Wednesday, October 9, 2013

October 9, 2013

Bright, shiny Wednesday.  I kind of love Wednesdays.  Piano lessons start at 7:30 am, and the kids get themselves breakfasted and dressed.  (This is much smoother if the tv is off, like it is this week: we all OD'd on "Dorge" last week.)  I had three cute little girls come through for lessons this morning, and I love teaching them.  One of them moved into a new piano series today, one that I learned on, by Robert Pace.  It will be a stretch for her, going from playing in 3 keys (with no key signatures!!) to playing in all of them, but I think she's up for it.  If it's awful, we'll go back to Piano Adventures, but it's a good experiment.  This makes 4 out of my 9 students in this Pace series!

After lessons, we scrambled for the car to make it to the YMCA in time for zumba.  Mimi and Cocoa play upstairs and Ernie comes to class with me.  She's starting to get the hang of the steps, and is a real good sport about it all.  I love that she never gets discouraged, even when she has no clue what's going on.  LOVE that!

We drove over to Daddy's office to drop off a forgotten lunch, and Cocoa was asleep by the time we got home.  Considering that he was up at 6:00...guess it makes sense he took a nap 2 hours early.  (He also fell asleep 2 hours early tonight.  Tired kid.)

Man, why am I writing this all down? Ha.


Cart with fruit and plants, and a little art corner

art and fruit corner

The kids have a thing for eating on the floor this week, especially if it involves fancy toothpicks.  This actually makes LESS mess, they're not so spread out!  (Can we have a moment to contemplate that amazing piece of furniture behind them?  It's so huge, we can never move...but it's worth it!)
Eating grapes is more fun with fancy toothpicks on the floor

Dinner.  We're all about easy dinners this week- crock pot, rice cooker, and now a sheet pan roast.  Tonight's time crunch was our music group class- four little (crazy) girls that line up on the couch and do whatever silly games I tell them to.  It's adorable!  We're working on rhythms right now, it's a little rough going :)

The kids LOVE this meal- roasted cauliflower, quinoa, and sausage (I normally throw chicken thighs on the pan, but they enthusiastically voted chicken apple sausage tonight.)  Costco has bags of cauliflower florets right now- 2 pounds for $3.50.  It was $3.50 per pound last time I bought it at Albertsons, and I had to compost part of it that we don't eat.  I put everything out before class to let it warm up a bit, then toss the cauliflower with olive oil and cook it all for about half an hour.  Quinoa goes in the rice cooker, so that's a hands-off no-brainer as well.  I do well with no-brain things, I tend to need my brain for other activities these days.

Sheet Pan Dinner (cauliflower and sausage)

After dinner we ran out to Sears to return a Lands End sweater that arrived Girls Large (14) instead of Little Girls Large (6.)  Whoops- I fat fingered that.  The girls each came home with a hoodie to wear around the house, and Mimi scored a real backpack.  Ernie is pretty jealous.  They've always wanted lunch boxes and bus rides, too.  Poor homeschooled kids.  They also think that school is 95% recess.

I'm kind of amazed that it's 9:00, and all three kids are asleep.  Wish I had something bubbly to break out besides diet root beer!  This calls for at least a fancy soda in a glass bottle, if not Martinelli's!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Of Fairies and Fish

The girls finished moving all of our fairy village into the greenhouse today- it involved galoshes, rain coats, umbrellas, and a little bit of haggling to figure out where everything went.  This is all subject to change tomorrow.  If I remember, I'm going to get some plants in there to over-winter and hopefully bring a bit of life in there.

Finishing the fairy village in the greenhouse

We spent today running laundry, cleaning the kitchen, finishing up straggling school assignments, and just catching up on life stuff.  I let Cocoa pull me around the house by the hand, to play whatever he wanted to play.  (Spoiler: It's always catch.)  The kids were thrilled with lunch today- I served dates, cheese, crackers, grapes, chutney, hummus...and served it all family style on the coffee table.  I pulled it into the dining room, and we all sat cross-legged on the floor.  They thought that was nifty, and their faces were so close to their plates there was hardly any clean up.  Bonus!

A package arrived today from our favorite clothing company- the girls have been looking forward to this!  I wasn't prepared for the season change, and Ernie had just about nothing warm to wear in her correct size.  She had no long sleeve anything (shirts or sweaters), no rain jacket that fit...we ordered a few long sleeve tees for both girls, some jeans and sweats for Ernie, a fleece and rain shell for Ernie, and pink fuzzy bath robes for both of them.  They spent the rest of the day in those bath robes- I knew they'd like them, but I didn't know they'd like them THAT much :)  I ordered some hoodies to wear around the house as well, but E's was on back order and M's arrived 4 sizes too large (oops!).  I've promised the girls we'll make some skirts together, so that will finish off their winter wardrobe.  They've requested fleece skirts, so that ought to be warm!  I need to find some fleece that isn't thick, so they don't look like they're wearing blankets.

The salmon have returned to the Pacific Northwest, we went to the fish hatchery tonight to watch them battle up the creek and up the fish ladder.  I LOVE that Wonder Daddy gets home early enough to do things like this now- we're loving his new job.  (The ten-minute commute is a pretty good perk, too.)
At the salmon hatchery

Crazy Cocoa.  It was nippy tonight, but he took off running, shedding clothes behind him.  For some reason he couldn't run while wearing his flannel and rain jacket.  Goof head.

Mimi.  OH Mimi, your hair is so scrumptious.  We can take a moment here and thank my husband's family for that curl that doesn't stop, no matter how many times I trim her hair.  This girls' hair is always fabulous.

At the salmon hatchery

At the salmon hatchery

At the salmon hatchery

We crockpotted a potato soup today, and everyone enjoyed that after the cold walk at the hatchery...and then I ran away from home and spent the next few hours wandering Target.  Wonder Daddy is a saint, I know he has long days at the office and he still pushed me out the door when I joked about taking the night off.

Monday, October 7, 2013

A Slow, Sick, Week

Ernie started mentioning that her stomach hurt sometime in the middle of last week.  By Friday, all she wanted to do was lay on the couch with a blanket.  Saturday we let her go to swim lessons, and she was so tired afterwards she couldn't even figure out how to walk the length of the locker room to dry off and get dressed- I found her just wrapped in a towel in her soaking wet swim suit and staring at the wall.  She also started getting insane stomach pains- laughing or sneezing would set it off, without warning, and all she could do was cry in bewildered pain.  Heat packs on her stomach would help, or baths when it was unbearable, and she and I drastically reduced the size of her meals down to just a few bites at a time.  She spent all her spare time on the couch with a hot pack on her stomach.

Monday afternoon, it got so bad I called the local emergency clinic and our old pediatrician's office (our current pediatrician is out of town) and scheduled an appointment with the first person that called me back.  I couldn't make the pain be even close to bearable, and trying to literally support my daughter while she sobbed and gasped for breath was heart breaking.  She couldn't take a deep breath without screaming pain- she said it was like needles poking her.  I canceled all my lessons on the way out the door, and left my two other kids with my sister and drove to the next town.  The pediatrician asked if she'd had a fever (yes, about 99 degrees off and on) and about other symptoms.  Was it localized pain?  (No.)  Was it on the side?  (No- it was all the way around her belly and sometimes all the way around her back.)  She concluded that our fabulous Ernie was successfully and mightily fighting a viral infection in her intestines- the extra gas that caused was causing the pain, when the guts naturally contracted.  There's no cure for viruses, and all we could do is what we were doing: heat, Tylenol, tiny meals, and laxatives.  (Yes, we were already doing that too, assuming rightly that this was gas in her intestines.)

Sick E- sleeping off a viral infection

Her body is amazing, she healed fast (seems like we went to the doctor in the last gasps of that illness!) and then the next day Cocoa woke up with a fever.  All he wanted to do was lay on the couch watching Dorge (Curious George) and...that's it.  If I turned it off, he sobbed.  So, we left it on for two days SOLID.  It came on when he woke up at 7:00 am and turned off when he went to bed at 9:30.  He didn't nap, he didn't eat.  I could pull him away for maybe an hour at a time once or twice a day.  CRAZY.  I am so sick of Dorge, I can't even tell you.  By the end of Cocoa's illness, he was refusing all food and drink and only taking 20 minute naps on my lap.  So glad that's over too.

And then Wonder Daddy went to bed Friday night with the flu.

While I feel horrible for all these sick family members, to say I was burned out by Sunday evening was putting it kindly.  I felt horrible too, because this weekend was General Conference for our church and I couldn't even enjoy it.  All I could hear was "By the way, you're not trying NEARLY hard enough and you know it."  I know that nobody said that, but trying to take good notes of inspiration while being so physically exhausted (oh yeah, insomnia this week on top of Cocoa not sleeping through the night), and keeping an eye on the kids while they listened and played and asked for snacks....I am looking forward to listening to all those meetings again during quiet hours.  I heard some good things, too, and I read those notes often.

Sunday evening we all made a winter's supply of hot packs- I sewed up snuggly flannel pouches (monster print, Cocoa and Mimi are THRILLED) and Wonder Daddy helped the two little fill them full of wheat from our play bin.  Ernie was in charge of turned them all, and she sewed her own pack by herself.

Filling heat packs

Sewing heat packs

sewing heat packs

Filling heat packs

Sunday afternoon, a neighbor gifted us with a tiny, folding, picnic table and chair set.  I set it up in the green house and let the girls moved their fairy play things inside for the winter.  This will keep them from falling apart in the rainy months, and will hopefully give the girls a warm-ish and dry place to be OUTSIDE this winter.

Setting up the fairy village in the greenhouse for the winter

And now this week.

Cocoa.  Oh Cocoa.  How many blankets is enough?  Always one more than you have.  Cozy quilt from Nana, fuzzy baby blanket from a neighbor, and tiny green "lovie" from a friend.  He sleeps on the duck Wonder Daddy's Nana gave to Ernie for Easter back when she was Cocoa's age.  This is how he ALWAYS sleeps, except....
tucked in and tuckered out

he's normally clutching Bippo....

and Boy (and trying to hold onto Orange, his water bottle.)

He fell asleep before he could get his arms full.  The kids and I managed to get through three grocery stores in three hours today, and it pushed lunch time back (and nap time) about 2 hours.  BUT, BUT, BUT the miracles were incredible: the kids were totally happy all the way through those stores, and Cocoa slept through all four of my piano lessons!  I was able to get dinner going this morning, which was important because today is the day I cook dinner for twenty ladies at the shelter and it needs to be ready in time for Aunt LoLo to pick it up and take it over.

That was a long week, I'm grateful for a fresh and clean one!


PS- I just turned off the auto-date-stamp on my camera.  Whee!

A Clean Fall Day

Clean kitchen.

clean kitchen

Kind of clean testing area

E doing her test

We're transitioning into Fall, and I am still going through and re-arranging furniture, donating, selling, sweeping, and occasionally throwing temper tantrums about piles of laundry that get kicked around instead of being put in a drawer.

I moved a big kitchen cart out of our small kitchen (it's 10'x10'- the textbook definition of "small kitchen" when you're looking for design inspiration.)  Having that extra six square feet of floor space is SO WORTH losing 6 square feet of counter space that was normally full of mail and confiscated toys.

Ernie did great on her first test of the year (we test every twenty lessons) and I'm really pleased with the curriculum this year.  She's doing great, there are lots of amazing stories, and it's all just clicking so beautifully for her.  She's growing up fast, and I'm just trying to keep up!