Tuesday, May 25, 2010

It Changes in an Instant

I woke up this morning with my to-do list on the brain. I needed to get up and dressed, get the kids up and dressed, feed us, put dinner in the crockpot, make lunches and get on the rode, because we were going to travel down to Alabama with a friend to visit the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament. I was slightly dreading the drive, but looking forward to the chance to pray down there -- not to mention the change of scenery seemed inviting.

So we all got up, got dressed, ate, and dinner was in the crockpot. My directions were printed out and I was in the kitchen making sandwiches. The kids were on the front porch waiting for our friends to arrive. Suddenly, my seven year old came in yelling and leading the 3 year old who was dripping copious amounts of blood from his hand. He had slammed his thumb in the front door. I cleaned it a bit with a cool cloth and had him hold it over his head until I could gauze it up tightly, but one look at the cut and in that instant I knew our trip to Alabama was off.

In less than 10 minutes, we were headed to the ER. As luck would have it, my husband happened to have a meeting in the area, so he was able to meet us there. No one from the triage nurse on up took more than one glance at that thumb and didn't think it needed stitching, but we were fortunate -- it didn't cut into his thumbnail and he didn't require sedation for the stitches. It was a bad cut down to the bone and it did crack the bone as well, but it could have been worse.

I got my change of scenery, but not the one I was planning on.

As we waited in the ER, another family started showing up. And I was given the chance to pray for someone else and think about my good fortune. An 8 year old girl had been life-flighted in not long after we arrived. She had skipped across a road to check the mail without looking and had been hit by a truck. With bones broken in her hip, leg and spine and a lacerated liver but no head injuries, her family was hopeful that she would pull through, but anyone could tell it was going to be a long haul. One second she was skipping and in an instant they had feared the worst.

It's so easy to go along as if we know what's next, but sometimes in a moment we are reminded of how little we know.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Quick Takes Friday

--1--

We're home from a morning trip to the allergist. We went in to see if he could figure out why my seven year old is randomly having itching all over her body. We know she has eczema and we always avoid things like scented detergents and soaps that set her off, but recently she's been miserable and scratching herself like crazy. Sadly, it wasn't all that much help. She's not allergic to pollens, molds, the foods he tested, dogs or cats. She is allergic to dust mites, but that's the only thing she reacted to on the scratch test. A good thing, even if it leaves unanswered itching and even though it means I'm going to have to start washing her sheets in hot water.

--2--

Okay, an allergy to dust mites means I suppose I also need to dust, vacuum and mop more often. Anybody seen my energy lately? If you find it, please send it home.

--3--

Old house people might enjoy the Gone-Away Lake and Return to Gone-Away books by Elizabeth Enright that I'm reading to the kidlets. Even if I do wince a bit at renovations that include ripping the front porch off a house in favor of plain steps and painting over murals (even if they are mildewed). Who doesn't want a wrap around front porch or hand-painted wall decore? Sigh. Renovations in the Fifties were not quite the same as now, but the books are still a great read.

--4--

Other books sitting on my bedside table (I think I have too many books going right now): Mansfield Park, Sheetrock and Shellac, Chasing Vermeer, and I Should Have Seen It Coming When the Rabbit Died. That last one was given to me by Meredith and is just right for reading when pregnancy insomnia wakes me up at 3 a.m.

--5--

A corollary to Murphy's Law that I've learned recently: When you try to reduce your water usage by doing less laundry, one child will manage to wet two beds in one night. Another child will wet another bed and manage to have four or five accidents in one day no matter how many times you take the child to the bathroom. And all the children will go outside and play in the mud. I can only reduce my laundry so much, before the kids start noticing and taking measures into their own hands to make sure my housework is never completed.

--6--

We checked out the entire Schoolhouse Rock DVD recently and all my kids are driving me slightly mad singing "Interjections" loudly and somewhat off key.

--7--

Someone please tell my almost two year old that she isn't allowed to give up naps yet. I know she needs them and I need her to take them, but the last few days, she's spent crying hysterically and not falling asleep at all. I do not care for this development at all!

More Quick Takes to be found at Jen's place.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Third Grade Booklist for 2010-2011

In the hopes of being at least a little more organized next year, I've been busily planning our homeschooling curriculum lists and laying out my plans. Here is my third grader's list of books to be used next year. Note: this does not include all reading that will be assigned.

Language Arts:

Math:

Science:

History:

Latin:

Art History:

Geography:

Religion:

My daughter is also taking piano, we'll do something for art though I don't know what exactly yet.

Looking for a fifth grade booklist? Go here.

Looking for a first grade booklist? Go here.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fifth grade book list for 2010-2011

I've been busily planning my curriculum choices for next year. Usually, we start our new school year in July. At this point, with a baby due in the summer sometime, I doubt we'll actually begin until September this year, but I want to have my resources bought and my plans made before the baby arrives. Otherwise, I have my doubts about whether anything will ever get done.

I figure I'll break these into separate posts. Here's my booklist for the oldest, who will be technically in fifth grade next year. Note: this does not include all literature that will be assigned, although between Novel Inquiries and History Odyssey there are already a lot of books included.

Language Arts:

Math:

Science:

History:

Art History

Geography:

Religion:

The boy is also taking piano and violin, we'll do something for art and he'll continue with Latin, although I don't know what book he'll be using for that yet.

Looking for a third grade booklist? Go here.

Looking for a first grade booklist? Go here.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Context is Everything

Said by the five year old: This is such a dirty journal!

I glance over. She is erasing all the scribble marks left by her younger siblings. Phew.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Thoughts on Laundry

Before we had the great flood and had to cut our water usage to a minimum, I was beginning my summer roll out of air drying the clothes. I recently was reading an online discussion on clothes washing and discovered that although I make sure our clothes and other laundry get washed, that's not enough. Doing it my way is apparently the lowest form of grossness according to a large part of the population.

What is my way? You might well ask. My laundry system is very simple. If dirty things are light colored or white they go in one pile. If they are dark they go in another. I don't consider permanent press, delicates or any other such issues. In the summer I sort towels out separately, so I can dry them in the dryer whilst everything else gets hung outside -- and that's simply because I don't like scratchy towels. I squirt stain remover on stains, throw a whole pile of clothes in until I can stuff no more into my front loader and wash everything on cold. If the load is stinky, I add some white vinegar.

But apparently this simple system skeeves a lot of folks who are highly germophobic. Underwear and towels need to be washed in bleach and hot water on a sanitary cycle (my washer has no such cycle). Kitchen towels need to be washed alone. And even then, the truly germophobic are concerned that maybe hot water, bleach and extra sanitizing isn't getting their stuff clean enough.

I've read articles about the astronomical germ count in washing machines, but frankly, I cant get too worked up about it. Our clothes seem fairly clean and we haven't died from anything yet. Considering all the concern other folks have about people being too clean and no longer eating their pound of dirt, and considering the fact that I don't have to boil my clothes and run them over a scrub board, I'll take my method and my icky, germ-laden laundry.

Who knew laundry could be fraught with so many problems? I'm just glad when we aren't drowning in either things to be washed or things to be put away. I'm not going to fuss about the pre-sorting, germ thing. What about you?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Quick Takes

--1--

Making tiny little pictures for Kimberlee's ATC swap (something I have never participated in before) has been very therapeutic for me. I love to paint and draw, although I'll never manage to be an amazing artist like my brothers (big and little). Generally when I'm pregnant or nursing, doing anything artistic is beyond my mental capabilities and my fingers are swollen so holding a paint brush or pencil for long hurts. But something that is 2.5"x3.5" and I can finish in 30 minutes? That I can manage. And it feels great! (By the way, that lovely Madonna and Child sculpture in the background -- made by a friend and Godmother to the youngest (in fact I am, ahem, just borrowing it to decorate my own bedroom until the youngest gets old enough to appreciate it).

--2--

Good news in Nashville -- our conservation efforts are paying off, so that even though the second water treatment plant won't reopen until the end of the month at least, we're now up to an allowed 70% of regular use. And how else would I ever have learned that Nashville has a really old and architecturally beautiful water treatment plant?

--3--

A lot of homeschooling products are now being offered as pdf files. Often these cost a bit less and for people like me with a lot of little people, its great to have the ability to print an unlimited supply of consumable stuff. I don't think the pdf option was available even a year ago, but I think I've bought half my curriculum that way this year. If anyone is looking for pdfs, some places to check out (though I haven't purchased things from all of them) are Currclick, Peace Hill Press, Gravitas Press, Pandia Press, Elemental Science, and Math Mammoth. Sure there is nothing like holding a real book in your hands to read, but when it comes to consumable workbooks and such, I think this option is great!

--4--

We had our first garden harvest yesterday -- about a half pint of strawberries. A homegrown strawberry is so different than a store bought one -- not in my mind so much in flavor (which probably makes me a rube) but in squishability. Homegrown strawberries are really soft. Store bought ones have been bred for transportation and are really hard. Try taking a potato masher to store bought strawberries and it won't get you far, but homegrown strawberries mush up nicely.

--5--

Why were we squishing our berries? We made strawberry fool for dessert. The linked recipe is slightly different than the one we used, which had a teaspoon of lemon juice and sour cream instead of yogurt, but when searching, I found that every recipe is slightly different and they all sound good. Don't use too much sugar and you have a nice, easy, not-sickeningly-sweet dessert that is finished in a few minutes.

--6--

I'm not sure what it says about my three year old (or at least I'm afraid of what it says about him) but like his older brother, he plays Star Wars all the time. In fact, I mentioned on Facebook the other day that I found my oldest quizzing his brother on Star Wars Lego characters. That's not the concerning part though. It's that the youngest boy is either found wearing a black cape, carrying a red light saber and slicing my legs off or he is wearing a rain coat, carrying a " 'chine gun" and saying that as a Storm Trooper, he's headed out to shoot "the naughty ones." He's gone to the Dark Side, clearly.

--7--

It's after 9 o'clock. Is it time for a nap yet?

More Quick Takes to be found at Jen's place.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Oh Baby!

I'm now firmly in the third trimester, and I am, quite frankly, miserable. I never like the third trimester. I tend to be quite a whiner about it, but this time the misery has hit earlier than usual.

I'm sore and achy. I have zero energy. My muscles feel like they have been exercised to the point of exhaustion when I wake up in the morning, so picking up my two year old is a struggle (and she really likes to be held). I sleep decently only a few nights per week (and decently means I am able to go back to sleep after getting up to use the bathroom four or five times). I'm hormonal and weepy, and I can't seem to concentrate on anything.

There are a few bright spots. We've finished the necessary days for our school year (and the necessary books are finished), so even though I wanted to get further along in some books, that's all gravy. I just need to enter grades in for the kidlets. Also, I had my gestational diabetes testing this week and came back fine. I am certainly glad, although part of me hoped that that or something else would turn up to explain why I feel so awful. Another bright spot -- I have some very helpful kids. Even though my sluggishness has definitely increased the mess and fighting around here, they have also pitched in and helped. One can cook a few things. The seven year old can make me a cappuccino and if we ever get enough water in this city again, the oldest two can also do laundry. I am very grateful to my husband for teaching them these practical skills.

I just can't wait until water returns to normal around here, because my main coping mechanism was taking long baths and right now even a quick shower is something of a rarity. And yes, I know I'm whinging and that had I lost my house in the flood I'd be in a far worse place right now, but that doesn't make me feel less whiney.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Marian Artist Trading Card Swap

We're going to participate in Kimberlee's swap. How about you?

Friday, May 07, 2010

Quick Takes -- Flood Edition

--1--

Just in case, you hadn't heard, we had a spot of weather last weekend.

--2--

I am very happy to say that I really have no personal flood stories. Our basement got a trickle of water in it, where it always gets a trickle through a doorway we need to rip off and fix. Our garage also got a puddle of water in through the door. If we ever sell this place, I think we made add "DID NOT FLOOD IN 2010" to the important sales descriptions.

--3--

Many of my friends are less fortunate and have far too many flood stories to share. Friends from church, whose house backed up to the Harpeth River had their house submerged under water. They escaped and some of their household goods have been saved, but most of their stuff is gone. And they are fairly fortunate, because they have a place to live in for now and a lot of church people to help. Many people don't even have that.

--4--

In fact, despite Nashville being a two river town (not to mention all the creeks) only about 4,000 people had flood insurance. I suspect that the government taking over flood insurance hasn't actually helped encourage more people to buy it.

--5--

If anyone should be inclined to help out, you can make donations to the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, this friend of mine's parents and grandmother, who both lost houses with all their contents and had no flood insurance (that one is a Paypal link) or e-mail me (jordana at sluggy dot net) to make a donation to my church friends or to send gift cards that I can distribute to them.

--6--

Seeing pictures of the flooded Opryland Hotel, where Blissdom was so recently held, the Symphony Hall, where we were at a concert not long ago, and our Farmer's Market that I had just bought herbs and vegetable plants at, is still so unreal. Seeing pictures on the news of floods in other cities is not at all like seeing water (and now mud) covering places I go to all the time. Getting out and driving around, seeing the destruction first hand, makes me want to tear up.

--7--

In the meantime, Nashville is under severe water restrictions. One of our two water treatment plants was flooded. We've been asked to cut our water use by half.We've been using a lot of paper plates and plasticware, not bathing and other less than pleasant stuff. And all I really want to do in this very hot time is take a nice long bath and let the kids run in the sprinkler. But those things wait. Just don't stand down wind of me right now.

More Quick Takes to be found at Jen's place.

Monday, May 03, 2010

One More Flood Post

One doesn't wish to engage in navel-gazing (as if anyone would do that on a blog!) but this video of some of the flooding is not only beautiful, but also happens to be not far from where I live and go to church. In fact, many of the images, were shot just a few hours after we tried to go to Mass, driving down the same road (only to find that our priest couldn't make it). When we drove through, the road had water on it, but was drivable, a few hours later the road and the Farmer's Market on the low ground were flooded with 5-6 feet of water. Our parish was, as far as I know, undamaged.

Very Thankful

Friends all over Nashville and Franklin have experienced flooding, basements filled with water and life that is definitely not normal. I am very thankful to have no real stories of my own to share. The land around our house seems to be graded well and drain well. Other than having a lake for a driveway for a few hours and some puddles in the garage in our backyard, we came through the flood just fine. Others we know are in bad shape indeed.

So now we who have been fortunate will find ways to help out and clean up. I've seen flood pictures before, but it's a lot different when they are places you know.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

The Great Flood

If you haven't heard, it is flooding in Nashville. Fortunately the roads near us aren't. I had to go out for groceries and it wasn't fun driving on the main street, but it wasn't like this:
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