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Birth Story

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Saturday the 20th I started having regular contractions. I had had no contractions prior (at least not ones that I could feel) so I was pretty excited about that.  They continued through the evening. Sunday I had contractions 4-7 minutes apart.  We called Brian's mom to come over and stayed home from church. I was feeling pretty tired, my body was working hard even though I wasn't doing that much work.

Brian's mom spent the night Sunday night in case we needed to leave in the middle of the night.

But alas. The contractions never got closer together, and they eventually spread out.

Pretty much for the next several days I would have timeable contractions at some point every day or evening, only for them to peter out.

Wednesday I went to the doctor. I was 39 weeks 6 days. I asked her to check me. I was feeling very frustrated with thinking I was having a baby and then nothing happening.  She checked and I was 4 cm dilated, 50% effaced. Woohoo! So all the contractions were actu…

Baby girl!

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Well, she's here! 40 weeks and two days, weighing in at 6 lbs 11 oz and 19.5 inches long.
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I'll post her birth story soon, in the meantime... :).


I'm not dead, I promise

Yeah, it's been a while. Right now it's 7:20 a.m. and all my children are still sleeping (!!!!) so I have some unscheduled time to myself. Yay!  I've been up since 6 planning the homeschool week, which didn't get done this weekend because we were just so busy!

We have finished 5 weeks of homeschooling and it has been going relatively well.  I have had my first curriculum fail (Spelling Workout doesn't work, at least not for us!), now I'm trying to decide if we start with something else or wait until the boys are stronger readers to work on spelling. It seems like when I was in school we started in 3rd grade or so but that was a really long time ago and I might be wrong.  At this point I'm thinking it might be best to wait until after the baby is born regardless.  I did a survey on a popular homeschooling board and it was seriously a 3-way tie on whether people thought I should do spelling with C only, C and Y together, or wait to start spelling until later.…

First (and second!) day of school!

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We started school on Monday!  Here are my little cuties. The boys always try to match their clothes as much as possible so they are both wearing their Batman shirts, he he he! I think it's so funny!  Mercedes is learning through play and working a little bit on fine motor skills with drawing, listening in on history and science (when she feels like it) and that's about it, nothing formal yet (we may start phonics at the beginning of 2015, we will see). Yusuf is starting Kindergarten, and Cassius is starting first grade! I tried to get Ben in the picture but he was really upset to be told to sit still, so there you go. Story of his life. :)

Our first day went fantastic. We started about 7:30 a.m. with Bible/catechism during breakfast (I get up at 6, shower, do my quiet time and eat breakfast and do any last-minute preparation, so that way I can read to them and talk to them during their breakfast and not have to go hungry).  The boys take turns with me for math, then Cassius d…

Glasses!

So I took the three older boys to get their eyes checked. Cassius already had glasses, but only needed to wear them at school. He kept them in the case in his backpack. A few weeks before the last day of school he said "Mommy, when are you going to fix my glasses?" Ah, well, I guess when you let me know that they are broken, son!  They were unsalvageable and by that time it really didn't matter too much anyway. I have no idea how long they were broken before he let me know about them. D lost his glasses, or broke them or...something. He typically looses them within a few weeks of starting the school year.  Then since Y will be starting kindergarten this year we got his eyes checked as well. We had an inking he maybe needed some help. Yep, his right eye is 20/100 and his left is 20/400!  So he needs to wear glasses all the time. Even with glasses the ophthalmologist said she could only get his vision to 20/30, but obviously that is still much much better.

Anyway. I took a…

Trying to get organized

I'm glad I gave myself so long to prepare for our first year of homeschooling. Since making our schedule for the first week I have also made a template of what things typically need to be accomplished each day:

Weekly Schedule Monday: OB/Midwife appt
Cassius: Math 1st Language Lessons Reading practice or lesson Writing with Ease Spelling Workout
Yusuf: Math Reading practice or lesson HWOT Letters and Numbers
Together: History – Read chapter, make a narration page Bible – Big Truths, read a chapter, introduce catechism for week Tuesday Ben's therapy from 11:00 – 12:00 GC at 6:00 or 7:00 Request library books for next week
Cassius: Math 1st Language Lessons Reading practice or lesson Writing with Ease Spelling Workout
Yusuf: Math Reading practice or lesson HWOT Letters and Numbers
Together: Science: Read appropriate encyclopedia, narration page (Can you tell me two things you learned about this animal? What was the most interesting thing we read about this animal?) Bible: Read 1 chapter…

Pee

I'm pretty sure this baby is going to make me pee my pants before this thing is over. I do not remember feeling like this with Ben but oh my goodness, she is always kicking, or punching, or whatever, my bladder!  I wouldn't be the first pregnant lady to do that and I am sure I wouldn't be the last. But I really just hope that if it does happen it's at home.

Also, my kids have been sooooo sloooow about picking up toys. We were going to the zoo, or the park, or just somewhere today (I was going to let them pick!) so I told them, and said to get the toys picked up. At this time they had been playing for maybe an hour and a half, actually probably less than that, so it's not like the house was a complete disaster.  Before they started playing the toys were picked up, so all they had to pick up were the Duplo legos and the play kitchen dishes and pots and pans.  Fifteen minutes later I said well, it doesn't look like you guys want to go anywhere so we'll just st…

Public schools and socialization

I think there is a misconception that homeschoolers look down their noses at parents who allow their children to attend public schools.

I'm a product of the public school system. So is my husband. My dad was a public school teacher for a long time, my granddad and grandmother were both public school teachers.  I loved, LOVED several of my teachers that I had over the years. Some of them I didn't like so well but that's just life.  :)

We've decided to try this, for our family, because we think it will be what is best. Will it be what is easiest? No way. It would be so much easier to send the kids to school every day. Hey, in 6 or so years I would have my days completely to myself! Bliss! Alone time in abundance!  Grocery shopping in peace, my home would probably be the cleanest it has been in a long time, I might have some time to do some things that I love like building stuff or gardening or ...???!!!  Will we always homeschool, for the next 19 years? I can't say t…

Dual enrollment

We're considering dual enrollment for Yusuf and Cassius at our local elementary school. Really it's just music and PE, and it's only 1/2 hour four days per week. And they'd be in class together which would be pretty convenient.

I'm having a hard time finding social things that a) I feel I can get us all to without wreaking havoc with our schedule and b) do not cost an arm and a leg. This seems like a pretty good option. It's also from 8:45 to 9:15, which should be before baby's first nap (once that time comes, which won't be for a while) and early enough that it shouldn't really interrupt anything else, it would just delay our start of the school. And hey, it's free. And Cassius would get to maintain some of the friendships he's made, hopefully.  And during the winter the opportunity for them to burn some energy would be nice!

My conundrum is, what the heck are the rest of us going to do for thirty minutes? It's not really long enough to…

Teenagers

Can I just say, having a teenager is so much harder than I thought it would be.  I think it's especially difficult having one who was raised with a completely different value system for the first 11+ years of his life, who has difficulty trusting authority figures in general, and who thinks you are insane. Yes, I'm pretty sure our son thinks we are crazy.

Without going into details, I'll just say we are very, very tired of being lied to and deceived (not outright lied to but you know what I mean). It's so ugly, it's so terrible, and I am sure that it is very normal but AAAGGGHHHH.  We have some serious thinking to do to figure this problem out because it really is a problem. Really.  We're to the point we need to start relaxing on rules, giving more freedom...and yet we can't trust him so how can we possibly do that?  We only have a few years left.



Now. Onto homeschooling. I'm making a list of books to check out from the library to go along with our his…

Gender reveal

We had our anatomy scan yesterday. I accidentally drank too much water. Well actually what happened was, I followed the directions that they gave me. The tech had me pee before the scan, then during it she had me go again because my bladder was too full. Then at the end I went again. Seriously, how can one person produce so much urine over 45 minutes?  I was apparently very very well hydrated!

The baby looked perfect. 44th percentile (I think Ben was 52% at his 20 week scan), the amniotic fluid looked good, placenta looked perfect.  And I actually have an anterior placenta (where the placenta is on the front of the uterus).  It's not a problem but it just makes it so you can't feel the baby as well.  I feel this baby move a lot but it's always down really low, so that must just be below the placenta. The tech commented that the baby was kicking my bladder during the scan. Yes, the baby likes to practice soccer skills on my bladder which I just love, especially while I'…

Planning and Scheduling, years K and 1st

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It's getting to be crunch time around here! I've scheduled our first day of school for July 7. Which still seems like a long way away, honestly, but it's close enough that I feel like I need to start getting my year planned out a little bit.

I browsed online for what felt like FOREVER looking for a good way to organize things. I stumbled upon a website, which I can't find now of course because I didn't bookmark it, with all kinds of free forms. I browsed and settled on some that made the most sense for me. (edited to add: I found it! http://www.tinasdynamichomeschoolplus.com/free-printables/7-step-curriculum-planner/)

I am planning on schooling 4 days per week, with Friday (or whatever day) as a catch-up, field trip, library, whatever day. This may not work, but that's what I'm trying for now. We might need to do 5 just to fit it all in, we shall see. Regardless, it's nice to ease into the school year a little bit.  I also have read about some people, e…

Bio mom

So I'm sure I mentioned that I sent bio mom a message a few weeks ago just checking in on how she's doing, and I hadn't heard back from her.

Well I finally heard back from her last night. She's in the hospital for her heart and blood pressure, and it's not looking so good. She has struggled with this for a long time, it sounds like it runs in the family. She's still very young, too young to be dealing with this but I guess we don't get to decide what "too young" is.  Anyway it sounds like she'll be in the hospital at least for a few more days. And doctors found something else on her liver but aren't sure what it is. She was supposed to find out today but hasn't yet.

She asked me to call her, so I did. She said "You guys are about the only family I have left" meaning people that she actually talks to. :(  I was nervous about it because I thought maybe there was a chance of confrontation but it went just fine.  She sounded so t…

Pregnant dreams

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So on Friday I started reading the book Divergent. You may have heard of the movie, it's in theaters now.  Anyway there are three books. Saturday I finished the first book...then I started, and finished, the second. Sunday I started the third book and I finished it up on Monday.

Saturday we also went to see the movie in theaters.  It was OK but kind of a let down after reading the books. Books just have so much more detail that you could never get from a movie that has to be squished into 2 hours, you know?

As you can see I was completely immersed in this Divergent nonsense.  So it should not be surprising that I had a dream about it!

I dreamed that I had the baby, and the day afterwards was chosen for a fight in the Dauntless faction.  Brian was telling me that the baby was fine, but the doctors said she wouldn't gain any weight until she was 28 weeks. I told him that there was NO WAY the baby could have survived, 15 weeks is not even close to the age of viability, but he ins…

What do you get when you have 3 sick kids over spring break?

Well first of all, you don't do any of the fun stuff you planned. Also you don't get very much done.  But there is extra TV watching, which I don't think anyone will complain about!

Ben was officially weaned about a week ago.  My body has finally adjusted I think. And of course C brought home some kind of cold/cough from school, and Ben and Y both caught it. Miraculously Miss M is still sickness-free; usually she is the first one to get sick and the last one to get well.  The poor boys are coughing up a storm and have tons of snot. Blech.  I will probably get sick when everyone is feeling better and back up to full speed, because that's what normally happens. :)

I had been hoping to take the kids to the zoo this week while C was out of school but I don't think that will happen now.

Had my 12 week appointment Monday, and my Mom came with me to hear the baby's heartbeat. I met with my OB for the first time, since I'm being co-managed by a midwife and an OB. …

Ten weeks

Ten weeks is not a very long time in the life of a pregnancy.  It feels like I have a long time left to go. Time between appointments (4 weeks) feels like en eternity. It is hard to be in this first trimester when anything could happen.  My imagination is always thinking the worst though I know the chances of anything happening at this point are something like 5%, which is pretty low odds.

I've been feeling pretty nauseous lately. It is helping me not gain weight which I am glad for! I've actually lost a couple of pounds but I was already 10 lbs over my pre-Ben weight so no biggie, I'm sure I'll start packing them on soon.  The evenings are my most queasy feeling time. Blech.  I've been eating a lot of carbs which is probably not the healthiest but it helps settle my tummy. Ritz crackers to the rescue!

I'm weaning Ben too.  We are down to nursing 4 times a day and I'm going to start dropping one or maybe two of those in the next week.  I'm a little sad…

One problem solved!

My friend Melissa, who reads my blog, texted me today.  She mentioned that open enrollment for ObamaCare didn't end until March, so maybe I could still get signed up.

Hmmmm. I had no idea! I thought the cutoff was 1/1/14.

So I called our insurance company pronto to find out.

Turns out that...yes! We can still sign up! And pre-existing conditions are covered, even pregnancy!  Woot woot! We will have to meet our new deductible once it goes into effect 4/1/14, but I'm pretty sure we will be money ahead, like lots of money ahead. Considering that otherwise we wouldn't have coverage at all, so we'd pay for all maternity costs out of pocket PLUS having to meet our deductible with anything else that the baby might need.  And somehow our premiums are not changing, and our deductible is only $4750 which is pretty good!

Huge load off of my mind. This should go into effect before I start needing the progesterone too which is awesome because I heard that stuff is pricey.  And I as…

The news

In the spirit of this being my blog, and knowing that if anything were to happen I'd be blogging about it, I am sharing my news.

So, several weeks ago I started feeling sick. We have been so lucky this year, we really haven't been sick at all which is really saying something considering the number of people who live in this house. I figured we were due, and wasn't too worried about it. You already know where this is going don't you!?!?!?

A few weeks later, I really wasn't feeling any better.  Suspicious, I took a pregnancy test.

Positive!

What??!?!??!

Yeah. Ben is 13 months old today, and I am 8 weeks, 4 days pregnant. Due September 25.  I am still nursing Ben at least 6 times a day, sometimes as much as 8 times. Apparently I have become Miss Fertile at some point over the last 2 years, after about 5 years of being Miss Infertile.

There have been some moments of panicking, like when I called my mom because I was so scared to tell Brian because I thought he'd b…

It's been a while

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I am not a very consistent blogger!  But I am still here, still alive. With some pretty crazy news that I'm dying to share, but it's not time yet!

The C-Monster came home from school singing this gem:

"Yankee Doodle went to town
Riding on a heater
Turned it up to 99
and burned his little wiener!"

This, along with the exclamation "Dancing baby Jesus!" shouted randomly for no apparent reason. He's 5 years old.  Yup.  So glad we are homeschooling next year.  I know that I can't shelter them forever, and that's not the point really. The point (part of it, at least) is to not expose them to things that they don't understand, things that they feel like "hey, other people are laughing..this must be funny, so I should do it too!" Most kids just don't have the maturity at 5 or 6 to be able to think to themselves "Hmmm...that doesn't sound like something I should say (or do), so I am not going to."  They will be exposed to …

Teenagers + common core

Parenting a teenager is tough. Add in a few years of that teenager being able to do whatever he wanted, an adoption he didn't ask for, a black biological family living in the poverty mindset and an white adoptive family living the upper middle class dream in a white neighborhood in a white school district, mixed feelings about his own mother, familes that seem to be pulling in different directions, a move, switching schools twice, a "serious" girlfriend, horomones...it's pretty much a recipe for complete disaster.

I'm thankful we are not in "complete disaster" phase at the moment.  I was going to say a lot more about that but I think I just won't.  I'm thankful our oldest son is a pretty good kid. He has his moments but hey, don't we all?
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So there was an article in our newspaper about a neighboring school district and Common Core.  If you haven't heard about Common Core, just google it. There is a ton …

MLK Jr. Day

We do a calendar time every morning with the very exciting pocket calendar that I got, I'm sure I've talked about that before. We talk about the date, season, day of the week, weather, etc. It also has little cards for holidays, and birthdays, and parties.  So this month we have my birthday, Ben's birthday, his birthday party, and Martin Luther King Jr. day.

I checked out a couple of books from the library on MLK to read to the kids about him. I read the first one the other day and I had to stop several times because I got choked up.  It is such an ugly time in America's history, and I don't like having to tell them about the way that people of their race were treated in many places.  We talked about segregation and slavery and some other things too. I think Y kind of understood, but I'm pretty sure it was mostly over Miss M's head.

I hate that that is in our history but I am glad that I can be the one to tell them about it and to be there when they have qu…

First book

Y read his first book yesterday!  It was a Bob book, the first one in the first set, which only requires knowledge of a few letter sounds (short a, M, T, and S).  He actually knows a lot of his consonant sounds already but we are working on vowels right now.  He can sound out each individual letter but really struggles with getting from sounding out to knowing what the word is, if that makes sense.  So he requires quite a bit of hand holding right now which is totally to be expected I'm sure, and it is fine. He wants to do it so much but he gets so frustrated so I usually encourage him to take a break before he thinks he is ready for one.

This is what it is like when he is trying to read the word "mat"
Him: (making the letter sounds) "M-A-T...M-A-T...M-A-T...Sam?"

The first time he read the book he actually did the best, I think at this point he is trying to guess what the words are based on the words he knows that are in the book, maybe.  I don't know.  I …

Nerding out

I got most of the home school stuff I ordered in the mail. I am totally nerding out, home-school style!  I am seriously so excited. I don't know what my problem is. I hope I'm still this excited at this time next year. ;)

I got a book on how to teach your kids to read. I think I am going to try (TRY!) to get Y reading at least basic, easy stuff before this summer. If I can get him going before I really start home schooling C then I feel like that will be a little bit of a burden off of me.  So we will be working on reading for only a few minutes every day, I'm not going to push it hard but we will spend time doing it daily. And if Miss M wants to join us for lessons that is OK, and if not then that is OK too.  We are using "The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading" by Jessie Wise and Sara Buffington.  It looks pretty simple so far and it looks like something I will be able to teach.  I'm excited to get started.

I also got a book for C to start teac…