Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Olympic Dreams?

Dale: What event would you be in if you were going to be in the Olympics, Alan?

Alan: I would be in the diving, but I would skip the diving and just go relax in the hot water.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Removal of Alan's Tonsils (and related surrounding events)

Seeing as how we needed to be at the hospital at 8am, and needed 3 hours to get there in time comfortably, our day had an early start.

Big city morning traffic was not fun, but we arrived at Children's safely and on time.  Alan and Daddy were able to get in a few minutes of Spongebob before we were called back to reigster.  
 Things moved pretty fast after that.  After getting all the paper work done and a nice little co-pay taken care of we headed upstairs to another waiting room.  After a very short wait there we were escorted to a pre-op area where Alan was weighed and had his vitals checked.  After more paperwork and talking with both the ENT and anesthesiologist Alan was given a big swallow of some happy juice.  We helped him get changed in to his hospital duds and waited for the stuff to take effect.
We never really saw a big change in his speech or behavior, but the medicine did its job, as Alan had absolutely no separation anxiety as we went one direction and he was wheeled away in another by his nurse.

One hour and fifteen minutes later we were reunited with our little buddy in the post-op area.  We saw a big change in him within the hour we spent there as he woke up and his pain meds began to work.

Before we knew it it was time to go.  Alan was wheeled downstairs and Daddy came around with the car.  For the second time since waking up, Alan asked me to take a picture of him without his tonsils:
 We settled in at the Ronald McDonald House down the street to keep an eye on our fresh post-op kiddo.  Who seemed to be feeling fantastic. 
 Alan was still doing pretty good the next morning, although he was coming down from his post-op / RMH high.  We spent a little time exploring the house, which is completely new since we stayed post transplant.
 Alan enjoyed more computer time while Daddy and I cleaned up and packed up.  Cleaning your own room is part of the RMH deal.  Works for us!
 Once back home we settled in for Olympic opening ceremonies!  And of course, what's good for one brother is good for the other 2.  
We're all working together to keep Alan fed, hydrated, and rested.  Fed and hydrated is fairly easy so far, but keeping him still and quiet is another issue all together!  He spent one night and a full day with Mimi and Gramps, which helped on all fronts.  

We are still in the days of popsicles and pudding, but Alan is doing great so far.  We are super thankful for his successful surgery and recovery so far!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Question o'the Day

Alan had his tonsils out today.  Everything went well and he is doing great so far!

I'm sure I'll do a full tonsillectomy update soon, complete with pictures (of Alan, not the tonsils) ;)  but in the meantime I thought you might want to join us in pondering something.  

Or maybe you know the answer and can enlighten us.

First thing this morning, Dale (he Brooklyn and Tyler are spending a couple of days with Mimi and Gramps), turned to Gramps and asked:

Do dogs have tonsils?

We believe in asking the tough questions around here.  Feel free to weigh in. ;)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Making a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye.....??

My friend Karen often blogs pretty hymns and worship songs on Sundays.
I even posted about being encouraged by a hymn lately.  

But this post isn't like that.  This is a different story.

This story begins with the first phrases of our opening hymn yesterday morning.  

As we all lifted our voices and began "Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love...." we were unmistakably - and quite loudly -  joined by... a cricket.

Friend cricket sang without a breath through the entire first verse, his high soprano rising above us all.

By the second verse this situation had turned quite funny to those of us in our section, and by the middle of the second verse we couldn't hold back the straight-up laughter as we tried to sing, "Field and forest, vale and mountain, flowery meadow, flashing sea, Chanting bird and flowing fountain, Call us to rejoice in Thee."  

Seriously!?  We had the field and forest and chanting [cricket] right there in the sanctuary with us!

Then turning the corner to verse four (being the good Baptists we are we skipped verse 3), it got even better, with little (or by the way his voice carried, big) cricket never missing a measure: "Mortals, join the happy chorus...... Ever singing, march we onward...... Joyful music leads us sun-ward In the triumph song of life."

I don't know when I've ever enjoyed Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee quite so much.  

I'm not sure about the cricket's "triumph song of life" though...
At first opportunity first our brave music leader and then our valiant pastor went in search of the insistent critter.  The latter was successful in locating the visitor, which did not join us for any subsequent hymns.  I don't know if he was shown the door, the toilet, or the bottom of someone's shoe, but I have a feeling he went out singing!

Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD.  Praise ye the LORD.  Psalm 150:6

Friday, July 20, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up: Week 1

First day of our new school year.  Even though he's mostly busy painting the bathroom, the boys and I are getting sooo spoiled to having Daddy home for school days.  Monday for Dale started with a piano lesson from Daddy.

I rarely, if ever menu plan for lunches.  Monday I looked at what I had on hand and decided on macaroni & cheese with tuna & peas.  Little did I know I was celebrating the first day of school by making the boys favorite! lunch! ever!  They were thrilled!  Yay for getting to be an accidental hero. :)

While Dale and Alan were busy Math and Phonics and Cursive and Writing, Tyler kept busy, too.

I decided a while back to start Alan on cursive instead of print.  (More information here and here.)
We began this week with lowercase 'i'.  Before putting pencil to paper each day, I had him practice forming his letter in other ways: 
Monday - chalkboard, Tuesday - markerboard, Wednesday - markers, Thursday - shaving cream!

Since we had the shaving cream out and since Dale's hands were already messy from helping Tyler get started (since when is Tyler ever afraid of getting messy!??) we decided he might as well work on a little shaving cream division.

All went well until I left them unsupervised.  With the shaving cream can.
The bad news: It was everywhere. Curtains, window, floor....
The good news: Our kitchen table got a good thorough cleaning!

We were finishing up the first section of our Olympics lapbook when who should pull up in the driveway but Kristin and Logan!  We were beside ourselves with excitement at this surprise visit!

Even the allure of an aunt and a cousin in the house couldn't keep Alan and Tyler from joining Daddy on a trip to the hardware store, but Dale decided to stay and hold his new cousin for the first time.

We have almost checked off everything on our school list for the week!  Yay!  
Dale finished 100% of what I had planned for him.
Alan has a couple of things leftover, but they will fit nicely into his shortened week next week.  We'll be headed to Children's mid-week for a tonsillectomy.  Your prayers are appreciated!

This post is linking up with Kris @ Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers Weekly Wrap-up.

Our 4th grade curriculum can be found here.  I am in the midst of adding what we are using for 1st grade.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Zucchini Muffins (and one cute kid)

One of the things our (aka Gramps') garden is producing like gangbusters this year is zucchini.  Zucchini is always a challenge to me, because I feel like it is better used fresh than from the freezer.

I end up feeling like Bubba & his shrimp.  Zucchini fritters, zucchini pancakes, zucchini bread, fried zucchini, grilled zucchini, boiled zucchini.....

Zucchini Muffins!

These are our favorites.  I made them for breakfast (again) one morning recently while Greg and Dale were out for their daily run/bike ride (respectively).  Even though it was early, I already had a little helper in the kitchen.
I like that these muffins have a couple of variations, because when you are inundated blessed with lots of zucchini, variety is a good thing!
Start by mashing a small-medium banana in your mixing bowl.  Add eggs, oil, grated zucchini, vanilla and sugar.  The banana is optional, but we almost always have a stray that needs to be eaten, so our muffins usually start with a banana, no matter which variation I'm making.
I always cheat and mix my dry ingredients on top of the wet before stirring them together.  One less bowl to wash.  Either way, you'll now need flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.  

Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes (15 for mine) and you've got some yummy muffins!
But you can't have my happy little helper. :)

Zucchini Muffins - Two Ways (or more!)

2 eggs
1/3 c oil
2 tsp vanilla
1 c sugar
1 c grated zucchini


1 1/2 c flour (white, whole wheat, or a combination)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Bake @ 375 for 15-20 minutes.

Variations.  Stir in:
1.  1/2 c raisins, 1/4 - 1 tsp cinnamon
2.  1 small banana, mashed, 1/2 c. chocolate chips

Or knock yourself out and add raisins AND chocolate chips.  And maybe a handful of walnuts too.  

Monday, July 16, 2012

Around the House

In my fridge:
Thawing some ground beef for tonight's supper.  It's going to be a made-up concoction of some sort, involving tomatoes, bell peppers, corn tortillas, and maybe some enchilada sauce.  I'm thinking casserole.  Wish me luck! :)

On my nightstand:
Nothing!  Today was my weekly decluttering / dusting day.
But I do have a couple of books on my headboard:
Homeschooling with TLC in the Elementary Grades
The Write Start: A Guide to Nurturing Writing at Every Stage, from Scribbling to Forming Letters and Writing Stories

And Greg's current read:
The Silver Chair (The Chronicles of Narnia Book 6)

In the school room:
Our first day of the 2012-2013 school year!  A much anticipated and very successful day of division, phonics, cursive, Old Testament, and ancient Greeks (the beginnings of our study of the Summer Olympics).

In the library basket:

For Dale:
The Horse and His Boy (The Chronicles of Narnia, Volume 3)
 Children's Stories from Dickens (Illustrated Stories for Children)
...and more

For Alan (and Dale):

For Tyler:

Once We Went on a Picnic

..... and other picnic themed books.

On the menu:
After tonight's made-up Mexican inspired ground beef creation, I'm all out of ideas.  It is time, yet again, for a grocery run.  I wonder if we ought to include a Greek salad to go with our study of the Greeks?  Hmm... I'm always game for something new on the menu!  

What are you eating and reading this week?

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

O that today they might fall!

We sang "There Shall Be Showers of Blessing" at church today, and although it is one I have heard a hundred times before, today spoke to me in a new way.

Maybe it is because I am often juvenile enough to get a kick out of singing it on rainy days or in the middle of August when the ground it parched and we are seriously needing some rain. :)

Today I actually paid attention to the spiritual side of the song.  (Imagine that!)  Our summer weather so far, literally speaking, has been wonderful.  Even though hot it has been so much milder compared to June/July 2010 & 2011.  I thought about how grateful we have been lately for the occasional thundershowers that come over, keeping the gardens growing and the grass green.  We get encouraged over even the hope of rain.

Who gets excited about rain at the end of January when or the middle of April when it's been pouring for 3 days straight and at least 11 of the last 15 days??  Remember those times?  It's not those days, but in the dry times when we are most grateful for the showers.  It's in the heat of summer when the ground is thirsty and so are we that we get a thrill at that wet smell in the air.

Honestly, our family is in a dry season, figuratively speaking.  Nothing earth-shattering, but just one of those times when thing after thing after thing piles on and makes you weary.  We have all been there at one time or another.  

So today it was encouraging to be reminded that even though things now are dry and our faith is feeling a little scorched, "there shall be seasons refreshing, sent from the Savior above."

"...I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing." Ezekiel 34:26

Friday, July 13, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up: The last week of summer break

We've decided to get an early start on school this year (we could just nearly call ourselves year-rounders).  Monday will be our first day back, which made this week our last week of summer break.

We're all looking forward to getting back to somewhat of a routine, and since Daddy is still home on his break he'll be around for our first week or two of school.  That will be different for us, and the boys are thrilled about it!

So... our last week of summer break:

Monday - Greg and I took Alan and Brooklyn to Alan's checkup appointment at Children's, while the other two stayed with Mimi & Gramps.

Tuesday - We went to weekly preschool Story-time at the library.
(Dale is usually off reading, not participating, but this day he was
  asked to help with some visuals for a story.)
Tyler got bored after a while and came to join Brooklyn and me.
Really, really, bored.  We'll be working on that attention span in the weeks to come. ;)
Wednesday - I took all 4 kiddos with me shopping for school / art supplies and a few grocery items.  Almost every time we go to our local grocery store I see at least one Mennonite family.  I am not Mennonite.  I wear pants and make-up and even though my hair is long I wear it every which way.  But still... I can't help but feel some sort of kinship with those ladies when I see them. Is it the passel of kids?  The feeling of not falling in sync with the rest of society?  Even so.... we rarely make eye contact and certainly never speak.  All that to say... it made me feel completely silly, but it made my day that one of those Mennonite women struck up a conversation with me all about Brooklyn and her own baby girl in the produce section.  Am I weird? Yes.  But I'm ok with that.

Thursday - Yay!!  Our school book order finally arrived!  And just in time, too.  Also in that order was Alan's new (first) Bible which he is in love with.  Full curriculum post detailing all our new books and plans will be coming up soon.

Friday - Finished up the Summer Reading Program at the library.  The highlight of the party for the kids is always the distribution of tickets to buy stuff from the 'store'.  
Tyler with his goodies.
Dale in line to spend his tickets.

It's been a fun break, but I'm ready to put our unstructured days to bed and move back into routine and  at least a little bit of predictability!  Never mind the allure of all those shiny new school books that arrived in the mail yesterday. :)

Linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers Weekly Wrap Up.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Odds and ends from our day on the road

 - Stayed up waaaay past bedtime last night to watch 13 innings (at least our guys won!) of a baseball game that had already been hilariously delayed.

 - Got up waaaay before usual to take Alan to Children's for a checkup.  Super thankful my parents had 2 out of 4 kids for the day!

 - No book, hand-held game system, or box of coolio crayons could compete with bringing your baby sister to your doctor's appointment.  Built in entertainment and show-and-tell!

 - Ah-MAZing to go to a clinic apointment and be done and back on the road before lunch.

 - Speaking of lunch, once out of the city we made a stop to open our new ice chest and assemble some PBJ's.  I love cheap. That's our favorite way to roll!

 - Drove home amid scattered thunderstorms, and sure enough, finally looked ahead and saw the road at the horizon gray and blurry. Drove through 10-15 minutes of POURING rain.  We could hardly see a thing!  And then popped out on the other side into sunshine and blue skies.

 - Until... back at home, just before supper.  We enjoyed a fantastic thunderstorm!  Lots and lots of hard rain, along with near constant lightening and thunder.  We love a good thunderstorm, and this one was a doozy.  Then the lightening cleared off enough ahead of the rain for the boys to run around playing in it. They came in soaking wet and changed into pjs before supper.  Hungry, happy, and glad to all be together again!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

One tiny piece of The Greatest Story Ever Told

In the middle of May,

after a couple of months of questions,

a little boy lay in his bed one night,

and all by himself talked to God,

expressing sorrow over, and asking forgiveness for, wrongs done.

He told God he didn't want to sin anymore, 

and asked Him to save him so he would someday live forever with Him in Heaven.

I know these are the things he said, because he told me.

The little boy soon glowed with joy as he shared his decision over and over again with others.

Today, we joyfully shared in the boy's next step of obedience, 

shedding tears of happiness, and rejoicing over a life eternally saved.

Are you written into The Greatest Story Ever Told?  A Savior came and gave his life to pay for the sins of the world: Alan's, mine, yours.  Jesus' gift of life lies waiting for each of us to take.  Have you accepted this gift? 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

9 months (and 1 week)


- waves 'night-night' and 'bye-bye'

 - finally has her first tooth!

 - is working on scooting and crawling

 - makes us laugh and feel blessed every day!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Around the house

In my fridge:
Out of milk, out of juice, out of meat.  Shelves full of garden tomatoes, zucchini, & peppers.  Time to make salsa & muffins! (And time to go to the store!)

On my nightstand: 
The newest CBD Homeschooling Catalog

In the school room:
Plans are heavily underway for the upcoming new school year. Printing a planner from Donna Young, making curriculum purchases from Christianbook.com  and Homeschool Classifieds.

In the library basket:
The Summer Reading Program is in full swing at our library, so our book basket has seen a high turnover lately. Currently...
For Dale:
Pippi Longstocking

For Alan:
Are You My Mother?
Jalapeno Bagels

Just for fun:
The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales

And really, I promise, Tyler is getting read to, also.

On the menu:
What menu?  As previously mentioned, it's time for a visit to the store.  Might just find myself inspired to do some freezer cooking, by this post from Kristin at The Lowly Nest.  Includes links to 8 crockpot-ready freezer recipes!

What's news around your house?

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