As I start this journal, it is Tuesday evening. We’ll see if I can get this nailed on the same day…(update: Nope, it is now Thursday so be prepared, I get a little wordy when I realize how long it’s been since I’ve shared a family update)
Today (Tuesday) was a windy and warm day but I hear a cold wind is a coming so I’m trying to mentally prepare myself – and my wardrobe – for another seasonal change. I’m excited for cooler weather but hope winter doesn’t come too quickly. (Thursday – it is so beautiful out today! Why can’t it just stay like this all the time?)
Around the House:
I’m feeling incredibly accomplished around the house lately. The past few months I’ve been doing a lot of clean-up work – getting rid of big things that have been taking up unnecessary space.
So far we have sold our ping pong table (it was fun while it lasted but didn’t fit well in this house), our stinky old fridge/freezer that we inherited when we moved in (it was old and ruined my meat several times so I stopped using it), some old bunk beds that we didn’t need anymore (we have 1 set and didn’t really need 2 for now), a big box of doorknobs and other house furnishings we took off when we replaced everything with oil-rubbed bronze instead of the brass. I found a discount housewares Habitat for Humanity store to donate it all to so I felt better than just dumping it all in the trash.
I also cleared out a bunch of old bills and papers we’d been saving over the years and didn’t need anymore as well as other odds and ends. The fun part was going through all the various greeting cards and lovely snail mail I can’t bear to throw away. Reading through many of them was a true blessing – God has truly blessed our family abundantly with good and caring friends and family. All those letters are probably my most valuable possessions in the house.
I can now walk into our sewing/crafting/junk room without stepping on stuff. We could even use it as a bedroom now if we really needed to. Oh and I reorganized our basement storage area so there aren’t all sorts of random seasonal decorations all over collecting dust and spiders. I can now say that everything in our basement has a purpose, a high potential for a future purpose, or it has no purpose but I’ve decided to tolerate it for the time being anyway.
Forgot to mention in last week’s Reading/Watching Journal that my husband and I watched Dances With Wolves, hadn’t seen that since waaaayy back when I was maybe 10/12? All I had remembered of it was there was a scene with a naked butt and Indians chasing buffalo. Now, in my thirties, I appreciated it much more. It was really a good story, very interesting. We did have to split into two nights (especially since we accidentally got the extended version).
What we’ve been up to:
Weekend Surprises: For our weekend family surprise last weekend we used the kids’ Library Reading Program prizes and took everyone out for a rousing round of mini golf! It was a beautiful day and everyone had so much fun – even the two-year-old with his cute little mini golf club and ball that he kept picking up and throwing into the hole over and over. He was only sad when the ball didn’t come back after the 18th hole. I love my family.
Microscope fun: My husband and I decided it was time. Time to bring out…the microscope. We didn’t want to get it out until we felt they could really appreciate it…or at least not break it. The look on their faces when we got it out was classic – like we were bringing out a treasure chest filled with gold.
It came with a few slides with some organisms that we weren’t familiar with. We eventually decided it would be fun to see what boogers look like up close so we cajoled one from the two-year-old who seems to have an endless supply. He wasn’t as enthusiastic as we were but he eventually relented in the name of science.
The most exciting family update is about a new addition we added to our family this summer (after our dog) – a piano! My sister’s friend and her family were moving and gave it to us (only hard part was getting it here, thanks to my husband and two strong friends!). It’s amazing how much having a piano in our home has changed our family – in good ways! Turns out my husband is a musical genius and our kids are following right along.
He, and our older two, listen to a song they know/like and then try and play it on the piano by ear. They don’t have the right finger placement but are amazingly good at hitting the right notes. He even taught the 4 year-old Mary Had a Little Lamb - which he “plays” pretty well. I love hearing them play on the weekends and while I cook dinner, it brings me great joy hearing them discover the beauty of real music together.
The piano also came with a junior guitar that I had re-strung and tuned so that’s been fun for me to play around with that again and our daughter starts band this year and has chosen the flute – which is what I played! She’ll start lessons with that soon. We’ll probably start piano lessons soon for the kids – and my husband! Then I’ll be able to say I’m married to a super awesome astro-photographer pianist. I knew I chose right when I picked him for my husband and future father of our children.
10-year-old daughter started middle school this year! I can’t believe I just typed that. But I guess it’s the truth and I have to accept it. She loves everything about it – the lockers (although we had to switch her to a bottom one since she’s too short to see the combo on the top ones!), the switching classes and having 3 different teachers during the day, and feeling grown up.
We’ve been having great conversations with her about topics related to growing up, you know the type of “talks” that make you look at your little girl and realize time suddenly hit the turbo speed and you wonder where your little girl went? Sigh, it’s good…a little hard on my emotions but I’m feeling good about entering into this new season. ‘The other day she said to me, “I feel like I’m really growing up now…and I don’t feel so afraid of it anymore.” Heart melt. Oh my dear daughter, how I love you and wish time didn’t have to go so fast.
I’ve been trying to spend more intentional and focused time with only her. The three younger boys are loud and seem to always need my attention when she’s trying to talk with me. And she isn’t as fond of the same things as them – bugs, poop, and other gross matters. Soon, she’ll be all grown up and off to start her own life and I don’t want to miss the time I have with her while she’s still sweet and innocent.
We had a fun shopping trip together last week (cue the modesty teaching opp moments!) and I’m planning a Girls Movie night to watch the old Parent Trap with Haley Mills (who I thought really did have a twin for the longest time.) She recently finished The Chronicles of Narnia and loved every book.
After she slowly closed the last book she let out a satisified sigh and said, “I don’t think I need to read another book ever again – these are the only books that really matter.” LOL, from a girl who literally devours every book in sight, I’d say she really liked those. She’s back to reading again but I’m afraid no other book will give her quite the same satisfaction for a while.
So far the school transition hasn’t been nearly as bad as I feared. He actually really thrives in school and seems to need the structure and routine. Yesterday he said to me, “Mama, I just LOVE school! My teacher is SO nice!” I was so glad to hear it. He’s definitely growing up, making his own breakfast in the mornings well (for the most part when he gets enough sleep and no one bothers him or looks at him), and he’s doing an excellent job making his own lunch the night before. I got him a new lunch bag and a Rubbermaid LunchBlox set and he loves snapping them together and I guess all his friends love it too. He gets excited about making his lunch so he can use so it works!
It seems he, too, is hitting a growth spurt in many ways. Last year he had .00001% interest in reading and I was slightly afraid he’d never like it – which would break my book-loving heart. It seems he’s gotten over the hump and is finally starting to enjoy it. I have a hard time knowing what books to get him though as the selection for boys is…different than it is for girls. Usually the popular books for boys his age are about gross stuff like poop, boogers, farts, bugs and pretending to be a ‘superhero’ in your underwear [snobby eye roll and snort]. However, I hate to say it, but if that’s what gets him into reading, I’m going to have to be ok with it..for now. To give you an idea of his refined reading palette, some of his recent favorites are:
Parts – Wherein a boy suffering from anxiety issues imagines all his body parts start falling off him…
I Spy Fly Guy! – Wherein a boy and his best friend – a fly – play hide and seek and end up…rummaging through town dump!
Ok, so he does also love reading books about animals (particularly of the amphibian variety), and anything to do with the Earth and Space (gee, wonder if my space-loving awesome husband has anything to do with that. ) I’d like to get him into chapter books but he didn’t care for them a few months ago (said they were too boring and long) but I picked this one up the other day and casually left it in the library basket for him to hopefully find:
Space Taxi – anyone heard of/read these?
A day later I found it in his closet with a bookmark! I asked him about it the next day and he said, “I LOVE chapter books”! I take it he likes it.
The 4-year-old (a.k.a Bug Boy)
Started preschool! Another milestone I thought was in the distant-but-not-real-future. And he LOVES it. It’s only been a couple weeks but it’s been wonderful for him. I will admit I’ve enjoyed a couple hours of only one child but, more than that, I’m glad to see how much he likes it. I think it will be a good thing for him. He said he’s making new friends and loves playing on the playground. He has some great teachers – who I need to find out how they get so much energy!
Outside of the formal preschool, he is turning out to be quite the little explorer and is the boy of boys – especially when it comes to bugs! We call him our bug boy. He has a bugbox we got from the dollar tree and he catches at least one or more different bugs in there a day. I’m not much of bug person but he’s slowly softening me…as long as they don’t touch me or get in the house or our food. He’s caught caterpillars (one turned into a moth!), grasshoppers, preying mantis, a bee (I drew the line at wasps, he’s already been stung but I’d rather not have to worry about that), and I think there is a Katydid in there now. My husband caught a black widow in our garage and – much to my motherly paranoia – kept in a jar for a few days on our fridge. (It’s still in a jar on the top of our fridge, drowned and floating around in the water-filled jar along with her leftover grasshopper dinner.) Generally, I tell them not to harm bugs outside of the house but when they come in – and especially if they have the potential of injecting lethal poison – they have to die. I know, tough love.
This morning, he found a toad at church. Of course he had to catch it and wanted to take it home. On the first day of preschool, he put a butterfly in his bookbag…but forget it there, and he brought about 10 cicada shells in a baggie for show and tell. He also loves catching flies and today he proudly showed me all the dead flies he’s caught in the garage. Yup, he’s definitely earned the title “super bug catcher! I’m just glad he isn’t eating them…yet.
Oh and my favorite thing he does lately is shower me with compliments. He’ll come up to me or yell or across the room and declare loudly, “Mama, your SO pretty!!” He even asked for my hand in marriage the other day; too bad I am already smitten and taken by another older man.
The Baby Two-Year Old
After his birthday, I can tell he too is entering into a new phase. He’s still very sweet and his personality – and opinions – are coming out more! He loves – LOVES – playing with his brothers and sister. I love watching him romp around the yard with them, eagerly trying to catch up and be just like them. He doesn’t always appreciate their way of playing but I can he’s trying hard to toughen up and be part of the club. I know soon, my time with him as a baby is slipping by so I’m trying to relish the last of the “baby” moments – nursing, hand holding, rocking and cuddling and all the wet open-mouth kisses and random leg hugs. We have introduced the potty to him – he was excited and interested for a few days and then totally rejected it. So we’ll take a break and come back to it and continue leaving that bathroom door open.
He’s recently taken to carrying blankets and stuffed animals with him – it’s super cute. He loves holding things in his hands while nursing, it’s real fun nursing him while he uses my neck and arms as a train track. He’s been sleeping nicely through the night for the most part. I thought of moving him in with his brothers but then decided not to yet since they would wake him up too early and I can’t deal with a cranky baby in the mornings and get everyone else and myself ready and out the door for school on time – without going ballistic. My husband is a tremendous help with him and I’m beyond grateful for how great of a husband and daddy he is with the baby and all of them. God is good.
The Dog – Well we’ve had her 3.5 months and still love her! She’s been really wonderful with the kids and aside from the initial “marking” in the house she hasn’t done it since. We need to figure out a plan for the upcoming colder months so are thinking of kennel training her…just have to figure out a good spot for a large crate in our house.
A picture to share:
Alright, well now that I’ve spent THREE days writing my first novel about our family update – that’s what happens when you don’t journal frequently enough – I will finally end and let you go back on living your lives once again.
Adieu, till the next, hopefully sooner, time.