Thursday, March 28, 2013

Sleeping Beauty

Sundays are supposed to be a day of rest, and my little girl seems to take that concept very seriously!  After church we spend the afternoon visiting with friends and Little Miss gets held...a lot.  She's blessed to have many people who love her and are vying for their few moments of time with her, and as a result she gets passed around throughout the day to the waiting arms of one of her admirers who have patiently waited for their turn.  I am a lucky mama to have such wonderful friends who love my little girl too, but as you can see being held makes one sleepy. 

So sleepy that I sometimes have to try and wake her up to eat. Sometimes it is successful...sometimes it is not.  With two older brothers who aren't exactly quiet this girl can sleep through anything!  Making noise, changing positions, and general gentle harrassment are all soothing, sleep inducing activities for this girl...see what I mean?

So, in the end I just end up submitting to the inevitable, and let her keep resting in the arms of one of her numerous fans.  Much to the delight of my friend seen holding her here...she didn't want to be the one responsible for waking a contentedly sleeping child.   

And as she sleeps, literally all day, mom and dad just hope she saves a little for the middle of the night too!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Baby Story

It started about 9 months ago when we found out we were expecting our third child. We (and by we I mean me) waded through the first couple months of morning sickness and misery, but surprisingly it ended.  With my first two children I was sick the entire time so it actually going away at 16 weeks was something new for me, and a change I couldn't have been happier about!  The pregnancy went on uneventfully until the big day when we loaded the family into the car and headed in for the much anticipated ultrasound.  Would our boys be getting a new brother, or a sister?  The moment of truth finally arrived and to everyone's delight (even my boys both wanted a little sister!) it's a girl!  We couldn't be more excited and the preparations for a daughter begin.  Fast forward to two weeks before our little lady was due...

It was Sunday morning (12 days till d-day), we were getting ready for church and I wasn't feeling all that great.  The thought kept coming to me I wish my water would break so I could just go to the hospital and be done with it.  Sadly it just didn't happen, so I proceded to head to church with my family.  Every Sunday morning after the Sunday school classes are finished we have a little tradition at church where they ask if there are any birthdays this week.  Then anyone celebrating that week can go up front and get a little happy birthday greeting from everyone.  This week when they asked if there were any birthdays I turned to my husband and said, "I'm going up there.  If I do will it make today her birthday?"  (Her being our little unborn baby girl that I was more than ready to see in person!)  He laughed and told me I could try it but not to hold my breath.  In the end I kept my seat, but still continued to wish it really would indeed be her birthday.

The day came and went.  No baby.

The next day I had a doctor's appointment.  I went in hoping she would tell me I was 6cm dilated and to go straight to the hospital.  Hey why not think positive right??  No such luck.  I was however 4cm dilated and 60% effaced.  This didn't even get my hopes up though because with my first two pregnancies I walked like that for weeks and ended up being induced.  I did however ask my doctor how big she thought my baby was and she guessed 7 1/2 pounds.  As she gave me her estimate I commented on a photo she had on her board of her newest deliveries where one baby was 9lbs 12 oz and said, "I'm glad you aren't predicting a baby that size!" (Little did I know that would be the exact weight of my "little" bundle!)  We talked about the possibility of inducing the next week, but no final decisions were made.  I really really really did not want to be induced again.  Pitocin = not fun, but with all three pregnacies I've been GBS positive.  Not such a big deal, but you need antibiotics in your system for four hours before giving birth to be sure baby has time for those precious meds to reach their body to keep them safe from anything being passed on to them during delivery.  The chances of any problems with baby are small, but IF they do have them they can be very serious and in rare cases even fatal.  This has always worried me because if I let myself go into labor naturally and miss the antibiotics I would never forgive myself if anything happened to one of my babies just because I didn't want to be induced. For most women four hours is plenty of time to get to the hospital in time for antibiotics, but I'm not normal.  I honestly do not recognize contractions until I'm in the midst of the pretty bad ones.  With my first I went in to be induced, they hooked me up, and the nurse is talking to me and says "Oh, you just had a contraction are you doing ok?" My response; "Oh is that what that is?  I've been feeling those and didn't know what it was."  My husband looked at me like I was crazy.  I'm sure he was thinking how can anyone not know a contraction?  I mean you hear all about how awful they are.  I guess I was just expecting them to be worse by the time you went to the hosptial.  When I went in to to have my 2nd baby they hooked me up to the machine and I was having contractions 6 minutes apart (before being induced) and had no idea.  I felt a little sick to my stomach, but I had morning sickness the entire time so this was nothing new.  If I hadn't already been planning to come in for an induction I never would've come in and I should've been in the hospital by that time anyway.  By the time I do feel contractions which I think would be bad enough to go to the hospital I've been hooked up to pitocin and those become almost unbearable very quickly, so who knows what normal ones would be like?  My mom barely made it to the hospital with one of us, and never had more than a 3-4 hour labor with the others, so if I was anything like her I wasn't going to have much time.  Yet I had never done it completely on my own so who knows what would really happen?  Anyway....we decided to wait until my next appointment in a week to make any decisions. 

So I left the doctor's office and went to run a few errands.  My husband and sons were having a boys day out so I had the whole day to myself.  I ended up at the mall walking, determined to help this baby along.  Not only was I done being pregnant, but my mom was going out of town in a week and was very worried she would miss the birth of her granddaugther.  This wasn't a trip she could change either.  She's undergoing cancer treatments and under the care of a specialist in another state and must go in monthly for visits.  Just so happens that her next appointment was right around my due date.  I know we both hoped the baby would arrive when she could be here, and for me sooner than later was better.  After walking the mall a few times I finally decided to head home.  That night I had the urge to  clean my house, at least the parts anyone might see.  So before I went to bed the bathroom, kitchen, and living room were clean.  Including vacuuming, sweeping, and mopping.  Went to sleep still hoping for a baby soon...

About 5:15am I woke up to use the bathroom and when I laid back down I felt a little funny.  I thought, "Could that be a contraction?"  Because yes, even on my 3rd go round I still dont know.  It wasn't painful, just weird sensation of pressure.  So I waited, and 15 minutes later it happened again.  Continued every 15 min till 6:00am when I decided to get up and start paying more attention.  They definitely weren't going away, but not getting much more intense either.  I decided to take a shower and by this time they were coming about every 10 minutes.  I could talk though them and wasn't in pain, just starting to feel a lot of pressure.  My husband got up to get ready for work and I told him I think we may need to go to the hospital.  He asked if I was having contractions and I told him I was pretty sure, but not sure if we needed to be at the hospital or not yet.  I called my doctor's office and the doctor on call said I should probably go.  We got our kids ready to go to grandma and grandpa's house (luckily they live next door so this didn't take long), and about 8:00am we left for the hospital.  I told my husband, "I just don't want them to send me home, so I hope this is the real thing."  After I finished the sentence another contraction came, this one stronger.  And I had another before we reached the hospital.  As we walked into the building and get into the elevator now the contractions are about 4 min apart.  (Wow that was fast!!)  At labor and delivery I stopped to check in.  I had pre-registered so I didn't have much to do.  As I talked to the nurse a doctor was nearby, not mine, who later told my doctor that she thought I was only going to be 2cm dilated so she didn't stay nearby and left as they took me to a room.  Once inside they had me change so they could check me.  In just that amount of time the contractions are now coming fast and furious and they finally felt real.  I'm still not "acting" like I'm in labor to the nurses though, so she checks me and is completely shocked (and I am too!) that I'm 9cm and just around the corner from delivery!  Well, at least they didn't send me home :)

Only problem now is that I'm definitely not going to have time for those antibiotics.  At this point there isn't much I can do about that so I'm just focused on getting through the next contraction.    Which are now happening every couple minutes.  On a side note, I'd gone through two deliveries without an epidural, not because I'm so tough, but because the thought of an epidural terrifies me...needles in your back, what?!?!  Delivering my 2nd child was pretty miserable though so this time I had decided I wanted to go for the epidural.  Well, when you arrive at the hospital dilated to 9cm you pretty much rule out any pain control options...dang!  Oh well, I've done it before I can do it again right?  Next thing I know there's one nurse trying to start an IV, one talking to me and asking me all the questions they need to fully check you in (even though I pre-registered...), and a doctor walking in and telling me, "Let's have a baby!"  I couldn't believe how fast this was all happening.  The doctor says to me, "Ok you can push!" At that moment she breaks my water and two pushes later it's done!  Our healthy and perfect baby girl is here!  I hold her a moment and then they take her vitals etc.  I overhear someone say "Nine pounds 12 ounces", I turn and ask them to repeat that.  Yes, it's true my "tiny" girl is 9lbs 12oz, and born almost 2 weeks early!  (and no, I was not diabetic)  As the moments pass the nurses continue to check me in as a patient in the hospital, after I've already delivered my baby :)  I just cannot get over how quickly this all happened.  I walked into the hospital at 8:15am and had my baby in my arms at 8:45am.  All this less than four hours from the time I felt my first contraction, craziness!  Lessons learned:  I really do not know when to go the hospital, and natural delivery is WAY better than being induced.  In spite of all my fears about not getting the antibiotics in time our little girl is healthy and has no problems.  God took care of what was out of my hands.  I prayed for her every day of my pregnancy and those prayers were answered with a perfect new addition to our family.  I am truly blessed!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

School Days, School Days...

I am having more fun than I imagined I would as a new homeschooler.  I worried about a lot of things when making the decision to do this, but I know it was the best choice for our family.  Technically only our oldest is in school, but his younger brother is joining in every day as well.  Pretty hard to keep him out of it even if I wanted to, so he does his own "school" with us.   Since he participates every day he has already learned all the letters of the alphabet and their sounds, and lots of other things too.  When big brother does math (working on addition and subtraction of simple numbers), little brother practices his number flashcards and counts (coins, cheerios, etc.)  He loves it!  And I feel good that I'm making time for him too.  When it was just big brother around we spent lots of time every day practicing things like's, numbers, colors, shapes; and so by the time little brother came around he already had a pretty solid foundation in things like that.  I didn't want to push it and if he didn't want to do it we would stop, but he was a little sponge and really wanted to learn new things.  With two of them it was a little harder to spend the same amount of time with little brother, and I didn't want him to be ignored.  Starting school has actually helped make time for him, and he's learned a TON at just 2 years old.

We are almost to the end of our kindergarden curriculum.  In only 6 weeks my oldest will be done with kindergarden and ready for first grade.  I had intended to do this as a preschool since he was so young and then do kindergarden again (maybe with a different curriculum) when he was done, but he definitely doesn't need that.  I've been trying to match up what we are doing with the state standards.  I've spent a lot of time lately on the Department of Education website to see what the kids in our state are supposed to have learned by the end of kindergarden and for the most part we've covered everything already.  The curriculum we have doesn't get all the standards, but by adding in just a very few things we will get everything in.  As a former elementary school teacher I spent way too many years focusing on those standards to just use a straight homeschool curriculum, even a good one.  I love having the freedom to do the things I think are best in conjunction with those standards though.  Now that we're almost done with kindergarden I have some decisions to make about where we go from here.  My son will be done well before his 5th birthday (which is normal for homeschoolers...we can go at the pace of the child and sometimes that's faster than in a regular classroom setting).  I don't want to move him ahead too fast, but I don't want to hold him back either.  He's ready for more though.  His reading and writing are right where they should be for the grade level he's in now so I don't feel any need to stay where we are.  Moving forward seems like the best option.  I just need to decide now if I'm going to stick with the same curriculum or try some other options.  There are a lot of choices and their price ranges vary a lot too.  Lots of decisions to make that I wouldn't have to if he were in public school.

I'm so proud of both my boys and am impressed with how much they're learning.  I can't wait to see what their little sister will be like.  It's going to change things a lot around here to be doing school with a 5 year old, a 3 year old and an infant when that day comes.  I look forward to it though and will continue trying to give all of my children the best education possible.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

School Stuff

We've been sounding out a lot of words in school lately, but the curriculum we use started to introduce the word "the" in with a few simple three letter words.  Of course this is a challenging concept for a kid who has been trying to hard to use those letter sounds to read words.  So a couple weeks ago I was sitting there and an idea popped into my head, and a poster was born.  I hadn't hung anything up on our walls yet.  I put all of his school work for the week on the side of the refrigerator, along with our calendar and hundred chart but haven't really put any permanent visual aids up so far.  I'm pretty excited about our first transformation of kitchen to classroom though.  I tried to explain that with certain words the letters actually don't help us out all that much and we need to just memorize them.  There are words that we see written all the time that we have to have in our mind and just know them without getting very many clues from the words themselves.  So we made this poster of some words we just have to know.  Hopefully this little visual will help him master these seemingly simple words that can actually be pretty tricky for a beginning reader.  He's still working on trying not to sound them out.  We're starting to refer to our poster during school and throughout the day, and maybe seeing the words over and over throughout the day will help trigger that memory so he can be on his way to becoming an independent reader.

Friday, May 4, 2012

My Crazy Kid

So I was thinking this morning as I got my littlest guy out of bed after he was calling "Mama, maaaaammmmaaaa!" (He can actually get out on his own, but always calls for someone to get him.  Both my boys did at this age.)  But moving on to what I was actually thinking about this morning...

Lately my youngest has been repeating the last sound of some of his words several times in a row.  Mostly words that end with "s" or "t".  For instance:

light becomes light-t-t-t

cars becomes cars-s-s-s

This is on my mind this morning because I was changing his diaper and said, "Your diaper is really wet today."  He replied "Ah, (that's what he says for yes, even though he can say yes if you tell him too, weird) mama wet-t-t-t."

My baby is growing up and talking so much, even if he does repeat a sound or two at the end of a word :)

He is also completely obsessed with Cabelas right now.  That goes for both my boys at actually.  He calls it the "fish store", a term he got from big brother.  Last night he kept saying, "Mom, fish store." and then going to the front door.  At dinner he repeated it over and over again.  "Fish store.  Fish store.  Fish store."  And then looking back and forth from mom to dad hoping someone would get the hint.  Anyone who knows my son knows he's very one track minded.  If he gets an idea in his head he keeps saying it over and over and over again.  If you're reading a book and he really likes the giraffe he will just say giraffe over and over again until he feels it's been properly acknowledged.

As I look at him right now exploring the room while I type I can't help but think how much I love this kid!

(FYI this has actually taken me a lot longer than it should have because his explorations resulted in me having to jump up and get him out of some potentially messy situations...several times)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Blessings in Disguise

Back in January my husband and I found out I was pregnant with what would be our third child.  Things seemed normal except for the fact that I wasn't quite as sick as I normally am when I'm pregant.  I was still not well, and still having trouble with morning sickness but nothing like usual.  With my first two I had A LOT of trouble with feeling sick pretty much the entire pregnancy, and even needing medication to be able to keep any food or liquid down with my second.  I still felt sick though, and was just happy it wasn't as bad a usual.  I went in for my first ultrasound and they saw the baby didn't seem as far along as we thought.  No one was woried though because we just figured the dates were off and they wanted me to come back in for another ultrasound in a couple of weeks.

During this time I had been a little apprehensive about the next ultrasound just because I'd never been off on my dates like that before.  I waited anxiously for it because I knew I would feel better once I saw things were progressing.  The day of the next ultrasound came, and as the technician looked for the baby I immediately knew something was wrong.  She didn't say anything and was very kind and professional, but she couldn't locate the baby.  When she finally did it hadn't changed as much as it should have in that time and there was no heartbeat.  She left the room to find the doctor and the tears I had been holding in as she let me know what was going on could be held no longer.  I sat there waiting, and praying, and hoping that the tears would stop before she returned; they didn't.  I know they deal with these things all the time and thankfully the ultrasound technichian at my doctor's office is wonderful and she did her best to make me feel better.  The doctor didn't see me immediately that day, but had me do another blood test and scheduled an appointment for a week later.

So, I went home.

On the way I called my husband and at work and told him the news.  The tears that had dried before I left the office were back in full force.  Probably not the best idea to make that phone call while driving home on the freeway, but I wasn't thinking about that at the moment.  He tried his best to comfort me, and he did.  He reminded me that everything was in God's hands and whether the baby ended up being alright or not we would be ok.  I knew he was right, but it was still a hard day.  But from the moment my ultrasound ended I had begun praying, and didn't really stop.  We told a few close friends and family about what we were dealing with and I have no doubt they all began to pray for us immediately, and continued to until we knew for sure what was going on.

Over the next few days I met with my doctor several times and she let me know my pregnancy was not progressing normally.  My hormone levels weren't rising as quickly as they should be and there was still no heartbeat.  After a final blood test the results showed the hormone levels beginning to drop, and that along with no continued growth or heartbeat determined the fetus was not viable and I had had a miscarriage.  They told me to talk with my husband and decide which route we wanted to take...wait for the fetus to pass naturally, take medication that would cause my body to pass the fetus within a few days, or schedule a surgery to have everything removed.  We opted for the surgery.  I was still feeling very sick and it was much harder to deal with that when I knew it wasn't leading to a healthy baby, but was just my body's reaction to hormones that still remained.  We decided we just wanted to put everything behind us and not continue to wait for the fetus to pass on it's own; which could've taken anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to happen.  It had already been 10 weeks since I found out I was pregnant and continuing the process any longer would've been difficult.

You're probably reading this and thinking, "You titled this Blessings in Disguise??!"  But it's true, even though things didn't turn out the way I had hoped it was still a blessing, and God was still with us.  He deserves our praise when we get the answers we want and when we don't, and I don't want to deny Him that which He is worthy of.  There are some specific blessings we had during all of this though.

First of all, I decided to get a new doctor with this pregnancy.  I'd had the same one for my first two deliveries and although I didn't dislike my doctor I didn't really love him either.  So I looked for a new one.  I didn't want to ask any of my friends for recommendations because we weren't ready to share the news yet, so I did an online search and found a doctor with great reviews right near my house.  The reviews were right and she is wonderful.  I'm so glad I had her during this time instead of my old docotor, I just know he would not have had such a good bedside manner.

Second, I was administered to before I found out the end result of my pregnancy and I know I was immediately blessed.  I felt a peace I hadn't felt before and knew no matter what happened that everything was ok.  And after that I was willing to accept any answer God chose to give even if it meant the baby wasn't going to be ok.  My husband's grandfather was one of the ones who did the administration and he told me when it was done he didn't know what the Lord had done, but he had blessed me because he could feel it.  He was right.

Third, my surgery went very very well.  It was quick and simple with no complications.  I had been warned of possible pain and other side effects from it and I didn't have a single one.  I didn't need the pain prescription and never needed any pain medication at all.

Finally, I am so blessed to be surrounded by loving friends and family who were there to support us through it all.  God knows who we need in our lives and puts them in our path if we allow him to guide us.  I could not be more blessed with a caring husband and the best friends I could ever ask for.

These thoughts have been on my heart and mind today and I just felt I should share them with whoever might happen to stop by and read it.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

"O" is for Octopus

One of the most fun themes we've had in school so far is definitely the "O" is for octopus. Probably because the teacher learned as much as the student. I knew the octopus lives in water, it has 8 arms and no bones. But I guess I missed out on the marine biology lesson that taught about all the super cool other things that an octopus can do. So needless to say we watched A LOT of youtube videos about octopus camoflage!  (They were just so cool I couldn't stop!)

You must forgive my horrible photography skills here.  I have a point and shoot camera and kids who are trying to "help" me take pictures so I'm basically looking at them and aiming the camera somewhere at the table.  That being said even if they weren't there it probably wouldn't look any better.  But alas, I digress...I'll get back to the point.  This is a picture of a few of the things we did to help us learn more about the octopus as well as the letter "O".  Since you really can't see any of them up close I will try and explain them a bit.  Next time I will try and plan better and get some individual pictures up close to really show what he's learning.

We traced those cute little four year old hands to make an octopus and then found pictures of other sea creatures to make a collage.

The sheet with the letter O and picture of an octopus in the left corner is a sound discrimination worksheet.  Several pictures are given, some beginning with the "o" sound and some that don't. Circle the ones that do, x out the ones that don't.  I think this is incredibly boring, but this is always one of his favorite things to do each week.  He says the name of the picture and then "YES! it does!" and cirlces it.  Or, "NOOOOOO, it sure doesn't!" and x's it out with a big flourish!

One page is a math sheet where he chooses a number from a cup, writes it and then draws an object of his choosing that many times.  For example he picks the number 4:  He writes a 4 in the space provided and then draws 4 balloons.  During math we also do story problems.  I tell him a story and each time he hears a number he writes it down.  Then he solves the problem by drawing a picture.  (Seriously need pictures here instead of all these words!!)

The little yellow book you see there is the first book he read all by himself.  It's called "Pam", and has a total of five words.  He was SO proud! (And so was mom!)

We also made an octopus out of a paper plate and put an octopus fact on each arm, and did an octopus quiz.  I know I know, quizzes at only four years old?!  I'm quite the task master!  He loves it though.  He gets excited when I can't "trick" him.  If he gets an answer right I didn't trick him, he was too smart for me.  By the way the quiz was just YES/NO questions like:  An octopus lives on land.  YES   NO Then he circles the right answer.

I did get one photo up close, and yes another horrible picture.  Professional photography is not in my future!  Anyway...this worksheet is one of the begining reading activities in our curriculum.  He reads the words aloud without my help.  Each one he gets right on the first try he gets a sticker or a star.  (This week he couldn't decide if he wanted stickers or stars so we did both!)  He's doing so well with his reading.  He only missed one word, and that's because he read it doll-l-l (with the 2 "l" sounds separately at the end).  Then as soon as he finished he looked at me and said "That's not a word."  I told him the way he said it wasn't and that when two letters are together in a word you only say the sound once.  (We had never talked about double letters before that day.)  So he looked at it again and said "doll".  I should've given him a star, but since the rules of the game (we call it a game...pretty fun games we play at our house huh??) are you have to get it on the first try he didn't get the star this time. 

That's just a small look at our how school has been going so far this year.  It's been so much fun, and little brother likes to join in too.  He's learning a lot of his letters and numbers and likes to be a part of things as much as he can be.  As much as I loved (and sometimes didn't love so much) teaching as a career before I had my first son it can't even compare to teaching my own children.  I love watching them grow and learn.  I'm so thankful I have this opportunity to stay home with them so I don't miss a thing!