Monday, June 27, 2011

Ballet camp

The older 4 girls had a great time last week at ballet camp.  They decorated tambourines and gold gypsy scarves, colored Celtic crosses and ballerinas, learned a little tap and jazz, and had a grand time with their friends. 

I think, though, that the Irish dancing was their favorite.  Their ballet teacher, Ms. Hume, had a young man from Indianapolis’ Irish Dance group come every day to teach the girls Irish dance.  He was an excellent instructor, very encouraging to the girls, and fun to watch when he demonstrated his competition steps.

Here are a few pictures!

IMG_0178  here is the twins’ class learning an Irish jig

IMG_0190Colin and the girls

IMG_0213Kate practicing a jump

IMG_0200 I took a close up shot of Colin’s shoes – they have fiberglass blocks on the soles and heels to make the clopping noise when he dances.

IMG_0219  Alix and Kate were in the same class.

IMG_0220  A lot of girls in that class – I think around 20!


IMG_0281  IMG_0280IMG_0170


Thought I should add that Colin is 2nd in the World in Irish Dance.  He told me the guy who is 1st is a friend of his – and Irish!  So, just a plug for Colin- he’s terrific, and a really stunning dancer!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Olivia Clare

Miss Olivia turned 5 this past Lord’s Day.  Our baby!

We had a wonderful time at Mom and Dad’s on Saturday with the cousins.  There was a pink princess tiara pinata, a 3-layer chocolate cake with pink icing and pink pearls, little pink pots and pans and utensils, and a pink plaid sundress to match Claire’s – the other birthday girl.

After church, came Grandma and Grandpa and Mr. and Mrs. Hoke, per Olivia’s request.  She was delighted with her ice cream cake and candles – dancing and laughing while we sang to her.  She opened her gifts carefully and happily – expressing joy even for the Hello Kitty bandaids.  That night, it took a little bit of extra time to fall asleep for our excited girl and her sisters.

Monday was our birthday lunch date.  She and I went to Red Robin – at the twins’ urging.  They told her she would get a balloon – so that cinched things for her.  Then we went to Claire’s Boutique and had a fun time looking at all the girly things.  Eventually, she picked out a pink and black lemur, since the twins had chosen lemurs at their birthday trip to Claire’s. 

We sang songs in the car and talked about all kinds of things.  My sweet girl!

IMG_0127  here she is dancing, hair flying, during “Happy Birthday”

IMG_0089                           “I’ve always wanted this Barbie..”      IMG_0112   



IMG_0143 after our birthday lunch



in her new dress up dress and flower tiara

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I read something recently where the author reported that at an orientation for an ACCS school, the school said that most classical homeschooling families show up at their school by the third grade – burnt out and looking for help.  Really?!  Third grade?!  Hmmm, I don’t know, but to me that seems amazing. 

We’ve been following the classical model since we started…11 years ago, now.  It is definitely challenging –but it’s hard for me to believe that so many people would be burned out on it by 3rd grade.  At any rate, after thinking about it for a few days, I wondered if encouragement for homeschooling in general might be helpful.

There have been a lot of days that getting everybody up and moving has gone against my nature.  Wouldn’t it be best (for them, or me?) to let them sleep in?  But we’ve persisted –and sometimes it has taken a lot of prayer and just plain gumption to move everyone through it all. 

One thing that has helped us is to have a routine.  Developing something – that is flexible enough to change as more little people joined our family, or joined the schooling ranks – but has a framework that is fairly solid.  Of course there are interruptions or “special events” which might morph things here and there.  But our routine helps accommodate those things, and still maintain structure, stability. 

So, as part of our routine, something nifty we developed this year is for the kids to make their own checklists.  I asked each of the 4 older kids to make a checklist every morning after recitation time.  The list had to include each subject and the “outside” school things, like piano, geography, laundry – that they were responsible for each day.  It took a little time  for them to get it without forgetting something (and without help)– but not long.

They became pretty creative with their checklists – doing them on the computer, making reproducible print-outs, putting special clip-art designs on them.  But the real blessing was that I didn’t have to prompt them about what they should be doing next.  They had to check off each subject – only after they finished it completely.  Since they made their lists, they knew what they had to do before they could be done with school for the day. 

They were more independent. 

They were motivated to keep going because when they finished a subject they could check it off on their lists and see their progress.

I didn’t have to prompt them by asking if they had finished such and such.

They felt a sense of accomplishment in finishing everything on their list – without me reminding them. 

Lots of good has come from the check off lists – it’s not perfect, but it has definitely made a difference for us.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Jesus- the Real King!

We heard Sophia talking to Olivia and Isabella in the car the other day:

“Jesus is the only Real King – and the Church is His only Queen!”



Thursday, June 2, 2011


Sunday afternoon, Sophia walked into the kitchen, talking as she came.  I glanced up from the bowl of yogurt I was stirring to look at her.  I was shocked to see that her face was very blue – her lips were deep purple.  I vaguely remember moving toward her and meeting her at the end of the counter.  She was still talking to me.  She had a short, pale pink dress on – and I lifted it up to see the top of her legs.  Everything was very blue, an even, solid blue from the roots of her hair to her toes.  I told her she needed a treatment, and walked quickly with her toward the school room, where the nebulizer was plugged into the wall.  Glenn was coming out of there, looked at her and gasped.  I nodded at him and said, “I know, I think she needs a treatment.”  He thought she might be cold (the girls had been swimming about 1/2 an hour before), but I had just checked, and found her skin to be normal temperature, and it still was.  Her hands were only slightly cooler, as though she had just washed them.  She tried to grab Glenn’s hands and swing from them, but he told her to wait till after the treatment.  She sat down quietly to draw, and Glenn gave her the treatment.  By the time it was finishing, her color was returning.  She was pale,but not blue anymore.

She seemed completely normal, and her breathing was not affected.  I asked about the pool water – all the girls agreed it was comfortable, no one was at all cold.  After their short swim, the girls all came in for showers.  Isabella and Sophia took a shower together – they both told me the water was very warm.  Isabella looked normal. No one was shivering.  At this point, they had all been out of the pool for about 20-30 minutes, in addition to the time for the showers.

We asked about going under water – how long had Sophia held her breath and how many times? Alix and Sophia both said she only tried a few times, and only briefly. 

Because she seemed normal, and her color had returned we didn’t feel she needed to go to the ER. If it hadn’t been Sunday, we would have called a doctor then.  We were concerned – and confused. We talked about it that evening, trying to make sense of it. Trying to find a logical reason for it. But nothing added up.

It was obviously not due to cold – and the blue of her skin was the bluest I’ve ever seen on a person.  Her skin was warm to the touch.

She wasn’t gasping for breath, and showed no respiratory distress – or any distress at all.

I have no idea how long she was blue before I saw her.  

I called the pulmonologist Monday morning – but I wasn’t surprised they were out since it was Memorial Day.  Meanwhile, Sophia continued as usual, as far as we could tell.  I had gone to her room a few times during the night on Sunday and Monday to check on her, but she seemed fine.  Her oxygen saturation and heart rate each evening were good.

I talked to the pulmonologist’s nurse on Tuesday morning.  I explained everything to her – and she said she would have the doctor call me if she had any questions.  After a few hours and no return call, I called the pediatrician’s office.  The nurse there knows us well, and said she would talk to the doctor and call me back. 

Shortly afterwards, the pulmonologist’s nurse called and said the doctor was very concerned – and thought it was a problem with the Autonomic Nervous System – the system responsible for involuntary responses.  If it happens again, we are to take her to the ER so tests can be run.

I talked with our pediatrician soon after and he also told me he thought it was the Autonomic Nervous System.  He agreed it was concerning and said he found it very unsettling.  His instructions were the same as the pulmonologist – take her to the ER next time.

I talked to Sophia and the kids Tuesday evening and told them that if she (or anyone) turns a different color, they need to come to me right away, or call me if I’m not here.  The older 3 kids all know how to give Sophia a breathing treatment if necessary.

We’re thankful for the many blessings surrounding the episode – she wasn’t in pain or afraid, I was able to see her and know something was wrong,  and the only thing we could do – the breathing treatment – made a difference. 

Maybe it won’t happen again – or maybe it’s God’s way of showing us that something inside her isn’t quite right.  He knows, and we trust Him to let us know.