Homeschooling


It has been another few weeks of busy-ness around here.  Sorry for the absence.  I realized I haven’t even taken any photos!  To catch you up a bit, though…

Building:  I built more shelves.  Lots of shelves.  I will die happy if I never build another shelf, but unfortunately, I have at least 3 more to finish, which means planing, installing, painting, you get the idea.  I got a little help on a couple of projects from an in-law who lives close by and is very good with construction, I finally have desks, shelves, and a reading closet in both the girls’ and boys’ room, plus a new “activity counter” with 2 more desks and some shelves in our loft.  I promise photos soon.  I have a little more tweaking to finish it all.

Unpacking:  I’ve been slowly unpacking for almost 4 months.  Every move in the past has taken 2-3 weeks, tops.  Every house in the past, though, has had shelves and not been a farm when we moved in.  This house had almost no shelves, hence all the building.  Trying to move a family of 7 with a large homeschool library into a 3 bedroom, 1900 square foot house with little storage was challenging to say the least.  I’m getting there, though.  My upstairs still has paths, but the paths are widening by the day.  I’m almost there.

Visiting:  Nana (my mom) heard my inner plea for help, and came to stay for a while.  She has been here about 2 weeks so far, and has been a tremendous help.  She is filling my normal domestic and mommy role to a great extent, while I focus on finishing many of these necessary outdoor and construction projects.

Homeschooling:  We started our school year the last week of August.  N is K4, A is K5, M is 2nd grade, and JR is 4th grade.  And I still haven’t taken their annual school pictures.  Add that to my list of “to-do’s.”  We are doing Abeka Academy again this year, and loving it.  N and A take a lot of focus, which Nana is mostly handling right now.  Once she leaves, the first half of my day will mostly be spent sitting beside them as they work.  JR and M are totally independent, though.  R is always into things, so that’s why God gave mommies (and Nana’s) eyes in the back of their heads.

More visiting:  S came home!!!  Only for a quick visit, but it was great!  I had a short list of projects he worked on for me, the kids got their “daddy-fix” while wrestling, jumping on the trampoline (oh, yeah, I spent 2 days assembling that thing!), and just being with him.  Then I got my time with him when Nana agreed to watch the kiddos while we headed over to a Bed and Breakfast for the night.

Goats:  I’m trying to sell my 2 remaining goat kids, but I’m finding dairy goats are not as popular here as they were in CO.  It’s a much harder sell around here.  In the mean time, I have had to move poor Pride (our buckling) out with the pigs, to ensure he doesn’t breed Caramel (our too-small doeling).  To reduce my workload, I’ve also gone to once a day milking.  I’m not exactly sure how the milk will hold up, especially since I’m considering milking through rather than breeding this fall, but I’ll just play that one as the time passes.

Cattle:  Red Bull finally went home.  He was sweet and never gave me a days trouble–unless you count the time he somehow got into an adjacent paddock to the cows, the other time when he bred my dairy heifer without permission, or the time when he decided to scratch on an old fence and succeeded in knocking it down, releasing all the cows into the pig forest.  No biggie, though.  They were still inside the perimeter fence.  I just set up a water trough down lower in the pasture so they had to come out of the woods periodically so I could check on them.  It actually made my day easier temporarily, and started some clearing in the next section the pigs will move to.  That all being said, the day finally arrived for the sweet bull to go home.  As soon as he saw his owner approaching with the halter, he turned into a beast.  He completely mangled a 5 foot cattle panel as he lept over it (trying to get AWAY from his owner), then easily cleared 3 hot wire fences.  Watching a 1,000 pounds of pure muscle soar gracefully over a fence without hardly touching it is a very impressive sight indeed!  I was finally able to halter my jersey, Abbigail, and lead her to a stall in the barn, and that finally got Red Bull distracted enough to follow her so he could be confined and caught.  Once caught, he walked out of the barn and hopped up in that trailer with a grace and timeliness that would shame any horse.

Chickens:  While S was home, our biggest project was harvesting our 25 Cornish Cross meat birds.  We used our new Featherman Pro chicken plucker too.  Can I just say, THAT.  WAS. AWEWOME!!!!!  Expensive, yes, but totally awesome.  We may decide to rent it to other home poultry raisers to try to help pay for it.  Otherwise, it’ll take like 50 years to pay the thing off.  But, then again, when I consider the fact that I will never have to pluck another bird, I realize it is priceless!  We did 25 birds in about 3 hours, but that includes all the stops and distractions we had with the kiddos and lack of preparation here at this new farm.  The replacement pullets are growing well.  They still live in the barn, but free-range the pastures all day.  Our layers are also doing well.  We’ve had one go broody on us, so I got smart and decided to get some fertile eggs from a friend.  Unfortunately, at the same time she went broody, another has become an egg-eater.  I have no idea which girl it is, but in addition to eating 1 or more of our eggs each day, she has also destroyed 6 of the 8 fertile eggs.  I’m not sure any will survive to hatch.  Other hens are randomly kicking the broody hen off her nest each day to lay their eggs, and one of them is eating some while doing so.  I tried moving the broody hen into the barn, but she refused the new nest, and after 24 hours, I released her, only to have her run straight back to her original nest in the coop.  Oh well.  I guess she’ll just have to go through the natural cycle for a while, and then we’ll try again next year when our new roosters can ensure all our eggs are fertile.  In addition to losing eggs to an egg-eating hen, we are also losing a few chickens lately.  The girls–both the older ones, and the younger replacement ones, have begun doing some foraging deep in the woods, outside of the main pasture and perimeter fence.  There are openings on one side of the perimeter where the hens can get through, but the dogs and other animals can’t.  Obviously, the dogs can’t protect the girls on that side of the fence, so some of them never seem to make it back up.  I remain hopeful that one or two may have gone broody and are just hiding down there.  Realistically, though, I’m pretty confident they were some wild critter’s lunch.  We’ve lost 4 older hens and 5 little ones.  There isn’t much I can do about it right now, except hope that the remaining ones will learn and stay in the fence.  Only time will tell.

Rabbits:  Nothing too new there, other than the fact that we harvested our summer litter.  That takes us back to our one mature doe, 2 mature bucks, and 2 young does that that we brought with us from CO, and will be ready for breeding in December.

Donkey:  The only farm vehicle I have around here is a 4-wheeler.  I use it to haul supplies down to the pig paddocks, to move my portable shelters, to haul wagon loads of dirt, to haul fence posts, and to have fun.  Before we left CO, S and I decided that Shiloh, the donkey would help earn her keep by becoming a work donkey.  We bought a little homemade driving cart to start out with.  After we moved, I ordered her a custom donkey harness.  With the number of projects I had this summer though, I never really had a chance to teach Shiloh to drive.  Then, my 4-wheeler–long over-due for a tune-up and basic maintenance–essentially died on me.  While it’s waiting for a ride to a shop, I’ve had to get creative.  There are still water buckets, feed, dirt, and fencing that has to be hauled.  Time for Shiloh!  I reviewed the basics of long-reigning I had taught Shiloh in the past, spent a few days reviewing all her basics and getting her accustomed to her new harness, and then took full and total advantage of her being a calm and laid back donkey rather than a flighty horse, and hooked her up to the cart.  Since Nana was here at that point, she offered some assistance for safety in the early stages, but Shiloh took to it with ease.  She still has a little trouble turning in the cart, but that is likely due in great part to the fact the shafts on the cart wound up way too big for her.  Now, I have my first real equine-power on the farm.  I can hitch her up to the cart, and then use the cart to haul all the buckets, feed bags, materials, etc, she can drag small logs, and more.  Eventually we will get new shafts that fit better, but I use these in the mean time.  Pictures will follow as soon as I get the chance.

Dogs and cats:  Due to the unintended and unexpected increase in cats around here, I wound up rehoming our barn cat, Katie, and her litter of 6 kittens.  A new farm was looking for a whole slew of cats to stock their barn with, and they jumped at the chance when they heard about her.  That leaves us with Sarah and her litter of 5 kittens, and she is much better mannered as a house cat, so I have a better chance of keeping her indoors until she can be spayed.  The only cat outside at the moment is Shadow.  Callie is still inside, as always.  Will, the house pet, has loved having all these cats around.  He has discovered there is always a dish of cat food sitting around somewhere, and has become quite adept at finding all my hiding spots.  As a result, he has gained somewhere between 5 and 10 pounds over the last 6 weeks.  At this point, my hiding places are getting higher and higher up on shelves, in an attempt to keep them accessible to the cats, but well out of Will’s reach.  Iris and Athena are doing great.  In fact, Iris has entered her fall heat cycle, and I am debating breeding her this fall or waiting until spring.  I finally found the (hopefully) perfect stud dog.  He is in the next state, so quite a drive, but he is of the Colorado Mountain Dog breeding and quality I am looking for, and has already proven himself as a guardian and homestead-type dog.  As usual, we’ll see how this plays out.

Pigs:  The pigs are growing well on their forest forage diet.  I continue to supplement with excess milk and eggs (though the eggs are few and far between with an egg-eating hen on our hands!), and occasional organic grains.  I am working on setting up their next paddock this weekend.  I estimate their weight to be around 100 lbs. now, so I think they are growing well.  I should research and find out averages for this breed so I have something to compare to.  Whatever the weight, they are big enough now that the kids don’t really go in the paddock unsupervised.  The pigs are very friendly, and in their quest for attention, plenty big enough they could easily knock a child down.

That pretty much brings you up to speed for now.  There’s never a dull moment around here, that’s for sure!!

I’m making progress…in my wood-working skills, unpacking, and decorating the house.  Here’s my latest:

First, I built a frame:

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Then I attached top boards, ripped to 5 inches wide:

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Next, I used liquid nails, a couple of screws, and some finishing nails (yeah, a little overkill, but hey, it’s for kiddos!)  to attach trim:

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I leveled the top good with a sander, filled all seams and gaps with wood putty, and sanded again:

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Finally, I attached it to a backboard of plywood:

IMG_1109Wanna take a guess yet?

After that part was complete, I made 2 shelves to match and some supports to match, painted it all to coordinate with the room it was to go in, attached a light, and voila:

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The shelf supports were set up to also act as book ends, and I also added more supports to the top of the desk and the top shelf:

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Then, I finally got around to doing a little more organizing in the boy’s room, so JR is officially ready for school to start in just 3 weeks!

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Now, to find him a chair….

Last week, JR experienced his first, big, “big boy” adventure, independent of the rest of us.  He attended an all-day day camp, where he got to learn all about life in the 1830’s.  Living in IL, Abraham Lincoln is a big theme around here.  As a result, JR has always enjoyed studying him during our homeschool lessons.  We thought it would be a neat experience for him to learn more, hands on.

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Each day, he went to camp where they played games and did crafts common in the 1830’s.  They learned historical facts, and were continually quizzed.  They shot muskets (I never got to do that in Day Camp!), practiced team work, often necessary for survival in that time, and learned the dialects of that time.  On Friday, all the kids had to dress like they were from the 1830’s (clothing was provided).  Friday afternoon, parents were invited to watch a series of educational skits.  The kids didn’t get much practice, so they had to read the dialogues, but it was neat to see JR get up in a front of a group of people and do something:

http://youtu.be/XB1o5DP4PYQ

I have to admit, it was strange not having my little man around all day, knowing he was getting big enough to be off doing his own thing.  Suffice it to say, he had an absolute blast, and is already hoping he can go again next year.

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Things are going well for us right now.

My parents just left from a week long visit.  It was the first time I’ve seen my dad in 3 years, and the first time he had met R.  We had a great visit, and may see them again this summer.

JR’s rabbit doe delivered another healthy litter this morning.  Seeing as how we are technically considered in the “high-altitude plains,” we are still getting our fair share of snow from this latest storm.  Due to the cold factor, we haven’t bothered the nest to count the little kits yet.  The doe has proven herself a good mom in the past though, so hopefully she will stick with that trend.

I finally got the blood drawn on my last 2 does, to determine once and for all if they are pregnant.  I’m crossing my fingers, as they are definitely not cycling any more.  I’m about ready to dry up Faith, as she really isn’t producing much anyway.  I’m just keeping her going until I get those test results.

The sale of our house is moving right along as well.  The buyers have already begun the inspections process.  It has already paid off that we got the 5-year roof inspection warranty, as it had begun snowing when the first inspector showed up and he couldn’t inspect the roof.  The buyer opted to believe the inspection and warranty we had given them.  The rest of the house inspection seemed satisfactory though. We also already have title commitment from the title company.  We are hoping for a warm spell this weekend so we can do some outside paint touch-ups for the appraisal process.  The buyer is having a radon test run right now, and they are working on scheduling a well flow test for next week.  There isn’t much we can do except allow them to schedule the inspections and tests at this point.  However, things seem to be going well, and the buyers seem very excited with the property.  We are hopeful this will continue to be rather quick, easy, and painless, without too many expenses on our part.

The kids are in the final stages of their schooling.  They are on lesson 129 of 170.  That doesn’t leave much.  They have done so well this year.  I am just thrilled with the Abeka Academy video program.  It is very thorough, and the kids are learning far more than they would have had I tried to handle the teaching alone.

So that’s our latest.  Things are anticipated to start getting pretty busy here soon.  I will try to keep the updates coming.

As I wrote in a post last year, I get cabin fever really bad towards the end of winter each year.  This year, I think it started to get to the kids, too, after we had a 6-week spell of the temps hardly ever getting out of the teens. As if winter weather wasn’t bad enough, I have seriously pushed school this year so we could be done well in advance in our move.  Therefore, we started school around August 1, and have only taken a rare day off about twice a month.

The good news is, I have children who love school.  I have found that simply allowing them some freedoms during their school day revives them and seems to be getting them through their cabin fever moments.  We use Abeka Book’s “Abeka Academy” program for the older children, and the Abeka K-4 workbooks for the younger children.  This week, when they decided they were tired of the routine where M watches her school DVD’s on the computer downstairs and JR watches his on his DVD player at his desk, they asked if they could do something different.  Since then, they have been sharing the DVD player (which extends the school day, but they love it–go figure!), watching each other’s DVD’s together, doing their school out on the front porch, in my walk-in closet, at the dining room table, and recently, my bed has become their favorite location.  On occasion, when they are doing really well, I will allow them to just complete their written and reading work and skip the videos altogether.  In turn, they are learning that they get more freedoms when they do their school well and correctly.  If my checks of their work show some slacking off or a lack of understanding of a concept, the privileges are lost, and the structure returns until they shape up again.

JR and M doing worksheets and watching their school DVD.  Callie, the cat, is supervising.

JR and M doing worksheets and watching their school DVD. Callie, the cat, is supervising.

A and N require a lot of input and assistance from me to do their worksheets.  Therefore, since they are only 4, I don’t push it with them.  We gave up the reading lessons long ago, as they just weren’t ready.  Sometimes, you have to choose your battles!  They love to do their worksheets, though, and since the worksheets (phonics and numbers) are pretty basic, we usually do several days’ worth together.  I am better able to consolidate my time that way.  I have decided to ease my required assistance next year, though, by signing them up for the video program too.  I think they will like it, and may learn more.  They will certainly benefit from the increased structure of a video-led school day.

In addition, we have started getting out of the house more.  Twice a week, the kids have swimming lessons.  I will discuss that more in a future post, but it is working out beautifully!  The kids get more activity, more stimulation, the action of swimming in itself is tremendously therapeutic for A and N, and R has turned out to be a total water-baby!  The private, 30-minute sessions are very intensive and fast-paced, though they advance at the rate the child is ready, which works great for our children–who differ so greatly in physical and mental abilities.

Finally, to help revive me, we are very blessed to still have a wonderful young lady who babysits one evening a week, for a simple gift of fresh eggs and/or goat milk, so S and I can have a date night.  We use these nights to run errands, attend functions, see an occasional movie, recently to shop for trucks and trailers, etc.  We usually work in a nice dinner together though, which is very refreshing to my spirit, and often even a quick visit to my chiropractor, which is equally refreshing to my physical body.  One-on-one time with my husband is something I crave and very much enjoy–especially during this season of young, dependent children outnumbering me.  Although it isn’t with S, I also have another trip to Red Gate to look forward to next month.  I will be traveling back again for about a week to do some last-minute building, painting, and cleaning projects, to help the move transition go smoother.  That will be a lot of fun, just getting away by myself for a spell.

I cannot deny how much I love the flexibility of homeschooling, and the freedoms offered therein.  We can have an otherwise boring, cabin-fever-type day, change it up a bit, and rejuvenate everyone a bit.

After a torturous month of waiting, the children were so excited that Christmas Day has finally arrived!  As has become tradition, we gathered around the tree after dinner on Christmas eve, enjoyed some family time, and opened one little gift each.  This morning, we got up at the crack of dawn, thoroughly enjoyed torturing the kiddos for a few more minutes as we made them wait upstairs while we did a few things, and then let everyone make their way downstairs to the tree.  As is tradition for us, we started with Daddy reading the Christmas story out of the Bible, so we can remember the true meaning and point of celebrating on this day.  Then, we set Uncle D up on Skype so he could be a part of our Christmas.  He currently lives in Korea teach English and serving as a missionary, so the kids only really get to see him on Skype.  Finally, we moved on to the gifts.

Of course, I didn’t get photos of everything, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.  S made me a homemade cutting board out of Red Oak, to replace my 3 that are all falling apart.  He also gave me a much-needed external hard-drive for the computer.   I gave him a much-needed cordless drill and impact driver set–something we will no doubt need around the farm.

The children enjoyed their gifts as well.  M and S are both old enough and earn enough that we expect them to buy a gift that costs at least $10 for one of their siblings.  This year, they both chose gifts that could be shared by several siblings, which we found very thoughtful.  S actually went above and beyond, and spent a bit more money than we required.  In fact, when we were at the store buying, an associate asked him why he was buying a gift for himself when it was almost Christmas.  He tried to politely explain that he was buying for his brothers, but it was clear the associate didn’t believe him.  I found it sad that she couldn’t conceive of a child using his own money to buy something for someone else.  Oh well. In addition, they both handmade gifts for almost everyone else in the family that they didn’t buy for.  Those consisted of miscellaneous crafts, colorings, or cards, but all were very thoughtful and appreciated nonetheless.

N opening a gift from M

N opening a gift from M

M opening her new cowgirl costume set.  She loves to play dress-up!

M opening her new cowgirl costume set. She loves to play dress-up!

M trying on her costume.  Daddy actually bought it on the small side so R could grow into quickly, and M has another one, a princess dress, that's bigger.  I just didn't get a photo of that one.

M trying on her costume. Daddy actually bought it on the small side so R could grow into quickly, and M has another one, a princess dress, that’s bigger. I just didn’t get a photo of that one.

M opening a home-made gift from M.

M opening a home-made gift from M.

Even Will got a gift.  His one passion in life is playing Frisbee every evening with Dad.  We buy the light-up Frisbee's since they often have to play at night.

Even Will got a gift. His one passion in life is playing Frisbee every evening with Dad. We buy the light-up Frisbee’s since they often have to play at night.

We saved the best and biggest for last–a Grand Finale of sorts this year.

I tried to capture their faces as they walked into the room where the BIG gifts were hidden.

I tried to capture their faces as they walked into the room where the BIG gifts were hidden.

R got a new tricycle.  We had a nice little red one, but Daddy accidentally ran over it with the van this past summer.  OOPS!

R got a new tricycle. We had a nice little red one, but Daddy accidentally ran over it with the van this past summer. OOPS!

Most kids eventually wish for a kitten, puppy, or pony.  Mine have wanted a pet bird for several years.  Thanks to Craigslist, I found this awesome, like-new, heavy-duty bird cage for a STEAL.

Most kids eventually wish for a kitten, puppy, or pony. Mine have wanted a pet bird for several years. Thanks to Craigslist, I found this awesome, like-new, heavy-duty bird cage for a STEAL.

Last, but not least, also thanks to Craigslist, we found two, name-brand sleds in like-new condition, but for both, we paid half the price we would have paid for one brand new.

Last, but not least, also thanks to Craigslist, we found two, name-brand sleds in like-new condition, but for both, we paid half the price we would have paid for one brand new.

The big gifts this year was kind of a new thing.  Hopefully the kiddos don’t come to expect it.  We have been wanting to get some really good sleds for a couple years now, but the good ones are just too expensive.  I found a sled advertised on Craigslist for a great price, and even though we wanted two, S figured he’d go look at it.  When he arrived, not only was it EXACTLY what he was wanting quality-wise, but the guy had TWO he was selling!  I love the way God answers prayers, sometimes before we even ask!

As far as the cage, I’m sure buying such a monstrosity right before a big move wasn’t my brightest moment, but I totally couldn’t pass up the price.  I got it for about the same price as a new, small parakeet cage because the guy just wanted to get rid of it (memories of an old girlfriend apparently).  In any case, one of our hold-ups on letting the kids get a pet bird is that we hate to see any animal tightly confined.  We just didn’t want to see a bird confined to a tiny little cage.  When I saw this, I pictured a smaller-sized bird with so much more room to flap his wings and have lots of room to play–and eventually even a buddy or two to play with.  The top of the cage opens, and we can add a perch (S has to cut several) to give him a play area outside the cage.

As a side note, I could use a little help….We have decided to use the cage/bird as a great homeschool supplementary exercise, as well as another lesson in responsibility.  We gave the cage to the kids this morning, but explained that we can’t get the bird until after we move.  They are responsible for researching domesticated pet birds (their first research project), agreeing to the final decision, saving the money to buy what they want, and using their money and time to care for the bird.  We’ll see how it works out.  In the mean time, if any of you happen to know someone in the mid-west area who breeds birds (I’m thinking cockatiel, lovebird, or other small parrot; any smaller  will be too small for the bars on the cage, and any bigger will be too big for the kids to handle) and raises them to be hand-tame and friendly, please pass on my blog info, or let me know who they are.  I have no idea where we will be able to find a bird the kids can afford.  We will be praying about this, and hoping to find someone who might be interested in helping us to fulfill our children’s wish.  JR, in particular, has more than proven to be responsible caring for his bunnies, so this seems the next natural step.  As an FYI, they would love a type of bird capable of whistling and talking, but it definitely isn’t a requirement.  They will be looking to buy starting in June of 2013 (about 6 months from now).  Any help would be greatly appreciated, and if it makes the seller feel any better, of course I will be looking over their shoulders at all times as they learn!!  I had a few pet birds in the past (mostly cockatiels and parakeets), and really enjoyed them.  Now that S is retiring, we are finally settling down somewhere long enough to enjoy a bird with a long life.  This will be fun for me getting back into birds, and I have no doubt the kids will really enjoy this!

Oh, the aftermath of Christmas morning...

Oh, the aftermath of Christmas morning…

Do you ever have “one of those days?”  Particularly as a parent?  You know, the kind of day where you are thankful for your children, but you can’t quite remember why they are considered a blessing?  Yeah, that was my day today, as I continually reminded myself how I couldn’t possibly live without them.  However, the day was supported on each end by some really cool events!

It all started about 48 hours ago, when S asked me to check his e-mail for something.  One seemed a typical phishing e-mail–the type that tries to get you to click a link and get your personal info.  It said we had a check they were trying to send us, but they needed to confirm info.  I almost deleted it, but then noticed that the e-mail did NOT contain a link to click, but did contain a good bit of personal info about us already, which got my attention and made me nervous.  The signature line included the name and contact information for someone supposedly from the Attorney General’s Office of CO.  Rather than responding directly to the e-mail, I decided to investigate.  I googled the CO AG’s office, called that number, spoke to the operator, and asked her if a person by the name listed in our e-mail worked there.  They did, so I left a message on their voicemail.  She called a couple hours later, and turns out it was totally legit!  Two years ago, a debt collector trying to find someone else, called our house at 5:30 in the morning, waking us up, and putting S in a REALLY bad mood.  Later that day, he filed a complaint with the AG’s office per CO instructions.  We never heard another word about it, and totally forgot about it until this person reminded me.  Apparently, a few others had done the same, and the AG began an investigation.  Recently, the investigation was closed, and the debt collection company was fined a significant sum for breaking CO laws regarding when and who they were allowed to call.  Now, the AG office was trying to track down the “victims” of those calls, and send them their portion of the fines.  Now, we are expecting a nice, unexpected Christmas bonus!!

Then, yesterday morning started out pretty typical, but after breakfast, R began vomiting.  My day’s plans were shot, though I rather enjoyed spending a few hours just laying on the couch with her, bucket handy of course.  She slept a few hours, then seemed to improve around lunch time.  I kept her on the BRAT diet for most of the day until I was confident she would keep food down.

First thing this morning my little “biggest” rebel, N, who just can’t seem to resist any sort of temptation, snuck a lollipop, gobbled it up, and when I caught him, he flat out lied about it.  Of course, the “Very Berry” flavored breath was a dead give-away.  As a part of his discipline, I told him he would not be allowed any yummy treats that we were making.  Later, the other kids and I made Monkey Bread, and I specifically instructed N not to touch it, and had a discussion with him to ensure he understood what he had done wrong.  We fed him a non-sweet snack to at least help him not be hungry.  Yet, no sooner did I turn my back, he snuck into the kitchen, and ate the treat.  Let’s just say that was his last fun moment of the day, as it got REALLY boring after that.

After my lecture to N, I stood up and turned around to find R drinking out of the dog bowl.

Shortly after, JR reported to me (for the second day in a row) that one of his school books was lost.  I threatened him with consequences if he didn’t find it.  He eventually found it, but only after half-emptying his school bookshelf all over the floor, crying about it a bit, and insisting it had to be his brothers that misplaced it (it wasn’t).  Then, he had trouble with his math, and his entire school day took him over 9 hours with a few breaks in the middle (it should take 3-4).  That was followed by an incredibly sore throat that left him unable to eat dinner or speak this evening.

M and A have both suffered a bit of discipline over the last two days due to their seeming inability to listen and follow instruction of late.  She was better today, but still had her fair share of arguments with her brothers.  A and N have both begun whining a lot, which drives me batty.  “Talk like a big boy” has become a common phrase around this house.

As if that wasn’t enough, R, who has been potty training for the last 2 weeks (and doing extremely well), came into the room where I was to see what I was doing.  A sudden and unexpected bought of diarrhea hit her, and the next thing I knew, I had stinky mush on my carpet.  Got that cleaned up, took a deep breath, and said, “I think I can, I think I can….”

Nap time finally arrived, and I got online to do some Christmas shopping.  Shopping for the children when the children haven’t exactly been on their best behavior can be a good thing, actually.  I have a feeling it SAVED me quite a bit of money!  I did however find a great gift on Craigslist.  I contacted S and he arranged to pick the gift up on his way home.  We really needed two, but one would suffice for now.  He arrived at the persons house, only to find out that they had TWO!!  For slightly less than retail price for one, we got TWO awesome gifts for the kids this winter!

S got home, took over the kiddos before my head exploded, and I went and cooked dinner.  I read a book to the children for a little while, we ate dinner, and then S put the kids to bed while I went for a jog.  I can’t even remember the last time I did that!!!  I think it was about the time the number of children outgrew the number of seats in the jogging stroller!  Yeah, I really needed to blow off some steam so I could focus on hubby for once today!!

Oh, this is my life.  The good, the bad, the exhilirating, the exhausting, and the downright ugly.  I guess I need days like this sometimes to keep me humble and remind me that I am NOTHING without Christ.  So, despite days like this, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

 

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