Showing posts from January, 2018

Toto, we're not in the city anymore

K. is doing as well as can be expected. His hip hurts and he is truly hating the restricted diet he is currently on. He also is finding a completely enclosed nasal passage to feel a wee bit odd and uncomfortable. But let's talk about things other than unhappy children and surgical procedures, shall we? I'm ready for a change of topic.

Last Saturday, J. and I loaded up whichever children wanted to come along (there were 7 of them), and we all headed out to the nearest Farm and Fleet store. This was our first time in such and store, and it was a revelation to the children. They loved it, and oohed and ahhed their way around. There was an actual reason we were there, though, and not just for the amusement factor, though that was pretty high. You see, we had to go and place our order for chicks and ducklings.

On March 7, I will drive back out, probably with a lot of children in tow then as well, and pick up twenty chicks and five ducklings. These chicks and ducklings will then get…

Another one in the books

Surgery, that is. I did some adding, and by my calculations, this was family surgery #12. That doesn't include all the surgeries my children have had before they joined our family. That adds at least another 6, if not more.

K. is doing as well as can be expected after his bone graft surgery this morning. His hip is really hurting, but the next dose of pain medication is starting to help that, and he is not thrilled about the limited diet he has to endure for the moment. But it is over, he is fine, and I am very happy to be on this side of things.

As well as this being our 12th surgery, this was also our chance to experience a fourth hospital for surgery. (And compared to some of my friends, this number is small potatoes.) I think I was almost as nervous about a new hospital as I was about the procedure itself. There is something reassuring about knowing where things are, how things are done, and at one point, we were even recognizing some of the pre- and post-op staff. This was go…

Dinner in New Zealand

In our trip around the world, we've been spending time in New Zealand this past week. Along with the usual map work and reading about the country, we've done some art projects and eaten some food.

The art projects were not our most successful. We looked at some Maori koru art, and then tried to make our own. The instructions I was following were a little vaguer than I usually use. That's my excuse. Also, just for future reference, if you are doing a project with oil pastels, and you want the black paint to be resisted by the pastels, do not use acrylic. Either it adheres to the pastels, or you have to dilute it so much that it doesn't turn your white space to the degree of black you had hoped. Here are the less-than-spectacular finished projects.

Our dinner was much more successful. We made a Pineapple, Chicken, and Kumara (sweet potato) salad. It was a salad with lettuce greens, tomatoes, and cucumbers, as well as poached chicken and boiled sweet pot…

January thaw

The weather is goofy. We spend a couple of weeks never getting above -4. Then we get a bunch of snow dumped on us. The snow sticks around for a while, and then melts in nearly 50 degree weather, to be followed by more snow. At least it's not boring.

Earlier this week was one of the unexpectedly warm days, which saw many children playing outside. They started out playing near and in the small creek that runs across the front of our property, and then went exploring with TM. You can tell it is warm, based on the lack of coats on any of the children. TM also played photographer and got some great shots.

Y., G., L., H., and K. in front
Near the creek
G. and L.

H. and Y.

TM and Y.

Once upon a time revisited

I took a deep breath today, and sat down with H. to see if we could get through this new book before falling apart by the second word. As I had planned, we started with the idea of, 'Once upon a time...' I'll say it again, one of the great benefits and beauties of homeschooling is the ability to follow a rabbit trail when it appears and seems necessary.

When it was H.'s turn, I grab a piece of paper and write, 'Once upon a time,' on it. Before we even try to sound it out, I ask the people in the room how they think stories start. As I had anticipated, quite a few shouted out, "Once upon a time!" (I think they were hoping that I would then begin a story.) I then showed H. the words on the paper and tried to explain what they said and when we would see it. I say tried, because I could tell she was already on the 'unable to do work' roller coaster.

Because I'm slow, it took me a minute to figure out why. I hadn't asked her to read them, j…

Coordinating dresses

It's been a crazy weekend with little time to be home and feel calm and in control. It's all been good stuff, just a lot of it. I do not thrive with this type of schedule, and try to avoid it as much as possible. Sometimes, it's just not possible to avoid it. Monday isn't looking as though it's going to improve much. We'll see what Tuesday brings. In theory life should calm down then. We'll see. And then we have K.'s bone graft surgery scheduled for the 29th, so in some ways, I won't really feel as though life has settled down until we are through that. All this is my way of saying, don't expect a lot as far as posts go for the next little bit. All is well, just a little crazy.

A while back I shared about the dress I had made for G., and that I was making one for L. Well, that dress is not only done, but the girls decided to wear them at the same time, so I could get a picture. Sort of. These dresses are working for them at the moment, because, …

Friday bullets, January 18, 18

It was one of those weeks where I thought it would be fairly relaxed, but turned out to be just the opposite. I'm so glad it's Friday, because I could use some down time.

We had our social worker visit for the two year post-placement report for Y. and R. I love our social worker. Visits usually last a couple of hours because we are having such a good time chatting. It was also our last social worker visit, since the next three reports are self-reported. This makes me kind of sad. It's been twelve years of social workers... some were great, some were mediocre, and I fired one. It seems odd to be done with that season.Our local Sam's Club announced it would be closing. Darn. That's really all I have to say. As a result, last week everything was 25% off and this week everything (well, what was left of it all) was 50% off. I waited for the frenzy to die down and did some kitchen pantry stocking. My personal rules were to only purchase what would store and things I would…

Once upon a time...

Sorry to continue to debrief my reading with you, but you may have to put up with it for a couple of weeks while I get my non-fiction stack back down to manageable levels.

I've been thinking about this all day.

"Enjoyment appears at the boundary between boredom and anxiety, when challenges are just balanced with the person's capacity to act." (p. 52) from Flow: the psychology of optimal experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

What if it is not just enjoyment, but also true learning that also happens in this thin space between anxiety and boredom? I think this is so thought provoking to me today, because once again, I had the experience of trying to teach a child something I knew she could do, yet she wasn't sure herself.

H. reads quite well. Sometimes. Last week she zipped through a Dr. Seuss book with nary a problem, and she enjoyed doing it. I've caught sight of her sitting and reading the same book to herself over and over. Since that book went so well, toda…

Pleasure and enjoyment

One of the things I've been working on this month is to read down the pile of books next to my bed. These would be the books that I've started, but haven't finished before picking up another book. They are all non-fiction. In general, I like to have one non-fiction and one fiction book that I am reading at a time. I'm not quite sure when or how the non-fiction pile got away from me, but it did, and it's been bothering me. How can a person who only likes to have one book from one genre going at a time have so many books with book marks in them? I don't know, but I've decided that something has to be done.

I finished one yesterday, and am now working on the next in the pile. Currently, I'm working on Flow: the psychology of optimal experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. (That would be pronounced: Mee-high Chick-sent-mee-high, emphasis on second syllable of the last name.) This is one of those books which appears on nearly every bibliography I come across …

Words matter

I receive relatively few questionable comments as I go about my day, especially when I compare notes with other mothers of adopted children or many children or many adopted children. Maybe I give off a scary vibe, though I don't feel particularly fearsome. Maybe people are just so overwhelmed by the opportunities presented as to which avenue to take when making thoughtless comments, that they are speechless as a result. I don't know. But whether I'm at the receiving end of the comments or not, people's words do matter, especially when talking about other people.

In that spirit, I'm feeling as though it is time once again to give a quick run-down of words and phrases which just shouldn't be used, pretty much ever. I'll even give the reasons why. Onward with my public service announcement and plea to always put the person first in your speaking and comments.

1. "Your own"

This would be in the context of, "Do you also have children of your own?&…

Friday bullets, Jan. 12, 2018

It's been one of those crazy weeks where I seem to only barely manage to keep my head above water. This inevitably happens on weeks with doctor's appointments, especially ones which involve driving 100+ miles. Having a couple of people down with various illnesses didn't help either.

I know more than a few people, both with children requiring lots of appointments and without, wonder how homeschooling works when you do need to take time out for appointments. Well, first of all, I find it is all easier to change our style of homeschooling based on what life is looking like at any given moment. Times that are calm with not a lot of appointments, we can be more schedule and workbook oriented. Times with craziness or appointments or surgeries or any of the other surprises life tends to throw about, it is useful to think of education in different terms. This has been a more unschooling sort of week than is typical, but then, I've never even pretended to subscribe to any single…

It's been two years

It's been two years since we added numbers 11 and 12 to our family. It's hard to believe that it's been that long. It's just as hard to believe that it's been so short. Time is funny like that.

It seems as though the two year anniversary is a good time to do a little catch-up post about how everyone is doing. I'll do Y. first. It's a little more straight forward. Maybe.

Y. fits right in. She is bright, imaginative, engaging, curious, and more than a little stubborn and a bit perfectionistic. This pretty much describes a great number of our children. And since I'm also a (ahem) little stubborn and perfectionistic, I get that about her. I think it would be fair to also throw in the word driven. Driven as in, don't get in her way if she has decided she is going to do something.

In the past two years, Y. has developed a lot of muscle, and can now walk and run for great distances without getting tired. She can jump on the trampoline and ride a two-wheele…

Winter walk

The holidays are over, the temperature is not only in the positives, but in the double digits as well, so it seemed a good idea to get back to walking Kenzie in the forest preserve every day. 

This is made more comfortable by the fact I bought myself some new winter boots. We had credit card point, so those combined with a great sale, gave me a wonderful pair of boots at an affordable price. You can't tell, but they are red plaid. Very woodsy.

Winter out here is proving to be far different from winter in the city. It seems much more manageable. First, there are more places for the snow to go, so I am not continually trying to back my van out onto a busy street, while avoiding the piles of snow which narrowed my driveway. With no turning radius, this always made me hate leaving the house. Now, I have no narrow driveway to back out of onto a snow-narrowed street. It is so much easier, and so much less stressful. Also, with a lot more open space, the snow stays pleasant to look at. …