Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas update...I don't have the energy for a daybook entry

I reread through my Christmas countdown and thought it might sound snarky. Really, I was laughing as I typed it. You can only laugh at the end of a day like that! And our Christmas was very good also,,,in other ways. :) I have pictures and nice memories to share. Not today though. Today, the stomach virus that started with Kain is working it's way through the house. Maria and I started with it yesterday, and Tess during the night last there anything more pitiful than a vomiting baby? Kain had been better and I thought he might go back to his day treatment today, but then he threw up first thing this morning. Tess, Maria, and I have spent all day upstairs on my bed, napping and watching dvd's, while the boys play Wii downstairs. Not quite the Christmas break I'd pictured, but we are surviving and I'm glad they are letting me rest. I'm also thankful that everyone has been able to keep water down well. My house looks like a bomb went off. It's pretty bad, but what can you do? I'm just glad no one has burned it down, you know? I'm feeling somewhat better right now, just limp and noodley...and I just had some soup and crackers, my first solid food since yesterday's lunch. Jack and John still remain unscathed. I expect Jack to fall anytime. John may not...he rarely gets sick. Nurses have amazing immune systems. So, I'm hoping this bug doesn't last long and that we'll be back to normal soon. I'm looking to get the very, very messy school room cleaned up and organized before we start back to lessons.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Dad vs. Baby

Go check this little clip out on Danielle Bean's site. This just cracked me up this morning, because this is *so* John and Tessie....

Friday, December 25, 2009

a Christmas countdown

6- The number of inches of snow called for overnight by the National Weather Service that caused our entire family to cancel their plans to get together at my parents' place on Christmas Day.

5- The number of trips to the kitchen Kain made on Christmas Eve to fill his plate with antipasto, dill pickles, fudge, cookies, and cake.

4- The number of nativity pieces knocked off the nativity set when Maria accidentally hurled her Wii remote across the room while "bowling". The Wii was a new gift this year.

3- The number of times Kain vomited dill pickle and fudge after going to bed Christmas Eve.

2- The number of injuries sustained on Christmas Day- John burned himself with his new soldering iron. Jack was given a bloody nose when backhanded by John with a Wii remote when he was "canoing". I think it hurt John more than it hurt Jack.

1- The number of inches of snow we actually got.

0- The number of times Kain managed to hit the toilet, bucket, or a receptacle of any kind while vomiting.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Daybook- last week of Advent!

For today, December 21st...

Outside my window...dark and cold. John had to scrape ice off the car this morning before he left. Unlike the rest of the country, we have had much of that yet. We are supposed to get hit with some ugliness Christmas Eve though.

I am thinking...about how I am never *quite done* with Christmas shopping. I've ordered everything online that needed to be ordered. I made one last trip to Wally World yesterday (Oh my WORD, that place is so INSANE right now). And I thought I was done. When I got home, I realized that I'd forgotten one of Maria's gifts (sigh). I'm going to grab it today. Then I'm REALLY done.

I am thankful for...relative good health for the kids. Kain had an appointment with the pulmonologist last week and she said he had an ear infection...we had no idea! But no flu or anything still.

From the learning rooms...we are on Christmas break! Woohoo! Learning, of course, continues, all the time. My kids are very involved in Christmas preparations. And Maria will still press on with some math over most of the break. We need to get done what I can...we're having a baby in the spring!

From the kitchen...fudge. We are making homemade fudge for Christmas boxes and to put out on cookie plates on Christmas Eve/Day. Otherwise, I'm doing very little baking this year. Even the cookies are from refrigerator dough. Scandalous, yes? My lower back and hips are already killing me from all the shopping. I'm begging out of baking this year.

I am blue fuzzy bathrobe! Yay, it's clean, and still smells vaguely of baby bath.

I am creating...some Montessori-ish activities for Tess over Christmas break. She's *ready* already. I'm finding her doing things like trying to lace up Kain's shoes and rolling balls through the tunnel on the cat perch. She's ready.

I am reading...Matilda, by Roald Dahl. I bought a big stack of books second hand from another homeschooler, and it had a whole mess of Roald Dahl in it. :)

I am hoping...that Jack heals up. He had a nasty scratch from one of the cats and it's infected. It was *beyond gross* on Saturday, ick. I've been scrubbing it, putting hydrogen peroxide and antibiotic ointment on it, and it's looking a lot better, but not quite so much better that I'm done worrying about it. Also, I *love* cleaning up gross wounds. It's oddly satisfying to me to clean up some messy looking thing and watch it heal up. Isn't that weird? Maybe when I'm done raising kids I'll be a wound care nurse.

I am hearing...Martha Speaks on PBS...Tess and Jack woke up while I was typing and I put this on for them. And I just heard Kain get up and head for the bathroom, which is a good thing, it's time for him to get up.

Around the house...we are getting our Christmas tree tomorrow. I have no idea where we are going to put it.

The baby this week...I'm 25 weeks this week. Too early for all these back-aches. I think it's going to be a long last trimester! I started having Braxton-Hicks contractions yesterday. I read that Michelle Duggar went into premature labor and had her baby already, and she was only a couple of weeks further along than me. I can't imagine.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Today- therapy for Kain, and he will be going to day treatment today and tomorrow. Otherwise...Christmas! Christmas Eve we will go to evening mass and the Christmas pageant. Maria will be singing in the choir, Jack will be in the pageant for the first time as a shepherd, and Kain will be in his final pageant performance, a break-out role as Caesar Augustus. :) Christmas Day we will keep that age-old tradition of having the kids open up all their gifts and then forcing them, amongst much wailing and gnashing of teeth, to leave them all to go visit family.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...
Memories of warmer weather...these are from a nature walk in August. Isn't Tess' rear-end a scream? She had a disposable diaper on and it blew up like a balloon.

H/T to Peggy at Simple Woman's Daybook. Join us!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Daybook in December

For today, December 14th...

Outside my window...It is still very dark and very early in the morning. But today is supposed to be sunny and 60 degrees! Woohoo!

I am thinking...about those coffee mate flavored creamers available this time of year,,,gingerbread and eggnog and caramel apple flavored. I'm avoiding sugar in the interest of having a less-huge baby, but I've been missing them every morning!

I am thankful for...a generous Christmas gift from my in-laws that will allow us to finally finish our privacy fence. It was only 2/3 done when we bought the house and we've paid "handymen" twice to work on it and twice got ripped off. We've never been able to afford an actual fence company until now. This means that we can get a dog in the spring!

From the learning rooms...Kain is not with us for school right now. He will be going to therapeutic day treatment for a few months. He's doing ok, just more of the same, and lots of attitude problems regarding schoolwork that I just can't deal with anymore. So, his schoolwork is out of my hands. I am working on a unit on "Safety Friends" with Jack...firefighters and police officers and such. Lots of fun! Maria is learning about classification of living things, factoring, and the Greek-Persian wars.

From the kitchen...tonight we will have a cornbread-chili casserole for dinner. I've been using e-mealz lately. I'm not sure how I feel about their menus. They are pretty good and definitely handy, but my grocery bill has gone up a bit using them and I do miss planning my seasonal menus. I just don't have the gumption right now. Maybe after Christmas.

I am wearing...I'm not dressed yet! I'm wearing the grey sweatpants and white tshirt I slept in. Sexy, no? I'm also freezing. My bathrobe is in the laundry. It mysteriously got baby bath spilled all over it.

I am creating...some ornaments to put on our Jesse Tree for using *after* Christmas. We bought a little tabletop tree this year to use for our Jesse Tree. It won't count for our *real* Christmas tree of course. I wish it would! It takes up a lot less room! But I would have a mutiny on my hands if I tried that.

I am have a busy Monday. I have to take Kain to TDT. Then I have to pick him up at 10 and take him to the pulmonologist, and then take him back to TDT. Then I have to pick him up at 2:30 and take him to therapy. Then Maria has dance class tonight at 7. Thankfully John is off today and can help with some of the running around.

I am reading...old back issues of Mothering. Someone gave me a stack a while back that I'm slowly working through. They date all the way back to when I was pregnant with Maria, and it's funny to see how dated the photos look!

I am hoping...that everyone stays well. Tessie has been congested with yucky stuff for a couple of days. Kain's asthma is acting up. Maria said last night that she felt queasy. I prayed that everyone would stay well through our trip to Dallas two weeks ago, and everyone did. Now I'm waiting for the other shoe to fall. We've had almost no illness so far this year. It's coming. I can feel it.

I am hearing...nothing at all. Everyone is still asleep! Oh...wait,,,I hear a couple of birds starting to cheep at the bird feeder outside the living room window. Poor cold birdies!

Around the house...we have done very little for Advent this year. Honestly, my planning for such things has been atrocious since I became pregnant. I'm hoping to pick up the ball again for the Christmas season. By Christmas season, I mean the real one that starts after Advent, not the one that walmart says starts on Black Friday. :)

One of my favorite fuzzy warm bathrobe. And gingerbread flavored coffee creamer. I'm feeling whiny this morning, huh? Here's something good---feeling the baby kick. I finally feel him kick on regular basis. That seemed late in coming this time and I was getting worried about it, so it's sweet to feel him moving around.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Oh, it's a busy one. Tomorrow, John and I are going Christmas shopping together. I don't really like to shop, but this will be fun I think. Thursday- library day and occupational therapy for Kain. Friday- midwife appointment.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...from our recent trip to Dallas. Our trip was for the Southern Region Oireachtas, an Irish dance competition that qualifies dancers to compete at the national level. She didn't place, which truly wasn't expected at all...she is still a beginner and it was her first oireachtas. It was a fun experience though. It was a girls' road trip...Maria and I, my mom, and Tessie, living it up in the big city. Here's some pics of Tessie in Dallas.

Tessie's feet in little Irish dance socks...aren't they cute!

Eating New York style pizza at this *amazing* place near the hotel. It was so good we went twice!

Both of the girls were fascinated by the pigeons that let you get so close. Our birds at home aren't that friendly!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

What happens when you turn on the news to check the weather and then leave the room

Kain, walking into the kitchen where I am refilling my coffee-
"There was a teenage drug-induced sex party. Whatever that means."

Thursday, November 26, 2009

feis pictures

My Irish dancer at her latest feis...I have some video, but she's dancing with some other girls in it and I don't have permission to post it. I'll have to get some of just her next time.

The presenting of the colors.

Taking a break between dances...those dresses are really heavy and really hot. They wear tank tops underneath so they can cool off. Also makes costume changes easier!

Gobble, gobble

Happy Thanksgiving, ya'll!

We are having an odd one here. John is working...he always is. Working at a hospital, he has to put in his holiday time somewhere, so he works Thanksgiving and New Year's so that he can have Christmas Eve and Day off. So, every year, the kids and I usually end up going to see family for Thanksgiving and then I make a turkey dinner here at home on another day that John is off. Well, this year, due to a complicated turn of events, we are having Thanksgiving dinner here for my family...on Sunday. Today, we started the day with mass, and now we are watching the big parade and Charlie Brown on TV, and reading a couple of Thanksgiving picture books. Later, we will make a gratitude tree (something like this one, only a version we can put on the dining room wall). But we will have chicken and rice for dinner. No pie. Not yet.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

an ultrasound pic!

Meet our new little inkblot. :) Just 20 weeks old this week.

You can't tell in this particular picture, but it's a boy! No, we don't have a name yet. We are considering several, and we keep waffling...I think we might just wait until this one is born and see what fits!

It was so fun to "meet" this baby. He was moving a lot, waving his arms and legs around, which is so odd to see because I still can't really feel very much movement. They tried to get a profile of his face, but every which way she approached he kept turning his head toward the ultrasound wand! We saw all the parts...beating heart, stomach, bladder, kidneys, spine, etc. So amazing, all of that going on and he only weighs 13 ounces, about 6-7 inches long (that's crown to rump, not the whole baby) could just hold him in one hand.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Tess's first sentences.

Tess will be 18 months old in a few days. She says quite a few words now and will try to repeat almost anything. She says a couple of phrases/sentences too...

---"Got cheese?"
---"Mmmm, it's good."

One is often followed by the other.

I've got lots of backed up pictures to post, and I'm overwhelmed with the thoughts of digging through them all, so I think I'll try to do a few at a time.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Sometimes there are issues with my children's behavior that can be chalked up to childishness or immaturity...Jack's love of streaking around naked, Tess's sudden love of running through the house shrieking for no reason at all than to hear her own voice...irritating, but things that I know will pass.

Other behaviors are more troubling, because they show character issues that need to be addressed, and I'm not always sure how to do that. And if you do address them, that often doesn't mean *fixing* them...don't we all have those character issues that we are called to constantly work on? (Ahem...I'm blogging again when my house is a mess. Sloth, anyone?)

Kain is very...greedy. I almost said materialistic, but I don't think it's that really. His greediness does often center around things, but not just things. Attention, time, physical affection, food...the greed for these things is all understandable given his past circumstances, but we have been feeding these needs as best we can for three years now, and still the hunger for all of these things rages out of control. In fact, this greed is one of the top two causes of his misbehavior I think. Have we not figured out how to fill this kid's tank? Is it not possible to do so?

Anyway, one of the more amusing/irritating (depending on my mood and how hard he is willing to do battle) ways this greed shows itself is his need to *own* things. He loves *stuff*, which is why I almost said "materialistic" earlier. He will often (twice just today) come to me with some random item and ask if he can have it. Usually this is an inconsequential item...a small toy that lives in the playroom, some trinket he finds outside, even something he's fished out of the recycling can. Often I don't even know what he means by "have it". In our house, as I think is often the case in houses with several kids, most toys, books, games, craft materials, dvd's, etc., are held in common. Even when a child receives a something as a gift, eventually it migrates to the common areas of the house and becomes rather communal. There's just not space to have "Kain's legos" and "Jack's legos" and so on. The kids know that, generally speaking, they are expected to share their things and in exchange they get to share other people's things. If something gets damaged/lost in the sharing, then the child responsible will make good on it. And any child that complains about the arrangements is bound to get my "one of the benefits of having brothers and sisters is that you will learn how to share and get along with other people and become a better Christian/wife/husband/father/mother/employee/friend/human being someday" speech.

Anyway, so when he comes out of the playroom with some random matchbox car or old Happy Meal toy, what does he mean by "have it"? Can he play with it? He already is doing so. Can he carry it around and such for a time? I guess, if no one else wants a turn with it. Can he put it in his backpack (where all his most prized stuff lives) and refuse to let anyone else touch it? No, of course not. And he knows this. And when I ask him, "What do you mean by 'have it'? What is to be gained by carrying it around in your backpack that can't be gotten by just playing with it when you want to do so?" And he can't really answer me. So why do we have to continue to have this discussion at least a couple of times a week for the last three years? And how can I teach this child to have a more generous heart? Because his need to lay claim to everything else (time, attention, food) is a constant source of struggle in this house. He receives more of all of these things than any of the other children, and it's still not enough. That is try and try and not be enough for a child.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

real-life math

Kain- How old is Uncle John?

Me- Um...46, I think?

Kain- Oh. Well,,,that's not too bad.

Me- Oh yeah?

Kain- Yeah! He still has 34 good years left.

Monday, November 09, 2009

I think he's catching on.

Kain- JACK! Quit singing that song!

Me- Kain, stop yelling at Jack. You taught him that song in the first place.

Kain- Yeah, but now it's irritating.

Me- Yes, children are often irritating.

Kain- Aunt Mel!

Me- Sorry, Kain, I meant all the *other* children. Not you.

Kain- Oh. Ok.


Kain- Aunt Mel?

Me- Yes, Kain?

Kain- You were being sarcastic just then, weren't you?

Me- Yep.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


Me- Ok, put up your phonics book and go get your spelling book.

Kain- What???!! Can't I have a break?

Me- You've done 15 minutes of work today. Why do you need a break?

Kain, voice raising to a shriek- Because I need some FREE TIME, OK?

Me- You were awake for 2 hours before we started school this morning. That's enough free time.


Sunday, November 01, 2009

Why, hello there!

Did you think I had departed to that great Lego-strewn playroom in the sky?

I'm still around, and helplessly behind on posting...since I last posted, we've had a couple of birthdays, a couple of midwife visits, a minor holiday or two, a minor illness or three...I have lots of pictures to upload and too much to ever write about. So, how about some random updates...

...Praise the Lord, Halloween is over. Gathering up costumes for four kids, plus All Saints' Day costumes as well, has been just about more than I can handle. Now I just have to ride out the candy wave for a few days and it'll all be behind us.

...The first trimester is done! I am now 16 weeks along and feeling in that weird in-between stage of pregnancy, that one where I'm no longer nauseous and not really feeling the baby move either. Up until last week we'd had trouble finding the baby's heartbeat with the Doppler, and part of me was convinced that the whole thing was just a big mistake and I wasn't pregnant after all. But we did find it! There's definitely a baby in there after all! Which makes me feel lots better about the recent move into maternity clothes.

...Tess is delicious. I just love toddlers. She is a joy, sweet and happy and so funny. Today I was getting out of the shower and she was watching me intently- staring up at me as I dried off and wrapped a towel around my head, looking a little unsure, as she always does, that it was still really Momma under that towel- watching me kiss and put on my scapular, watching me put on deodorant and get dressed,,,all the while she just looked like her gears were turning and she wasn't missing a thing. Then the towel came off my head and she smiled in relief that it was still really Momma after all, and we settled on the bed for a snuggle and a nurse. Yep, she's still nursing, as much as ever. One of the sweetest things about Tess is that she is *so* in love with Daddy. Oh my goodness. I've not had a child that has been like this. It's very sweet to see. John just came home from work, and she is just enraptured.

...Jack is really growing up a lot this year. He just turned five last month. He loves his preschool class at the co-op and his PSR class at church. We are still waiting to have him evaluated for autism spectrum disorder. Waiting is hard. Some things are improving with him. Other things seem to be harder. He has this need to run through the upcoming day, over and over and over again, the exact same script. At times when I can't prepare him for exactly what will happen, he has a really hard time. He was really out of sorts at our homeschool group's All Saints' Day was in an unfamiliar place, very crowded with lots of people he didn't know very well, and he kept following me around and fussing, "Everyone is in my way!" He's so sweet though, and so smart. His latest obsession is with outer space, and he sits and reads our science books about the planets. He has them all memorized and is glad to rattle them off for anybody. If Tess is a Daddy's girl, Jack is definitely Momma's boy. He's not very affectionate or tuned in to many people, but boy, he loves his Momma and is very affectionate towards me. And I sure do love him madly.

...Kain is...well, Kain has his good weeks and bad weeks. We are in the middle of a run of bad weeks. It's really difficult and really draining. I feel like we fight all day long. We do fight all day long. School is really difficult for him and I think his learning issues are more significant that he was originally diagnosed with at age 6. He was so unbelievably hyperactive then that I think it would have masked any more subtle problems. So we are in the process of having him re-evaluated.

...Maria just turned 13 in September. What can I say? She's a chip off the old block. Outgoing as can be, involved in everything, my right hand and a little mother to her siblings...except for Kain. She and Kain fight over carpet lint. She's doing really well with her school work this year. Oh, her spelling is still atrocious, her writing is certainly not on grade level. She's still dyslexic, in other words. But she's really matured in her ability to handle her school work. She doesn't dissolve into tears over her reading and writing assignments anymore! She is very busy with her Irish dancing. She has two competitions coming up in the next couple of months, and it's great to watch her have something she enjoys so much.

...I guess the main reason I have kind of subconsciously avoided writing is because I got a criticism, not particularly about my blog, I don't know if this person even reads my blog, but from somewhere else, that I write too personally, that I share too much about my life,,,a bit raw I guess. It stung, and I thought about it for a long time. This person is probably right. I sat on this information for a while. And here's my conclusion. I don't really know any way else to be. I'm just kind of a "let it all hang out" kind of person. There are people who read this blog that know me quite well in real life, including my parents and my husband, and I think they would tell you that I am pretty much just exactly the same in person as I am on this blog. I do have boundaries. I won't tell you about the latest argument with my husband. I won't say anything about my children to intentionally embarrass them. And as Maria gets older, I do try to be conscious of her privacy and not to share things that she wouldn't want me to share. I try to have some common sense about keeping my family safe, and in that vein I consciously avoid, in words or pictures, giving away any geographical information. But in general, I write this blog in the way I would chat with a friend. If I know you outside this blog, you probably are a friend, and you won't read anything here that wouldn't come out if we were sitting over a cup of coffee. And if I don't know you outside this blog, well, I guess I just don't see how it matters if some random person who tripped across my blog reads this post and knows I have that I legos on my playroom floor, you know? Trying to write differently would feel very awkward and false and just kind of defeat my reasons for writing.

...One last thing, I would like to give a shout out to my Grandma W. who celebrated her birthday recently. I haven't gotten to see her in a long, long time, but she has been keeping up with us all through my blog almost since the beginning, and it's always really sweet to think of someone else out there that enjoys reading about the kids and seeing their pictures as much as I do.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

What Tess does when we are doing school....

Today she has----

---gotten the dregs out of an empty peanut butter jar she found in the trash and schmeared it all over her legs and head.

---emptied a new container of baby wipes.

---emptied an almost new case of diet pepsi, carrying each can carefully from the kitchen to the living room couch.

---stashed all of her playdishes in the giant stock pot that lives under the kitchen sink.

---emptied the recycling can so many times that I finally moved it behind a baby gate.

---tossed a hamper of clean laundry all over the dining room.

She's a busy girl!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

bedtime fun

When Kain went to bed, we found that Jack, who had already been in bed for an hour, had unwound most of a double roll of toilet paper. It started down the hallway and then criss-crossed back and forth across the room many times. He said, "I'm building a toilet paper road."

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Nothing new under the sun

I. Feel. Like. Crap.

There, I said it. I always feel bad being all gripey and pissy when I'm pregnant, because I know it is a small cross compared with the blessing of carrying a healthy baby, and a couple of very sweet online friends have had miscarriages recently and so I feel completely ungrateful and ridiculous griping about something they dearly wish they were still dealing with,,,but there it is. I'm sooooo nauseated and soooo tired and everything is sooooo behind, schoolwork is behind, the house is trashed, I'm sooooo sick and tired of cooking food for these people that insist on eating EVERY DANG DAY, wah wah wah, would you please give me your hankie, "PHHHHHHHHTTTTTHHH", thank you so much.

This afternoon I was thinking, "This is way worse than I felt last time. Way worse. It's gotta be." And so I went poking back in my blog and found this post. And this one. And this one. And this one. So I guess not. Also, I am a big whiner, apparently. So, I hear by promise, with this post, to stop all whining about this first trimester and all its assorted unpleasantness. Besides, I can't offer it up if I whine about it.

And now...I'm off to fix dinner.

Six more weeks to the second trimester! Come on, week 14!

Friday, September 04, 2009

midwife visit, #1

We made our first visit to the midwife today. Here's a recap----

--My tentative due date is April 14th. I'm not terribly certain of my dates. In fact, the more I think about it the more I think this may be a bit early. Which is too bad, because it always is lousy to "be late", even when you know you probably aren't even really the time that due date comes, you are ready to go!

--I've lost two pounds. Which is just dandy, cuz I've got it in spades to lose. Still, I'm tired of being nauseated. It's pretty bad this time, compared to the last two.

--I'm a bit anemic already...need to get some more vitamins.

--Otherwise, everything looks good. Fairly uneventful visit...too early to hear the heartbeat or anything exciting like that. My pregnancies always feel a bit surreal for me until I hear that heartbeat, like someone will say, "Well, we've made a mistake, you aren't really pregnant after all."

Now I've got to go fix dinner...My nausea really hits in the evening, so cooking dinner is a special kind of sacrifice. :)

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

making room for baby

We co-sleep in our house. We have a king-sized bed in our bedroom with a crib-turned-co-sleeper (by taking one side off the crib) bumpered up against it. Tess sleeps in the co-sleeper, and by early morning she will travel into our bed to nurse. Jack sleeps downstairs in a bedroom he shares with Kain, but by morning he has also traveled into our bed and snuggles up between me and John. Now that we have another baby coming, we have to start thinking about how to manage our sleeping situation. Frankly, my preference would be to get my hippy on and throw down a bunch of mattresses on the floor. Groovy. But I don't think my husband will go for that.

I'm thinking of putting a toddler bed in our bedroom and trying to get Jack to sleep in that when he comes upstairs. Then Tess can sleep between John and I and the baby can be in the co-sleeper. But honestly, most of the time we don't even wake up when he comes into our bed. And he's not really capable of understanding what we want him to do if we discuss it in advance. If we do wake up during the night and send him to the toddler bed, he is likely to start crying and wake up Tess. He will fight it hard, because he fights all change hard and gets very upset when things aren't like they are "supposed" to be.

Another option is to wait until closer to time and train Tess to sleep in the toddler bed. This may actually be easier. Even though Tess is younger, she is more flexible and a better sleeper in general.

Or we can do both...make up some kind of bed for Jack on the floor and try to get him to eventually reach the point of going there when he comes upstairs, and then also put the toddler bed upstairs for Tess and work on training her to sleep there.

Or we could go ahead and move Tess into the bedroom with Maria. The difficulty there is that they have very different bedtimes and I'm not sure how Tess would sleep through Maria settling down for the night.

Anyway...if you've made it this far, thanks for reading my rambling, barely coherent thoughts on the subject!

those bookshelves in the school room

Two people have asked about those white bookshelves attached to the wall in my school room pictures down there...I meant to mention those! So cool! Those are rain gutters! haha! Like the super long pieces of vinyl rain gutter that you can buy at Home Depot? I bought a huge piece for something like $4, and they cut it into pieces for me at the store. My husband screwed them into the wall. Make sure you find studs, because they will hold quite a lot of weight with books in them. I love them! I wish I had more wall space to put in more! I got this idea from The Read-Aloud Handbook.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Getting our school year on

Here are some photos from our first couple of weeks of school!

Projects from Jack's first week of preschool.

The preschool table from our first week.

This came out really dark...Maria and Kain decorating new notebooks.

A school table loaded with goodies to enjoy.

More photos of our new school room, open for business...

We went on a field trip to a local nature center. I'm sad to say this picture of a distracted Jack was the only one I took. We are visiting again soon though and I'll take more.

Afterwards we went to the lake with our friends for one last picnic and swim before fall arrives.

Yes, the big kids were there too! But they were off with friends, swimming. I only saw the two littles most of the time we were at the lake.

Thank you, everyone, for your sweet congratulations. I'm feeling very tired and very nauseous and very ready for the first trimester to BE DONE ALREADY. I was having a hard time getting organized for this new school year as it was, and now some days I feel like I'm circling the drain. But we keep muddling along as best we can, and experience tells me that in a few weeks I'll be feeling much better.

Friday, August 21, 2009

They're playing our song

We have a family favorite called Over in the Meadow. We sang it constantly when Jack was a baby...he cried all the time in the car and this song was the only thing that calmed him.

Do you know the song? Sing along!

Over in the meadow, in the sand and the sun, lived an old mother turtle and her little turtle one.

"Dig," said the mother. "I dig," said the one. So they dug all day in the sand and the sun.

Over in the meadow, where the stream runs blue, lived an old mother fish and her little fishies two.

"Swim," said the mother. "We swim," said the two. So they swam and they leaped where the stream runs blue.

Over in the meadow, in a hole in a tree, lived a mother bluebird and her little birdies three.

"Sing," said the mother. "We sing," said the three. So they sang and were glad in the hole in the tree.

Over in the meadow, in the reeds on the shore, lived a mother muskrat and her little ratties four.

"Dive," said the mother. "We dive," said the four. So they dived and they burrowed in the reeds on the shore.

Over in the meadow, in a snug beehive, lived a mother honeybee and her little honeys five.

"Buzz," said the mother. "We buzz," said the five. So they buzzed and the hummed near the snug beehive.

Here's the latest buzz. We are expecting our new little bee sometime around the end of April!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

an exercise in frustration

I haven't really said much about our new school year. It's been a bit of a rough start this year. It's all Tess's fault. People often ask how we homeschool with babies...the babies are easy! When you put them down, they stay in one place! They take more naps! And even when they are cranky, they are usually happy to sit in a sling and nurse. Now, homeschooling with toddlers...that's a whole 'nother ball of wax. They aren't happy to just sit on your lap, not unless they can turn (rip) the pages of the math book and toss the pencils on the floor. When they want anything, they want it RIGHT NOW. And if they are playing quietly and happily somewhere,,,well, you're really in trouble then.

All of that isn't my biggest issue though. I can (most days) roll with the punches of toddler interruptions, and I've developed some coping strategies. My biggest problem is that Tess will no longer sleep without me. She's still a great long as I am RIGHT THERE. Here's how it goes down.

In the mornings, I try to get up and have some child-free time to catch up on computer stuff and load up on caffeine. At 6am, my little watch alarm goes off and I shove my wrist under my pillow to keep it from waking up Tess. She is usually nursing at this point in the morning, so when she seems to be done, I unlatch her and roll her over into her crib-turned-cosleeper, and she seems to settle down. Then Jack sits up and looks at me, and I tell him to lay down and go back to sleep. When he seems to be sleeping again, I start to plan my exit...if John is up, I might crawl over Jack and out his side of the bed. If not, I have to execute the far riskier climb out from between Jack and Tess. If I make it out of the bed with everyone still asleep, I ooch down the stairs. But Tess is not sound asleep, and she will be up as soon as she realizes I am gone. That would be fine...she's usually a happy baby and would play and let me get my caffeine on in relative peace...except that she's tired and cranky this early in the morning and really needs to sleep longer, so usually I opt to stay in bed and let her sleep so that she will be happier during the day. Why is she cranky? She's been up too late! That's because....

In the evenings, we have a whole other song and dance. Tess starts falling apart around dinner time because she's doing that whole painful switch from two naps to one nap. And so right after dinner, I take her upstairs and get her to sleep. She conks right out. I lay her in her crib, and she sleeps...anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour. If I zip back up there and nurse her again, she'll probably go back to sleep...for a while. But she won't really sleep well until I come up there for the night, and if I push my luck too long she will wake up for reals and then be up until waaaaay too late. And of course, I can't go to bed with her at 8. Even if I was so inclined, I have three other kids to get to bed, messes to finish cleaning up, laundry to fold, and the following day to prepare for.

So here's where I find myself,,,well-rested, but perpetually falling apart and behind because I don't have the time to get my stuff done.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

I swear, I couldn't MAKE this stuff up...

On the "Notice of Intent to Homeschool" forms we have to fill out for the school district every year, it says,

"Please fill out clearly and legible."

Yes'm. Me and Bubba'll just keep learnin' 'em at home....

I feel an ER visit coming on...

We've had so many close calls with Tess...I haven't even blogged about them, really. Tess falling out of her high chair onto her face, that was a while ago...Tess rolled off of our bed, landed on her head, and passed out, that was a couple of months ago. I think she passed out because she was crying so hard she couldn't breathe, not because of a concussion, but we went to the ER anyway and got her her very first CT scan. She has learned how to climb the furniture, but not how to get down or how to avoid falling off the edge, so we've had lots of tumbles...literally, several times a day. Most of them are minor.

Today, though, we had a complication. I was cleaning the boys' room and Tess was in there with me. She had climbed up on Jack's toddler bed and promptly tumbled backwards off of it. When I went to pick her up I could see something in her mouth...a pistachio shell.

**note to self...pistachios are NOT a good idea in homes with toddlers.**

I tried to fish it out, but it was too far back to get easily and I didn't want to push it further back. What I *did* do, though, was really tick her off at that point, and she started crying hard and sucked that durned thing right into her windpipe. She started coughing and choking and then...nothing. She wasn't moving any air and started to turn blue and just as full panic set in, she wretched and up it came.

No ER visit today. But it was close!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Tess the toddler

Today, Tessie...

---found a bottle of blue sugar sprinkles, somehow, and chewed a hole in the bottom of the jar. The kitchen floor is still sticky.

---found the 45 count bag of plastic spoons and emptied them all onto the kitchen floor. Three times. That's 135 spoons, I believe.

---found the bottle of red food coloring Maria was using for a science experiment, got the cap off and emptied the whole thing all over her face, hands, feet, and down her mouth. She's had a bath. She's still pink.

---pooped in the tub during her bath, and then fought tooth and nail to try and grab some of it before I managed to fish her out.

Thursday, August 06, 2009


"You are going to have to wean him off of this, you know?"

I looked up, confused, from my position by Jack's feet. We were at the dentist, Jack's second check-up ever. The first one had gone ok. This one wasn't going very well. I was sitting at his feet, holding his hands and coaching him through it.

"What? Wean him off of what?" I said.

"Off of needing you to help him get through these things. He's almost school-aged after all."

Ah yes. Translation- "Your child is anxious because of you. You are hovering and being too overprotective."

I wasn't trying to hover at all. I was trying to help. She was doing it all wrong, and that's why this check up wasn't going as well as the last one. We'd had a different hygienist then, a quieter one that didn't talk and joke constantly and try to pretend the spit sucker was an alligator, one that knew me from our church and was willing to let me help my son get through this. Don't get me wrong, this one was very nice and personable, and with another child she probably would have been great, but she was just too much for Jack.

Jack *is* very anxious in new situations, and he has lots of sensory issues, and if you can imagine that you are the kind of person that is made anxious by unfamiliar sensory experiences, and that you had only been to the dentist once before, and then put yourself in that chair...the sounds of lots of people talking and equipment humming, the metalic/rubbing alcohol smell of the exam room, sitting in an unfamiliar chair that tilts you back and puts you face to face with an unfamiliar person, bright lights shining on you, and then this person wants to *put* things in your *mouth*?

Oh no. No, no, no. It was a set up for big issues, and she was handling it all wrong for Jack. She was trying to distract him, playing silly games, asking him lots of questions about his family,,,these were the worst things to do, they just added to his stimulation and confusion. And the whole "pretending there's an alligator in your mouth" thing just sent him over the top. Jack has no imagination. She might as well have told him she was putting a real alligator in his mouth. He kept grabbing the instruments and pulling them out with a wild-eyed look on his face. That's why I was holding his hands. I wasn't holding him *down*, I was just trying to soothe him and kind of "translate" everything for him..."It's like a loud straw, Jack, it just sucks the water out of your mouth like a straw," I murmured to him. "Yeah, it's like a vacuum!" she said brightly, and I sighed...Jack is afraid of vacuums. It's just a little toothbrush, Jack, it tastes like bubble gum and it makes your teeth all clean," I continued softly. "It's crunchy, isn't it?" she put in, trying to help. "I don't like crunchy toothpaste!" Jack said, alarmed and trying to sit up. The hygienist then insisted that I sit back and let her handle him. *I* was the problem. I sighed and sat back, knowing at that point that the visit was over. I was his lifeline to the familiar. He trusted me, not her, and with me out of the picture there was no way he was going to tolerate this. If she would have at least taken her cues from me and talked more softly, explained things more...I watched as she struggled to talk him into letting her put alligators into his mouth and talked brightly about the prize he would get at the end if he kept his hands by his pockets. I watched as Jack struggled to get his hands to stay down by his pockets, but they kept flitting uncontrollably around his face where that stranger kept putting strange feeling, strange tasting instruments. She decided a sterner attitude was needed and put her face in his eyeline and told him Momma would have to leave the room if he didn't cooperate. "She's yelling at me!" Jack said, alarmed. It scares him when strangers correct him, and the forced eye contact had pushed him over the edge. His eyes welled up. She gave up and said we would need to take him to a pediatric dentist, one who was used to "handling children like him". "But," she warned, "they won't let you go back. They don't let parents go back at all. Research shows it's easier to control the children when their parents aren't there." We left with our free toothbrush in hand. No prize though. Prizes were for children who behaved.

Wasn't *I* used to handling "children like him"? Why was my help rejected and seen as a threat and interference? And why oh why do we feel the need to wean such young children from their parents? He's four years old! Four short years ago he was inside my body and then at my breast! Why are we so bothered when a four year old isn't "independent"? Why is a dentist office, a place scary to many *adults*, the place to learn independence? And why are we so sure that forcing them to be independent is the best way to go? Do we really believe that if we don't force our children to endure such things without the comfort of a parent they will become 35 year old adults that need their mommies to hold their hands? In my experience, independence comes very naturally when children are ready to take it, when they have been nurtured and loved into self-confidence.

I have a lot of short-comings as a parent, I'm the first to admit it, but I am *not* hovering and overprotective. Jack is anxious and nervous because that's who he *is* right now, and it is part of my job at this time to help him navigate the world, to show him that the world is not a scary place, that there are not alligators in your mouth, that crunchy toothpaste doesn't hurt you, and that vacuum cleaners can be trusted.

**an update, several years later. Jack is 9 years old now. We did finally try the dentist again, a pediatric dentist used to handling all kinds of children, including "like him". And they do let me go back. I go back with all my kids, in fact. So there.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009


I'm trying to combine all of our out of town running around. Maria's dance class is going to be on Monday nights this year. I requested this. Last year it was on Tuesday mornings, which worked out nicely because our homeschool co-op met on Tuesdays. Well, our homeschool co-op moved to Thursdays this year. Which still works out ok, because Kain has occupational therapy down that way on Thursdays. But that left dance class all by itself on Tuesday mornings. Kain has behavioral therapy on Monday afternoons, so I thought if we moved dance class to Monday nights, we could combine things up and only have to be out of pocket half the day on Monday and all day on Thursdays. Tired yet? Wait, it gets better....

Kain starts Upward flag football next week. When you fill out the application, you can request that your child's practice not be scheduled for a certain night of the week. Well, when I registered him we hadn't moved Maria's dance class yet. I realized this the other day and thought, "Oh well, what are the odds it will be on Monday night?" I got a phone call from his coach. Guess what nights his practice will be? Yep...Monday nights, and bumping right up against the time Maria's dance class will be starting 40 minutes away.

So,,,I sat down with my planner, the football schedule, and John's planner. I figured, it's not for forever, football only lasts 10 weeks, and John has Monday off quite a bit. From what I can tentatively gather, if I can keep John from signing up for any extra overtime on Mondays for the next couple of months, there are only two Mondays of actual conflict. Not bad. But I'm not sure what to do about it. Football season is short, and they have one practice for each game. Kain....isn't very good. :) He needs the practice, God love him. Maria would *loathe* to be late for dance. I guess if I can't work anything else out though, we will have to pull him out early and take her in late for those couple of dates.

Or, I can learn to bilocate.

turn off the tv and have a baby!

Save the world! Love it!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

our slow start

Our school year is starting out with a sputter instead of a bang.
Kain had two appointments yesterday, so that made it hard to get much done. I did sit down with Maria and look at her new school year, and I recorded her "back to school interview"...we do these every year and record them for posterity. We decorated our new prayer journals, spelling notebooks, and binders. And I did Jack's first preschool lesson with him. See the new sidebar? Jack's preschool for the week...I am loving Little Saints. It requires a lot of preparation, but it will be perfect for Jack this year, a fun and gentle way to work on some of the skills he struggles with...sitting still and listening, following directions, having actual two- way conversations...anyway, today Kain and I sat down with his books this morning and we also got his interview done. We went to the and met my parents there, and after a day of swimming Kain went home with them until this weekend. See what I mean? A sputter...but that's ok. I think it will actually work out nicely. Maria is doing some unfamiliar stuff this year, so this will give me plenty of time to get her going before I add Kain to our school day.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

How we are doing.....

Hello there!

We are still here. I am behind on my computer stuff again, including my blog reader, so I hope everyone out there is well too. We are starting school tomorrow, so hopefully getting back into a routine will allow me some time to catch up. Ironically...the more we need to do in a day, the more we seem to get done.

We've had a nice summer break. I've been meaning to post, but we've been preoccupied a bit. We are in the process of having Jack evaluated for some language/motor/social skill issues,,,,basically, he is being evaluated for possibly being on the autism spectrum. This has been a difficult time, and a busy one. I borrowed a load of books from a friend of mine and have been reading and stewing and mostly kicking myself for not realizing how bad some of his little "quirks" have gotten. We've taken him to our pediatrician, and he agreed that he needs further evaluation, so I'm in the process of filling out a giant packet of intake paperwork for a nearby clinic that does such evaluating. It will be a while before we know anything else. This is the same clinic that Kain goes to, and I remember we had to wait a few months for his first appointment. If you could keep my little Jack-man in prayer, that would be wonderful. The hardest part for me is that Jack is so totally different with other people than he is with us. No one else gets to see what we see. He is sweet and loving and so, so incredibly smart in so many ways. We've just become so used to his ways, his odd behaviors, and we know how to communicate with him and draw him out, and we are realizing that everyone else sees a very different Jack. We really just thought he was brilliant and introverted and his Dad. But it looks like it's more complicated than that.

Anyway, so there's that. Tomorrow, or Tuesday, I'll be back with a report and pictures of our first day of school!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

more on our school room

First, thank you everyone for your nice comments, both on the blog and privately. I wanted to answer a couple of questions. The first two were sent privately.

Yes, I do routinely let my children help with such things as painting. :)Part of our homeschooling plan is to actively seek ways to teach our kids practical skills. We bought this house when Maria was 7 years old. She has helped with every project I've done. She loves it. Yes, she makes mistakes here and there. I have a couple of green smudges on my ceiling that I'll have to touch up someday. She did the closet all by herself and it looks a bit rough in there in places. But she does surprisingly well overall. I'm not a professional either, so I also mess up sometimes. I'm not concerned that it look perfect. If I was, I'd hire a painter. The boys helped just on that one wall. They just wanted to try it out, and as I predicted, Kain grew bored with it very quickly and didn't ask to help again.

Another person asked how we keep the school room from getting trashed. Haha! Well, we struggle with this a great deal. It's getting easier. Here's what's helping-

-The toddler isn't ever in the school room without an adult. I have a baby gate up in the doorway, and her toys are on shelves in the living room. I plan to keep it that way until she is old enough to pick up what she takes out.

-The schoolroom is one of our "zones". Maria is in charge of this zone, and so she goes in there at the end of the day to straighten it up. I also check it periodically and will call someone back to clean up a mess I find.

-I only keep a few toys out at a time, especially toys that have lots of pieces. This is critical. I said in the post that cars and trains are in the drawers under the train table. Other than that, I have two very small shelves for holding toys. We have several collections of different types of animals (farm, zoo animals, etc.) and people (Bible figures, astronauts, etc.). Usually I will put out one basket of each. We have several boxes of different building toys (tinker toys, legos, wooden blocks) and I will have one of these out at a time. Or I will put out one box of something else with lots of pieces, like Jack's Little People zoo. I will have another toy or two, like maybe a couple of toy instruments. That's plenty of mess. I will rotate toys once a week or so, but the kids are welcome to pick up one box and swap it for another. They do have to ask first so that I can make sure things are picked up properly. The older two have a couple of boxes that stay in the closet, and they can get them out when they want them. We also have board games and puzzles in the closet, and I'm really anal about how they are put away. A few times of sorting through giant piles of mixed games will do that to a person. :)

One more...

" What do you find are the advantages and disadvantages of the separate schoolroom?"

We've almost always had a separate schoolroom. When we first started homeschooling, we lived in a tiny two-bedroom duplex. Maria was an only child then. I put a tall bookshelf by our dinette table and that's where we did school. It worked well-enough, but I did want a separate room. When we first moved into this house, we had the schoolroom in the bedroom that John and I are now using. This meant that our schoolroom was upstairs, and that didn't work out so well. When we would go up to work, I was cut off from the rest of the house. And when the kids would go up to play, they were largely unsupervised.

The current schoolroom is actually supposed to be the master bedroom, and it is downstairs. We have three other bedrooms. John and I (and for now the baby), have the one upstairs room (actually a finished attic space), Maria (and later, Tess) has a downstairs bedroom, and Kain and Jack share another. Other than that, we have a very small living room and a very small dining room. This house isn't that big. The kids' bedrooms are small, and having the separate schoolroom also gives them more room to play.

I think making a separate schoolroom work is all about location. Our current schoolroom is right off of the dining room. I can easily go hang a load of laundry, watch Jack play outside from the schoolroom window, or throw lunch on the stove. We can move our work to the dining room when we want a bigger table. We don't necessarily contain our schoolwork to the schoolroom. I can put on a dvd for Jack and still be nearby to keep an eye on him. My favorite thing about the schoolroom is that is a place to contain everything...all our books and supplies, maps, files, etc. It all lives in there. And except for Tess's things, all the toys live in there too.

Ok, that was fun! Answering questions makes for an easy post topic. Ask more questions! Why do Catholics do what they do? How do we solve world hunger? How do you stay looking so young and beautiful? Ask away!

on modesty

It's summertime, and time to discuss modesty at mass! This is a funny and on target article on the subject. I have nothing to add.

No, my current issue comes with the struggles to raise a modest daughter outside of mass. It's a battle, isn't it, to raise a modest young lady? Homeschooling makes this much easier, but it continues to amaze me how the culture creeps in.

Not too long ago we were shopping online for bras. Real ones. We have already moved past the training bra stage, heaven help us. Training bras. What a crazy term anyway? What exactly are you training them for? Anyway, I was unprepared, let me tell you, for the difficulties we would encounter. When we go to pick out bathing suits or some such thing I am prepared for intense debate and even gnashing of teeth, but silly me, I thought picking out bras would be fairly simple. I didn't take her to Victoria's Closet of hoochiness after all. No, this was just a standard department store website.

We started at the website that will remain unnamed so as to avoid the search engines, though the brand could give me away anyway. There, on the bra page (it makes me laugh just to type that) I found a link on the side-bar to a "juniors" section. Just what we need, right? Wrong-o!

There they have a brand of bra called "Flirtitude". Cause just the message you want to send to a teenager, right? Use your bra to flirt! And out of the 21 bras pictured, a full ELEVEN of them were push-up bras. Ok, now I realize that not everyone in the world shares our opinions on dress and modesty, but who on earth are all of these people who think that buying a push-up bra for your teenager is a good idea??? I mean, they have an awful lot of them, so they must be selling! They also carry several of what are labeled "plunge push-up bras". I can't really determine what the difference is between the regular push-up bra and the plunge-y one, but I guess I can hunt up some 13 year old to tell me. Here's some more quotes from the website-keep in mind that this is the JUNIORS section, ok? I mean, you can't even buy more than a B cup in most of these.

"Plunge neckline, bust-enhancing push-up. This playful bra begs to be showed off!"

"Heart breaker, rule maker: You call the shots with Flirtitude® curvy fit full-figure bra."

"Sweet and simple plunge bra to wear with your low-cut tops. Molded cups add uplift and beautiful shaping."

Oy. And also, on a completely unrelated tangent, who needs molding and uplifting at 14? Those things are still on automatic suspension at that age? Why is all of this even necessary?

Well, after all of the bra drama, I was begging for a headache and decided to check out the rest of the junior clothing later that night. Without Maria.
And here's what I found. In the JUNIOR section.

--I can buy my 12yo a thong to go with her flirty push up bra! Woohoo!
--Halter and tube tops are back. So who needs a bra anyway?
--A thong is really not a good idea with some of those skirts.
--But a "plunge" bra will be needed with some of the shirts. Unless your bra truly is begging to "be showed off".
--There was not a single, solitary dress or skirt in the entire junior section appropriate to wear to mass. Several could be sold with their own dancing pole, however.

So, a lot of this was not news. We have been searching, largely in vain, for appropriate clothing for a couple of years now. And I don't feel like we have some kind of Victorian standard here either. Here are a few of my clothing rules-

*Skirts should touch the top of the knee. Longer is even better, then you don't have to worry about how you sit.
*If a top is sleeveless, it should not show your bra straps, or the side of your bra under the arm. No bras begging to be shown off here. No sleeveless tops in mass. I honestly avoid sleeveless tops as Maria has small shoulders and it is hard to find any that fit well, but she has received some as gifts or hand me downs over the years.
*You should be able to bend over without the top of the shirt falling open. Amazingly, this is one of the most difficult issues we have in buying tops for Maria. I think its those small shoulders again.
*No short shorts. I don't have an exact measurement, but I would say no more than 3 inches above the knee would be about right. These are so hard to find that we generally buy capri pants far more often than shorts.
*No belly showing. We even have a test in the store. You have to be able to touch the top of your head and still have your belly covered.

Are we too strict? I don't think so at all. We have friends with far more strict standards. It is amazingly hard to find clothing that meets these criteria. I'm not sure why. Our public schools have similar dress codes, don't they? What are all of these kids wearing to school? Also, when I said above that none of the dresses and skirts were appropriate to wear to mass, I didn't just mean by my standards. My own personal "rules" for picking out clothing aren't meant to be read as a requirement for everyone in the world, but as far as the skirts and dresses for mass are concerned, I mean these are not appropriate by what should be *anyone's* standards. As in, I would be personally horrified to see anyone wearing any of the skirts or dresses on this website to mass. A possible exception could be made for the ball gown. Then you would just be weirdly overdressed.

For those in the trenches, I will give some encouragement. Maria loves clothes and has very strong opinions on what she likes and doesn't like. It has been a battle at times over the last few years to find clothing that satisfies both of us. She's too young to fully understand why modesty is so important and what the effect of immodest dress can have on the men around you. She just wants to wear what she likes. However, in the last year or so, things have, erm, *developed* quite a bit around here. As she develops more of a figure, I am seeing a natural modesty of her own develop. It is a lovely thing to see. And it's not born of shame or embarrassment but of an almost unconscious realization that she possesses something very precious and something increasingly rare even in preteen girls- innocence.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

school room pictures

There have been some House Beautiful school room pictures floating around the blogs lately. This is not one of them. :) However, I think we did a great job remodeling our little room if I do say so myself.

The closet "before".

Maria painting the closet. Yeah, she put the paint on her nose on purpose. Ham it up, girl.

Ack! Giant pile of junk!
I got rid of five bags of stuff, and it's all organized and pretty now. I tried to take "after" closet pictures, and my camera battery gave up. I'll take some when we start school in a couple of weeks.

Here's that terrible bit of unfinished floor I was telling you about.

And this coffee table...I've almost thrown this table out so many times. John brought this table to the marriage. It is incredibly sturdy and was probably very expensive new, but the surface was in rough shape and it looked very dated. I held on to it because of the sturdiness factor. Furniture that will withstand the abuse of four kids is hard to come by.

Maria working on the floor...the lighting throws off the pictures certain times of the day. Some of these are pretty blurry.

Here's the after pictures of this area, including the table. I'm glad I saved it now! It will be our "seasons and liturgical year" table. Those shelves under the window will hold Jack's workboxes when school starts.

This came out too dark too. This wall is perpendicular to that refinished floor section. The dresser on the left was Jack and Tess's baby dresser. I thought it would look good in here and give some needed school storage. That messy bookcase to the right holds our school books. This area is still in progress. John is taking the kids out for the day next week so that I can finish organizing our school stuff.

Here's the third wall. You can see those messy school shelves to the left. Jack's train table is here, and I plan to hang the dry erase board on this wall. Trains and tracks live in one of the drawers under the table, and the other drawer holds cars and other vehicles.

Even Jack got to paint!

The same wall, after...that's our new timeline, by the way, that is wrapping around the room. Maria and I will be filling it in over the next couple of years. That's the top of the futon. I love having a futon in this room. Everyone likes to get comfy and read on it, and it makes a good guest bed when we need one. There are a couple of small shelves at the side of the futon there. Those are going to be used to hold a few toys at a time. The rest live in the closet.

If I could make one big change, it would be to have more open floor space in this room. I can't make that happen without getting rid of the futon though. Future plans include losing the plastic preschool table and replacing it with a wooden one, finishing the trim work, and painting the doors.