Thursday, January 28, 2016

I Be Sick

So I've been sick for more than a week now.  A week ago today, I went to the doctor and she said yeah, I have a bad cough, but my lungs are clear so I just needed to wait it out.  Mostly. She did give me a prescription for a cough suppressant, but said suppressant had codeine and I'm not a big fan of codeine.  It makes me weird.

So here we are, another Thursday, and I'm still sick. I am definitely BETTER, and I'm thankful for that.  But I'm still coughing, still have a sore throat, still have a headache, still feel tired.

I've been a bit whiny about it, but yesterday it occurred to me to be SO thankful that I'm a stay at home mom and I can baby myself while I'm sick.  It is true that with 9 kids, I'm not hanging out in bed unless I'm desperate. But I've been able to take naps most afternoons while the kids play computer games and Rose sleeps. I've been able to move down to first gear on homeschooling...the kids have done school this week, but I've been less involved and that's Ok.  I'm NOT a working mom who MUST go to work.  So yes, BIG blessing.

I confess to being very sick of being sick. Kevin has been sick too, and he is sick of being sick.  Various kids have been sick, and they are tired of it as well. We always have a "sick patch" during winter and I should be used to it by now but oh, we're ready to be well.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Fun Costumes By Nana

My mother made costumes.  She also made lovely hats, gloves, and scarves for the children. Thank you, Mom!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Jungle Gym

             I have mentioned, a dozen times or so, that Rose LOVES to climb.  Loves, loves, loves to climb.

We decided to splurge on a jungle gym for her and Daniel and Sarah.  

             This is our sun room/mud room/art room/jungle gym room.  Kevin bought a bunch of foam mats from Sam's Club so we'd have a soft surface for the kids to fall onto when (not if, when) they fall from the jungle gym.

Then Kevin, with assistance from Angela, put it together.

       It isn't huge so we're only allowing the 3 younger kids to climb on it.  So far, Rose hasn't plotted her way up very far, as it is a little big for her. She'll grow into it.  Both Sarah and Daniel love it.

      We hope that this will continue to be fun for more than just a couple of days, since it cost money and is taking up space.  Yesterday, the kids covered it in blankets and it became a wonderful tent.

    And Rose is plotting. I can see her little brain whirling.  It won't be long before she's at the top.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Isaac the Cook

  One of the curious aspects of my childhood and teen years is that I never learned to cook well.  My parents did an awesome job teaching me how to clean, do dishes, wash clothes, etc., but somehow cooking slipped through the cracks.  I did BAKE quite a bit, but I didn't know how to cook peas or make soup, that kind of thing.

  Anyway.  I lived for years on Rice a Roni and bread and that kind of thing, but when Kevin and I were married, that food style was no longer acceptable. Kevin was and is a very good cook, and he taught me how to cook.

  We've tried to teach our children many skills, and Naomi and Lydia went through a year long cooking course with Kevin so they know more about the science behind cooking than I do.

  Isaac -- well, I confess that since he is a boy and he is our 3rd child and I've been busy and I have 2 competent older kids who cook, I've been lazy about teaching the boy how to cook.

  So he just took matters into his own hands, and started learning to cook and bake by himself.

  He has a limited repertoire, but given that he's the driving force behind it all, it is most impressive. He loves and makes sliced potatoes in oil, muffins, and palachintas.  More than once he has asked me if he can make a meal and I have said yes and he has done it ALL.

  Great job, Isaac!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Book Series Review: Enola Holmes by Nancy Springer

Every once in a while, I run across a book series that delights me. It is always like finding gold, since I enjoy reading so much, yet am fairly picky about the books I like.

Enola Holmes is aimed at 4th to 8th graders.

Enola is the fictional younger sister of the fictional Sherlock Holmes.  She is only 14, whereas her 2 older brothers are much older (she was a late in life, surprise baby.)  On her 14th birthday, Enola's eccentric mother runs away and Enola's 2 brothers, who have not seen Enola since she was 4, turn up and decide to send her to a boarding school. They do so out of love, but with limited understanding of the unpleasantness of boarding school life for an intelligent girl raised without corsets and with an inquiring mind. Using money her mother left for her,  Enola flees to London, and the next 6 or 7 books describe her making a life for herself as a "Perditorian", or a finder of lost persons.  She is thus a detective like her brother Sherlock, and uses disguises and brilliant thinking (and luck) to find a variety of missing people.

I described one of the books to Naomi, and she correctly pointed out that this kind of book usually drives me mad.  One of my big "things" is that young people should be protected and one of the reasons I hated the first Harry Potter so much was that magical "good" people dumped poor Harry on the doorstep of abusive relatives.  So why do I like Enola Holmes, where a 14 year old has to make her way safely through the cesspool of 19th century London after her mother abandoned her?

It's a good question, but I guess mostly the series is so light hearted that while Enola runs into danger, she is never badly hurt and it is exciting to know that she is clever enough to extricate herself. And that is another thing -- Enola, at age 14, is way more competent and smart than I am at 46. So she's not a very realistic 14 year old :-).

Much of my enjoyment has to do with her older brother Sherlock. I've been a Sherlock Holmes fan for decades, and each book includes amusing run ins between Enola and Sherlock and Mycroft.  Sherlock genuinely loves Enola and she knows that, but she also knows that boarding school life is far grimmer than her older brothers understand.  Pleasantly, the last book of the series ties up the family problems in an almost completely positive way.  I've always enjoyed books about fugitives, and in this case Enola is a fugitive from brothers who love her and really want what is best for her, so that makes it light hearted as well.

Heartily recommended.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Winter Finally Arrives

  We had a very very mild November and December, but finally winter has arrived.  It has been cold and today it is snowy.  And windy.

  I was supposed to take 6 of us to the dentist for cleanings today, but I cancelled.  The receptionist was clearly annoyed and I felt a little badly about it, BUT it has just continued to snow since I cancelled, and now the wind is kicking up big time.  Facebook friends are saying the roads are terrible, and Kevin said the same thing, so this is the right call.

  That isn't to say this is convenient.  It takes months to get cleaning appointments at the dentist. The world apparently needs more dental hygienists.

 I took Rose and Isaac for yearly well child checkups yesterday.  Rose has grown well in the last few months, which is a relief. She is still quite tiny -- 21+ lbs, but she is on her growth curve.

  Isaac SHOT up this year.  He is 5 ft. 5 inches tall!  That puts him close in height to his eldest sister.  He also gained 14 lbs, which is good. He is still very thin.

  We keep being sick. I don't feel well today with a bad backache and a mild headache.  What's with that?  We get sick a lot in winter so this isn't a huge surprise, but it is tiresome.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Putting Kids to Bed

Sometimes I chuckle inwardly at our night time ritual.

It is, of course, much like the night time rituals of thousands of families except we have way  more kids than normal.

So...7 p.m. rolls around every evening.  Rose and Daniel are at the end of their physical rope and have been cranky for an hour. I'm watching the clock.

So...7 p.m. rolls around (I know, I just said that.)  I give Rose her last milk of the day (actually, warmed coconut and almond milk mixed -- I still don't entirely trust that cow's milk agrees with her.)  I also give her some kind of snack.  I change her diaper and put her in her sleepy outfit.  I put her in her bed.  I pray for her.  I turn on a sound machine.  I turn off the lights.  I exit.

Does she sleep?  Well, not RIGHT away. But she also rarely fusses.  She is positively famous for her body banging, though.  She likes to sit and wack her little body against the side of her crib.  It is a little weird, but she doesn't have any other crazy rhythmic "things" that she does, so we're good.

In the middle of all this, the house is not quiet or calm.  No, DANIEL is also worn out and crabby.  While I'm working with Rose, I'm often giving Daniel HIS night snack and treat, or one of the older kids is doing it for me.

Then, pull-up.  Brush teeth. Bedtime with Daddy (usually.)

Sarah is also worn out so it is time for HER to go to bed now.  Night snack.  Treat.  Brush teeth.  Allergy medicine.  Mommy usually reads her one book and 3 Bible stories.

In the middle of all this (it is now close to 7:30 p.m.) the next 2 older girls are doing their nightly clean ups.  Miriam cleans the basement and Angela cleans 2 rooms on the main floor.  Night snack. Treat.  Prayers.  Kisses.  Hugs.  More kisses.  More hugs.  And they are in their room.

The older 4 kids all have night chores of their own, like washing big bowls and small bowls, washing pots and pans, making bread, and putting items in the dishwasher.  They also have snack and treat.

By 9 p.m., we hope, every last one of our kids is in his or her room, if not asleep.  Most of them are NOT asleep yet, but at least they are in their rooms.

I'll be honest and say that bedtime wears me out. I've been putting little ones to bed for a VERY long time. But it is a blessing and a privilege, too, to kiss them and pray for them and put them to bed.  And then they sleep.  Ah.  They sleep.  I am so thankful they sleep. I love them, and I love that they sleep.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Birthday Pictures

16 years old

10 years old

13 years old

We are done with family birthdays until May!

Now our ages are 46 and 45 (that is me and Kevin)

16, 14, 13, 11, 10, 8, 5, 3, and 1!