Oh my goodness, how long has it been since I actually posted an update?
It was just a bit busy during February and the beginning of March. Now life has slowed down, and the weather has warmed up, and we are doing good.
I don't even know where to begin.
The reason I was so busy in February was that I helped plan and put on our church's main (only?) event for women. We have an annual one-day "mini-retreat." This year, we called it "A Season for Everything" and I have to say, I think it was the best yet. We had 5 women talk about the different seasons of life that they are in or have been in, and what got them through it. It was amazing how God tied everything together. We didn't really know any of what the others would talk about, but yet the theme, the ideas, and the Scripture all pointed back to the same things.
We also did an Awana Grand Prix workshop the last weekend of February, followed by the Grand Prix event the first weekend of March.
The second weekend of March I went with nearly 30 women from the Ottawa area to Women's Encounter. I didn't personally have any friends going as attendees, but I think God knew that I needed this time for ME. It has been a long two years since the last time I went. With nursing, not sleeping, and trying to live in it while finishing the projects..... Even though all of those things are getting better, I needed this rejuvination. I got to give a gospel presentation to 267 women. And I got to spend the weekend serving with 6 awesome women that have done so much to challenge and encourage and inspire me (my mom and sister included). It was a great time to realize how much I appreciate the ladies that God has placed in my life.
Paul and I celebrated our 11th anniversary on March 20. We went out for BBQ and rented a couple movies. (Loved Fury, a movie about a tank crew in WWII. The newest Hunger Games installment, Mockingjay, was a snoozer.) Every anniversary gets more and more low key, but I am perfectly fine with that. I love loving my husband! I'm so thankful for our marriage and the strength and commitment my husband has.... Even on days that I'm not very friendly.
As for the kids....
Gideon has been sleeping through the night ever since I weaned him in December. He went from waking up 2-4 times a night while nursing, to a solid 8-12 hours. I got used to that REAL fast, but I still feel like I'm catching up from last year. The last couple days he's been a bit fussy and grumpy. I think it's more teeth, even though all 16 are broken through. It doesn't seem like Gideon eats more than 2 bites at meals. Even at snacks, he very rarely eats more then a few bites. The only thing he'll chow down is bananas. He loves to play "I'm gonna get you!" and will run through the house squealing with laughter as someone chases him. The older boys love playing this game with him. He's not talking yet (surprise, surprise). He nods and shakes his head - not always the right motion for the answer he's trying to give, but it's a step! And he has one-syllable sounds for some words, like please and thank you and milk. I was hoping he would be different than the last two, but he's shaping up to be silent til he's 2, just like they were. (He's almost 16 months.) He's still pretty high-maintenence when it comes to needing entertained. He wants to be held most of the time when I'm around.
Zadie is.... Zadie! That's all I can say, and for anyone that knows her, that says it all! She's such a little boss. She is so different than the boys! She talks to her toys, and her toys talk to each other. The other day, her hot dog and her toy girl were having a conversation about a toy pteredactyl! She is really into clothes, but not in a prissy way. She wants a pretty dress, but then she'll go out and dig in the dirt and climb trees. Lately, she's been wanting me to braid her hair all the time, which really helps with the tangle situation - if we can get past the drama of brushing it out. I'm sure our neighbors (who live a quarter mile away!) can hear her screaming like she's being skinned alive! Some days I just don't want to deal with that. She still loves her babies, and talks about being a mommy. The other day she showed me that she was nursing her baby. Paul wasn't sure what to think, but I think it's great that she has a concept of what's natural. She also has wanted to start doing "school." This consists on flashcards to teach her colors, and a calendar like the boys' that she gets to draw on. Her 3rd birthday is in a couple weeks. And we're FINALLY POTTY TRAINED!!!! We still have an accident occasionally, but it is SO nice to have her using the potty on her own.
Jacob has really picked up on reading. He blasted through all the short vowels and consanants. He's stuck on long vowels, but I think it's because it requires effort and thought. He is totally my child when it comes to that. "I'll do it if it's easy." But he's also figured out that if he just DOES his school, instead of whining and wandering off, he can get it done SO FAST. Like seriously, two hours tops. He's only got about a dozen math lessons left for Kindergarten. I'm not sure what we're going to do for a stopping place on reading, since we're not really using a curriculum at this point. I know we'll do some type of reading through the summer, just not sure what yet.
School is getting better with Nathan, most days. Part of it is I've made a concious effort to change my attitude. He reflects my attitude. Some days it's hard. But I offer grace, again and again (just like God does for us). I discipline him when he needs it, but show excitement and give enthusiastic praise for good work minutes later, so he can see I'm not holding his bad attitude against him if he will choose to change it. He's come a long way in his reading. He's still behind what our curriculum says he should be (probably reading at a 1st grade level according to their standards), but I'm not too worried about it, since he's interested in it and making effort. We will probably do full reading/phonics curriculum over the summer to try to catch him up. Jacob is close to catching Nathan, but a lot of that is because it's come very naturally to Jacob (how I was as a child), whereas Nathan really had to think about it at first. Math is definitely the subject that takes the most time in his school, as he has a math lesson (where I teach new concepts), a time test, a two-sided worksheet (one is supposed to be homework, but that never happens if we try to do it later), plus counting, time, and money questions. I haven't done as well at drilling the math tables as I should have, but he at least has the skills to figure them out if he can't recall them by rote memorization. I would prefer he doesn't have to use fingers, but sometimes I still do!
We're finishing up on the house projects. The electricity in the boys' rooms (play room and bed room) is done, so Paul is finishing putting up sheet rock (right at this moment, actually!). He finished the sheetrock in the main stairway as well, so now all we have to do is paint. Paint..... So much of that to do, and I don't even want to think about it. It's kind of an overwhelming thought, mostly because I know that every aspect of life otherwise will have to come to a standstill to get those projects done, so I am not looking forward to it. (But I priced hiring it out, and NO WAY.) Paul got the small deck on the east side of the house put back on - CHANGED MY LIFE. It is so nice to be able to walk across a porch to access the house, rather than having the all the dirt from the yard applied directly to my floors. (We have no grass for about 20 feet in any direction from the house.) We got 3 beautiful solid-wood doors, for the two new bathrooms and the boys' bedrooms. So the back bathroom is fully funcional and private (previously just had a curtain). Paul got the toilet installed in the downstairs bathroom, but we're a while out from getting the shower put in. I told him that the back deck is higher on my priority list. Having a bathroom downstairs is really going to mess up the boys' school routine - their favorite trick to try is the "I need to go poop!" excuse, and then they promptly disappear for a half an hour. Going to look for the missing truant means the remaining boy will escape or become totally distracted. So having toilet and sink down there solves all excuses!
Warm weather means we're planning a garden and flower beds. My main flower bed got completely torn out, so all there is is bare dirt at the front of our house between the house and the driveway. I'm excited to start from scratch, but also overwhelmed at the options for such a huge amount of square footage. I'm also looking forward to replenishing the vegetable supply. This having to buy produce is crap. And no one likes the frozen store veggies, so other than salads, we haven't been doing too well on healthy eating!
Anyhow. That's a glimpse of life lately. I'll try to put up pictures soon.