Sickly Seven 

My update this week is rather short and uncomplicated. We were all sick. 

In case you are wanting some more details, this week was our first “one off” of 2017 in our six weeks on, one week off homeschool cycle. I had meant it to be dedicated to potty training and some prepping for an intro unit to world geography. Instead, Michael was sick, I got sick, and the kids all got sick. It isn’t the flu or stomach bug, but the kids and I all caught the same thing. Congestion, fever, sore throat, and general shakiness. This is the first time it’s happened for us, but the 5 of us were all wiped out in a matter of days. We are now in various stages of recovery, and I am still trying to get back on track from the loss of productivity in the house. As I write we are at the end of my first open prep week, no one is completely well, Jacob is on Day 2 of fever and congestion, and very little has been done in advancing my original goals. Since we are also in the thick of garden prep this month, I may assign this unit’s science theme as “gardening” and address my other plans later this year. 

Stay tuned for more exciting news about our garden! 

‘Tis the Season for Sickness and Garden Prep

Michael has been hit hard all month with ear infections and sinus infections. I was just celebrating because we had dodged the stomach bug bullet that seems to be going around our area. Unfortunately, this morning the kids all seemed to be fighting something as well, with low-grade fevers and a general lethargy that is seldom observed in our house. Hopefully this was just a minor event and they won’t get hit any harder tomorrow. 

A big highlight came when Michael’s dad and stepmom stopped by this morning for a quick visit. These times always seem far too short, but we really appreciated their effort in coming to the sick house since we weren’t wanting to further contaminate our extended family with any germs we had accumulated. Thank you so much for hanging out with us!!

Energy levels picked up a bit after lunch, and we all spent some time in the sunshine, working out in the yard. Michael pulled up a good portion of last year’s overgrown vegetable garden to repurpose the leftover lumber. The plan is to expand our garden a bit with new materials since we had so much success with it last year. Today we were able to re-use some railroad ties from the old border to line our driveway. Our lot sits on a hill that slopes toward the front of the house. This causes a lot of standing water to accumulate in the front yard when there is heavy rain, so we’ve been channeling the excess along our driveway in a small, open trench. It’s functional, but more of a work in progress as far as gathering any curb appeal. Hopefully the railroad ties are a step in that direction. Our thought is to fill in the trench with some gravel. What do you think?

The kids were more interested in exploring on their own than contributing to our effort, but I managed to get a few minutes of video with everyone helping out. It should be posted in the next few days.

Dear CranioDad

We just dropped you off at the airport, and already I miss you. I turned on an Amazon bluegrass station once we got home, since it always reminds me of you. This was one of the first songs that I heard, from Nickel Creek:

“You got to leave me now, you got to go alone

You got to chase a dream, one that’s all your own

Before it slips away

When you’re flyin’ high, take my heart along

I’ll be the harmony to every lonely song

That you learn to play
When you’re soarin’ through the air

I’ll be your solid ground

Take every chance you dare

I’ll still be there

When you come back down

When you come back down
I’ll keep lookin’ up, awaitin’ your return

My greatest fear will be that you will crash and burn

And I won’t feel your fire

I’ll be the other hand that always holds the line

Connectin’ in between your sweet heart and mine

I’m strung out on that wire
And I’ll be on the other end, To hear you when you call

Angel, you were born to fly, If you get too high

I’ll catch you when you fall

I’ll catch you when you fall

Your memory’s the sunshine every new day brings

I know the sky is calling

Angel, let me help you with your wings
When you’re soarin’ through the air

I’ll be your solid ground

Take every chance you dare

I’ll still be there

When you come back down

Take every chance you dare,

I’ll still be there

When you come back down

When you come back down”

Needless to say, the tears flowed quickly. I’m so excited for you, and excited with the fire that this conference fans in you to be a better dad. But it’s still never easy to be without you.

Swingin’ in the Sun

Today feels a lot more like spring than winter. We are enjoying some warm sunshine this afternoon. Littlest is asleep in a wrap and the older two are mellowed out with some calming outdoor fun. (Yes, this is their calm.) I want to get in every drop of sunshine I can before another cold wind blows through.

Even on Rough Days, Good Moments can Shine Through

Hi friends! I am continuing my week of finding and speaking the good from my life back into my life. If you are confused, check out “Monday Fun Day.”
Tuesday was a harder day for me all around, but I was able to glean some diamonds in the rough for your inspection. Here are some of my notes, as well as some background with them.

Jacob got into a great rhythm this morning and chilled on his mat for an hour so that I could pick up the house and “encourage” the older kids to get ready for the day.

Tuesday is Speech day for Zoey. Michael’s mom will come over, and lately she has been watching both David and Jacob while I take Z down the road for an hour. This week Z had some practice for comprehension testing, which happens before her birthday each year. It’s hard for me to sit through this because the test progressively gets more difficult, and ends only when she misses a series of questions in a row. Each year more is required, based on age, to gain a similar score. According to this practice test, Zoey has gained a point from her score last year, which means she has kept up roughly the same learning pace as others her age while going through her entire preschool year. Considering how many skills these little guys learn when they are 3 and 4, I found that incredibly reassuring. She is holding her own in the midst of a huge learning curve.

David went poop on the potty today! (Don’t laugh, this is entirely noteworthy!)

Everybody helped with laundry today! In the spirit of being more transparent, this was the scene only 5 minutes later. The only one left hasn’t figured out how to run away yet.

An encouraging neighbor came over to make sure I was still sane after noticing the heightened activity coming from our house while I wheeled out our recycling. I’m not sure if I convinced her of anything, but it was nice to have another mom in the house for 5 minutes.

Zoey dumped out my entire purse under David’s bed this afternoon. While that part is NOT extremely fun or exciting, what I found while cleaning everything up was this little gem: This will be fun to explain to the kids in a few years.

As you may have guessed from the laundry photo, somewhere within this last month Jacob found his toes! He is at my favorite age between 0 and 4, which is 4-6 months. At least in our family, they are old enough to roll and entertain themselves, and young enough to not go very far.

My little copycat. Me: Ouch! I stepped on a toy; David: ouch! I stepped on a toy too!

I had a rough night with Jacob waking up quite a bit, so I was pretty much a zombie come Wednesday morning. I put myself on auto-pilot throughout the morning, and then picked up my notes this afternoon.

These are remnants of all David’s attempts to bring me some pants after quiet time.It took him so many tries to come back with a reasonable pair of pants to wear outside. The first two are shorts, the third pair is damp, and the fourth time was the charm. I had laugh, he was trying so hard!

Lately Z has been caring around her little dolls and stuffed animals in her sweatshirt. Can you tell how I carry Jacob normally? #BabyWearers4theWin

I hope you have been gaining some smiles from these, as I have. This week I have already been reminded that there are so many fun moments to hold on to, even on the rough days. Keep smiling!

Monday Fun Day

Hi friend! Welcome (back) to our life! 

I’m trying something new this week as a personal challenge. I try to focus mostly on the good in my kids…really! But somehow the negative elements are what stay in my mind at the end of the day. Part of it is because these are the things I want to work on with them, and maybe I feel defeated about not being able to “fix” everything immediately. Unfortunately, the worst part is that when I am too focused on correcting bad habits, I lose sight of all the fun, amazing times in my day. 

So here’s my challenge to myself: this week I am making constant reminders whenever something memory-worthy happens. It could be something good, kind, or just funny. I have an open word doc on my phone, and I am literally speaking the positives that I want to remember to myself all day. The awesome part of this for you is that now you can read about the funny little phrases and thoughts that surround me these days. I’m a little slow in the starting blocks with this, but here’s what I have for Monday. In recollection, David really brought his A game today!
I typically sing the Doxology during breakfast as a start to our weekdays at home. I am not a morning person…at all…so this has been my way of getting into my happy place. Today was the first day that both Zoey and David tried to join in. It was so sweet!

This morning David did the funniest thing. He has always had a gift for breaking tension. Zoey and I were working on phonics and David was sitting in my lap, determined to stake an active role in the conversation. It had been a tug-of-war type of morning and we were about an hour behind where we tend to be with our day at this point. I pointed to a word in the workbook and asked Zoey what it was. David immediately leaned over and put a little apple sticker on that spot, right where I was pointing. I don’t know how long he had been holding that sticker, but the timing was perfect to make all of us laugh. 

We had raisins for snack this morning. The kids decided they needed to eat together in the toy box. Normally fights erupt pretty quickly when they are that close to each other, but they laughed the whole time. It’s easy to be happy when they are happy.

While I was making lunch David brought over a Noah’s Ark board book and started playing with it on the floor. It has a lot of flaps to open and see different animals in the ark. Very methodically, and a little sleepily, he knocked on each door saying, “Knock knock! Is anybody home?” I will probably add a few seconds of the video in our next vlog if you want to look for it.

After lunch David found one of Zoey’s heart-shaped beads on the floor in their room. He put it under his shirt and over his chest, explaining to me, “This is my heart.”

I prepped a pork roast and some vegetables for dinner in the crockpot. This is one of those few comfort meals that I make just because I absolutely love it! The kids don’t seem to enjoy it all that much, but I’m not worried about it. Update: the kids are coming around to liking it, everyone ate well tonight!

The last intelligible words David said before he fell asleep at naptime today: “We are here, we are here, we are here!” from Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who.

Jacob took 2 naps, over an hour long each. He has also contented himself bouncing and rolling from tummy to back to tummy most of the day. He is so close to regular crawling! I’m trying to soak up as much of the baby stage as I can before he becomes mobile. He’s such a happy baby! I’ve started putting him between the older two for lunch as the mediator and it works fantastically.

The boys are asleep for naptime – a highlight in itself! Zoey just pulled out two pieces of construction paper. She also found the stapler and now she’s attempting her own little book. I made her something very similar for a unit on the 5 Senses a few weeks ago. I love how she internalizes and remembers things like that so effortlessly. 

It’s amazing how many things we can miss when we aren’t looking for them.

What about you? Have you developed a way to remember and hold on to the good in your life? I’d love to hear about it in the comments. 

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Big News!

Guess what? No really, this is exciting! CranioDad and I have decided to join forces in an ultimate collaboration project: the Cranio Family Blog! Brilliant right? We have been blogging separately about all things family-related ever since I first became pregnant with Zoey. Our family is growing, our vision is growing, and we are so excited to bring you a brand new website this holiday season! We will have perhaps the first family blog that is complete with consistent Dad Said/Mom Said contributors and first-hand experience of raising a child with craniosynostosis. We also promise to include the required family snapshots and happenings throughout the week. We will kick it all off with a fun giveaway to win in time for Christmas, so you don’t want to miss it!


Pumpkin Patch

This is that time I carted all three kids by myself to the pumpkin patch with our MOPS group. I was pretty proud of myself just for getting us all there and back with minimal tears and no blood. It’s the little things.

Crafts with Daddy

For about a year we had a subscription for Koala Crate, an awesome service that delivers an educational craft and game box with a common theme every month. We recently canceled it until we could gradually work through our stash. Every few months CranioDad will go through a box with Zoey and David. This one was all about The Farm. The kids grew their own garden with bead vegetables, made animal finger puppets, and constructed a barn to hold their new games. They had a blast! We have worked through 4 or 5 boxes at this point, and I’m not an affiliate with Kiwi Crate, but I love their products! They have a few different levels that are targeted for different age groups. Check ’em out!