Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thanksgiving

I just pulled this picture of our Thanksgiving dinner off my phone.  Some dear friends invited us over and said we didn't even need to bring anything.  This is a picture of their kitchen island completely covered with absolutely delicious food.  Ham and turkey and the works!  The five kinds of dessert were over on another counter.  It was marvelous.  We had a wonderful time.  I was so grateful for their kindness. 

 
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Tomorrow?

My due date is tomorrow.  The way my body is acting it feels like I am WEEKS away from delivery.  I thought things would be heating up by now but all is very quiet.  Maybe it's the calm before the storm.  Maybe not. 

The good news is that the chiropractic treatment has made a dramatic difference-- I am in so much less pain and I can walk pretty comfortably now.  Long walks in lovely late autumn weather have been much enjoyed, even if they haven't produced labor. 

Every time I call someone on the phone I know they think I am calling with News.  But no news yet. 

I really really thought he'd be born by now.  Especially with the full moon and eclipse yesterday.  With that happening right before my due date I was sure I would never get this far.  But here I am. 

Maybe he will have a December birthday. 

Patience, patience.... sigh.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Ready!

My parents arrived this evening.  Within ten minutes, my mother was reading Dr. Seuss to the kids.  That is what she does best and we love her for it! 



The kids are so excited to see Grandma and Grandpa.  I love to see them bond with them.  I think the Rabbit is really going to cherish this picture when she's all grown up. 



So now everything is in place.  I don't have to worry now about who to call to watch the kids when I go to the hospital.  Plus, today I went to the chiropractor and had my bones all lined up properly.  Let's do this, baby!  Let's have a birthday!
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Car Seat Makeover

I have been feeling so much better these last few days.  I have been doing many things to get ready for the baby.  One of the issues I had to address was that our infant car seat had a pink cover. 

I bought a brown minky cover to go over the pink on etsy.com because I didn't think I was up to trying to sew anything that complicated, but I couldn't find any top covers that I liked (my kids trashed the sunshade that comes with the seat so I was looking at car seat tents.)  Since they're fairly simple to sew I decided to muster up some sewing oomph and make my own.  I was pretty proud of myself for actually doing some sewing and I think it turned out pretty cute!

 


Here's the cute frog fabric up close. 


This little froggy can come any time now.  I am officially due Friday, but I hope he'll make his grand entrance a little sooner than that! 
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Friday, November 23, 2012

Celebrating the Badger

For his birthday this year the Badger decided that instead of a bunch of presents and stuff he just wanted to take the family out to a really nice lunch.  We did it the day before his birthday since his birthday was on Thanksgiving.  This was a really special event... the kind of thing we only do every year or two because obviously it's not cheap to take a large family to a nice restaurant.  But what a wonderful time we had! 

Look how much butter the Rabbit has put on her bread!  :)



Peanut had fun with the bread also.  (And this is pre-haircut for me, in case you were wondering.)


Fish's dish was everyone's favorite: four cheese pasta.


Roo was tickled by her garnish.



One of the things I really love about my family is how much fun it is for us to go out to eat.  Our kids are very well-behaved at restaurants for some odd reason (and that's one of the reasons we like to occasionally go... it helps them learn proper ettiquette-- call it a homeschool curriculum expense!)  We all just really enjoy being with each other and we all relish the tasty food.  We share bites of our different dishes and we laugh and we're all so happy just being together.  These are priceless family moments, well worth a (very) occasional large restaurant tab. 

Happy Birthday, dear Badger!  Thanks for a wonderful celebration!
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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Beautiful, Wonderful

I went to the midwife yesterday feeling very cranky and sore.  For the last several days every move I make has been hard because so many things hurt, and I have been so tired and worn out.

I was hoping she'd tell me that it wouldn't be much longer... the Badger has been saying for weeks that Baby was going to come on his birthday, which is today, and I was really hoping...  Instead, she told me that not much was happening.  In addition, she told me that she thought the baby was quite large, probably already in the 8 to 9 pound range more than a week out from my due date, which means he's going to be even bigger by the time I deliver.

It made sense... if the baby is big then I am going to be extra sore and uncomfortable right now.  I have been through this before, with 10 lb. 6 oz. baby Roo, who was 8 torturous days late.  

So yesterday afternoon I was feeling really low.  I already felt like I was at the end of my rope, but now instead of facing a Peanut-type delivery (she was 6 lbs. 7 oz.) I was looking at something a lot more difficult which was probably more than a very long week away.

I wallowed in self-pity for a bit.  I called my mom and whined.

Then, laying there feeling just totally defeated, I realized that I had all these totally negative emotions swirling around me.  And a little voice inside me said "you're always going on about the power of positive thinking.  Well, you're totally biffing it right now.  Do you really believe in it or not?"

It still took me a couple of hours to get to the point where I could start to turn my thoughts around.  I was on my way to Walmart, which I was dreading because walking around hurts, and as I drove I decided I was going to get control of my thoughts.  I came up with a new mantra:

"I am going to have a beautiful, wonderful birth." 

It sounded really funny at first, but I kept saying it over and over again.

The change was dramatic.  I started to smile.  I started to feel really excited about the baby again.  I started to think of all the reasons why things would probably go really well, instead of all the reasons why it was going to be miserable and painful. 

I got out of the car at Walmart and started walking into the store.  Yes, it still hurt, but somehow it hurt less than it had.

I looked all around the baby section.  I bought a couple things in a larger size than "newborn" and I smiled about it.  Then I decided to go get my hair cut.   That was a really good idea.  Between my hair and my sparkly toes and Laney's clothes I am feeling so much better about myself.

By the time I got home I realized I felt significantly less sore and tired.   I started thinking of all the fun things I could enjoy doing to get ready for the baby.  If he doesn't come for many more days, I have time to do stuff.

Here it is the next morning and I still feel a lot better.  I am not quite my usual energetic self, but, really and truly, I do not hurt as bad as I did before.  There is a smile on my face.  And I'm looking forward to the day instead of dreading it.  We've been invited to a friend's house for Thanksgiving and I don't have to cook a single blessed thing!!!!   How cool is that?

I am watching the moon.  It's such a pretty first quarter at the moment.  It will be full on the 29th, with a lunar eclipse on the 28th.  That will be a great time to have a baby! 

I am going to have a beautiful, wonderful birth!!!!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Autumn Walk

Lovely weather here in Oklahoma this week.  And still quite a bit of fall color left.  With a little encouragement from the Badger, we all went on a family walk today.  It's hard for me to walk these aching bones around the neighborhood right now, but I know it's good for me.  And on a day like this, I had a lovely time. 

 
 
 
 


No, we don't have a dog, but there are a zillion in our neighborhood and several of them like to walk with us...
 
 
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Combating Crankiness

At the end of my pregnancies, I tend to get a little bit cranky. 



The thing is, I know it is hormonal, and I don't feel  cranky deep inside.  So I apologize frequently to my family and I try to laugh about it when I can.  


Today was a pretty cranky day, but I decided to put on the dragon hood from the kids' costume bucket.  Then the kids knew not to mess with me!  They thought it was really funny.

I hope I haven't scarred them for life. 
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Cast Removal


I just pulled all the photos off my phone and found all these I took of the Rabbit getting her cast off a couple weeks ago. 

(I thought it was funny when she got the permanent cast on how she INSISTED on orange.  I didn't see that coming.  She's normally a pink and purple person.  But it was a good time of year for an orange cast!) 




It's kind of an interesting procedure.  First they use the really noisy electric cutting tool (kinda scary for my Rabbit...)  Then they pry it apart...


They cut the cotton underneath with safety scissors and there's her arm again!  Looks good!  Yay!


My brother Horrible Beast took me to get my cast off when I had my broken arm as a kid.  (Let's see... if I was 8, he was about 24...)  The whole way there he teased me about how my arm had shriveled up during all those weeks in the cast.  He said it was going to be like a piece of spaghetti and my hand would be the meatball at then end.  See why I call him Horrible Beast?  Oh, how I adored him as a child! 

Anyway, Rabbit's arm is doing really really well now, about a week after we ditched the removable splint.  I don't think she has full command of it yet, but I don't notice much difficulty.  I am so grateful that things turned out so well. 
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More Exceeding Niceness

People have just been so nice to me lately. 

Laney sent me another box of clothes!  Wow.  Can you believe how nice?  (Thank you, Laney!)

My friend Shannon's sister gave me a pedicure, complete with nail art.  It made me feel human again.  And I seriously don't think I've had polish on my toes in ten years.  I love it.  My toes make me so happy whenever I look at them.  I love the sparkly blue with moons and stars.  This is a lousy phone picture, but it'll give you an idea.  



And then there was my baby shower!  My friends at church went all out throwing me a really fun shower.  I felt so loved.  This is the food table.... yum!!!!   (It's also the only photo that turned out on my phone, alas...) 


Thank you, all you nice people, who have been so kind to me lately.  What an emotional boost it has given me at a time when I am run down and exhausted.  
 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Isn't It Amazing...

The power of the internet never ceases to fascinate me, especially when it comes to amplifying human compassion and kindness. 

Awhile back I posted about how I was having great difficulty finding maternity clothes. 

A blog reader whom I have never met but who is a friend of my sister's decided to send me all her maternity clothes. 

A couple days ago I got this huge box in the mail from Texas.  When I opened it I was excited to find a whole pile of maternity clothes just my size.  I now actually have things to wear, especially to church on Sunday. 

I especially like the charcoal gray dress-- I put it on this morning when I went to the Temple and found it so comfortable I wore it the rest of the day. 

Laney, thank you so much.  This meant a lot to me, more than I can express.

A New Look for Peanut

I cut Peanut's bangs this morning (her first haircut ever) and I've been staring at her all day because she looks so different to me.  She's just as cute, but in a totally different way. 

 
 
 
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Monday, November 12, 2012

Happenings

I just finished re-wrapping Rabbit's arm back up in her removable splint.  She was in the purple splint for a week, a hard cast for two weeks, and now this removable splint for about a week.  With the fracture near her elbow, they don't want the joint to get stiff, so twice a day we take it off and exercise it.  Doctor says it's coming along nicely, though I am surprised at how little range of motion she currently has in her elbow joint.  It disturbs me how she can't bend her arm very much.  But they told me that for 3 weeks in a cast it'll take 3 weeks to get back to normal.  She has been so happy and easy-going about the whole ordeal, bless her heart.

Playing the organ went just great yesterday.  I mean, I didn't make any huge embarrassing mistakes.  I was sweating buckets up there, but it was also really enjoyable and satisfying at the same time. 

Peanut is toddling about the house clutching her baby book and saying happily, "Baby!" over and over.  This bodes well for the coming arrival. 

Bean was so excited when I hit 37 weeks a couple days ago.  "Now he can come any time!"  Yes, but I don't ever go that early.  I am so glad to be in the final stretch.  And I'm so grateful for the magic (Badger) fairy that washes dishes, feeds kids, runs laundry through, and cleans up when I run out of energy (which doesn't take much, let me tell you!)

A nurse practitioner awhile back suggested that pregnancy asthma can actually be triggered by heartburn and if I treated the heartburn I might not have asthma.  That seemed so crazy to me, and at the time I wasn't really having heartburn.  But I remembered it recently when I did start to have mild heartburn and I decided to try it.  Since I started treating the heartburn my asthma has gotten better and better.  It's been several days now since I've used any inhalers.  It's been good to be able to breathe. 

Time to go start homeschool.  Should be a great day!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Good Vibrations



 I am so endlessly fascinated by the power of music.  I know it is far more than we understand. 

When the boys practice their instruments, I am moved by the power of the vibrations that move through the room.  I look forward to their practice sessions.

I have been asked to sub for the ward organist on Sunday.  It is my first time-- I can play just about any hymn on the piano practically in my sleep, and I have been trained on how to play the organ, but I haven't actually done it yet in front of everybody and I'm really nervous. 

But I was over practicing in the chapel the other night and I realized that I absolutely love to play the organ.  I love to fill that huge room with so many fabulous vibrations.  I feel like through the connection of my hands and the keyboard I can almost express something in me that has been aching to come out... if I were to practice a lot I could get to the point where I could let it out fully, especially as I learn to use the pedals better.  I need to be an organist.  I still don't know how I feel about playing in front of actual people, I just want to be able to let my soul out and let it shake the room. 

Something I've realized again this last week is that there is a big different between recorded music and live music.  Recorded music is powerful in many interesting ways, but it lacks the fullness of vibration of live music.  There is something about those vibrations that bring healing and joy.  Whenever I am at a live music performance I realize I am a starving person at a banquet and I wonder why I keep forgetting to come and eat.  I would love to understand exactly what is happening. 

The really fascinating thing is that even when the little kids are making dying cow noises with the trumpet the vibrations are still wonderful. 


 
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Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Trip to the Library

We don't go to the library as often as we used to, and I feel sort of wistful about that. 

We used to have a routine where every week we went to story time at the library and then checked out a HUGE stack of picture books, both fiction and non.  Throughout the week we would often curl up on the couch and read story after story. 

Now, library story time happens during prime homeschool time and it would take too much time away from our home learning to drive over there and attend.  It's just not worth it. 

And as for those huge piles of books... we bring them home and most of them don't get read.  I try, but we have SO many other things to do these days.  Every trip to the library we bring home fewer and fewer.

I feel bad about this, and I miss those days of "eating" library books like candy. 

However, this last trip to the library I discovered that all those years of devouring dozens of library books has made a lasting impression on my kids. 

Bean has only recently been getting into choosing his own books, and up until now they have pretty much been fiction books from authors he is familiar with (such as Patricia Wrede.)  But this time, after grabbing a few fun fiction books and accepting the stack of classics I ferreted out for him, he headed over into the non-fiction section and he started excitedly grabbing books off the shelf...

"OOOH!" he would say, "a book on falcons!  I've got to read this!"  And then a few seconds later... "Wow!  Check out this book on the middle ages!" 

Very quickly he had a large pile of non-fiction books he was very eager to read. 

It's so wonderful to see a self-directed love of learning emerging in this kid. 

I hated non-fiction books when I was young.  To me they meant Assignments and Reports which were Required.  When I went to the library, I chose books to help me escape.  I read a LOT, but most of what I read on my own wasn't very informative or educational.  I even shied away from classics because my peer culture told me they were Hard and Boring.  Most of what I read was what Charlotte Mason would call "twaddle."  So to see my children excitedly reaching for enriching and enlightening books is both bewildering and beautiful. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Homeschool Happenings

This was a so-so week for our homeschool.  We got some things done, but not as much as I wanted to.  There were lots of disruptions, such as midwife appointments, visiting teaching, and one day where I just felt absolutely awful all day.  So I guess I should just be glad we did as much as we did. 

The one subject we stayed on track with was math.  Roo cheerfully did all assigned pages and got 100% on her test.  Fish complained and tried to avoid his math, but in the end got it done and done well.  Bean.... Bean is still ON FIRE with Teaching Textbooks.  He wants to finish the Level 4 book by Christmas and he usually does at least 3 lessons each day (one day he did SIX!)  He's already nearly done with the 2nd CD.  He's always coming to me and saying "can I do math?"  I keep waiting for this "honeymoon period" to be over, but so far it's not dying down at all.  I don't know whether the level 4 is really just too easy for him or if the program is just that good a fit.  I hope it's the latter, after all the struggles I have had and am having with Bean.

This week we had our first family spelling bee.  I've been wanting to do one for awhile, but I didn't know how to assemble a list of appropriate words.  Enter All About Spelling.  I now have a lovely box of flashcards of all the words in their lessons, which is perfect for a spelling bee.  Bean just finished Level 1 (remember, he's doing a lot of remedial work because of his learning disability) and so all three elementary kids have recently been through that volume.  I went through the Level 1 flashcards and picked out a stack of words for our bee.

It was a great experience for the kids.  It's one thing to spell on paper where you can see what you're writing, but it's another thing entirely to spell orally.  They all found it challenging, and words I thought would be super easy for them tripped them up.  I gave them "three strikes and you're out."  Roo got out after a few rounds, which made her a little sad, but next time she'll do better.  Bean and Fish battled it out a little longer before Fish finally came out on top.   We're definitely doing these more often.

I am dismayed that we didn't get to a single one of our secondary subjects this week.  No science, no history, no art, no geography.  I hate how easily they fall through the cracks when things are crazy.  However, I remind myself that these are subjects that can be taught when they're older without hurting them at all.  In public school these sorts of things are typically taught on a 2-3 year cycle and it's amazing how much kids forget.  As a kid I was the sort who remembered things extremely well, and it always baffled me how we'd be studying, say, American History in 7th grade and the teacher would ask a question and all the kids would look at him like "what on earth are you talking about?" and I'd be saying "we learned that in 5th grade, don't you remember?"  So I think that in the elementary grades the important thing is more fostering some familiarity with and interest in the subject rather than making sure all the material gets thoroughly covered.  My philosophy is "keep it fun and just enjoy it and don't stress" but I still feel bad when it totally gets pushed out of the way. 

But the reading, writing, and 'rithmatic are the really vital things right now and my kids are moving forward there.  Bean is reading like crazy-- he's probably upstairs reading right now instead of sleeping because he knows it's too hard for me to go up and down the stairs to go check on him.  I am trying to feed him a steady diet of classics, but if they are not totally action-packed he won't read them.  He likes All About Spelling because he likes the kinesthetic aspect of the tiles on the board, but he says he hates his grammar book.  I've got him in level 3 of First Language Lessons for the Well-trained Mind and the lessons are short and easy and super basic (parts of speech, simple sentence diagramming, etc.) and it's exactly what he needs.  So I keep telling him that this will make him a great writer, which is something he yearns to be, and he has been doing it without fighting me (hooray!) but he still complains a little bit. 

Fish is also reading better and better and showing more of an interest in reading on his own.  Mostly he just wants to draw comics though.  He's extremely talented and it's fun to see what he comes up with.

Roo is hitting the wall with phonics right now.  Too many rules coming at her too fast without enough time to practice what she's already learned.  I've really liked the Sandi Queen Language Lessons books up until now: the short lessons, the Charlotte Mason approach, the art and poetry... but she needs to be able to work with what's she's got before she learns more.  She understands and retains FAR better than the boys did at this age but she still has to really work to read and she gets worn out.  It's hard to find reading books for her at the level she's at.  I am definitely going to set this book aside for awhile and I think I might be happier with another reading program for her.  I don't like it that she resists reading, even though she's doing it so well. 

It's funny though about the phonics rules Roo is learning... stuff like "silent gh" and how "wh" sometimes sounds like a w and sometimes like an h... my boys never learned this stuff and yet they just picked it up on their own.  When their brains were ready to read (which was later than most kids) they had no problem with words like "who" and "enough."  They didn't need to be taught how to sound them out or told why they were the way they were, they just read them.  I've been wondering about how this is going to work out.  Sure, they read fine, but is learning all the rules going to make Roo a far better speller?  Or does it even matter?  I guess time will tell.

Homeschool... it's always changing, it's always interesting, and it always requires a lot of prayer and pondering.  But it's always exciting to watch your kids grow and develop and learn.  I am grateful I am able to homeschool. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

November

I love November. 

I love the autumn leaves.  I love the fulfillment of the law of the harvest.  I love the spirit of gratitude that prevails.  And I love the food.  

I have so much to look forward to right now. 

I think Thanksgiving just might be my favorite holiday.  I am looking forward to it this year, along with the Badger's birthday followed by Peanut's.

And then....

My due date is THIS MONTH, friends!  Wow.  It's really coming up fast now.  I'm already two weeks into the six week herbal formula I always take to help my body get ready.  I'm on weekly visits to the midwife now.  And I'm realizing I need to get serious about making sure things are ready.

 The Badger is convinced the baby is going to arrive on his birthday, which also happens to be on Thanksgiving this year.  And that is only three weeks away

I've been plagued with afternoon (and sometimes all day) nausea lately, so I'm planning on taking it pretty easy between now and then.  I'm just going to enjoy the leaves and the cool air and bask in gratitude. 

Yes, I am really struggling in my ability to function due to my poor health, but I am so aware of the many people who are dealing with chronic illness who have no end in sight.  My end is not only in very near sight but I am going to get a wonderful baby for my trouble. 

It's November now, and life is so, so good. 

The Year We Skipped Halloween

Halloween did not happen at our house this year.  This was partly because my energy levels are so low and partly because I don't really like most aspects of Halloween to begin with (funny how people either love it or hate it...)  I usually try to focus on the things I do like such as fun costumes, carving pumpkins, and the sense of camaraderie and friendship that happens in the community, but this year all my plans for wholesome activities fell apart for one odd reason or another.   We didn't even get to the pumpkin patch this year.  I feel just terrible about that.     

I couldn't totally let my kids down, so I told them we would buy a whole bunch of candy and watch a movie together.  I even threw in a jack-o-lantern pizza from Papa Murphy's. 



Here they are with their massive bowl of candy, mesmerized by The Wilderness Family. 


They didn't seem too upset that they weren't dressing up and going out.  Chocolate can heal many such wounds...
 
 
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Fairyland

I just love having little girls.  Here they are sitting on the couch looking at 1001 Things to Spot in Fairyland.  They are picking out which fairy on each page is their "Princess." 



Then they pick out their Princess's Prince.  And then they pick out their Princess's Bad Guy.  And anything else they think their Princess should have. 


Peanut wanted her picture taken too! 
 
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Memorized

The scripture I chose for our homeschool theme this year is Moroni 7:45-48 (verse 48 shortened):

*******

And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth.  Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—

But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ.


*******

I knew it would take some time to memorize this.  I am still getting a bit tripped up on the first verse.  It's amazing to me how fast the kids have picked it up.  For the last few weeks, I have relied on Roo to get us through it because she knows it better than I do.

Last week we had to go somewhere first thing in the morning, so we did homeschool devotional in the car while driving.  When it was time to say our verse, the Rabbit piped up with "I WANT TO DO IT MYSELF!"  I thought maybe she could do a little bit of it, so I told her to go ahead.  She plowed through the entire thing verbatim, with only a couple of small hesitations, which she overcame without prompting.  Not bad for a four-year-old!

I am continually impressed with what children can memorize with just a little consistent effort.