Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Our little homeschool's morning board

Woof!  It looks so ugly in the sparse lighting.

Here's our morning board, as promised.  It isn't the most be-a-utiful picture, but it'll have to do.

I modeled it after Mama Jenn's fine piece of work.  I used all her printables and copied the basic gist of things.  I didn't laminate anything; I don't have a laminator and feel gun-shy of coating everything in plastic.  I know they would probably last longer, but I resist.  I'd rather just use paper and re-print as they eventually get destroyed or wear out.

We used to have an art wire in this area (right outside the kitchen, heading into the living room at the bottom of the stairs), but when a friend gave me a large piece of composite cork-board after remodeling (possibly used as an insulating "sounding board" by the previous owner, I don't know), I knew this exact spot is where I would put our new Calender / Morning Board combo.  It is perfect: right in view of the kitchen table, but not dominating a main living area.

I covered it in extra fabric (thanks Mom . . . recognize it?) with our handy-dandy staple gun (thanks again, Andrenda), got a calendar themed with monthly/seasonal shifts from a school supply company, started gathering up supplies, and proceeded from there.  The empty sections are TBD . . . I figured I might want to add components later on and configured the space to accommodate that.  Overall, I am very pleased with how it turned out.  

Having a morning board is a very nice starting point for the day.  We do it every morning before breakfast: the boys keep track of the weather, days in school, the date, change the shapes card (that's Jamie's job and thank goodness he has one or it would be complete turmoil), and recite the poem we are focusing on for memory work.  I am also very pleased with the daily reference and visual for numbers higher-than-ten in sequence.  I feel like it provides them with a more tangible source to process through this concept.  Working towards an understanding of the calendar year is happening too . . . just this afternoon, out of the blue on the way up to Quiet Time, Diego asked how many months were in a year.

Logistically, I tried to keep everything as high as possible knowing that Señor Destructo AKA little Jamie would be all over it.  He has gone through phases where he loves ripping the weather and "days in school" cards down, and one time completely mangled the poem and the sheath it resides in, but the overall product has not been destroyed.  Knock on wood!

And now . . . let's have a nicer-looking picture in here in kindness to our retinas.

Blaine did a cleansing fast this past weekend, where he ate nothing but fruit and vegetables for two days to gear up, three days of nothing but fresh juice, water, and tea, and then geared back down with another two days of fruit and vegetables.  Complete with morning enemas of lemon juice, then coffee, during the three-day fast.  Such a lovely thought, I know, but they really help with the detox.  He juiced massive quantities of celery, cabbage, carrots, apples, garlic, oranges, and grapefruit (Diego loved helping him).

The boys and I left the house on the first day of the fast, which ended up being the hardest day for Blaine, and ended up at a Mexican restaurant for our evening meal.  It turned out to be one of the wildest and most unpleasant meals I've ever had at a restaurant with the boy-ohs, mostly from their sheer exuberance and the relentless wiggling.  They were literally falling out of the booth.  Most unpleasant.  They weren't necessarily being naughty, just wildly ecstatic and I was completely unable to tame them. 

The fast went very well for Blaine.  The hunger was intense, of course; but he held out.  He was terribly stinky that first day and had a killer headache, but the second and third days felt much more normal (aside from the hunger).  He even went out and skied hard the second morning, feeling the urge to sweat (then skied at a snail's pace with Truen).  It was good.  I hope he makes it a yearly event.  And someday . . . when I'm done having babies, I'll do it too.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Third tooth

 The result of a game of "pillow monster" the day before yesterday --
Truen accidentally bashed into Diego's mouth
right as he was pretending to bite him.

He pushed and twiddled it with his tongue all yesterday morning
(like you see in the above photo) until it just plopped out.
I wasn't as sad this time 'round, 
though it does change the look of his face.
Strangely enough --
Just this week I looked at his face with nostalgia,
thinking how different he'd look with his baby teeth gone.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

It's a . . .

'nother baby boy.  What else could it be?

Here's his little foot --

And his little arm --

They tried to get a 3-D image of his face but he was wiggling around too much.

Of course . . . I was hoping for the outside chance that it might just possibly be a girl, but after couple of minutes of crestfallen disappointment, I was back to my usual happy self.  A boy is what we were pretty much expecting anyway.  I know boys and I love my boys.  Blaine is pleased (though was initially a little disappointed over the fact they it wasn't twins, the rascal).  He would have flipped over a girl, but as he says, "I love my boys".  The sweet little fellas.

And I have all their gear, conveniently sorted by age; there is definitely a part of me with a strange satisfaction to be able to use their clothes all over again.   This little guy will be suited up with all the socks, shoes, boots, pants, shirts, undies, coats, hats, and mittens that he'll ever need.  I've saved it all.  Though I do suppose a number of things will be totally worn out by the time it gets to him.  The knees in most of the 4T pants are already threadbare.  I really need to learn how to patch (I think I can, I think I can, I think I can).  I wonder if little girls wear out the knees of pants like little boys do?

Shoot, maybe he'll even have a name by the time he's born.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The twin saga

We had a bit of a wild ride last month, when the possibility of TWINS cropped up.  I know, I know.  I spent many a sleepless night, my mind running and not able to stop contemplating the possibility of caring for two babies at once.  I mean, I know people do it, but it just sounds so. hard.

Here's the story --

Back in December, I measured 18 inches at my 16 week prenatal appointment.  Five weeks later, at my January appointment, I measured 29.5 inches.  For anyone who doesn't know, at 21 weeks it is normal to measure 21 inches.  Not 29 inches.

I didn't realize what she was contemplating until she asked, "Are you planning to have an ultrasound with this pregnancy?" as she measured my belly for the third time.  I answered cheerfully at first, "Well . . . only if you want me to," as the slow terror of what she was considering dawned on me.  Twins?!

In addition to what appeared to be a rather large growth spurt, my midwife was reminded of her twin-mamas with some of the things I was telling her: heavy pressure on my pelvic floor, substantial ligament pain, movement that seemed much stronger than it should be, etc.  Though I wasn't ever quite sure it the movement was actually stronger, or if I was just more aware of it due to experience.

She found one heartbeat and two placental tones, which didn't tell us anything because it could have easily been the placenta attached at the back and reverberating off the sides of my uterus.  There was no telling for sure.  She also felt a lot of "baby parts" but couldn't necessarily place the exact position of the head or back or feet, though it did appear the baby was laying in a breech position.  She recommended either 1) waiting until next month's prenatal to see if I was still measuring large, or 2) if I really couldn't stand it, go in for an ultrasound for the final word.

Initially, I figured I would just wait.  I have measured large two different times before, always evening out by the next appointment in both cases.  It seemed silly to go in for an ultrasound just for measuring large.  Right?  Right??  But then I started checking in with one of my yahoo groups, a group that I know has a number of twin-mamas on its list.  Two of the answers, "I didn't find out until my ultrasound at 20 weeks" and "I didn't start measuring large until 20 weeks or so" was enough to spur me into action.

I called my back-up doctor and scheduled an appointment.  A doctor's order is required to get an ultrasound and I needed to connect with him at least once before the birth anyway, so it was going to work out for my benefit either way.

At the appointment, I was still measuring large, though not in correspondence with the two weeks which had passed.  He also checked for fetal heart tones and thought he found two - TWO.  One on the lower-left at 150 beats per minute and then one immediately afterwards on the upper-right at 160 beats per minute.

I think I screeched, "Are you telling me that you found two heartbeats?!", but then he was unable to relocate the "first" heartbeat.  This could have meant that either the baby moved, or the first baby moved behind the second baby.  Either way, there was no telling.  An ultrasound was the way we were going to find out.

We all went in together two days later, thinking that if this was a doozy-of-an-ultrasound with the huge news of two babies, not just one, it might be fun for the boys to witness it.  I didn't sleep very well the night before, as you can imagine.  How would I get anything done?  How I could I ever travel by plane again?  How would we fit everyone into our mini-van?  How could there ever be enough of me to go around?  And so on.

We all filed into the room and I lay down on the table.  The ultrasound tech slopped the glop on my belly, put the instrument down, and said, "There's your baby".  Talk about anti-climatic.

"My baby?  There's only one in there....?" I asked.  She evidently didn't get the memo that this was the sole reason why we were there.  "Yep," she said.  After checking and re-checking and confirming that yes, she would absolutely be able to tell the moment it came up on the screen, I was satisfied.  One baby.  One baby!  There was only one baby.  The relief flooded in.

The reason I measured large is because the baby is in a longitudinal breech position, with the head in the upper-right part of my belly, the feet in the lower-left.  It also measured about a week ahead in size, so it could have been a "growth spurt" in conjunction with the breech position.

 Isn't it just the cutest little thing?

And . . . we know what we are having.  Does anyone want to venture a guess?

(If you know already, shhhhhhhhhhhhh.)

Monday, February 04, 2013

Feeling inspired in the kitchen

Recently Diego and Truen, but particularly Diego, have been very interested in making food.

It started from Diego's desire to make what I call "slop", where he mixes various ingredients together into a disgusting glop that no one wants to eat, not even him.  While I do believe in letting them explore their interests and inspirations, I have a very hard time allowing him to waste our hard-earned food supply by turning it into inedible garbage, so I usually try to steer his interest into something more productive: our kid cookbooks.

Looking through the cookbooks last week kindled a little fire and so we pulled out their "special notebooks" (I'm trying to train them early to keep all their information, lists, stickers, and special pieces of paper in one place) and wrote a list of what they each wanted to make.

Diego's List:
  • Chocolate Mousse
  • Mini Pizzas
  • Pigs in a Blanket
  • Quiche
  • Ice Cream Gateau
Truen's List:
  • Ox-eye Eggs
  • Croque Monsieur
  • Pigs in a Blanket
  • Baked Bananas

Then we made lists of all the ingredients that we would need to buy.  In this case: ham, sausages, cream, bacon, olives, mozzarella cheese, and ice cream.  We had everything else.

Thus far we've made the mini pizzas, ox-eye eggs, croque monsieur (grilled cheese sandwiches w/ ham), and baked bananas.  The boys are so proud of the work they've done and really enjoy re-living how delicious their special meal was.  I think we've made ox-eye eggs three times now (Truen wanted them for lunch today) and when we made the mini-pizzas, Diego cut all the ingredients up totally on his own: scallions, olives, mushrooms (and even got a little sting in his eyes from the green onions).

I've been very pleased with the whole thing.  Watching their excitement during the process and the subsequent pride over the results is so much fun.  This week I think we'll probably make the 'pigs in a blanket' and chocolate mousse.

And honestly . . . baked bananas??  Who knew they'd be so delicious?!  Scrumptious.