Fevers and Flu

It is amazing how fast children can get sick. Within a day after I wrote the last post, The older two were coming down with something, had sore throat and slight temps. I didn’t worry as that was manageable, until Thurs. when their temps. hit 103 and rising that morning and sore throat and cough. It was time for the doctor.

While waiting for the appt., their temps went to 103.8 and 104. Very aggressive virus, so, since Jr. strength wasn’t working, had to switch to adult ibuprofen. It worked so well that their temps. were embarrassingly normal when we got to the doctor. The strep test was negative, so that left the evil flu. By evening, the third son had it, and by morning the last one.

We turned the living room couches and the lazy-boy into beds as an infirmary so that I could keep watch on each for temps, giving medicine, ice water, cool baths, etc. through each of the three nights (while I was starting to feel bad). Two were almost better by Sunday, except their coughs, so they waited on the rest of us and rested in between. Monday all of us were feeling better, but still tired and the coughs are less frequent.

Tomorrow we will try a half day of school. It will be good to eat something besides soup and crackers and applesauce and yougart again, too.

Tonight, we all went to our own beds, but I couldn’t sleep still as one woke me once already, so I am writing this. I am tired but restless, but want to be sure I don’t miss a need. Luckily, my husband did not get this flu, and I hope he doesn’t! I am glad that my case was comparatively mild, PTL!, so that I could care for the others. God was good to see us through this so well, when it hit so unexpectedly. We have since learned that there is a LOT of this going around our area. Well, time to try to get some sleep again. I can hear the promised cold front sweeping in with its winds. A perfect start to February. 🙂

Recovering my joy,
Melanie

All In A Day’s Work

Hello Everyone!
I am so glad that January is almost over! The sun has returned for the whole week which is such a help even though it is still cold. Before my daughter left for college, we started on a quilt for Veith, and did some mending on her things to get her ready.

Now that Harmony is back at college, life is settling into a new routine of sorts. Everyone misses her so much! It is my turn on the rotation with the boys to do the dishes and table. I feel quite sad when I start to set her place and realize that she is gone. Doing up the dishes by hand takes some extra bit of our time. We try to not to run the dishwasher much to keep the bills – water, electric, and gas water heater- lower. It does add a bit of satisfaction at least to put that “Joy” in the water and scrub things sparkling clean. Makes me wonder how I managed to do it so long ago when I had ten place settings to clean by hand three meals a day.

These colder days keep our schedule more relaxed since we don’t go very many places when it is chilly. The main creative thing we did two weeks ago was to make a bunch of Thank- you notes a bit late for the Christmas gifts they received. (Better late than never!) And a couple children have a few lessons to catch up on that will keep them busy this week. I never like to finish January unless everyone is generally caught up in their schoolwork. I encourage all of you to do a special review of where your students are and adjust for their needs, too. Aside from our usual school day, we are actively doing home remedies for our allergies that have hit our area, mainly cedar fever and mold spores. Luckily, we are still well enough to do schoolwork, with a box of tissues to share :-))

For fun we are practicing learning calligraphy and bowling skills indoors until the weather gets warmer. Then we will take up kick-ball which seems to be becoming popular here. The bonus is that they can learn running bases for baseball at the same time. They are starting to beg to get seedlings started. I may actually try it this year. We have also done some organizing and played a few games to liven things up a little.

Our evenings are mostly spent reading, playing with Legos, or listening to Jonathon Park some nights. I work on writing up tests for the boys, doing e-mail, or sewing for my doll dress business. Have a soft-bodied doll almost ready for the website, and is she ever cute!

Then, Veith has to be driven to work and back most nights, so I sandwich supper in-between. We finally got in some driving practice together in the neighborhood last weekend. He did quite well! But the hand maneuvers for turning corners still need refining before we go anywhere over 15 or 20 miles an hour :-)) This is my fifth child l’ve taught to drive. It is always good to see their confidence and carefulness improve with their skill.

Today, for excitement, after starting laundry, I did some sewing/ mending on my husband’s duffel bag and my son’s favorite pair of socks. Later, I have to go to town with the boys when I drop Veith off to get just the right ribbon or yarn to make hair for those dolls. Plan to make chili or a chicken casserole or the like for dinner, too. Yum!

Later this week, Andrew will help me put my pictures of the doll and a couple new outfits up on the website. Please, check out harmonydollfashions.com if you get a chance in February. Thanks!

Hope all of you have a great finish to January!
Melanie

New Year Blues

Hi Everyone!

Since I was raised in Michigan, I always have the irresistible desire to hibernate in January.

I only wish we could have some snow here in Texas, too, to make it seem like a legitimate
reason to have a sabbatical month to just stay home and enjoy my family and get away with a little reading and organizing. Some years I have actually managed it!

Other years, like this one, when I plan to rest and stay cozy, the Lord has other ideas. There are people to care for at home and away, and, Alas, I still need milk and eggs every few days, and my son still needs to be driven to work. Since I don’t hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign on my door (though I have THOUGHT about it :-)), a neighbor came by and blessed me with gingerbread cake, and two days later another friend came by with three kinds of tea (to warm my heart as well as my hands no doubt!) God seems to know that misery loves company and has arranged that I not be given time to be too alone with my SADD syndrome. Getting out in the sunlight helps ALOT, so I have to journey out to greet the day and at least check the mailbox or just go to see something in the yard that the boys beg me to see.
Soon, also, there is a missions conference at our church in the middle of the month with several families with 4 children each that I will enjoy meeting.
Also, my daughter’s birthday is next week. It will be just a family celebration, before I say a tearful good-bye when she returns to college. Learning to live without her all last semester was an opportunity to accept being the only girl in a houseful of guys. It was great to have her home through the holidays. I was so surprised to have my son from Wisconsin home for the whole week. Andrew’s parents arrived for the whole week, too, as well as my daughter and son and his native friend from Papua New Guinea. Arranging beds for all was made easier when Grandpa and GranD chose the new Motel6. That left one son on a sleeping bag and the two couches for two willing sons. Feeding thirteen every meal all week, and eleven all the next week, left very little time for rest or reading. But I was rewarded by their compliments that it was so much better than that college food. (though I personally would have loved all their choices every day when I was in college)
And they gifted me by raking all the “millions” of leaves and cleaning the backyard! I was so grateful for their thoughtful help!

Now it is January and time to start schooling all the children again. My sabbatical will have to be sandwiched inbetween all the activities this month. My children surely couldn’t live without their annual January homeschool bowling day either, I am sure. Not even an allowance for them this year to help pay for it. Times are tough. My son’s paycheck came in time to let him buy the last two $2.50 pizzas at the store with the free bowling coupons on them so that will help.
It is great when you discover that your children are catching your frugal ways and benefiting from it even.

Still, since even the sun hides, I really have to struggle to cheer myself up in January. This week though I had a really good laugh. My 2nd son is working a second job as a pizza deliverer and saving all his tips (to finish flight school) in a special bucket and depositing in the bank at intervals.
Well, he thought he would be funny and decided to put a slit in the cover and leave it in the hall, so that we couldn’t miss it, with a message scrawled in marker. Flight Tips: Donations accepted.
When my husband saw it, he promptly wrote a tip about adjusting the flaps before landing and pushed it through the opening. AH… flight tips… We all caught the spirit and started writing our own. Be sure you have enough gas before take off. Have fun. Never push rudder when you need aileron, and others. Boy is he in for a surprise when he opens it to count his tips “money.”
We sure had a good laugh!

The other thing I got to do over the holiday was taking my 16 yr. old son to get his driving permit. In Texas there is a new law that stopped the use of the previous inexpensive state curriculum (which I had already used successfully with the first four children), and instead, requires parents to spend money on only approved, and costly, courses to qualify to teach their own child after registering with DPS. After registering, my son paid for his own online course out of his paycheck. It said to use their materials and set aside the DPS packet. When we completed level one, it was finally time to go take the test for the permit.

Knowing it would be a two hour wait (this is my fifth child to process) we took books to read. Well over an hour later, we were called. Wow, But … what is this? They seem to have lost my registration! After a futile wait of 10 or 15 minutes, they finally reached someone at their own driver’s ed dept. only to be told they couldn’t find us in their registry. I told them the check number and date, but they said that wasn’t good enough.
(and I had left their packet at home since I wasn’t supposed to need it…) To make it a three hour wait instead of 1 1/2 I had to go back to my city to my bank and get a copy of the front and back of that check ( and for good measure returned home for the packet) just to go back and wait only another 10 minutes this time (Whew!) to show them the proof so he could take his computer permit test, which he passed easily. (91%) Boy was I glad! By the time I got home, it was time to start dinner for 10 this time. The next morning, we went to the high school parking lot to practice. He even got the 15 pass. van in a left parking place perfectly that day. What a relief.
SO my “vacation” did have some reward in all my labors, and I AM thankful for the new year as it always is refreshing to have a new start, soo.. why the blues? I think I can explain…

One son went to Alaska a couple years back and took pictures of snow sooo cold it was BLUE. Maybe that explains why I get the New Year “Blues.” :-)) I freeze in Texas when it is 40 degrees! My favorite present two years ago was a thick soft green blanket from my brother. If I could stay in it with a book and a cup of tea until January is over, I would. Alas, my family still likes to have clean clothes and eat three meals a day. Now, layers of clothes have become stylish for me so I can function each day for my family.

Time to make a list of goals for the year. I met one last year with my husband’s help. Starting my website and blog was it, and I hope I have more time for writing this year. Check back to see if I find more to write.
If any of you out there also get the New Year Blues, consider this…

When you feel down in the mouth, remember Jonah, …. he came out all right. :-))

Digging Deeper to Find Joy in January,
Melanie

Busy School Days

There is never a dull moment in home schooling.  Since my daughter went off to college, I am challenged to teach the last four boys alone at different levels, so I certainly don’t lack for things to do! I find time to grade my 16 year old’s algebra every day and review hard grammar concepts while also quizzing him in Spanish vocab. review. There is also time for answering 7th grade science questions while helping my 9 yr. old learn long division, and helping my six year old with 2nd grade math, spelling, and language (among others). My days are very full of questions and answers, and, just like you, I feel tired at the end of school time, but after a short break, I still have lots of laundry and meals and cleaning to juggle in my schedule. Added to that is making sure my son gets to work on time, and I will begin drivers ed. with him soon (so he can take himself to work!).

I have finally started giving them piano lessons again, too; but it sure seems more difficult to fit it into their schedule this year. It is so good for brain development, though, that I think we will stay committed to it even if we miss a week or two, now and then. Combined with Teen Court and a speech and debate day with friends, the boys get an opportunity to exercise their minds.

For physical exercise, we sometimes do basic jumping jacks, etc. on some mornings. That is a great way to wake up your brain and cheer up a slow starter. Now that our Texas days are milder (only in the 80’s) we can finally spend time in the afternoons at the park with friends, go to the track, or take a hike. Sometimes the boys just ride bikes near home, skate. or play in their tree fort. I am always pleasantly surprised at how much the sunshine helps my health and energy level when I go to the park with them.

I had so hoped that now that all the babies are grown that I would be able to sleep all night every night. Alas, the dog is getting old, so trusty mom is the one who usually wakes in time to take her out. So I start some days a little tired just like those of you with babies to care for at night.

Well, it’s time to start a new week. Everyone is up and wants eggs for breakfast so guess I’d better get ‘cracking’. Then we can enjoy a busy day of school.

Have a sunny-side-up day!
Melanie

Texas Cool Front

What a relief! The time and temp. sign near our house said it is ONLY 99*degrees for a change! A “cold” front, that brought us a little rain even, swept through and left us below 100* degrees for a change. And in August, too!

So, it looks promising that the heat will end sooner this year! The children would rather be outside, so they are hopeful, too. We are keeping busy getting Harmony ready for college. What is amazing in that my 16 year-old son was just hired on the spot by Harmony’s employer to take her place when she leaves. They said Harmony’s work for them was a good enough reference so they didn’t need to check his. What a blessing.

Is everyone ready to start another homeschool year? I finally have all their planners all done except their Saxon math. After testing them in the first chapters, I will know how to fill each planner in. If they get 100% they can test until they miss and start there. No use redoing material that they already know perfectly.
May God bless each of you as you pursue excellence in training your children this year!

Blessings in Jesus,
Melanie

Summer Break

Well how are you enjoying your summer ?

The weather has been milder than normal here as it is only in the 90’s so far! Very unusual, but so welcome. We can get outside a bit more and that means more park time and sunshine. I’ve been doing more organizing at home as well as a little sewing and mending while preparing things for getting Harmony off to college. We are so glad she got a job and her volunteer work at the hospital is especially enjoyable to her. I am learning to gradually manage without her help and to get the boys to assist more. So my “staycation” (as they call it in Texas) this year has had some benefit of rest and renewal.

For the rest of July, I will be staying busy getting my teens ready for camp next week and starting to prepare for next school year. There are always books and papers to file away and lists to make to prepare for the school year and the trip to PCC. Even the chore list gets major revisions when my best helper leaves.

I rejoice for her opportunities though and she is maturing through them.
Hope all of you are enjoying God’s blessings this summer.

Melanie

Harmony Graduated

My only daughter has now graduated and will be going to PCC in the fall. She plans to be a nurse. It is so exciting and yet so sad for me. Exciting to see what God has planned for her life, but so sad because I will miss her since we are quite close. I am very pleased that she is a daughter of purity and has a willing heart to honor and obey.

God has just blessed her with a part-time job to earn money. She had been praying and applying at several places and this was a blessing.  They are even breaking their rule and allowing her to have Sundays off.  That is definitely God’s working for her. She also applyed and was awarded a volunteer position at the hospital for the summer, too. This was through a free community class called ‘Adventures in Medicine’ open to any teenager.

It is wonderful to have the whole summer break ahead. So much to do, but I try to schedule their days enough to be meaningful but fun. I am especially looking forward to our homeschool conference in June.

There are still four boys left to teach and train, and I must prepare myself to be just as diligent in the coming years to repeat all that the first four learned, passing it on to the next four as well.

Blessings, Melanie

Prayer Breakfast Oxymoron

The alarming changes in American governance are going to trouble the average citizen and their children for generations to come; that is, unless we as Christians do what II Chron. 7:14 commands: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

The current climate of national and personal prayer mocks this verse and is the tool of Satan to deceive and make people believe that their OWN way to pray is sufficient to hear from God instead of HIS way. This deception started small in a carnal congregation somewhere; then it has worked its way into a national problem. Satan, as always, only makes it appear enlightened. When people are really serious about God’s intervention in protecting America’s righteous freedoms and our Christian faith, we will not only repent first of our own wicked ways, but we will have to pray in the only manner God will hear and answer.

God did not say to “FEAST and Pray”…. He said to “FAST and Pray” and to humble ourselves, and no need to even let others know that you are fasting, unless it was a national public FAST, not a feast, such as Ninevah chose when the people needed God to preserve them.

The National Prayer Breakfast in each community is the opposite of what God requires. The same can be said for those in churches every week or month. “Feasting and praying” is insincere and only appeals to our flesh, but it does not warrant God’s intervention in the affairs of men. Why? If we truly want to hear from God to heal this nation and clean our hearts, then no one will want to needlessly waste many thousands of dollars on food and even selling tables for it as well! How much this must grieve the Lord. Humbling ourselves in the sight of God and man costs nothing but a little dust and ashes and a humbled heart, with an empty stomach that only hungers and thirsts after righteousness and a righteous nation.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see God’s Mighty Hand work in amazing ways to preserve and restore our nation and our hearts next year at a “National Prayer Fast” where humbled, repentant, fasting Christians joined to pray in free community events at capitols and city halls and to hold “fast and pray” vigils at churches?

With God all things are possible to them who believe!

c. 2010 Melanie Lippert