Saturday, August 03, 2013

Packing, Packing

It's almost 11pm, and we have been working on this trip all day long. This is what my kitchen looks like:

I haven't done the clothes or toiletries yet. But I have made all the lists. Lots and lots of lists.

This trip is going to be a huge challenge, and as such, we are using this game to help minimize meltdowns--in parents and children alike:
Back to packing and praying that it all fits in the car!

Friday, August 02, 2013

Getting Ready (2 days to go!!)

We are getting ready for an epic camping trip. I plan to chronicle it, and so I'm playing with this mobile app. This horribly outdated blog needs to be resurrected anyway.

Today I am testing out a bunch of camping stuff.

Here's our shower. I just successfully used it, along with the plastic tub, to bathe a disgusting baby covered with food from head to toe. Score :)

I also did two loads of laundry with this

And here is the result:

I'm looking forward to our adventure!!

We're going camping

We're busy getting ready for a massive camping trip. Stay tuned!

Here's a recent picture of my munchkins:

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Thanks & Update

First of all, thanks to everyone who filled out my survey! It was very helpful, and now I know how I'll set up the online registration for Bible study.

Now for a long-overdue update. Since I can't cover everything since the last time I blogged (when was the last time I really blogged???), I'm just going to give a snapshot of what's going on right now.

The biggest thing on my mind now is planning for next year. We've decided to homeschool Rachel for Kindergarten, and I've been putting a lot of energy into fine-tuning what that will look like. For the past 2 years, I've been "playing homeschool" for pre-school, so this isn't a totally new thing. But it does feel a little scary to be homeschooling "for real".

In the past, I've used the preschool curriculum from Sonlight. My honest opinion...I love their books, hate the schedule, and hate the price.

This year, I'm piecing together my own stuff. We'll see how this goes. So far, I'm planning for K:

1) Bible: Awana at church. My attempts to have Rachel memorize scripture have fallen flat and I figure it's better to have someone else handle this.

2) Math: Singapore Math 1. She's one chapter from finishing Singapore K Earlybird.

3) Handwriting: Copywork and dictation (she's already decent at writing uppercase and lowercase letters, thanks to Handwriting Without Tears.) At this point she's totally bored with formal handwriting, so I think more meaningful practice would be the way to go.

4) History: Story of the World. We've already very slowly started this. Here are some pictures of Rachel and Rebekah being archaeologists. (We did this before the snow melted, so this was our indoor alternative to digging in the dirt).

I'm still conflicted about this curriculum, though...wondering if it's too soon to introduce history and if we should start with geography instead. Sonlight does this for the K curriculum, but I'm really trying to avoid shelling out that much money, when I know I won't like the schedule. We'll see.

5) Spanish: We're doing both Spanish Champs and Muzzy. Liking both so far, except it's a little tricky in that Muzzy does Spanish from Spain, and Spanish Champs is Latin American. You can't have everything fit together perfectly, and at this level it probably doesn't matter much. They're learning a lot! (And so am I!)

6) Science: I'm so undecided here, probably because this is my field, and because my views don't really line up with those that predominate most of the homeschool world. For now, I'm sending her to Quarry Hill nature camp this summer.

7) Reading: Using read-alouds suggested by Story of the World, and many of the second-grade readers suggested by Sonlight, along with lots of supplementing from the Library.
Now, in the last week or so it's dawned on me that I have a big problem, or opportunity depending on how you look at it. My problem/opportunity is that I have a lovely, beautiful, wonderful almost 3-year-old named Rebekah, who is very active, excited, full-of-life, and bouncing-off-the-walls. A future athlete for sure, completely different from her scholarly older sister.

Example: First day home from our trip to California this is what they ask:
Rebekah: Can I play outside?
Rachel: Can I do math?

I have no idea what to do with Rebekah, but I've got to figure out something because Rachel has trouble concentrating in the presence of such exuberance. For a few days, I toyed with sending her to preschool. This year, Rachel has done a preschool music enrichment class one day a week. We really liked that, but the problems are: 1) 20 minute drive, 2) Rebekah is not old enough for the enrichment class.
We could do a regular 2 or 3 day a week 3 y/o class, but with all the driving involved, it would really give me very little time to work with Rachel, plus 90 minutes in the car per time. Plus monthly tuition! No thank you.
I found out about another preschool much closer (5 minutes) from my house. I was all jazzed till I found out they have to be 3 by June 1st!! Rebekah's birthday is in August. So perhaps this is God's way of telling me I need to plan her homeschool education too, and make it work.

This site is full of great ideas: Preschoolers and Peace. Perhaps I could use that tuition money to invest in some great educational toys/games that Rebekah could do while Rachel does her stuff. We'll see.

The whole idea of scheduling is kind of foreign to me, but I think will need to be implemented for next year. Thus far we are pretty much "unschooling", in that I have a lot of curriculum lying around that they're free to use when they feel like it, along with lots of unstructured play time. I think having more schedules/routines would help them (and me) keep a little more sanity, keep the house a little more clean, and keep them from the amount of bickering that can result when they're bored/tired. I don't like to be too rigid though, because life with littles is just naturally full of interruptions. It's a delicate balance.

Finally, let's not forget handsome little Paul. He's 5 months old, mellow as ever. The girls love him and so do I. He pretty much tags along with whatever we're doing, and nurses or naps when he needs to. Here's this handsome little man:

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Paul's Birth

Well, given that my sweet son is almost 4 months old now, it's high time I wrote down his birth story.

For reference, here are Rachel's and Rebekah's birth stories.

For the last 3 weeks of my pregnancy, I struggled about the potential timing of Paul's birth, along with frequent contractions that never went anywhere. This was my first birth living far away from home. My in-laws were flying in November 3rd (which was around 39 weeks), and my doula was out of the country till a few days before that. So, I knew that an early baby would be highly inconvenient. Rachel had been an early baby (37 weeks 5 days). Likewise, my in-laws were leaving on November 17th, so a late baby would also have been highly inconvenient. Rebekah had been a late baby (41 weeks 2 days).

Thankfully, baby Paul decided to cooperate. The night before he was born (Nov 4), Dan and I went on a date (while my in-laws babysat, having just arrived the day before). We ate dinner and then wandered the tunnels and skyways of Mayo Clinic. I told Dan I was giving this baby an eviction notice.

We went home, and went to sleep. Then I had a very vivid dream that my water had broken. Then I woke up and found that it was TRUE!!! It was around 4am, Nov 5th. I tried to clean up, ran some laundry, called my doula, and leisurely packed. We arrived at the hospital around 7am. I was about 3-4 cm dilated. They hooked me up to the monitor (wireless telemetry) and hep-lock IV. I was so thrilled to be free of wires for the first time! (Mayo is much more lenient for VBACs than was Loma Linda). I walked laps around the nurses station for quite some time, trying to get strong contractions going. When my doula arrived, she joined me in my "marathon". Every few laps, I would stop so they could get a good reading on the fetal monitor. By 11am, I was tired, so my doula did some massage which put me to sleep. Around noon, the midwife talked to us about her concerns. Since my water had broken 8 hours earlier and I hadn't really begun labor, she was worried about possible infection. She wanted to get the ball rolling, with pitocin. Since pitocin had been forbidden with my previous VBAC, I was hesitant. However, she explained that the risk of uterine rupture comes from hard contractions, not from pitocin itself. And given that at the moment I was having few contractions at all, the risk was small. We agreed to go with pitocin, and it was absolutely the right choice.

It was about 2pm by the time the pitocin got going, and my contractions picked up almost immediately. After that, everything got hazy for me. I had fairly hard back labor, but I never got to the point of screaming for an epidural as I had for Rebekah. I imagine this had to do with my freedom of movement this time around. I mostly labored on the birth ball, and my doula (Lynn) and Dan did a fabulous job helping me through contractions. My nurse and midwife were also there for most of that time. I felt very supported!

They didn't really check my dilation very much (thankfully!), but I do know that after about 3 hours I was complete. Then came pushing. I was a bit nervous about this part, since I'd never done it without drugs before. It was rather exhausting by the end (it took 2 hours), but not as horribly painful as I'd envisioned it.

It turns out that Paul was posterior--and was born sunny-side up. The midwife knew the whole time I was pushing, but didn't want to tell me. She didn't want to disrupt me as I was "in my zone". That was probably a good thing. He cried immediately. I was nervous to do skin-to-skin right away. He was so slippery and I was so weak--I didn't want to drop him! So they cleaned him up and I was holding him within a few minutes. He was so alert and latched on right away!
He weighed 8 pounds even, my smallest baby.

This was the birth I always wanted to have. After the c-section w/ nursing problems for Rachel and the medicated VBAC with breathing/jaundice problems for Rebekah, I'm so thankful for an uncomplicated, unmedicated VBAC. So much of this birth's success has to do with having a midwife this time. I really think that midwives practicing in a hospital setting is an ideal setup. They view birth as a normal process and don't have a panic attack and tell me I'm stupid for attempting a VBAC. At the same time, if something really does go wrong, the doctors are right there for backup.

Next time...I plan on being with the Mayo midwives and having Lynn as my doula again!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

New Look

This blog needed a major overhaul. I'm not done with it yet, but it was severely outdated.

More posts to come.

In the meantime, I'm praying for my new friend Bethi and her little one's health.
See her blog.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Carseats, Carseats

I'm actually blogging twice in one month. Woah!

I have a friend with whom I regularly trade babysitting. She is great--another (future) homeschooler and her two girls are about the same ages as mine. She's also expecting #3 a couple months after me. And did I mention she has an advanced degree in chemistry too? See, we have much in common.

Anyway, the last time she took my girls, I went crazy on the car. I washed it, got rid of the clutter (how many Sunday School crafts can accumulate, really?), vacuumed, and played musical carseats. I bought a high-backed booster for Rachel (one that just uses the seat belt). Then I graduated Rebekah into the high-backed booster with 5 point harness (previously Rachel's). Then I turned the convertible carseat around, and put it on the lowest setting for Paul.

For our first two babies, we had the bucket carrier type infant carseats, but have managed to get rid of both of them. Rachel's was a hand-me-down of questionable safety, so my mommy guilt led me to get rid of it for Rebekah. Rebekah's was new and went with a double stroller system. But I sold both of them when we moved, because both had been outgrown. So now, I am without an infant carrier carseat. And I'm seriously considering just skipping it this time, and going with the convertible from day 1. The infant seats only get 4 months of use at best...especially for my very big babies.

Am I nuts? Among my Bible Study and MOPS groups, I see rows of babies in those infant carseats everywhere I go. I know they're handy for moving sleeping babies around. They're handy for putting sleeping babies down. And here in Minnesota, they have these nifty zipper blanket things to protect babies in those carseats from the winter weather.'s only going to last for 4 months. I hate carrying those heavy things around. And how will I corral my big girls and carry a diaper bag and that huge carseat without doing myself in? I know that's what strollers are for...but I can use a stroller without the carseat. And better yet, I hope to be doing a lot of babywearing, which will leave both hands free (one hand for each big girl!)

Mommies out there...any thoughts? Can I pull this off for a November baby or will I drive myself batty?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Update it's been 7 months. Here's the quick rundown for anyone not on Facebook
  • I'm pregnant. It's a boy. He's due 11/9/10. His in utero name was Zadok. His real name is Paul Raymond. He's named after Dan's Grandpa O. and my Grandfather. We're telling the name this time for the sake of our grandmothers. Everything going great with the pregnancy so far.
  • Ummm...I've gone from having two totally un-potty trained children to having one 100% and one 50% potty the matter of 3 or so short months. It has been incredible. I love it.
  • Not much else to tell. This summer I'm helping lead the newcomer's Bible study with Side By Side. I'm really enjoying it.
  • Pictures: we saw a deer in our backyard. Others are from the Minnesota "beach".

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Lots and Lots of Snow

Dan and Rachel playing in the backyard

Merry Christmas everyone!!

We're officially dealing with winter here...above are some pictures. We're dealing okay so far...though this whole shovel/snowblow the driveway thing is a lot of work! I'm starting to get used to winter driving, and have only had one close call where the car declined to go where I told it to :).

Other than that, I'm super excited because my sister Laurie is here! And in a week, the rest of my family (almost) will join us for Christmas :). Yay!

Saturday, October 31, 2009


My humblest apologies to everyone, especially my dear sister, for emerging from months of blog-slumber to post on so unimportant a topic. I would like to remind this dear sister, though, that there are lots of pictures of my adorable children on Facebook to enjoy.
Although this may seem like an unimportant topic, it gives an important glimpse into the Minnesotan culture in which we now find ourselves.

I saw the above linked article on the FRONT PAGE of our local newspaper this morning. (I just began subscribing so I could finally cut coupons again). Yes, folks, this was the COVER STORY, on HALLOWEEN. Not included in the internet version is this following sidebar.
If you want to watch

The game:
Minnesota Vikings vs Green Bay Packers at Green Bay's Lambeau Field
Game Time: 3:15 pm Sunday
What channel: Fox (cable channel 8 in Rochester and Austin)
Why it is important: Duh. It's Packers-Vikings with Farve sprinkled on top. Need we say more?
If you've lived in a cave until now: The Vikings and Packers are longtime rivals. Brett Favre built a Hall of Fame career with the Packers for 16 years and led them to one Super Bowl win. He retired two years ago, only to sign on with the New York Jets in 2008 and with the Vikings this year.
Well people, I guess I've lived in a cave until now. LOL. Actually not...prior to this article I had figured out that bit about Brett Farve and the Vikings/Packers fanaticism that infects this town. But certainly, prior to moving here I hadn't the darndest single clue about football. At all. I still don't understand how the game is played...but I digress.

It is madness. The last time the Vikings and Packers played each other, it was impossible to ignore, even without a newspaper. I took the girls to the mall that day and more than half the children there sported purple jerseys (for the Vikings). Maybe 2 or 3 sported green jerseys (for the Packers). And these are just the children!! All the retailers--Walmart, Target, Hy-Vee (local grocery store) have an aisle (Walmart's is the biggest) devoted to Vikings stuff--jerseys, bedding, hats, who knows what else. Walmart also has a smaller section devoted to the Packers.

It's at church too. Our pastor grew up in Wisconsin and is thus a die-hard Packers fan. A majority of the congregation, being Minnesotans, are die-hard Vikings fans. And somehow this gets worked into every sermon. A little jab here or a little comment there. Example: when preaching on trusting Christ through difficult circumstances he said something like this, with a straight face: "It's rough people. You could deal with wayward children, or your wife gets diagnosed with cancer, or your favorite quarterback could get traded to the rival team...". Once he put a powerpoint up of Brett Favre dressed in all these sissy outfits. Hmmmm, yeah.

In California, we had one pastor who was a football fan. On the rare occasion that he preached, he would sometimes throw in a football reference, then apologize to the 50% of us who didn't care about football. Maybe it's hard to care about football in SoCal this much because we don't have our own team? Who knows. I know that many people, Californians included, care about football way more than I do. It's just that in California you can peacefully "live in a cave" whereas here you cannot :).

Oh yeah, here's the kicker. I almost took a part time job babysitting a little girl after school. It didn't end up working out, but the initial meeting with her parents kept getting rearranged because of football. Inside I was horrified that she was placing a football game on TV above meeting the person who was to care for her child. But I'm sure that deep down she was horrified that I would even suggest meeting during a football game (like I had any clue there was a football game.) Ahh...culture shock :).

Now, I suppose, if I am to fit in here, I'd better figure out which team I root for. I am open to suggestions.