Tommy Talk (video)

Must be tough having 5 people who think you're absolutely adorable.  :) 

Christmas Preparations

It's beginning to look, smell, and sound a lot like Christmas at our house.
Hope all your Christmas preparations are going well!    



Not too long ago, our family (well, let's be honest...Nate, Emilia and I) finished reading this wonderful book:  The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain.

Tommy felt a little left out, so Emilia filled him in with the Mickey Mouse picture book version. 

I can tell you that the original unabridged version is SO much better.  What a great book! 

Seriously.  You have to read it...


Such a Good Day

This morning I went to a friend's house for brunch and was surprised to find another friend there.  We were led to a beautifully set table where we enjoyed a quiet, child-free brunch while the kids were cared for and fed in the basement.  It was SUCH a surprise!  Pure kindness and thoughtfulness...I am so thankful for the gift of friendship.

On the way home from my wonderful brunch, I picked up one of Emilia's friends so they could play for the afternoon.

They made (and ate many samples of) a gooey, chocolatey, yummy dessert.

They decorated the table (very fancy of course) for a tea party and kindly included the boys - even though their manners were...less refined.

The girls poured their own tea and had excellent manners.  :)

In the evening there was a little wrestling, tickling, and lots of loudness.  Music to my ears!

As the day came to a close, I saw this sleepy little fellow with his paci and blankie - not necessarily out only when he's sleepy mind you...and I'm so okay with that.  There's something unbelievably sweet and oh so snugly about seeing Tommy like this.  I just love it.   Because I know how fast he'll grow.  Soon that blanket will be stored away and the pacis will be gone.  Until then, I smile at the trailing blanket of a little guy who's trying so hard to catch up to his brothers.   Hopefully he won't catch up too quickly...

Thanking the Lord for this day and all the memories made.


Homeschool Thanksgiving Party 2011

We had our Thanksgiving party today.  We decided to keep it fun and easy.  Nothing elaborate, because sometimes you don't need to add "elaborate" to your list of responsibilities.  (Although, after Nate looked through these pictures he said, "That looks elaborate to me.  My idea of 'not elaborate' is bringing some Oreos and letting the kids run around." - Okay...well, I didn't think it was elaborate, but some may.)

We made Turkey Treats.

And little foam turkeys.

And Pilgrim Hats for boys and girls.  I didn't take a picture of the boys wearing their hats, but you can see one in the next picture leaning against the window.

The moms got to visit while the kids played games and ended the party by putting on their own Pilgrim and Indian performance.  Everyone had a fun time.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Chicken Scratch - Part 8 - Rear Wiping, Gender Changing, Death

First time reading "Chicken Scratch"?  You may want to start here.  :)

I decided to give it another try.  This raising chickens thing, of which I am horrible.

Brand new baby chicks (one rooster and four hens), were delivered to our local post office early on the morning of Jonny's 4th birthday.  I couldn't have planned that any better!

Birthday boy with one of the chicks

The rooster was immediately named Roostie (I know, we are quite creative).  The other hens were named by Emilia.  I suggested names like, Hennrietta or Mildred, but those were not nearly "fancy" enough for my very fancy daughter.  She chose the names Bella and Bella (because we couldn't tell the difference between the black and white speckled birds), and Anastasia and Drizella for the black birds (because she didn't like them as well, I guess.  Why else would she give them those names?!).

Emilia and Matthew

Soon after we got them, I noticed that Roostie was "pasting up".  Dried poo covered his vent and would eventually kill him if I didn't do something about it.

Emilia with Roostie

A couple times every day, I'd go downstairs with warm water and a rag.  I'd dab at his little tiny rear, wiping away the crusty feces (very fun, let me tell you), and then try my best to dry him off so he wouldn't catch a cold and die.  Death seemed to be the common denominator if I didn't do my job correctly.  My position as Official Rear Wiper and Dryer (ORWD) was serious.

I was the ORWD for a couple of weeks.  Finally, he was able to poo regularly and my services were no longer needed.  I gladly retired my badge, knowing that I had been diligent in my duties.

When the five birds had enough adult feathers to keep warm during the cooler nights, we put them outside in the chicken tractor.  We double checked to make sure the tractor was tightly secured.  We didn't need a repeat of what happened the last time.

Jonny and the 5 chickens

In the weeks that followed, I noticed that both Roostie and (one) Bella had larger combs and wattles than the others.  You can see the difference in the the picture below.  Could it be that they had accidentally shipped us another rooster?  

"Bella" very quickly became "Herm".

Bella and Bella (I mean...Herm)

Herm and Roostie would occassionally fight, but it was Herm (the unwanted rooster) who became the dominant male.

Herm and Roostie

In fact, Roostie wasn't dominant at all.  He was even skittish around the hens.  I'd see the group of four darker chickens pecking around the yard and then, from out of nowhere, Roostie would awkwardly cluck himself into the mix.  The others would peck at or ignore him.  I would often find him alone while the others played their chicken games.  I felt bad for Roostie.  First his poo problem, then his demotion to second Rooster, and now his status as Chicken Outcast. 


As if the aforementioned wasn't bad enough, one day I noticed that Roostie's feet and legs were swollen.  He'd stumble around the yard falling every now and then.  It got worse and worse until one day he couldn't get back up.  His white feathers were brown from thrashing around in the dirt as the other chickens pecked around (and occasionally on) him.

When Nate got home from work, he put him out of his misery and buried him.

Poor Roostie.

There's a fondness in my heart for all little rears that I wipe.


How Do We Homeschool?

At various times of the day...

In different locations...

Wearing all manner of clothing...

Amidst lots of action...

But hopefully with a whole lot of laughter and love...

Diapers in the...light???

I seriously didn't try to aim for the gutter

And today, I seriously didn't try to aim for the light.  You should have heard Jonny laughing.  :)

Just to give you a better perspective...

Nate's going to LOVE coming home to this!  :)
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