My Quiet, Lazy Week

20140618_144608Summer is about here and it feels good! My oldest is having his turn for a vacation with Grandpa right now and it is awfully quiet around here. This was supposed to be the last week of school, but since one boy would still officially have school next week, I decided it was a good time to take the week off. We will finish up school next week. (Ah, the joys of homeschooling and having the flexibility of just taking off!) I have to admit, this week I have been quiet lazy. As in not really doing much lazy. I took the time to clean and organize the house just a little bit. I am getting caught up in the kitchen, I have taken several bags and boxes out to the van to give away, one boy did a very good start in cleaning the garage (it is part of one of his merit badges for Scouts,) and we spent most of the day today cleaning the boys’ room.

Actually, the boys did all the work! I give them full credit and they deserve it. They sure surprised me today. As part of my book removal this week, I bumped into a book that I bought at the library book sale several years ago called, ‘What to Do When Your Mom or Dad Says “Clean Your Room!” ‘ It is a good book for kids and tells them exactly what to do when and how to organize any bedroom no matter how messy it is. The first thing the boys said when I opened the book to read to them is, “Boy, that room [in the book] is messier than ours!” Which was a good thing for then they did not feel so bad and I think it gave them chizuk (encouragement.) They spent at least 4 hours – two in the morning and two after lunch – cleaning their room all by themselves. I think they enjoyed going back to the book to read it and figure out what to do next; after all, it was not Mommy telling them. 😉 It is not perfect, and we forgot to mop the floor, but it sure is acceptable and it looks “nice.” Even the beautiful boy who has trouble cleaning did an amazing job! He was the one who cleaned the garage as well the other day. I did not have to say much, he just went and did it. Obviously it needs more than the hour or so of work he spent on it, but it sure is a wonderful start. I wonder if it is the lack of his older brother around that is helping him this week or perhaps, just perhaps, he might be growing up. Maybe a little bit? Maybe? I won’t hold my breath too much at the moment, but it is good to dream. 😉 The trick is, can they keep their room clean tomorrow?

Mr. Big comes home on Friday, Bli Nedre, and I am sure looking forward to his return. Aside from realizing how much of a help he really is to me, I miss talking to him. I have spent the week sending boys outside and taking the quiet to just let my mind go and think. I have been thinking about decluttering/organizing (though not getting too far, but started,) thinking about how the school year has gone this year and how I want to change things for the next year and trying to think about the summer (well, got started but that is about it.) I do want to do some work over the summer, I find that some sort of schedule works well for us. We have not been doing Rambam for a little while for they are staying where their father is and he has been busy with other learning at the moment. Gum Ze L’Tova; this too is for the best – I have replaced that with Dik Duk (Lashon HaTorah series,) something that I have tried to do for a couple of years but was never able to figure out how to fit it into the schedule.

I have some thoughts on how to improve for next year. I know that I have been trying to do too much with my oldest for Ambleside Online. It is just that everything looked so good that I tried to cram it all in. Unfortunately, it did not work out. So, I will have to thin out the workload for next year just a little bit. That is not too bad for that is the idea anyways; they put a lot into each year  to give the parents a nice selection to choose from.

For the summer, I was thinking of finding something for each one of the boys to do that is a little different than what we usually do. For one boy, he would like to write books (but hates to write,) so I have been thinking of The Creative Writer. I am wondering if I can have him spend the summer writing a book and then at the end of the summer we can print it off on That should definitely make himself proud of himself.

It is almost 10:30 pm but my little one is still up and about and just cannot sleep. Even so, it is still awfully quiet around here. Did I mention the I cannot wait for my oldest to come back home? Just 2 more days! This is the third year now that Grandpa has taken one boy with him on a vacation. It does not seem to matter which boy is gone, the house is quiet without him. It is even more quiet this time for said boy is very talkative with his Mommy and Daddy (Baruch Hashem!!!!) and that is missing along with the bickering with his younger brothers. I am treasuring the quiet but am looking forward to his return.

I had some nice long walks with my DH this week, and that really helped make the week nice and serene. Hainge time to talk alone is something we like to do, but the past many months we have not had that pleasure and it sure has made a big impact over the last week. We have been able to talk about the boys and other needed stuff. It just puts a productive end to the day.

I’m off to bed now. Have a good night!

Getting There!

20140602_104645Where we live, if you do not want something, you can put it on the side of the road for others to take, or let the garbage men pick it up for you. When on a walk with my 4-almost-5 year old and Daddy this past Shabbos, he spotted it. The Treasure! It was a chair with the fabric on the arms of the chair all torn up. “LOOK AT THAT CHAIR, MOMMY! ” “No, you are not taking it. It is broken, see?” “But Mommy, I have PLANS!” Oh, I’m sure he does! Three of my boys have brought home all sorts of treasures this year. Wood. Ski poles. Kayak oars. Wood. Huge art folders. Wood. A BRAND NEW printer still sealed in the original packaging. Okay, can’t get too upset at that one. Oh, did I say wood? I have finally put my foot down and said that if they want to bring anything else onto our property, they need to get rid of the same volume of their other stuff. The only exception are the cans they collect to bring in for money, but they do have to stay in the breezeway.

I took the little one out for a walk yesterday and we saw a pair of Adirondack chairs out for garbage – “MOMMY! Look!” “No, it is broken.” “But I have PLANS for it! I have plans for ALL chairs!” 😐 Oy, it is a good thing he was not out when I went for another walk and a few feet away from those chairs was a pair of bar stool chairs.

I have been busy, but not too busy, but just busy enough and not organized enough to get things done that I would like. It is almost20140530_153423 the end of the school year and I have spent several weeks thinking about the past year, especially the past 4 months or so. Why is it that I cannot find 1 hour to blog a week, or at least every 2 weeks? No real good reason other than I have just not been organized to get things done like I should. How that happened, I am not quite sure, but once it started it was hard to find the time to sit down and organize properly to fix it. Now, I am trying not to let it worry me too much and just trying to finish off the year. Anything that should have gotten done can always be done during summer school.

My husband and I had a much long overdo walk and conversation this week. We spent an hour walking and talking about the boys and how things were going (or not going.) We talked about issues we were having with various beautiful boys and how we could deal with things. We have known about the issues for a while, but we have not been able to take the time to have a good hearty talk about it. It took a while, but then time is great and we finally came across something to try. One boy is very needy emotionally and takes up a lot of time. I do not mind giving time, but I feel better and will do it more happily if the time was actually productive. So, I decided to  totally scrap our schedule two weeks before the end of the school year. And I mean totally.

After breakfast jobs, davening and parsha, I spend either the entire morning or the entire afternoon with the one needy boy. He gets ALL my attention. The other older boys each need to find 2-3 things that they can do by themselves to do from the weekly list, and the little one has to entertain himself with the occasional help from a brother. This one boy has to do basically all his schoolwork in the 2.5 hours before lunch with no break (with the exception of Mishnayos and daily memorizing). And then… here comes the best part… he gets the rest of the day OFF! That’s right, he gets to basically do whatever he pleases as long as he stays on the property. The only catch is that if he does not finish all that he is supposed to do, then he has to work ALL afternoon. In the time that I am not with said boy, I can devote my time to the other boys. There is one subject a day where we share the time with one other brother so I do get 2 birds with one stone there.

I have now completed day 2 of the new schedule. Yesterday went off amazingly. Today, not quite a nice, but still pretty good. Said boy was told before he went to bed tonight that as long as he works well in the morning with me, the entire afternoon is free. He was pretty excited about it. I am wondering if we should do just mornings together for then he does get a longer stretch in the afternoons and he does seem to work better in the mornings I think.

20140526_174609Other than that, it is just trying to finish up the books that we have not quite finished yet and trying to decide upon a summer schedule. We will be working on school stuff, though hopefully they will have some free time which will, in turn, hopefully give me some free time. 🙂

In the meantime, I need to make my way to the b-e-d. Boys have been sent to bed, but they are still rather loud. I think I’ll remember to shut my door completely. 🙂

Pleasant dreams!