This week at the Mussers

August 8th, 2013

There was no little hesitation in my heart as I finally sat down to put a family schedule together for the new school year.  What if it was actually impossible to fit everything in?  I was putting the plan together as if Daniel was already working full time, although he’s only working one day a week right now.

What a relief to find that the plan looked pretty decent on paper.  And guess what?

It’s working beyond our best hopes.  This is the first schedule we’ve ever had that I am ecstatic about, as I do not naturally love a schedule and only have one if absolutely necessary.  But this one is such a great fit for us that it is truly serving us rather than the other way around.

Tomorrow will be a test to see what happens when we lose our training wheels, since Daniel will be working with Joe.

In rising daily at 5:30 am (at the latest!) and having a fairly tightly scripted day, I Can Not afford to stay up as late as I had been, so this is another fly-by post.  Someone told me they missed seeing Katie and Verity, and I gladly obliged. <grin>


***We so appreciate all the advice and understanding notes we received after the blow-out post!  Thank you to all you wonderful people who surround us!  We are blessed to know you!  We’ve tried something that’s helping for now, but we’re praying that God will send us just the right help to form a longer-term dietary plan that is tailor-made for Tommy!

Thank you to everyone else for tolerating the subject material you’ve read here of late!  Ha!***


I keep saving Tommy photos for his big post, but here’s our handsome boy on Sunday, spending a quiet day at home.  Look how upright he can sit!



Grabbed the camera and took a few photos this morning at the school table.

Verity practicing fine motor and cognitive.  She’s doing pretty well learning her colors.  If we expect a lot and hold her to a high standard, she amazes us with what she can do.



She loves puzzles and does well with them if we help her to stay focused.  Once she’s familiar with a puzzle, she’ll pick up a piece and put it into the right place without prompting.  She tends to be too easily satisfied with a piece being crooked, so I walk her through correcting her mistake when necessary, encourage every attempt, and make a big deal out of every success.

Saying, “I DID it, I DID it!”



We still give her ginkgo every day to help her focus, and I can always tell whether she’s finished her ginkgo juice or not.  Stuff tastes truly horrid, but she’s used to it after getting it daily for almost three years.



Exercising those oral motor muscles.  “Blow very hard, Verity!”

[By the way, we aren’t liking the plastic table cover and plan to toss it once we can’t stand it one more minute.  You can see why…]



Speech continues to be one of Verity’s areas of strength, and she’s doing more spontaneous talking all the time.  Gross motor hasn’t been one of her strengths, but she can be speedy now when she wants to be.

And today there was lots of cheering for her when she carefully and deliberately put her shorts on by herself for the very first time!  She only needed a little help pulling the back up over her diaper.  We are so proud of her!

Sweet Verity~



“Katie, see the puppy dog?  Puppy dog says, ‘Woof, woof!’  Here’s a puppy dog; there’s a puppy dog.  Put the puppy dog IN the puppy dog.”



“Swish, swish, swish, goes the goldfish!  Good job looking at the goldfish!  Push it in, Katie!  That’s right, push it in!  Big girl to push it in!”

Katie has a brief attention span and many sensory and fine motor challenges.  I lay her hand over the piece to prompt her to pick it up and she drops it in the generally correct region, then hand-over-hand I help her wiggle it around and push it into place, with lots of enthusiastic verbal encouragement.



“Yay, hurray!  Yay for Katie!  You did it!  You did the puzzle!”



Sweet Kate.  Last winter she would not have held a chewy tube in her hand for more than a few seconds, and now she’s willing to hold and chew on it for a minute or so!  She chews longer when I’m holding it for her.

We’ve been thrilled to hear Katie attempt to talk again after months of silence!  Although we can guess, we may never know exactly why she stopped vocalizing for so long.  Her ear tubes need to be replaced, and she has had several ear infections over the past months, so this was impacting her speech development, but she hasn’t received the new tubes yet, so–???  In many ways, both Katie and Tommy are mystery children.

But now her words are coming back.  Yesterday, I was working with her to help her color a picture of an apple, and modeling the word for her, when out it came!  “App-a,” she said, clear as clear!  THIS IS REMARKABLE!!



School for the littlest people in our house looks a lot like play!



A glance around the rest of our school table.  The older children are independent in their studies, except for BiblioPlan history, which we all do together.  And love.  I spend most of my direct teaching time with the four little boys.

Stephen will turn five years old in a couple of months.



James is six and a half.



Peter also happens to be six and a half.  John Michael is a tall almost eight year old.

These few photos show the merest fraction of all the bustling life that is lived in our family every day, the forts made of couch cushions, the towering piles of extra-large mixing bowls, pots and pans, diapers, bibs, towels, and washcloths, fleets of scooters and bicycles, bowl after bowl of the concoctions we mix up for Tommy, the quiet rest times with books, the silly things the little boys say and do that make us laugh, the learning to work together and get along with one another at close quarters, on and on and on the list goes.

My brain can’t think of anything profound and my eyes are having trouble focusing, so I’ll say goodnight now.  Life is full and God is good.



P. S.  Help overcome the Summer Slump that affected this week’s Hidden Treasures auction and give a little more to help bring Princess Penny home!  The Huizingas’ Reece’s Rainbow Family Sponsorship Page 

P. P. S.  Anyone remember “Bianca?”  Another precious little one is now HOME FROM PLEVEN!  Check it out!  Defining Crazy





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21 Responses to “This week at the Mussers”

  1. Tami says:

    Love to see these bits and pieces of your daily life, and so many beautiful smiles! And so glad you have a schedule that’s a blessing.  Woohoo! 

  2. Kim says:

    Rejoicing with you that the new schedule is working so well!  And it’s so awesome to know that yet another precious child is safely home!  Praise God!

  3. Mary Winslow says:

    Thank you for your post Susannah! It’s such a blessing and encouragement to us! And we LOVE photos! Would you mind to share your schedule with us?? We’d really love to see what it looks like!

  4. Deanna says:

    I’m like you at not naturally liking a schedule.  They can be a blessing, and I’m glad this one is working out that way!  Fun to see Katie and Verity doing their puzzles, and the boys doing school.  I’ll have to show that photo to Kyle, he’ll like seeing it.
    I completely understand the plastic cover dislike.  All those little air bubbles would make me crazy too!
    Hurray for a successful first week of school!

  5. Lauren S. says:

    Hurray for Katie and Verity!  Quick question- what is a chewy tube? I’m assuming its something for oral motor. Is that correct?

  6. Lorena says:

    From one non-scheduler to another, I would love to hear more about this one that is working so well …. namely, how you came up with it!  Since our families are at such different stages, understanding the process would be more helpful to me than knowing the actual schedule …. just an idea, for when you have “spare” time, you know.  ;)  So happy for all the little victories you were able to share in this post.  It is mind-boggling to see how far Katie has come, and I dearly love to have my mind boggled by God’s goodness!

  7. Susanna says:

    Lorena, we should talk on the phone. Can I call you the next time I have a little flex time? One secret is that I must have flex time scheduled right in or I will suffocate and the schedule will fail. :)

  8. Denise says:

    Susanna, I just love reading your updates.
    I know you are so busy, but I’d love to hear more about your schedule too.   I’ve went back to 5am waking too and that has helped, but we still have a few holes with little ones. 
    Thank you for taking the time to continue to update, I know you are so very busy. 

  9. PL says:

    Have you had Tommy tested for Giardia.  If you have and it was negative you may benefit for repeating it.  Especially if the stool is very foul smelling.

  10. PL says:

    Katie was developmentally at the level of a 6-9 month old.  This is often the age range when children will focus on certain skills (e.g. explode into large motor milestones one after another).  Katie seems to have been very motor focused recently. I suspect that now that she has mastered so many motor milestones that you will see her blossom in terms of socialization and language.  At 10+ though, we have no idea how far she can go.  She’s already surpassed medical expectations.  I’m am loving seeing it happen. Thank you so much for sharing.  Your family is blessing other and many are following your example of stepping out in faith.  When you get time please list out where the littles are in terms of milestones and what you are up to in therapy.

  11. Lorena says:

    Susanna, I would welcome a call from you!  The only times I don’t answer the phone are when we are eating, or I have a friend over.  Otherwise I am GLAD for the interruption!  :)  (hmmm….maybe that is a clue in itself as to my troubles with scheduling….!)

  12. Maureen says:

    Yeah for the schedule!!  I’m thinking that I need to start working toward a more formal one sooner rather than later too (!!)

  13. Stephanie B says:

    A schedule is saving my hide this year too.  Two therapies soon to be three have me spinning plates.  I’m curious what “special needs” homeschooling looks like from a state requirements perspective. 

  14. Shari says:

    Hi, Susanna!  Checking in on you and your flock.  I enjoy the pictures so much!!  :D  Blessings!

  15. ElizabethKorf says:

    Your family makes me smile.  Being a speech path, your little ones activities make me want to go and hug them all for working so hard.  That is the part of working with peds that I miss.   Glad to know the homeschooling schedule is working with the rest of your hectic life. 

  16. Priscilla says:

    I saw this story today and thought that “Sophia” has an uncanny resemblance to Katie.  At first I thought it WAS Katie and there had been a mistake.  Check it out.

  17. Susanna says:

    Priscilla, that family is very dear to me, and yes, we think Katie and Sophia look like long-lost sisters. :)

  18. Jess says:

    I have enjoyed reading your blog for a few years now. I would love to know what you use for curriculum for your children under age 12 :) Have time to share with me you can email it to me too!!

  19. Susanna says:

    Jess, we use the preschool workbooks from Rod and Staff before they start “real school.” Then we use the Phonics Museum workbooks and readers from Veritas Press starting with the K workbook, A Beka arithmetic from K to 3rd grade, and a daily memory time to go over basics we want them to memorize, including homemade phonics flashcards. We also do copywork starting with printing the alphabet and working up to writing a Proverb a day then transitioning to cursive handwriting in about 3rd grade until it’s mastered. We read aloud a good bit, have a house full of good books, and work on BiblioPlan together. Starting in 4th grade, some of ours have begun Saxon 5/4 and some have continued with A Beka. We use Shurley English after they’re finished with the Phonics Museum and can read well. We use Apologia Science and pair children together for that. We subscribe to God’s World papers for each child all the way up to the big kids for current events. We’ve used Drawing with Children for art and enjoy that. We also do lots of informal learning–goes on nearly constantly here, even during family night–and make sure we are always well-stocked with materials for creativity and keep them accessible. This is my quick, run-on reply that may have left some things out! Thanks for asking!

  20. Anna T says:

    I love reading your updates and yea for Katie’s speech again — woo, hoo!  I’m now motivated to enjoy a puzzle with Jacob.  Thanks again, ((Hugs)), prayers and love to you and yours,  Anna

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