Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hair Revisited

I been on a sabbatical of sorts in regards to Amanda's hair. I've just been doing the bare minimum which means she usually looks quite frightful. My neighbors just think I'm very safety conscious because I always make her wear a helmet when we're out riding bikes, but really it's to cover her wild hair.

Lately I've been doing a bit more research and trying to learn about more long lasting styles. One of my blog friends directed me to Happy Girl Hair. It is a wonderful website devoted to teaching gentle and natural care for curly-haired cuties. She's even posted some wonderful tutorial videos teaching various styles and care techniques.

I have been told this before, but the comments this mom receives on her blog and videos have again reminded me that well-cared for hair equals a well-loved child. For many women of color, caring properly for my girls' hair demonstrates my love and devotion to these little girls that we have adopted. What that means to me is that I need to get into a better routine of caring for her hair so that when Mike is heading to town, Amanda can go with him instead of having to stay home because I have no time to make her hair presentable before he wants to leave.

Right now Happy Girl Hair is hosting a give-away for an adorable sleep cap. Amanda has been sleeping on a silk pillowcase but she still seems to wake up with her hair all amiss so perhaps a sleep cap will help.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Seven Months and Walking

This little girl is seven months old.
And this little girl is walking.

And this little girl can't figure out why we don't get as excited when she stands up and takes a step.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My Brain is Not Going to Turn to Mush

Okay, so if you have had a conversation with me any time during the last year you know that my brain has in fact turned to mush, but...

I was feeling a little lost not being involved in the boys school last year. I always imagined Tyler getting to the this age and being enrolled in college classes through PSEO. I would no longer be responsible for the grading and correcting but would be devoted to helping him with revising and editing. It was going to be fun and he would have a great advantage having a live-in writing tutor. Yeah, he's not really into all that. He has yet to let me help revise a paper for school. He says something about wanting it to be his own work. Sigh.

However, my dear ever-loving husband, knowing how much I wanted to help somebody in their college studies, decided to go back to school this fall. Just for me! Isn't that sweet?

Just kidding! He did actually go back to college and I am so thrilled and proud of him. And he has allowed me to help and that makes me happy too.

He's enrolled in an online program with Ohio Christian University. He started on August 31st. It's been going really well for him and he is busy doing homework every night. He actually considered going back last fall but I'm sure glad he decided against that. He is currently working toward an associate in business but is considering a masters degree in teaching. I'm looking forward to supporting him on this new adventure and happy for the opportunity to have my brain stimulated so it doesn't turn completely to mush through lack of use. :)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Just how long...

...will a five gallon drum of Charlie's Soap Laundry Powder last?

We're about to find out. The first load was started last night. There are supposed to be 1280 loads in the bucket. I wonder how long it will take us to do that many.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

No More Bottles

I was in no hurry to get Christiana off bottles. I figured that I nursed Amanda for 18 months and I hope to nurse Talitha for closer to two years, so why would I be in a hurry to rush Christiana out of this stage of babyhood? I thought the time I would spend feeding her a bottle would be good bonding time.

Christiana, however, had other ideas. She just really wants to be like Amanda and drink out of a sippy cup. If I didn't give her one, she would complain loudly, wiggle and squirm, push away the bottle and steal Amanda's cup if given the chance. While I am not in the habit of giving into a child's demands, I am willing to reconsider and change plans when it seems prudent. So, after she finished a bottle at lunch a few days ago, I decided we were done.

That challenging part about switching to the cup is that they tend to drink less. Christiana really likes to eat, so I just use my milk in her cereal and oatmeal instead of water like I had been doing. This means I need to soak it instead of microwaving it, but that just takes planning. It's sad for me to being moving her into a phase where she is relying more on the variety of foods she eats to get the bulk of her nutrition instead of my milk. It just represents one more step away from her babyhood that went by far too quickly.

She seems to have taken to the transition cheerfully although her biggest complaint is that the milk is no longer warmed up. And while she is all done with bottles, that doesn't mean I no longer have bottles to wash because I am still pumping for her and to donate. I am happy to be done washing nipples and rings though.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Pete and Repeat

I know we've seen this funny crawl before but it's still so incredibly funny to watch. Christiana was crawling around like this and then standing up but she wouldn't do it once I got the camera out or on the slippery kitchen floor.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Routine

Around 7 am, Amanda wakes up. I get her breakfast and mine prepared and wake up the first baby to feed. That all depends on how Talitha slept. Today she slept through the night so I got her up first. Diaper changes happen first thing when the babies wake. After she's nursed, I prepare food for Christiana and get her up to eat while Talitha plays in her walker or on the floor. I feed Christiana her food and bottle on my lap while I eat my breakfast.

Then I fold laundry on the floor with all of them crawling around me or do dishes with the baby on my back and the other two standing in chairs at the sink.

Then the baby goes down for a nap followed by the toddler. Sometimes Christiana helps with the bathroom swish and swipe before going back to bed.

Next I start or "reboot" a load of laundry. Then I pump and do school with Amanda. We've been exploring Star Fall the last couple of days. We also go through her alphabet flash cards, play memory or go through the bird book my mom gave her.

Then Amanda and I prepare food for a meal or two. I also use this time to do dishes if I didn't during the first chore time. If there are plenty of left-overs in the fridge, we might do a special craft like painting. Sometime I have a special project I need to do like sorting clothes or cleaning out a cupboard. I also use this time to shower or do Amanda's hair. I have Amanda read or play with her cards in the bathroom while I shower if she doesn't join me.

Around 11 to 11:30 am, it's time to get the babies up to eat again. If I feed Christiana first, she just crawls around while I am feeding Talitha. Amanda often takes as much time to eat by herself as it takes me to feed the two babies. When she's done she gets down and pushes a chair to the sink to wash her hands herself.

Then I sit on the floor and fold more laundry and Amanda begins to clean-up the toys before nap time. Then I put Tali to bed by changing her diaper, putting her in a sleep sack or second layer of jammies, giving her a burp cloth to chew on and laying her in bed. Christiana gets a diaper change, teeth brushed, a drink of water and covered with her afghan. Finally, Amanda goes potty, gets her teeth brushed and then put in bed. I pump, have a snack and try to take a nap, too.

Tali is almost always the first one up after naps between 2:30 and 3 pm. She nurses and often Amanda gets up and uses the potty by herself. If I'm going some where, after nursing Tali, I will prepare Christiana's bottle and food to take along. I will also pack the diaper bag. Then I wake Christiana, change her diaper and we head out the door. I carry both babies and the diaper bag; Amanda opens the door for me.

When we get home, if Christiana has been fed, she goes right to bed. Tali gets nursed and put in bed and then Amanda and I get dinner. It's usually a reheated meal that we made earlier in the day. We usually aren't gone longer then two hours, so I can put Tali right to bed when we get home if Christiana still needs to eat dinner.

If we don't go anywhere I usually put Tali back to bed after an hour or so of wake time.

About the time I'm putting Christiana to bed, I hear Tali waking up. This is usually about 6 pm. I nurse Tali while Amanda cuts capers. Seriously, she gets so wiggly and silly this time of night. Then Tali goes back to bed and if Mike's home, we sit down with him. On a good day, the boys eat with us and we read from the Old Testament together. Each of us reads a section. We are in 2 Kings right now. Some nights, I will take Amanda out for a run or a ride around the block on her bike if we didn't get outside earlier. She is a great runner! She ran almost 1/2 mile the other day.

Next it's time to put Amanda to bed. We were having a lot a bedtime drama so we started saying that if there was no whining at bedtime she would have two stories. That has really helped.

After she's in bed, I have a snack, pump and then start cleaning up the kitchen. I also clean up the living room if I didn't do that with Amanda before she went to bed. About the time I'm finished and ready to climb into bed, I hear Tali wake up. She wants to nurse and play for a little bit. She is so silly, loud and lively this time of night. She's so much fun. It's always hard to put her back in bed. Some how I manage. :)

Then I collapse in bed. I get up once during the night to pump and often Tali gets up then, too. I have been working on having her sleep through the night but that is still in process.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Other Beach...

Looking who's sitting up!!!
And who's standing up!!!

Of course, staying upright is a bit tricky when you have a sister who loves you THIS much!

This is the beach that we have been going to for most of the summer. There's my van sitting in the hot sun. We are parked relatively close on this day but often we have to park much farther away. This is the shady spot under the pine trees where I sit with the babies after taking Amanda swimming. In order to take her, I wear one baby on my back on one on my front. I don't actually swim. I just wade up to my hips which is plenty deep for Amanda to swim and I don't have to deal with two wet babies.

Here's the playground and the long walk through the hot sand to get to the water. The water is way too far away for me to just let her play while I sit in the shade with the babies. After swimming I do let her play on the playground while I feed the babies in the shade.

And let's not forget the famous hanging rings that are on the lake side of the playground where I can't see them. I asked Amanda to show me how she did the rings by herself. She showed me how she could reach the ring, hold onto the pole and then pick up her legs up swing. So, that guy was totally over reacting. She was fine! ;)

My mom and two nephews came with us to the beach on this day. The boys and my mom all biked to the beach and I drove the two little girls.

Amanda rode in the buggy on the way to the beach. Usually my mom spends some time helping Amanda learn to ride her bike when she comes, but on this day Mom didn't have time. However, the next time I took Amanda out on the bike she had gotten over her fear of speed and pedaled like crazy! Thankfully, my mom had taught her how to use her brakes on a previous visit.
She used to pedal cautiously and slowly. So slowly that she would lose momentum and would need help to get going again. No more! It's so fun to watch her grow up and she was so proud of her success, too.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

This Little Girl Is So Amazing!

Amanda is so physically active! She is always climbing, hanging, running and jumping. Although the constant motion often drives me bonkers, I am so thankful for her good health and ability.

One of her favorite indoor activities involves swinging between one of these stools and the window ledge while I'm working in the kitchen. She has grow so strong and I was so amazed to watch her swing between the two stools the other day.

What a girl!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Home School Until High School?

When Tyler was five and we started homeschooling, people would ask us, "Do you plan to home school through high school?" We always told them that we were taking one year at a time.

Most people's concern was the difficulty of high school courses. I wasn't concerned about that because I knew we would have the teacher's manual. :) My vision was to home school them until 11th grade and then enroll them in college courses, either online or on-campus, through the Post Secondary Options Program. This is a program available in our state that allows high school students to take college courses earning both high school and college credits. I took advantage of the program my Junior and Senior year and graduated high school just 12 credits shy of an Associate in Arts degree. However, I was a bit distracted by my social and work life and hoped to guide my boys differently.

Things were going along swimmingly for the most part. The boys were doing great and tested well in their subjects. Tony was trying to keep up with Tyler and tested well above his grade level. As we transitioned from unschooling to more formal classes and their work load began to increase, we started to face more challenges. We also moved to a new area with fewer homeschooling families like us. The philosophies and ratio of boys to girls changed. Then puberty hit and we watched the hormones wash over their brains and completely wipe out all rational thought. Poor things!

Anyway, about a year and a half ago, I was ready to put Tyler in school full-time. He was not ready and preferred to continue at home. He did want to take some elective courses at the school and started last fall. That went as well as to be expected. Public school is as bad as everyone says it is. We did have the benefit of a very open relationship with Tyler in that he told us almost everything that went on at school. I always did my best to stay calm and answer something like, "Oh really? What do you think about that?"

He did fine in his classes at school but continued to argue about his work load here at home. It was pretty comical to hear Tyler tell us how he got 114% on his biology quiz because he answered the three bonus essay questions after arguing with us about having to write full sentences in his history homework. We also had scheduling conflicts and Mike finally decided to take over the schooling last fall. He would do the teaching and correcting in the evenings with them. It was a very busy and very stressful year for him.

Tony was pretty bored and lonely with Tyler gone for most of the day. Apparently the girls and I didn't provide him with enough excitement. :) So, we knew it was time for him to go too. Tyler will be in 11th grade and is taking courses that also earn college credit. Tony will be in 9th grade.

When Mike mentions the boys being enrolled full-time in public school to friends, they always ask, "How does Katie feel about it?" The reality is that I'm disappointed that things did not go like I imagined. I'm sad that my boys just want to be like every one else instead of blazing their own trail and making the most of their student years. However, I realize that they are who they want to be and not who I want them to be. Are there things I could have done differently that may have made a difference? Yes. Thankfully, I have another chance to do things differently.

Does this mean I plan to home school my girls all the way through high school? We're taking it one year at a time.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

First Tooth

At just over six months, Tali has her first tooth. (sniff, sniff) It's on the bottom left side. (sniff, sniff) The right one is just about to pop through, too. (sniff, sniff) I don't know why this makes me so teary, but it does. (sniff, sniff) These last six months have gone by so fast and in such a blur. I want to savor all these moments while my babes are small because they grow up so fast and every milestone moves them farther away from my realm of influence. Having teenagers certainly helps me appreciate my little ones.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I used coconut milk conditioner on damp hair and finger-twisted each small section of her hair after putting the front into a small black rubber band. I kept a bowl full of water nearby to keep things damp. I used a technique I learned by watching Miss Jessie's tutorial videos. It took 1/2 hour to 40 minutes to do. We'll see how it holds up after naptime.