Sunday, January 28, 2018

Almost a month in!

one chapter read
one lesson down
another subject added
one full day put together
a whole week completed

Now we are almost a month down, and I can say that it is not all sunshine and roses, but I can also say that this is a fun chapter in our lives!

This last week JJ was on nights.  This is not usually my favorite, however since the kids were home, they still got to see Daddy.  When they went to school, he would be awake when they were away and sleeping when they got home.  But then N started not feeling well and that was a downside of homeschooling.  N needed me. C needed me. M needed me. And of course L was still there with his own needs. That constant "triaging" wore me out! 

I am a little concerned that the kids' behavior, especially C and L, might be going downhill a bit. They are pretty comfortable and um, maybe a little spoiled. I feel like we might offer them too many choices and end up catering to their wants, which little consequences. It is not in my nature, but I think I need to crack down on respect and responsibility. I want my kids to look fondly on their childhoods -- and I love to have fun with them -- but I also do NOT want them spoiled or unready for subsequent responsibilities. To be honest, I don't know that I can only blame homeschooling for this, but a little social peer pressure to obey is not always the worst thing! Along the lines of comfort, I think C's handwriting was neater at school, but I think his reading is taking off (which probably would've happened at school - he is just developmentally "there" right now! And WOW is that fun to be a part of!). 

So thankful tomorrow is a new day and a chance to teach my kids academics as well as life lessons :)

Next up:

I am super pumped to start adding bits of Olympic fun to our homeschool day!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Week 3 thoughts

I have discovered some more "hidden" or I guess unplanned benefits of homeschooling.

1. We do not have to go anywhere if we do not want to. This is an amazing advantage living where the "air hurts my face". Especially with young kids!

2. My van does not have to be amazing anymore. I really really wanted a van with sliding doors. I always felt I was holding up the car line pulling up, jumping out, opening the door pushing L's legs up to allow M & C to squeeeeze past, pushing all the stuff that shifted forward back into the van, closing door, running around and hopping back into the driver's side! No more car line = sliding doors not so necessary.

3. M is such a good big sis. It has been such a joy to see relationships with her little brothers flourishing. Maybe not the biggest brother... but the other two for sure!  ;) 

4. I guess this one is less of a surprise but it REALLY is such a joy to partner with my kids in learning. I am learning fun new things and we can relate back to things all. day. long. Really fun!!  Plus. I mean like reiterating animal camouflage with a game of hide and go seek?!  SO FUN.  

5. Ummm, I kind of missed lesson planning.  There I said it. 

6. We have had more time for "real world" stuff that just went by the wayside. For example, I am so glad my kids have been learning about laundry, preparing food (meal planning to grocery shopping to making food to cleaning up!), knitting :D, shoveling, and just taking care of the house in general. :)

7. Actually using the stuff we have at home!! I feel like since we are here more I actually see what we have and we use them! M's preschool teacher told me once that she would've rocked living in the past -- she is resourceful and can make a plaything or invention or project out of anything - and this is so evident and fun to see! I am talking about school/office supplies but also just toys in general! Love to watch the kids playing together in new and different ways. Yesterday they set up a smoothie store.

8. Better use of time during the day. I always used to get annoyed with little breaks throughout the day - around 30 or even up to an hour here or there where it wasn't enough time to go home, and generally it seemed these were right after drop off to school so many times stores weren't open to run a quick errand. I'll be honest, we ended up at Target. A lot. And I drank a Starbucks drink. A lot. Being home and being intentional with my time (and wallet) has been a great bonus!

Friday, January 5, 2018

Children's Books on CD

We love audio books. And I should say - we got started from our daily commute to and from school - now that we are less in the car, the kids still enjoy a good audio book as they color or do puzzles or play legos. Not all audio books are created equal. Sometimes the book is amazing but the reading is not quite as entertaining, or vice versa.

Here are a few of our favorite children's audiobooks, ones that we have checked out multiple times because they are just that good!

Lane Smith has two books that definitely top our list. The kids have LOVED John, Paul, George and Ben -- complete with a fun T/F quiz at the end and even a Beatles-esque song about the founding fathers. Also I just love when there is an interview with the author!  The other favorite is Madam President. The kids love this take on being a president from a kid point of view. There are some fun pages, including one where she vetoes a whole bunch of stuff and each time in a different tone of voice or expression.

Oh how we love Laurie Keller!  She has some stellar audio books and some super fun interviews as well! Some of our favorites are the Scrambled States of America and part two - the Talent Show, plus you really must check out the card game, too!

Exclamation Mark -- Amy Krouse Rosenthal has a number of great books, including Little Pea and Duck! Rabbit!, but Exclamation Mark as the audio version is just so cute- a good little grammar lesson wrapped in a fun story.

Skippyjon Jones books, by Judy Schachner are so fun to listen to, as well. The author reads them and the Spanish/English rolls off her tongue and the little songs come together as they were intended!

I'm sure I'm forgetting some, but that is a start!
Do you use audiobooks? Which ones are your favs?

Day 3. More thoughts on homeschool.

So now that I am an expert (insert crying from laughing face here), here are some more thoughts:

1. I feel like we have to have a lot more food on hand.  I know my kids ate snack and lunch even when they weren't here, but it just seems like the fridge has emptied quicker this week!  M said a benefit of homeschool is that if she can decide AT LUNCHTIME what she wants for lunch. She was all, "If I decide I want some yogurt, I can have yogurt! If I didn't pack yogurt before I could NOT have yogurt for lunch." It was a big moment for her.  :)

2. It seems like people feel the need to justify their school choices when I have shared that we are homeschooling. BELIEVE me, I am not judging your choices in any way. I was a public school teacher (and attended public school, including college, for several years.) If it is working for you and your family -- AWESOME! We have loved every second of our time at a private school.  If that is what is right for your family -- perfect!!  Keep doing it!  If you think you should try homeschooling for any or all the reasons, well, maybe you should look into it. I don't know! I can only speak for our family, and at this point, I just really am loving this decision. At this point. For us.

3. When playing concentration with word lists, be sure the set is in fact a matching set - as in there are two of every word to be able to pair up. Yeahhhhhh. Let's just say we played a few rounds before I realized there were NO matches. bahaha!

4. Nap time is homeschool gold for us. I thought we would get up, do school, then do life. It turns out that we get to do life and school at the SAME TIME. And the traditional schedule is not necessarily what has worked best for us.  Basically, I have found that we get up, have breakfast (maybe sneak in the Bible lesson in there), play, the bigs do a little independent work while the littles play, THEN during nap time we shift into homeschool high gear. This has been a little rough for L who has coincidentally dropped naps at the same time. Yeah that was unfortunate. Let's have a moment of silence to mourn the naptime -- ha! THEN after lunch we finish up any loose ends and have more time for things like reading, lego building, marble towers, piano, playdough, painting, board games, playing outside, ETC.

5. Speaking of a new schedule. Oh my have my kids embraced staying up a bit later and sleeping in --- for the most part! hip hip hooray! When friends said they have a goal of starting school around 9 I kind of internally laughed. That would just not work with us - we are up and at 'em early. WOW, I think today at around 9 we were finishing breakfast (!). I tried a new recipe (in total we got FOUR new recipe books for Christmas -- YAY!!!) - and what a blessing to be able to take my time trying something new in the morning. On a school day!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Homeschooling. Day 1.

We decided to try a few pieces of our homeschool curriculum while we were at my parents' house over the Christmas break.  It felt good to get our feet wet without diving in, especially having an extra set of hands or two for the littles while we got started. I brought along a few read alouds, some readers and handwriting.  M was ALL IN with the handwriting - especially since she received a calligraphy set for Christmas. Her handwriting is pretty cool. It is learning cursive (goes through each letter) and then practices with Bible verses - so each day they do a few words from the verse, day 4 they do the whole verse and day 5 they "publish" it - make it fancy on nice paper that could be hung up or sent to someone. It was also awesome that they kids loved the first read aloud.  They wanted me to keep reading - more, more, more! The first book is called "Red Sails to Capri" and I wasn't sure if they would like it, but they love it.  Yay!  C cranked out his reader and M thought hers was boring. I will say I decided to start with levels 1 and 3 even though they are halfway through the year. Since it is a new curriculum, I didn't want to start directly in the middle to be sure the new terminology and "way of doing things" isn't lost on them. So, my plan is to cruise through the beginning to familiarize them with it, begin when it is not super challenging to give them some confidence and still (hopefully) finish by August.  When we got home, I set to work filling in our gaps from what we did at my parents -- that meant figuring out science, Bible, history/geography, math and phonics/spelling.  The kids started getting a little unsure about doing all this "work" over break when others didn't have to do ANY, so I tried to only do one subject per day.

Fast forward to January 3.  Today.  Our first full day of homeschooling.  Here is a peek into our day.
1. N up at 6:30. Too excited to sleep??
2. Everyone up around 7:30.
3. Breakfast at about 8/8:15.
4. Kids shocked when I reminded them they would BE AT school at that time.  Looking around the table as we casually ate our breakfast in our jammies, my heart felt happy.  C helped with breakfast as part of his "job".
5. M excited to start, so we cleaned up breakfast quickly and headed downstairs.
6. I unveiled our new organization system. A clipboard per kid with a daily breakdown of things they needed to do -- each subject included as well as two chores, one meal help, piano, independent reading, creative expression (writing most often I suspect) and a project/art focus for the day.
7. Littles played nicely for a bit while we did science.
8. Littles done playing nicely.
9. Get M going on her creative writing and C going on his independent reading.
10. Play with littles.
11. L needs to use restroom. N has poopy diaper. Bigs done.
12. Get to potty, change, and get next assignment rolled out.
13. Then get L set up with water color painting while I begin history/geography. L gets soaking wet. Get through hist/geo and give up. Bring everyone upstairs. Put L and N in the bath. M reads Bible verses and we discuss while littles splash happily.
14. TOO COLD OUT.  Boo. Try to set up a brain break. Our TV is not wanting to go to internet and I forgot the code to download youtube (I thought it was already set up) so we could get a brain break in. So, back up, Bo on the Go. I put N to bed for his nap.
15. While Bo is finishing up, I take a shower, and brush my teeth!  Oops-- I will try to get that in earlier tomorrow!
16. Downstairs for precious time while N naps. Set up L with color changing cars in sinks downstairs.
17. Get through everything else except math. L soaking wet. Again. Then decides looking through books will work for him the rest of school time.
18. N up!  Lunch. M makes her own sandwich while I prep mac and cheese. Kids surprised that they can have many choices. Blueberries, yogurt and granola as a side? Sure!  M says that was a bonus of the day. haha!
19. Do math. M begs to do more. She loves this system now that I figured it out better -- took me a bit with this one that includes lots of manipulatives, a CD, workbook, textbook and test book!
20. Kids earn some screen time. M plays abcya while C does a game on his kindle.
21. M & I make pumpkin bread to have as a snack.
22. I let the kids watch one TV show at the time I would be going to pick them up from school so I could type this! :)

And cut.

Big, BIG news!

We have some big news to share about which I am both completely excited and completely nervous.  We have made the decision to homeschool.  Just even typing that makes me nervous and excited all over again.  We have shared this with many people (it is hardest to share with our PCS family) and I know many are wondering why.  We have many, many reasons so I am going to share a bit about how we came to this decision and also a top ten list that are NOT the reasons we are homeschooling!

This fall I started to just have this nudge in my heart.  Homeschooling.  Homeschooling.  Homeschooling.  It was enough that I was like, "Um... is this from God?!  Is this a nudge from the Holy Spirit??!!  Should I, like, actually put some thought into this??"  So I started researching homeschooling.  I checked out books from the library and sought out info from friends who are currently homeschooling and also those who used to homeschool but don't any more.  I read the laws and regulations.  I checked out curriculum and resources.  The more I researched, prayed, listened and learned, the more I fell in love with this idea and felt like it might be the right decision for us.  Then one day M came home from school and said, "I think I want to homeschool."  UM, WHAT??!  I hadn't said anything to my kids AT ALL.  I was nervous something bad had happened at school to make her want to switch.  She said, "Oh!  I LOVE school!  I love PCS!  I just think it would be fun!"  So that made me renew my excitement.  Then we started ACTUALLY talking about it.  JJ feels like he has thought it would be a good idea all along, so he was 110% on board.  I shared it with other friends and even family members-- and everyone had positive feedback for me, which feels supernatural as well.  My Dad said something like, "I think this could be your best decision yet." I truly did not think everyone would be on board and that made me feel more and more confident in our decision.  I really am not going into this with crazy expectations.  While I believe this is the right decision for us at this time, that might change!  And we would be VERY HAPPY to head back to PCS when/if homeschooling becomes not right for us.

Now, without further ado, the NOT Top Ten Reasons we are Homeschooling:
10. I've been SO bored and need something new to do. (ha.  hahaha.)

9. Isolation Island. We just are not people, people, so we want to isolate ourselves. (wrong again!  We are very much hoping to stay connected with friends and even make new ones on this journey! We also plan to utilize many great community resources and hope to do some service projects we just haven't been able to do before.)

8. Control.  I just need to control every single second of my children's day.  (Well, I do value knowing what our children are exposed to!  However, I do hope that we learn together what schedule will work best for us -- and most likely I will learn a lot about patience and flexibility along the way too!)

7. I want to use my degrees (Elem Ed/Spanish/Special Ed), but am too lazy to put together my resume. (I am excited that I may be able to use some of the gifts and talents God has prepared in me through my background in education.  At the same time, I am excited to continue to be home with my little guys too!)

6. I just can NOT bear to have any of our children out of my sight for more than five minutes!  (LOL.  Um.  No.  Just no.  I love my kids, but this was definitely not a determining factor for homeschooling!)

5. I'm just so trendy.  (I've read some data in my research that states homeschooling is on the rise. I AM excited to connect with some great homeschooling groups such as REACH, and attend a homeschool convention or two.  HOWEVER, I have not begun this journey (which I definitely began reluctantly) because others are doing it!)

4. I'm tired of being Mater and Robin all by myself. (My time WILL look different - and I think I will miss having lots of 1:1 time with L - but I think a major benefit will be the kids strengthening their bonds with each other and I'm really looking forward to that! I can see M & L becoming big buddies and L & C love playing with each other - they just don't always have a chance to right now.)

3. I got tired of emptying the dishwasher. (Haha -- with all of us home, there will be MORE dishes on a daily basis.  But, I'm super excited to do some more practical learning like sewing, cooking, and yes, even working together to accomplish some housework along the way.)

2. I bought too many Lularoe leggings and just want to stay home all day and lounge around in them.  (Hope you found this one as funny as I did!  No??  Might just be me.  haha.  But seriously, I do not envision us sitting around all day.  I am excited for the "play with a purpose" and intentional but fun activities we can do to learn, grow and develop as life long learners!)

1. We don't like PCS, (This one just about breaks my heart.  I truly hope no one thinks this for one second.  We have LOVED PCS and LOVE the community that definitely feels more like a family.  We feel like each of our children's teachers has been hand picked for our kids.  It is so evident that the staff loves God, loves their job and knows each kid so well.  It is a wonderful feeling to know that your child is cared for, truly.  And I guess it is a good thing this tears at my heartstrings, because that means we were in a place we love!  In the end, I just remain certain we are called to do this at this time.)

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Mom Trip

This last weekend I went on a getaway to celebrate my sweet SIL's 40th birthday.  It was just moms (her sister, sisters-in-law on her side, and me) and we went to Universal Studios AKA Harry Potter World!  Leading up to the trip I was so anxious.  JJ was supposed to have the week off and ended up getting scheduled.  My Mom and Dad came and their patient reassurance should've been enough to calm my nerves.  One of the biggest wrenches in the plan for me was N baby.  He does not like a bottle or whole milk.  Also he goes back and forth with sleeping through the night.  How unfair is that --- leave him in the capable hands of my parents, who can't give him the one thing he thinks he needs.  UGH!!!  Plus the other irrational thought running through my brain is all this violence, all these tragedies.  What if??  WHAT IF.

But seriously friends, we can't live our lives like that!!  Thank you, Matthew 6:34 -- Therefore do not worry about tomorrow... All that worry was pointless.  There was nothing gained and if I had let it get to me, it could've made me miss out on all the fun waiting for me.

So anyways, I went on a weekend away.  And IT WAS SO FUN!!  The company was amazing, the park was a blast (even if I was the only one who REALLY LOVES ALL THE RIDES), and the food was on point (Toothsome Chocolate Emporium, anyone??!!!).  I missed my babies, but not in an overwhelming sad kind of way.  In the end, I truly feel like we needed some time away from each other to freshly appreciate one another.  Even if L told me I needed to GET OUT OF THE VAN AND GO BACK TO THE AIRPORT when I first saw him!

Moms-- do something just for you!!  (It doesn't even have to cost money or be a big trip [but bonus if it is!!]!)   You deserve it and if you're like me, you might just need it!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Baby N's birth story!

With each baby's birth, I found it so much fun to record the birth story.  I love hearing and sharing birth stories.  And I love reminiscing, especially on each child's birthday, about my children's birth stories.  SO, how is it that a little over a year after baby N entered the world that I still have not written his story out??!  Poor, poor fourth kid!  So the details may not be AS sharp as the others' stories, but the heart of the story remains the same.

Saturday, November 5th, 2016.
JJ was working, of course (he was on a medicine rotation -- same as when baby L was born!).  The three kids and I met up with the H family at a fun park.  It was a beautiful day, especially for November in MN/ND!  The kids played and played until supper time.  I was too tired to cook so we ate at Qdobas in MN.  Not sure if it was the spice, the time being on my legs, or what, but I started having contractions!  At Qdoba!  I remember C being a bit alarmed, but I assured him all was well.  We went home and I'm pretty sure the kids watched a show as I tried to clean up a few things and maybe get their clothes picked out ?  Can't remember if I went that far with prep!  I know MY bag was packed!  I put the kids to bed and reminded them about the plan we had been talking about for probably about a month (!): Auntie L or Grandma/Grandpa may one day be at our house in the morning or maybe will pick you up from school.  That just means that Mommy might be having the baby!  You will never be left alone - someone will always be there, but it just might not be Mommy!

JJ got home later that evening and I said, "We're going to have a baby tonight!"  It didn't seem like he necessarily believe me, but he decided to go to bed in the event that I woke him up.  I started tracking my contractions on my phone and alerted both LJ and my parents to my current activities.  I also looked up info on when to go to the hospital and the like.  My contracts were coming relatively intensely, but spaced out quite a bit around 9/10pm.  LJ said she would be sleeping with the phone by her bed and signed out.  My parents made the decision to come early Sunday morning, since we were in no way headed to the hospital at that time.

I kept timing my contractions until maybe 11pm and then decided I should try to sleep.  I would lay in bed and just crumple from the pain every maybe 10-12 minutes.  Around midnight I called the hospital.  The nurse said those dreaded (for me) words: "This is your fourth baby!  You know your body!  Generally we want contractions spaced more closely together for things to really be happening."  I just am always like, "NO!  I don't know!  I can't tell!!  Am I moving up in dilation??!  You tell me!!"  :)  So anyways, At around 1 am I told JJ that things were pretty intense and lasting a long time, but not consistently spaced close together - I feel like they were coming around every 5-6 minutes at that point.  He was like, well, according to the pamphlet, you don't need to go in yet, and rolled over to sleep some more.  UGHHHHHH.  I was on my knees in the livingroom, which felt like the most comfortable position for about another hour until I was like, "This is crazy.  We are going in."  I believe right around 2 (?) we called LJ and she rushed right over!  I was feeling like I would barely make it to the hospital.  We were living in MN at the time and didn't live all that far from the hospital, but I had probably a handful of contractions on the way.

It was the middle of the night (again -- see L's story) but I don't remember any crazy events getting to the floor this time.  Maybe I went with JJ into the parking garage and walked into the building with him?  In either case, by the time we got to the OB floor, the first nurse we talked to was the one who had answered my phone call earlier in the night.  She said, "OK!  Looks like you knew when to come in!"  No triage this time (thank goodness) and they got my set up in a room right away.  Contractions were definitely coming and I was fully effaced.  I can't remember exactly what I was dilated to.  I feel like it was 8 cm.  So, it was go time.  Also, it was Daylight Savings Time, so I remember they had to manually write everything in because my labor at home was an hour more than recorded based on the time on the clock.  They asked if I wanted an epidural and I said, "YES DEFINITELY."  (I always like that opinion to be known early and often -- see M's story).  The anesthesiologist (maybe nurse anesthetist?) came up and gave me two options.  They could do an epidural OR an intrathecal instead.  She went over pros and cons of both.  And my nurse was discussing it with me as well.  Based on all the info, I felt like the inrathecal would be my best bet.  They prepped for the procedure as I was about a 9 at that time.  And. then. nothing.  ALL my labor stopped.  No more contractions (not just that I wasn't feeling them, but they were nonexistant).  The nurse felt SO BAD.  She felt like she had talked me into this and it had not been the right decision.  She was supposed to be on her meal break, but came in thinking of another thing we could try.  We tried different positions, the bean thing to help everything drop, etc. etc. etc. Nothing.  At all.  The intrathecal (I believe) was supposed to last a little over an hour and that came and went.  I was comfortable and baby's heartrate was fine, everything just STOPPED.  I almost cried.  Actually I might have and just don't remember?!  :)  Well, THEN the contractions started again and I felt the full brunt of them going from nothing to NINE CM DILATED CONTRACTIONS!  I felt woozy and not quite sure I could do this.  My blood pressure dropped very low, SO they gave me a saline drip and an epidural.

Shortly after that commotion, the nurse said, "Why don't you try a practice push." and then "STOP!!!" She called the doctor, I pushed about two times, and baby came into the world at 5:23 am on November 6th!!  JJ said, "This baby has a ton of hair!!  Do you still think baby is a girl???"  I was absolutely convinced this baby WAS a girl!!  BUT, we are so, so blessed that baby NAJ is a wonderful and fun BOY!!  He was our biggest baby by far, weighing in at 8 lbs, 5 oz (a pound and an ounce over the next biggest sib) and 20 3/4 inches!  He was a great eater from the start and loved to be bundled up and cuddled!  He has fun, little curls and BIG beautiful brown eyes!  He is ours and we love him so!  JJ cuddled him, loved him, then took a shower and went up one floor to work.  (sad face).  We were discharged from the hospital the following day (Monday, Nov 7th) and N even had his first photoshoot in the hospital AND at home with Nikki Englund!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Chalking it up to a Good Morning.

+ Got a shower this morning
+ Brushed my teeth this morning {neither of which happened yesterday morning...}
- C locked himself out of his room.  Just to be a stinker.  With all of his clothes AND the library books/movies that were due today.
+ I figured out how to unlock the door.  By myself... and youtube...
+ Made blueberry banana bread.  And it is yummy. This MAY turn out to be a - ...
-/+ L was only happy when being held this morning (which made for lots of baby snuggles), but did sleep through library story time and is still currently sleeping in his carseat carrier (you decide if this is a + or - !)

Apple Chips... made easier...

AJ & LJ's (bro- and sis-in-law) neighbors have a crazy producing apple tree.  One day they sent niecey LJ over to ask if they could pick some apples.  The neighbors said they wanted to pick first and then they would let them have at it.  The neighbors got all they wanted and then sent us crazy Js over.  I just can't even tell you how many apples were picked but it was a ton.  Our kids got in on the action and had a grand time.  AJ & LJ shared some apples with us, and kept a bunch for themselves, making things like apple butter, applesauce and apple chips.  JJ didn't want to do any of those things and just wanted to eat them.  I let him have at them for a while, but it didn't seem like they would get eaten fast enough and I didn't want them to go to waste, so yesterday I decided I was making apple chips, which, in my opinion was the easiest option!  :)

I could NOT find our mandolin slicer, so I resorted to one of our other "slicing" products.  Kinda sad that we have multiple options, but if you know anything about JJ, you probably know that he is a gadget kind of guy.  And he loves to cook.  Ok, two things about him!  But put them together and we have A LOT of random kitchen gadgets.

I got out our apple peeler-corer-slicer.  After wrangling it a bit, CJ and I figured out how to make it peel the apples, but we could not figure out how to make it core the things or slice them for that matter.  It took me a looong time (well a lot longer than it should have) to put them through the peeler, then core them, and then slice them by hand.  THEN put them in a lemon water bath.  And THEN put them in the dehydrator.  TOO much input what seemed like not "enough" output.

I told JJ all about this last night when he was home.  He looked at me incredulously.  He took one look at the peeler-corer-slicer thingy, flipped up a little knobby, and even moved the handle back into position with another flip of another lever (rather than hand crank it as CJ & I had done all morning)...  UGH.  We could've saved SO MUCH TIME!

Today in about 10 minutes I had a second batch of apples ready to go.  So.  Should I count this as a fail?  No.  I am not.  I learned something new and will be much more willing to tackle those apples next time!  

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Baby #3 - the Birth Story! Part 2 - The REST of the story

At about 4:15 I was getting crazy contractions.  I had a lot of trouble breathing through them (huh... maybe I should've taken a baby class after all) and enlisted JJ for help.  We started timing them and they were anywhere from 5-7 minutes apart.  I struggled walking, breathing, talking.  Yup.  I finally realized what real labor felt like!  At this point, I think I started punching JJ, too.  He just seemed so lax about it.  I was like I'm over here struggling and he's like, well... so.... yeah... I think that was about 6 minutes.  Huh.  Ok... PUNCH.  PUNCH.  PUNCH.  At about 5:30 am we woke up my Mom and headed to the hospital.  I struggled breathing through several contractions on the way. JJ dropped me off at a door close to the elevator we needed and said to go sit in the little waiting area they had.  He parked the car and came as fast as he could, but in the meantime, I was hit by two very strong contractions.

I ended up doubled over a fire hydrant breathing one out.  A gentleman doing deliveries at the hospital came running over asking how he could help.  I was able to communicate that I was having a contraction and that my husband was just parking the car.  A gal who was with him ran and got me a wheelchair and got me to the little lobby.  She was NOT very happy that I was alone, but the guy with her said my husband was on his way from parking the car.  There was another guy waiting in the lobby and the delivery gal told him, "If anything happens, just get this lady up to the 4th floor!"  His eyes got about as huge as saucers!  It was kind of funny.  I assured him my husband would be there any second!  And then I did see JJ on his way.

Back up the the 4th floor we went and we saw the same nurse.  She took one look at me and admitted me.  Pronto.  I remember thinking, "See!  I really am in labor!  I wasn't lying!"  Another nurse and a nurse following her took over and got me all hooked up.  Baby's heartrate looked great.  Contractions were definitely coming.  They checked me and I was a 7.  Progress!!!!!  But, baby hadn't dropped quite yet, so I think I was a +2 (or -2... whichever one means baby is NOT there yet).  JJ continued to help me breathe and the head nurse with me helped too.  I have found that I NEED encouragement during those times.  Having her say, "You can do this.  Breathe in through your nose.  Out through your mouth.  You're doing it.  Good job!"  was VITAL to my successful delivery.  I remember asking her to do it, too!  "Would you please keep saying those things to me?!!" I yelled one time.

I said that I did INDEED want an epidural.  By the time the anesthesiologist was able to get all hooked up, I was at a 9, so probably I could've just sucked it up and gone without it, but I think it just made things so much more peaceful at the end.  I had two contractions while the Dr. put in my epidural and they were amazed at how stoic I was.  The nurse was like, "She was NOT kidding.  She WANTED that epidural!!"  :)  Yup.  So then it was pretty much just smooth sailing.  Phew.  A new shift came on at 7, so they rechecked me - and there again was a nurse and someone following the nurse.  They said they like people who are learning to try to judge dilation, effacement and what stage the baby is at when ladies have epidurals.  Learn away my friends.  I couldn't feel it!  :)  When baby had dropped (maybe about 8:15 am), they had me do a few practice pushes and same as with CEJ, they were like, "STOP!!  We need to call the doctor."  I told them I was feeling a little light headed so they took my blood pressure.  It was 88/48 (I generally have low blood pressure, but that was quite low even for me).  They ran a bag of saline through and in the meantime the doctor showed up.

We waited for a contraction to push, but then he said, "You know what?  The baby is RIGHT there.  Why don't you just push?"  I pushed and out came the baby at 8:40 am!!  JJ took a peek and said, "Baby has tons of hair!  What do you think??  Boy or girl?!"  The hair threw me off because MVJ had so much hair, but I still thought it was a boy.  Ta-da!  Baby BOY made his arrival and he really is a sweet mixture of M & C.  Out at 8:40 and nursing by 9 am.  Our first visitors at about 9:30 because JJ's parents were still in town, but ready to leave for home.  Good thing they waited another day!  :)  We were able to have so many visitors this time since we are close to family.  It was really fun and really special.  The kids did awesome meeting Mr. LWJ and have been excited, helpful, and on Cloud 9 since meeting him.  We are so blessed! 

Baby #3 - The Birth Story! Part 1 - the build up

I just have to write about my deliveries.  I always think I'll remember all the details... and of course there are some that I never forget... but some that I do.  I love looking back and reading about each baby's special day.

This particular story begins on Thursday, October 9th.  At my doctor's appointment, my doctor said I was a "loose 3 cm dilated" and fully effaced.  At 37 weeks, I was 1 1/2 cm and 60%.  Then at 38, I was 3 cm and 70%.  So there was clear progression every week.  My doctor said she could strip my membranes if I wanted.  I wanted.  I mean, not that it is awesome to go through with a membrane stripping, but I was READY to meet this kiddo!  Plus, JJ has an easier rotation (schedule wise) this month, so the sooner this baby came, the more Daddy help was available for longer!  See, makes sense, right?  My doctor said that it doesn't work every time, but IF it works, delivery usually occurs within 72 hours.  I put my family on standby!  JJ happened to leave his cellphone at home so I couldn't contact him to just casually tell him.  (AJ, JJ's brother, DID give me the info on how to go about contacting JJ if I REALLY REALLY needed to!)  I figured with my "luck", Thursday would be the day since I couldn't get ahold of JJ as easily.  (When he got home for the day, he said I didn't have to reprimand him because he had heard about it ALL day from nurses and colleagues who couldn't believe he had forgotten his cell phone THAT day!)

Ok, so I started feeling quite crampy throughout the morning, which I read was a normal thing with getting membranes stripped (yes I read up on it afterwards...)  :).  Also, I should mention that JJ's parents were in town because his Dad had hip surgery Monday, October 6th.  He was released from the hospital on Wednesday, but he encouraged him to stay a little while longer before getting on the road for home.  Our house is one level, so his parents were staying at our house.  JJ was at work.  AJ was with his parents as my FIL CJ recovered.  My SIL LJ had my son CJ [dang, all these initials are getting tricky!] while I had my doctor appointment and we met up at CJ's gymnastics.  I continued to have more and more cramps and some contractions as well.  My Mom said she had her bags packed.  :)

Alright, so with all of the above going on, AJ and LJ brought up having JJ's parents stay at a hotel.  The boys (AJ and JJ at this point) helped settle them in and we ended up getting pizza and the kiddos had an absolute blast swimming in the hotel pool.  So now, AJ is staying at the hotel to help his parents if needed.  LJ is home with her kiddos (and, thankfully, her Dad DJM came to town for Grandparents Day at our kiddos' school).  JJ and I are hanging out that evening.  I start having contractions.  I had a hard time kind of figuring stuff out because while it was my 3rd pregnancy, it was my only "normal" going into labor situation.  We had NO idea what was going on with MVJ.  We induced with CEJ.  I started timing and it seemed like there was about 2 minutes between contractions, but they weren't intense.  So I was confused.  There were SOME intense ones, but for the most part, I was still busy around the apartment making sure M was set for school the next day, throwing in a load of laundry, cleaning up from the swimming, etc.  I ended up calling the Birth Center at about 9:45 pm.  They suggested taking a bath, walking around, seeing if things slowed down or got more intense.  They said to call back in about an hour, but assured me that I could come in whenever I felt like I needed to.

I called LJ at around 10 pm just because I wanted her to have a chance to prepare if she wanted to.  She started prepping lunch for her kiddos and informing her Dad that he was going to get all 3 kids up and ready for school the next morning!  :)  I owe DJ big time!  :)  I called my parents and they thought initially that they would get up and come right away in the morning.  Then they called later and said they were on their way!  I gave them LJ's number and then LJ came over.  We chatted for a while and she suggested timing the contractions again (by they way at this point, JJ was attempting to get some rest to prep for his day ahead!).  The contractions were again about 2 minutes apart, but not very intense - or certainly not regular with intensity - some were more intense, but definitely not every one.  She suggested we head in to the hospital.

We got JJ up and headed in.  I walked in and I could tell the nurses were doubtful.  They hooked me up in a "triage" room.  They got baby on the heart monitor and the heartbeat was great.  There were some contractions here and there, but again, they were not very "intense" on the monitor.  The nurse checked me and I had NOT progressed from that morning.  I was super bummed out.  She said that happens with stripped membranes - the cramping feels like you are progressing, but you might not be.  I seriously, seriously felt so let down.  I felt guilty for calling my parents and LJ.  I felt like I didn't even know my own body and didn't know anything about real labor.  I thought JJ had a big "I told you so" coming (he was really very great about it though and assured me that no one was mad at or disappointed with me).  They continued monitoring me and I believe in about 30-45 minutes checked me again.  No progression so they sent us home.  Oh, worst story ever, right?  That's the one thing you don't want to happen -- going to the hospital and getting sent home.  Yuck.

We ended up getting to our place the same time my parents did!  We all walked into our apartment to a VERY surprised LJ.  (I had texted her, but she was sound asleep - which I was very glad about.)  She went home (so thankfully DJ wasn't completely on his own in the morning!) and we all headed to bed. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Book List: Classics

I am happy to report that we had read several of the classics on our Kindergarten Book List.  Of course, we had read Madeline and Curious George.  Who hasn't?  And for the record, they are both favorites. 

We also own Swimmy, which is a cute story with beautiful pictures about a fish who problem solves so that he doesn't get eaten by a bigger fish! 

The kids enjoyed Make Way for Ducklings, which is such a sweet classic written in 1941 and The Story of Ferdinand, which was completely new to us.  This classic from 1936 is about a bull who is a sweet, mild fellow.  The bull fighter crew comes to pick a bull for a big festival and gentle Ferdinand happens to sit on a bee and gets stung.  He becomes the roughest, toughest bull in the herd and gets picked immediately.  Will he perform in the arena?  You'll have to read it to find out.  :)

We happened to check out Joseph Had a Little Overcoat as a book with CD and were so glad we did.  The author reads the story, of course, but then also sings it as a song in both English and Yiddish.  This is a great story, but I would say I prefer the same folktale retold as Something from Nothing.   

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Pecan Honey Chicken

I was at a total loss for meal ideas last week.  I literally had no go to meals that sounded amazing to me besides our weekly mac and cheese tradition (have I mentioned I can be worse than the kids in the food variety department?).  Usually in this case, I go to my Pinterest boards or the binder of recipes I made, but I decided instead to dust off my Grandma's (Dad's Mom) family's cookbook.  This cookbook was put together probably ten or so years ago and has some great recipes from some great people!  I dove in and found this little gem that came together so well and was very yummy - JJ said the chicken was a bit dry (always my downfall -- I am crazy weird about making so sure chicken is cooked that I USUALLY overcook it.) but otherwise he loved it.  C of course ate a helping and a half and M tried it and didn't hate it.  Win-win-win!

From my family to yours - enjoy this Pecan Honey Chicken!  *Note- I halved the recipe and we had just enough leftovers for one lunch portion.  I served it with rice.

6 skinned chicken breasts                        1 c flour
1/2 c butter                                               1 tsp baking powder
1 egg                                                        2 tsp salt
1/2 c milk                                                 2 tsp sesame seeds
Honey                                                      2 TBSP chopped pecans

Melt butter in baking dish.  Mix egg and milk for dipping.  Mix dry ingredients together.  Dip chicken in milk and egg.  Coat with flour mixture.  Drizzle additional melted butter and honey over chicken pieces in pan.  Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.  Turn chicken; drizzle with honey and bake for 20-30 minutes more. 

Ready (or not) for Baby!

In the last week or so, here are a few things we've accomplished:

  • crib put together, including fresh washed bedding
  • new to us glider rocker in the room
  • closets organized and a bunch of craft stuff donated to M's Kindergarten (yippee!  So glad someone will use it!)
  • co-sleeper assembled, sheets for it washed, still trying to decide layout of our room!
  • diaper bag put together - including tiny, tiny diapers!
  • hospital bag packed -- all except my toothbrush and contact case!
  • helpful hints for taking care of our two older children - including things like activity time schedule, bedtime routine, useful addresses, etc. emailed to my Mom & Dad
  • backups confirmed for our kiddos in the event of imminent labor!
  • house cleaned - including random things like rugs
  • an Old Navy shopping spree where I bought exactly three outfits... of both genders!  I did realize that not finding out the sex of the baby was good for me - I would've bought WAY MORE things throughout this pregnancy that we really did not need since we already have a boy and girl.
  • read up on labor signs in the What To Expect Book that I actually have never read... third time's a charm?  
  • discussed with my doctor what to do/where to go (again, third baby, but different cities/hospitals every time!)
Yup, I think we're "ready".  Bring on baby!