Friday, November 16, 2007

Muffin Men

We haven't done formal, sit-down school in way too many weeks. But S3 and A2 are somehow reading more and more and more - I'm not really sure I can call them "non-readers" anymore, actually. We have extensive discussions about geography and history at the dinner table. (I highly recommend hanging maps in your dining room - great conversational spark! :-) We review our catechism every week for Sunday classes, though poor A2 isn't doing so well - he is just such a visual learner, simply trying to memorizing facts that we read to him leaves him terribly confused. This week we're trying something new. As we review, dh is pulling up pictures from Holy Cards on line to match the stories and information, and doing map studies of where everything happens. So far it seems to be helping quite a bit. Also, the kids have taken to watching Animal Planet obsessively and have learned all sorts of interesting facts about the natural world. I am continuously amazed at the knowledge all of them display, and to be honest, most of the time I don't even know how they know what they know!

I have a whole series of posts planned about my philosophy of education for my family - but they'll have to wait until after Thanksgiving, as my parents are visiting. They will be here tomorrow and I still have oodles and oodles of things to do to prepare for them! So for now, I want to just mention one touchstone that I use in our humble Academy. I see formal, sit-down academics as just one part of the education I want to give my kids. I not only want to see them leave my home with a solid foundation of basic and advanced knowledge, able to think and reason for themselves, but I also want more for them. Most importantly, I want them to grow to know and love our beautiful faith. My highest goal is to have them embrace their faith as young adults because they understand it and love it. They must know the facts, the reasoning, and the love behind what we believe. If I manage to do ONLY that I think I will have been a total success! Finally, though, I want them to be able to live independently, to be able to care for themselves completely when the time comes for them to be on their own. I want them to be able to do laundry, cook, clean, attend to their health, their finances - all those issues that you aren't born knowing or even wanting to know or realizing you need to know until it's critical!

To that end, yesterday J1 learned how to cook muffins. His first experience with baking. He can cook oatmeal, mac&cheese and scrambled eggs (sort of). Yesterday he made our "left-over oatmeal muffins" (which the boys inexplicably call "Muffin Men Muffins" LOL!)

Notice all the helpers he has? Can't really do much in my kitchen without having lots of helpers - I just love that! J1 did REALLY well making the muffins - to the point where I would now feel comfortable giving him the recipe and walking away. Wow, is he growing up!

It's so important, IMHO, to let kids practice in the kitchen. How can you know how to measure a cup of flour without actually DOING it? You have to experience it to gain the knowledge of what works and what doesn't. I kind of think all of learning is like that! :-)

I was so excited by how competent J1 seemed yesterday. I see a day in a couple of years where he will cook dinner one night a week for us. Oh, glorious day! :-) Especially since I am starting to see hints of that adolescent male hunger everyone talks about. J1 and A2 in particular are very preoccupied with When the Next Meal is Coming, lol! Already! Course, have I mentioned how much they're growing recently? I definitely get the sense that I need to teach all the boys how to cook before they're about 12, otherwise I will do nothing all day, every day, but slave in the kitchen. I feel sometimes like I do that already, so I'd best get busy training my helpers!

Sunday Church Picture

It's been awhile since I posted a picture of the boys all ready for church. They're being awfully silly here. They all have blankets to take with them because the heat in our car wasn't working (we were able to fix it ourselves, thank goodness!) And oops - shoulda ironed J1's pants the night before, huh?

They're all getting so bleedin' tall - could they slow down the growing thing??

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Whole-grain Crunchy

My friend Kelly posted this questionnaire on her blog today. Fascinating! I will say this, though - this is really mostly aimed at us "women of child-bearing age." If you want to skip this very long entry, it's OK!

Being away from the whole baby thing right now, I forget sometimes just how "crunchy" I really am, lol! IMO, there are less opportunities to be obviously "crunchy" when your kids are older (as witnessed by the fact that 11 out of these 15 questions are related to pregnancy or very young children and babies). Here are the questions, and my answers:

Do you have homebirths?
15 points for “yes” (unassisted)
10 points for “yes” (with a midwife in attendance)
5 points for alternative birthing center
2 points for “thinking about/would like homebirth”
0 for “no” (wouldn’t consider it).

I'll take a 10 on this one, I think. Like my friend, I would LOVE to have a homebirth, but high-risk pregnancies prevent me from even considering it. If I had uneventful, non-risky pregnancies, I would absolutely have a homebirth, and I'd be very tempted by an unassisted birth - I honestly don't need help to birth my babies, lol! I'd be the type of woman who would be perfectly happy to go about my normal business until the last hour or so, then head off to a cave all by myself (might want hubby there, I suppose ;-), and have the baby. I have used midwives for my last 3 births, with no pain meds, though they were at a hospital with an OB on call. I and my babies might unfortunately need the medical help, and I'm grateful it's available - but if I had my druthers, it would be just me and dh!

Will you circumcise future sons?
-5 points for “no”
-0 points for “yes”.

Absolutely not, never have, never will. I feel pretty strongly about it, actually, though I am not quite as militant about it as I used to be. These days I figure more that the decision should be totally up to the parents, and it's not for me to judge. But for my family - no way! We actually put very large signs in the hospital bassinets with all our boys stating our preferences. When J1 was a baby, we had one nurse try to come and whisk him out of the room, and she was half-way out the door with the baby before we stopped her to ask what she was doing. She made the comment it was "circ" time, and we said we did NOT want that done. She was shocked, and quickly left. We do exclusive room-ins with our babies after birth, but I'm still always terrified that someone's going to come take baby away and do the circ procedure without our permission! WIth my last baby I had nightmares for months about that! No one's going to cut off a part of my baby, thank you very much!

Do you use cloth diapers?
20 point if you do Elimination Communication (no diapers)
15 points if “yes” (wash and make your own)
10 points if “yes” (wash your own)
5 points if “yes” (diaper service)
2 points if “thinking about it”
0 points if “no” (wouldn’t consider it)

Hmm... I'll split the difference and give myself a 5 on this one. We used cloth with J1 for about a year - he got too big before he potty trained, there wasn't a cloth diaper on earth that could have kept him from leaking everywhere when he was going on 3 and the size of most 4 1/2 year olds! I used cloth with A2 for the first 7 months or so. Then I got pregnant with S3 and just couldn't keep up with the smell and the extra work of washing, and I never got back to it after that. If we are blessed with another baby, though, I definitely plan to go back to cloth. I'm one of those weird people who love cloth diapers - they're so soft, I love the process of washing them and folding them and, quite frankly, they look a lot more comfy to me than that elastic tape and plastic of the disposables! Not to mention - do I really want all those chemicals of uncertain origin right up next to my child's private parts???

Do you observe your fertility signals using Natural Family
Planning/Fertility Awareness and use that for birth control/trying to conceive?
10 points for “yes” (observe and use for birth control/ttc) or you use ecological
breastfeeding/lactational amnorrhea
5 points for “yes” (observe for trying to conceive)
2 points “thinking about it”
0 points for “no” (wouldn’t consider it)

Well, yeah - definitely a 10. I AM Catholic! :-) I'd like to think that even if we weren't, though, I'd have come around to using NFP. Such an elegant, simple way to track your fertility. We were in the middle of studying to become a teaching couple when dh got sick. Quite honestly, these days I have no idea why people with normal fertility and health use artificial birth control. I mean, back before I "reverted" to Catholicism in my late 20s, we did use ABC, so I understand how you just sort of use it and not think about it too much cuz that's just what people do. But if you do stop to think about it, especially if you're married (which obviously, I think you should be, lol!) - why would you do it? Why in the world would you take a pill that stops you from having normal periods (or prevents you from having periods for months on end - I'm sorry, that just *can't* be good for you!) and has all sorts of health risks attached it its use? Why would you want rubber between you and your loved one? Why sterilize/mutilate your own body for convenience sake?? NFP has no chemicals, no rubber, no artificial hormones, no risky surgeries - I use it because I'm a devout Catholic (and I won't even go into all the theological/moral reasons why contraception is evil), but I'm pretty sure I would have come around to this even if I wasn't.

Do you breastfeed exclusively for the first 6+ months?
10 points if “yes”
5 points for “no” (use occasional bottles of expressed breastmilk)
2 points for “no” (use occasional bottles of formula)
0 for “no” (don’t breastfeed by choice).

Absolutely! None of my babies have taken solids much before 7-8 months, and all of them hated a bottle (two of them never touched one).

Do you co-sleep/family bed?
10 points for “yes” (all night every night)
5 points for “yes” (part/all of most nights)
2 points for “thinking about it”
0 points for “no”.

Yup, with all of them. I think co-sleeping and nursing is the ultimate lazy way to parent, lol!

Do you use a sling/soft carrier?
5 points for “yes”
2 points for “thinking about it”
0 points for “no” (wouldn’t consider it).

Yes, I love my sling. I found it the other day when we were cleaning out our basement closet - I can't bear to give it away as we SO hope we have more babies someday. And now there are so many more kinds, I'd love to try them all! :-)

Do you believe in/practice child-led weaning
(even if that means breastfeeding for several years)?
15 points for “yes” (complete child-led weaning)
10 points for “yes” (up to 3 years)
5 points for “yes” (up to 2 years)
2 points for “thinking about it”
0 points for “no” (you’ll wean the baby at 1 year or earlier).

Hmm...I'll give myself a 12 for this one as idea-wise, I'm a 15, but on average, real age-wise, I'm more like a 7. I've run the gamut, really. I had to start A2 on formula when he was 9 1/2 months old because my milk ran out from S3's pregnancy (absolutely devastated me). N4, on the other hand, nursed until he was 4. The other two were somewhere in the middle, and definitely child-led, though influenced by my pregnancies, I'm sure (J1 at about 2 1/2, S3 at 20 months). Other than A2, I can honestly say that all our weanings were child-led.

Do you tandem nurse/nurse during your pregnancy?
10 points for “yes” (nurse during pgcy and tandem nurse)
5 points for “yes” (nurse during pgcy, but wean before birth)
2 points for “thinking about it”
0 points for “no”(wouldn’t consider it).

Another hmm....I think I'll have to give myself an 8? I've nursed through all my pregnancies (well, not the first, lol!) and would have tandem nursed if my kids had wanted to. J1 did just a bit. He cut way back on his nursing the last few months of my pregnancy, and when I got home from the hospital after having A2, he asked to nurse, then was shocked, "there's milk in there now, mom!" And, while he nursed a few more times after that, he was never really that interested again. He tells me now that he sort of remembers it, and just figured he needed to save the milk for the baby. So sweet! A2 was just too young when my milk went away due to pregnancy, he hadn't gotten to that "nurse for comfort" stage, so once he started getting a bottle, he didn't want to nurse anymore with nothing there. I was really hoping he'd remember how and I could nurse him again after I had S3 (A2 was just 15 months when S3 was born), but he never did. For about a year, though, he would ask to "nurse", and he'd just crawl up into my lap, snuggle, and rest his cheek on my breast. Aww...S3 just totally self-weaned when he was 20 months old and I was about 6 months pregnant with N4, and he never looked back - I really thought they would be the ones who nursed together, and I was kind of looking forward to it. I would definitely still consider tandem nursing if the situation ever comes up.

Do you eat organic/whole/natural foods and limit your meat?
15 points for “yes” (grow own/buy organic, shop only at health food store,
grind own wheat, vegetarian, etc.)
10 points for “yes” (grow some of own food, buy organic,
use whole wheat flour, bake own bread, eat some meat occasionally)
5 points for “yes” (try to buy natural, whole grain foods, etc.)
2 points for “thinking about it”
0 points for “no” (wouldn’t consider it

Well.. probably just a 5 here. I'd prefer to buy organic, but our financial situation prevents us, for the most part. We do use mostly whole grains, and I plan to grind my own wheat as soon as soon as we can afford the grinder. We have no place on our property for a garden, unfortunately (HOA prevents vegetable gardens in front of the house, and with all the woods behind our house there is very little sunlight in our back yard), though I would LOVE to grow a lot of my own food. I did go through a vegetarian/vegan phase - quite honestly, I think it ruined my health! Now we definitely eat meat, though - we're confirmed carnivores and truly believe that it's actually good for you (check out Weston A Price - they are near to what my "nutritional philosophy" is...). We do try to get locally grown, grass-fed beef as often as we can, and if I had the financial resources I'd be pretty picky about organic/grass fed/free range, etc, meat products, definitely!

Do you use herbal/homeopathic remedies?
10 points if “yes” (very rarely see a regular doctor)
5 points if “yes” (but use a doctor occasionally)
2 points if “thinking about it” (see a doc for now)
0 points for “no” (wouldn’t consider it).

I'll say 5, I think. We avoid the doctor as much as we can, but we do try to keep up a fairly regular schedule of well-child/preventative appointments with a regular doctor. I'm not too keen on herbal medicine - like Mel, I think herbs can be very powerful and I don't know enough about them to be able to use good judgment. I use a little bit of homeopathy, especially for my babies, but not so much, really. Mostly we just try to stay healthy and offer supportive care (steamy baths, chamomile tea, saline nose rinses, that sort of thing) when we're sick. I am very glad for modern medicine (saved my dh's life, after all!) but for the most part, for minor illness (and maybe some major ones), I think our beautifully created bodies can heal ourselves if we leave well enough alone.

Do you homeschool?
10 points if “yes” (currently homeschool)
5 points for “yes” (will homeschool)
2 points for “thinking about it”
0 points for “no” (wouldn’t consider it).

A full 10 points here! :-)

What's your take on childhood vaccinations?
15 points for no vaccines
10 for delayed, selective vaccination
5 points for selective, on schedule vaccination
2 points for thinking about not vaccinating
0 points for vaxing on schedule.

Hmm...I'll give myself a 2, though I might be edging up on a 5. I pretty much give the older 'standard' vaccines on-schedule (MMR, Hib, tetanus, etc), though if we have another baby I will consider selectively vaccinating based upon which vaccines come from aborted babies - I was unaware of that issue when my kids were babies. For now, I don't get any of the vaccines that aren't required by law, and we always seem to be late on the schedule after that first year. I rather think that a good many vaccines are not so good for us, though some are certainly important.

Would you/have you ever breastfeed/fed someone else's baby
or have someone else bf your child?
10 points if yes (have or someone has bf your baby)
5 points if yes (would)
2 points if maybe 0 if no (wouldn't consider it).

LOL! Definitely a 5. Only with someone I know well and gives their approval, too, of course. I never actually have, mostly because the opportunity never presented itself when I was nursing and was friends with someone who wouldn't mind, either. "Wet-nurses" have a long, long history, I just don't think it's that big a deal. Trust me, if I had been nursing when I watched my friend Kelly's little one and she was so sad, I would definitely have offered!!

Do you use cloth/re-usable products for mom?
10 points if yes (make own)
5 points if yes (buy own)
2 points if thinking about it
0 points if no.

A 2 here. I have looked at purchasing some, and I've seen some good, simple patterns on-line and thought of making some - just haven't taken that step yet, though.

Whew! Here's the scoring:

120 – 140 Super Nutty, Ultra-Crunchy Granola Earth Mama
90 – 119 Mmm! Love that whole-grain crunch!
60 – 89 Pretty Crispy
20 – 59 Sprinkled with Granola
5 – 19 Instant Oatmeal
0 - 4 Jell-O

My total score is 97. Definitely "whole-grain crunchy", lol! Like Kelly and her friend Mel, I have mellowed a bit since my oldest was young. I used to be quite judgmental, thinking my way was the only right way. I've come to believe that families need to make decisions for themselves. As long as those decisions are educated decisions and you are not unduly influenced by people around you - in other words, if you *honestly* decide what you believe is right for *your* family - then I'm ok with that. I think that God gives us the children that we are supposed to have, and He gives us the Grace to know what is best for our family if we listen to His voice. I no longer define myself by my "crunchiness", I define myself by my faith. But - I'm still pretty slightly crunchy, too! :-)

WAY too funny!

How about a little early hint of the Christmas season?

H/T to PistachioChocolateWife (who is a sweetheart IRL!) - her little elves are absolutely adorable! :-)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

First day!

Horray! It's the official first day of dh's new job. We are just SO thrilled. He's salaried, so as we speak, he's getting paid. Thank God!

Right now we're waiting for the FedEx guy to deliver his new company laptop and a big packet of HR paperwork (the Big Box arrived as I was writing this). The week after Thanksgiving he'll travel to San Diego for a few days to do some training, and then things should (hopefully!) settle down into some sort of routine. I am SO looking forward to having good routines again!

We'll spend a good portion of the next couple of weeks getting the home office area ready. Right now our basement is a disaster area - and we've got guests coming to stay in the spare room down there in 3 days - yikes! We've got two large closets down there. When we moved a year ago, boxes that we didn't immediately need were just sort of stuck haphazardly in the closets. Well, now we have to entirely clear out one closet so dh can use it for all his geeky, company provided, computer equipment. So I'm losing one big storage area. That hurts! But, we are so lucky in that we really have a perfect area in our basement for dh's techie home office.

I'm really contemplating and pondering what our life is going to be like. There are six of us (including 4 rapidly growing young men!) plus 2 cats and 2 dogs. We homeschool. Dh now has a home office. We live in a raised ranch, 3 bedroom (with one more non-standard bedroom in the basement area), 2 bathroom (with an additional full bath off of the basement spare room) home. Our house is approximately 1600 square feet on the main level, and about 500 more square feet of usable space in the basement. It's quite nice - I LOVE my home! But - with 6 of us living, working, learning, 24/7, we are packed pretty tightly.

I don't believe we need a huge house. I believe that in our very nice, yet modest home, we can live, work, learn and play very well, thank you. But, we are going to have to be VERY efficient in our use of space. I would love to share my ideas with all of you as we go along.

I sure am counting my blessings today. I'm going to go and help dh fill out HR paperwork now. Wow - real benefits. It's been SO long! We are truly, truly blessed.

Friday, November 09, 2007

It's official!

We got the email late this afternoon. Dh passed all pre-employment conditions (drug screen and background check) and his offer of employment is confirmed. He will be on the payroll as of next Wednesday.

I can feel the tension ooze from my body! Now we wait for that first paycheck in a couple of weeks, and for our health benefits to kick in the first of next month. It will take a month or two to recover, financially (and emotionally!) but the hard part is over! Thank you, God!

My parents are coming to visit for Thanksgiving, they'll arrive next weekend. Next week I'm going to focus on cleaning my house for our guests, and getting life organized again. I intend to thoroughly enjoy the holiday week with my parents, and I am looking forward to starting school in earnest after Thanksgiving.

My mind is going a mile a minute, thinking of how to integrate a home office into our homeschool here in our not-so-big home. I am so happy to be able to think about these sorts of things now! It's much more fun than trying to figure out how to pay bills and feed my family on nothing, and worrying about losing this precious home.

Now that we will have a "real" job again with a good income, I am bound and determined to really internalize and practice all these lessons I've learned from our years of meager means. I hope to share some of my thoughts and ideas with you all.

For now, though, I'm going to enjoy relaxing, and basking in gratitude for our good fortune! :-)


So, yesterday afternoon I took J1 out to get his allergy shots, and while I was gone dh installed the washer we got from our church a week or so ago. He later admitted to the following exchange with A2.

Dh was having a hard time moving our old, ancient, heavy wash machine outside into the garage and was using - ahem - rather colorful language. When he came back in, A2 met him on the stairs. "So, dad - did you get the f&$#@*g wash machine out?" Dh tried not to swallow his tongue or burst into completely inappropriate, hysterical laughter and gently told A2, "You're not supposed to say that word, A2. *I'm* not supposed to say that word, and I'm very sorry that I did." A2 calmly responded, "Oh, ok - it's one of *those* words, huh?"

Um, yeah. It is. *Someone's* got to clean up their act, huh? :-)

Reminds me of the time my dad was taking me to my grandma's house and we got delayed by the train. When we got to my grandma's house, I told her we were late because of the "g&$d#&n train". She laughed and laughed! Something grandmas can do, though us parents shouldn't!

Seriously. I've said it before and I'll say it again - sometimes one of the toughest things about being a parent is not laughing!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Ad apology

Apparently I had some rather offensive ads pop up on my page recently - I've just deleted the ad widget to prevent that happening. Sorry about that! :-)

Monday, November 05, 2007

Playing with the camera...

It's a gorgeous day here in Georgia! The boys and I spent most of the afternoon outside while dh had a big phone presentation/final interview. I was feeling anxious about the interview, and trying to keep the boys occupied, so we all sat on the deck for awhile, trying to relax. I snapped pictures of my children while they just sat and talked with me. It was really neat! Seriously - you should try it! Just take your camera, talk with your kids, give them 95% of your attention (camera will need a bit of attending to, lol!) and snap a whole bunch of pictures.

Here's A1 playing bubbles with the dog...

Daisy is SUCH a sweet dog! She's trying to get me to pet her belly here - she LOVES a good belly-rub!

More of A2...

He talks so much with his hands, I'd never really realized that before!

Here's a cool "action shot" of J1 and N4...

Here's S3 - look at those big brown eyes! And that brand-new hint of a tooth!

If A2 talks with his hands, S3 talks with his facial expressions...

and BOY does he have dimples or what??

J1 is at an age where it's difficult to get a good picture of him - he's old enough to be self-conscious most of the time, ya know? It's so neat to see him teetering on the brink of being a young man, rather than a boy.

He sure does have some baby blues!

I had the most fun getting shots of N4. You can see such a range of expressions on his face, from pout-y-face

to that mischievous sparkle he gets in his eyes...

he's just always had such a beautiful face!

and speaking of mischievious sparkles!

All in all, I had so much fun this afternoon! Even though we STILL haven't heard about Rick's job yet!!! Arrrggghhhhh!!!!

Friday, November 02, 2007

A women among men...

So, J1 was watching the Food Channel with me *far too late* tonight (we are all SUCH night owls here at Aquinas Academy!) You can imagine the demographic for the Food Channel at 11pm, right? So there was an ad for Monistat...and J1 said, "Look at the size of those pills, can you believe that??" And, well - I don't hide things from my sons. J1 and all the boys have known from a fairly young age about femine hygiene products, a woman's cycle, that sort of thing. Not like details and specifics, but just the general information they need to live with a woman, ya know? So there's J1 tonight, horrifed by the size of the Monistat "pills". And I couldn't help it. "J1, those aren't pills that you swallow," I said. "What do you mean?" said J1, blankly. "Women sometimes get fungal infections in their vaginal tracts. It's a girl thing, you probably don't want to know." And the light dawns in my 10 year old's eyes. "I think I have a pretty good idea of what you're talking about, and I REALLY don't want to know! Curse you, mom!" he says in his Very Dramatic Voice.

I'd like to think he'll be a good husband someday. But for now, he's a rather traumatized 10 year old.

And I just can't stop giggling!

I'm boring...

Or so my going-on-11 year old tells me. When dh was gone yesterday, J1 told me late in the afternoon that he really missed dad. Apparently he's gotten used to having dad around lately, and was distressed to have him gone for a whole day. J1 told me that "things were boring when dad isn't around." I said, "Oh, so I'm boring, huh?" thinking it was a big joke. And then J1 said, "yeah" and my heart was kind of crushed. Dad talks with the boys about fun guy stuff like comic books, scary movies, and computer games. I make them do their math, clean their room, and eat their vegetables.

I guess I am boring. But no - I'm not! I'm a very interesting person! When I was not much older than J1, I toured Scandinavia with a concert band (and also traveled to Chicago with the local Youth Symphony). I play 4 musical instruments. I've traveled to New York City and San Diego with my dear friend, Jenn (and since I grew up in the middle of nowhere, midwest - that's saying something!) I went to one of the top colleges in the nation. I've studied the genetics of fruit flies (Ok, that IS boring!), extracted DNA and got the only A+ ever given on a lab report in one of the toughest courses at said college (Cell Biology). I gave a presentation at Woods Hole Institute. I was, briefly, a military wife (hardest thing I've ever done!) I made the Dean's List at another great college(and still have yet to finish my bachelor's degree!) I've worked at a pizza house, a lawyer's office (I was a notary public!) and a title company. I've been pregnant 7 times, birthed four children (3 without pain meds!), nursed 4 children (for a grand total of 9 years!), potty trained 4 children, tought 1 child to read and am well on my way to teaching the other 3. I've lived through the critical illness of a spouse, years of on again, off again (mostly on again) poverty. I can cook up a storm, I can crochet, knit, and embroider (though I have yet to master sewing). I've been married to the same man for 15 years (and *that's* saying something, lol!!) I've studied Japanese, Chinese, French, and I'm picking up on a bit of Latin while I teach my kids. The things I've done! The places I've been! The experiences I've had!

And my children think I'm boring. I guess that's a good thing. I think that moms - good moms - are meant to be boring. When I confronted J1 and said, "Oh, so you think *I'm* boring, huh?" he admitted, "Well - it's just that you're always there! Dad comes and goes, but you're just - always there." I said, "Oh, so you just take me for granted, then?" and J1's face brightened, and he said, "Yeah! That's it!'

And he was so glad about that that I couldn't help but be terribly happy myself. I'm so very glad to be a taken for granted kind of mom! I wouldn't want to be any other way! :-)

It's finally out!

The most stubborn baby tooth on the planet finally came out tonight - doesn't S3 look adorable?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Birthdays, Halloween, and interviews (not to mention Saints!)

What a week it's been! Dh has had multiple interviews this week, starting bright and early Monday morning, continuing with cross-country travel today, and still yet another meeting tomorrow afternoon. *I'm* exhausted by it all, I have no idea how dh is keeping up with everything. The good news is, he now has a job offer, and it looks like he'll get another one sometime on Monday. I do believe our days of unemployment are coming to an end. Thank God!

The offer that he hopes to get on Monday will involve him working from home, with very occasional business travel. As homeschoolers, adding a home office means our life will be VERY home-centered. We will all just love that! My mind is burgeoning with ideas for setting up and organizing everything. I'm trying to play it cool until we see what kind of offer is presented - but gosh, I'm excited!

We had a wonderful birthday party for S3 - I simply cannot believe that my little peanut is 7 years old!

Yes, he loves pink! He always asks for a strawberry cake with strawberry frosting. I think this is the last year he's going to get to make that choice, though, as all of us seem to have allergy issues with red food dye. And notice that front tooth is *still there*!!!

S3 wanted to go to Chuck E. Cheese's for his birthday, and since I had a coupon we went and hung out there for a couple hours. Not my favorite place, but the kids love it, so we try to take them once a year around the little ones' birthdays. For anyone who's ever been, you know they very carefully stamp your arms with matching numbers and won't let anyone leave without checking to make sure you all belong together. I really appreciate their concern for safety! It was SO funny when we left, though. We were all holding out our arms for the attendant to check, but he took one look at us and said, "Nah - go on through. I don't need to check - you all look exactly alike!"

We had fun yesterday for Halloween, even though we just stayed in. We watched some scary movies (original Dracula, that sort of thing...) and I made some fun Halloween snacks. I thought my spider cupcakes turned out really cute! J1 liked the "black dragon punch", and has asked me to make it every year. I tried to do "bloody eyeball deviled eggs", but they didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped since I used ketchup instead of red gel (per above mentioned food dye allergies).

Here's a close-up of my spider cupcakes - aren't they cute??

Later on, I made a dinner of Jack O Lantern tarts and "bloody worm sandwhiches". I thought the boys would like the worm sandwhiches - you just slice hotdogs into long strips, and when they boil they curl up. Add some ketchup and it turns kind of creepy - too creepy, apparently, as none of the boys would eat them!

Today we went to church and saw lots of kids dressed up in really adorable saint costumes for the All Saint's Day party our homeschool group holds. We didn't stay for the party - what with all the other stuff going on this week I'm just about completely spent!

I hope you all had a great All Hallow's Eve, and a very blessed All Saint's Day!