Thursday, April 26, 2012

April 26 Through the Years

Just thought I'd look back on what I was blogging and thinking about on (or around) other April 26ths. Here they are in case you are interested.

2007--whoa!! Five whole years ago!! How things have changed. My blog was really, really new and I had a 3 year old and a 7 year old.

Wife, Then Mother

2008--After nearly a year being home, I had some thoughts about the changes God had brought about in our family. I admit in this post that the revisions were NOT over. BOY was I right!! (Or should I say girl?)

An Update on Our Story

2009--Goodness, this post was just full of disasters. Swine Flu, floods, rabbit poop,'s all there. I remember all this like it was yesterday instead of 3 years ago. Wow.

Eating at Home: It's Not Just for the Frugal Anymore

2010--Sigh. One of my most favorite camping trips EVER. We had just gotten home and I posted pictures. Could that really have been 2 years ago? The girls have grown so much.

We Washed the Car When We Got Home Because I Wasn't Ready to Be Inside

2011--Oh last April. Also known as The Time of the Really Bad Tics. Before we found Natural Calm. Not especially good memories, but I'm still glad I wrote it down. I love that brave little girl who lives with those tics every single day.

In the Parking Lot at Church

Thanks for walking down memory lane with me! If you are a long-time reader and friend, you may have remembered some of these. If you are a new reader and friend, maybe you learned a little more about me. Can't believe I've been blogging this long. (And still haven't run out of things to say--ahem.)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Productive Insomnia

From 4:00am until about 5:30am this is what I did:

1. Made and ate a snack. (graham crackers with peanut butter and a cup of milk)
2. Read my Bible.
3. Made a to do list.
4. Chatted on Facebook with some friends who were also enjoying insomnia.

If we had a bigger house, or a different floor plan, I could do more useful things in the night. It's OK though.

Little Bit has been having an increase in tics this week. And a bit of anxiety (bad dreams, some "I don't feel good" complaints, and some tears.) I'm sure it's the anxiety of not really knowing when or how the whole "baby is coming" will play out. Will it be in the middle of the night? Will it happen during the day? How much longer? How many days will mom be in the hospital? I'm trying to keep us on a regular schedule (even though nothing these last 9 months has been very regular!) to help her out.

Honestly I'm having the same thoughts! But I've walked this road before and she never has.

She and I will be going to bed early tonight as we both lost sleep last night.

And sleep makes everything better, right? :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The New Low and Standing on My Head

I called my mom and asked her if she was itching to do some laundry today.

Yes, I did.

And laundry is her THING. It's what she does. So, even though I really wanted someone to come clean my kitchen, laundry was the best thing I could ask of my mom.

Now S can have clothes to wear tomorrow to work!

AND the girls and I went grocery shopping this morning, so he can have lunch as well!

Of course, when we got home I had to take a nap. In the morning. There may have been drooling involved.

So...I found out yesterday at my appointment (the one where I was waiting to hear, "Wow! Baby has dropped! You are totally making progress! It's going to be any day now! Way to sit on that birthing ball all weekend!") that baby was breech. A double footling breech, no less. She HAD been head down for quite some time.

That was not really what I wanted to hear. I came home and asked for prayers from friends who starting praying up a storm. I also researched and spent a great deal of the day laying and sitting and kneeling in all kinds of crazy positions. We went for a walk. I rubbed my stomach in a downwards direction.

And then, just as I was falling asleep around 11pm, she turned. Somehow. I don't know if she's head-down now, but I do know she flipped and flopped and moved around some way or other. I felt like I needed to hold on to something! Mercy! I really hope she's turned the right way now. I honestly can't tell. I go back to the doctor on Monday--if there is no labor before then.

So, in summary: My daughter was breech, but now she may not be. We have food and soon we will have clean clothes.

I call it "Nesting Through Others."

Monday, April 23, 2012

Some Bullets for Your Monday

*I have been feeling restless, irritable, and antsy all weekend. Impending labor signs? Or just life? I don't know, but I felt the need to start making a for-real-let's-get-some-things-done to do list at 5:45 this morning. I have an appointment at 10:30 this morning. We'll see what they say...

*We went to the beach yesterday. Will that be the last time before baby? I was really tired when we got home, but it was fun.

*I really would like to take a few days off of school to just get things done. I'll think about it. I guess it depends what I find out at the doctor today. It would be nice to do since school takes up around 1/2 a day (either my morning or my afternoon) and I never seem to get everything done that needs doing in one day.

*I'm so thankful for this weather! Having a baby in the spring is very nice. It's pretty outside and not too hot--even here in Texas! Our garden is looking beautiful!

*We have a new-to-us couch and I like it. It matches our other new-to-us furniture in the living room and it's comfy. But it's lower than our old couch and hard to get off of right now. Anyway, I read that relaxing on the couch (read: slumped) is a good way to have baby turned the wrong way and have back labor. I've had that with both girls and it wasn't fun. So, I borrowed my mom's exercise ball and I've been sitting on that. Wow. Found some muscles I didn't know existed and it for sure is "opening up my pelvis" as it is supposed to do because my hips have been popping and cracking like crazy since I borrowed the ball. Also it makes my back feel better. Just need to find a way to deflate and get the ball into the hospital and inflated again for labor. I asked when we toured the hospital and the nurse acted like she had never heard of such a thing. So, I asked if I could bring my own ball and she said, "sure." Shook my confidence in this hospital a bit, but it's the only place my doctor delivers so...perhaps I will educate them some?

*I really thought I would have a few things to say that were NOT related to birth, labor, or baby. Obviously not. That's how distracted I am lately. I am focused and everything, even paying a bill, is related to "getting ready." I really hope it's sooner rather than later!!!

And I'm sure my blog readers do too!!!!


Brenda, who used to talk about many topics

Friday, April 20, 2012

Looking Ahead..WAY Ahead

Happens every year. Most of us homeschool Moms start planning and looking ahead to next year before THIS year is quite over. It's perfectly normal. And WAY more fun than finishing THIS year!

I've been on Pinterest lately pinning summer activities for the girls. I imagine we won't be going a lot of places for a while, and I still want them to have some fun. Working on that.

Also, it's fun to look ahead to next year. It's time we are writing off those things that did not go so well this year and looking for how we can improve in those areas. Pinterest is good for that too!

We won't actually finish the year up before baby comes, so I can't start packing away this year's materials just yet. Well, actually I don't pack them away, but rather organize them and put them neatly out of sight in the cabinet. We'll have some finishing to do over the summer.

So here's some things I'm doing (or will do) to get ready for summer and next school year:

1. Straighten up the homeschool cabinet. Sigh. It doesn't look like that ^ anymore!

2. Go through our library shelves and pull books that I think Little Bit can read to me over the summer. I'm delighted to find a lot of books I choose too easy for her! Oh, it's still good for her to read them but she just flies through them with little to no help so I know they aren't at her instructional level.

3. Make sure the girls' rooms are clean and organized. Messy rooms are no fun to play in and when you can't find all your toys that go together, you won't play with them. Also, doing one last sweep through their rooms will ensure they are easier for the girls to keep up with on their own.

4. Get things a little more organized in the laundry room. We all know that laundry can de-rail anything...the summer, next year, everyday life. If the laundry is out of control, life is out of control too!

5. Get a chore system figured out for the summer. I know I will need extra help for a while with a newborn in the house and the girls are very capable of helping, but I'd like to not have to think about it so much later on. Better to have some sort of a plan now. I'd like it to almost be a schedule thing--like we do this certain thing on Mondays, etc.

6. Most importantly, plan for fun! There are tons of ideas online for free things to do in the summer with your kiddos. I want fun, learning, and most of all, for them to NOT just wander around being bored while I'm taking care of the new baby. Best to have some ideas in place beforehand, right?

What are you doing to get ready for summer and next year? 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

In Which I Ignore the Things I HAVEN'T Done and Only Share the Good Stuff

There isn't enough lap for the laptop anymore. Just thought I'd share.

Y'all know I like to share pictures when there has been progress. I don't always feel compelled to share when the dishes are stacked all over the kitchen and we have to dig spoons out of the sink and wash them on an as-needed basis.

Not that we have ever done that, mind you. It's just that I HEAR sometimes people's houses get that bad.

With 3 1/2 weeks left, I know it's time to get with it around here. So, I finished the wall art in the "nursery." The big owl picture will later have baby's name, weight, and birth date stitched on it.

I was very proud of myself for hanging these. I don't "do" not symmetrical well. "Random" and I are not friends.

Except in conversation, of course.

Ready to go! See the quilt folded in the co-sleeper? My aunt sent that to me this week. She made it AND hand-quilted it! Her machine wasn't working, so my cousin (who teaches home ec. in the same town) brought a machine from her school. It kept puckering everything so finally she just hand-quilted it. I love it. Every new baby should have a special blanket or quilt.

I also got the checkbook updated, but that's not really exciting or picture-worthy, you know?

And I DID get those dishes washed. All of them.

Now we're working on the laundry.

And packing our bags.

We're having some fun too. Friday we met some friends for lunch at the park. Mama needed some adult conversation. That is one thing I miss about working. My students used to beg me to eat lunch with them and I always refused. "I'm a better teacher when I eat with my friends," I would tell them. "Trust me." The same can be said for moms.

Picture courtesy H-Mama.  See that 18" doll Little Bit is holding? SIX DOLLARS at a consignment sale. SCORE!

And tomorrow we will go on our last field trip before baby. Wasn't sure I would make this one as it's so close to my due date, but Carrie said she would drive and I really, really wanted Little Bit to get to go on this one. See, 3 years ago or so, we had a "one room school house" field trip to go on. The girls were so excited. My sister took the day off work and pulled her girls out of school to come along. My mom was coming too. We were all looking forward to it and then Little Bit's birthday that same weekend.

And then she woke up with 103 fever and the flu. She STILL talks about missing that field trip. (Everyone else went.) So when I heard about this one, which also features a little "one room school house" action, I knew I wanted to try to go. So we don't have to spend so much on therapy for the poor little dear one day.

I predict I will be VERY tired after that tomorrow, so I better get some more stuff done around here today!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Desperate and Tired = Desperately Tired!

Twenty-seven days left and I'm feeling that desperate "I've got to get this over with" feeling already! Well, I was last night anyway. I think I was just really, really tired.

I'm still tired today, by the way. Thank you, thunderstorm at 4 am.

Sweetheart went with me to the grocery store yesterday. I was really glad to have her there too as she pushed the basket for me. (buggy, cart) Ug. I can't imagine I have to go weekly grocery shopping three or four more times!! It's so tiring. (Are you sensing a theme here? Brenda is tired!)

I hope to have the "nursery" complete this week and post pictures. I have several other things I would like to have "complete" this week too. Heck, I would like to complete anything! I feel like I have 400 loose ends all the time. Which makes me feel....never mind.

We did have fun this weekend! We had so much trouble finding a parking space at the beach last weekend, that we decided to get up early and go on Saturday. So at 7:00am we rolled out of the driveway. It was incredibly windy and rough at the beach, but we had the WHOLE place to ourselves minus some surfers and people walking their dogs.

Yeah...the lens was incredibly dirty. Salt water + wind.

Then, on Sunday morning, S went out to put the potluck casserole in the car and smelled gasoline really badly. He opened the garage door and wow! The smell about knocked you down. It took about 20 minutes to find the source (because there wasn't really a puddle on the ground). Turns out one of his lawn mowers was leaking. The dangerous part was our hot water heater is located in the garage. I had a friend whose house blew up when painters left the door open to the utility room where their hot water heater was. Blew the roof up and set it back down. And, since we like the current location of our roof, needless to say, we were very late to church.

So. A little fun. A little excitement. It's all good.

Did I mention 27 more days?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Ready to Read?

One of my most favorite things I learned in college (besides my excellent grammar), was about reading readiness signs in children. I took a course called "Early Literacy", as my degree was in Early Childhood, and just loved that course. I didn't love all the projects we had to do....but I did enjoy what I learned.

I did my student teaching in 1st grade and Pre-K. Pre-Kindergarten was awesome because we got to wear dockers and Keds in a day and age where everyone still wore heels and hose to teach in. Yep, that's the important stuff right there.

Anyway, at that age (4-5), one of the "tests" they gave the kids was exactly what I had learned about in college. It was called "Draw a Man." They gave the kiddos a piece of paper and a pencil or crayon and asked them to draw a man. (or person) Then they repeated that test at the end of the year. Was it an art test? Nope. It's a reading readiness assessment. I student taught in the spring, but got to go through and look at the beginning of year assessment pictures. What I learned in college certainly held true in that Pre-K classroom.

Basically the research shows that how much detail a child puts in their drawing of a person is an indicator of how ready they are to tackle the skill of reading. For example, if a child just has a big face with eyes, nose, and mouth? Not so ready. When they start adding details such as the correct number of fingers, eyebrows, etc....then they are ready. Also, the presence of a "baseline" is an indicator. That is when they draw a "floor" under their person instead of just drawing them floating on the page. want to go assess your children's drawings, don't you? Go ahead! It's fun!!

Yesterday, Little Bit drew a picture for me while we were running errands and it got me to thinking about this again. If you remember, we just completed "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" back in December just after her 8th birthday. She is reading now. And here is her picture from yesterday:

Yep. Research holds true. Because here is a picture she drew when she was four years old:

What a difference, huh? So see, I could have told you when she was four that reading instruction did NOT need to begin when she was five. If her drawing is an indicator of readiness...she wasn't! (We did work on phonics and reading instruction when she was 5, but not hard-core.) The above picture is from a book called "Wiggles" that she wrote. The word "Wiggles" was written from right to left and each Wiggle was drawn with the correct color of crayon. Oh how I loved her ball people.

But see? The man is floating on the page. And there is very little detail. They say children draw those ball people because the head/face is an important feature they notice about other people and when they look down, they see their legs. So those are the parts that get included first. You will often see "feet" or "shoes" be added and also details on the head, before other details begin to emerge. Oh I just love analyzing children's drawings over time!

Of course, it's just research and there are plenty of children who probably blow this theory right out of the water. But, it's really fun to watch over time as their drawings become more detailed and mature and their reading ability climbs with it.

Have fun looking back at your child's drawings now!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

What's the Opposite of Minimalist?

We live in a smaller home than we used to. We brought Sweetheart and Little Bit home from the hospital to our old home. The bigger one. I was happy when we down-sized. Really, I was. that we are adding a new, teeny-tiny person to our family, well.....


I was very determined to keep it simple. My registry was short and sweet (I thought). There were only 30 something items on my registry and a lot of those were little things like baby shampoo and powder and diaper ointment and bibs. Little stuff. Really...I wasn't extravagant.

But then I had a baby shower. Cool! Things we needed! And then the ladies at church also threw me a baby shower. OK. We go to a really small church. Like, 30-40 people! I wasn't expecting many gifts from the church shower. Well.

My living room is FULL of baby items today. I feel so blessed! Seriously, all our big items were given to us and we won't be having to spend money on those things. VERY blessed!!


What do I DO with all of it???

See, at our old house, I had a little kitchen cabinet by the back door that was separate from all the other kitchen cabinets. That was the "baby cabinet." Now I have sippy cups and baby bowls sitting on my counter and no idea where to put them. I had places for all the baby items at our old house. Here? I have no plan.

Our dining room table fits 4 little chairs around it just perfectly. now we have to add a chair for the high chair to sit in.

Gotta clean out the trunk of the car to fit the stroller.

Gotta squeeze the kidlets in the car in order for a car sear to fit in there.

Gotta find a place to hang or set a diaper bag.

Where will I put the boppy? The bouncy chair? Our living room is tight.

OK. I know not all of that is NECESSARY. I read the minimalist parent lists and I know from experience that I am not going to operate on THAT sparse of a list. But really, I know space is tight and I was trying to keep it simple.

Looking at my living room right now, you'd never know it. it becomes even MORE IMPORTANT to declutter and keep mess out of this house. Keeping things picked up and put away is vital now. I need to be thinking: Little House on the Prairie simple. (But with A/C)

I know some of you are laughing at me. ONLY 3 kids and she's freaking out about fitting everyone? Puhleeze. What an amateur.

It's true. But hopefully by the end of today I will have found a new home for all this stuff.

And then I'll go spend those gift cards we got. Hee hee.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My Day Alone

I mentioned that yesterday some friends took the girls for the day. They were picked up at 9:15 to go on their adventure and I found myself all by myself for the first time in....I have no clue. A long time. Well, sometimes I run to the store when S is home or the girls are at Grandma and Grandpa's for a few minutes. But all day? Unheard of!

So what does one DO all day by themselves?

1. Out the door for my 35 week appointment. It was strange walking into the doctor's office without them as they have been at every single appointment with me so far. The nurses and staff kept asking where the girls were. Well, now that there is undressing involved at the remaining appointments, they are finished coming thankyouverymuch. Mama has some limits.

Blurry 35 week picture in my still-messy room. 
2. On the way home, despite the news that I had successfully gained 3 pounds in one week, I felt the need to stop at Sonic for a little drink. Then on to home to be productive.

3. Wander around a little bit. There is so much to be done! And no one is going to need anything from me! What should I do????

4. Read Bible. (good choice!) Loving the You Version app on my phone!

5. Strip all beds and start washing sheets.

6.  Clean our bedroom. Those three little words took several hours, mind you. I vacuumed, wiped, dusted, threw out, straightened, etc. The whole smash.

7.  Sort through sheets. We have SO many sets of sheets. Most of them we didn't even buy. I'm not sure we bought any of them, actually. But after a Facebook conversation about storing sheets, I decided it was time to seriously pare down. Now everyone has 2 sets (one winter, one summer) stored in their room and one set on their bed. Huge pile to donate in floor. Whew!

8. Eat lunch. Here is where I felt a little lonely. Who would've thought? I thought I'd watch a little something on Netflix while I ate but I found that nothing looked good. I think I have almost totally forgotten how to watch TV.

9. Oh, and through all this work I panted a lot. And had a lot of Braxton Hicks. But seeing as how the news at the doctor clearly indicated that baby is not coming ANY time soon, I didn't worry about doing too much and just kept going.

10.  Bake cookies. (Translation: break cookie dough apart and put on cookie sheet. Insert in oven.) You didn't picture me doing that from scratch, did you?

11.  2:00 Our bathroom and bedroom are totally clean! Clean sheets on bed. Everything. :)

I even organized inside the cabinets!
The nursery is still a little junky. I've got shower gifts stored here for now. And the hospital bag all ready to be packed. And a little craft project laying in the bed. 

12. Sit on couch for an hour with laptop and rest. (And eat several cookies!)

13. 3:15 Go pick up girls.

It was a good day. Thank you, B & A for taking the girls swimming. They had a blast! And this mama feels better to have a little order restored to the house. And OK, having the day off of school was nice too!

Oh but there is more to do!! And now that my minions are back, they will be helping. Mwhahaha!

Monday, April 9, 2012

I Want to Be an Encouragement...

...but I'm not feeling it.

The end of this pregnancy (and I suppose the end of any pregnancy) is hard. Oh I am not complaining--I feel very, very blessed to be pregnant and am excited about our new addition. But the third trimester, no matter how much you have longed for it, is not a day at the circus, you know?

I wish people could click over here and be all inspired in their walk with the Lord, to be better homemakers and mothers, to be excellent at homeschooling...

I'd like to be that person that encourages other women in their roles. But right now? I feel like the worst example in history. I need to read my Bible more. I feel kind of discouraged. My emotions are...well, hormonal, which makes me crabby and short-tempered and not feeling like a super Christian AT ALL. I don't always act on how I feel, but oh boy, inside I'm feeling it.

I'm tired. Insomnia has come back to visit and I'm sick sick sick of waking up in the middle of the night. Our house is too small for me to get up and do anything productive either without waking everyone up. Even the sound of this keyboard at 5:30am sounds like a thousand cattle stampeding through the house.

I feel behind on everything. I cannot tell you the last time my kitchen was all the way clean. I hate even walking in there because dirty dishes are always there to greet me. No matter how many paper plates I buy. There is always laundry, of course, and there are always messes. This is normal, real life but it feels overwhelming to this mama who just wants everything in order.

School is actually not going too badly. I mean, besides the subjects that we have just dropped for the remainder of the year, we are keeping up. That ambitious plan I made a few weeks ago is working out. We are all ready to be finished, of course. Don't know exactly when that will be and that's a bummer to not know.

I don't feel very encouraged that baby will come early. Goodness knows my other ones have not been early. But then, my other ones did not cause me to get up in the night during my 3rd trimester to puke. (I didn't. Whew! I HATE puking.) So maybe this one will be different and come a tad bit early? It would be fine with this mama. The sweet little baby movements that I have longed to feel again for so many years HURT now. Goodness. Someone remind me of that in a few years.

(Baby has hiccups. :) That part I like.)

Some good news: We have a name! And no, I'm not sharing it yet. Husband and I have our own little secret. We have not even shared this one with the girls. (It's not one of the 3 we were considering.)  Now if she's just a girl like we are planning on, we'll be OK. Also, I have a baby shower at church this week. Baby showers are fun and help you get ready for baby. Then later this week, I'll be going to the Just Between Friends sale. This is a really big consignment sale nearby with tons of baby stuff. Whatever I still need after the shower, hopefully I can pick up there.

We had a really fun and busy weekend, which I'll share pics of later. And today some sweet friends are taking the girls for a fun day so this mama can rest and get things done. Which are the opposite of each other but I'll figure out how that works later.

Anyway, here's hoping that in a few weeks or months or sometime in the future, you can come here again for encouragement. Wouldn't that be something?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Today I am Praying

*for my husband's health. For an end to the diabetes. For us to deal with it better in the meantime. For his energy levels. For him to feel better.

*for his job situation. He has been blessed with a great job, but he also works another job after hours. Just ONE job sure would be nice--more time with family, more time to study God's Word, etc. What can we do to make that happen? What can we wait for God to do?

*lastly, for me. Six more weeks. I'm not going to lie, I'm dragging. Everyday things are exhausting. Still, I'm thankful for good health (mine and baby's). Getting a little nervous about the end though.

*what are you praying about today?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Shower

My good friend Carrie offered to throw me a baby shower a few months ago. Her strength is planning. She is an awesome event planner. My mom was super impressed.

Carrie said she had Pinterest to thank, but said it was very annoying to not be able to pin stuff because then, of course, I would have seen it!

Just look at all the cuteness and yumminess and loveliness!

The donut hole tree was a favorite!!

Everything had cute little labels with owls on them. 

She also had a "Decorate a Onesie" station set up. We had a slew of 8-12 year old girls at the shower and they really enjoyed this. Let's just say that the paint on their onesies MIGHT be dry before the baby comes! Then later the grown ups visited and we've got a lot of cute, original outfits for baby.

There were 3 different sizes of onesies to choose from. 

And of course the really fun part: the presents!

I'm only sharing 2 pictures because I make the CRAZIEST facial expressions! Mercy!

But look at this sweetness! The girls were SO excited to get to open these and will look so cute coming home from the hospital with their (hopefully) little sister.

"Biggest Sister", "Big Sister", "Little Sister."

Some other shots of the morning:

There's the awesome hostess. I'm digging in!

It was a lovely, lovely shower. Thank you so much Carrie! (and everyone who came!!)

I feel much more prepared now.

And also, after looking at the pictures....just a little hungry.

Monday, April 2, 2012

I Love Myself

I've been reading my old posts from last March for about 30 minutes now. It's fun reading what was going on a year ago.

And realizing I had NO idea that in a year's time I would be sitting on the couch big and pregnant and getting ready for a new baby in this house. You just never know.

I had a baby shower Saturday morning hosted by Carrie. It was wonderful! I'll download the pictures today. It's stormy outside right now and I should probably get off the computer before a fire ball knocks me across the room. I used to watch Rescue: 911 a lot. What can I say?

Also, need to get to the doctor today, locate the kitchen sink under all the dishes, and teach the children something.

But first? A shower. Priorities, people.

Be back later today, hopefully!