold her own, but this mother is very aggressive, and when it was over, she came outside (where I was watching the rest of the kids) crying and terribly upset.

After listening and asking questions, I determined that her long struggle with this mother was turning out to be too much for her to handle.  With a prayer in my heart, I went inside to quietly talk to this mother, asking her to let Pixie alone.

She refused at first.
She tried to draw other mothers into the discussion (they wisely stayed as far out of it as they could).
She demanded that I monitor the practices myself (this is a cooperative dance group--my role at practice is to run the nursery and teach the youngest dance class).

In the end I was very firm about her leaving Pixie's dance alone.  Our voices remained quiet, our tones respectful, but I was very firm.

It is exhausting to confront another person.

I got into the van quite wrung out and worked to comfort my also quite wrung out teenage daughters.

In addition, earlier in the day another mother came to me in tears and informed me that Super Star was the source of her tears.  It turns out that Super Star is being quite mouthy and disrespectful during practice.  This mother was rather embarrassed at needing to come to me, but I reassured her that I was grateful for the information.

Super Star and I had a long discussion that evening about respectful behavior and what is expected of her.  She was quite defensive at first, but I am so proud of her for finding her sense of humility and offering a sincere apology to the mother she offended.  She also promised to do her best to be a good example in the future.

I think she'll struggle, but I believe she'll really, truly try.

On top of the teenage emotional stuff, Little Brother had a breakdown during his own dance practice.  He was leaning against the wall instead of standing up, and didn't listen to me invite him to take his place in line.  When I took his arm (gently) to lead him into place with the other children, he decided to scream that I was hurting him and to throw himself into a tantrum.  I led him aside to finish his outburst safely elsewhere, and while I was distracted, he removed his diaper (he's potty-trained, but he urinates whenever he's mad, so he's back in diapers simply to contain his intentional messes--this is the first time he's figured out he can take the diaper off) and urinated all over himself and the church carpet.

I took him into the bathroom to clean him up, and while I was conferring with the mother whose church it was about where to find carpet cleaner, he urinated all over the bathroom floor.  I cleaned up the messes.

He tantrumed for another half hour.

Eventually he calmed down, but I didn't have a dry pair of pants for him to wear because his messes are usually contained by his diaper, so he wore nothing but a shirt, diaper, and shoes for the remaining time.

Oh, and Lola's nap was only 40 minutes long, and Baymax never got a nap at all.

Tired, tired babies!

I was so grateful that dinner was in the crockpot that night . . . all cooked and delicious when we finally got home.

Dinner, pajamas, evening read alouds.

A soothing routine for us all.

(But I still ate a bowl of ice cream before going to bed.)

After morning meeting, we turned our day inside out and upside down in order to take advantage of a truly gorgeous day and go hiking.  We got a little bit lost, but then we found our way back and celebrated with cold water and apple slices as we sat on the shore of a small but lovely lake.

We forgot the second baby backpack, so we improvised--Pixie borrowed my jacked and zipped Lola into it!

Sometimes we could convince the babies to walk with us.

Pixie selfie

Sometimes nothing would do but for me to carry both babies.  That's about 55 lbs total weight I'm hauling along the trail!
Poor Mister Man--his shoe had fallen off, and he was tired and thirsty and lonely . . . we fixed him up

 . . . only to find him sitting alone on the trail again a couple of hundred yards later!  This time he was happy, contemplating leaves he'd found.

And then we found him again--shortly after we'd gotten lost and had to follow this road back to the lake and our van.  He was tired of the whole adventure, but he sure was happy to discover that our van was just around the corner!

We came home to put babies down for naps (looong naps this time!), eat lunch, and have quiet time.  I had time to read with Mister Man (he started And Then What Happened, Paul Revere? and One Day in the Woods).  Ladybug and I worked on her sight words, some phonics and reading comprehension; we also practiced the concept of number order by finding what number comes between.

After quiet time, I pulled out the puppet kits we brought home from last week's puppet show, and we made half a dozen ghost puppets.  We also wrote a thank you letter to our friend who gave us the kits and made the trip possible.

Pixie finished up the Halloween costumes she's been making.

Belle finished embroidering one of the panels of the decorative quilt she's making.

This week's preschool read aloud was Andy and the Lion.

We're almost done with The Green Ember.  The kids (and I) make fun of it because of the looseness of the editing, but it has sparked lots and lots of laughter and conversation.

Tomorrow night is our church trunk or treat.

(Linking here


  1. What a wonderful week for the most part. I don't know what it is about dance that brings out the drama in the mothers. I am always trying to "stay under the wire" at the kids dance studio. I love the cozy and real world way you homeschool.
    Blessings, Dawn

  2. What a week of ups and downs! It seems like we always have really hard days after really good ones. I would be happy with just decently average days all the time and skip the high highs and low lows. ;) I looked at the 7 year old challenge link. How fun! We challenge our kids to read the Book of Mormon before they turn 12. So far 3 have and the 4th is working on it. Our late reader in that group took 2 years to do it and finished just a couple weeks before he turned 12 this fall. I like the cds and reading along idea!

    Have a lovely weekend and coming beginning to November!

  3. Wow, you pack a lot into a week!

    I hope things go better with that other mom at dance. :sigh: I hate confrontation, too.

    Nice to get out and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air! :)

  4. High five for the confrontations! Not easy, but they have to happen. Hope Pixie gets a better shot at her dance... And high five to Super Star too!

  5. So much 'beauty full' learning and family time in this post.

    ((hugs)) on the stitches :( You are the second blog I read this week who had a need for stitches.

    LOL on the onions! I have mumbled similarly on cutting up some. I've found that having a bite of bread in my mouth has helped while cutting them.

    Thank you for the link to the world puzzle. It will go wonderful with our world geography and missionary studies this school year.

  6. Oh no! Stitches are hard. I used to have such issues cutting them up. I finally found I needed a sharp knife and to do it as fast as possible—but if there's more than one, it's all over. :)

    I am exhausted just reading about your week! Good job, mom!

  7. It must have taken you so long to share all the learning that happened in your week but I'm so glad you did, it was so enriching to read! Fascinating to hear about the goings on in other families, especially ones as special as yours. :)

  8. Stitches are not fun!

    That was such a cute pic of the baby in the shoes!

    I detest confrontation of any kind. But sometimes it is necessary. I think I would have eaten a carton of ice cream after that day!

    You accomplished so much in a week!

    I have been seeing a lot of people talking about The Green Ember. I was thinking of reading that to the children soon.

  9. Super Star's way of dealing with onions cracks me up. I had a kitchen ninja. I could dice onions in a jiffy with barely any fumes. However, I don't use onions anymore because they don't agree with Craig. I use apples instead. :) I get so angry when people try and take over. Honestly, what was that adult thinking when she was bullying your sweet teen? Good for you. I don't think I would have kept my voice down. You are a really good woman. Lots of beautiful things this week. Some hard things. I hope you remember the beauty and let the hard fall away. Love you

  10. You are such an amazing mama! It really is exhausting to confront someone on an issue they are causing. You handled that well, and so did your daughter. I love that you had a marathon reading day. I want to do that sometime with my son. Sounds like a fun read, too.


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