Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Frugality

Tad took Ben to the barber on Saturday for a hair cut whilst I stayed home and gave the remaining offspring home-cut doos. Ben is very particular and it's just not worth the fight but Tad came home remarking that it cost him $35 to get just two hair cuts. I was busy working on about hair cut number 4 or 5 and made the observation then about just how much money I was saving the family. Unfortunately, at about that same moment I knicked JT in the back of the neck with the scissors. Two haircuts later, I did a real number on David's ear, removing a nice chunk of skin from the tip of it and causing a great amount of bleeding (Major Bad Mommy moment here). It was about this point, that Tad commented, "Let's see, honey, 2 ER co-pays at $15 each...I'm not sure how much money you really are saving us...Please be careful with those last couple of cuts...."

Sigh...try to be frugal and this is the thanks I get. Fortunately, David finds his band-aid quite stylish.

Sibling Confusion

Betsy and Ruth have made some nice friends on their t-ball team. One of them is a real chatterbox and came home chatting away with her mom about the team and various aspects of t-ball. She embarked upon a soliloquy one day about the girls' shirts that went something like this, "And we all have shirts that are the same except they have our names on the back, not the first names, just the last names which is ok except for Betsy and Ruth who have their first initial and their last name on their shirts which is a really good thing because if they didn't have that I don't think I would be able to tell them apart."

Hmmmm....me either...maybe I should put first initials on all the kids' clothing so I can tell who's who...whatd'ya think?

Friday, May 23, 2008

First Ride

Today was a momentous riding lesson. Nehemiah had his first lesson and has already far surpassed Nathan's progress. Nathan's lessons have consisted of petting the horse, sitting in my arms while I try to toss him in the saddle and then grabbing on to me with a death grip. He will pat the horse one more time and then it's on to the next customer. Not Nehemiah...His first time at the barn for an official lesson he was all over his pony. He sat right up in the saddle, walked around and around the ring and then didn't want to get off. He spent the remainder of the lesson after his turn trying to crawl under the fence for seconds. Meanwhile, Nathan watched safely from the ramp. And that, folks, is the difference between Nate and Miah in a nutshell.

John Michael has been progressing nicely in the use of his reigns. A bit more practice and he'll be able to move off the lead rope (we're talking maybe another year here). He looked great up there today and so pleased with himself...Miriam took a gander at a little jump - something she's only done a handful of times before. I thought she looked good going over this jump with her prissy little pony. This was the only jump we could get out of her, though. I suppose gravitational insecurity took over.
Philip, however, was all over the jumping thing as soon as he realized the camera was rolling. He'll do anything to get his mug on a screen. I actually got a bit of video of one of his jumps: video
And JT is now an experienced jumper. He ran through a whole course but I was only able to get video of the last two jumps. His jumps are quite a bit higher than what Philip and Miriam are managing. Even on the back of a horse, his natural athleticism shines. I love to watch him ride. video
Betsy and Ruth had a bit of action themselves. Ruth's pony got a bit spooked by the wind and tossed Ruth to the ground which spooked Betsy's pony who then took off at a fast trot while Betsy tried to cling for dear life. She finally succumbed and fell to the ground also where her pony did his darnedest to step around her but still knocked her a bit in the ribs. That's the part of the lessons about which I am not so crazy but both girls climbed back on their ponies and kissed and made up. That's an important life lesson I'm very glad they're learning.

Run, Don't Walk...

to any TheatreWorks/USA production you can find in your area! Every year this touring children's rep company brings their delightful (ugh! Did I just use that word?! Well, they are!) productions to a local college where we find we must get our fix at least 2 or 3 times in a season. Monday we took John Michael and David to their production of Max and Ruby
If you've never encountered either the children's board books or the animated Max and Ruby movies, you might consider yourself lucky. We knew TheatreWorks is good but we were truly impressed when they were able to bring life, humor and great art into this rather pithy favorite of our 3 and 4 year old boys. As usual, the set was light-weight and portable (2 key words for traveling rep companies) and yet very clever and engaging, almost becoming a character unto itself. The cast of 5 or 6 was rather large considering the original stories usually don't have many more than 4 characters at a time but they found a way to make characterizations in the most entertaining ways - such as creating life-sized singing and tap-dancing toys who loudly entertained younger brother Max much to the chagrin of his serious-minded older sister Ruby.

I just can't say enough about this company. They tour all over the US and have a wide range of performances for audiences of all ages. Each year we order our tickets in August for the entire year through our local homeschool co-op coordinator. Go ahead, order your tickets and prepare to have a quality theatrical experience!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Doing the Hokey Pokey...

She put her right foot down and her left foot down and she turned herself around...(Sing it with me!). I think Tali has completely flipped 3 full times now since I posted the last post on her breech position. At this point, I no longer have any idea if she is upside down or downside up but I am certain that she feels perfectly content to just drift around at will within this vast stretched out uterus of mine. She seems to prefer to make her major movements at about 5:00am. So just as I'm finally getting back to sleep after my 3rd trip to the bathroom for the night I have a sudden eruption of motion under the bulge of skin dominating my torso. In my half-asleep stupor I have attempted to grab hold of her and hold her in place but by the time I get there, I'm just not sure where she's gone and I don't want to keep her from flipping in the right direction. Good grief, she's not even out of the womb yet and I'm already conflicted about how to parent her...

I have decided, however, that any attempt to turn her- whether it be chiropractics, doctorly versions or grasping a flashlight between my knees - will simply be ignored by my little flibberty gibbit and no doubt in short order she'll be undoing whatever process was done to get her where she belongs. So for now I'm just praying that before labor begins in earnest she'll put her right foot up and her left foot up and turn herself around....That's what it's all about!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Meet Fred

JT and Ben finished up their Biology lessons with a dissection project. Tad ordered them a fetal pig dissection kit and they eagerly dove into the joys of disassembling a once living thing which Ben duly named Fred.

They pulled Fred out of his vaccuum sealed plastic casing and spread him out on a cookie tray on the dining room table. (Somehow homeschooling takes on a whole new twist for projects like this - no personal space or kitchen utensil is safe from its grasp.)Here they are getting their first taste of touching Fred and getting accustomed to the sights, smells and feel of dead fetal pig. This is about when I left them to their own devices and explorations.I returned some time later after they had thoroughly examined Fred's innards and were obviously feeling quite a bit more comfortable with the project - enough to rather enthusiastically give me a tour. Here is the spot from whence Ben wrenched out the intestines. You can see them laying on the cookie sheet to the right of Fred's prone body:This is Fred's heart. I tried to get a picture of it opened as well but it turned out too blurry. They were able to clearly identify the four chambers.

And this was the most enthusiastic show and tell - Fred's brain.
The big mystery of this project was the missing spleen. JT and Ben seemed to get a kick out their dissection and Tad was happy to wrap up his year's science lesson by earning some Really Cool Dad points.

Monday, May 19, 2008

When Right Side Up is Up Side Down

I had a visit with my midwife this evening and we thought the heartbeat seemed suspiciously high in the fundus compared to where we've found it in past weeks. So she sent me off to get a sonogram which confirmed my suspicions - little Tali is currently standing on her feet rather than floating about on her head - in other words, she's breech. She has a few weeks left to flip on her own and I'm contemplating keeping my chiropractic appt for tomorrow morning for an application of the Webster's technique. Thanks to the wonders of the internet and two groups of ladies whom I love and trust I am not so crazy about the idea of an external version, although I would very much like to avoid a c-section. This body was made for birthing babies and I'd like to give it another chance. On the other hand, maybe Tali has good reason for standing up at attention and this is God's way of protecting her from some danger. Or perhaps she just wants a bit of a change in perspective and plans to go flipsy whoozies again soon all on her own....decisions, decisions....And now I think I'll go get on all fours with my rear in the air, a flashlight between my knees, frozen peas on my fundus and headphones on my belly while I try to decide.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Pan-Orthodox Camping Trip

Tad took JT, Ben and Betsy on a camping trip this weekend with a bunch of other Orthodox parishes. The trip is for children and they have spent the weekend experiencing several of the cultures in which Orthodoxy has deep roots. I was blessed to get a whole bunch of recipes of the various foods they are eating so that I could alter them to fit JT's diet. I spent Thursday and Friday in the kitchen preparing tabouleh and hummus and pastistio and Greek honey cake. I made enough for the rest of us to try while the lucky ones were away and we had a little cultural feast for lunch today.

Tad has been texting me as the day progressed. I know that last night the camp directress entertained everyone with her accordian playing followed by an ice cream social (with Breyer's - Yeah!). Today JT did some Greek dancing, Betsy accumulated an entourage of new friends and Tad tried his hand at pysanky. Ben was enjoying the scavenger hunt which somehow used the Greek alphabet for clues and all sat down, eating with their right hand only, a feast of Arabic finger foods for dinner (unfortunately the lamb had been marinated in wine so none for JT).

I have to admit to being quite jealous that Tad got to go whilst Adora and (Tali and) I stayed with the ding-bats and the midgits. I did talk Adora into staying home rather than making her usual weekend trip to DC and I've been glad for her company and assistance. But next year I think I'll make a pitch to be the parent who gets to go - even if I do have to sleep in a bunk bed with a dozen little girls....

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Second Chance

For the first time in my life, I got a second chance to do a bad day over again - the right way. Yesterday I headed toward my friend's house to meet up with her for a conference, missed my turn and got whacked in the rear endy trying to turn around and get my bearings. This morning I headed out at exactly the same time, drove towards my friend's house and made the right turn. It was a beautiful thing. I parked my car in her driveway, hopped into her van and had a wonderful day shopping for curriculum at the homeschool conference. It was such a neat chance to do take a bad day and do it all over again. How many times have I thought to myself, "If I could do that over again I would...."? Well, today I had my chance. Thanks, Lord, for your small mercies!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Accidents Happen

Apparently even when you're pregnant and even when you have other plans. I was merrily chugging along this morning in Clifford, our big, red 15 passenger van to meet my friend Christine and drive together to a homeschool conference. I missed my turn, stopped to turn into a parking lot and the next thing I knew a guy flew up behind me and rear-ended me. Fortunately for me, the damage to the Big Red Dog was fairly minimal but I was pretty shaken up, had some minor back pain and mostly concerned about the baby. I am comforted by the limited damage to myself and the van - I had no seat belt bruising, no air bag deployed and really little comparative damage to the van itself. It does make me feel a little safer whilst toting the children, knowing that the thing is rather like a tank. On the other hand, the driver of the pick up truck walked out of his truck just fine but the truck did not survive.

I was convinced by the EMT's to take my free ride to the hospital and check out the baby and then spent the next 7 hours at our local hospital, most of them attached to fetal monitors with my faithful friend by my side all day. Tali spent lots of time tossing and turning and maintaining a steady, healthy heartbeat. The contractions were coming constantly but not strong enough to put me into actual labor and Tad arrived from a frustrating day at work just in time to take me back to the scene and retrieve the van. We're hoping to make it to the conference tomorrow anyway...we shall see. Thanks for all those who were alerted to pray and a special thanks to Christine who sat by my side all day and forsook her day at the conference.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Great With Child

By my calculations I have about 5 more weeks to go. Yeah, I know the ticker at the bottom of my blog page begs to differ but I'm not budging. Every single pregnancy I get two different dates based on two different sonograms. Every single time the OB People say they trust the first date I'm given more and every single time I think, "Yeah but I know more about the conception of this one than you do..." Every single time I get to be about 26 weeks and the OB People start hemming and hawing over their tape measure and saying things like, "Well, you're measuring big..." Yeah, no kidding. If I have one more person look at me bug-eyed and say, "You're really BIG - you got twins in there?!" I think I'm going to have to plead temporary hormonal insanity and deck them good. That look on my face in this picture has good reason for being there... I so hate this part of pregnancy.

I had a dream the other night that I missed my labor. I dreamed that I was scheduled for a c-section so they anesthetized me and then decided I didn't need one after all. They brought me out of the anesthesia just in time to push once and out came Tali - all of about 13 pounds of her (hopefully the whole thing was nothing more than a *dream*!) That was a real bummer because what I do LOVE is labor and delivery! I love the feelings of those contractions rolling over my belly and feeling the baby drop more and more - knowing that there is a perfect symbiosis between baby, mommy and uterine muscles that only God could have designed. That, and the knowledge that within a few hours I will be able to retrieve the brain cells that seem to have taken up residence in the bottom of my uterus for the past nine months and replace them in the cranium where they belong...

So, in answer to the question I get a bazillion times a day - How Are You? I am tired, cranky, fat and useless to the entire rest of the universe except this little one nestling here in my HUGE womb. Thanks so much for asking...

Friday, May 02, 2008

Travel to Viet Nam with me

My friend Elizabeth left this morning for Viet Nam to pick up their adoptive son!! I'll be following their trip on her blog and I'm inviting all those reading along here to join us for the ride!

Noteworthy Spring Choir Concert

The Big Six were part of yet another wonderful Homeschool Choir concert (you can see in the picture how thrilled JT was to be singing with the choir this semester). This Spring Concert featured songs from Broadway - including solos by Ruth, video Philip (whose video I cannot get on here for anything - Drat!)
and Ben! video The choir was divided up with the Harmony choir having a few more complex pieces with more harmonies and the younger ones added in to fill out the choir with some simpler melodies. I must say that Ruth and Philip really shine at this choir thing. Ok, so Philip sounds like English is his second language but his pitch is great and he has come a loong way. This time around we were trying to get him to open up his mouth and round out his sounds which he was able to do quite a bit. If we can train him up a bit more in his singing ability, I think his speech is really going to improve as well.

It was really another wonderful concert - Miss Catherine sure knows how to pull it all together!!