10/26/11

Assisted Wallking


She has finally decided to take some measure towards walking and will walk assisted if forced.  She can, however, go up and down the stairs all on her own.  Oh, and I did immediately remove the marble from her mouth.  And the toddler was okay.

video

Relaxed Lunch


This is not normal for our house.  All meals, snacks are eaten at the table.  But, he just finished a stressful situation with his brothers and needed some down time.  So, while his brothers remained downstairs building Lego, he vegged and sandwiched on the couch. 

Never, ever, ever, wash and DRY a diaper!

Last week was a busy week.  Busier than normal.  The floor was installed Wednesday and we had to be out of the house the entire day.  So, with my mom's house as our hub, we went Hazelnut picking in the morning and to our swim lessons in the afternoon.  We arrived at our house after dinner.  The floor is gorgeous.  Thursday morning was more relaxed, for the kids. I had an entire house to clean for my first home school co-op on Friday and then a large Turkey dinner on Sunday.  The morning cleaning extravaganza was followed by our first choir practice - which reminds me of some songs that we are supposed to be learning and aren't.  oops.  Thursday night, I was informed by our contractor that his subordinate would be at the house the following day to trim.  WHAT!  My husband kindly let them know there would be 30 people running around the house.  They chose to hold off a day.  Phew.  Friday saw 17 kids and 5 moms gather in the house for "show-and-tell" and drama.  We had a blast.  The kids were great.  Surprisingly little mess was made.  These kids prefer to be outside when possible.  Ya.  Saturday was spent cooking and preparing for the 16 person Turkey dinner.  And Sunday was the event, which was our least stressful large gathering dinner to date.

During the co-op I received a call from my husband.  I assumed he was calling to see how the house and I were holding up with all the people.  I said that things were great and the builders had decided not to show, so some of the stress was relieved.  He was happy to hear that.  He then suggested that I may want to rewash the last of the 5 loads of laundry that I had washed the previous day and had left in the dryer because I had accidentally washed and dried a diaper with it.  Um, okay.  And, yick.  That was the end of that conversation.  After all the kids left, I headed down stairs to rewash the clothes.  As soon as I opened the laundry room door I knew I had a problem.  The urine stench was over powering.  I rewashed the clothes, opened the window and left the dryer door open,  This did not help.  When the washer beeped done, the smell was still there.  I took a closer look and the dryer was coated with urine diaper glue.  Ick.  Not wanting to deal with it yet, I closed the door and left.  This is how I problem solve.  I have to walk away from the problem and ponder the situation.  When my husband arrived home from his 3 day leadership course that night, he said that he had to quickly get his clothes off.  Ahhhh.  Ick, again.  He irons his clothes in the dryer and ended up smelling like urine the entire day, confined in a room with 11 people, learning about leadership.  Oops. 

A few days ago, I was telling ,my sister, who just had a new baby, to never, ever dry a diaper.  She burst out laughing when I told her about my husband's predicament and said, "Follow me, I smell like pee!"  Sorry, babe.

PS.  A smearing of Pink Solution, a wipe down, and then a drying with a very wet blanket washed in pink solution solved the dryer smell problem.

10/22/11

Bath Time

This doesn't happen any more.  The bath is too small.  The kids are too big.  Usually I divide and conquer: littles first, twins second.  But I figured I had to get at least one picture of all four of them in there together.

The Reno



This is my new favorite place in the house.  I enter the kitchen and my face lights up.  It is truly Luxurious to have all this space.  The kids are no longer under foot when we eat or I am cooking.  The frustrations are limited because I am not tripping over them.  My parents had a few spare lounge chairs that they let us have and there is nothing better than getting a few minutes in the afternoon sun, drinking tea, and reading a book with one of the kids.  The baby can now see me when I am cooking and happily eats her meal/snack.  The shoes are no longer all over the entry and the dirt is contained a bit better.  There is some major progress happening today as the builders are here all day.  Should be fun.

Hazelnut Picking




This was our first ever hazelnut picking.  We had no idea what to expect.  It turns out there are no ladders involved.  You just pick them off the ground.  In half an hour we picked 8.5 lbs and had a great time.  We had a taste test in the store and bought some Hazelnut Honey - oh, my - Yum.  We got them home, cleaned them, and partially dried them in the oven.  Now they are hanging in nylons on my bedroom door.  We will do this again next year.  The kids love having a bowl of nuts on the counter.  They sit at the bar while I cook, crack nuts, and we talk.  I really do love having my kids home with me.

Mom

The wonderful person who offered us a camera.  Now there will be some colour to this blog again.  Thank you.

10/20/11

Numbers

3 meals prepared
2 snacks
5 loads of laundry washed and put away
8 cups/bottles of pseudo-milk prepared
4 more cups/bottles of milk still to prepare
1 wall primed
1 table put back together, glued, and clamped
8.5 lbs of hazlenuts partially dried in the oven
8.5 lbs of hazlenuts in nylons hanging on doors drying
2 boys taken to choir practice
2 littles dancing to the singing at choir practice
4 cups of tea consumed
2 times I have sat since waking this morning (and did something for me)
1 shower I took
3 showers still to give
1 bath to prepare
5 times I nursed the baby (so I guess I sat a few more times)
2 times I have cleaned the toilet, so far
2 pizzas in the oven for dinner (fake crust, sauce, and cheese - mmm!)
1 loaf of Almond Bread I should have made today and now have to make tonight
1 wall still to finish painting before bed
1 episode of Survivor to watch and then head to bed
Sleep, still a long way away

10/15/11

Life

I think every post during this time of life could be titles: busy or sick.  That seems to be the extent of things around here lately.  At least the sick has not resulted in a hospital stay - ya to our crazy diet and naturopathic/pharmaceutical remedies.  They seem to be working.  I myself have noticed a huge change now that I am on this diet too.  I do not get sick.  I may get a sore throat and a bit tired, but that is the extent of it.  It doesn't seem to matter how little sleep I get.  I am not getting sick.  Wow.  I used to catch everything.  I am starting to realize that I am the one with all these food intolerances and I have passed them on to my kids.  Eeek.  Sorry kiddo's.

I have felt rather uninspired to write of late.  I am finding my head extremely cluttered.  This is a direct result of our very cluttered house at the moment.  I really do like a tidy house and a clean floor to keep my head in the right frame of mind.  But with our reno, the chaos is starting to slip into the rest of the house.  We painted the kitchen and hallway last weekend/this week, so there are pictures and tables crammed everywhere.  We are starting to see an end, though.  The paint is done.  The floor goes in Wednesday.  The counters are getting measured Monday and hopefully put in the following week.  I managed to find the same counter top we currently have, so we no longer have to replace all the kitchen counters.  We just have to replace the main one.  This saved us a tonne of $$.

We have been in full swing school/unschool mode around here.  Trips to the library.  Nature walks.  Farm visits.  Long discussions around the dinner table.  Crafting extravaganzas.  Board games.  I am truly having a blast spending all this time with my kids and am completely in awe of all they are learning.  Twin2 seems to grow his vocabulary by the minute.  He truly enjoys playing with words.  We were down at the beach park the other day swinging on the the swings when twin1 starts to describe how the lake and rivers are all connected and lead to the ocean.  Wow.  I love this.

The toddler has learned to ride a bike with training wheels, although he prefers his balance bike.  The baby still isn't walking, but she is talking.  She said 'Hi, Da.' to my husband on the phone the other day.

10/11/11

Unplugged Sunday

Weekends around here are usually pretty crazy.  In fact, I have to plan for a day of rest on Tuesdays (our weekend is Sunday/Monday) because the kids need some unstructured down time to just be kids.  Usually weekends are filled with some home fix-up project, especially of late with the reno going on, or a day long shopping trip.  Or my husband and I alternately take up some project that we are working on that can only be done when the kids are busy with the other parent - quilting, painting, gardening, yard work....  My husband and I seldom have nothing on our 'honey-do' list - actually, I don't think I remember a time when it was empty.  As soon as you purchase a house, the list seems to be endless.  Sometimes by the end of the weekend, we are more tired than before it started.

This weekend roller coaster combined with some added pressure from work for my husband to do some schooling has left the kids feeling a bit family quality time deprived.  As we value our children and our limited time together at each stage of their lives, we have decided to unplug one day a week.  No TV, phones, internet, errands, projects - just us.  Time spent as a family, doing family things.  We recognize that this may not happen every week, but if we plan for it and make a valiant effort then hopefully it will become second nature.  We will prep for our family time the night before, or the week before.  Our goal will be to primarily spend this time outdoors, but in the region we live in weather is a factor.  So, we will have to research various events going on in the area. 

I can't wait.  We still don't know when we will start, but the idea is in place.  We have a few commitments to clear from the calendar.  Unplugged.  A new adventure.

10/5/11

Harvest Wednesday

We have been bringing in and storing the last of the local produce.  We picked apples and made 9 quartz of apple sauce yesterday.  Yum.  We picked apples from Grandma's tree.  They are delicious.  Tonight my husband and I have a tomato date.  Yup we are preping tomatoes for freezing.  Funny, I know, since we rarely consume tomatoes - the twins are very sensitive to tomatoes, but love them and can't keep their paws off.  I myself dislike raw tomatoes.  But, in the heart of winter, my husband and I consume a fair amount of curry and some date night tomato pasta.  So, tomato prep it is.  I had read that tomatoes and coconut milk leach the BPA toxins from the cans they are canned in.  So, this is one of those ways we are trying to limit our exposure.  We have not yet found a way around the coconut milk, though.

Today was a normal Wednesday.  We read a lot of books today.  Played games.  Drank tea.  Lunched.  Had swimming lessons.  Picked out books at the Library.  Grocery shopped.  Drank smoothies.  Made pattern block pictures.  Washed 5 loads of laundry and put 3 away.  And still the day is not done.  As I was sitting on the library carpet chatting with a mom, waiting for the toddler's swim lesson to complete, I realized this was the first semi-break of the day.  A typical Wednesday.

Tomorrow - hair cuts.  Yick.

10/1/11

Life

Things have been busy around here...when aren't they busy.  Construction continues on the house.  At this point, I am not sure when it is going to end.  Our contractor has grand ideas, but seems to have difficulties bringing them to fruition.  I expected the project to take awhile, but the space just sits there calling me to utilize it.  Especially in the afternoon when the sun shines in and warms everything.  I just want to curl up in there and read a book in the sun.  We have finally ordered the floors, so completion, of the inside, will take about another month.

We have been slowly settling into our homeshool routine, very slowly.  This week we strayed a bit because everyone took turns with a cold.  So we spent a lot of time relaxing, watching movies.  It is hard to keep the boys confined, though.  Around 10am each day, they end up outside 'building' in their play house - really this means destroying things and hammering wood with nails, but they are having a blast.  We headed out for our usual after dinner fresh air bike/walk and the twins had a bit of an asthma relapse, which of course extended into the night and are still recovering from.  The cold and the strain on their respiratory system was a bit too much - oops.  Alas, I recieved strict instructions from my husband to not let them outside today.  Easier said than done.  These guys are goers.  Usually, they only sit for about 45 min at a time and then only if the TV is on.  (This, of course, does not include book reading because for that they will snuggle until my voice disappears.)  Thankfully, my husband ran to the movie store before work this morning and picked up a stack of movies.  This may keep them  inactive for a few hours?!?

As I was saying, we are slowly settling into our school routine.  Wednesdays and Fridays find us out and about: library and swim lessons on Wednesday afternoons and co-op on Fridays.  That leaves Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturdays for 'homeschooling'.  I say this loosely, because I leave the school part for the kids to lead.  Usually, I wait until they find something they want to try.  One day they pull out the book of science experiments and we flip through and pick something to try: balloon rockets and soap crystals so far.  Or they pull out a game to play, focusing on following instructions, taking turns, colours, numbers, letters.  Or, the shape tiles are brought out and we make huge pictures on the kitchen table.  Or they ask to craft.  If no directions is taken by the kids, then we sit and read books, which takes place daily.  Once a week we read a few bible stories.  One of the three school days also includes some outdoor outing: hike, zoo, museum, tour....  Daily, the kids have chores, cleaning the downstairs, putting away their dirty laundry, putting away their dirty dishes, and/or cleaning up some huge mess that has occurred as a result of their self directed learning.  Also, they help cook one of the three meals each day.  Oh, and don't forget the constant character development that takes place - constant.  "Patience," seems to be uttered from my lips hourly.  Learning is constantly taking place, thus, I use the term 'school' rather loosely.  There may not be any scheduled sitting around the table, but if you were to write down all the learning that takes place, I am sure it would rival most kindergarten classrooms.

The baby has decided to change things up a bit lately.  She spent three days refusing to nurse.  When I offered a feed, she would bite me.  I have to say I was a bit crushed.  I was not prepared for an abrupt end to our one-on-one time.  I am so busy with the other kids that nursing offers the baby and I some carved out time together.  I cherish that time we have.  I had been talking about slowly introducing a bottle of Almond milk to see how she would do and allow me to start heading out of the house on my own, but I was not prepared for the transition to take place so decisively.  So, after feeling rejected and missing our calm moments together, I decided to persevere.  After 3 days, I am happy to say she has returned to nursing as usual.  She did catch the cold that we have been passing around, so perhaps she wasn't feeling hungry.  I have to say I appreciated the reality check, though.  I was starting to feel too tied down and was ready to start weaning, now I know I am not ready.  Those few minutes here and there spent just with my baby girl are too special.  I do now know that she is happy to take a bottle and has no problems digesting Almond milk, so I have scheduled my first outing sans-baby.  Eeek.  The twins and I are heading out to watch a play at a nearby cultural centre tomorrow afternoon.  I am looking forward to not juggling an infant around, the twins are excited about some time with just Mom, and Dad is excited about some time alone with the littles.

And not to forget my toddler.  He and I have been spending a lot of time together.  When the twins head out of the house to play and refuse to let the toddler play, I take him under my wing and we cook, read books, puzzle.  He has such an amazing personality.  He is constantly seeking out attention in weird and wonderful ways.  He is wild, WILD, and will try anything once.  He is stubborn and extremely structured.  Once a routine is introduced he doesn't forget.  He is constantly trying to reason out the order of the world.  His current question involves pointing something out and asking, "For me? For brothers?  For Dad?  For You (Mom)? For peoples?"  Adorable.  He is extremely affectionate.  When I sit on the couch he always sidles in close for a snuggle.  And he prominently takes the seat on my lap during book time.  He is very quirky and wonderfully original.  I have never seen anyone be able to use their eyes so expressively.  He could tell an entire story just with those big eyes.  And his laugh lately.  He has developed an evil laugh lately.  I'll have to record it and put it up.  Too funny.

It's funny.  A month and a half ago, I could not have fathomed how anyone 5 year old could be ready to head to school and spend an entire day without their parent.  Over this last month, though, I have noticed the twins slowly transitioning away on their own.  They head outside and play in the their playhouse for hours, or dig in the dirt, or ride bikes in front of the house, or build trains in their room, or build Lego, or race cars - all without me and without any guidance from me.  Although, I do not agree with all day kindergarten, I can see that 5 year old do start to seek out independence and perhaps are ready to head to school.  I absolutely do not regret keeping my kids at home.  At this point in our lives public school is not for us, but I now understand why 5 is the age it all begins. 

I noticed this one Friday during co-op.  We had a Guide volunteer to introduce us to the world of foraging: identifying edible plants, names, uses.  The Guide was introduced, we headed off and my kids stuck pretty close, insisting on holding hands as we walked.  Once the Guide introduced the first plant, twin1 was gone.  He attached himself to the Guide and I did not see him until the end of the walk.  Even then, he remained alongside the Guide while plants were cleaned and prepared to eat.  Independence.  He even found his own wild ginger to bring home and turn into tea, which he did later that afternoon.  He boiled the water, cleaned and cut the root, and steeped the tea for all of us to enjoy.  Then we sat around the table and enjoyed the fruits of our labour.  A wonderful, wonderful moment in my life.  To think, we may never have had this opportunity had the twins been sent to school.  No regrets.