A Week, Briefly (In Which I Block Traffic)

The big things have gone quite well . . . it's the little things that just about undid me.

And I'm crying this morning, for no good reason other than I think I've held it together for so long that something had to give.

But after total chaos with the van battery dying on Saturday just as I was supposed to drive 2 teens to work and get all of my errands run for the day, we did manage to plant a flower garden in the front yard.


Monday was fine.  A regular sort of day.  We got out and on a morning walk, and the kids played with their shadows.

"I'm walking on your head!"

"Ha, my head is on your back!"

"Look how tall I am!"

This was when our shadows were in front of us.

When we got around the block, I asked, "Where did your shadows go?"

The littlest ones were stumped, but the medium sized kids showed them that their shadows were behind them and explained why.

Such a small lesson, but an interesting one that had meaning for the kids.

Ladybug "finished" her math book.  In the past few weeks I've noticed that the concepts being taught have been over her head.  The idea of tens and ones; the addition with larger and larger numbers; keeping two digit numbers straight in her head--all of it has been too much.  I began skipping around to do the simplest lessons, to stick with what she's ready to learn.

A few weeks ago, I purchased a full set of Rod and Staff grade 1 math and an extra set of workbooks to go with it.  With all of the resources included I actually have enough early math for 3 kids.

The simplest supplies are going to Brother--learning to write numerals and to count accurately.  We'll see what he needs from there . . . I'm thinking he's going to be very good at math.

The regular workbooks are going to Ladybug--reviewing writing numerals, addition, subtractions, grouping, patterning, etc.

The speed drills and more handwriting practice are going to Mister Man.

Mister Man finished Life of Fred Butterflies and has moved on to Cats.

Nature Angel started a new review product: Heroes of History George Washington Carver.

Little Brother loves, loves, loves his preschool lessons.  The babies sit in or wander off as they desire, but Little Brother looks right into my eyes smiling every minute.  I'm getting a much better sense of his strengths and weaknesses through our time together, and he's stronger than I thought.

And Belle is both thrilled and overwhelmed by her own new review product:  Second Form Latin by Memoria Press.  She'll used it for the duration of the review then put it away to wait for a new school year.

Super Star asked me, "Why are we starting so much new stuff now?"

My answer is that it's not really the end yet, and the little kids like school--it's special time with Mom. 

The little kids and I are reading Minn of the Mississippi together.

And we finally finished Shepherd, Potter, Spy--and the Star-Namer!!!!

So we started Little Britches as our next family read aloud.

Tuesday was when the little things piled up.

We had an entirely reasonable morning, including a morning walk during which we identified and pointed out hundreds of poison ivy plants growing along the roadside.

but later in the day when I checked on Lola, who was crying at having her hair done by Pixie, I noticed that she was holding her arm funny.

"Hurt," she said, "Blandaid."

"Where?" I asked.

She tried to lift her arm and couldn't.

Nursemaid's elbow strikes again.

I quizzed everyone as to the possible reason for it, but found no clues.

Lola and I left the big girls in charge of lunch and quiet time, and we headed off to spend the next 2+ hours at urgent care (for a 15 second procedure).  This time the doc did tell me how to fix it if it happens again . . . but I hope I don't have to!

When we got home it was time to go to the library, and Pixie wanted to drive, so that's what we did.  Just before we turned into the library parking lot the van got jumpy.  I looked at her and asked, "What are you doing?"

"Nothing! The van is weird!" she answered.

She asked me to drive home and see if the van was weird for me.

It was.

Driving along at a steady pace, all of a sudden all of the gauges fell to nothing.  Then the van began jumping.  As I pressed the brake to stop at a stoplight (turn signal) the van died.  Nothing would bring it back to life.

It was rush hour at a busy intersection, and I was the first car in line at the signal.

Not even my hazard lights would turn on.

The other drivers were NOT happy with me.

I made my second call to AAA in 3 days (they'd come out on Saturday when the van wouldn't start and sold us a new battery--claiming that everything worked just fine but the battery).

But they dispatched a tow truck that was over 40 minutes away, and I was still blocking traffic.

And the tow driver called to say I had to find something to do with the daughters I had in the van with me because he couldn't drive them.

Our stress levels were through the roof.

We were only half a mile from home, but we live in less than stellar neighborhood (that's how we can afford our ginormous house), and the girls were panicked about having to walk home.

Drivers were honking and glaring, traffic was piling up around us, the girls were fighting tears, and I was trying to think.

Eventually an angel arrived.

It was a kind, older black man.

I mention his race because it matters.  It shouldn't matter, but it still does . . . especially in less-than-stellar neighborhoods.  He was a black male approaching a car full of white females, and he didn't know if we'd scream and call the cops or send him away or be unkind in some other fashion.

Racism is still real.

He worked up the courage to approach us and, keeping a careful distance, asked if he could push our van out of traffic for us.

At first I couldn't even get it into neutral, but after some frantic finagling I did it, and he set to work.

Once he was working, another man joined him, and together they pushed us into the parking lot of a near by auto parts store.

Two angels.

How grateful I am.

I thanked them profusely, told them they were my angels, and let them know that AAA was on the way.

How I pray the Lord blesses them for their good service.

I got the girls organized enough to walk home with part of the library books; I waited, and then when AAA arrived and took over, I walked home with the rest of the books.

Then I found out that Mister Man couldn't walk.

He'd been pushed to the ground by Ladybug in a game of tag gone awry.  I thought it was a standard bruised knee and had offered a kiss and a hug and sent him to rest and play.  But now it was swollen, stiff, and even more painful than earlier.

Was it broken?

I assessed that he could stand on it, but he couldn't bend it, and he couldn't tolerate any touch whatsoever.

Not broken.

But a pretty bad contusion.

We iced it, and I fashioned a splint for him, and we all limped through our evening routine.

Wednesday was supposed to be our breakfast at the park day, but with no van to get to the park, the heavy rain, and the fact that the power had flashed off and on all night waking us as fans and nightlights turned off and on, and alarm clocks had failed to ring . . . we didn't get out.

We cancelled therapy for Ladybug and Brother so that Sir Walter Scott and I could have an executive council meeting about the van. (Long story short, we're pausing in our endeavors to get a new one and tentatively going ahead with the extensive repairs and body work necessary to keep this one going.)

We also managed to get through a full school day for everyone . . . except Rose Red, who somehow managed to nap and talk on the phone instead of working.

Little Princess did an oral geography presentation for the family on France. 

It was her first PowerPoint presentation--mine, too.  :)

The van alternator was replaced for a fraction of what we expected it to cost.

What a blessing!!!

Nature Angel made an apron for her doll--made up the pattern herself, cut the cloth, sewed it with the sewing machine--all completely on her own!!

The older girls helped put on a baby shower for one of their church youth leaders--due with baby #5 in less than 2 weeks.

Thursday was a show day.

It was also colder and wetter than we thought it was when we set out on our morning walk.  We stopped to look at wild rabbits out feeding on clover, and the kids jumped on each other's shadows.  It was a good time to be out in the chilly sunshine and breathe in the fresh, cool air, but we ran home when our jackets just weren't enough to keep us warm.

And we found this odd plant . . . some sort of fungus???
We had a wonderful, stimulating, lively scripture discussion during Morning Meeting--it was one of those times that makes all of the difficult work of regular scripture study worth while.

They made "cookies" with playdough as part of their fine motor work.

Then we got to work on our day.  I settled into preschool with Brother while the older girls packed our clothes and food into the van.

Except the clothes were missing!

What on earth?

A frantic search turned up nothing.

Those clothes had to be somewhere!!!!

I remembered taking care of them!

But we couldn't find them.

With under an hour to before we had to leave, I started a list of things to pick up at the thrift store.

Suddenly Pixie noticed some covered hangers in the corner of the front hall closet.

The clothes!

I'd hung them up a month ago and then forgotten they were there.  I thought I'd put them in the box in my room where I store the extra (to grow into) costumes.


That's what I get for preparing too far in advance!

Crisis averted, we headed out to the performance.

The audience was small, but their enthusiasm was large, and they invited us back for Veteran's Day.

We'll see.

Baymax and Lola had to go this time because Rose Red and Sir Walter Scott were both at work.  It makes for a long day for them.

Belle and her dance partner waiting for the music to start.

We kept the afternoon quiet--we didn't even try to do the school we'd missed in the morning.

But we got a lot of family reading done in the evening.

Friday was a day of finishing.

Pixie finished her math book--Saxon Algebra I.

Belle finished her math book--Saxon Math 8/7.

Little Princess finished the first module of Readers in Residence Level I, so we put it away to save for next school year.

It was also a day for starting.

We received a new review product from Whistlefritz (Spanish), and the kids couldn't wait to dive in.  They traded out our usual Signing Time for a Whistlefritz DVD and loved it!

Now I have to get to work organizing some lessons. :)

And Little Princess started writing a new story.

Rose Red did all of her week's work on Friday . . . she procrastinated and then found that I meant what I said when I told her that her work was due before she could go out with friends.

It was a late night of essay writing.

Saturday is a full day:  work training for Pixie; helping church members with a move for Sir Walter Scott and Rose Red; then an outing with friends for Rose Red, too; I'll be at a church conference while Belle and Super Star babysit the crew . . .

and there's a tiny smidge of a chance that Sir Walter Scott and I will be able to have a date night!!

Here's hoping. :)

 (linking here)


  1. I do hope you can get out on a date with your knight! It sounds like a rough week. I find that the little things are what usually undo me as well. When big things go wrong, we just go into crisis autopilot mode.
    Blessings, Dawn

  2. Vehicle troubles are stinky! It seems like just one thing but it affects so many areas. I hope your Saturday ends up being lovely with some time with your husband - whether you get to go out on a date or not.

  3. I never understand drivers getting irate when another vehicle has obviously broken down. It's not as if you'd deliberately chosen to stop there just for fun. Hope your Saturday was some compensation for the hassles earlier in the week.

  4. I feel the effects of trauma (like your car stalling in the middle of a busy intersection!) for literally days afterwards. In fact, it has a tendency to make me physically sick until the emotional letdown finally happens and rids my body of some of the stress...

  5. Oh, it's no fun when a vehicle lets you down! Especially in a large family, since not just any car will do. Here's hoping repairs go quickly and under budget.

    Spring planting must be in the air! :) I should get some pictures of the flowers I put in, too, before I let them die, lol.

  6. I detest car problems. We depend on them everyday and really I have next to no clue what to do when they don't work. I depend on Craig to do the car stuff. But a lot of the times he is at work. So icky!

    I do love finding lost items that I need. That is a blessing. And previously broken children healing is a huge blessing. You are amazing at what you do. I hope you see the blessings that rain upon you and your house. I'm sure they are there.

  7. Oh dear, car troubles of any sort are just the worst. I take my vehicles for granted until something happens, and then, what a pain!

    I'm impressed how much school you managed with everything going on. You are amazing.

  8. How grateful I am for such supportive comments from such kind, strong women as you all are! I thank you . . . each of you.


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