Sunday, January 31, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up

We had a much less eventful week this week than last LOL. School most days (except Tues, when we had Little Bit's dr. appointment, and Fri when we opted to clean instead). Some rough spots (behavior-wise) as we adjusted to being "back home". Much discussion about the fact that if we're going to travel with Daddy those behavior problems need to not happen. . . We've made a few changes to our school schedule. Little Bit's been pushing her morning nap abit later so that gives us a little more time. So we've added a third "class" each day, but what it is, varies by day. Depending on the day we either have nature time (currently studying butterflies, we got an AWESOME butterfly "bundle" e-book, I'll be reviewing it on the blog after we've used it a little longer), "art & handwriting" in the form of a lesson from the Draw Write Now books, Spanish (for now, just using the Boca Beth CDs and DVDs we have) and music (starting out with Passion Hymns for a Kid's Heart yes, this is vol 4, but we happen to HAVE this one, if we enjoy it (we haven't had a music day yet) we can always get more, but I figured we might as well start with the one we had). So, we do one of those things each day in addition to our Polished Cornerstones and Prairie Primer work.

Near the end of the weeks, the big girls asked me if we could have company over after church on Sabbath. Because of our behavior issues, the house hadn't gotten cleaned back up from our trip the week before, so, I told them that we would skip school on Fri, and instead spend the morning cleaning, and IF they pitched in without complaining and we could get the house cleaned by noon that we could invite someone over. They did good, A1 even volunteered to take the compost out! So, we met our deadline, and they chose to invite Mr. Tim and Miss Tami. Tami works at Daddy's office and often ends up traveling to other churches on weekends, so I warned the girls that they might be busy, but we called and we'd managed to choose the ONE weekend that they were available. So, we had a fun Sabbath afternoon visiting with Tim & Tami. Tami brought a craft project that she and the girls worked on all afternoon (see why the girls love her, she brings them CRAFTS!! AND she doesn't get tired of their endless chatter!).

It seems like every book & website I've read recently has made SOME mention of God's command of hospitality, and now my kids are making sure that I obey that command. To continue with that theme, we started a new week of Polished Cornerstones this week and we're studying "The Hospitable Woman". As soon as the girls heard that, A1 told me "Mommy, WE don't need to learn about that, YOU do!" I told her that yes, this is something I'm learning too, she assured me they would help me learn, I suspect that means more requests to have company over on Sabbath are in our future. Especially since today A1 mentioned "Sabbath is my FAVORITE day because we get to have company!"

We're also finally implementing the tradition I've been wanting to start for a LONG time, and having a special, candle-lit Fri night supper to welcome the Sabbath. We tried it right after we moved, but at that time the girls weren't into it, and it wasn't worth the fight when I seemed to be the only one who wanted it to happen. Now they love it! We turn on some nice music, light candles, have soup (may change that in the summer, but for winter it's a nice easy meal).

And finally, one more "new thing" week before last, one of the things we discussed during Bible time was that they are old enough to start listening to the sermons in church (instead of just playing quietly). Then that weekend we ended up leaving after Sabbath School to go to Grandmom's, so this week was our first week actually using their church notebooks. They were a little bit frustrated because during the first part of the sermon the younger kids sitting near us were noisy enough that they were having a hard time listening, but then things quieted down and it was ok. A1 was also frustrated because she didn't understand everything in the sermon (naturally), but, afterward we discussed it and I explained that they are LEARNING to listen to the sermon and not expected to understand it all right away, and they seemed to feel better about it, we shall see. . .

One last note, Little Bit's new skill of the day . . . she started climbing our stairs today! I'd gone upstairs for a few minutes and left her downstairs with A1 and she was NOT impressed, She often will stand at the bottom of the stairs and cry if I run upstairs without her, but today she actually started climbing the stairs. Only went up a couple steps (A1 was right there in case she fell, which is GOOD, our stairs are very steep!) that time, but then this evening when the big girls headed upstairs for bed, she started following them, so I hung back to see if she'd climb up after them, she did, and went the whole way up! She did have one time where she was so excited (her sisters were at the top of the stairs cheering her on) that she tried to stand up & "jump" like she does when she's excited (kind of bounces up & down) and lost her balance and fell backwards (I was right behind her, to catch her) so we'll have to watch her carefully (obviously, there's also the issue of coming DOWN) but still one more "milestone" reached. The big girls were so excited for her, she just took it all in stride, got to the top & crawled on down the hall to the bathroom like she knew right where we were going LOL.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Little Bit's Check-Up (10 month)

We're on a weird schedule for Little Bit's checkups, it gives the nurses fits every time because they don't have a milestones checklist for the age she's at LOL. But oh well . . . we had her check-up (LAST one before her one-year, how did THAT happen?) yesterday. Not much to report. She is 18lb 12oz, the nurse told me her length but I don't remember. . . the doctor proclaimed her perfect in every way, and that's about it LOL.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Book Review: Womanly Dominion

I recently borrowed Womanly Dominion by Mark Chanski from a friend. What a GREAT book! Mark does a good job of showing that following the biblical commands to be a submissive wife, and having a meek and quiet spirit does not mean we should be a wall-flower. He uses a soccer analogy, that God wants us to "play our position" and "play to win". Feminists have tried to convince us (and done a pretty good job) that to be successful we should "be like men". That staying home and taking care of our home and children is demeaning. This book shows us that, "playing our position" as women doesn't make us inferior to men, anymore than a goalie is inferior to an offense player in soccer. If the goalie decides that he is being oppressed by having to stay in/near the goalie box and goes running down the field and staying with the offense and doing the same things they are, what happens to the team as a whole? The goalie box is left unguarded and the team likely loses. And this is what we, as a society of women, have been doing for the past few generations. We've left our position (the home) and decided that to be "somebody" we need to play a man's position. God's plan was for women to be homemakers, "keepers at home" as Titus 2 tells us, helpers to our husbands. Following this plan doesn't make us weak and unimportant any more than a goalie is less important when he stays near the goalie box. Playing our position allows our husbands to play their positions (as breadwinner, head of household) much more efficiently. It allows our children to be raised by loving, God-fearing parents. God ordained that we should raise our children in the Lord. How can we do this if we are only with our children for a few non-sleeping hours per day, and we spend those hours trying to cram in all the household chores, homework, etc?

I strongly believe this is a book that every Christian woman needs to prayerfully read. Feminism has so firmly infiltrated, not only society, but the church as well, that many of my generation has never even considered that God cares about what position we play. It has so firmly infiltrated our way of thinking that when someone quotes a text like Titus 2, or Gen 2:18, it is met with anger or resentment. Being a homemaker, being submissive to one's own husband, purposing to be a helper to your husband, these are all things that are considered, even within many churches, to be "outdated", and yet God's word is timeless, how can we expect His blessings if we are not playing the position He ordained for us?

Friday, January 22, 2010

A Day In the Life

Malia over at Homemaking 911 asked her readers to share how they structure their days. I think she had in mind a short reply in a comment to her post, but I thought I'd "answer" here and just link in the comment.

First, a comment about our the way our WEEK is scheduled. It used to be that, even though hubby generally ended up working weekends, we scheduled our weeks on the assumption that he'd be home on Sunday, so we didn't do school that day, had fewer chores scheduled, etc. I think that just highlighted for both the girls & me that he DID work most Sundays. NOW with his new job, he likely will be working MOST Sundays, but often have one or more other week-days off to make up for it. Based on that, we now treat Sunday as a "week day" and that way we can take a "guilt free" day off whichever day Daddy has off to spend time with him. So, what is listed below is a rough outline of how our days Sun-Fri (Saturday is our Sabbath, day of rest) operate assuming it's a day that Daddy is working. If Daddy's not working, we are flexible to do things with him, or for him and the kids to do things while I work on special projects (for example, today I did some cleaning in the basement so that the furnace guy whose coming to clean the furnace on Monday can actually get to the furnace LOL).

Kids Wake Up: the big girls generally wake up between 7 & 7:30, Little Bit varies abit more, sometimes sleeping in until 8:00 or a little after, she nurses very frequently from about 5am on, so I am "stuck" with bed until she wakes up. The big girls are welcome to play quietly together, or individually until Little Bit wakes up, or they may begin their morning chores. Once Little Bit & I get up, the day "officially starts"

Big girls have their Bible reading time/prayer time (I initially encouraged them to do this AS SOON as they got up, but their reading is such that they still need help w/ some words, so waiting until I am up to answer their "what does this spell?" questions works better for now)

Big girls get dressed and unload the dishwasher while I get breakfast ready & laundry started


Girls brush their hair and, if it's a diaper-washing day, whichever kid has laundry on her chart goes down to start the diapers (I put them in the washer & run them through a cold rinse cycle, then one of the girls goes down & adds baking soda & vinegar, and sets it on a hot wash cycle).

School/Bible Study

At this point until the last couple weeks, Little Bit has been ready for her morning nap by the time we get to this point, lately she seems to be pushing nap later which may mean a change, but for now we'll assume she's ready for nap at this point.

I set the big girls up to listen to their "Little House" chapters for the day on the computer, and give them any school assignments that can be done without me. This always includes their Bible copywork (copying the Bible verse, written on the white board, that we've discussed earlier during school time) depending on what the Prairie Primer (Little House) assignments for the day are, sometimes they are things the girls can do independently after listening to the chapters (for example, draw Mr. Olsen's store as described . . . ) other times it's things I need to do with them, in which case it waits till later. If I think they will finish these things before Little Bit's completely asleep, I also make sure the tv is set on a channel they are allowed to watch (PBS kids or Nick Jr).

While they start listening to Little House I take Little Bit up to the bathroom and put her in the baby swing while I take my shower. The white noise of my shower & the bathroom heater puts her to sleep, though it's meant I need to lengthen my showers. Instead of my 30 second showers that have been the norm since having kids, I now have my toothbrush in the shower so that I can brush my teeth during my shower and also do some simple stretching exercises. My shower is also a great prayer time! Once Little Bit's asleep I slip out of the shower & get dressed.

If I haven't done so earlier, I get the laundry out of the washer at this point, though since it's winter, I hang stuff to dry in the bathroom, so that has to wait till Little Bit wakes up, but I at least get it up from the basement, or put the diapers in the dryer while she's asleep) I also clean up from Breakfast if I haven't already done so.

Now is our FUN TIME! We have a schedule depending on the day, what we do while Little Bit's asleep, depending on the day we do sewing/handwork, crafts, play board games, cook/bake, work on our Ruby dolls (a pipecleaner doll that represents the Prov 31 woman, part of our Bible study time, but difficult to work on when Little Bit is "helping"), etc.

If Little Bit is still asleep after we've done our fun time, the big girls usually finish up any school that they didn't get done while I was in the shower, and I work on things like lesson planning, blogging/email, etc., cleaning . . . whatever needs doing that is easier without Little Bit's help

After Little Bit wakes up we generally wrap up school with any Prairie Primer activities that I need to do WITH the girls. I also am working toward adding in some nature time at least once a week at this point, but we're not quite there yet.

Then the big girls are free to play until lunchtime.

Depending what we're having for lunch the big girls help me fix lunch &/or watch Little Bit while I fix lunch. And take their dishes to the dishwasher after eating.

After lunch we have chore-time, the chores vary by day and include watering plants, cleaning kitchen appliance doors, cleaning the bathroom, etc

If we have any errands to run, we do them after lunch, either before or after (or instead of) the above chores, depending on how things need to time out. If we run errands in the afternoon, Little Bit falls asleep in the car on the way there or on the way home (or in the middle), so we usually stay in the car while she sleeps, I read, do paperwork, listen to CD seminars, and the big girls watch videos.

When we get home the girls are free to play until near supper time.

A little before supper prep needs to begin, I let the girls know that it's time for evening chores. We work together to get any toys put away and other clutter dealt with & the girls vacuum or sweep the kitchen & entryway. Then, the girls help fix supper &/or watch Little Bit. And again, take their dishes to the dishwasher after we eat.

After supper there's generally a little while for the girls to play or spend time with Daddy (Daddy likes to watch Fetch! (a PBS show) so they often save it on the DVR to watch in teh evenings with Daddy).

At 7:30 (ish) we start reading the girls' Sabbath School lessons, and bedtime stories, then they potty, brush teeth, and then put away any laundry that they need to put away (they are responsible for hanging their own clothes and folding/putting away socks & underwear, and their pjs & tights/leggings). I sing each of the big girls a song of their choice (A1 almost always choose "Jesus Loves A1" (Jesus Loves Me, inserting her name instead of "me").

Depending on how long Little Bit has napped during the day, I hopefully can do some kitchen clean-up and prep-work for the next morning (writing the Bible verse on the white board, etc) after the big girls go to bed, but often by that point Little Bit is ready to nurse. Currently she nurses for quite awhile, or nurses, then gets down and plays, but fusses to be held if I try to go work in the kitchen, so I can't really do anything during that time. Once she's asleep, right now she usually starts the night with Daddy holding her in the recliner, and I go to get some sleep while I can. When she wakes, hubby brings her to me, in bed and she sleeps next to me, nursing as needed, the rest of the night, or if she's restless and won't sleep next to me, I bring her back down to the recliner and nurse here there, then if hubby is awake (he doesn't need much sleep, so sometimes is up, working on the computer throughout the night) he takes her again in the recliner, otherwise I sleep w/ her in the recliner. This sleep schedule is far from ideal, but we firmly believe against letting a baby cry it out, and at the moment this is getting us all the most sleep of anything we've tried. I'm hoping to work on NOT running errands most afternoons and instead try to put her down in the pack-n-play for her afternoon nap. My hope is to get her used to sleeping in the pack-n-play for naps, and then be able to have her sleep in the pack-n-play at least part of the night, we shall see . . .

And that's what a"normal" day looks like for us.

So much to post, so little time . . .

Wow I've not been doing well AT ALL at keeping up to date on this blog have I? Little Bit's sleep has become non-existent except for a morning nap in the swing (I put her in the swing (in the bathroom) while I take a shower, the white noise of the shower & bathroom heater puts her to sleep and she generally stays asleep for an hour or more with the continued white noise of the bathroom heater) and that's the nap I've "promised" to the big girls for "big girls activities" so I don't get much blog writing done then either. So . . . here's abit of what's going on around here these days.

Little Bit is Walking!
She's been getting closer and closer and finally last weekend she started taking steps w/o holding onto anything. Hubby videod her walking to her sisters, I'll work on figuring out how to upload it, in the meantime those who are facebook friends, I linked to it there (hubby posted it) so you can see it from my profile. She hasn't had much chance to practice this week (more on that in a minute) but she does every chance she gets.

We Spent the Week in Philadelphia
I think I mentioned earlier that hubby recently changed jobs (within the same office) for a job that includes quite abit of travel within the state of PA. Often the travel will be planned in advance like "normal" travel, but other times, something will come up last minute that requires him to travel. This past week was kind of a combination. He mentioned to me on Sat. night that he might be staying a day or two in Philadelphia later in the week, probably leaving Tues morning, if we wanted to come along. So, we kind of planned that direction on Sunday, doing chores on Sunday that we normally do later in the week, BUT the one chore that REALLY needed doing before a trip was cleaning out the car, it was (is) a DISASTER. We'd have cleaned it on Sunday but it was raining, and scheduled to be nice on Monday so we figured we'd clean the car on Monday. But when hubby got home Sun. night there'd been a change of plans, he was heading to Philly the next morning, planning to be there through Wed or Thurs. So, we decided to see how well we did with a last minute trip. The girls got busy packing their clothes, and making sure their school supplies were in their school bags like they're supposed to be. I got busy packing for myself, hubby and Little Bit, as well as pulling together snacks to take along. I'd been working for the past month on pulling together a "car kit" of (mostly) educational activities to do in the car &/or hotels, etc. So I tossed what I had into a couple bags and brought them along, to organize while we were there. An additional challenge for this trip was that hubby doesn't currently have a working cell phone, so that complicated things with sharing a car & such. Because of that, and all the unknowns of the day, on Monday we opted to just hang out at the church where hubby was auditing. The girls and I set up "camp" on the floor in a corner and did school just like we do at home whole Little Bit crawled around and explored. After we'd finished school I read to them from the American Girl books we're currently reading. The next 2 days we dropped hubby off where he was working that day, and then headed into downtown Philadelphia and the Franklin Institute of Science. It's a great museum with lots of hands-on activities for the kids. They enjoyed climbing through a "heart", making paper, "flying" a plane, "surfing" etc. Little Bit tolerated being in the sling all day for 2 days straight surprisingly well. My back reminded me that I don't wear her for long periods as often as I did her sisters at this age. Though some of the back pain is, I think, the result of a less than ideal hotel mattress. We were disappointed to not get to see an actual STAR show at the planetarium, the first day we didn't get there early enough to attend the "Our Night Sky" show and the next day they didn't have it available (I believe a school group was viewing it, but that's just my guess). As it turned out, instead of going home Wed or Thurs, hubby ended up needing to meet with someone last night, but not during the day yesterday, so he came with us back to the Franklin Institute yesterday (we were planning to check in there to see about the planetarium show (wasn't available yesterday either) and then go to another museum nearby but once we were in there to check the Planetarium schedule, the girls wanted to show daddy all the things they'd seen/done the last 2 days, so we stayed there for a 3rd day. A2 LOVED the K'nex toys that were in the space exibit for building "moon buggies" I think she would have been perfectly happy to stay there ALL DAY.

The big girls did quite well at staying together (A2 tends to like to stay longer at exhibits (at museums and zoos and the like) than A1, which normally we accommodate by splitting up but with one adult that wasn't an option), and such. There was minor whining when I asked them to sing & otherwise entertain Little Bit on our drive back to the hotel but a brief reminder that she'd been stuck in a sling all day while they explored the museum which had NOTHING for her age range had them singing various songs, playing peek-a-boo and generally doing their best to keep her happy & entertained for the drive.

Needless to say, the big girls also fit in as much swim time as they could. I took Little Bit in the pool once but she wasn't overly impressed. Didn't disklike it, per se, but didn't seem to care much either way, so I didn't bother to take her in again. Yesterday when we got back from the museums hubby took the big girls to the pool while I ran to the grocery store to get supper fixings for us girls (since he'd be gone w/ the car at supper time, so going out wasn't an option). After verifying with him that being gone longer was ok with him, I also stopped by a large teacher supply store near our hotel that I'd seen several times and wanted to check out but never had time w/o wasting the whole family's time. Oh WOW!!! A very dangerous store! LOL but awesome, I found some great additions to our travel box (magnifying glasses, compasses, a small ball that looks like a globe . . . ) and wrote down prices for various other things that I may want in the future to see if the price is better there or elsewhere.

Today the big girls spent the morning in the pool while I packed & loaded the car (while hubby watched the girls0 and while hubby did some work stuff he needed to do (while I watched the girls), and then we headed home. We've had a quiet afternoon at home, catching up on laundry and such, and now I am VERY ready for Sabbath . . . ahhhhhhh!

As we were driving home, hubby asked if I'd do it again, and I said yes. It was exhausting (especially because Little Bit's sleep is less than ideal on a good day, and almost non-existent in a hotel, AND here at home when she's super restless, hubby often takes her and sleeps, holding her, in the recliner, but w/o a recliner in the hotel room, that wasn't an option), but the big girls had a blast & we all enjoyed extra time with Hubby/Daddy. There are things I'll do differently next time (like make sure to get/keep the car cleaned out & keep a good stock of good car/travel snacks), but all in all it went well & we had a good week.