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

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.