Monday, June 30, 2014
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
I am finally starting to feel better. Starting is the key word in that sentence: I still have plenty of yucky times. But the "I can actually somewhat function!" times are increasing.
Even more exciting is that I am starting to get a little bit of motivation back. For weeks I have been looking around me at all the things that need to be done and saying "who cares? We'll live." Now I am looking around and thinking it's time to get caught up.
The Badger has kept things running. Thanks to him, we have been fed, had clean clothes, had toys and junk basically picked up, and have not been overrun by rats. He has done a fantastic job. But where Mom is really crucial around here is when it comes to organization. Right now there are piles of clutter and stacks of miscellany all over the house. And all kinds of things have been mixed up and put in the wrong places. While we have been surviving just fine, when it comes time to put on a scout uniform for a meeting or locate an all-important permission slip, we're in big trouble. And let's not even talk about fines for overdue library books that no one can find because they are not on their special shelf. Organization is super important in a large family.
Yesterday I organized the pantry. It's not a huge job and it wasn't in terrible shape and I could mostly do it sitting on a stool. But I was still pretty proud of myself. I was thrilled that I felt well enough not only to do it but to want to do it. Such a small thing, and yet so huge for me.
Today I deep cleaned the girls' bedroom and closet. Again, a mostly sitting down job. But a big one. After that I started on the boys' room. That is going to take more than one attempt, let me tell you. They have gotten much better about cleaning their rooms but every once in awhile I have to go down there and deep clean. It's always an interesting experience, kind of like visiting a house of horrors.
But I am working on it! Yay me!
Yay that the worst is behind me! Yay for the happy times ahead!
Sunday, June 15, 2014
If there is any dad in the world right now who deserves a shower of praise, gifts, affection and pampering, it's my Badger.
However, we're going to have to take a rain check on Father's Day this year. I woke up with a bad headache. I hope this means my morning sickness will be wrapping up soon... headaches are usually the next stage. Anyway, he took the girls to church and I was supposed to follow later but I never made it there.
I did feel well enough as the noon hour neared to sit on a stool in the kitchen and make macaroni and cheese and heat up some corn. Go me! I was pleased with myself for making the Badger a Father's Day meal, which he was not expecting at all. I know he doesn't really like macaroni and cheese, but he pretended he did and he really appreciated that when he got home from church he didn't have to make food for the kids.
But then he told me that he was getting a headache too, so the two of us have spent the afternoon laying down and trying to rest while simultaneously trying to keep a bunch of very active little kids under control. It hasn't really been a great day.
Oh, dear Badger, I wish I could bake you a strawberry rhubarb pie and make homemade ice cream. And rub your feet and bring you a big pile of fun and exciting gifts. You have been the most faithful, loving, diligent father, especially lately, when you have been getting very little in return. But please know how much we all love and appreciate you... and one of these days you're going to get what you deserve.
Thursday, June 12, 2014
(Aren't my blog posts so much more fun with pictures? I am getting these put up only because I gave the baby my digital camera to play with. Yes, it is bad for him to have the camera. But it's one of those lesser-of-the-evils things that are always cropping up in parenting. I am keeping an eye on him and the camera and he's so enthralled that he's not trying to climb all over me and bang on the computer.)
Another mystery plant grew tall and handsome and put out promising buds, which then produced very unattractive flowers. The kids said they'd seen it growing in the wilds near our house, so I dug it up.
Meanwhile, I never get tired of the miracle of growing a garden. You put out all these seeds and you wonder if they will grow and then one day you go outside and... potatoes!
Sunday, June 8, 2014
Thursday, June 5, 2014
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Today we get to talk about Bean!
In the last couple of months Bean's voice has taken a huge dive. When I heard about voice changing I always heard about embarrassing cracks. His voice never cracked. It just went down, but it's not done going down yet. So right now he sometimes sounds like a foghorn. It's so weird. He is faking it through the rest of the year with choir by singing falsetto but this will be the end of his children's choir career. Alas. He had such a lovely boy soprano. I can't tell yet whether he will be a tenor or a bass... maybe a baritone. And I am sure it will be beautiful.
He's doing a lot of changing lately, actually. He just looks older. Like a teenager. It's so weird to watch your kid go through puberty, with all that entails. Moodiness, zits, and all that.
We took a break from school when I started feeling so sick. We had several books we were almost finished with that I will make him work through once I am feeling better. I hope that is soon. Boy, he got really lazy really fast when I dropped school and became too ill to ride herd on him all the time. (He really takes after his mother, who was about the laziest teenager alive.)
But really, even though he sleeps in and lazes around reading fantasy novels he has done so much to help around here lately. He babysits, he does lots of dishes, he fetches me things and cooks me lots of tasty things. He makes quesadillas just the way I like them.
He did great in his two classes at the junior high this year. His band teacher loved him to bits (so respectful and polite) and he did great with that trumpet. Earned an A plus. In math they don't use the traditional grading scale. He earned a 3, which means he was competent with all the material. He got all his work turned in, mostly on time. I was very proud of him.
We're going to do the same thing next year with him for school. He may go slightly longer days at the junior high but it will still be mostly homeschool.
Over the last few weeks Bean's ability to focus and follow through on tasks has taken a huge dive. His brain seems to be "turned off" so much of the time. I started noticing this a few weeks before I found out I was expecting. He has struggled with this over the years but mostly he has slowly improved, especially when I have been conscientious about his nutrition. Lately there has been a massive backslide. It corresponds with the time when I got lazy about giving the kids their vitamins every day. So I have high hopes that once I get Bean back on a consistent daily dose of a high-quality vitamin he will improve drastically. (This has been the case in the past.) It's tough when your oldest child can't follow through on simple tasks. The only way he gets anything done lately is when the Badger rides herd on him. When he does, Bean does great things. I am committed to doing all I can to help him with these brain circuitry problems so that he can maximize his potential.
I really appreciate Bean's skills with small children. He is so marvelous with Prince Charming, who absolutely adores him. I also appreciate his "native cheery temperament." Even with the moody teenage hormones hitting him his default mood is cheerful. That is such a blessing to me.
Bean has had a hard time with friends lately. He doesn't really have any close friends here and that has been wearing on him. I feel bad about this. He is such a friendly, people-oriented person. There is one boy he is developing a friendship with, who comes from a very nice and very busy family. It has not been easy to get the two of them together. I hope we can do more with that this summer. I also let Bean call his best friend in Oklahoma fairly often and talk.
Bean has really enjoyed being in the Civil Air Patrol. It has been very good for him to learn military discipline and courtesy. He marched with them in a parade recently, carrying a flag, and that was a good experience for him.
He has some great experiences to look forward to this summer. He will finally get to go to scout camp for the first time (last year he missed the cutoff by a couple of days). He is going on a high adventure trip to Canyonlands in Utah with my brother and his boys. That is going to be awesome for him.
Bean is such a great kid. He is true-hearted, generous, and naturally accepting of others. He is unusually mature and trustworthy in certain ways. The older he gets the more he is away from home and when he is I miss him tremendously.
Sunday, June 1, 2014
Fish is at that totally fun age where he is really into things like magic tricks and yoyos and jokes and riddles. He always seems to be doing something clever and have something up his sleeve.
I am so proud of how well he did in school this year. He had to work so hard because he was coming from behind, but he kept up with his class. At the end of the year he is still only behind in spelling and writing conventions. His teacher just loved him to bits (she is totally a kindred spirit, and I am so grateful he could spend his year with someone so wonderful who appreciated him so much.) He really thrived in a structured learning environment, though he had a hard time with many aspects of the social environment of school.
This spring he didn't want to play soccer or do swim camp, so I talked to him about what he could do to stay active if he wasn't going to do organized sports. He said he much preferred riding his bike to playing team sports. He rides his bike around quite a lot. He also jumps on the trampoline frequently (though not as much as Bean does.)
He has several casual friends but no close friends right now. It's a hard age. So many of the boys his age are so into electronic devices that they don't play with other kids as much. And it is socially taboo to play with girls. He feels bad because our neighborhood is crawling with friends for his little sisters and they are always playing with friends. But he has been biking down to the school playground a lot lately and he will come home and say he played with so-and-so and that makes me happy.
Fish's music talents are such a joy to me. He switched to orchestra in January at school and took to the cello like a duck to water. He sings beautifully and has been selected for a special state-wide choir. I wish I could get him to do more with piano but he says he feels overloaded. Maybe now that summer is here I can coax him to develop that talent a little bit.
I would also like to see him have more opportunities to develop his art skills. He has so much talent there.
Fish still has an affinity for all things British. He prefers to dress like a British school boy from years ago (like the boys in the Narnia movies). He can do a great British accent. Reading the Harry Potter books this spring put even more fuel on that fire (not to mention it sent his reading level way up!)
He also has a keen interest in all things Asia. Probably because he loves Ninjas.
He and I have enjoyed watching BYUTV's series "Granite Flats" together. I am not much of a TV show person, but I kind of got hooked on that one and Fish was the one of my kids that was old enough to understand it and interested enough to watch it with me. So we would hide out in my room while everyone else was busy and curl up together and watch it on my phone. From there he got into Studio C, BYUTV's comedy show. I have mixed feelings about Studio C... some of it is funny and some of it is a little... what's the word... irreverent? But Fish of course thinks it is all hilarious and begs to watch it. I don't mind too much... at least it is clean.
Fish is by far my most sensitive child. He tends to build little walls around his feelings if he thinks they might get hurt. You know, pretending that he doesn't care when he really does care deeply. Sometimes that leads to the obnoxious behavior one often sees in kids of this age. He is so much like me as a child and so I totally get him. I hope someday he understands this and how much I understand him and appreciate him. He is also my most pessimistic child so I am always praying that he will know how valuable he is to our family and to the world.
He is simply one of my most favorite people ever. He is just such a cool person and I relate to him on such a deep level. I love being around him.