7 Quick takes: sibling harmony, Whole 30 in real life, and a 180 on schooling choices

Welcome, Friday. You are most welcome here, indeed.

(Linking up with Jen, who spotted a very sweet photo-bomber in our picture of a group of us taking a picture.)

1. All my kids are playing together. I’m sitting mere feet from them on the couch, minding my own business and click clacking away and so far (knock on a timber-filled forest) nobody has asked me for anything for the past 5 minutes. Is this the mythical light at the end of the tunnel I’ve heard so much about? Play on, small people. I’ll just be over here not touching or being touched by anyone. ThankyouJesus.

2. I woke up before the boys this morning and, rather than rolling over and going an extra 45 in dreamland, I got up like an adult and drank my coffee and ate my loathsome eggs and as a result, I haven’t spent the first half of the day feeling like a hungover servant with a persecution complex. It’s fantastic. We’ve been to the gym, I’ve mopped all the floors, and lunch has already been served and eaten. 
3. Oh, speaking of food…well, this happened last night.
And while I’d normally be wallowing in my perceived failure (and possibly some sea salt dark chocolate almonds) instead I’m just savoring the delicious memory and eating paleo today like it never happened. I mean, I suppose my cravings are a tad stronger because of my dalliance with MSG, but it’s fine and more than that, it’s realistic. A friend and I are both making a big effort to shed our baby weight and are using similar means to get there, along with texting each other for support and accountability. After hearing her plan to eat very similarly but to incorporate one “cheat meal” into her week, I decided to do the same because it’s brilliant! And it’s realistic, as it allows for life to happen. Got a party to attend or a big feast day to celebrate? Enter the cheat meal. It feels very balanced.
4. I weighed in on Monday and was deliriously happy to see that I’m down 11 lbs overall, and I’ve lost 6.5 inches total since we began less than a month ago. This is with a healthy amount of the above-mentioned cheating, nothing more strenuous than walking (though I’m logging a minimum of 4 miles per day) and a whole lot of eggs. And lettuce. I’ll take it.
5. Fall is coming. Yesterday I was at my parent’s house and my mom lit a pumpkin spice candle and I almost sprouted riding boots and a patterned scarf just from inhaling the aroma. Hold me back. Helpfully for my restraint, it’s still 85 degrees here and I bought the kids a slip n slide off the clearance rack at Target. Because back to school shopping has trumped the thermometer, and all the beach gear is 50% off.
6. Speaking of back to school, guess who’s not going back to school? Yeah, us. Despite years of protest and a firm belief in my own mental deficiency in pretty much anything math or science related, I’ve decided to try my hand at pre-schooling Joey at home this year. We really liked our parish school and he mostly liked being there, but I couldn’t quite get the hand of the driving thing. 40 minutes in the car twice a day for a 2.5 hour program was a bit excessive. 
My other motivator was the fact that, despite having been in the classroom for 5 months (January-May) his end of year report indicated that he had zero letter or number recognition. Zilch. Nada. Naturally, my very measured reaction to this information was unbridled panic and the assumption of massive learning disabilities and cognitive delays. Never mind that he was the youngest child in his classroom, that he possesses the vocabulary of a 50 year old man, and can operate every electronic device in our house with aplomb. I panicked and dropped like $30 on alphabet magnets, bathtub letters and flashcards but what do you know, after a summer home with me, he can count, do some basic adding and subtracting, and knows a whole bunch of letters by sight. We just started working with this book this week, per the recommendation of several homeschooling moms I know, so we’ll see what kind of progress we can make. He pretty much hates it so far, so I’m thinking he’s either not ready or I need to break the lessons in half? Idk, completely blindsided by this plot twist.
7. And that $2,000 we’ll be saving on preschool this year? I’m thinking of spending it entirely on babysitting and tequila. Happy weekend!


  • Rosie

    I’m a thousand percent supportive of that decision – even if preschool were free here, the amount of driving and carseat buckling would reeeeeally not be worth it. I’m also a firm believer in TV as teacher at times – the other morning Elizabeth couldn’t count past four. ONE episode of Peg + Cat and she was counting past 10! So yeah… I’m gonna count it as a homeschooling win 😉

  • Beth (A Mom's Life)

    As a former preschool teacher’s assistant (ok, I only managed to make it one year before deciding I would rather starve that spend another moment with 12 3-year-olds!), you are probably justified in your decision. There’s not a whole lot of actual reading, writing and arithmetic going on. But there is lots of play and lots of arts and crafts. I sent both kids to preschool but I went into it with the mindset that they will be playing and having fun (and doing arts and crafts that I was not going to do with them) and not learning to read or write. I was happy with my decision and I’m sure you will be happy with yours too! Enjoy all that high quality tequila!

  • Jessie Pope

    How jenny how?! I’m a month into Jillian michaels DVDs and I just finished my 21 day detox and…3 pounds. A measly no-good 3 pounds. My clothes hardly feel any different. And you’re at 11 pounds! And 6.5 inches!! I’m so jeal right now.

  • Stephanie Weinert

    Oh Jenny…I just love you. I want to comment on how much I love the cheat meal idea and how I just bought 100 easy lessons too…but I’ll refrain and just say my favorite thing about this post is that you ate your pizza on a purple Ikea kids plate. Me too, all the time. 😉

  • Martha Winstead

    I was going to try the leapfrog videos “letter factory” and “talking word factory” to ease into starting to begin thinking about teaching my three year old to read. They recommended it on Catholic Icing as a good way to get the kids to understand letter sounds. I figure I can just put it on while I’m cooking and if she learns anything great and if not I still got dinner out of it. Now to find a climbing harness for the one year old and a nice quiet padded cell for me and I’m all set

  • Andrea

    All my homeschool-nerdy kids learned letter sounds from Leap Frog Letter Factory, I love Martha’s suggestion! I have tried 100 Easy Lessons several times, and I don’t blame your boy, I want to throw it across the room. Not a fan. BUT, it really works for some people!

    Also, sea salt dark chocolate almonds are necessary for quality of life. And tequila.

  • mary

    I think the title of that book is very misleading. Plopping my kid in front of a leap frog video is easy. Those lessons, not so much. Whenever I have suggested it to my boys, they say, “oh, no thanks. I don’t want to read.” so I let school teach them. My pride really wanted to send smart little readers, who obviously had a devoted mother, off to kindergarten. Nope. Didn’t happen.

    The pizza and wine made me chuckle. Life with small children needs cheat days.

    And dang! 40 minutes each way?! Our parish is 5 minutes away and I didn’t want to mess with the back and forth three times a day with a new baby. I think your redirection of funds is a wise decision!

    (ramble over.)

  • LisaM

    “and I almost sprouted riding boots and a patterned scarf”- haha, love it! The whole back to school deal throws me off big time because I’m still in summer mode and want to cling to every last drop of sun and warmth before any crazy cold sets in for many, many months. And congrats on the wt. loss!

  • Michele Chronister

    OK #6 made me feel much better…I drool a bit over the idea of preschool, but not the reality. We just got 100 Easy Lessons from the library today…we’ll have to see how it goes. If I had the money, I would do All About Reading because there’s a zebra puppet in that curriculum!!!

  • Ellen Willson

    Years of often dull teaching conferences have left me with one or two nuggets of wisdom. For the early years, toddler through 3rd grade, reading aloud to your kids every day with them able to see the page is worth more than preschool in terms of early reading. Also, most boys are uninterested in formal lessons but when they are ready, they learn quickly. I bet you’re doing just as much as preschool now.

  • Mary

    Hooray! You might look at hooked on phonics too… It a a little more ‘fun’ than 100 easy lessons and I’ve borrowed it and am very impressed. We are doing hs’ing too starting this month (4 and almost 3yr old). Email me with your woes, I am in the same boat.

  • Sally SLP

    Of course your child did not learn letters and numbers in preschool. He’s not supposed to! If he was supposed to learn all of that,it would be called “School”!! At this age, he should be playing around with letters and sounds, numbers and math concepts, so a really good preschool would look like lots of play and storytime! Just by the way you talk with him, read aloud to him (point to the words as you read, talk about the pictures etc.) and play with counting and numbers during play, he will learn. So, go play, and let him count out how many cookies should be on the plate!!

  • Micaela Darr

    Oh. Lordy. but I hate Teach Your Child to Read. Perhaps it’s because I pushed it when my daughter was just too young, but just looking at that books makes me angry. My oldest little guy is starting “transitional kinder” (which I actually put air quotes around when I say it aloud because we homeschool so I do as I please) and we’re trying Twenty-Six Letters to Heaven.

    Your weight loss is motivating me. I was so so so good before I got sick in July and hadn’t gained hardly any weight this pregnancy. Now? I’m just going to turn my face aside at the OB weigh in tomorrow because lawdy lawdy I do not need to look at that number. Back to the gym I must go. And stop pretending it’s okay to have every meal be a cheat meal!

  • The Cotter Family

    My son hated 100 easy lessons the first time we tried it. We put it away for a few months and then tried again. Don’t force it, wait til he’s more receptive. Stick with the DVDs until he knows his letter sounds, then when you pick back up the 100 easy lessons he’ll already know something and not feel as overwhelmed. At least that’s what worked for us!

  • Amanda

    Love your weight loss updates. They have been encouraging! I really need to do something! and, sooner than later! Love your #1 because that one gives me hope too! 🙂 Prayers for the new school year!

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