Friday, October 20, 2017

Thank You and PTL!

Thank you to all who read the blog and prayed for our concerns. God has answered prayers beyond expectation.

I took Heidi to her (4th) dentist yesterday. When I told her it was time to go to the dentist she absolutely broke down in a heart-breaking cry: "Nooooo! I don't want to go to the dentist!" I know honey, I know. I don't want to take you again! She hasn't necessarily had a bad experience, it's just that it's not necessarily fun to have someone looking through your mouth and I think she'd just had it up to here (imagine me putting my hand at eye level) with dental appointments.

We enjoyed the drive there together and she perked up bit. We sang songs, talked about Zimbabwe and states and capitals (listening to Classical Conversations CDs) and before she knew it we were at the dentist. It is clearly set up to be a pediatric clinic in every sense of the word; the room was comfortable and kid-friendly and she jumped right in to playing.

What excited her most was the DVD player with TV up on the ceiling - she could pick any movie she wanted to watch (she picked Beauty and the Beast, the original version, I was so proud).

The dentist more or less agreed that if we went through with the surgery, the treatment plan recommended was appropriate. She essentially said it would be too much of a burden to put her under anesthesia and not cover all of the bases. But then she said if we did the treatment in office, without general anesthesia, it would likely take two visits, about an hour apiece, and she would need two pulpotomies (baby root canals) with two crowns over those and 5 cavities filled. The previous assessment was the same with the pulpotomies, but with 2-4 more crowns and a few more cavities.

To be fair to the other dentist, who sounds like she's really being thrown under a bus (I have seen postings on community boards call her a "monster in scrubs" and to avoid her at all costs), the dentist did agree about the surgical route. It is hard to know really who you are seeing because now we have had many coworkers, friends, neighbors, etc. come out and say they had bad experiences with her; bottom line is that I just am not comfortable with her as a provider now.

But there were two key differences at the appointment yesterday. The first was a more welcoming and comfortable atmosphere. I felt more comfortable with the dentist and the assessment. She took a lot of time to really explain things to me.

The second difference, and this is the big important one, is that she was willing to see Heidi in office with just the nitrous oxide rather than doing the surgery. I can certainly understand from a doctor's perspective preferring surgery on a three-year-old; I know that three-year-olds can be so variable. Sometimes a kid that age will do all the testing I'm asking them to do, and other times they want to sit and cry on mom's lap, and that's just all there is to it. There is probably more of a challenge to seeing her in office; but the dentist seemed confident that because she'd done so well today, she could see her back and do it in two visits.

What's so hard about all of this is that it was my third opinion. I had to go through two pediatric specialists before there was one not recommending general anesthesia and surgery for 3 hours. I am so glad we got the third opinion who is willing to try the office route first.

They gave Heidi a "pig nose" so that she isn't afraid of the nitrous at her next appointment. The nose they use to deliver the laughing gas is hot pink, and it smells like bubble gum. Heidi just thinks it's the greatest, and she got to share her experiences with her sister and Elli and talk about the "cool stuff" she had. I am glad for Heidi that it is more of a cool experience than a scary one, and one that she can be excited about. They also give the kids a little gold token to "buy" a prize from little vending machines. Heidi was ecstatic about this. She chose to get a small rubber animal that grows a little bit when its put in water. She ended up with a blue crab. And she got a sticker. It was a banner day.

As an added bonus, when the dentist introduced herself to Heidi, she asked Heidi's name; Heidi introduced herself as Princess Jasmine. You never know with Heidi, sometimes she is Princess Jasmine, sometimes she is Heidi Boo, and sometimes she is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Cinderella. The dentist called her Princess Jasmine for the entirety of the appointment. And, she had a favorite Pooh Bear when she was a little girl that she even knitted a shirt for because the shirt on her Pooh Bear was so worn with love it didn't function as a shirt anymore. Heidi can identify with that.

The first hour appointment is scheduled for 6 days from now. We won't have to wait months and stop her from eating and all of that. The next prayer request: that the in-office procedure does go smoothly, and that it is a pleasant experience for Heidi Boo.

We also had the insurance adjuster come look at our basement yesterday. We have yet to see what the check will be but we do believe that there is going to be a little bit of money; hopefully enough to purchase flooring and move ahead with replacing the icky carpet. It does look like we'll be keeping the pink carpet in the guest bedroom. That isn't all bad; Sophia would have been heartbroken if we'd gotten rid of it.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Sometimes when you write a blog, or post on social media, or whatever, there is the great temptation to make your family look perfect and adorable and have them in a shining light of we-never-have-nothing-go-wrong-and-perfectly-trust-God-always-ness.

I do make an effort not to do that. Not that my family is not beautiful and amazing, because they are, but we are fallen creatures in a fallen world and are going to face struggles.

This week is one of those "struggle" weeks.  And I have to admit I have been far from faithful when it comes to complete dependence and trust on God.

So, as previously posted, we have had our basement flood. So far there are a few things that we don't know. We don't know if there will be insurance coverage. We don't know the *exact* details of what actually caused it (though we may have a few guesses). The leak detection people weren't even sure (I would say it's a waste of money but they did verify that our pipes within the house are all fine, and hopefully insurance will at least cover that but we have had conflicting reports). What I do know is that lots of carpet is pulled up with lots of rusty tack strips exposed so I'm convinced that someone in my family is going to need a tetanus shot soon, kid or dog (or adult). We have an adjuster coming over tomorrow to look at the damage and decide if insurance is going to cover anything.

And have I been a faithful, trusting servant of God, viewing my trial as joy rather than exploding into bursts of anger and having the temper of a drunken sailor? Nope. I've been the latter. I've let it control me, I've been frustrated, I explained in a low and slow voice (like a parent chastising a child) to the insurance agent that the leak detection would be covered (despite what he was telling me) and I didn't understand why their policy had changed in 24 hours. Please God forgive me for my anger and help me in my weakness, because I can't even handle a little water in my house without failing.

An addition kink in the plans was the military pay. We have been counting on the military to cover the expenses Chris accrued while he was away, but they paid him back and covered only about 2/3 of the cost of his living expenses, leaving us with some debt we weren't expecting.

Further pounding on the anvil (refining fire? clay molding? choose your favorite metaphor) has arrived on my doorstep in the form of the oral surgeon we are seeing for Heidi's teeth. I am anxious about the whole thing anyway (I have repeated Matthew 6:27 to myself more times than I can count) because it is putting my 3 year old under for surgery.

But here is what is so frustrating to me. I saw her initial dentist who did the cleaning. They sent her on to a specialist because it looked like she needed these pulpotomies, probably in two teeth. Ok. So I went to the specialist. She recommended 2 pulpotomies and 4-6 crowns. As well as doing sealants over the teeth. All of this makes sense to me; they showed me her teeth and yes, even with amateur eyes I can tell that they are in desperate need of help and significantly decayed.  It was recommended that I get a second opinion. I was hesitant to do this, not because I don't think it's wise. I am sure it's wise. But plainly, I saw the condition her teeth were in and can tell that something drastic needs to be done to change it; frankly I am amazed she isn't complaining about her mouth hurting all of the time. I ended up seeking the second opinion and without knowing what the first one said, he told me word-for-word that he would recommend the same treatment plan. Down to the details.

So, now I'm pretty confident that even though it will be hard to put Heidi under, it is much better than torturing her with 6-8 dental visits and going through this work slowly, one tooth at a time, dragging it out and causing her additional pain. As an added issue, I don't want her to hate the dentist. I loved the dentist growing up; I don't want it to be a place of discomfort and dread.

Anyway, I'm finally settled. Ok. We are doing this. I am looking forward to the surgery, because she has had trouble eating over the past week or so and will wake up in the middle of the night, crying, because she is hungry and she's asking for breakfast. That's not typical for Heidi. She has always been a great eater, never even complaining really about eating vegetables, but I just don't think she knows how to verbalize that it is uncomfortable for her to eat.

Lo and behold, last night a news article breaks, about the very pediatric dentist we were seeing. You can see the article here. In sum, she has a record of "over-diagnosing" patients and treating where treatment isn't necessary. Now, I have seen Heidi's teeth up-close from three different dentists now and all have said the same thing. I do not have a doubt in my mind that she needs this surgery, preferably soon. But, any level of trust that I had for that dentist is gone. I do not want her operating on my 3 year old.  Her assessment is probably very accurate given that a pediatric specialist said the exact same thing, but now I am hesitant to move forward with her.

The hardest part for me as a mother has been navigating helpful opinions of others. I understand that everyone has Heidi's best interests in mind, but sometimes it seems that they have forgotten her mother probably does too. I have been with her at all of the appointments. I have been comforting her, holding her, helping her, snuggling her in dentist chairs. I have looked at the significant decay on her back molars and ached, wishing I had done more as a mother to see and prevent it (even if it isn't preventable, we know how "mom guilt" works). I have been up with her crying in the middle of the night because she is hungry, but watching her pick at food because her mouth is hurting. And now, I have to face the tough decision of continuing with a surgery with a pediatric dentist I do not trust that is scheduled two weeks from now and will provide my toddler with relief, or to wait for 8-10 weeks (how far their surgery schedule is out at the other clinic) and risk an abscessed tooth and more pain from my baby.  The only thing I am able to do is pray to God for her protection and guidance. I know she is in His hands and safe. I know that this trial is not without purpose.

I am going to be specific with prayer requests here, for those who do read the blog. Please be praying with me.

  • Pray that I will trust God's understanding of the situation with our house. He knows what caused the flooding, he knows our financial situation right now, and I do not have to worry about the end result. 
  • Pray that, if possible, the end result would include some portion of the carpet replacement being covered. With the mold on it I am not comfortable laying it back down.
  • Pray that our third opinion with a pediatric specialist tomorrow goes well, and that if surgery is still the best route we can get in quickly to have this taken care of. 
Thank you for your consideration of my family. 

Some recent pictures for fun :) 

Even though we are inside, Bethany is wearing shoes and a coat because she kept bringing me articles of clothing and asking me to put them on her. 
"Mom! We are feeding Bethany!"
The girls out "earning their keep" and raking
Bethany trying to join in on the fun
Goofy pictures at CC waiting for school to start
This cracked me up, Sophia's "Mad" face for Madison, Wisconsin (Mad, Madison... get it?)

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Doctor Visit and Other Family Catch-Up

Finally, after multiple reschedules, the girls had their 3 year old and 1 year well child checks (Heidi's birthday is in July, Bethany's birthday is August). I had it scheduled one week and we moved it for reasons I can't even remember now, another week we had to move it because Heidi was able to get in to the dental specialist that week, the next week we had to reschedule it again because it was the day after Bethany was throwing up (and, knowing she had to get shots and knowing that others would not want to be exposed, we didn't go in).

So, #momlife, we rescheduled and rescheduled and finally got in to the doctor appointment. Elli was with us because her biggest sister had her driving exam and it made more sense for her to be here than there.

Everyone commented on how red Bethany's hair was. She does have beautiful hair and it's just amazing to me that God gave us a redhead when the genes for red hair in our family are obscure and far between. But I love it - it is fun to have a redhead.

Heidi was again on the tall side of things, around 90%, on track to be 5'8" per the doctor when she is an adult (two inches taller than I am!) with weight around 50%. This is pretty much how she has always been; it used to alarm me but I am certain it is because her activity level is energizer bunny. She was so proud of herself that she goes in the potty (they didn't ask, but she offered the information anyway). When she went with the nurse to do the vision and hearing screening the nurse said she was a "very grown up three year old." Not surprised; Heidi is convinced that CC is just as much her school/classroom as it is Sophia's.  She often has to "share" with Sophia when they do activities because there aren't enough for Heidi as the "honorary" member and she does not understand why she doesn't get to do certain things. So, she did "great" on her hearing and "good" on her vision (20/40, and I guess 20/30 and 20/40 are considered good - i.e. not a concern yet).

She did get one shot, a flu shot. And last time we got a flu shot I had said "it's just a tiny little pinch and that's it." And Heidi had been asking the doctor since we got there, "am I going to get a hundred shots?" And the nurse said, "oh no, just one shot!" and Heidi said "oh, that's good!" So I was thinking it wouldn't be that big of a deal. She sits on the table, lays down, pants down, relaxed as anything, and *stick* and suddenly she's a screaming banshee and the crying lasts for like 10 minutes. The look in her eyes screamed betrayal.

Bethany had her turn while Heidi was getting her hearing and vision checked. She wasn't all too sure about the doctor and was being little miss shy.  She did well with her tests too, though still not too eager about the doctor, but then when Heidi came back in and was doing her physical, Bethany was suddenly very interested in the doctor and walked right in between him and Heidi and held her arms up to him. She is still over the 100th percentile for height and at about 50th for weight. She is dropping in her weight, especially because she was born so big, but not a surprise here because Bethany is my second Heidi. Never holds still, always curious, always climbing and exploring. If she follows in Heidi's footsteps she'll be falling out of her crib by the end of this month (hopefully not).

Bethany got her standard 12 month vaccines and the flu shot. Lots of shots for this little princess. It's hard to see them get so many but then I think to myself, one more round at 18 months and we are done until age 5. DONE! Almost there. She also had a blood draw because they check for lead exposure, but the blood draw was just a finger prick and a few drops of blood. She didn't even cry when they poked her finger - she's a tough cookie.

It was really cute because the bigger girls, Sophia and Elli, could reach the hand sanitizer and were sanitizing their hands. Probably like 5 times. And Heidi could just barely reach it so she was sanitizing too - but Bethany felt left out. She walked over to the group of girls, held her hands up toward the dispenser, and was rubbing her hands together like she was using the sanitizer. Without being asked Sophia reached up and gave some to Bethany. This clearly made Bethany's day. It's the little things. She likes to hang with the big girls.

After the hullabaloo at the doctor was over, and all the girls had new stickers and toothbrushes, we went back home for school. I decided to make school more of a game for Sophia because she was running out of steam. I took the Noah's Ark little people toy and I took one of the pairs of animals and hid them in the next room. Then I set up the ark on the kitchen table and asked Sophia, "how many of every animal did Noah take onto the ark?" "2" "Yes! Are there two of every animal here?" "No!" "Nope, one of the animals went missing. They are all hiding in the next room and we have to find them!!"  So, what we did is read blend ladders, and each time she read a complete ladder (e.g. da/de/di/do/du) she could go and find an animal. Elli had been done with school for a while and when Sophia and I were playing the game she came in and asked, "is Sophia done?" But Sophia responded, "Elli! I'm playing a game!" Note to self: that was a success. And she is doing really well with the ladders. So far we have covered all short vowel sounds, and consonants l, b, m, n, c, d, s, h, and t. She's doing really well and if I give her a word with those letters, like "bus" or "dim," she can generally write out the word correctly and if it isn't correct, she is able to correct it without me helping her. I get worried about teaching the reading but I think she's doing well overall.

For math we are on lesson 96 out of 116 for Kindergarten math. She'll be onto first grade math before I know it!

Other big news about Sophia? She has gone from training wheel bike rider to no training wheels within a period of about a week. Took her two practices without training wheels to really get it down. "Mom! If you go faster it's easier to stay balanced." She's loving it. I am truly impressed with how quickly she picked it up.

Heidi loves doing her worksheets too; I got an "ABC 123" book from abeka for k4 and she always asks "Can I do the yellow bear book?" because of the image on the cover.

Heidi didn't even nap on Thursday, nor did she really need one. She's starting to inch away from those. It's crazy, she's inching away sooner than Sophia did, but she has been staying up so late at night if she does get a nap (past 10 sometimes) that I think it's time to ease the naps away.  She is my "grown-up" threenager.

Sophia woke up on Thursday asking me all day, "Can I sleep over at Elli's house tonight?" We have offered to let her sleep over there often on "school days" because, really, it's almost easier on me to just get two girls up and going in the morning and then Sophia is already at "school." But she's always been afraid to sleep over. I don't push it because she is young, and if she wants to stay at home she can stay at home. But when she was asking all day I thought to myself, "sure!" We checked with Sherri and away Sophia went for the evening. It was actually harder on me than I anticipated. I didn't expect it to be hard at all actually, but something about her asking to spend the night away and doing so just made her seem worlds older. We wouldn't let her do that at such a young age with anyone but grandparents and Carpenter's, but she seemed to enjoy it and slept through the whole night (except for waking up at 9 p.m. crying because she had to go potty).

When Heidi saw them leaving, poor Heidi! She just came to me, crying, "Mom! Is Sophia going with Elli?" Yes, Heidi. Yes she is. "WHYYYYYY???? I WANT TO GO WITH ELLI! I MISS SOPHIA!" Poor Heidi, sometimes being younger is really hard. I think part of the meltdown was the lack of nap, the other part was truly the FOMO.  But she went to bed well, we shared a bag of popcorn and watched Moana and read together before bed.

She also get to have extra time with Miss Summer and Benjamin, who had come by for the afternoon because Summer and I are reading a book together. I can't believe how big he is; it is crazy how quickly babies grow. It really is. One day they're scrunched little newborns and the next they're big and moving and looking at things, it flies.

Anyway, the next day, Friday, the girls went to Miss Sherri's per usual but after work the older two went with Oma and Papa to stay at a hotel overnight to go swimming for fun. It made me really miss the girls, especially Sophia because it felt like I hadn't seen her in forever! Bethany got some one-on-one time with Mom and Dad. She spent lots of time being adorable and kissing us and she has been really improving her sign language. She is getting much better at saying "eat," "more," "please," and "all done," and has lately been less stubborn about saying them.  Stinker bug did wake up at 1 a.m. but it is possible that her legs are still bothering her from her shots.

With all my spare time on Friday evening, I decided to shampoo the carpet in the basement which was well overdue. It took an incredible amount of time to get it done, and afterwards Chris and I played poker (I won). I picked up most of the stuff from the floor, pretty much all but the couch, entertainment system cubby, and toy chest, and shampooed. We really do know how to party. Chris set a fan up in the room and let it dry overnight. In the morning I was checking the room and noticed a soaking wet spot on the carpet. The rest of the carpet had dried. I pulled away the toy chest and the carpet underneath there was damp even though I hadn't shampooed there. Uh-oh. Water is my nemesis. I told Chris about it and he went downstairs to investigate. Sure enough, we have a new water problem. We aren't entirely sure of the cause yet but the carpet in the basement in the guest room and in the family room along the outside wall are soaking wet, about two feet out from the wall. Upstairs is fine so it isn't leaking down from the top of the house, but we think it may be a leaky portion for the outside hose spigot and clogged gutters. Let the work begin. We have ripped up the carpet and I am on my way right now to my in-laws house to get all kinds of fans and things to get the carpet up and drying. Sigh. Chris and I always joke about the "joy" of home ownership - a great source of sanctification.

Quite the long novel on the blog today, if you stuck with it this far, but with homeschooling and everything else blogging time has been decreased. In other news, one last tidbit, my book is "finished." Though, are those things ever finished? I have had my editor (mom) read through it and correct things, and I now have a test-reader (Sherri) looking it over. I have a graphic designer friend working on the front cover, next I am going to seek someone to write a forward, interview Janis, and then maybe seeking an agent or publisher? The next part is foggy. My goal has been to seek out the next step by the end of this month and I think I am on track to do so. So many books don't get published that I'm not expecting it to, but it has been fascinating to research and I have enjoyed the task of writing a book, even if it does not become any more than a manuscript.

Chris' post about me on Facebook. Just trying to see a silver lining?
Bike riding
This picture and the above one are a sure sign that my Bethany has been in a room...
Basement torn up
Guest room torn up

Had to rip up some of the soaked padding
Chris' exact words: "No girls in the basement." ...If you say so ;)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Date Night

Chris and I got away this weekend (thanks MIL!!) for a little date. I love my girls more than the sun and the moon and my own being, but it is also nice to have a rest and spend time maintaining a strong marriage with the one I cling to.

He was able to get some tickets from work for the MIA (Minneapolis Institute of Art). This particular exhibition was about "Eyewitness Views: Making History in Eighteenth-Century Europe." Basically, the photographers before cameras were invented. And requiring much more time, technique, and talent than pressing a button on a iPhone.

(Side note: I am not suggesting there is not art in photography. I have somebody take pictures of my kids who does a beautiful job that is far beyond what I am capable of with my skills; however, the time comparison between painting a large, 10 foot by 6 foot picture to capture an event is not comparable).

Most of the artwork was from Venice, and it was breathtakingly beautiful. The pictures were incredibly realistic and at times you felt as though you were transported to the scene. What most amazes me is how the scene can be captured in a way that truly reflects reality. Some artwork had clouds in the sky and you could see the sun reflecting off of the clouds as clear as if it was a picture; others showed a perfect and incredible reflection of the buildings in the water. It is amazing to me that that can be painted in such a way. I am not much past the stick figure art in my skill level.

While it was not part of the particular exhibit, we were wandering around the museum and stumbled upon some sculptures. One type of sculpture I have always admired is the veiled women type of sculptures - it is fascinating to me that one could carve a giant rock to look like someone is wearing a veil. I mean, how? Nothing short of incredible skill.

After the art exhibit we went to an exciting dinner at a Jamaican cafe, Pimento Jamaican Kitchen. I got a vegan curry dish, with rice and beans and a coleslaw (MADE WITHOUT MAYO!!!!, the only good kind), and fried plantains. It was amazing. Then for dessert and coffee we went to French Meadows and had a great seasonal fruit crisp, with cranberries, apples, and peaches.

Don't you think cranberries are under-utilized? I love cranberries. They have such a great, tart taste to them. I should try to incorporate them into more of my cooking, especially this time of year when they are abundantly available.

Thankful for the good conversation and dates with this guy. Hard to believe we have been married for 9 years, and started dating 10 years ago this month. Time flies, use every minute with purpose that God gives you on His earth.

Sick Kids: See Daddy

I don't do sick.

Well, vomiting.

Sore throat? Pink eye? Diarrhea (poop, urine in general)? Tooth decay? Coughing? Runny nose? Warts? Scrapes? Bloody nose? Pinched finger? Goose eggs? Fine. Vomiting? Go see your dad. I can't do it. I can't handle the smell, the look, the anything. I get panicky and jumpy and turn into an irrational person around vomit.

So last week, on Wednesday, Chris was driving Bethany and Heidi home for the evening (Sophia was at church, and it's a good thing too because she's a lot like I am) and Bethany got sick in the car on the way home. Heidi handled it quite well and was a good help to Chris. When he got home I helped him unbuckle the carseat, and he brought the carseat inside, with Bethany still attached, straight to the laundry room. He asked if I wanted to save her outfit (no, toss it) and then after getting her undressed and setting her in the bath he set to work cleaning the carseat.

I married a superhero.

He thoroughly washed it, hosed it, scrubbed it, cleaned it some more. Poor Bethany. She definitely had a fever and was tired; we don't know if it was a stomach bug or if she just had too much going on in her little life. She has had multiple teeth coming in; she has two new ones and I can feel the molars budding in the back, so she has been irritable for the past week or two, and then this on top of it. Poor girl. I bathed her and snuggled her and put her to bed; she didn't sleep well and was up most of the night. Part of it was probably hunger but I was making her hold off. She did just fine once I let her have liquids and cheerios again in the late afternoon on Thursday.

My poor girls - Mommy will be hiding under the covers until this passes. Chris is a great complement to me in this area; if the girls had been sick while he was away it would have been quite the ordeal. But Chris handles it very well, and is such a caring and compassionate father.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017


This past weekend we had family fun night at church and toward the later part of the evening and through the next day she had some diarrhea. (Sorry for the gory details). She said her stomach hurt, too. I was cautious with what I let her eat but I generally feel like the body will dictate what it needs so if she feels like eating, I will let her eat. Within reason (like, I didn't sit her down with a gallon of ice cream).

So, for Friday and Saturday part of the day her appetite was a little lighter than usual. Saturday night she must have finished whatever little bug she had (probably a 24 hour thing) because her appetite came back with a vengeance. She had dinner, then she had a "healthy snack" of pistachios and craisins. Then she had an apple (or maybe a peach? Dad brought some from Utah so I may have given in and shared with the girls). And when we put her to bed she was still telling us how hungry she was.

If it seems to me that she's had plenty to eat (and it did), I usually tell her to wait for breakfast. Especially because it seems like Heidi's little body often confuses "tired" and "hungry."

So we put them to bed. Dad, Chris, and I all watched an episode of Star Trek and during the episode I could hear pitter-patter of feet upstairs. Nobody ever came downstairs and eventually the footsteps stopped.

The next morning, Sunday, I woke up with Bethany and eventually went to go wake up the girls to have the pumpkin-spice pancakes that Papa had made. I opened the door and was going to allow the smell and noise of others stirring wake them up.

Chris went into their room about 10 minutes later to encourage getting out of bed. He came out and said, "Did you see the pile of chips on Heidi's bed?"


I hadn't noticed because I had just opened the door and nothing more. But little Miss Heidi had apparently ransacked the kitchen last night, explaining the pitter-patter, and had taken an entire bag of potato chips, dumped out what was remaining in the bag (it was really just the crumbs of the bag, maybe slightly more) and had even returned the empty chip bag to the cupboard. It explained why the first thing Papa saw in the kitchen cupboard that morning was an empty potato chip bag, which he threw away and asked why there was an empty bag in the cupboard to begin with. Mystery solved.

She probably ate a few and then fell asleep. Because there was a mini mountain of chips still on her bed in the morning that had apparently sat there all night, long enough to leave a little greasy stain on the sheet.

Below are just some pictures of our school day yesterday (week 4 of CC!). Heidi is in this awkward phase where she is trying to wean off naps but still mostly needs them. After insisting she was not tired, she crashed on the couch yesterday after we finished homeschool stuff. School is hard work for my busy 3 year old, just as much as it is for the kindergartener sometimes!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Learning, and a Papa Visit!

My girls are at three very different and very exciting stages.

Sophia is learning to read. She has been putting together blends. So far in depth we have covered T, L, M, N, and B, as well as the short vowel sounds. She's even reading some words, which I think is really exciting. Even more fun is watching her put it all together.

She is, ultimately, my social bug. She does well in school and usually pays attention, but she is very concerned about the other people in the class. It cracks me up because she is a rule follower, and if she sees somebody breaking the rules she doesn't just ignore them but will take time to look at them, shush them, and point at the teacher.

Sophia absolutely LOVES having school with Elli. They can get quite distracted, but if I am sitting in between them and keeping them on task they tend to do pretty well. They love to stay motivated for a purpose; the other day we made popsicles out of juice and that kept them busy enough to study through the morning, knowing at the end of study they'd have a popsicle.

Heidi is learning her letters and numbers, but her big interest right now is cameras. She can access my camera on my phone with ease, and loves to do so and take pictures of everything. Often I will open up my phone camera roll only to discover about 50 selfies, usually of her nose, and no smile, or there will be about that same amount of pictures of Pooh Bear sitting on the couch, or pictures of nothing but the chairs at church. She loves taking pictures.

She is learning alongside Sophia at classical conversations; it is remarkable to watch Sophia learn the information but it is also amazing to see a 3-year-old name the parts of the axial skeleton, the four types of tissue, and the three different kinds of muscle on cue.

Bethany is learning to eat with a spoon and be a little mommy. Her new thing is to carry around a doll; at church yesterday Sherri was feeding baby Ethan a bottle and Bethany grabbed a doll, pulled herself up on a rocking chair, and sat next to Sherri rocking her own baby doll. Lately she just loves to carry a doll around, patting it on the back or feeding it a bottle. Spoons and forks are still rough but she loves to try to use them. Mostly she gets yogurt in the bowl area of her bib when she tries to eat it with a spoon, but she is improving!

This weekend we have had Papa in town. He was planning to leave this morning (Monday) but there have been thunderstorms. He is hoping to be able to head out either tomorrow or possibly even Wednesday morning to make the three-day-trip back to Utah with his motorcycle. And, speaking of motorcycle, talk about God's providence. Dad had decided before heading out here he would get the front tire replaced on the bike because it needed to be replaced to pass inspection back in Utah anyway. He removed it from the motorcycle when he got in and noticed a blister on the tire about the size of a quarter. That would have been a very bad thing to make a long journey on a tire like that; God mercifully placed the idea in his head to get it changed in MN before heading back. We brought it into a local BMW motorcycle dealer and they had it replaced in probably 20 minutes. Enough time to stop for a Walmart grocery pick-up and some White Castles!

We did some outlet mall shopping yesterday, with Papa and Erica (I had coupons that expired and the girls and I needed fall clothes!). We also went to pick out some jeans for Papa, and he ended up with a "cool" pair of jeans (because that is what happens when you shop with your daughter and not on your own). They are fleece-lined, so as Dad even said, now he can look cool while using the snow blower (he said it with an eye roll, but it's the truth). Heidi didn't get a nap and crashed, hard, around 7:30 p.m. She was crashing before that, during dinner, but we sat down to watch The Lego Movie and she was done for. Bethany had taken small naps but it was enough to get her through the movie. She fell asleep at the outlet mall with pieces of bagel in both hands.

Glad we get the short visit with Papa! This is likely the last time I'll see him in person before he retires, which is a strange thought, but the good news is that the cruise is a short time away! Almost down to just four months now; we booked it over a year ago. I am excited to celebrate Dad's retirement with our family and friends!

Sometimes you eat with the spoon, and sometimes you give up...
Working on a hat for crazy hat day at church
Papa's favorite place
Would I rather eat or sleep? Can I do both?