Saturday, January 26, 2013

When Your Crew Gets the Flu

It's bad enough when just you get the flu, but when you have a house full of children who slowly pass it around, it can get a little tricky. Staggered fevers, overlapping coughing fits, and plenty of GRUMP.
Last week we had five of our middle children catch the junk, after I did.  At one point, we had 4 children lying around the family room in nests, piled high with blankets. And really- I didn't even know we owned that many glasses and mugs.
To wrap up the week, Kenny and Baby came down with it.  Here is Bubbs just hanging out with his Daddy.

So how does a large family handle it all?  Well, this Mom starts with some kind of a plan. You know, make some soup, buy some juice, gear up for handing out Vitamin C and fresh water every couple of hours.  I use Colloidal Silver Plus (nasty, but it works) with anyone who seems really bad.  And we pull out lots of audio CD's and some movies we haven't seen in a while.  Long movies, like Ben Hur and Pollyanna. And since my worker bee's were out of commission all week, I sort-of cleaned house, and sort-of didn't, if you know what I mean.

The first couple of days are okay, but then it starts to get to me.  And so there are some tears (from the children and from me) because we have to stay home from something fun once more, and there are some sighs because I'm just sure we are going to miss the whole rest of the year, lying around with the flu.

But, as Little Orphan Annie used to sing, 'The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow'.  And on Friday, it did, and I gathered up anyone who felt the need for fresh air, and we headed to the park.  Just to break up the grumps.
 We walked around the prairie dog villages, and had a little science lesson.  Hey, I can't let the kids get behind in their school work just because they're sick.
Here, the kids are yelling 'hello!' down into a hole.  And they got some pretty funny responses in return.

 Try as she might, Ellie just couldn't get her end of the teeter-totter to go down.

 Still looking a little puny, but it didn't stop Natty from climbing to the top.

 Sweet, wind-blown sisters.

Hannah and Emma

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Oh the Things They Can Think!

I love how these little ones think!

Sarah, age 5 1/2, staring intently at her tights: Mom, I've figured out how they make tights.  First they take a pair of pants, then they just sew some socks on!  

Ellie, age 3:  Sarah, guess what. Mom bought me an ice cream cone today.
Sarah: Oh, Ellie, I just wish I could have got an ice cream cone too.
Ellie: I know, Sarah, but only I did.
Sarah: But Ellie, I really wish I could have one.
Ellie: But you can't, Sarah.
Sarah: I know, but I want to.
Ellie: That's so sad, Sarah.
Sarah: Yep, Ellie, it's pretty sad alright.
I tell ya, it was awfully tempting to take her out for a cone right then and there.

Ellie stared at me for the longest time this morning.  Usually when she does this, I get a big hug afterward and she says 'Mommy, I love you!'.  She is a watcher and a processor.  Apparently this morning she wasn't thinking of how much she loved her Mommy.  This time after her long stare, she yelled out, 'Mom, you have a really big head!'. And then she giggled and ran down the hall.

See What God is Doing Instead of What We Are Not

 There's something really special about young men who can go from being really cool like this...

 to just hanging out with their baby brother.

You've heard the saying 'you can't see the forest for the trees', right?  Sometimes a homeschooling mom like me can't even see the trees for the pine needles covering the floor! 
I think too much and go too deep, I admit.  But how thankful I am for a God Who lifts my head to see His face.  
 It's good to look up and out and see what God is doing instead of what we are not.  
 There is a sweetness in many of our relationships around here.  And I am thankful for that.  Not only for today, but for tomorrow, as these kiddos fly out into their places in the world.  I see much love and willingness to reconcile among them.

Not to mention a good dose of cute baby brother.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

He Loves Me...

To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.- Timothy Keller

My mother-in-law sent this to me today, and I think it's wonderfully true. Yesterday my husband of almost 20 years came home with roses.  Pink roses.   

He's never bought me pink before.  We both agreed the new color is for our new season in life.  A season where we appreciate each other more and support each other more.  Where we take each other less for granted and are thankful for the other's strong love.  Where we look back at our ups and our downs, and say, 'You know what- It really doesn't matter.  I just want to walk with you.'
Do you remember playing that game with the daisies, 'He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not'?  I always hoped that that last petal would come off just when I announced, 'He Loves Me!'.  And here I am, a woman whose figure has endured ten pregnancies, lots of (ahem...)late night snacking, and countless sleepless nights.  And my husband loves me.  And my God loves me.  And that is reason to rejoice.

This and That

Homeschooling is a never-ending adventure.  Lots of learning, lots of free time, lots of relationship.  This week is already full. Monday, Tommy and Hannah started their Apologia General Science together.  They were quite hesitant to have to work on it as a team( Me? Do science with him?). But I insisted.  And I think they are actually enjoying it.
This experiment was one of the coolest I've seen.

Professor Thomas is Eating This Up!
On Tuesday, it was crazy-busy.  A full morning of school, making dinner early (do it! you'll be glad you did), cleaning for the cleaning lady (don't laugh), dropping off boys for speech and debate, gently dragging a line of little ones through Sprouts to buy 120 pounds of apples (yes, a super-great deal again), rummaging through the thrift store for baby's next size clothes, and to end it all, a nice quiet trip to the library, where this little man thoroughly enjoyed his play time...

The Miracle of Modern Orthodontics

Now I'm not one to worry about everybody's teeth being picture perfect.  I think we get too obsessed in this culture about perfecting every little thing about ourselves.  A little character in your looks never hurt anyone!
However, when your son, at age 15, has what look like *shark teeth*- you know, rows of teeth, then I do think it's best to get that kid a good bite.  And in this case, a good smile.
Joey had his braces put on almost two years ago.  I really thought it would take a good long time to get his poor mouth straightened out.  And last week, while he was in for a regular visit to the orthodontist (who we love, by the way), he got the big news.  
Isn't he handsome? He let me take some pictures, shared lots of once-forbidden sticky candies all around with his brothers and sisters, then bolted out the office door to spend an early birthday celebration with about 20 guys.  Not bad, eh?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Danny's First CLEP Test

Ever since Danny graduated last May and worked through the elections until November, we've been laying things out for him so he can choose the next step.  He thinks he'd like to apply to Colorado Christian University.  He has good, solid friends there, and is ready for some rigor and more structured learning.
As we work on the application and homeschool transcripts, we suggested he try to test out of some classes (CLEP)at our local Community College. 

Today I took him up for his first test, Analyzing and Interpreting Literature.  While he tested, I got to walk around on this crisp clear day and watch the Canadian Geese (I love Canadian Geese!).  A bit of quiet and fresh air always does this Mama good. 

Oh, and by the way, he passed. He now has 6 college credits!  (Don'tcha love the beard?)

The program is really good for testing out of classes if you want to get ahead, have limited funds, or are almost finished with your degree but need to wrap up quickly.  This particular test was only $115.  
I took him out to lunch and went by the neighboring See's Candies store, to celebrate.

And, since I don't like wasting time, I gave the kiddos at home a big list of housework to do while I was gone.  They cleaned the fridge, the family room, and the kitchen.  I came home to my happy, busy family and rewarded them with See's Lollypops!
Natty. holding up bunny ears behind his brother during the movie.

My Little Readers

Who Needs a Fork?

My smart and talented husband won a big handful of free meals and such at a golf tournament last fall.  He took some for himself, and gave the rest to me.
So, not too long ago, some of the crew and I dropped Joey off at the mall (and if you know Joey at all, you know he went there to walk and pray, not to shop!).  We were hungry, but had no money.  Then I remembered these wonderful cards in my wallet-so off we headed to the Genghis Grill for our four free lunches.
We had never been there before.  And in we walked- Hannah and I, and our 3 littlest ones.  Not too bright at lunch rush hour next to a huge mall in south-suburban Denver...It was an experience for sure.  One of those restaurants that has good food, but has to do something different than everybody else, you know?  
I ended up standing in line with Sarah, at the back of the whole restaurant, while Hannah kept Ellie and Buddy occupied at the table at the other end of the place with straws and, um, glasses of water.  Yah.
After what seemed like an hour through this winding line full of hungry customers, we picked our food and had it all grilled up and served to us.  It really was a good meal- fresh meat and veggies galore!
The baby was a mess.  He doesn't like loud. He doesn't like crowds.  And he was getting tired. But really, since he couldn't be heard over all the music and noodle-eaters, we managed to eat our meal in relative peace.
The best part of it all was watching Sarah try out her chopsticks.  See what you think of her new talent!

A little cheating here...Helping the noodle on to the stick

And she has it!  I think she did pretty good!

Sarah's Favorite Store

Sarah is five years old.  She loves pink.  And cooking with Mom.  And running the show.  And when we drive around town, there is a place that makes her heart go thumpa-thump.  Candy store?  Nope.  Toy store?  Nah.  Her eyes bug out and she just about jumps out of her car seat whenever she sees that big orange store. That's right: The Home Depot.
You see, every 1st Saturday of the month, Sarah might just get to go in and build something cool with the Kids Club (unless, of course, they are making picture frames or something else that we already have um-enough of).
Here she is with her big brother Thomas, nailing together a nice little birdhouse.
Sarah Elizabeth doesn't do anything half-heartedly.
Well, except maybe cleaning her bedroom.
Look at how steady this girl is!  Not bad for a spaz...
Thomas is rounding the bend into that pre-teen era.  He has become so competent at many things.  Here he is taking his birdhouse apart, because the nails weren't in quite right.  He ended up with a very nice looking birdhouse.
Sarah wanted 'a bright yellow roof, so that the birds will choose my house to have their family in!'.
And how do you end such a wonderful morning?  By inviting your best friend and sister Ellie to your tea party. With double layer chocolate cake, of course.

Stay tuned to see if we get any birds!