I know his mom was not necessarily excited to return to work, but the end of her maternity leave on Monday marked the start of Baby H.'s much-anticipated tenure here, a beginning that excited us.
Of course, H. is too young to really have a schedule yet so every day was different in terms of his nap- and mealtimes. But I'd consciously continued Rachel and Abigail's fall break through Monday and Tuesday, gave them a lighter load the rest of the week, and limited Anna and N.'s K4 activity as necessary - all of which gave me some extra time to get acquainted with our little guy and gain a sense of how I might manage what is essentially three different sets of needs for five different children. And so, though I had a couple of "I'm overwhelmed" moments and very little downtime all week, the Lord gave me both the endurance I needed and a peace that it will all work itself out in relatively short order. I'm just taking each day as it comes - doing my best to make reasonable plans for all the girls, enjoying H.'s smiles and giggles, and then trusting the specifics to Him...which, for me, is an amazing, humbling place to be.
Of course, for the most part it's H. and The Girls, but on Friday afternoon, my part-timer, Tegen - whom I've known since he was six months old - came as usual, and I couldn't resist snapping a few pictures of my entire "crew."
Though we took a break from some other academics, we continued our "visit" to Norway throughout the week, enjoying our read-aloud novel, Snow Treasure, and several Scandinavian-themed books, including a handful by Jan Brett. The girls also enjoyed making Lapland Felt Squares, imagining what it'd be like to wear entire outfits made of similar woolen material, and indulging in a "Norwegian Feast" of baked cod, boiled potatoes, fruit soup, pumpernickel bread, and cheese. In fact, everyone liked the cod, fruit soup, and last week's lefse so much that all will now become regular components of future lunch menus!
We also played our Geography Game for Europe a few times - including this round, in which we were joined by not only N. and H. but by our cat Sweater as well. The girls really like playing, and I'm amazed at how well they're doing at it.
As I said, we did take a break from lots of other content, but Abigail began a new, creative book project on Wednesday - and Rachel finished and shared the amazing project on which she'd been working for her most recent book, The Treasure of Pelican Cove.
For each previous project, I'd provided a couple of options from a helpful series called Book Projects to Take Home, letting each girl choose which to make. And I'd planned to do the same this time. But Rachel got a wonderfully clever idea of her own while reading so we went with that.
The book is a mystery involving a pirate's lost treasure. So Rachel made maps for each level of our house, painted a replica treasure chest, and encased "jewels" in clay balls (just as had occurred in the book). She hid the balls all over the house while Jeff took Abigail to dance class on Wednesday and then, when they returned, led them on a treasure hunt using her maps. Of course, she dressed the part as well, and conducted herself with great aplomb as she summarized the story and gave the rules for the hunt. I've long known of her creativity, of course, but to see it in action with this book was amazing...and I couldn't help but note that I'd never have such an opportunity without home education.
On Friday night, we enjoyed having our new worship pastor, Aaron Franklin, his wife Erin, and their two boys over for dinner. Since they've come to us from Texas, I made sure to serve good, hearty beef, and we had a good time getting to know them just a bit better.
A couple of years ago, we made a point for a while of having such dinner guests at least once a month. Unfortunately, we let that fall to the wayside, but we're hoping with this dinner to renew our efforts at regular hospitality. It's fruitful in terms of developing and growing relationships...and just plain fun besides.