Category Archives: Parenting

And THIS is Why We Homeschool

I’m going to be honest and say that our first day of our 2012-2013 school year was rough, with a capital R. We completed the work he needed to get done that day, but 2-year old Jesse needed a lot of attention and 3-month old Julie kept waking up at the most inconvenient times. We had a tough time keeping Jeremy focused and I was constantly going back-and-forth between all three kids. Jeremy and I each had mini-meltdowns, then realized that we’d forgotten lunch. The afternoon was really hard. By the time we finished with school, Jason came home from work and took us out for dinner because I just couldn’t bring myself to cook. That evening Jeremy and I talked about it and said that we did a pretty good job, but we have some kinks to work out in our schedule. We were going to try again tomorrow.

Tuesday, day 2: Our first field trip. We met up with some other mom and kids friends from our MOPS group at 5 Rivers Delta Resource Center. We sat in a nice theater-style room for storytime, made a nice puppet craft, walked around and looked at their exhibits of local wild animals. Then we walked out to the waterfront, had a lovely picnic and let the kids run around. It was really nice to not be at a regular park full of climbing things and swings and such. The kids actually had to use their imagination and come up with games to play with each other. They had so much fun! We finished up our day at home with a couple of quick lessons, a dip in the pool, had a fast dinner, and rounded it all out with a trip to Chill (our favorite serve-yourself frozen yogurt place) to redeem our 2 free yogurt coupons.

Today, our third day of homeschooling Kindergarten/First Grade, Jeremy and I are taking a break after lunch. We’re watching Money Saving Meals while I rock Jesse to sleep for his nap, Sandra is explaining how her semi-homemade tamales are less expensive than store-bought frozen tamales and Jeremy exclaims “She’s doing math! It’s like her kitchen is her school room!” *Happy sigh* (in my head) “Yes, this is why we homeschool. Remember this.” Before I can even let out a breath, Jeremy tells me that cooking is like science and asks if we can bake cookies. I smile and respond “You betcha kiddo, cookies will be our science project this afternoon.”

Sure, we’re only half way through our first week of this school year, and we’ve already weathered some bumps, but I’m optimistic that we’ll do just fine.

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July Family Update

What a cheeky smile, and look at that big belly!

Having children is so neat, and mind-boggling. You spend months growing them inside you and waiting for them to arrive, then they’re here and you instantly wonder how they were ever not a part of the family because it seems like they’ve always been there. Then the days start flowing together because you’re a very sleep-deprived parent and suddenly, BAM!, they’re already 2 months old and you ask your husband how that happened!

Julie turned 2 months old last Wednesday and had her check-up the next day. My big girl gained two pounds since her 1-month check-up, weighing in at just over 14 pounds. She also grew two inches and is now two feet long. Julie has been flashing us her precious smile for a while, but I very rarely catch it on camera. She also loves when we talk with her, Julie gets very chatty in the evening just before bed time.

After catching up with our favorite doctor (we’re so lucky to have our primary care physician also happen to be a good friend) my poor girl had to get her first round of shots. She had the one in the hospital after she was born, but since then she hasn’t had any until today. Julie cried through three shots and one oral vaccine; Jesse was very concerned about why his baby was so upset. It was sweet to see him caring for her so much. For being such a good big brother the nurse gave him a squeezy toy whale and two stickers (one even had Elmo – his favorite) which he decided were band-aids like Julie’s. He stuck them on his thighs and proceeded to cry and limp like he was the one who got the shots. My sweet little empath! (I also had to buy him a small bag of bite-size Oreos at the drug store because he was hugging and kissing his sister to keep her happy.)

We’ve also been asking ourselves lately how Jesse got so big all of a sudden. It doesn’t seem like it’s been over two years since we brought him home.

It’s been a slow and steady process to get Jesse from co-sleeping with us all night, to nursing to sleep and staying most of the night in his bed, then to rocking to sleep and sleeping all night in his room, to where we’re at now which is falling asleep in his own bed. This is a HUGE deal for him. It takes 30-45 minutes each night for Jason to work his routine with Jesse, but it is successful and the boy is getting used to falling asleep in there. I crocheted Jesse an Elmo doll (his favorite character) and having that to snuggle with seems to have helped greatly at bedtime. Hopefully he’ll be laying down and falling asleep on his own soon without needing us to stay in the room with him. Before long he and Jeremy will have the same bedtime routine and our evenings will be so much easier!

For now, since Daddy is master of the night time routine, I still get my one-on-one time rocking my boy to sleep for his mid-day nap. Well, it’s not always one-on-one because there have been a couple of times when Jesse *needed* to snuggle but Julie also *needed* to be held as well, so I rocked them both!

For the most part, Jesse and Julie nap at the same time and I don’t have trouble with them during the day. However, sometimes their schedules don’t always match up. There have been a few instances when Julie just could not wait for her feeding and I had no choice but to let Jesse stay up a little longer. He will usually wear himself out a bit more, get sleepy and let me rock him or he’ll fall asleep in any number of positions on the sofa. This is how I found him just yesterday:

Poor kiddo just rocked himself to sleep. I have a million more pictures of how I’ve found him, but I’ll save those for another time. Nap time changes every day because I never really know how it’s going to go down. It’s usually around the same time, but the method is different. I feel like I’ve focused mostly on Jesse’s sleeping, but that is currently our major battle, so that’s what’s on my mind. After bedtime and naptime are conquered, we’ll move on to potty training. Dun Dun Dun!!!

Jesse’s vocabulary is growing day by day. He picks up new words all the time and is learning to string them into longer sentences than he was just a couple of weeks ago. He is really good at telling us what he wants (and doesn’t want), describing things, expressing some general feelings, and just pretty much talking all the time. He also has started loving books and brings us big stacks to read. I love when he picks out one that we’ve read a million times and he shushes me. He doesn’t want me to read, just turn the pages for him and he tells me (in his best 2-year old way) what is happening on the page. He’s such a character! I love watching this big huge personality develop out of a small person.

Jeremy is currently at his dad’s house in California, but he has grown by leaps and bounds over the summer as well. Most of this past year we worked specifically on reading (sounding-out words and using sight words) and math (adding and subtracting). So over the late spring and early summer while he was here, we completed a workbook meant to be a summer bridge for kids going from kindergarten to first grade. He flew through it and enjoyed most everything. I’m looking forward to checking out curriculum for first grade so we can start on that in September.

By the way, can someone please tell me how my firstborn, my tiny baby, is suddenly almost 6 years old?!?! I am flabbergasted, utterly astonished, every time I think about it. This picture is from back in May, but it shows my favorite side of this kid. He is so funny (weird knock-knock jokes and all), and surprises me all the time with how smart he is. But my favorite part of him is his total goofiness. He can be extremely moody, but his goofiness always comes through eventually and totally knocks me out. 🙂

So, that’s us in a nutshell! Our happy life is going along pretty well as we take things day by day. We’re still enjoying living in Mobile. Even though we do miss our family and friends in California all the time, we’ve got great friends here as well as well as some who have moved on to other places. Thank goodness for Facebook! It’s hard to believe that we’ve been here for 3 years already and are beginning our last year of this tour. Three houses in three years, whew! Military families really are professional movers. Around this time next year we’ll be packing up and moving to some other place. Coast Guard life is exciting!

Nothing Better

Honestly, is there anything in the world better than this?

I didn’t think so.

Julie girl had fallen asleep mid-feeding and when I moved to take her to bed in her room, she gripped my finger with her hand. She’s only done it a few times since she was born, but it just makes me smile every time. Something about my babies holding my hand at such a young age reminds me of the tight hold they have on my heart as well.

37 Weeks and 5 Days

I went to the doctor this morning for our weekly check-up. I’m still only dilated to 2 cm (same as the past month) and stretchable to 3 cm. Baby girl is still growing and has plenty of good fluid around her. However, the doctor estimates (from his little ultrasound and feeling my belly) that she’s inching up to 8 pounds already and wants me to schedule an induction soon. I’ve had two children, Jeremy was 8 lb 13 oz at birth, Jesse was quite a bit larger at 9 lb 9 oz. The doctor is concerned that since this little girl is already measuring big that she’ll follow suit and be bigger than her brothers.

Big babies are great, nice and healthy with lots of fat to help them control their temperature. However, big huge babies can be really hard to deliver and I want this one to be natural. I had a horrid epidural experience with Jeremy and had to be assisted with a vacuum. We had a little help from a dose of Nubain when we had Jesse, just to let me sleep between contractions since we went to the hospital at 3 am and had had no sleep beforehand. Unfortunately when you receive any meds you have to be hooked up to an IV for fluids and therefore chained to a bed. I really really want to deliver this little girl without any meds at all and not have to be hooked up to an IV so that I can be free to walk around and change positions.

Our due date is May 30th, but earlier in the pregnancy it was calculated at June 4th. We’ve been going with May 30th all this time, but now that we’re being asked to consider induction I am looking at the other date and wondering “What if that one was correct and we induce too early?” I put the doctor off a week and told him I’d think about it and we’d talk more about our options at my appointment next Monday.

What I’m thinking right now is that I’d still like to wait until our due date of May 30th. I understand she’ll likely be humongous by then, but I don’t want to rush her just in case she wasn’t planning on being ready til June 4th. It’s weird because you just never know. Due dates are just guesses after all. Technically she’s full term now regardless of which date we use and could come at any time and be totally fine. Sure, I’m uncomfortable and pretty much feel *done* with this pregnancy, but I really don’t want to hurry the baby along just for my own comfort. It’s hard to decide though because I so much don’t want to have any interventions during the labor and delivery if possible.

Strawberry Math

In preparation for our upcoming outing to the U-pick farm for fresh strawberries, I did some quick math to double-check that it was going to be worth the effort to pick them myself.

quart pound gallon
Oak Hill Farm $3 $2 $10 ($2 discount)
Winn Dixie grocery $4.49 $2.99 $17.96 + tax
Sam’s Club $3.74 $2.49 $14.96 + tax
* bold prices are those advertised.

According to Circle S Farms, a quart of strawberries weighs approximately 1 1/2 pounds. Using that information, I figured out that picking our own berries will definitely yield us the best price for our money. Looking at the per pound price it appears that Sam’s Club would be a decent choice because for only 49¢ more per pound I won’t have to stand out in the sun and pick them myself. That’s the premium we’d pay for convenience.

However, hand-picked berries will be much fresher and sweeter because they weren’t picked days or weeks ago and packaged up to sell at the store (much like a vine-ripened tomato tastes far better than a big fat one from a pile in the store). Aside from that, what really pushed Oak Hill Farm over the two stores was that they give a $2 discount when you pick and purchase by the gallon. Since there are 4 quarts in a gallon, that should run us $12 per gallon but they advertise that you can buy a quart for $3 or a gallon for $10. In that case, I’d be saving about $5 over the Sam’s Club price and about $8 over the Winn Dixie price. That works for me!

I really wish that I had a child old enough to do this math for me. Jeremy’s 5 and still working on addition/subtraction. Complex multiplication and division are far beyond his abilities at this point. It’s a good thing I’m blogging about this because then I can pull it out a couple of years from now to help as an example of why we do indeed need to learn how to do this type of math.

When I started, I had the following table and information:

quart pound gallon
Oak Hill Farm $3 $__ $10 ($__ discount)
Winn Dixie grocery $__ $2.99 $__
Sam’s Club $__ $2.49 $__
1 qt. = 1.5 lb. 4 qt. = 1 gal.

To find the missing information for both Winn Dixie and Sam’s Club is easy. We are given the per-pound price. Easily multiply that price by 1.5 (pounds per quart) to come up with the per-quart price. Multiply the per-quart price by 4 (quarts per gallon) to get the per-gallon price.

Winn Dixie: $2.99  x  1.5 = $4.49  x  4 = $17.96

Sam’s Club: $2.49  x  1.5 = $3.74  x  4 = $14.96

Now this is how far we’ve filled out the table:

quart pound gallon
Oak Hill Farm $3 $__ $10 ($__ discount)
Winn Dixie grocery $4.49 $2.99 $17.96
Sam’s Club $3.74 $2.49 $14.96

Since we are given completely different valuations for Oak Hill Farms pricing, a different approach is required. I had to re-teach myself Equivalent Fractions, fifth grade math.

$/quart $/pound
Oak Hill Farm $3 $__ numerators
Winn Dixie grocery $4.49 $2.99 denominators (using known pricing)

 

The fractions: 3/4.49  =  p/2.99 (I’m using “p” as the unknown numerator)
The math: 3  x  2.99  =  8.97 Multiply first numerator by second denominator.
4.49  x  p  =  4.49p Multiply first denominator by second numerator.
8.97 ÷ 4.49  =  1.9977 (round up to $2) Divide each cross multiplication total by the same number.
Always check your work! Divide to get the whole number for each fraction: 3 ÷ 4.49 = 0.668   2 ÷ 2.99 = 0.668   If the whole numbers match, you’ve correctly completed your equivalent fraction.

We’re finally finished!

quart pound gallon
Oak Hill Farm $3 $2 $10 ($2 discount)
Winn Dixie grocery $4.49 $2.99 $17.96
Sam’s Club $3.74 $2.49 $14.96

Baby #3 Coming in June

I announced a couple of weeks ago on my personal Facebook page, we are expecting our third child on June 4th. We’re so very very excited and are very much looking forward to adding to our family.

We learned the news just a couple of days before we flew out to California a little over 2 weeks ago for our friends’ wedding. At that point all we’d seen is a pregnancy test, but since it was still really early on we didn’t want to announce until we’d at least seen a sonogram or heard the heartbeat. Also, a wedding is no place to announce a pregnancy, stealing the spotlight from our friends would have been pretty darn rude on a day that’s supposed to be all about them. So, we kept it to ourselves the whole trip and then once we got home went to see my doctor. He confirmed everything for us again and we got to have an ultrasound to check the due date and make sure everything looked as it was supposed to.

At this point we’re just 8 weeks into the pregnancy making our due date June 4th. Looking back at my other two pregnancies, Jason and I are amending our expectations to the last week or so of May. Jeremy arrived 10 days before his due date and Jesse joined the family exactly 7 days early. Also, our babies have gotten bigger each time. Jeremy was 8 lbs 13 oz and Jesse was 9 lbs 9 oz, my second baby was 12 oz larger after staying in for 3 days longer. During our discussion with my doctor at our first prenatal appointment this time around, he mentioned that if this baby appears to be following suit and gets really big toward the end of the pregnancy, he would like to entertain the idea of inducing when the baby’s size indicates to ensure a better chance of having as great and “easy” of a labor as we did last time. I don’t particularly like that idea, at least not until I’m more than a week past due and the baby isn’t moving as much due to lack of space and reduced amniotic fluid. I really don’t think that will be a problem, but I’m glad to know now where my doctor stands on that issue. I prefer to go into labor naturally when the baby decides she or he is ready.

To the fun stuff… We’re hoping for a little girl this time, but like we’ve told everyone already, if we are blessed with another boy we will be just as thrilled. We love our boys and whether a little girl comes along or a third brother to add to our pack, we will thank God for His blessings on our family.

As to how I’m feeling these days… I felt pretty great during our California trip, nauseous when I’d turn around in the car to talk to the boys, but that’s it. Once we got home “the sickness” set it for real. So far I haven’t actually thrown up at all, but for about two weeks I’ve felt constantly nauseous from the time my eyes open to the time I fall asleep. The last few days have been better, but I’m still not doing much. I feel bad for the family because I’ve only cooked about 3 meals over the last week and my live-in mother-in-law has been doing all the dishes. Jason’s been very helpful in lots of ways and extremely understanding, but Jesse doesn’t get it.

Ever since Jesse quit nursing (his own choice and it went well a couple of months ago) one of his favorite things has been to push up my shirt to expose my belly and snuggle his face there. It’s sweet and probably the closest feeling he can get to the way nursing felt. I’ve indulged him because when he wakes up in the middle of the night and comes into our room, snuggling my stomach gets him to fall back to sleep in moments. But lately he’s been doing more playing at it, flipping his face from one side to the other, blowing raspberries, and pushing his face inward. None of those things feel good to me with my nausea and I wind up rolling him off. After a couple of minutes he falls asleep just fine in the middle of the bed, but for the rest of the night he pokes and shoves at Jason and I. By the time morning rolls around I’m rather sleep deprived and most days I don’t get up until at least 8:30 or even 9:00.

I don’t know how Jason can get up at 6 and get to work by 7:30 every day. It would be totally impossible for me at this point. Many days it’s all I can do to keep the laundry mostly under control and keep Jesse entertained in the play room or let him follow me around to whatever I’m up to. I’m dealing with lots of food aversions right now, so cooking is just not something I have been able to consider most days. When the nausea lightens though, I pull something out of my hat that’s homemade so the family will know I’m still trying and that I love them. Other than that, I’m doing great! Our next appointment is on Veteran’s Day and I look forward to updating again after that.

Wean Me Gently

by Cathy Cardall
_______________________________________________________________

I know I look so big to you,

Maybe I seem too big for the needs I have.

But no matter how big we get,

We still have needs that are important to us.

I know that our relationship is growing and changing,

But I still need you. I need your warmth and closeness,

Especially at the end of the day

When we snuggle up in bed.

Please don’t get too busy for us to nurse.

I know you think I can be patient,

Or find something to take the place of a nursing;

A book, a glass of something,

But nothing can take your place when I need you.

Sometimes just cuddling with you,

Having you near me is enough.

I guess I am growing and becoming independent,

But please be there.

This bond we have is so strong and so important to me,

Please don’t break it abruptly.

Wean me gently,

Because I am your mother,

And my heart is tender.

_______________________________________________________________

I really needed to read this poem. A fellow breastfeeding mom posted it on a forum that I belong to online. I’ve never met her, but boy am I ever grateful to her for sharing it.

I’ve been trying to start weaning Jesse for several weeks now with little success. I tried “cold turkey” and all that got us was a lot of crying (on both our parts). I’ve been feeling just “done” with breastfeeding lately and I wanted to end this on a good note. There are days when he’s happy with nursing only before naps and bedtime, but then there are days where he needs me seemingly all day long. Then of course there are other days when he falls asleep in his high chair or with Daddy and doesn’t need me at all. I guess this is how it’s going to go for us. Eventually it’ll dawn on me suddenly that it’ll have been several days since we last nursed and I’ll be sad for this piece of our relationship to be over. At least that’s how I’m hoping it’ll go.