Archive - April 2007

Whatcha Reading?
Scenes From A Saturday
For Love of Antibiotics
Carnival of Family Life
Success with the Doctor
The Other Shoe
A Toddler in the House
Life in Minature

Whatcha Reading?

I got tagged by Muddy Boots to share my reading list.  Which leads me to wonder – am I supposed to be reading?  I love to read and used to read all the time until certain small people started showing up in my life and demanding my full attention.  The littlest one is particularly demanding in that he requires my presence during his entire nap.  I used to really fight hard against this, but the Good Lord pointed out to me that this was a great way for me to do more reading and also to take my own nap, if needed.

So without further ado, my current reading list is:

1.  The Sonlight Catalog.  Really.  I love this catalog.  I love to read the articles printed in it, if only to confirm for the millionth time why I chose Sonlight.  I love to read the Cores that are ahead of us, and just dream of all the wonderful books we’ll get to enjoy.  I like to look for pictures of families that I "know" from the Sonlight Forums.  It just makes me happy.

2.  Real Learning.  Catholic and Charlotte Mason homeschooling.  This book just soothes my frazzled nerves and puts me back on track when things start to go astray.

3. The Purpose Driven Life.  I have never read this one.  I happened to sit down next to a bookshelf on the day after Easter and noticed this book on our shelf.  I grabbed it for nap time and when I started reading, I discovered that it is a 40 day devotional!  Perfect, I could start that very day and wrap up at Pentecost.  I have enjoyed this book so much, that every day I think, "oh, I should blog about that!"  But then I realized that I would end up quoting the book so much as to be in danger of copyright violations.  I am looking forward to re-reading it in another season of my life, when I can write down my thoughts without trying to keep still and not wake the baby sleeping next to me.

4. Faith and Family magazine and The Old Schoolhouse magazine.  I’ll count them as one since they aren’t books.

So there you have it!  In turn, I’m tagging Rosetta Stone, Minnesota Mom, and Falling Like Rain.

Scenes From A Saturday

I present to you my Saturday:

Did a little gardening and a lot of chatting with friends. Our house is one of the last ones next to the baseball field and several of my friends walked by on their way to the games. I only got about a third of the front flower beds planted and nothing in the backyard. I was glad to stop and chat, though.

Took Pumpkin Girl to hula lessons. She was asked to dance in the Asian-Pacific Islander festival on base. I got the rehearsal time wrong, but she was able to get a private lesson anyway. She picked it up very quickly and will have more rehearsals before the performance.

Kids had a snack.

Watched the sky for signs of rain.


Admired Boo’s bean plant (another Cub Scout project). He’s hoping to actually harvest and eat the beans. It’s already got some pods!

Three packages arrived in the mail!

Yoikes, when did this happen?

Took the young ‘uns to church. We all sat in the crying room because Philip was at all-day Cub Scout training and didn’t get back in time. He ended up meeting us at the chapel right as Mass was getting started.

Boo had his last dose of penicillin! Yippee! Out of 40 doses, he only barfed once! Even Bip is happy for him.

For Love of Antibiotics

We appear to be on the mend from the Strep Throat Affair of 2007.  Pumpkin Girl is back to normal and Bip has been fever free since last night.  Not that he’s sleeping better or anything.  He’s mad because now that he’s feeling better, Mama’s no longer susceptible to his requests for num-nums in the middle of the night.  Of course, nobody feels sorry for poor Mama who is tired out from keeping everybody’s medicine straight, dealing with a tired and crabby baby and who is, don’t forget, also sick.  My throat hurt so bad in the middle of night that I was willing to risk Philip’s life and limbs to have him go buy me a cool, comforting milkshake. 

This is significant, because you see, my Number One Rule for Personal Safety is this: Never go out "just to get some ice cream."  In movies, on TV and in books, nothing good ever happens to the guy who was "just going out for ice cream."  Think about it.  The family is hanging out, enjoying the late summer evening and dad says, "Hey, how about some ice cream."  The children cheer, the wife looks over at him lovingly, he grabs his keys and off he goes, about to become Father of the Year.  And BAM! some crazy driver runs a red light, mowing poor dad down.  Then everyone stands around at the funeral lamenting how he had been "just going out for ice cream."  So that’s my rule – no going out just for ice cream.  Pick up batteries or toilet paper, too while you’re out.  But for goodness sakes, don’t go out just for ice cream.  Milkshakes, being mostly ice cream, fall under this rule.

So that’s how badly my throat hurt.  I was ready to send my beloved out for a single milkshake. However, he was spared by being downstairs with Angry Baby, hoping to get him to sleep.

I asked him what they did last night while they were downstairs.

Phil: "Well, I turned on the TV for him."
Me: "Hmm.  He’s been watching a lot of TV ever since we all got sick.  We really should cut back."
Phil: "Yeah, but at 3 in the morning, TV is very soothing.  Scientific research says…"
Me:"Scientific research?  You mean our kids.  Four out of four K— kids are soothed by watching TV?"
Phil:"Exactly.  Four out of four K— kids are soothed by the flickering lights."

Hmm.  Just like their dad.

Meanwhile, as I mentioned, I am diligently trying to keep track of everybody’s antibiotics.  To complicate matters, Boo and I have to take ours on an empty stomach.  Even worse is that Boo has to take 4 doses a day.  I feel like Patton, barking out orders like clockwork:

11:00 am -"Everybody line up, it’s time for our meds! Get your water!  Bip!  Get back here!  Boo, go get your brother.  Pumpkin Girl -ready? Open up! OPEN! Drink it.  Good girl.  Next.  Bip, come on, just open.  Drink it!  Good boy!  Boo, Boo?  Stop complaining…"

12 noon: "Boo, sit down and eat.  No, eat RIGHT NOW. You must eat now or you’ll miss your next antibiotics."

And around the clock we go.

My throat still requires tylenol to keep it soothed as well as 2 or 3 cups of Sleepy Time tea laced generously with honey.  I’m hoping today is the last day of that.

Success with the Doctor

So we wrapped up Philip’s week of leave with one last trip to the doctor.  In the middle of getting Pumpkin Girl’s statistics taken, the fire alarm sounded.  So we all filed neatly and quietly out of the building and stood around in the shade waiting for the all clear.  The fresh air perked Pumpkin Girl up quite a bit and she was behaving much like her normal, sweet self, in spite of having a temperature of 102.7!

Earlier she had fallen asleep on the couch, then didn’t want anything but yogurt for lunch.  She was tired and achy, not at all like the bright eyed girl talking to the doctor!  Bip was doing better, too, hiding behind the curtain in the exam room and running around as best he could in the small room.  His fever had returned in the morning and even our little non-sleeping wonder had a morning nap. 

The doctor we saw was the same one I saw yesterday for my pink eye.  We filled her in on the rest of the story, including the timeline of Boo’s illnesses.  She looked at all our throats and ears and agreed that we should be on antibiotics.  Definitely Pumpkin, with her fever, headache and sore throat.  She hesitated about Bip, who’s fever was lower and is also on daily antibiotics anyway.  She also hesitated over me, since I don’t have a fever at all, but she thought my throat looked awful.  In the end, I think the fact that it is Friday pushed her over.  With the symptoms and positive exposure to strep, she thought it was best to be safe.  We’re taking Bip off his daily Septra during his course of amoxicillin, since will cover the same bacteria and to help prevent diarrhea. 

So now we’re all (except Philip who remains symptomless) on antibiotics.  All different kinds, doses and schedules.  I’m keeping track of them on our white board, along with all our doses of Tylenol or motrin.  Poor Pumpkin had such a terrible fever nightmare this afternoon!  With trying to get everyone squared away when we got home, I forgot to give her more Tylenol!  Hopefully I can keep everyone straight now.

This was not at all how we had planned our week.  At first we were going to Philadelphia to see the King Tut exhibit, but we waited too long to try to get tickets.  But since Philip took leave, we decided to do a little bit of school, then have some local adventures.  We wanted to return to Mount Vernon and find another museum to visit.  Those plans kept getting put off as we got sicker and sicker.  Philip celebrated a major milestone birthday on Wednesday, which went largely ignored.  We were going to go out to dinner to celebrate, but again, we were just too sick.  So here we are at the end of the week and we didn’t get to do anything fun.  Unless you count the fire alarm evacuation of the clinic.

The Other Shoe

Did I happen to mention who gave me the cold that stole my voice?  It was my wonderful first born, my oldest, the one who started it all, our Boo.  He started off with this coughing, sort of congested, hoarse throat thing.  He kept insisting on touching things, snuggling close to me, or coughing on me.  Try as I might, I couldn’t keep avoiding him and I got sick.  But before I did, he got pink eye.  Like every good parent, we sent him into further exile, made him wash his hands every 2 minutes and bundled him off to the doctor.  He came home in unusually high spirits.

"So Boo, do you really have pink eye?" I asked. 
"Oh yeah," he said.  "They gave me an oy-ee-intment." 
"An ‘oy-ee-intment’?" I said, stifling my laughter. 
"Yeah!  I’ve got to put it in my eye with a q-tip!,"  Boo exclaims, pretending to stab himself in the eye. 
"Eew.  Sounds gross," I said.


Turns out, he also had the beginnings of an ear infection, but the doc said just wait and see how Boo’s own immune system handles it.  We were to call back if he developed a fever or sore throat and the doc would call in some Auntie Biotics.  By Thursday, Boo is complaining his throat hurts in the evening.  Friday, we try to get the meds prescribed.  Of course, the doc he saw isn’t working that day, nor are any of the pediatricians.  Side note- what in the world?!?  What kind of clinic doesn’t have peds working on Friday?  Wouldn’t that be a high volume day, as parents are worried about heading into the weekend?  The answer…a military clinic!!!!  Anyway…they insist on us bringing Boo in where they swab his throat and send him home. 

So we all survived the weekend, then I lost my voice and assigned Boo 2 extra math sheets for penance.  Boo wraped up his dose of eye oy-ee-intment and all is well.  My voice returned slowly, even though on Wednesday, my mother called and didn’t even recognize me.  Thursday I woke to find my left eye glued shut.  Great, now I’ve got the pink eye.  I assigned Boo 4 extra math sheets and went off to the doctor.  My doctor prescribes me – not a darn thing.  She informs me that most "pink eye" is viral, it’s probably going to get worse in a day or two and try not to rub it.  Great. 

I returned home and before I even get my coat off, the other shoe dropped. Phil told me that Boo’s culture came back positive for strep and that he needs Auntie Biotics.  Ok, so is your first question "Where have the lab results been for the last week"?  It was mine.  My second question was "What about the rest of us?"  Because of course, I’ve got what Boo had and now Pumpkin Girl is complaining of a sore throat, too.  A quick call to the clinic and we’re off for throat cultures for the lot of us.  Even Phil.


I told the nurse twice that Pumpkin had a sore throat and a headache.  She told me twice that they don’t treat for strep in the throat, but against the possibility of rheumatic fever.  So even though Boo has strep, and she’s clearly sick, too, we went home without meds for Pumpkin Girl.  Of course, she was miserable last night.  Even Bip woke up with a fever last night and slept fitfully until it broke.  I’m worried that the culture results will be slow in coming back and that they both will suffer needlessly over the weekend.  I miss the days when they’d give you Auntie Biotics for suspected cases of strep and if the results were negative, you would just stop.  We’d all be well on our way to recovery. 

So Bip and Pumpkin have appointments this afternoon, where we will press the issue.  Sigh.

I think I need to go give Boo 6 more math sheets today for passing strep on to us. 

note:  I didn’t really assign Boo extra math.  Even if he did deserve it with his contagious self!


I’ve lost my voice!  I’ve looked everywhere for it, but’s gone.  I’m not talking a little hoarse here, either.  Nope -completely. gone.

Phil’s taking a week off of work after finally finishing his school, so he’s here to help with the kids.  He even took over the reading for school today, which, if you’re familiar with Sonlight, is alot of reading.  There’s absolutely no way I could have gotten through it.

He found me a bike bell to ring if I need something, though right now, Bip has walked away with it.  Before that, I’ve been whistling or snapping if I need to get someone’s attention.

I’d be starting feel like quite the princess, ringing bells and snapping fingers to have people do my bidding, the only problem is, my lost voice was caused by a cold of sorts.

It’s not the worst cold ever, besides the whole I-can’t-talk thing.  I’m just sort of congested, and have a slight cough, though I’m starting to feel fatigued.  I hate that worn out feeling that being sick causes.

I was doing so well this season, too.  I’m usually the victim of one cold after another, with some gastro-intestinal flu thing thrown in for good measure.  But this year, the feast of St. Blaise, patron saint of throats, fell on a Saturday.  We were at Mass that day and all got our throats blessed, even Bip, who thought it was very amusing. Usually there are up to 4 other homeschooling families there at the Saturday evening Mass, but not that day.  While all the other families suffered through illnesses this winter, ours was untouched.  We chalked it up to St. Blaise. 

Well, I guess he held off the germs as long as he could and I am grateful for that.

I can’t believe I’ve lost my voice.  It’s really annoying me!

The only fun thing about this whole thing is that when I whisper to Bip, he will whisper back to me.

A Toddler in the House

We have a toddler in the house again. It’s been a long time and I’ve forgotten just how much fun they can be. Or maybe I haven’t. Our oldest child was such an exhausting toddler that I what I remember most about him was that I just tried to keep up. Then I was further exhausted by being pregnant with his sister and a move from California to Maryland. Our next child was a very easy toddler, sweet, happy and compliant. I was still trying to keep up with her older brother, so I don’t remember many specific things about her toddlerhood. Now with the unintented gap between Bip, our current toddler and Pumpkin, who is now 6, we have the chance to really enjoy a toddler.

And enjoy him we do. His main flaw is how poorly he sleeps at night, but he is such a joy in the morning that he is quickly forgiven. He is so silly, siller than any of our other children and that is saying quite a bit! I once caught him stuffing french fries into his shirt and I asked him, “Bip! Are you stuffing fries in your shirt?” and without missing a beat, nor taking his eyes off of me, began removing the fries. All very innocently, mind you.

I particularly enjoy watching him learning new words. The poor little thing has been terribly confused by the Sandra Boyton book “Moo, Baa, LaLaLa.” He thinks both pigs and sheep say LaLaLa. Oh well. His clearest words reflect those things he loves most – Mama, choo-choo, car-car and Bob. Some people reading my blog will find that terribly amusing, but it’s not what they think! The rest of you will just have to wonder what I mean because I’m not telling. Don’t bother emailing me and begging me to tell you privately. I will turn a deaf ear, or a blind eye as it were, to your pleas. The real explanation is simply that Bip loves Bob the Builder. And Thomas the Tank engine. He is all boy! Whether it’s throwing balls and yelling Ball! or walking around the house holding a car in one hand a Mickey Mouse in the other, he is everything you’d expect a boy to be. He can already “hike” a baby-size football and seeing that he’s our largest baby yet, I am sure he is destined for a Notre Dame football scholarship.

Being the youngest of four children, Bip is into things much earlier than the others were. It’s not uncommon when peering into the refrigerator to be pushed out of the way by a little but strong body who has come in search of a snack. He loves to spend time outside and if he catches even a hint that somebody is heading out of the house, he goes in search of his Mickey Mouse crocs.

One of our favorites times is nighttime prayers. Pumpkin taught Bip to fold his hands while we pray. When each one of us has had the chance to pray, we ask Bip if there’s anything he’d like to thank God for. He starts off, “Mama, Da-da, Boo…” Then we have to help him with Pumpkin Girl’s real name. The children like to say his favorite things for him to repeat after them, both because it’s cute to hear him saying his toddler words and because it’s nice to have him praying with us. “Car-cars, quack-quack, ball, Bob, choo-choo, and juice” are all on his nightly list of things he is thankful for.

Having a toddler in the house makes for some interesting juggling during school. One of Big Brother Boo’s morning chores is to prepare a snack for Bip to keep him quiet for as long as possible. We often have to deviate from my nice, neat school “schedule” to accomodate Bip. Sometimes he wants to nurse and one of the other children holds the book while I read aloud, other times we have to skip ahead to their read-aloud time. Most days I can corral him in his high-chair during seat work time. While the rest of us work at the dining room table, Bip happily pulls child-safe kitchen gadgets off my bakers rack while eating raisins. On days he’s not interested…well, let’s just say that I have quite a lot of picking up to do at lunch time. I used to let Bip’s interruptions upset me. I even seriously considered sending him off to child care in the morning. Boo and Pumpkin Girl were so sad at the thought that I changed my attitude. I had to remember that one of the major advantages of homeschooling is having the children being an integral part of each other’s life. Not that it’s easy! But we try to remember how much joy that Bip truly brings us every day. We were deprived of Becca’s toddler years, of teaching her how to walk and talk and sing. Some days I am overwhelmed with both regret over Becca and joy over Bip. So many things I wished I could have done with her, that now I must focus on enjoying the time with Bip.

A toddler in the house means

  • carrying 2 toy trains and 2 toy cars in my bag at all times, in case Bip encounters a transportation emergency while we are away from the house.
  • vaccuming and sweeping twice daily.
  • getting soaked head to toe and not being the one having the bath.
  • adding 10 minutes to your time it takes to get everyone out of the house
  • watching in amazement at chubby little hands folded during prayers
  • sweet, wet kisses
  • fat, happy legs running to meet daddy when he comes home
  • reading Goodnight Moon “one last time, then all done”…four times
  • finding toys in unusual places


We have been truly blessed to have a toddler in the house.

Life in Minature

Am I the last person in the world to discover the fun of polymer clay?

You know, I’ve seen polymer clay projects before, but I was never
interested. Mostly what I’ve seen demonstrated are milifiori beads
which seem like a lot of work, and I’m just not into it. I’ve also
seen doll faces made with push molds, but again, it just wasn’t my
thing. I just kind of wondered, “what’s the point?”

Then last week, I saw an article in Family Fun magazine about making tiny treats out of polymer clay. These are just too cute and the directions were simple, needing nothing more than the clay and a toothpick. Well, not being one to pass up a good craft, I showed them to Boo and Pumpkin Girl and they thought they’d like to give them a try, too. They were actually pretty excited.

We got ourselves some Sculpey clay and went to work. These little projects are neither difficult to do or too time consuming, even when helping two children do different projects. Pumpkin needed a little more help because she didn’t seem to understand how not to smash the clay out of shape when adding details. But she did great doing things like rolling out balls and logs and squashing them flat. Boo did well with making his shapes look like the pictures, which is surprising because he’s not really not too good at copying objects to draw. I did the reading of the instructions and putting in the tiniest of details. I worked very hard at overcoming my tendency to just step in and do the project myself. I’m prould to report that I managed to demonstrate, step back, make small corrections and let the results be what they may. I guess all these weeks of being the craft lady for Pumpkin’s Daisy Scout troop is paying off. Talk about testing my patience! But that’s a post for another time.

Here’s the tiny little confections we made:

Pumpkin Girl made one of the donuts, the caramel apple and the cupcake. I made the other donut and the lollipop.

We also picked up The Incredible Clay Book and Create Anything With Clay. All I can say is wow! We’ve all spent a lot of time pouring over these wonderful books, choosing our next projects. We’re even plotting some gifts to make!

Here’s the projects we’ve made so far…


The sheep and pig were made by Boo, the rabbit and frog by Pumpkin.


This baby and ice cream cone are Boo’s creations.


I had as much fun and the children! I made these fruits and veggies. The green isn’t showing up well in this picture and the corn looks a lot better in person. Still, aren’t all these things cute?

I’m working so hard on not getting involved in any new crafts. But when I do, the main criteria it has to meet are low start-up cost and easy storage of the tools. Well, the instructions for the treats are free on the internet (click on “tiny treats” above), and you can get by with just a couple of basic colors of clay. We did buy the other two books, which came with clay, but the ideas were well worth it. There are lots of polymer clay tools out there to buy, but we literally used our hands, foil, a baking dish, toothpicks and wax paper. As for storage, the clay should be stored in plastic. I wrapped each open color in plastic wrap and the whole kit and caboodle is in a plastic shoe box. Sweet!


The temperature around here is slowing creeping back up from the snow event we had on the day before Easter.  The prediction for today’s high is 62 degrees, which is about as warm as I can handle.  Sunday, however is a big question mark.  We could actually be getting more snow!  Not much, maybe just a flurry, but still – snow in mid-April!  I love snow, but my born-and-raised-in-Southern-California mind cannot get used to the idea.  But I guess that’s what Spring is – a time of transition.  Eventually the warm temps will win out and summer will take hold.  To celebrate, Dawn of By Sun and Candlelight (one of my all time favorite blogs!) has put together an Early Spring Field Day.  Stop on by to celebrate the beauty that is Early Spring.

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