My Very Own Daybook!

I want to keep doing the daybook thing each week or so, but I haven’t been able to keep up with the “Simple Woman’s Daybook” like I’d hoped. It just has too many prompts, and they cover subject matter that’s too deep and takes too much time to answer, and the prompts kind of repeat themselves (“Thinking…” and “Pondering…” mean pretty much the same thing in my mind). I’m looking for something that’s quick and easy enough to do that I’ll not only have the time to do it each week, but that I’ll also continue to want to do each week. I need a quick and simple way to keep a daybook/journal on my blog, for the sake of recording things that are going on with us. I did some searching online and found a few daybook/journal link-ups with questions that didn’t really fit what I want to do, so in the end, I’ve decided to do what I’ve always done best: Do my own thing!  And why not? Why should I have to have to find a link-up in order to do a daybook each week? And why not just come up with my own prompts that I think I would most want to cover each week? So I sat down and thought about the things I most want to reflect on & record each week, and came up with my own choice of prompts—not too many, not too few. I won’t have anyplace to link up, but I don’t care about that, anyway. I’m not writing for an audience or to gain readers; I’m writing for myself and my family. 🙂 So here begins the first installment of my own daybook (unnamed as of yet, but I’m pondering it).

Thankful for:

(I’m going to aim for at least five things each week)

  • My God and His love for me.
  • My husband…oh my goodness, what a devoted husband & father he’s been…especially the past 3 years. I could write for days about all he does for us on a daily basis.
  • My two boys. Gifts from God, in answer to my prayers for children.
  • Grace, and the new understanding about it that I’ve been given. Finally understanding the Gospel of Grace has changed my life.
  • Our home and the beautiful property that surrounds it.
  • Trees. I can’t look at one without being amazed. And they give us so much more than we realize.

Reading:

A Fine Romance: Falling in Love With the English Countryside

This book is absolutely delightful. Artist/author Susan Branch kept a journal of her two-month trip to England on which she and her husband visited dozens of country towns and villages throughout the English countryside, staying in quaint cottages and rented flats along the way. She describes all of the places and properties they visit, many of which are National Trust sites. I really enjoy her style—she catches and lists all the little details that I’d notice myself. To add to the warmth and charm of the book’s content, she includes her delightful watercolor paintings and sketches throughout.
Here are some examples:

She uses her photos from her trip, but she also paints scenes and borders and headings.

She uses her photos from her trip, but she also paints scenes and borders and headings.

Her watercolor skills are amazing! I love all her little details, even the letters she paints.

Her watercolor skills are amazing! I love all her little details, even the letters she paints.

Can you see what a pleasure it is to read and look at each page?

Can you see what a pleasure it is to read and look at each page? If you love England, you will adore this book!

Occasionally she'll paint an entire page, words included. Lovely and enchanting.

Occasionally she’ll paint an entire page, words included. Lovely and enchanting.

I’m just over halfway through the book, which is 260 pages, all just like the samples above. I’m trying to savor every page because I don’t want it to end. I told P this is going to be my guidebook when we go live in England for a year. 😉


Listening To:

The boys making their usual non-stop racket while eating lunch. They take forever to eat because they’re so busy talking to each other about anything and everything.
The bird is chattering away (“Mr. Pippin, I’m a parakeet! (I) can’t get up, can’t get up, can’t get up!” and various other phrases all mashed together…he’s hysterical).

Marriage:

Philip and I look forward each night to our time together before we turn in. Even though he works from home, he’s in work-mode all day and during the evenings he’s in Daddy mode, and after the boys go to bed he’s in clean-up mode. We usually meet up in the sanctuary of our bedroom by 10:30-11:00 each night. Often, we watch our favorite program together—for months, it was Frasier, but we finally watched every episode from all 11 seasons (brilliant show, btw), so now we’re making our way through Gilmore Girls (another brilliant show). But we put that on hold recently to spend time watching Healing School teachings from Charis Bible College. We’ve both been marinating in their teachings lately, getting those truths down into our spirits. I listen to the teachings during the day too, but P can only listen at night when he can focus.
We both look forward to our time together each night—a couple of hours of just us, hanging out and spending time together. Sometimes we just read and don’t watch anything. Sometimes we listen to music, and very occasionally, we’ll watch a movie together. The kittens have taken to joining us on the bed every night, too. They love to snuggle up and sleep next to us for as long as possible (P kicks them out right before we turn out the lights; he refuses to sleep with animals).

Kids:

The boys are still enjoying their time off from school. They’ve spent most days outside with no shortage of time in the woods. Des broke out in streaks of hives on his legs last week, assumedly from some plant he came in contact with in the woods. Since it was looking worse rather than better on Monday, we took him to the dermatologist just to make sure it wasn’t something else, like hives from something he’d eaten (not likely since they were only on his legs). She confirmed that it would be everywhere else on his body if he’d eaten something he was allergic to, and also that it looks like an allergic reaction to a plant to her. Maybe poison sumac (we have it everywhere), but more likely he got snagged by vines that had some secretion that he’s allergic to. She prescribed a round of steroids but said it was really unnecessary to fill it unless he starts getting much worse—to fill it if we think he ends up needing it. I don’t think he’ll need it because it looks like it may be getting a little better now.

On Tuesday, it was 99 degrees by 10am, so they decided they’d like to play outside in the sprinkler. Sounded like a great idea, since our grass has gotten crunchy from all the hot days and lack of rain. They had a ball and stayed cool in the water for a couple of hours (being in the sprinkler always turns into outright playing in the water directly from the hose).

Unfortunately, they ended up with pretty painful sunburns across their shoulders and upper backs. So I got to try out a sunburn remedy I’d only read about: vinegar. People swear by it for taking the sting out of a sunburn. I soaked paper towels in vinegar and put them across their shoulders, letting them sit for a while. I occasionally re-soaked them in vinegar and put them back on. Afterward, I rubbed some coconut oil on their shoulders to moisturize. Des said his burn feels much better this morning. Gray still had pain when he woke up, so we re-did the vinegar treatment on him. It’s very soothing and cooling.

Thinking:

About how tonight is the summer premiere of Under The Dome, our family’s favorite TV show (except for The Middle, but we’ve seen all of those). The boys have been counting down (okay, we have, too), and tonight’s finally the night.

And about what to name this journal/daybook. I just want something simple. Maybe I’ll know by next week. 🙂


Praying: 

  • That healing would manifest very soon in my body. I know it’s coming, but I pray for it to be soon.
  • For Philip to continue having the health and strength to do all he has to do.
  • For greater understanding of Grace, and everything Jesus bought for me. The Gospel of Grace is almost too good to be true, and has been very hard for me to accept due to old doctrines that are so hard to break free from, but He’s helping me.
  • For greater understanding of His love for me, which has also been hard to fully accept.
  • For Philip to be able to get more work done so he can make a liveable income, which is going to require me being healed.
  • For more of the Holy Spirit and more of His Presence.

Captured:

The girls come running in whenever they hear grocery bags rustling. Grocery day is their favorite day—they get to jump and play all over the bags until everything is put away.

The girls come running in whenever they hear grocery bags rustling. Grocery day is their favorite day—they get to jump and play all over the bags until everything is put away. You can’t tell from the picture, but there’s some serious kitten play going on here!

I’m already thinking of a couple of other prompts I may add. Maybe an “around the house” prompt, if there’s anything interesting going on around the house, that is. Or “outside my window”. I don’t want it to get too long, though. Hopefully I’ll be back with more next week.

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Farewell to Our Sweet Reagan

On Tuesday, April 14th, we said our final goodbyes to our beloved Reagan, and Philip and Gray took him to be euthanized. He was 16.5 years old (108 in human years!). We adopted him when he was 3.5 years old (also in April, coincidentally), so we had 13 years with him. Though it’s clichéd to say, he really was the best dog ever. He was a Shepherd mix (his mother was full-blooded German Shepherd), and was very intelligent. He was, in his younger days, quite a beautiful, muscular, and tough-looking dog—a good guard dog and an excellent deterrent to any type of messing with. Yet, he was the sweetest, gentlest, and friendliest dog as long as he didn’t sense bad intentions.

Philip and Gray with Reagan during his last moments.

Philip and Gray with Reagan during his last moments.

A much younger, stronger Reagan in 2002.

A much younger, stronger Reagan in 2002.

He showed his intelligence and goodness in many ways. One example is that he never needed a fence—he stayed within the boundaries of our yard and never chased people. He liked to sit on the front porch or lounge in the front yard.  If someone walked by on the road, he simply watched them. But if they stepped foot onto our property line, he’d start barking and walking out to meet them. He barked at anyone who came onto our property, whether invited or uninvited—but Philip noticed one day that as soon as he shook hands with whomever was here, Reagan would stop barking and would accept the person on our property. He was the same with frequent visitors to our house (family, friends who came repeatedly). He’d bark until they got out of their vehicle, but once he realized  it was a friend or family member, he’d go up to them to greet them (and to be petted). He was a good dog.

He never barked for no reason. He only barked when someone came onto our property. Occasionally that would extend to a possum or raccoon who ventured into our yard at night, but one “hush” called from the back door would quiet him. The same applied whenever he was inside. He would only bark if he heard or saw an unknown vehicle drive up, or if someone knocked at the door. He also never made messes in the house. He chose an out-of-the-way corner of each of the yards we lived in—we never had to dodge dog poop in the main yard. At least not until he got old and became unable to control such things. But while it was under his control, he never made a mess and always kept his business far out of our way and hidden. He was a good dog.

I taught him to heel in just a couple of days, by using a choke chain and saying, “heel!” every time he pulled on the leash. He not only learned quickly to walk right next to my left side without pulling the leash, but he learned it so well that we didn’t have to use the leash anymore. He would walk in heel position on his own—and should he veer away for some reason, I could call, “heel!” and he’d pop back into step by my left side. He was a good dog.

I’m not a fan of dogs on carpet or furniture, so when we first got him, we showed him that he was allowed only on the tiled areas of our home. He immediately caught on and never stepped over onto the carpeted parts of the house. This transferred to our new home—he didn’t have to be taught anything; he just walked and stayed on the tiled areas and dared not step onto the carpet. Even whenever he visited other people’s homes and was let inside, he would stay on the tiled areas and never step over onto their carpet. He was a good dog.

On the subject of floors and such, he also cooperated with us to wipe his feet before coming in from outside. He never did actually wipe his feet on his own (though I bet I could’ve taught him if I’d tried), but whenever we opened the door to let him in, he’d stop on the door mat and let us wipe his front paws, then he’d step just his front paws into the house and wait for us to wipe his back paws. Then he’d go the rest of the way inside. He was a good dog!

He was protective of me, and on one occasion, he quite possibly saved me from an unsavory man’s ill intentions. I’ll never know what might’ve happened if Reagan hadn’t have been walking by my side that day, but one thing’s for sure: Reagan’s staunchly bristled fur and the most menacing growl I ever heard him growl certainly shook the man up and sent him on his way. He was also protective of the boys from the time they were born. He got antsy and concerned whenever they cried. As they got older and more mobile, if there was ever any perceived danger on his part, he would deliberately position himself in between the boys and the danger—and would stay there. This was no doubt the Shepherd instinct in him. He continued this up until his last days. The last instance was this past winter, when we made a bonfire out of some tree debris and brush. Whenever the boys would get up and play around, Reagan would walk around with them, constantly positioning himself between them and the fire. He was a good dog.

He was a sweetly sympathetic dog, too. I remember sitting alone on the floor, crying bitterly after my first miscarriage. He broke the “no-carpet” rule (which he only ever did on a couple of exceptional occasions, and this is one of them), walked timidly over to me (due to knowing he was breaking the “no carpet” rule), nuzzled my face, and began tenderly licking it. I remember loving him so much in that moment, knowing he was one of my few true friends for life. Too bad his life had to be so short. He was a good dog.

He loved to go on rides in the back of the pickup truck, and he loved to swim and play in water. On more than one occasion, he upset the boys when he would hog the sprinkler from them. Despite this love of water, he hated getting baths. Whenever he saw one of us getting the hose, he’d get excited—but once he saw the shampoo bottle in our hand, all excitement disappeared, and he’d start to slink off with his tail between his legs. He also hated thunderstorms and would signal that he wanted to come inside at the first roll of thunder (his come-inside signal was a gentle scrape on the metal threshold of the front door). His favorite treat was raw chicken trimmings, though he loved getting any type of bones, too. He also loved to scavenge baby poop from discarded diapers, but to tell this story would sully all of the talk about how smart he was, wouldn’t it? ;-D  Oh, Reagan, you made us laugh. You brought us much joy and very little trouble. You made our lives so much brighter and full of love. We will miss you always.

On the day before we had him euthanized, I mixed up some plaster of paris and we got a cast of his paw print. After it dried, I painted it and wrote his name and birth & death dates on it. It’s displayed on our living room shelf along with his ashes and a tuft of his fur. Grayson says that painting it red was morbid because it looks like it’s bleeding (haha…boys!), but I like the color. Crimson is the accent color of our living room & kitchen/dining area, so it was the best color to use.

Reagan's finished paw print cast.

Reagan’s finished paw print cast.

During the days after his death, I found great comfort in listening to Natalie Merchant’s song, “King of May”. The lyrics were perfect for letting go of our dear, old friend. I’ve shared the lyrics here, and bolded the ones that were particularly poignant to us on that sad day of letting go. I also included the youtube link to the actual song—it’s quite beautiful.

 

“King Of May” – Natalie Merchant

Farewell today
Travel on now
Be on your way

Go safely there
Never worry
Never care
Beyond this day

Farewell tonight
To all joy and to all delight
Go well and go peacefully
We can’t keep your majesty
Be on your way

Make ready for the last King of May
Make a cardboard crown for him
Make your voices one
Praise a crazy mother’s son
Who loved his life
Who loved his life

Farewell today
Travel on now
Be on your way
Can’t bear the very thought
That we could keep your majesty
Be on your way

Make ready for the last King of May
Make a hole in the crowd for him
Raise your voices up
Lift your loving cups
To his long life
To his long life

Make ready for the last King of May
Make a hole in the sky for him
Raise your voices up
Drink your loving cups
To his long life
To his long life

The Simple Woman’s Daybook – Sept. 10

Another week, another installment of The Simple Woman’s Daybook.

Outside my window… I see the construction of the boys’ tree loft in-process. P’s dad has been coming every couple of days to work on it, and Gray has been out there with him all day, helping carry things, holding boards in place, and—hopefully—learning a little bit about carpentry and building things from the ground up. So far, they’ve gotten the framework up, minus the trusses for the floor. Pics are at the bottom of the post.

I am thinking… of tomorrow’s date, and hoping nothing else like that ever happens again. Things are looking so dark in the world…

I am thankful… for a “new” friend, sent by God, to stand with me in faith for complete healing. We’ve been friends for quite a few years now, but never in this way. Earlier this summer, God took our less-than-ideal circumstances and used them to rekindle our friendship on a whole new level: the spiritual. Together we’re learning to trust and seek God within a whole new dimension of faith, and we learn and share (amazing) things together every day. After two years of enduring indescribable illness while feeling utterly alone, I at last have a friend to pray along with me and believe for mountains to move! Someone to encourage me to continually resist the attacks on my health…and someone for which I can do all of these things in return. I’m truly thankful every time I think of her. ❤

I am going… to attend and be active in a full-Gospel church, once I’m well.

I am wondering… when we’ll start getting some cooler weather. It’s been known to happen here (for a few days, at least) in September before.

I am hoping… that our elderly neighbor stays vibrant and healthy for a long time to come. We love him like family and I think he feels the same about us. He’s a great blessing in our lives, and I hope we are in his.

I am looking forward to… long bike rides on Saturday mornings. I know they’re going to happen again!

I am learning… that Facebook is best in very small doses, as infrequently as possible. More often than not, time there makes me cynical and hopeless for the next generation and about society in general, and I know wallowing in that is not what God wants for me. I’m learning that I’m happier on the days that I don’t open my newsfeed.

Around the house… our washing machine finally bit the dust this weekend, and on Monday P went and bought a new one. I’ve been enjoying being able to wash clothes again without babysitting the washer. For months we’ve been setting timers on our phones to remind us to go in and change each cycle manually…which gets old, fast. Ain’t nobody got time ‘fo dat!

I am pondering… Righteousness (the Biblical, New-Testament kind that Jesus provides). After a lifetime of living completely bound by condemnation (because I sin. A lot), I’ve finally tapped into the revelation of righteousness in Christ. No matter how badly I fail, as a believer in Jesus, I’ve been forgiven and made righteous in God’s eyes, and that will never change. Sure, there’s always the need to acknowledge sins and to repent frequently in order to maintain a close, open relationship with God. But regardless of anything I do or don’t do, my Spirit is completely, eternally righteous and cleansed thanks to Jesus. Apparently this isn’t particularly revelatory for many (Philip has been trying to explain it to me for years as he saw me continuously bound by condemnation, but to no avail), but for me, it is. I’m still learning to accept this, hence the pondering. But, wow! The freedom I’m starting to taste helps me to finally see why the Gospel truly does mean “good news”!

A favorite quote for today… 

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Again, remembering the 20th anniversary of September 1994.  Last week I explained how things changed for Philip and me that fall, starting with Labor day and the weeks after. This quote sums up what was happening between us as we stepped unintentionally from long-term friendship to love. And twenty years later, we still haven’t recovered. I expect we never will. 😉

One of my favorite things… is lying in bed at night, talking with Philip. It’s the best part of my day. We talk about all kinds of things, but our favorite subjects are faith & doctrine, and reminiscing about all kinds of things—growing up in the same town and having many mutual friends & acquaintances, there are so many stories. There are ones that make us laugh no matter how many times we re-tell them to each other. Way too often, we’ve been known to stay up past 2 or 3 am, frequently giggling that giggle that makes you go silent and shaking, consumed by hilarity for a while. Being married to P truly is like having a slumber party with my best friend every night.

A peek into my day…

 

Gray and P's dad, working hard getting the tree loft frame built.

Gray and P’s dad, working hard getting the tree loft frame built.

Every day, Reagan makes his way down to where they're working and lays down to watch.

Every day, Reagan makes his way down to where they’re working and lays down to watch. He’s always been a good foreman.

As always, The Simple Woman’s Daybook is open to all who wish to participate.

simple-woman-daybook-large

 

Twenty Seconds of Completely Unnecessary Panic.

I’m not trying to debate vaccines or push my opinions on anyone (that is soooo new-mother-ish! ;-)), but for the sake of understanding this silly story, here’s a quick background:

We’re a selective and delayed-vaxing family. After much careful research, we chose to skip vaxes that aren’t crucial for babies who aren’t in daycare: Hib, Prevnar, rotavirus, etc.; as well as the (*coughcough*asinine) chickenpox vax. But we did choose do give the (IMO) crucial vaxes, for diseases that are either a real risk (whooping cough, anyone?), and/or very dangerous: DTaP, MMR, and Polio. Based on my research, I don’t consider measles particularly dangerous for children, but it does have potentially serious risks, and it’s also out there…and I don’t want to be part of its resurgence by not vaccinating.

However, for the MMR vaccine, because of all the controversy & risks associated with giving babies three live viruses all at once, I chose to delay it. We delayed it quite a bit, actually: Desmond just got his very first dose of MMR last week, and he’s just about to turn 6 (his 6th birthday is next Wednesday, to be exact). I actually didn’t intend to delay it this long. My plan was to give it just after his 4th birthday—sparing the risks associated with giving three live viruses to a still-developing baby, as well as eliminating the need for a booster until college age—but since I got sick right about that time, it kind of got pushed aside while we were trying to cope with dealing with my situation.

Now that things are at least somewhat under control with me (not that I’m not still very sick; unfortunately, I am. But I’ve learned to cope with the symptoms to the degree that, most days, we can focus on other things), we wanted to get him in to have his MMR shot.

So, Philip took little Des in to the health department last week. The whole thing was uneventful, as it usually is for him. He’s a tough little guy, and never cries for shots. He just purses his lips and takes ’em like a man. He always has! The vaccine nurse at the health department is really sweet. She’s always remembered us and our boys when we come in. She always gives a sticker or small toy, and even though Gray wasn’t with them that day, she told Des to pick a sticker to bring home to him.

After the shot, Philip stopped at a convenience store and let Des pick out his choice of treat, for being such a trooper. Des took forever to choose something, but finally settled on “Fun Dip”, which is today’s version of the old “Lik-M-Aid”. It’s basically sweetened kool-aid type powder that you eat by licking a candy stick and dipping it into the powder, licking it off, and so on. The powder is blue, and it stains the tongue and mouth blue. He had some of it when he got home, and saved the rest for later.

Then, at around sunset, we all went out for our evening walk—something I’m so grateful to be able to do now, after spending over a year bedridden and unable to walk outdoors. I’m slow, and I feel horrible while walking & for a while afterwards, but I can do it, praise God! It’s a thousand times better than being stuck on the couch staring miserably out the window every evening, wishing I could just go outside and walk (yeah, that’s what I did all last year).

Back to the MMR shot, and its risks. I’ve dreaded him getting this one for a long time, again, due to the controversy and the higher risk of potential side effects. So I was watching him closely that day for any sign of reaction (with this one, adverse side effects are actually most common around a week after the shot, so I’m still watching him). Mind you, I wasn’t expecting a reaction, but was simply watching him in the unlikely event there was one.

So we had walked halfway around the block, where there’s a site where some land was recently cleared. Des likes to veer off into the newly-tilled ground there on our walks each night; apparently it’s great fun to run and jump on all the deep tractor tire ridges. He ran around like a wild man for a few minutes, and then we went on our way down the road. He came running up to us, out of breath from his exertion.

He said something to me, barely understandable because of his heavy breathing, and I looked down at him. I was horrified to notice that his lips were blue! Immediately, my mind went to that day’s vaccination, and I thought, “Blue lips! Oh my word, something’s wrong!”

PHILIP!” I cried, “His lips are blue!

Philip looked down at him and said with a chuckle, “Yeah, they sure are!”

Philip never panics. Never. Nothing shakes him. Clearly he was not grasping how serious this was.

“It’s from the shot today!”, I insisted, “Philip, he’s not breathing right…look, he’s gasping for breath! And HIS LIPS ARE BLUE!

Philip looked at me like I was crazy and said, “He’s out of breath because he was just running around like a fool. And of course his lips are blue. That’s from his Lik-M-Aid powder. He had some after dinner, just before we left.”

So now he tells me.

Panic averted.

On Becoming a Mother

I read a piece today on mothering, and how difficult (understatement!) it is to find your way when you first become a mother— I experienced this shocking blow not just the first time around, but also the second time. Perhaps even moreso after my second was born, because of how utterly overwhelming it was to tend to an infant while also trying to be there for his older brother. I remember months’ worth of days where I was so exhausted, I could barely see straight.

Anyway, one of the things she said was absolutely perfect for describing those exhausting, sometimes brutal months and years spent mothering new babies and young children:

“It is overwhelming and completely exhausting, and figuring it all out is some of the most physically, mentally, emotionally, and heart-wrenching work you will ever do.”

Hear, hear!

How to Remove Latex Paint from Carpet

I’ll save you the story of how I spilled dark brown paint on our light beige carpet, and get right to sharing how we successfully removed it, despite how bleak things looked when we first stared in horror at the ugly, dark splatter on our living room carpet.

Yes, we got it cleaned up completely, with no trace of paint or stain left behind. And amazingly, it was rather quick and easy! But the key to success is: Work quickly. If you let the paint dry, there’s not much hope that I know of.

First, take an old towel and use it to blot up the excess paint. Do not rub. Just press and blot, and turn the towel frequently. Get another towel if the first one gets soaked with paint quickly. Philip used his foot and put his weight on it.

Next, soak the stain with water. We put a drop of dish soap in a big cup, filled it with hot water, and then poured the soapy water directly onto the stained carpet until it was thoroughly soaked. Then we let it sit there while Philip called our neighbor, asked if we could borrow his wet/dry shop vac, and went over to get it. It took about ten minutes for him to make the call, go down to our neighbor’s house, and get back with the shop vac.

With the shop vac, suck up all that soapy water. This was the amazing step. The paint came right up with the water. After the first round of vacuuming, almost all the stain was gone from the carpet. There was just a hint of dark stain remaining.

Repeat, this time using a scrub brush with the soapy water. We poured another big cup of dish-soapy hot water onto the remaining hint of a stain, and this time, Philip used a scrub brush to work it into the fibers and gently “scrub” the carpet. Then he vacuumed up all the water again. The stain was almost completely gone. In fact, no one would ever know at that point that there had been a spill there, so it probably was completely gone.

But the perfectionist in me — if I stared at it in just the right light, at a particular angle — could see what might have been a hint of a dark stain left behind. So I added another step, which probably isn’t necessary, but was basically harmless as well as easy, so, why not?

(Optional Perfectionist Steps) Pour rubbing alcohol onto the scrub brush and gently scrub the carpet. Don’t pour alcohol directly onto the carpet! This can harm the backing, or cause some such problem— although I’ve used rubbing alcohol on other stains (ink, nail polish…yes, we’re a very destructive lot when it comes to spilling horrible liquids on carpet!), with no harm to the carpet that was worse than the stain itself. All I know is, rubbing alcohol dissolves latex paint. (In fact, a little trick to use if you move into a previously-owned house and want to know if paint on a wall is latex or oil-based, is to put rubbing alcohol on a rag and rub the wall. If paint comes off on your rag, it’s latex. If not, then it’s oil-based.)

After the rubbing alcohol scrub, there was absolutely no trace of paint left in the carpet at all! We did an extra rinse or two to make sure the alcohol was washed away completely, and then a final vacuum with the shop vac to remove as much water as possible.

The carpet now looks better in that spot than everywhere else in the room. Now I need my entire living room carpet cleaned to match the clean spot! 😉

Two Weekly Wrap-Ups, with an Emergency Hospitalization in Between :(

Most of you reading already know about my terrifying health issue that went down last Wednesday night/Thursday morning. Last Thursday morning, my very first ambulance ride whisked me away for an ER trip and a subsequent four-day stay in the hospital, with various doctors, nurses, techs, and every kind of employee in between telling me that I came very close to dying. I don’t doubt it, with the way I felt when Philip decided to call the ambulance. Thankfully though, God was with me, I got help in time, and, FIVE blood transfusions later, I left the hospital and came home on Sunday.

I have many complaints about our local hospital on one hand, but one thing I can say for sure: they knew what they were doing in the ER. I came in with life-threatening symptoms, near death, and with no real idea what was wrong. They set right to work and within an hour, they knew exactly what the problem was and were working on getting it fixed. It was amazing, and I was so grateful. If you don’t know the details but would like to know, just ask and I’ll share via comment email.

I’ve been weak and trying to build up my strength all week, but even so, we still managed to get in an entire week of school, plus make-up work for last Thursday & Friday’s missed days while I was hospitalized. We just did everything while sitting on the couch or loveseat in the living room. I didn’t have the strength to sit up at the table, but am hoping that next week we can be back to normal for our lessons.
I’m just going to combine last week’s work with this week’s, as one big wrap-up.

G’s math consisted of more practice of the “three” times tables, and the introduction of the “four” times table. He also learned how to make change with money, how to round to ten, and how to divide by twos and threes, as well as a few other smaller functions. Everything went smoothly and he’s moving right along.

During G’s language lessons we finished up with nouns, and we moved on to verbs. This week has focused almost entirely on verbs. He’s enjoyed the lessons and has a good grasp on these parts of speech. I’m still very pleased with this curriculum.

G’s Writing With Ease lessons consisted of me reading aloud excerpts from several stories, and him answering questions about what he heard, and then summarizing each passage on paper in his own words. He’s doing wonderfully with this skill! He also did several dictation exercises (where I read out loud a particular sentence, and he wrote it down word for word, by memory). The stories we read exerpts from were: The Hare That Ran Away, Little Women, The Invincible Louisa, and The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks.

History lessons were mostly Biblical-based, with a couple of interesting exceptions. We covered King Nebuchadnezzar & the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Ishtar Gate, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, & Abed-Nego, Ezekiel, Aesop, and Buddha. Did you know that Aesop lived in Greece during the same years Daniel was captive & prophesying in Babylonia? And that Buddha was a young man in India during these years, searching for truth (and did NOT like being called a god)? I love this History course! Everything is taught chronologically, lining up world events and people with Biblical history. It’s fascinating.

For his reading, G has still been in Ramona Quimby’s world. He read Ramona and Her Mother and Ramona and Her Father, and this week has started Henry Huggins (who was a friend of Ramona’s). He’s also still reading a good bit of his Bible every day, usually in the mornings when he wakes up, before the rest of us are up. He’s up to the Chronicles right now, and he is learning. The other night he surprised me by asking me if I wanted to hear a chronological list of all the main characters of the Bible, up until Solomon. He proceeded to give me an exhaustive, yet accurate listing, from Adam all the way to Solomon—by memory. I can’t gush enough about how wonderful the Adventure Bible is for stimulating interest, but even moreso, The Picture Bible. I may post about it on its own later, but for now, I can say that it’s an incredible tool for interesting a child in the Bible and for teaching detailed accounts of every Bible story imaginable, in a way that kids retain and remember. I should know, because I had a copy as a child, and I devoured it. I received it for my 8th birthday, and I read it over & over & over, for years. I attribute my extensive detailed knowledge of Bible stories & characters to this book. I remember in Sunday School, I knew all the answers, all the characters, all the details of all the stories, because of what I read over & over in The Picture Bible. When I read or hear about Bible stories today, I still picture every character and scene just as they were pictured in The Picture Bible. Nothing had a greater impact on me, Biblically, while growing up. It seems the same thing is happening with G as he reads his copy over & over & over. If your child doesn’t have The Picture Bible, check it out, and get a copy in his or her hands as soon as possible. It is an amazing companion to the Bible!

G spent a lot of time outdoors enjoying the Spring weather, both during my stay in the hospital, and this week since I’ve been home. The days are sunny and warm, everything is blooming and growing now, and the bees & wasps are everywhere. He spent one morning observing ants carrying tiny pieces of paper on their backs. That’s science if I’ve ever seen it. 😉 He also observed the carpenter bees that are hovering all around his swingset. He told me he’d even made a treaty with the bees, that he would leave them alone, if they wouldn’t sting him. I told him we’ll see how that works out. 😉 He’s also picked lots of flowers, meticulously arranging them in a vase he got out for me and set up on the coffee table in the living room. There’s nothing like a vaseful of wildflowers, picked for you by your sweet little boy.
We haven’t done any official art in a while, but G has spent an enormous amount of time doing artwork over the past couple of weeks. Philip gave him an old sketchpad that he didn’t need anymore, and this inspired something major in G’s inner-artist. He’s nearly filled up every page with various drawings and sketches, both realistic and cartooned. Some of them are really quite good. Most of them are funny—he has a slightly “off” sense of humor that will serve him well (and I can’t imagine where he got it from), and these little drawings display that talent quite nicely. I will scan some, soon.

Speaking of artwork, when I came home from my follow-up doctor’s appointment on Tuesday, G had this message waiting for me in the kitchen:

He’s a sweetie! I missed my boys so much while I was in the hospital. I pray I never have to go back again. Here’s hoping next week is a much better week, but at least we got all our schoolwork done this week!