Monday, April 30, 2007

More Pictures

We had a beautiful weekend, and the boys spent a lot of time outside. Levi has been having fun for a few days with the sidewalk chalk. Usually I would prefer a deck to a concrete patio, but a patio is much better for chalk drawing! This weekend, all the boys got into the act:

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Troyer's masterpiece
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A message from Samuel:
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Levi helped too:
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The side of our house is concrete block with a stucco like paint on it, perfect for chalk.
My graffiti artists:
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Last week was also finally nice enough to get the lawn mowed, so here is a picture of the first mow of the season!
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Two Birthdays

Last week was Jacob's 2 month birthday. He had a doctor's appointment on Tuesday, and got the usual check up. He weighed 11 lb 10 oz, which was kind of disappointing, I thought he'd weigh more. I checked on the other boys' stats, and it turns out he is my smallest at 2 mos old, even though he was my second biggest at birth. I wonder if it had something to do with all the colds going around last month. He's still in the 50th percentile, so the doctor wasn't worried. He also got 4 shots, plus an oral immunization. Poor baby! I hate that look they get when the doctor jabs them; kind of "how could you have let something like this happen to me???!!!" Luckily at this age they forget quickly, so by the time we were at the van, he was calm and drowsing off to sleep.

This Sunday was Micah's 5th birthday. He had been looking forward to it all month, and we spent last week reminding him to behave and not get into too much trouble so he wouldn't miss it. Well, guess what? He had about the worst weekend ever, in terms of behavior. He was naughty in church (he kept running out of the sanctuary and running up and down the halls alone), so when we got home, he was sent for a nap. Instead of napping, he yelled and got Levi up from his nap, and made more noise. When sent back to his room, he was caught opening the windows and screens next to his bed. They have child locks on them, but he knows how to release them. For this, he lost movie night priveledges and was sent to bed early. Instead of staying in his room, he snuck out and into the kitchen where he was caught sampling the brownies.

How much trouble do you think this kid can think up before he realizes he's making life worse for himself?? Well, Sunday morning, his birthday, he woke up before everyone else and came out and sat on the couch with me. I kissed him and said "Happy Birthday!" and we snuggled fora while. I got him breakfast, which he ate. He wandered off, but I had reminded him that he needed to be extra good to make up for the day before, so I wasn't worried. The next thing I hear is Levi waking up from a deep sleep screaming his head off. I ran to his room to find Micah standing next to the crib with Levi's sippy cup in his hand, and Levi dripping wet. Micah had taken the lid off and poured the water on Levi while he slept. Ugh, back to his room for another time out, and no birthday presents or cake.

Today I had hoped would be different, but nope. He snuck into his older brothers' room and stole some of their things, then ran away instead of handing them over when he got caught. Maybe we'll eat the cake in front of him without sharing. Do you think he'd get the message??? I don't think I could be so cruel....

Friday, April 20, 2007

Spring is Here! Finally!

Today we had the first day of normal temperatures for the whole month. Yes, it was warm at the beginning of the month, but it was actually warmer than normal. Today it was in the upper 60s, and bright and sunny. It was perfect. Noah and Samuel are spending the weekend at MIL's, but I decided to take the rest of the boys to the park. We haven't been there since that day it was almost 80. Oh yeah, the day Levi fell sick with that awful awful bug that hung around here for 3 weeks. Troyer wanted to go over to a friend's house instead, so I only had 4 boys with me. We were there well over an hour, but the sun was so bright that now I have a headache from squinting! The silly park doesn't have any trees (not that there would be leaves on them yet) and all the benches face south. Not sure what brainiac planned that. Anyway, the boys had a great time. The water fountain was already turned on, so of course Micah and Caleb got soaked messing around in it.

As promised, here are some pictures:

Jacob in his swing:
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Still a bit of a rash, but much much better than before.

And here is Spring at our house:
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What, you say? Why is there a dead plant right at the corner of the front step? Well, it is a mum that blooms every Fall. Normally I'd have it pulled out by now, but it's been so darn cold and rainy that I haven't been out to weed yet. Yes, notice all the weeds mixed in with the blooms. They weren't there on Wednesday, I swear.

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This is Caleb telling me all about how many weeds there are. Those stalks on the left are some kind of evil fern weed. They grew in last year after Chris pulled out the bushes. Even in the dead of winter I could not pull them up. They will have to be chopped, or dug up.

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And here is the beautiful garden growing under the tree in our front yard. But, you say, they are just dandilions! So what, I say! They are pretty, and they tend themselves. I hope they fill the whole spot under the tree. We all know, of course, that they will forsake their place of birth and move out into greener pastures, leaving me with no lawn and also nothing to cover up the dirt under my tree. sigh. Oh, and yes, the lawn needs to be mowed too!

Monday, April 16, 2007

So Much to Say, So Too Lazy to Get My Butt Here to Post

You know, I write posts in my head all the time. Several times a day I think about what I would write about what is going on in my life. I have stuff to say, I have pictures of it to post. But can I get around to actually writing it out? Do you think those pictures are not still in my camera? Of course not. Sorry. Every day I get online and spend my time checking out my message boards, and reading everyone else's blogs. I get annoyed at the ones who don't update often enough. And then I log off. Sigh. I'm soooo lazy.

I'm sure you are wondering how we are all doing here after letting you know that we had a cold coming through the house. Well, it got us all, and stuck around for over 2 weeks. It turns out that the rash that Jacob had was indeed viral, because it finally cleared up last week. He is once again a beautiful baby. I think we also coughed our last cough about the same time. Unfortunately, Levi managed to catch a stomach bug just as he recovered from the snot bug. He ate a great Easter supper, then Sunday night puked it all up. Poor Chris, he was holding Levi while the two of them napped on the couch. Ick. Luckily it all ended up, um, not on the couch LOL. He went on to puke for another 2 days, and then moved on to the runs. Meanwhile, Micah woke up Thursday morning (early, 4 am, ugh) puking. His didn't last as long, thank goodness, and it also hasn't moved on to anyone else. I hesitate to say it, but I think we are all finally well now. That was a looooooong 3 weeks.

During all of that illness, life went on, of course. We went to MIL's for Easter supper. It was very good, and the kids all ate pretty well. She hid eggs outside for them to hunt, even though it was only about 40 degrees and WINDY. It was torture for us adults to stand out there while they searched, but they had fun. Thank goodness 24 eggs get found pretty quickly when split between 6 kids!

Sunday morning, Chris went up in the attic and brought down the baby swing. Putting it up is always a hopeful gesture; you never know if a baby is going to like the swing or not. Most of mine have not. Since I was feeding Jacob at the time, Troyer decided to try putting it together by himself. I was very impressed that he did it! He only needed a few hints, but remember how old this swing is and don't even suppose there are any directions left, LOL. It did make us a half hour late for MIL's house, because we were enjoying watching him figure it out, but oh well for her! And even better - Jacob loves it! He likes to swing even when he stays awake, though we certainly can't leave him in there for hours. It's good enough to get me a bathroom run, lol. He will also sleep in it, and that he can do for hours. Woohoo!

On Monday, Aimee came for a visit. She brought the cousins, and the boys were super excited about it. These poor kids just don't see enough of each other. She stayed for a week, though she took a side trip to Michelle's for one night, since it's only a few hours further to her house. Much easier than trying to make a separate trip. It worked out well, because it gave us a chance to tidy up the house a bit mid-week; it was getting ugly with all the kids too excited to clean up after themselves. Hoo Boy, I should have taken a picture of Troyer and Noah's room on Saturday morning, just before Aimee left. It was scary, LOL. We had a great time together, and Chris watched the kids (all of them except for Jacob, so 8 - I'm very proud and grateful!) twice so Aimee and I could go out together. Aimee managed to get out of here and get home just in time to miss the worst of the weekend storms, but she cut it close.

And that brings up one more thing I was going to post about; but then again, you can guess what I'm going to say: Where the Heck is Spring????? It has been in the 40s for over 2 weeks here, when the average temp should be 60. It has rained and been windy, and overnight we've had snow flurries. I can only be thankful that I don't live farther north, where they are getting feet of snow! But I tell you, my poor daffodils and tulips and hyacinths are looking very sad this year, with trying to survive all the freezing weather. I did finally see some light at the end of the tunnel, in the forcast this morning I saw a 65 for Sunday, and a sun! Dare I get my hopes up?

Oh, also while Aimee was here, I had my 6 week post-partum check up. I was disappointed (but not surprised) to see that I had gained back 8 lbs already. At about 3 weeks I had lost all my baby weight and felt great. That darn Sam's Choice Indulgent Trail Mix is Evil! I really want to try to lose more weight. My total short-term goal is 25 lbs. My dream goal is 50, but let's not even go there right now, LOL. I'm not really prepared for the commitment that would take. I had managed to lose 13 lbs before I got pregnant last year, so I'm hoping I can do it again.

The boys also had an appointment last week, for the dentist. This time 4 of them went at once. I am so pleased with my dentist; he was able to schedule them so that they were all done within an hour. They all did really well, too. This was Caleb's first dentist visit, and he was nervous, but he did great. Poor Troyer, though, had to be reprimanded for poor brushing. He has a problem with heavy tartar build up. He was told this last fall at his last appointment, and he had been doing really well with brushing regularly and flossing. But it seems he has been slacking off. He actually admitted to the dentist that he hadn't brushed in two weeks before his appointment! Ack! You don't suppose he was the only one to get in trouble for that do you??? Oh no, the dentist came out into the waiting room and reprimanded me for it too! I could have died right there in the office. Nothing like getting parenting advice from your dentist. He suggested that I ground Troyer from t.v. until he starts brushing again. Well, duh, I thought we had taken care of that! What do you think Troyer's excuse was? He said "well, you stopped telling me to brush, so I stopped brushing." Huh??? Oooh, I was not happy with that one! Unfortunately, 12 year old boys are not known for their ability to empathise with their mother's embarrassment and take it upon themselves to remedy it. I will be having to inspect his teeth every night again. sigh.

On Friday Noah and Samuel had to take their standardized tests for school. In Pennsylvania the law states that homeschooled children be tested in grades 3, 5, 8, and hmm, I don't know how often in high school. So I had 2 due this year. I knew Noah would do fine, as he is a good reader, and he did not disappoint me. He scored grade level for spelling and math, and 6th grade for word recognition (he has to read a list of words aloud and gets credit for each word he pronounces correctly) and 9th grade for reading comprehension! Woo hoo! Samuel, on the other hand, I was worried about. We are still struggling with his reading, though he has really come very far. He likes math, but because we have to concentrate so much on the reading, he has not had the chance to progress beyond grade level in math, though I think he could. He did score right on track with math. I was pleasantly surprised that, while he struggled through it, he managed to score right on grade level for reading comprehension and word recognition! Woo hoo! Spelling, on the other hand, he only scored 1st grade. I think it might be because he tried to spell boy "boi"? What? I have no idea where he got that from! You'd think in *this* house that is one word they all should be able to spell! LOL It was suggested that I take him to a therapist to have him tested for reading/visual disabilities. While I wouldn't submit those results to the school district, it would still help me to know for sure, and also would be helpful to learn if there are any therapies that could help him read a little easier, rather than struggle so hard. But all in all, I was pleased with the results.

I realize that I have not been keeping up to date on my reading list, or my movie list. I still have not gotten around to learning how to add that feature to my side bar (did you read at the beginning of this post, about my being lazy?), so for now I'll just add it in my posts:

We have watched Zoom, with Tim Allen. We really enjoyed most of the movie, though the ending was disappointing. Not so much the story as the fact that it seemed that Tim Allen decided to just stop acting at the end. It made you stop and go Huh? What happened? It bothered the boys much less than it bothered me and Chris.

We also watched Flushed Away, the CG animation about rats. It was really pretty cute, on the level with Wallace and Gromit to a point. There were a lot of jokes snuck in that you might miss the first time around, and went over the boys' heads, but were cute. And despite it being about the sewer and having singing slugs in it, was entertaining.

This week we watched the Ant Bully. Actually, the boys watched it, I never did get around to it. They liked it, Aimee rated it "cute" and Chris thought it was dull. I can't tell you more than that, sorry, LOL

Since we were together, Aimee and I rented a chick flick, Must Love Dogs. It was a good girls' movie. While I don't think there is really much chemistry between John Cusak and Diane Lane, I liked the story enough. I'm also still wondering how Cusak's character supported himself if he never sold any boats. Those materials aren't free.

On my bookshelf, or rather, from the library's, I have been reading some of Catherine Palmer's books. She wrote a series that I read last summer that I enjoyed, so I was looking forward to more of her writing. The first two were The Affectionate Adversary and The Bachelor's Bargain. Both are set in Regency England, and were ok. She is a Christian author, and I sometimes find it difficult to enjoy the plot and characters when they get bogged down with trying to sermonize from the pages. What I did like was that it is a series, so the characters from one book are found in the next, and she continues to develop them and reveal more about their lives. At the end of the second book, she advised rereading the books from the series I read last year, as she was going to include some of those characters in her next few books. I look forward to that.

Right now I'm reading Love's Proof, which centers around fictional members of Isaac Newton's extended family. Again, the sermonizing is distracting, although at least in this book it is actually part of the plot. I have to admit, my preference for novels would fall somewhere solidly in between the snow white purity of the Christian novels and the outright raunchiness of traditional romance novels. I find the heroines either fight their attraction to the point of irritation, or give in to it much too easily. Can't they think it without acting on it? Can't they *think* nasty thoughts even though they manage to control their tongue and not say them out loud? Oh well, someday Aimee and I are going to write our own romance novel, and it will be just the way we like it, LOL. And the heroine is going to be a short, well rounded (as opposed to tall and thin!) red head with blue eyes instead of the inevitable green, who is somewhat outspoken though not given to crusading for causes, and is intelligent but still enjoys a proper courting. It will, of course, take place in Scotland! LOL

Ok, I think I am finally caught up. I'll get those pictures uploaded soon!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Yet Another Blog Post About Being Sick

Isn't that what everyone else is blogging about this week? Well, we got hit too. At least we only got a head/chest cold, and not a stomach bug (knocking on wood!) Levi started it last Tuesday, and it grabbed each of us, one by one, until none were left untouched. Not even Chris, or poor Jacob. Luckily Jacob just has a mucousy cough, but no trouble breathing and no runny nose, so he is still sleeping well, and generally happy. In fact, I got some cute pictures of him smiling this week! So, in spite of being miserable from coughing my head off, here is the spot of sunshine in my life:

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Of course we all got sick when the weather was in the 70s and bright and sunny. Now that we are (hopefully!) at the end of it, the weather is turning on us. It will be in the 40s by Friday (and below freezing at night!) I wonder how cold it will be for Easter. Sigh.