Monday, October 22, 2007

Seventy Five Degrees!

It's a rare treat that we have such great weather this late in the year. So we took advantage of it and headed to the beach today and had a great time. Robyn and her kids are visiting so they came along, too. We intended for them to just play in the sand and not get wet...(ya, right) so we didn't bring their swimsuits, but instead they ended up swimming in their clothes....though we did bring a change of clothes for everyone.
On the way home we needed gas and Harrison asked to pump...."Yes, fill it up, please." And he did.
I am way too tired. I will finish this post tomorrow.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Summary of the Day

I don't mean to bore you all, but for my own personal reasons I'm going to write a few random thoughts.
The kids started to rake the leaves today and cleared a small spot in the yard.
We had to rush out the door to go to the store to bring Mike his keys because he locked his keys in the car. Caleb was sitting up front (the law says not until 12 yrs. but when we have Mattea we don't have a choice) and he asked me to open his Ensure shake. I took it from him while still being able to steer (this Mom has the multitasking thing mastered) but he assumed that he should take the wheel, so he reached for it and I said "I got it." Then it occurred to me....HUH? Has he seen Mike and I doing that for each other? It just struck me as being so weird that he would do such a thing. I'm sure he was just trying to be helpful and doesn't understand the experience needed to "share" the wheel in a safe way. I am still perplexed about this one. I explained to him that when he sits up front (I don't know HOW our parents did makes me so uptight to have a kid upfront) he is not allowed to touch anything. Not even the radio. I am not on a power trip, it is just so distracting to me and I don't think he understands the "up front" rules. I never really explained them to him, either. I guess I oughtta.
I put in a huge order to Rainbow Resources last night. I also ordered some cool new things from Home Science Tools. I wonder if the kids will enjoy dissecting the cow eye ball.
The laundry is about 70% done....I mean, it is all washed. done i mean put away. That hasn't happened for a couple months. I will do the rest of it tomorrow if I can fit it in between the curtain hanging, raking, hearing aid research and the pumpkin carving.
The legislature is meeting in mid November to decide whether Medicaid should pay for hearing aids for the elderly. Laurette (Mike's 94 year old aunt whom we love very much) has severe hearing loss. When I was doing the research as to how we can get her help, someone told me about the meeting and said they are looking for people to share their stories to help get this passed. So my wheels started can I incorporate this into homeschool? Here is what I came up with....Laurette can dictate her story, Lundi can write it and Caleb can read it to the legislature. What a great introduction to politics, don't you think? And if this bill doesn't get passed, we are going to have a fund raiser to pay for the hearing aids. I wonder how many chocolate chip cookies it will take to raise $2,000. Anyway, we decided that this will be our big service project for the year. The kids are all on board.
I really have to get to bed...I am making so many errors. It's kinda step forward and two steps back.
Goodnight all. Dormez bien.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Eleven Years

Our anniversary was Friday. We have been married for eleven years. We went away together and it feels like we just got married....again. The last time we went away sans enfants was when Harrsion was a baby. He is six, my friends. It has been way too long. Can I just say how refreshing it was to focus on just my husband. No interruptions, no crying babies, no meals to prepare, no conflicts to resolve and no time commitments. Wow! I feel like a new woman, a cherished wife and a better Mom.
We left Friday afternoon after Mike got done at the hospital. We had a wonderful time. We took a long walk on the beach, talked like we were newly weds (without interruption), went on a sunset harbor cruise, visited Spring Point Lighthouse and the best part....had Indian food for dinner on Saturday night. We love, love, love Indian food.
Here are a few pictures from our "Honeymoon" as the kids call it.....

I feel relaxed when I look at these pictures because they remind me of sitting on the beach, which is one of my most favorite places on earth.

This is where we sat and talked for hours.

Here is the love of my life....

Saturday evening we went on a harbor cruise.

In this picture you see Portland Headlight in the background. The lighthouse in the foreground is Spring Point.
This is why they call it a "sunset cruise"..................

The colors were stunning. Mike and I have talked alot about living on an island some day. The problem is, the only way to go from the mainland to the islands is one of these boats to take you there and most people don't have a car on the island, only on the mainland. Can you imagine how many trips it would take to get ALL of our stuff out there? So we decided to wait until some of our kids were up and out....or atleast until they don't need so much stuff (like baby equipment).

This is what it looked like on the way back. Casco Bay looked so pretty all lit up.

Sunday was a great day, too. We admired the foliage..........(some more)

visited a cemetery and walked out on a pier to this lighthouse. This is Spring Point....up close.

The pier is about one tenth of a mile long.

This one was taken from underneath the lighthouse...

This trip did us both a whole lot of good. Infact, so good that when we came home to this disaster......(which was NOT here when we left)

Yes, this is infact a squished and trapped piece of cinnamon toast on the floor. (Am I raising heathens????)

............We laughed about it, cleaned it up with happy hearts and happily greeted our precious children when they came home from church.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Finding Balance

I have weaknesses. I have shortcomings. I have limitations. I have obstacles. I have needs. I have challenges. All of these come with being human.
I also have the Savior who has promised me that I will never be given any of the above without a way to over come them. I spent most of the day being referee, mediator, time-out enforcer, deal maker and protector of these six children.
The kids have been fighting....alot lately. It always seems to intensify when Mattea arrives. So today I called a family council to try to get to the bottom of it. So we used the usual method....whoever had the Strawberry Shortcake doll (we have used various items, today that doll just happened to be handy) gets the floor. Meaning nobody else can speak or interrupt. So each person was asked what their concerns/complaints were and I wrote them down. We started with Mattea (since she often feels like the outsider), she said this:
She feels like nobody listens to her. She is an only child and I think she has a hard time adjusting to so many other kids that act like her Sib's.
She can't get what she wants. Her words...not mine. What I think she meant is that she has none of her own stuff at our house so everything she chooses to play with has a chance of being taken away by the owner. Seemingly impossible to overcome to a six year old, so she resorts to screaming. I step in when I deem it appropriate, or try to model an appropriate tactic. She is very responsive to this sort of advice, just sometimes forgets to practice it.

Caleb doesn't follow through when he tells her he will do something for her or let her play with something. (This was in context of the moment. He had told her that he would save her a piece of soap so that she could make a soap boat). I see their relationship strained somewhat in the last couple of months. There are many contributing factors to this problem. Last night after achievement days they sat out in the car and talked like they used to. I know that was good for them. Mike and I need to provide things/time for them to spend with just each other so they can maintain their strong bond. I know they miss each other.

Mattea wants to monopolize Lundi. Of course. Lundi is the most like her out of all the kids. She likes to have Lundi to herself and Lundi likes to have Mattea to herself. These conditions are not exactly ideal for a ten year old boy who wants to be included.
Lundi never likes Caleb's games. Reading between the lines, I can figure out that this means that he wants to choose the game sometimes and he often feels outnumbered.
The four of them (C,L,M&H) never cooperate. This is true. Trying to collaborate four different wills without matured negotiation skills is too much for him, though he does his best. He is getting alot of practice.
The other kids get in his stuff when he isn't there to guard it. (Lego creations and stuff like that) I thought of maybe getting him a locking cupboard or something to keep his special stuff in. It must be tough being the oldest.
When he is trying to get the other kids to obey the rules, they don't listen. Mike always summarizes this scenario by saying "Don't send the ice cream man." In other words, Caleb has no authority as far as they are concerned and they don't have to listen to him. (Mommy and Papa are the only "police" in this house). Yet Caleb feels responsible for them because he is the oldest.

Caleb being inappropriate. This is another one that was in the context of the moment. Earlier today Caleb was mad at him for wrecking his submarine that he had made out of a cardboard box, so he showed Mattea his (Harrison's) underwear. Harrison was embarrassed and felt like Caleb was using his "Big Brotherhood" to annoy him. And he was, that is clear.
Movies that have a bad influence, or put trash in his head. "101 Dalmatians" has been the flick of the week around here. They have watched it every day after school. I had forgotten about the questionable words that the three main characters use when talking to each other. They are very crude and disrespectful. Harrison said "shut-up" today several times and that isn't allowed in our house. Needless to say, he got in trouble. It did not occur to me that he had picked it up from the show, until he expressed this as a concern. I thought it was very grown up of him to recognize that the movie had put "trash in his head" and that we shouldn't watch it any more.
Feeling left out. He has so much against him in the day to day play. He is younger, a boy and is not good at compromising. He also prefers physical activity (running, wrestling, riding bikes) and when the girls want to play dolls, dress up or baker, he just doesn't know what to do. Caleb just goes and builds with Lego's if he can't win the girls over to play what he wants. Harrison has not quite figured this one out. All in due time, my son.
People accusing him of things he didn't do. Harrison is pretty honest. 99% of the time he tells the truth. It is his "favorite way to follow Jesus." When others don't believe him, he gets hurt. It breaks his heart. He is often an easy scape goat, being the youngest of the clique.
He worries about the other kids being in danger. All of my kids have been afraid of going into the forest until about seven or eight. Well, it is one of C&L's favorite places to go. They have built many forts and "cabins" out there. We have warned the kids that it is hunting season and to be careful and wear bright colors or hunters orange. This advice has only intensified Harrison's fear of the woods....he won't go near them. He is so afraid that one of them will get shot, eaten by an animal or lost. I am at a loss of how to ease Harrison's fears while giving C&L the freedom to roam.

So....this was part one of our meeting. At 5:00 everyone was hungry and I noticed that it was starting to be counterproductive. So we all decided to pray for guidance and to meet back tomorrow to talk about changes and solutions. (Part 2)

I admit......I am not balanced. I can not keep all of these balls in the air without divine intervention. When I am off track spiritually, my challenges seem to overwhelm me. I know that this is one of Satan's tools. He indeed wants me to fail. He wants me to think "I can't do this, it's too much." I have been spending too much time doing the optional stuff (blog, chatting on the phone, reading a good book) and not enough time seeking God's help. I need to pray more, read my scriptures and get enough sleep. Otherwise, I am not a good Mommy and definitely do not enjoy my "job."
So, I am closing early tonight so that I might bring balance to my life. I am going to read pray, and sing a few hymns (in French....I love doing that) and ask for the Holy Ghost to be with me as I raise these children tomorrow. It is always amazing to me how little time it takes to get off balance. Satan never sleeps, does he?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Wednesday Full of Wonder

We finally got out the door at 12:30 this afternoon. All of the kids were great until I mentioned..."We need to get ready to go" then they suddenly started to not get along. Sometimes they transfer the pressure that I (unknowingly) put on them, onto each other. This causes havoc in the house. Sometimes I think they would like to take hours and hours to get dressed and pressed and out the door.
Anyway, after the not-so-smooth morning, we had a great day at the Museum......and also at the pumpkin patch. So much of the time, the nectar is in the journey!
The kids thoroughly enjoyed the exhibits for Earth Science Day. They learned all about alternative sources of power, like wind, water and solar.

Harrison liked this nitrogen powered car......

And everybody found this demonstration on water pollution very engaging........

In this picture Caleb has a solar panel in his left hand which is powering the fan in his right hand. It was neat!

Then there was every ones favorite....Gold Panning!

On the trip home, the foliage was beautiful and we took a few detours to capture the beauty.

Then we found this gem....the BIGGEST Pumpkin Patch we had ever seen!!!

I coaxed the kids into posing for a few pictures, then they were off for frolicking and fun.........

This puts a new twist on Trev's Pumpkin Races.

Indeed....a day FULL of wonder!