Saturday, February 28, 2009

It's's more ways than one!

Time for an update from the plague-house: now 3 of the 4 kids are sick--coughing, scratchy throats, fever, occasional vomiting. This is why I often refer to my kids as "biological weapons"!

You'll notice there are no photos to accompany this post. You'll thank me, I promise.

Seriously, though everyone feels a bit yucky (including those of us who aren't sick--we're not sleeping well, you know), no one feels reaaaaaallly awful all the time. This type of sickness calls for much lounging around in pajamas, watching cartoons, and TLC from mom and dad. The kids all still have their appetites and feel well enough to spar with one another every now and then, so don't worry about them too much :).

Later Days!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Keeping My Head Above Water

You know the old quote about "The best-laid plans of mice and men...." right? Well, when children are sick all plans go out the door. My 12-year old, N., has been sick for a couple of days and that has derailed the routine. Fortunately, this happened after our usual Library Day or the earth might have spiralled into the sun. How's that for drama? Unfortunately, he and I had to miss church last night and we hate to do that.

N. isn't the only sick one in the family, though. Nana and Grandad had planned on coming to see us for the weekend but Gdad was felled by a virus, too, so no visit this weekend. We're praying that Gdad will feel better pronto and hoping that they'll get to come soon.

On a lighter note, I got to go to a Pampered Chef party tonight! I enjoyed getting to see real adult-type people and hold face-to-face conversations as opposed to the ones we have on Facebook. Don't get me wrong, I'm loving Facebook; it's a great tool for re-connecting with old friends and chatting with friends that you just didn't get to talk to at church. I find that I'm wasti...ummm...spending...too much time on there, though!

Which reminds me...I need to get back to my Facebook chats :).

Later Days!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Library Day

Every Tuesday, rain or shine, this crew goes to the library. It's the way we've done things for a long time now and it's the only way we manage to get most of our books back on time. I can't lie to you and say that we never have to pay a fine for overdue books, but we do pretty well for a family of 6 bookworms (I'm counting M. as a bookworm-wannabe). When we do pay fines, we do it in a big way--I believe we personally funded a new wing on the library Back Home.

We've worked out a pretty good strategy for our library experience. First, lug in bags of books to slide in the book return and then split up to cover ground more efficiently. Now, before I get scolded for leaving my children unsupervised in the library, let me explain that I stick with M. in the children's section, having long ago given up any hope of looking at books for myself. M. and I put together puzzles, talk on the play phones, work with the flannel board, and chat with other toddlers and moms. E. heads downstairs to the adult nonfiction section to gather armloads of books on animal topics--dog breeds and behavior mostly, these days. My two "middles" have their favorite sections close to where I'm sitting so they are free to come and go, using me as "home base". N. currently majors in Presidents and Dinosaurs, while K. majors in American Girl books. Sometimes, when E. has finished looking, she relieves me so I can take a quick run through the magazine section (just about all my short attention span and even shorter free-time allow).

Now, to the front desk to check-out our books. I have the younger kids' library cards in my purse so I dole out cards and books to each of them, while M. weaves between poles, tries to play with the automatic doors, and generally makes a nuisance of himself, to the accompaniment of constant scolding and nagging to stay close to Mama. This exhausts and exasperates me and E. so we are glad to put the experience behind us and gather the troops for the ride home. Sometimes we stop by the "Scary Librarian" statue grouping outside before heading to the car, because my younger kids never get tired of pretending to listen to the story she's reading and putting "bunny ears" behind her.

Back home, I need time to recover and the kids are excited about their new books so it's a perfect chance to let everybody wander off to their rooms for some quiet reading before jumping back into regular schoolwork.

The photos are pretty representative of our every Tuesday experience, but I did want to point out that I accidentally captured M. mid-jump on our way to the van; which is, after all, pretty representative of the M. experience!

Later Days!

P.S. Are you happier that there were grandkid pictures today?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Lewis the Cat

I haven't shared much about the feline family member, have I? Allow me to introduce Lewis.

The tiny, pitiful stray that we took in 9 years ago has definitely prospered. Lewis (Lucy, Lucifer, even wretched cat, occasionally) weighs around 20 lbs. and is the most laid-back cat you could imagine. Throughout the years, he has tolerated being dressed in doll clothes, being pushed in the doll stroller, and generally being wallowed by small children; all without losing his temper.

Today, I had to take him to the vet in our new town for the first time because he has been having...ummm...stomach troubles...over the last few days. Given his age and portly figure I really thought we were dealing with diabetes and would have to pursue some sort of unpleasant and expensive treatment. As it turns out, all of his bloodwork is normal (unlike mine--ha!) and he is simply having some problems with irritable bowel. The vet remarked on how beautiful and massive he is and figures he has some Maine Coon Cat in his lineage. She prescribed some Prednisone pills to be given for a few days, pronounced him remarkably healthy for his age and sent us on our way.

As aggravated as I get with Lewis when I'm doing his litterbox or cleaning up cat-hair "tummbleweeds", I'm glad he's a member of our family. Long live Lewis!

Later Days!

P.S. My apologies to the grandparents for posting a photo of the cat and not of the grandkids.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

It's good to be 3!

Once more, we celebrated M's b-day! We travelled Back Home to gather with our extended families for another birthday blowout. It was great to see everybody and spend a couple of nights with the grandparents. You can see that M. had a terrific time getting more presents and eating his "Imagination Movers" cake. It was kind of funny that he wanted to eat "Smitty"! For those not in the know, Smitty is the Mover with the cowboy hat.

Those who know my M. can tell that he's finally had a big-boy haircut (boo-hoo). He looks adorable (naturally) but I miss those red curls! I'm considering letting it grow out a bit again :o). My favorite photos are the ones where he's rambling around in the yard with his cap and his backpack on. He was on an adventure of his own making, jabbing things with sticks, throwing leaves, and doing other little boy things. It's time I faced the facts: he's not a baby anymore.

Later Days!

P.S. K. got a new umbrella/parasol (it wasn't actually raining). She adores it because it's pink and girly (just like her).

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Recently seen at our house....

We've been puzzled about what to put on the long, tall wall that our couch sits against. With such a vast expanse of blank wall, we figured it would take a very large, very expensive piece of framed "art" from Hobby Lobby to look proportional.

***Come weren't expecting me to shop for art at the Louvre, were you?***

On our Valentine's Day run through Hobby Lobby, Hubby and I stumbled upon a product called "Once Upon a Wall"--vinyl lettering that adheres to a painted wall. They had several quotes to choose from, but we were excited to find the above Scripture. It was an inexpensive, easy, and quick project to apply the lettering to the wall. We added an "architectural element" (yes, I occasionally read decorating magazines) and, voila! We'll probably add some family portraits or other elements around it in time, but for now, we couldn't be more pleased. Plus, it's a great help to hide the Word in our hearts if we have it displayed around us!

Later Days!

Monday, February 16, 2009


DISCLAIMER: This is going to be another one of those posts where I have very little to say so I "buy off" the grandparents with a cute photo :o).

You may wonder why I even post if I have little to say; the fact is, I begin getting not-so-subtle emails from family and friends saying, "Have you died?", and "I keep checking, but it's been almost a week since you posted anything!" With that said, I'll continue with my regularly scheduled drivel.

Today, is the first day we did not celebrate M's birthday in quite a while. It was pretty much our usual Monday: E. helped out at the church's food pantry, we did school work, K. had her Girl Scout meeting, I'm struggling to catch up with laundry.... How, you may ask, can you be behind in laundry when Mimi just visited? To my shame, I was a slug over the weekend in the matter of housekeeping. Like Scarlet O'Hara in Gone With the Wind...I'll think about it tomorrow.

For now, I'm going to enjoy my Sleepytime tea, a good book, and a quiet house (if I can figure out how to manage that I'll let you know).

Later Days!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Something to ponder....

Why is M. only 3 years older, while I've aged at least 10 years?!?

M. is 3!

Today is M's third birthday! Of course, he's not really sure which day is his b-day because we've been celebrating for 3 days (and still have the "back home" party to go). Thursday, you remember, my parents came down to spend a couple of days with us. Then, Friday, my brother and his family came to see us. We had such a good time with our family and got M's playset put together so he could play on it while we're having these warm spring-like days. My niece (Hi, C!) got to spend the night with us for the first time and all the kids enjoyed having her stay over.

So, fast forward to Sunday morning--the Actual Birthday...M. opened his remaining presents before getting ready for church and fielded phone calls from his fan club, otherwise known as the grandparents. After morning services, we had lunch, followed by cake and ice cream. We are thankful for such a beautiful day because it meant M. got to play outside and enjoy his climber and swing. Back to church for evening service and more cake afterwards :o).

On each child's birthday, I flip through their baby books, recalling those early days. I have to admit to very mixed feelings when looking at M's because there was a lot of drama and trauma surrounding his birth. He had a rocky start, to say the least (and I didn't do so well, either). When I look at him now...healthy, smart, mischievous, cute...I give thanks and praise to God for His goodness to us!

Later Days!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Bro. & Co.

Today, my brother and his family came to see us at the new house for the first time! After hanging out at the house for a while we made a quick run-through at the zoo (it was close to closing time) and then hit The Flight Deck for supper.

Though we went through the zoo at a faster pace than I believed possible, we still had a great time. N. took his video camera and played the part of Miles, British safari guide, making a documentary. His commentary and his idea of a British accent were a highlight of my zoo experience.

Oh, there were also animals, of course. Notice that I was able to capture a photo of the koala with his eyes open (they sleep 20 out of 24 hours). The Gorilla Exhibit was devoid of gorillas at the time but had quite a few rabbits. Not what I expected at all! Lastly, the kids piled on the tortoise statue for a photo op.

There's a lot more to tell, but I'll save it for tomorrow's post!

Later Days!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Mimi and the "baby"

I'm glad to report that Mimi and Papa arrived this afternoon for a visit! I believe I've mentioned it once (or 10 times) before, but little M's birthday is coming up on Sunday and there are plans in the works for a swing set or play set or other potential injury-causing backyard device. We need a willing workforce available to assemble whatever we end up with. Luckily, tomorrow, my brother and his family are also coming for a visit and we'll probably press him into service, too :o).

Part of the process of M. growing older seems to involve him pretending to be a baby. In the photo, you see him getting the baby treatment from Mimi after his bath. Mimi doesn't seem to mind humoring him too much.

Later Days!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Mad Scientists in Training

Today, my "mad scientists" used our kitchen lab to make goop. The formula is to combine 1/2 cup cornstarch and 1/4 cup water, stir until it has a goopy consistency and then add a few drops of food coloring. We put the goop in a plastic bag so the kids could "smoosh" it.

If you're wondering why on earth we would make such a concoction, we did it as part of K's "Science in Action" badge for Girl Scouts. As it turns out, she wasn't the only one interested in playing with the goop :o). All of my "students" got the mini-lesson on different states of matter: solid, liquid, and gas. Funnily enough, adding the solid (cornstarch) with a liquid (water) makes something that isn't really covered by those three designations and, thus, is called goop.

Later Days!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Typical Tuesday

Around here, Tuesday means Library Day and today was no exception. Part of our school day on Tuesday revolves around going to the library--the kids get books on topics that interest them, as well as books for research. I occasionally get to look around a bit but I am usually occupied following M. around in the children's area. He loves the puzzles, bead toys, felt board, toy phones, and puppet area. He also loves that there are often other little ones to play with!

Afterwards, we head home for more schoolwork and a little free time (recess) while I fix lunch. Hopefully, after next week our recess will be augmented by the addition of a new swingset. We had to leave behind our huge playset and playhouse when we moved to "now house". With M's birthday coming up soon (on the 15th), we're planning to get a new playset with swings and slide (with some financial backing from the grandparents). Pssst...don't tell M. if you see him before his birthday!

Following lunch, we finish up more schoolwork, with the goal of finishing everything that involves Mom's help before Quiet Time, which lasts from 2-4 p.m. (ideally). QT is the period of time at our house when all the kids go to their rooms while I try to get M. to take a nap. The bigger kids usually have some reading assignments to finish up during this time and then have free time to play, read, or rest.

The younger kids are usually happy to play together after being "confined to quarters" for a couple of hours, so I let them play as long as they get along. If (When) behavioral issues arise, additional chores usually produce an attitude adjustment. During this time, I can be found doing laundry or other work, and starting dinner prep.

Hubby's arrival signals the onslaught of the feeding frenzy we call dinner. Then, cleanup of both kitchen and children. A typical evening at home would find us grouped in the family room, some of us with laptop computers :o). Much later than we should, we have family prayers and everyone is off to bed. Thus ends a "typical" Tuesday.

Hope you enjoyed my barebones account of A Day in the Life....

Later Days!

Monday, February 9, 2009

To recap....

These last few days have been a whirlwind but I need to catch everyone up....
Friday: Travelled back home to meet with the senior group from our former church for lunch. We had a great time catching up and chowing down with them :o).

Friday evening: While Hubby had to head back to our "now" house, the kids and I journeyed on to spend the night with grandparents. We had dinner with Nana and Gdad (We had a great time catching up and chowing down!) and then we split up so some of us stayed with Nana and Gdad and some with Mimi and Papa.

Saturday morning: We brunched at Mimi and Papa's house with my brother and his family. Again, a great time catching up and chowing down. Then, we hit the road to come back to "now" house because we had evening plans with a Sunday School class from church.

Saturday evening: We met at Shealy's with folks from church and had a great time catching up and chowing down (I'm not getting too repetitive, am I?).

Sunday: A wonderful Lord's Day! In our evening service, we had an "America's Funniest Home Video" moment. During the congregational singing, the words to "When We All Get to Heaven" were being shone on the sanctuary screen. The final line of the chorus--"We'll sing and shout the victory," contained an unfortunate typo. It read, "We'll sin and shout the victory!" Of course, we sang all four verses and the congregation cracked up every time!

Monday: A regular school day and E. worked in the food pantry. I guess it was a little unusual that M. insisted on "dressing like Daddy" which involved wearing a dress shirt, tie and blazer with warm-up pants, red socks and sneakers.

Monday evening: Hubby and I were guests at a Valentine Banquet given by the deacons for the Single Senior Ladies at church. The deacons and their wives cooked, served, and cleaned up afterwards. What a wonderful way to minister to these ladies! Also, we had a great time catching up and chowing down (I had to say it).

If you've hung in there and made it through this must be one of the grandparents!

Later Days!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Techno Family

At one point during the morning, I looked around and all four children were engaged in some sort of electronic pursuit. Also, I have found that when I have nothing to blog, photos of the children make the grandparents very happy :o).

Later Days!

P.S. Hopefully, tomorrow I will have some more photos AND a post to go with them! We've got a new-to-us VW Beetle (too dark to get a good picture by the time Alan drove it home); plus, we're making a quick jaunt back home tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

What's up on Wednesday?

This morning, E. went with Hubby to the office to help out in the food pantry for a few hours. With Brian (our student minister) out on "maternity leave" this week, it is helpful for E. to be an extra pair of hands around the office. She always takes her school books with her and tries to get some assignments done during slow times (Thanks, Mrs. Pat for keeping her on track). E. called shortly after they left to tell me that we were having a little snow flurry (a very little one).

She and Hubby should be coming home soon for lunch--it's Wednesday and you know that means tacos! We're having them at lunch because our youth are hosting a Pancake Supper Fundraiser before church tonight--yummm. I hope everyone won't be so full of pancakes and sausage that they doze off during Bible Study tonight!

The younger kids and I have been plowing through their schoolwork and we're almost finished for the day. Little M. has consistently been getting into mischief, just to keep things interesting. Between assignments, taking M. to the potty, and disciplining M., I've managed to do some laundry and general tidying. Hmm, maybe I should turn Wall-E loose on a couple of messy spots....

There you have our Wed. morning in a nutshell.

Later Days!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Like mother, like daughter

Many, many years ago, I was a Brownie Girl Scout. Yes, I wore the beanie, sold the cookies, and earned the badges--and loved it! My daughter K. has joined a small troop made up of homeschooled girls, including some of her BFFs (Best Friends Forever, for anyone not familiar with the term).

Today, I braved the interstate highway and plunged into unknown territory to locate the Girl Scout store and procure a vest and its accouterments so that K. could be "official".

As I told Mimi, I feel that I deserve some sort of patch for that feat of dedicated motherhood. I really feel that there should also be some sort of recognition for the fact that I got most of her insignia and such attached on the same day (***shout out to Leanne***). And while I'm at it...maybe a patch for potty-training, too! Any more ideas for Mommy badges?

By the way, I think the Girl Scout Promise is a pretty good one for everyone:
On my honor, I will try:
To serve God and my country,
To help people at all times,
And to live by the Girl Scout Law.

Later Days!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Note to Mimi...

Sorry Wall-E came to see us after you and Papa left yesterday. He's a little shy anyway and probably would have run under a recliner until he got used to you :o). If you like, I'll bring Wall-E next time we come to see you but don't get too attached...he's still coming home with me!

On the other hand, you DID get to be the first to try out the new sleeper sofa. By the way, have you finished tucking in those slipcovers yet?

Later Days!