Friday, October 28, 2016

7 Quick Takes Friday

After the zany week of activities and lots of sickness last week, I was grateful to be anticipating a fairly humdrum, routine week following. We would have school every day, normal music and dance lessons, and the only unusual excitements should have been a baby's well-check, a birthday dinner, and a talk at church one night. That's stuff I can handle. (Also thrown in unexpectedly was Chris going out of town for a day and two nights for an urgent family matter. He hasn't traveled in a long time, and I got to discover that yes, I still have all night insomnia when he travels.)

1.Weekend Report

Last Friday, the children were part of a homegrown production of "Cinderella" (click here).

On Saturday, baby Thomas experienced two separations from me, following the prior Thursday night's experience with a babysitter, so Mama was feeling independent but also like a limb was missing.

First, we three girls went to get our hair trimmed, during which time Chris took the three boys to Costco from which he sent me various proof of life photos of Thomas so I'd know he was a happy baby.

Happy baby without his Mama

Then I took John and Mary to a Master Class with Dr. Paul Nitsch--which was amazing and you can read about here--while Chris kept the three youngest home and made dinner.

Thomas was happy during my absence, but then it was all too much: when I walked in the door, he spied me and melted down in wailing tears. So, we were reunited and Mama and baby were happier for it.

On Monday we celebrated Chris' birthday (click here) before he dashed out of state to visit a relative who has entered Hospice care and is in his final days.

2. Scholastic Scenes

This week during Morning Basket time, we're starting to study basic nutrition and I'm using "Nutrition Basics" (snappy title), which I picked up at the library. (It is a great little book, but I'm amazed that this 6-chapter, 48-page book sells for $33.) 

I'm enjoying reading aloud, going off script, and writing diagrams on the whiteboard.

One of the children is really enjoying learning about nutrition, and I noticed this child make a lunch one day of lettuce and carrots, apple, a hard boiled egg, and a glass of milk. 

Another one of the children is laughing aloud a whole lot while I read.

I confess it: it is really hard to scrape out time to teach Kindergarten. Unless I can get the older children truly independent scholars, the child learning to read suffers because I don't make time for her. It's a constant tension that we're working on.

One tactic is to grab moments whenever I can to teach Kindergarten. I took Margaret's bin of school books to piano lessons and we fit in phonics, spelling, and math drill on the porch while we waited for her turn.

Josey (3) has to be involved, so I mentally juggled giving Margaret a word to spell alternating with Joseph asking me a flash card problem, which I would answer before giving Margaret another word, pinging back and forth like a tennis game.

The children take several Music Theory exams as part of music competition season upcoming, so we're starting to drill in preparation for those. Each level of student has to learn four composers and their musical periods each year, so a Primary student would learn only four composers, while a Senior student would learn 16 composers. Anyhoo, our kids are memorizing eight composers this year, the periods, and the years of the periods, so I have them write out a chart every day, and each day they can write more names and dates.

3. Family Books of the Week (in progress or completed)

  • Read-alouds
    • "Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints" (Loreto Publications, originally published 1894)
    • "The Tale of Little Pig Robinson" by Beatrix Potter--Finished
    • "The Cabin that Faced West"
    • "Thanksgiving Is Here!"
    • "Nuts to You!"
  • Mama
    • "Divine Intimacy" (1963)--current daily holy reading
    • "Joan of Arc" by Mark Twain--This is so good. It's so good that I wonder why anyone else tried to write anything about St. Joan of Arc since Twain's book was published.
"I like Joan of Arc best of all my books: and it is the best; I know it perfectly well. And besides, it furnished me seven times the pleasure afforded me by any of the others; twelve years of preparation, and two years of writing. The others needed no preparation and got none." --Mark Twain

4. Thomas at 15 Months

Thomas went to his 15-month well-baby check this week. He is a big baby, and my first baby ever to wear size 5 diapers, let alone at 15 months.

The doctor asked me about milestones and mentioned that a 15-month-old should be saying three to six words by now. Well, Thomas is saying only one word. The doctor laughed it off and suggested, "I bet all he has to do is say eh and all his siblings run to do whatever he wants, right? He has no reason to talk yet!" Yes, gone are the days when I had a firstborn to whom I spoke directly and clearly all day long in our very quiet home, so that by 12 months, he could say the noises of about a dozen animals on command, knew many ASL signs, and numerous words. Ha ha!

If you're curious, Thomas' one word is a breathy "Wow!" He points and says "wow!" at anything that amazes him, which is so cute.

Eating with a fork and wearing earphones--to muffle the noise of his siblings?

Thomas now climbs all furniture, ladders, and a full flight of stairs (up and down) with ease. He runs, including away from me. He is still nursing well, and uses a fork to stab and eat food himself. Thomas is transitioning from two to one naps--which is not easy or fun.

5. Random

I saw Josey (3) one night and realized that I don't take enough photos of my tiny tots asleep anymore. So precious.



  • Saturday
    • Crustless asparagus bacon mushroom quiche and green salad for adults; scrambled eggs and bacon with frozen waffles for kids
  • Sunday
    • chicken, black bean and vegetable soup, homemade macaroni and cheese, take-and-bake cookies
  • Monday: Chris' birthday dinner!
    • slow cooker pork tenderloin, sauteed cremini mushrooms, roasted asparagus, apple crumble and vanilla ice cream
  • Tuesday
    • Chris out of town, so I think I served chicken nuggets and plain pasta.
  • Wednesday
    • Chicken; black bean and vegetable soup; homemade macaroni and cheese
  • Thursday
    • Daddy and two oldest kids: attended Mass, a light dinner reception, and a talk on the history of Christ the King and Bl. Karl
    • Mama and three youngest: leftovers
  • Friday
    • Planned: Italian sausage meatballs in marinara with pasta

I am going to purchase the online cooking course offered by Kitchen Stewardship, having heard great things about it, but for now we've started by taking the free knife course and practicing our skills.

7-year-old dicing onions for soup--she made the whole recipe

7. Bonus Reading

For more 7 Quick Takes Friday, check out This Ain't the Lyceum.


  1. When I studied speech pathology in college I learned that by age 2, kids should know 10-15 words and begin to be putting two words together, like "bye papa!" Any worrying before that is unnecessary. We also learned that most kids start saying their first words between 12 to 15 months. Did you get that? *Start* Everyone has or knows of kids who could speak fluently early, but most kids start saying their first words at 12-15 months. So, I think your son is fine! All my boys have talked later and been on the further end of the scale I mentioned above, but they have been REALLy active. It makes me think they are focusing more on how their bodies move then how to communicate. My John (age 2) is weird. He doesn't say too many words (he does know 10-15 and is putting two words together) but knows more of the sound effects for everything! Lions, Trucks, Birds, Ducks, Airplanes, etc

  2. The three of you girls look beautiful in your haircut picture! Nice selfie work. :)