Almost there...

Oh my goodness, what a couple of weeks of yuck. I'll try not to turn this into a complaint filled post but basically, all 5 of us got the flu. It was tricky one because Lucy got it first but her case was so mild (at least until it turned into an ear infection a week later), that I didn't even think it was the flu, just a cold. But no, by the time the rest of it caught it, it was quite obvious this wasn't just a cold. We're all still a bit worn down and some of us are fighting secondary stuff (ear infections, sinus infection, and bronchitis), we are at least on the mend now.

So we've done a whole lot of nothing - no school, bare minimum house work, and not even a lot of cooking. Two different friends brought meals which was amazing and then we lived off leftovers and freezer meals. The problem now is that we are bored. I don't think I've left the house other than to go to doctor since the 16th! And since I am still coughing and weak I don't want to go anywhere quite yet, for other people's sake as well as mine. We went ahead and kept everyone home from church one more week just to make sure but between our trip, a snow storm and being sick, that's 5 weeks of church we've missed. I feel like I haven't seen anyone in forever!

Having said all that, at least the weather has been nice. That meant that when we had a bit of energy, we were able to at least go out to the backyard, Norah and I lying on a blanket while the kids played. Although one time we went out and Lucy and Jonah tried to play but were so tired we all ended up just sitting in the grass looking at each other. And when even that was too much, we just all laid around the living room doing some bird watching and drawing in our nature journals. We are keeping a list of all the birds we see this year and were able to add three new ones just this week!

And Craig had just picked up a new batch of library books for me before the worst hit so Lucy has listen to all of Farmer boy on cd plus she, Jonah and I have been working on a set of books about Asia. So that February school slump I hear homeschool moms talk about so often, well, we didn't have that problem at all!

But I'm ready for March and hopefully a return to normal life. Please March, come quickly!


A Mother's Daybook - February 19

Looking forward to - Getting back into a routine. I accidentally wrote January 19 a second ago for the title. That's how confused I am! The trip was great and we were just starting to get back into the swing of things but now a virus seems to be making its way around. Lucy has gotten it and is better and Jonah is down to just a bit of a runny nose but its hitting Norah pretty hard. Sick babies are so sad. She coughs and coughs and then looks at me with this little watery eyes like "why aren't you doing anything?" She just doesn't understand that I don't stand in a hot steamy bathroom every evening just for fun. Poor thing.

Drinking - Golden Milk. It's a turmeric flavored warm milk drink. There are about a million recipes on the internet but I used this recipe to make a turmeric paste to keep in the fridge. I like the paste kind because turmeric stains and the paste is easier for me to dose out without getting powder all over my clothes each time and supposedly turmeric needs to be heated for several minutes to activate it or something but I use raw milk for mine so I didn't want to heat the milk that long. But a once I made the paste I went rogue and have tried different versions. I think my favorite was 1 cup milk, 1/4 teaspoon tumeric paste, a sprinkle of cinnamon, a sprinkle of nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil and a teaspoon of vanilla (approximately, I didn't really measure anything but the milk and paste). They have all been tasty - and not in a curry way either. I love curry and that's really the only time I use turmeric but it didn't sound like a warm drink kind of flavor so I was a bit skeptical of people saying it has a pleasant subtle flavor but it really does. I started drinking it mostly to see if the turmeric would help my joint pain but even if it doesn't, I still enjoy it. If you try it, let me know what you think.

Reading - I recently finished up Hamlet with a discussion group and was sad for it to end but luckily, Lucy and I will do our first Shakespeare work in a week or two which is really exciting. I'm slowly working me way through Bleak House and am actually enjoying it so far. Perhaps this will be the turning point for me and Dickens? I'm also working on Waverly and have just started Utopia and I really need a nice light read that I can plow through without worrying about going slowly and thinking too much about but the last few I've picked up have not been very good.

Watching - Cheese in the Trap. Strangly addicting. So much so that I actually went and found the manga and started reading it while I was waiting for episodes to be available. At least until I lost the version with the english translation which is kinda important for me. Craig also convinced me to watch The Martian with him which wasn't bad and I convinced him to start the BBC version of Bleak House which I thought wasn't bad but seemed to leave him a bit underwhelmed so far. He's got 15 episodes to fall in love so we'll see how long it takes :-)

Sitting - Well, not on the couch. Or at least not as much. I'm reading Katy Bowman's Move Your DNA and its...interesting. I'm not a Katy groupie yet but I can see how it could happen. But I am trying to sit on the floor move and I just may try out the monkey bars next time I take the kids to the playground. Baby steps.

Pondering - Creativity. Let me back up a minute though. I love when the books I'm reading overlap in ideas. Except its probably more that I notice the ideas in other books once God has brought it up in my mind with the first. But either way, I didn't set out to read about that idea but it keeps popping up. The Art of Life, a compilation of Edith Schaeffer's writings, which I've just begun and How Now Shall We Live, which I've been reading slowly for several months now, have both contained passages in this week's reading about creating and how it isn't something we are just allowed by God to do, but compelled by God to do. It's part of our legacy as people creating in His image. We are made to create and be creative and that is, in part, how we share God with the world. Crazy thoughts there!

I don't really think of myself as a creative or artistic person. But this got me thinking about the ways I do express my creativity. Home decorating is one of those ways. In the past I've maybe felt bad spending my energy on that when energy is at a premium. Shouldn't it be something that waits until the kids are all sleeping through the night and I'm able to mop the floor more than once a month?  But its something that fills a need in me for several reasons, creative expression being one.  So it's a godly desire. Of course, that doesn't give me license to go beyond my God-given resources of time and money. But that only adds a new dimension to being creative! On our trip we visited my brother and sister's house in which they have a gallery wall. Craig was quite smitten with it and asked if we could do something similar. He rarely has opinions about my home choices, at least if they involve work on his part, so I jumped on the idea. We are working together to see what we can come up with and I'm enjoying it. While I'm not the type who can create beautiful paintings, I can definitely appreciate the ones I'm finding (mostly free printables on pinterest combined with family photos and things we have stored).

The idea of creativity also has implications in our homeschooling choices. I'll save those thoughts for another time because this is getting long and nap time will be ending soon but now that it's on the brain, I'm seeing the idea pop up everywhere. I love pondering deep thoughts. Creativity. A gift from God. Think about it.


Things I love: Shirley Hughes's Books

The kids are on an Alfie and Annie Rose kick and I don't mind because Shirley Hughes is one of my favorite authors to read aloud. I know a picture book is a favorite when 1) I don't mind reading it multiple times a week day and 2) if for some reason we lost our copy, it would immediately go on a re-buy list. Both of these are true for everything I have read by Shirley Hughes so far. And this isn't a criteria but Norah's nickname (Norah-bora doo-la) comes from one of these stories and a book becoming part of your family culture is always a good sign too.

I feel like she is underappreciated here in the US. I could just be projecting be because, despite by love of children's literature, I hadn't even heard of any of her works except Dogger until a few years ago. I hope that's the case because her books deserve to be well know and I'm sure well known will lead to well loved.

Dogger is the one I had heard about and it is really good. It's been a favorite for several years now. Jonah has told me he loves his baby cow like Dave loves dogger. Any child that loves his stuffed animals will appreciate  Dave's strong feelings for his. I also love how this story depicts siblings.

But we really really love Alfie and Annie Rose. We have three different Alfie and Annie Rose Compilation books and they all get read regularly.

The stories are sweet and simple but fun. They are filled with the types of things your regular preschooler might be dealing with - worrying about going to birthday parties without your mom, buying new rain boots, going for a walk and seeing some sheep and the excitement of a pipe leaking! She does an amazing job at capturing a small child's world.

And the illustrations - lovely. They are full of little details like messy floors covered in toys or untied shoelace ( and of course, Craig's favorite, the dalek!)

We own all of the ones pictured above, although our version of Alfie's treasury is slightly different. Ousr is a hardcover with only four stories so we still need to purchase the last three separately but of the ones I showed, none of the stories should be repeats. It was a little unclear when I bought mine if that would be the case. Once we have those three, we'll start on her other stories. I'm pretty sure they will be just as good.


To and Fro

I promise this is the last trip post as I'm sure you are all tired of hearing about it, unless you are a relative and then you probably like the excessive kid picture posts. 

We aren't very fast travelers. Our current limit for the day is about 7-8 hours. By which I mean, 7-8 hours of google maps time, which takes us about 12 hours. But we stop a lot. We try to get a good three and a half to four hours driving and then plan a big fun stop where we get out for at least an hour and really move then we start driving again we feed the kids and they are normally ready for a quiet time if not an actual nap. And it worked out pretty well because while there aren't a whole lot of places to stop between Albuquerque and St. Louis, the few they have are at good spaces - 

Springfield has a fun natural playground area with a homestead to explore and small playgrounds placed around a hike so you can hike, stop and play for a few minutes, then keep walking. 

Amarillo has a quarter horse museum.

And the George Washington Carver National Monument, while a few (motion sickness inducing) miles from the highway, was well worth the mini-detour. He is a fascinating man and I've been looking at picture book biographies to help us learn a bit more about him. It was a bit nippy when we stopped but we still took the hike out around but their inside exhibits were great for kids and we were the only people there so I even let Norah have some tummy time while the kids explored.   








I love this picture because of the story behind it and the fact that its just a random stump on the hike. Lucy had been told to pose so often that she had picked up on the art of it all. She saw a stump, called "Mom, take a picture. Jonah, come here. Stand here" and then just the way she leaned it and posed made me laugh.


And of course, there are always welcome centers (and their gift shops) if you are getting desperate. Jonah and I played "how many animals can you see on the cover of tourist brochures" more than once. 

And that's pretty much how we took a 30 hours road trip with three kids in a small car - and lived to tell about it!


Norah Jane at 4 Months

Dear Norah Jane,

Oh, it's been a fun month! But a busy one!

New Mexico Scenery! Okay, you got me, it was really a mural at a McDonalds but it was in New Mexico.

Chillin' at the Oklahoma Welcome Center. The little old ladies there insisted on your visiting with them for a while and you were happy to oblige after some tummy time.

We've traveled as a family (three new states for you!) but you've also learned how to travel by yourself a bit. You somehow always manage to inch your way down if I put you on a blanket on your back. I'm still not sure how you do it. If I put you on your tummy, you like to rotate, mostly counter-clockwise. And the very day you turn 4 months old, what do you decide you need to add to your list of skills? Rolling over back to front! Which is good because you like to be on your belly.

You also like musicals apparently. We happened to be stuck in a hotel room while the live version of Grease was on and you thought it was a lot of fun.

Norah Jane loves her nature time!

 Grabbing toys is another new skill this month. You mostly just put them in your mouth but you'd rather suck on fingers. Either your own or other peoples. You love to chew on the finger of whoever is holding so much and you drool everywhere. You don't seem fussy about it so I don't think its a teething thing as much as a preference. 

You've finally started to smile more. You're still not as smiley and your brother and sister were but your getting there. And you like to laugh, especially when we tickle you or play finger games. But smiley or not, you're pretty content. You were a great traveler. And very social. I'm still curious as to whether your going to be my extroverted one because you love all the noise and business. People watching is your favorite pastime and you don't mind being passed around.

Your well baby isn't until a few days from now so I don't have stats yet but so I'd say you are gaining enough weight for now. I'm actually nervous about it because this is the point where Jonah started to drop off but for now I'm relishing the rolls and trying not to worry. But worrying is what mommy's do best. I can't help it, you're just my favorite baby girl right now!


A comparison at four months

And me!

Nature and Relaxation

Saturday was our busiest day. We visited the aquarium, the botanical garden and the zoo in the morning and did old town and dinner out in the evening. Whew!




We also saw more "wild" nature with our roadrunner spotting in their yard. Here is Lucy's nature journal entry for the Roadrunner we saw. I won't share mine because her's is just as good if not better. Both kids took pictures of some cactus that they want to add to their nature pages next week. 

As I mentioned before, Lucy really wanted to go hiking in the dessert. And Craig wanted to get his natural parks passport stamp at the Petroglyphs National Monument so everyone was happy. Except Jonah who threw a fit because it was Lucy's sunshine day and she got to stamp the passport. But four out of five is not bad. 


He calmed down fairly quickly and they were both excited to be "mountain climbers!"





It may seem like we were on the go for our whole trip, we actually had quite a bit of time to just relax with family, playing games, cooking and watching the Superbowl. 

Jonah really loved their dog crate. Poor Leroy kept having to share his space with Jonah or one of his loveys or blankets. 

Yummy cake! Norah seems a bit upset that she can't actually eat any.



One of the two naps he finally gave into over the week. I'm not sure why he didn't want to take them, its not like he was alone with the pile of loveys he borrowed from his cousin. I guess he just didn't want to stop having fun.