Friday, July 31, 2015

Weekend Links {for Summer Reading at Home}

I first published this FREE eBook in 2013 and I updated it in 2014, but it is available anytime for your use:

Forgot to join your library's summer ready program...or don't want the hassle? 

Want to inspire your kids to read challenging books all year?
The {Not} Summer Reading Program

Need some picture book inspiration?

We're studying the book of John on Sundays at church so I'm having my readers go through this on their own at home:
Children's Bible Reading Plans (The Gospels) 

Want a cute summer-themed bookmark for August? 
Free Popsicle Printable Bookmark

Hope your weekend is lovely...and happy reading!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

I'm Back! (Part 2)

Yes,  June was a hard month.  I didn't really begin to enjoy our summer vacation until the very end of June (which is unfortunate since we start back to school at the beginning of August). Though I tried to make our life and our schedules continue on as normal while I was sick, July was the month to redeem our summer.

My brother and his family came for a visit on the first good weekend I had experienced in awhile.  I felt mostly normal for two out of three days.  We talked, ate, and ate some more.  Oddly enough, grazing is the one thing that keeps my morning sickness somewhat manageable (as long as I avoid sugar and up my protein).

me with my siblings, Ryan, Kati, & Bekah

After Ryan and his wife, Sarah, went back home, three of their kids stayed for an extended visit with my parents. On July 1, my mom and I took all nine kids (my five, my brother's three, and my sister) to the beach for a perfect morning of sun, sand, and gentle waves. 

By lunchtime, we were ready for a fun lunch outside at Dairy Queen.  (Even if the kids weren't ready to leave, my pregnant tummy was ready to eat!)

The following week was VBS at our church.  Gavin and I volunteered as helpers, me in the kindergarten class and Gavin as part of rec crew.  The other four attended and had a blast!  We had to be out of the house at 8 every morning for a week.  We joked that we were getting a taste of what it would be like if we had to leave for school every day (minus packing lunches!).

VBS week was a little crazy.  We had to have our air conditioner repaired on Monday (after the interior temperature of the house hit 93).  I had my first ultrasound in the middle of the week.  My midwife's office is about 45 minutes away.  On the drive home, I stopped for gas and a station worker came over to my van, told me I needed air in my front tire, and walked away. By now it was raining and I had no quarters for the air machine.  Gavin went in the store for change and Brian talked me through the steps via phone to put air in the tire.  We made it home and Brian put the spare on the van, but when I got up early the next morning to go for a run I noticed the spare was flat.  I still went running, but cut it short so I could clean up and gather the whole crew to leave the house at 7 am instead.  Brian went into work a little late and the kids were thrilled to have a extra-special breakfast at Dunkin' Donut while we got a new tire put on the van...and still made it to VBS by 9 am. 

The following week was busy but calmer. A highlight of our week was meeting a big group of friends at the park to play, visit the zoo, and have a picnic. The weather was delightful-- warm with low humidity and a breeze.  We were anticipating a heat wave within a couple of days so we soaked up the goodness. 

That weekend, the kids had their annual summer sleepover at my parents' house. 

The kids enjoyed every minute of it, but sometime before she came home, Alaine got multiple mosquito bites on her arms and legs.  She couldn't stop scratching so we applied topical Itch-X cream.  When she woke up Monday morning, she had hives all over her legs, several patches on her arms, and a patch on her chin.  It was either a reaction to the many, many bites or an ingredient in the Itch-X. A cool bath relieved the intense itching for several hours. After that, we used cool compresses, and dose of Benadryl before bed got her through until morning when the hives were gone.

Good thing because the next day was our annual summer outing to Chuck E. Cheese with my mom and sister.  Last year we thought maybe our group was out-growing this tradition and suggested a few alternatives, but they vetoed them in favor of continuing.  I guess it's hard to outgrow pizza and games.

Alaine (4), Ben (6), Owen (almost 9), Maddie (almost 11), Gavin (12), Bekah (14)

Over the weekend, we went shopping for school supplies since we start school a mere six days from now.  A certain little kindergartener was especially excited! 

We had to stay home from church on Sunday because a yucky stomach bug hit our family, but some of the well ones spent time outside tossing the football (and jumping in the wading pool in their clothes!).

Today, birthday season begins in our house with Maddie's 11th birthday. She is thankful that, so far, she has escaped the germs  and can fully enjoy her day.  (I, unfortunately, did not avoid the sickness, and while I am much better, I'm hoping I have the strength to cook her birthday dinner tonight!)

Friday, July 24, 2015

I'm Back! (Part 1)

When I last posted, I did not intend to take a two month break from blogging.  Pregnancy had other plans.  If you follow my blog on Facebook, you read when I announced my sixth pregnancy at the beginning of July.  By then, I was starting to move out of my early pregnancy least a little.

We found out about this pregnancy at the end of May and less than two weeks later, the morning sickness moved in.  I've suffered from pretty nasty morning sickness with each of pregnancies.  When I was pregnant with Gavin almost 13 years ago, I was still throwing up about three weeks before he was born!  This time was milder and only lasted at its worst for a month.  Without delving too far into TMI territory, I dealt with nausea more than vomiting. It was still miserable. I watched far too much TV. I didn't clean nearly as often as I should and each week felt as though it  lasted for at least 2.

June was a rough month.  I tried to keep up with summer activities for the kids' benefit, but it was a struggle.  Mornings were my best time so I did as much as could and went as many places as possible before lunch. By afternoon, I was nauseous and by evening, I sat on the couch, not moving or talking.  I took only a handful of pictures the whole month and most of those were on Father's Day.  No one complained, though, and the kids made the best of it, pitching in daily to wash dishes, do the laundry, and put the youngest kids to bed.  

I saw my midwife for the first time in July. The baby was measuring a little larger than expected so I either have a big baby or my due date is a few days earlier than I calculated.  Either way, I'm due the third or fourth week of January.

I've been asked if this pregnancy has felt different, being older.  When Alaine was born, I was 2 weeks past turning 30.  I'll be 35 when this baby is born.  Overall, I feel healthier.  I have a regular exercise routine and I eat better.  (Not appetite is crazy...but my choices are better.)  I am experiencing more fatigue.  It's possible that it's a result of my age, but I think it's simply the way my first trimester is choosing to present itself.  I am barely into the second trimester, but I typically don't reap the benefits of the "easier" trimester until closer to 15-16 weeks.

I'll try not to stay away so long this time.  I plan to write soon about my experience with running while pregnant, what we did in the month of July after I started feeling better, and our plans for starting school in August.

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