Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Whats and the Wheres

{This post contains some affiliate links.  If you choose to purchase, my family receives a small commission at no additional cost to you.  This post also contains just-for-fun links for your pleasure.}

As of today, Thursday, August 27:

What I'm Reading:

I'm only reading one book!  My whole reading pattern has changed since I've been pregnant.  I'm in the middle of The Waiting: The True Story of a Lost Child, a Lifetime of Longing, and a Miracle for a Mother Who Never Gave Up, but next up is God and Jetfire: Confessions of a Birth Mother.  Do you sense a theme?

What I'm Watching:
Until fall and winter TV returns (hello, Survivor and Downton Abbey), I'm exploring TV on DVD.  Currently I'm watching The Bletchley Circle: Season 2, which I can only describe as Call the Midwife-era British murder mysteries.  In a totally different direction, I plan to re-watch  The Business of Being Borntonight if Brian works late.  (He watched it with me once years ago, but I doubt he wants a see it again!) 

What I'm Wearing:
I discovered thredUP a few years ago.  Quality used clothes in name brands?  Sign me up!  A few weeks ago, with birthday money in hand, I scoured the (literally) thousands of maternity choices and picked out four pieces.  Less than a week later, they were in my mailbox.  My absolute favorite is this Old Navy dress.
photography by Owen

I'm excited because this dress is so versatile!  I can wear it as an everyday dress with flipflops and shades (left), dressed up with some pretty jewelry and shoes (middle and below), and then transition it right into fall (right). 

thredUp has selections for women and children.  If you sign up with my link, you get a $20 credit and I get one, too.  It's a win for both of us. 

What I'm Eating:
I made this meatball sub casserole earlier this week and LOVED it!  My family? Not so much.  The good news is I get to enjoy the leftovers for lunch.

I'm also craving and eating a lot of Mexican food.  We've had quesadillas twice in the past seven days because they are easy to throw together, filling, and healthy.  We made a batch of chicken, black bean, cheese quesadillas and were eating within 20 minutes of coming home from the pool last Friday.  Serve with a side of chopped tomatoes and lettuce or with sour cream and salsa and a sprinkle or two of cayenne. 

What I'm Drinking:
I am all about water.  I love water.  My kids laugh when I say it is my favorite drink.  However, I've been drinking more herbal tea since I've been pregnant.  I'm not normally a fan of hot tea, but fruit teas with a pinch of sugar or a drizzle of honey is working for me right now.

What I'm Listening To:
Podcasts are my thing right now.  Since I'm all about the experience, not the speed, while I run, podcasts are like having a conversation with a friend. My faves right now are Mystery Show (non-Christian but totally clean) and Sorta Awesome (I pick and choose the episodes that are interesting to me.).

What I'm Looking Forward To: 
We have our big ultrasound in less than two weeks!  We're planning a fun way to do an informal gender reveal to our friends and family.


Where I'm Going:
We're going to the beach for a few hours this weekend.  We plan to get there in the afternoon and bring our dinner.  Last September we spent a day at the beach and I read for hours while the kids and Brian played in the waves.  I had the best time I've ever had at the beach, but they all felt sorry for me.  This time, I've promised the kids that since I bought a maternity swimsuit, I will get in the water with them if only for a little while.  I am not a beach kind of girl-- never have been-- but I'm making a effort to make memories and this is important to them. 

What is on your radar right now? What should I read or listen to or watch?  Any great recipes to share? 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Running While Pregnant (and a little mama bragging, too)

Many people have asked if I plan to keep running while pregnant or if I am able to keep running while pregnant.  I am a relatively new runner (it will be 3 years in September) so this is the first time I've run through a pregnancy.  Most doctors say that, while picking up running during pregnancy may not be the wisest choice,  women who already run can safely continue.  My midwife, a runner herself, has encouraged me to keep running as long as I feel comfortable. 

The very first symptom I experienced with this pregnancy was fatigue. For six weeks, I could nap twice a day and still fall asleep by 9 o'clock.  I am a morning person, though, so by 6 am (or earlier), I was awake.  Even my morning sickness held off in the early hours so I maintained my running habit of 3-4 mornings a week.  I discovered that on run days, I had more energy--not a lot, but more, nonetheless.  The exercise also held off morning sickness until later in the day.

One day early in my pregnancy I woke up to an unexpected heavy downpour.  I skipped my run that day and had severe can't-get-off-the-couch morning sickness from morning until I went to bed.  I decided to experiment with running every day.  Instead of running rotating between shorter (2-3 mile) mid-week runs and a longer (6-8 mile) weekend run, I decided to run 4 miles every day, leaving myself the option of taking a rest day if my body demanded.

 an unflattering but realistic photo of me post- run

The other thing I noticed very early on was that my speed was greatly reduced.  I went from maintaining an easy 9:40 per mile to pushing to finish an 11 minute mile.  This was in the early weeks when most people didn't know I was pregnant and I certainly was not showing.  I could not go any faster and it was frustrating. I did some online research and found out that as blood volume increases during pregnancy, the heart understandably works harder.  The extra strain on the cardiovascular system affects exercise.  It would take a much higher level of exertion to match my pre-pregnancy results.  Once I understood this, I felt the pressure melt away.  I determined to run for pleasure and health, not speed or results.

Before I was pregnant, Maddie (11) and Owen (9) started expressing interest in running a 5K.  Despite running most days myself, the idea of training them while pregnantwas overwhelming.  When I found out about a local kids' 1-mile race, it seemed like a good compromise.  Several times a week, the three of us went out running together.  Maddie took to it easily, but it was a little harder for Owen.  One morning I let him know that running the race was his choice and that no one was pressuring him to do it.  He replied, "I will run this race."

                                         before a 6 am training run                                                                         race day

The morning of their race was comfortable, especially in the shade where most of the mile took place.  They both pushed and met their goal of running the course without stopping to walk.  Maddie crossed the finish line 1 second before Owen, but both of them finished a full minute faster than they had run during any training run! 

crossing the finish line

While we were watching the race Gavin said to me, "Well, I guess you won't be running a race any time soon."  

Actually, I am.  

I've not run a race since my spring half-marathon, but I'm ready to jump back into a challenge.  My goals won't be lofty, but I have no question I'll finish.  I'm running two different 5Ks, about three weeks apart.  The cooler mornings of late are getting me excited for fall running! 


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Pregnancy Update {17 Weeks}

Yesterday was my 35th birthday. I'm officially "advanced maternal age" in the medical world.  Thankfully, my midwives are not treating me any differently and one even rolled her eyes at the designation. I thought it would be fun to do a little update on how things are progressing with my pregnancy thus far.

photography by Owen

How far along? 
about 17 weeks


We find out next month.

Maternity clothes? 

Some.  I'm starting from scratch with maternity wear.  It's been 5 years since I've been pregnant, plus the old stuff would have been the wrong size and season.  I'm getting by with a few maternity bottoms supplemented with a couple elastic-waist maxi skirts that were already in my closet and a pair of Old Navy shorts 2 sizes up from my normal size that I found at the Goodwill.  (Those shorts have been wonderful and rest below my belly, but I think their days are numbered.)  I have a few maternity tops, but  I'm also getting mileage out of "regular"-size long or flowy things I already own. 


I'm sleeping exceptionally well.  After being plagued with weird dreams during the first trimester and rarely sleeping soundly, it's been refreshing to fall asleep minutes after my head hits the pillow.  Yes, I still get up to use the bathroom 1-2 times per night, but I fall back to sleep with no trouble.

I hit an emotional slump every night after dinner.  I'm tired.  I feel big and awkward.  I question every decision I've made during the day. The feelings have taken me by surprise, but I'm beginning to realize that since it comes over me like clockwork every evening, it's probably hormone related. I'm trying to embrace it and know I'll feel better in the morning.


I've been experiencing little twinges of something for over a week, but it was not until Saturday afternoon that I was positive it was the baby. Baby is a mover in the evening... or maybe that's when I'm still enough to notice.

Food cravings:

I've been blessed with mostly healthy cravings.  I eat salad almost every day and can't get enough raw veggies.  I have also craved protein-- meat, eggs, cheese-- since very early in the pregnancy.  About once a week, I get a craving for a Chipotle burrito, but I've only indulged once so far.  It's about time to do that again. 

Anything making you queasy or sick?
I've reached a point where I do not feel sick for any part of any day.  Morning sickness greatly eased around 10 weeks, but would pop up in the evenings or after a meal for weeks afterward.  Then I got a stomach bug and the nausea flared againThe only thing that makes me sick now is if I eat too much at once.  My stomach can't keep up with my appetite!   

I am still sensitive to certain smells.  It's funny because it's not the typically stinky smells that bother me.  It's things like the smell of Brian's deodorantI chose to tolerate it, though, because the smell of him wearing no deodorant would surely be more offensive!

What I miss:    
This is superficial, but I miss my non-maternity summer shorts.  

Labor signs:  
No, and I hope it stays that way for months to come.

Belly button in or out? 
Out already! I don't remember having that happen until at least 7 months!

Wedding rings on or off?

On! I haven't experienced any pregnancy swelling since my first baby (despite three babies born during the heat of summer) so I'm hoping the trend continues through this pregnancy.


Staying up until 10 pm in the evening...and doing it without a daytime nap!

Still running about six days a week.  An early morning run improves my energy and stabilizes my mood. 

Birth plans:
Hoping for another natural labor with the same midwives at the same birthing center.  We've moved since our last baby was born so we have a little farther to travel this timeHowever, I've never labored fewer than 9 hours so I don't expect the distance to be a problem.


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Another Year of School

{This post contains my Amazon affiliate links.}

We have a little more than a week of the new school year under our belts. This is our first year with FIVE students and it's the first time I've added a new student without feeling overly nervous.  Perhaps it's because Alaine, our little kindergartener, has being joining us at the table for the past several years so other than becoming an "official" student, nothing has changed.

Maddie (6th grade), Owen (4th grade), Ben (2nd grade), Alaine (kindergarten)

I've  had more anxiety comparing photos of Gavin from the beginning of last year when he was entering 7th grade... to this year, entering 8th grade.  The change in his face and maturity is startling and it's a sobering reminder to me that our years are limited.

Mentally I divide our school year into two semesters because of the schedule we've chosen to adopt.  We always begin in August and work until the week before Christmas.  Then we take a long break until the first of February so we can enjoy Brian's winter break from work.  After we resume, we work through until mid- or late-May. This year we are expecting a baby at the end of January so I am undecided how we will structure our winter break.  (Work in January and take off February instead?  Take off January as usual, plus a week or two in February? Have the kids work in February on their independent work but take a break from the rest?)

Regardless, I have a primary goal for our first semester. I want to foster a sense of independence in my older learners.  I have no plans to require them do all their work alone, but  
  • I want them to have the ability and confidence to work independently while I'm busy with the new baby.  
  • I want them to have the initiative to move onto the next thing without needing to ask.   
  • I want them to follow a schedule and stick to their tasks. 

With these goals in mind, this is a look at our curriculum choices for this year:

We are continuing with Saxon math which has proved to be a good fit for us.  Owen loves math, Gavin tolerates it, and even Maddie who borders on despising math has admitted that Saxon is preferable to other programs she's used. 

Saxon is designed to be self-taught, and this year with Gavin beginning Algebra 1, I'm also allowing him to self-check his work.  Owen questioned how that can be fair.  "Can't Gavin just see the answer and change what he wrote on his paper?" he asked.  I explained to him that in upper-level math, simply seeing that the answer is 40 doesn't mean you know how to get to that result.  Gavin still has to do the calculations to arrive at the correct answer.

We do not begin Saxon in the early elementary years.  I'm using a mixture of cheap workbooks and busy bag activities to teach Alaine basic kindergarten and first grade math skills.  Ben is using the math sections of  Second Grade Big Workbook after his success  with the first grade workbook last year.


We are also working towards independence in science.  Maddie and Owen are using Christian Liberty Nature Readers three days a week.  They read for a set amount of time each day.  When they reach a review section, we discuss the questions together before they do a nature sketch or more thoroughly answer one or more of the questions on paper.

I thought I had Gavin's science figured out until mid-July when he was telling me everything (yes, everything) he had learned about a particular variety of sharks and I remembered that Apologia had devoted an entire science book to aquatic animals. I borrowed Exploring Creation with Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day from a friend and he is more enthused about this book than I've seen him about any school subject ever!  

The two youngest kids are doing a unit on weather from Second Grade Big Workbook.  Ben is keeping a weather chart for the month of August and we are supplementing with a few experiments from More Mudpies to Magnets: Science for Young Children that I picked up at the library.  We'll probably do a similar informal unit of seeds in the spring.


English is an independent subject for almost everyone.  I'm most hands-on with Alaine.  I am teaching her to read with  Bob Books and we're working on writing and reading uppercase letters with  Kumon Uppercase Letters workbook which I found at Five Below during the summer.  

Ben is continuing on to Explode the Code 6 this year, but his ultimate goal is to become fluent enough in reading that he can stop Explode the Code before Book 7 and read the  Young Cam Jansen series like his older brother, Owen, did when he was in second grade. 

Gavin, Maddie, and Owen do daily grammar practice (with either Daily Language Review or Daily Grams), plus they are continuing with writing prompts or extemporaneous writing two or three days a week.  They also started Mavis Beacon Typing this year after they each hit a rut with the program they used last year (and the year before). 


History is more complicated for me to explain than it is for us to implement.  We have cycled through history over the past three years and have arrived back at early American history.  All of the kids are learning about the Colonial era but with different books and in varying degrees of depth.  I am reading through George Washington's World with the two oldest kids. It branches beyond American life and covers the time period on a global scale.  The book is divided into four sections and after each section, we have planned a break for each student to read a related biography or historical fiction book.

Since Owen learns better visually, I've assigned him his own book list with vocabulary discussion, copywork, coloring, and narrating activities added in for variety. We particularly enjoy biographies by the d'Aulaires.

The youngest two are learning about American history for the first time so we are focused on learning about Benjamin Franklin and George Washington.  

What are you learning this year?  Any exciting new book or curriculum you have found? 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Big Sister...and the other siblings, too

Someone asked if Alaine is excited to become a big sister.

The last time we added a new baby to the family, Alaine was the baby and she has enjoyed her status for the past five years.  Within the past year or two, the kids had all decided that we probably would not be adding any more children to our family.  One of them would say, "If Mama has another baby..."  and another would answer, "...but she's probably not."    

Brian, who is also the youngest in his family, starting teasing Alaine  and telling her she wasn't the baby because he was, to which she would reply, "No, I'm the baby of the family!" 

September 2010

When we found out I was expecting at the end of May, we kept it a secret from the kids for about 2 weeks.  When I started experiencing morning sickness, it was too difficult to hide it so we gathered everyone together at the dinner table to share the news.  I wrapped up a "Big Sister" t-shirt for Alaine asked her to open it before we ate.  All the kids wondered why she was getting a gift and they were not.  When she opened it, Maddie read the words aloud to her.  Everyone was shocked. 

Ben started laughing, Gavin and Maddie sat with their mouths open, and Owen's first response was, "Mama, tell the truth."  (As though I make it a habit to lie to him.)  

Immediately, Alaine decided she was happy to give up her title as Baby of the Family and she is embracing her new Big Sister role.  She's hoping for a sister, but she can't wait to hold the baby either way.  

We've also been asked if we're going to find out whether we're having a boy or girl.  I wouldn't mind the surprise, but Brian enjoys finding out so we will this time, too.  (Only once, when I was pregnant with Owen nine years ago, did we wait until the birth to find out.)  

I'll admit it will be nice to know so we can get prepared.  We have almost nothing saved.  Some things wore out or expired, some were given away when we moved, some were loaned.  Other things, like baby clothes and maternity clothes, are the wrong size and season.  

Our next ultrasound appointment will be in 5 weeks so it won't be long.  I'll be over halfway through the pregnancy by then!  

Did you find out the gender of your baby via ultrasound?  Did you wait until the birth to find out? 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...