Wednesday, October 31, 2007

small pleasures

Sometimes, if you are pregnant on Halloween, and you have eaten some really garlicy chicken for lunch that you can still taste 3 hours later when your stomach takes a nasty turn, you might start rumaging through the kitchen for something to take the taste away. Then you might spot a bag of Dum Dum suckers stuck up in the pantry for trick or treaters. And, once you have the bag open, you could find something you've never tried before, something new...a *pink lemonade* flavored Dum Dum. And it might taste just right, it might really taste good to that queesy stomach, so good that you might dig through the rest of the bag to claim the rest for yourself and feel a bit disappointed that there are only two other pink lemonade Dum Dums in the bag. The next day, when your stomach turns again, you might find yourself so desperate for more pink lemonade Dum Dums that you might start peeking in the wrappers of the "mystery flavor" Dum Dums, hoping that you might get lucky and uncover a pink lemonade. You might even feel excited when you uncover a pink one, triumphantly unwrap it and pop it in your mouth only to find that it is not pink lemonade. It is watermelon. Which is not the same. Not the same at all.

Then, you might, just out of curiosity, search the internet to see if it is possible to order Dum Dums in only one flavor, specifically pink lemonade flavor. And you might be quite intrigued to find out that such a possiblity indeed exists.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Yes, Maria is still transposing letters

This is on the dry erase board in the schoolroom.

The good news is, Maria is scheduled to start vision therapy next week. I'm so excited! I'm really hoping this will make a dramatic difference for her. We've got nothing else to fall on if it doesn't, that's for sure, and we are investing a lot of money in it that we really can't afford. But we've got to try something!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

why no, we do *not* worship Satan...

Here's a great Halloween post from Ma Beck's blog. Very few of our homeschooling friends celebrate Halloween, citing that it is an evil high holiday for Satan worshipers...or something like that. My husband has insisted that we keep it for the kids, and I haven't fought him on it simply because I can't come up with a reason to do so. I grew up trick or did everyone else I grew up with. I just find it hard to believe that dressing up as cute animals or cartoon characters and collecting mini candy bars is going to lead any of my kids to Satan worship.

H/T Angela Messenger

Angel in the Waters

If you haven't heard of this book...

Look it up on amazon and you can see several pages of it at their site. It's just lovely. I highly recommend it for any expecting friend. I bought my first copy when I was pregnant with Jack and gave it away to an expecting friend. So, I had to buy another copy for this baby. Kain has had me read it every night all week. It's a picture book about a developing unborn baby and her guardian angel. Very, very sweet. And I only cried the first three times I read it.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Moody Momma

I am in a truly foul state of mind today. Nothing catastrophic has happened, I have nothing and no one to blame it's all me. It's been building, I guess. Frankly, ever since we got back from vacation things have been rough. I came back feeling all the first trimester stuff and things have slowly unraveled around me. I haven't really even mustered an attempt to catch up. So today, the house is a wreck, laundry is behind, I have been pulling throwing slipshod meals together at the last minute because *I'm* not hungry and so I'm completely irritated at the thought of feeding anyone else. School, though we take a crack at it each day, is slowly creeping further and further behind. All of this is largely because my schedule is falling apart. I've been sleeping later than I used to, going to bed earlier than I used to, often napping during Jack's nap time. And when I'm not sleeping, I feel like I should be. I'm sure ready for this trimester to be done. I'm trying not to feel so aggravated and to remind myself how long we've waited for this baby, that a couple of months of feeling lousy is totally worth the gift of another child, and that there are plenty of women that are much more ill during their pregnancies, not to mention plenty of women who can't conceive at all. It helps to keep it in perspective. But I still feel cruddy.

Today I kind of lost it. I was all of a sudden gripped with the realization that Halloween and All Saint's Day are next week and, although the kids had pretty much settled on costumes, we hadn't actually done anything about making them yet. On the spur of the moment, I grabbed Maria and we ran to Stuffmart. John was home to keep the boys. An hour later I was in tears and feeling slightly hysterical. I hadn't found anything. Nothing. I was hoping to find an angel costume in Jack's size that could double for the church's Halloween party as well as our homeschool group's All Saint's Day party, but they had *nothing* in his size at all except Barbie and Dora the Explorer. In the interest of saving myself some sewing, I was hoping to find a couple of generic robes for Maria and Kain to serve as a base for their Saint costumes (St. Amadeus and St. Catherine of Alexandria), but I couldn't find anything appropriate. I was hoping to find black hooded sweatshirts and black sweatpants for both of the boys to serve as the beginnings of bat and skunk costumes, but couldn't find any black hooded sweatshirts and no black sweatpants in Jack's size. I was hoping to find "faux fur" for Jack's skunk costume as well, but I couldn't find any at all. I was hoping to find a plain, solid color skirt to serve as the basis of Maria's "'50's waitress costume", but there were no skirts at all that didn't look like they belonged on a street corner. So, an hour later I was standing in the fabric section, facing making all these costumes from scratch in less than a week, not mention the fact that I still had to hunt up the sweat suits and faux fur somewhere else. I had nothing but diapers, shaving cream, and shampoo in my cart to show for my time. My eyes were tired and aching, I was feeling nauseous, and I was a snapping at Maria. And I had to pee. I told Maria we were scratching our plans. I was going back to the costume section and we were going to find some kind of costumes that could work for...anything. Anything for anyone. Just something. Back in the costume section, I grabbed things, put them in my cart, changed my mind and put them back. Maria brought me things she liked, but I soon realized I didn't want to spend $15-25 a piece on store bought costumes and still have to make All Saints Day costumes, and I couldn't find anything that could work for both. My head was spinning and I went from feeling nauseated to feeling like I was going to die if I didn't eat something RIGHT NOW. I grabbed my diapers and fled to the cashier. "Did you find everything you needed?" she asked in an irritating tone. "SURE DID!" I almost screamed, fighting the urge to break into hysterical giggles. WHY do they ask you that? I have always wondered. What do they do if you say, "No, actually, I was trying to find whole wheat couscous and I couldn't find it anywhere." Are they going to leave their register and go find it or what?

Once home, I proceeded to snap at everyone else until I went somewhere else, had a sandwich, and got control of myself. I prayed to the Blessed Mother, for probably the 247th time this month, to help me be sane and patient and kind, because surely she didn't act psycho when she was pregnant?, came back out and apologized to everyone, and got online. At, I found a toddler angel costume for Jack, which we will try to make a little less girly by trimming some frills and adding a sword and shield for St. Michael. I found a couple of choices for Kain and Maria, costumes that could double for both Halloween and All Saint's Day. Kain, wooed by any costume involving a weapon, was easy to talk into the switch. Maria was more reluctant, but I think she realized that Mom was a woman on the edge. In the end, Kain chose a crusader costume. Now I just have to think of a crusader Saint. Maria settled on this Geisha costume, which will become St. Anna Wang, a little 14 year old girl that was martyred for the faith during the Boxer rebellion in China. And after paying a small fortune for these costumes plus two day shipping to ensure their delivery in time for the 31st, TA-DAH!, I'm all done. Best small fortune I ever spent. Any ideas for how to keep these things sane and reasonably inexpensive as your family grows bigger? A friend of mine says that she keeps an eye out all year possible costume finds at thrift stores,,,,robes and gowns, swords and shields, ethnic looking clothes, wings, armor, etc.,...when October comes, they just work with what they have, younger kids often wearing costumes older kids have used in the past.

Anyway, I'm feeling more sane, but I really need to get our lives back on track and more organized again. It's so hard to dig out from under when things fall apart. Thanks for indulging my vent.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

good writing, not by me

From Fr. George Rutler,,,,

No offense to my dear friend the kindergarten teacher, whom I have no doubt is wonderful with the children entrusted to her. :) But school It can only be so much because of what it is. I don't feel like the following negates her job at all, of bringing as much of the world as she can to her students...because so many of them would not experience the world this way, or in any positive way at all, if it weren't for the efforts of their teachers.

"I'd encourage your youngest one to abandon kindergarten altogether. Almost everything I learned was learned outside the classroom, and school itself interrupted my education. Moreover, school locks you in with your peers. That is a mistake. One's social circle should never include one's equals. From my earliest years I found children uninteresting and always preferred the company of adults. This was an advantage, because I got to know lots of folks who are dead now whom I never would have known if I had waited until I was an adult. - So I have a collective memory - and oral tradition - that goes back to the eighteenth century, having spoken with people who knew people who knew people who knew people who lived then. - The only real university is the universe and a city its microcosm. That is why an expression like "New York University" is foolish. New York City is the university….Instead of school, children should spend some hours each day in hotel lobbies talking to the guests. They should spend time in restaurant kitchens and shops and garages of all kinds, learning from people who actually make the world work….One day spent roaming through a real classical church building would be the equivalent of one academic term in any of our schools, and a little time spent inconspicuously in a police station would be more informative than all the hours wasted on bogus social sciences. Formal lessons would only be required for accuracy in spelling and proficiency in public speaking, for which the public speakers in our culture are not models, and in exchange for performing some menial services a child could learn the violin, harp, and piano from musicians in one of the better cocktail lounges, or from performers in the public subways….So I urge you to keep your child out of kindergarten, because kindergarten will only lead to first grade and then the grim sequence of grade after grade begins and takes its inexorable toll on the mind born fertile but gradually numbed by the pedants who impose on the captive child the flotsam of their own infecundity."

Could you just eat that last sentence with a spoon? "the flotsam of their own infecundity"....fabulous. I've always wanted to use the word "flotsam" in a sentence but have not pulled it off as of yet.

H/T Cay at the Cajun Cottage

midwife visit- week 10

Yesterday was my first appointment with the new midwife. There's an alternative birthing center that opened up nearby. Sort of nearby. Ok, it's like an hour and a half drive through winding mountain roads. Good thing my labors are long. Holy cow, did I really just type "GOOD THING MY LABORS ARE LONG"?

Anyway, brief history here,,,Maria was a military hospital birth. It was about as far from a natural birth as you can possibly imagine, short of an actual c-section. It was an anti-birth. I have a hysterical labor picture somewhere I'll have to dig's of me in a hospital bed with no less than 7 tubes and wires coming from me-- oxygen mask, pulse ox, epidural, IV, internal monitor, external monitor, blood pressure say I was bed-bound for those 25 hours of labor would be a bit of an understatement. I couldn't even roll over without setting off 4 of the 7 alarms.
And after I started running a fever, they wouldn't even let me have a blanket or any pillows but the one behind my head.

For my next birth, I knew I wanted something radically different. I quickly learned it was not going to be had in any hospital around here, where the c-section rate is a staggering 35%, several doctors flat out refuse to let you use a doula, and one doctor even refuses to take patients that have taken Bradley childbirth classes. So, Jack was a homebirth. Mostly. After 3 days of labor, I kind of lost my mind during transition and went to the hospital. Demanded to go the hospital. Out in the car, laying on the horn, screaming for drugs at the hospital. I was pushing on the elevator with a bewildered security guard behind the wheelchair mumbling, "I don't think she should push yet." He was crowning before they could even get the IV started, and it was all over. This was followed by really ugly treatment by the staff as punishment for daring to attempt a homebirth.

On the whole though, I preferred the homebirth. Most of my labor was easy, in spite of being so long, and I enjoyed sitting around my house making scrambled eggs and watching MASH reruns better than being tethered to a hospital bed while 3 shifts of nurses and doctors did cervical exams and shook their heads disapprovingly at my slow progress. I enjoyed having a labor and delivery that was treated as a postive family experience as opposed to a medical event to be managed. I felt like my next labor wouldn't necessarily be as long as Jack's either. I had a cervical lip with Jack, and that slowed things up quite a bit, as well as contributing considerably to the pain there at the end. Oh, and he weighed just under 10 pounds. That slowed things up a bit too I imagine. I did know that I never wanted to set foot in that hospital again after the treatment I had received, and a hospital transfer is always a possibility.

So, that's how we arrived at this birthing center. Birthing center is probably a pretty loose term in this case. It's basically a house across the street from a (different) hospital and owned by a midwife. She has a couple of other midwives that help cover her patients as well. She has a lot of great experience, and we are excited about this alternative. She assures us the nearby hospital and their doctors are quite used to taking homebirth patients when needed and are not ugly about doing so. And for all intents and purposes, it's a homebirth. There's no staff, no doctors or nurses, you have to sign homebirth release papers for the state, etc.

Before our vacation, we went in for a consultation with her, but yesterday was my first actual appointment. John was working, and I didn't have him request off for this one. I knew it would be too early to hear the heartbeat or anything fun like that. Lots of paperwork, involved history, some lab stuff, a quick exam...this midwife is also a nutritionist and a naturopath, so she talked to me a while about nutrition during pregnancy---

---"I'd like you to change you're prenatal vitamin to a brand with organic iron." Sure.

---"And avoid sugar...I'd like to try for a smaller baby so you'll have an easier labor." Rockin'.

---"Eat raw food every day, a salad, raw fruit." Already done.

---"No fish at all..there's too many toxins in fish for pregnant women to fool around with." OK.

---"I advise against eating has too many parasites." Hmm. Ok...

---"Ground beef isn't good either. You don't know what's in it. If you must have beef, only round steak." Umm....

---"And I also advise against cow's milk. It's just a bad food." (sigh)


I'm happy to report that so far everything is looking good and we are looking forward to possibly hearing the heartbeat at the next visit!

Monday, October 22, 2007

a big boy step

Today we brought home this toddler bed. Tonight is Jack's first night in it. He looked like such a big boy, tucked in with a pillow, his blanket, and his "bahboo". I wanted to post a picture, but it seems my camera is MIA somewhere. He was so excited to be sleeping in the same bedroom with Kain. But he's not going for it. So far he's been up half a dozen times. Even Kain is already asleep. Not sure how this will work out. And I'm worried about him waking up at night and wandering around!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Should I laugh or should I cry?

In the car tonight, during a discussion of what Heaven might be like....

Kain- You mean you have to be good to go to Heaven?

Maria- Yes!

Kain- Oh no. Well, I guess I'm not going to get to go.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

what I'm doing tonight

Watching birth videos on you tube and crying like an oaf. Could I *be* any more pregnant?

Friday, October 19, 2007

a belated Birthday....

to Jack! He turned three on October 7th, while we were in Florida, and I still haven't posted pictures for him. I'm such a lazy blogger lately. Have patience. I'm at 10 weeks, almost got the first trimester behind me. I feel very gross tonight, the house is a wreck and I don't have the energy to do anything but post pictures. John is bringing me home a cranberry slushie from Sonic to make things right again.

So, here's to Jack, my baby-turned-preschooler. He is literally my sunshine every day. I love going into his room in the morning, even though it's 6am, because he is so infectiously happy every day. Jack is sweet and easy going and so loved by everyone. He is rather quiet and serious, but not solemn. He just kind of takes everything in and is a thinker like his dad. He loves books, loves to be read to, and when you read a new book to him, like when we read "Going on a Bear Hunt" tonight, he is just completely engrossed in the book and when it's over you can tell he's not satisfied...and sure enough, he demands, "Again, Momma!" He loves music. Right now his favorites are Raffi's Bananaphone and Handel's Hallelujah Chorus. Seriously. He listens to that over and over again all the time. Soon Jack will be a big brother, though he doesn't really know that yet.

Here's some favorite pics of Jack, and some of his birthday party in Florda...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

thinking out loud....

Things are changing for us....

When I first started homeschooling, I had one child, a 6 year old. She was (and is) very social and loves to be busy. We joined a couple of busy homeschool groups and threw ourselves in neck deep. It didn't matter if we were running several days a week. She was only in kindergarten, school took maybe an hour a day at the most, and we could easily fit that in around homeschool co-ops, ballet classes, and church activities.

Here we are, the 6 year old is now 11 years old. She's in 5th grade, and now her school work takes easily three hours a day. We've also added two children to our family in the last three years, 7yo Kain and 3 yo Jack. Oh, and let's not forget Peanut coming in May. We've had to slowly whittle our activities, for my own sanity if nothing else. It's difficult to do. My oldest is still very social and would still love to run every day, all day. But when we run too much, everything else suffers. We have to choose carefully whether any given activity is worth our time. We simply can't do it all anymore.

My newest decision is what to do about our co-op. The kids love it. It's purely social, and they love it, love having lunch with friends, having recess, a yearbook, school pictures, etc. It also exposes them to all kinds of things that I would never teach them. The classes range from fencing, Spanish, knitting, cooking, guitar, etc to just fun PE/recess type classes. But it is expensive, very expensive, in terms of time and/or money. I have been teaching three afternoon classes at the co-op to "earn" their tuition. This is difficult to do with Jack, who is cranky and needing a nap that time of day, and difficult to find time to prepare and plan for during the week at home. And once the baby comes, teaching in the afternoons like this will be impossible. Without my teaching credits, the tuition is a bit pricey...but not as pricey as other lessons and things we have paid for in the past. It's do-able, if we don't do much else. So, I have a couple of options....

Keep attending full time-

Pros are- This is what the kids want, even if it's at the expense of other activities. Also, I use the mornings that they are in class to run errands and get groceries, with one child as opposed to three. It's also kind of become a special time for Jack and me...he gets Mom to himself for a bit. It also provides so much in the way of social contact for Maria, especially as she gets older.

Cons are- The money. The time. Losing a whole day 30 weeks out of the year that we could be using to get schoolwork done, or giving to other worthwhile activities.

Attend a half day instead of a full day-

Pros- They would still get the social aspects of the program. It would be quite a bit cheaper as well, and we would have the morning to get some schoolwork done.

Cons- I would lose that nice morning running around time with Jack.

Ditch the co-op completely, probably to take up karate classes again-

Pros- This would free up that whole day each week again. Probably be the most sanity-saving measure. Karate is in the late afternoons and wouldn't interfere with school time at all.

Cons- Karate for both of the big kids would be even more expensive than the co-op.
And being in a class like that is not the same kind of social fun as the co-op is.

Ok, so that's my thinking out loud for today. I'd love to say this lead me to some sort of epiphany...but not so much.

how Catholic kids play

"....and then we pretended that we saw a baby floating in the lake, and we went to rescue it, but it was really a baby doll, and then the doll's head cracked open and told us our next clue of where to look, and then we found the place, and Jesus was there, and He gave us special blessings, and then He put the baby doll's head back together with a miracle and turned it into a real baby."

Saturday, October 13, 2007

peanut update

Ain't she pretty?

All major organs formed, down to the teeth and fingerprints. We're at nine weeks today. After a rough first week after my positive test, I felt great. So good I thought something must be wrong and was afraid I would miscarry. But since returning from vacation...well, I feel good and pregnant now. Very nauseous, very tired. We found a midwife and I'll be calling on Monday to schedule my first official visit. I'm very sleepy right now and just waiting for John to finish reading to the boys so I can sing to them and go crash into bed, so I don't feel like I'm writing very coherently. Hopefully I'll have something intelligent to write another day. :)

Friday, October 12, 2007

a vacation in photos

My in-laws live in Florida, giving us a handy reason to go visit every year. I actually went to high school in Florida, but there's so many cool places I never got to see while I lived there. This is a picture of a ferry we took down the river in Homasassa Springs. It's a state wildlife park and a manatee refuge. It was every bit as hot and steamy as it looks, even in October.

A blue heron....we saw several of these on the ferry ride, and a lot more native Florida animals when we arrived at the park...

...but of course, the manatees were the coolest. Hard to get good pictures of though.

The next several pictures were taken on Clearwater Beach. Here's Jack building sand castles. Actually, I did most of the building, and then he would smash them and tell me to build them again.

Jack was working hard climbing up and down these sandy banks.

Then Maria helped him walk along the top of the banks. Nice sissy.

We have major jellyfish issues. This was actually a tiny one. We saw a dozen on our snorkeling trip that were a foot and a half around! But my camera wasn't handy.
Several people in our group got stung, but we were lucky.

A cloudy sunset. That's Kain in the background. I got way more pictures of Jack than anyone else. I feel guilty about this now, but really it was only because Jack was right there *with me* the whole time, whereas the bigger ones tended to wander off and do their own thing.

This is Maria on the boat for our snorkeling trip....definitely the highlight of our trip.

Our boat went out to these ruins of a fort from the Spanish-American War. The fort used to be on a nearby island, but due to beach erosion it now sits in 9 feet of water. We snorkeled off of this fort for a bit. It got interesting when Kain cut up his foot on the barnacles while climbing around on the fort, and then we saw the monster jellies.

Then we went to Egmont Key. Here's the lighthouse, and there's also another fort on the island, this one intact. We didn't get to explore it much. We only had two hours to spend on the island and wanted to spend it snorkeling.

Kain looking for shells. The little keys off the coast are great places for shelling. We found some beautiful specimens, as pretty as you'd buy in any shell shop. Of course, this was *after* I'd spent a bunch of money in the shell shops.

Here's a cool specimen, an intact sand dollar. We found a couple of smaller ones too. I've since managed to pick all the barnacles off of this one and clean it up nicely.

Jack waiting for a wave. Most of the gulf coast where we were at is kind of lined with barrier islands, so there's not much in the way of waves. On Egmont Key, however, he got his first chance to play in them.

Here the wave just smacked him.

Waiting for another.

The plane ride home. Jack missed his nap and was falling apart at this point. Ice is a highly undervalued entertainment item for small kids. This cup of ice entertained Jack for quite a while once he started getting restless. Emergency rations of M & M's and goldfish crackers are good too.

And here he is...literally fell asleep in mid-goldfish cracker.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

return from vacation

I haven't dropped off the planet. Not quite. We just went to Florida for a week and returned last night. Tons of great pics to post later today! And we are glad to be home.