David's tube insertion went well yesterday, though he was a little confused and feisty when he woke up from the anesthesia. Thankfully, the Recovery nurse let us go home pretty quickly, and I discovered that David really just wanted his bed (he was pretty unhappy to get up so early and to not have breakfast).
David came home and slept for a couple hours, then he was up and ready to play.
David has been running and giggling and playing all day today, and he acts like he's feeling better than he has for a LONG time. I'm so glad this boy is back to his fun-lovin', delightful self!
WARNING: Nasty medical info below!!
The ENT doc said that his ears were just filled with a thick sludgy mixture of infected mucus and pus. The tubes were easily inserted, he cleaned his ears out really well, and we're now instilling an antibiotic & steroid solution into his ears until they are completely healed. (BTW, the drops make him giggle hysterically. It's adorable).
Michael had a 2hr delay yesterday due to the sleet and ice that fell over night. We haven't had any weather-related school delays or closures yet, and he was pretty excited to stay home and play for a while.
Kate currently wants to be a Mommy and a Bus Driver when she grows up.
I think, however, that she might be destined to follow in the medical footsteps of the ladies in her family. She has a nurse mommy and 2 nurse grandmothers, so we will see. Here she is "reading" her current favorite book Gray's Anatomy. Yes, I censor this for her little eyes, but she really likes looking at the pictures of bones and cells and such.
She loves learning her letters, shapes, and numbers, and it getting very good at using the computer. Her penmanship is sometimes more legible than her big brothers, and she's quickly learning to put words together. I think she will be reading in a couple months.
Thanks for all your kind notes and emails regarding this cutie:
David will have tubes inserted in the morning, and we're praying that it goes smoothly and simply, as it's supposed to go. David is presently battling yet another ear infection, so hopefully this will alleviate the pain and frustration he has been experiencing with his ears.
On Friday night, I decided we would have movie night. I usually pick G movies, but this time, I decided to try a PG movie from the Narnia series- The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
David went to bed shortly after we started it, and Kate began her hysterics the first time Lucy stepped through the wardrobe. She said that it was SO scary that there was snow on the other side of the wardrobe, and that she KNEW that something scary would happen. She absolutely flipped at the first mention of the white witch. So she went to bed shortly afterward. Jon proceeded to fall asleep and remain so for 2hrs of the 2hr 23min movie, so Michael and I enjoyed some Mom/Son time together. Michael thought that the movie was the MOST awesome EVER! He loved the battle scenes, and he was so excited that the good guys won. He scared me a little bit when he showed me just how similarly his OCD runs to mine. When the 4 kids were sitting on their thrones near the end of the movie, they were situated with the 2 boys on the left and the 2 girls on the right. Michael had me stop the movie so he could show me that it would look "more better" if they had arranged the seats with the 2 boys in the center and the 2 girls on the outside. And I totally understood what he was saying because I thought the same thing...
Kate is sick, and so am I. I have a sore throat with fever and chills, and Kate has had fever and vomiting since last night. I left work after just 4 hours last night to get some rest, and I slept all night and most of the day today. Kate has been resting a lot, and we were able to bring her fever down with some Tylenol. All this, plus David will be getting tubes tomorrow.
Have I mentioned that January is one of my least favorite months?
The one with the pink bow is Kate's current favorite. She's named her Pennsylvania, and Pennsylvania (who I call Penny) comes along with us where ever we go. She's a nice, quiet baby, even if she does require her own snacks and drinks.
Not that I don't let them play with it on occasion, but it's with reservation.
It always seems to end up crumbled into every crevice and surface within about 100 feet.
But the kids love it, and end up making stringy beards out of it, so I oblige. Look at Michael's eyes smiling- totally worth the labor-intensive efforts to reclaim my kitchen afterward (but if you come for dinner in the next week or so, don't be surprised if you find small, dried Play-doh crumbs in your food, stuck to your sock, or ground into the rug).
God must have known that I needed a healthy dose of Vitamin D today. Not only was it up to 68 degrees today, but I got canceled for work due to low census, so I got to stay home and enjoy the outdoors with my family. We pretty much spent all our daylight hours outside today.
We ran and explored.
And we rode bikes.
And jumped on the trampoline.
Even David got a turn alone on the trampoline, though he called it "Bouncy-Bouncy-Bouncy."
They played in the "fort."
And while David napped, the big kids chalked the fort and helped us clean the vehicles (inside and out- our van was NASTY after all those miles over Christmas). In the evening, we cleaned the yard, started a fire and burned some brush.
While we were in Ohio, we were able to visit with our awesome friends, the Seekins. We had so much fun that we didn't get many pictures.
We visited COSI (Center of Science and Industry) in Columbus, and the kids loved it. Here are David and Grace enjoying some water-play in the little guy area. Thankfully, Cynetta had forethought and told me to bring a change of clothes for the kids. Glad she did, since my kids took water-play very seriously.
We've always had the kids do chores (not milk-the-cow-at-4-am chores, but more like making their bed, brushing their teeth, picking up toys, etc), and we have various chore charts and character charts. This year, I found these Melissa & Doug Magnetic Responsibility Charts on sale for $10, and I decided to integrate responsibilities and our character charts into one reward system. I'm trying to focus on using positive reinforcement more, and the kids have really responded to it. They get a smiley for each chore they do, plus I liberally give out smileys when I catch them showing kindness or generosity or responsibility or respect or using nice words, etc.
The orange smileys are special (Kate's special ones are pink). They are worth 10 smileys. Michael gets an orange smiley for getting an "awesome" stamp at school, and Kate will earn a smiley for if she goes the whole day without grabbing or bothering her baby brother (something we've been working on for a while!) At the end of the day, we add up smileys, and that's how many minutes they get for computer time the next day.
The system seems to be working, and the kids are really responding well to the positive reinforcements. I find that I'm praising the kids more than just pointing out when they do wrong. We sometimes take smileys away (or other punitive consequences), but in general, this has been a really good way to encourage good behavior.
I also made a menu board so I don't have to answer that dreaded question asked 14,000 times a day, "What's for dinner?!"
In the fall, we had a Goodwill store open near us. I have been able to find a LOT of really good finds there, especially nice, quality clothing for the older kids. The kids have been growing like weeds, and it is always hard to find inexpensive clothing for them. Kate especially has benefited from 2nd-hand clothing. I've been checking about once a week for a desk and chair for Kate's room. Here's what I found this week while perusing:
A rice cooker. We eat a lot of rice, and this just means I can throw it in and forget about it. Great condition, looks new, manual included.
I also found this suitcase that's in really great condition (pardon the bad picture). It's really big, has wheels and a pull, and was only $3.99. Looking forward to using this instead of all the little ones we have been using.
I forgot my camera on our Christmas journeys, so as I locate pics of our adventures, I will post them.
We started our journeys with a surprise:
I was getting ready to pack our plethora of luggage into the tiny trunk space of our van, and I discovered a former sparrow. Made me think Matthew 10:29 which says that a sparrow doesn't fall to the ground unless the Father wills it. So glad for a God who is in control of every detail. He kept us safe through MANY miles, despite torrential rains on the way home, a strange new van noise, and tires that need to be replaced (and were a little slick in the midst of all that rain through the mountains).
We had fun with the Brown family at my mom's house in WV.
The presents were abundant.
And we had a great time with our loved ones, whom we don't see nearly enough. This is Kate with my mom.
Michael was a little excited...
Kate was too, but she doesn't wear it on her sleeve like Michael does.
Kate and Olivia are two peas in a pod. Artsy activities abounded, as did princess play, and every sort of girlie-ness.
The guys all had a pre-Christmas-dinner nap.
And dinner was enjoyed by all.
David charmed the masses (that's my sister Meredith and my brother Mark).
My sister Hollie and niece Brynn
My kids went a little Wii crazy.
We missed Sunday morning church because Michael threw up a couple times, but it was a quick virus, thankfully!
The Brown grandkids- Brynn, David, Erica, Michael, Olivia, Kate