1.15.2019

A Mother's Daybook


Enjoying - Getting back into our routine

This is the first term that I'm doing a more structured schedule to help me balance my 1.5 new students and so far I'm really enjoying it. Week one went really well despite one of my kids spending a day throwing up. Week 2 has just begun but Craig is gone on a business trip for part of it and we've had a bunch of snow so the kids are spending more time outside than usual so I'm okay with a partial week. I actually don't normally have an issue with deciding that something is more important than school if I think its worthwhile (2 hours of real physical movement and outdoor play in the winter - worth it!) but then I have a hard time letting the checklist go later on in the day. But today I was able to let it go and not try and cram 2 extra hours worth of work into the afternoon and we ended the day with a reasonable amount accomplished and good attitudes!

But as much as the kids (okay, one specific will be left unnamed kid) moaned about starting up school, I can tell that we are all really glad to be back to normal. I love Advent and our more relaxed schooling, I love Christmas and free days and fun...but I really love our regular routine and early bedtimes and no screen time and full days and the calm (lack of bickering!) that all brings with it.

Also Enjoying - Bedtimes

We've always had pretty early and firm bedtime with nice bedtime routines. But Norah's schedule got really messed up somehow over the holidays. Like going to bed at 10pm. Or waking up at 3-4 am. She was a mess. Overly tired and testing boundaries. And Jude often wakes up around 4 am but as long as I nurse him back to sleep, he's fine. If I'm trying to wrangle a 3 year old, he has time to wake up all the way and I want to cry because then I'm up with both of them. We did just a few days of Melatonin to help us get her back on track but also changed up our bedtime routine a bit and increased the calm down period in the evenings. It's all working. She's been off melatonin for over a week and still doing great. And I'm actually enjoying our mellow evenings as a family. Coloring and games and reading more picture books.

Listening - The Mary Poppins Returns Soundtrack

This is not my choice of music (not that I mind it. But my kids saw the movie with their grandparents over the holidays and our now obsessed with the soundtrack). I feel like I'm in a bit of a musical slump. I loved having all the Christmas music playing but now I can't seem to come up with anything to replace it with. The great thing about Christmas music is that its easy for me to go back and forth between listening to and ignoring as needed. I find a lot of other music is good for one of the other but not both. It's a conundrum. Suggestions welcome.

Gearing up for - The 90 day Hashimoto's Protocol (modified)

The modifications are concerning the diet part because 1) I'm nursing and that is first priority and I think her diet is overly restrictive for a nursing mom. and 2) I've already done some of those restrictions (like gluten free) with no change for my thryoid. Despite it being a "90 day" protocol, I'm easing into it because I often have very strong reactions to changes and I want to be able to pinpoint if anything goes wrong (or right. I should be thinking optimistically!) But I'm excited to try it right now because I feel like I'm in a place where I actually have the energy to put some of these things in place. So for me the biggest dietary change is no sugar/trim healthy mama diet along with the Protocol's supplements and lifestyle changes. I've read the book, ordered what I needed and now need to read the book again. But I'm giving myself two full weeks of no sugar before I start adding other things. I've really got a sweet tooth so cutting out sugar is hard but forcing myself to do that before I start this is a good motivation.

Missing - Walking

I started the Mutu Program right after Thanksgiving and I'm slowly chugging along. But this week, due to the 10+ inches of snow we've gotten and Craig being out of town for business (gets back tonight. Yay! I survived with four kids all on my own!), I haven't been able to walk. I didn't dislike walking when I started, it was just a challenge to make it happen, but now I really really miss it. Podcasts and audiobooks have helped although I think just having an hour to do something, anything, without being interrupted, feels nice. I'm not sure how I'll fit a walk in Wednesday because that's the one day the indoor track I use on bad weather days closes early and there is still quite a bit of snow to try walking outdoors but I'm going to try anyway because I just want to get moving again. I think Lizzie misses it too.

Watching - Kim's Convenience

My aunt recommended this because she knows I love K-dramas. I'm a little annoyed at Netflix for not recommending it even though I've even watching K-dramas on Netflix! I mean, facebook can hear me tell Craig I need toothpaste and start showing me ads but Netflix can't figure out I'd like a korean comedy? Lame! But I'm glad she did because it was just what I needed. It's short (good for sneaking in an episode before bedtime), funny and sweet.

Also Watching - Tidying Up with Marie Kondo

I wrote several posts about her book while my pregnancy self was decluttering and waiting for Norah to make her arrival. I liked her then. I like her now. She's just so darn cute (and it may seem like an odd thing to call a grown women with a bestselling book and a highly successful business. But if you watch the show, you'll realize that is the word that fits). I don't usually watch tv while the kids are awake (I'm strict enough with screen time that if they are watching, its because I need a break from them :-) but occasionally I'll let us all watch some Great British Bake Off so when I put this on instead, they were all annoyed there was no baking but I was happy because they didn't like it and went back to playing. And watching baking shows when you aren't eating sugar is too hard so I'll probably stick with this for any weekend daytime watching for a while.

1.14.2019

Jude @ 5 months

I wrote this January 5th, the day after he turned 5 months but wanted to wait until his well-baby to get stats - then I forgot about it. But on January 8th he weighed 17 lbs 6 oz (~75%) and was 28.5 inches long (~98%) and I don't remember his head but it was about ~75% too. 

Dear Jude,

 


Oh, I could just eat you up, you're so darn cute.

This month you've really seemed to grow a lot, just less floppy and closer to a mobile, hip sitting baby.Not sure I'm ready for that. You are funny though, you seem to know how to do something but only pull it out occasionally for a week or two before deciding that you're okay with it. Not sure when to "call" it as a milestone completed when you do that.



You were rolling over as early as Thanksgiving but wouldn't show anyone. I saw front to back but knew you could do it the other way too. Then there was a day or two when all the kids saw you multiple times but I couldn't manage to. But it clicked a few weeks ago and now you're a rolling fool! Same thing seems to be happening with scooting backwards. I saw it once about a couple weeks ago so I kept watching for it but nothing. Then a few days ago you did it again! I've tried to show you daddy but you just look at me like "what are you wanting me to do here?" but I'm guessing by next month you'll be stuck in all the corners.






What just happened? How did I end up stuck under this bookshelf? You put me down way up by the carpet?

Another thing you learned this month was how to scream. You've always been quite vocal but this particular noise isn't one anyone in the house really appreciates. Sometimes you scream because you're mad and sometimes it's because you're playing near people but nobody is paying attention to you and you've figured out how to get people to look your way. So you're killing our ears and impressing us with your wits at the same time!

You seem to be moving from chewing all your fingers to chewing mostly your thumb. It's almost always in your mouth but you rarely actually suck on it, just chew. You'll also grab anyone else's fingers and gnaw on them too so watch out. And the last few days you've started chomping your gums on me while you nurse. That has to stop soon!


 Taking a break to scream...

back to the thumb




We got you a new high chair right after Christmas. You will tolerate it for a few minutes while I cook as long as you have lots of toys to throw on the ground. 


And a bit longer if you have siblings to supervise


You have started reaching for our food and stole a cup today at church while we were all chatting and put it right up to your mouth but luckily it was empty. I think you're going to be excited about foods next month. 

You can sit for a few (20-30?) seconds by yourself. Jonah loves to put you sitting up with his legs and arms around to catch you when you start to tip while he calls out "He's sitting! He's sitting!...on wait, he's tipping!" Boy, does your brother love you. And you feel the same way about him. Nobody, not even me, can make you smile quite like Jonah can. You just light up when you see him and smile so big your whole body wiggles sometimes. 




Norah loves you to but your reception to her attention varies. 


I need to do better about getting pictures of you with Lucy as I never seem to have any. But she's awesome at watching you while I shower or do a quick chore (so not prime picture taking). She's gotta be careful with her hair though because you have quite a grip!

You're still my little walking buddy although now you are a cute little bear walking buddy. 


Unless we walk inside. Then you get bored and don't tolerate the strolled quite as well. I haven't been able to wear you as much because of my health issues but my core is getting much better and I've been able to get back into baby wearing and you do love it. I put you on my back for the first time this week and that was fun too but seeing you look up at me so means I'll probably stick to front carry for a tad longer. How could I not want to see this sweet face. 


I think we're past the 4 month sleep regression. It was a rough week or two. You don't sleep through the night but we're getting some longer stretches and you go down with a fuss. You're back to taking at least decent naps fairly consistently too. But the downside to that is you have become an early rise. 6 am is okay, 5 am is not! But you sure do look like a little angel when you sleep. 




1.03.2019

and the new bookcases!

Last term was my first with two real students. Lucy was doing term 2 of AO Year 3. I hadn't started Jonah on AO Year 1 yet (that starts in 6 more days!) but he was ready and willing to do his math, reading lessons and copywork as well as joining us for all the riches and starting piano lessons. Add in a preschooler and a newborn and I just felt like I was running from one kid to the next all day long and all the joy of schooling was being sucked away in exchange for me checking boxes. That was not what I wanted.

So as I mentioned before, we slowed way down in December and it was great. Most of our time was doing Slow and Sacred Advent with some other advent traditions and Saint day celebrations thrown in. We were together at the table learning together. It was just what we needed - and still need. I can't throw out the basics all year but I also took advent to regroup a bit. I read Cindy Rollin's Morning Time, Sarah MacKenzie's Teaching from Rest, listened to some Making Biblical Family Life Practical and Circe podcasts and then brainstormed. And do what I do best - make a plan. Now let's see if I can work the plan. I'm okay at that part.

Don't get me wrong, we aren't actually changing that much because we weren't really on the wrong track. I'm just finding that adding more kids in the family and more students to my homeschool and getting Lucy closer to Form II is forcing me to keep my focus even more to keep us on the right one. It's easier to teach from rest when you've only got one six year old student and the stakes are pretty low. And I know I'm in a particularly hard time because 1) the baby and 2) the threenager who wants to be included but can't do much and 3) a late Y3 who isn't actually able to do much independently yet. This is changing but I don't want to push her towards independence too fast because she is a young Y3.

And Christmas ended up being the perfect time because much of what I needed was practical and my family does love to bless me at Christmas. Which really got me motivated to clean and organize all my homeschool spaces.

Here is the before:

That poor bookcase of the right was sagging and stuffed to within an inch of it's life. And the kid running through the living room is pretty accurate.


Which meant much of last week had things looking like this. I saw a lot of pretty Christmas trees on instagram but mine was surrounded by piles of books and art supplies. Still, nothing warms my heart like some free time to organize. 



Looking at the afters and thinking about what I added makes me feel like I was given the large family homeschool mom starter package.

- New bookcases ✔ ✔





Now we even have some extra shelf space - for now. I give it three months before that's full too but the breathing space is nice. The Wise men won't be staying long. We don't do Elf on a Shelf but we do play Watch the Wise Men get closer to baby Jesus as Epiphany approaches. The name's not quite as catchy but its still fun.

- New comfy nursing chair for the living room  ✔


The Christmas tree is taking up it's final location so it's just sitting in the middle of the room for now but I love it. It rocks and swivels and reclines (and chops and dices...oh wait, different infomercial :-) We'll be moving a lot of our together stuff from the kitchen table to the living room. The kitchen just doesn't work because Norah wants to be right with us but not always doing table-y things so she ends up bugging everyone. And Jude is either in my arms or on the floor playing so living room will help there too. I moved our big play table to the basement playroom and we now have floor space and the bottom shelf of the right bookcase has magazine holders with things the kids can do quietly while I read aloud. I'm 95% certain those will be temporarily moved when Jude starts crawling so I wanted to keep that shelf something easy to shift anyway.

- Headphones to make the kitchen island "Independent but still close to mom" zone.  ✔

This will be where both kids will do french and typing on the computer and Lucy starts to read independently, sometimes totally on her own and sometimes with an audiobook that she is listening to while following along with the text to boost her up a bit. I'm not opposed to her going off to read in her room but for now, she is. But she also has trouble reading difficult books with people screaming and running around her. I can't image why.

- Roomba because goodness knows I'm not spending as much time cleaning as I used to. ✔

This also doubles as a energy- releasing toy for when kids are feeling too cooped up because they act like it's a monster and run away from it even when it isn't chasing them. Fun times for all!

- Yeti mug for when I make tea but don't get around to drinking it for a couple of hours. ✔

Once I had my official homeschool mom swag, Stage 1 of working the plan was the practical furniture shifting parts and bookshelf loading and cleaning out the art/game closet so it can be just arts and crafts. We had way too much stacking going going on before and that inevitably led to way too much shoving of all the things (crafts supplies, books, games). Now the books fit on the shelves as do our bins and all the big kid and adult games are downstairs except for Norah's small cabinet of educational/quiet games and puzzles for school time upstairs. It won't stay neat and tidy forever. I always have to sort, purge and put back together at the end of every term but it's emptier so hopefully we can make it to the end of the term this time. And I can always look back on this picture and remember fondly the days it was tidy.



Stage 2 of working the plan is going to be harder. We're focusing on Together Time which we have to get used to saying because we've always called it Table Time. We can't call it Morning Time either because it's actually going to be right after lunch. We're focusing on reading aloud and recitation and singing and just being together. I'll be combining a few things for Form 1 rotation (Shakespeare) and adding a few things and dropping a few things (Sorry Pilgrim's Progress Part 2. We loved Part 1 and have slogged through 2/3 of Christiana's Journey but Christiana ain't Christian and we're giving up!). This part also involves me recognizing that we will be going slowly through the term and getting our new bearings with narration (Jonah) and independent skills (Lucy) and that's okay. I just need to keep reminding myself of my goals:

Are we reading interesting stories with good words and a variety of ideas?
Are we progressing in skills like Math and Handwriting?
Are we exploring our world?
Are we ordering our affections towards beautiful arts and sounds and handicrafts?

Then we are making progress and doing fine even if I don't check off every box every day. In fact, I am telling myself daily that I won't check off every box every day and I need to be okay with that. I'm slowly starting to believe me. And ready or not, here we go!

1.01.2019

and in with the new books! (Classics Challenge 2019)

Another Classics Challenge! I haven't picked all my categories but that's okay since I ended up changing probably half last year from my initial picks anyway. While I was excited to do this challenge, I had a hard time coming up with even these picks at first but I really really want to read Karen Wise Prior's On Reading Well yet haven't read all the books she talks about it. So I figured I'd use that as an additional motivation. So there is quite a bit of overlap between her list and mine. I'll mark those with a *

1. 19th Century Classic  -  I tend to read a lot from this category so it shouldn't be hard to fill but I don't have a specific choice yet. 

2. 20th Century Classic - I got nothing. 

3. Classic by a Woman Author. Ethan Frome* by Edith Warton if I find myself up to it. Or something fun and light like a D.E. Stevenson novel if I find I'm not!

4. Classic in Translation. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Trusted sources say it's good. I'll believe them. 

5. Classic Comic Novel. Something by Wodehouse. I don't dislike Wodehouse but I don't find myself as enamored by him as I feel like I should be. Perhaps reading one outloud or as an audiobook? If you had to pick your favorite Wodehouse, what would you choose? (Except don't pick the Code of the Woosters because I read that last year)

6. Classic Tragic Novel. The Great Gatsby*. I can't believe I haven't read this. I also don't really want to read it but I want to listen to the Close Reads episodes and I don't allow myself to do that unless I've read the material first. So read it I must. 

7. Very Long Classic. Tom Jones* This is a bit of a gamble because I haven't even heard of it. I'm pretty sure I should have heard of it, but I hadn't. And it's really long. But I'm gonna give it a try. I do wish I had a back-up so if you have another really good Long Classic to recommend, please do!

8. Classic Novella. The Death of Ivan Ilyich*

9. Classic From the Americas (includes the Caribbean). Robinson Crusoe. An Ambleside Online year 4 book I need to pre-read. I'm guessing Lucy and I will read at least the beginning of this together but I still think pre-reading will be useful. 

10. Classic From Africa, Asia, or Oceania (includes Australia).  Silence by Shusaku Endo*. This is a Reading Well selection but I also heard about it on the radio while driving somewhere and was really interested but then couldn't remember the title so when I looked it up, I was so excited to see that it was the elusive "Japanese+priest+sad" book that google didn't help me find a few years ago. Although just for kicks I recently googled those terms and it was on the first page. So either my google skills have increased or the book has had a recent surge in popularity. 

11. Classic From a Place You've Lived. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.* Oh, good old Mark Twain. Maybe I'll read this and then be so enamored I'll convince Craig that we should go spend a weekend in Hannibal Missouri to see at the Twain-y goodness there. Actually, he's been trying to get me to go there for a while (we did make a brief stop on another roadtrip but only for an hour or so) so that won't take much effort. 

12. Classic Play. Shakespeare, either Much Ado about Nothing or Hamlet. Jonah's joining in with Shakespeare on what is now our Form 1 rotation and these are the two we will definitely do. We might add a third depending on what the city's Shakespeare in the Park pick is (announced later this month!) I've already picked out our memory passages from each and I'm so excited it is becoming more of a official family subject (although Jonah has often sat in for it anyway). Our next academic year will have Lucy bumping up to full Shakespeare and not just the Lamb's version and I think we might do one of these since it will be fresh in our minds. And really, is there every not a good time for Shakespeare?

So that's my starting plan at least. I'm excited to get reading! And if you're on the fence about joining, go for it. You only have to read 6 of the 12 categories and its really fun!

12.31.2018

Out with the old...

So 2018 was kinda of a crazy year. A hard year but all for good reasons. Mostly, this one


He's what I call "my very best Jude" (I've also got a very best Jonah, a very best Norah and a very best Lucy :-) But I mean, could he be any cuter? I think not. I am looking forward to a little less of a tumultuous year though. Or at least a mom can hope for that, who knows what the year will actually bring. So far, it's looking good. For now, I want to do a bit of a brain dump of how I feel life's been, more for my own sake than for your edification but since blogging is like that, you can come along if you wish.

Parenting:

Okay, to be honest, four kids is kinda feeling like the straw that broke the camels back. I'm still not quite 5 months into it and everyone is alive and clean and healthy so that's good. I'm sure I'll get past these growing pains and be hitting that "Moms of four are less stressed" point these studies keep telling me about. Actually, we just did so much traveling and once that ended, we had the holidays and it wasn't until Thanksgiving that I finally got my progesterone levels straighten out and the post-partum anxiety and depression lifted. When I look back at all the craziness that the last 6 months held, I actually feel like I've done awesome but I'm also I'm just now coming out of the newborn fog, just with 5 months of low energy living/coasting to make up for and trying not to be overwhelmed. I didn't even realize how exhausted I had been until my energy came back. Except it came back right when Jude's 4 month sleep regression started. So I'm more energetic but also sleepy! I'll get there.

I've also hit the point where I almost feel like it's groundhog day but I have to remember that this is a new three year old learning the lessons I've already taught the other two when they were three. Three is - intense. I was looking for some specific information on sleep times and found some quote about how bedtime should be the best part of your day and if it isn't, you're doing something wrong. I wanted to punch that person. But At least 3/4 of my children are potty trained now. That's a good feeling.

We did make some great memories though. As soon as I finish blogging tonight, I'll shift over to my new year's eve tradition of working on my scrapbooks and can relive all the cute sibling interactions and fun times we had as a family.

School:

We kinda just muddled through. And I'm okay with that. Consistency on a day to day basic still makes progress. Lucy and I only finished 2 terms of year 3 but we enjoyed them for the most part. I didn't do an exam post but we did exams and I can tell she's made a lot of progress. We'll take term 3 kinda slow too because year 4 is a big jump but I'm sure we'll be ready for it when it comes. We've had some tweenish growing pains but also the joy of deeper conversations and thoughts emerging and I'm excited to keep going with that and see her start to become more independent in some areas. Although I'm also sad at the idea of not reading everything with her this year. Just another area of motherhood that brings so many mixed emotions.

Jonah is technically in Kindergarten but has made huge leaps in reading and math, the two things we've done formally. I've seen a ton of growth in him and his self-control and ability to listen and sit sorta still. He is six now so we'll be starting Ambleside Online year 1 next week. I'm excited to do it again and see how he does it in his own unique way.

But once we started up school again after Jude arrived, I felt like it was all too frenzied so we took a breather for December. We finished our regular term and then spent most of the month doing advent-y things and more things together. It was delightful. Just what we needed. I've spent some time reading and pondering what needs to change and I'm excited about our new term - starting next week! I hope to come back to blog about soon.

Mother Culture:

Oh, I had a serious lag in this but have picked back up. When I say my progesterone levels were fixed, it was almost instantaneous. And along with that I went from struggling to read and relying mostly on light reading, to all of a sudden feeling like I was starving for good literature and deeper reads. I'm really excited to get back to my Year 7 reading soon.

I didn't reach my goodreads goal but read about 62 and I read a lot of good ones. I have also kept up with the Bible Reading Challenge since September and am on track to finish the entire bible by May. If you follow me on Goodreads, I feel like my rating system is wonky. I'm a product of my culture but a student of classic education so I do a hybrid between rating based on my enjoyment and rating based on my good the book truly is in an extrinsic way.  I think I'd recommend anything 4 stars and above and most 3 stars. Because even if I enjoy a twaddley book, I can't rate it higher than 3. And I can't rate a good classic, even one I didn't particularly like/enjoy, less than a 3. So 4s are pretty safe! But here are a few of my favorites from this year

Non-fiction favorites:

You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit  by James . A. Smith. - I loved this! I'm not sure I like the subtitle though, not because it's really  wrong but because it makes it seem more like a habit building self-help book. It's all about liturgy and even though I know going in that I loved liturgy, this gave me new ideas to ponder. I think I'll try his Desiring the Kingdom soon. From what it's similarly focused but goes deeper.

Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family - Not a practical parenting book which is good. I'm kinda over those right now. This is perspective changing and great. Encouraging and edifying.

Different: The Story of an Outside-The-Box Kid and the Mom Who Loved Him - I don't remember which Sally Clarkson book I read first but I remember being underwhelmed and kinda of disappointed. I think it was me. Every other book of her's I've read since has been just what I needed.

Fiction Favorites: (Not counting any repeats which I did quite of a few of this year)

City Folk and Country Folk by Sofia Khvoshchinskaya

The Baker's Daughter - I read several by D.E. Stevenson books and can't wait to read more.

The Scent of Water by Elizabeth Goudge

Bonus - In this House of Brede by Rumer Godden. I haven't finished it yet but I'm afraid it will get lost in the in between year shuffle. I'm really enjoying it so far.

None of those were my hard classics because while I did enjoy most of those, I preferred good enjoyable cozy books this year.

Health - 

In addition to messing up my hormones, Jude did a number on my body and core and I'm dealing with Diastasic Recti for the first time. Numbers wise it wasn't bad ("just" a two finger gap) but my core was really weak and I was having physial issues because of it. I started the mutu system and am really enjoying moving my body more and have already decreased my back pain significantly. I'm just now getting to the real "exercise" part of it but I've missed being comfortable this past year and am excited to get back to that place. I'm also looking into some different Hashimoto protocols. The issue with me and Hashimotos is that when I'm feeling good, I get complacent and when I have a flare up, I don't have the energy or ability to make any needed changes. Right now, I'm doing really well so now is the time to work on things and get my antibodies lower if possible. Wish me luck!

Elaine recently talked about not just picking a word for the upcoming year but looking back and reflecting. I think my word for 2018 would be survival. I survived a hard hyperemesis pregnancy with a big boy that literally broke my body. I survived post-partum depression even though it felt unending. I survived some other specific and intense craziness that at times brought me to tears. It sounds negative but I really don't mean it that way. I SURVIVED! God brought me to those places and got me through them. Sometimes I felt like I was Moses and Craig and a few close friends were my Aarons and Hurs, lifting my arms up with their prayers. God had given me these tasks to complete but I couldn't have done it without Him and without them. But we did get through it. And I'm so blessed. I really do love my life and all my people and I am excited to see what 2019 brings.