Thursday, April 10, 2014

Where, oh where, did the Ingrams go?

I've been trying to only use the Internet when I need something (banking, email, school info, etc) during Lent.  It's been a nice break from reading blogs of friends of friends  of  friends and worrying more about useless info than what's going on in my house!  I have missed blogging about our life but it was safer to just stay away!  Lent is almost over and  I have much less desire to just surf the Internet these days, so I may try blogging a little more.  We'll see...  The big news is that I have a new phone and a camera available all the time, so maybe I can figure out how to have more pictures on here soon :)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Spring has sprung, sort of

I know, I know, there is another month of winter left to go.  Next week we'll be back to the 30s and 40s, but for 24 hours I'm going to make like Sheryl Crow and soak up the sun.  I think my patience grows as the temperature rises.  I will kick myself later for saying this, I'm sure, but what a great day we've had at Ingram School!!!
To begin with, Baxter took a nap in his cradle and we got tons of school work done!!!  We talked about colors today.  Rachel and Ford used the markers to practice spelling and handwriting.  Rachel had to write all 12 colors on lined paper by looking at the marker herself and spelling them correctly. Ford picked three markers and practiced spelling them and, of course, drew a train with them.  Ruby would pick a marker out of her jar and as I wrote the color name she told me the letters, then she colored with that marker.  She felt so grown up.
Ford did his math lesson almost completely by himself, then did some letter work.  Rachel had trouble focusing on her math test due to her 6 year-old molar bothering her, but she got all the problems from this week's lesson correct...we need to do some addition review!  Ruby did some counting all the way to 30!
Rachel read us a story, we did another Mother Goose poem together, and then we talked about Christopher Columbus asking Queen Isabella for some ships for his voyage.  We also talked about the calendar, Ruby did some matching work in her "school book" and everyone looked at library books.
Now for the real fun...after Baxter ate, we all went for a walk to the dentist's office down the street (had to pay a bill) and when we got back we decided to ride bikes.  Ruby did something bad (I can't remember what), so I told her she could only watch (consequences are working today!).  Ford and Rachel had so much fun.  Ruby watched nicely for five minutes, so I pushed her around in the neighbor's play car.  I kept cracking up at the game they came up with.  One of them would sit on the steps to our neighbors' porch and the other two would ride by and say, "Hey, my friend from school, want to come to my house and ride bikes?". The one on the steps would hop down and get on a bike and they'd ride a few laps, then somebody else would sit on the steps.  While they were riding they'd invite each other to lunch or dinner or movie night with their Dad.  So funny!
When we finally put up the bikes (they rode for a LONG time).  We decided to eat lunch on the porch.  They played so nicely while I got lunch ready.  We put out a blanket and had a fun little picnics, then read stories on the blanket before come in for nap time.  It was such a great morning!
If we can just keep the post-nap crabbies away, this day will be awesome.  And if we could just get rid of the mud before it rains again, we could do this every day!!!  I think it also helped that Baxter did some great napping today, too.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Lessons I've Learned on Enrichment Day

Wednesday is kind of our "enrichment day" around here.  We used to go to story time on Wednesday mornings (more about that later) and now Rachel and Ford are both taking art classes on Wednesdays.  It takes up just about the whole day to do a 10:30 story time for an hour, figure out lunch for an hour, get Ford to art at 12:30, pick him up at 1:30, try to squeeze in a nap for anybody who will take one, get Rachel to art at 3:00 and pick her up at 4:00.  So, today, I learned a lot.

1.  No more story time for this crowd.  Why?  Well, Rachel has definitely aged out of story time, the stories haven't been that great lately, and too many people want to talk to me and take my focus away from the kids.  The crazy thing is the people who I like to see at story time weren't even there today...they're the ones I like to talk to, but not today, boy!  Allen used to work at the library, so everyone that works there wants to talk to us and check out Baby Baxter (understandable, but hard to do with three other kids tugging at you and making bad decisions like pulling all the books off the shelves--Ruby!).  Some of the people who work at the library I have known for a long time and enjoy talking to, but other people come get in those quick conversations and make them take way longer and test my patience and politeness because I'm just not good at cutting people off.  I think I'm going to start getting better at that!  The kids don't like the stories, they aren't real sure about the crafts, and we usually end up in an argument about how many Thomas or Fairy books they can check out or why they can't play on the computers or take all the books off the shelves.  I'd rather go to the library when there aren't a ton of other kids there and nobody cares about talking to us!  I can do my own story time here at Ingram School.

2.  My kids trust Ms. Lisa more than just about anyone else in the world.  I don't know what we'd do without Lisa.  She teaches their art classes.  She could tell how crazy I was after the library today and was there to help out when Baxter decided he needed to eat and Ruby had an accident in her tights all at the same time.  She offered to bring Ford home so that we wouldn't have to load everybody up again in an hour and Ford jumped on his chance to ride with her!  I'm pretty sure the only other person he's ever ridden with by himself is Hobo.  The boy knows who will take care of him.  When she dropped Ford off, she offered to come back by and get Rachel (who has never ridden with anyone else by herself) after picking up her nephew at school.  Now it was Rachel's turn to get excited!  Lisa promised me that she'd let me know if she had too much going on to pick up or drop off, but I think we may have a system here!  Allen picked Rachel up afterwards and I spent a lot less time in the car then I had thought I would today!

3.  Cloth Diapering a newborn is not for me.  I have done four loads of laundry today and I can't keep up.  Most of it is the diapers, some of it is the muddy clothes from the two middle children who make bad decisions outside like going head first down the slide into the muddy spot of the yard.  I know that newborns poop a lot more  than big kids and it could get easier when he only poops once a day, but goodness gracious, does every.single.diaper have to have poop in it?!?!?!  I can't figure out a good system in our house, so for now these cloth diapers are going back on the shelf.  A million jillion trillion times thank you to Amanda and Chris for letting us use their diapers and possibly, just possibly I might pull them back out when we're doing one poop a day, but for now, I need to just throw that sh*t in the trash (pun intended!).

4.  Screaming doesn't help, but it makes me feel better.  Well, then it makes me feel worse.  Hell, I might need to give up screaming for Lent.  We live in a teenie tiny house and I still have to scream from one room to the other to get a certain little girl to come when I call her.  I get mad at her for screaming all of the time and then I realize where she gets it when I scream at her!  Same thing goes for the hand on the hip and the mean faces.  I know I do those, too, but does she have to be my exact duplicate?!?!  I make a lot of bad decisions, too, we're soulmates, I know it.  I am seriously (again) going to start over (again) tomorrow and be more intentional about giving her consequences.  I just really don't know that she cares.  Sometimes I feel like I'm being so mean, too, that I remind her that I love her, I just don't like how she's behaving or the choices she's making.  I'm pretty sure all she hears is, "I love you...." then her mind wanders.  Maybe her Pavlovian response to "I love you" is to just tear things up and go crazy.  Tomorrow.  It's going to get better tomorrow.

5.  Babies cry the most when you're the most frustrated and especially when you're trying to calm everyone else down.  Two nights in a row Baxter has screamed and cried during story time right before bed.  So much for hearing the story, but we just plow through.  I just had to laugh tonight as I'm reading (loudly) and bouncing Baxter and I look around to see everyone covering their ears.  I guess covering your ears drowns out baby crying but not story telling???  We've got to get this figured out soon, though, because Allen will be teaching four nights a week during the summer and I'll be solo for bed time.  Baxter will be old enough to cry in his crib at that point!  I'm just glad Allen will be home during the day!! Yay, summer vacation!!

6.  When is a baby most likely to spit up?
a)  After a nap.
b)  When you're wearing old clothes that are already dirty.
c)  Never, my baby doesn't spit up.
d)  Right after you've finally calmed him down and given him a bath and he's all nice and clean!

every.single.bath.time...spit up follows immediately, and sometimes pee all over the towel, I'm sure poop will be next

7.  Even the worst days at Ingram School have great moments.  Ford, Rachel, and Ruby all did such great school work today.  Everyone ate their meals so nicely today.  It was 70 degrees and despite the mud, we had a great time outside today.  There are always high notes and I'd rather write about those, but sometimes I need to remind myself of the things that drive me crazy, too.  And learn my lessons!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Working through the rough spots

We've had quite a day here.  Ruby didn't get much sleep last night so she is a roller coaster of emotions.  When she fluctuates back and forth between happy, sad, mad, and just downright crazy, it's hard for anybody to get anything done!  She loves the silly poems we've been reading and the animal stories, so she sits still for those.  She hates that I give Ford and Rachel attention while they're working on their math, so even if she has something fun to do, she complains the whole time.  I gave her TONS of school work to do (like finding letters, mazes, dot to dots) and if I was standing beside her while she was working, she was elated!  The second I'd try to help somebody else, forget it.  Suddenly everything becomes "too hard" and she can't do it.  In a house of many children, there is always jealousy.  Rachel was sad that I got out "new" clothes for Ford and Ruby today (don't mind that Ford's pants are too short and Ruby has only tights and leotards!). Ruby is jealous of anyone else getting attention.  Ford gets jealous if other people play with Baxter.  Ford even made a Valentine for himself today.  He didn't want to give away his good Thomas stickers, so he put them on his own paper.  All of this is going on while Baxter is in the carrier, snow is anticipated but not falling, and I forgot about the eggs I was boiling for egg salad (better luck next time!).
Regardless, everyone is resting now and we're having a sleepover in the living room tonight.  So, the day moves on and we work through the rough spots to get to the next thing we need to do!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Diapers and Poetry

I was changing Baxter's diaper today when I realized that he's going to be six weeks old on Thursday!  Then I started thinking about when I would start using cloth diapers since I think he's big enough now.  Then, I realized, "Holy Cow!"  He's almost six weeks old and I haven't bought a single diaper or wipe since he's been born.  That's a LOT of diapers and wipes that people gave us before or once he was born.  I knew we had gotten a lot, but seriously, we use about 10 diapers a day.  How about a math lesson?  Six weeks times seven days a week = 42 days.  42 days times 10 diapers a day = 420 diapers!!!  And we still have at least a couple hundred more to go!!  I am ready to set up my cloth diaper system and get it going, but I am going to finish out these size 1 diapers while I've got 'em!  (Oh, yeah, and there are a couple of packs of size 2 and 3 stored away that were gifts, too!)

We tried to start poetry today.  The kids like the silly poems.  It's hard to water down my 8th grade teaching of poetry, but I think the most important thing is that silly is okay and rhyming is fun.  When I looked at the Core Knowledge teacher's guide for Kindergarten, it showed that analysis of poetry doesn't start until 4th grade.  There were several terms for the teacher to be aware of but that the student did not necessarily have to learn like alliteration, personification, simile, metaphor, etc.  The Ingram School kids already know about personification, so if we don't learn any more terminology, but have a fun time reading poems and rhyming, we'll be okay.  We might even sneak in some Valentine Poems!!

We learned about reptiles today, will do amphibians tomorrow, and wrap up animals this week.  Math is going well and handwriting is all about Valentine's Day this week.

It's good to be an Ingram.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Back on Track with a Z-pack

After a night to that started with chills and ended in sweating, plus two doses from a Z-pack, things are looking up!  We caught up on a LOT of school work today.  Clearly, if you read the post I wrote yesterday, you'll realize I wasn't all there!!  My brain is functioning again, thank goodness, and I feel so much better!
Rachel and Ford both started new math lessons today and we were able to watch the lessons on our new MacBook.  It was awesome and so easy.  Rachel is subtracting numbers from 10 and Ford got to use the big red 100 blocks to create super large numbers.  They both did a little handwriting--Ford practiced numbers and Rachel is writing rhyming words.  Ruby traced and colored shapes and picked out a book on reptiles for us to read during Science time.  We all sat down together review what Rachel has learned about animals.  We will finish up next week and switch back to Social Studies.  After that unit I might be able to do both at the same time again, but it's been nice to focus on just one subject.  We have talked about what makes mammals, birds, and fish different.  Next week we'll talk about reptiles and amphibians.  Rachel will also start a poetry unit next week (appropriate for Valentine's Day!).  I am going to look for some animal poems this weekend and get her to write one of her own next week.  She will also have a big unit test in math next week and we will need to do a lot of reviewing.  The lessons covered on the test go back before Christmas and before Baxter!
Speaking of Baxter, the boy is really starting to get the hang of sleeping in his cradle.  He hasn't missed a pacifier today.  He is only waking up about 3 times a night now to eat.  We are definitely making some progress.  I think when we get to once a night, I may start trying the crib, but since it is literally right beside Ford's head, I don't want to disturb him too much!
It's been a pretty good day so far.  We were able to take a nice long walk since the sun was shining.  We stopped to tell Vanessa happy birthday.  We ate most of the leftovers for lunch and Ford discovered that he likes egg salad.  I only had to give Ruby one oh-so-effective lecture today about how Rachel's schoolwork is mandatory and hers is not, so to quit interrupting if she wants me to work with her!  As I'm saying it all, she doesn't even listen, just wants her turn.  It's a tough balancing act.
This afternoon is violin and then Allen will be home from his final day at his current school.  Hopefully we'll have an awesome weekend before he starts his next adventure...

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Mastitis 3, Me 1

Yesterday afternoon I started feelig a little achy and dizzy and even feverish.  I did not want to be sick because I had just told Amanda that we would not get sick before this weekend!!!  Our playdates keep getting cancelled because of sickness and Baxter really wants to spend time with his godparents!  And Ford is dying to play with Webb!!  I was in denial that I was sick until I got ready to feed the Bax and realized that my chest looked sunburnt!  Then I started worrying about Baxter having thrush.  I thought I could see some white spots on his tongue and. sure enough, it's thrush!  I spent the night with the chills, but Baxter slept well in his cradle.  I didn't get much rest, so dear sweet Allen let me sleep in today.
Anyway, I made it through a year of breastfeeding Rachel without mastitis or thrush, but everyone else has gotten a case of it.  Ford's was by far the worst and his poor mouth was covered in a rash.  Ruby's wasn't horrible, but it still hurt!  Baxter's I caught very early, so even though I feel awful, he doesn't seem to be bothered.  It just means that pacifiers are gone...defintely the easiest way to give up a pacifier!  He didn't even take one at the hospital and rarely keeps one in his mouth, though, so I think he'll be fine.  However, we might have a finger sucker on our hands!