PHANEROO \fan-er-o-oo\Greek: to manifest in word or deed.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Baby 4 Update

I had an OB appointment yesterday with Dr. B's nurse practitioner, Leslie. Apparently Dr. B is out of the office until after New Year's. My appointment went as well as I had expected. Charlotte is still a very active little girl and her heart rate was going pitter-patter at 150 bpm. I'm measuring 34 weeks, which is exactly how far along I am. I've had a difficult week of contractions and pain. Leslie checked my cervix because of all the contractions. She said I was definitely more thinned, probably about 50% effaced, but not dilated. That's good news! I have been given permission to stop taking Brethine next week. This medication has done a good job of slowing down the contractions with the occasional help of some prescribed narcotics. Leslie explained that Dr. B would not do much to stop labor past 35 weeks - that's next week! I've also been given permission to begin walking next week too. I've missed being able to go outside for a stroll and get some fresh air. I've definitely felt the cabin fever recently.

Unfortunately my blood glucose levels are getting tougher to manage. I've had 5-6 elevated readings over the past week. Leslie explained that Dr. B would want to put me on medication if I've had over 5 elevated readings in a week. I begged to not be put on more meds and I asked if I could try to eliminate even more carbs out of my diet for the remainder of this week and see if I can do it with diet alone. Leslie gave me permission but she made me promise to call their office next week if I've had no luck getting the glucose levels down. Leslie had some concern that I had lost some weight over the past few weeks, most likely due to the strict diabetes diet, but she was willing to let me try tweaking my diet this week before prescribing yet another pill. Of course, what really stinks, is that she was aware that being able to walk and exercise once a day would solve the problem completely. But for fear of me going into labor too soon, Leslie has ordered no walking or exercising until I'm at least 35 weeks. She said that having a premature baby would be a worse situation than me having to take a pill for the diabetes. Alas, she is right...

We are scheduled to have an ultrasound on Jan. 10, when I'm 36 weeks, to see how Charlotte is growing and to estimate her weight. Leslie explained that this is a routine ultrasound for moms with gestational diabetes to make sure the baby is not growing too large too quickly. And then she followed that up by explaining that my measurement was an indicator of Charlotte growing exactly the way she needed to be.

Now it's just time to ride out the discomforts of the remainder of this pregnancy, eat just meat and vegetables, and wait to see how long before the contractions get close enough to check into my suite at the luxurious St. Mary's Hospital.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Let the Christmas Festivities Begin!

Christmas festivities are starting early for us this year. Tonight we celebrate with my family. Tomorrow night we celebrate with BJ's family. Christmas day we celebrate at home with our kids and then back to my parents' house for a big breakfast! I love Christmastime!

Merry Christmas to everyone! Hope your holidays are filled with joy as you celebrate the birth of our Saviour. A baby changed everything...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

That Kind of Mom

BJ was bringing to my attention the other day that I've turned into that kind of mom. You know, the mom who drives a mini van, home schools her kids, has lots of babies, exclusively breastfeeds them till at least 12 months, diapers them in cloth, and sometimes makes my own natural beauty products from food ingredients. Yikes! I guess I have turned into that kind of mom. But then he reminded me that I'm also that kind of mom who carries a Coach bag, wears Versace sunglasses, and carries a Droid. Perhaps I am that kind of mom, too. I guess I'll always be my own kind of mom...and a bit superficial.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Traumatic Weekend

Our weekend ended up being a little scary and a lot exhausting. On Saturday evening, as we were all heading out the door to grab drive-thru dinner and to go see the light show at the Smokies Stadium, Lily tripped over BJ's foot and landed hard on the living room floor. When she sat up I could immediately tell that there was something terribly wrong with her left arm. Her arm dangled from her elbow like a cooked noodle. I started saying, "She has to go to the ER right now!" BJ examined her arm and asked her if she could move it. I knew she could not by the looks of it. I just kept repeating, "She needs to go to the ER! Put her in the van and I'll grab her stuff." BJ soon realized what I had seen and he moved quickly to load her into her car seat in his car. He insisted that he take her. He saw I was in no condition to drive and handle the emergency situation. He was absolutely right. I was panicking.

Soon BJ started giving me text updates while they were at Children's Hospital. First it was "Saw the doctor. L is getting morphine. Getting ready to do xray" I was relieved they took her in so quickly and was able to give her pain relief right away. The next text that came said, "They are keeping her tonight. Surgery at 8 a.m. tomorrow." That's when I called BJ and asked what was going on and why this didn't just involve setting the break, a putting on a cast, and coming home a few hours later. Turns out she fractured her arm just above her elbow joint. The on-call orthopedic surgeon explained that because of the location of the break, the muscles and ligaments there were very strong, and in order to keep the bones in place she would need two pins placed in the bones. That's when I packed my bags and made arrangements to go to the hospital to stay with Lily and BJ overnight. Thanks to my brother who came and kept the boys overnight and the whole next day.

When I got to the hospital Lily was already in a room hooked up to IV and monitors and her arm was in a splint. She looked pitiful. She was clearly drugged, but she still experienced a lot of pain in her arm. She especially had pain when she needed to get up to go to the bathroom, or when she needed to get adjusted in the bed. Her little body shook all over from the pain and she cried every time she moved. Luckily, she was able to rest fairly well once she got comfortable in her bed, and 8 a.m. came very quickly. The surgeon was right on time and his assisting staff was excellent. The surgery only lasted about 20 minutes, and afterward, the surgeon said her arm was fixed. The cast would need to stay on for about 4 weeks. After that time he would evaluate her arm and then both the cast would come off and the pins would come out.

We were able to come home at 2 p.m. on Sunday. We all took a three hour nap before my brother returned with the boys. Lily is doing very well now. Her pain is lessened a lot since Saturday night. She has only needed Advil or Tylenol instead of the other pain meds the doctor prescribed. Lily is doing great with her cast. She complains that it itches underneath and that it begins to hurt if she's up playing for awhile. That's when she lays down on the couch or on her bed and we prop up her arm with pillows. She has been a real trooper through all of this.

And then tonight we had another little scare. Schaeffer has seen us giving Lily Advil and Tylenol. When we got everyone in bed, we had left the Advil on the bathroom counter upstairs knowing Lily may need a dose in the middle of the night. Schaeffer sneaked out of his bedroom and we heard him making noises upstairs. BJ went up to check on him and caught him with the Advil bottle open with the measuring spoon used. I immediately called Walgreens and talked with the pharmacist. We think he only drank about 2 1/2 teaspoons because that's how much one measuring spoon holds and based on what was left in the Advil bottle. Schaeffer's dosage would only be about 1 1/2 teaspoons. The pharmacist reassured me that Advil is not toxic even at the dosage he took. The only side effect he may experience is an upset stomach. Whew! I sure was praying that we weren't taking another trip to the ER tonight!

Some days it's awfully exhausting being a parent...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cloth Diapering Review

I think I'm finally getting adjusted to the idea of cloth diapering. Thanks to everyone who left me a comment on my first post about cloth diapering. You gave great feedback and you boosted my confidence. I've visited the recommended websites and have a learned a great deal.

It's been a week now since beginning this experiment and I think its worth sticking with. Griffin's eczema on his hips and bottom are much improved. In fact, I haven't seen him scratch in those areas since we began using cloth. It has been a very quick improvement in his skin condition in those areas which were the worst spots on his entire body. He still struggles with eczema everywhere and he does seem to be extra sensitive to wetness on his bottom and boy parts but that would be the same with disposables or cloth. His hips and little "cheekies" are vastly improved. I know he would thank me if he knew how.

(Side note: CeraVe Cream has been awesome for his all-over eczema. This is hands-down the best moisturizing cream for his severely dry itchy skin. The stuff is not cheap - about $16/bottle - but much cheaper and better than dermatology appointments and medications).

I have been using Gerber prefolds as inserts in his diaper covers. I currently have a Happy Heinys cover, a Tweedle Bug cover, and two gDiaper covers. I'm a little disappointed in the Happy Heinys cover because the velcro has already weakened with only two washes (line drying) and the snaps that make it adjustable for one-size don't hold well. The Tweedle Bug and gDiaper covers are my favorites. I like that the gDiaper is less bulky and easy to adjust. The waistband is elastic all the way around which keeps the insert in place better. And because the fabric on the outside is a soft stretchy cotton like exercise clothing, it moves well with Griffin keeping the diaper from gaping and allowing leaks. Other perks: gDiapers can be purchased at our local Babies R Us in two-packs which are cheaper than buying them online; the waterproof lining snaps in and out so you can just change the liner if it gets soiled; and they offer disposable, non-plastic, flushable inserts which would be perfect for when we are away from the house. I may try the gCloth reusable inserts next and see how they compare to the cotton Gerber prefolds that I have been using. They are made of two layers of microfleece and two layers of hemp/cotton for maximum absorbency which may work well for nighttime and naps. If all goes well with cloth diapering, Charlotte will be in cloth too so I can avoid purchasing disposable diapers for the next three years. That could mean we'd save about $2,000 per year! School tuition anyone?

Monday, December 13, 2010

I Think We Have a Name...Maybe?

Picking a name for Baby 4 has been a big challenge. We've gone through quite an extensive list, flip-flopping from one to another, changing our minds from week-to-week. But I think we've finally settled on a name that BJ and I both like and feel will suit Baby 4. Drum roll please...Charlotte Gray. Other names that we considered include Violet (picked by Lily and Schaeffer), Gillian, Norah, and Lachlan.

I've been busy the past 2 weeks getting Charlotte's clothing, blankets, and bedding ready for her arrival. I haven't had to purchase a single outfit so far since I kept all of Lily's clothes. I've kept them packed away in storage totes. These past 2 weeks have kept me (read: BJ) busy with pulling out totes, sorting, and washing. Lily was a little munchkin - born 6 lb 2 oz and got down to 5 lb 2 oz in the first week after birth. She wore preemie sizes for the first few weeks. So I have preemie, newborn and up.

We are setting up a temporary nursery in our bedroom with a crib, changing table and rocker. I just have to figure out how to make it all fit. The plan is to eventually move Griffin into Schaeffer's room and give Charlotte Griffin's room with the crib, changing table combo dresser, large dresser and rocker. But for now Griffin needs to stay in his crib in his own room since he has been such a light sleeper. We definitely don't want to disrupt his sleep patterns knowing we'll be having a newborn waking us up every 2-3 hours.

Getting ready and excited to meet Charlotte Gray!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cloth Diapering

Looks like I'm about to jump into the world of cloth diapering. I've been putting this off for many reasons as you probably already know what those are. But my poor little Griffin has such horrible eczema, especially during the cold months, that I'm now willing to try just about anything to help him get relief. Eczema covers him from head to toe, but it is much worse around his diaper area on his lower back and bottom. He will scratch and dig into his skin until he bleeds. I haven't found any magical cure - creams, lotions, potions, or meds - to help clear up this problem. His dermatologist has prescribed a slew of prescription creams and oils, all of which work temporarily. So...I'm going to try using cloth diapers for a while to see if it helps control the eczema around his back and bottom.

I know cloth diapering is as old as the hills, but to me its a bit intimidating. Have you seen the selection of cloth diapering options lately? Good grief! There are all-in-ones, flat fold, prefolds, inserts in cotton, fleece or hemp, one-size-fits-all diaper covers, sized diaper covers, velcro or buttons, and the list goes on. My hope is to get the most practical, easiest to clean and use, and cost effective. Prices for these things can range from $3.00 all the way up to over $20 for a diaper cover. Wow! Just to contain poop and pee?! For my trial run, I've opted for Happy Heiney's one-size cover (which can be handed down to Baby 4), a sized Tweedle Bug cover and some Thirsties duo inserts for naptime and overnight. It seems to me that the covers are the most expensive part and I'm hoping I can use cotton prefold diapers as inserts that can be purchased fairly inexpensively from Walmart or Target.

I've also read that you shouldn't use Desitin or other zinc or petroleum based creams with cloth diapers. And the recommendation is to not use bleach on the inserts. Sheesh! Really?! No one is making this cloth diapering thing easy. I just won't feel like the inserts are getting clean without a good dose of bleach. I may do it anyway and break away from all the "green" rules for cloth diapering. My neighborhood has restrictions against having clothes lines so we won't be able to hang them outside to benefit from the sun's natural bleaching and sanitizing qualities.

Does anyone have any experience with cloth diapering? Any advice for a mom starting out in this area?

Monday, December 6, 2010

In My Mommy Tool Belt

I was just thinking through my favorite mommy "tools." Do you have any tried-and-true favorite things? I'd love to hear about them.

Here are mine:

1) Aquaphor ointment - I have this stuff in all my kids' rooms, in the diaper bag, in my bathroom, and in the kitchen cabinet. It can be used on dry skin, chaffed skin, chapped lips, diaper-rashed booties, irritated skin from moisture (on mouth around pacifier or in rolls of neck after a drooling session), and the list goes on. It is completely safe for newborns. Honestly I think they could eat the stuff and it wouldn't hurt them (disclaimer: don't try it). I couldn't live without this stuff.

2) Nuk pacifiers - These have been the paci of choice around here 2 out of 3 times. What I like about them: they are cheap and readily available. If you lose one on a road trip, you can swing into a Walgreens - and some gas stations - and pick up a pack. I know this from experience.

3) Flannel receiving blankets - Oh the things you can do with them: swaddle baby, lay under baby's head in her bassinet or crib as a Sheet Saver to catch spit-up and drool, burp cloths (those little burp cloths sometimes don't cut it), and nursing cover-up . Afterwards when they are stained and not suitable for baby, you can use them to dust your house and even to wipe off sweat after a good workout. They are absorbent and soft. Lots of uses.

4) Baby washcloths - I cannot have enough of these things. Ours get worn out after a year or two I guess because our kids are filthy little crumb critters. I've used them as baby wipes when they've had major diaper rash and regular baby wipes are irritating. You just have to wet them, wipe, then toss into the laundry. These little washcloths also work well for removing makeup because they are soft and the perfect size. Again, these can double as dusting rags once they become unsuitable to wipe little Angel's face and hiney.

5) Bounty paper towels - Talk about a hardworking mommy tool, what would I do without Bounty paper towels? I can seriously use a roll a day and that's why we buy them in bulk. The list is endless for their uses: cleaning up mega messes, wiping off faces and hands (much cheaper and less irritating than using baby wipes), and I also use this paper towel brand to make my own baby wipes (currently made with just water because of Griffin's sensitive skin).

6) Droid Pro - This is a newbie for me. BJ got me an early Christmas present this year because my Blackberry was failing me. I'm a much more efficient person with my SmartPhone. I can stay connected without being on the PC and neglecting my children. In addition to it's many capabilities such as phone, email, web, camera, video, etc. the Droid has some very cool mommy apps available: baby monitor; weather; Google shopper (compares prices when shopping by recognizing barcodes, label art, etc. and helps you find reviews, specs and more); Attention Grabber (get your kids' attention by pressing a key and your phone will sound off an air horn, fog horn, referee whistle, party horn, train whistle or machine gun); and so much more. So far I've only scraped the tip of the iceberg with this handy tool. I'm excited to learn all about it's capabilities!

Please leave a comment and share about your favorite mommy tools.

(Photo: The HippMama Belt at
The HippMama)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

We've Made it to 30 Weeks

Now that I've made it to 30 with my pregnancy, I'm feeling much more relieved. I'm not sure why that brings me comfort. Maybe because I know we are in the last stretches - just seven more weeks to be considered full term. Seven weeks is not that far away, although, it's still too early for her to arrive. On a good note, contractions have seemed to slow down this week. I haven't had to take medication at all this week. I'm still having 1-2 contractions per hour, but I rarely have had more than that (one exception: every evening when I'm tired I experience more like 4-6 an hour but that's my cue to go to bed and then they subside for the night). My cervix has not changed since 3 weeks ago, which probably means the contractions haven't been frequent enough nor strong enough to make big changes. Because I've had a good week, Dr. B is letting me go two weeks before seeing him again.

But just as one thing begins going well with my pregnancy, I know something else will go wrong...I learned yesterday that I have gestational diabetes. This comes as no surprise since I've had it with my 2 previous pregnancies. Fortunately, my body managed to process glucose well for the first 30 weeks. Since I'm at risk for GD, Dr. B has tested me early at 12 weeks then again at 24 weeks. I was pleasantly surprised when I passed those earlier screenings knowing full well I could've failed them. So, for the last 7-10 weeks of this pregnancy I'll be focusing on my diet more closely (less carbs and more protein), pricking my finger 4 times a day, and hoping to manage the diabetes with diet without the need for meds. The good news about GD is that the diet makes it very difficult to gain excess weight. I need all the help I can get in that area!

With all of my pregnancies when I went into labor, I labored for several hours, requested an epidural to ease pain, and then completely pain-free delivered healthy, happy babies shortly after. Labor with Lily was 5 hours. Labor with Schaeffer (after my water broke fully) was 4 hours. Labor with Griffin was 3 hours. I'm thinking this time labor should be 2 hours. Ha ha ha! Maybe wishful thinking, but not impossible. With Griffin, I received an epidural just 20 minutes before time to push because I felt fine up until then. In the last minutes, the contractions really intensified, were 1 minute apart, and did not relax until Griff was born. I discussed several options with Dr. B about managing the pain if I did the same thing this time. I have a few options: 1) get an epidural from the very beginning and not worry about timing, 2) receive IV pain meds when needed, 3) go completely natural, 4) use a birthing tub full of warm water for labor and delivery (Dr. B is the only OB at St. Mary's to do water births). Option 4 requires about 30 minutes notification to give the hospital staff time to set up the inflatable tub and fill it with water. Thirty minutes sounds like a lot of time if I'm only in labor 2-3 hours. But, I'm thinking through all of these options. It's so hard to know because each labor is different and I don't know exactly what to expect this time.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Lily Won Best in Show

I am SOOOOO PROUD of my little girl! Today was her school's Art Fair. She submitted an acrylic painting on canvas based on her inspiration of a Bible verse. Since she has been all about eagles and hawks lately, we thought a verse that included eagles would be perfect. This is what she created and this is what earned her Best in Show...

"...but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint" (Isaiah 40:31).

Lily pictured here with her painting and a few of her classmates. She won a gift bag full of art supplies and a big purple ribbon.

I am so proud of her! I didn't get the chance to go to the Art Fair today because Griffin had speech therapy, but BJ took Lily this morning to Panera Bread for breakfast and then to the Art Fair to join her classmates. When he called to tell me the news I started crying. Silly, I know. Maybe its the pregnancy hormones or maybe its the overwhelming joy of watching my little girl create something beautiful and then seeing her be recognized for her hard work and creativity.

A Country Farmhouse...Indeed!

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this blog, A Country Farmhouse*. If I had a farmhouse, this is how I imagine I'd decorate mine. It would be simple with white walls and lots of things I love, such as original artwork, antique quilts, and antique furniture. I love her style and it's really fun that she is expecting twins this month so you can watch the progression of her nursery design and her selection of antique baby quilts and consigned baby clothes. So fun!

*This blog will have a permenant space on my sidebar under {dream} because this blog inspires me to dream.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Special Things My Man Does

He handles bath time and bedtime for each of our monkeys.

He clips their fingernails and toenails. (I get squeamish at the thought of trimming their nails after I had cut the tip of Lily's tiny finger when she was a baby. Since then BJ has handled the trimmings.)

He brushes their teeth.

He wrestles with the boys in the living room floor.

He gives Lily piggy-back rides.

Before bedtime, he goes through an elaborate bedtime routine for Lily...he reads a bedtime story, says prayers, brings her a fresh cup of cold water, fluffs her pillow, and sometimes warms her quilt in the dryer. (I feel sorry for her future husband. Her Daddy is setting the standard high.)

During my pregnancy...

He brings me a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich and a glass of milk to me in bed every night, and he always brings me a full cup of cold water to put on my nightstand.

He rubs my back and my head when I'm feeling worn out from a long day of contractions and discomfort.

He doesn't allow me to lift a finger. I haven't done dishes or laundry in 8 weeks.

He looks at me like he did the first day we got married even though I'm much more round and not feeling at all pretty.

Every day...

He greets me at the bottom of the stairs in the morning with a smile and a hug. It makes me feel like a school girl going on a first date.

He tells me that I'm beautiful when most days I feel tired and fat.

He asks me every day, "Have I told you how much I love you today?" Even though the answer is yes I always say "No" so that he will tell me again.


Overheard at the Thanksgiving table at Grandmama's house:
Lily turned toward her Uncle Matthew: "Uncle Matthew, who are all these people and why are they still here?" Ha ha! Silly girl, they are called family. I guess we don't get to see them enough.

Overheard during a conversation between BJ and Lily:
BJ and Lily were standing outside in the driveway after dark looking up at the stars. Lily correctly pointed out Jupiter and then asked about some other bright lights in the sky. Then BJ proceeded to ask Lily what was her favorite planet. Lily responded, "Earth. I like Earth a lot. I don't ever want to leave it."

Overheard in the living room:
When I asked Schaeffer why he went poopie in his diaper (he is potty training), he responded, "My bottom just went poopie by itself. I couldn't stop it."

Overheard in Schaeffer's bedroom:
I asked Schaeffer one day, while Lily was at school, "Do you want to go outside and play?" Schaeffer replied, "Nah, I just wanna lay back, play with my trucks, and drink my sippy cup."

Overheard in the kitchen:
Sometimes Ciera, our niece, stays with us on weekends. Griffin threw a football toward Ciera and said, "Touchdown!" Griffin now has about 10 words in his vocabulary. Can you guess what they are? (Hint: He's ALL boy) Answer: ball, vrroom, choo-choo, ball, batman, touchdown, go, more, please, and mama.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

We are planning for a pretty busy Thanksgiving holiday. Hope to be back on the blog track after the holiday. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


Monday, November 22, 2010


Baby necessities purchased...check.

Kids' closets and drawers cleaned out and sorted...check.

Christmas shopping done...check.

The only big things left on the list before Baby 4 arrives: sort through all the toys and donate some (making more space); pull baby bassinet, baby bathtub, and newborn outfits out of storage; and secure the infant carrier into the van.

Just 10-12 more weeks to go, I hope.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My Bags are Packed

Today I packed my hospital bag. I sure hope it's not needed for another 3 months. But history has proven that I may be making a few trips to the hospital for labor checks and/or injections to stop contractions and labor. I'm 27 weeks tomorrow and preterm labor is still progressing. I now have weekly visits with Dr. B - and have been for the past 5 weeks. On Friday at my appointment with Dr. B, I was informed that I will be seeing him every week until this baby arrives. I sort of figured that out.

The Baby 4 update has become more like "my cervix update." It's all about the cervix at this point. BJ says he will miss the day when the word cervix is not used in our regular conversation. He's kidding, of course! And since we are on that topic, my cervix has thinned a slight bit more since my last measurement. It went from 2.4 cm to 2.3 cm. I think Dr. B's biggest concern though is the number of contractions I'm having every day and every hour, and that my cervix is funneling. That simply means that my cervix is beginning to dilate from the uterine side, which is where dilation first occurs. Funneling is detected by ultrasound. Dr. B thinks we'll be having a 2010 baby. I'm hoping to pray this baby into 2011.

I was also informed during my appointment on Friday that there's a possibility that I'll be admitted into the hospital for 24-48 hours if the medication that I'm currently taking does not stop or slow down contractions. In the hospital, Dr. B would give me IV meds. He wants to know when I have 4 or more contractions an hour. Unfortunately, I've had plenty of times when I've had 4 or more an hour but after an hour or two my medication and rest have slowed them down to more like 1-2 an hour. I'm trying to stay out of the hospital as long as possible if I can do things at home to control the contractions. But, each week the medication seems to be less effective. Dr. B warned me of that as my body becomes used to the medication.

On a good note, Baby 4 is doing great! She's active and has a good strong heartbeat. I've received steroid injections to speed up her lung development in the event that she is born early. Every day she stays in the oven the better off she will be.

During this experience with preterm labor, I have received a ton of questions so I thought I'd include this link to a reliable source, which comes from the same source that my doctor has given to me within a book about pregnancy and childbirth. The two most common questions I've received are: Are you having Braxton-Hicks contractions? Are you having preterm labor because this is your fourth baby? The answer to both of these question is "no." There is a list of risk factors for preterm labor, and surprisingly the number of subsequent pregnancies is not one of them. And, contractions can be labeled Braxton-Hicks if they are not coming at a rate of 4 or more an hour and if they are not changing your cervix. At that point, the diagnosis is preterm labor or labor if you are full-term.

I ask for your prayers for Baby 4 and for our family as we try to manage our household and do all the things necessary to keep a healthy pregnancy going to full-term. We trust God with Baby 4 and we know that He has only the best plans in store for her.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Griffin is 18 months

It is so hard to wrap my head around the idea of Griffin being 18 months old - that's just 6 months shy of 2 years old. Griffin turned 18 months on Oct. 23. It's so funny because I have a lot of people say, "He's so cute and sweet." Don't be fooled, ya'll, by the chubby cheeks and endearing smile! The boy can be down-right rotten! It bugs me to read the blogs that say, "Oh my baby is so precious, so sweet, so angelic, and perfect in every way." Remember, I have 3 of these little "angels" and I KNOW the truth behind the blog. So here's for keeping it real...

The rotten list:

1. Griffin seems to find joy in hitting and scratching his big bro and sis - you can tell by the little quirky grin he gives after he inflicts the pain. In his defense, they probably deserve it 98% of the time, but he seems to find too much joy in being rotten.

2. He climbs, and he climbs, and he climbs.on.every.thing!

3. He pushes buttons on the TV and surround sound controls every single day, without fail, just to get a big reaction from his siblings. Works every time!

4. He is not a good sleeper. He fights it. He still gets up in the middle of the night and screams from his crib for 15-20 minutes. If Daddy goes into his room to see what's the matter, he throws an even bigger tantrum. He only wants Mommy between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m.

5. He pulls food and stuff from the pantry every day just to throw it across the kitchen floor. This has become increasingly aggravating since it's harder for me to bend over and pick up the messes.

6. He likes to poke people in the eyes and other face holes. Watch out!

But, he does have some redeeming qualities which makes him a keeper:

1. He's precious.

2. He's sweet.

3. He's angelic.

4. And he's perfect in every way!

I love my little Smiley Wiley!

October in Pix

At last I have some pictures to share...

Lily's class had a Fall Party. She's my little ham!

Miss Violet Tudor, the classes' honorary Grandmother, shared some goodies with the class at the Fall Party.

During our homestudy week (Knox County's fall break) we took a look at Creation Week through Genesis 1. One day we got to combine two of Lily's favorite things...dirt and recycling junk. We planted grass seed in a milk carton to watch the seeds germinate then start sprouting grass.

We visited Maple Lane Farms and hunted down pumpkins in their pumpkin patch. Baby 4 appears to be about the size of a small pumpkin. (Realistically she's probably the size of a grapefruit and the rest is because mommy is eating too much. LOL.)

There were lots of things for kids to do at Maple Lane Farms. The boys enjoyed the big slide together over...and over...and over again.

Monday, November 1, 2010

News from Here

We've had quite the busy few weeks around here. I have so many pictures to share, but unfortunately I've been experiencing computer problems (and some pregnancy complications). One day I hope to say "Farewell HP. Hello Mac!" but that's another story for another time.

Two weekends ago our Bible Fellowship met at Maple Lane Farms for kids' activities, hayrides, pumpkin pickin' (there were many pumpkins still growing on the vine - unlike last year at Oakes Farm where they bring in boxes of pumpkins and spread them across an empty field), and fried oreos and twinkies (No thanks!). We had beautiful weather for our day of agritainment.

A few weeks ago, Lily's school had a Fall Party. All the moms pitched in so everyone could have pizza, cupcakes, candy, treat bags, and games. Miss Violet Tudor attended the party and brought each child a little ceramic pumpkin and a homemade cookie. She shared a little bit of time with the students. It's so neat to have that sort of love, support and prayer from a retired school teacher in our community. The other homeschool moms are so much fun to be around and they all have really sweet children. We have a good time when we get together. Last week Lily's class took a field trip to Oakes Farm. I was unable to attend due to my situation with preterm labor, but Lily was able to ride with her good buddy, Lexi.

On Sunday night (Halloween) we hosted a Community Harvest Party at our house. Our church members hosted parties all across Knox and Blount County to reach out to our neighbors and share the gospel. We planned our party a bit late so we didn't get to do much pre-planning. But it turned out to be lots of fun. We always enjoy hanging out with the couples and their children from our Bible Fellowship class. And we had the chance to pass out about 200 bags of candy which also contained gospel tracts, information about our church, and children's ministry opportunities.

BJ is rounding out another semester of seminary. He has been taking two classes this time - ethics and philosophy. These classes have kept him very busy with reading and writing papers. One day I hope to spend time with my sweet hubby again. LOL. He has one more day of classes (full day next Monday) and then he takes his finals. The timing will be perfect as we head into the holidays and as I will need more help around the house...

...Preterm labor is still a struggle for me. I've had a doctor appointment every week for the past four weeks. I'm still experiencing too many contractions for 25.5 weeks but I'm following my doctor's orders as best as I can to try to reduce the amount and intensity of the contractions. The contractions are causing early effacement (thinning or shortening) and that's never a good thing at this point. My cervix should measure at least 3 cm but it is now measuring 2.4 cm. Who'da thought 0.6 cm could make that big of a difference? Dr. B says so far he would not change treatment for me based on this information, but he said if my cervix thinned beyond a certain point (I think I remember him saying 2.0 cm) then he may consider cerclage (or as he worded it, "put a stitch or two in your cervix." Yikes!). I'm praying that doesn't become necessary.

I'm looking forward to, and hoping for, a relaxing and less hectic next 3 months so I can focus on keeping Baby 4 in the oven. I thank the Lord for my friends, Leslie, Lori and Casey, who have helped me by doing some household chores, picking Lily up from school, and taking care of my other 3 monkeys so that I can lie down for a few minutes. God is good to send what I need when I need it.

Monday, October 11, 2010

My Bathroom Resembles My Kitchen

Lately my bathroom counter has begun to look more like my kitchen counter. My latest beauty products are made with things you could eat, but they also make great skin care products.

{Facial cleanser for oily skin}
Yes, even oily skin can be cleansed with oil. The right combo of oils can actually help balance your natural oil production instead of stripping it.
Grapeseed oil and sunflower oil contain omega-6 and omega-3 which are antioxidants and good for inflammation. Castor oil is a very powerful oil that lifts away oil, dirt, and makeup - too much can leave your skin too dry.

{Facial toner}
Witch hazel cleans and exfoliates; tea tree oil has antibacterial properties.

{Face and body moisturizer}
Vitamin E oil promotes the production of collagen and elastin and is good for inflammation, reducing the appearance of aging, stretch marks, and acne scars; grapeseed oil and safflower oil are lightweight, fast-absorbing oils which are great for naturally oily skin that needs light moisture. Olive oil would be a better choice for those with dry skin.

{Sugar scrub}
Thanks to my friend Jen, this is a wonderful concoction!
Sugar, sunflower oil, lavendar essential oil. This stuff smells amazing and it leaves my skin so soft. This sugar scrub is gentle enough to use on face and body.

And thanks to my SIL, Heather, who gave me the book Green Beauty. It's a wonderful resource. In this book the author writes about the harms of certain chemicals regularly used in beauty products and gives great detail about the benefits of common natural ingredients and how to mix them and use them.

I'm still struggling to find the perfect natural hair care products. I've used a few and have been dissappointed. Maybe one day I'll happen upon the perfect recipe.

For Sale

We've got a few items around our house for sale. We've been starting some early (or late) Spring cleaning - or maybe its nesting. But I'm hoping to sale a few items that take up extra space and use that money toward the purchase of these beauties:
For sale...
2. Small TV (maybe 16") and DVD player (both were used with the treadmill)
3. Graco highchair - White with dark blue and green seat cover, reclining seat, height adjustable, removable dishwasher-safe tray

If you are interested in any of these items we can work you up a really good deal. Really, I'd just love for you to remove them from my house.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Difficult Days Ahead

Last night BJ's mom's husband, Doug, passed away suddenly from a heart attack. He will be greatly missed. Lily and Schaeffer LOVED to visit Doug. He was just a big kid at heart and would always find fun things for the kids to do when we visited - make pillow forts on the floor, explore the backyard and flower gardens, and all sorts of things to keep them busy. We will miss Doug and I know Nana Kaye will experience a long period of grief as Doug was such a wonderful husband, helper, provider, and so much more to her. Please pray for Nana Kaye.

As a side note, and not nearly as devestating as the news about Doug, I learned this morning that my pre-term labor (FFN) test came back positive. That means I will need to really take it easy, focus on resting as much as possible (not necessarily bed rest at this point), drink lots of fluids to stay well hydrated, and take Brethine when the contractions start up. Of course, I went through all of this with Griffin and he made it to 39 weeks - completely full term and healthy. All of these measures are precautionary.

We would welcome your prayers for our family this week as we will be facing some difficult days ahead.

Friday, October 1, 2010

It's Elementary

A huge pet peeve of mine is grammatical ignorance. I can understand and overlook an occasional typo. Everyone has a moment. I am not going to pretend to be the grammar expert, but I cringe at the misuse of the words "I" and "me" in a sentence. Isn't this one of those grammar rules we all learned in first grade? Okay, maybe it's more like 5th grade, but as adults, that gives us quite a few years of practice to ace this rule. I have read countless blogs over the past few weeks that have contained errors around the use of I and me. (No worries, none of the offenders are Phaneroo followers because you guys are totally brilliant!) For the rest of the blogging community out there, let's review an easy way to remember how to properly use I and me:

Correct uses:
I went to the park.
He went to the park with me.
He and I went to the park.

Incorrect uses:
Me and him went to the park.
(Remove him, which by the way is also incorrect, and the sentence would read like this: "Me went to the park." Silly, right?)
He went to the park with Sue and I.
(Remove Sue and the sentence would read like this: "He went to the park with I." Again, very silly.)

So to all the bloggers out there, let's all promise to review our grammar rules; and, at the very least, get this one right. It's elementary, my dear Watson. Elementary.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Farmhouses for Your Viewing Pleasure

Here are a few farmhouses in and around our area. Enjoy!

(Photos not taken by me.)

{Sevierville} This one is really a Victorian, but everyone knows that a Victorian is simply a hardworking Farmhouse all dolled up with a dress and makeup.

{Friendsville} This one is a Bungalow, but since the Farmhouse came first, the Bungalow takes a lot of inspiration from its predecessor.

{Corryton} This one is a Farmhouse cottage, just plain and simple cute. This one is my favorite!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Contraction City: Prayers Needed

I fear the contractions have already begun. I experienced pre-term labor with Griffin starting at 28 weeks. Luckily he stayed in the oven until full term at 39 weeks. I believe it was all the prayers that kept him safe and healthy. I ask for your prayers again. I have not contacted Dr. B's office yet because the contractions are not in regular intervals (like every 5 or 7 minutes) and because I'm stubborn and don't want a trip to the hospital. But, I have noticed a marked difference since Sunday afternoon. Over the course of this week I've had days with few contractions followed by a day of continuous contractions. Today is one of those continuous contractions days. At my appointment and ultrasound on Friday, I was experiencing very few contractions. But they have definitely picked up every day since Sunday. If things continue as they are through the night and a large part of tomorrow, I will be calling Dr. B for instructions on next steps. Thanks for your prayers.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Things Have Changed

Since Lily was born 5 1/2 years ago, things have changed in the baby gadget world. As I've been browsing through looking at a few baby necessities I'll need for Baby Four, I've come across a few additional things that I may need to consider for her.

1. Breathable crib bumper - This is new on the market since Lily. When she was born, the big, fluffy, custom-designed crib bumpers were all the rage. I never thought those were practical because I wondered how you could cram them into the washing machine once your sweet angel spewed all over it. Then, I noticed the "professionals" were advising against crib bumpers altogether to decrease the chance of SIDS. I never thought that was practical either since my babies would probably end up with a limb stuck through the crib bars, or worse, lose a paci and scream out for me to come find it at 3 a.m. The breathable crib bumper looks like an awesome compromise and one I might consider.

2. BPA-free bottles - Thank goodness Lily never took a bottle because now I'd be fretting over the cancer-causing particles I pumped into her little body if she did. Schaeffer was the only one who took a bottle, but luckily we quickly purchased a few BPA-free Avent bottles for him after I had already used the cancer-causing Dr. Brown's bottles for a few months. I will need to upgrade to these wide neck Dr. Brown's bottles since Dr. Brown's are my favorite.

3. Infant car seat - Things have changed so much in the car seat industry since Lily's birth. Now all car seats are equipped with three different seat securing devices: the car's seat belt, Latch, and tether. Our old infant carrier is only compatible with one, the car's seat belt. In the event that the car's seat belt were to fail in a crash, the other two securing devices would be backup. In addition, almost all car seats now come with EPS foam which is better for impact absorption. Again, this might be another important new purchase to consider for Baby Four. Our old infant seat is Graco so I may look at replacing it with this one.

It's funny how just a little while ago I posted about how I didn't need a single thing for Baby Four except a 2-3 years' supply of Pampers. Well, I guess things have changed...

Friday, September 24, 2010

Baby Four is...

...gonna be wearing PINK!! And not because it's a girlie-boy. Haha! Baby Four is a girl!! She looked great today on the ultrasound - healthy, growing, moving and even doing some hand sucking. The ultrasound tech flipped over for a few minutes to 3D and 4D, a first for me, and we could see almost every detail of her sweet little face. Today has made me even more excited to get to meet her in early February. Let the name game begin! Will share more later on that...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Moby Wrap - Need Feedback Please

Dear Moms,
Anyone out there use a Moby Wrap Baby Carrier or know someone who has? I have a Baby Bjorn Baby Carrier and have found it to be worth every penny...with one exception, I cannot wear it for a long amount of time. The weight is distributed mostly to my shoulders and that can make my shoulders and neck really tired and achey. Same with my Ring Sling, which I made. Otherwise, I love both my Baby Bjorn and Ring Sling carriers. The one benefit of the Baby Bjorn is that BJ can wear it too without looking silly. The Moby Wrap, however, looks so comfy because it looks like wearing a soft stretchy shirt with a baby tucked inside. The weight looks like it's distributed evenly between shoulders, back, and waist. I welcome feedback about this wrap or other carriers you've found to be exceptionally comfy that you can wear for a long period of time. I have a feeling Baby 4 will have to go along for the ride, and that will probably mean on my person most of the time.

P.S. My 20-week ultrasound is scheduled for tomorrow at 10 a.m. I am so excited I can hardly wait!!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Grandparents' Day at RECA Smithwood

Today Lily's school celebrated Grandparents' Day. Granddad and Grandmama were both able to attend which made Lily very happy. Today's event began with a special presentation and then chapel time. During the presentation each student gave Miss Violet Tudor a carnation with a card tied to it containing their name. Today Miss Tudor became the honorary grandmother of this first class of River's Edge at the Smithwood campus. Miss Tudor turned 90 years old this year. She was born and raised in the Fountain City/Smithwood community. In fact she still lives in the same house in which she was born. She had attended Smithwood Baptist since birth. Miss Tudor devoted 40 years as a school teacher in the community. Here are some really neat facts she shared with us today:

- When she began teaching with Knox County schools many years ago, teachers had to sign a contract stating that they would read at least 10 verses of scripture each day, pray, and lead the pledge of allegiance in their classrooms.

- Another part of her contract stated that she could not date or get married as long as she was a teacher. She was to be devoted to her students. Miss Tudor never married.

After chapel time we returned to the classroom for a reception for the grandparents. All us homeschool moms provided the food and drinks. It turned out to be a really special and fun day.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Counting Down...6...5...4...3...2...1

Just 6 more days until we know the sex of Baby Four! I cannot wait!!! In a lot of ways this pregnancy is moving quickly, but some days - when I'm feeling really pregnant and another year older - this pregnancy is moving slowly. I'm grateful for all the little distractions in my life that keep me from dwelling on every second of this pregnancy. I can honestly say I've been stress-free this time around because I don't have any nervousness about labor and delivery. I'm very excited about that part. My past experiences have been so joyful and beyond anything I can describe. And I'm not nervous about caring for a newborn. It feels so routine this time. I start to get nervous when they turn 3 years old and all of a sudden I don't know what happens to my precious babies, and I don't have a clue how to make them stop throwing tantrums. That's usually when I turn to BJ and say, "Take care of that! Use any means necessary to make it stop!" Ha ha!

Friday, September 24th is the big ultrasound day! And then the real planning can begin - blue or pink?

Friday, September 17, 2010

RECA Camping Trip

BJ and the two eldest kids are headed to Bandy Creek in Big South Fork for a camping trip organized by Lily's school, River's Edge Christian Academy. There are about 200 students enrolled at RECA and there will be about 100 campers (students and family) going on this trip. Their biggest turnout yet! This will be Lily's and Schaeffer's very first camping trip. I hope they have a blast...and take it easy on their daddy. I hope to have some photos to share when they get back tomorrow night.

Pillow Talk

I love my husband for many many many reasons. One of the top reasons is his ability to make me laugh until I almost (read: slightly) pee in my pants. One of those moments happened just a few nights ago. We were trying to catch up on our long overdue conversation time - which mostly happens while we are lying in bed at night because the kids are also snug in their beds and the house is quiet. Our converstation drifted toward tatoos. BJ is always pitching a new tatoo idea to add to his existing artwork. Most days I think he's just brainstorming and being silly. I had the idea of using your body like a lot of people use their vehicles: a billboard for bumper stickers. You know, why not use it as a chance to spread a message or support a cause? BJ replied, "Yeah, how about a tatoo across my back that reads 'I heart my Shi Tzu.'" I just about rolled out of the bed laughing so hard. I couldn't stop. You know the kind of laughter that hurts your ribcage and you can't catch your breath? Hadn't done that in a while. It was awesome!

Playing in the Rain

One thing that every kid needs to do at least once in their lifetime (mine do it at least several times a year)...Play in the rain! I bet our neighbors wonder what kind of parents we are letting our kids run barefoot in the backyard in the middle of a downpour.


How long have I lived in this house? Hmm...over 4 years. And I finally have a workspace of my own. The office has generally been BJ's domain. That's obvious by the coffee mugs, literary selections, and abundance of techie gadgets in the room. But now that I'm homeschooling, I desperately needed a prep/work space of my own. The dining room table wasn't cutting it. So I took over the large desk in the office. I still need to go through all the drawers and clean out a bunch of stuff to make room for school supplies so they don't crowd my workspace. But, this new workspace makes me feel so organized and efficient. I LOVE that!!

P.S. On the desk is a desktop computer and a laptop. My laptop is where I do most of my work. The desktop is quite old. About a year ago we had to completely wipe it clean because it was running like an old man. Now it works really great for just web surfing and a few other applications. We have kept the old man around for the kids' online learning resources and computer games. I feel the old man will eventually need to be moved to another location once the kids are old enough to crowd around it (and crowd me out of my workspace). For now it'll work just fine where it is.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Penny for the Arts

Check out for some local (Knox County) arts and culture events that your student can attend for just one penny. Pretty nifty and thrifty!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

09.06.2010 Metcalf Bottoms

We spent Labor Day at Metcalf Bottoms in the Smokies with a whole slew of family: Grandmama, Granddad, Jonathan, Heather, Jacob, Ethan, Amelia, Matthew, Abby, Ciera, Nana Faye, and Heather's parents Rees and Betty. Grandmama and Granddad arrived early to secure us a good picnic location right on the river. And then they cooked us a big breakfast over a fire - eggs, bacon, sausage, hashbrowns, and coffee. The rest of us brought lunch stuff and snacks for the rest of the day. We had a blast!

09.03.2010 Chattanooga Discovery Museum

BJ was able to take a few vacation days surrounding the Labor Day weekend. First stop: The Discovery Museum in Chattanooga...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

16 Weeks - Flutters and Heartbeats

Poor little Baby Four (not actually pictured here). This little one is not appearing to get much attention, mainly because he/she has been laying low...until now. You know the saying "the squeaky wheel gets the grease." Well that's certainly true in our home. We have a lot of squeaks around here - Lily's school, Schaeffer's 3-year old tantrums/attitude and potty-training (or stubborn lack of potty training), Griffin's weekly speech therapy with additional homework for me, and BJ's seminary classes which requires a lot of his time for study, reading and writing. Baby Four has not gotten a lot of attention. But then this weekend Baby Four made his/her existence more clearly known through some flutters and kicks. I'm now feeling frequent movement from the little bean. Up until now, besides pregnancy fatigue and indigestion, I haven't really noticed much about Baby Four. And then, I was keenly reminded this weekend that Baby Four is a little person who's growing, thriving, and moving. At my OB appointment on Monday, I heard the little heartbeat again. Again, it was quite rapid around 155 bpm. Meaning this little bean can get pretty active.

This pregnancy has definitely been tougher for the fact that rest doesn't come very often (and for the fact that I'm another year older). When rest does come I feel as though I could sleep 12-14 hours, but that rarely happens unless I go to bed at 7 a.m. And believe me, I've tried.

In the past I've not been good at receiving help during pregnancy. I'd be stubborn and say, "Oh, that's okay. I can handle it. I can lift those boxes/rearrange the furniture/carry a 35-pound toddler up the steps/etc." Not this time. You wanna come clean my house, fold laundry, take my kids for a few hours? I'll gladly accept. I learned my lesson during the last pregnancy when preterm labor hit at 28 weeks. The reality of a baby being born well before it was ready was enough to sideline me for the remainder of the pregnancy. I was forced to accept help with things that were so routine for me. I have not forgotten that lesson. This time I'm letting things go. The toys in the living room are rarely picked up (by me), the kids' laundry doesn't always make it into their hampers nor the washing machine, the dishes get piled around the sink, the bathrooms don't always get a thorough cleaning. But you know what? This is temporary and the health of Baby Four has become more important. Before too long I'll be back in business and my house will once again be restored to order and cleanliness. For now, I'm conserving energy for all the other priorities in our home.

Even though Baby Four doesn't appear to have room in our busy house right now, I can guarantee that Baby Four has a special place in my heart - and right now he/she definitely has the closest seat to my heart.
At 20 weeks, on Sept. 24, we learn if Baby Four is a boy or a girl...feeling pink is in our future again.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cheapo Homeschool Mom

I'm probably gonna be the cheapo homeschool mom who refuses to pay crazy prices for cool educational games and resources.

$39.99 for a numbers game? Really?!

In the past two weeks since school started, I've come up with a few letter and number games that Lily and I can play (and Schaeffer when he feels up to it).

The first one involves homemade number flashcards. So far we are working with 1-10. Lily can definitely count to 10 and beyond, but once the numerals are written out of order she struggles with identifying them. We've played unscramble the numbers and put them in order, pull a card out of the stack and name it, and see if Mommy can find the correct number when named (Lily gets to be "teacher").

The second game involves letter recognition and letter sounds. We already have the really handy Leap Frog Fridge Phonics Magnetic Alphabet Set and the Fridge Words Magnetic Word Builder. We mainly used the letter magnets to do letter recognition and then later to review the short sounds of I, U, and E, which are the letters she has learned in the past two weeks. We used i, u, and e to begin building three-letter words so that Lily can hear the differences between these letters when placed inside a word - a bit of a challenge when it comes to short vowel sounds. But, she's doing a wonderful job!

Later this week with a little help from Microsoft Excel I'm going to make my own Bingo cards to help Lily with number recognition. Maybe we'll play for chocolate...I hope I win!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Weaning Complete

Griffin is 100% weaned from breastfeeding. You know how I know that? (Well, besides the obvious.) He woke up last night around midnight. He wouldn't stop crying so I went in his room to check on him. I picked him up to console him. He arched his back violently and nearly flung himself out of my arms. He did not want me! I put him back into his crib, and then I went back to bed lying there listening to him crying over the baby monitor wondering what in the world had made him so upset. So I tapped BJ on the shoulder and said, "your turn." BJ plodded downstairs for a sippy cup of milk. Next thing I know everyone is quiet and back in their beds. BJ whispered, "he was thirsty." I was very pleased to know that thirsty did not equal nursing time! Griffin slept until 8:00 this morning. Ahhh...

Now can someone help get my stubborn 3-year old potty trained?!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Day 1 & 2 a Success!

Lily did great with her first day of school yesterday at RECA. She was exhausted when I picked her up. I'm sure it was a very big stretch for her and it'll be an adjustment for all of us. Today was her first homeschool (homestudy) day. After Griffin went down for his morning nap we started off with devotion time (the prodigal son) and prayer. Then we got right into numbers and counting, the letter "Ii," handwriting, drawing, writing her name, learning about what her name means, and reading the passage in Matthew where Jesus talks about "lilies." Schaeffer got in on the action and stayed right with us the whole time. He's learning to count to 10. If he stays with us the whole time he might learn to read by age 4. There was a bit of arguing over crayons and paper, but everyone did great listening and following directions. I'm praying that we have a lot of homeschool days like today!

And to top off my day, I cleaned out toys (and some junk because my daughter is a horrible packrat!) out of Lily and Schaeffer's rooms. I was able to do some rearranging, decluttering, sorting, and dusting. Yay for productive days!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Student Orientation at River's Edge

Lily and I attended her Student Orientation on Friday morning at her new school, River's Edge Christian Academy (RECA). This was her first chance to see her classroom, meet her teacher Mrs. Anderson, and meet her 7 other classmates.

{Lily has a loose tooth and continued to wiggle it in all the group pictures.}

Lily was very shy at first and hid behind me. But as soon as her little friend Lexi walked through the door Lily perked up and was eager to play and get involved in the activities.

{Lily and Lexi in the cozy corner.}

It was a really great experience and I'm so grateful that things went so smoothly. Lily is now excited about her first day of school on Monday morning. We have our curriculum, school supplies, backpack, snack/lunchbox, and our lesson plans for our first week. I'm so excited to be working with Lily on all these new skills - reading, math, social studies, weather, date/time, etc. And best of all her curriculum is completely from a Biblical worldview. She will be learning about her Creator God and about all the wonder of this big world that He designed for people that He loves so much. Just thinking from a Kindergartner's point of view, it must all be so new and exciting and it makes me very excited to be walking this journey with her - seeing her world expand before her very eyes, and witnessing her make connections about our Savior and His boundless blessings and love for us.

Some things that I already love about her teacher Mrs. Anderson and RECA and why it's a perfect answer to prayer:

  • Mrs. Anderson is sweet, soft-spoken, gentle, loving and very patient.
  • Mrs. Anderson explained that she will be doing things a little different from the other K5 RECA teachers by giving the students small breaks every 20 minutes between subjects. If you know Lily, this is perfect for my little sensory-seeking-very-active-can't-sit-still-for-too-long student.
  • This one may sound trivial, but it's a biggy for Lily...Mrs. Anderson is incorporating ways for the students to bring with them to school a favorite item from home. This is a huge comfort for Lily to have a familiar object with her. Lily had a preschool teacher and various Sunday School teachers who have discouraged bringing favorite items into the classroom for fear it would be a distraction. Perhaps it's a small thing, but again this is another answer to prayer. I've already seen the excitement on Lily's face when I've told her she can pick out one of her favorite things to take with her.
  • Mrs. Anderson is very flexible and has already demonstrated how much she wants to work closely with us parent-teachers. It'll be a perfect match!
  • RECA is Christ-centered. Every day begins with devotion and prayer. And all the curriculum is from a Biblical worldview. Dress code enforces modesty and fairness. I love having that one less worry for my little girl.
  • RECA is 100% parent-led and run by volunteering parents. Even before the first day of school has begun, I've already witnessed the beauty of this process. All the parent-teachers, mostly moms, in Lily's class have already begun working closely together to supply Mrs. Anderson with extra supplies. Since we are meeting in a brand new satellite campus for RECA, and right now it's the only classroom meeting at this location, we are trying to help Mrs. Anderson have all the things that she would've had at one of the larger campuses. It's awesome to see all the moms pull together, volunteer, and help. Such a cool concept!

BJ will be taking care of morning drop-off...what a blessing that is! And so I won't be there to witness Lily walk into her classroom for her first official day of school. I know she'll do great! (And it also helps me to know that I'll be picking her up very soon afterwards since they fit in all academics, playtime and snack time in only 4 hours!)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Blog Finds

I love the style of these two blogs. They call out to my farmhouse infatuation.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Trouble Justifying

Now about 3 weeks into the furniture hunt - dining room table/chairs and two twin beds - and I'm getting so dissappointed. Maybe it's because I've never really had to purchase "nice" furniture before. I've been the recipient of many very nice antiques (given to me free of charge), all of which are solid wood, no particle board to be found, and constructed with dovetailing and hidden hardware (no visible bolts and screws and glue). So now I'm going to all these furniture stores and seeing particle board, veneers (not like antique veneers, more like cheap wallpaper to look like wood), visible bolts, gaps and sags, and very little real wood. But then I find a real solid wood piece and it's suddenly way out of budget. I just can't justify the cost - I'm too frugal. It's ironic to me that I'm trying to match this very old piece (a circa 1890 - 1900's sideboard*) to something new. And even though the sideboard is considerably "distressed" I'm trying to buy something new that looks like something old. But then the price goes up for extra antiquing and distressing. Ha! Perhaps my kids could take care of that process.

I did find one very awesome table at Bliss Home (they don't have a photo on their site otherwise I'd give you a link). The table was made of reclaimed wood and the legs were made of reclaimed wood windows. It was a piece of art, but the price tag reflected it. Yesterday I made rounds to about half-a-dozen thrift stores hoping to score big. Nada! I just don't have time to hit the thrift stores often enough. Thrifting is an artform that requires time (and probably not 3 1/2 kids in tow). There's one more used furniture store I want to visit. It's usually packed full of junk and hidden treasures. By the time I got there yesterday the rain was really coming down hard and the parking is on the street near the homeless shelter. The homeless men and women were converging upon all the buildings with coverings and awnings in order to seek shelter. That was heartbreaking to see as I stayed dry in BJ's luxury sedan...which leads me to another reason why I'm having trouble justifying the cost of new furniture...I was reminded so vividly yesterday that so many people have absolutely nothing but the clothes on their backs.

So the hunt continues. Next week I'll be spending some time on Craigslist and seeing if I happen upon something newishly old, affordable, well-loved, and durable.

* The sideboard has been in my mom's family for a long time. Just from the looks of it, and after asking a furniture builder, it appears to be made of several different types of hard woods, but not sure which ones other than oak.

Monday, August 2, 2010


Amazing! As soon as I think I have everything I need for Baby Four, such as crib, bedding, rocking chair, baby gadgets, toys, clothing, etc., I'm still totally amazed at how much re-arrangin' is required before another baby arrives. This time my baby registry might look more like this: a high-capacity washer/dryer, a second dishwasher, twin beds for the boys in order to free up a crib, a larger dining room table, a housekeeper, and diapers...oh, and meals for 2 months because I'm sure it'll take me at least that long to get a meal prepared. If anyone asks me where we are registered, I might just say, "Rooms To Go, Sears, Cracker Barrel, and Merry Maids."

We are in the process of setting up a "big boy" room for Schaeffer and Griffin. They will get to share a room and have their own twin beds. I will be sure to take plenty of before-and-after photos to post here. But for now we are in the research phase. That pretty much involves shopping around for twin beds that won't put us in the broke house, and finding creative storage solutions to stow all their clothing and toys since space is getting a bit tighter for them. I am soooo grateful that we bought a house with large closets in every room!

Idea board:

And then we will be in the process of finding a new dining room table. It will become necessary to eat all our family meals in the dining room and not the breakfast nook - we simply won't fit there. The dining room set (table, chairs, buffet, and 2 glass-front corner cabinets) we have now is really pretty, solid mahogany, family heirloom. The top of the table has become brittle with age and so whenever we use it I keep it covered with a table pad and tablecloth. That's just not practical with family meals. I really don't want to wash a table cloth every day (And I don't like the plastic ones. Brings back memories of my Granny's house with plastic on sofas, chairs, tables, and floors. Just can't do it!). Little Bro Matthew is getting the mahogany set for his new house and we will be buying something really practical (read: sturdy, scratch proof, play-doh/paint/crayon proof). We have an antique sideboard that we'll be moving into the dining room and it'll become much needed storage. Again, I will be sure to take plenty of before-and-after photos. This project is proving to be more difficult because the price of dining tables and chairs is CRAZY and I want something sturdy (real wood).

BJ is in the process of researching high-capacity washer/dryers. He swears it'll change our lives (probably more like his life because he generally does the laundry around here...I know, I gotta good man).

As far as baby stuff, we are covered! I cannot imagine a single baby item we will need except for a 2-3 years' supply of Pampers.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Report From our House

Just a quick update on everybody...

Griffin graduated from feeding therapy today! Whoo-hoo! He is eating all kinds of solid foods. He loves bold flavors like Cheese Puffs, spaghetti and Grandmama's green beans. His favorite food is ice cream. The boy can eat his weight in ice cream. So far weaning from nursing is going well. He's down to just twice in a 24-hour period. Sometimes he is able to skip the bedtime feeding which is really nice. I'm thinking he'll be completely weaned in about another month. He's walking and getting into everything. We will be starting him in speech therapy on Aug. 18. Still no words. I know it'll come as soon as he decides talking is a much more efficient way of getting what he wants. The yelling is killing me.

Lily starts school in less than a month. Yikes! Can hardly believe she is starting school. Seems like just yesterday... We are excited about starting at River's Edge Christian Academy and homeschooling. What a God send to have so much flexibility and to have options like RECA!

Schaeffer is still all boy. Lovin' trucks and Batman. He's smart as a whip. He has begun asking all kinds of "why?" questions. His brain is absorbing at rapid speeds. My favorite thing he said this week... when asked, "What is Jesus going to give you, Schaeff?" His reply, "A sword, a shield, a belt, a helmet, and flip-flops." Ha ha! He always forgets the breastplate, but it's a big word and he's only 3 so I'll give him a break on that one for now.

Baby Four is doing well. This week I'm 12 weeks. I went to Dr. B on Monday and got to hear the heartbeat again. Baby Four was active because the nurse had to chase him/her down with the Doppler and then once she found the heartbeat it was 165-170 bpm. Most of the time when they are resting it is more like 140 bpm. The nurse said it's most certainly because this one was a wiggle worm. I'm not feeling all those wiggles yet but I'm sure I will in another few weeks. I was ecstatic on Monday after my glucose test was completely normal. Dr. B tests me early since I'm higher risk for diabetes (having had it before). I've always failed the screening at 12 weeks. But this time I got a completely normal test result (mine was 109 - below 130 is good). Dr. B will test me again at 24 weeks. And he's not letting me off the hook that easily. He still wants me to follow the diabetes diet because it's a "good diet for everyone, especially pregnant women and those at risk for diabetes." But I admit, I ate a scoop of pralines-and-cream ice cream last night! Par-tay! Dr. B reminded me to not get too excited because he says it's still too early to tell if diabetes really will be a problem in this pregnancy. I'm hoping for the best though.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Summertime Poll

The campaign for Governor is heating up here in TN, but I want to get to the real issues of the summer. Take my poll (in the sidebar to your right) just for fun. Issues we will be getting to the bottom of...

  1. Seedless vs. Seeded Watermelon

  2. Lipton vs. Luzianne Tea

  3. Sweet vs. Unsweet

  4. Sunscreen vs. Tanning Oil

  5. Pool vs. Beach

  6. Bike Ride vs. Boat Ride

  7. Lazy Saturdays vs. Action-Packed Saturdays

  8. Fescue vs. Bermuda

  9. Water vs. Sports Drink

  10. Chasing Fireflies vs. Chasing Butterflies

I'd love to hear your responses. Vote now and come back in a few days for a new poll.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Weaning, Stretchy Pants, and Strep 1-2-3

This weekend has been challenging to say the least. Griffin started it off on Friday morning with strep. Lily caught it on Sunday. And Schaeffer began symptoms today. Now all three are on amoxicillin. I'm grateful for our pediatrician who allows me to call him directly on his cell phone and who is proactive and writes prescriptions knowing that when one is sick then they will all be sick before the weekend is over.

We are heading into week 9 with Baby 4. Quite exciting! I'm already breaking out the stretchy pants. It seems to happen sooner and sooner each time. BJ is kind enough to say it's because my body is ultra efficient. Reality says its because my stomach muscles are not what they used to be. It is sort of weird how my belly is already making room even though it won't need the room for another 4-6 weeks. It's days like today when even some of my stretchy pants don't feel good and I become really grateful that I don't have to work outside the home. That way I can be comfy in my extra stretchy-stretchy pants. Check out this video of what happens to the embryo/baby weeks 1-9 of pregnancy. It's pretty cool:

I've begun the weaning process with Griffin. It officially started today. I don't like to stop cold turkey. That seems to be torture for everyone involved and for everyone living under this roof. So for anyone interested, here's the process that I have followed successfully in the past:
1) Wait until the child is eating enough meals and snacks during the day to begin substituting solids for nursing - generally by around 12 months. (For Griffin this has taken longer because of his texture aversion).
2) As always, feed on demand (about every 3-4 hours) but begin offering more substitutes and prolong nursing as much as can be tolerated.
3) Eliminate daytime nursing first. Bedtime and early morning feedings are the last to go because they are the toughest to break for both baby and mommy. Seriously, who wants to warm up a bottle of milk/formula at 4 a.m. when you have the warm "goods" ready to go?!
4) Once daytime weaning is completely done, begin replacing bedtime nursing with something else such as a cup of milk, story time, and cuddle time.
5) The early morning nursing sessions usually fall away as the other ones are replaced.
Viola! Your baby is successfully weaned without traumatic episodes of denial...I hope! I don't really agree with books, such as Babywise, that give such specific details for feedings and sleeping. All children (and parents) are fearfully and wonderfully made. It probably works for many children, but God in His humor has given me 2 children with difficult feeding issues. It is through their difficulties that I learned to pray through each developmental phase, asking God for discernment, patience, and gentleness. And I've learned to trust my God-given mommy instincts which I believe are given at the exact time when I need them and not a moment sooner. I will be sure to share how well the weaning process works for Griffin or if he'll require some different tactics.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

8 Weeks and Counting... Can't we count faster?!

We are now at week 8 with Baby 4. It's too bad we can't count by 2's during pregnancy! Ha ha! I'm feeling really pregnant - tired and yucky all the time. The tired factor is multiplied by 3 since I'm still keeping up with other little ones while my body takes over and cares for a 4th. I had a good check-up yesterday with Dr. B. Things are progressing as they should, even though I took myself off of prometrium about 2 weeks ago. I just couldn't handle the side effects of it and neither could Griffin who is still nursing. We both had major GI upset of all sorts. He and I are feeling much better since stopping the drug. It was meant to increase my progesterone level, which it did quite successfully. Since my progesterone level started off "normal" but slightly below "ideal" (according to Dr. B) I decided to take a chance and see if my body would do it's thing. It has! Now I'm the only one experiencing pregnancy symptoms and Griff has returned to his normal self...well, with the exception of a throat infection he got this week. Fortunately for him he got a shot of antibiotics yesterday and he is quickly on the mend.

We've had the privilege of having our niece, Ciera, stay with us a lot this summer. We've done all sorts of fun things and we drag her along with us. She's keeping up with our pace quite well. She has taken over our 3rd floor penthouse as we jokingly call it. That means she has a bedroom, full bath, and bonus room with a sofa and TV. It didn't occur to us until a few days ago that the TV is not working because we didn't hook it back up after removing cable. So I guess the TV doesn't really count, although, Ciera hasn't complained at all. She has her music and lots of family time with us. There's really no time for TV anyway. We hope to get the TV working again so we can watch some movies together...if I can figure out how to stay awake past 8 p.m.

So far it's been a very busy, fun-packed summer. BJ has been taking Lily and Schaeffer over to my parents' neighborhood pool at least once per weekend. I have been a few times, but unfortunately heat and nausea don't mix.

I hope you and your family enjoy a fun July 4 weekend. We may track down some fireworks somewhere and let the kids hide behind our legs from fear. LOL. Lily is actually interested in seeing fireworks this year. Schaeffer is hesitant but I think he'd enjoy the lights. Although, we may have to find him some ear plugs. Happy 4th!!