One month to go!

I love how people say "Oh, after your first pregnancy, don't the next ones just seem to fly by?"...no, they don't. They drag on and on. But I did want to document a bit about poor neglected baby #4's pregnancy and my feelings on pregnancy in general.

One of the few pictures of me in this pregnancy. I know I'll look back and wish I had more and I don't mean to avoid them but it just happened. This was actually several weeks ago. I wish I could tell you the mirror looked cleaner now but it doesn't. Keeping a mirror cleaned in a kid's room in pretty much impossible so I don't really try anymore.

Things I hate about being pregnant:

- Almost everything physical. I'm not a glower. I throw up a lot. Then when the nausea starts to go away, the anemia picks up. Throw in a lot of shots and 50-60lbs of weight gain and it's just not fun. This time specifically, my body has added sciatica pain and a few too many braxton hicks. Fun times...or not. But I just had my last blood test this past weekend and I'm off of Progestone shots so after 16 blood draws and probably 50 or so progesterone shots, I should be done with all the pricks and pokes!

Things I love about being pregnant.

- The baby. Yeah, I'm still waiting on this part but I'm pretty sure it's going to be good.

- Tiny baby clothes and diapers. Tiny baby anything really.

- Seeing the kid's get excited about the baby coming. Norah actually asked me if I could open up my tummy and take the baby out. When I said that it wasn't time yet, she looked at my, pouted her lip and said "Why not?"...oh my goodness, the cuteness. Then later I think I could tell she was thinking and asked me how the baby comes out. I gave her a very brief, two year old appropriate description and she looked at me and said "That's kinda icky"

- Going places and having a random shooting sciatica pain or Braxton Hicks contraction take me off guard. I often make a sound or a face or just have to adjust my weight to the other leg really quickly and people notice. And panic. Like a baby is just going to fall on the floor right in front of them. The pain isn't fun but if it's going to happen, I'd rather it happen in a way that freaks people out.

- Going places alone and having someone ask sweetly "Oh, is this your first?" and getting to reply "No, it's my fourth actually" and then watching them try not to look shocked and just respond nicely. Actually, some people do respond politely - mostly people that had a larger number of kids or had a lot of siblings and like to share their experiences. That's fun too. But honestly, not quite as much fun as the people that just stand there with their mouths open before finally stammering out "oh, that's a lot."

So basically I'm a in real life troll.

- Laughing at the ridiculousness of some of the situations I find myself in. Like a few days ago. Now what you need to know is that I did something to my knee yesterday and am having a lot of pain. I'm not sure if I just twisted it or it's a joint flare up that I sometimes get with my Hashimoto's but my levels are really good right now so I'm hoping its just a temporary thing. I promise this is important to the story.

So tonight I went to take a bath. Then I realized the bath was clogged again (Gotta love old houses. And I do love mine but this particular bathtub issue is like George Bailey's staircase. It's unfixable.) so unless I wanted to take a bath in Norah's leftover blue bathtub water (she's a big fan of these), I needed to go downstairs to the shower.

This took a few minutes because stairs and a hurt knee doesn't really work well together but I made it. Then while taking a shower I wanted to shave my legs because the next day was church and I really only shave on Saturday night when hugely pregnant so the situation is desperate. This would be hard for my at this point anyway but with one bad knee, it's pretty much impossible. So I sit down in the shower. Very logical decision. Then after my legs look decent, I realize I have to get up again. But I can't. So I'm on my hands and knees. I try to lift and bend my bad knee but I can't push up on it. I can't push up on my other knee because that puts weight on my bad knee and it's not like I"m on a cushioned carpet. No, I'm on a solid as a rock cast iron shower floor. I'm pondering what to do when - I sneeze. Now, sneezing is not a big deal except when you have had really bad pregnancy rhinitis for the last two months and almost any sneeze will cause a bloody nose. Which of course, this did.  And even a little blood in a shower ends up looking like Psycho. And I can't reach the faucet to turn the water off.  It's everywhere.

Then Norah comes in and tells me she's pooped in her nighttime pull-up. I can see her try and take it off to sit on the potty but that will not end well so I keep calling to her to "Stop, go find daddy! Go tell daddy you need help!" She keeps saying "No, I pooped. I need to sit on potty. Mommy help me" and she's not understanding that I can't. I guess she thinks I'm just sitting in a shower covered in blood for fun but I'm beginning to panic that she's going to end up getting poop everywhere by attempting to do this on her own. Finally she leaves. (Sidenote: But she did not in fact go tell Craig. She went to play. A fact I did not discover until later and which created a mess but probably not as big as the bathroom one would have been and Craig was nice enough to deal with it).

Okay, she's gone now and I have a plan. I will just crawl (gently, because it hurts my knee) out of the shower onto the bathroom rug where there is a bit of floor cushioning and I use the toilet to help me up. And then get some toilet paper to stop my nose from gushing. It's a good plan. Except Norah has left the bathroom door open and the dog has come in. She's not allowed in the bathroom and is super excited to explore so isn't about to leave on her own. She's also tends to jump and wrestle when she sees anyone sitting or lying on the floor. This is mostly an issue with the kids but I know if I open the door, she's going to be right on top of me. Naked bloody me. This is all going down hill fast. So what do I do? I laugh. Hysterically. Because what else can I do?!? And eventually Craig figures out the dog is missing and comes to rescue me by dragging her away. My crawling plan works and a few minutes later I'm dressed and unbloodied and sitting and protecting my knee again.  Somehow I don't feel relaxed and refreshed from my nice shower but I at least I can go to church the next day? Ah, pregnancy. Fun times!


June Fun Photo Dump

June has been a busy (and super hot) month but we have managed to sneak in some fun. The kids wanted to have a "family date" for Father's Day and suggested a picnic. I saw the weather was predicting 96+ that day so steered them toward a watery location for said picnic. This isn't our normal "watering hole" but it was a lot of fun. One section was quite deep so Lizzy got to try actually swim (she's a fan), the kid's got to fish with nets (also fans!) and Craig and I just spent a lot of time keeping people from drowning and taking them potty. But Mother's Day and Father's Day aren't really about us at this stage are they?

All I really wanted was a decent picture of the three kids and their dad. Well, I got some pictures. I'll leave you to decide if they are decent. (I haven't gotten around to editing them yet. If I waited for that, I'd be posting this in October :-)

And for those of that you that follow me on Instagram, you might notice I don't seem to post as many of Jonah as the girls. But as you can see, he doesn't quite seem to grasp the concept of staying still for a photo. So if I'm using my phone camera instead of my nice one like here, it's just no match for him and he's pretty much a blur. But he's my blur, so that's okay. 

I also finally managed to get some pictures of Lucy's playing softball. It took my until the last game to 1) remember to bring the camera and 2) remember to charge the battery the night before. 

This was Lucy's first year of softball and she had a great time. The league was run by a local church and did a great job teaching the kids the basics but making it fun.They also have all the kids on the field at once and multiple coaches so it's a bit messy looking but she actually learned quite a bit this year about how the game of softball works. And despite the really hot season (seriously, May isn't even summer but I think every game but the one where we were sitting in the rain was 85+), it was a lot of fun to watch her. Because at this age, it's fun when they are good - and its fun when they aren't. 

Lucy got to be on the same team as three of her good friends. I don't normally show pictures of other people's kids on this blog but I figured this one was okay.

Pre-game prayer

Instead of parents bringing snacks, each kid gets a ticket for a free snowcone from the snow cone truck in the parking lot. I was a mean mom and made Lucy wait and get one every third week so everyone could have one. They all had fun learning about the joys of Tiger's blood. 

Lucy also had a week of Art Camp. It was her first day camp experience and she was nervous about being gone from 9:30-3:30 but she had such a great time that by Tuesday she was already requesting to do a second week. Next year we might have to make that happen. 

This self portrait was her favorite piece but I think she mostly just enjoyed trying new media styles and getting to spend all day every day all week doing art without  any little siblings interrupting her or messing up her projects. It can be hard to be the eldest. 

Lucy wasn't the only one who had a busy month. The highlight of Norah's month was probably the penny swallowing incident. All's well that ends well but hanging out at an ER isn't my preferred way to spend a bunch of money on a Saturday night. It came right after her Poison Ivy incident which is why her face looks all swollen. 

This girl keeps my on my toes. Good thing she's cute. 

Craig also took the bigger kids to the rodeo again. I still am not sure if they enjoy it because of the events or because they like picking out a fair snack that contains almost 0% real ingredients. 

We finished off our month yesterday with a bit of blueberry picking. It was a late year for berries at our local place so it was a bit on the hot side but we got there early and got a good haul. 

Oh wait, I do have some pictures of Jonah. Apparently he stole my phone and had a grand old time. Mostly videos (that he clearly thing are pictures because I hear him telling his sisters to stand still and smile :-) but a few selfies as well. So I guess we know where Norah learned her stinker skills!

And that was our June. How was yours?


Homeschool Planning and Record Keeping

I'm not that type of blogger that normally shows you things in a timely or useful manner. I'm more like "here's what we did for St. Patty's day" three weeks after the fact when it's of no use to you and you probably won't remember for next year even if you do think it would be fun to copy.  And we start our new grade of school curriculum in January (or whenever we finish one book if it's handwriting, math or piano) so I can't even participate in the regular Not Back to School carnival. I still love visiting those because I love all things planning and organizing and curriculum related but I I have a hard time finding motivation to write about something that's 6 months old in my life. But in this case, I'm starting to use my newly designed homeschool planner/hour logger in July so you might actually be able to glean some ideas if you start on a regular rotation! 

Last year I used a weekly checklist that was modified from Elaine who I think modified Celeste's, along with the basic AO one sheet term overview pdf which I used by simple highlighting the readings as I read. The last term I tried adding dates to each reading but the spacing was tight as I felt  my basic record keeping was a little sparse. (Sidenote:  I am in the sorta unique position that I believe in giving the state exactly what it legally requires and not a dot more on a principles level- but I also am involved with the foster care system and while our licensing worker has been nothing but enthusiastic about our kids and their education, I still want to make sure all our t's are crossed in case we end up with a different case worker that is a bit more antagonistic. So, this might be more involved than most people but it works for my peace of mind.)

Then I used a cheap weekly calendar to record what we actually did each day for the legal record and so I could input that into my excel hour log. That all worked. It was simple, which I liked, but in three different places, which I didn't. I needed to streamline. 

I started with the Big Happy Planner. I got mine from Michaels online using both the standard 40% off coupon plus they were having another 20% off everything and surprisingly it let me combine those so I got it for a really good deal. 

It's really pretty. I love it. 

It's my first time using a disc bound planner but so far I'm really liking it. I saw a number of great planners, even self designed ones and thought about doing that and having it comb bound but I knew that I needed something I could alter as I went because I'm not even sure yet when I'll be starting Jonah in Year 1. But last year I found my 3 ring binder to tear up pages and take up a lot of space on our very small kitchen table so didn't really want to go that route again. I got an Arc punch which was a bit pricey but works really well so this is what I added to their basic calendar. 

A couple very simple reading logs to track hours (for our library's program) and another set to list the titles that they have read as well as our read alouds so I can remember what I've already checked out so I don't put a hold request on it again. (Not that I've ever done that ;-)

I'll use the year at a glance to plan our breaks. I normally only do a term at a time and hold it loosely but this time I'm having to be even looser. Notice that week between the blue and green is still a ? I'm guessing we'll be doing school since I've never had a baby come before their due date but I'd actually prefer to be holding my newborn. A pregnant mom can hope. 

Behind that I keep my term overview sheets. I'll start filling these out tomorrow as it's our first day of the term but will continue as we learn things and move on to the next. These are very helpful at 1) exam time because I often forget where the term began and exactly what poems/bible verses are new and 2) when trying to look back on the years and remember when we did different things like handicrafts. It seems like something that wouldn't be THAT hard to remember, but apparently it is.

Then before each monthly's spreads is a paper printout of my excel hour log. I'll fill it in as we go along but update the computer version so it does the calculations for me and then print out a nice neat version to save for our records. As Missouri residents, this is our main legal requirement and its slightly annoying but not really difficult. 

Next is the main planner portion. The left side is an updated weekly checklist I mentioned above. It's basically the same as last year except I've included a few things for Jonah.  This is my messy sheet. I write notes about exactly what we did for nature or our science experiment. I scratch things out or make notes on things I need to look up. It's the working part of the planner. And because of that, and because I don't think the state needs to know what days we went to the dentist, I don't want this to be a part of my official records. Plus I get great joy from looking over these at the end of the term, seeing what things consistently got missed and making notes and then THROWING THEM AWAY. It's the last thing I do after exams and its cathartic. 

 The right side is new. I've always liked to work with each "AO week" being treated like a unit. We do 2 or 3 AO readings a day depending on their length and our schedule that day. With just one AO student and my still doing 90% of the reading aloud, I don't need to plan which readings to do which days in advance. We almost always finish our term + exam in about 13 weeks so we really do make it through about a weeks worth of material in a week but it almost never matches up exactly and trying to do so would stress me out.

This is to replace the term sheet but still allow me to keep working things as a unit, separate from our regular "weekly" schedule. It gives me more space to write the date(s) when each reading occurred. So these sheets, along with the hour log and the calendar pages will make up the official record I'll save in their portfolios for a few years. 

If I didn't need to save/not save them separately, I'd probably print them front and back but I printed on just one side and put a month's worth in front of every month. When I use up either side, I'll move it to the back of the stack ( from where I'm looking at it here, still in front of that month's tab) so I always have my two current sheets together for easy access. 

I also used my arc punch and a spare binder tab to cut out a few bookmarks to keep my place at this spot as well as my weekly work page so it's easy to find. 

After all my additions, we finally get to the purchased planner part. This monthly overview sheet isn't something I'd thought about but I do want to do a better job about the fun/memory part of homeschooling so I hope to use this to set some goals/intentions as well as record our highs (but skip the lows, we can forgot those)

This is the weekly schedule planner I used last year as my legal record book (and source of hourly info for the hour log).  I know how long a lesson typical takes so I write "AO reading" or "copywork" on my record sheet and only indicate times if it abnormal for some reason.

The Happy Planner has a weekly planner page which I'll be using instead. I think I'll really enjoy having the three vertical boxes. I'll probably use them for the same three categories I did last year: Lucy, Jonah, Everyone. I like that is has the weekends unlike a lot of homeschooling record books I've seen because while we don't do regular school on the weekends, we do often have education experiences I can count for our hours.

The planner also has monthly calendar pages. I don't foresee a need for those right now but that if we start any sort of co-ops or group activities in the fall, that might be useful. I also took another plastic tab sheet lying around and punched new holes to make a clear dashboard. I'm not sure how much I'll use this but there were some times that we were doing messier things but I still wanted my planner next to me and it got a bit sticky. So this will allow me to keep it covered but visible during tea times or other messier activities. 

And there you have it! More than anyone ever wanted to know about my homeschool planner. Now it's time to start school tomorrow and put it to use!