He Reads

I should be doing reading lessons right now, but…there are lots of good excuses but the main reason is I just don’t want to today. The lessons have been going really well lately, but they are never something I can make a habit of doing- so many interruptions and off days and lack of desire prevent this. But I will keep trudging through, chalking them up as one of those hard things worth doing. Of course it is.

I did have a breakthrough of sorts today. I was reading The Giving Tree aloud to Adon, and Caleb came by and stopped to listen. Caleb has been one for whom my staying consistent with reading lessons has been especially hard. He doesn’t want to be there; I don’t want to be there. This reminds me over and over that I have no magical reading teaching powers- the older 5 just happened to love reading, as I do. But not everyone is like that. Luke is an example. It makes me chuckle to think of him traveling with Burton Reading, because, well, he doesn’t read. Not like the other six of us in the family that know how, anyway. So Caleb may likely be more like him, reading for necessity and understanding, but not for enjoyment.

But today, today I felt like we turned a corner. After I finished The Giving Tree, Caleb took it off of my lap and left the room. Later I found him reading it to Noah! Just last trip to the library, I was scanning the shelves for books that he might become interested in enough to read on his own, and Shel came through for me. I’m so grateful.

Birthday Thoughts

Elijah is asleep in bed after a long day, so I don’t quite know what to do with myself. Usually I am rocking/walking/jiggling him in his baby carrier. I know I will miss this stage, but…A brief reprieve is nice now and then.

Luke is 40 today. Everyone says this, but it is so true; I didn’t know this would be what it was like to be 40, or in my case, nearing 40. I guess I thought I would feel old. There are days, but for the most part I do not feel old. I feel strong. Luke is completely immersed in planning his backpacking excursions for this summer, so I can conclude that he feels strong, too.

Sarah is 13 today. I remember the day she was born; I was there. It was a Monday that year, Presidents Day, Luke was off school, so he and I were at the mall when my labor began. It was scary because I hadn’t started labor naturally with Aliyah, and I didn’t know what was worth mentioning and what was worth ignoring. But labor progressed really quickly, from 11 o’clock at the mall to about 4 o’clock at the hospital. I remember being on my knees by a chair, waiting for them to fill a tub for a water birth. Sarah didn’t want to be born in the water, though, and came before the bath was ready.

Funny- the youth group was going swimming tonight at a nearby hotel, and Sarah didn’t want to go to that, either.

I am brainstorming birth announcements for this next one (NOT THAT I HAVE ANYTHING TO ANNOUNCE YET), as the twelfth child has to have some pomp and circumstance. Something really funny would be to give people a choice- should I use the picture of a smeared dry erase board with the number 12 written on it, or should I use the picture of the egg with the sharpie smiley face on it in the egg carton? That would cause laughs and news. In any case, my goal is for this to be THE BEST PREGNANCY EVER diet-wise, and am brainstorming ways to make this goal. Sugar? Out. Carbs? Out. Caffeine? Maybe. For the past few weeks I have been drinking a cup of coffee after lunch. It serves as a dessert -as I do not drink coffee without a lot of chocolate and a lot of cream- but also keeps me awake through naptime when my bed calls to me loudest. I noticed last week, however, that I have this nasty taste in the back of my throat, and am wondering if it is the coffee doing that. Yuck! I may have to come up with another treat to energize me in the afternoons.

Four of the kids saw the dentist today, and probably had a tougher time of it because they haven’t been since 2013. On my way out I scheduled next year’s, and they will thank me, I know they will. For this year it was four today, two on Tuesday, and one on Thursday of next week. Next year it will be two on each successive day of the first week of March. I was feeling all good about myself, calling insurance to see if flouride and x-rays were covered and finding out that they were, until at dinner I realized that our dentist is out of network and that might not apply. I will have to call about it tomorrow- I hope we don’t owe an arm and a leg for 4 flourides and 4 x-rays! Our church canceled its Wednesday night activities, so we were able to have a nice easy taco dinner cake-ice cream-movie night at home. I’m off to join the kids- they’re watching Annie.

Laundry List

I got a text today from my dad telling me my mom was in the hospital with chest pains. She had a heart attack fifteen years ago, and ever since has had to be monitored closely. The tests are coming out fine, but this is the second time in two weeks that there has been pain, and it would be aggravating to not know why. The news of today was upsetting, but not surprising, given my mom’s advancing age. For the past few weeks I have had conversations about the future with my dad and mom, but only in my head. Seems I can’t bring up topics like nursing homes and funerals as easily as what new thing Elijah is doing or what funny thing Adon did. I do believe that the LORD will walk us through whatever lies ahead, and do not believe having a nursing home at the end of our road is a coincidence.

I exchanged a certain home scheduling book with a book on chores from the same company. This book offers a chore system using reminder cards called chorepacks. I heard about it through the Duggars. Hey, if it works for the Duggars, it behooves us to at least take a look and see if it might work for us. Problem is, I am feeling a bit overwhelmed by life right now and just the thought of reading through the manual makes my eye get to twitching. So, I did what any tired homeschooling mama would do- I assigned reading and implementing it to my two oldest girls. I am really on a roll, after last week assigning them each a cookbook to work through.

Something Luke mentioned one of the times when I was bemoaning my busy-ness was that the older kids ought to be doing their own laundry. Once we started this and I was seeing my baskets less full, I began to feel some hope. It feels good to pass some tasks along to others who are coming up and capable, and I need to be passing along more tasks like this, more often. As the days went by, however, I noticed who of the older set were doing a load of laundry, and who wasn’t. “Noah,” I warned, “you’d best be washing some clothes soon or you won’t have what you need for Sunday,” I said to him one day. He dumped some pants in the community basket, curled his lip, and scrunched his eyes and said, “Nah, I don’t really want to do my own laundry.” I swallowed a laugh while tossing his clothes back into his room and said, “This was not an optional thing. You are doing your own laundry now.”

Contrast this with Caleb, whom I did not expect to be doing his own laundry yet, as he cannot really reach the dryer. He brings me this dilapidated basket with a few days’ worth of dirty clothes in it tonight and asks me if the washer is free. I went right downstairs and started a load for that cutie. Maybe ‘overwhelmed’ is a matter of perspective- I hope I am always overwhelmed with love for these God has given me.