Anywho, let's see if we can get this ship back on course, shall we? Beginning with what's been going on here for the past couple of weeks. I'll just run straight through the family...
~* GENE *~
It's hard to believe that it's been nearly a month since he started his new job at Goodyear! The first two weeks were just classroom training. This week began the 12-hour days of hands-on training. I'm very grateful that he's on day shift for training. I'm pretty sure that he'll be moved to a night shift at some point - and it could be just any minute - so I'm enjoying the heck out of day shift while it lasts. For the time being, he leaves before the girls and I wake up in the morning and gets home around 8 p.m. That part stinks...but he works a swing shift, which means he works for three days and gets two off, then works two days and gets three off. Every other week, he has Friday, Saturday, and Sunday OFF. That is lovely. It'll take more adjusting to having him home during the week, though - the man really wrecks my routine when he's here. It's hard to impress upon Rachael that she must still sit at the kitchen table and do her schoolwork when Daddy is sitting on the couch watching TV. At any rate, he seems to enjoy his new job (for the most part) and it was definitely a good move for our family. The girls are already pointing out Goodyear things wherever they see them (today it was a Goodyear blimp balloon and a sample Goodyear tire in Walmart) although they still notice and point out Utz trucks too.
On his last Sunday off, he came with me to church. I was thrilled to have him there for the first Sunday in a series called MAN UP! All about being a godly husband and father...and I'm not implying that he isn't, just that we all have room for improvement. The church had rented out a local theater for the weekend showings of the new movie Courageous, and Gene went with me to that too. Talk about a powerful movie...I've never cried so much at a movie in my life. (Even at Toy Story 3, although it was probably close. DETEST that movie.) Anyway, we were both a little apprehensive about Courageous, which was made by the folks that brought us Fireproof. Fireproof having had a great message, but truly baaaaaaad acting. Courageous was so, so, so much better in every aspect - there were rough spots, but the acting was better, there were truly funny moments ("not just church-funny," said Gene), and it was touching in so many ways. Best of all, it sent a clear message to the husbands and fathers: be the man that God called you to be. Accept responsibility for your families. Do not let them down. Just my personal opinion here, but this one should be required viewing for any man that answers to "dad."
~* ME *~
I am, as usual, the least interesting member of this family. In the past two weeks, I've homeschooled, cooked, washed dishes, done laundry, attended no fewer than 68 Girl Scout functions, chauffeured Rachael back and forth to the ranch a bajillion times, swept, vacuumed, sold some Scentsy, read a lot, ate, slept, bathed, and a partridge in a pear tree. (Just seeing if you were paying attention.)
Two minor accomplishments: I started the Couch to 5K running program. I know, ME, running - it's absurd. Definitely not a pretty sight, which is why I do it on the treadmill, in the privacy of my own home.
I also sat down with a crochet hook and YouTube and started learning to crochet. Friends have attempted to teach me before, but I just didn't practice enough to let it sink in...I could make a chain from here to Tuesday, but had no idea what to do after that. I still don't, really, but I'm decent with at least three crochet stitches now. I have lots more videos to go before I'm proficient enough to read a pattern or anything, but at least I've started. It still feels so wrong to have just one hook instead of two knitting needles, and my left thumb hurts a lot (must be holding something wrong), but I'm kind of enjoying the challenge.
That's really it. I clearly need to do something exciting.
~* RACHAEL *~
The most exciting thing that happened to Rachael in the past two weeks was undoubtedly the night she got her pinky finger caught in a metal folding chair, and ripped the entire fingernail off. It was not a pretty sight. Well, I guess it wasn't - I couldn't look at it. Thank God that it happened on a night Gene was here to take care of it. (Blood usually doesn't make me terribly squeamish, by the way - but when it's one of my babies bleeding, I just can't handle it. Cut me instead, thanks.) It bled a lot, and I know it hurt...but she was far more concerned about what it looked like, and refused to be without a Band-Aid covering it for several days. Silly girl. It's now a free-range injury and healing nicely (according to a nurse friend), although it's still a vibrant shade of purple around the tiny stub of regrown fingernail.
She's spent a lot of time at the ranch doing the 4-H thing, and is super excited for the show coming up in November. It's about time to start incorporating the 4-H handbook into our school day, actually, so she'll be well-versed when it's time to be quizzed by the judges. There have been two brand new baby alpacas (a baby alpaca is called a cria - see, I'm learning things too!) in the past few weeks, and she's gotten to love on them both - as well as baby sugar gliders (soooo precious!) The ranch has lost a few more animals, though - something (presumably a coyote or similar) attacked their poultry last weekend. One rooster and several chickens were killed, along with everyone's favorite duck, Noel. Noel was a duck with personality - he'd follow people around and if you stopped, he'd peck at your shoes. We loved him, but (thankfully) she didn't take it as hard as she did Bluebell's departure. RIP, Noel, I'll miss the little guy.
It's just amazing to me to watch her at the ranch - handling the alpacas and llamas so comfortably, teaching me how to do "critter care," even shoveling poop - which they call "poop-lates" (think "pilates.") She's always been a princess that didn't mind getting a little dirty, but I just couldn't have imagined her being a little farm girl. (Note to self: get picture of her in the barn in her boots and braids!)
She's doing so well in school...she's memorized the first 18 books of the Old Testament and most of the New Testament books, and she can rattle off the names of Jacob's twelve sons like they were personal friends. English, spelling, vocabulary...well, we're very much alike in that she doesn't struggle with those. She's loving her new math curriculum and thinks that multiplication is FUN (!!!), knows the sound that each Latin letter makes (with and without macrons), and still adores history more than just about anything. I am a lucky, lucky homeschooling mama to have such a good, willing student. But I will surely pay my dues plus interest with Milly when she's a bit older.
~* MILLY *~
She is a little more dramatic, but truth be told, she hasn't been doing badly with school either. She LOVES her Explode the Code workbooks, and will happily sit and race through a dozen pages at a time if I let her. We started with the first book in the series, and I just bought the other two in the preschool series, lest she run out and go ballistic. I have a strong feeling that I'll be starting kindergarten books with her before this school year is over! She's doing well with her first year of Bible lessons too - she knows the same "Sons of Jacob" song as her sister, and she can name the New Testament books through 2nd Corinthians. Not too shabby for a 3.5-year-old! The thing with her is, she does school on her terms. When she's ready, you'd better not tell her that you don't have anything for her to do. And when she's done, her school day is over.
In spite of her
But with Gene working every other Sunday now, something had to change. If she didn't go to her own class, she would have to sit through the worship service with me (distracting me) and then through my Sunday school class as well (distracting everyone.) So I talked to other parents in the church. Emailed the preschool director. Emailed the Sunday school teacher. Worried a lot and prayed a lot. And when Sunday morning came...she stayed in her class. The whole time. I'm talking 9:30 until a few minutes past 12 - this was major. We had talked it up and told her what to expect, and she was excited about it...until we got into the room. Then she started edging behind me and whispering that she'd changed her mind. And the tears started, but no howling. That's when her teacher, Miss Melissa, let her know that *ahem* MOMMY NEEDED TO GO TO THE BATHROOM...so I ducked into the bathroom that connected the two four-year-old classrooms (yep, they promoted her to the four-year-old room!) and exited through the other classroom. Startling the other teacher a bit, but it was worth it. Milly stayed and had a great time, and I've heard of little else but Miss Melissa all week. :)
Wednesday night was a little harder - she threw a full-fledged tantrum and preschool director quite literally pried her off of my leg...I felt horrible once again, for leaving someone else to deal with a Milly tantrum. But again, I found out later that she cut it out almost immediately, and had a great time in class. She even got to play the hand bells - and if she keeps going and practicing, she'll get to play them in the Christmas program this year. (I am quite opposed to this; my BABY is not big enough to be in a Christmas program!! But I digress.)
Milly is enjoying some time at the ranch too. This past Saturday was Oktoberfest, and they took several alpacas, a llama, the donkey, chickens, goats, an angora rabbit, a tortoise, a snake, and a sugar glider...and set up a little petting zoo uptown. Naturally, Rachael stayed with them rather than accompanying me to my boring old Girl Scout table...but once I was relieved and Milly and I headed back to the critters, Milly was eager to get right in the middle of it. One of the younger alpacas, a handsome solid white dude named Russell, is just a little taller than Milly - she promptly claimed his lead line and led him all over the place for other people to pat. Looks like I have another 4-H'er on my hands...once she turns seven. No rush.
Both girls are excited about Halloween...and Thanksgiving...and Milly's birthday...and Christmas. They have the remainder of 2011 planned out quite nicely. Wish I were so organized.
So, that's what's been going on with us. I have more thoughts to share later, now that the dreaded update is finished. And I have three - yes, three - giveaways to post later! Perhaps I'll get around to that tonight, now that I'm done procrastinating. For now.