Pics from Grandma's 90th

Grandma's birthday. It was a really nice time.
In this basket were some 140 cards and letters from Grandma's friends all over the world, wishing her a happy birthday and many happy returns.Donna and Ben made a sweet book for Grandma. I won't pretend I know who most of the other people were who sent greetings, but Grandma definitely knew and appreciated the letters she received.
Aunt Karen.

Addicts and Babies in the Morning

I can understand why my hubby says I'm quirky. I have some peculiar loves.

French guys singing with accordions. Real, authentic, twangy, wailing bluegrass. Willie Nelson. Southern gospel with little short guys singing bass so low your ears barely register the sound.

Blank paper. Oboes. Smoked oysters. Glowing fungus. Jaffa fruit cake (remember that?)

Thread, yarn, fabric, wood, paints, pencils, color, needles and hooks.

Cameras. (didn't have to say that, did I?)

But nothing bar nothing is on the love level of tea for me.

I went to the OB and as he is reading the list of vices, checking off all the ones I don't have, he got to "caffeine." I admitted my addiction to tea. I am a chain tea drinker. Our babies come out with a tan, I drink so much tea. Okay.

So, he says, "well, you probably want to cut back on that." I said, "Why, for my health or the baby's?" Because, you know, that would make a difference. Possibly. So he says, "well, the baby could come out addicted to the caffeine." To which I thought, no problem, baby won't have to go through withdrawal as long as it's breastfed....

Anyhoo, I must have looked non-convinced, because he said those foolish words: "You can drink other kinds of teas, herbal teas and such."

Dr, there is no such thing as a herbal TEA. Tea is tea. Herbal concoctions are brews. There is no comparison. You tea people know what I'm saying. Don't you.

Anyway, like any good addict, I've provided my kids with the same experience.

When the older two were little, we sometimes used to take tea on the front porch in the afternoons. Theirs, more of a cambric tea with about 20% tea, 80% milk, and a couple dips of sugar, and mine, several cups of full strength brew with a spoon of sugar and whole milk.

Anyway, poor Jr and Baby have been somewhat neglected in the culture of their tastebuds, so I thought, this morning as I was brewing my Little Yellow Pot, that perhaps Jr. would like to try.
Ahhh....see, a future tea lover. Once the intial buzz passed, Jr. behaved as any tea lover does...a civilized nibbly, and decent conversation.
Anyway...I have something to show you. I went out the other night and picked up a few paint chips for the sunroom. I was a little confused about the color. It needs to be lighter in there, since that's kind of the point of a sunroom and all, but I couldn't decide whether to stay "cool" or to warm it up with some tans or yellows.

After consideration, I thought I'd stay on the cooler side, since MOST likely, the sunroom will be used in the warmer seasons, and I'd like it to give the impression of a cool retreat from the sun.

Hence, the paint chips.

(hint: if you click on the picture, it will come up bigger and you will be able to see the subtle color differences a little more clearly. The colors are very similar!)
Tell me, which one do you like?

Ah, Well.

So....I had an ultrasound this morning. Unfortunately the baby had very little fluid and was oddly positioned so we didn't get to see the face much or a positive id on the sex! looks like a girl to me.

I mean, I've only had a million ultrasounds so who am I to guess, but that's my best guess.

The tech would not commit to a guess. LOL.

A Day in the Life of Us

Thanks to Jenny Wren, I was inspired today to blog about our day. Just the "stuff", nothing important. So here goes.

I got up this morning to a messy bedroom (it's Monday) and the phone ringing to announce that the repair serviceman who was supposed to come (again) to repair the stove (again) wasn't coming (again) because they had received the wrong parts (again.)

That news made me frustrated since I will have to keep dealing with this stove (it's been 7 months in the repair process) but on the other hand, happy, because I didn't have to deal with the repair guy. And I didn't have to make sure the kitchen was spotless. Not that I would have anyway.

So I got the kids up (Baby was already awake and fussing), and quickly emailed hubby and a few other people, checked some of my favorite blogs (Jenny Wren's among them) and went downstairs to start making some blueberry muffins.

The kids went ahead and had cereal for breakfast as they were running behind to get started on schoolwork, and helped the little boys get changed and fed. We all work together in the morning -- one little kid with one big kid, and it all gets done.

As the muffins were baking and the children were eating, I put some water on to boil and rinsed my yellow teapot, just the right size for one. Then I quickly showered, ran through the kitchen to set my tea to brew, dressed, stripped the bed, grabbed the sheets, and white bedspread which was a little grimy and needed a wash, and all the other laundry from our room, and threw it down the chute. Then, quickly loaded a big wash of whites including the sheets and bedspread (which will go straight back on the bed when it's clean and dry,) into the washer.By that time, the muffins were baked and the tea was brewed. I fixed a tray with enough muffins for kiddos who were still hungry after their cereal, and the tea, and we all went to the sunroom to work.Miss Rose and Joman started on maths as they do every morning.

I pulled out some photos, still in sealed envelopes from our big move. I hadn't had the fortitude to go through them until now, knowing they would make me too sad.So I had a muffin and a lovely hot cup of tea, and began to sort photos -- and soon the laundry needed attention. I felt that today would be a great day to hang the first load of the season. Although, it was colder outside than I had anticipated, and I soon discovered that it is a mistake to hang the first load of the season on the under-tree line if the load is whites -- because the line is dirty and leaves black smudges on my freshly clean laundry. I figured it was clean dirt, so oh well.Outside are tulips about to bloom, and violets thriving just outside the door; the purple shamrocks the original homeowners had brought from Ireland are poking new leaves through the soil, and my little herbs are sprouting up nicely. I do love to see things growing, especially when most of them are a surprise to me, this being the first spring in our house.Threw another load in the wash, and went back to the photos and kids, who were finished with maths and had moved on to handwriting and language arts.

So the morning passed with photos being sorted, school work being done, laundry being hung and another load washed and thrown in the dryer (my laundry line is rather hopeless -- inconveniently located at the other end of the house and only holds one load); the little boys played together and watched Sesame Street, and I drank up all my tea (my little teapot holds three small cups.)
We had some hotdogs in the fridge that needed to be eaten, so I cooked those for the children and boiled some eggs for myself, with green beans, muffins (for the kids) and grape juice. While the food was cooking, I rinsed stray dishes and loaded the dishwasher. Made a mental note of what to make for dinner (Italian beans and pasta; quick and easy.)Baby was wiped down well, being very messy by this point, and put to bed for a nap. Jr Spragus could use a nap too -- grumpy boy, after getting in trouble for denuding yet another toilet roll and throwing all the paper in the trash -- and the other kids are disintegrating into grumpiness too. And the dryer is buzzing.

Folded laundry, put some Roman beans to heat for a quick soak on the stove, and did today's ironing. Redirected Joman into doing some schoolwork, although he was entertaining Jr. Spragus quite well by playing with him as Miss Rose practiced piano: nevertheless, Joman's been working on a Dolphin project for a couple months now and he really needs to finish it up.Ran the laundry and ironing upstairs to put away, and made the bed, so far as I'm able with the pillowcases and bedspread still out on the line.

I've been making mental notes of what needs to be done as I've been shuttling around: I really need a peg bag, and that would be a great reason to finally get out and test this sewing machine I bought months ago; and the kitchen & dining room floors need mopping (what else is new). I need to order a clothes line and I did find a rotary-style line which will probably do. Nothing as nice as my old Hills hoist, but about $400 cheaper if I plan to get it in this country.

I really REALLY need to go through the kids' school work again; especially the language arts because that is the subject they are least likely to understand from the written directions. I still don't quite know how to balance the household needs with the schoolwork needs as well as the little-kid needs and it is a constant race and tug-o-war between the duties at hand. So maybe I will put that on my list for tonight. We'll see....I am usually running well out of energy by about 5pm; and pretty much a vegetable after dinner. Well, I am 5 months pregnant after all. And no spring chicken either :-)

So now, it is just after 2:30, and someone has JUST rung the doorbell.

We still need to do science -- the children really do need my help with that, and it is getting into the afternoon, so that is the next thing on the (non-scheduled) list to do.

So, Miss Rose made a sign for the door -- "Please do not ring the doorbell, baby needs to rest, thankyou for your kindness." Or something to that effect.

I folded more laundry, put away the dishes from the dishwasher and loaded up the dirties from lunch, worked on science with the older kids (learning about habitat, extinction and endangered species today), and "representational mathematics" with Jr Spragus (drawing certain numbers of certain shapes), made another pot of tea and served up some molasses cookies to the kids who were still finishing up school work. Then I sat down for a little bit with the photos, but Baby woke up so I put everything away and put the beans for tonight's dinner on to cook. Now it's time to get the last load of laundry off the line, and hope that it's dry and not too dirty from the line.

Daddy has an appointment today after work but he should be home soon.
Daddy came home with good news -- his blood pressure has dropped to perfectly normal (the doctor had wanted to prescribe meds for his borderline high blood pressure, due to his strong family history of heart disease; but we asked if we could try with exercise and diet -- it's working!!).

I did a few more odd jobs around the house and fixed dinner -- a vegetarian Italian beans and pasta, which is one of everyone's favorites. I had a lovely little round loaf of sourdough bread in the freezer which I thawed and then baked in the oven to crispy hotness. Now the children are helping to clear the table, and I am deciding whether or not to go to the library, since I have a few books due. I think I might. It would be nice to get out for a while. I find that being busy around the home all day makes me a little stressed by the end of the day, even when things go perfectly well, and that getting out for a little while helps to clear my mind and put things in perspective. So I guess I'll go.

Hiya Hannah! Thanks for commenting! LOL.

Well, it's just after 10pm and I've been chatting to hubby who reminded me that he IS taking a diuretic to help with his blood pressure. Now, to get him off that, as far as I'm concerned.

I'm not doing anything else tonight. Went to the library and got a couple dvd's -- one about the Shakers and two Manor House series. Took the long way home and enjoyed the drive with peace, quiet and radio all to myself. In the meantime, Daddy led devotions with the kiddos and cleaned up the dining room.

So, the peg bag didn't get sewn and the floors didn't get mopped, but everyone is happy and in bed -- except me. But I'm heading that way.

I have a big day tomorrow. I'll give you all some news then! Thanks for sharing a day in the life of us!


This corner needed to be Mamma's Space.
And Mamma's space needed to contain Mamma's stuff, in this bookshelf -- currently the homeschool bookshelf in the family room.See?
Now Mamma's area has a rocking chair, a pretty table appropriated for Mamma's use and graced with a vintage linen tablecloth and candle, and most of Mamma's art and craft supplies and sewing machine.

It needs a soft rug underfoot between the rocking chair and bookshelf, and the whole room needs a very large, bright rug to go in the middle for baby to play on comfortably.

There is plenty of room on that giant table for schoolwork, projects, and Daddy's baby plants. :-)
Aaaah. The Moey Shui has much improved.

Fun For Today

Our wonderful little climber is part of the reason for this:

Being in a house so very large has its advantages and disadvantages. One advantage is that there is a lot of space in which to stash stuff that is in the way or can't be used at present.

One disadvantage is that every spare space now has a stash.

The sunroom has proved to be no exception.

This poor sunroom -- well, all the extra furniture is from our (now very bare) family room. We had to move the furniture out because Baby is a climber-and-faller. He tipped over the rocking chair, and fell off every other piece of furniture; and rather than having to chase after him every other second, we removed the furniture. To the sunroom.

But it's spring!!! And the sunroom (which at present also serves as a greenhouse for our new and spindly vegetable seedlings) could be well used for school and crafts and just plain ol' sittin' in on warm, rainy days like today.

So my pleasure today will be to make this room a little more inviting and comfortable for us all. I'm ready to get started.


I'm over my grump about spring cleaning and schedules.

Aren't you glad?

I got such good news last night, and the whole world should be happy with me!

I'll pass on the good word I got, later.

Have a lovely day!

Thoughts on Schedules

I've been doing a lot of thinking about schedules the past few days.

The last full MOTH schedule I made was about I'd say 8 weeks ago or so.

I made it up, parceled out everyone's time into their respective fragmentary slots, and stuck it out in the binder for everyone to see and appropriate unto themselves.

"I do not know why you do this to yourself," said hubby. "Every time you do these schedules you end up stressed and burned out."

"Ah, but you see," I explained, "if I can get to the point where we actually keep to the schedule, I won't be stressed or burned out. Look, it's perfectly balanced and enables me to get everything done that I need to do."

"Starting at what time of the morning?" says wise hubby.

"6:30" says me.

Hubby chuckles, shakes head, walks away. I know what he's thinking, but it WILL work this time. I have experience from all the previous failed attempts under my belt. A little bit of everything, every day, and the tasks will be accomplished, and my house will be orderly, and the kids will miraculously keep up with every last bit of their Sonlight schoolwork, including all the incidentals and extracurriculars, and baby will nap at the appropriate times, and I will get exercise, and Bible study, and I will not burn out or stress out. Not THIS time.

It worked for about two days. By the end of the second day of interruptions and time-failures I was feeling stressed and burned out.

For some reason, the act of having to keep to a schedule wipes out every last bit of enjoyment in my life as a homemaker. I realize everyone may not be like me. But those people who insist and promote that a schedule is THE way to go, need to realize, likewise, that everyone else is not like them.

Today, I made the final decision to ditch the schedule once and for all.

Today, I got up at a reasonable time, made my way to the shower, got dressed, made breakfast, helped with the schoolwork, cleaned out the old stuff in the fridge, made vegetable stock and applesauce, made a big chocolate cake with the three year old, made lunch, pre-prepped dinner, did some cleaning, tossed some old freezer burned ice cream and bread out of the freezer to make room for fresh we were given today, got the kids to do their chores, surfed the net a little bit, made vegetarian chili with tempeh (a new food for us), ate dinner, and now I'm here....

and I did it without a schedule. I didn't "fall behind" on anything. I didn't stress that there were veggies-that-needed-to-be-made-into-stock-but-if-I-do-that-then-I-won't-have-time-to-do -other-things-on-the-schedule-for-today; the laundry hasn't piled up to head height; the house is pretty much the same today as it was yesterday, which is to say, liveable; I used my eyes and my other four senses to determine what needed to be done today and I did it.

Oh yes...and I did enjoy quite a few very nice cups of tea, properly brewed and kept piping hot under the tea cozy I made yesterday, which also was NOT on the schedule, but will be enjoyed for a long time to come.

I plan to get up tomorrow, at a time when I am not likely to spend the day grumpy or exhausted, use my eyes and my other four senses to determine what needs to be done, and quite simply, do it.

And by golly, if there is 75 degree weather and a spot of sunshine that needs to be enjoyed tomorrow, then that will definitely be on my non-schedule.

A Gift

What I did Today Instead of Spring Cleaning

Spring is the time for growth and creativity.
It's the time to plant seeds and watch them grow.
It's the time to enjoy green and colorful things.

What We Did Monday Instead of Spring Cleaning

We smelled the magnolia tree in full bloom.

We admired stinging weeds.
We dragged the dining table outside for lunch in the balmy breezy sunshine.
We had a nature scavenger hunt.

Baby got to enjoy the outdoors for a change, instead of taking a nap inside.

We peeked at Mamma.
We tested the square foot garden enclosures.
We did not regret Not Spring Cleaning and we never will.
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