Showing posts from January, 2010

Babies in hats

These babies have acquired an amazing collection of head wear. The hats were knitted for them by a dear family friend. G. is in yellow and L. is in green. The stuffed puppies were provided by TM who has developed quite a love affair with these two little girls. Yesterday G. fell forward on her face trying to reach a toy and hit her cheek on a pointy object. After we finished caring for the baby, TM looks at me and announces that he wished he had hit his head instead of her. Really, what else is there to say after that?

The art of the cell

One of B.'s assignments in biology this week was to build a model of a cell. This is what he came up with using clay, plastic, wire, and hot glue. A bright spot in what has been a less than stellar week.

The terrible, horrible, no-good very bad day

I'm having one of those days where I wish I could fast-forward to tomorrow. First, the babies are teething and it is making them miserable. Plus, G. has a cold with a very stuffy nose and an off and on fever and I'm afraid L. is following close behind. Consequently, the only time it seems they are not fussing is when they are nursing or my arms. It doesn't make for very restful nights and I'm feeling more sleep deprived than usual. A crabby, too tired mom often results in bickering children and today is no exception. And to top it off, M. discovered one of her gerbils died this morning resulting in an (understandably) upset girl.

I had planned on finishing a pair of dresses I am making for the babies, but that is looking unlikely since, unlike typing, I can't sew one-handed. But that is probably just as well because my (very expensive) sewing machine is behaving oddly and I think I'm going to have to take it in for servicing. Oh, and the t…

These boots were made for working

These are M.'s new boots: 6-inch, all-leather construction boots. Why you ask, does a 16 year old girl need such footwear? Because she is travelling to Samoa this summer with an organization called Teen Mission International. She and other young people will be helping to rebuild after last fall's tsunami. M. will be gone for about two months. The first couple of weeks will be spent in training in southern Florida. The group then travels to Samoa for the actual mission work, returning to Florida for a few days at the end for a debriefing session. (The debriefing session will be the first time they experience air conditioning and have access to ice in their drink since the beginning of the training camp.) The boots are required of all protect feet during construction and from picking up any unwanted parasites. M. has undertaken this venture all on her own. She has done her own research, is working on buying her own supplies, and is writing and sending out sup…

Play dollhouse me

When I was pregnant with P., A. hoped and hoped that the baby would be a girl so that her new baby sister could, "Play dollhouse me". A. was so excited when P. was born and she had a dollhouse-playing sister. It was a bit of let down when A. discovered it would be a while before P. was quite able to play dollhouse. In the ensuing 9 years, A. and P. have become quite the dollhouse playing pair, often with A. running out steam long before P.

So how sweet is it to discover this this morning? Four sisters all playing dollhouse together.

A., L., G., and P.
(P. is philosophically opposed to smiling for cameras.)

L. and G. (in hat) -- Putting things on the babies' heads has become the newest past time for brothers and sisters.

Why home disorganization is a lot like debt

The past 15 months of being pregnant and nursing babies nearly constantly has taken a toll on my home. There are piled-up projects and other things that need attention all over. I am finally feeling as though I'm able to come up for air and am beginning to sort through the chaos. As I do this I am struck with how similar it feels to when J. and I went through the process of getting out of debt.

Like living with debt, living in a disorganized home leaves me feeling anxious. There is so much to do, I don't quite know where to begin. Just as debt robs a person of financial resources because of high interest, living with disorganization robs a person of time. Instead of being able to take care of something small right away, too many small things pile up into a monumental task. And neither are a quick fix, it took a while to build up both debt and chaos, it takes time and hard work to make both go away.

So how am I going about the process of digging out? The first thing I'…

Everything times 2

I know this will seem obvious, but when you have twins, everything is doubled. But there is a difference between knowing there will be two of everything and experiencing two of everything. I am constantly surprised by this 'two-ness'. We now have two high chairs set up for the two babies who are starting on solid food. (Not that full tummies is helping them with their sleeping much.) We make more beginning baby food than we ever had before and need more hands to feed them. And then there are two faces (and hands and heads and knees and...) to clean. But they really are twice as cute to watch and play with.

L. on left and G. on right And while I'm on the subject of doubles, I never really thought about what two teething babies would look (and sound) like. J. asked me the other day if I thought two screaming babies could cause permanent hearing loss in parents.

Public activism on MLK day

It seems appropriate that on the day set aside to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday that we found ourselves standing outside the branch library near our home in near freezing weather. For what seems to be the umpteenth time, the city council is threatening to close the branches in an effort to save money. In my book, it's a penny-wise, pound-foolish idea. In a move that will save the city 1% of the total budget, the city council is willing to alienate the populace of the city.

We use the branch library multiple times in a week and the staff knows our children by name. I am so spoiled to live within a three minute walk to the library and since there are no major streets, even A. can go by herself. I hope the grass roots effort to save the two branches is successful. My children didn't quite get why we were standing outside in the cold for an hour. They knew it was to support the library and that there was free cocoa at the end (compliments of a local coffee…

Sit and play

L. and G. are 7 months old today. They have reached what is possibly my favorite stage of babyhood: what I call the 'sit-and-play' stage. You know, where babies can sit independently, are interested in and can play with toys, but are still in the same place you set them down. Here are some photos from the morning. I'm very nicely only sharing three from the two dozen I took. It's becoming increasingly difficult to get non-blurry pictures of them; they like to move and wiggle. G. is on the left and L. is on the right...

L. has become quite taken with one of the soft dollies and shows her love by chewing on the dolly's head.

L. doing 'so big'.

"Is Your Bed Still There When You Close the Door?" by Jane Healy

One of my favorite authors is Jane Healy who writes about thinking and learning. (I think her book, Endangered Minds is a must-read for parents.) I was pleased to discover this book she wrote back in 1992 that I hadn't seen before. The subtitle is, "how to have intelligent and creative conversations with your kids". I don't normally think I have difficulty in talking with my children, but trust Ms. Healy for useful insights so I picked it up. Half the book discusses higher order brain functions and how language helps develop this ability. The other half is filled with open ended questions to help stimulate family discussions and help improve creative thinking.

I was particularly struck with the section on the executive functions of the brain. This is not an in-depth treatment on the subject, but what I've learned here intrigues me. Ms. Healy uses an example of a little girl who was very impulsive and would often get into trouble because she acted before sh…

Duct tape and ironclads

The Civil War continues. (At the rate we're going, it may well last as long here as it did the first time.) Today we were learning about the first ironclad ships: the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia. (Though when I was in school, it was called the Merrimak, which was its original name when it was still a Union ship.) And because history is always better with a project, we made the two ships with juice cartons and duct tape.

Applying the Monitor's iron cladding
We had some trouble with the Monitor's gun turret and had to call in B. for technical help.

The finished products: the CSS Virginia in front and the USS Monitor behind.

TM and D. couldn't wait to begin sea battles and are hoping for some bathtub time tonight to add real water.

Yet one more theater post

The shows are over and all went well. We can now get back to our regular schedule for the first time since Christmas break. If you want to see pictures from the show, here are the photos from the dress rehearsal. B. is in the 8th one down (he's the old man) and M. is in the 13th down. I, TM, K. and a baby are in some of them since that is the show we went to and I happened to be sitting across from the camera.

There is no rest for the weary, though. Tuesday M. and B. start rehearsals for their spring show, Taming of the Shrew.

G. and L. go to the theater

Yesterday the babies, middles, and I went to see one of the dress rehearsals for As You Like It. It was the only time I would get to see the show since I can't leave the babies for more than an hour or so at a time and at night they tend toward crabbiness. I knew there would be enough free hands at the rehearsal to hold them if needed so I could see the show. They were amazing audience members. For the entire first act they sat on A.'s and my laps and just stared and watched without a peep. The other adults in the room found themselves as interested in watching the babies watch the show as they were in watching the show themselves. And since it was photo day for costumes, they also had their picture taken:

They dressed up for the theater in one of their matching outfits since they don't get out much. L. is on the left on G. is on the right. (To me they look less and less identical.) The second half didn't hold their attention quite as much. G. was walked around the lob…

You just never know

I have been asked more than once, by well intentioned people, that wouldn't it have been better for TM to have stayed in Vietnam. He was living with foster parents who loved and adored him and he considered them his parents. They were comfortable according to Vietnamese standards and TM was thriving. Separating from his foster parents and attaching to us was very difficult and some thought it was an unnecessary trauma to put him through. On some level, I have to admit, I sometimes wondered the same thing. Were we doing the very best thing for TM?

I'm sad to say I now have my answer. My standard response to such questions was, that while he appeared to be in a stable environment, he was still a ward of the state and there was no guarantee that he would be able to stay there the length of his growing up years. I had no idea how these words would be fulfilled. Because of the moratorium on adoptions to the US from Vietnam, the VN agency which works in tandem with our US age…

A distraction

The son of good friends of ours is currently in surgery having a bone graft done on his cleft. It's been three hours so far and they're still waiting to hear news of how the surgery is going. I'm finding the need to distract myself a bit before I go bring their other children to our house for the rest of the day. So, as something to do, I am posting a video we took of TM and D. last night as they were being silly before bed. Nearly all of our children love to come down stairs this way. I don't know why; J. and I think it would hurt.

We are also in the midst of another tech week; M. (as Phebe) and B. (as Adam --cast again as a quirky old man) are in As You Like It this weekend. I love the end product after the week of intense rehearsal, but, boy, I don't like the week itself. If anyone is in the area and would like to see the show, email me and I will give you details. thecurryseven at sbcglobal dot netEdited to add: He's out of surgery and everything seems to h…

Back in the saddle

Vacation is officially over and we're back to our regular schedule. It hasn't been quite as dreadful as I had thought might be. There have been a few tears, but nothing out of the ordinary. I am actually feeling refreshed from our break and not minding having a schedule once more. As things begin to return to normal and we adjust to having 9 children, I'm realizing exactly how far from normal the past 15 months have been. And then when I factor in K.'s first year home with all his therapists which was preceded by the horrible 18 month wait for K., I wonder when the last time was that we had 'normal' around here. It's been several years of a lot of transitions and I'm now feeling able to start digging out of the chaos left behind. One of the things I accomplished over Christmas vacation was to clean off my desk. I no longer have a fear of being trapped in an avalanche of papers. Even better, I like to look at it now... at it's clean, paper-f…

Sometimes my children humble me

I have mentioned before how we don't accept teenage behavior in our home. You know, the self-centered, inward-focused type of behavior that all too often typifies the American teenager. The trouble with this policy is that sometimes it has unintended consequences. One of which being when the adult ends up looking like the teenager and vice versa.

I discovered this when I compared my New Year's Day plans with those of M. and B.'s. My plans consisted of sleeping in, relaxing, maybe doing some fun sewing, nursing babies, and cooking the New Year's beans. All in all not a terribly taxing day and certainly focused on things that benefit me. Now shall I share what M. and B. (and our 17 yo house guest) are currently doing? They have gone over to the P Family's home where they are joining P17 (originator of the idea) and P15 in making bag lunches. (They are all using their own funds to supply the food.) Then they are hopping on the El' and heading downtown to di…