Monday, October 30, 2006

come on blogger

please let me post...I don't know what I've done to offend you the last couple of days, but will you let me post now, please???

Sunday, October 29, 2006

update on Kain

Please continue to pray for us. We are at a really low point right now in our efforts with Kain. It has been a *bad* bad that I was seriously entertaining the idea of putting him in an inpatient facility for some kind of crisis intervention. We really, really need some professional help with him. I guess we were naive to hope that simply giving him a better environment would be the answer for him. In reality, giving him a better environment hasn't done much of anything except tick him off. He fights us tooth and nail (and often hand and fist) on any kind of rules/structure/authority. Don't get me wrong, I know the better environment is good for him whether he knows it or not, and it will pay off in the long run, but for right now we are all very stressed. He has also been in repeated fights with neighborhood kids and kids at school this week. We are trying to get him help. The local guidance centers won't touch him until we get legal guardianship (something we can't afford to do right now). My brother is going to go in this week and see if there is some kind of release he can sign that will allow us to take him to therapy. We are still waiting to hear back from the Schmieding Center, but there is a long waiting list'll be a while. In the meantime, we feel very much on our own and very incompetent to handle him properly. Please keep us in your prayers.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Girl's Day Out

Maria and I had a day out today. We aim to do this once a month, but honestly it doesn't really happen that often lately. John has been working lots of overtime and often has his own list of things to do on his days off. My parents have moved recently and no longer offer convenient babysitting. But today, we finally got out. We had tickets to a 9:30 show at the Arts Center anyway, so it seemed like a good day to do this. After the show, we decided to check out the new mall. Let me tell you...I *detest* malls. I literally have not been to a mall in at least 3 years. I hate crowds, I hate wasting money, and I rarely enjoy shopping at most stores....I would much rather shop by internet than navigate some mall. My daughter, however, girly-girl of the year, *loves* malls. I don't think she even remembers the mall very well. She has just seen them in movies enough to know they are "cool". So, off to the mall we went...bad Chinese food and a $45 blown at Build-a-Bear (*never* go to Build-a-Bear. I had no idea it would be this expensive and I promised her a bear before I had any idea!!), a smaller amount spent at Claire's buying a birthday present for a friend, and we had had enough. Even Maria had enough. I'm glad I got to spend the day with Maria, but I am done with the mall for another 3 years.!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

managing the chaos

I am feeling overwhelmed. Every summer, I vow to cut back, to simplify our schedule. I am a closet homebody. I would be content to stay home most of the time. In fact, I struggle with organization so much that staying home most of the time is essential to keeping up with housework/schoolwork/every-other-kind-of-work...when we have weeks like this one in which we are gone everyday, things quickly start to unravel. You know the scene...housework doesn't get done, laundry piles up, meals don't get planned, schoolwork doesn't get graded/filed efficiently and grows into a paper monster threatening to take over the entire upstairs....I am very visual and just being surrounded by the mess is depressing to me. I am longing to have several days home to take back control. How does this happen? We *did pare* back activities this year! We have our homeschool co-op every Monday, all day. That's one big time-sucking event. We enjoy participating, don't get me wrong, but it's a rough way to start the week. We leave the house at 8:30 and don't get home until after 4. I spend the morning grocery shopping and running errands while Maria takes her classes at the co-op. Then I come to the co-op to teach an afternoon class, leave to pick up Kain from school, then back to the co-op to pick up Maria after her last class. I am *wiped out* for the day, for the *week*, after that. Maria has choir practice at the church every other Wednesday. The kids have PSR on Sunday, and I teach the preschool PSR class. It's not bad...I actually co-teach the class, so I only have to actually plan a lesson every other week. We meet with our Catholic homeschool group for Little Flowers/playtime once a month. And we participate with another homeschool group for various social activities/field trips when we have the time/energy. It's not so bad, seems like everyone else is involved in a lot more actually! But I still struggle. The days I enjoy the most are the days that we stay home all day, follow our routines, and the day unfolds smoothly. Those days are in short supply lately.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

on the mend....

Each of the kids has had this virus now....Maria most recently. Update---Kain is well over the virus but still wheezing and coughing up a storm. Not sure what else to do for him. He is on an oral steroid, so I am waiting to see if this helps. If he is still having a hard time when the steroid is gone then we will go back to the doctor, but this usually does the trick for my other wheezers. Jack is much better. He ended up with an ear infection and is on antibiotics, but other than finishing those up he is just fine now. Maria still has a low fever today. She has not been as ill as the other two though. I think another day or so and she'll be fine. In the meantime, we are having quiet days at home. I have given free reign on PBS kids, our video collection, and computer games to the kids and I have been working on various cleaning/organizing issues that have been hanging over my head. We have played lots of checkers/monopoly/etc. It was a nice break actually, but everyone is starting to get a bit bored. I'm not a big stickler on forcing mildly ill children to stay indoors. I think generally the fresh air and change of scenery does them good as long as they don't overexert themselves. But the weather has been so cold and wet that I have had to keep everyone inside. We are looking forward to wellness!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

and the Lord taketh away....

We were supposed to go to the zoo today. We go to the zoo every year with our homeschool group, and I planned the event this year. Kain has never been to a zoo before, and Jack is just now old enough to enjoy going, so we were all really looking forward to it. It's not just the zoo after all, it's caravanning with friends, picnic lunches at the zoo playground, buying tokens to ride the carousel, hitching a ride on the train that circles the zoo.... Well, last night we ended up in the ER with Kain. His asthma has been getting progressively worse and we ended up at the hospital around 8pm and didn't leave until 10:30. That's actually pretty good time for an ER. If you come in with a kid that can't breathe, you get the express treatment. :) Anyway, Kain was markedly better after more treatments and a shot of steroids, and we were still toying with the idea of trying to go to the zoo....the weather is warm and dry today for a change and we thought we could rent one of those wagons and pull Kain around if the walking was too taxing. Then Jack woke up at 4am with 103.8 degree fever. zoo. Instead, we got to go to the doctor's office...and to the pharmacy...

I absolutely despise Arkansas summers. They are sooo hot and humid and miserable for weeks on end. But, you know what? Everyone is *well* in the summer. When fall comes, and that cold damp air hits my 3 little wheezers, it seems like it's one illness after another. I felt bad breaking the news this morning. Everyone was very disappointed. Ah well...we are still planning to go to the zoo just as soon as we can coordinate total wellness with Daddy's days off again....and Dad took Kain and Maria to get ice cream and pick a book at Barnes and Noble instead. Nice Daddy.

Monday, October 16, 2006

co-op day

Monday is co-op day in our house. Sort of. We belong to a place that is part dayschool/part co-op. The morning classes are academic classes taught by paid teachers, and the afternoon classes are "fun" classes taught by other moms. You can pay for these too, or you can help teach and earn tuition credit. This term, Maria takes a literature, math, and life science class in the morning and then spanish, ceramics, and woodworking in the afternoon. She *loves* going to the co-op, mostly because she gets to have lunch/recess with friends. :) Usually, Jack and I do grocery shopping/errands/library on this day, but today Kain is home with asthma troubles. The weather is wet and cold, and so we are all staying home. I have helped Kain discover one of my old favorite movies, "Pete's Dragon". :)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Sunday cookin'

How do you celebrate your Sunday at home? Here in the South, it's almost a given that you will have the traditional "Sunday dinner", or Sunday brunch, or both. I used to try to do both...brunch after mass followed by a nice dinner/dessert....but I found myself cooking all day on Sunday! Not really a day of rest... So, we have modified a bit. I make brunch for dinner. Brinner, the kids call it. Some kind of eggs, bacon *and* sausage, pancakes/waffles/or biscuits and gravy (it is the South, after all), hot cocoa or smoothies. It's easy for me, I make enough of the pancakes/waffles to heat up for breakfast Monday morning, and it is the kids' favorite dinner by far. Everyone eats well, even Jack, my toddler that lives on milk and cheese sticks, and peanut butter. We have dessert on Saturday, which is game night (and really, doesn't the Sabbath begin then anyway? What better way to bring it in than with pie!). Now, what takes the place in the traditional time frame of Sunday brunch? Well, this is almost blasphemy I know...but Sunday afternoons have become my big "purge the leftovers" meal. I know, I know...terrible. But I buy groceries on Monday, so it's a good day to empty the fridge, it's quick and easy to fix when we get home from church and everyone is starving, and the kids' enjoy getting to pick and choose what to eat for a change. I hold a plate of more recent leftovers for dh to take to work for lunch on Monday. Everything else from the week gets cleaned out and nuked. Salvagable dregs of meat and veggies go into the "soup bucket" in the freezer and the rest is tossed. Now, I actually get to rest on Sunday!

Friday, October 13, 2006

a day in the life

OK, boys and girls, here it is,,,, a day in our life. It's not a perfect one, and I knew it wouldn't be. Jack has been sick all week, and I was feeling badly myself on Wednesday and Thursday, so things around here had kind of gone to pot. But I decided to include this day anyway. It shows that you can still homeschool when life is less than perfect...some days you just have to suck it up and prioritize! It's a long post...sorry about that. The day is long sometimes. :)

Sometime during the early morning hours- Kain comes in our bedroom to wake me up. I whisper to him to go lay on the couch. He wakes up almost every night and travels. Sometimes he wakes me up, sometimes not.

4am- I wake up, I'm not sure why, and see that Kain is asleep on the floor by my bed. I wake him up and tell him to go lay on the couch. He shuffles off. Jack wakes up to nurse. He's already in bed with us, so we just snuggle up and drift back off.

5am- My alarm goes off. I get up and attempt to turn it off. I'm not getting up this early today. I was feeling bad all day yesterday and the day before, presumably with a touch of what Jack has, so I decide to sleep in a little. I hit the wrong button on the alarm clock and the radio starts blaring. I pull the plug from the wall to shut it off quickly, get my watch and set that alarm so that I can wake John up.

5:15- I poke John and tell him to get up.

6:00- Jack is awake. It's early for him to be awake, and I don't want to get up yet. I nurse him and try to get him to settle back down, but he rolls around on the bed, kicking the wall, poking my eye sockets, babbling to himself. I should have just gotten up at 5. Now we are behind schedule and I didn't really get any more sleep anyway.

6:15- John comes in at 6:15-ish to kiss me goodbye,,,and also I know to make sure I don't oversleep too much. I go ahead and get up. Jack starts shrieking at me as soon as we enter the kitchen. I give him a cheese stick and some milk and make myself some coffee. He's on steroids this week for his asthma...they make him hungry. Maria comes staggering in and tells me her stomach hurts. Her stomach often hurts. I ask her the usual,"Did you pee? When did you poop last? Are you hungry?" Nothing seems to pinpoint the cause, but her forehead isn't warm and she doesn't seem to be hurting much, so I send her on her way. She sits down and flips on the tv. Yeah, we watch tv. Unapologetically. The kids generally watch PBS kids or assorted videos. They TiVO a whole mess of stuff from PBS,,,Arthur, Cyberchase, Fetch, Reading Rainbow, Bill Nye. We go through periods of limiting it, but mostly they are pretty good about doing other things too. She's been watching way too much since Jack has been sick all week....a battle to take on later. John and I don't watch that much of it. Jack grabs a loaf of bread off the counter. It hasn't been tied shut, so it dumps all over the floor. I feel myself getting irritated. I'm used to waking up by myself,,,not with the whole gang. I start a load of Kain's laundry.

6:30- I sit to quickly check my email and start this entry. My priority in life now is to get Kain out the door on time. I find him asleep on the floor in the hallway. It takes more effort than usual to wake him which makes me wonder how long he was awake last night.

6:45- I spend the 45 minutes fixing eggs for everyone, pass around the fruit bowl, pouring milk, nagging Kain to eat, get dressed, etc., while Jack follows me around fussing. The steroids also make him cranky. I finally gather him up and we go sit and snuggle on my bed for a minute. I change and dress him and put on his Raffi Bananaphone cd. I give him a little basket of crib toys and his sippy cup and he's happy to play quietly on my bed for a bit.

7:30- Maria and Kain are fighting over who gets to read the rice krispy treats box, an argument that ensued when I asked Kain to pick out something to take to school for snack time. He's also still not done eating, and we are supposed to be leaving now. I confiscate the box and tell Maria to come in my bedroom and leave Kain by himself so he will eat. I give Jack a much needed breathing treatment and force his steroid on him.

7:45- Kain is finally ready to go. His school starts at 8, so we need to run. I leave Jack with Maria while I drive him to school. Before you freak, you should know that 1. Maria is very responsable, very good with Jack, and knows how to dial 911, 2. It's only really about three mornings a week because John is sometimes home on weekday mornings, and 3. Kain's school is very close by. I timed us this morning and I was gone for a total of 13 minutes. I kind of fell into leaving Jack with her for this morning errand because Jack is sometimes still asleep or very newly awake at this time.

8:00- I'm back, and I'm fried. Jack is still cranky, we are all over the place schedule-wise. We usually have a very specific schedule we try to follow (see and it is out the window this morning. I take some time to sit, have a cup of coffee, and contemplate the schedule for today..where we are, what needs to happen today so that we can catch up after our string of sick days....the house is an absolute mess. Housekeeping is, um, not my strong point, and being on schedule is the only thing that keeps the chores happening like they should. I decide that anything not essential to life needs to go out the window today so that I can have extra chore time and get caught up. So that's what I'm doing...contemplating the schedule and seeing what can change for today. That and having a cup of coffee and holding Jack. Jack and I read one of his Winnie the Pooh books. Twice. He *loves* to be read to and brings me books several times a day. I also kick Maria into action and tell her to start her morning chorepack (also on

9:00- We sit down to say our morning offering and rosary. Maria takes a moment to whine about it and asks if we can say "half a rosary"...then she "forgets" how some of the prayers start. Jack sits with us, sweetly holding a rosary and yelling "Amen! Amen!" for the first few Hail Mary's, then he brings me picture books and whines at me to read to him. He finally wanders off and plays with his cars, lining them up across the living room floor. When we're done, Jack gets a diaper change and then....

9:30- Upstairs to start school, only half an hour late. I tell Maria to pee now if she is going to. It has been an issue lately that she will desperately need to pee 5 minutes into starting school. I call, "Upstairs!" and Jack comes running. He loves to go up there...that' s where all the toys are! I don't let him go up there without supervision yet, so the rest of the time he's limited to one box of toys at a time that I rotate downstairs. I turn Jack loose to play and give Maria a timed addition fact drill to start on. While she does this, I correct her papers from yesterday and make her a list of assignments she can do on her own today. I wouldn't recommend grading papers this way. Last year I went upstairs early each morning to prepare for the upcoming school day. But having to get Kain off to school has taken that time out of my morning. So, we are doing it this way for this school year. Maria finishes her fact drill in 5 minutes and 20 seconds. Not her best time, but respectable. I get onto her a little bit because of the sloppy state of one of her assignments. We have to have this conversation every so often. I put yesterday's math lesson back into her inbox. Later, she'll correct the problems I marked wrong and give it back to me. We go over corrections on her Latin quiz and history questions. We still have 8 minutes left in the 30 minutes allotted to our first "together" school time, so I have her recite the first three stanzas of the poem she is memorizing (America for Me) and start working with her on the 4th stanza. Then we work on our state and capital flashcards, reviewing ones she is still memorizing and adding 5 new cards.

10:00- I leave Maria to start on her independent work. She decides to start with her science quiz, then goes downstairs to do her saxon math lesson with the cd-rom. I sit with Jack and we play with the little "workbook" that came in his brighter vision kit ( . These are just fun little kits. Maria used to get them when she was little. The workbooks include hand rhymes, songs to sing, poems to read, sticker pages, etc. When he tires of this, we read "Rock-a-bye Farm". This takes a while since he has to point out every star on every page, "Tar! Tar!".

10:30- We come downstairs and make tea/snack. Maria is done with her cd-rom and wants to know what we are going to do about recess. We are still 30 minutes behind schedule. Usually we would be done with snack and heading outside now. I tell her we are just going to skip it today. It's still awfully cold and damp out and Jack is still wheezing and coughing. She says since we are skipping recess, can she watch a tv show (DVR'd) while she has her snack. "Deal," I tell her. We usually do a read aloud from our history reading list during tea time, but we are in flex mode today. I sit down with my tea and some peanut butter toast I am sharing with Jack to write in my blog. Jack is playing with his cars at my feet. We have no dining table right now. I *still* have not finished putting everything back together in the kitchen/laundry room after our remodel, and it's all piled on the table. It's an issue. I vow to resolve it this weekend.

11:00- I call "Time to go upstairs!" again and we all head back up, though not without some griping. I was in the bathroom when Maria's show ended and she took advantage of this fact and jumped onto a computer game. Now she's griping about having to stop. Well, hello, I told you you had 30 minutes, you watched a 30 minute show, what do you think I'm going to say?When we get settled upstairs, Jack starts pitching toys over the baby gate and down the stairs and gets a talking to. He plays relatively nicely the rest of the hour, dumping math manipulatives onto the floor. Maria and I go over her mental math problems for the day. I have her work a few of the new problems she learned on her cd-rom so I can make sure she understood the lesson. We discuss the section in her science book that she read yesterday on insects, something we should have done before she took her quiz this morning! We go over vocabulary/declensions for a new Latin lesson, review phonograms for spelling, and drill two chapters of catechism Q and A's. I find myself harping at Maria quite a bit. She keeps fooling around with toys and things and zoning out when I'm talking to her. While doing all this, Jack blows us both away by coming up to the table and counting to ten! What?! I didn't know he knew how to even begin to do that! This how he operates, just quietly taking everything in and then boom, out it comes. He did it so well too, only skipping we had to stop and call Meme and tell her of course. We can't wait to show Daddy tonight.

12:00- I leave Maria to work away at her list. I'm done with her work for today, the rest is up to her. Included in her list is for her to read a new chapter in the catechism, a grammar lesson, do her math practice problems from today's lesson, correct a couple of problems from yesterday's math,,,and I tell her to take another look at her science quiz and see if she needs to change any of her answers after our review. I put on Teletubbies for Jack, reboot laundry, and make grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch. We get a surprise visitor- UPS with a smoked turkey! Wow! A surprise gift to say "thank you" from some homeschooling friends of ours. We watched their children while she was in the hospital having baby #8. Very sweet, and haggle over whether to put it in the freezer for Thanksgiving or have it on Sunday. We decide on Sunday and call Meme back to invite them for dinner. Even we can't take down a whole turkey by ourselves!

12:30- Time for lunch. Maria watches Reading Rainbow. We don't usually do TV during lunch, but again, no table and the temptation is great. Jack won't eat...a casualty of eating on the run. Jack doesn't eat well when he's not at the table. He has taken to grazing all day instead. I have given up this battle until we have the table back. I give him a cheese stick and some grapes instead.

1:00- Time for a break, praise God. We all lay down...Maria goes off to read- she's reading Sarah, Plain and Tall for her homeschool co-op literature class. I change Jack and lay down on my bed to nurse him. I doze myself, and it is good. :)

1:30- I'm reluctantly up. I pick up sleeping Jack and lay him down in his crib. I send Maria upstairs to finish her work, and this time she goes without complaint. She's in the final stretch and feeling no pain. I sort the mountain of clean laundry- I fill one hamper with Maria's stuff and plop it outside her bedroom for her to fold and put away later. I fill another with Kain's and go sit in his room to fold and put it away. The rest stays together to be folded in my room this evening.

1:50- Maria's done and wants to zone in front of the tv some more. I suggest she go for a bike ride or on the trampoline while I look up some new computer games for her online.

2:00- Maria is on the computer,,,or tv, I'm not sure which. My quick search for games was not very fruitful. John called to see if I was all right with him volunteering to work tomorrow. He needs the overtime. I say I don't have anything spectacular planned, and I also tell him about Jack's genius behavior. His reaction is underwhelming. Maybe he's distracted. He'll just have to see for himself. I go and try to make my world right again by tackling the kitchen/living room piles. After a quick email check. :)

2:40- Jack wakes up crying. I let him fuss a little because I am in a groove picking up the living room.

3:00- time to pick up Kain. Still not done picking up (yeah, it's that bad), but I've got to stop. I grab Jack. He's very irritated by his stint in the crib. Maria wants to stay home, so I ask her to finish picking up the board games Jack dumped on the floor while I'm gone. She is, of course, thrilled to do so.

3:20- Back with Kain. Flurry of activity as I change Jack, fuss at Kain to put his things away and get the snack bowl and fruit bowl to pass around. The snack bowl- I keep a big green mixing bowl full of assorted slightly-junky snack packs. The current mix includes rice krispy treats, granola bars, teddy grahams, fruit by the foot....Kain picks one to take to school for morning snack, and all the kids can pick one snack from the green bowl and one piece of fruit to have after school. Kain almost always refuses the fruit. Today, they both refused it. Ah well,,,I try. Jack and I have grapes. Kain and Maria have a rice krispy treat. Kain is highly irritated that the "good ones" are gone (the ones with chocolate in them). Well, he's been eating two a day since I bought the box, so who do you think got the good ones? Once upon a time I used to make all the snacks from scratch....but this has brought a small measure of sanity. There's just so many hours in the day. We have standards for the snack chips, no snack cakes...nothing too horribly junky. I keep a similar bowl in the car to stave off emergency rations from the gas station/drive-thru.

3:30- The kids are outside with neighborhood kids on the trampoling while Jack and I linger over our snack.

4:00- I am debating whether to take Jack outside this afternoon. I usually take him out for an hour or so in the afternoons, but he still has a cough and snotty nose,,,but it's pretty mild out right now. He's also getting cranky again. I'm chalking it up to the steroids, but he's also been in the house since Monday and it would do him some good to get out. I decide to update this entry and take him out for 30 minutes. In the meantime, he is watching Caillou.

4:30- I go to hunt up Jack's shoes, reboot the laundry, and head out. I don't usually do all the laundry in one day, but it is behind like everything else. I am *tired* all of a sudden...

4:35- I can't find one of Jack's sneakers. Anywhere. The house is a mess (still) and he hasn't worn his sneakers in a week. There's no telling where it might be. My first pass through likely looking piles hasn't turned it up, so I give up. We sit on the couch and read books, sing songs....

5:00- I get Jack started playing with his bricks and head for the bedroom. Fish for dinner tonight. It doesn't take long, so I have some time to start sorting through the rest of the laundry. I pull out all the stuff that needs to hang in the closet, and armful of hangers, and get going.

5:45- Yikes! I'm just now starting dinner. I got going on the laundry and lost track of time. Only 15 minutes until dinner time...I forego the baked potatoes for frozen fries and get the fish in the oven. Now I need a vegetable. ...

6:15- The evening is deteriorating fast. The fish was still partly frozen and so it just now done. I call the kids in to wash up and start slinging plates. I hate dinner in the living room! The kids also usually have mealtime chores, but that is difficult to do with no real table to set/clear...

6:45- The fish was...disappointing. I've made this recipe before, but I usually fry it in a skillet. This time I tried to make it lower-maintenance by baking it. Well, maybe it was because it started off partly frozen, I don't know, but it was kind of...mushy. Anyway, a quick dinner, and now for Kain's bath. He is shrieking mad because he wants to play on the computer. This is a common problem for him. He wants to play outside for hours *and* have time to watch TV, play on the computer...only so many hours in a day!

7:00- I give Maria her clean clothes to fold and put away. I also ask her to go through her closet and drawers and pull out summer clothes/outgrown things. She is less than thrilled. I remind her that it's Friday and she gets to stay up until 10, so she'll still have plenty of free time. This alleviates her anguish somewhat. Kain is hollering, "AUNT MEL! I'M REEEEAAADDDYYY!" over and over again. This is my cue that he is ready to have his hair washed and to be walked through washing his body.

7:30- Kain is out of the tub, in PJ's and eating a bowl of cereal...standard bedtime snack here...reasonably healthy and quick and easy. Kain would have you fix him a whole other meal if he could...especially when he's had fish for dinner. I change Jack into PJ's and wrestle another dose of medication into him. I also make him half a peanut butter sandwich since he didn't eat a thing for dinner. I break out our current read-aloud book, a Vision books biography about St. Bernadette. Before this, we had been reading through Treasure Box series for Kain, but I decided to start something on Maria's level this time. I don't read for long...attention spans are short at this point. We read for about 15 minutes and then have prayers. Maria lights the two votives on the altar, Kain hits th e lights, and we all kneel (more or less). We say an Act of Contrition, Prayer to St. Michael, Guardian Angel Prayer, and short litany to everyone's patron saints. We pass around holy water and bless everyone. Maria and Kain each blow out a candle, and then we're done. Sounds long, but it only takes maybe 10 minutes.

7:50- Boys into the bathroom for teeth-brushing. I send Kain to his room and ask Maria if she will read to him tonight so I can give Jack a long overdue breathing treatment. She does, and Jack and I put on Raffi and do the treatment. He's very sleepy. I give him a drink of water, read a quick story, and lay him down. Usually he nurses, but he didn't even make a move for it tonight so I just put him to bed.

8:15- I stop by Kain's room and tuck him in. He also looks like he's fading fast. Speaking of fading fast...I am so done here. I clean up the dinner mess...there's a plate stashed for John when he gets home. I'm pooped. I reboot the laundry again, and then just sit.

9:15- John calls and says he's on his way home. I realize I've been vegging for an hour in front of Everybody Loves Raymond re-runs. He wants to stop to pick up his dinner...I guess reheating the soggy fish isn't so appealing. He offers to bring me a milkshake. Good man- all is forgiven.

11:45- OK, yes, I'm still awake. John brought milkshakes and we've been hanging out for a bit. I am *so, so* tired now, so off I go to bed.

So that's today. Like I said, far from perfect! But we got school done, I caught up a bit on housework and plan to continue catching up over the weekend. Meals were served, laundry caught up, books were read, prayers were said, kiddos were tucked in and all is right in our world. Thanks for playing along!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

a foreshadowing of homeschooling Jack

This is what I mean when I say that Jack is "quietly stubborn". For weeks now, we have been having this discussion in the bathtub- he holds up his rubber squeaky giraffe for me to name. I say, "That's a giraffe." "Goat," Jack pronounces. I can only assume that this is because the giraffe has little horns on it's head. "Giraffe," I say back. "See the long neck?" "Bahhh," he insists. "Goat."

After his bath, he brought me a yellow marker. "Puh-poe," he states. This means "purple", for those of you not in the know. "It's yellow, Jack. Yel-low," I say carefully. "Puh-poe," he mutters as he walks away. He takes it to his sister. She's coloring her own picture. He holds it out to the back of her head. "Puh-poe," he tells her. "Uh huh, yeah" she answers distractedly. He turns to me, I swear with smugness all over his little face,,,"Puh-poe!"

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

and today for theatre arts class....

Maria helped me give Jack his breathing treatments today by performing self-choreographed dance routines to his Raffi cd. These were a big hit, especially the slap-stick ones in which she collapsed on the floor or crashed into walls. Picture me sitting on my bed with Jack in my lap, holding a mask to his face, while Maria prances and twirls around the room for the 15 minute treatment, Jack alternating between chuckling and coughing into the's been very entertaining. :) She's a good sister.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

cold and flu season...already?

Jack is sick. This is nothing we are not quite used to. Jack is often sick, and because he has asthma it is often ugly. There's no such thing as "just a cold" for him, because every virus brings on the asthma attacks. Yesterday morning, I took him for his first hair cut. I noticed when I was pulling his near-30 pounds out of the car seat that he was coughing occasionally and had a bit of a goopy nose. I had a pretty good idea what the rest of the day would bring, but even I was not prepared for how quickly things would progress. By the time we got home from our errands he was in a full-fledged asthma flare, and by evening he was running a high fever. He didn't sleep well at all, which meant that John and I didn't sleep either between calming him *to* sleep and then listening to him breath while he *was* asleep. He started vomiting during the night as well, so we had no hopes of giving him anything for his fever and obvious miserable discomfort. The low point came during a 3am breathing treatment. He has come to detest these. I put it off as long as I could, but as I watched his breathing become more and more rapid, his nostrils beginning to flare as he started grunting with every breath, I knew it was inevitable. The mask on his face scares him. Imagine having trouble breathing and being hot and miserable with fever, and here comes Momma, your source of comfort, to force a smelly plastic mask on your face for an eternal 15 minutes! We have to literally hold him down, which at his size is a 2 person job. He was tired and miserable and screamed in shock and disbelief that we would do such a horrible thing to him. We had no choice. I was a pediatric nurse before Jack was born, and I know only too well what is in store for him if we don't get his breathing under control at home. So I held him in my arms, bracing his hot, sweaty, head between my arm and my shoulder while John held his hands and feet down. I used my other arm to hold the mask to his screaming face and sang his favorite songs in his ear in a useless attempt to soothe him. In the end, it was too much for this tired old Momma at the end of her rope. By the time it was over we were both sobbing. But his breathing improved and I was able to nurse him to sleep. When Jack is sick is when I am most grateful for nursing. He frantically latched on and squenched his eyes tightly shut, nursing desperately between coughs, until his breathing, and mine, finally slowed and he fell back into a restless sleep. We have had to give him treatments all day today, but nothing has been as terrible as that 3am treatment.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Happy Birthday Jack-man!

My Jack, my baby turned 2 on Saturday. Happy Birthday are so much like your Daddy- sweet, gentle and quiet, but silently stubborn too. :) So much a little boy already, obsessed with cars, trains, sandboxes, and anything you can climb. While not much of a talker yet, you are still so expressive and bright. I love you so much and can't wait to see what kind of big boy you become.For Jack's birthday, we made this cake... and put it in a giant Tonka steel dumptruck, the coolest boy toy in the world. Grandmom, Meme, Papa, great-Aunt Sharon, his Godfather Don and two of the Brown children all turned out to celebrate with us. Jack loved singing Happy Birthday and eating "ahss-keem". We couldn't get him to blow out the candles though...he kept trying to grab the dump truck from us.

Friday, October 06, 2006

and for science today....

A small engineering project....
We are waiting for the counter guy to come today and install our new kitchen counters (woohoo!). In typical Master Procrastinator fashion, I waited until 8 this morning to start getting ready...putting away clean dishes that were left drying in the un-hooked-up sink, piling dirty dishes to soak in the camping cooler, clearing away the make-shift plywood counters and all the junk piled on them...I remembered that I had dropped part of our big cat food dispenser that we use when we are on vacation down between the cabinet and the wall. Once the counters are installed, this space will be sealed off forever...or at least until the kitchen is remodeled again in 30 years. I shined a flashlight down in the space and saw several things had made their way down there,,,one of Jack's cars (a nice wooden one too, not your average hot wheel), several pieces of candy from this ancient big bag leftover from LAST Halloween I have stowed up in the pantry. So, Maria and I stewed a bit,,,,tried various kitchen utensils that didn't reach...on a brilliant brain wave, I sent Maria upstairs to fetch the sticky tack. On a wave of her own, she also brought down the yard stick. We used these to stick the part to the cat feeder and bring it up. I hypothesized that the car would be too heavy to bring up this way. Maria tried the experiment anyway and my hypothesis was proven correct. We decided we needed something to try and hook the car around an axle, so we hunted up a wire coat hanger. After several tries, Maria managed to hook it and bring it up. The candy remained in the hole. 30 years from now, someone will tear out those cabinets and find ancient suckers and sweet tarts.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

stayed tuned

for a day in the life....
I've been wanting to do this at least once a school year...because you see, dear reader, this blog has a secondary purpose. I print it off and it serves as a journal for me. I've never stuck with a journal before, and I thought having an occasional actual reader to be accountable to would motivate me to stick with this one. You are all just pawns in my little plan. heehee. And I thought, "30 years from now, it'll be cool to look back and remember what a day was like when Maria was 10, Kain was 6, Jack was 2". Anyway, I've been waiting to get good and settled in our school year to do this,,,that way everyone is used to their routine, used to any new materials, etc. and we are in our groove so to speak. I also love reading others "day in the life" writings. When I was just starting homeschooling, I was fairly obsessed by these, reading in awe about families with half a dozen or more children (these always seemed to be the homes that ran most smoothly too). I was always amazed by the vast differences in different homeschooler's lives, how they juggled everything, how exhausting their days sounded. Now, I just enjoy a peek into other people's homes. And now that we are in our fourth year of homeschooling, and I am more amazed by the similarities than the differences. So, I have taken a peek at my calendar and picked a day that looks the most promising for an example of a "typical" day. This day will be next Friday. I tell you ahead of time because I have decided that when the day gets here we will stick with journaling it, no matter what, even if it goes haywire and Jack puts the cat in the drier or Maria throws up her breakfast,,,,because the unexpected *is* typical around here. I reserve the right to change the day *before* the actual day gets here...just because if something comes up and we end up being gone all day long, it won't be a homeschooling day really at all!

nothing like a good yard sale

I used to be a religious yard sale go-er. I relied on them heavily in fact...they were my main source of kid's clothing, toys, etc...and I used to go most Saturday mornings during the summer. I quit going a few years ago. They changed, somehow...for one thing, as Maria got older it became harder and harder to find clothing/toys in decent shape for her. When I did find a good sale, things were always so expensive! I would find a child's coat marked $25...the person selling would usually say something like, "I paid $80 for that coat and she only wore it a few times." now I gotta pay for your inclination to pay too much for your children's clothing? Going to yard sales is a pain, you know? This isn't entertainment for me, this is work! Lots of driving, getting in and out of the car, resisting your child's pleas for a cast off, naked, ratty-haired Barbie,,,,it's not worth my while to go if I'm going to spend as much as I would spend buying a similar item during my weekly trip to Wally World. Anyway, our church is having a yard sale this weekend and we went to check it out today. I have realized that these types of sales are worth going to....there's always a huge selection of stuff and the prices are really, really good. They are selling someone else's stuff, so there's no "I paid so much money for that" song and dance. Today we just went with pocket change and walked out with a nice Discovery Toys puzzle (50 cents), a Winnie the Pooh video ($1), and a Winnie the Pooh cd-rom (50 cents). Tomorrow's payday,,,,we shall return.