A Week, Briefly (In Which Some of the Kids are in a Talent Show)

The older girls went to their dances over the weekend.

Daddy-Daughter dance on Friday night for the 12-13 year old girls at church

Youth dance for the 14-18 year old kids on Saturday night.  Friend E-- came along, too, and made the night so fun for all.

The awesome news of the day was that last week's MRI showed that nothing is torn in Pixie's arm, and the docs think it's just a weird strain/sprain.  She was promoted to a short splint and told to take it easy for a little while.  They also prescribed some physical therapy for strengthening.

My brain is putting 2 and 2 together (her previous ankle injury and how the docs said her arm bones move too freely which is why they suspected DRUJ instability in the first place) to come to the conclusion that Pixie must have extra loose ligaments or tendons all over her body.

Don't know if I'm right or wrong.

It's just a theory.

But we're all glad she's able to use her hand and arm again.

And that first shower was more joy than she could express in words.

Most of us stayed home to get what individual school studies done we could while Pixie was gone and while we waited for our cousins to come over to join us after Uncle M--'s cancer scans for a cookout.  We figured that as long as they were in the neighborhood (his oncologist/hospital are near us) we might as well have a little fun after the medical morning.

And all of that took up the whole day.

We read more of The Scarlet Letter before bedtime.

We were right on schedule through the whole early morning so that we had lots of time to really get into our individual studies.

And that was even with singing The Living Christ at the end of Morning Meeting because we forgot to on Monday.

The sun was shining, the birds were singing, kids were schooling, the littles were playing outside, and we were going to go on a nature scavenger hunt for Academy . . .

but then the littles transported the contents of the sandbox up to the deck.

Rule:  The sand stays in the sandbox.

We had a frustrating conversation.

Me:  Did you know you were disobeying?

Ladybug:  Yes.

Me:  Then why did you do it?

Ladybug:  Because I wanted to.

Me:  [Brother], why did you do it?

Brother:  [Ladybug] did it first.

They spent the next hour putting the sand back in the sandbox, and we followed that with a tough lesson about obeying/repenting/forgiveness.

Brother got it.

He truly understood . . . so well that in his prayers that night he said, " . . . and thank thee for forgiving me and loving me even when I put the sand on the deck . . ."

(My heart turned to mush.)

Ladybug might have gotten it, but she looked blank and uncomprehending and remained distant.

Little Brother is mostly clueless about most things--which sounds harsh, but is said with a gentle chuckle and a loving sigh because I'm not sure how much he'll ever understand.  We're growing increasingly concerned about his cognitive development.  At any rate, he copied Brother by hugging me and saying he was sorry before scampering off to play again.

Honestly, in writing this story down, I feel better about what felt like lost time when it was happening.  Brother's sweet epiphany and the resultant tenderizing of my heart toward him (tenderizing feels wrong to use there, but I can't think of another word to describe what happened) are worth far more than our nature walk or their phonics lessons.

With Nature Angel's right hand out of commission, she's taking a break from written work, and is having a good time with Easy-Peasy-All-in-One-Homeschool, just like Mister Man.  And Little Princess, being done with her math book, is joining in for games and drills on that site, too.

Brother--with a whopping 4 phonemes under his belt--is discovering that he can put sounds together in any book or any print material anywhere!  It is really, really cute to watch him run his finger across a page until he finds a letter he knows and then make the appropriate sound.

He's alight with this growing knowledge!

Ladybug can read far more than Brother can, but she hadn't reached the same conclusion he did about transferring skills from school time to the whole world.  His example has inspired her, and it is just joyful.

We completed our mid-term history review and exam during Symposium.  I love how the kids love these exams (we do them orally as a team) and race through their notes shouting and groaning and laughing as they search for answers.  It's energizing and hilarious.  11 pages of questions took what felt like seconds, and we got a good solid review of the people, places, and stories we've learned so far.

At first I panicked that we'd only just reached our history mid-term, but then I remembered that history and geography and art have all taken turns this year, so we'll cover what we cover, and relax about the calendar.

For literature Rose Red finished Les Miserables last week and started Frankenstein this week.  Then we found that it was due at the library and wouldn't renew!

She is starting Ancient Greek, courtesy of a review product we have the privilege of trying, and has alternated between excitement and terror.  Fortunately, starting the first lesson seems to have tipped her into the excited camp.

We're still working on The Scarlet Letter, but we also started Shepherd, Potter, Spy and the Star Namer (another review privilege).  It jumps right into some pretty exciting action, so it's caught our interest quickly.

My memories of Wednesday are of being breathless all day--of moving so quickly from one activity to the next that there was never time to even truly be present . . . but I also remember small quiet moments, so I guess I wasn't truly breathless . . . just . . . oh . . . normal.

I guess.

Brother and I had school together.  He loves reviewing the names and sounds of the letters he knows  so far.  He says, "I know that letter's name.  It is A.  I know what A says.  It says /a/ like aaaaaaaapple."  I marvel at his cuteness every time.

It was therapy day, so no Academy (again!).

Nature Angel amazes me with her ability to cope with having her dominant hand in a cast.  She's daily doing Creating a Masterpiece projects with her non-dominant hand, and even taking school notes during Symposium with it.  She also did some full-body tracings for Lola, Baymax, and Mister Man for our human body science activities.  I'm boggled by her skills and patience.

Little Princess was frustrated that we hadn't sewn together yet.  We did wash the fabric, and we did bring the sewing machine up to the kitchen, but she keeps forgetting that she has to choose between doing math with me on the computer or sewing with me, and she jumps at having a computer turn each day.  I reminded her on Wednesday that she has to choose which way she wants to spend our time together.

And she did some art with Nature Angel.

She did get some almost one-on-one attention in the evening when the older girls were at the church for youth activities.   While Baymax nursed his way to sleep, she and I did some reading and writing activities together that had been too hard for her to do alone in the morning.

Super Star finished all of her activities and projects for earning her Personal Progress recognition!  Hopefully she'll get her final interviews done in the next week or so and be able to receive her medallion by the end of the month.

During Symposium we continued practicing spelling in Spanish, studied a portrait by Gustav Klimt, and studied the foundings of Iceland and New Zealand.  The girls each wrote compare/contrast papers on the early histories of these islands.

Sir Walter Scott took Super Star, Little Princess, and Brother off to pick up the flags for the youth fundraiser while the other older kids completed schoolwork and the other littles played outside.  While Lola and Baymax finished their naps, I found a water heater to replace the one of ours that caught on fire on Monday.

We had a fire in our house and didn't know it!

It was serious enough to melt parts of the water heater, but it never spread anywhere else, burning itself quietly out.

I'm feeling miraculously preserved.

I've been praying my gratitude all week.

I've also been praying my gratitude for the fact that we have two hot water heaters.  The second only heats water in the basement, but we have a bathroom down there, so we've been able to bathe our happily filthy kids each evening.  As for the rest of the household, we can boil water on the stove, the dishwasher heats its own water, and we've washed all the clothes on cold.

Sheesh!  We've hardly been affected at all.

I had the privilege of going on a walk with Belle and Theo.  I pushed the stroller full of Lola and Baymax downhill and up for 2 good miles.  What a workout!  I also got to listen to Belle talk.  What a blessing!

We tried, but we couldn't find a window of time to get Pixie to the DMV for her driving permit test.  Pixie is being kind and patient about it.

It was another day of feeling frantic even though it didn't need to, and I finally realized that we're using the computer too much.

I love the computer and the wonderful online resources we can use, but we have to be very careful with our screen time.  Even though we've been reading, doing math games, completing art projects,  and studying science, it still came out to too much screen time.

When I mentioned this, Nature Angel and Little Princess looked at me with relief on their faces and said in tandem, "Yeah, Mom.  I think you're right."

Ladybug had gotten jealous that the others were using the computer, and earlier in the week I thought, "What's the harm?" so I let her do some math that way.  The activities were engaging and challenging, but I still saw a film drop over her eyes, and I saw a change in her body posture that alarmed me--she was regressing into old postures and behaviors.

Indeed, during the week we caught her sneaking around and breaking toys more than once.

So . . .

We have a commitment to review an online art curriculum, and I'm not worried about that, but the other computer studies for the under-12 set are gone.


Nature Angel will have to rest from math--perhaps she'll read some fun math literature--while her hand is out of commission.  She can't do the writing for her regular language arts, so she can read some good books and narrate to me.

Little Princess and I will work on The Good and Beautiful, and because she just loves, loves, loves math she can read some math literature, too.  I wonder if I can find some interesting offline math for her to do.

Mister Man and I may or may not continue with Easy-Peasy . . . I'm not quite sure yet . . . working one on one with him and the computer doesn't feel so off as it does for everyone else.

Ladybug will return to her regular schoolbooks.

Other than the too-much-screen-time revelation, it was a dance day.  We did what school we could in the morning, and we sang and danced in the afternoon.  In the evening we read aloud--Paddle-to-the Sea for the littles and The Scarlet Letter for the olders.

We used the computer as usual for Morning Meeting (for music), but we really did dump all of the computer lessons for the littles.

The morning felt so calm.

It was actually just as busy as usual, but there was just more peace in our actions.  Odds are I'll forget this lesson again over time, but for now I'm sold on using good old fashioned books, paper, and pencils.

Now for the lists of old (already using this year) and new (starting now) curricula the littles are doing for school.

Nature Angel is reading and narrating from:
(new)  Our Island Story
(new)  Mathematicians Are People, Too
(new)  The Everything Kids' Nature Book

Little Princess is working from:
(old)  The Good and the Beautiful Language Arts 2
(new)  Life of Fred: Kidneys (It's probably a little advanced for her, but I sold Dogs through Jellybeans a few years ago, so it's the best I have, and she's loving it . . . at least the first day.)

Ladybug is working on:
(old)  The Good and the Beautiful Language Arts K
(old)  Horizons K Math
(new)  Freebie handwriting sheets I print from the internet

Mister Man has begun to:
(new)  work on freebie handwriting sheets I print from the internet
(new)  read a poem a day from The Children's Classic Poetry Collection
(new)  read about an animal a day from The Kingfisher First Animal Encyclopedia
(new)  read and illustrate printed pages of a wide margin Book of Mormon (I learned about it here)
(new)  Life of Fred: Apples (I can't find his Horizons K Math book 2!)

Brother is still working on Eclectic Foundations A (we love it!)

We had only one Academy session--on Friday morning.  We stayed out of the cold drizzle outside eating snacks and reading books about trees:
If Trees Could Talk
Winter Trees

Playmags and the wooden train set were the most played with toys of the day.

In the afternoon we read The Scarlet Letter for Symposium--our book club date is looming.

In the evening we headed off to the homeschool talent show.

I got a little bit of video of Pixie, Super Star, Belle, and Nature Angel dancing to Callin' Baton Rouge.  The video isn't great, but it's better than nothing for me to remember how cute they were.

 I just caught their final pose:

Rose Red got some video of Ladybug, Mister Man, Brother, and Little Brother dancing to Animal Crackers in my Soup, but we can't figure out how to get it from her phone to my computer.  And we've tried a lot of ways.

Pixie displayed a slide show of some of her photos, and she got serious compliments on her work.

Sir Walter Scott stayed to help clean up while the rest of us chatted away.

When we got home, everyone over 12 took care of getting someone under 7 ready for bed, and the ones in the middle took care of themselves, so it was only 15 minutes from arriving home to having 8 kids tucked in bed.

And now I'm going to go collapse . . . but Sir Walter Scott is still working on installing our new water heater.

He's my hero. :)

(linking here)


  1. Isn't is amazing how something so seemingly simple, more computer time, can change so much? I have learned and relearned that lesson and still sometimes forget it. :) It looks like you all had a full but good week! Rest up and enjoy the new water heater.

  2. That was a full week indeed. I like the term "tenderizing", I think we sometimes take it personally when our kids don't fit the mold we were expecting and sometimes we do need to have that time of learning to love and accept them where they are. Here's hoping the hot water heater is all finished!

  3. Kudos to Sir Walter Scott--I'm so glad he is your hero! Gratitude that the fire was self-contained. I love the idea that YOUR education continues as you learn the best ways to love and educate your children. Especially I love, love, love the clogging!--what a good job they did! And P.S., the poodle skirts are fantastic!

  4. Your poodle skirts are simply amazing. How fun for the girls to wear such cute outfits to activities. Hooray for Brother! So scary about your water heater. I am a firm believer in guardian angels. Glad they were on the job that day. And hooray for Pixie getting to use her arm, even if in limited fashion. An eventful week.

  5. Have Pixie email the video file from her phone to your email address. When you open the email on the computer, you can download the video.

  6. I really admire the way you're so in tune with the unique needs of your adopted children. <3

    And thank goodness that fire didn't spread! Yikes! Makes me want to put a smoke detector in the garage.

  7. So much made me smile - the dancing,the poodle skirts, Nature Angel's art, Pixies arm being better, and especially the joy your beginning readers are finding in the process. Also smiled to think of you studying the founding of my country - New Zealand.

  8. What a busy week! So glad your water heater didn't cause more problems. We had one leak a few years ago and completely destroyed out floors. Those poodle skirts are beautiful! And your daughter's art work is amazing even when using her left hand!


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