Sunday, November 30, 2008

Links for your enjoyment, 11.30.08

Thanksgiving Rightly Addressed by Dawn at The Homeschool Post. (Who did you thank on Thursday?)

Are you kidding me?? at Starry Sky Ranch. (I couldn't agree with her more.)

Why Do I Homeschool? by Stephanie at Heart of the Matter. (She beautifully articulates our reasons for home schooling.)

Friday, November 28, 2008

This little piggy was snoring?!

The following conversation took place at breakfast on Saturday before Samuel was born.

Will: I came into your room this morning while you were still asleep.
Joel: What did we look like?
Will: (Sort of closes his eyes.)
Me: What did Daddy sound like?
Will: A pig.

I've been telling Joel he snores badly! Now someone else agrees with me.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

This makes raking worth the all the work.

We have one mature oak tree in our backyard. It dropped most of its leaves in one weekend resulting in a yard full of leaves. Joel had the foresight to buy 3 small rakes the week before. Here is the result of an afternoon or two of work.

No fair! He's got a bigger rake!
Again with the horseplay!
You know what's coming next, don't you?
Where's Ben? Look close!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Blogging - A family affair.

Blogging has become a family affair around here. First, Joel's sister starting posting.

Then my brother's wife and Addi's momma joined the blogging world.

Now my cousin and the momma to Abby and Madison has started posting.

By the way, that's Addi in the middle. I haven't met Abby or Addi, yet. Can you imagine how fun our family get togethers are going to be with Madison, Ellie, Abby, and Addi(son)? Whew! Say that 3 times fast!!!

If my counting is correct, I've inspired at least 8 of the bloggers on my sidebar under "Real Life Friends." To bad Blogger doesn't given me a commission. = )

Monday, November 24, 2008

Inspector Hector, the Plaque Detector helps train William to brush his teeth.

We have been trying to train William to brush his own teeth. He's five. It's time. He claimed he brushed but mainly it was chewing on the toothbrush.

Somewhere I heard about a product that kids use like mouthwash and it shows the areas that need cleaning. Sort of like those red tablets we received in elementary school when someone came and spoke about dental care. (Am I the only one who remembers those?)

I found a couple of brands at Wal*Mart that sounded promising. Naturally I bought the cheapest one - Inspector Hector, Plaque Detector. I bought the blue version rather than the pink, mainly because I thought it would show up better in Will's mouth.

He squeezes the bottle to fill the little cup at the top.

Then he swishes the liquid in his mouth (we're still working on the swishing skill!).
After spitting it out in the sink he inspects his teeth in the mirror for blue areas.

Then he brushes. When he thinks he's done he checks to see if all the blue is gone.
Sometimes Daddy helps get the rest of the blue.
The blue isn't as strong as I had hoped but it has motivated him to brush better. I tried to get pictures of his blue teeth but he only wanted to play. If you are trying to train a child to brush his teeth check out Inspector Hector. It's recommended for 6 years and older (Will's 5.5), probably because you don't swallow it. Will thinks it's fun and Ben can't wait until he's old enough to use it.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Links for your enjoyment. 11.23.08

Our (Long) Toy Story... by Susan L at High Desert Home. (A timely post by a grandma about the toys she used/uses in her home. Quality over quantity.)

I need a t-shirt... by Melissa at 320 Sycamore. (A list of comments moms of 3 or more hear often!)

Introducing Twaddle-Free Books... for Moms! by Simple Mom. (She's starting a book club. 6 books in 2009. This fits well with one of the goals I'm considering for next year. More on that in a few weeks.)

Radical Womanhood: Feminine Faith in a Feminist World by Lisa at 5 Minutes for Books. (This looks like an interesting and thought provoking book. I'm putting it on my 2009 Reading List.)

I'm in limbo and I'm not very limber... by Meredith at Life at 7000 Feet. (I don't think I'm limber either.)

Loneliness--a curse or a gift? by Sally at I Take Joy. (She writes about feeling lonely without support systems. Boy, can I relate!)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Three couples. Ten+ years of friendship. Blessings of God to numerous to list.

In November 2003 my husband along with his two cohorts planned a surprise outing to a local spa for myself and the other two wives. Following our massages/pedicure we ladies returned to my home where we dolled ourselves up for a REAL TRIPLE DATE! Then we drove to Amy's home where the men cooked and served us a delicious dinner (Joel is still famous for his apple pie!).

At the time Will was 6 months old, Amy was weeks away from delivering Micah, and Dawn still lived in Rhode Island. We had so much fun that night it became an annual tradition for us to hire a sitter and have a night out together.

And then Mike and Dawn moved to Kentucky {sniff.sniff.}. Last year our tradition faultered because Dawn gave birth to Little Miss Emily in October. Understandably they didn't make it back to RI for Christmas.

But this year, THEY'RE BACK!! Only it's in November. And don't you know one of the few dates we could all get together just happens to be my birthday?! How fantastic is that?! I haven't had a birthday party in 13 years. Ack! That just made me feel old... moving on... to fun pictures.
Here we all are in 2003.
Awww... aren't they cute?
One more cute couple.
Back when Joel paid for haircuts.

Tonight we will all meet at my home for take out pizza, laughter and fun. There will be no babysitters. Which means we'll visit around the chaos made by a 5, 4, 3, 3, 2, and 1 year old and a 4 week old. Yes, that's SEVEN children between the 3 couples (half of which are mine!). Oh wait! Once again Amy is due to deliver in a few weeks so make that (almost) EIGHT children.

Hmm.. I wonder if I could squeeze in a massage this week. I know Amy would like a pedicure. Then it really would be like old times.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Good friends are a blessing from God.

I am thankful for good friends!

11+ years ago we moved from Arkansas to Rhode Island. Newly married and recently graduated from college. Let's just say that first year was plain hard and leave it at that.

The next year another couple, Amy and Andy, moved to Rhode Island. Newly married and recently graduated from college. Their first Sunday at our church we invited them to our home for lunch. Who knew that a decade long friendship would result?

Within a couple of years our little group had grown to 5 couples. Amy & Andy, ourselves and another couple intended to only live in Rhode Island for 2 years. The 4th and 5th couples were intending to be here forever. God had other plans.

Now they have all moved away - except us and A2. The ones who thought they'd only be here a couple of years. Not a decade. Doesn't God have a sense of humor?

We are so thankful God has given us great friends!! Both the near-by ones, the far away ones and the far far away ones.

The A2M2 Family (soon-to-be M3) plus Andy's Dad.
These 5 (soon-to-be 7!!!) are the best of friends.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Apple Pie Making with Grandma

My mom arrived from Arkansas the Saturday before Samuel was born. I thought a fun activity would be for us to all make an apple pie together. I had to do something with those 20 pounds of apples! Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of the actual pie. But peeling the apples sure was fun!

My fellow chefs.
Eating the apple peel is half the fun!
Wow! That's one long piece of peel!!
Ben enjoyed some as well.
The peel was longer than they are tall!
Ben intent on peeling the apple.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Three Hour Schedule or Routine with Baby Samuel and my other 3 children.

Anyone who has visited here long knows I like to be organized. So I'm sure no one is surprised that after being home from the hospital for a week I have put ink to paper and formed a new schedule for my little family.

It's necessary for my sanity, Will to have school, and Sam to get fed. I realize some of my readers may find putting a newborn on a schedule shocking or controversial. I've done this with all of my children and find it helps them to have regular feeding and sleep cycles and gives me a consistent milk supply.

Without further ado, here is my new schedule or routine.

You'll notice that Sam is on a 3 hour routine and I'm fitting him into what we already do. I've had to move a few things around but not much. In a couple of weeks Joel will bottle feed Sam's first daily feeding in order to give me a little more sleep.

In a couple of months I'll transition Sam to a 4 hour schedule. Hopefully he'll be sleeping through the night by then!

Now to answer a few questions from the comments on the Schedule/Routine I posted before going into the hospital.

Amy asked: "do you have separate Bible time with Ellie before bed or all 3 kids together?" Until about a month ago, Joel read a book of Ellie's choosing and I put her to bed. Then we had evening Bible reading. But at 2+ years she's sitting still longer and paying attention better so we've begun including her with the boys.

We are currently reading one section (NOT chapter!) of Acts a night. Joel will ask each of the boys a question after he reads. This helps keep them focused on the reading and helps them remember the passage. Ellie often demands her own question, which she usually answers with "Jesus" or "God." It's a little chaotic with all three together but at this stage we're more interested in consistently exposing them to Scripture than for them to be theologians.

Melissa asked: when did you have your quiet time? I keep wanting to get up before Silas but that doesn't work because he gets up at different times even with the same bed time - 8:00. I have two responses to this. First, ALL of my children nap/rest from 1:00-2:00 pm. Non-negotiable. This is when I usually have my quiet time. I also need to sit down and rest by that time so it accomplishes two things at once.

Secondly, when my kids are still in a crib I get them out at the same time every day. This requires training them and me. It may mean a few days of them crying in their crib until I'm ready for us to start our day (my pediatrician tells me it's ok for children to cry). They learn to play independently while they wait on me to come.

Let me say my home and the people in it are not perfect. We don't follow the schedule to the minute every day. It's really more of a general guide to keep us on track. As I watched my home spiral into chaos last week I remembered why we live by a routine/schedule. Without it my children pick at each other, whine, cry and find trouble; which results in my behavior not being much better than theirs. Peace has a fighting chance of existing when we have a plan for each day.

Whether live by a schedule/routine or fly by the seat of your pants, the key is to find what works for your family and use it. I hope you have enjoyed seeing what works for my family.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Links for your enjoyment, 11.16.08

9 Tips for Taking Great Family Portraits by Simple Mom (lots of links to other sites with tips for digital photography!).

Clutter control: 11 tips from a true expert by Org Junkie (I hate clutter! I'm blessed to live with a pack rat. One day I will have my basement completely clear of clutter!!).

Cool Off Your House Fever with a Long term Financial Plan by Simple Mom (Great ideas!! Much wisdom here!)

WholeHearted Mother Conferences 2009 in NC, CA, and TX and Colorado Springs and Raleigh, NC Mom's Conference Coming! by Sally at I Take Joy (if I could go I absolutely would!!!).

Midnight Comfort by Lara at Singing New Songs (a sweet poem describing a common scene in the life of a mom to little ones. I inadvertently put this in last week's post when I meant to put it in this one. I should explain that I keep a Links post saved and update throughout the week as I read blogs I want to share with you).

House-Home... by Susan at High Desert Home with hat tip to {Olive Tree} (great article about what makes our houses into homes. Challenging and encouraging!).

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Why we don't celebrate Halloween.

On the post about carving pumpkins Eddie left this comment,
"Hey Stephanie,
I was saved in a church that didn't do halloween as well, boy were they adamantly against it(as well as any Bible other than the 1611 Authorized KJV, most any pop culture and drums). I'm curious, if you'd be willing to share, why do y'all take that stance? And if not, that is perfectly fine as well."
Well, Eddie, you ask a reasonable question and, since I opened the can of worms by writing the post, I don't mind answering you. Just remember you asked my opinion.

For Joel and I, Halloween is a matter of where do you draw the line? You know, that invisible line of being "in the world but not of the world."

As we talked through the issue of Halloween (before we had kids!) we concluded that the holiday celebrates fear and death. That isn't something we want to be a part of. We couldn't think of any positive aspects of this holiday that would enrich or grow the characters of our children.

But we could think of negatives. Starting with costumes. Right now our children are in the cute and cuddly stage but eventually they might want to go a little "darker" and scarier. "How are those kind of costumes honoring to Jesus," is the question we asked ourselves. Our conclusion was that they aren't. Once we started down the trick or treat/costume path it would be hard to keep boundaries on it.

So we decided to never start down the path. We also decided not to hand out candy. I know some people give candy and tracts. That's not really our preference for evangelism.

Are my children missing out? We always seem to have candy in the house so I don't feel the need to go get any from the neighbors. And my kids are constantly dressing up in costumes (archers, pirates, superheroes) so I don't think not dressing up one night is going to scar them for life.

However, it will make them different. And that feels awkward and uncomfortable. But as Christians, when do we let that stop us from doing what we believe is right and honoring to God?

I guess my answer in a nutshell is that Halloween is not God honoring or building up in it's message or celebration. I am not dogmatic about this nor do I think it is doctrine. If you celebrate Halloween you aren't a bad person or going to hell.

I would suggest that each of my readers take a look at why you celebrate Halloween and what it is teaching your children. Pray about it and see what God wants you to do next year. I hope I haven't offended or upset anyone. If you disagree with me, can we still be friends? = )

***PS. Eddie, since we attended church together you know we don't have a problem with drums and I'm pretty sure we used the NIV during our Bible study. We do take issue with much of pop culture. The key is to be discerning and measure everything by the standard of the Bible. I'm finding the less I am exposed to pop culture the more harm I see in it when I am exposed to it. "Not everything is profitable."

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thankfully there were no caravans to Egypt passing by at the time of this conversation.

This is a fitting post for today since yesterday's post might have led you to believe my children are perfect. Ha! Ha! Ha! {Laughing hysterically!}
Ben: Will said I'm not his brother anymore. {crying}
Me: Will, why did you say that?
Will: I didn't say that. I said I'm not his brother anymore.
Me: Why would you say such unkind words?
Will: Well, sometimes he won't do what I want him to do. {Boy, do I know that feeling!}
Me: Ben, you will always be his brother. No matter what. You were born his brother and nothing can change that. Will, apologize to your brother for hurting his feelings..... Now, why does Ben have marker on his forehead? (Sidenote: Ben often writes on himself if he finds a pen or marker while unsupervised.)
Will: I did it so we can sell him.
Me: WHAT?! We are not selling your brother.
Will: I don't want him anymore.
Me: We are not selling your brother. Ben, we do want you. I would be sad if you were gone. If you want to sell him why did you write on him?
Will: In case we decide we want him back. We'll be able to tell which "Ben" belongs to us.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Free photobook!! ACT NOW!!

Thanks to 320 Sycamore for tipping me off to this!! She has a couple other freebies in that post so be sure to check it out.

Go here to claim a coupon for a free 20 page photobook from Snapfish. You must claim the coupon from that link by midnight Friday (as in November 14, 2008) and complete the order with Snapfish by midnight Sunday.

I use Snapfish to develop all my colored film pictures. We've used their service since 2000 and have been satisfied with their service most of the time. I've never ordered a photobook but their calendars have been good quality. My problem is going to be deciding what pictures I want to go in the book!

I am thankful ...

...that my children play well together (most of the time). That they enjoy being together. That they are best friends and playmates as well as siblings.
Ellie hasn't learned to make the "Horsey Swing" go by herself, yet.
So, one or both of the boys will swing with her. She loves it!
*** These are pictures from summer that never made it on the blog. Obviously my children are NOT playing outside barely dressed during November in New England!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Homemade Race Car.

When William sees a box he sees potential. This time he saw a potential race car. Complete with working wheels and jack to change the tires.

Daddy convinced him the box was not strong enough to support his weight on axles and real wheels. Disappointment resulted. But not for long! Hope returned when Daddy (aka MacGuyver) set to work to produce a pretend race car.

Who needs store bought toys when you have a couple of boxes and duct tape?!

The white piece across the middle is the seatbelt.
William winning his race!
Ben needed a helmet for his race.

Ellie also required a hat for driving. Notice that she posed for the camera.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Three Generations of Women

What is it about mothers and daughters that makes the relationship so unique and special?

My mom and I fought like cats and dogs as I grew up. The poor woman was "blessed" with a strong-willed, highly opinionated, and obnoxiously verbal daughter. But she loves me anyway.

I'm hoping to skip the fighting part with Ellie but I'm not holding my breath. At only 2 years old she is already showing signs of being strong-willed, highly opinionated and is most definitely obnoxiously verbal! I guess the apple didn't fall far from the tree.

*** This post is in honor of my maternal Grandma E. Today would have been her 86th birthday. She has been in heaven for 11 years so she never met any of my children but I have no doubts that she would have spoiled them all rotten.

Monday, November 10, 2008

How to make and use a Finance Binder for your financial paperwork.

*** Edited 1/17/09 to add pictures. Thank you to Org Junkie for including me in her Link-Tastic Post!

It's been a few weeks since I posted any Home Manager or Homemaking ideas. With a new year right around the corner, it's a good time to share how I organize or manage our financial paperwork.

I use a shoe box.

Ha! Ha! Just kidding. That's my mom, I'm so NOT kidding. No, really I use a Finance Binder.

Why do I use a Finance Binder?

It makes my life easier! As our Home Manager it's important for me to keep our finances organized so we don't waste money because of misplaced receipts. Within 2 minutes I can have my hands on just about any receipt Joel needs from the current year. Several times I've had to go back a few years to find receipts for auto parts warranties. Saving us money once again.

A lot of people use a file cabinet and file folders but I find digging through a cabinet and folders to be chaotic and time consuming. A binder organizes my financial year in a way that makes sense to me. Whether you use folders or a binder the important thing is to have a system in place.

You can set up a Finance Binder also. You will need:

  • A sturdy 3 Inch Binder. I like the clear pocket binders so I can slide in a label for the year.
  • Tabbed Dividers. How many will depend on your number of categories.
  • A sturdy Closeable Pencil Bag for a binder. For small sized store receipts you need to keep.
  • 3 Hole Punch. It just makes life simple to have one for 8.5x11 paper!
How is my Finance Binder set up?

  1. Cloth zippered pencil bag. I place all small sized receipts I need to keep in the bag. Receipts for things like clothing, expensive toys, electronic items go in here. Receipts for weekly things like groceries or toiletry products are thrown away.
  2. Financial Goals with projected time to achieve them.
  3. Current Budget.
  4. Income Tab: Pay stubs, Stock Dividend receipts. Any taxable income receipt.
  5. Bank Statement Tab: Bank statements and any notices.
  6. Giving Tab: Receipts from charities we donate to. I keep ledger paper behind this tab with each tax deductible organization listed separately. Then as I donate I record the date, check # and amount. At tax time I just add up the columns. Makes claiming that deduction much easier!
  7. Utility Tab: Natural Gas, Electricity, Water/Sewer.
  8. Cox Cable and Telephone Tab: Our cable internet is reimbursed by Joel's employer each month so I keep the statements and reimbursement receipts.
  9. Medical Tab: Receipts for our medical expenses reimbursement account. If you don't have such an account medical expenses can be tax deductible.
  10. Auto Tab: Receipts from any work on our vehicles. Auto insurance statements.
  11. Tax Related Tab: Anything I think might be a tax deduction.
  12. Other Tab: Receipts for purchases that I might need later but are too large to fit in the Pencil Bag.
I have separate binders where I keep our mortgage statements (and home improvement receipts) and the statements for our retirement accounts.

There you have it. My system for organizing our financial paperwork.

How do you organize your family's financial paperwork? Do you stuff a shoe box under the bed? Use a filing cabinet? Or just throw it all away and hope for the best?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Links for your enjoyment: 11.9.08

Election results by Amy at Singing Mommy (Remembering that God is in control of the next four years and determines our rulers and leaders is a comfort.)

Playing the part of provider to bring life and beauty by Sally at I Take Joy (I recently commented to Joel that we can add another thing to our "We are Weird" list. We sit down for supper at our table every night as a family. Even the weekends.)

Holidays by Hand: Celebrate the Season with Your Sewing Skills by Simple Mom (I've been looking for Jesse Tree ornaments to buy and can't find any. She makes me want to make mine. Then I remember the newborn and the thought passes.)

Books for Boys by Carrie at 5 Minutes for Books (I think Will would like both of these. I know his daddy would like the spy book.)

Thanksgiving Ideas are available weekly as free PDF files at the Vision Forum website.

Midnight Comfort by Lara at Singing New Songs (a sweet poem describing a common scene in the life of a mom to little ones).

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Responses to comments and answers to recent posts.

Random catch-up to comments and posts.

I asked for guesses on Sam's weight on this post and this post. Looks like Dawn came close with 7 pounds 8 ounces. So did Julie with 7 pounds 2 ounces. I told Joel that whole last week that Sam weighed close to 8 pounds. I was thinking somewhere between 7 pounds 12 ounces and 8 pounds 6 ounces. By the fourth baby you really ought to have your body (and the baby) figured out!

Just a word about my weight before, during and after the baby. Please keep in mind that I am barely 5 feet tall. That means 135 pounds is really the upper limits of a "healthy" weight for me. Also, I have rheumatoid arthritis. Every extra pound I carry means more wear and tear on my joints.

All that to say, the number on the scale is less important than how you feel. I live in a part of the country where outside activity is difficult from December until about April. So I knew gaining a lot of weight with this pregnancy would leave me stuck with it until summer. And that's not good when the winter blahs set in.

What I really mean to say is please don't feel bad because your weight numbers (before, during or after a pregnancy) are different from mine. Your body and metabolism are different from mine. Find the weight that feels good for you and stick with it.

The answers in our Name that Baby Picture Game are A: Ben, B: Ellie, C: Will. People who guessed correctly: Dawn, Jenn, Julie. The one person who reads my blog and has seen every one of my babies as newborns missed it. I'll leave her nameless and chalk it up to "pregnancy brain." = )

Congratulations to Dawn and Julie! You were winners in both contests. Your prize is that you get to take a shower and sleep through the night every day this week!

Regarding the quote by Will about peanut butter. He loves it. Eats it several times a week. His observation hasn't slowed that down.

Here's an observation that has nothing to do with any of my posts. I'm noticing that I have several people with the same first names who are leaving comments that display just the first name. This is really confusing for me as to who is leaving the comment. Kind of like answering the phone and the person says, "Hi, this is Stephanie." That's fine if you only have one "Stephanie" who calls you. But if you have 3 people by that name, then it's confusing.

So, I'd really appreciate it if you checked your profile or account settings to see how you display. If you have a blog, then you could add your blog name after your name. When I leave a comment it appears as "Stephanie's Mommy Brain" but you could do Alicia @ Experiencing Each Moment (just to show an example).

If you don't have a blog you could add some other kind of identifier after you name. Before I started my blog I commented as "Stephanie in Rhode Island." It's just helpful to me and other readers to know who they are reading.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Smile Award

Flamingo Mama @ 1 Crazy Journey gave me the Smile Award a few weeks back. Since procrastination is my middle name I'm only just now getting around to thanking her. Which I think is appropriate since she procrastinated thanking her giver as well.

Characteristics for the Smile Award:
1. Must display a cheerful attitude (not necessarily at all times--we are all human).
2. Must love one another.
3. Must make mistakes.
4. Must learn from others.
5. Must be a positive contributor to blog world.
6. Must love life.
7. Must love kids.

Thank you Flamingo Mama for you kind description of me and believing I meet the characteristics of this award. It's always fun to know other folks are reading what you write and enjoying it. It's even more fun when your readers aren't people who are have to read it (like your relatives). Ha!Ha!

If you haven't read Flamingo Mama, pop over and see what she has to say. Her 3 children are close to the ages of my 3 oldest and she's in the throes of adopting an adorable little girl from China. It's never a dull minute around her house!

And now I'm going to break the rules of this award and not pass it on to anyone. I'm going to keep it all to myself. I just can't choose only 5 of my blogging friends to award. They all make me smile!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I love you, Sweet!

I am thankful for my husband of eleven-and-a-half years, Joel.He works hard for our family every day in a job that is stressful and less than fulfilling. After dealing with difficult people at work he comes home to love on the five of us, and often finds us a bit difficult as well.
He is the spontaneous adult in our family. He likes to spend Saturdays on family outings such as our day at Beavertail Lighthouse. As you can see, he leads our children in making life an adventure and encourages them to have fun.
He is also patient when our children are afraid and gently leads them to overcome their fears. Will quickly overcame his fear of the water on our trip to Connecticut but Ben clung to Joel's back for most of our time in the pool. That meant Joel sacrificed real swimming to make sure his son had fun and felt safe.

Sweet, you have given up much to care for us this year. I appreciate your sacrifices and hard work on my behalf. Thank you for loving us, protecting us, guiding us to follow Jesus, and leading us on "Adventures." You are a terrific husband and fantastic daddy!

I am so thankful and glad that God gave you to me!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Are the other 3 excited about Sam? You be the judge.

Holding Sam, one day old.

William: The Experienced Big Brother

Benjamin: Who just wants to kiss and touch Sam

Ellie: I'm a big sister!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Samuel at Two Weeks and Voting

We are two weeks into life as a family of 6. Wow! Family of 6. I don't think about us in those terms. I don't really think in terms of having FOUR children (and, yes, my hands are full and I am busy, thank you for noticing, Oh! and yes, she is the princess). I guess it's because I see my children as individuals rather than as one whole group. It's startling to me at times the way people react to my family. You'd think we were a large family or something. Moving on...

Friday we took our first outing - the pediatrician's office. Samuel weighed in at 7 pounds 13 ounces. One ounce over his birth weight. Babies can safely lose up to 10% of the birth weight in the first few weeks. Sam was down to 7 lbs. 3 ozs. when we left the hospital. That means the boy gained 10 ounces in a week! Holy Cow! No wonder I'm tired.

While at the pedi. we received a prescription for cream to put on Ellie's face. She's had some bumps that won't clear up for about 6 weeks. It's amazing how well the right medicine is doing the trick.

Dr. S also told us to put petroleum jelly on Ben's face. He (and Will) scratches his face a lot and then picks at the scratches. People are constantly commenting that a cat has gotten a hold of him. Not that boy! He runs from cats. Scared of them. I have no idea why.

Here's a picture of 2 week old Samuel. Doesn't he look spiffy after a sponge bath?

The Little Old Man

I forgot a detail in my account of Sam's birth. I didn't take any of the sleeping drugs after the surgery. I really think that's why I've recovered so quickly. I didn't have to recover from a week of Percoset. I've always taken it in the past. The nurses brought it routinely and advised me to "stay ahead of the pain." I hate the way it makes me woolly headed. I don't like not being in control of my thoughts.

This time I decided to wait until the pain got bad enough to take the Percoset. I took a couple of Motrin and regular strength Tylenol. And that was all I needed. That's not to say I was comfortable but I'd rather be a little uncomfortable and think clearly than knocked out.

It helped that earlier this year Joel took Percoset following oral surgery, within 30 minutes of taking a pill he was sound asleep in bed. So I knew if my pain got to the point I wanted something stronger it would take affect fast!

And on a completely random note, we all voted today. Our polling place is within walking distance of our house (we did NOT walk!). We created quite a stir bringing four small children with us. Joel and I believe it's important for us to vote (our responsibility!) and to take our children with us so they learn by our example.

We are blessed to live in a country where we can vote (at least for now). So we should. I hope you all voted! End of lecture. After we returned home Ellie wanted to take pictures with the digital camera. Here's one of her pictures (I helped a little).
I Voted!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Thanksgiving Theme Lesson Plans for November 2008

Despite what the Wal-Mart decor and seasonal aisle indicate, there is a holiday between Halloween and Christmas! A very important holiday for American Christians. And my favorite.

This year I really want to focus on Thanksgiving with my children. Knowing that I'm not going to have the energy to do much in November (and that Daddy will be conducting the lessons for much of the month) I have planned my Thanksgiving Themed Lesson Plans ahead of time.

I thought you might be interested in them. Click on the Plans and they'll open up in a jpg. (picture) file. I still haven't found a way to get files on Blogger without losing all of my formatting (even with the help of my computer programmer husband!) so this seemed the easiest way to share the pretty version.

I have also posted the Plans on my much neglected home school blog. I lost all the formatting over there but I have put in links - which I can't do on the jpg.

Have you started thinking about Thanksgiving? What traditions or books do you have for your family? I would love to hear about them!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Samuel's Birth, AKA My Hospital Vacation

*** Edited to add picture.

In the operating room.

Joel and I left the house at 5:45 AM on October 21. I'm convinced no one should ever be out of their bed at that ridiculous hour! We drove to the hospital and were glad we'd been there before. In the last 2 years they started building a new wing and now parking is all crazy. We were glad we sort of knew where we were going!

Shortly after 6 AM we checked into the surgery section. Filled out some paper work. And waited. I hadn't eaten since about 10 PM so I started to get hungry. Finally the nurse called me back to begin preparing me for the c-section.

Peed in a cup. Put on a johnny and ugly socks. Then she asked me all the same questions I had just filled out on the papers. Annoying. I laid on a gurney and she used a Doppler thing to find the baby's heartbeat. Over 5 minutes passed with no heartbeat found (don't worry, Sam was moving all over the place so we could see that he was fine!) so she gave up on technology and used an old fashioned stethoscope. She found him right away with that. Then came the ultimate indignity - being shaved. I'll spare you the details but it's the part I hate the most about the surgery prep.

Once I was ready they brought Joel back and had him change into scrubs that were a bit to big for him. My doctor arrived and reviewed the surgery with me after asking me all the same questions as the nurse. Double annoying!

Anesthesiology came in and asked me all the same questions the nurse had asked. Does no one read the chart or computer?! He inserted an iv in my arm and hooked up fluids. Not to much after that they wheeled me to the operating room.

I entered the OR right at 7:30 AM - right on schedule. One of the things I hate about the OR is that there are so many people who tell you their names and talk to you but they all have scrubs on and some have the masks on so it's just a confusing jumble of people. Once in the OR I got really cold and the shivers started. Hate that. It happens every time. This time I realized it started when the iv went in so I think that might be the cause since I tend to be warm natured and very rarely shiver with teeth chattering. It's not fun to feel your body shaking and be unable to stop it. They did put warm blankets on me, which was nice.

Then they inserted the spinal. Once that was done everything happened quickly. Catheter put in (after 9 months of peeing every 5 minutes I always like the catheter!), draped put up so I can't see them cut me, belly sterilized, test to make sure I don't feel anything, and then the doctor started.

It's a strange feeling to be laid out on a gurney and feel the pressure of people working on you but not be able to move or feel their touch. I hate that. Definitely the stuff nightmares are made of.

Joel came in and sat near my head. At 8:05 AM Samuel entered the world. There's is nothing as wonderful as the sound of that first cry! The pediatrician and nurses worked to clean him up and suction his lungs (normal for a section) where I could see them. I could never watch with the others. In the process of cleaning him up Samuel "christened" the nurse. Everyone laughed.

Once cleaned up and swaddled, Joel got to hold Samuel. That's one of the worst parts of a c-section - I'm the last person who gets to hold my baby. Joel always holds the baby up so I can kiss him (or her) and stroke his face with my fingers (for those who've never had a spinal it's similar to an epidural in that I still have feeling in my arms and extreme upper chest).

After taking a few pictures, Joel and Sam were taken to the recovery room while the doctor finished sewing me up. Dr. D's husband assisted her in the surgery (he's in the same practice). It was interesting to listen to them talking. He's older than her and I got the definite impression he's more experienced though she was the one in charge. Meanwhile, I got super sleepy. I think it was drug induced. And my eyes started bouncing. It's the only way I can describe it. I couldn't focus at all. It felt like they were rolling around in my head.

Finally, I was stitched up and glued (yippee! no staples!) and moved to recovery. I told the nurse about my eyes and they kept encouraging me to close them. That's hard to do when you want to look at your new baby. Eventually, the nurse sat me up and I held Sam. At at long last the feeling returned to my legs. In order to leave recovery you have to be able to move your legs and lift your bottom off the bed.

Shortly after noon they moved me up to a patient room where I settled in for my "vacation." Once were were settled Joel went out to the car for our bags and his lunch. You know your experienced when dad packs a sandwich lunch to eat after the baby's born. = )

Joel drove home (only 15 minutes away), ate supper with the kids and my mom and brought them all back to the hospital to meet Samuel. Excited does not begin to describe their reaction to him, even now 11 days later. Then he took them home and came back to the hospital to spend the night with me.

At some point I was allowed apple juice, water and ginger ale but kept throwing up. I'm always nauseous when they move me after the surgery but this was the first time it continued through the night. I finally asked the nurse for a piece of toast. I really felt that the vomiting was because I only had acid and fluid in my stomach. Sure enough. Once slice of toast later and I was cured.

That pretty much sums up our first day in the hospital. The rest were just cycles of sleep, feeding Sam, eating and endless HGTV. Oh the ideas I have for my house now!!! = )

I'll end this very rambling post. Please excuse the typos. I'm too lazy tonight to edit. I know this post is a bit sub par on quality writing but I hope you'll excuse it due to my lack of sleep and the topic.
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