Friday, January 19, 2018

Homeschool Notes for Week 25

Last Friday I left off blogging with plans for a day of nesting around the house. We did end up doing some organizing and decluttering projects. We finished off the evening making some no bake cookies. I also spent the day having irregular contractions. I kept telling Rebekah in my belly that she had missed her window, she wasn't allowed to come Friday night because of the weather. It rained half the day or more Friday, then switched to sleet/ice, then snowed several inches all night. Beautiful, but not when your hospital is an hour away.

Saturday morning we woke to all the accumulated snow and ice knowing it would be a quiet day at home. We pulled out a large bin of Duplos and a bin of dress up clothes from the attic and most of the kids were happily entertained by those for hours. Other built with Legos, created art, and everyone had the option of their weekly 30 minutes of video game time.

In the afternoon we went outside for a bit to play in the snow. With the wind chill it had warmed up to 4 degrees F (-15.6 degrees C) Brr!

In the evening I started a homeschool project for me for this semester. I've decided that instead of planning my own reading list I will first focus on reading the next book being assigned to each of my children. In Charlotte Mason homeschooling style I grabbed a notebook and plan to do written narrations as I finish each chapter. I started with Makayla's next history read: War Horse by Michael Morpurgo.

Sunday was cold, snowy, and a lovely day at church. The afternoon and evening were family time. It's the best way to spend a Sunday but doesn't make for very entertaining blogging.

Monday we woke to more snow coming down. Kids worked on some of their routines and learning (ex: chores, reading). I placed an online order at WalMart because they happened to have one open pickup slot left today. I'm stocking up on some non-food things like toilet paper, shaving cream, shampoo, dish soap, and cleaning wipes. There is some food in the order too. Of course, by the time Makayla and I went to pick up the order the roads were terrible with snow and I found out when we got home that we were expected to get another 4 inches. Not long after we got home a truck got stuck across the entire road in front of our house. It took a while but my husband and several others worked to get them unstuck.

Many of the kids spent hours drawing today. Emma has a Disney fashion design set she got a year ago, with outlines of four female heroes and four female villains. She used it a lot and then stored it away in the attic. Today she brought it out of the attic and started drawing. Several of her brothers were intrigued and joined her, or worked on drawing projects of their own. I love when things like this happen! Tobias has also decided coloring is fun, so he spent some time coloring today. He will use colored pencils or crayons if you give him those but he really loves using markers. When he uses markers I simply require he is seatbelted in his booster seat at the table. The 'Ultra clean washable' Crayola markers really do wash off little hands and faces. I love that!

Also on this day I traded history books from the shelf in the dining room with our next topic in a box in the attic. We'll keep watching Liberty's Kids as we finish up our American Revolution study. Next up we've got books about people and topics like Daniel Boone, Tecumseh, the Louisiana Purchase, Lewis and Clark, a Japanese boy who was instrumental in the opening of Japan to trade with the US after being shipwrecked and rescued by a whaling vessel, the Alamo, and more.

Of course with the evening snowstorm my body decided it was a great time to have a lot of contractions. I jokingly told Makayla that if I had this baby tonight she was going to have to help Daddy deliver because there was no way we would make it to the hospital an hour away. She was not amused.

Tuesday was a beautiful snow covered day and we kept to home. Daddy had to work, of course. We started slow and steady with reading and learning time. The kids watched another episode of Liberty's Kids. This one was about the midnight ride of Paul Revere. That meant I also pulled out Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem about Paul Revere's Ride to read to them.

Mid-morning all learning activities were put off to sit and watch the live broadcast of the announcement of the new prophet and First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. (The last prophet passed away recently and was buried on Friday.) It was a wonderful opportunity to watch and hear from these men with my children.

In the afternoon I spent several hours chasing down various medical professionals and pharmacies because of a problem getting the new bandaging we need for Mason's pressure sore on his foot. It's basically been a disaster where the local pharmacy isn't even a provider for our insurance and insurance doesn't cover the bandaging we need, but nobody called us to tell us or the doctor this. I called to be sure the supplies were in today and found it all out. So then I had to start tracking down doctors to see if they can get these supplies to us another way, through another provider, an preferably covered by insurance because the bandages he'll be using for several months are $21 each. Yes, each. Sigh. I'm hoping to hear back from the surgeon's office tomorrow.

Wednesday the kids got rolling on their routines and I got busy on the phone trying to deal with a host of medical professionals, insurance, and medical suppliers. It is always an exercise in patience. I got a few answers and left a number of messages. We are still frustratingly waiting for medical supplies to arrive at a pharmacy that were supposed to be in on Tuesday.

In the evening we had to do some snow shoveling to dig out our vehicles. My husband did most of it, but I took a few short turns.

Thursday started with my prenatal checkup. I'm 39 weeks pregnant. You can read about that here. The rest of the day I was pretty uncomfortable but that was more an aftereffect of snow shoveling on Wednesday than anything. Life in general was our normal routine for learning and cleaning. We finally got the bandage supplies for Mason in and started using them. We shall see if this helps or not.

Friday is here and we are preparing the last few things for Joseph's winter campout and 5 mile hike that begins tonight. He was cooking some of his food ahead this morning and packing it in foil packets to reheat over a fire. Kids are working on various projects right now and I need to get a plan together for lunch. So I'm off to do that!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Pregnancy Update #17: 39 Weeks Pregnant with Baby #10

I had contractions for several days quite often after my last doctor's appointment. On Sunday things settled down. By Monday morning I was having nothing. Monday evening we had a snowstorm and I had hours of contractions.

I remembered to get a picture of my pregnant self because you just never know how much longer until baby will come. In this picture I am 38 weeks 4 days pregnant.

Tuesday I had fewer contractions, which was a relief because we were dealing with a lot of snow and yucky roads. I also was very hormonal - weepy. This hasn't happened in months and to be honest it's just a reminder of how all over the place my hormones will be during the postpartum weeks after baby is born. Ugh! What a rollercoaster of craziness that always is.

Wednesday emotions were on a more even keel again and contractions were very few. I even did a bit of snow shoveling (carefully, with breaks, switching off with my hubby while he protested me taking any turns). A few hours later I started feeling it. No, not contractions, just achy muscles that haven't been used that way in ages.

Today is Thursday and I am officially 39 weeks pregnant. At my check up this morning I was still only dilated to 2 cm and was 60% effaced. Blood pressure looks great, I weighed 224 lbs, and everything looks great. My doctor was surprised I was still pregnant. He stripped my membranes again and says he's guessing this baby will come in the next 3 days, but that babies come when they come. He's on call this weekend, which would be great if I do go into labor. I've got an appointment scheduled for next Thursday on my due date. I expect to still be pregnant then, but would love to meet little Rebekah sooner if she's ready.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Homeschool Notes for Week 23 and 24

Saturday was cold. We woke to several inches of snow, which was beautiful. I headed to WalMart for our online grocery pick up at 8:30am. Once home we did a few quick projects and made lunch. After lunch Daddy got picked up by Grandma and Grandpa for a Trans Siberian Orchestra concert along with one nephew thanks to free tickets Grandma got. They said it was fantastic when they arrived home 7 hours later. I'm glad he got to go (and that I didn't have to, it's not my kind of music, lol).

While Daddy was gone our Saturday moved forward as usual. Medical care in the afternoon for Mason, a nap for Tobias, and just play. Dinner was beef stew in the crock pot with some rolls. I dropped Makayla off at a friend's house to ride to the Church holiday ball for youth an hour away. Then it was just mommy and the younger 8 children until bedtime. We watched some tv, played with Legos, and stayed inside where it was warm.

Sunday was even colder but everyone was well enough to go to church so it was a great morning. After church we pulled together a Harry Potter themed Would You Rather game for our family New Year's Eve party and prepared snacks to share. We had a fun evening of snacks and games together!

Monday was the first day of the new year. It was extra cold (-9 degrees F). We gathered as a family for our Morning Basket at 9:30am. I have to be honest and say I'm a practical mom. Not all of my kids are enthusiastic about doing a morning basket. I'm okay with that, they are welcome to miss our time together. However I do practice a little bit of encouragement and consequences. The encouragement is a treat. If you show up there is a treat waiting for you. If you don't the consequence is you miss out. (Today was a couple M&Ms, sometimes it might be a cookie, strawberries, apple slices, hot cocoa, peanut butter crackers, you just never know). And of course when we do a read aloud we pull out our trusty read aloud bin of candy. If you are sitting and listening to the read aloud you get  a piece of candy. Today's morning basket included the following:
  • Hymn: I'm Trying to Be like Jesus
  • Prayer: Oliver
  • Devotional: Kindness Isaiah 63:7
  • Scripture Memory: Romans 8:16
  • Other: Star Wars Mad Libs
  • Read Aloud: Esperanza Rising
At 11:00am Daddy, Joseph, Daniel, Oliver, and Caleb headed to the local movie theater for a matinee viewing of the new Star Wars movie. They were excited. The girls and the youngest three boys and I stayed home and enjoyed the quiet. It is amazing just how much quieter the house can be depending on which children are home. The rest of Monday had things like laundry, cooking, and family time. Pretty much my happy place!

Tuesday was still cold. I got an appointment done, a trip to the store for peanut butter and vegan mayo, and then it was babysitting a nephew and 2 nieces at our house. Of course, it really is great to babysit them because they match up with several of my kids ages and everyone just plays and laughs and has fun. I have LESS work to do when more kids are over. I even got to read a book just for me for a while. The kids had piano lessons in the afternoon and then we did family time all evening.

Wednesday my sister came to watch the kids while Mason and I headed to the city to get his cast off. Yay! We have a lot of things to watch for, he's not done healing yet, but not having the cast on is wonderful. The day was uneventful and on the quiet side. Cub Scouts and youth activities happened in the evening.

Thursday started off with a phone call to the fire department because our oven heating element started sparking everywhere. Thankfully they were able to contain it easily. Now we wait 5 days for a new oven I ordered from Home Depot to arrive - and we feed 11 people without a stove or oven. When I finally looked around I discovered plenty of cooking options already in the house - microwave, toaster, crock pot, griddle, rice cooker, etc. It just takes rethinking how to prepare meals and possibly cooking them in batches if using something like the toaster or microwave.

I also had a doctor's appointment on Thursday and baby is looking good. We're closing in on the end of this pregnancy and just taking things a day at a time.

Friday found two of us at the dentist and scheduling appointments for next week to get some work done (a baby tooth pulled and a filling redone). Beyond that it was just a regular day.

Saturday hubby and I went on a date while Grandma watched the kids. It was great to get out and just talk without little ears around, go to the store together, etc. We also picked up the ice cream sundae and root beer float supplies for Mason's family birthday party on Sunday since we wouldn't be able to bake a cake with no stove/oven.

Sunday Mommy stayed home from church with the four youngest boys who all are congested, runny nosed, and fending off colds. In the evening family came over for the birthday party (Mason will turn 6 next Thursday). We also watched the last episode of Extinct as a family - it was good but hard to say goodbye to the series.

Monday we got snow and ice. Daddy started back to school for the new semester with two classes. A lot of the kids started the day out with a playdoh party.

We kept things low-key. There was playing in the snow and ice in the afternoon, reading aloud Esperanza Rising over hot chocolate after that, dinner in the crock pot, and a stove delivery at lunch time. Yes, I was so happy to have a stove again!

Mason is healing somewhat post-cast removal(that happened last Wednesday). The incision is doing good so far, no infection. His leg and foot swelling has settled in and isn't increasing now, so we just have to wait several weeks for it to go down. The only iffy part is the pressure sore on the top of his foot/ankle, and we're following instructions for another week and a half before we get things re-evaluated. Unfortunately wounds like this don't heal well when you are paralyzed because your body doesn't always get the information that it needs to be healing something.

Tuesday I announced to the kids that after breakfast they needed to read something, either history or literature, and beginning readers needed to read to me. It was just one simple way to remind them to keep those learning routines going. Here is what they read:
  • On Board the Titanic - Makayla
  • 100 Cupboards - Joseph
  • The 12th How to Train Your Dragon book - Emma
  • Poppy - Daniel
  • Ice Wizard Magic Tree House - Oliver
  • All About Reading At the Pond - Caleb
  • All About Reading Fox in a Box - Mason
Our day kept rolling peacefully from there. Mason was especially happy to move to the bigger chalkboard for his Handwriting Without Tears work as he moved into lowercase letters today. One interesting thing I've noticed with Mason is that lately he is reading text in his environment - words off of signs or the spines of books. It's a fun stage.

In the afternoon Daniel and I both had dental work done. Ouch. I'll be sore for several days, Daniel's didn't really hurt at all he said.

Another random thing: our new bed frame arrived today. We've had a big wooden frame and box springs for years and it was breaking, creaky, and always woke babies when my truck driver husband gets up between 2 and 3am for work. I decided if I want a decent chance of sleeping well once baby Rebekah is born that the frame and box springs had to go. So we ordered this frame on sale for $60 on Amazon. I'm typing these notes a couple days later and have to say I love it!

Wednesday we got back into a morning learning time rhythm. Was it perfect? No. But it was productive and felt good. I also tried a new recipe in my instant pot on this day - potato soup. It was delicious! In the evening we had Cub Scouts and Mutual (youth group for ages 12-18). I spent the whole time having contractions of course which is my usual evening pattern, but the kids had fun.

Thursday started with my 38 week pregnancy checkup (more on that here) and I spent the rest of the day having contractions. It was a good day with the windows open to take advantage of the unusually warm temperatures (55F! It felt like a heat wave even though it rained all day). Tomorrow the temperatures are supposed to drop as we go from rain to ice to several inches of snow on top of that. Back to winter.

It's Friday morning and we're taking the day off of formal learning. I'm feeling like a broody hen, wanting to nest. So I'll make a short list of deep cleaning chores and projects for us to do around the house and we will work on those today.

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Pregnancy Update #16 - 38 weeks

I started this week last Thursday at 37 weeks pregnant. Contractions had become sporadic, mild visitors. Then on Monday evening right after dinner I had strong, regular contractions for several hours. Solid practice - yay! On Tuesday evening about 15 minutes after dinner it happened again, strong, regular contractions for a couple hours. Wednesday the same. Yay! I love that my body is slowly working toward delivery day.

Today I am 38 weeks pregnant. I had my weekly check up and I'm at 224.4 lbs (24 lbs gained this pregnancy), measuring 40 weeks. Baby Rebekah's heart rate is great. She is still head down and has engaged a good bit (aka - it hurts to walk since she's so low but I can breath easier). I've gone from 1cm dilated last week to 2cm dilated this week, which is progress. That makes me happy. My doctor stripped my membranes (TMI? What did you expect, this is a pregnancy post?!) and says he gives me a 75% chance of going into labor before my appointment next Thursday. I laughed at him and said I expect to still be pregnant on February 1st (a week past my due date), but I'm more than happy to have this baby soon. My doctor did say I get bonus points if I have this baby during the day time and not during this weekend's projected snowstorm. Ha!

I'm having all sorts of contractions post-membrane stripping and just trying to make the most of it. I came home and did laundry party (sorted several loads of laundry and called the kids to put it all away. I need to peek at my hospital bag and see what else I want to add. And I really should bring the infant carseat down from the attic soon. Squee! I can't believe we'll fill up the last seat in our 12 passenger van soon!

That's all the update for this week!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Pregnancy Update #15 - A quiet week

It has been a quiet week on the pregnancy front since my last update. Contractions visit. I'm hugely pregnant and enjoying it. I got good news on Tuesday that my Group B Strep results came back negative. That means no need for 4 hours of antibiotics during labor. Yay!

It is starting to feel real that we will have a newborn again soon. I washed baby blankets this week, organized clothes and diapers, and just talked to Miss Rebekah in my belly a lot. The kids get a kick out of seeing my belly moving around or feeling baby hiccups and kicks.

Today I had my 37 week checkup and ultrasound. Everything looks good so far. Baby is still head down and has one foot by her head. According to ultrasound (which can be off by a pound or more) she's weighing 8 lbs. I'm pretty sure that's high.

I gained about a pound this week. I'm measuring 39 weeks along, typical for me. Still just dilated to 1 cm, which is exactly what I expected. I'm going to go right ahead and predict that this sweet baby girl will come at least a couple days after my due date. My babies never seem to be in a hurry to come out.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

January Homeschool Plans Until Baby Arrives

I made some relaxed plans for school to keep us in a bit of a routine until baby Rebekah arrives. We could probably take off most of January and February and still finish the school year on time since we started early but the lack of routine would be bad.

Core Subjects - All kids will continue math and either assigned reading or reading lessons. The 7th grade and under crowd is continuing history with the Liberty's Kids dvds. The 11th grader is continuing chemistry and writing.

Morning Basket - This will happen each day and has the following categories:
  • Hymn - This varies. We're starting with I'm Trying to Be like Jesus and Let Us Oft Speak Kind Words, but I'm also open to kid requests.
  • Prayer - We take turns praying as a family, a different person prays each morning.
  • Devotional - We're going to use 52 Weeks to Fortify Your Family (Amazon affiliate link). It's a simple book that has a theme for each week. The first week is Kindness. Each day of the week is a verse or set of verses to read aloud and discuss on the theme. The end of the week has a couple of questions to talk about and a general conference talk to take our learning further. The best part is the daily readings will be 5 minutes or less, just right for our morning basket.
  • Fine Arts - We will rotate through different things in this slot. For the first week I have: Picture study, Composer Study: Mozart, Doodle Prompt, Picture study, and Composer Study: Mozart.
  • Scripture Memory - We're starting with Romans 8:16 and will change our scripture verse every few weeks. We simply read it aloud together until we have it memorized.
  • Read Aloud - I decided to pull one of the history books on Makayla's shelf for this year to read aloud to everyone. It's set in the 1930s and tells the story of a Mexican family who becomes migrant workers in the US due to unexpected circumstances. It's called Esperanza Rising (Amazon affiliate link) and I love what I've read ahead so far!
  • Other - This will vary every week. This week the slots are filled with Mad Libs (Star Wars themed), Mathemagic, science exploration, Mad Libs (Mad Scientist themed), and a writing game.
That's it! The kids are always welcome to pursue their own learning interests, ask for resources to help with that, or pull out a game to play. They have a variety of interests and there is often something going on. 

Friday, December 29, 2017

Homeschool Notes Week 22 - Christmas Break Continued

Saturday morning Makayla woke up with pink eye and we made a trip to the urgent care for eye drops. I'm hoping it doesn't spread between children. She called work and they told her to stay home, which was wonderful. We all needed a quiet day home as a family. Or mostly at home, as we had to pick up our online grocery order of course, and it was our family's turn to clean the church today. We got those things done and by the end of the cleaning I was having consistent contractions every few minutes. It's not time for this baby to arrive yet so we went home where I laid down, drank water to rehydrate, and then waited for contractions to settle down, which they did. Then I got up and packed my hospital bag a few days earlier than I had planned, just in case. I need to put a short list in the bag to remind me of things I need to grab last minute like a cell phone charger and phone.

Sunday found me with 4 hours of contractions, part of which was during our church service. It made for some really interesting reflections on the birth of Christ as I thought of Mary and Joseph welcoming Jesus. We had some extended family over for dinner, Christmas games, and gifts. It was a lot of fun and noise.

Monday was Christmas. We made cinnamon rolls and put them in to rise, then let the kids come downstairs to begin our morning and open gifts. This was our second year to open one gift at a time (before that we generally passed out a gift to each person and then everyone could open that gift at the same time). It went really well and Tobias did great waiting his turn and watching what each person opened.

The rest of the morning was spent building Lego sets, a giant train station, and just relaxing and playing together. Lunch was leftovers from Christmas Eve dinner - tacos - and Christmas breakfast - cinnamon rolls. In the late afternoon we watched episode 2 of Extinct (on BYU tv through our Roku) with the kids. It's fun to discover this show together. Most of the kids are interested, other than the littles who just played in the same room while we watched the show.

Tuesday we expected Daddy to be working (truck driver) but after showing up at the shop at 4am he was sent home, they were giving almost all the drivers today off too and he was one. So not too long before 5am he was back home and we made plans for a to-do list for the day. It had random things like taking a watch to the store to get links removed, picking up oil (we used the last of ours in waffles this morning), removing the a/c unit from our bedroom window (since the temps this week are staying below freezing even for the highs), grinding wheat, dropping the girls off at the movies, and doing a bit of organizing.

The day was uneventful and productive. Of course, it ended on a less than great note when Daniel started throwing up. The question being, is it just too much junk food in the last two days or is he sick and going to share? He did make it through the night without throwing up more, which was good.

Wednesday we kept to the calm and quiet routine. The plan for the day was to just rest, relax, and enjoy break. That is exactly what we did. There was no more throwing up. The oldest 3 kids had youth group together at church.

Thursday started with a checkup at my obstetrician's office. I shared that update in a separate post on the blog already, so here I'll just say things look good and baby Rebekah finally turned head down! After my appointment the kids relaxed and I did some January school planning.

Let's be clear - we started this school year on July 31st because I know what pregnancy and having a baby during the school year is like - all my babies but one have been born during a school year. My plan for January until baby is born is a relaxed form of school. We'll keep a core of lessons like math and then pick up a morning basket of riches to keep our weeks enjoyable. I'm also going to dive into a read aloud. We've taken a bit of a break on read alouds (other than listening to audio books in smaller groups or as individuals) and I miss it.

Friday morning some kids were up early while others slept in. We cooked breakfast and watched cartoons for a while. Then I got to work finalizing January morning basket plans, printing things, choosing a read aloud book, and so on.

We also got a phone call that Mason's new wheelchair should be ready in about 3 weeks. This is nothing short of miraculous. The process to order a new wheelchair when a child needs a bigger size is often 6-10 months long with insurance, and only after they have had their current chair for 5 years. Mason's paperwork got sent to insurance in early November and he's had his current chair almost 4.5 years but has completely outgrown it. The approval letter from insurance arrived last week and was dated Dec. 19th, just over a month after it was submitted. The vendor who will build his chair called us today to confirm what color he wants and let us know that it should be reading in 3ish weeks. If that is accurate the process will have taken just under 3 months.

We're ready for a family weekend enjoying the ending of 2017 and the start of 2018. Now to plan some games and snacks!