Wednesday, May 7, 2008

So what have we been up to, you're wondering?

Or maybe you're not wondering at all ... but for those who do check in to see what we're up to, I'd better post an update.

We've had company for two weekends in a row.  We celebrated Steve's Grandma's birthday with his parents and siblings two weekends ago, and then my sister was here this past weekend.  It's always fun to have family visit.  We'll be hosting a friend of mine at the end of this month, and Steve's cousins and Uncle in June.  We're looking forward to those visits, as well.

We're doing well here.  We had a couple interesting weeks with 4 yo M.  He was sick the week before Steve's family came, but we thought it was a fever and rash reaction from his MMR vaccination the week before.  The nurse had said he would run a fever in a week, and we were also told the rash was likely a reaction to that.  Except, then the fever came back, he kept having headaches, and the rash changed in appearance.  So, we took him to the Dr., only to find out he had a strep infection.  I'd asked him if his throat hurt all week long, and he had always said no.  Oh well.

In the middle of that, he also slipped on his jacket, fell into the coffee table, and split his skin on his brow bone.  We ended up super-gluing it together, because he did not want to go to the Emergency Room, but it wouldn't stop seeping on its own.  I gave him homeopathic Arnica tablets from Hyland's to help reduce the bruising.  It did help.  He only bruised above his eye, along the bone.  We expected a total black eye at first.

It took him quite awhile to get rested and return to his normal self from that infection.  A sick 4 yo with company is not the most fun to be around.  Unfortunately, his grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins were treated to a view of his less desirable behavior -- including some major meltdowns caused by fatigue.  Poor little guy.   He's fully recovered now, and his eye looks great, too.  The scab is off, and the bruise is almost gone.

We're enjoying Spring here in our new home.  It's fun to look out the window and see a bunny feeding just 15 feet away.  It's wonderful to hear the birds singing all around us, and the mourning doves cooing right outside the living room window.  It's exciting to watch and wait to see what this flower or that will turn out to be, once it blooms.  (Grandpa's extensive flower beds have dwindled down to scattered plants here and there that make mowing a challenge.  We need to transplant them to consolidate them.)  The kids are also enjoying running, playing, and riding their bikes outside in the warmer weather.  I've been enjoying hanging clothes out on the clothesline, and bringing them in.  2 yo L especially likes to "help" me with that project.

Yesterday was exciting (in a new and unusual way) because the barn swallows that have nested on the front porch (unused by Grandma when she lived here) for years returned.  They kept flying up to the two previous nesting sites (we've knocked down the nests each Fall for the past couple years).  We kept banging on the window frame, or yelling at them to go away.  I was starting to feel like a crazy woman, hollering and banging every 2-3 minutes.  Finally, the kids started watching them from the window in the door, then running out onto the porch screaming to scare them away.  But just a few minutes later, the birds would return.  I was beginning to wonder if I'd ever settle the children down to schoolwork, but the birds finally gave up (for now) around lunchtime.   I don't mind them building their mud nests on our house; but right above the front door is not a good place, since their droppings fall onto the door, its handle, and the mat beneath it.  Steve doesn't want them nesting on the porch at all, because of their droppings.

We have not planted a garden yet.  We've been struggling to get and keep our lawn mowers running.  My sister brought her push mower with her last weekend, so we could make some progress.  That helped tremendously, but now we need to figure out our mower problems so we can keep it mowed.  We need to mow, and then till the garden area.  We did plant annual flowers in the long built-in porch planter two weekends ago.  We planted begonias and impatiens, and they will be lovely once they bush out and fill the planter fully.

We decided against chicks for this year, since we don't have a hen house in good working order, at the moment ... and we couldn't agree on a location.  The old hen house and brooder house are on the far side of the property, and I'd prefer a closer one.  So, for now, it's on hold.  We do intend to get guineas as soon as they are available, though.  We need them to help control the tick population.

Life is just settling into a normalcy right now.  The unexpected expenses of the winter have eased.  The cars are all running again (although some still have their quirks).  Having our cars all running has allowed us to start to be more involved at church, and have more freedom while Steve is at work.  The house is all settled, although the basement and garage are still disorderly.  The children are all mostly well, and we've begun getting general checkups for each of them with our new family Dr.  The pregnancy is progressing well.  My morning sickness has passed.  At 21 weeks, I'm definitely showing now, and the baby is kicking and squirming on a daily basis.  Steve has even felt one of the stronger kicks.

We're keeping an eye on 2 yo L, who is showing signs of having a return of her Reactive Airways from 2 summers ago when she was just a baby.  She had no problems last Spring and Summer, so this is disappointing.  I took her in last Friday because I had heard some rattling in her lungs, but they were clear while we were at the Dr's office.  She seemed okay over the weekend, despite her deep cough and runny nose, but the rattle returned in her lungs Monday and Tuesday.  I can hear it with the stethoscope.  There isn't a wheeze, though, so I'm watching her and trying to decide when to take her in ... I want them to hear what I'm hearing next time, but I don't want to let things wait too long.  Of course, I'd prefer that she recover and we not have to go down the path of breathing treatments and steroids again.

When we moved here, we knew we'd be opening our home to more pollens, since it is not air conditioned and we will be opening the windows more often, through 3 seasons.  But we moved from a fully carpeted home to this house with wood floors, which we knew would be an improvement.  We removed all the old furniture, drapes, and two very old dirty carpets which could have held allergens.  So, now we just wait and see how all the children react.  So far, I would say that the Spring allergies aren't any worse for the kids, Steve and I, than they were the past two years in our old home and environment.  But we're still watching 2 yo L.

Homeschooling is moving steadily along.  Some of the children have finished their handwriting workbooks, so I'm printing things from the internet for them until we decide to place an order.  We're studying the American Revolution in the final unit of Tapestry of Grace, year 2, at the moment.  We'll move on into Year 3 as soon as we finish.  Because of our 3 month moving break last Fall, and the maternity break we'll take this Fall, we're planning to school through the summer months.  We've never schooled completely through the summer before, but every year is different.

I just started using Before Five In A Row with 4 yo M last week, because I felt he was needing some time with Mommy.  He's excited about it, and enjoying the snuggle time.  2 yo L usually listens in, too.  I need to print some simple handwriting things for him to do when he wants to "do school", as well.  And I need to be sure to read to him and 2 yo L more often.  7 yo J has been asking me to do Five In A Row again.  I'm not sure if I want to do FIAR, B4 FIAR, and Tapestry of Grace, though.  So I may either move 4 yo M up into FIAR and do it with 7 yo J ... or I may just make more effort to read to 7 yo J from some of the Tapestry of Grace books.  He had become bored with them, and seemed resistant to listening, so I had quit trying to read to him ... assigning 8 yo C to read to herself instead.  But now J seems to miss that reading time, so we'll work it back in.

7 yo J still lacks confidence in reading.  He's working through the Bob books, and can read, but is slow to recall the sounds at times, is easily distracted, and just needs more practice for skill and confidence.  He keeps saying he can't read, and I have to keep reminding him he can ... he just needs to keep practicing.  The summer reading program begins this month, so we'll try to find simple books he can read for that.

This morning, we have been watching a yellow plane fly back and forth around our house.  I had heard it fly VERY close to our house a few mornings ago, but the curtains were still closed.  This morning, I saw it when it flew right over our tree line.  Then 4 yo M woke up, and he and I watched it together.  It is circling over a field behind a hill across the highway.  We see it every now and then over the hill.  Then it will cross over the highway, fly over Grandma's field, turn around and go back over the highway.  I finally had M go wake up 7 yo J so he could watch it, too.  I sent him just in time, because it only continued for a short time after that.  But in the end, all the children had a chance to watch him.

Now the children have mostly finished eating breakfast, and it's time to turn our attention to schoolwork and chores for the day.  As I said, life is just routine for us at the moment, but it's a good routine.

Trusting in Him,

1 comment:

  1. hi there,

    I'm such a lurker but I wanted to tell you something, so I'm commenting for the first time. I just saw this fan thing at Target and when I read about you having the windows open and the pollen problem I just had to tell you about it. It's a double fan that you put in windows to circulate the air - but it has pollen filters on it. so that might be a sollution for you, esp in the bedrooms. Just a thought - back to lurkdome. hee hee.

    Anna (mommy to five littles)


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