I'm overdue for Zoe and Leo's 6 month update, but it will have to wait a few days. They've both been sick, along with the rest of the household. Besides dealing with my first serious round of illness with three children, we've had a lot of other stuff going on around here.
Sam and Adam spent a few days in Florida, visiting Adam's parents. It was too much for them and for us for all five of us to make the trip. Adam's dad is still recovering from the Whipple surgery and subsequent pneumonia he had back in November. The good news is that his cancer markers are in the normal range and he has already beaten the odds for stage-4 pancreatic cancer. The word "remission" has been used by more than one doctor, although nobody will officially call it such. If you look up Jeff's type of cancer, you will see that remission is considered impossible, and we all know the cancer is still there waiting to return, but for now, there is no sign of it. They still have a lot of challenges, but Adam's dad and stepmom are starting to make travel plans again - amazing!
Sam had a mid-winter break from school, so also in the middle of all the illness I had more kids to deal with. My babysitter has an internship that requires that she work weekends and holidays, so with Valentine's Day and President's Day she wasn't around as much as usual. But we made it through and the calendar is much more clear for the next couple of weeks.
Sam's Montessori teacher invited Sam to stay on one more year in Primary - basically repeating kindergarten. I seriously considered it (and if you know me at all, seriously considering something means doing tons of research and teasing out as many implications as possible). It was an attractive idea because we adore Sam's school and we know she is thriving there. There is certainly another whole year's worth of learning she can do in that classroom, and I'm not concerned with her being officially "behind." She has an early birthday and has always been immature for her age. However, we decided against it for two main reasons. First, I really want to start homeschooling just for my own gratification. I've been studying and preparing for this for years now, and I want to do it for my own satisfaction as well as for the benefit of Sam. Second, this first year is our trial-run. I'd rather find out sooner rather than later if it isn't going to work. If it doesn't, the younger she is, the easier it will be for her to go back to a regular school. I hate to even think about that because I can't imagine where we'd send her, but whatever the situation is, I'd rather not delay it another year. (Of course, homeschooling might work for a few years and then become a problem, but we can't plan that far ahead.) There is also the cost of Montessori tuition, but we found that to be not significantly higher than the cost of a part-time nanny for the twins, so it wasn't a big factor.
Now, we're considering hiring an au pair. It would only cost a few grand more per year than a part-time nanny, which we can manage. It would give me time to homeschool and to start actual fiction writing, instead of just compiling story ideas that never go anywhere. It would allow me time to go to the gym and to have doctors' appointments and to take Sam to her activities without having to bring Zoe and Leo along (which is no fun at all). We'd have the same person for a whole year, so I wouldn't have to worry about my help moving on to greater things. And we'd love for the kids to learn another language - probably Spanish. There is only one downside, but it is huge - we'd have another person living in our house. This is a horrifying prospect! But we're considering it. We might start with a nanny over the summer and see how it goes and possibly hire an au pair starting in the fall. But if we do get an au pair, it means we have to rearrange the house, and that's another big project. Sigh.
We did a minor remodel of the fourth and final bathroom - our powder room on the main level. Just a new faucet, mirror, light fixture, and towel rods. We hired a handyman to do the work and of course he ended up coming on the first day of Sam's illness and in the middle of mine. That was not a fun day, but the bathroom looks great.
All the illness pretty much ended breastfeeding. I was so dehydrated I think I just stopped making milk. None of us seem to miss it much. I've tried to feed Leo and Zoe some avocado and banana, but they weren't very interested in that either. But that's the next big project as far as they are concerned.
Our trip to Hawaii is coming up soon, so we need to at least a little bit of planning for that. My parents are coming to town to take care of the twins so it will just be the three of us. I think it's going to feel like a real vacation for me! Adam has to work just one day, and we'll be there for six, so we'll have a lot of time. We decided not to go to OCON in San Diego over the summer, though, which we had originally intended to do. I think we're starting to realize just how expensive having two more children is going to be. We're thinking that now is the time to explore our local area and take small trips instead of big ones. There will be time and money for more exotic adventures in the future.
And that's what's going on around here lately. Lots of changes. Lots of decisions to be made. Exciting and busy times!