Saturday, May 29, 2010

Where there is no ox...

...the crib is clean; but where there are three little boys, THIS is what I have to deal with WEEKLY!!!

Would you believe I cleaned their room last week and took out a bag of trash. This week I cleaned it again and took out an even larger bag of trash! And this is after they supposedly "picked up" throughout the week. Such is life......

Friday, May 28, 2010

Summer Fun

We had some good old summer fun this week when I took the kids down to our "secret beach" to let them wade in the water. I have such wonderful memories from my childhood of playing in the mountain streams and creeks of central Pennsylvania, where we had no access to proper pools in the summer.

The kids definitely had a blast in the stream.

And it was so peaceful and quiet sitting on a stone watching them.

Laura snoozed away in her buggy in the warm, afternoon heat.

And I took along a pint jar of hot mint tea:

Hopefully we'll get back again soon.

Ever since school let out I've found myself in a rat race to get chores done. I had grand ideas of deep cleaning and organizing during summer vacation, but I've spent the first two weeks frustrated at the little I've gotten done.

I poured over FlyLady and made lists and plans, but find that I'm frustrated and the kids are having no summer fun. So, I think I'm going to have to re-adjust. Except for a few good ideas that will work with my system, I'm going to have to throw FlyLady out the window. I think I will have to be more realistic in my deep cleaning/organizing goals.

This is my only summer to enjoy Laura as a baby, and to have all my kids under the age of 10. I want all of us to remember a fun summer, not a stressed out mother and over-worked children. Somehow I need to find the right balance.

In the mean time, laundry is on hold. Yesterday I told a friend I wasn't minding our broken dishwasher too much (although some late evenings I'd give a lot to have it working again). I was just glad it wasn't the washer that was broken. Well, a few hours later.....broken washer. Sigh. The repairman can't come until Thursday but I'm going to try a sob story and hope we can get an earlier appointment. At least I finally caught up with the last 3 washdays worth of laundry BEFORE the washer broke.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

One Month

Today Laura turned one month! I think the time has gone quickly. We love, love, love our little girl.

We take pictures of all the kids each month of their first year, so this is the first of the "month pictures."

Laura weighed in at 7 pounds, 7 ounces at the doctor's earlier this week. She's still our petite little girl. It just means I get to enjoy the "newborn stage" just a bit longer.

I am thankful that Laura has been a very easy baby so far. Long may that continue!!

And I do have other things to post about.....stayed tuned. :)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Laura keeps us all smiling around here. Now it's time for us to return the favor.

No matter that it's a bad hair day, or that baby acne has hit.... the SMILES have arrived!!!

Lots of them.....
And they are just way too cute!!!!

And I am relearning the skills of one-handed typing and left-handed mouse work. :)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Last Day of School

Last Thursday was our final day of school for the year! 180 days of work completed! I promised the kids a class party, complete with cupcakes, and eaten in our upstairs schoolroom. They were pretty excited! (Grandma sent party hats.)

After school was over we met the two aunts at Trader's Point Creamery to enjoy some ice-cream. Sitting on their garden patio was delightful!

And someone actually took a picture of me!

The kids watched the cows come in to be milked and later went into the milking parlor to see how it was being done.

Our busy day ended with the children's first piano recital. We have found a wonderful teacher for the children who reminds me very much of my own teacher as a teenager and her passion for music is being communicated to our kids. Fortunately, our teacher also teaches violin and viola, so we have plenty of options for the future!

The kids did very well at their recital and even seemed to enjoy it! Andrew can't wait for the next one. And now James is begging for lessons! I guess I'm going to have to try to teach him a few of the basics.....

We are well into our first non-school week. Everyone has new chores and I'm working on a long list of my own. The weather is cool and rainy, but much more pleasant than too hot!

We got the garden planted and two yards of mulch spread on Saturday. May is one of the nicest months in Indiana and everything is so green and lush. If only it could stay this way.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

IN History Books to Recommend

The kids and I have enjoyed learning about Indiana this year in school. While at the homeschool convention this spring I came across two wonderful books that we all have enjoyed. The first is By Freedom's Light by Elizabeth O'Maley.

By Freedom's Light tells the story of a girl in mid-nineteenth century Indiana who struggles with whether or not it is right to help slaves escape on the underground railroad. Before she knows it, she finds herself involved with a slave, slave hunters, and people involved with the underground railroad.

I found this story well-written and compelling, both for children and adults. It is a great way to learn more about life during the Civil War era as well as in rural Indiana. While the book is historical fiction, it does include a number of real-life characters such as Levi Coffin, the most prominent organizer of the Underground Railroad.

Captured by Mary Blair Immel, tells the real life story of a boy captured by Confederate soldiers, taken into battle and subsequently imprisoned at Camp Morton in Indianapolis. It was shorter than the previous book, but also very interesting, especially since it took place here in our hometown.

I would highly recommend these books for adults and children interested in the Civil War time period and Indiana History.

Pictures taken from the Indiana Historical Society website.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mother's Day

I had a very enjoyable Mother's Day on Sunday. The children all made cards, and a banner, and after church we had family and friends here to celebrate. Emily did the hosting and cooked an amazing meal.

I made flower pins for the mothers:

My two girls:
Flowers for the table:
The feast:
Everything was delicious -- especially the deluxe burgers with all the toppings. We also had some amazing drinks, which shall appear this summer on The Cooks Next Door.

The two Lauras:
The "boys" playing: check out how they color-coordinated!

Andrew designed this lego project for me:

Our meal ended with strawberry shortcake:

Only two more days of school! It's getting exciting to think about a bit more free time. Well, free time to do more housework, etc......

Saturday, May 8, 2010

End of the Week

Rachel ended her year of ballet this week with a recital. Michael went and took videos for those of us who stayed home. I was quite impressed with all they've learned and the dance they put on at the end.

And, of course I have to include more pictures of Laura. She's definitely the most popular subject matter for photos just now. :)

I can't believe she'll be two weeks old in a few days!

The weather has taken a turn for the worse here and it's a jeans and sweater kind of day. I need to get out and Miracle Gro my garden, so that there will be hope of actually getting some produce! The peas are looking quite nice and I must get a trellis up for them to climb. I'm hoping to go to the plant store next week.

We have only four more days of school left!!! The kids were good sports and plowed through school while I was in the hospital, despite my having promised that we could take a week off. In return, I've decided on a class party for the last day of school -- since we don't ever do that kind of thing. It will include cupcakes and a measured amount of candy as well as a special project to work on.

A very big thanks to all my friends who have so kindly brought meals to us these past weeks. Wow! We have enjoyed so many delicious foods and it has been very nice not to have to worry about dinner. The kids have enjoyed it too and like to ask "Who made this?".

Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there. I hope you have a special weekend. Laura and I are looking forward to hopefully making it to church this week and spending time with family.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Back to the Books

I must get back to posting about books I've read. I have a number to recommend but will start with this fun little read I started in the hospital last week.

Sweater Quest chronicles the story of Adrienne Martini and her plan to knit an Alice Starmore sweater in one year. If, like me, you have no idea who Alice Starmore is, let's just say she designs incredibly complex, yet beautiful, fair isle sweaters, and there is a lot of controversy surrounding her name.

The book delves into who Alice Starmore is (a somewhat reclusive knitter who lives in the Outer Hebrides), what fair isle knitting is all about, finding yarn, and knitting the sweater, all in the context of someone's everyday life. Throughout the book you are introduced to a number of famous people in the knitting world through visits Martini makes along her journey. I found it fascinating how the author managed to weave so much information about knitting and knitters into a book that is meant to be an easy, fast read. I certainly learned a lot more about the current knitting culture by reading this book.

I would recommend this book for anyone interested in knitting. I think it would be interesting for avid knitters as well as people new to the craft.

(Picture from

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

At Home With Laura

Laura and I were welcomed home by this colorful sign, made by the children:

Here we are, all back together again:

And little John was here to greet his new cousin:

Yay, for all being together!

It is so fun to see the two sisters together:

And little baby feet:

And of course we have to try on different outfits to see how they look:

Laura and I spent our first Sunday at home together, but I still dressed her up:

Because taking pictures is too much fun:

You would not believe how much this girl smiles. I know they aren't "real", but they are just so adorable and frequent.

Sleeping babies are so precious:

If I could just get her to go to sleep tonight...... :)

Monday, May 3, 2010

And Now For The Pictures....

We have been having way too much fun with our little baby!!! I guess it's about time I post some more pictures.

Let's see, we arrived at the hospital last Tuesday around 7 a.m. Can you believe after all my careful planning WE LEFT THE CAMERA BAG HOME!!!!!! I was beside myself until Michael got ahold of a nearby friend and had them drive over right away with their camera.

We were so thankful to have the nicest nurse who shared a lot in common with us. We saw the doctor around 8 and got the pitocin started around 9.

Laura's heartbeat kept the nurse readjusting me, trying to find a position that suited the baby. The epidural arrived at 12:50 p.m., having only gone from 3cm to 4cm from the time we arrived until that point.

The doctor arrived around 1:30 to check on the heartrate problem and discovered we were already at 9cm. She decided to just stay put and get ready to deliver. In the next 10 minutes the doctor rotated the baby's head to the proper position and deftly used a vacuum to get Laura out fast. The nurse and doctor then made quick work of getting the thrice-wrapped cord unwrapped from around Laura's neck. And then she was here!!!!!!

The kids arrived about 1 1/2 hours later, just in time to watch Laura's first bath:

Rachel gets to hold her very own sister for the first time!!!!
And here is Grandma, for whom Laura is named:

The nurses thought the sweet pea hat was way too cute:

James just adores little Laura, as does Andrew. Andrew can't stop telling us how cute she is.

But the boys were also busy taking pictures:

The girls of the family:

So the next two days were filled with sitting in bed, holding Laura, reading, knitting, and watching tv (since we don't have a tv at home: incidentally, I'm glad we don't! Even with cable I felt there was hardly anything to watch!):

I thoroughly enjoyed just staring at this adorable little girl!!!

And this was her going home outfit. You saw the little cardigan before I went to the hospital and I finished up the matching cap while there:

And the proud Daddy:

On our way home:

I have plenty more pictures since we arrived home, but will save them for another post.