Thursday, May 28, 2009

My 32 Week Appointment

Today I went in to see the OB for my 32 Week appointment. I am in the home stretch with this pregnancy and feel really grateful for how easy I have it.

Yes, I have my aches and pains in my back and hips, my hands and feet swell up when I haven't rested enough, and the other day I woke up with a few of my fingers tingling like they had fallen asleep, but on the whole my body just seems to have babies in a very ideal way. I have currently put on an average amount of weight, my belly measures exactly what it should at this stage of pregnancy, my blood pressure is in the normal range (toward the bottom of the normal range actually. I chalk that up to my trips to the gym where I make sure I get a good cardio workout a few times a week.) and my baby seems to be cooperating completely. She is head down and even gives the doppler a kick when the doctor tries to hear the heartbeat. I wasn't excessively sick during the early stages and have yet to throw up during any of my pregnancies. I tell you I have it really easy and I am SOOOOOOO thankful that this is the case.

At today's appointment the OB wanted to discuss my birth plan, or what I ideally wanted to have happen during labor and delivery and what pain medications I would be wanting. I told her, my babies have all come a few days early. My last two came very quickly and with little intervention. I have uneventful labor and deliveries. Sophie's delivery wasn't quite as uneventful because of the cleft which surprised us all, but the actual labor and delivery were totally normal. Now, I still go through what my husband calls "the wilderness of pain" which is where I go into some other place in my head to deal with the pain. So, it isn't that I don't have pain but somehow I make it through.

So my body is doing great. I can't say the same for my brain. Being pregnant has done havoc with my memory and mental state. I have missed and just forgot about a number different appointments and meetings recently. They are written down on the calendar but somehow I miss them or forget which day of the week it is or something. But I honestly feel like my brain is just not on top of things like it used to be.

I am just grateful to be healthy, strong, and on the tail end of this pregnancy.

The count down continues but so far so good!

Friday, May 22, 2009

The horses continue.

The past two weeks have been devoted to horses at our house. We have so many horse books to make it through. I guess we will see how many more my kids will take. So far they aren't complaining.

The Chapter book read alouds have been the White Stallion of Lippiza and Black Beauty. Both have gone over well and I can tell my kids are learning a lot.
We have also been through a number of books that teach about the colors and markings of horses as well has how to care for them.
We have also read a few picture books with a horse as the main character but aren't necessarily about horses.
Sophie has written a few reports for me about horses. She wrote one about Lippizaners, one about the care of horses, and one was a book report about The White Stallion of Lippiza. She has been dictating to me and then she copies her dictation. So far this is working better than her having to write and compose at the same time.

Along with horses we have also been keeping up with our math and phonics with Ian. He is reading pretty well but it still a very slow process. Explode the code is going well. We only do two pages a day. His writing is getting a little better but for some reason all his numbers end up backward. The letters are usually fine but numbers, when doing math, are almost always backward.

Sophie's math is coming along. We move through her Singapore 3A book pretty quickly. She is already doing some long division. This is a very new concept for her and she is struggling a bit with it (one day she had a major fit about it, and didn't end up finishing her exercises that day because she was in tears about it and started yelling and screaming at me about it.) but with time, a little patience on my part and review she will do fine. My husband sat down with her tonight and worked through the problems with her. He didn't do anything different than I was doing but maybe just a different person on a different day was all she needed.

Something random I did with the boys today was read some of Tana Hoban's books. For some odd reason I checked some of her books out of the Library yesterday. Her books are just pictures and I picked two that were of signs and symbols we see around us all the time.
Now my kids are pointing out all the signs along the road. I remember looking through these books with Sophie years ago and it really helped her reading. She could see the words all around her and now the boys are doing the same. It also helps to make more sense of the world around them. I didn't realize how many signs there are in our neighborhood until I have had them all pointed out to me.

I have been trying to make more of a point to read books to the boys, not just include them in the books I have chosen for Sophie. This has worked somewhat, but it means I do a lot of reading aloud each day and some days I nod off mid book and have to have one of the kids bump me back awake. But we certainly do read a lot and that doesn't even include the audio books we listen to as well. I love it that we can go days without watching movies now and nobody complains. I almost have to ask them if they would like to watch something and often I am told that they would rather play outside or with their toys.

I did show them the Disney movie Miracle of the White Stallions, which was a perfect wrap up of our study on Lipizzan horses. They had a great performance at the end of the film that really showed what the horses could do. And then after reading the book I showed themBlack Beauty which was alright. The kids got a little sad watching poor Black Beauty get mistreated and such. It is so much more graphic seeing it than just reading it I guess. They almost didn't want to finish the film.

I am going to try to fit in a few more horse books before we move on to something else. But I know next week isn't going to be a really easy week. Monday is a holiday and Tuesday morning Sophie gets her extender off and her braces on. This is supposed to be a long appointment so there goes the morning. I have a feeling we won't be doing much school that day. So we will have to see what happens starting on Wednesday next week. I am sure I can sneak in an audio book or something.

That about sums up our academics for the last little bit. We certainly have been busy even if it isn't all "school".

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

New Nature Study e-books giveaway

One of the many blogs I follow is In the Sparrow's Nest. I am always impressed with the great nature studies that they do on and share on their blog. She always seems to include activities, scripture, picture books along with a lot of outside time in each of her studies.

Melissa, along with her friend Cindy, who blogs at Our Journey Westward have put together a series of 12 christian nature studies available via e-books through their new company Shining Dawn Books. There are promises for more in the future. At the moment they are having a giveaway. They are each offering three of their e-books to those who comment on their announcement posts on their blogs. So that is 6 of their unit studies they are giving away. Three from Cindy's blog and three on Melissa's blog. If you would like some more direction in your nature study then go and check out their blogs and enter to win one of their new unit studies. They look wonderful!

I finally gave Sophie a hair cut.

While getting ready for church on Sunday, Sophie and I had our daily fight about combing through her hair. Every day she screams and throws a fit about having to have her hair brushed. I had had enough fights and had told her over and over again that if she won't let me brush out all the snarls and do something with it I would have to cut it off. She never would let me get out hair cutting supplies and actually do it. But Sunday was the last straw. Her long untidy hair had been dragged through the syrup at breakfast and was beyond difficult to comb through. I told her "tomorrow morning, you are going to have your hair chopped off, you can't have long hair unless you take care of it".

So Monday morning came and after breakfast I sat her down and proceeded to chop. Sophie didn't fight it at all. I was surprised because she has always fervently fought to keep her long hair. She actually sat still and only requested that I not use the clippers, like I do on the boys. It was sort of nice to hold 5 or so inches of her hair in my hand after that first cut. And it even felt better when I was finished with her whole head. She enjoyed standing in front of the mirror and watching it come off. The finished product looks SOOOOO much better and I am happy that it isn't long enough anymore for her to put into her mouth or to drag through her food.

When we were finished and she looked at herself in the mirror she said "I look like Kit". We just started reading the American Girl Kit series as our bedtime read aloud. I just think she actually looks like someone takes care of her. No more ragamuffins at our house.

The boys got their summer haircuts last week. Ian's is a bit choppy. He has very difficult hair to cut in the first place and then he can't sit still. It is really hard to cut hair on a moving target and get it at all even. But his buzz cut should last him through the summer.

Henry's hair turned out very nice. He sat still so much better than Ian did.

We are now all set for summer weather. Over the past week we have all had our hair cut. Mine is a bit too short, but it always is when I finally get around to cutting it. I always go too short and then make do for two weeks before it grows to where I like it. Then I let it grow too long until I can't stand it anymore and chop it short again.

In any case we all have our short summer hair and just in time for the heat to come. This weekend sure showed us what to expect. Thank goodness for air conditioning. And thank goodness it has returned to more Spring like weather for a bit.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Only an hour away, yet we never go.

Today we did something we very rarely do. We went into San Francisco.

My husband and I agree that it isn't a city we really enjoy. Maybe it is because we both grew up around here and have visited many of the sights already. Or maybe we are just home bodies that get busy doing or normal things and don't take the time to enjoy the sights in our own area very often. Or maybe it is just that driving in San Fran is a bit scary with the thin narrow streets that are often one way and people everywhere walking, biking (I don't know how they do it with all the steep hills) and even Segwaying their way through the busy streets. Then there are all the busses and cable cars and such that bustle about and we have to dodge. Parking in SF is also quite a chore and often very expensive. For what ever reason we usually try to avoid going into the city unless we have to.

So what would cause us to drive an hour up the Peninsula and endure this city? We went today because some blogging friends of ours happened to be in the Bay Area, so we went to the Wharf to hang out with them for a little while. I haven't had the opportunity to meet any of the new friends I have made through blogging so this was a special treat.

We meet at Pier 39, one of the most busy places in San Francisco. And we spent a few hours walking around and looking at the sights around the pier. The kids loved the Aquarium of the Bay where they got to see some of the sea creatures that are found in the bay. But most enjoyed touching the rays and, if lucky, a tiger shark.

We mostly just walked along taking in all the sights, sounds, and smells of the wharf.

The kids climbed on anything they could.

And we just enjoyed being out in the sun with friends.

We said good bye to our friends and then drove up to Coit tower,

to see the view from up there. It was beautiful.

We could see Lombard Street from where we were on Telegraph Hill so the kids decided we had to drive down it.

Ian didn't much care for the steep hills we had to drive up and down in order to find Lombard, but the others thought it was quite a fun roller coaster like ride.

We didn't ever make it to a trolley ride. We had thought that sounded like fun. One day we will take the kids on a ride up and around SF on a real cable car but for now they just got excited about spotting them out the window as we drove around.

No, we don't make it into the city very often. But once in awhile it is worth the time and effort to head out on an adventure. This is how my kids referred to our day. They called it "a fun adventure". Maybe we should plan more of these excursions into the jungles of San Francisco more often.

Thanks Cellista, and family, for heading our way. We had a great time.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


With each of my pregnancies, I have never really noticed a specific craving. Never have wanted Ice Cream with pickles or anything strange like that. Most of the time I just want something to give me some energy or a pick me up when I am tired. This is usually where sweets come in. I need to really lay off the treats for awhile. I have put on enough weight already and don't need more to feel guilty about not loosing after this baby comes. There have been times cheese or protein of some kind just sounded good and often kept me from feeling sick, but nothing specific that I just had to have.

When I was about 2 months pregnant, this go around, I was walking through the grocery store and saw a box of Tropicana orange juice and just felt like I needed it. I could almost taste it while standing there in the store looking at it. I haven't bought juice in a very long time. I don't buy it or serve it because I would rather my kids drink water and get their fruit and such from the actual fruit. So I walked past the box of juice and went on with my shopping but kept thinking about how good it would taste. I ended up buying a can of Orange Juice concentrate, the country style kind with all the pulp (I like my o.j. with all the chunky bits!). I went home and immediately made the juice and drank about two tumblers full. The kids of course wanted some and I saved a little for my husband for when he came home from work. That about wiped out my pitcher of O.J.

This same thing happened the next time I went to the store. I bought two cans this time, so I would have a spare for when I wanted it again. I have tried actual oranges to satisfy this desire for the juice, and they are yummy but for some reason they just don't hit the craving like a nice cold glass of orange juice. Now, I don't have orange juice every day. I don't even crave it everyday. I only buy one or two cans each week and they don't last long once they are made. So I haven't become an Orange Juice junky yet. And the craving hasn't jumped to any other juices. In fact they, the other juices, sort of make me feel sick, they are too sweet or something.

Today I made a pitcher of juice after breakfast while the kids were busy doing something else, so my nice full pitcher stayed full and I just took my small glass and put the rest in the fridge looking forward to taking little sips throughout the day. At some point in the day Sophie realized the orange juice was there and decided she needed some. She got herself a cup and tried to pour herself a cup. The next thing I hear is a big splash and an "Oh no!". I looked up and tried not to get upset. I held my disappointment in as long as I could and just told her to get some towels to clean it up. This is the point where she announces that she really needs to use the bathroom and starts doing "the dance". I tell her to go potty and then come back to clean up the mess. She runs to the bathroom and I just look at all my orange juice, almost the entire pitcher of MY orange juice all over the table and floor. Sophie comes back and begins her half hearted clean up of the big mess. She is mainly just swishing it around and not actually cleaning it up. This is where my anger surfaced and I told her to just leave it and I would clean it up. She whimpered on the couch, and kept telling me it was just an accident and that the pitcher was too full and that she suddenly needed to use the bathroom at that very precise moment and that is why she dropped the orange juice, MY Orange Juice.

I let her have the cup of juice that did make it into the cup she was trying to fill. I had thought to drink it myself. Boy did it look good and there wasn't any more left. But I let her have it and tried not to think about it. But now after walking on my sticky floor the rest of the day and then mopping the floor with the hardwood floor cleaner tonight once dinner was finished. I now really want some orange juice. Just looking for a picture of OJ on google to put with this post makes me salivate.

I guess there are worse things to crave. I just need to keep a better supply around the house maybe. No! because then I really will drink it all the time and become an O.J. junkie. I could just blame it on the baby. She is really the junkie, I am just the facilitator.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Our Horse Unit

Well we started our Horse Unit today. It seemed to go over well. I haven't planned it all the way through yet but I have got this first week or so thought out. I am taking ideas from this review I read from a blogger that I follow. Most of the books are Marguerite Henry books. We have actually read quite a few of them. We read Brighty of the Grand Canyon last fall. And the Misty of Chincotegue series of books were some of our favorites last year. But Marguerite Henry wrote so many more and they are all included on lists of books that kids should read. I read a few in my youth but don't remember many of them, so I am enjoying them too.

Before we even started today Sophie got out every stuffed horse we have in our house, we actually have many, so they could read along with us. The first book we are reading is The White Stallion of Lipizza. We made it through a number of chapters just to get the story going. We then read about Lipizzan Horses in our Album of Horses (this is a book from my childhood. I poured over this book when I was little and all the pictures are so familiar). I brought out Sophie's little white toy horse, which I believe is supposed to be a Lipizzaner horse. The kids pranced it around and figured out which of the ballet moves it was doing. We then went to YouTube and watched a few videos of Lipazzaners. The kids really enjoyed watching the horses do their ballet moves. I then had a coloring page for them to color of a Lipizzan with rider doing one of the airs. Sophie even gave drawing one on her own a try.

Over the next few days we will learn all about Austria, which is where this story takes place. I have a flag printout for them to color and a map of Europe for them to label. I also have the Blue Danube waltz by Johann Strauss to introduce to go along with our study of Austria. Maybe I will also have to show the Sound of Music so we can see those Austrian Alps.

We are also going to start going over the parts of the horse and how to take care of them. I have a bunch of books about horses in general to read and a few picture books with horses in them for us to read for fun.

But before this unit is over. I hope to also read Black Beauty which is the only book not by Marguerite Henry. This one will be good to read and go over all the different uses of horses and some English things like the Fox Hunt and such. King of the Wind is another on the list. We will get to study about arabian horses and Arabia. Maybe a bit about racing. If we haven't worn out Horses after these then we will also try Justin Morgan had a Horse (I actually don't know much about this one at all) or Mustang - Wild Spirit of the West (Sophie really likes mustangs) or even Born to Trot which is one I do remember reading as a kid.

There are all sorts of other things to study along with each of these books. It won't all be horses but they are the linking theme. I also splurged and bought some horse stickers which I hope will go into a lapbook. I also found a little sticker book that goes through the parts of a horse and all the tack involved in riding and care of horses. This is for the boys, or at least Henry to enjoy.

I hope the kids enjoy this unit. I have purposely keep it somewhat light. I know the kids just want to play but I need to feel like we are at least doing a little something each day. If nothing else we will read a bunch of really good books.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

3 out of 5 isn't too bad!

Our week started off well but it fell apart toward the end. We "did school" three days and played the last two. I have no excuse other than that it was my husband's birthday, we started Swimming lessons, and I was just a tad bit lazy perhaps.

Monday we did listen to what I thought was the last two chapters of our Story of the World, there ended up being three and then a sort of sum up mini chapter too. Oh well. Maybe we will start off talking more about these early settlements in the Americas when we start the next Story of the World book in the Fall. I just have hit the wall with History and Science lately and need a change.
We also did some Math, Phonics, writing and Ian read his first book to me. We had been reading passages from our McGuffy's Reader but I decided it was time to try an actual book. I chose Bears on Wheels. I could tell he was looking a the pictures for help but when I pointed to the words on the page he would be able to give me the exact sentence rather than just what he could see in the picture.
We also listened to all our Shakespeare books and audio books in the afternoon. My kids couldn't seem to get enough Shakespeare.

Tuesday was about the same as Monday. We did history related reading about maps and Sophie decided to draw a map of our house. It looked great until she started to put too many details in and it got a bit cluttered but it was a good exercise. The kids then spent some time drawing maps of their made up land, Bardarland. They put in all the symbols and things to show where the waterfalls were and where the bardar lived. I love it that my kids have an active imagination!
In the mail, on Tuesday, I got a book via Paperback swap, Annos Math games II. The boys insisted we look through it right then so we all sat down on the couch and we went through the whole book doing the different activities and puzzles. When it was done they didn't feel like they had had enough so they went to the shelf and found our copy of Anno's Math Games, which was also a book I recieved via Paperbackswap. The boys again sat through this whole book too. So I guess we did Math with Anno on Tuesday.
The kids started their swim lessons Tuesday afternoon. They are each in a different class but they all happen at the same time. I get a half hour of quiet in the lobby, twice a week, while they swim.

Wednesday was the day things really started to fall apart. I just couldn't get the kids away from their Knex Wednesday morning so they listened to audio books again. I believe this time it was a CD about Queen Elizabeth and her Pirate Sir Frances Drake called The Queen's Pirate. I think we listened to it at least 3 times during the week. It certainly fit well with the Story of the World chapter about the Spanish/English war so at least that was some History for the day.

While outside playing in the yard the kids made an exciting discovery. In our birch trees there are all sorts of ladybug eggs and larvae. I still haven't replaced my camera so I am using my gimpy camera with the screen that doesn't work so I never know what I am going to get. This is the only picture that didn't turn out fuzzy. but there were all sorts of different pupa and even some of the larvae crawling around on the leaves. It was pretty exciting to see them on our tree.
We went to the park as usual in the afternoon to meet our park day group and that was about it for Wednesday. Not a whole lot accomplished but at least we did a little.

Thursday is our usual library day. I have given up going to story time. My kids don't go to story time so we just go when we want to. Henry always thinks he has to play some of the computer games that are available and Ian usually coaches him along. Sophie heads to her favorite sections and looks at books. I actually didn't have to go in search of books because all the ones that I wanted were already on my hold shelf so they were already found for me. I love it when that happens. I was able to scan the audio books in the children's section for awhile and found the Tale of Desperaeux. It is one I had thought I should get for the kids to listen to since the movie came out on DVD recently. They also loved The Rescuers which was one of the Audio book we have listened to recently. So I knew they would enjoy this one as well. On the way home the kids wanted to listen to it. So I put it on for our 5 min drive home. They immediately put it on in the house and listened to the first two CD's without stopping while they built extensive train tracks that went through a zoo and castle. They had every toy out all over the front room. They were having a great time and were more or less playing without fighting so I just enjoyed the story along with them as I cleaned my room and folded laundry.
At swim lessons on Thursday Ian was able to swim without a float. I knew he could swim he just needed a little confidence. He was swimming back and forth between the wall and his swim teacher. He was even jumping in off the side and then swimming to his teacher by the end of the lesson. I was very happy to see him swim on his own finally. Sophie is having a great time swimming and is getting better at her strokes. This is Henry's first lessons so he is giving his teacher a bit of a run around. He has no fear and she has to keep a close eye on him to make sure he doesn't just let go of the wall and think he can do it on his own.

By the time Friday rolled around we had already skipped a day of school so I felt like we really should do more but.... we didn't really. We just finished Despereaux and played. We read a few fun books and played some games but mostly the kids just did what they wanted more or less. They had the little legos out and were all about building ships for their Star wars Lego men. Ian had received his Lego magazine the day before and was all excited again about legos. I spent the time cleaning out my closet a bit more. My walk in closet is supposed to be where the Baby will be sleeping when she comes. I have to clear out a bit more stuff and find new homes for it in the next two months so she will have a "room" of her own, half of which will still have our clothes hanging in it.

Sophie had yet another doctor's appointment in the afternoon. This time with the ENT. Her last hearing test didn't go so well so the ENT needed to check her ears for fluid. He couldn't see anything but his simple test of her ears with the telephone showed that her hearing in one ear is fuzzy. She may need tubes again. Wow... if it isn't one thing it is another, poor girl.

Today, Saturday, Sophie had her Ballet recital. She was very excited and she had so much fun with her classmates while they watched the other dancers. I am sad that this is the last recital. The community center where we have been doing ballet classes only does classes up to age 8 and then they switch to hip hop dancing and I am not excited about hip hop. So we are going to either find something different for her to go or some other dance studio to take classes.

That was our week. We were busy but I can't claim that a lot of formal schooling went on. I am looking forward to our Horse Unit Study, which we will start next week. Hopefully a change of pace will be good for us.