A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

Friday, March 30, 2012

They're so cute when they're sleeping.

Brianna fell asleep knitting the other night. I pulled the needles and yarn out of her hands after taking the picture.

And since I just happened to have a sleeping picture of Hannah in the same folder, I thought I'd share that one, too.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Another picture project

Here are my supplies for my latest picture project.

I'm starting to wonder if this will go down as Year of the Pictures. 2011 was Year of the Surgeries, with 3 different kids having 3 different surgeries, and the accompanying dozens of medical appointments that went with them. 2010 was the Year of the Adoption, which the kids will remember as the "not this year" year. I have at least one more big picture project planned, and I'm kicking around another idea after that.

This chaos shows my pile of envelopes of pictures. This is what happens when you have over 100 picture appointments/school picture days in a span of 2 decades. You can also see in the background that I'm multi-tasking. I have YouVersion going on the iPad. I made it through Numbers 14 today.

These envelopes are full of leftover portraits. They used to live in a bookcase in the old house, but they moved to the scrapbooking drawers in the move.

One hanging file for each child, and one marked "family." All the 8x10" photos go in the hanging file, and all the smaller photos go inside the purple file folder inside the hanging file.

Old family pictures. Where did the time go? Look at those cute little kids!

From sibling pictures to sports pictures.

Pictures from Ballet and Girl Scout Camp.

The pictures I sorted represented the progression from generic babyhood, through the formative preschool years, as you start to see the varied personalities emerge. Nostalgia and pride welled within me as strolled down memory lane.

Now that I have all these sorted, I could put the 8x10s into the kids' baby albums. And I might get to that at some point. But I'm pretty darn happy just to have them all sorted. Now the next time one of the kids needs a baby picture for something, I'll know right where to find one.

And when it was all over I had a whole trash can full of envelopes! It's Hannah's job to empty the wastebaskets into the main kitchen trash every day after naps, and I was expecting her to go "drama queen" on me and complain about how full it was this time, but she's quite a trooper, and did just fine with it.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A little decorating in The Great Room.

We have a great house. In this great house, we have a Great Room. A big, open, play space that also serves as our dining room. It even has built in shelves next to the fireplace.

Currently, the shelves are full of playthings and random stuff that was packed in boxes marked "living room" when we moved. All the games are here. The playsilks, the ribbon sticks & tamborines, etc. The top shelves contain our family albums and the kids' baby books, albums, and first year calendars. (Okay, 2 or 3 first year calendars. Kid 5 and kid 7 have calendars in their baby books, and the rest of them, well... I hope they understand.) See the giant photo album in the middle/right of the center shelf? That's the first 3 years of Zach's life. Poor Furby didn't need a single extension pack in his album.

Here is the great room from standing in the kitchen. The long line of photos on the back wall is the kids' "current" pictures. School pictures, birthday portraits from JCPenney, etc. Zach's military photo is the oldest, taken 2 years ago.

And here is the view of the kitchen from the middle of the great room.

Next to the shelves is the fireplace. The purple bucket is full of dress ups. All the wheeled toys live on the tile in front of the fireplace. Then there's the Duplo table.

Next comes Hannah's kitchen set. The kids have already broken the blue chair, and she just got it for Christmas. :( Josiah and I glued it, but it's ugly.

Then the Playmobil, train set, and Little People buckets, next to the train table.

This is the dining area. Sorry it's so dark. The other shot I took from the end of the table flashed off of the napkin basket and was really washed out.

The kids and I did something exciting this morning! I'm so thrilled with it. Paul asked me what I wanted for my birthday, and I told him, "Ten matching picture frames!" "Ten?" he asked. Hey, he asked what I wanted. I have high hopes. So, he got me these frames for my birthday. (The other two are in my hope chest for now.) The wall sign was a Groupon-type deal where I ended up getting 2 signs (the other will be going up in my room) for $17. They arrived last week, and I asked Josiah to help me put them up.

Please excuse the Hello Kitty nightgown that I made 10+ years ago and the Saturday morning hair.

I'm delighted with how it turned out! Baby pictures of all the kids, in order.

Once we were done, and stepped back to admire our handiwork, I noticed that there's the perfect space under Samuel, should we need to move Brianna up into that empty area and scoot the youngest 3 over to the left a space to make room for another frame someday. Just in case.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up

What's up here at Casa Quarantina? Well, let's see...

Brianna managed to liberate her new double pointed knitting needles after they'd been eaten by her bunkbed.

We've watched our share of documentaries and mindless fluff movies. Anything to distract from the itching and keep us all from going stir crazy. (Stir crazier?) The blanket-draped figure is Annaliese, who, understandably, does not wish to be photographed in her poxed condition.

For those who are wondering, this is what stir crazy looks like. Sigh.

The big kids finished up their CAT testing! WOO HOO! I did a lot of this:

while they were working. Can I just say I love love love my iPad? I'm pretty sure it's my favorite present ever. I just need to finish up a couple more sections of testing with Furby this weekend, and we'll be mailing the whole box back next week for scoring.

I escaped to Target for a bit after school today, and got the girls a lamp for their bedroom. They got a new lamp when we moved, but Hannah fried it. I'll have to post about that someday. Maybe when it doesn't make my heart stop to think about it. At any rate, they NEEDED a lamp. So I found this pink bling-y one and knew Bri would approve. I had a coupon for 20% off kids bedroom stuff, which saved us $6 bucks. Bri decided a new lamp was reason to spruce up the dresser.

I finally went through my neglected coupon binder and pulled all the expired coupons and clipped over half of the pile of inserts that have been stacking up, neglected in the chaos of moving and getting settled. Although many of the coupons expired in February, I did find a couple that went all the way back to September, oops!

I have to say, having the product stash I had stored up when we moved has been amazingly helpful. It was so nice not to run out of things! Especially since we had many extra expenses getting the other house rentable. We finally came to the end of the dishwasher detergent and were getting close to the end of the laundry soap, so I made sure to find deals on those. The photo above was from Wednesday, when Sam and I picked Josiah up from school and went to Papa Murphy's to pick up dinner. While our pizzas were being assembled, we walked over to Rite Aid and went couponing. "Wellness + savings": $33.35, Coupon savings, $10, total OOP: $42.59.

Today's Target run was even more fun, with a savings of $75.33. It's been kind of nice doing an errand with just Josiah and Samuel after school every day this week. Annaliese can't go to school with the pox, so she's home to watch the other spotted ones while I catch a breath of fresh air and talk to people who aren't polka dotted.

Guess who is learning to wash her own hair one handed?

That's right! Hannah Banana is doing a great job sudsing up on her own. I still pour the shampoo and does a "check scrub" and the rinsing, but it's a great start, and just a matter of time before she takes over those tasks, as well.

Hannah watching Dora in Mandarin. She's lost most of it, but we continue to expose her. In the fall, she'll be old enough to start at the local weekend Mandarin school. I hope that hearing the tones regularly will make it easier for her to pick it back up. Mandarin school is a long term committment, as I hope she will be at least able to make some conversation with our guides when we go back to China for a heritage tour someday when she's older.
That's my week in a nutshell. I'm SO VERY MUCH looking forward to a Mom's Night Out with my adoptive mama friends next week. I need my batteries recharged. I miss park day and homeschool co op. I miss talking to grown ups.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Couch potatoes

Trying some mindless entertainment to keep the itchy boredom at bay. The empty spot on the couch is where Annaliese was before I got the camera out. Redbox provided tonight's entertainment for the big kids. And where was Hannah during all this?

Watching Dora in Mandarin on my computer, of course.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunday Snapshot

A pictoral glimpse into my day.

Poor Furby has them on his lips.

And Eli on his hands & legs.

And neck.

This morning Paul took Samuel and Hannah to church while I stayed home with The Spotted Ones (and Josiah).

Somehow, I managed to convince them to let me take a few pictures.

After working looking over Furby's spelling test, I decided to sit down and do some phonics practice with him.

Which quickly turned into a multi-player game.

In case you can't read Eli's note, here it is up close:

Oh yeah. That's why I do this. And no, I didn't correct his spelling.

Sunday Snapshot

Saturday, March 17, 2012

I can't make this stuff up!

I wasn't going to post because I don't have any pictures to share, and really, what fun is a blog with no pictures?? But the very unbelievableness of my life compels me to write.

I recently read someone's "Weekly Wrap Up" blog post, and I thought I'd deviate a little and share my month of March so far.

3/1 Take kids in to dr. Update shots, including Sam's chicken pox vaccine.

3/2 Sam breaks out in pox. Okay. It happens. Not unheard of for a vax'ed kid to get them.

3/3 My birthday. It's a really good friend who will bring their family over to your house for dinner when you have the plague (and it helps that they just got over it, lol).

Like the candles? Dh kinda forgot that part, so he threw on random candles from the last couple birthdays. :eyeroll:

Over the next 11 days we missed out on: Adoption play group, park day, civil air patrol, church, youth, baptism ministry, homeschool co op, etc. We started going a little bit stir crazy. I kept checking the other kids, "Lemme see your belly," and "Lemme feel your head," but none of them showed any sign of spots.

And just as Samuel's pox started crusting over...

3/15 Brianna wakes up poxed. She's HAD them before! That's when I start to get a little annoyed. I check the little boys and have a horrible suspicion about Eli, which is confirmed later in the morning. I said, "I know God won't give me more than I can handle. I guess I should be flattered in His confidence in me."

3/16 Drop Annaliese and her suitcase (the same one Paul used for two whole weeks in China) off at school for a 2 day trip to Disneyland with her sign language class. I'd teased her the night before when she was packing, "Wouldn't it be hilarious if you got down to Disney and woke up Saturday with Chicken Pox?" No, Mom, it wouldn't be funny at all. "You're right, it wouldn't be. I'm sorry." Didn't really think it was a possibility because (same song, second verse) she had the shot. 9 p.m. she texts me and tells me she has fever & headache and feels awful. I text back, "Check your torso." Next text, "I have chicken pox."

Seriously?! My heart broke for her. I felt completely awful for having teased about this very possibility. And the suckiest part of all is that she's 400 miles away from home. On a field trip. With a very contagious disease. Crap! They can't put her on a plane and fly her home because she's contagious. I can't fly down and rent a car and drive her home because I have 4 poxed kids here at home, and Paul is at work until morning.

Eventually, the plan was worked out. She'd stay at the hotel all day while her classmates went off to Disneyland, and Paul would leave from work at 8 a.m. to drive down and get her.

I'm so incredibly bummed for her. Even the other kids have been really sympathetic about how awful it is. Brianna said, "Annaliese missing Disneyland is way worse than me missing out on the Tween/teen Scavenger Hunt [with our homeschool co op].

They're on their way home now. I just talked to Paul, and they should be here in a couple hours. Before midnight, even. Which is an incredibly fast trip, all things considered.

And the rest of us? Well, we had our green foods for St Patrick's Day lunch.

We wore green and shamrock silly bands bracelets. We had corned beef for dinner. But there's definitely a cloud over the house. Bri, Eli, & Furby lay around and itch a lot. Sam has started to lose his mind after being cooped up so long with no end in sight, so he's picking on people, which makes them cry because tempers are short.

And I have another 2 kids who haven't had pox yet. And at least 2 more weeks of quarrantine to look forward to.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Trinkets from Zach

Yesterday we got a package from Zach!
The boys liked the duct tape closure.

In one of his phone calls, he told us he would be sending some trinkets.
The tiger, elephant and camel all open on hinges.

Oh look, it's my boys!
See the resemblance?

Little marble cups

A set of Arab nesting dolls!

I always think of nesting dolls as a Russian thing, so this was a neat surprise.

And the turtle Brianna is holding has a hinged opening, too.

Poor Bri. She wasn't feeling so great yesterday (hence the less than flattering picture) and this morning woke up with CHICKEN POX! How unfair is that?? She had them a year ago! She hugged her friend with pox 4 weeks ago and didn't break out when Samuel got them. So bummed for her. She was doing okay most of today, but this evening has a tummy ache and is pretty miserable.

Eli woke up with them, too. Actually, I wasn't sure about him at first, just a couple spots, but as the morning wore on, he developed more.

Looks like another 2 weeks of quarantine for us.  I really, really hope that if Furby is going to get them, he gets them soon so we can get it over with.