And together we learn

Friday, February 29, 2008

You know you're getting there when...

Sure signs you're entering the third trimester:

*Each time you cough, you Kegel with desperation. Sometimes it helps (this is my fourth baby, after all).

*Rolling over in bed has become a major undertaking

*You know that spot under your ribs?? Yeah. I'd forgotten about that spot, too, but now I remember it!!

*What bellybutton? Mine's disappeared?

*The Tums are an hourly thing.

*Trying to reach something UNDER the chair you're sitting on requires getting on all fours, since the whole bending past the feet thing isn't happening.

10 (ish) weeks until baby!! It's a dang good thing, too.


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Back to normal

Miraculously, this boy of mine is perfect. He woke up yesterday (after sleeping all night through, I might add) without any temperature and all smiles. He ate, ran around, jumped, danced, got into mischief, and was generally a normal baby. Incredible how resilient these little people can be!

We didn't get all the learning time in yesterday I would have liked--every other Tuesday we have a whole afternoon of outside activities. But we got in some good violin practice, both the girls read to me, and during our (3 minute) math time, Hazel had a major lightbulb moment.

She randomly asked me 9+9. I asked her what 10+10 is, and she quickly answered 20. Then she started thinking and announced the answer to be 19, and insisted I was wrong when I said it's actually 18. We grabbed the Math U See blocks and I used those to illustrated the difference between 9+9 and 10+10. The joy in her face was radiant when she 'got it.' I LOVE those moments of elucidation. Big reason I'm a homeschool mom.

My housecleaner took advantage of us being gone for the afternoon and did the carpets. So I have a sparkling clean house, well-rested, HEALTHY for the first time in weeks kids, and life is very very good.

Thanks to everyone for your concern for my sweet baby. Very traumatic for the day, but now you'd never know there'd been a problem!


Monday, February 25, 2008


This poor baby!! He hasn't really moved from my lap all day. The saddest moment was when he woke up from his nap and looked at me. "Mouf hurts, Mommy! Kiss better!" He stuck out his little tongue for me to kiss, but I couldn't get to the roof of his mouth, so it didn't help.

Every time he's tried to eat something, he tells me that "Mouf so owie!"

I bet it is!

The doctor called me back a few hours later to check on him--I thought that was fabulous. He called in an antibiotic for me, which is great. Calvin went into this adventure with an ear infection and a cold. He's had a fever for the last couple of hours, and it's hard to tell if it's from the ear infection or from his injury.

I've got pudding and applesauce and fruit popsicles for him, but he's not eating much of anything. He just went to bed. I'm hoping he's able to sleep peacefully tonight. Poor baby!


It was a happy peaceful homeschool morning. Hazel was doing her copywork at the kitchen table, Chloe was working on reading with me on the couch, and Calvin was in the other room, coloring.

Suddenly the peace was shattered with one of those cries; the ones where your heart stops for a second because you know it's bad. Calvin staggered towards me, blood dripping from his mouth. I grabbed him and started to clean him up and figure out what had happened. Since he was playing with a pencil, I started to look for cuts in his mouth. Sure enough, there was a huge gash mark in the roof of his mouth.

Then the blood started to come out his nose, also. That's when an injury goes from sad and poor kid, to what on earth do I do? The pencil had pierced through his soft palate to his nasal cavity. That's beyond my comfort level of deal-with-myself injuries, so I threw everyone in the car and we ran to the instacare.

Good news is, after looking him over, we didn't have to go up to Primary Children's for a CT scan. Thankfully. It's just a really really yucky gross mess in his little mouth. So I'll keep a close eye on him, and if he develops any weird secondary symptoms we'll head up there.

Man, this motherhood thing kind of works you over!! Just when everything is running smoothly...BAM! Something hits. I was pretty shaken up for a while, but he's napping and the house is quiet and I had some ice cream, so things are ok now.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Unpleasant surprises

We had Steve home for a beautiful few hours, then it was off to the airport again. I'm very accustomed to the rhythm of our lives during his work season--he's generally gone during the weeks and home for a night or two over the weekend. It works for us and is overall really manageable.

Well, I'm not dealing well right now!! When I was re-packing his suitcase, I asked how many days clothes he needed. "10."

Me: "WHAT???????"

I don't know how I missed this one, but he's going to be gone for 10 long days. After a visit home for just hours. If I'm mentally prepared, I can do anything, but for some reason I just didn't realize what his schedule was looking like. I'm not prepared for 10 days without him!! So if the blog contains maniacal rantings in a couple of days, you'll know the reason.

But it's not all bad. When he's gone, I can do things like watch Pride and Prejudice without him making fun. It just barely finished on PBS, and I'm still smiling. Isn't Colin Firth just the most perfect Mr. Darcy imaginable??

Saturday, February 23, 2008


Don't you love that feeling of a really really successful meal? One where every member of the family loves every single thing you serve? Tonight the stars were aligned just right and it happened.

I made Chicken Curry with Sweet Potatoes and was it ever good!

Since I ALWAYS tweak recipes around, here is my version.

1 chopped onion
1 clove minced garlic
2 peeled and chopped sweet potatoes
couple of chicken pieces--enough for my family with a bit leftover
~1 cup orange juice, except I just used a largish lump of frozen concentrate and a cup of water
3 t chicken curry
1 chicken bouillon cube
2 t brown sugar
salt and pepper

Stuck everything in the crockpot on low for 5ish hours. Perfect.

We had coconut rice, which oddly took about 15 longer than rice normally does for me, so everyone was expectantly at the table with no meal ready. No problem, we turned fancy and served the 'salad course' first. We had already gone all out and were eating by candlelight--the kids loved this touch so much! Steve is home for all of 18 hours this week, so we thought we'd make his one meal at home special.

For dessert, I'd made a lemon blueberry pie before we left for the airport. Perfect ending. I love meals that work out like this!!


Thursday, February 21, 2008


It was time to go--lots of errands to do. I told them to get on their shoes, and we started the loooong slow process of getting out the door. When I heard the CD player erupt with the rockin Stevie Wonder, I was seriously annoyed.

I charged into the room, and all three of them looked up from their dancing, with guilty looks on their faces. Without saying a word, I picked up the baby and started dancing. I whirled Chloe around and boogied with Hazel. We clapped to the beat and after 15 minutes, collapsed into a laughing pile.

Choices. I'm so glad this time, I made the right one.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Something clicked today. Big time. Hazel read me 100!!! pages of this Dick and Jane book! On her own, bringing it to me at different times throughout the day. She set a goal of getting to page 100, and she did it. I am so completely proud of her.

Reading has been such a struggle, but she has pushed through whatever wall was holding her back, and she's full of joy today. Sure, most of the pages are of the 'look, look, see, see' variety, but she read them! And by page 100, the pages were much more complex: "Baby Sally said, "Oh, Mother. Sally is big. Sally wants to work. Sally wants to help." Mother said, "Run, Sally. Run to the car. Run to the car and help me. Big big Sally can help me."

I know it's not phonics, and it's a lot of word recognition, but I couldn't be more thrilled. She's actually reading. She can sound out the phonetic words, and she figured out words like 'little', 'down', and 'find' on her own. So dang exciting I can't stand it!!


Thursday, February 14, 2008

My heart's in big melty puddles

I don't think he knows it's a holiday, but my sweet Calvin boy just gave me my best Valentine's present yet.

He had one of those legendary toddler diapers and I was cleaning him up. We were talking and I was telling him that Mommy's are here to take care of little boys and keep them clean and sweet. We finished and I went to give him our customary post-diaper change big hug. Then he melted my heart forever and completely.

He planted a big kiss on one cheek, turned my head and kissed my other cheek, then turned my head again and planted a big kiss on my mouth. "T'ank you Mommy take care me! Wub you!"

Then he ran off to play.

Be still my mother's heart.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Super Tuesday

Guess what, guess what??? We had a great, no, a FABULOUS homeschool day today!!! One of those where you get to every single thing, they learn, cooperate, and are in bed by 7:15 so their mama can watch American Idol and knit. Did I just admit that?? Ummm, yeah. Guilty pleasures.

So here's the breakdown of the day. Baked oatmeal for breakfast. 20 minute clean up time accompanied by boisterous music--everyone worked hard and we actually got things looking sparkly before starting lessons. Scripture study this morning was a little giggly, but hey, I've got 6 and 4 year old little girls, and a 2 year old who loves to make them giggle. It's bound to happen sometimes. We're memorizing the 6th Article of Faith and John 3:16 and they've got both of them down pretty well.

Chloe's doing so great with her reading!! We're using Reading Reflex right now, and since the girls are at exactly the same spot, we do lessons together. I'm thinking that this might be a program that Hazel will do well with. After a year and a half of reading short vowel 3 letter words, I'm really suspecting some kind of dyslexia. She's obviously bright--her intelligence isn't the problem at all. It's such a blessing to be homeschooling where she can do this at her own pace, and in the way that will help her succeed.

We did history from Story of the World about Moses and the 10 plagues. The girls acted out Moses in the bulrushes for me. We read dozens of books about space and ants and wild horses, so I'm considering science to be covered.

Hazel did a couple of pages in her Math U See Alpha book. I filled out the certificate at the end of the Primer book, and at the bottom of it there's a line, 'you're becoming a math whiz!' Apparently that has had a big impression on Hazel, because every time she sits down to do her math she gives a little wriggle of pride and tells me what a whiz she is. She's doing a lot better with reversals when writing numbers.

After a quick lunch, Hazel went to Liberty Girls, which is a club based on the American Girls series. I took Chloe and Calvin to the library and we read dozens of books. The kids did some art projects with a new set of crayon/pastels/watercolors we got from Rainbow Resource today, then we headed to dance and gymnastics. It's one of those community ed classes that are really cheap and held in a middle school. Yeah. Just going into the middle school cafeteria reminds me of all the reasons that I'm homeschooling! But the kids have a blast and they get some great exercise.

Came home and put them straight into bed. Our current read aloud is Cynthia Rylant's Gooseberry Park. Such a darling book!! The language is rich and detailed, and it pulls you right into the story. The girls beg me for more chapters every night, and it is truly one of the sweetest books I've ever read.

After all that running around, they were all asleep by 7:15! Such a perfect homeschool day.

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Friday, February 08, 2008


Steve's traveling season has started, so we're in a continual pick-him-up/drop-him-off cycle around here. So today we piled in the car to pick him up as usual, and the kids thought everything was normal.

What the kids did not know was that we weren't picking up just Daddy, but also a much-beloved Grandma Amy here for a surprise visit!!!

Hazel was watching so intently for Daddy, she didn't even notice her dear Grandma walk right in front of her. When I directed her eyes over, Hazel just about fell on the floor laughing and hugging. So fun!!

We all went to dinner at one of our favorite places (Calvin ate a plateful of arugula dressed with lemon juice and olive oil. Weird kid), and tomorrow is bowling day. But there's more. While everyone is bowling, I'm going to the craft store. Alone. AND Target! Alone again!!! What luck!

Surprises are great fun. The kids are sure delighted with this one!

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Not so much inspiration, here.

Eh. Little blogging slump going on around here. I'm just finding it hard to actually sit down and find anything interesting about what's going on. Kids with colds, lots and lots and lots of snow (more coming tomorrow!), we try to do school and keep the house clean, and you all know the routine.

So here are a couple of Calvin shots to assuage the guilt of a seldom-updated blog. He's drumming on some of my food storage cans. I swear, these cans have been more played with in the last week than any toy in the house.

On a bright note, look what my dear MIL sent us today!! Showed up out of the blue, and was such a welcome delightful bit of sunshine for a wintery day!! Aren't they gorgeous??

Anyway, friends, I'm here and life is good. I'll try to be inspired to actually write something soon!