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.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Sick & Twisted Homeschooling

"Okay, class!  3/12 of our household is puking.  What percentage is that?  25%, very good!  Whoops!  The school just called and told us to come get a puking teenager.  Now what percentage of our household is throwing up??  33%, excellent!  Okay, so now that you've got the math part, let's add in some Scientific Method, and a little psychology!  Does anyone have a hypothesis, that's a theory or a guess, as to what the tipping point for Mommy is??  6/12ths?  8/12ths??  Now for a variable:  does your answer change is MOMMY is one of the sick people?  Why or why not?  All righty then, everyone take a break while I go switch the laundry and refill the Gatorade sippies for the ill folks."

In case you ever thought my life was glamorous, let me assure you, at 2 a.m. when I was cleaning puddles of macaroni & cheese off the carpet, it was not.

As long as *I* don't get sick, or behind on the laundry, everything's going to be okay.

Couldn't Resist

Miss No needed jammies. I've been meaning to sew some, but in the meantime she's been going back and forth between a T-shirt and leggings that used to be Hannah's, and a pair of slightly too small pjs that I made for Katie.

My sewing time lately is pretty limited (understatement!) and I had to finish Baby Gogo's pants first, so when I saw these at Target yesterday, I caved and bought them.

I'm trying to get the girls to call me Auntie. It's what all the kids we've hosted have called me. These guys call me (and anybody else) mama. It doesn't go over well with my other kids. Reinforcing the Auntie idea:

Sunday, February 24, 2013

How To Make A Fitted Sheet

This particular sheet is for a Pack n Play for Baby Gogo, but the same techniques apply to other size mattresses as well.  You can make Pack n Play and crib sheets from regular cotton woven fabrics.  You can make twin size sheets from specialty 60" wide prints and flannels.  I have even made queen sized sheets by ordering the super wide flannels from Fabric.com and dyeing them myself.

I chose an ocean themed print from my stash for this project.  

After spreading the fabric out on the bed, I laid the mattress on top.  Obviously, this is easier with little mattresses than with queen sized ones.  Measuring works, too, but I'm more a guesstimate kind of gal.  

At the corners, make a square cutout.  
Pack & Play mattresses are pretty flat.  But if you're doing a crib mattress or larger, you want the size of your square to be the "drop" measurement plus a little extra that will be under the mattress when the sheet is on.  The drop is the depth of the mattress.  So if your twin mattress has an 8" drop, you could do 10-12" squares at the corners.  Mine were much smaller for this project.  

Probably the trickiest part to explain.  Those cutouts you just made?  Sew them together, right sides facing.  

After doing all 4 sides, you should have something that looks like this.  

Now you're going to go all the way around with your 1/4" elastic.  Alternately, you can use fold over elastic if you want.  I've done that on some, and it looks nice when finished.  But no one sees it, so it's up to you.  Stretch the elastic while sewing, and your sheet will stay on nice and tight.
If you're doing a large sheet, and you want to pinch pennies, you can just do elastic at the corners (starting about a foot before and continuing about a foot after the seam) and that works, too.  

I put the sheet on and flipped the mattress over so you could see what it looks like from the bottom.  

And here's what it looks like in the Pack and Play.  

This is a bug sheet that I made recently that is crib sized. 

I used the corners that I cut out to make washies.  The back side is yellow baby terry.  These are good for messy hands and faces, or as diaper wipes with cloth diapers.

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The golden hour, when the sunlight is just right for pictures is so beautiful.

And so is my baby girl.
With a face so expressive, she makes us laugh just by looking at us.

They're not always happy expressions.
I love this picture because you can just barely see the start of her Angry Eyebrows. 
Mrs. Potato Head has nothin' on my girl.

She's actually not mad, she's squinting against the sunshine, but it's a face I see often enough indoors, as well.  I'm glad I caught it.  

My pretty girl.
She makes my heart swell.

Ni Hao Yall

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Saturday, February 23, 2013

So How's Hosting Going?

Baby Gogo was Not Tired one night, so he was playing on my bed (because I was tired!).

He found some laundry on the hope chest at the foot of my bed and was playing with this hand towel.  It was so cute.  

A trip to the park.
(Gogo is sleeping in the front of the stroller under Big Sis's coat.)

What I've learned about these guys so far:
They're big!  
Big Sis is 39 mos, 36#, and wears size 4 pants and 5 shirts, size 6 diapers.
Miss No is 28 months, 33#, and wears size 3 pants and size 4 shirts.  I've been stuffing her in size 5 dipes in the daytime but she wears size 6 dipes at night.
Baby Gogo is 16 months, 30#, and needs pants that are 18 mos in length but 2T in the waist, LOL, and size 3 shirts.  He wears size 5 diapers.

Big Sis has thrown a couple of colossal tantrums!  We're working on learning self care skills.  She has learned to take her bowl & spoon to the sink, and how to take off and put on her pants.  We're working on other dressing skills, too. She has learned where her shoes and jacket go and will take them off and put them away when we get home, if reminded.  

I've been working on how to handle books with both girls.  Which way up a book goes, how to turn one page at a time, how to be gentle with books.  They're very speech delayed, so I'm identifying everything in sight.  Big Sis will repeat things sometimes.  Miss No will not.

Miss No is coming out of her shell a bit.  She was a pretty angry girl at first.  Which is totally understandable!  She's a cuddlebug, and gets mad when I can't hold her all the time.  She's starting to trust me more and is thriving on routine.  Her main communication is to point and grunt.  She has 5 words so far:  Baby, NO, Mama, shoes, and... the other one escapes me at the moment.  She's learning that Auntie means business and all the NO in the world isn't going to get her out of a diaper change, teeth brushing, or hair care.

Baby Gogo is a sweetheart.  I'm sure he'd be even more adorable if he wasn't sick.  It's hard to be cute dripping snot and drool and fussing all day.  Poor little guy.  He's pretty easy, though.  He likes to be held.  I've established a routine that includes 4 bottles a day, since I had no way of knowing what he was used to.  He and Miss No get vitamin drops in their morning milk (hers is in a cup, though).  

Eating is going good.  They each have things they've turned their noses up at, which is expected.  But overall, they're adjusting to our food just fine.  I've been trying to give them a lot of healthy snacks.  Miss No often resists getting out of the high chair at the end of a meal.  I'm not sure how much is resistance to change and how much is insecurity about food availability.

It's going well, overall.  The kids don't have visits yet, but they went on a play date yesterday after we dropped Hannah off at school.  For a little bit, I was down to just 3 kids!  We got home from dropping them off, ate lunch, and then Hannah's school called and said, "Please come pick up your puking child!"  This really surprised me, since she hasn't thrown up since we got home with her more than 2 years ago.  Fortunately, she's doing much better today.  

I so appreciate your prayers.  I know they're helping.  We're dealing with snotty noses, coughing, ringworm, vomit, monster tantrums, and pink eye, and yet, it's still going okay.  Although, I confess, I am really looking forward to Paul coming home today (he's been gone 3 days) so I can slip away to roam the aisles at Target ALL BY MYSELF.  Except it won't be all by myself.  Because I'll put shoes on, and Brianna will want to know where I'm going and want to go with me.  And because I'm a big softie, and I know I should give everybody one on one time when the opportunity presents, I'll let her.  But I'll be almost alone. ;)

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Our Chinese New Year Celebrations

Our Lunar New Year events spanned several days this year.

We started our CNY celebrations by going out to Chinese dinner.
Of course, I forgot to have one of the waitresses take a picture of the whole family.  
Brianna was proud of herself for trying a little bit of everything on the table.

I did some haircuts, since that's traditional (and needed to be done!).

And we made lanterns, using this handy dandy line maker that I got at Legacy for a dime.  

Brianna also made other crafty things.

I held the ruler for Hannah.

But she did the cutting all by herself.

They turned out cute!

Brianna made "firecrackers" based on toilet paper tubes.

Eli lit his lantern with his mini flashlight.

He also taped up his Asian Zodiac placemat so he could tell everybody what animal they are.  
Eli is our Snake, so this is his year.  

All lanterns.
Excuse the blocks.  One of the big kids put them up because the babies were throwing them.  Oy vey.

Decorating the Snake Cake that Brianna made.

We used peanut M&Ms for "scales."

We were going to set off a floating lantern the night we ate cake, but with the babies here, it just hasn't happened yet.  I want to trace Hannah's handprint on it before we release it, and that hasn't happened yet, either.  

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Monday, February 18, 2013

They're here

They're here, they're cute, I'm tired!  LOL!

The girls are 3 and 2, and the boy is 1.  It's a lot like having 3 babies, since they're all in diapers and the girls are not speaking clearly yet.  You know in Nemo where Marlin says to the turtle, "You're really cute, but I don't know what you're saying!"  Yeah.  It's like that.

Remember how I prayed about snotty noses?  Well, they brought them, LOL!  And so far, it's been fine.  Baby Gogo hates having his nose wiped, so it's a struggle, but it doesn't gross me out.

So, updated prayer requests:  Please pray for their colds to get better and not spread to everyone here.  Please pray that I'll get really good at juggling!  Earlier today I was wearing Baby Gogo in the carrier and Miss No woke up.  I managed to change her and carry her downstairs with Baby Gogo still strapped on.  Please pray that the kids will adjust to our foods.  They're used to Doritos and Kool Aid, neither of which is something that we buy.  Big Sis and Baby Gogo are good eaters so far, but Miss No is exercising her right of refusal.

Made a quick Toys R Us run this morning to pick up a few essentials.  We're getting better at this.  We had most of what we needed.  Had to pick up a few bowls, of all things, and some hair products.  I've never done curly hair before!  Also some liquid Tylenol, since Baby Gogo has had a fever, and some baby foods.

It's supposed to rain Tuesday and Thursday this week, but I'm hoping to make it to Park Day on Wednesday.  We all need to run around and breathe fresh air.  I'll try to get some non-identifying pictures then.  I wish I could show them.  They really are cute.

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Sunday, February 17, 2013


In my Valentine's Day post, I alluded to the idea that we might be hosting again soon. Soon is almost here. This time we're hosting 3 little ones.

The beds are set up. The changing table is set up. I've sorted through some clothing to see what we have in various sizes.


This morning, I woke up with 6 kids in the house (Annaliese is at a friend's). Tonight, I'll go to bed with 10 kids in the house. Including 3 I've never met before.

It's nice to get so much prep time. I know in regular foster care, some families get next to no warning before a child shows up on their doorstep. I've had time to dig up some bottles and such.

But the real preparation doesn't come from getting the house ready or the stuff in order. The real preparation happens when I stand in the shower all alone and say, "God, help me do well at this. Help me not get grossed out at snotty noses that aren't 'mine', help me not take personally the tears for a Mommy who's not me, help me be the hands of Jesus when I comfort them, and not the hands of impatience as I try to get 4 kids into carseats come the next morning school run. Help me balance the needs of 3 overwhelmed, potentially freaked out little ones with the needs of one who came and didn't leave, and needs to know she'll NEVER leave, and the needs of 7 more who sometimes don't understand 'Mom's thing' about kids in need."

It occurred to me that I used to jokingly say that Paul was nervous about going from a minivan to a full sized van because he was afraid I would fill it. Our current van seats 12. 2 parents and 10 kids. I've finally done it. It doesn't look at all the way I would have envisioned all those years ago when we bought our first big van. But I couldn't be more thrilled. Here is my van, Lord, use it. Here is my house, here are my hands. I may not be altogether ready right this minute, but I know you'll help me be ready as I go.

If you're new to the blog and wondering what the heck I'm talking about, I've talked about being a Safe Families host family here and here.  Safe Families is a ministry to families in crisis.  Participation is voluntary for all parties involved.  It is run by the church, as opposed to foster care which is run by the state.  We appreciate your prayers, both for our family, and also for the family that we are hosting for, that their needs would be resolved their family unified in God's perfect timing.  Thank you!  

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Saturday, February 16, 2013

My 5th teenager

 We had 2 birthdays here this week.

Birthdays mean ice cream in the house.  

Which is a treat to be savored to the fullest.

I'm glad my newest teenager is still young enough to be silly.

And that she lets me capture it on camera.

I'm pretty sure if I blink

my little girl will be gone,

and a beautiful woman will have taken her place.

Ni Hao Yall

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