20 September 2020

Yard Work Weekend


It's a good week when you start with Master Shifu noodle moustaches at dinner on Sunday and end with yardwork on Saturday. The kids have made noodle 'staches for years now, it's still funny. Justin mandated Sunday as my day of rest from dinner dish duty...it's about time. I'm quite enjoying the break from dishes, seems like I was put on dish duty shortly after I turned 8. This week the skies were filled with dreary smoke from all the fires on the west coast. It's hard not to equate half of California burning with the judgements of God. Thankfully, there are still God-fearing people who live there or that state might drop off the earth. 

Last week we finished our unit on Call it Courage. The boys worked on vocabulary, spelling, geography, and writing a few moments each day last week. I am very excited to start our new literary journey this week with Chronicles of Narnia. The plan is for the boys to put together a lapbook page for each chapter we read of the first book. Grandma Jean said she is reading the series again after many years, she was part of the inspiration. The boys were quite consumed with a new game, Night Zookeeper, I think they played about an hour each day. I quite don't mind them working on spelling, grammar, vocab, etc. Our homeroom resources are slowly trickling in, like usual I went overboard and ordered too many resources. It is nice to figure out what works best for each kid. Evelyn had several dynamite tantrums this week over school and cleaning up her messes. It is exhausting! She doesn't like to work on reading, writing, or math. She did read Hop on Pop and Go! Dogs Go! this week so that was a step forward. I got her test results from the disastrous IRI test last week. She scored dismally, like in the lower 10% in most areas except for letter identification and vocabulary. At least now we know how random that test is, she will improve drastically just reading every day. I joined a trial run of A-Z books and was able to save 40 new decodable books for free. That is enough material for a few months. I keep hoping the library will open for business. 

Monday Evelyn was having a very hard morning. Justin suggested we have a family lunch at Jimmy John's! That cured her funk! Before we left I noticed our new "Nugget" couch was on our porch. It is a very cool piece of furniture with 1 firm base layer, 1 soft layer, and two triangle pillows. The kids can use it to lounge about in our school room, for gymnastics, making forts, and imaginative play. They quite enjoyed playing with it the rest of Monday. The neighbor kids came over for some extra fun. Sunday night the kids were playing some version of four-square with a sword and spells. We are so grateful for the Ostlers. One our way home from lunch we stopped at a kid's consignment store for new church shirts for the boys and possible Halloween costumes. Instead we came home with new rainboots for the kids (except Phillip and his chonky dogs), bath robes for the boys, and stylish vests for Phillip. Everyone is in love with their new rainboots, at least the price was decent at $12 a pair. I assembled two more metal shelves for the garage that were taking up space. They are now between the 2nd and 3rd garage bays to hold the stuff that piles up there like bike helmets, coolers, and other garage extras. I smashed my thumb right on the scar Everett made all those years ago, the scar tissue exploded open again. That hurt! Amelia helped me set up for a newborn session, she earned some school points for her photography class. 

Tuesday was an extra busy day for me. I photographed baby Laney in the morning. I met Sister Potter at the park a few months ago and solicited her business! No shame here! I am so happy she said yes to the session. Laney was a perfect little model, she was super sleepy and poseable. I tried hard to ensure the kids had enough work to keep busy while I was away from the school room. Sarah Ostler took the little girls to gymnastics for me. Justin and I had a counseling session at the same time as gymnastics. I am needing therapy again for issues stemming from childhood sexual abuse when I was between the ages of 8-11. I hate how my issues still leak outside of my control. It's a good idea to seek tune ups from a professional after almost 16 years together. That was of course emotionally draining. I am going to start EMDR  (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) next week. Let's hope I make progress! Justin took Mia and the girls to Choir after dinner. I hear the little girls got treats at DQ while they waited. I photographed an engagement session with one of Jana's friends, Sarah and her fiancĂ©, Brent. The evening was smoky! I got home with time to clean the kitchen and teach the boys their piano lessons. One funny note about Everett. He wore his new bathrobe most of the day...just the bathrobe and undies. I am happy to report he added shorts before going to play with Kyran...still in his bathrobe. 

Phillip had a nerd moment. We were sitting about ready to start our evening devotional. He was dressed with his bathrobe and covered with a blanket. He plopped a toy on his head, declared, "I like Gameshows!" I don't think he's ever seen a gameshow before. So random and funny. We all had a round of laughs and giggles. Next day both boys were seen in their bathrobes (now wizard robes) playing in the yard with Kyran. I'm glad those robes are getting mileage. Phillip had medication review with Dr Aldous. We decided to up his dosage to 2 pills in the morning and if needed one at lunch (for gymnastics and piano lesson days).  

Amelia noticed on Monday that her fitness tracker was not picking up all her steps because she holds onto the treadmill. Next day she tied her watch onto her ankle, did it work? Yep! It picked an extra 5,500 steps! Smart girl. Phillip is going to the gym with us on Tuesday and Thursday when Justin is home working. Phillip had some funky moves on the treadmill...I had to step in and remind him the equipment is not for playing on. We didn't swim this week, it was too busy. 

Friday the kid's Jr Ranger badges came in the mail! Yay! We worked hard to finish the packets, watch the videos, and talk about Yellowstone for a week to earn the badges. The kids wrote part of the email sent to the forest rangers. I love how the Yellowstone badges are embroidered instead of the usual plastic pins we get. Josie had a playdate last week with her new friend Chloe. Evelyn has made several new friends, Scarlett and Grace so was off playing on Thursday. Josie was completely bored. I did a red-neck thing: set up the plastic pool on the sidewalk for her to splash about it. It was quite the attraction for several days. Justin was impressed with the level of nerd in my idea. Josie was happy, me too because she wasn't whining. Clare came over Friday afternoon. I finally got log-ins for educational minecraft this week. Amelia and Clare were totally geeking out the afternoon with their custom Halloween world. They programmed some very nerdy dialogue. Mia had a few set-backs with APEX this week, the curriculum used for Science. It was hard to get everything figured out. All the tests on her end were locked so she missed getting her assignment completed before the weekend. 

Saturday Justin had us all outside working on the yard. It was so pleasant outside. Amelia and I worked on the front yard. We pulled out the ratty carnations and daylily plants. I removed the paving stones to relocate them to the backyard for easier access to the garbage bins when barefoot. We planted over 60 spring bulbs! Josie planted several hycianths, the bulbs were purplish, she renamed the bulbs Jo-jo's Heaven. Because, of course, purple is heaven. The boys were busy in the backyard trimming branches, bushes, and pulling out the dying Oak tree. I had them rip out the ratty plants back there. Once my peony bare-roots arrive those will go along the back fence. I'm curious if raspberries will thrive in the center circle of the backyard? If not I want to plant some along the back fence. Phillip and Everett did their best to rip out the tree with their bare hands! We were busy all afternoon getting things done! We earned every blister and dirty nail. I spent a couple hours planning the education for next week. We are so happy to hear cousin Emmaline was baptized yesterday!