"When we had our children, our ideas changed somewhat. Thenceforward we lived only for them; they made all our happiness and we would never have found it save in them. In fact, nothing any longer cost us anything; the world was no longer a burden to us. As for me, my children were my great compensation, so that I wished to have many in order to bring them up for Heaven" -- Saint Zelie Martin, mother of St. Therese of Lisieux, canonized October 18, 2015 along with her husband St. Louis Martin.

Monday, September 11, 2017

The Tell-all Lice Post

It just seems like I should go ahead and share the fun adventure of what it was to have lice for the first time ever.

#1   We have neighbors who let us know that they had lice.  We did not allow our children to play with them after we found out, but we played for many hours this summer before they alerted us.  And by "we", I really just mean my little girls: Galadriel, Rosie, and Eowyn.  But Galadriel had been spending more hours with her nose in a book this summer, and Eowyn is only 3, so she sort of tagged along, but often just played apart from the older girls.  In other words, "we" means Rosie, my 7 year old.

I was feeling like the "mean mom" because everyone else in the neighborhood was letting their kids play with the family who had lice, but I was going to give it a two-week time period to "clear".  I was just waiting until the next weekend to let the kids play again...

Sunday morning, 8am, I grabbed a brush to throw Rosie's hair into a quick ponytail for Mass.  I SAW A LOUSE crawling along her scalp. I froze, then calmly announced to my husband "We have lice.  Rosie has lice."  I saw a pink-handled school room scissors on our sink counter (I still have no idea why it was there).  I grabbed it, told Galadriel to "Get a plastic garbage bag and the tea tree oil", and began to CUT Rosie's hair to the chin.  Within 30 seconds, she was bobbed.  When Galadriel arrived with the trash bag, I sealed all hair in it and sent it out of the house.

Then I turned the water on high and began to work the tea-tree oil into Rosie's hair and scalp (undiluted, which I will say now is not recommended as it is awfully strong and can cause reactions--Rosie did not get any bad reaction, but I did not know this at the time).  The oil seemed to instantly kill the lice on contact.  Maybe this is not true, but they sure fled the oil and by the time I worked around the neck and both ears and towards the front of the hair, I think I got every live louse, and they were falling, dead, onto my hands and the brush as I worked on Rosie's hair.  I rinsed everything off down the drain as I got any dead (or living) lice.

By 9am on Sunday morning, I could see nothing in Rosie's hair.

We went to a later Mass (my husband and kids had gone ahead to the 9am) with Rosie's new bob soaking in oil.  We smelled terribly, and we sat in the vestibule of the church.

Upon returning home, I bagged up every couch pillow, all of Rosie's stuffed animals, and anything else that I thought might have a lingering louse on it.

I stripped all of everyone's bedding and any stray laundry and began to wash everything in hot water.

I sent my husband with a list and he obtained a nit brush and new brushes for every female in the home.

I googled how to get rid of lice.

I soaked Galadriel's hair in olive oil (to suffocate anything living) and covered it with a plastic bag:

still cute!
After 8 hours, I washed, blow dried, and nit-combed (and picked) Rosie's hair.  I then soaked it in apple cider vinegar, put on a new plastic bag, and sent Rosie to bed.

Day 2:  shower, blow dry, nit comb/pick (for about an hour).  Washed all bedding again.
I did another olive oil treatment, I put tea tree oil around everyone in the family's ears and necks as a preventative, and I shaved some boys' hair (again, as a preventative).

At this point, I had learned that lice eggs hatch in 7-10 days, usually on day 8.  As I saw no living lice, I decided to do everything in my power to kill or remove every single egg before the 8 days were up and a new wave would hatch.

I called a professional carpet cleaner and had all of my (4) couches and area rugs and carpeting cleaned.  This was probably unnecessary, but very psychologically therapeutic, and honestly, it needed to be done anyway.

I nit-combed/picked for two hour or hour-and-a-half sessions for the first few days.  I'd find about 20-25 miniature (probably dead) nits each time.

Then we discovered the Cetaphil treatment!  We rubbed the cream onto the scalp, blow dried it, and went to bed.  In the morning we shampooed our hair and blow-dried again.  "We" because I did this to Rosie as well as all of the girls and myself, just as a preventative in case any of us had lingering eggs that I hadn't discovered.  (I know, I was a little excessive, but unwilling to risk spreading--remember that there are ELEVEN of us in this family!!)  After that I could no longer find any more nits.

not loving the salon (Eowyn)
Rosie (thickest hair ever!)

 As we neared the 8-day (hatch day) mark, I began to get very nervous.  We did new Cetaphil treatments, and I decided to go ahead and cut Eowyn's hair too.  It was long

and I figured that she was at higher risk if anyone else was going to break out with lice.  So, she's bobbed too, and cute!

Now we are two weeks out (plus a day) and lice free.  I never saw a live louse after 9am two Sunday's ago on Rosie.  

The first days were brutal in terms of the stress that came with dealing with the unknown--who is next? Did I get them all?  And I spent so many hours combing through Rosie's hair that I can't imagine if more of my children had needed such treatment.  But, it wasn't the worst thing to do all of the deep cleaning and laundry--let's face it, it feels great to have a clean home!

We still aren't seeing other people.  I think maybe the three-week mark will make everyone feel more like we're "all clear".  Or a month.  That part has also been a bummer.  Even if it's understandable.

Anyway, that's it! 

That's what I did.  God was merciful in keeping it limited to just Rosie.  I am so so thankful!! Lots of people were praying.

And let's just hope and pray that I never have to do that again!!!

PS: just good to know: dogs can't get human lice and humans can't get "dog lice" (which is also a thing)--because I am not sure WHAT I would have done with my fluffy 50-pound labradoodle!!

Friday, September 8, 2017

7QT : Friday!

1) We are at the Two-Week mark for being lice-free!  I am still  paranoid and scratching  not convinced that we are in the clear, but I am breathing sighs of relief.  Unfortunately, our neighbors just texted that they have it, so we'll still be playmate-less for another couple weeks.  Let me know if anyone wants the deets on how I (so far) managed to keep the lice from reappearing and from spreading to any of my other 8 children!  If you don't ask, I'll assume it's a topic we'd rather avoid discussing!

2)  Ballet lessons began and Eowyn has done nothing but dance this week.  Funny thing, it's Galadriel who began lessons.  Eowyn begins next week.

Galadriel is so excited that she was placed in the pre-pointe class, which she's a little young for age wise.  It's a half hour longer than the advanced beginning class, and she loves the challenge.

3)  Sporting new bobbed haircuts because of (see #1).  Cute though, right?

4)  I am officially not nursing Sam.  He is officially sleeping through the night in his own room.  While I have always nursed my children for at least a year, (except for Aragorn who got cut short by three weeks because I was starting my second trimester with Gimli), I REALLY struggle physically with nursing.  Think chronic mastitis, thrush, cracked and bleeding nipples... So, I do it for the nutrition and bonding, but it's a labor of love.  While I hate my babies to grow up so fast, I am not going to lie--I am not sorry to be done with the nursing.

Sam seems to be ok with it too!

5) Piano lessons began today, Flag Football for Bilbo starts tomorrow, at some point Rosie gets to start soccer.  The fall activities have begun, and ohmygoodness!!! There is no way I can keep it all straight!

6)  My wise and prudent husband implemented a half-day on Friday rule, where if we get in good schooling 4 days of the week, we can do just Math and two other subjects on Friday.  This was a brilliant idea.  Ask me, I'm the teacher.  

7)  Really horrible pictures taken through my car window, and I was riding shotgun, but look at this!!

I think it's a flock of herons?? We see them at our pond all of the time, but only one at a time.  I should google this before I blog it.  If they aren't herons, I apologize.  I didn't know they ate anything except the fish I see them catching, and I certainly never saw five together!  Cool.

Happy Weekend!!

Friday, September 1, 2017

7 Quick Takes

When you read #7, you'll know why my "quick takes" are so quick this week!

1) School began for us this week, and per tradition, the preschoolers began their nature walks.  Legolas is learning about seeds in his science book, so acorns, pinecones and any other "tree seeds" are an added boon.

 We come home and make "fairy houses"--today a little Lady Bug got added to the fun!

 2)  If at all possible, schoolwork should be done outside.  Winters are too long, good weather is too short.  Plus, spreading the kiddos around inside and outside makes for quieter work spaces for all.  Mama gets fresh air and a break from the schoolroom.  High fives all around.

3) Ever enterprising Bilbo requested chores to earn a kite.

If you can run fast enough, it'll fly without wind (well, for a little)!

4) My baby is almost 14 months old.  We moved him out of our room this week.  My babies all co-sleep.  This baby was just co-bedding and "sleep" wasn't really happening.  So he's out, and now we all sleep!  It was an incredibly smooth transition as I knew it would be, just given his food intake and his disposition in general.  The only hard part was Mama getting to the place where I'd let him go.  My baby!! <>

5) End of summer "Zoo" field trip.

6) Early fall outbreak of caterpillars.  Many varieties.  I sort of think it's wonderful that my children discover, marvel over, and make pets out of  these each year.  And yet some of them...creep me out.

And #7)

Just to prove that blogs really can highlight only the best in life, but blog jealousy is really something we should never fall for:  we contracted lice.

Revolted?  Me too.  Never happened before.  #neighborhoodfriends

Only one child had it (so far).  Seems to be contained (so far).

We're on day 6 and outbreaks of new generations should start showing up soon.  I'm on high alert.  Two girls have newly bobbed hair.  The razor is my best friend (for the boys).

Best advice? Tea tree oil.

Have an awesome weekend!!http://thisaintthelyceum.org/how-to-be-thankful-when-god-gives-you-what-you-want/

Wednesday, August 30, 2017


If you search, you can find this girl's 9th and 10th Birthday cakes on this blog.  She's got a thing going in terms of decorating her own cake.

Always out to beat the year before, this one was a home made angel food cake with pudding frosting, decorated with vanilla piping and...Skittles!

She requested an afternoon out with just her mom.  We got manicures, and the lady designed Galadriel's special at no extra charge!

And we ate lunch out on a patio at a little restaurant we had never tried before.

It's been a long, wild and crazy week, but I had to get a little post up just for my perfect, eleven
year old daughter!

Happy Birthday Galadriel!

Friday, August 18, 2017

7 Quick Takes

Linking up with Kelly.

1) Legolas.  Can I just record that his most recent hobby is making little "fairy houses" with leaves and flowers and whatever else he finds around the yard?  Today he was making one, stopped to go fetch his new school supplies (a pencil box filled with fresh markers), and began coloring on the leaves.

Why do I record this?  Well, it strikes me as remarkably artistic of him.  For those who know Legolas as something of a wild crazy active little fellow, the artistic element might be a surprise.  Of course, I am delighted to encourage this in him!  It must be getting close to school time!


2) Dog-sitting.

 When you own a 50 lb. labradoodle, watching a little sheltie is like getting a chance to hold a baby when your kids are grown up.

My kids loved on this fluffy guy one morning this week.  But you know what?  He sheds.

This is why everyone should have a labradoodle.  No shedding.  Large, galumphing, and slobbery, yes.  But no shedding.

So I say, go labradoodle.  Unless you're into the incredibly darling, fluffy mini-lassie look.  And shedding.

3) my garden. Ok, so, my garden is just a fail.  My tomato plants must not have been disease resistant, because one of them got "wilt".  I have gotten one (1) zucchini so far.  But, I'm loving my eggplants! They look really cool growing.  No peppers yet.  Everything else is pretty much dead or just over.  So, next year!  Just wait.  It's going to be way better!

 4) State fair!  Unfortunately my camera died (of course) after just a couple pictures.  I sooo wish I had been able to capture my husband on the little kiddie rides that he had to go on with Eowyn.

My husband hates roller coasters.  I almost died laughing when he went on a mini roller coaster with Eowyn.  She was clutching the guard rail in horror and my husband was holding on (not to her) with his eyes shut.  Both were pretty negative on that experience.  Next year, we're hitting the baby bunnies, chicks and lambs!

5)  Movie nights.  We have decided to implement age-segregated movie nights in our home.  As of December, I will have three teens in my house.  I will have three more between the ages of 7 and 11.  And I will have three between the ages of 1 and 5.  Trying to choose appropriate movies that satisfy all of my children is increasingly difficult.  Often we'll put a movie on and let Eowyn watch Cinderella (or the equivalent) on our laptop.  Eowyn, I remind you, was traumatized for a week when she watched Charlotte's Web ("The spider died").   So, Friday is group A, the older kids, Saturday is group B, the middles, and Sunday is group C, the littles.  I'm listening to some Lord of the Rings movie as I type.

 6 and 7) I am gearing up for the school year, but  (7) savoring every moment of summer.  I'd flesh those thoughts out for you, but I'm too tired to verbalize (in writing) what goes into contemplating another year of schooling for each child.  My hopes for them, academically or otherwise, and my plans.  But that's the "gearing up".

The savoring?  It's taking pictures of things like my window box.  Because as a mother of 9 children, I really shouldn't be taking pictures of my window box.  So I do.

To slow myself down.  To take stock in the beauty.  To give thanks.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Still Summer

The longer I homeschool, the more children I homeschool, the more I love, savor and cling to summer!

We've been swimming a lot this summer (more than usual).  I am SO grateful that Miss Rosie has learned how to do the front and back crawl, and overcame her fear of the diving board and has become a diving board Queen! 

 I love this girl's smile!  And her giggle and waves.  She is most definitely the "middle child" in this family, and that puts her "Front and Center" for me.  

It was on my bucket list to hit this water park before the end of the summer.  Yesterday, we did it!

We were here two years ago celebrating the recovery of Galadriel from her tonsil surgery.  In just a bit over a week, she'll have her 11th birthday.  Let me know if anyone figures out how to hold time still.