Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Top 10 Things I'm Looking Forward To in September

10. Cooler temperatures. Please, please, let there be lower humidity and cooler temperatures!

9. Starting back to our Wednesday night ministries for kids.

8. This little guy coming over to spend the night:

7. Spending Labor Day swimming at Grandpa's house. Unless those cooler temperatures kick in early. In which case, we'll just enjoy being at Grandpa and Grandma's.

6. "Homecoming" at our church.

5. Finishing our first six weeks of our homeschool year. I can't believe we've gotten so much done already!

4. Good excuses to nap. Often.

3. Time to finish projects that have been hanging around.Operative word being finish.

2. This bundle of energy turns 6 (6!!!!!!) and a party must and will be thrown:

And, finally, the number one reason I'm looking forward to September:
1. Meeting this little one face to face!
This post is linked to Top Ten Tuesday at Oh Amanda.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What's On My Mind

I've noticed a familiar phenomenon as the Due Date draws near. My brain seems to be BABY, BABY, BABY...and then some other stuff.

Her clothes are finally washed and put away. I've got her things ready to pack, once I get out a suitcase and actually, you know, pack it.

We still haven't decided on a car seat. A family member wanted to help us with this but we can't decide whether to buy the carrier type or the convertible type. Princess has offered to let us borrow Fen's infant car seat and that seems like a good idea, considering it doesn't take long for us to get tired of toting the heavy seat around.

Then we're trying to decide whether to buy a new pack 'n play or a mini crib or...you'd think by the fourth child the decisions would all be made but apparently not.

And then there's the whole name thing. Prince Charming and I were talking about this Sunday night. Polly, who was listening in (naturally - the girl likes to be in the know) liked every option we mentioned, so at least we know one person would be happy.

Oh, and for those of you who hadn't heard: I got my hair chopped off. It's not the shortest I've ever had it but it's pretty close. Tigger claims that she didn't recognize me right after I had it done. Considering she sat there and watched it happen I find this hard to believe.

Meanwhile, the home improvement projects continue. Which is just another way of saying everything is a mess and I'm having trouble focusing on any one thing in order to get them finished. Because, you know, Baby, Baby, Baby, Baby...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Nesting, Of a Sort

Baby Girl #4 isn't even here yet, but we can blame her for some fairly serious house work going on around here (nothing quite as serious as the full bathroom remodel, however. Not yet...). As we discussed how to squeeze another little one into our small two bedroom house, it became quite obvious that some things were going to have to go.

Some things like: our couch and love seat set in our living room. These were accordingly sold (on Craiglist) for a mere fraction of what we paid for them nine years ago, but hey, I never really liked them anyway and getting anything for them was kind of a bonus. The people who bought the couches asked Prince Charming if he had anything else he wanted to sell. He was tempted, so he says, to just ask, "See anything else you like?" He did not, of course, say that, although it would have been one way to declutter, I must admit.

So then we needed a new couch. We looked around a bit but the space constraints really made us realize how HUGE most furniture is. I guess people need huge stuff to fill their huge, empty houses, but that sounds kind of bitter and you probably don't want to hear my opinion about McMansions right now. Anyway, we ended up holding our breath and ordering our new couch from Overstock.com. The size was right, it had good reviews, and well, it was affordable. Not to mention the fact that I didn't have to traipse through multiple furniture stores looking at all the same overpriced, overlarge stuff.

So now my husband is assembling our new couch in our living room, we have two chairs waiting to be updated (one needs refinished & covered and one I haven't quite decided what needs to happen), we're thinking about moving one of the bookshelves from our room into the living room, and the girls are helping clean out stuff so Baby Girl can have a drawer or two in their tiny room for her clothes.

Like I said: nesting. I may post pictures some other time, if everything looks right and if I remember to get the camera out. Instead of a picture, for now just imagine a tiny two bedroom house with the contents all dumped out every which way.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sweet Pea's Sunday

As I waited with Sweet Pea for her Sunday School teacher yesterday morning, I asked her a question I've asked other children in similar circumstances in the past. "Looks like you might have to teach this morning," I say. They look at me with expressions varying from incredulity to anticipation.

"Sweet Pea, you might have to teach Sunday School today," I told her. "What will you teach about?" She thought for a minute.

"Probably God," she said finally. -Long pause- "Or Jesus. God or Jesus." Then she looked around the classroom.

"And we'll color," she said very firmly, as if anticipating the reluctant color-ers in her class might mutiny (these are all little boys). She looked around again.

"And we'll have pretzels for a snack. There are animal crackers too, but I don't want animal crackers so we'll have pretzels."

I think this girl has a future in Sunday School teaching.

Later in the day, as we drove to Gram's house (which is what we usually do on Sunday afternoon) Sweet Pea announced, "I don't like Pepper today". (Pepper being the High Hill Canine in Residence. This 50+ lb. bundle of perpetual energy thinks she is a Yorkie lap dog) This was an unusual thing to say because Sweet Pea loves dogs and is the most likely to run up to Pepper for a hug (from Sweet Pea) and kiss (from Pepper).

True to her announcement Sweet Pea screamed any time the poor dog moved. Pepper came in, Sweet Pea screamed. Pepper went out, Sweet Pea screamed. Pepper stood up, Sweet Pea yelled. Pepper laid down, Sweet Pea yelled. Pepper...you get the idea.

Until after lunch. Sweet Pea was petting Pepper. "Do you like Pepper now?" I asked her. She gave me that look she always gives me. That "Mom has completely lost it" look. "I love Pepper," she said.

Go figure.

And, for my final Sweet Pea Sunday anecdote, I'll just mention that Sweet Pea and the girls sang in church last night. And that ("Sweet Pea and the Girls") is most decidedly how Sweet Pea saw the engagement. There's Diana Ross and the Supremes, Gladys Knight and the Pips, and now, Sweet Pea and the Girls. I think we're all supposed to be grateful she allowed her sisters to sing with her at all.

"I want to be in the middle," she told us before church. "And I need a loud microphone."

Never a dull moment.

Friday, August 13, 2010

To Whom It May Concern*

"They" did not miscalculate my due date. (For that matter: neither did I)

And, contrary to possible appearances, I am not "ready to pop". Whatever that means. In my experience, very little "pops" when a baby comes. Unless you count that sound I heard when my water broke with Tigger.

Possible replacement phrases for the above:

1. "You must have so much to do before the baby comes. Is there anything I can do to help?"

2. "You look very nice today."

Thank you very much.

*This has been a "please don't annoy the pregnant woman who is great with child" post.*

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Our New School System

Want to see how I've revolutionized our school day? It's not work boxes (no room!) or a better schedule (I need my sleep) It's these little things that cost me less than $5 each at the Big Box Store (affiliate link):
(Note: these are a little different from the ones I bought. Ours have an envelope type pocket on the bottom of each page and plastic binding)

This is primarily for Polly's benefit but of course I made one for Tigger and Sweet Pea too. Each of their required subjects has a pocket and in that pocket I put all the necessary work for that week. If a subject uses worksheets, those go in the pocket. If it doesn't, then I write out the assignments on a 3x5 card and put it in the envelope pocket. Anything else that goes along with the lessons (and fits in this folder) goes in too - things like flashcards, blank index cards, magnet letters, Latin c.d., etc.

This system is designed to give Polly a little more control over her school day. She can see very quickly what has to be done for the entire week. She can decide that she wants to do two math lessons, or none. She can finish her Latin assignments all at once or spread it out over five days. Many subjects she still needs my help to complete, but it is her responsibility to come find me and see if it's a good time to do that subject. The only other rule is that all the work must be completed by Saturday night. (Two reasons for this: no school on Sundays & I need time to load the folder for the new week of school)

We've only just started our second week of school, but so far it's working very well. Polly likes having the control and I like being able to work with Tigger without Polly interrupting asking for help. (Sweet Pea interrupting is another problem entirely!)

Tigger's folder is very similar but she doesn't have control over when we do each subject. Still, she likes having a folder just like her sister's. Her folder primarily helps me see how we're doing, since it would be too easy to ignore her academics and focus on the more pressing 4th grade matters.

And Sweet Pea's folder is packed with coloring pages, alphabet games and cards, number magnets, a small chalkboard, and a list of ideas for other things to keep her busy. She likes to be right with us while we work. Which is sometimes Quite Nice and sometimes a Bother, but that's life with Sweet Pea anyway.

Similar products (affiliate links):
It's working for us! Check out other things that work over at We are That Family.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Deep Thoughts With Tigger

Our first week of school went very well. We're trying a few new things (which I really must blog about when I get a minute).

Tigger seems to enjoy First Grade. She's reading a lot more and she's actually excited to "do school".

Last night in church Tigger asked me to open her Bible to the passage her Granddad had announced as his text. Then she sat there, quietly sounding out random words on the page.

"Mom, this says, 'God'," she whispered to me, pointing to the word.

"Yes," I whispered back. (Hey, don't judge. She was paying attention and trying to read along!)

She looked over the page a little longer. "He wrote His name all in this book," she whispered, shaking her head a little bit.

And I thought, how is that a five year old can say such profound things?

Because, you know, she's right. He wrote His name all in His book and He did it for our benefit.

Sometimes the sermons come from the small person sitting in the pew next to us.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Saga of a Tire

First act: Wife drives to grocery store on Saturday evening. Notice "check tire" light on dash. Drive home. Inform husband. See nothing wrong with tire. Express relief as family has just purchased new tires about two months ago (after a flat tire incident on Memorial Day).

Second Act: Drive to church Sunday morning. Notice "check tire" light again. Get out of van and realize back right tire is going flat. Go on into church. Husband and father change tire after service. (Yes, in their good Sunday clothes. No suits were harmed in the changing of this tire.)

Third Act: Sunday after lunch with family, husband drives to Tire Place. Place is closed on Sundays. Which, you know, is a good thing really.

Fourth Act: Monday morning husband drives back to Tire Place. Tire has a screw in it. Screw is removed, tire is patched, husband comes home. Money spent: none. They did it for free.

Fifth Act: Monday afternoon family, is driving about on various errands. "Check Tire" light is on. Again. Wife complains that something doesn't feel "right" about how the van is driving. Everyone gets out. No noticeable problems with tires.

Sixth Act: Tuesday morning, husband drives back to Tire Place. Employees discover that three tires are over-inflated (by them on Monday morning) and one tire is under-inflated (also by them). Employees of Tire Place are apologetic and proceed to fix tires. Again. At no cost. Husband buys a tire gauge.

Seventh Act: "Check Tire" light has not come on in over 24 hours. Family declares victory.

Eighth Act: Wednesday afternoon, receive in the mail a recall notice to do with how the spare tire is stored in the vehicle.

Ninth Act: Husband and wife laugh uproariously.

Tenth Act: Throw recall notice away and go on with life.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Books of 2010 - July

1. Parenting Today's Adolescent. Non-fiction by Dennis & Barbara Rainey. I got this from Paperback Swap when it occurred to me that Polly will be 9 this December. Which means she'll be 10 (!) next year. Which means the "official" pre-adolescent years are upon us and we'd better start figuring out what parenting looks like in the next stage. I highly recommend this book, even if your child is already an older teen. There's still time!

2. Little Dorrit. Fiction by Charles Dickens. Loved it. Absolutely loved it! Almost makes me forgive Dickens for writing Pickwick. The characters, the plot, the twists and turns, the insight into human nature - it's all good.

3.Winston's War: Churchill 1940-1945. Non-fiction by Max Hastings. I believe I've mentioned before how interested I am in the Second World War and also that Churchill is one of my heroes. This book is excellent, and I admit that I initially started reading it skeptically because, seriously, what else can there be to say about this man? Maybe it's not all new, but Hasting puts it very neatly.

4. An Ideal Wife. Fiction by Gemma Townley. This is Brit Chick Lit and, as I read it before our two weeks of church camp, I have no idea what I thought about it. I think it was probably funny but it didn't make much of an impression on me.

5. Church Planting is for Wimps. Non-fiction by Mike McKinley. Prince Charming wanted me to read this one. I don't think it's going to be widely applicable unless you happen to be married to a pastor, but it is very well written and thought provoking.

6. An Echo in the Darkness. Fiction by Francine Rivers. Usual disclaimers apply: many Christians find Rivers' work to be controversial.

7. A Family Affair. Fiction by Caro Peacock. Delightful little historical mystery. Part of a series but I missed the first book and I don't think it hindered me too much.

8. What Happens When Women Walk in Faith. Non-fiction by Lysa TerKeurst. I read this because it's the only book by this author our library carries and I was thinking about purchasing a Bible study by her. I've decided to pass on that. The book is OK and I did find parts of it challenging, but I never really felt comfortable with the author's "voice". ("Pontificating" is the word that comes to mind.) I suspect I am just really picky, YMMV.

9. Love & War. Non-fiction by John & Stasi Eldredge. Here again, I am not overly fond of these authors. I did think that this book is better than the other two I've read by them (Wild at Heart and Captivating). I find them overly dependent on emotion and personal revelation and under-committed to the Bible and what God has actually said about things. Strong exhortation for married couples to be praying together was a high point of the book.

Totals for July:
Fiction: 4
Non-fiction: 5
Dickens completed: 1 (And I started A Tale of Two Cities but a real life "tale of two weeks of camp" interfered heavily)