Friday, March 16, 2018

Homeschool Notes Week 29

Monday, oh Monday, it felt like things were off all day. Three kids had dental cleanings, which Daddy was in charge of, while I was homeschooling the other kids. Then there were phone calls to make. I had to pick up a regular prescription for one child at the pharmacy, which turned into a mini-grocery trip. I got home in time to make lunch. Then I took a nap because Rebekah was up from 4:30am-6:30am. By the time she was back to sleep I had to be up getting kids ready for the dentist and missing that 2 hours of sleep. I can't wait to find out what is going on with my body (hypothyrodism and anemia)in the next couple weeks so that can hopefully be addressed. Who has time for naps?

Then I went to the tax preparer's office only to find out the appointment I schedule online (and had an email confirmation for) had been recorded as an hour later in their office. I handed over paperwork and rescheduled to come back 2 hours later with my husband in tow - because they also hadn't told me ahead of time that he needs to be there too. Back home I went for a while before hubby and I went back to the tax office.

We finally came home and I was so glad I had prepared Family Home Evening ahead of time so we could get right to that. I pulled several things from the Peer Pressure lesson at A Year of FHE. I adjusted one of the games (the yes/no signs game). I printed one of each sign and hung them up on opposite sides of the room. When each situation was read the family ran to stand by the sign they thought was the best answer of what to do.

Tuesday I took advantage of the flexibility of homeschooling. Two kids had dental cleanings in the morning. I took them and brought Rebekah along with me while Makayla watched the kids left behind. Nobody did school until I returned home. They started the morning with a movie together instead. School found me doing math with a couple kids, reading lessons with three, discussing the Latin plan and working on balancing chemical equations with Makayla, and chatting about writing ideas with a few others. One child worked on manga drawings of a current favorite superhero. Our piano teacher arrived and there were many lessons.

In the evening I worked my mommy magic on Rebekah. A few minutes walking around with her in the Ergo carrier and she went from grumpy to sleeping. A sweet friend gave me this Ergo several years and several babies ago and I love it! It is comfortable for me to carry babies from tiny to 40 lbs. I can still carry Mason, Samuel, and Tobias on my back with it.

Wednesday we had no appointments. I was so glad! I started my morning by doing something new for me - exercise. I'm 5 weeks postpartum and starting super extra light. I actually bought a year membership to Fit2Be. It's an online website with more than 200 workout videos and more added each month. The exciting part is their focus on "Tummy Safe Workouts" for people who are healing diastasis recti (split abdominals - that would be what I have!). They offer classes you can buy individually that have a series of videos with a common focus, or membership options. I chose to do the premium membership because it includes everything. In other words, I have options galore from just barely postpartum to beginner to more advanced workouts. There are even a couple videos for kids (great way to get energy out when weather is yucky) and a few yoga for tweens/teens videos. I started a class series today (Foundational 5 Plus). My goal is to make time 6 days a week for a Fit2Be workout. They even have a Roku channel with most of their videos uploaded (new ones appear every few weeks) that is included in my membership. I had a coupon code and got $53 off my year membership. Breaking down my cost, it works out to about $10.50 a month, from the comfort and convenience of home. I'm excited to get my body strengthened after all these sweet babies.

Wednesday was also Pi day (3.14 - March 14th). We made a peanut butter pie to celebrate. Homeschool happened as usual - the first day this week that every did school because there were not dentist appointments.

Thursday we were back to the dentist grind. It takes so many visits to get cleanings done in a large family and then there are the follow ups for cavities or loose fillings. It takes over our schedule for a couple weeks. I took 4 boys to the dentist.

Everyone else did school and hung out at home with big sister Makayla, who loves getting paid and generally doesn't mind babysitting. How can she be turning 17 this summer? It seems like not very long ago she was the tiny baby I was carrying around... sigh. Our day was pretty normal after the dentist. Just following routines. Daddy got home late in the afternoon and right after dinner I headed to bed for a nap because I was so tired.

One thing that made me smile today was Emma. She has fallen head over heels into the superhero multiverse in the last two months. She draws superheroes, she watches superhero shows, she takes notes on the characters, she talks superheroes, and most recently she writes fan fiction. She is writing nonstop. Her obsession with superheroes is driving Makayla crazy but I love that she's dived in and it's pulling her to do so much learning and creating for fun.

Rebekah is smiling a lot
but it is really hard to 
catch it on camera. 
Oh well!

Friday the morning was homeschool work until about 11am, when we were back to the dentist for two kids who had a cavity on the exact same tooth. Weird, but true. In the afternoon I started watching my first class from the Teaching Saints Virtual Summit. It is a free summit (sign up here) but you only have access to the videos from each day for about 24 hours, then new ones appear on the website for the next day. It started yesterday (the 15th) and goes through March 24th. There is an all access pass you can buy where you can keep access to the videos plus get the audio download, slides, and written transcripts, and a private Facebook group. I was able to earn an all access pass free when a couple people signed up for the free option with the link I shared and I'm so glad! There is no way I could watch these each day in the 24 hours they are free without feeling like I'm being flooded with ideas and information.

Rebekah is sleeping at the moment so I'm going to take advantage of that to finish preparations for next week's Family Home Evening. We'll be using a lot of paperclips. The kids saw me put them in a bin and are dying to know what we're going to do with paperclips.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Homeschool Notes Week 28

Saturday started with Rebekah waking up at 6:00am. She slept 7 hours. Best.Newborn.Ever. Several kids were already awake for the day. Saturday morning at our house is for breakfast, doing chores early, and then playing their 30 minutes of video game time for the week after getting the xbox and wii from the basement and plugging them in to our tv. Daddy and I did some chores too - cleaning out the coat closet, cleaning out one cabinet, both refrigerators/freezers, and handling bills/paperwork. I picked up a prescription at Walmart and some items for upcoming chemistry experiments for Makayla. When I returned it was time for lunch (rolls, roasted chickens, etc), then picking Joseph up from his campout. The rest of the day was family time. Just the way we like it!

Sunday we kept close to home. We baked cookies and that evening were finally able to get together with some extended family to celebrate Oliver's birthday.

Monday was school as usual. Daddy is home on Mondays and that really helps make for a smooth re-entry into the week because I have backup when the baby needs something, the toddler is getting into things, and the preschooler is too - all while seven other children need math lessons and help with latin and chemistry and grammar and so on.

We had some trouble with our furnace today too, which comes in to play again on Friday...

For Family Home Evening this week we used part of this FHE idea on A Year of FHE about strengthening our family. We did the demonstration with one child breaking a single pencil, then trying to break a bundle of pencils (one pencil to represent each family member, so 12 for us). We read a quote from The Family: A Proclamation to the world:

"Successful...families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities."

Then we used the free printable from that lesson and chose 5 of the principles to talk about together and brainstorm ways we can strengthen our own family. The 5 the kids chose were: Love, Respect, Compassion, Prayer, and Work. We finished with sugar cookies Emma had baked earlier in the day.

Tuesday the kids had the day off from school. Mason and I were out the door before 7am and heading to the hospital for a couple appointments. He had a DEXA x-ray to check on his bone density (he has osteopenia, the childhood version of osteoporosis), an appointment with the nephrologist who treats his osteopenia, and then an IV infusion of his medication to help with his bone density. We got good news! After several years of IV infusions ever 3 and then every 6 months Mason's bone density is finally a positive number. Still not normal, but improving. That means we will now space out his infusions to once a year for a while.

Wednesday's favorite lesson: the kids learned more about the postal system and Benjamin Franklin who was appointed Postmaster General by the Continental Congress in 1775. My favorite was listening to Oliver read aloud. He has come so far this school year, from sounding out every single word to reading much more fluently and having the skills to tackle unfamiliar words.

Thursday we woke to a thin layer of snow coating the world again. There were many groans. We are ready for spring so of course it snowed more all day. It really didn't build up, just looked pretty and melted off. I looked around mid-morning from my perch on the couch. Rebekah was in my arms drinking a bottle. Makayla and Caleb were to my left doing math and reading aloud to mommy respectively. To my right was Emma, Joseph, Oliver, and Daniel doing math, math, reading, and grammar. Mason, Samuel, and Tobias were playing with dinosaurs in front of us on the floor - something about being a vet and taking care of sick dinosaurs. Ten children in one room learning, playing, and growing. Children wandered in and out all morning as they pulled different subjects from the shelf to do. I moved to the table when Rebekah fell asleep and worked with Mason on math, reading, and handwriting.

Friday my teaching morning started with reading lessons with Oliver, Caleb, and then Mason. Next was helping with math and grammar for various children as needed. I remembered it is time to print more grammar pages for the next several weeks (Joseph, Emma, and Daniel are all using Fix It Grammar) and set my printer to work doing that. I love that our new printer does duplex printing. No more having to print one side of all the pages and then the other on my own.

Our furnace was having trouble again today. For some reason it just didn't come one and the house got down to 63 degrees even though the thermostat is set to 67. We tried a couple things and it worked fine eventually. Since this was the second day this week with the same problem we put a call in to our furnace repair company that installed everything 10 years ago. They came out Friday afternoon to check things out, cleaned and did general maintenance, and we think it is fixed. We had a condenser line that was mostly clogged and so that would account for the intermittent shutoff and why it would work again later after the condensation drained slowly past the clog. There is one possible part we may need to replace, we'll see if this takes care of things first though.

Saturday I did grocery shopping first thing - without a list. Not the best idea but I simply hadn't made time to meal plan and make a list. A bit after 11am we loaded up the family and went to visit our dear friends. It was so sweet to get together again after 5+months. They had baby # 6 very prematurely 5 months ago and were in the NICU and then pretty much in isolation at home during flu season. We've missed our get togethers!

Sunday is here already. I really had planned to publish this post earlier but just never did. And I don't have time to add pictures (not sure I took any either!). I have about two minutes until I need to get little boys to bed, so here's todays highlight:

Rebekah was blessed at church!

It was a good day.

One thing I have noticed this week is I'm tired, even though I'm getting good sleep. I'm starting to feel like I need a nap again in the afternoons or early evenings. That could be my hypothyroidism (medication changes are probably needed, bloodwork happens in 3 more weeks). It could be that between birth and postpartum bleeding I'm severely anemic again (bloodwork for that happens in 1 week). For now I'm just trying to protect my energy for the things that matter most, nap when I need it, and keep moving forward.

Here's to another week recorded!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Homeschool Notes Week 27ish

Mommy and Rebekah

I have lost track of what homeschool notes week this should count for. Things got wacky over the last month or so of my pregnancy. We'll call this week 27. 

Saturday started off with a visit from Grandma and Grandpa, always a good way to start the day. The kids did their weekly 30 minutes of game time, pulling the xbox and wii out of the basement to hook up and play after they did their chores. Makayla and I stopped in at the local library book sale at noon. I worked on preparations for the Cub Scout Blue and Gold Banquet that is next Wednesday. Some of the kids played with Cosmo, a robot they were given by another set of grandparents recently. I'll be honest, I do my best not to learn how to use these technology toys. I love that my kids can figure things out together without me and I just don't have time or energy to use on keeping up with all their interests. I'm the same way with crafty skills, I often hand a child the materials they've asked for and turn them loose. Some of my kids have learned to sew, do stop motion animation, wool felt animals, create with sculpey clay, quilt, and so on. My other secret is that sometimes I do the opposite - I spend time trying out something new without inviting the kids. They get curious and take it out of my hands, then go much further than I.

By early afternoon Saturday took a crazy turn - the power went out and stayed out for hours on end. It was a gray and rainy day so it wasn't very bright in the house. The kids thought it was so much fun as the house got darker and darker (yes, we have lanterns and candles, but we were waiting around for them to request light). We gathered in a circle for one of the group games Makayla taught us last year - Mafia. We played and laughed and had a great time. The power came back on just a bit before bedtime and then went out again for a couple hours overnight.

Sunday I sent Daddy and eight of the kids off to church. I'm just not ready to take Rebekah, who isn't even 3 weeks old. I also kept Tobias home as he's in the nursery class and it's just a cesspool of germs. Toddlers! I did need to be there after church for the "It's Great to Be Eight" celebration of kids who are turning eight this year. It is an opportunity for the 7 year olds to learn about important things they will be able to choose to do this year, including baptism, participating in Cub Scouts or Activity Days, and so on. Caleb turns 8 this year and is so excited he can finally get baptized! I got myself, Rebekah, and Tobias ready and to the church at 1pm when church ends and we had lunch and enjoyed the activity with other families of soon to be 8 year olds. Then it was home and family time until Daddy and Joseph headed back to the church for the Boy Scout Court of Honor. I got the rest of the kids to bed before they returned home.

Rebekah was up until about 11pm and then slept until 5am Monday morning. Yes, she's not quite 3 weeks old and just slept 6 hours at night. It felt pretty great to get a solid night's sleep. I was up at 5am and finishing preparation for school because I still needed to prepare and print assignment sheets, something I had not been able to do during the power outage.

The kids started trickling downstairs at 5:30am because I have some early risers. Others slept in closer to 6:30am, 7:00am, or even 8:00am. I don't plan to wake kids on school days until 9am, not that generally there will be anyone left to wake by then. It also happened to be Oliver's birthday, so he happily opened gifts. Daddy and Makayla dropped the car off to get a tire repaired. It's really nice to have a teen with a license - she was happy to follow Daddy and give him a ride home instead of watching siblings - and I was happy to stay home.

I reminded kids that they had assignment sheets ready and were welcome to start school any time, but that no electronics would happen this afternoon (Kindle time) unless their work was complete before then. I also made myself available all morning for teaching new math lessons, grammar lessons, beginning reading lessons, and so on.

It was so nice to get back to the learning routine! Kids worked on school on and off all morning. I got to be the chocolate fairy and drop mini reese cups on children's laps as they did school work. Makayla was a bit slower to start (perk of homeschooling) we were doing a math lesson in her new book - Consumer Mathematics by Abeka at noon after eating some pizza. That was the last lesson of the day. Here are some of today's lessons:
Oliver doing All About Reading 3

  • Makayla: Latin Alive 1 vocab review and dvd lesson review, Consumer Mathematics, finish reading Fahrenheit 451, Discovering Design with Chemistry lesson. 
  • Joseph: Math U See PreAlgebra lesson 17, Fix It Grammar week 25, read a chapter in 100 Cupboards, watch an episode of Liberty's Kids (Second Continental Convention).
  • Emma: Math U See PreAlgebra lesson 17, Fix It Grammar week 25, read a chapter in Harriet the Spy, watch an episode of Liberty's Kids. 
  • Daniel: Math U See Epsilon lesson 17, Fix It Grammar week 17, read a chapter in The Indian in the Cupboard, watch an episode of Liberty's Kids. 
  • Oliver: Math U See Gamma lesson 17, All About Reading level 3 lesson, read 3 pages in Winter of the Ice Wizard, watch an episode of Liberty's Kids. 
  • Caleb: Math U See Beta lesson 1, All About Reading level 1 lesson, watch an episode of Liberty's Kids.
  • Mason: Do a puzzle, All About Reading level 1 lesson, Handwriting without Tears, Cutting page in Kumon book, watch an episode of Liberty's Kids. 

All About Reading Level 3
from Oliver's lesson this week.

I went with a favorite for dinner - tacos. Daddy spent a lot of the day working on school -- he just fits it in around the kids as much as he can during the day on Mondays and continues clear into the evening. The rest of the week he has to juggle school with work, so Monday it is important for him to get a lot of school done.

We also did Family Home Evening tonight. It was so much fun I wanted to share what we did. We started by reading 40 Years of Funny. We gave our own tips we would share with someone who wants to be an artist before reading the tips Val Bagley gave in the article. One of his tips was to always be on the lookout for new ideas and to even ask family and friends what they think is funny. Then we did the 'dad jokes water challenge'. Have you watched one of those videos yet? We sat around the table, which we had covered with towels. Each person got a glass of water. We put a mouthful of water in our mouths. Daddy told jokes and we tried not to laugh and spew water everywhere. Daddy had three minutes... it was hysterical!

Tuesday Daddy was off to work before dawn as usual. I was up at 5am with Rebekah and Makayla was up then for Seminary. Rebekah went back to sleep at 6am. The kids and I spent our morning solidly in our routine: wake up, eat breakfast, get ready for the day, homeschool. I am being purposeful about staying available to the kids (keeping all electronics off for everyone) and cheerfully working with them as needed. Rebekah currently is in a habit of waking once a night and then sleeping in until at least 8:30am, often until nearly 10am. That gives me a nice chunk of time to work with kids before I have a baby in arms. I sit at the table for that block of time. Once Rebekah wakes up I move to the couch and kids join me there if they need help.

After our morning school work we had lunch and did our usual afternoon medical care. Then our teacher arrived for piano lessons and music filled the house for a while. When that was finished it was time to make dinner (monkey bread tonight with Joseph cooking). Daniel and Oliver baked cakes for tomorrow's Blue and Gold Banquet so they will be cooled for decorating.

Wednesday was homeschool in the morning and final preparations for the Blue and Gold Banquet in the afternoon. Oliver and Daniel decorated their cakes to fit the space theme.

Oliver made the earth and Daniel put the big dipper constellation on his cake. Mason, Samuel, and Tobias worked together to decorate an extra cake we made for at home.

Thursday started with homeschooling, of course. I sometimes feel these posts get repetitive but that is just the reality of our week, morning hours are for learning. I plopped myself down at the table as usual and helped kids as needed. That meant reading lessons with 3, math with 7, overseeing playdoh for three younger boys, puzzles, checking grammar with two, answering one teen's Latin questions, and writing with 5. Plus whatever they did completely independent of me like reading a chapter in their current literature book. It may sound crazy, and sometimes it is, but when we are on our game things go smoothly.

I had an unexpected trip out mid-morning to pick up my mom from work and drive her home, she was feeling too sick to drive. Makayla drove Joseph to the orthodontist when I got home, he had a bracket come off a tooth.

Everyone's school work was finished by lunch. It is amazing how much you can get done when you aren't waiting around for 29 other students in your class to be ready to move to the next subject. Really, homeschooling is so much more efficient and leaves hours for the kids to pursue their individual interests. For example during the afternoon there were kids practicing piano, drawing, writing out complicated research and theories for a show series we are watching on Netflix, more drawing, building cars out of Legos, pet care for three reptiles, a roach colony, two hermit crabs, and a cat, reading more books, history that trickled over into their play (American revolution and the surrounding events), preparations for a campout by the Boy Scout. You get the idea.

Friday we finished up the homeschool week. Everyone was proud of their work and I was proud of their willingness to get right back into our familiar routines. So far Makayla likes her new math curriculum. She wanted something practical so she's doing Consumer Mathematics from Abeka. It is laid out very differently than Math U See, which is all she has used since 3rd grade, but anything is better than doing more Algebra 2.

We had a surprise visit from grandma at lunchtime and enjoyed our time with her. Then it was afternoon medical care and convincing Rebekah to nap after being awake for several hours. She was getting a week bit grumpy and every time she settled down to nap someone would shriek or make an unusually loud noise, waking her up again. I finally took her upstairs and she was able to settle quickly and sleep.

That's the highlights for the week. Dinner is almost finished (spaghetti and meatballs), Joseph is ready to head out on his campout with the scouts, and Daddy is on his way home from work. I'm going to hit publish on this post. Happy Friday everyone!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Week in Review: Daddy Goes Back to Work

Brothers adoring their baby sister

Tuesday my husband went back to work and I was on solo duty as a mother of 10. Talk about being outnumbered! Overall things went really well. I had decided ahead of time that we won't start back to school until next week. This week was all about getting our routines in place and adjusting to missing Daddy after he had two weeks off.

Tuesday a number of the kids spent time doing drawing tutorials with their Art for Kids Hub membership from a grandma. I will scatter pictures of their drawing throughout the rest of this post.

We also baked muffins, had piano lessons, visited with an aunt and cousins, and survived the day.

Wednesday was smooth. Nothing of note really. I have started looking at homeschool curricula for next fall. What we are doing this year is mostly working well. I am feeling a bit stretched with 7 formal students and a preschooler. I'm on the fence about moving to something different for language arts for everyone but Makayla. Right now we use several different things depending on the child: Fix It Grammar, All About Reading levels, literature books, Handwriting Without Tears, Draw Write Now for copywork, Brave Writer, and so on. I'm considering moving kids to The Good and the Beautiful language arts. Right now I'm reading through each level (I have PDFs I got free over the last few years of levels PreK, K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7) and debating where to place kids and if it would work for us. The biggest hinderance in knowing where to place some of my kids is spelling. We don't do spelling until a child requests it and has been reading well for several years because I firmly believe that many spelling issues work themselves out after several years of seeing a word correctly spelled. However, there are exceptions and one of my kids is definitely in that group. Spelling is just not naturally improving even now in middle school.

Also on Wed: The oldest 5 kids had Wednesday night activities (Youth group and Cub Scouts) - which still left me with 5 children at home! I have had this month off of Cub Scouts while someone else took over. It's been really helpful. I start back at it next week with our Blue and Gold Banquet.

Thursday Makayla decided to be brave and watch the kids, including Rebekah, while I took Joseph to the orthodontist to get braces on. Two hours later I came home to a messy house but happy kids - I call that a success.

This was the day adjustments really hit hard for certain kids. They were cranky with me, cranky with each other, and I spent more time correcting children than not it felt like. However, I know 'this, too, shall pass' and we simply kept moving forward.

Friday has dawned gray and rainy yet again. The boys are busily playing with legos upstairs right now. Rebekah is asleep. I've got laundry washing, laundry drying, the dishwasher running, and meals already planned for the day. Today is going to be a better day than yesterday simply because I have decided it will.

I also need to make sure I have everything ready for starting back to school next week. Kids need assignment sheets printed out so they know what work to do each day. I need books organized and gathered.

***** Quick Afternoon Update*****

I didn't remember to publish this post earlier. Oops! It is now early afternoon and I took some pictures of Rebekah when she was awake earlier, so I'll share those and then hit publish.

Yes, she's adorable. So far she isn't a fan of tummy time, but she will do it for a bit. I love her expressions! She is a bit on the serious side.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Postpartum Notes #2

I'll try using the same categories as last time pretty much for my update. Here we go!

Hormones - I got the official word from my endocrinologist to do bloodwork for my thyroid at 8 weeks postpartum, so that is set. Emotionally I've been pretty even-keeled. A few teary times, but they were triggered by laughing as often as not, which the kids find hilarious. Daniel likes to tell me jokes and get me laughing until I cry. I think one reason things have been pretty even for me in the last week is that I'm getting great sleep for having a newborn. If you read Rebekah's 2 week update you already know she's doing a solid 4 hour stretch each night from midnight to 4am. It just can't be overstated how essential sleep is to healthy functioning in all areas!

Milk - My body is pretty much done, just a bit of occasionally discomfort now. Glad that is nearly over. Wearing a tight sports bra is helping a lot.

Diastasis Recti - While things are obviously still settling back to normal as I'm only 2 weeks post-delivery, I have checked my abdominal split. It feels like somewhere between 3 and 4 fingers wide at my bellybutton, getting smaller as you go up or down from there. I also have discovered I hate wearing the abdominal splint. Mostly because I'm still going to the bathroom pretty often with the lovely postpartum bleeding and that means removing the splints, then redoing it all. I'll give the splints a try again soon.

Bleeding - Mine slowed down dramatically around 12 days postpartum. Yesterday it kicked up a bit, which isn't surprising. Yesterday Daddy went back to work so I've been on my own with all 10 kids. That means I'm up and doing things more and the bleeding increased accordingly. I'm trying to find a balance between being up and doing the mom things I need to and resting.

Spinal Headache - This is officially gone. I had a few more headaches after I last posted but have been headache free for several days now.

Uterine Prolapse - Can't really check on this yet. Just waiting.

Sleep - Already updated in the Hormones category. :)

Weight - At 5 days postpartum I was 209 lbs. At 15 days postpartum I am now 205 lbs. I probably won't lose any more weight without effort, but we shall see. That means I've lost 25 of the 30 lbs I gained this pregnancy.

Clothing - I ended up having to buy a pair of pants. I have one pair of jeans that mostly fit and all my maternity yoga pants are falling off. I found a pair of pants on clearance at WalMart and between that and my maxi skirts I'm making due for now.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Rebekah Joy at 2 Weeks Old

Rebekah is 2 weeks old today! I thought I would share a peek into her newborn personality and preferences because every baby is different.

Rebekah's routine so far goes something like this:

  • Mornings: Sleep, wake up to eat 3 ounces, be awake for an hour or two, then sleep some more, repeat. 
  • Afternoons: Pretty much the same. Sleep, wake and eat, then sleep some more, repeat. 
  • Evenings: Wake up, eat, stay awake calmly for a while, then fuss, need held/walked/distracted from her grumping until she finally sleeps again a few hours later. This time period usually runs until about midnight. 
  • Nights: She sleeps well for a newborn, gloriously well. She sleeps 4-5 hours and wakes up sometime between 4am-5am. Then she eats and is awake about an hour, before going back to sleep for several hours, waking up after her siblings have already started their day.
I know her routine is a fluid thing that is going to keep changing as she grows. It helps that she is my 10th newborn. I'm not stressed out by the grumpy times, I don't panic when she sleeps a longer stretch than a newborn 'should' according to the books, and I make time at least once during the day to nap when she does. I know you can't spoil a baby and so she's held as much as she wants by willing arms, either mine, daddy's, or a sibling's.

Today my husband went back to work after two weeks home with us. It was wonderful to have him home for so long! Now I am outnumbered 10 kids to 1 mom. I've got a great bunch of children and we've got solid routines to keep the house running, so we'll do just fine. Lunch is ready, dinner is going in the crock pot, and I'm off to check diapers and fill cups with milk to go with our muffins.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Family Update with Baby #10 Along for the Ride

Rebekah is 10 days old. It seems as if she has been here for much longer, and as if she just got here too. Everyone loves their new little sister. She has quite a throng lining up to hold her, checking on her every whimper or squeak, and talking to her any time she is awake. 

Overall, the kids are adjusting pretty well. The older kids (Makayla, Joseph, Emma) are used to new babies and just keep up with their own interests and routines. The middle boys (Daniel, Oliver, Caleb) are more likely to bicker with each other but that is more a factor of being stuck in the house for a couple weeks with illness before baby and now staying close to home for these first weeks after baby. We're trying to offer interesting activities when we notice they need a distraction from each other. The younger boys (Mason, Samuel, Tobias) have been pretty good playing together and with the older kids. Tobias has realized that if Mom or Dad is holding Rebekah he's got an opportunity to get into things he shouldn't because we don't move quite as fast to stop him. Typical 2 year old behavior. 

We had some family over on Sunday to celebrate Valentine's Day. Then we had our own little surprise party on Valentine's Day itself with just our kids.

We passed out candy conversation hearts, heart sticky notes, and blank books. Each child put their name in their book and sticky notes on the pages of their book. Then we passed books around and wrote messages to each person in the family in their book, helping the younger boys as needed. After that it was time for ice cream sundaes - yum!