(This is two weeks worth of thoughts and happenings, which I’m planning to do for the whole summer. It’s long but I really want to capture our days and also be able to write even if I’m not blogging like usual. So, read as much or as little as you want, or just check out the photos!)
When I stopped blogging last week, I immediately felt motivation and clarity – I would have a productive summer! I began making a list of all the things I want to accomplish in the next few months. My main focus is definitely education-related, but I also included dental/medical appointments, home projects, reading, and even a few blog ideas. I got right to work, too. I researched curriculum, purchased a math book, and printed writing prompts this weekend. I also found several books at the library relating to teaching reading; a few books with reading lessons and a few others with activities and games to go along with lessons.
Elizabeth is walking a lot more now! She is still quite wobbly and it’s super cute to see her successfully get around. She takes five or six steps at a time, from one of us to the couch or from a chair to the table, etc. It’s so neat to watch her become mobile.
Samuel likes the reading lessons book I got at the library (which I really just got for fun, to see what it was like, not necessarily to use with him), called Teach Your Child to Read in 20 Easy Lessons. The title is annoying and I’d actually heard of it before, but it’s actually really good. I do not think it would make a good book to use with a child who doesn’t have any experience with letter sounds, but aside from that, it has an excellent setup. The lessons are quick, but they do NOT equal twenty unless you group a bunch of pages as one (I guess you’d call them mini lessons then). Anyway, he is excited to work through it. Hooked on Phonics wasn’t giving him enough instant gratification, but I will say that HOP is very thorough. I will use HOP’s little books with him, once he gets to the point of needing practice reading.
I took the boys to a BMX bike park yesterday. It was awesome and I know that they will enjoy it a lot once it’s cool again in the fall. If we go again during the summer, we’ll have to go in the morning because there is no shade and it was HOT for them, with the combination of 90+ degrees and their own exertion. We were only there for about 25 minutes. Elizabeth and I stayed in the shade and watched.
I am reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to Maggie and Joshua. I have an intense fear of this story stemming from my childhood, but I’ve done really well in reading it to them. It’s been a good experience for me to face the fear I had and to see if it is valid or not. At this point, I would say there is some validity but maybe not as much as I’d credited it with before. It is an interesting story but the evilness of the white witch and the cruelty and sadness of Aslan’s death are too much (for me). I believe it triggers my similar distress of thinking about Christ’s cruel treatment and crucifixion. We watched some of the movie together the other night, and I had nightmares and frightening thoughts all through the night. Obviously, I decided not to watch any more of it. They are going to finish it together. I’m proud of myself for at least trying.
Samuel is having fun playing with the eight year old boy who lives across the street from us. He comes from a family who are less than kind most of the time, brothers who are generally mean to him, and a history of problems, so the fact that he’s getting along with Samuel is awesome. I think one bit that’s helping is that I am staying outside while they play. Before, I would let Sam play as long as Joshua was out there, but now I’m insisting that he only be outside when I’m able to come out (and usually with Elizabeth in the stroller). It’s going really well and I hope the peace around here lasts.
Apparently, a bump in the road (or, rather, a missing chunk in the side of the road) that I hit several weeks ago caused damage to the rim of one of the tires on our van and it’s just now shown up as having caused damaged. We have a spare on currently until Stephen is able to get another rim. Joshua was out there tonight helping him checking the tires out, trying to find the cause of the problem – he is learning so much from his dad! He said recently that he’d like to pursue auto mechanics when he’s older, maybe at a technical school. :)
Yesterday I was in a lot of pain. It happened for three days before that, too, but yesterday was the worst. :( I’m thinking ovulation (even though I’d originally thought that had already happened over a week ago) but it also really felt like kidney stones. I don’t know, but at least it’s gone today! I’m thinking I should maybe schedule an appointment with my OB to see if there’s an underlying cause of the pain, not to write it off as ovulation.
Late yesterday afternoon was Maggie’s dentist appointment. I always dread it as much as she does but we were both thrilled that it went great! New hygienist, so there ya go. Cleanings and exams don’t HAVE to hurt.
Elizabeth has been really happy (uncharacteristically so) for the last two evenings. Like, walking around quickly in the living room, playing with toys and smiling like crazy at me. It is the cutest thing! She coos and says “mama” a bunch, too. Aww
So, I finally felt like enough was enough with the impatience that Maggie and Joshua display toward Samuel on a regular basis so I talked with them this morning and encouraged them – they need to change their ways before I implement some consequences. Joshua really stepped up and was a great big brother all day! I was really proud of him. Maggie did fine in the morning but afternoon wasn’t as good. :/ I’m sure tomorrow will be better.
We finished The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe today. It ended well and I enjoyed it overall. While reading it, Maggie has been coloring in her nature coloring book and Joshua has been coloring different cool designs that I’ve found online and printed for him. It gives them (Joshua especially) something to do with his hands while listening. He wants me to get the next book in the series so that is a FANTASTIC success for a kid that doesn’t particularly enjoy reading or listening to reading!!
Yesterday, we stayed home instead of going into Atlanta like we’d planned. I spent most of the day on housework and planning, and Stephen tried to recover from his really long week. I did learn to play a computer game with Joshua in the afternoon and that was a lot of fun.
I read about a challenge on an old friend’s blog a few days ago and now I keep thinking about it. It’s called the 100daysofhappiness challenge and basically you just take and share a photo (or more) of something that makes you happy – and you do this every day for one hundred days. I love the idea, it makes me happy to even think about focusing on happiness! But I’m not sure how I could do it…I definitely wouldn’t want to have to transfer photos from my phone and/or camera every night (ugh) not to mention I don’t want to post a photo every single day either. I have thought of the idea that I could take photos throughout the week and just do a compilation post once a week. But it also occurred to me that taking photos like that every day with the intention of sharing them on my blog…I don’t know, would it change how I perceived my day? And would that perception be a good thing? I stopped doing Instagram because I didn’t like the effect of doing (nearly) the very thing I’m talking about here. *sigh* I really like the idea, though! Hmm, maybe I could WRITE about something that makes me happy each day instead of taking (and sharing) photos. That’s an idea! Yeah, I like that.
I found another old friend’s blog the other day (I was looking back at my old blog and catching up with some people I’d lost contact with) and I was deeply saddened to read that she had had her fourth baby, a little boy, just six days before Elizabeth was born…and that he died in November. When they were both nearly five months old. :'( Since about a month after his death, she has written SO many posts talking about their experience. It’s unbelievable that she’s able to do it, really, but I have no doubt that it’s keeping her afloat. The writing, the grieving, the reliving the experiences they went through. Reading what happened and seeing all the photos, mostly of happy times, has had a huge effect on me. I can’t really explain it but it has been a terribly eye-opening and powerful thing. I want to be thankful every day. I want to enjoy every little thing, not only with my children and my husband, but life in general. I want to stop and smell the roses, praise God for all things, and feel like I truly experienced all that each day has to offer. I’m surprised by my reaction to this, but her posts are so, so…I don’t know. She is grieving as well as praising God for His hand in it all – perhaps it’s that I’m seeing the power of the Holy Spirit through her words, His inspiring force behind them. I’m so sad yet so thankful.
I dropped Stephen off at work yesterday at 7:00 and then came home, got ready to go to Trader Joe’s in Buckhead, and then he called and said we could pick him up and he could come with us (which we’d been hoping would happen). :) It had been raining through the night and into the morning so there was very little concrete being poured. We got him and headed up to TJ’s. We shopped like normal and then as we were leaving, Maggie and I saw someone – Christopher Walken!! THE Christopher Walken was at our Trader Joe’s!! I couldn’t believe it. I love him! His voice and vocal inclination, facial expressions, and acting…sigh, he’s great. So, Maggie and I were stoked, lol. She and Joshua went and asked him if they could get a photo with him but he very nicely declined. He is in Atlanta right now, making a movie. I still can’t believe he was at our store.
Today, Elizabeth is eleven months old! She is such a rough and tumble little girl. So physically strong, mentally determined, and independent. I have to change her diaper on the floor now as she is immediately rolls and moves away on the changing table, making it impossible to do anything! I remember this happening with the boys, but not until much later. :P She has figured out how to take outlet covers out of the sockets! I’ve never had a child (nevermind a BABY) figure that out. Lovely. lol
After Joshua’s dental appointment yesterday, we went to a new park. It was very unique. There were a lot of interesting climbing opportunities and a fun play area for little kids as well. Once Elizabeth is walking confidently and wearing shoes, she’ll be able to join in the fun. As it was, she sat in the stroller and happily watched; she doesn’t yet know what she’s missing!
A few days ago, I rearranged some furniture. I moved things around in my bedroom and made room for the two homeschooling cabinets. They fit in there fine and it will mean that I don’t have to go all the way to the laundry room to get things/sort things for school. It has also cleared up a lot of space in the room that they were in – it looks so spacious in there!! We’re all surprised how big that room actually is, lol. It’s been two years since we’ve seen it that way.
Which means we’ve been living here for two years. We were busy moving stuff to our new home twenty-four months ago. Wow, it seems like more and less at the same time. I was so, so happy. I still love living here, though I will be happy when we leave, too. I love change.
We moved the furniture in the living room yesterday while Elizabeth napped! Everything has been in the same basic spot since we moved in so it changed our perception of the room/house a lot, lol. The new furniture placement really opened up the space and we all like it. :)
Elizabeth woke up even earlier today (4:45) after needing to go to bed last night at 7:45. I TRIED to keep her up but it was no use. *sigh* I don’t know how to fix this except to bring back the late afternoon nap….but then even with that, she had started getting up before six. :/
Stephen and Joshua are going to the Toyota dealership today to get some work done on the van. I’m happy he gets to have a three day weekend – those are sure rare! I don’t think we’re going to do anything special, but we might go to a state park or something tomorrow or Monday.
So, something has changed. I don’t know exactly what it is, but I feel different. I feel more playful and relaxed. At first, I thought it was my lack of blogging (because I tend to put pressure on myself to plan, write, comment, etc) but it’s not that, I’ve done blogging and taken breaks before. I’ve never felt like this. Well, no, I did actually. I used to feel like this when Maggie was a toddler. I specifically remember enjoying my days fully with her. They also felt really long. That’s how things feel again. Why? I think it’s a combination of the impact of Karen’s story (her infant son dying) and the end of certain stress in my life (Stephen is no longer working any night shifts, and Joshua is no longer having neighborhood kid issues)…I don’t know, I think those things are responsible for my newfound childlike enjoyment of the world. It’s hard to explain.
It’s ten minutes until eight and Elizabeth is still asleep! Of course, she woke up multiple times through the night but at least she didn’t get up early and stay up…I was able to go right back to sleep each time. :) She went to bed last night at 9:15, which is about what I was aiming for (in hopes that she wouldn’t get up so early). Going to bed after nine was after having gotten up at 4:45, going down for a nap around 6:30am and sleeping until 8:15, napping again from about 11:00 to noon, and then having one more nap from 4:40 until 6:00pm. LOL, this toddler sleep stuff is crazy business.
Stephen and Joshua were gone most of the day yesterday. They went to get the van’s rims replaced, which sounds like it would be fairly easy and straightforward, but it was quite involved because of the types of rims and lug nuts that were currently on the van from a previous owner. Ugh
I’m proud of myself, I assembled a new baby gate by myself yesterday! We had a basic wooden gate up between the dining room and kitchen (to keep Elizabeth out of the kitchen, office, and laundry room) but the problem was that Stephen couldn’t get over it because of his hip and Samuel couldn’t because he’s too short. So we were constantly moving it! Anyway, we bought a gate with a little door so they can walk through it…..and I assembled it! :) It works great! We have a wide opening (49in) so we had to order the gate online as the stores here only carry narrower openings. What’s nice is that we could use it in another doorway if we wanted because it’s adjustable.
I am thinking about going back to a meat-free diet. I don’t particularly like eating meat and I REALLY don’t like cooking it. It bothers me (not because I think it’s wrong but because it’s gross), and for a long time now I have been putting down that feeling, but with the smelly chicken the other day…it brought it back to my attention. The thing is, there are so many foods that I can eat and enjoy (and feel satisfied with) without having meat. That being said, because I am still breastfeeding, I am not sure how my body will respond. I also don’t think I can get away with making the family go veg, lol. I can definitely prepare more non-meat meals, but Joshua and Stephen are particularly fond of chicken, beef, etc. and even though Stephen supported me when I was a vegetarian years ago, I know he appreciates my cooking more when I make meat. Ah well, we’ll see how it goes.
Last night, we went to Cracker Barrel for dinner (I had planned to cook but Stephen insisted). So, I ordered a vegetable plate and shared my mashed potatoes and gravy with Elizabeth. :) Samuel loves going there because it’s a restaurant he actually enjoys; not only is there food he’ll eat but there’s also a store with toys in it to look at afterward. lol
Side note: he looks SO old to me in the above photo!!
I decided to post my marriage post today instead of waiting until the fall because I feel like I need the accountability. It helps me to know that others are aware of something I’m working on, whether that be my diet or my marriage or whatever. I’m feeling very positive. :)
Elizabeth had a checkup at the pediatrician’s office yesterday. It was actually her nine month appointment because we never ended up going to that one between her being sick around that time and then my miscarriage and medical appointments, we didn’t get to it. But anyway, we went and everything was fine. She didn’t even respond to her big toe being poked for the hemoglobin test (iron was good, btw), though she was quite bothered by the two shots (however, she recovered quickly). She is eleven months so she was measured with that in mind (not nine months, lol). She weighs 26lbs and measures 30 inches, which puts her just over the 99% for both. She is wearing size 2T-3T. Our big girl is growing so fast!! That being said, her weight hasn’t moved since she started walking because she’s burning so many calories.
Currently, she’s nursing every three to four hours day and night, eating some purees like sweet potatoes, pears, and blueberries, and a few table foods like oatmeal and mashed potatoes.
She’s growing out of her carseat – I can’t believe she’s almost one year old!