Saturday, January 30, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
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 tax bill arrived in the mail yesterday and we have quite a bit of money to get together before March first. Because you know, the county doesn't care that we just paid the last installment two and a half months ago when they were late getting the bills out. But woe to the tax-payer who even thinks about paying late. The county even put a nice little note in saying the next bill would probably be late as well and we may have to pay both installments at once next year. J. continues to apply for other jobs but we have yet to feel a real sense of direction as to what we should do.
I'll stop my whining here and instead practice some thankfulness to all those who wrote so positively about M.'s upcoming mission trip. We're working on adding some sort of chip-in-thing to the side bar. But for those who asked, you can also contribute directly through the TMI donations page. In the 'categories and funds' section, choose 'team member' from the drop down menu and put 'Margaret Curry' in the comments section. Thank you!
Off to nurse the sad, sad baby(ies). Only 6 1/2 hours to go before I can go to bed.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Saturday, January 23, 2010
So how sweet is it to discover this this morning? Four sisters all playing dollhouse together.
A., L., G., and P.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
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'm doing is being vigilant about sticking to my weekly housework schedule:
Monday -- extra laundry and ironing
Tuesday -- sewing and mending
Wednesday -- desk work
Thursday -- cooking (it's when I prepare things for breakfast, do bulk cooking, etc.)
Friday -- grocery shopping
Saturday -- cleaning and supervising the children's cleaning
Sunday -- day of worship and rest (we don't do household chores...not even laundry)
With the ironing and mending, I've been trying to take care of the small things which come up over the course of the week and then do a little of the backlog. My idea is that I want to see the piles slowly going down. Some of the jobs are just too big to tackle in small bits and need some concentrated time to get them back to management phase. Some of these include filing all of last year's paperwork; sorting through and cleaning the room in which we keep all the outgrown clothes; and deep cleaning and organizing (again!) the little boys' room. These we will need to save as big weekend projects. I'm not looking forward to actually doing these jobs, but I am excited to have them done.
Sometimes I just don't feel like doing what I know needs to be done...and sometimes I don't. But I've learned that I usually end up feeling rotten about it by the end of the day and the memory of that feeling is often enough to give me the kick in the pants that I need. I've also learned that many of the daily jobs I do just don't take that long when I actually do them. There were some days that I thought I didn't have time to make my bed. But one day I decided to time myself to see how long it actually took. Three minutes. Every time I'm tempted to skip it, I remind myself that surely I can spare three minutes to make myself happy about the state of my room for the rest of the day.
When my house feels organized and I don't feel out of control, I think I'm a better parent and wife. I can focus on the people in my home and not the chaos I'm seeing around me. I am more hospitable because I can happily invite people over without being embarrassed about letting them see my house. And it saves me money. I know what we own because it's not shoved in a closet so I don't buy duplicates of something. And I am far more picky about what I do bring into my house. Is it something we really need and will add to our quality of life or is it something that I will just end up getting rid of the next time I have to conquer the chaos. Funny how bringing order to a home often involves getting rid of stuff.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
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 shop), but had trouble grasping how their efforts would have any affect on grown-up life. If the branches are saved perhaps they will see how even small efforts can serve a greater good.
Friday, January 15, 2010
Thursday, January 14, 2010
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 she thought. Using 'verbal mediation', Ms. Healy helped the child learn a four-step procedure that consisted of 1. Stop and think 2. Talk about the problem 3. Talk about your plan 4. Follow your plan. (p. 27) My most impulsive child also is the child who struggles most with using language for anything other than functionality. Talking about feelings is very difficult because he can't put what's going on in his head into words. I also discovered a year ago that telling a story back to me was next to impossible for him. (We have been working on this and he has improved significantly in this area.) Even just working with words is a struggle. Yesterday I asked him to copy a sentence from a book and he couldn't do it without leaving out parts of the sentence. Today, he was to take word cards and lay them out to match the sentence that was already written out. He could do it, but it took quite a while; it wasn't easy.
I want to do more research on language and the executive functioning of the brain. My gut has always told me that some of this child's difficulties lay in his inability to use language. Well, use language in useful ways...he uses language all the time, nearly constantly, in fact. So, I'm trusting my gut and we're working on labelling his world, not with nouns and vocabulary, but with processes and ideas.
**Note to Ann at Crazy for Kids...I'm still reading our book. Really, I am! I just got a little side-tracked this week. (We're having our own little book group together and I'm working on finishing one of the two books we're going to discuss, Map of Love. I've already finished The Help.)
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Monday, January 11, 2010
There is no rest for the weary, though. Tuesday M. and B. start rehearsals for their spring show, Taming of the Shrew.
Friday, January 08, 2010
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 lobby a bit and L. had a little snack to make it through the second half. They still don't hold the family record for youngest to see a Shakespeare play, though. B. holds that record, having attended (dragged?) to see As You Like It (again!) when he was a month old. In my defense, it was outdoors at the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival and his aunt was playing Rosalind. J., J.'s mom, and I took turns pacing/nursing with him back behind all of the audience for the duration. M., at 2 1/2, though sat through the whole thing and could, for years, tell you all about it. It's kind of funny she is now in it playing Phebe.
It's a good show and the costumes are fabulous. Go see it if you can.
Thursday, January 07, 2010
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 agency can no longer support the orphanage they were working with in Vietnam. Without this support the government decided to close the orphanage. As of December 31, all of the children were moved out of the center, some to less than stellar situations. Not only were the children living in the actual facility affected, but those in foster care were removed and either placed back into family situations or into another care facility. It breaks my heart. The only bright spot is that an NGO working in Vietnam, the GVN Foundation, which has worked closely with the orphanage, has been working to ensure the safety and well-being of the children who have been displaced.
Not only am I sad for the children, it makes me sad for my son. He has so little of his past; this feels as though he has lost some more of his history. I always assumed that we would be able to go back and visit the orphanage and the agency staff when he was older so he could see it first hand. And now we can't.
Tuesday, January 05, 2010
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 net
Edited to add: He's out of surgery and everything seems to have gone well. If he's feeling well enough, he may even get to go home tonight.
Monday, January 04, 2010
Along with starting back with schoolwork, we also started back to our daily read-aloud session at lunch time. We are currently reading Little Britches by Ralph Moody. We are all loving it. It's funny what triggers memories one hasn't thought of in a while. The chapter we read today was titled 'Irrigation Wars'. Before we began I thought we should discuss what irrigation is because living in an urban area of the Midwest, it's not something we come across on a regular basis. So, I was describing irrigation and was suddenly transported to my childhood in Arizona where irrigation was a regular occurrence. Yards and playgrounds would be flooded by the city once(?) a month, and we would have to play on the concrete during recess while the water soaked into the ground. My children were fascinated by the idea and I was left smelling the remembered, none-too-pleasant scent of standing water as it soaked in and evaporated.
Friday, January 01, 2010
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 distribute the lunches to people who look as though they could use a meal. And while this sounds incredibly generous, when I tell you that the weather in the windy city is currently a balmy 18 degrees, the whole plan becomes positively sacrificial. I feel like a slug.
I can't think of a better way to start out 2010 than to see this kind of fruit of their faith being evidenced in my children. I hope I can live up to their example.