Thursday, February 24, 2011

So spring might be coming.

Today will get progressively warmer and melt the snow that fell so suddenly a few days ago. Snowmelt is one thing, but on top of that, I've been hearing about heavy rainshowers, which in the Ohio River Valley are no joke.

Even Wheeling Creek, which is adjacent to campus and many of the other places we frequent, is known to flood quickly and destroy property. We live on the "wet side" of our hill, which means we do get some water in our basement, but usually no more than I can mop up with several towels. Not actually as bad as a Village sink back-up on the ground floor over Thanksgiving break -- that's bad! Rotten potato peels from someone else's kitchen = bad. Thankfully, we have a good dehumidifier here that I finally figured out how to get a drain hose into so that we don't have to haul the bucket across the basement.

The deer out my back window have been on the move and scrounging for food, and I threw some wheat berries (that Mara had spilled on the floor) over the fence to help them out. I think the squirrels got the bulk of them. Naughty things!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Wiggles and Joseph

The Jedis had no school Friday or today, and I-M was home Thursday due to illness. It was one of the longer stretches with everyone at home, and it was really nice! Everyone has paired off in different ways throughout the day. Arts and crafts (including a checkered racing flag), reading books, playing Wii, making some food, watching movies, playing with the shop-vac in the basement-- we've been up to some wackiness. No snow to sled on out back, but lots of mud! Kind of a bummer that all of the nice weather didn't come over this break, but the kids were all a little too sick to get out and enjoy it anyway. So we've been trying to get the wiggles out indoors.

Our series on Joseph in the Children's Chapel has begun. We've covered how Abraham's family uses tricks/lies to get what they want instead of relying on God. They also showed partiality for one family member, like a wife over other wives or a child over his siblings. These two bad habits get Abraham and his children into trouble for generations. Plus, they're temptations that we all face!

I bought a nice set of Playmobil Egypt toys to set the scene, and I found a bolt of cheap fabric to serve as the desert for $3. We have the temple/Pharaoh's palace, the Sphinx, and a Bible-era block house with a well out back for Jacob's house. (It will work well as the house where people lower their paralytic friend down through the roof to be healed by Jesus.) We have covered Joseph's dreams and his coat of many colors, followed by his brothers throwing him down a well and subsequently selling him as a slave.

This past Sunday we covered Joseph's purchase by Potiphar, and then Potiphar's wife's attempt to seduce him. I covered this carefully and explained that as a married woman, I shouldn't kiss other men like I kiss my husband, and I shouldn't give my heart to other men. Potiphar's wife was trying to kiss Joseph and give her heart to him and be unfaithful to her husband. Joseph ran from her, but left behind his cloak. Joseph wanted to be faithful to God and trusted that God would help him, and this faith was tested when he was put in jail. Tough subject, but I promised them that God would honor Joseph's right choice.

Over the next several weeks, we will cover each of the events in Joseph's life leading to the Israelites moving to Egypt. Then we will discuss the life of Moses and the Exodus. This will lead us to the Passover, which was the holiday Jesus was observing when He instituted communion. I like the idea of linking these stories of deliverance and sacrifice in the Old and New Testaments.

Joseph has always been my favorite Bible story. Anyone else want to share one?

EDIT: We just got snow dumped on us! It's the weirdest storm with snow and lightening! Of course, this has triggered a school delay, which will most assuredly become a cancellation. Glad we've been having good days!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Low-level Crud-ness

We've been around plenty of germs this winter and have been hit hard a few times, but we've been better than usual since we're not battling Village germs (on top of church and school and grocery store germs). You know, the mutant kind that people leave behind in the community center KNOWING that their kid is sick, but they just HAD to get out of the house. Thanks. I remember asking someone whose kid had actively-fevering HFMD "but why are you HERE?" (sick child had hand in bag of marshmallows during a bonfire, contaminating the whole bag).

I think another factor in our better health has been that we're eating so much yogurt! We've been eating at least a quart a day for a while, and the yogurt I've been making has 6 different cultures in it, which helps digestive health, which in turn promotes better overall health! We load our smoothies up with yogurt and lots of good berries and high-Vit.C fruit.

Now that the weather is nice, we have been hit with some low-level sickness, the kind that is hard to pinpoint because it could have multiple causes. I-M threw up on his bed on Tuesday, but that's not unusual; he throws up. I sent him to school the next morning and later took him to an appointment where he got nauseous, but it was hot and they were painting the hallways. A-man said his tummy hurt and he had a very low fever, but that's about it for him. Dr. O' is a bit under the weather. My throat hurts, which kinda makes me want a cold beer. At 11am. It would be very soothing, but I'm not going to do it. M-girl is a snotty mess and has been sleeping for 4 hours today. She screamed at me all morning, so here's hoping she wakes up pleasant. None of us are unwell enough to seek out medical attention, so we'll just ride it out for a few days. I was bracing myself for a monster plague, but it seems to only be a minor virus. I'll take it after 2 months of nearly perfect health since right before Christmas.

We missed out on our date tonight, but I'm okay with that. Don't want our kind undergrads to get sick! I have a cozy and pleasant and completely gaga and passionate (yeah, I said it) relationship with my husband. A night out would be great, but a night in can be pretty sweet.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Packed-out week

Dr. O' was busy throughout this week with teaching, grading, and helping with the interview process for a new moral theology hire. There were a couple of nights when he didn't get home until the kids' bedtime.

I had Bible Study Wednesday after M's ER visit. The Jedis had school cancelled Tuesday and delayed Wednesday and Thursday. Friday night was our only peaceful night at home, and our house was remarkably clean.

Saturday night we spent with 2 WJU families, and it was a very nice dessert night with kids running around and playing like they've known each other forever.

We had church this morning and stayed until nearly everyone was gone, as is typical for our family. Tonight we had 3 undergrad girls over for Sofrito Fajitas on whole wheat tortillas, brown rice with peppers, onions, and Adobo and chipotle seasonings, and seasoned black beans. My goal was to create a Chipotle-style dinner, and it turned out great. Dessert was chocolate waffles topped with ice cream.

This week I-M has 2 medical/therapeutic appointments for which I think he'll be happy to miss some school. The good news is that he's reached half of his deductible for the year. I'm looking forward to attacking the remaining paint on our stairway, doorframes, and baseboards. Hooray for the Blatts who are loaning me a Dremel to get the job done! Later in the week, the undergrads are coming to babysit for the kids, and I think we're going to the symphony!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Happy thoughts on a Friday

  1. M-girl is just fine if a little more grumpy after her cart incident, but this girlie is getting 5 teeth right now and is a month shy of 2 years.  So grumpitude is to be expected.
  2. Dr. O's very long week is over, and a candidate has been selected for the opening in his dept.  We're praying that the candidate will accept.  It's a good sign that the candidate is praying over it this weekend as well.
  3. There was sunlight left as Dr. O' got home today, and 40's and 50's are predicted for next week!
  4. I have a very clean house, with laundry done and put away. Yes, I'm exhausted, and I'm nuts. 
  5. We will be hanging out with other WJU families tomorrow night, and WJU girls will be coming over on Sunday to meet the kids.
  6. I raided the old Sunday School lessons at church today. I found some for the Joseph through Moses series that we'll be doing from now through Lent as a prelude to Passover, the holy day that Jesus was observing when He gave us the sacrament of communion. 
  7. Today was neither a delay nor a cancellation.
  8. My best friend is expecting twins this summer! 
  9. My blog keeps me in touch with so many lovely people and helps me to share the real stuff that happens in the life of a momma.  It's been read all over the world, mostly because my friends are all over the world now doing amazing things for God and humanity.
  10. My children are giggling and playing happily tonight! Best sound I've ever heard!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Oh, so you're THAT mom!

What the heck is that supposed to mean?  I have gotten it a lot.  I'm well aware that I get categorized as a certain kind of mother. Being my make-it-from-scratch self, I've offered neighbor kids popsicles made from yogurt that I cultured and made into a smoothie.  What? They were GOOD popsicles!  I've gotten it for my advocation of extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, and natural birthing.  I just love to learn about things that make a difference in my family's life, and I find that the most natural ways of doing things are often the best for us.  I've been THAT mom for making it look easy while inwardly losing my mind, too.  That was just pride.

I've been THAT mom for unpraiseworthy reasons, too.  I've been the mom who screams in exasperation, who has thrown things, who lets her kid run around in diapers 'til he's 4 because I wasn't up for the fight (no regrets on that one!).  I've been the mom whose kid freaks out about every change in life. What could I expect when I was freaking out?  I've seen this message in people's eyes as my child throws yet another public tantrum, but I learned how to manage those with a calm that helped my child melt into my arms and know he was safe.  I've learned to tell myself that "those who mind don't really matter, and those who matter don't really mind". 

Today I was THAT mom for some wildly divergent reasons.  I've mentioned our school delay woes, and today was a delay for frigid temps. Seems to me that cold temperatures should be expected in winter, but I digress.  This morning A-man was in a 4-alarm temper fire and locked himself in the bathroom when it was nearly time to leave.  He and I have engaged one another as worthy and well-matched opponents in some serious battles of the will.  But NOT today.  I kept doing what I needed to do and left him there until the last minute.  Then I calmly unlocked the door, spoke gently, and prayed with him.  Revelatory!  I don't HAVE to fight him.  I can WIN by being peaceful and loving.  And in the end, he's sorry and asking my forgiveness, and I can pray with him because I haven't tossed my credibility out the window by losing my cool.  That's when we both lose, anyway. 

I was also THAT mom today when my toddler fell head-first out of a shopping cart today.  Yeah.  She can undo/shimmy out of the buckles with no trouble, so the upper basket is more of a concern for me because it's further to fall, and the momentum of fighting the seatbelt could launch her 23lb frame pretty far.  So I had her in the big basket section and was having to remind her frequently to sit down, and she was briefly obeying.  I was having trouble finding an important item, an item which is nowhere near as important as my precious daughter.  I'm grieving that I didn't do something different, but I watched her tumble out head first onto a hard tiled floor.  She screamed, she bled slightly from her mouth where her teeth punctured tender skin, and some random stranger YELLED AT ME.   I didn't even bother to respond.  I was THAT BAD MOM in that moment, and I knew it. 

I took her to Wheeling Hospital, pinching her awake along I-70.  She is absolutely fine and didn't need a CAT scan. Her momma is less fine but will certainly recover if I can get this picture out of my head someday.  I think all of us are THAT mom at some point.  We're all at our shining best and our shame-filled worst depending on circumstances, some of which we can never control. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A good kind of quiet

The Jedis had no school today.  I figured they wouldn't because it rained yesterday, and then there was snow on top of it, and that seems to trigger cancellations here.  As I've said before, cancellations are easier than delays because it's hard to get enough cooperation and momentum going once everyone has started playing in the morning, and I have to get everyone out the door by myself since Dr. O' is already at work.  Then I have to go out 5 hours later and get them from the bus stop, often waking M-girl to get there on time.  Bleh, school. 

Today was wonderful, actually.  The kids didn't trash the house. There was no homework to slog through. They played peacefully and enjoyed each others' company.  I sorted coupons, finished laundry, and served multiple rounds of breakfast, snack, and lunch.  M-girl wants whatever someone else is eating, and we tend to rival the Hobbits in terms of meal frequency on days like this if I'm not keeping track.  I realized I was serving 3rd breakfast/elevenses before I had had my own breakfast, and I felt pretty sick from waiting too long and only having coffee in my stomach.  So I made a fantastic smoothie with fresh yogurt, peaches, raspberries, and flaxseed.  Yum!  M-girl wanted some of that, too, of course!  She's pretty fussy these days with lots of teeth all just about to emerge.  She wants me to hold her, and then she throws herself into awkward positions when I don't do what she wants.  Being a toddler, she's definitely in a demanding phase. 

Dr. O' is having a really long week as they do interviews for a moral theologian to join the dept.  Not that the current ones aren't moral; it's an academic specialization.  There are lots of meetings and observations and dinners involved, and he's gone a lot.  We're going to need that date night that his students have gifted us!  I'm taking in some nice Roasted Red Pepper and Sweet Potato Soup for Dr. O's dept for lunch tomorrow since there won't be any job candidates there then.  

So far, tomorrow is a 2-hour delay for frigid temperatures.  A-man is lobbying to stay home due to a sore throat that may or may not be legitimate.  We'll see in the morning with a flashlight.  I did have a play and pray group to go to in the morning, but there's illness going around in the hostess's home, so it's been cancelled.  I hope to do some weeding out of toys, etc. tomorrow.  I cooked some roast this afternoon that will be great for some Beef Vegetable Soup for dinner tomorrow night.  It was a good kind of quiet today, and hopefully it will be a good quiet tomorrow.  February will be over eventually, and I'm doing my best to enjoy it instead of endure it!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Post-Introspection Post

So I've been having a very introspective week with a lot on my mind but not a lot to say.  I-M has a lot of appointments these days to help us untangle a mess of symptoms.  I'm coming to terms with the likelihood of ADHD, although I'm unwilling to medicate him.  That would certainly explain the low working memory despite high intelligence.  Getting an official diagnosis would actually be helpful because it would get him an IEP, which would allow him to get occupational therapy for his motor skills for free at school.  He has started seeing a counselor who will give him behavioral strategies to continue to be successful at school.  That's not free, but neither are the drugs, and a little therapy isn't going to have ugly psychotropic side effects. 

This counselor has had children in the Jedis' school, and she feels that while it's a highly-rated public school, it often behaves like a selective private school, driving some families out.   Children with special needs are not especially welcome, it seems.  I was a little annoyed when the principal told me how few Spec. Ed. kids the school had when I first visited, like that was some kind of badge of honor.  Back then, I didn't think we needed those services, so I brushed it off.  Now I'm hearing that the teacher who I'm not really pleased with is one of the best there.  Not encouraging. 

Knowing the school as she does and having spent some time with I-M, the therapist thinks he and I are a good case for homeschooling.  I have to admit that my heart is drawn to it.  I could give him the enrichment he's not getting at school, the time to get to these appointments that will help his development, and the free time to play all that energy out.  We can only do so much of that in the time after school, and that's when the free time is most important.  We are meeting the homeschooling community here in Wheeling slowly, and such a support group would definitely be vital to our success.

Despite these questions and struggles, I am so very pleased to share that my firstborn I-M took his first Holy Communion yesterday.  There is nothing so joyful as watching him taking a sacrament with tremendous seriousness and with great appreciation of Jesus' sacrifice on his behalf.  He walked tall and proud during the entire event and said "This is the BEST DAY of my young life!"  It ranks up there for me too, kiddo!