Sunday, March 31, 2013

coming to you from the house of pain...

"What? Do these shoes not go with my tails?" Enjoy the cuteness. The following post is not cute.

It's Easter Sunday. But we're going to pretend that its not because I want to be totally full of joy over the Resurrection, and the vomit and the horrible cold and cough and the diarrhea have sapped a good bit of that. So we're having a do-over later, TBD.

I'm writing this so I'll remember exactly how bad it was for later. Later, when the kids are older and we don't fall victim to stomach bugs so badly. Later, after I've gotten them all to eat greek yogurt with honey every day for breakfast so that we don't have it so bad ever again...

So, Evan threw up on Monday, and we came home from Mom and Dad's. Tuesday was fine, though Evan was whiny and had some diarrhea, so I kept him in a Pull Up. Wednesday all day was fine, though by that time all of us had a bad cold and a hacking cough (which we all still have, to greater or lesser degrees.) Wednesday night, Ben threw up right before he got into the bathtub, but he was cheerful afterward.

David was feeling bad enough with the cold and cough that he decided to go to the doctor on Thursday, just to rule out something worse than your typical cough. He came home a little early and took a nap. I got Ben up from his nap, and he was feeling awful. He lay on my chest, and then he threw up on me.

We put everyone but me on the BRATT diet, and I ate more cautiously. David had decided that his stomach didn't feel great, so he had nothing but rice for dinner. Thursday night, Seth woke up and threw up. Then, as we're changing and washing those sheets, Evan woke up and threw up. (Keep in mind, he hadn't thrown up since Monday, and now it's Thursday.) Then Seth threw up a second time. Strip the bed again, give him a bowl again, etc. He woke up periodically through the night, crying out with stomach pain.

There was nothing good about Good Friday. Seth lay on the floor or on the couch all day. He slept a lot. He couldn't keep anything down. He had diarrhea. All the Gatorade came back up. I was getting worried. I called the nurse at our pediatrician's office in the afternoon. He'd just thrown up yet another tablespoon of Gatorade. She suggested a teaspoon of Gatorade, but she said if he couldn't keep that down, we should probably take him to the hospital. I texted friends to pray, and we gave him a teaspoon at 7:30. He kept it down, praise God, and we got another teaspoon in him before he fell asleep.

Saturday morning, Ben threw up all his dry cereal breakfast. He spent the rest of the day crying and sitting on our laps. He could drink, but we didn't try to give him much to eat. By Saturday, Seth could eat again, but its been slow for him. We figured out he had nothing but Gatorade and 1 saltine cracker in 48 hours. Evan was begging for more normal food, and we gradually upped his intake of food. We tried giving Ben some scrambled eggs for dinner. He wolfed down a teaspoon of them and promptly threw up. 

So now we've arrived at Sunday. David and I are very tired. I still don't have the stomach bug, but I've been bothered by the cold and cough. David hasn't been able to eat normally since Thursday, and that frustrates him a lot. Ben is grumpy and lethargic, and Seth is lethargic. Nobody can eat much, except Evan, and he's whiny. His stomach isn't perfectly normal, either.

We've had stomach bugs before, but never anything recurring like this. I have no idea how long it will be before we're back to normal, but its looking like a week or more per victim. I'm praying for no more vomit.... 

I sincerely and devoutly hope that I just made all of you feel more thankful for your normal Easter weekend. I hope to feel more thankful for mine next year if God grants us a normal Easter. :)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

... and then the other shoe fell.

We thought we were going to my parent's house for a few days this week to play with my brother's family. So we packed up the car on Sunday afternoon, loaded up the kids, and we were there by dinnertime.

Seth saw his very first college basketball game, dissolved into tears when his older cousin told him he was cheering for the wrong team when he got confused, and learned a lot in the process. =) (Yes, we really need to get on top of the whole "sports watching" part of their education.)

The kids played sooo well together on Monday. It was heartwarming to watch Seth and Isaac draw together, inventing rocket ships. They built Lego cars and drove them around, went outside to play catch, and even learned how to shoot the BB gun together. (I have mixed feelings about this idea of Dad's, so we'll have to keep a tight rein on it.)

But Evan was feeling awful. I knew he'd had a cold before we came, but it was just a cold and wasn't stopping him from enjoying life mostly as usual. By Monday, he was pathetic. He wouldn't eat and lay on the floor a lot of the time. I was getting worried, but after he threw up a cup of milk after his nap, we decided to take our contagious road show back on the road. Mom and Dad will have Vance and Terri's kids for a week while they're traveling for work, and we didn't want to give anyone a stomach bug.

We got home, got the kids to bed, and we crashed ourselves. And then two of us woke up with colds. I'd had a scratchy throat and a little congestion for the last few days, but today I woke up with the real thing. Seth is also wiping his nose a lot. And Ben is grumpy and snotty. The only one to escape so far is David. (Prayers for his continued health appreciated.)

I'd been disappointed when we left my parent's house. I was looking forward to the visit and Mom's good cookin'. BUT, I hate being sick anywhere other than in my own home. I know how hard that is on me, and I'm glad I didn't have to do it.

Looking for the silver lining, right? We'll lay low, watch more Netflix for Kids, and take it easy with Easter crafts and abbreviated school for the week, and I hope we'll all be well by Easter. Fingers crossed....

Friday, March 22, 2013


Been too lazy to upload photos, so you're getting this oldie goldie of Evan from last March. My, how he's grown...

I've decided to attribute the recent burst of energy that I have to spring fever. The birds are singing, its getting lighter earlier, David takes the boys out to play most evenings so I can get dinner together in peace, and nobody has been sick for a month...

I go to the library about 2-3 times a week these days. With all the book requests I make, it's rare that they all come in at one time. It's a good thing we live 5 minutes away. Last night, I even picked out a few for myself. I also had to swing by the Dollar Tree to get glow stick bracelets.

We're learning about jellyfish, so the boys get a jellyfish bath later. We'll turn all the lights off and watch it glow. :)

I was reading through some old journals the other day, and I wrote about my job as an exhibit educator at the Capitol Children's Museum in D.C. (My B.A. is in political science, and my M.A. is in History.) Yes, I was hired to teach chemistry labs to children. I blew things up, froze things, made potions that changed colors, etc. It was a really fun job, and I wrote in my journal that I thought this job might help me out as a future homeschooling mother. I was intimidated by science before that job, but thanks to a wonderful boss who loved taking the most complex ideas down to a kids level, I lost that fear.

So I notice that I am planning a lot of science into our kindergarten days. I'm more naturally attracted to it than I would've though possible 10 years ago. Yay for being a more well rounded homeschooling mom!

I just finished an interesting book called "The Entertainer" by Margaret Talbot. She tells the story of her  father and his life as a actor that spanned a large part of the 20th century. He started as a hypnotist's assistant in the midwest, joined a traveling carnival, acted on the stage, and then made his way to Hollywood. He saw entertainment and culture change a great deal, and it's great social history. Really well written, and I was reminded a little of the way I wrote some of my papers in grad school. Talk about the individual, use it as a launching pad for a larger subject, try to make the transition look seamless, rinse, and repeat. =)

And in this week's meal planning triumph, I managed to stretch one chuck roast into a couple of different meals. I seasoned it with salt and pepper, it spent the day in the crockpot, and then I shredded the meat. We had cheesesteak sandwiches with sauteed onions, peppers and provolone the first time. The second time, I heated up pita and filled it with the rest of the meat, greek cucumber sauce, and lettuce. And this chicken marinade earned rave reviews with the man of the house..

Seth is up, and we need to finish up his math and handwriting before Ben and Evan awake, so I'd better run. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


creating masterpieces of love for Daddy and brothers.... :)

The boys are playing pirate on the faded loveseat in the playroom. They've been shooting bears from the pirate ship. Evan doesn't want to shoot the baby bears because they're tame.

Yesterday and today, Seth told us that he wants to work so that Daddy won't have to. As far as I can tell, this involves him making all kinds of things in a shop he's going to create in the backyard. Nana and Papa will drive here to buy the things from him (Did you hear that, Dad? You'll be supporting us.), and then Daddy will be able to stay home. Daddy apparently doesn't get enough naps, so he's tired, but Seth is going to take care of this by working. Daddy needs to tell everyone he works with that he's quitting.

I love his generous little heart. I melt and snicker at the same time. That happens pretty often around here...

We've had a really good last couple of weeks. I'm trying "1,2,3 Magic" techniques, and I think that helps with the whining and tantrums, but overall, they've just been in great moods... all 3 of them! And that makes Mommy happy. :)

And I'm realizing that I'm a good bit less lonely and angsty than I was at the beginning of the school year. It took awhile for me to figure this out, but most every mom I know that was making the transition of a child into school was feeling similarly. No matter what kind of school we were choosing, it was a big change for all of us, and that's just hard. 

We've gotten into our groove here, and I'm more comfy with it. And I'm mostly comfortable with the network of family and friends that surround me. Sure, I'm open to change and new friendships, but I don't feel the big push to create some sort of new normal that I did. Gradual is good. Just because I woke up one morning as a kindergarten teacher doesn't mean that we needed to overhaul everything... :)

Things to look forward to? Starting to "row" "Night of the Moonjellies" today. Hunting up glow stick bracelets to give him a moonjelly bath. The new Greek chicken recipe I've got marinating. Figuring out how to make tzatziki sauce later this week. Resurrection eggs. Our mice problem is probably gone, and the pantry got a good reorganizing in the process. 

And that nothing I own is too precious to be peed on. :)

Happy Monday!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Mexican Rice Packet Clone

Awhile back, the "Chickens in the Road" blog showed readers how to try and figure out what was inside those seasoned rice packets you can buy from Knorr, etc. When I make beans and rice on our taco salad nights, I'd been using those, but I decided that I wanted to see if I could decode the recipe. This is the result, after a few tries that were on the bland side....

1 c. rice
1 3/4 c. water
1 T. canola oil
2-3 T. tomato paste (I use the Cento paste in a tube, and I just keep it in the fridge)
1 T. onion powder
1/2 T. salt
1/2 T. dried cilantro
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1/2 T. garlic powder
1/2 t. sugar

Saute the rice in oil in your saucepan. After its getting a little crispy, add in the tomato paste. Stir, and then add in all the seasonings. Add water and cook on low until done. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Saturday morning (and Italian dressing)...

.... and I'm rocking my bedhead and what I call my "Indian mom" look. This is where I leave on my nightgown, pull on sweatpants, and then add a sweatshirt jacket. Kinda looks like a punjabi (I know I'm spelling that wrong). :)

Couldn't sleep last night trying to figure out what to bring to a covered dish tonight. I am not good at coming up with side dishes, since most side dishes around here consist of a steamed or boiled green vegetable with either potatoes or some form of rice. Gourmet, we are not. Around midnight, it hit me. Pasta salad! So I pulled that together this morning using this homemade Italian dressing blend from All Recipes that I changed a good bit so it doesn't look much like the original..

1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon white sugar
2-1/4 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/8 teaspoon celery seed (optional)

Mix it all together and put in a ziploc bag with these instructions on it. "Whisk together 1/4 c. red wine vinegar (or half red wine vinegar and half balsamic), 2/3 cup canola oil, 2 tablespoons water and 2 tablespoons of the dry mix." 

I cooked up 2 cups of dry mini shell pasta and tossed them together with the dressing, pepperoni, shredded carrot, chopped green pepper, some dried sun dried tomatoes, and plenty of shredded sharp cheddar. It'll marinate all day, and I hope it'll be good. 

The boys watched "The Busy World of Richard Scarry" yesterday for "movie time," and Huckle and Lowly went on a campout in the backyard. (May I just give a giant "thank you" shout out to the makers of preschool programming for encouraging kids to camp in their backyards and not at some state park? You have my gratitude, script writers.) 

They're rediscovering the backyard now that we can hear that the birds are back. Yesterday was spent digging for pirate treasure in the bed behind where my daffodils come up. Hmmm, maybe I can get them to do something useful like put our fertilizer.... 

Shower time. I love Saturdays because my husband rocks and he has them all out there, planning their pretend campout.... 

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Only God knows exactly how long ago, we "rowed" "Another Celebrated Dancing Bear." This was a cute story about a couple of Russian bears learning to dance to be a part of the circus. We mainly focused on Russia for this one. You actually can find a short Youtube video of bears dancing in the Russian circus. (I swear, I can find anything and everything for short video examples on Youtube.) We learned about ballet, onion domes, the dreadful Baba Yaga, Tchaikovsky, bears, etc. We listened to "Peter and the Wolf" by Prokofiev, and I loved that, too.

Our lovely friend, "Miss Catherine," had lived and studied in Russia, and she had a lot of goodies for us. In the story, the bears put the samovar on to boil and have tea with brown bread and strawberry jam. I was so excited about borrowing the samovar. Since I didn't have a converter to plug this bad boy in, I just boiled hot water on the stove, filled the samovar, and then used the awesome little spigot thingy to fill their cups. (The samovar is the large metal thingy on the table.)

And then we had tea. They LOVED it. I've never had a tea party with my boys before, but I think I should try to come up with an excuse to do it from time to time. I bought some strawberry jam and a loaf of bread during my usual Walmart run. I pulled out the matching china, and they each got to make their own tea by swishing the tea bag in the hot water and adding sugar from the sugar bowl. Seth kept saying, "Mommy, I'm so glad you put the samovar on to boil." :)

Oh, and we called Miss Catherine for help with our Russian pronunciation. She was great to talk to us on the phone while helping her toddler go to the potty. Talk about multitasking.... :)

We were loaned some great hands on visuals. Here we have a lacquer box, Russian Orthodox icons, rubles, and tiny nesting dolls.

Saturday, March 02, 2013


Boy, do I miss Windows Live Writer right now. Gotta say, maybe this computer will last longer and have less viruses than the Windows computers we had, but I do not like Apple any better than Windows. I like it less, actually, and I think it's going to stay that way for awhile. (I'm not drinking the Apple Koolaid on the Imac, Apple people.) So I'm trying to get these pictures loaded on Blogger online, and I hope it works.

Anyhoo... this week we did a unit study on spiders. We spent 4 days doing experiments and reading books, and we had a blast. Seth told me often how much he'd enjoyed it, and as I've found Five in a Row to be a little less heavy on science in some books than I would like, this was a nice way to supplement.

On the first day, we made a spider per the instructions from Janice Van Cleeve's "Play and Find Out About Bugs." He had 8 eyes, eight legs, a cephalothorax, an abdomen, and later in the week, Seth insisted on adding fangs and spinnerets on his own initiative. Mr. Spider got moved around the playroom on his yarn dragline, and the boys would come in to find him in hanging in different spots. =)

A few of our books. Notice "Charlotte's Web." It was the perfect time to start this read- aloud, and I'd forgotten how much information there is about spiders in this book.

Our spider "leaping" off the table using his "dragline." 

I made a web first using a single strand of painter's tape. They threw cotton ball "bugs" at it, and we noticed how few actually stuck. Then we talked about how spiders have many strands in their webs to make it easier to catch their dinners. So they helped me make a much bigger web with more strands. After the "bugs" got stuck, they would go up to them and pretend to eat them. :)

We made spiderlings with little bits of paper and strands of thread glued to them. The boys blew on them to simulate the wind blowing them around to find new homes. 

This was to illustrate the different kinds of spider silk that spiders can make. I put yarn on top of some of the tape I'd put down to show that some strands are sticky and some are not. I also dabbed some oil on their fingers and had them notice that their fingers wouldn't stick because of it. Spiders have oily fingers that help keep them from sticking to their own webs... I loved seeing the little light bulbs going off in their minds when I did that. =)

We went to the indoor playground one day this week, and Seth enjoyed chasing other kids around and pretending to be a spider. He got at least 2 other boys around his age to join his game. =) He'd yell, "Time for dinner!" while he chased the "flies." 

At one point early in the week, Seth told me that he didn't want to keep reading "Charlotte's Web." He was worried that Wilber was going to die. After I told him that Charlotte might have a plan to keep Wilber from dying, he lit up. He can't wait to read more each day to find out more about Charlotte's plan. =)