So last week I was worn out with the extra work that unexpected messes bring.  Today I'm tired but happy about it.

Yesterday, Jon left very early to go on the church men's retreat.  Our morning at home started out pretty badly (bickering/fighting) and the boys had to go run around the house in the rain (10 times for Noah, 20 for Jonathan).  But that did its job and the morning chores got done well after that. Then was lunch, afternoon chores, special times, not too eventful (which is good!).

Then, the really good parts started! Jonathan had been wanting to make some French bread, and I suggested he make some for his youth group mock sleepover that night.  So, Jonathan got out my Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book. This was his first attempt at making bread by hand, but he had read the directions thoroughly.  His kneading was pretty vigorous ("What's that banging?" I thought from the other room.) but he did a great job.  He started the first rise at 3pm.  I was surprised that he put the dough to rise in a cool place, but he insisted that's what the directions said.  He was right.  Then as I read through, I realized there was no way it was going to be done before his 6:30 start time.  French bread takes a VERY LONG TIME!  So he made graham cracker, chocolate, marshmallow treats. (More)

Posted by Heather Daley on June 8, 2013, 10:59 am | Read 12021 times | Comments (10)
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Thursday morning, we wake up to find mouse droppings and other evidence all over the kitchen.  Result: big kitchen scrubdown.

Friday morning, Noah wakes up to find that the silly putty he fell asleep with is now melted into his pants, sheets, and blanket. Result: big fabric scrubdown.

This morning, the boys wake up with pink, swollen, itchy faces.  It turns out they have been making Indian bows and arrows with poison ivy vines for the bowstrings.  Result: big boy scrubdown.

(We're still in the middle of that.  I haven't yet gone out to spray the loads of poison ivy that turns out to be in their fort area.  And who knows how much poison oil they've tracked all over the house...)

I really hope that tomorrow is a day of rest.

Posted by Heather Daley on June 1, 2013, 10:55 am | Read 9181 times | Comments (5)
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Quote from Vostaas: White Buffalo's Story of Plains Indian Life by William White Buffalo:

"Many Indian boys, and some girls, too, learn to chop wood when they are quite young!  Our mothers do not say, "No! No! That axe is too sharp for you to use!"  They say, "Go chop some more wood.  Is the axe sharp enough?"

Posted by Heather Daley on May 18, 2013, 10:07 am | Read 11855 times | Comments (1)
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Oh, yes.  It has been half a year since my last pocket notes post...

9/6 - Joy says "yum" and "yummy", "all done/gone" (sounds like ah-doh), "where shoe?", and "mine" (sounds like my)

9/25 - Faith reading the Bible to Joy: "When you want Mommy to cuddle with you but she can't, you aren't alone because God is with you."

Faith also reminded herself of this as she went down to put tools away in the basement.

9/28 - Noah let me listen to his piano practice and I was impressed with his progress: both hands, dynamics, steady rythmn  (More)

Posted by Heather Daley on March 19, 2013, 5:16 pm | Read 12175 times | Comments (6)
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We are still working on renovating our new house, and thus we are still living with Jon's generous parents.  And since we are living here, we are schooling here.  But a comment from his mom gave me some insight into some non-homeschoolers' comments about homeschooling.

We usually "have school" up in our bedrooms, since that is "our" territory while we're living here.  But it is not a soundproof house, and so anything louder than "inside voices" is easily heard from downstairs.

Barbara's comment was, "It's not how I imagined it. Actually, it's how I imagined it might be if I was doing it, and that's why I figured I could never do it."

Yes, folks, homeschooling is not usually a calm, quiet, everyone sitting nicely together doing schoolwork experience.  It involves the toddler getting mad that she can't use all of the math manipulatives at once.  It involves the toddler scattering the ones she does use all over the room.  It involves the third grader who hates writing crying about his assignment and questioning (loudly and with a whiny voice) why Sonlight wants to torture the students with Diamond Notes. It involves the new reader kicking the wall when he gets stuck on a word, and wiggling around generally as he thinks about words.  It involves the preschooler begging for more math right when Mom is in the middle of explaining something to someone else.  It involves any one or more of them pushing the beds apart and spilling the covers on the floor during the course of schooltime. It involves multiple people asking for help (or otherwise interrupting) at the same time. It involves Mom losing her patience and yelling.  It involves Mom wondering if she's going insane and on the worst days crying because she doesn't feel like she's good enough.  On the very worst days, everyone cries.  On the best days, only one person cries.  (I don't think we've had a single school day yet where Joy hasn't cried about something during the course of school time.)

And yet, I would say this year is going well.  We are covering Bible, History, Language Arts, and Math.  Noah is learning to read, Jonathan is learning to write, Joy is learning to be patient, Faith is learning letters and writing and numbers.  I'm learning to keep my patience and correct calmly.  They're all (except Joy) memorizing scripture.  They remember much more math than I would have thought based on our very long summer break.    And we're getting our assignments done before noon!

So if you've ever thought, "Wow, I could never homeschool." The answer is, "You can."  If that's what you decide is what is good for your family, you can do it.  If you decide it's not for your family, don't hold up the homeschooling moms as some otherworldly beings who can manage something you never could.  There are plenty of days we wonder if we can manage it at all.  Just like any mom anywhere in any circumstance.

Posted by Heather Daley on September 29, 2012, 9:15 am | Read 63649 times | Comments (7)
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9/19 - Joy  has been telling me when she needs a new diaper (patting her bottom) but this day, she got out the changing pad and wipes, set up the pad on the bathroom floor, put a new diaper on top of the wipes box, lay down on the pad, and called for me.

9/20 - Noah is definitely our hands-on guy.  He asks for crafts related to what we do in school.  When we read a book about archaeology, he immediately wanted to go dig in the back yard.  He got a trowel and a sieve and a container to hold his treasures and happily dug and sifted for a long time.

~9/20 - Joy can say, "ow".

9/25 - Joy put on her own socks all by herself.  Before this, she had successfully put on mine.

9/27 - Joy says "please" to go with her sign.  It sounds like "wee".

9/27 - Sounding the same, but in a different context.  When she plays with the abacus, she says, "wee, wee, wee" as she movs the beads.  9/28 - She also "counted" "wee, wee, wee" when playing with the corners cards.

9/28 - Faith really wanted to play Corners with me, so I made up a version she can do.  (The "real" game involves finding numbers that add up to 5, 10, 15, or 20.)  We played where we had to match the color and the numeral.  Faith loved it! (More)

Posted by Heather Daley on September 29, 2012, 8:24 am | Read 7822 times | Comments (7)
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How do I begin? Not really at the beginning.

June 15, we sold the house we were living in and drove to New Hampshire in two moving trucks and a minivan. (A very hearty and grateful "thank you!" to Ron and Ron for driving the trucks!)

The days preceding that day were extremely full, including two funerals for people from families dear enough that we felt it necessary to carve out the time to spend with them.

We did not technically buy our new house for another couple of days, but it did eventually work out.

We are staying at Jon's parents' house while renovating our new house.  This is for the very most part a good thing.  The only disadvantages we've found so far involve having things in two places.

Renovations are right now at the "rather overwhelming" stage.  There's a lot of work to do and we wonder how it will all get done.

At the end of June, we took a break to spend a week at the Maggie P with lots of family, including the Swiss cousins, and Noah and Joseph had their birthday together.

After we got back, Jonathan, Noah and Faith had two weeks of swimming lessons at the lake.  Jonathan started learning official strokes, and Noah got to the confidence level Jonathan had last summer.  Faith made progress in being comfortable in the water as well, though she still wouldn't put her head under by the end of the sessions.

For the past week, Jon and Noah have been in Pittsburgh finishing the fixing up of Carroll St, and getting some work done for Lime Daley customers.

I've been meeting with a bunch of contractors - plumbing/heating, painter, plasterer, chimney guys. A local college student has been coming over nearly every day for a few hours to scrape wallpaper.  It turns out when you start taking down wallpaper, it just goes and goes and soon you have two whole hallways including staircase of wallpaper to take off.  About four layers of it, too, a hundred years' worth.

Speaking of a hundred years.  Jon took off part of one wall in preparation for building a built-in bookcase, and he found a treasure!  A Mother's Day postcard from 1912, from the Sunday School of Smith Church (Jon's parents' church).  It is really neat.  We're going to copy one side and then frame it with the copy so you can see both sides.

Time to start getting ready for bed.  I will try to post updates more frequently, but it's hard to find the moments. Tonight, I found myself alone with the computer while all the kids were outside playing with the neighbors.  After some grueling looking at curriculum stuff, I thought I'd have a nice little blog time. (:

Posted by Heather Daley on July 31, 2012, 8:00 pm | Read 5708 times | Comments (4)
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4/11 - Jonathan likes to be creative with lunches.  He made dill pickle and mustard sandwiches that day. He liked it.

As I was keeping track of rainbows I was struck by how many days were sunny.  April 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 25

4/14 - Faith's first time successfully saying her name to a stranger.  A major victory! Even still, she doesn't like to do it.

4/16 - Joy's bottom right molar came in

4/18 - We had a very fun afternoon playing family soccer in the back yard.  It started out with rather evenly-numbered teams and then progressed to all of us against Daddy only kicking with his left foot.  He still beat us.  But when we switched goals we managed to get half his score instead of zero.  Then we played "ball soccer" which is basically do whatever you want to get the ball to the goal.  It was a super fun time! (More)

Posted by Heather Daley on May 20, 2012, 11:13 am | Read 8040 times | Comments (1)
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Last catchup ended on the weekend of the fire company banquet.  That weekend was also the beginning of the new adventure.  Two different people called up to ask about looking to buy our house.  No, not the one we're fixing up to sell.  The one we're living in.  Well, ok, I guess you can come see it, but we're not really thinking of moving.  That weekend, Jon is also showing the rental house to someone who might buy it before we finish fixing it up.  Jon ramps up looking online at houses in Hillsboro.

3/12 - Noah and Faith are supposed to be doing chores.  Faith says her hair is getting in the way.  So Noah cuts it for her.  They are both very happy with the results.  I try to remain serious while explaining why this was not a good idea, but have a hard time not laughing. I think I succeeded.  For a five year old, Noah really did a good job.  We did go to a place to get the back straightened out a bit.  And maybe next time I'll try it myself and save the money (not too much doubt on my part that there will be a next time for somebody.)  It is very cute, anyway. (More)

Posted by Heather Daley on April 1, 2012, 11:02 am | Read 6500 times | Comments (10)
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2/6 - Joy went down a whole flight of stairs successfully.  She slides down forwards on her bottom.  Faith was with her this time.  By now, she's an old pro at stairs.

I bought some mini hair clips for Faith.  They are the normal clear, brown, black, swirly brown that hair clips often are.  But as soon as Faith saw the swirly brown ones, she said, "Cool!  Camo hair clips!"  Then she does that macho guy stance that the boys do when they're being or doing something heroic. (:

2/21 - Faith said her whole name with all the correct sounds. (More)

Posted by Heather Daley on April 1, 2012, 10:35 am | Read 5662 times | Comments (3)
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More than a month's worth of notes...

10/3 - Joy's diaper was dry all night long.  She went in the potty three or four times.  This was exciting to me and so the next night I prepared to be diaperless.  I spread a waterproof pad, with towels on top.  But she and I are so wiggly during the night, it was hard to keep the towels straight and then she was cold without anything on her lower half and when she did wet the towels, changing them was a pain.  So, we're not ready to go diaperless yet, but we do have success with pottying in the night.  However, recently (read: several weeks) Joy has been screaming in the night, whether it's changing her diaper or putting her on the potty.  I found that if I'm aware of more subtle movements I can nurse her before she screams (but that is her first vocalization) but I am at a loss for the hygiene part.  Do I just put her in a paper diaperand undo all the work and awareness of needing to go?  Or do I persist in hopes that she'll stop screaming before we both go insane with the sleep interruptions?  I need to go look at forums for suggestions.

10/5 - Joy got her uppder left lateral incisor.

10/5 - Jonathan, "I don't feel like Dad-o is a grandpa, 'cause he still goes up on roofs and stuff." (More)

Posted by Heather Daley on November 13, 2011, 11:12 am | Read 4785 times | Comments (4)
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Recently, I read One Thousand Gifts, which was recommended by someone whose blog I read, but I can't remember who anymore.  It was a beautiful book and has inspired me to be thankful for the little things once again.  (Briefly, the hesitations I have in recommending it: she writes pretty stream-of-consciousness, and though I think she does it well, those who are sticklers for grammar might have a hard time.  Also, it is written for those who are already Christians.)

The premise is that being thankful opens the door to being joyful.  She writes her journey along the road of thankfulness, her progress through the ups and downs of real life.  It is a good reminder.

It takes me back to my first year at college, when everything was new, from living on my own, to snow, to daffodils.  It takes me back to childhood when everything was new.   This must be why Jesus said to become like a child.

People laughed at me in college, because I was no longer a child.  I kept telling them my "snow age" was five, since I had moved away from snow when I was four.  The cynics laughed at me for taking delight in daffodils ("That's what they're called, right?" I asked.)  Taking pictures of the very first light dusting of snow. Freezing my un-mittened hands at the first larger snow but I couldn't keep from playing in it.

I really was more joyful then, though my email signature still holds on.  Gradually, though, I got tired of being laughed at or watched strangely.  I supressed my outer delight and then the inner faded, too.  I want it back!  I will take delight in the little things.  I will slow down to look at bugs with my kids.  I will let myself be thankful and joyful in all these things, and I will not let anyone's laughing penetrate.  Neighbors may think I'm crazy, taking pictures of the first snow (that was today!) again, but I do not care.  Joy is worth it.

We took a snow day from school today.  I jumped around with my kids and took pictures and we dug out the new sizes of snowsuits and Jonathan made a snowman and Noah made slushies (from the railing snow).  It was great!  It was beautiful.

And I'm glad we seized the moment because in the afternoon the snow turned to rain and most of it is melted now.  Children know how to do this and adults are too busy with "matters of consequence".  May I always remember this!

Posted by Heather Daley on October 29, 2011, 1:58 pm | Read 9522 times | Comments (6)
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6/14 - On our camping trip, Faith liked to play Ice Cream Shop.  Her flavors are unique: pineapple hot sauce, strawberry beet, water, to name a few.  After those, I requested just plain ice creams, though she really wanted to put hot sauce on most of them.  We finally settled on a good flavor that I thiink someone should really make: mint chocolate chip cookie dough.

6/15 - Noah,"I thought 'spores' were graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows."

7/5 - After some discussion about what colors make when mixed together, I suggested that Jonathan make a color wheel.  He started basic, with the three primary and three secondary colors.  When dividing his circle, at first he drew in radii, estimating how much space he needed to make sixths.  The next time he did it (when he accidentally colored two pieces red) he drew diameter lines.

7/5 - (I don't remember the context for this) Noah, "Faith, if you see a dead guy with an American flag on him, that means he's an American soldier."

7/6 - Noah can pump himself on the swings.

7/9 - We were talking about milk banks (oh, because I was thinking it might be time to use up the breastmilk I have in the freezer) and Noah, my punster, said, "So do they put milk in the penny rolls?"

7/9 - Jonathan, "I don't know why, but being generous makes me happy."

7/20 - Joy started pushing up on hands and knees.

7/29 - Faith, when meeting someone, "I is my baby sister's big girl."

Faith says this often, when I ask her what she said, "I is just talking to mine own self."

8/12 - Joy started making forward progress on hands and knees, mostly by drawing her knees up and then lunging.

8/13 - Noah, on the boat ride back from Star Island, "Star Island is a special island.  It always brings you back."

8/13 - Jonathan, also on the boat, as he watched the island recede from view, "Mom, I think you gave me some of your brains when I was born, because I recognize a lot of these things."

8/13 - Noah, discussing a word he and Jonathan were looking at, "I thought 'ON' had two 'F's"  A couple of days before, he had noticed "NO" on a cap on the floor and we discussed how "NO" and "ON" are upside down from each other.  "OFF" was also on that cap.  I suspect that he did not understand what we meant.  He knew "NO" and so the other word, "OFF" must be what we called "ON".

We are now home from our very long and mostly fun vacation.  Here's a quick summary.  We went to Madison, OH and stayed on the beach of Lake Erie.  Then Jonathan and Noah went camping with Grammy and Papa on an island in Lake Erie while Jon and the girls and I came home.  Jon picked up the boys on Tuesday.  Unpacking, washing, and repacking.  I sprayed poison ivy in the yard and poked a (not poison) stick into my cornea.  We left for NH the next day, me riding with a pillow over my face the whole time.  Jon and his mom went on a weekend canoe trip, while I stay in bed and the kids play Wii.  My eye, amazingly, is better by Sunday, as the eye doctor had predicted. (Except for some blurrines for which I am going to see him again today to check out.)  A few more days in NH, then to the Maggie P.  The Swiss contingent is there and it is so much fun to meet Joseph in person!  Big Weekend, 7 Wonders, beach bocce, swimming, crabs, etc. Jonathan caught a soft shell crab.  Day trip to Star Island turned into an overnight, then turned into a week.  Jon stayed on the island to help lead the youth conference for the next week.  The kids and I went back to CT to finish our visit with the family.  Driving by myself on a long trip with a young baby is not fun.  Please remind me not to do it again.  Last couple of days at the Mag were sgort and sweet.  We'll miss that little guy (and everyone else, too.)  Back to NH, back to the boat that couldn't seem to get us there, but finally we did.  Lots of fun and yes, even relaxation, on Star Island.  Then back to CT to pack up the sailboat and all the other things that we did not take to Star.  One night in the Flounder, then a long and rainy trip HOME!!!

If I'm not getting sleep because I have a sick baby, at least I can make a post!

Posted by Heather Daley on August 17, 2011, 7:11 am | Read 6090 times | Comments (3)
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Jon was with a bunch of people we don't see often last night, and one of the men mentioned that his wife was discouraged by all these homeschooling mother-of-many type blogs where everyone has all their lives together and nothing goes wrong.  So I thought I'd post how my life is not perfect, though it is very blessed.  I am not a perfect mother, but I'm the best one for my children.  I am not a perfect teacher, but I am the best one for my children.  I am not a perfect homemaker, but I'm the best one for my home.  I'm not a perfect wife, but I'm the best one for my husband. I hope this post is encouraging to other not-perfect moms. (More)

Posted by Heather Daley on May 28, 2011, 10:18 am | Read 26417 times | Comments (6)
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Joy has two hair swirls at the back of her head.  One goes clockwise and one counter-clockwise.  Each of my other children only have one.

5/3 - Joy's two month appointment.  12 lb, 3 oz.  She is developing a birthmark in the upper right of her forehead (can't remember the very long medical term, and interestingly enough, "birth"marks can appear within a few months of birth and not only at birth.)  It's likely to grow to about a nickel size and then recede to be gone when she's about five or six.  When her hair grows out, it should completely cover it.  Her bellybutton finally finished its healing and got the ok. (More)

Posted by Heather Daley on May 19, 2011, 6:57 pm | Read 2741 times | Comments (1)
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