Monday, October 20, 2014

I'm a little stressed

Between my parents and their care, general life with the four kids, and Geoff quite possibly being laid off next week, I'm a little stressed. By 'little' I mean that I think I will lie on the floor drinking for a few weeks.

Ha ha! Not really.

I'll just lie on the floor.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Seven Quick Takes: We survived the week

1.  Nat's appointment went very well. I was completely wiped on Thursday, though, and basically spent the day putting on videos and reading Guy Gavriel Kay's Under Heaven, which put me in a very Tang Dynasty mood. I'm so grateful i don't live in Byzantium or Tang China or during the Viking raids or something. I am grateful to be sitting in my nice house with my nice computer surrounded by my nice house, and immaterially surrounded by twenty-first century Canada, wich means health care and roads and no one slaughtering each other in the streets because someone's concubine was insulted.

2. When I visited my parents yesterday I took along Rosemary Sutcliff's The Lantern Bearers, which I probably haven't read since I read it aloud to Geoff lo these many years ago. More ancient history. I love her writing. I wonder if I can get the kids excited about Ancient Britain, or if I should keep beating them into enthusiasm about Egypt and Sumer?

3. When I visited my parents yesterday I asked Mum about a piece of government mail, and she said it had been there a few days. I asked if I should open it, and she said yes. I told her it was a government check (medication rebate), and suggested we go to the bank and deposit it. She agreed that we should do it, and said, "And maybe... I don't know, there's this other thing..." and pulled three Canada Saving Bonds worth over $12,000 AFTER INTEREST from her pocket! So I hurried her out the door and down to the bank and we deposited all the nice money while I hyperventilated about how long she'd been carrying them around and how easily they could have dropped out of her pocket.

4. I've gotten up early because Hallelujah, Elizabeth slept the whole night for the second time in a row, and I am beating my head against the unending wall of meal planning and grocery lists. The complexity, I'm explaining to myself, comes from everyone in the family liking different things, needing to cook for my parents as well as us, and trying to realistically assess how much energy I'm going to have to cook, plus scouring the flyers for bargains. And trying to rein in my instinctive desire to BUY ALL THE THINGS and then sit in the middle of them and weep softly because I feel crowded and overwhelmed. Clearly this is an area where I need to pray more, for discipline and self-control. And for someone else to take over. It was a glorious two weeks when my aunt and uncle were here visiting, and I should have chained my aunt to something so I could keep her.

5. Cute girls playing in the fall.


6. I collected a decent list of meals that can be customizable. By that I mean- provide disparate pieces that the people eating put together and/or choose on their own. I'm (eternally) hoping to reduce meal time arguments. We do taco salad all the time, but I'm going to include:

Build your own salad
Chicken broth with things to stir in/DIY chicken soup
Stir fry or fried noodles broken into components
Build your own rice bowl, which can be Chinese or Korean-esque
Oven fries or hash browns with toppings
The roast sausage and roast veg thing I do but separated into components in different bowls

Also things like subs, which we actually don't do often because it always seems like a pain to have all the ingredients on hand.

7. I just remembered that I promised a few friends I'd start reading Barbara Pym. Good time, especially since I just finished a novel. Which one should I start with?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Mum's appointment

Geriatric psych in a couple of hours, thing for long term care next week. Parents being annoyed at the in house care and Mum freaking out about having too much food even when there's pretty much nothing in their fridge or pantry.

On the bright side, I found my copy of Owl at Home, so I can read it to the kids later today. Maybe for a bedtime story? And I will go to bed at or before nine, because last night Elizabeth decided not to sleep until two, and tomorrow I have to GET ALL THE KIDS TO THE HOSPITAL BEFORE EIGHT for Nathaniel's quarterly visit. On the subway. Pray for me. I think I'll put the girls to bed in their clothes, pack the stroller and bag tonight, wake everyone and throw them into their shoes and then provide a healthy breakfast of doughnuts and granola bars at the hospital, Or maybe brunch afterward. And if I haven't died and the weather is nice, maybe we can walk up to the Philosopher's Walk before going home.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Thomas made a diamond

Out of two triangular blocks. And then he showed me, and then he moved them into a parallelogram, and. clearly joking, said, "And is this a diamond? No!". He made a geometry joke! Maybe we will achieve education for him, too!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Guilt Free Learning Notes

On vacation at home, with my aunt
We've been on vacation. Well, pretty much. It's been a crazy week, week and a half. My aunt and uncle from Vancouver have been here, there have been many appointments and things for my mother, we've worked on getting in-house occasional care set up (may not work out). Plus I got sick and put my back out last Wednesday. So formal learning has been at a minimum. During the last week and a half we've been to the museum again, and actually got to the geology/mineralogy part without toddlers destroying anything.
The weekend was nearly a complete blur, but we recently got a copy of The Barefoot Book of Poetry, which is fantastically beautiful, and Geoff's Dad and stepmom visited on Sunday afternoon and Nathaniel, of whom I am very proud, read them Jabberwocky out of it. He did an excellent job. I'm trying to read at least one poem aloud from it every day, but things have been pretty crazy, and I haven't always succeeded. We've definitely read milly and molly and mandy and Jabberwocky and Fern Hill and parts of The Stolen Child, and everyone listened to The Tale of Custard the Dragon a couple of days ago.

Monday was my birthday, and a special trip for the girls- Randy and Lorraine, my inlaws, took them to the Toronto Aquarium to see all the fishies! They came home with a large and a small penguin each, because everything comes in mother and baby sets in their world.
Tuesday we went to the park in the morning, and in the afternoon my uncle Dennis babysat while Lynn and I went to my parents' house to set up an in home caregiver. 
Elizabeth in the park
Wednesday was a psychiatrist's appointment about my mother and my uncle babysitting again, Thursday was boys out in the morning, and then a park visit, and then me putting my back out, which meant Friday was spent lying down and being irritated and watching a lot of videos. I think the boys went out to an indoor playground in the afternoon with my aunt. We got in some Story of the World and some Khan Academy a couple of times with Nat, and Thomas showed he can count to seven at least, which makes me happy. Stuart and Cynthia and Lynn were all here at dinner, and I think they made and cleaned up everything as I lay around on the couch drinking wine and hot cider with rum in it.
Waffle French toast
Yesterday, which was Saturday, I still couldn't walk much, and we had a zoo trip planned, but after some quick consultation my aunt and uncle vanished with all the children to the Science Centre and didn't come back for six hours. Geoff and I had six hours alone at home. We had uninterrupted conversations! It was bliss. The kids rode the escalators and watched an Omnimax movie about underwater life and I understand both Nat and Thomas got to play with a plasma ball. So it's been low on formal learning but mostly very high on fun and outside time, which is wonderful, because soon we plunge into November and winter, and it won't be nice again outside until spring.

Friday, October 10, 2014

I love Rosemary Sutcliff

I am thinking that Nathaniel is old enough, or nearly, to read Warrior Scarlet. Well, to have it read to him. I love love love all of the Sutcliff books I've read, and Warrior Scarlet was the one that had me learning to spin and trying to figure out a weighted loom when I was a kid.

It's set in Bronze Age Britain, and it's the completely immersive story of a young Pict with a crippled arm who yearns to become one of the warriors of his tribe. I've also read some of her Arthurian/Roman Britain stories- The Lantern Bearers, Eagle of the Ninth, The Silver Branch, and the one about the Dark Ages and the coming of St. Augustine of Canterbury (Dawn Wind). Oh, and her telling of the story of Cu Chulain, the Irish hero.

 I think we have Black Ships Before Troy somewhere in the house, although I haven't read it yet. She and Elizabeth George Speare are probably my favourite children's historical writers.

So I just looked up her book list online and I found many books that I haven't read, and I want them all. I'm fighting my deeply ingrained desire to buy ALL THE BOOKS because having many beautiful books makes me happy, but nothing would be better than to have my children meet Arthur and the Dark Ages and Roman Britain and the Picts through Rosemary Sutcliff. And if I find them trying to grind barley in their rooms and make war spears I promise I won't be upset.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Still here, in pain

My aunt is here till next Tuesday, and we've been to see the geriatric psych and he's confirmed that Mum really needs to be in care. It was really interesting seeing how the disparate symptoms we were describing were coming together into a clear clinical picture for him.

So we did that yesterday, and yesterday I also acquired a head cold and put my back out, yay. A little better today but I dreamed of Brede Abbey crossed with Doctor Who all night and couldn't breathe through my nose, which was fairly miserable. Still, I am right now less upset about Mum, because I have solid confirmation for our plans.

Homeschooling has become looser, as it tends to during visits and illness and catastrophes, but we still manage reading, and both Thomas and Miriam are narrating books more often, We continue to watch videos by They Might Be Giants about blood flow and mitosis, and Nathaniel and I are locked in argument about whether inventors and scientists need to learn math (I'm right).