Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I'm past due for a family update

I'm not sure how long it's been since I posted a family update, but I know I've posted several reviews in a row without one.  I'm sorry.  I do not want this to be a review-only blog.  It is still my family blog, and will continue to be.

I do know that it's harder to post with a one year old on your lap than with a younger baby.  When Baby G is needing held, I can't type as much.  That limits my time to post personal blog entries.  Right now he's working on his 12 month molars, and he's been very clingy and fussy.  Yesterday he was beyond fussy into screaming, actually.  Just when I started imagining all the internal problems that could be the cause of his 20 minute screaming fit, he quit -- because he saw me filling up a cup with diluted apple juice for him.  Suddenly, he was happy.  I still don't know what was the problem originally.

School is back in swing, and I have one more student this year.  5 yo M is doing Kindergarten work, so I help him work through his math and his phonics each day, plus read to him.  8 yo J is reading now, so he needs me less to walk him through his math lessons, but I am making time to listen to him read several times a day and encourage that practice he needs.  The older 3 girls are in 5th, 7th, and 9th grade.  Other than occasional math help, they're doing well and are mostly independent.  10 yo C has finally reached the point where I can assign her Tapestry of Grace reading to do independently.  I still read lower grammar level books to 8 yo J for Tapestry of Grace.

Last night J read a Step 3 Star Wars I Can Read book to himself!  I was so excited to see that!!  I need to find more books at the library (or store) that he can read and will be interested in reading, to encourage him!  I have lots of girl books in this house and need to build up the boy books now.  I heard him read a simple book to his 3 yo sister last week, and it made me smile ... but not as much as last night's effort. 

And going back to Tapestry of Grace, we just started TOG again this week.  We took several weeks to review Mystery of History volume 3 and All American History vol. 2 instead. The kids all enjoyed those but asked me last week if we could please go back to TOG now.  I guess in our home, MOH and AAH will be reference books we can use as spines with TOG, but they want to get back to doing independent reading of fiction and non-fiction books for the majority of their history lessons.

I just came in from doing a chicken count this morning.  I had to throw a blanket over Baby G and take him out with me since he's the only child awake.  Our dog wanted outside, but we had found a chicken on the back porch when Steve went to work this morning, so I needed to make sure the rest were all in their coop before setting the "chicken-hungry dog" loose.  They were all accounted for, but it's hard to count 23 chickens and 1 guinea when they won't stand still and the sun isn't completely up yet.   I couldn't see the wild turkeys, but I could hear them very close to us ... probably in the trees across the highway and in the pasture behind our tree line.  I heard them from several directions.

Our garden has been bountiful this year ... honestly more than I've had time to deal with.  We've wasted so many green beans.  I've considered opening the rows up to others to come pick.  We need to change our technique.  Instead of going out and picking one LONG row and then having 2 large buckets that everyone dreads dealing with ... we need to pick a smaller bowl or bucket's worth and process them immediately ... into supper or the freezer.  We planted another row of them, too, so there will be more yet to come. 

The zucchini is still producing bountifully.  The spaghetti squash are overflowing and almost ready to harvest.  And we have pumpkins!  I picked one this weekend to set up a Fall display by the driveway.  The kids are eager to pick more, and to invite friends to pick some, as well.   We had the Pastor's family here this weekend, and I meant to send one home with them ... but it got late and then we forgot. 

We have a busy month ahead of us.  Every weekend in October has at least one commitment (besides church, of course).  Then there is homeschool group, book and curriculum reviews, and Dreamy's kittens are due mid-October, too.  We still have two kittens from Melody's litter left to sell, and we'll be starting fresh with new ones soon.  We're kitten-rich and this is unusual for us.  We're used to one litter per year from Sweetie, our oldest Mama cat.

Last week we worked on doing some re-organizing, decluttering, and general house cleaning.  We were expecting company and had been neglecting the house quite a bit.  It looks so much nicer now, and 8 yo J is really taking it personally this month.  He has worked to keep his bedroom clean each day, and he pulled bags of toys out of his closet to store in the basement!  Actually, he did that a couple weeks ago, but it made getting ready for this weekend's company so much easier.  The children had so much fun this weekend, they're begging us to invite families over every weekend, or at least every other weekend.  Maybe we should ... they clean the house so much better when they have an external motivation.

I'm coming out of a funk, to be honest.  I'd become rather negative about our house and didn't want to have anyone over.  Our house is small for a family of 9 -- by American standards.  And it hasn't been repainted since the 50s when the addition was finished.  A pink dining room, peach kitchen, spring green living room, and raspberry hallway are not my color preferences.  Add in 7 kids for 2 years and the walls have gained a layer of dirt and toddler art that won't wash off the flat non-glossy paint. 

Somewhere in the last few months, I became overly focused on its appearance, though.   I was very self-conscious and negative about it.  But, after we got it ready for company and then opened our house up to guests two days in a row ... my attitude is back in its proper place.  My house isn't meant to be a showroom (which it's not) and it's not meant to be just for our family.  We are to be hospitable, and content.  When the house is clean, and our attitude is content and joyful, guests aren't going to be focused on my paint colors. My attitude affects my children's attitudes -- I need to be more careful.

The children and I have allergy sniffles, but 10 yo C has her first real cold.  I need to get vitamin D3 in the house.  I'm hoping that supplementing with that this fall and winter season will prevent some of the illnesses we get swamped with each year.  With a large family, it can take weeks for one thing to work its way through the family ... and too often the next thing is hitting someone right about then.  We often have half the family home from church in the winter months.  No one likes that!

Well, 3 yo L is now awake and chattering at me.  So I'd better get her some breakfast and wake the other children up.  They'd sleep all morning if I let them, at least the oldest two would.

Trusting In Him,


  1. April, I totally know what you are saying about a small house and hesitating to invite people over. We have so much clutter that the dining room table is covered and there is often stuff piled up on the couch and every chair, so there is no place to eat or sit. I can't stand it. There is only so much I can do while also homeschooling, so a lot just doesn't get done. I feel like until the reast of my family is on board with decluttering and putting stuff in its place, that I justhave to put up with it and live like this.

    However, I DO know how to get marks off the walls. I invested about $15 in Basic H2 from Shaklee. It's so concentrated that it lasts forever. (It costs more if you buy the empty spray bottles, but you can just buy those from a dollar store and get the measurements from the person who sold it to you - or I'll give them to you. Then write the measurements on the bottle for future reference.) It gets most stains out of clothes. It cleans my stove and counters. I even use it on the walls. What it doesn't get out, my $2 Mr. Clean Magic Erasers from Walmart do. The magic eraser works wonders on walls. Sometimes, I just give the kids baby wipes and have them wipe down the walls or baseboards, but I cringe at the cost of using wipes that way. Wipes aren't cheap and I am partial to a specific brand because of how well they work. I think I have been able to get everything from kid-grime to permanent marker off the walls. If you are concerned about removing the color from the paint, then use the magic eraser dry instead of wet.

    Have a great day!

  2. I have used magic erasers on walls in our old house, but we had a semi-gloss paint there. Here the paint feels chalky and I've been afraid the magic eraser would take the paint off the walls.


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