Monday, September 29, 2008

And to Finish It Up...

My friend Allyson was due the same week that I was. She had her baby last week! I am so impatient for my baby. Thankfully I have these birth stories to write to keep me occupied. After talking about Gavin's and Maddie's births last week, I'll finish up now with Owen. By the time I was pregnant with Owen, I ready for a change so his birth was a little different than the first two.

Owen Baxter ***; August 13, 2006

1. How long had you been married at the time of the birth? Five years.

2. What were your reactions when you found out that you were pregnant? Excitement, joy, trepidation, nervousness...

3. How old were you? He was born 5 days before my 26th birthday.

4. How did you find out that you were pregnant? a home pregnancy test

5. Who did you tell first? Brian. We planned to wait awhile before telling anyone else. However, we were at a family Christmas dinner at my grandparents' house. I turned down dessert and my brother said, "Are you pregnant?" After fumbling for an answer, I told everyone that yes, in fact, I was!

6. Did you find out the sex? No, I really wanted it to be a surprise. I was so glad we didn't find out. We already had a boy and a girl so we had clothes, blankets, etc. in appropriate colors so that wasn't an issue at all.

My brother, ever the instigator during this pregnancy :-), insisted he could tell by my sonogram video that we were having a boy. He was right, but I was the first to see that he was a boy after he was born.

7. Due date? August 29, 2006-- my mom's birthday!

8. Did you deliver early or late? A surprise to all, he came 16 days early!

9. Did you have morning sickness? Yes, terribly! I didn't have it the whole pregnancy like I did with Gavin, but it was more intense. I was horribly sick until about 14-16 weeks. Some days I didn't know how I was going to make it through. Thankfully, I was sick during Brian's two months off from work during the winter so he was home to hold down the fort!

10. What did you crave? Ice cream, again. Also, pizza, spaghetti, any Italian food really.

11. Who irritated you most? I can't say that anyone really irritated me, but anything bumping against my belly was intolerable! By the end of my pregnancy, Gavin developed this habit of playing with/pinching the skin on my upper arms while we were reading and that was a little bothersome, too. :-)

12. What was this child's sex? He was a boy.

13. How many pounds did you gain throughout your first pregnancy? This is the last time I have to answer this! I don't remember exactly. I think it was 32-33 pounds.

14. Did you have any complications during your pregnancy? Nope.

15. Where did you give birth? With this pregnancy, I did some research and found a midwife in our area. Well, she was (is) an hour away so not our immediate area, but a comfortable distance away. She practices in a birth center at the hospital in the same town.

16. How many hours were you in labor? I actually had some strong contractions on the morning of the 12th, but they slowed and we ended up going to the beach for a family bonfire/swim. I went home, put the kids to bed, took a shower, and layed on the bed watching 48 Hours Mystery. I eventually went to sleep, but woke up around 1:30 with for-sure contractions. I got up and walked around the house alone before waking Brian around 3 (and calling my mom to come stay with the kids). We got to the hospital and were admitted around 7. Owen was born a little after 10 so the labor was about 9 hours total.

17. Who drove you to the hospital? Brian drove although this time we had a 60 minute drive as opposed to a 10 minute one.

18. Who watched? Brian was there of course and also the nurse and the midwife.

19. Was it vaginal or c-section? vaginal

20. Did you take medicine to ease the pain? This time I also planned a drug-free birth. When I got to the birth center at the hospital, they did not give me a routine IV and they did not strap me to fetal monitors permanently (though they did use them at the very beginning to check on Baby). I was able to walk and move around, eat and drink, wear my own clothes... I felt so much more comfortable and in control of the pain and I was able to labor and give birth with no pain medication!

21. How much did your baby weigh? Since Owen came a little over two weeks early, he was not as big as the other kids. This time I only pushed for 10 minutes and he weighed in at 7 pounds, 12 ounces. We just happened to go to the pediatrician on his due date, though, and he was up to 9 pounds, 2 ounces. :-)

22. What did you name your baby? Owen (a name we liked) Baxter (my dad's middle name)

23. How old is your baby today? He turned 2 in August.

Well, that concludes the birth stories I have for now. I'm hoping to have another one to share really soon! If you have anything to share to help me pass these long days, please do so. I'd love to hear your birth story or a bit of advice!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Continuation of the Discussion

I talked about Gavin's birth on Thursday so now I'll move on to my second born, Maddie.

Madelyn Leah ***; July 28, 2004

1. How long had you been married at the time of the birth? 2 weeks shy of 3 years

2. What were your reactions when you found out that you were pregnant? Actually, we were shocked! Gavin was only 11 months old and we weren't expecting another pregnancy yet. I was still breastfeeding and not having regular cycles.

3. How old were you? I was 3 weeks shy of 24 when she was born.

4. How did you find out that you were pregnant? I took a home pregnancy test because Brian suggested it. I was having a few symptoms, but didn't think I could be pregnant. I took the test just to rule it out!

5. Who did you tell first? Brian and then Baby Gavin. :-) We waited to tell the rest of our family until after Gavin's 1st birthday.

6. Did you find out the sex? Yes, we did. I was convinced we were having another boy so it was a surprise to hear she was a girl!

7. Due date? Because of the issue of breastfeeding, I never had a definite due date. The doctor said July 30 and I thought it was more like July 24.

8. Did you deliver early or late? Depends. According to the doctor, I was early, but I think I was actually a few days late. It worked out really well, though. My doctor was worried the whole pregnancy that I was going to have a big baby. Even though I had had no problems whatsoever delivering a large baby, she said she was afraid to let me go past my due date. She scheduled an induction for the 31st of July. I was not happy about it so was super relieved when I went into labor on my own.

9. Did you have morning sickness? Yes, but it was mild-- super mild compared to my first pregnancy-- and was gone by 11 weeks.

10. What did you crave? Pizza and icecream. (It is always icecream!)

11. Who irritated you most? Anyone who bugged me about when I was going to wean Gavin.

12. What was your child's sex? a girl

13. How many pounds did you gain throughout your first pregnancy? I still think this question is a little too personal! :-) 29 pounds.

14. Did you have any complications during your pregnancy? Not one. Blood sugar was good, iron was perfect, no bleeding, no swelling...

15. Where did you give birth? The same hospital where I delivered Gavin.

16. How many hours were you in labor? The timing was almost identical to my labor with Gavin. I woke in the night around 2 am. I wasn't sure I was in labor although I was almost positive. Gavin woke up and wanted to nurse. I let him, but almost immediately, my water broke so that ended that! We went to the hospital around 7 am and she was born at 2:52 pm. So I was in labor about 12 hours. I had heard second labors were shorter and I was looking foward to that, but that didn't seem to be the case for me.

17. Who drove you to the hospital? Brian

18. Who watched? Like I said before, I'm not into bringing people with me into the labor and delivery room. Brian was the only one there besides the doctor and nurse.

19. Was it vaginal or c-section? vaginal

20. Did you take medicine to ease the pain? Again, I planned to go drug-free, but again, I had an IV and fetal monitors and ended up with an epidural.

21. How much did your baby weigh? Despite my doctor's insistence that this baby seemed smaller (and therefore, we would induce before she got bigger), she was the same as her big brother-- 9 pounds, 4 ounces!

22. What did you name your first born baby? Madelyn (a name we liked) Leah (my middle name)

23. How old is your baby today? She turned 4 in July.

I love to hear about other women's pregnancies and births. Right now, especially, it is a fun thing to read about to pass the time! Please let me know if you do this Meme on your blog because I'd love to read it. Or if you'd rather, tell me your birth or pregnancy story in my comments section.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Woman's Favorite Discussion Topic-- Birth Stories

I am not a big fan of doing Memes on my blog. In fact, although I've read and enjoyed them on other writer's blogs, I've never done one myself. I found this one on Lu's blog, though, and decided that with the new baby just weeks away, this Meme dedicated to pregnancy and childbirth would be a great one to try! I'll start with Gavin, my firstborn, and I'll tackle Maddie and Owen over the next few days...

Gavin Christopher ***; December 8, 2002

1. How long had you been married at the time of the birth?
One year, four months

2. What were your reactions when you found out that you were pregnant? Extreme excitement. I had had a miscarriage at 12 weeks just a few months before and we were so thankful to have this new little life.

3. How old were you? I was 21 when I found out and 22 when he was born.

4. How did you find out that you were pregnant? I took a home pregnancy test, but I also had blood work done at the doctors because of my recent miscarriage.

5. Who did you tell first? Brian was with me when I took the test, but after that I think we called my family and then either Brian's mom or sister.

6. Did you find out the sex? Yes, we did. We were both hoping for a boy and that is exactly what he was. The office that did the sonogram offered to record on a video for us so we have a permanent reminder of that day!

7. Due date? December 1, 2002

8. Did you deliver early or late? Late, 7-long-days-late! In fact, my OB planned to induce first thing in the morning on the eighth day, but thankfully I went into labor on my own before that could happen.

9. Did you have morning sickness? Yes, terrible morning sickness for 6 months and mild morning sickness for the remaining 3! This may be too much information, but I was even still throwing up a week before he was born although it wasn't a daily occurrence by then!

10. What did you crave? Steak and ice cream, just not together! Even though I was sick, I still wanted to eat. I could NOT eat raw tomatoes or pineapple, though, which both had too much acid for my already weak tummy!

11. Who irritated you most? My boss where I worked for the first three months of my pregnancy who kept implying that morning sickness should be over by the afternoon!

12. What was your first child's sex? A boy, through and through!

13. How many pounds did you gain throughout your first pregnancy? A little personal, don't you think? I think I gained 39 pounds, despite throwing up and being sick!

14. Did you have any complications during your pregnancy? Not really. Everything went smoothly.

15. Where did you give birth? in our local hospital that was only about a 10 minute drive away

16. How many hours were you in labor? I woke up in labor around 1-2 am, but I wasn't sure until around 3 am. Unfortunately Brian, had worked late the evening before (at a different job than the one he has now) and barely got any sleep before heading the hospital around 7 am. When I got to the hospital my labor stalled and we ended up dozing and watching TV until things picked up again. Gavin was born a little after 2 in the afternoon so my labor was about 12-13 hours total.

17. Who drove you to the hospital? Brian did.

18. Who watched? No offence to anyone who feels differently, but I don't believe birth is a spectator sport. Brian was the only one I wanted at the birth. Of course, between the doctor, a nurse, a pediatric nurse, a respiratory therapist (because the amniotic fluid contained meconium), and few students who slipped in when I was in no mood to talk and asked me if it was okay if they watched, we were not alone!

19. Was it vaginal or c-section? vaginal

20. Did you take medicine to ease the pain? Despite my plan to have a drug-free labor, after lying on my back for hours (even though they promised it would only be minutes) hooked to fetal monitors and an IV, I gave in and got an epidural at 7 cm.

21. How much did your baby weigh? He was a whopping 9 pounds, 4 ounces, although I can't say it was too big of a deal since I only pushed for 20 minutes.

22. What did you name your first born baby? Gavin (a name we liked) Christopher (his daddy's middle name)

23. How old is your baby today? He's 5 1/2 and he'll be six on his next birthday!

I love to hear about other women's pregnancies and births. Right now, especially, it is a fun thing to read about to pass the time! Please let me know if you do this Meme on your blog because I'd love to read it. Or if you'd rather, tell me your birth or pregnancy story in my comments section.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What Are You Reading? September Edition

Last month, I was having a slow reading month, but I am back into books again! Here is the list of what I am currently reading.

The Bible-- I Corinthians
The Longing by Beverly Lewis-- third book in her The Courtship of Nellie Fisher series
All of a Kind Family by Sydney Taylor-- read-aloud with the older kids

Also of note: I enjoy reading books, fiction and non-fiction, about Amish life and culture. This month I reread A Midwife Story by Penny Armstrong, who was a midwife in Lancaster County and writes about delivering many Amish babies at home. Very interesting and a fairly easy read. I am also anxiously awaiting When the Soul Mends by Cindy Woodsmall, the final book in her Sisters of the Quilt series about an Amish family. (It came out last Tuesday, but I'm still awaiting my copy on order at Barnes and Noble.)

One last book to mention! All three of my kids have become huge fans of Poppleton in Fall by Cynthia Rylant. It is an adorable book so I don't mind reading it over and over like I've been asked to do. I love that all the kids enjoy it equally. Sometimes it is hard to find a book that is not too juvenile for Gavin but not too difficult for Owen. (Maddie will listen to anything!) This is Owen taking a minute to peruse it himself (probably on his way up the stairs to ask me to read it!). He quotes large sections of it now himself.

Now it is your turn! Please take a minute to tell me what you are reading this month!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Introducing Beauty to the Day

In addition to our core school subjects, I try to incorporate a few other things that I feel are important-- poetry, classical music, great art, and the study of nature. These things add beauty and substance. You certainly don't have to be a homeschooler either! Anyone can introduce beauty to their child or to the whole family. The best part about it is most of it is free. You don't need a curriculum-- just be creative!

At first glance, this can seem overwhelming, but we don't do everything every day by any means! We try to just make it part of life.

Since the kids were tiny (a few months old), I've been reading and reciting nursery rhymes to them. While nursery rhymes can be silly, they are a form of poetry! We have several nursery rhyme books that Gavin and Maddie enjoy "reading" to Owen.

You don't have to wait long to begin introducing more sophisticated poetry to children. We own several good poetry collections. The kids' favorite is Eloise Wilkin's Poems to Read to the Very Young. We also have Favorite Poems, Old and New edited by Helen Farris. The library has numerous books of poetry if you don't have any on your own bookshelves.

In addition to listening to beautiful words, I require them to memorize a poem every so often, too. It is amazing how fast they can commit the words to memory! Some of the first lines Owen (2) recited were from nursery rhymes he had heard. Gavin (5) and Maddie (4) can memorize longer poems such as "Time to Rise" by Robert Louis Stevenson and "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost.

Classical Music
Why not introduce children to classical music when they are young? Last year, we focused on Peter and the Wolf for the first half of the year. We listened to the selection, learned the story being told, read a book adaptation, and watched a video interpretation. The second half of the year we focused on Beethoven. We listened to several of his famous works and learned a bit about his life (through an easy biography and several children's videos). This year, we have started with The William Tell Overture which is proving to be Gavin's favorite so far.

Great Art
This one is hard for me because I've never been personally interested in art. However, I've learned to appreciate it and I want the kids to do the same. Last year, we spend a lot of time with Claude Monet. We started with a print of Monet's "Waterlilies" and just looked at it periodically. Sometimes we pointed out colors we saw. Sometimes we held it close to our eyes and then far away to understand how Impressionists painted. Sometimes we pointed out things we had never noticed before...anything to get the kids (and me...and sometimes Daddy, too) to really study the artwork. After a month or two, we started studying another of Monet's painting and did the same kinds of things. I'll never forget taking Gavin to a restroom at the mall and as we were walking down the hall, he looked up a large floral painting on the wall and said, "Hey, Mama, that looks like a Monet!" The woman walking in front of us just about fell over when she looked back and saw a 5-year-old!

Along with viewing the artist work, we also briefly studied their life just to get a feel for who the artist was.

After Monet, we spent some time last year with Norman Rockwell and this year, we plan to study a few paintings of Degas since Maddie is starting ballet classes this fall. It is easy to find copies of great pieces of art to print off of the Internet. Another source of art is calendars. Check local stores in January to find calendars at a greatly reduced price.

The Study of Nature
is Gavin's very favorite part of school! It is so easy, too. (This is hindered only by the fact that I'm just not an outdoor person!) We take nature walks (in a variety of settings, including our in-town street) or simply go outside to observe nature as often as we can. The kids each have a sketch pad that they add to often. They can include drawing/sketches of things they see, leaves they've collected, flowers they've pressed, photographs of animals, anything they wish. We try to label the books as best we can with a date and the name of the object. It is fun to visit the same location in different seasons to see how trees, flowers, clouds, etc. change with the weather. While I point out things I think will be of interest, I try to leave most of the observations to the kids. I let them touch, smell, and see what fascinates them.

Friday, September 19, 2008

A "Big" Update on My Pregnancy

Edited: I added another belly pic at the bottom that was taken today.

"Big," as in "I feel big," not "big" as in "I have really big news!" I have about a month left now until my due date. I've delivered anywhere from 1 week late to 2 1/2 weeks early so the whole month of October is up for grabs! Right now I vacillate between trying to stay busy to pass the time and trying to rest for my body's sake. Some days I'm able to sneak in a nap with Owen, but that is a luxury with other non-napping children in the house.

Physically, I feel okay. I have a lot of back pain in the evening from being on my feet all day, but I've made friends with my heating pad! I'm still sleeping well at night-- that's the most comfortable I am all day. (Of course, I need to make a nightly trip to the potty, but I can do that without becoming fully conscious.)

Emotionally, I'm so-so. I can cry at the drop of a hat. Some days I feel really down at how much longer I seem to have although now the sound of four weeks doesn't seem too bad. Being around people and socializing takes my mind off of myself!

I've begun weekly visits to the midwife now. She says Baby is head down and probably about 5 pounds now. I'm all baby (not all spread out) which is nice. I've been told I look "tiny" (a lie!), but I've never had tiny babies, so we'll see how much he grows this month...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Teaching Children to Help-- Part 7

I know there are different theories on whether getting an allowance in exchange for work is good for kids. Some people say that instead of teaching kids that everyone must play a part to keep the household running, they learn to work for the money. We have chosen to give our kids a small allowance. After all, Brian goes to work, plays a part to keep his company running, and receives a paycheck every week.

We still expect that everyone does their part with a good attitude. A rotten attitude can mean a portion of money can be taken away (or never given in the first place).

We started out giving the kids $1 a week in exchange for the collection of work they do over the course of the week. Brian recently decided that Gavin and Maddie were old enough to understand a little more of why they were being paid. He made each of them a chart listing the days of the week and the chores they are responsible for. (Each week, we make a new copy and hang it on the refrigerator.) When they complete a job, they check it off the chart. At the end of the week, they receive 5 cents for each check mark. Dollars go into their wallets; change goes into their piggy banks. When they've earned $5 (in dollar bills), they are allowed to spend it. When the change in their piggy banks total $2-3, we take them to the bank to exchange it for dollar bills.

Teaching Children to Help-- Part 1
Teaching Children to Help-- Part 2
Teaching Children to Help-- Part 3
Teaching Children to Help-- Part 4
Teaching Children to Help-- Part 5
Teaching Children to Help-- Part 6

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sun and Fun

Since we live so close to the beach, we have the luxury of waiting until early fall (when most of the tourists have gone home and the water is at its warmest) to spend time there. We've gone twice in the past two weeks. I'm personally not much of a beach person and going at almost 8 months pregnant is quite a work-out, but I love to see the kids having such a good time. (As an aside, you would never know I didn't like the beach since I was there about 12-14 hours before Owen was born having a family bonfire/swim !)

Walking up the boardwalk to the beach

Examining a seashell

Loving the water!

Posing in front of the waves...:-)

Staying on dry land!
One last thing: You know how Owen is afraid of everything?
Well, he is afraid of sunscreen, too!

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Most Practical Baby Gift

When you have your first baby, you need a lot. You need the car seat, the clothes, the Boppy, the blankets, etc. But then number 2 or 3 or 4 comes along and you have different needs. I think anyone who has more than one child can agree with me on this one! One of the best gifts a new mom can receive is the gift of a meal! For some reason, I'm the only one who cares that the bathroom doesn't get cleaned, but everyone cares if there is no dinner on the table! I've been blessed to be able to provide this gift for several friends over the seven years I've been married. And in turn, I've been blessed with some of the most delicious meals from friends and family after I've brought home each of my children.

Food that you haven't had to cook yourself tastes so good when you are nursing and tired and overwhelmed with new responsibilities. I've never been brought a meal I didn't like, but I will have to say, one meal holds the prize in my eyes! After Maddie was born, my brother, Ryan, and his then-fiancee (now wife!), Sarah, came to visit. They brought with them a big pot of Cream Cheese Chicken Soup. I have the most delicious memories of that meal! Below is the recipe:

Cream Cheese Chicken Soup

1 small onion
1 T butter
3 c. chicken broth
3 medium carrots, sliced
2 medium potatoes, cubed
2 c. cubed chicken
2 T parsley
s/p to taste
1/4 c. flour or 2 T cornstarch
1 c. milk
8-oz. cream cheese

Saute onion and butter. Add broth, carrots, and potatoes. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered. Simmer until veggies are tender. Add chicken, s/p, and parsley and heat through. Combine flour and milk until smooth. Add and bring to boil. Cook and stir until thick. Add cream cheese. Stir until smooth.

**They also brought a round loaf of bread from the Walmart bakery. Brian LOVED it (and he is not a bread person). We are sorry we didn't note the variety (sourdough? buttermilk?) because we have searched and sampled for four years and have yet to taste that same bread!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Passing It On...

I must admit I'm a little picky, or shall I say selective, about what my kids wear. That does not mean I pay top dollar for clothes, though! I actually cringe when I have to go to the store and buy my kids something new like jeans or sneakers.

We have been blessed with many, many hand-me-downs! Some come from family (my youngest sister is only seven so her outgrown clothes usually come to Maddie), some come from friends. Some are hand-me-downs from strangers (from Freecycle or other e-mail lists). Some are hand-me-downs from one child (Gavin) to another (Owen). No matter what way they arrive, they are a blessing! I've not had to go to the store and buy a winter coat for either of my children for four years! Brian says he wished adults passed on bags of nice clothes to each other so often. :-)

We also love shopping yard sales. We make it a family event most of the time. What a thrill to find a pair of sandals in just the right size, or a pair of barely-worn pajamas for a quarter or fifty cents! Of course, you have to be willing to pick through to find the "good" stuff and even that is not a guarantee. I've brought home shirts or dresses only to discover big stains or holes I overlooked in my excitement!

Another favorite of ours in the local Clothing Swap our family has organized for several years. We hold it twice a year-- spring and fall (although this year with my pregnancy, we decided to skip the Fall Swap). We reserve a room at our county library for free and then spread the word to family, friends, friends of friends, our local homeschool group, etc. The more people who come the better. Everyone brings the clothing their family is done with (baby through adult clothes) and we pile it on table, loosely sorted by size. Then those attending can take home as much or as little as they want. When it is over, we donate the leftovers to charity.

So many people have blessed us with their hand-me-downs. Now before I carelessly sling a bag in the car for the Goodwill, I try to think if I know anyone personally who could use what we no longer need.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

5 Reasons I Love My Farmhouse Table-- #5

Reason #5

Lots of little buns can sqeeze onto the benches!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What Age?

On Owen's birthday, I wrote about how I don't believe in "The Terrible Twos." I think one of the hardest ages is the age I'm gearing up for now-- the newborn stage! I think lack of sleep is difficult and the inability to get up when I need to even more difficult! I'm one of those people who can't relax when the house is a mess so when Baby is nursing round the clock (and I have to sit and just look at all the clutter because it doesn't bother anyone else enough to straighten it), I get really stressed!

By around six months, things get easier. Baby is nursing only every couple of hours and is able to sit up for short periods of time while I cook or take care of the others. Twelve months is even better because Baby is learning to talk and walk and is generally a lot of fun!

I think the very hardest age of all is the period between 18-24 months. Around this time, Baby/Toddler realizes that he has a mind of his own and can challenge what Mama says. This is such an intense time of discipline and training! It is important to me to lay the foundation right away, though, because it is so much easier than going back and correcting mistakes later.

So, then we get to the twos and the threes and fours and so on. These years bring such joy! Obviously, childhood behaviors still need to be monitored and watched and corrected, but since the solid foundation is laid, it is more maintenance than anything! I have one child who likes to burst into tears when he/she doesn't get his/her way. I have another one who has a hard time listening and remembering directions. These behaviors are quickly (though not always easily)dealt with because they already understand what is expected.

For this reason, I don't worry about the "rebellious teenage years" either. It's not naiveté, but a belief that if a child has been trained in the way they should go, they will not depart from it...despite peer pressure...despite their own will... despite anything.

What age do you find most difficult of challenging?

For the discussion on "What "number" child was the hardest transition (0 to 1, 1 to 2, etc.)?", click here.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Welcome, Baby!

In preparation for the new baby, I've been reading the kids a few books to get them ready for a new sibling. I'm especially picky about the books I read to them on this topic because I am really bothered by books that introduce the idea of sibling rivalry. Even though most of these books usually end with the older siblings loving and embracing the new baby, I don't like the themes of jealousy and resentment that are presented. In my experience, although there can be a period of adjustment for everyone in the family, children are excited and happy to welcome a new sibling. Unfortunately, a lot of the books I've picked up at the libary, I end up rejecting. (As much as I love the Francis books by Russell Hoban, even his book about Francis welcoming a new baby sister rubbed me the wrong way! )

Here are a few of our favorites:

Waiting for Baby  (no words) illustrated by Annie Kubler

What's Inside?
 by Jeanne AshbĂ©

Mama Outside, Mama Inside
 by Donna Hutts Aston

Baby on the Way (Sears Children Library)

by William and Martha Sears and Christie Watts Kelly

Friday, September 5, 2008

Coming Winter 2009

Notice the new announcement up at the top in my sidebar?
I'm not ready to move beyond that hint/tease,
but more details will come soon!

5 Reasons I Love My Farmhouse Table-- #4

Reason #4

It's craft central.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Say What?

One of the joys of being a mom of little ones is hearing the words that come out of their mouths! Their words are not always sweet and uplifting, but I love the ones that are.

Gavin and Maddie have coined their own phrase for when they want to clean something up really well. They'll say, "Let's get this as clean as a clean potty!" It does a Mama's heart good to know that at least someone finds our bathroom (shared by 5 people, 3 of them under 6) the gold standard of clean!

One day recently I was lying across my bed giving my aching back a break and talking to Brian right after he got home from work. Owen came up and took a deep whiff of my bare feet and said, "Umm...smell good!" Glad you think so.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Musings of a Homeschool Mom

Our school year has been back in session for about a month now, but with the local private and public schools starting recently, I've been doing some serious thinking. I've been trying to imagine sending my own 5-year-old on the school bus along with the other kids in the neighborhood and have reinforced my personal beliefs about keeping my kids at home with me to learn.

Is a 5-year-old ready to be on his own all day or even for a half a day without Mom or Dad (even in a good setting)? Is a 5-year-old ready to fall down and scrape his knee and hold in his tears in front of the other kids?

Is a 5-year-old ready to stand up to peer pressure? Is a 5-year-old ready to tell the difference between the truth or the tall-tales other children tell?

Is a 5-year-old ready to make decisions about whether it is okay to watch the movie the teacher is showing? Is a 5-year-old (or even a 7- or 9-year-old) ready to hear a worldview all day long , and then go back home to her family's value system?

Is a 5-year-old ready to be in a structured environment five days a week? Is a 5-year-old better off with a artificial group of kids his own age than with a natural group of varied ages at home?

My answer is "no."
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