Saturday, January 29, 2011

how many corpsmen does it take to weigh one child?

Usually it only takes one, but if you are having all three daughters seen at once, it takes 4 to take all their vitals. One each to record the numbers and one female to protect against sexual harassment accusations. The result was 8 people all crammed into one little room, but I certainly didn't mind. When I called the appointment line a few weeks ago it was deemed impossible to have more than one child be seen on the same day so I was forced to schedule us to drive downtown to the local military hospital 6 Fridays in a row so the children could visit the doctor. Everyone had one little issue that needed to be dealt with, Mary and her newly found antibiotic allergy, Charlie's need for a EpiPen, Maggie's complaint about her eyesight... but after the first appointment in which we didn't even have the chance to sit down in the waiting room, the staff was gracious and made accommodations so we could squeeze in all the children in 2 visits.

So now we have it noted in Mary's chart not to give her amoxocillin, Maggie's vision is deemed 20/20, we no longer need to fear death the next time Charlie stumbles across a yellow jacket nest, and Will has his physical completed for camp. And little babydoodle, Julia Ellen, has been pronounced to be the sweetest, most developmentally on-task toddler known to man. This has been the most pleasant experience at a military hospital I have encountered in my 14 years of delivering babies (unlike this episode at Bethesda), dragging children to the pediatrician, and my own infrequent medical issues. I have to give kudos to the staff at the Family Practice clinic at NMCP for all their helpfulness and accommodation to my large brood.    

Friday, January 28, 2011

why didn't she just homeschool?

An Ohio mom has been sentenced to jail time for illegally enrolling her children in a public school in a different district so they could get a "better education." The school officials hired a pirvate detective to follow her car and threatened to fine her $30,000, but she refused and has been put behind bars. Likely her children will stay with her father while she is serving time and then they will be in he proper geographical area to attend that school. abc news

I know the paperwork to homeschool is sometimes a pain, but wouldn't it be less traumatic than all of this in order to give her kids a quality education, one that doesn't insist on teaching them to lie to their teachers every day?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

carnival of homeschooling

Misty is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at her blog HomeschoolBytes with a world school theme.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

deployment/TAD syndrome

With Tim away this week I have been fortunate enough to have the dishwasher leak all over the kitchen floor twice, giving me much more laundry to do with all the sopping wet towels as well as the added burden of having to wash every dish by hand. I shouldn't complain, after all many people have no dishwasher at all, and some have less food these days to put on those plates or no little children to feed. But despite the priest getting his shoes wet while blessing our home yesterday I've been a little uneasy. Noises at night have kept me up and a mysterious clattering from the garage left me checking on all the children and prowling about the doors and windows ready to shoot an intruder. We live in a relatively safe neighborhood, but it will be good to have the man about the place again.  

Monday, January 24, 2011

scrubbing the floors

With the new mother's helper arriving today as well as one of our parish priests coming this afternoon to give our home an Epiphany blessing, I took the opportunity to clean the entire place for the first time since we moved in back in October. Perhaps I can think of the exercise as my pre-Spring cleaning, but I just didn't want anyone to walk into our house for the first time and spy the clutter that inevitably accumulates when one has too many tasks to perform and not enough time and energy to tidy up afterwards.

Even my dresser, with its pile of race medals, 4 year old's coloring endeavours, and 6 month's worth of dust is now glowing. The floors are all vacuumed, the debris from under the children's beds is put away or pitched into the trash bin, and the silver baby cups on the mantel are polished. It is so lovely to have a spic and span environment, I just hope that Tim doesn't expect me to repeat the performance later in the week so he can experience it himself when he gets home from a week away. I have a feeling that after holding down the fort alone will create the atmosphere of too much to do and not enough time that led to the mess in the first place.    

Saturday, January 22, 2011

running in the cold

My first race in this 3 race series was a 5K over frozen chunks of mud. My overall finish place was 85, age group finish place was 3. My time 24:27.43 gave you a 7:53 pace per mile. The second (6K) race was this morning in 22 F temps, but at the top of Mt. Trashmore in VA Beach, which we had to climb twice, it felt more like 14F. My overall finish place was 78, age group finish place was 3. My time 31:23.52 gave you a 8:25 pace per mile.

Luckily the third race is not until late February, giving me a hope of a warm spell as I'm a little tired of my ears hurting from the cold and my nose running copiously throughout the race. I did pick up a form for the Dismal Swamp Stomp in mid-April, a 13.1 mile run that wouldn't involve running fast, just a steady pace and a pleasant spring day, perfect for a jog through the woods.

Friday, January 21, 2011

mother's helper

Over the past few years of homeschooling I have hired homeschooled teens to help watch the little children while I did school with the bigger kids with varying success. Perhaps it was their immaturity or the layout of our house in Maryland that made it not work out well, but after a friend suggested her college-age daughter, I reconsidered the option.

So, after spelling out that I want Karen to play with the little boys, read to them, do puzzles and games as well as keep Julia Ellen out of trouble, we made arrangements for her to come over for a few hours on Monday. We shall see how it goes, if I can focus on schoolwork rather than worrying that Julia Ellen is getting into more mischief and that Charlie and Timmy are not watching Veggie Tales for the 800th time, it will be worth the extra cleanup and expense. If not, then I'm sure they will have every single Silly Song With Larry memorized by the end of May.     

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

bits and pieces

 If you allow the children access to the digital camera, you will find they have taken 80 pictures of squirrels eating nuts and snow on the back porch.

Seeing the little boys wrestling on the floor, "Stop acting like puppies!" 

"We are NOT puppies! We're lions! Roar!"

Necklaces and bubbles make bathtime fun. 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

playing school?

Does anyone else find it amusing that my always-homeschooled children have set up teacher and student desks and have spent the last two hours giving each tests and writing assignments?

With tubs full of hand-me-down clothes serving as desks, Will as teacher has managed to do something I haven't in 6 years. Mary apparently wrote two paragraphs without moaning, gnashing her teeth, or needing her hand held.

Friday, January 14, 2011

can I spell "mortification"?

I didn't know at all what to expect from yesterday's homeschool spelling bee, but after studying with Will for 3 months, I didn't expect him to get eliminated in the second round with the word ignite. It wasn't a word he ever spelled wrong for me, we were focusing on words he was having trouble with like fortification, oscillation, and Mesopotamian. He said that he knew every word given after that one. I also didn't expect to get kicked out of the room because of the little kid's muffled whispers, it was so quiet you could have heard a mouse squeak in the corner. Out in the hallway was a man in a bee costume, which terrified Julia Ellen to no end, so we spent a great deal of time standing far away trying to get her to wave to the bee and make buzzing noises.

Well, I'm pretty bummed out because now my best speller only has only 1 more year to participate. Well, I should focus on the positives: we both learned how to spell a lot of words, he did have the experience of a bee, and he does want to try again next year. I learned what words to focus on (we spent valuable time reviewing the 1st-5th grade words, which weren't covered at all) and learned that next year the little kids will stay home with a babysitter.

Monday, January 10, 2011

prep time

With Will's spelling bee on Thursday afternoon and a 3 mile race up and down Mt. Trashmore for me on Saturday, this week is all about preparation. Will and I have been working on word lists since mid-October and are finally down to a mere 25 or so flashcards of words that he has trouble with such as fortification and roux. I am trying to get in enough distance this week not to reduce my stamina, but not so much that I risk getting injured. The last time I ran this cross-country series a few years back I ran the first race with an injury and did very poorly. This time around I want to run at top form in every race. So, while I'm keeping tabs on what is going on in the world and keeping the kids on track with their schoolwork, all my normal blogging time is being spent getting ready for our two upcoming events.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

something to eat, dear?

One of Maggie's Christmas gifts from her aunties was a craft book showing the many neat things one can make using Sculpy, a polymer clay. She has gone wild making tiny foods for the dollhouse family, cherry pie, chocolate chip cookies, an ice cream sundae, bread, and a turkey. This seems to be the gift she has enjoyed the most, and as it is creative, I am more than happy to bake her little creations in the oven. We pulled the table and dolls out of their little home because the light was too dim inside to get a clear photo of Maggie's lovely delicacies. 

The girls' dollhouse is an antique, built for the daughter of the Bremerton, Washington shipyard commanding officer during the Great Depression. Every generation has added something, such as new wallpaper or furniture (My aunt Ellen repainted the dining room set shown above). A few years back I painted several of the rooms and made new bedcovers. Maggie is certainly doing her part to make the dolls' home more comfortable.   

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

carnival of homeschooling

Carnival of Homeschooling

The Cates are hosting the 262nd carnival this week, with a The Princess Bride theme. Henry and Janine have been in charge of the carnival for 5 years now, giving an way for many bloggers to be heard beyond their loyal readers, and an opportunity for homeschoolers to learn from each other. I have incorporated many tips and ideas into my teaching from the carnival and have laughed at the antics of their children. I have been a part of the carnival since we were only homeschooling a couple of kids and have hosted 3 times. A thank you to the Cate family for all their hard work and dedication each week!  

Monday, January 03, 2011

is that old truism true?

My mother and her best friend always said to each other, "If I had given birth to my 2nd child first, I would have had an only child," meaning that the first baby was so good that they were lulled into thinking all babies were sweet, but that second baby was so different, so much work, that they would not have even considered another child after that experience. Tim and I have been blessed with healthy babies, sound sleepers, such calm toddlers that the past month or so has been a real trial to us both.

Julia Ellen clambers out of her crib and either screams at the door at all hours of the night (this morning at 5am) or climbs into Mary's bed, leaving her nowhere to sleep. Some nights it takes hours to get her back to sleep and one night this past week she kept us both awake for most of the night with inconsolable screaming. "Is this just a behavior issue or does she have something seriously wrong?" we asked each other since apparently one of the warning signs of leukemia is a similar inconsolable crying. Perhaps she needs to be moved from the crib, all the rest of the children were in a "big kid" bed by 2 years, if only because the crib was needed for the next arrival. But whatever the cause, I'm not so sure that if we had experienced this exhausting nighttime routine with our first child we would have had the stamina to have any more.