I can't even begin to tell you how busy we've been this last week.
Thursday I started helping to lay down hard wood floor in our parish hall, we have someone coming to stain it before Easter. I helped Friday, then Saturday, then Monday and today we're almost done. Taking way longer than I expected. I thought two days of my time, but this is crazy! It's been a lot of fun and hubby took this week off so he's been a big help with the kids, but not much school has gotten done.
Chicks started hatching on Thursday thru Sunday. Hubby's project with the kids, they hatched around 160 and sold most of the "extras". We're keeping about 35. The roosters will be our meat chickens this year and the hens we'll keep to lay.
Thursday my husband and friend headed to Anchorage to pick up our temporary priest who's from California. Married with a 1-yr-old girl. We were so happy to have a priest for all of the services that are called for during Holy Week and Pascha. Little did we realize that this priest was my husband's long lost (Arab) twin. Friday began our 2 church services per day ('till Sunday) schedule, so that's in addition to everything else.
My husband picked up his bee hive on Saturday and will get bees in it this coming Saturday.
Sunday was Palm Sunday one of my favorite feasts of the year. Church was full, salmon was awesome and the company was amazing! I even got to wear my new "June Cleaver" dress. When I ran over to my sisters real quick that afternoon I got the van stuck in the mud, argh! So I got out in my nice dress and put on my work gloves and proceeded to gather boards to put under the tires. My brother-in-law finally had to push me out with his 4wheeler. The sun was still shining so it was ok.
The goat, Amelia, finally had her babies (three!) last night during cowboy night. I'd started writing a blog post when he said, "Anna! Now!" and ran out to the garage. I followed and heard her scream. When I got there he was holding a long gooey goat kid by the back legs and there was another on the ground. We called our goat "midwife" and she told me to have him pull up on her belly in case there were any more and there was. It came out backwards and my daughter tickled it's nose with some straw to make it sneeze. They are all beautiful Nubian boys (bummer no girls) but cute none-the-less. They have great lineage so they maybe good heard sires, or, someones dinner (I don't think ours).
On we go with this crazy week. Thursday the annual bishop visit will be upon us. At some point I have to let the kids dye eggs and we have to figure out if we have all the pieces to their outfits. Make food, and more food and buy food. Go to lots more church. And church and then PASCHA! I can't wait!
We don't have TV hooked up to the outside world. We have gone through different TV phases in our married life but always knowing that too much TV is not good for children (and us). For disclosure purposes we do own a TV/ DVD player hooked to a X-Box and a Wii and another TV hooked up to a VCR. We also recently purchased a "kids" laptop so that my husband could teach my son how to do computer programming and gives the kids very limited Internet access (with Net Nanny) and this also has a DVD player. The main time we let the kids watch movies is when we have company or Saturday morning. We "try" to keep it limited and still go in phases, usually winter brings more TV time and summer less. And of course there are those days when I just say "screw it" and let them watch WAY too much and then they complain of a headache...
Video Games. I have never liked them AT ALL but I'm married and my husband is a computer geek and his down time involves some game time. The boys are the ones who like video games the most and I do allow them 10 minutes on the X-Box or Wii only after their chores and school are done. Sometimes they are allowed to earn more. Weekends are more laxed depending on what we're doing. A big part of the reason I wanted a "farm" is to have plenty of things to do that has to occupy the kids time so that we would have to limit TV and game time simply out of necessity. They each have many chores each day and it takes them time to complete them all.
I, personally, used to be a TV junkie and had to just cut it out all together. We have discovered NetFlix instant watch, but I don't watch shows just by myself anymore. We sometimes watch stuff after the kids go to bed, like our allotment on the laptop and that's plenty for me these days. We have finally found a somewhat happy medium. Not at all perfect (to me NONE would be perfect) but better than before.
In the midst of all of our figuring out we stumbled onto something we all liked very much.
Monday night cowboy night.
It started when my boys were little (they are now 9 & 10) and my husband went and bought a bunch of DVD sets of old cowboy shows starting with "The Lone Ranger". He also got some Zorro and old Robin Hood and threw that into the mix.
The kids have always looked forward to Monday nights because that's their night with papa to watch an oldie but goodie. This is usually our only "TV" night of the week days. They are currently watching Buck Rogers which I always thought was a cowboy show, but it turns out it's an old space show before the Star Trek days. Dosen't it sound like he should be a cowboy? Most of these shows I have never seen and I'll sit in on a few, but it gives me a nice break to do what ever I want while the kids sit on papa's back and enjoy an old TV show with him.
My first reaction is to complain but then this is what it led to...
It made my bed seem sooooo unbelievably comfortable this morning that I really didn't want to get out. I left my pajamas on 'till 2 and talked to my friend for 3 hours. My coffee tasted extra good. The snow was perfect for snowmen. Hubby built a fire and we just sat and talked and then the kids roasted marshmallows. Just a little taste of winter in the spring.
2-yr-old with a cold, driving me up a wall, time for a movie for mama's reprieve.
Kids turn eggs in the incubator and feed and water the garage-goat. Yes, there's a goat in the garage ready to kid.
Everyone takes their antibiotics since in a family of this size when 3 people get strep, the doctors just give it to everyone.
Get a phone call from a friend. Miss that girl.
Make oriental salad with the Napa cabbage I bought yesterday...while helping son with math...make the decision not to make dinner tonight, we'll have ramen or leftovers.
Do some work, take a couple of customer's calls, mostly facebook and reading blogs. :p
Bro-in-law comes to do a lock change for me, then takes home my 7-yr-old to help with their kids. I'm relieved as I have girl overload (crying, whining, fighting, screaming, etc) by this point and she's a good baby holder for my sister, I hope she helped.
At 5pm I motivate the kids to do math, I have not been on the ball so can't expect them to be esp when the sun is shining. They can have a gigantic marshmallow if they finish their math by 6pm...they do.
2-yr-old informs me that her poop in the potty is very black, "I promise, I'm serious." she says. Ok, then.
Big kids play rough, I send them outside, the neighbor boy comes over with his dog and 2 of my kids yell at him for it, they get into a fight (verbal) and neighbor boy goes home with dog. Then calls and invites over the child who was not yelling at him. He told me what happened on the phone and I sent 2 kids over to apologize and then straight home. They get to muck out the goat yard.
2-yr-old falls in mud, gets a bath, then goes back outside...naked.
I attempt to bribe the 5-yr-old to do a reading lesson with the gigantic marshmallow trick, we got through one and a half.
I pull out the skirt that I made and fix it again, it finally fits!
Get the second to last kid to finish his English. Today's assignment is copying and memorizing a Psalm or two amendments in the Bill of Rights. He has chosen Psalm 8, very short.
Visit the goat. My daughter discovered how to make her stand super still, by scratching her with a stubby stick...good for photos, I'll try adding some later.
I'm impressed by some of the messes in my house and at my ability to cope with them just fine if my head is in the right place. I'm much nicer when I can tolerate the messes.
Son uses choke chain to take his two little sisters as slaves...puts it on their wrists and puts them in the garage goat pen, with the goat. Give a lesson that that's not appropriate play.
Between the junk food and the sunny day, today was pretty good.
My cute, sweet, talkative littlest daughter turned into a monster yesterday. She got a cold and now screams and yells and cries at everyone and anything. Yesterday I felt a bit sorry for her because I knew she felt miserable, but today? Nope. Oh, look, she found the trash can lids/symbols! It's going to be a long day.
After being in bed for 9 days straight I was very happy to be back in the land of the living this weekend.
Today was another story.
It wasn't a terrible Monday, but this morning my head was not in it. The kids had fallen behind in school (not really but in my head) and they needed the jump start in that and chores, etc.
I found a new trick a few weeks ago when I was feeling lazy to get them to do their chores with less yelling and faster (for the time being, you know how tricks go). I have a jar of chocolate chips and Reese's Pieces. When I wake up I tell them, "I'm giving reward at (fill in the blank) time." Usually in about 45 minutes or an hour. This gives me time to wake up, drink coffee and look at facebook. And if they hurry they can get a lot done in that amount of time...including eating, dressed, brushing hair/teeth, and starting their chores. For each thing they get done they get one chocolate chip or Reese's Pieces...it usually amounts to 3 up to 8. I'm grumpy in the morning and this is probably best for everyone, at the moment it's helping with family peace.
I used this today and they got a lot done before I had a church fund raising meeting. I left oldest daughter home (12) to get her math, English, Greek and chores done. She did one math problem during that 2.5 hours. SIGH I'm not sure what to do with her. I'm trying to teach her to stay focused on her own, but she just does not. I was the same way and still am to some degree. I have to get "motivated" to get things done, I'm not just methodical. SIGH It'll be ok. As she turns the corner to teenager hood I'm afraid but not. At least I know her and her current faults, I think what I need help on the most is seeing my own and working on them.