Showing posts from November, 2009

I'm not Super Woman

even though I sometimes forget that little fact. I'm always over estimating what I can get done in a day/week/month, and the problem has only gotten worse with nursing two babies. I can't decide if I'm delusional or just overly optimistic. Either way, I just don't have the amount of time available that I think I do. This really is leading somewhere, I promise.

Every year for the past 12 years, J. and I have hosted a large Christmas party. We enjoy doing it and love having a chance to visit with friends. I don't think we've ever sent out less than 60 invitations. As the date for the party approached, I found I wasn't thinking of it as fondly as I have in past years. Actually, the word fondly shouldn't be considered at all. I was closer to dreading it. Not the actual party, but all the preparations it involved. It finally occurred to me that we don't have to have it this year. So we're not. It is a huge weight lifted off my shoulders and I feel …

Time for more baby pictures

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching and I am (or really, should be) elbow-deep in dough for 9 dozen rolls. So, I'm taking the blogging version of the easy way

B. with his babies. L. on left and G. on right.

L. on left and G. on right. They were in matching dresses until L. had a diaper incident.

These are my newest creation for the girls. I am working on a second pair which I could finish if the growth spurt the girls are in would ever end. They will have a different cupcake design on them. I'm just a little proud of them since they are the first thing I've ever sewn for which I made the pattern. They're even lined with flannel on the inside so they are soft against little legs.

Parenting adolescents

A few days ago a woman on a Yahoo group I belong to wrote asking for advice about her teenage daughter's attitude toward her younger siblings. After I responded with my thoughts, several people wrote and thanked me for my ideas. Since they seemed to be helpful, I thought I would share them here.


I'm not sure I can help you with your current situation with you oldest daughter, but I will share how my husband and I train our children who are in their teen(daughter 16, son 14, and daughter 11). First, I just have to say that we don't ever use the term 'teenager' when referring to our children. We feel that teenager has such negative connotations and even just using the term gives a tacit 'pass' to obnoxious behavior. Along the lines of, 'Oh, those teenagers! What can you do?' We give our children a choice of being a young adult, which means that they behave in a mature way, are helpful, and consequently have privileges that the younger children…

What? Thursday already?

Dropping off shoe boxes to the Operation Christmas Child drop-off site. Check.

Buying needed supplies to create Christmas gifts. Check.

Working out rides and logistics for A.'s tech rehearsals and shows this week. (A. is in pictures #2 and #9, counting from the top.) Check.

Being interviewed about homeschooling. Check.

Appearing as the homeschooling representative on a panel about educational options. Check.

Having anything substantial to say on my blog. Um, not so much.

So instead, I'll share the blog that is my newest obsession: Sew, Mama, Sew. It is complete escapism on my part. There is something so enjoyable about seeing what other people have created and to be given the instructions for if I wanted to make it myself. I find the possibilities totally addicting.

And lastly, because nursing half of my waking hours isn't enough, I find myself reading about it as well. If you haven't read about nursing in Mongolia, you really need to.

'Tis the season

As much as I would like to only think about Christmas during the month of December, I just can't get it all done if I wait. Ideally, I have all the gifts taken care of before Thanksgiving, because then I can enjoy the season without being focused on things. But, since money is a little tighter this year, I don't feel as though I can just push a few computer keys and have all my gifts delivered to my door. And that combined with my inability to do significant garage sale/rummage sale shopping this past summer, my stores are pretty low. All this to say, I'm planning on making a significant portion of the gifts we give this year, and really, I should have started planning and making a few months ago. I hope the babies continue to go to sleep nicely because I foresee a lot of late nights.

I'm actually kind of excited about it as I love to make things and because it makes the gifts a bit more special. Plus, we don't really need more stuff. I spend far too much time fixin…

Preparing for the Enlightenment

Our history co-op is finally getting going for the year, though a bit later than usual. We cover the eras of history in chronological order, so the Enlightenment is our present focus. Since we have so many children between the five families involved (27 children) and the age range is so vast (17 years down to the babies), we split the group into two, with the olders doing more in depth study with more rigorous reading and writing and the youngers doing more story-based, hands-on learning. The picture is of M. and B. working on preparing the assignment that they need to have done for the first class tomorrow...they had to look up ~67 key people from the period, listing dates and major works (if any), then they had to create a timeline for those people. The timeline has ended up being about 12 1/2 feet. Each student will then give a presentation to the group on two of the people as well as a two presentations on key events. We also do a literature component which involves reading major…

Crochet confessions

My obsession with sewing for the baby girls continues. Here are a trial set of soft baby shoes for them. I wasn't sure how they would turn out, so these are made from some acrylic felt I had lying around. Having practiced, I'm now ready to use the wool felt I made from some thrifted wool skirts.

They were pretty easy to make until I got to the crocheted laces. You see, I don't crochet. I can do a lot of other crafty-type things...sewing, knitting, embroidery. I can even spin wool on a spinning wheel. But crochet? It's just one of those things I don't do. (It's right up there with making jello, but that's another post.) My grandmother tried to teach me once (to crochet,not make jello), but when I couldn't hold the hook the proper way she gave up. After that one attempt, I never tried again. My desire to finish the shoes made me overcome my crochet hang-up and I can now crochet a single chain thanks to a brief lesson from a friend. M., A., and P. were amus…

Such a Monday-ish Monday

"Well, life isn't very good around here anymore. No clothes to wear; no raisins for the oatmeal. I think I'll run away." ...Frances in A Baby Sister for Frances by Russell Hoban

Many children around here a having a "Frances day". Mondays can be difficult in general, but some Mondays are more trying than others. It's as if over the weekend, they lost all memory of what they know and how life works. Consequently, when I remind them that they have chores and schoolwork, there is much complaining. Surely no other child in the universe has been made to pick-up dirty laundry, eat oatmeal and drink orange juice, or (the horror!) do math. Instead of being the calm and understanding mother, I turn into something more of a drill sergeant. (Yes, you can count be threes. Figure out what the next number is. No it's not too hard.) I have learned that Mondays are key to a successful week. If we can grit our teeth and get into our schedule, life settles back down in…

Attachment revisted

Before we brought TM home, I read a lot about adoption and attachment. I knew the signs of anxious attachment; I knew a whole bunch of activities to foster attachment; and I knew that it was unlikely our new son would immediately fall head over heels in love with us. These were important things to know, but something vital was missing in everything I had read. All of these things dealt with the attachment of the child to the new parent; very little was mentioned about the attachment of the parent to the new child. It never occurred to me that this was something to be concerned about. I liked children, I loved my children, our new son was, by all reports, handsome and intelligent, why would there be a problem?

As I waited for our paperwork to slowly make it way through the layers of bureaucracy, I continued to read about adoption and read accounts of other's adoption experiences. Most of these accounts were of the 'hearts and butterflies' variety...the new parents fel…

Render unto Caesar

I don't want to write this post because writing it down makes me admit to myself that this is reality. Our county's property tax bills came last week. (They were several months late, but that's a different story.) And because our tax bill came that means we need to pay it; which we can...this time. This house has always been a stretch for us, but now for various reasons, it appears to have become too much. When we moved in 8 years ago, the taxes were already outrageously high (especially when compared to other parts of the country), but they were doable if we were very careful with our money. But in the past couple of years, our property taxes have doubled. Even if we were to only eat beans for meals there is no way we can pay them on a continuing basis. And now with the poor performance of the stock market, we are at the end of our resources. This leaves us with several options (and I am thankful we have options):

1. One of us finds a winning lottery ticket on the ground. …

The weekend, part 3

And now we're back to Friday. The day began with a little pumpkin carving...



A., K., and P.

In the evening, it was then time to move on to celebrating TM's birthday. His actual birthday is the 31st, but with everything else going on that day, I think it's nice to celebrate it on its own the night before. TM turned 7, and has now celebrated more birthdays with us than with anyone else. Our children get to choose what kind of birthday cake/pie they want and this year TM chose a chocolate cheesecake. There are no candles on it; B. is following me holding some for TM to blow out. Have you ever tried to put candles in a cheesecake? Don't.

Here is TM before he opened his gifts. His wants were very simple this year. He asked for a kick stand for his bike and pudding. Yes, pudding, the pre-made kind that comes in a little plastic container. My children think pre-made snacks are kind of exciting because we never have them.

TM received his pudding, but not the kick stand. …

The weekend, part 2

Here's the whole gang in their costumes. My life was made much easier by the fact that four children chose costumes that were already made. That would be L. as a bunny, K. as a Dalmatian, D. as a lion, and TM as a frog. G. was a butterfly, wearing the first purchased costume any of my children have worn. But it was cute, I needed another baby costume, and I bought it at a rummage sale. P. and A. had new costumes. P. was a chimney sweep, which only required me turning a thrifted suit coat into a tail coat. A. was having difficulty deciding what to be, so decided to go as a chimney to accompany P. (Her head is supposed to be the smoke.) This required no work on my part, since long ago J. and I divvied up costume making into two parts: I do all sewing and he does all constructing. Chimneys definitely fall into the construction category. M. and B. were not in traditional costumes because they had other plans for the evening...

They and five of their friends decided since they were re…

We survived the weekend!

I'm still standing...well, at least sitting upright. In the past three days we've celebrated a birthday, driven 5 children to another birthday party, trick-or-treated (the youngers), produced dramatic forms of fairy tales on the front lawn (the olders), finished 2 baby dresses, hemmed 1 pair of pants, ironed three shirts, made a triple chocolate cheesecake, made 2 carrot cakes, had a baptism/christening/dedication for three children, hosted dinner for 28, hosted a luncheon for 33....on top of the regular weekend the house, doing laundry, teaching Sunday school. Are you tired yet? I'm a bit worn-out myself. It was all great fun and I have lots of pictures which I'll share over the next few days. I wouldn't want to do it every weekend, though.

I'll take it one event at a time, starting with the most recent. K. and the baby girls behaved admirable during the service. We even managed to connect the right name to the right child. I did have moments w…