Friday, December 24, 2010

Faith Like Potatoes

We've watched the movie Faith Like Potatoes twice now as a family. Once just Jon and I. And once with the whole family. The movie is so faith stirring in so many ways.

For one I am reminded when I became a Christian and I didn't know any better but to go and tell my friends all about Jesus (as well as pressure them to pray with me, if I could). I so want to be liked in life. So, I am afraid that I don't want to tell a stranger or a new friend about Jesus. I hardly have any friends as it is, what if I said it wrong and they thought I was weird, or what if I offended them.

But, also, what happened to that boldness and optimism when I said, "thank you Jesus" for every little thing that God did for me. Am I so ashamed of being labeled a religious fanatic, that I can't even thank him normally?

More to come on this...I must be in prayer more for God to take away my desire for others to regard me well and for God to grant me boldness in prayer and in speech.

God Bless.

Monday, October 25, 2010

I Would Be A Hermit

I would be a hermit...except that...well, I do have an inner need for social connection, and I need to not be a hermit for the sake of my girls. Yesterday, I went to a birthday party for my daughter's friend from dance class.

When I was a child, I had one group party and it turned out disastorously. I had one little boy who was younger than me that I played with a lot from down the street. He was the only one who showed up. All the girls my age from school didn't. I cried for a good portion of my party. Poor little friend from down the street.

When my oldest was turning one, it was like deja vu from childhood. I invited all the mom's with babies and young toddlers from church. Many said they would come. Some called and canceled. Others just didn't show. In the end, only my friend from Seattle and her family that had come down for the day and my husband's Mom and grandparents made it for that day. I haven't done a "friend" birthday party since.

I don't even believe in "birthday parties" for young kids, per se. I think all the toys that kids get leave them spoiled and consumerist...that is to say that they want more and more and often the gifts have little value to them. It's fun for the kids, but it doesn't teach value. Also, the birthday paries can put an emphasis unfairly on friends and not on family. They learn to look outward for approval.

Yet, not all influences from birthday parties are negative ones. My husband is so great for me. He reminds me that I can choose to let my daughter do a birthday party for a friend or for a few friends who seems like they would be good friends and not say yes to every single birthday party. And, I stayed there at the party and talked with the adults and saw for myself that it was a good positive place. In fact, about half of the girls that were there were homeschooled and most, if not all were from Christian families. And, I stretched myself and talked with others. It was difficult for me, it stretched me, but it was good for me.

Tomorrow I go to the dentist...the hygienist. Now, I hate the dentist for multiple reasons. The insurance we have is an HMO and it feels like we are treated like chattel when we go the dentist. The waiting room is crowded and busy...many of the employees are impatient. I hate that. I have particular distate for individuals who offer poor customer service in whatever they do.

Additionally, the dentist to me, is often a place of bad news. My teeth have weak enamel and despite a lot of attention to brushing and flossing I still get cavities. Better nutrition I think might help me, but I'm still at the place where I eat a good amount of sugar and don't eat all properly prepared soups and dairy and grains (see Sandy Fallon's book Nourishing Traditions for what I mean). I eat more veggies and whole grains and fresh fruits than the typical person I think, but I don't think that helps my teeth so much. And, poor nutrition from an early age paired with poor genetics, just means my teeth are especially susceptible as they didn't form right and my mouth chemistry doesn't help create healthy teeth.

I also don't look forward to going to the dentist because it takes so much from my day. My husband must watch all the kids, including the baby and can't get his work done for that part of the day. I'm not home and can't keep the household moving.

But, I realized tonight that it isn't the disruption of my schedule, the bad news, or the poor customer service that makes the dentist such a dreaded appointment for me. It is the socialness of the appointment. I have to sit one on one with a stranger who may be critical of me in a chair for a good fourty five minutes. And I have to be social with her. I don't like getting my hair cut for the same reason. Oh, my.

And, it's hard...Really, I know, I've heard it...push past your fears...and it opens a new world for you. But, for me social fears are like my fear of heights. I can push and I can push and it DOES get better, but the moment I stop PUSHING it gets harder and harder and harder. So, I have to keep pushing. I don't just get there to that place where I'm not "shy" anymore. Oh, well. In heaven one day. All will be made well.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

God's Voice - Robinson Curriculum vs. Charlotte Mason

God speaks to me a lot in the morning hours as I am waking up. I am grateful, actually, which is surprising, that occasionally my husband gets up early and go does his farm work (which is largely his form of recreation...like golfing to him). Once, I was only upset about him getting up early. But, then he didn't lay that down and ask me, but just did it, now he is more and more of a gentleman. And, then I was dealing with insomnia more than now. And having him missing made my insomnia worse. Lately, however, the occasional time in my bed without my husband is a really healthy time when God gives me input into my plans.

One thing God has been speaking to me about is honoring him first in whatever I do. I once put Bible reading as the first thing in our day. With trying to follow a Robinson curriculum pattern this year, I put it off until the end of the day. The idea was to end our day with God's Word...a bedtime ritual if you will. That works for a lot of people. But, our day typically gets pushed further and further and we never even get to reading God's Word. I want to start out reading God's Word to my children first thing.

I've really been into the Robinson idea of having your children teach themselves. I especially wanted to try this during the current year since my baby takes up so much of my time and I found it hard to implement other learning styles. I still believe in the Robinson concept greatly.

I have also over the years worked to implement first a Classical Education and then a Charlotte Mason Education. The Classical Education as laid out in a Well Trained Mind to me was 1) too much to do, 2) too repetitive, 3) too rigid, and 4) took the love out of learning for my children.

On to a Charlotte Mason Education. I must say, I still live by much of what Charlotte wrote. She was a great educator in my book and of course considered herself a classical educator. So much of her philosophy I want to incorporate into my homeschool...twaddle free reading, a love of nature, teaching observation, working on habits, having a wide range of topics, not coddling the child, not bringing the material down the "level of the child", not entertaining the child.

The one topic that I find unhelpful in the Charlotte Mason educational philosophy, I also take inspiration from. That is Charlotte frequently said if a child's interest was waning, to switch topics to a fully different topic...that this keeps their brain engaged and fresh. The burden of this is on the adult. From reading and experiencing Robinson's thought on this, I see the virtue of having the child sustain their attention beyond what is convenient. I particularly like the Math portion of Robinson. The child works two hours a day on their Math, teaches themselves, and finishes Saxon Calculus by the age 16 typically.

So I am praying about a daily schedule of homeschooling that is:


  • challenging
  • teaches the child to be reponsible for themselves
  • can be gotten done in a reasonable amount of time
  • is a rich curriculum
  • creates a love of learning in my children


God has been speaking to me about using Robinson as a guideline, but being flexible and not rigid. Also, I believe He has been speaking to me that reading with my children (especially when they are more challenging works a little above their level and I am not "coddling" them as Charlotte Mason said) creates a bonding time between my children and I.

Happy Teaching everyone. I pray God directs you in your homeschooling adventures in a way that fits you and your family. He is faithful!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Just Thinking

I'm in a contemplative mood today. Maybe it's the fall weather and darkness creeping forward. Maybe, it's just the place I've come to with the day I had and the (over) commitments I've made. I want my kids to have everything I always wanted as a kid. I want them to play an instrument, be artistic, dance, do gymnastics, sing, swim, be athletic, be smart, have lots of friends, and generally fave a grand time in their childhood.

So, my girls are involved in violin, art, and dance right now. The dance is two days a week for one child. I want my older girl to do private lessons with her violin. I want them to take swimming (so they know how to swim). And I want them to make connections. And I have a toddler (almost preschooler) and an infant right now.

Then, there was a Christmas dance opportunity. I asked my husband about it. I've asked him several years and he's been against it. This year he warned me he thought I would be over committing, but that he was fine with it.

Anyhow, I'm now sure I was overcommitting, but I made a committment and we need to follow through. It's been a good experience. I enjoy talking with other Moms and watching the girls dance. But, I need to be home too. I think some I was doing it to be accepted by other women. But, we'll see this through and I'll have it out of my system and I can move on I think. I'm not sure on our other committments. I just know that I want to teach my girls to enjoy life too, not just to do lots of things or accomplish a lot.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

1 to 100 Number Line

I hate it when I'm looking for something very simple on the internet and it isn't available out there unless you pay for it. I don't blame people for trying to make a living through the internet. In fact, our family business is mostly internet based. But, I think we ought to share simple knowledge together.

The other day I was looking for a 1-100 number chart on the internet, so I could show my 7 year old an alternate way of figuring out how to count by 2,3,4,5,6,and so on. I couldn't find one. So, here is one, I'm sharing mine on Google docs. It's a great way of sharing.

1 to 100 Number Chart

Disclaimer: Google docs did not save the formatting I used for my Word chart, but the chart is still functional the way it is. Mine was just nicer than the version I share here. One of these days I'll have to figure out how to do PDFs so I can share more freely.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Robinson & Charlotte Mason

In the past when I have written about my struggles wrapping my brain around various homeschooling teaching styles, I have had readers comment that the Lord should lead my homeschooling. Just as individuals in the new church said, "I am of Apollos. I am of Paul." Not so, really, as believers we aren't of this church or that, of this group of that, of this belief or that, but rather we belong to Christ. I am of Christ. And, so my homeschool is of Christ as well. Well said. Yet...my explorations of various educational styles...Robinson, Charlotte Mason, Classical...is just that an exploration, and a struggle to find the right balance for me.

This year, I have purchased the Robinson curriculum. I don't intend to teach solely from the Robinson curriculum, although I think if I did my homeschooling experience would be easy and my kids would be well off having done so. The Robinson curriculum has one key factor that I love, love, love. The principle is to teach your children to teach themselves. I think it is a principle it shares deeply with the Charlotte Mason educational philosophy.

But, Charlotte Mason teaching is more parent intensive and therefore less child independent. That is, by default, I don't think most children would learn that they are to struggle to learn things themselves using the Charlotte Mason philosophy. This is mainly because Charlotte Mason is such a broad curriculum. Charlotte Mason did not believe in limiting a child's exposure to a few key areas, but she believed in exposing children broadly. Charlotte Mason includes:


  • Reading
  • Literature
  • Poetry
  • Copywork
  • Writing
  • Grammar
  • Spelling
  • Math
  • Nature Study
  • Geography
  • Art
  • Artist study
  • Music Practice
  • Music Study
  • Foreign Language
  • Latin
  • Physical Education
  • Hands-On Skills
  • Etc.


Yet, instead of using traditional teaching methods employed by modern schools to teach these subjects, Charlotte Mason encourages us to use good, quality books; a natural learning environment; and frequent changes in our schedule to avoid boredom, in order to encourage the children to be fully invested in these subjects.

Robinson is all about math, writing, and reading, with an emphasis on math and reading. All other pursuits are supposed flow out of the reading the child is doing, or else out of the child's own free time (which Robinson suggests be free of such things as superfluous toys, tv, computer access, and video games).

Just as Robinson himeself added a systematic vocabulary study and examinations to the reading portion of his curriculum, I would argue for an effort to be made to include such things as ancient languages, geography, and art and music study to the reading time. Robinson does not address geography. He sees classical education pursuits such as Latin as irrelevant in modern times, because one has so much available in math and science to expand ones horizons with. Yet, I see Latin as something foundational to our language and therefore of value. I also see memorization of certain classic literature, poetry, and speeches as being of value. Yet, I think, Robinson's warning about adding too much to a young child's plate so that they truly don't learn to teach themselves, is a good admonition. This is not to mention the homeschooling teacher's tendency to wear herself thin. This isn't good for anyone.

Here is a summary of Robinson's teaching method as I see it so far:

1st Year (Age 5 or 6 depending on readiness)


  • Work with the child to learn to read with strong phonics teaching
  • Have child memorize all math tables (+, -, x, /) using flash cards

2nd Year (Age 6 or 7 depending on readiness)


  • 1-2 Hours Math

    • Have child begin Saxon Math 5/4 – teaching self
    • 1/2 lesson per day at first, up to 1 lesson per day during first year
    • Aim for 5% or less error rate
    • Child corrects their own math lessons
    • Child tracks their own error rate

  • 1/2 hour copywork (or essay if desired)

    • Parent corrects grammar, spelling, and punctuation
    • Must redo writing without errors before next day

  • 2 1/2-4 1/2 hours reading (to total at least five hours of studies each day)

    • Vocabulary should be mastered as part of this time
    • When applicable, examinations on book should be taken as part of this time
    • To verify reading compression a written narration can be done on book readings that don’t have examinations to go with them


3rd Year On


  • 1-2 Hours Math

    • Continue in Saxon Math Program Until Finished With Calculus, then move on to College Level Chemistry and Physics – teaching self
    • 1 lesson per day, up to 2 lessons per day depending on speed and accuracy
    • Aim for 5% or less error rate
    • Child corrects their own math lessons
    • Child tracks their own error rate

  • 1/2 hour copywork (or essay if desired, minimum 1 page essay required for age 10 and above)

    • Parent corrects grammar, spelling, and punctuation
    • Must redo writing without errors before next day

  • 2 1/2-4 1/2 hours reading (to total at least five hours of studies each day)

    • Vocabulary should be mastered as part of this time
    • When applicable, examinations on book should be taken as part of this time
    • To verify reading compression a written narration can be done on book readings that don’t have examinations to go with them


Other studies – music, cooking, art, dance, nature study, latin, foreign language, etc. should be done as an extracurricular pursuit after the 5-6 hours are completed. Do 5-6 hours of work, 6 days a week, 12 months a year – taking time off as needed for excursions outside the home. On days when you will be out in the afternoon, at least do math to keep their brain used to working. Taking more than one day off for the weekend causes Mondays to be primarily retraining their brain to work. The most important aspect of the curriculum is that the child takes responsibility for their own learning.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sleep, Or Lack Thereof

Sleep, sleep, I need some sleep. Josiah is not very cooperative...albeit sweet...just knows with a certainty and persistence right where he wants to be. I tried to have him sleep in his crib last night. He ended up crying too long as I collapsed and fell asleep. When I went back in he had moved entirely to the other side of the crib and had his bundling off. It seems every time I would have him asleep and leave the room, he knew about it and started crying. His crying was sweet though, no edgy screaming like my first and third children. But, it still breaks your heart.

I'm wishing right now all the scary talk about SIDS and warnings from the drs. about not having babies in bed with you didn't scare me and cause me to wake up in a panic after I drift off feeding or cuddling him. I suppose having them in bed with you, if you aren't totally sold on the idea, would be difficult anyhow, because either you wait till their ready (age five or more?) or at some point you have to break them of it. This will all pass I know...And I will miss my newborn. Sometimes I just wish I could enjoy my newborn without the fog. But, such is life.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Time Is Flying By

The time is flying by. We are two weeks and two days out from the arrival of the only little man in our house. I know his Daddy is glad to have some other masculinity in our household. I'm settling in, sort of, although I can't say there has been a single day that has been typical. Originally, the plan was to have my oldest girl stay with me and Dad take the two youngest (really the middle two now - ages 7 and 2) while I recovered from the C-section. It never really happened that way.

The first day home, my step-daughter was here too and we determined it was important for the whole family to bond.

The second day I had a Mother/Baby appointment. My step-daughter went with me to that while everyone else waited in the car. I think it was a good experience for her.

Then, my friend came for a day, which was great fun. My husband got to get out and do something with his tractor (I can't remember what - Jon loves to do things on his tractor). Really, that day was a blur.

Then, it was the weekend.

Then, my Mom called and said she intended to come help. I had asked her to come at some point, but not been specific on when. She came for five days. It was good. Jon got to go to work and certain farm jobs. My Mom went the grocery store for us and she did some laundry and dishes and made dinner one night. She really bonded with the grandchildren I think. It was challenging too, just because she approaches life and the kids way different than we do. Really, the kids would have been more of a help, but they kept listening for Grandparent sympathies about the chores they were asked to do.

Now, we've had a second weekend. Then, yesterday, Monday, I had a baby doctor's appointment that Jon had to take me to. (I can't pick up the toddler now and I can't drive because of the C-Section.) That practically took all day. And, now, today, Jon has done "work" but in the morning, it was clearing a business property we badly need to sell. Now, this afternoon, he's running into work and taking the toddler. So, I get to do my blogging.

And tomorrow probably he'll work and take the toddler or the toddler and the seven year old, and we'll do our original plan.

By the way, we are sort of switching curriculum this year. Not really, but I decided to buy Robinson curriculum. My teaching has kind of been a combination of Robinson and Charlotte Mason, so this isn't entirely new. But, I wanted to get his product so that, at least for this year, I can simply follow his curriculum (adding a little of my own). It's self-teaching (which I totally agree with) and that will work well for me this year, while I figure out more what I want to do. I think I would do Sonlight, but it's expensive and some of it I think I would view as unnecessary twaddle. So, I'd have to analyze my curriculum anyhow, I might as well follow Robinson and analyze what I want to do on top of that, anyhow.

One of the things my husband is doing for me this afternoon is getting the curriculum put together so it will work on my computer (which is Windows 7 64 bit). One of our employees helped us get together the necessary file/s to run Robinson's Reader Program in 64 bit. It's so nice to have that resource.

Here are a couple of cute pics to share with you of our little buddy.

josiah_day9

josiah_day16_bundled

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Our Baby Is Here

Our baby is here. The newest member of our family arrived one week ago, Sunday, August 15. He is beautiful and cuddly and sweet. We are so in love with him.

Right now, I am working to try and figure out how to train our little man to sleep without being held by me or asleep next to me. I know the little ones need that closeness, but there is a point of reasonability. Being a human pacifier is not my goal. We are also still working on getting nursing running smoothly. I've nursed three other babies and until a pretty decent age, so I'm not concerned with giving up on nursing or anything. But, I'm waiting for my milk supply to regulate itself and also for little man to have more distinct sleep/wake cycles and keeping up with little man as far as good nursing habits go.

I'm also recovering from a C-Section. And, today, I started getting hives. Must be a reaction to the narcotics. So, I may go off of them a day or two before I was originally thinking I would go off of them. Pray for me and baby that God's hand would be over our health and well-being. Here are some of my favorite pictures of our little man to share with you.

josiah_7

josiah_13

josiah_19

josiah_day6_2

josiah_22

josiah_day7_toes

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Friendships

Friendships are always a big struggle for me. On one hand, I feel rejected a lot by others. On the other hand, I know I don't always do the necessary, socially expected things to make and keep friendships (calling, bringing things over to others, being the one to say hi when seeing someone I know in public, etc.). Anyhow, Kimmie @ Over The Moon With Joy has written about struggling with friendships as well. It got me thinking and here is what I wrote to Kimmie. This is where my heart is at in regards to friendships. I hope I make an effort to become a better friend to others in the future.

Friendships are hard. Especially for introverts and especially for creative types. I think sometimes too we have such false beliefs about our friendships (as women) - that this friend is to be this, this, and this for me. Maybe it is only God's plan for her to be this one thing for me. And maybe, being my personality, that I know doesn't tend to make friendships easily, maybe I need to not think more realistically and not think every friendship I have to get back exactly what I give. Maybe God has called me to give more than I recieve and be OK with that. And to realize that what I give won't always be appreciated, but I serve as unto the Lord, anyhow. Also, maybe I need to realize, God put this friend in my life, only to fill this small little area and as I yield to him he'll reveal other friends in my life to fill these other areas. Ultimately, I am so thankful to God to allow me to spend my life with my best friend, my husband, anyhow. And while my husband doesn't fill every need (and sometimes I freak out about that), he fills the really deep needs and God provides for other needs as I yield to him and allow myself to give to others freely. Well, just rambling about my own experience. I look forward to reading more about what your are learning in this area. My prayers are with you.

Post To Go Back To - Rain Gutter Shelves



Here is an excellently simple do it yourself project, that I'd like to come back to. I think it would be perfect for my little boy's room. These are book shelves like they have on the display wall at bookstores. The young reader can see the books looking out at them instead of just seeing their spines.

My older girls DO NOT need this - they get out plenty of books as it is. LOL. Plus, the shear volumes of the books they read would never fit on shelves like these, unless I covered our whole house of them.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Finishing Things Up

We're finishing things up before the baby comes. On Sunday we had a birthday celebration for our middle girl. Her birthday is on the 19th. And on that day I will probably just be coming home from the hospital. So, the lucky girl got her birthday early.

seven

The van got a thorough shampooing yesterday by my husband. And, I spent a bunch of time this morning cleaning my husband's work bench in the garage (of all things). Do you think cleaning your husband's area counts as nesting?

My middle girl and I had a doctor's appointment today. I have to say, I was hoping to like the whole experience more. But, alas, I did not. We got some great news, however. That news was that Rachey's renal scan came back showing there was no obstruction in the kidney. Also, the pediatric urologist thought that the grade one reflux, was only a small concern and was caused by learned potty behavior.

I was greeted by a resident and a medical student and grilled extensively. As the resident was leaving, she said that my middle girl showed no signs of kidney obstruction, but that they might want to do a urological function test (or some such thing). Then, the pediatric urologist came in and pretty much told me that this was all a learned potty behavior and that they needed me to do timed voids (which I pretty much was already doing) and I needed to put her back on Miralax. Miralax was a nightmare for us before. Anyhow, after my questioning of him about this (and after me having tears) his response was that 'I obviously had a lot on my mind and I could consider doing the Miralax after a while, when things calmed down in my life' (i.e. when I was no longer pregnant). I guess, he may be right about the whole of what to do, however. They have a slightly more refined protocol than the regular pediatrician and urologist did for treating her bowel and bladder issues. But, before when I was doing this, we had many, many accidents. But, there is more to the protocol, such as timed voids and feeling her stomach to make sure she relaxes when she goes. I so hope this fixes my daughter's issues altogether, kidney and potty training alike and that I don't go through what I went through before with my middle girl on Miralax.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Baby Boy

We're in the final countdown for the baby boy. 11 more days. Here are a couple photos to share:

belly_2


Baby Belly


 

baby_boys_room


Baby Boy's Room


 

baby_boys_outfits

A Day Out

The girls and I went out today. My two older girls went to art class. My toddler stayed with me. The girls take an art class through our local school district's home education program during the school year. And, the art school offers summer extension classes, a month at a time during the summer. My girls love their art class so we signed up through today.

My little girl and I went and did some shopping while the girls were in class. I bought my middle girl her birthday present, returned some library books, and stocked up on gluten free food for my middle daughter (I won't want to go out for that soon). Then, I picked up the older girls and we went to the grocery. I was hot and exhausted when we got home. I'm trying to prepare like crazy, because I have a week and a half before my C-Section.

When we got home, I asked my older daughter to bring in some groceries. My middle daughter ran to the back of the van and started digging (trying to figure out what bag of groceries she wanted to bring in I suppose). She found her gift. Oh, well, what do you do?

Here is a picture I will share with you of me, now, at 37 1/2 weeks pregnant, in the final countdown days. I can't wait for our little boy to arrive. Boy, will it be strange. :)

belly_2

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

June & July

Well, since I haven't been doing much blogging lately, so I thought I would share with you some of thoughts as chronicled on Facebook so far this summer.

ohsu_6

"It actually looks like it's raining right now, but I think it's just the fog falling out of the sky. I love these days when it is foggy in the morning and it burns off to sunshine by the afternoon. Now, how to start my day? I have a little time before heading off with Rachey."

"My parents were down in the area at a dog show. They came over and we got to have dinner with them. It was a nice evening. The girls are always fighting over who gets to sit next to Grandpa. They like his teasing."

Me: "You know when the baby comes he's going to get all the attention." My oldest: "Yeah, right now you and my little sister get all the attention."

I'd like to make it to the NW Quilting Expo this year. We'll see. Lots of sewing classes for creative, easy projects that aren't quilting.

NW Quilting Expo

"My husband took the older three hiking. I've just got my cute little one now. Maybe I will actually get around to sewing a nursing cover for Baby. My old one is pink. Nursing covers are way better than blankets."

"Heading off to art and violin. My kids favorite day of the week. Soon, they will have to take a two month break from activities, as we prepare and welcome our new family member. I hope they survive."

"We tried a one night camping trip. Didn't go too badly. Of course, my husband did all the setup and meal prep, etc. for his pregnant wife...and pampered me with LOTS of padding and pillows. We love camping, so I'm happy we were able to do something together this summer."

"I must say I am thoroughly enjoying my summer. I think it should be this time of year all year round. Of course, we must also have ample water with which to garden and play."

My Littlest Girl - "Ice Nean, Dachel. We're going to Ice Nean." Dachel (my middle one- later) - "The fudge (hot fudge) tastes sour because I put it on my sour taste bud."

Here's a neat website I found. It features all types of campgrounds and you can search by location, type, and facilities...easily. For Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.

Campground Search

Beautiful day, and my neck is thrown out, and I can't take advil because I'm pregnant. Stupid me, I was showing my husband all the stretches to do and not doing them every day myself.

I'm in shock. My really contrary lately toddler walked straight to her room and climbed in her bed when I told her it was time for nap. What's up with that? I like it though.

I'm beat. A full day - first housecleaning, then gardening.

We planted between 50 and 100 corn and bean plants and we got about three each that came up. And we planted two weeks late! What a year. Starts are struggling too. But, the raspberries are HAPPY.

Our little boy has taken to want to wake up at 5:00 in the morning and do a bunch of aerobics. I think I may end up sleep deprived with this one, but I can't wait to meet him.

My littlest one's toddlerese..."I'm not coming"="I don't know where it is"...and..."Mommy, baby's not in your tummy."

We went to Mt. St. Helens today. I forgot my camera. Too bad, it was so beautiful. An amazing place - a real testament to God's majesty. We go about once a year. I always want to go on Hummocks trail. Not this year!

Rachey went for her Urologist appt. today. Since there is a slight change in her one kidney, we were given a referral to Pediatric Neurology at Doernbecher and doing the VCUG (for reflex) and nuclear scan within the month. She only has one kidney so they are being vigilent.

Was out at a dr. appt. this morning, far away from home in Clackamas and stopped in here for lunch. Much to my surpise, bread like my homemade bread, but better. Perhaps it's a good thing there isn't one in my neighborhood, or I'd be tempted not to make bread. Way better than Dave's Killer Bread and it's fresh. Yumm.

Strawberry beds my husband made for me. Ditch, pipe, and hose is for drip irrigation. Jon's planting the strawberry plants as I speak. We bought new ones because the June bearing and the weeds took over all the everbearing.

strawberry_bed

"Had a good weekend hanging around with the girls and their Dad (my honey) all weekend. So thankful my girls have such an involved and solid Dad to look up to. On Saturday he put in our new strawberry beds, so it'll be easier to keep our strawberries weed free."

"Anyone else can't help but laugh when you send your older toddler to time out and they do the little stompy dance, but go nonetheless?"

"I took my nine year old to an Orchestra concert tonight. Her first real Orchestra concert. I asked her how she liked it, she said she loved it. She never uses the word "love" to show enthusiasm. My 6 y.o. with ants in her pants wanted to go, but I told her it would be a bit long for her. In the end she was happy since Dad got her Choc. Ice Cream."

Goings On

Pregnancy



I have less than two weeks to go. I have a planned C-Section scheduled for the 15th of August. This part of my pregnancy has actually been easier for me, although my belly is certainly getting quite uncomfortable. Yet, pain from varicose veins doesn't plague me anymore, nor nausea, and my emotional life has been settling out. So, here I am at home, nesting, getting ready for baby...as ready as I'll ever be. This baby is my fourth (husband's fifth) and is our first boy. We're pretty excited (not that we wouldn't be if he was supposed to be a she). It's been fun decorating his room in BOY Stuff. OMG!

My One Kidney Girl



The other big thing that has been going on is testing for my one kidney girl. My middle daughter had an almost completely blocked kidney from the get go (18 week ultrasound). It was like an over inflated balloon and they removed it when she was 10-11 months old. Here, recently, she had a couple of kidney infections in her remaining kidney. Oh, no! So, we had issues with anti-biotics, getting an appointment soon enough with her Urologist, getting an out of network referral to a Pediatric Urologist (there are only two in our city), following up with her primary Urologist on anti-biotic issues, getting a Nuclear Renal Scan and a VCUG (the Kidney Reflux test) done, and soon to go and meet with the Pediatric Urologist (on the 10th of August - 5 days before baby is to arrive).

At the same time, I was questioning my Mom about whether she had any more Kidney infections (she had one once when I was on a trip with her), and come to find out she's had lots of them and that she had once seen a Urologist for them and he wanted her to take preventative anti-biotics, but she got an infection anyhow, and because she felt it was bad advice and a pain to get into him, she never went back to the Urologist, but rather to her general practioner. So, my Mom and I (my Mom is almost 70) are e-mailing back and forth about the necessity of getting the proper tests and her being followed by an actual specialist. I'm not sure I'm convincing her. It's hard, my Mom is very passive and I don't think she likes to have to be assertive with medical caregivers. I think that's why she's comfortable with doing whatever her general practioner says and no more. Ugggh. Well, we'll see. She can make her own choices, I know.

Summer



That's most of what's going on right now. Learning activities are taking a backseat this summer, although we've done a few here and there and the girls have still been participating in the Art and Ballet over the summer. It's been a cool summer. Our garden hasn't done well. I suppose that's OK. That's kind of what happens anyhow on the years when I'm pregnant. I have been enjoying all the light and warm (but not too hot) weather. It's been enjoyable.

Friday, June 25, 2010

My Middle Daughter (Part 2)

Today we went to the Urologist for my middle daughter. He is giving us a referral for outside our HMO for the Pediatric Urologist at the local university children's hospital out here. The reason for the referral is she has one kidney, recently had a kidney infection, and her ultrasound came back with a small change (my water on the kidney) than before. They will test her with a VCUG (which tests for reflux from her bladder to her kidney) and with a Renal scan. She had those tests done at 9 months before the removal of her kidney, but because of the current events, they are testing again.

We also have issues with bladder and bowel control. In addition, unrelated, I believe, she has issues with stomach pain and some minor behavior issues (repetitiveness, hoarding). But, she is a bright and beautiful young girl full of enthusiasm and frequently given to make me laugh. A gluten free diet has helped significantly with the stomach pain and bowel issues as well as with the behavior. She has tested negatively for Celiac and for an allergy to wheat, so the doctors look at me skeptically when I tell them she is gluten free. But, every time we give wheat a try again, her behavior accelerates (she hoardes food a lot and other things like pieces of paper, she doesn't listen, she sings or talks repetitively), plus her gut hurts her more.

Gluten free did not completely improve her bowel and bladder issues however, but it does seem to impact them. I'm not sure why. I just know that every time we go back on we have more issues. Her bowel and bladder issues likely stem from her kidney issues. As I shared in part one of this story, her #1 kidney had a blocked ureter and was basically useless from before birth. They took it out shortly before age one. Her #2 kidney looked basically alright, a little hydronephrosis (water on kidney) but that is to be expected, I have been told, when a kidney has been doing the work of two kidneys. Anyhow, anytime the nerves are not quite right with the whole bladder/ureter/kidney thing down there, it makes it more common to be slow to develop sensitivity in the bladder and the bowels. How I wish I fully understood this from the beginning and could do things differently with her. Sure, I understood, some kids aren't ready for potty training by age three or three and a half, but four or five?? My pediatrician's suggestion (and the suggestion of other doctors) of giving her Miralax only made things worse. But, it didn't feel as if they believed me.

At about age five and a half, after trying gluten free and seeing some success, but not a lot, I read an article in Spectrum Magazine (a magazine about ADHD, Aspergers and Autism). It was an article on potty training an Asperger's child. It was the first article that made complete sense to me. Some children, don't have the normal pressure and sense to want to potty train. You need to make things really desirable for them and you need to have a lot of patience and realize it's normal for them to be four, five, or six when they potty train. I can't remember every piece of advice the doctor had in that article, but I remember the one that helped us... You set up a reward system...not just stickers (I think that's what doctors think I did when I tell them I set up a reward system). You give the child something tangible (tokens or something like that). I bought squares from the learning palace. Every time my daughter has success I give her a certain number of tokens. More for staying dry all night or for going poo poo, than for pee pee. And lots of praise and "I knew you could do it"'s. She puts those tokens in a jar (which believe me to my daughter holding the tokens is essential) and when she fills it she gets to go out with me and buy something (usually something around $5). She still needs this system. One day I hope she will have grown out of it. But, now it is essential for us.

So, despite her best efforts, my middle daughter still has accidents...mostly wetting at night and an occasional daytime wetting accident. Sometimes she gets a little staining on her underwear. But, this is soooo much better than a year ago. I can't tell you how hard it was to figure all this out and go through this. Who else experienced it? Who wanted to talk about it? How unacceptable is it socially for a six year old to have potty accidents all the time? When she goes to longer classes (more than an hour...like art class or her dance class party or perhaps vacation bible school)...it's challenging, because I really can't expect the teachers to send her potty once an hour.

Well, that is my daughter's story. And, I love her. Yet, I've struggled with this challenge and at times I've been mad. That's life, I guess. Neither she nor I are perfect. God has grace for both of us.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Miscellaneous Post

Today, we went and had the girl's dance pictures taken. It was at a beautiful and crowded local park here and it was beautiful weather. My husband took the oldest (my stepdaughter) and the youngest (the toddler) with him today to do a fence project (I think he LOVES building fence, go figure). I had a peaceful day with the middle kids. They were so cooperative with just the two of them. And, I got to fellowship with different ladies at the dance picture (their dance is a Christian dance program - so that makes it nice). When I got home (around 3), I started making dinner (which took me several hours, I'm slow when I'm pregnant). But, it was all done ahead of time. So, in the evening when my husband came home from his fence work, I got to spend time outdoors with him.

My older daughter is on her second round of eardrops for an outer ear infection today. I'm hoping it clears up and we don't need oral antibiotics. My middle, six year old daughter, finished up her oral antibiotics for a kidney infection just recently. I need to get her into the urologist soon. I have to call between 8 am and 8:30 am on Monday morning to set up that appointment. I rarely get up before 9:00, but I guess I will for that.

I really can't say that I was feeling that positive about my pregnancy here recently. Following my daughter's kidney infection, I was getting lots of Braxton Hicks (I think I was stressed and short on sleep). Then, even after that subsided my back and hips were hurting me to the point where I felt like I could hardly do anything. Then, you know, the state of my house was falling apart. During my 2nd pregnancy, I had lower back pain that eased up with Chiropractic. I was totally feeling like, "I don't want to go to another doctor period." - because it seemed like every OB appointment was a reminder of how much I weighed. I've had problems with serious varicose veins this pregnancy too and in the midst of all my emotion, my good compression hose were buried somewhere in the laundry and I was having pain from that too. So, anyhow, eventually, I thought, "this is all stupid me not wanting to go to a doctor". And I had my husband arrange for a chiropractic appointment for me (I just didn't feel up to calling). Anyhow, two appointments and a couple ice packs and I feel able to get around again. Thanks be to God. I'm sure I'll still have challenges, after all the trying of our faith produces perseverence, you know, but there is light at the end of tunnel. Most specifically, I have a beautiful bouncing boy expected around here August 15.

In Him,

Cathy

Monday, June 7, 2010

Kidney Infection (Part One)

My middle girl is a complicated one. In so many ways. This weekend we discovered she had a kidney infection.

We discovered my little girl had one abnormal kidney when I was pregnant with her. Oh, strong emotion. What does this mean? Will she be alright? What does this mean for her life. We got with the Urologist and talked about the possibilities and he settled my emotions.

"Most likely this means that she’ll only have one kidney. We might choose to try and fix the enlarged kidney or we might remove it, but we’ll probably wait a while until we do either thing. Her healthy kidney will do most of the work."

When she was born her pediatrician ran all sorts of kidney functions tests. They all came out normal. At about seven-eight months the Urologist ordered the big-gun tests for kidney functions. One test was a nuclear test where they inject nuclear dye into her, have her lay very still in front of a nuclear imaging machine and watch how the kidneys clear the nuclear particles.

My daughter did wonderfully. At that age she was such a cooperative, happy, still baby. I remember the horrible rashes she had then. I was always treating her skin with moisturizer and hydrocortisone and other medications. It was always out of control…especially in the diaper area. If she had a poopy on her for one minute (literally one minute) her bottom would bleed horribly. I think that started from the age that I introduced food to her. Anyhow, I told you my daughter was a complicated girl, but back to where I left off in my story:

The urologist also ordered a urethral reflux tests where they give her this special chalk substance through a catheter and take moving X-rays (many fast X-rays) to watch if there are any signs of the urine moving up from the bladder to the kidneys. Again, at seven-eight months, my daughter did wonderfully. Those would have been hard tests to give to a child who was more aware.

At about 10 months she got her enlarged kidney removed (hydronephrosis is what they call it). After they removed the kidney, they told us it looked like an over-inflated balloon that had lost its air and that it hadn’t been doing any of the work of her kidneys. They also looked around at the other ureter and everything looked “ok” but that they would monitor it.

When she was two or three she got another ultrasound (she had gotten several around the time of that surgery). The doctor said everything looked fine but that we would monitor it over the years. All along we talked about things to keep her kidney safe…watch for bladder infections…don’t give her cranberry juice because the oxalic acid in the cranberry juice can cause kidney stones…she shouldn’t do motorcross or football. That was the joke, she only has one kidney, so we don’t want her to do any extreme sports. (By the way, this girl of mine is soooo the football, tackling type.)

The ultrasound results did say things on it like hydronephrosis on this kidney looks stable. Or looks slightly improved. I was concerned by words like these because I didn’t know this kidney had any hydonephrosis going on. The Urologist showed me her ultrasound and explained what the radiologist was seeing when they wrote that and that although it showed some signs of hydronephrosis, it was within normal range of a kidney that did the work of two kidneys, and he wasn’t highly concerned about it.

My daughter had other (mild) issues going on. They weren’t mild to me though. Around four we were still having major potty issues. The Urologist is one of the people to talk to about this too.

This story is to be continued...

Not Much Happening

Really, not much has been happening around here – except for taking my daughter to the doctor, the persistent rain, and the kids normal activities – today was art and violin, tomorrow is dance.

I also think I’ve got to get my older daughter in to the doctor too because I think she isn’t hearing well and her ear hurts. She had an outer ear infection she got drops for. I’ll bet it never went away. But, she never told me. I told her today, “you need to tell me, you could lose hearing if you keep having ear infections”. My two older ones always have these quirky health problems going on with them and I’m always worried that the doctors think I am an over-worried mom – but the lives and livelihood of my children rest in my hands, so I guess what doctors think of me is less important.

I’ll finish my middle daughter’s story here soon. With the darkness of the heavy rains we’ve had here in the Northwest this May and the third trimester uncomfortability factor – I haven’t been taking pictures to go with my postings.

Here are some other observations from today:

"It’s a sad day for the cows today as they huddle against the fence line to attain some shelter from the winter-like rains by the neighbor’s 50 foot fir trees…even though the field is full of lusciously delicious green spring pasture they normally revel in. The frogs, however, are completely ecstatic, since they have found numerous new breeding grounds at the top of our property, rather than in the lowlands near the pond."

"Turkeys are funny. We moved them from the field to our yard because the chickens were pecking them. Now they are hanging out on our front porch “knocking” on the door because they want to be with us. Unfortunately, unlike a cat or dog, they don’t know not to do their business on the front porch."

"My kids are so excited (translation…hyper) today. I think it’s the schedule change and signing up for next year’s creative classes and buying next year’s music books. I’m in need of some routine. Natalie’s birthday this weekend. Good thing we just do family birthdays."

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Morning Sickness Easing Up?

I've felt nicely free of "morning sickness" for about four days now. I'm hoping it sticks! We had a wonderful day this last Saturday playing out in the sun. And also a good day on Sunday, fellowshipping (and now I actually wanted to talk) at church. Since Sunday it's been an absolute deluge...hardly a moment without rain. I have my official ultrasound later this week and my friend agreed to watch the girls, so my husband gets to go with me. We are excited. I've been doing a little more school lately too, but not quite back to my normal schedule. I also worked my way about halfway through cleaning my desk.


Here is a picture of me about a week ago.


18_weeks

Monday, May 24, 2010

School Done?

It's always been strange for me to read other's blog this time of year, and hear that so many of you are done with school for the year. I have to remember that across the country the school year varies a lot. Many of you start back in August. And, it's my understanding in Alaska, that they just don't have very many days off in the middle of the school year (so they can take full advantage of the warm, bright summers). Here our local schools start after labor day. Our school district's enrichment classes for homeschoolers - run October-May, so we are still finishing those up. And, our baby comes mid August, so I really don't intend on resuming schooling until October.

In the future, anyhow, I think I intend on instituting year round school, not in the scary government indoctrination way where they want our children for more hours of schooling, more days of the year, but just in a count up at least 180 days and document them and whenever they fall so be it. That provides more time for outings during the right time, weather and schedule wise.

Just my thoughts...

Cathy

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Last Little Bit

Anyone else have trouble remembering anything when you are pregnant? I have trouble remembering what I did yesterday. I'm pretty good on today though. Well, in terms of what I did. I also have trouble remembering names of things and lots of other things (I don't remember what). I always have trouble with that, but right now it's really amazing. Funny thing is that I do my work well. My husband and I switched roles for a couple of hours this morning and I went into our business and did filing and other miscellaneous duties. Filing might seem easy...but somehow we've never been able to successfully have anyone else do it at anywhere close to the speed I do it. Usually, I do web work and basic graphic work at work. But, the filing was getting out of control.

My husband and I recently went to the coast for the night. That was nice. We hadn't gotten away for the night since fall. I know that's normal for a lot of people. But, for me, when it's been a long time, I feel so disconnected with my husband. I think in addition to me getting away from responsibility, I also get a lot of attention from my husband. That's sometimes hard to get at home. My husband gets really intense about projects and work and politics. Relaxing is generally something pretty hard for him to do. Anyhow, it was nice.

I gardened today. I tried planting flowers outside. The weather forcast looks safe now in terms of freezing. At least for the next week, the low is 42 and generally after that it doesn't freeeze. We won't plant our whole graden till Memorial Day weekend though. We've been sorry before when we have. I also have some starts started in my greenhouse and some broccoli and lettuce. Today, when I was homeschooling, the toddler was playing outside with me, and I'd have the other kids go inside to do writing work and outside to do reading work. We had a really great day. It was in the 70's today and it was pleasant out until sunset.

My husband made tacos tonight...his signature dish...and I gardened. He also moved the cows to a new field. If you want to get an idea of the kind of projects he takes on - he recently tilled (well he did that about four different times), harrowed, planted, and rolled a new four acre chunk of field. Then, the weather changed and at the last minute he decided he needed to water it. And, the cows and the farm are just his part time hobby. But, tonight, I enjoyed it. I watched the cows and calves being moved and the older girls went with him and the toddler was happily "helping" me garden. She is such an outside girl. And she just LOVES helping me water things.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Free Historical Notebooking Pages

This website has great, free pages for history...especially U.S. History.


http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/famous_people_notebooking_pages.htm


We had fun learning about Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry today.


Here's the famous quote (which was actually re-costructed by a Historian) from Patrick Henry:


"Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, Give me Liberty, or give me Death!"


I, especially, got really into learning about history today...


I learned that Patrick Henry (a friend of Thomas Jefferson) was a staunch Anti-Federalist, but then with the threat of war from France and with the fear of a situation similar to the French Revolution happening here, Patrick Henry turned more Federalist. Thomas Jefferson was a part of the original Republican party and strongly supported states rights. He become involved in the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions which said that the states did not need to follow Federal Laws that weren't specifically documented in the Constitution, which was only a document of agreement among states. The Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions are still an important precedent in our law.


The Alien and Sedition Acts were passed in 1798 under John Adams - basically making it harder for aliens to become citizens and easier for them to be made to leave the country. However, one of the laws also said that acts and words against the Federal Government would be punishable by Federal Law. When Benjamin Franklin's grandson was arrested for an article he wrote criticizing John Adams, public outcry was great. They say, that is part of what gave Thomas Jefferson the ability to win the next election and become President...because Americans were fearful of the power of the Federal Government.


We're there again, are we not?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Turkeys And Unschooling

Turkeys


Natalie's Dad decided Natalie could have Turkeys today. Since he'll be in charge of making their shelter and of butchering, it has really been his decision alone. Natalie, however, does have to feed them and water them and clean the tank they stay in until they are old enough to stay outside. She does this already with the Pullets (future Egg Laying Chickens - they are about pre-teens right now), but this does add to her chores. And, she had to spend her own money for the Turkeys. However, she will be getting that money back (and probably more) when it comes time for eating the said Turkeys. Funny thing is, none of this seems odd to our farm girls. They are used to the idea of raising, getting somewhat attached, and eating your food. I, on the other hand, have a strict rule with my husband that I do not know any details about which steer we ended up having in our freezer. And, that took a bit getting used to.


Unschooling


True Unschooling is something I do not believe in. Basically, you let your child determine what they want to study. Your role is simply to open the discussion about topics, provide materials, and answer questions. The biggest area of disagreement I have with Unschooling is that True Unschoolers usually don't believe in parental authority - parents are merely guides, helping the children to determine what they believe to be right or wrong. I am so on the other side of this. I believe it is our God given responsibility to teach right and wrong and to shelter our children, when appropriate.


Anyhow, Heather over at Special Needs Homeschooling, has written a couple of articles about Unschooling, with links to other articles. It got me reading and thinking about this topic. The other day, Natalie's violin teacher asked if we watched TV. I answered that we occasionally watched videos, but that we didn't watch TV per se. I commented to her that I felt that children learned automatically, if they don't have TV and video games and if they have materials to learn with.


All these topics are encouraging to me, especially right now with a more limited school schedule imposed by pregnancy. I do make my children do things. I'm downright mean when it comes to making them learn math. I teach them phonics and we read together. They have to do chores. And whether I cross every T right now during this pregnancy, my children are learning. And I am so impressed with them and their natural interests. Natalie is excelling at Violin this year...I think because of a really enthusiastic teacher, combined with maturation, and self motivation. She is also really blooming in her art class that she and her sister are taking. My six year old has become an amazing little reader this year and I was SOOOOO worried about her last year. Both of my school age girls have wide interests - from singing hymns (which they are doing right now), to arts & crafts, to science, to farm skills. It's good. When, I'm discouraged, I need to remember this. I may not keep a perfect house, I may need to work on my patience, I may be in a season where tiredness is more the rule than the exception; but, I have a great family, who is doing great.


 

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Spring Like

It was finally Spring like today. More rain is coming next week, but at least with this stretch of rain, the temperatures are supposed to be in the upper 50's not lower 40's or lower. We had a little snow several days ago. But, none stick, so I didn't take a picture.

I asked my husband to dig up a couple of really bothersome bushes for me. He suggested doing it with his tractor, which I was a little concerned about (concerned the tractor would tear up the yard). But, surprisingly, especially considering how soggy it has been, the tractor barely left a trace on the shape of the yard. And, it was amazing how an hours plus worth of work (plus a lot if it were me) could be done in mere seconds with the tractor. It was like someone was merely scooting a little sand around in a sandbox with a little hand shovel. Flowers are planned for the location of the old, prickly, and ugly bushes.

bush_removal

bush_removal_2

Jon also finished putting doors on my greenhouse and now I finally have a fully functional and easily accessible greenhouse. Here is my blog entry from last year. Just picture the same greenhouse, a little longer, with wood doors on both ends. Unfortuneately, I didn't get any pictures for you today, but I will. My starts really aren't too amazing yet. Only a few have even germinated.

And, Jon and I finished pruning and putting up Marionberries (Oregon domestic variety of blackberries) and Raspberries. Also, Jon brought up compost to the garden. It will be our best garden year ever! I'm even hoping to get my first harvest of Kiwi. I've had them four years now.

spring_garden_1

spring_garden_2

spring_garden_5

spring_garden_6

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Motivators

I've been trying to think of motivators for my kids when it comes to chores (and schoolwork) and just generally picking up after themselves. Here are a couple of my thoughts I had tonight:


 



  • My kids love to cook. I was thinking to motivate my kids to get their chores done in a certain amount of time (like under an hour altogether) by telling them if they get those chore done under that time they could make something (like banana muffins). Of course, they'd have to clean up after themselves after cooking.
  • Stop picking up after them when they haven't done what I've asked. Well, duh!? But, I have a terrible habit of asking a child to do something --- run and put the babies shoes on her door, make sure and put your clothes in the dirty laundry after taking them off --- only to find they haven't done it and I end up picking it up myself. Sure, I can pick it up quicker than I could probably follow up with them. But, long term...I'm making things really hard on myself.

That's all for now...

Friday, April 2, 2010

In Real Life

Carol of Three Little Ladies, is in the process of moving from Colorado to Alaska. Due to weather, she and her family had to change their route at the last minute and happened to be headed by my neck of the woods (SW Washington). So we got to meet up. It was wonderful to get to meet her In Real Life as she says. Her children were sweet and gracious, as is she and her husband. I especially enjoyed her littlest one's enthusiastic disposition. We got a chance to take a couple of quick shots. Here they are.


carol_and_cathy


two_families

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Natalie Playing The Violin

It took me FOREVER to figure out how to upload this video. It has been long in coming. Here is Natalie playing the violin - this is the piece she is practicing for her upcoming recital. Minuet 2 from Suzuki Volume 1.


 


Friday, March 19, 2010

How things are going

I haven't seemed to post much lately. I haven't felt as creative in the sharing department I think. The pregnancy is going well. I don't have my official, detailed ultrasound for three more weeks. They couldn't schedule it any other time. In some ways I feel better than other pregnancies. But, I still feel nauseas a good part of the day, and dizzy some and sometimes quite achey. I think the achiness is often related to not getting enough sleep or taking my multi-vitamin. I tried a children's chewable and felt the same. If I get exercise it seems to help. The good thing this pregnancy is I've consistently exercised so far. So that's good and after I exercise I feel better.


I'm frustrated with my OB...not that I think there is anything really wrong with me, but you know I don't think he's a very good listener and doesn't take my personal knowledge to be worth anything. Well, I'm frustrated with at least half the doctors I ever go to, and for a while I worked as a coordinator in a medical residency training program. I just don't hold medical knowlege, especially in today's world, as being something they hold an exclusivity on. They see patterns more than a lay person. But, I think a good doctor (or at least one that I like) will see a lay person's knowledge as valuable.


Here's a picture of my little one after we were given some flowers by a gardener whose yard we were walking past, admiring. I have more photos on my photo blog that I haven't posted here, but a lot of boring Photoshop stuff too.


flowers_2

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Ab-O-Gail & Mommy

abo_and_mommy_1

Friday, March 5, 2010

Ab-O-Gail's Cuteness

Ab-O-Gail's Favorite Phrases

 Help, Mom. It's Hard.

It's Heavy, Mom.

I said, "No."

No.

Seven. Eight.

I want daughter.  (Water)

Abo find Dachel. (Abigail is finding Rachel.)

I want to see it.

 Abigail's Favorite Things To Do

 Stand on the dining room table.

Stir the dinner skillet.

Put individual toys into about 100 individual plastic bag or plastic baggies.

Stir the cat's food with a kitchen spoon.

Repeat over and over and over again, "I want it."

Balance on boxes.

My Favorite Phrases Right Now

 You leave that alone.

I said, "No."

Don't touch.

Get down.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

To Learn With Love

I'm re-reading "To Learn with Love - A Companion For Suzuki Parents". It's an excellent read for the parent, educator, and home educator alike even if your children are not involved in anything musical. Suzuki had so many insights into the aptitude of children and how to motivate them.


Here are two quotes from the first chapter, that I just love:


First Quote:


"Such statements as "At age three children are unable to...", or "A four-year old cannot comprehend...", caused him [Suzuki] to reject others' opinions and led him to study children directly himself."


"Suzuki observed the learning habits of children. These observations and his reflections on them gave birth to his idea to apply the mother-tongue method to the teaching of music to small children. As his success tells us, he found that children have enormous potential for learning and that poor teaching; poor environment and inadequate adult expectations have been the principal causes of limiting that potential."


Second Quote:


"Growth rates are by no means constant. 'Once a slow learner, always a slow learner' is simply not true. We should not put a tag on the slow beginner. Remember the story Suzuki told in "Nurtured by Love" about the parakeet named Peeko Miyazawa? Peeko had to hear 3000 repetitions of the word 'Peeko' before he was able to say it, but only 200 repetitions of his family name, 'Miyazawa'. 'Ability breeds ability,' Suzuki says."


..."What actually did happen was that Peeko, after learning to say his name, began to imitate everything he heard, even after only one hearing! I'm sure people marveled at Mr. Miyazawa's parakeet. Did he tell them that Peeko was an especially slow learner? Did anyone ever ask Winston Churchill when he learned to talk?...Or ask Jesse Owens when he learned to walk?"


 

Monday, March 1, 2010

Progress My Girls Are Making

This whole pregnancy thing almost has me convinced to do unschooling. I said, "almost."


It really is amazing when you put quality books in front of them and not a lot of digital entertainment, how they seek out learning on their own. I was so worried about my five year old. She's six now. She wasn't reading Bob books. Teaching her the sounds of the letters was one frustration after another.


We've kept plugging away at the phonics cards and doing a little reading here and there. And, mainly, I read to her and her sister. She listened to a lot of third/fourth grade level reading in our narration time. And, I must say that I've done a lot less narration, hardly any really...since being pregnant. Natalie, my eight year old, has been doing reading and written narration, but since being pregnant, I've hardly done any oral narration. I don't know if the timing just worked out, or if it was just the time for my six year old to be developmentally ready, but all the sudden the last few months (as I've been doing less reading), she's had a desire to read. By in large, she doesn't want to read "readers" she wants to read REAL (Living) books...Around The World In Eighty Days (kids edition), Little House On The Prairie. She works through it really slow, but she does decipher the words and read. And, she tells people she meets, "Do you know what? I read chapter books."


Here is a story she wrote recently. I thought it was creative, so I wanted to share it with you. A lot of her letters were backwards and I'll share her creative spelling, but her writing just tickles me.


A Bear and the Pig


A bear heard a pig oinking and the bear startied to followed the oinking. The pig startied to oinking eivn louder. It looked around but the bear ws beihhiend a tree. Win the pig ws not looking, the bear jumt out of his hieddying spot and jumps on the pig. The bear startied (to) fiend his Mom and Dad, but win he caim bak with his Mom and Dad the ham was was not thear. The fammully was sad.


The end


An Interpretation


So, basically the baby bear killed the pig, but couldn't carry him off and went to get his Mom and Dad, but when the bear family arrived to where the pig was, the pig was gone.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Early Ultrasound

I got to go for an early ultrasound today. I am officially 13 weeks, 4 days now, and the ultrasound showed 14 weeks, 1 day. Very close. They can't tell me anything definitive with this ultrasound. However, the baby has two arms, two legs, a head, two kidneys, two feet, and two hands that like to go in the mouth. I'm thrilled. I must say I haven't felt very excited for the last six to eight weeks...I've just felt so sick and nervous. Here are some pictures.


baby_2

Profile...hands in mouth

baby

Profile...arms and legs down

baby's_bottom

This is the baby's bottom and feet. You be the judge if there is anything else there. They cannot tell us for sure at this gestation. But, obviously with three (and sometimes four) girls, we're thrilled at any possible hints of masculinity. I'll let you know in about four more weeks.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Orchestra Recital

Natalie had her first Orchestra Recital today. She was so cute. She kept looking over at me to see that I was looking at her while she was playing. I hope I wasn't the cause of her getting lost in her music. Actually, I only noticed once where she got mixed up at all. It's funny, I didn't really notice how the other kids did. :) Here are some photos of our day. Daddy treated the girls to hot chocolate afterwards...everyone except Abigail (who makes a mess of hot chocolate)...she got lemon pound cake. Poor thing. I had a green tea frappacino. What is in those (besides caffiene...bad Mommy)? They make me feel almost normal.


violin_outside_color


recital


hot_chocolate


lemon_pound_cake

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Life & Creation

Life


I'm having a difficult day today. It is the second day I had trouble sleeping, mainly I think because my tummy was bothering me in the middle of the night. I have major issues with sleep and it really effects me harder than most to not get enough. I'm normally not able to nap. So today I feel achey, kind of sick, a little dizzy, and very tired. I'm at 12 1/2 weeks of pregnancy. I should be getting over feeling sick. I was starting to.


Young Earth Book


Here is an interesting read. Considering the topic it's a pretty easy read and it's free.


Old Earth - Why Not?


I'd encourage you to read it out loud to your children. They will be inundated enough with evolution and fossil and geologic interpretations that tell them the Earth's fetures formed slowly over hundreds of millions of years. The thing I notice the more I listen to possible explanations is that the "experts" state things not as theories, but as facts. Then their theories contradict each other right and left.


Read this with your children and let them have a little amunition to realize their world viewpoint is not for the uneducated or uninformed.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

What We've Been Up To

First I want to share a couple of photos with you.


One of them is of the newest thing I am trying here. That is to make smoothies - you can get in a lot of healthy yogurt, fruit, and even veggies by making smoothies and not have it seem like such a big task to do it. And the sugar really isn't necessary. The smoothies I've made so far had banana in them and that sweetened it plenty.


red_smoothie_1


The second picture is just of Rachey playing outside today. She's decorating her tree (old cut branch) with Heather flowers. LOL. I'm so torn when I see my girls do this. They make such a mess, but their creativity is AMAZING. Isn't she cute?


rachey_playing


I've been on and off lately. I felt sick (I've still had some "morning" sickness) last night and my step-daughter was up with an aching tummy.  I didn't get up though. I made my husband do it. He did not want to. I'm glad he did. I was short on sleep from feeling sick myself. I was SOOOOOOO tired today. But, I don't do naps well. So, I actually got myself out to take a walk. That was good. I still felt tired, but it was good for me and I wasn't moping around the house.


My girls went to a dance party last night. They had so much fun. I think they may have gotten too many goodies though (perhaps the reason for the upset tummy). How to get them to decline the sixth cookie when you aren't there? It was an opportunity, however, to remind them that we don't just do things when we are being watched, but as serving the Lord. I am always reminding them of that. We don't just try to please men (or Mommy), but please the Lord, who sees our every moment and action. I remind them this when chores are done half-heartedly as well. I think it does sink in eventually.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Today

I started this blog to record the adventures of our homeschooling family and my reasons for homeschooling. It seems lately I have not been writing much about homeschooling. Yet, I am everyday impressed with homeschooling. I am impressed that even when I am doing the bare minimum, just by exposing my kids to a love of learning and by limiting their electronic access, they just keep on learning, even seemingly without me. Rachey has been writing notes and deciphering "chapter books". Natalie asks me to read and narrate - she misses it. And, they do ballet and art and violin. It's not something I have to pressure them to do. Don't get me wrong...there have been times. When violin was new and hard and Natalie was younger, she had to be pushed to do it some days. Rachey wants to play an instrument. I told her maybe next year (after the baby comes).


And they do math...but that isn't a voluntary activity...although for me that is largely a "child independent" activity, as I mainly follow the Robinson approach to Math...let them struggle with it and teach themselves...following mainly Saxon. I put Natalie (3rd) in Saxon 5/4 this year and she actually did better. Saxon 5/4 is the original Saxon - and unlike the younger grades and is much more to the point.


I got out my maternity clothes today. I had one of those crisis moments where even some of my sweats were uncomfortable and the looser of my pants were in the wash. I think most of my maternity clothes look pretty good on me, but no doubt about it, as I start wearing them, everyone will know I'm pregnant.


My husband is outside right now with the kids. I'm sitting here thinking about going to the shoe store - which is like terribly hard if I try to do that with my kids. I have particular feet and I really need a non-tennis or garden shoe that takes an insert. I don't really feel sick per se right now, but I feel achey and tired, so I'm not sure I want to go, but I"m sure I would be glad I did. Some shoes to got with my "new clothes" would be nice.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Pregnancy

This is my fourth pregnancy, and I'm still wondering?? How do you get yourself so your full (not completely starving) before going to bed? You know so you can go to sleep and not wake up two hours later?


I've been doing on/off good/bad. I think a lot depends on how well I sleep. We lost our little calf we pulled. The Momma cow, she sounds so sad. I was thinking a lot about that last night. And, today, naturally, I didn't feel good. The frustrating thing is I couldn't take a nap.

It Was A Good Day

It was a good day today. I made myself a salad with chicken breast and apple and honey mustard salad dressing I bought from Wild Oats earlier in the week. It was yummy and filling. My husband called as I was making it and had a problem with his truck. So, we went off to meet him. I brought my salad with me, but I got the kids fast food. Then we took care of our school district home schooling program co-pays and went to a park and I sat and talked with a friend. It was a sunny, warm day, very unusual for this time of year. We finished that by going to the grocery store. The whole time I really didn't feel sick.


We came home and my husband called and asked if he could bring anything home. I called in a Thai order and he brought it home. My favorite.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Love This Verse

Love this verse. I think all Christians would do well to memorize this verse.



2 Kings 18:3-5


 


He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father David had done. He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. (It was called Nehushtan.) Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him.


Right beside this verse:


Matthew 27:37-38


Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'

The Moon

the_moon

Saturday, January 30, 2010

My Week

It was a good week I think. I decided to "try" going Gluten Free this week. So far I'm still doing it. I'm doing it because this pregnancy most wheat products have made me feel badly.

My middle daughter is a Gluten Free girl. Even though she didn't test out for Celiac - it obviously makes a huge difference for her going gluten free in so many ways - including behavioral. But the clearest sign is that whenever we go back to wheat (more than just a tiny amount) she has tummy aches big time.

My oldest daughter had a horrible time with CVS (Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome) last year (and a few years before that). CVS is basically migraines in kids. One of her episodes she didn't eat or drink for a week and we had to get her hydrated at the ER. We had to get her hydrated more than once. Actually that time we went to the ER at about day four. So, we got some expensive medicine for the nausea. And we used it a few times. But, the really cool thing is for like the last nine months, she hasn't had a problem. She has gotten headaches - and one thing you can do for migraines is to catch them early and treat them with Advil. So doing that might have made a big difference. But, the big thing we did is cut out food additives as an entire family (for the most part - we still go out to eat). Anyhow, that's a huge praise report, and just to show you that real health issues come from sensitivities.

Interestingly enough, the girs' cousin just got a positive test back on Celiac - so it looks like that does run in the family (on my husband's side).

I've just had general health issues and largely anxiety and depression issues and allergies (asthma, hives, etc.). I don't know what I'll do with this experiment. If you have followed my blog much over the last year or two, you know I love making homemade whole grain bread. I would so hate to give that up. But, for now, during my pregnancy and especially while I feel sick, I'm avoiding wheat and wheat like products.

So, I was feeling better. I mean I still had morning sickness, but it wasn't so overwhelming and I had good hours this week. The girls had a lot of fun with their activities this week and we made it to every one. Outside of Natalie doing her math, we still haven't been back to school, but I figure I can make up for that during the summer. And certainly, their activities and Nat's violin practice are an education of a type all on their own. And, the girls love to read on their own. So, they aren't getting rusty.

We got the original Star Wars (4,5, and 6) and Jon told the girls if they cleaned the house, we would watch the first one. Oh, my gosh were they motivated. I've never seen them move so fast. And, even if I was at my tip top, I coudn't have cleaned it myself that fast.

My Abigail is just a cutie. She keeps us all wrapped around her finger. It was funny at violin this week, the teacher asked her to pick up a pencil. She stood back and acted shy. Soon, though, she started telling my eight year old to pick it up. And kept asking her over and over. And eventually, Natalie did pick it up. That little Abigal turkey. I ask her to pick up a toy and she says, "Dachel pick it up." Dachel is Rachel, my six year old. But, Abigail's very helpful too. You should see how she folds wash rags. And, I'm kind of particular that my wash rags are folded in the same direction so they make a neat stack. And she (Abigail - 2 1/2) does it that way! Oh, she's too cute for words.

Here are some pictures I took earlier this week when I braided Abigail's hair. Natalie got in on the action.

abigail's_braids

abigail's_laugh

nat

Monday, January 25, 2010

My Husband

Have I told you that my husband has been making dinner about three days out of four during this difficult part of my first trimester? Do you know that shortly after we were married, my husband told me he just didn't see how he could be one of those husbands that helps their wife in the kitchen. It was just not something that any of the men in his family did. But, he has learned to make Tacos, Hamburgers (from lean, pasture fed beef mind you), Oven-Fried Chicken, Steak/Potatoes/and a Vegetable. He also cuts up a mean salad. And makes great German Pancakes for breakfast - even making a gluten free version for our gluten free girl.


Jon isn't the most naturally sympathetic person. He doesn't just notice when I need help. But, as hard as everything has been during this first trimester...he pulls through. This morning I knew I needed extra sleep (ten or eleven rather than nine) to feel good today. It's been how it's been. I asked him to stay home a little and work from home and just let the girls play in their rooms. He said, "no way. It's a busy day." In the past, I would have gotten myself worked up about his lack of sympathy. But, we are both learning. I told him I wouldn't be able to get things done today because I wouldn't be feeling good not having enough sleep. And, I tried to go back to sleep. And, you know what, he stayed home and worked remotely. I didn't even know it. I just thought my children were being unusually quiet. I got up at eleven and then he went into work.


My honey is a gem isn't he? I love him anyhow, whether he were to do that or not. But, when he does things like that I feel loved by him.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pregnancy Struggles

I had a day the other day where I felt good (almost normal) for about five or six hours. Then, the day after it, I didn't feel like I could move from the couch all day. I think a lot of it is related to how much sleep I got. And every time I tried to take a nap that day, I was awoken by a phone or  fighting children...or after my dear husband took the children...this stop watch thing went off.


This pregnancy, according to my memory is up there with the morning sickness of my first pregnancy. But, so far I do get over "morning" sickness by thirteen weeks every time. So, I'm looking forward to that date. As far as what doctor's recommend...pretty much they tell me this is the first trimester and that's how you feel, have you tried eating saltines? Last time when I was getting real desperate they offered me some anti-nausea medicine, but that made me so out of it, it really wouldn't be worth it unless I literally could sleep all day. Plus, no need to add extra medicine. A couple weeks after that point last time, I was feeling better. I just hope the baby is OK. I love getting that 18 week ultrasound and finding out everything looks basically OK.


Enough of that. We have not been doing hardly any school. That's OK. Learning is lifelong and we can do school in the summer. We have been doing the activities we're signed up for, but I've been skipping about one a week. I'm really signed up for about one too many things, but I just don't want to get rid of one of them right now. We are doing Violin (Natalie only), Art (Natalie only), Swimming (both older girls), and Dance (both older girls).


The dance is during a hard time of day for "morning sickness" and four and five and that's when my evening edition of morning sickness tends to pop back up. But, it's real close to home and to work. I wish I could talk my husband into dropping off and picking up the girls for this...but he's not too fond of hanging out with a bunch of girls and women. So...we'll see.


Natalie is just LOVING being back in violin. I don't think I realized how important it was to her.


Swimming...well my girls are six and eight and still don't swim. They need to learn. I could pay for it myself in summer, but then you go every day and that's a big committment and they've never had much success from Summer lessons. I just need to stick out this first trimester a couple of weeks.


Art. Natalie loves it. I guess I wouldn't have started it if I had had the presence of mind for how quickly I would become pregnant and for how much morning sickness I would have. But, I just can't take it away from her now having just been in it since mid-November. It's close to violin and last week I got her Dad to pick her up from art. I put a couple hours in at work in exchange though...


I've been trying to take picture here and there. I have one here to show you. Today it is pouring down rain and dark, so I'm not sure I'll get any taken today. It's a real outlet for me to take pictures. I can get lost in it.


 


rachey_walkway