Tuesday, January 28, 2014

World's Biggest Spitwad? (Or What NOT to Put in the Washing Machine)

This morning, after a very discumbobulated school time, I opened the washing machine only to find little bits of something wet and slightly sticky all over Hannah's bedding.  It was also sprinkling onto the floor as I unloaded the blankets.  Now, we've washed pull-ups and disposable diapers in the machine before.  It's not pretty.  But this was different and Hannah doesn't use pull-ups, so I was unsure what this particular mess was from.

That's when I noticed it.

The largest wad of wet paper I have ever seen.

There were a few smaller wads as well.  And then I uncovered what used to be the cover of...

Hannah's Bible.

After a triple rinse and spin in the washing machine there were still a ton of bits of wet paper everywhere.  That's when I realized that I had not cleaned out the original mass properly.  A section of  about 50 pages that had remained and gotten more water logged than the first load.

So, what am I to do?  I cleaned out what I found in the washing machine and just moved the bedding to the dryer.  Maybe the stuff will shake off if it dries???  Now I'm worried.  I think it's more likely to stick and never wash out.

Please excuse me while I switch the laundry back to the washer.

Perhaps another rinse and spin will do the trick?!

[Making my way to the washer and dryer I am sidetracked by the baby being hit over the head by the toddler, a basket of hats that has been dumped on the floor, a preschooler who insists that she has absolutely nothing to do and is bored to death, and aforementioned toddler with chapstick all over his hands.]

Okay.  So the dryer is actually working.  Praise the Lord!

In case this ever happens to you...

1. Eliminate all wads of paper (big and small) from the washing machine.
2. Rinse and spin.
3. Then dry to remove whatever other paper bits have found their way into your laundry.
4. Be prepared to sweep or vacuum the floor since tiny wet bits of paper will fall everywhere.

You're welcome.

Thursday, January 23, 2014


Rachel (and Claude) finally conked out for the night.  Well...part of the night, anyway.  She is curled up on my chest keeping me warm and feeling all snugly.  It's one of the perks of being a mom.  I get to cuddle cute and wiggly kids sometimes.

Today was normal by all accounts.  I led the kids through some strength training exercises for P.E.  Don't worry, they weren't lifting weights or anything.  They were pretty funny trying to figure out how to do push ups.  And my personal favorite moment was seeing Jeremiah dive onto his belly to join in with the "Superman" exercises.

There were several arguments over who should have turns with the bikes.  Joshua is a bit bent out of shape because he hasn't figured out how to ride without training wheels.  He expects that he should be allowed to monopolize Abby's tricycle.  She's good with that because she loves to sit on Hannah's bike, unable to go anywhere due to a couple of too-short legs.  Hannah is the one who gets the short end of the stick in the situation, hence the screams I (and the neighbors) heard throughout the afternoon.

They must have heeded my advice to work it out because eventually all was quiet in the backyard.

I thought for half a minute today that we had lost Jeremiah.  The turkey was smoking up the house, the windows and doors were open, and the toddler was mysteriously released from his high chair.  I didn't see him, ran out the front door in a panic, and was called back almost immediately by the older kids.

He was in the living room.

Praise God my momentary panic was all for nought.

Once the turkey was done roasting Jeremiah became very animated.  Apparently a roasted turkey is a wondrous sight to behold.  Jeremiah looked at it, pointed, and then let out a low growling noise that is usually reserved for dogs.  Maybe he thought it was a dog in the pan?   It's quite possible.

The day came to an end only after some crazy antics from the half-naked toddler.  He also managed to get Abby involved and I had a good laugh over their dancing.  Abigail, with her hands above her head, spinning in clumsy circles was entertaining enough.  But Jer just couldn't contain his enthusiasm and so he started in with some fancy footwork and a few trips down the hallway as he pushed his forehead in the carpet, laughing all the way.

Those two are the life of the party, that's for sure!

We would be a seriously serious crew without them.

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Crew Meets the Work Crew

So, one of our water pipes starting leaking earlier this week.  Strange wet patches on the carpets in the master bathroom and the boys' closet floor seemed a bit odd.  After some investigation and some really wet carpets, Claude called in a plumber.

It turned out to be better than we had thought because the source of the leak was just a rotted out copper pipe up in the attic.  No need to cut open walls or any of that mess.  The damage has been kept to a minimum as well.  (Dare I say that there would have been no damage had the pipes been checked sometime in the last 30 years...)

Yesterday the landlord sent over someone to check out the water damage and give a quote on repairs and all.  This morning we are waiting for the work crew to come and pull up carpets and carpet padding and to set up fans to dry everything out.

Needless to say all of this activity is very exciting for our little crew.  They love watching people work and have been especially fascinated by all of the trips to the attic.  But there has been a bit of confusion over what a crew actually is.

Yesterday evening, after Joshua and Hannah had spent much of the day on high alert for the work crew to arrive (they never did), Abby came to me and asked, "Mommy, where is the mommy?"

"What mommy?"

"Well, the mommy for the crew.  The daddy was here but where is the mommy?"

Then it dawned on me.  She thought that a crew was a family.  This work crew must be a family that comes to people's homes and helps fix things up after some water damage.  But only the daddy came.  I'm sure that was perplexing and disappointing to her!  :)

When we started referring to our family as the Chew Crew it was kind of by accident.  It seemed cute and a good way to refer to ourselves on our little blog.  But now we're actually known as the Chew Crew and obviously our kids feel a sense of identity and belonging to that title.  It makes my heart glad.

We don't have it all together.  In fact, we had a milk spill and two tantrums while the property manager and work crew manager were out on our front lawn (the windows were open, our walls are thin, the voice of the screaming one was loud...they heard it all!).  But part of what Claude and I hope for is that our children have a place to belong, to fit in, and a place to feel secure.  I guess the Chew Crew is turning out to be just that.  So much so, that 3-year-old Abby can't conceive of a crew that isn't also a family.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What Would Parents Do Without Google?

Image from SeanKenney.com
I Google-d this tonight:

My child swallowed a Lego

And here is what I learned from Ask Dr. Sears:

Swallowed Objects

Children often swallow small objects such as coins, toys, or jewelry. These nearly always pass through the intestines and are eliminated in 3 to 5 days without causing harm, in fact, I have even seen an open safety pin pass through with no problem. It is only a problem if the object gets stuck somewhere along the way.
If your child swallowed a small object, he may have a brief episode of gagging while it travels down the esophagus (the tube running from the mouth to the stomach). If your child then is not having any signs of the object being stuck in the esophagus then you can simply observe him as directed below.
It's good to know we're not the only ones.

It's also a relief to know that a big drink of water and a banana can move the inside of a wheel down a child's esophagus.  Hopefully it will have an uneventful trip all the way out.

I do wonder, though, how my parents knew what to do when their daughter swallowed a Ninja Turtle weapon.  You know...those being prehistoric days without Google and all...

P.S.  The 3 and under crowd was already jammin' in bed.  That doesn't say much about our older crew, does it?  :/

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Tales of Yesteryear

We just had the following conversation:

Abby comes running into the bedroom.  "One of the kitchen lights is broken!"

Visions of broken glass began to dance in my head as I walked out to check out the situation.

All three lights were intact and working perfectly.  "Abby, the lights are okay."

She walked over the wall and pointed up, "But Mommy, this light is broken."

"That's a phone jack, Abby.  It's not broken."

"What's a phone jack?"  Joshua wanted to know.

"Well, phones used to need to be plugged in.  Not like the cell phones that Daddy and I use."

This was pretty universally accepted as truth and things moved on in our morning routine.  Then Claude came out and I explained to him about the 'broken light' and the subject was open again.

"You know," Joshua said.  "In the early 1900's phones used to be made of wood and metal.  They didn't run on electricity but used oil."

"And when Daddy and I were young, cell phones weren't even around,"  I said as I explained what a home phone looks like.  A cord.  Big buttons.  I didn't get into the cordless phenomenon.

Then we shared with the kids that we didn't have home computers until we were in grade school.  Even then I was probably 7 or 8 years old (it really wasn't that long ago).  This seemed unfathomable to our kids who are around compouters and i-devices all day.

"Wow!  When were you guys born anyway?!"

In the dark ages, for sure.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Tuesdays with the Crew

This morning I woke up.  I felt grumpy.  My attempts to be up before the kids failed when Rachel needed to nurse.  The older two kids ended up in the school room, pajamas on, reading new library books.  I knew this would happen, but I was hoping to prevent it.  Reading is a great thing, except when it gets in the way of obedience.  So, Claude and I set to work getting the kids doing their morning chores (getting ready, unloading the dishwasher, etc).  The fighting that commenced wasn't as bad as I expected.  Praise The Lord!

After breakfast we started school.  We're hoping to get a violin lesson in this morning, so we changed up our order of business a bit.  This went over moderately well.  Someone was less than pleased to have his schedule altered without ample warning.  Oh, well...at least we're on track for moving onto a new violin song.  It's been way too long and I'm just as tired of hearing "Hello Mother" as they are of practicing it.

Memory work was interrupted by Jeremiah hitting Rachel on the head.  He thinks it's a funny game.  I'm pretty sure he's doing it to get a reaction.  He wasn't very happy with the response he received, though.  Correction is never fun, I guess.  And still he went back for more.  I wonder if we'll ever have a kid whose will isn't as strong as steel.  Time will tell...

We've started a BIG geography project.  Memorizing all of the countries and capitals of the world sounded like a lot of fun, so we've started with North America.  I didn't realize this would include a million and three tiny islands in the Caribbean.  But after a lot of research, I now know more about the geography of that part of the world than I ever dreamed of knowing.  This week we are on North and Central America.  The kids are learning.  I know this becuase I've heard Joshua walking around chanting "Belmopan, Belize.  Tegucigalpa, Honduras.  San Salvador, El Salvador."  And Abby was wandering around the house yesterday shouting out, "Guatemala City, Guatemala!"

I want to write a post about our latest attempt at homeschool pysical education.  It's been interesting and haphazard, but I think with some perseverence we will be able to incorporate some more physical activity into our days.  Today we did some circuit training which went over so well that the kids wanted to keep going even after snack time.  There were a lot of giggles as we tried crab walks, superman pose, and some other exercises.  It gave me a workout, too, which is always good!

I thought I was going to stay on top of the laundry today.  I actually switched it to the dryer in a timely manner (without leaving it in the washing machine for hours on end).  Then I found it.  The laundry's nemesis - a disposable diaper.  Yes, someone had left it in the dirty laundry basket.  And do you know what that means?  M-E-S-S.  Little gel-like pearls all over the clothing.  It's pretty hard to get rid of as well because it's designed to absorb moisture.  I'm trying the sanitary cycle with two extra rinses in hopes that some super hot water will get rid of it.  Ugh...

As of this writing, I'm still feeling the grumpies.  I keep thinking that I'd love some time to myself.  The freedom to get dressed and use the bathroom without little visitors, and the ability to wake up without a baby and a toddler crying for me.  But we still have a math lesson, violin lesson, checking of independent school work, lunch, history, "rest time" (not so restful for Mom on most days), dinner prep, snack, and at least 100 more corrections.  No wonder Claude and I feel so tired every night!

Tantrums, the insides of diapers spewed all over the clean laundry, and reigning in wild kids all day is tiring.  Exhausting.  I can't stay on top of meals, naptimes, nursing, or schoolwork.  I get angry with the kids.  I yell.  I come close to tears out of sheer frustration.  I leave the laundry until late at night when Claude finishes it off.  And yet, I can't think of how I'd rather spend my days.  Maybe in a little cabin in the woods, in front of a fire place, with a good book in my hand, and quiet all around?  I think I'd last about 30 minutes before things would seem to still...I might even get bored.  And then I'd think of these little (and some growing to be not-so-little) guys and say, "It would be fun if they were here.  They'd love the fire.  The snow."

No, I'm right where I need to be.  Right where I want to be.

But I'll be honest...I'm still feeling a bit grouchy this morning.  :)

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Things I Heard Today

I'm pretty sure we've been over this before, but Joshua just isn't getting it.  Earlier today he shouted out, "I just wish I was Asian!"  When we tried to tell him that he is Asian, he insisted that neither he nor any of his siblings look Asian.  And, as he rightly pointed out, we do not dress like Asians.  He left the kitchen in a huff before we could address the issue any further.

The girls, also, had a confession to make.  "We've been praying," Hannah told us.  I thought that was good.  And then Abby chimed in (oh, how I wish I could find a way to write how she actually pronounced this next part), "Yeah, we are praying that God will help us to fart more!"  Okaaaayyyy....

Later this evening I was on the treadmill in our bedroom.  Hannah often starts out back there for bedtime since she and Abby still keep each other awake.  So, while I exercise, I get to hear the random thoughts she has as she falls asleep.  Tonight she was watching me intently, which made me feel a bit self-conscious.  She has a way of making accurate observations and stating them in such blunt terms that you leave feeling awkward, offended, or both.  I couldn't help but wonder why she was staring at me.  Suddenly she blurted out, "Mommy, your pony tail looks like a horse's hair when it swooshes around!"  This led us into a brief explanation of the name "pony tail" which she thought was particularly brilliant.  And with that bit of information, she promptly fell asleep and I breathed a sigh of relief that she hadn't attempted to describe the size and shape of my body or the details of how she thinks babies are born.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year 2014

During dinner last night, we talked about the past year (something that is a bit challenging for some of the Crew who have no concept of time) and looked ahead at the year to come.  These kinds of conversations aren't really deep since we're working with younger kiddos, but it's fun to see what they remember from the year and what they are looking forward to.

The Best Thing of 2013
Claude: Rachel's Birth
Abigail: Christmas
Hannah: Rachel's Birth and Christmas  (I see a theme developing here!)
Joshua: Birthday and Holidays
Becca: Rachel's Birth

Biggest Accomplishment or Milestone of 2013
Claude: Delivering a Baby
Abigail: Starting Preschool and Moving Up to Jr. Church
Hannah: Learning to Read and Being Baptized
Joshua: Moving Up to Big Kids' Jr. Church Class
Becca: Finishing Our First Full Year of Homeschooling

The Worst Thing of 2013
Abigail: Falling into the Creek.  "I got seaweed in my nose!"
Hannah: Getting Head Underwater During Baptism
Joshua: Being Woken Up by Tantrums
Becca: Jeremiah Going to the Hospital

One Thing You Would Like to Do in 2014
Claude: All Have Christ-Like Attitudes
Abigail: Play with Jeremiah
Hannah: Celebrate Birthday
Joshua: Help Daddy Fix the House
Becca: Practice Better Eating and Exercise Habits

We also had a pretty typical Chew Crew style New Year's Eve - meaning it was a night just like any other.

Here's how we rang in 2014...

8:00pm - We put the kids to bed after their usual Science and Bible Time with Claude.  So thankful that Claude offered to take over their science lessons and Bible memory.  They are doing a fantastic job memorizing the periodic table and the first chapter of John.

9:00pm - Claude worked from home yesterday and with interruptions and a doctor's appointment, he still had some work to finish up.  While he did that, I put in my 30 minutes on the treadmill.  It's getting decidedly easier each week.  I started out 2 weeks postpartum at 1.0mph and am now able to jog for 20 minutes straight at a varied pace.  Getting back in shape slowly but surely.

10:00pm - I had a shower while Claude did some laundry (Thank you!!!) and changed one of the kid's wet bed sheets.  Real life doesn't end just because we're ringing in a new year!  :)

11:00pm - We finally settled down for a living room date - sparkling cider, chocolate, and an episode from the BBC Human Planet documentary.

12:00am - By midnight we were joined by two cuddly crew members.  I think by the time we headed to bed it was nearly 1:00am...this didn't bode well for the morning.  Perhaps we should aim for earlier bedtimes this year???  Hmmm...I think we've tried before and never seem to succeed.

Today we are enjoying some crepes (supposed to be for breakfast but with some parenting needs, a nursing baby, and the usual chaos of our household, it's turning out to be a late lunch).  And hopefully we'll be ready for a new day tomorrow - back to work and school.  Life doesn't seem to stop!  :)

Wishing all of you a Happy New Year!


How did you celebrate the new year?