A Week, Briefly (In Which We Ease Back into Life)

The big ice storm never materialized.

I'm not complaining.

We were going to be tucked away at home resting either way, and we were prepared with wood for the fireplace, flashlights, and plenty of food and water.

We never pulled out any flashlights, and the day was simple and quiet as most of us gathered energy for a return to regular life.

Except for Belle and Super Star.  Some of us opted to get all three bugs at once, but they got theirs one at a time, and they're still coping with the worst of influenza.

Sunday night we picked back up with our bedtime reading aloud, starting The Wind in the Willows and The Great Gatsby for the older kids.

We only added 4 school components back into our day:
   Preschool Story Time (this week we're reading Cinderella)
   Morning Meeting
   Signing Time--1 episode after lunch (ABC Signs this week)
   Afternoon Walk

The weather is springtime mild right now.  We put on our boots and took Theo (the puppy) out for a walk--just me and the 8 younger kids. :)

It's the first time some of us have been outside in 2 full weeks.

We only made it around the block, and even part way around some of the kids were coughing hard.  We truly are barely convalescing, so within 45 minutes of starting out, we were home again and playing quietly with wooden trains and Zoobs.

It was enough.

We just maintained what we started on Monday.  Though Rose Red and Pixie did return to seminary after a long Christmas/sick break.

Listening to ourselves review The Family: A Proclamation to the World was laughable--hacking coughs and froggy voices trying to lift in song.  At least our efforts were a private blessing.

Rose Red and I talked about high school and college and life dreams.  She's such a square . . . or triangular . . . or diamond . . . or trapezoidal . . . peg trying to fit in a round hole.  I'm trying to help her see that round holes aren't the only ones.

She picked up the copy of 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens I purchased at a thrift store a few weeks ago (and left lying around on purpose) and has been reading it.

"Mom!  I'm a totally defective teen!" she exclaimed, half-laughing and half-serious.  "I have every bad habit listed in the book and not one of the good ones!"

I wished I could have disagreed with her, but she's right.

I laughed with her and offered some encouragement and mother-love.

I hope this is the beginning of something good.

Because she's really a good kid at heart.

Darling Pixie had a spa day for Ladybug, Little Princess, and Nature Angel.

These little sisters felt they'd died and gone to heaven with their big sister.

These are Mister Man's painted nails.  He was devastated to have been left out of the spa day treatment, so getting his nails painted was his consolation prize. :)

We ended the day with reading (Ladybug, Mister Man, and Little Brother and I began Moominland Midwinter).

 More of the same, though I did add in our new school day component that the kids want to call Academy.

So we have Morning Meeting for everyone, focused on spiritual development; Symposium for the older half dozen or so kids, focused on various social sciences, arts, and languages; and Academy for the younger half dozen or so kids, focused on pre-school and early-school skills and social development.

After spending a good deal of time praying and pondering over what needs attending to in our homeschool, I felt prompted that the littles need more focused attention from me.  The summer and fall were very good for outdoor/independent play, but seasons come and go, and so do the needs of the children.  So, after even more pondering and prayer I am moving our Symposium to the afternoon and adding in Academy in the morning.  We'll mostly use A Year of Playing Skillfully as our guide, but we may do just about anything I feel motivated to incorporate.

Our first Academy activity was painting sticks.

It was an interesting experience for which I want to write a separate post in order to process through what I saw in each kid's development.

In the afternoon we had to switch Signing Time DVDs because the ABC disk was cracked and wouldn't play.

I made it to the grocery store where I spent double our usual weekly budget stocking up on basics on which we were running low and meat deals.  With a few fresh bread, milk, and produce purchases, we'll easily sail through 3 weeks of meals, keeping us within our monthly budget.

After unloading the van, I took the kids and the puppy up to the soccer field to run around in the winter sunshine.  Our noses were too runny, and our bodies were too weak to last long, but it was good for us to make the effort.

In the evening the older girls (minus Belle) and Sir Walter Scott headed off to the church for youth activities, while the rest of us were tucked into bed by 8:30.

We focused on reading The Great Gatsby for the book club meeting scheduled for Friday afternoon.  Once we worked our way through our morning routines and got the littles settled in playing with various building toys, the older girls and I read a chapter together.

Then we broke for me to give the littles some attention.  For playschool, I printed a bunch of cutting practice pages.  Simple ones went to Brother and Little Brother.  More challenging ones went to Ladybug and Mister Man.

Rose Red worked on her application for Girls on Ice.
Pixie napped . . . so did Super Star and Belle.
Nature Angel and Little Princess practiced their times tables with Times Alive--a fun review product we received earlier in the week.

Various small people felt very wiggly, so they bundled up and spent time outside.  When I searched for them to call them to lunch, I found them examining seed pods, taking the pods apart and making plans to plant the seeds and wait for them to grow in the spring.

After watching more Signing Time, the littles had quiet time while the older girls and I read 2 more chapters of Gatsby.

Super Star thinks it is a terrific book.  I pressed her to explain, but she answered, "I don't know, Mom, it's just really good.  I'm really enjoying it."  I dropped the issue in favor of seeing if our book club leader could elicit a more thoughtful response.

The late afternoon was filled with haircuts, indoor play, and outdoor play.

In the evening we read (The younger reading group and I finished The Adventures of Chatterer the Red Squirrel) and went to bed early.

We spent the morning finishing The Great Gatsby.

Pixie made Candy Cane Brownies to take for dessert to our teen book club meeting in the evening.  The little kids colored and played (mostly) quietly.

For a little while, I watched Baymax and Lola interact with Theo while he napped on Rose Red's lap. Baymax is very, very scared of dogs, and one hope I had in getting a puppy was that a puppy is small enough to be less scary than a full grown dog.  My hope is proving fruitful, and Baymax reached out with one finger to touch Theo's ear.  It was clear that he was exercising great courage, and he was so pleased with himself for being brave.  Lola is a true animal lover, but it still takes some courage to approach an animal as bouncy and uninhibited as a puppy, and she was loving on Theo so tenderly.

I wish I had a picture.

I spent time trying to figure out what to do with Rose Red for school this semester. 

This afternoon I'll be driving the big girls up north to our book club, and Sir Walter Scott will run the show.  He's not feeling great, but he's been resting up for a couple of days, and he'll do fine while I'm gone.

Saturday night is a "Royal Ball" for the youth ages 14-18 at church.  Hopefully it will be lots of fun.  At the very least there will be lots of fun as my girls spend hours getting all gorgeous beforehand.

(linking here)


  1. Isn't it amazing how the needs shift? What works well for one week or month isn't quite right for another. Praying your family's recovery proves complete in another week.

  2. Oh my goodness, I love the pictures of the spa day! Sure am praying for an end to all the sickness...

  3. So glad you all are feeling better! Love the spa day pictures! You do such a good job being in tune to the needs of your children.

  4. Sorry to hear sickness is still lingering in your house. Girls on Ice sounds like a wonderful opportunity. I hope Rose Red's application is well received. And how nice was Pixie to organise a Spa day for her sisters.

  5. So glad you are all in recovery. I think you pulled off a lot for your first week back.
    Blessings, Dawn

  6. I'm anxious to hear what you have to say about the painting twigs activity!

  7. So happy your are on the mend. The spa day looks fabulous! I need one of those.


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