Jun 03 2013

Baby #3

Oh, hi! So if you only read this blog, then I have some updating to do. I’m having another baby! SHE is due in October, but I wouldn’t be surprised at a late September appearance.

I am 21 weeks now. At 19w, we had the ultrasound to show that she’s a girl. I didn’t actually see the pictures of that, so we’re going by the technician’s assessment until further notice :).

The first trimester went fairly well, but I was surprised at how much more queasy I felt this time, compared with the other two kids. More sensitive to foods, more generally nauseous though thankfully no barfing. My nausea mostly set in at nighttime, which I thought was weird. However, the good part was I still had an appetite during the day, so I wasn’t missing meals.

The nighttime nausea made it harder to sleep, so I was extra-tired. Most days, I simply passed out on the couch in the afternoon while the kids watched a movie or played nearby. I could hear them and help them if they needed something…but yeah. I was just out.

My baby belly sort of started to show around 12w or so, but only if you were really looking and knew what I looked like in a non-pregnant non-postpartum state. I’m still sometimes in regular pants, but I think that ended yesterday. For tops, some of my regular shirts still work, but I’m also wearing some maternity shirts. With Johnny, I couldn’t wait to look pregnant. This time, sometimes I just end up hiding it. I think to some, I might just look chubby in the middle still.

Now firmly in the second trimester, I’m feeling pretty good. No nausea for a long time, but still tired. I mean really, I have a 2yo and a 4yo, that’s life, right? But it’s way better than it was a few months ago.

I’ve felt movements since 16w, which rocked my world. I LOVE feeling baby kicks! It’s just so reassuring to feel those little bops. They started out subtle, and if I didn’t already have kids I might not have noticed. Now, movements are stronger and occasionally belly-shaking. Shane has felt a few kicks, and yesterday Baber (this is the nickname Johnny coined) kicked Vivie while she was sitting on my lap. Vivie didn’t notice.

As far as names go, we are stumped. Shane pulled all names in the SSA database, and we created various filters to eliminate some. And the names we were left with…yeah I dunno. Not really feeling any of them. This is going to be a challenge.

I’ve already inflated my exercise ball and have been sitting on it when I think about it. My back just gets really out of sorts lately, and it helps so much.

I’m planning on doing the Hypnobabies home study once more. I’m also planning on doing my Prenatal Pilates DVD, which I loved doing when I was pregnant with Vivienne. The kids joined me for a 20-minute workout the other day, and it was hilarious and fun watching them try it. They took it very seriously!

The kids are incredibly excited about the new baby. At first, they were both convinced it was a boy. We toyed with the idea of not finding out at the ultrasound, but in the end we thought we should, in case it was a girl. Ya know, to have more time to prepare for that idea for the kids. So yah. Johnny is fine with it, though I think he was hoping for a boy. Ya get what ya get!

So far, my blood pressure and kidney function has been perfect. I have a blood pressure monitor at home, and I check it and log it when I think about it. I’ll be more regular later on. And so far, my visits with my OB have been every 4 weeks. I know they’ll increase in frequency soon. Oh, and I did a 1-hour glucose test at 16 weeks and it was well within the normal range.

I like my OB, and I like that she’s taking me seriously. I will be at a top-notch hospital, and if things start to go sour at term, we’re inducing. Preeclampsia is a giant jerk, and we’re not messing around. Studies have shown that high-risk moms like me, and their babies, fare better with induction at 37 weeks as opposed to continuing being pregnant.

I don’t have an induction date on the calendar, and it may not even come to that. But it’s an option, and one I will gladly take if needed. My OB even said “if” we induce, I could still have a pretty natural birth.

I realize that induction will mean a medically hands-on birth. The hospital is fairly natural-friendly, and even if I end up with Pitocin and an epidural, I say whatever. Or a c-section. Whatever. Ideally, I’ll go into labor on my own (or will only need a little jump-start) and will have a mostly natural birth. But yah. I’m not holding onto any expectations for the type of birth.

Baby Girl — I just want to say that I love you and we all love you and can’t wait to meet you. We wonder if you will have “yellow” hair like your brother, or brown hair like your sister. Will it be curly? Straight? Will you look more like me, or more like your daddy? Will you be a chubby lil cherub or a string bean? Will you be laid back, or have a strong personality? So many things we wonder about!

Even though I haven’t blogged about you much, we’ve thought about you and prayed for you more than you can know. You will be joining a loving household and while part of me is terrified of having three little kids, part of me can’t picture our home without you.

xoxo, be good!

Posted under Uncategorized | Comments Off on Baby #3
Jan 02 2013

My new preschool at home blog

Awhile back, I started a homeschool/preschool blog so I could keep track of my ideas and what we were doing at home.

If you’d like to follow along, subscribe to it here:

Who is the Teacher?

I suggest subscribing instead of just checking it regularly because I don’t have a posting schedule in mind. Just whenever I think of something.

Thank you!

Posted under Uncategorized | Comments Off on My new preschool at home blog
Dec 21 2012

Johnny is 4!

Such a big boy. Johnny is 4 years old!

When he was born and still in that newborn stage, I couldn’t think ahead to what he’d be like as a 3 or 4-year-old. I couldn’t seem to comprehend that my little newborn would indeed actually grow into a preschooler. It sounds silly, I know. But when you’re so exhausted you can’t see straight, it’s hard to think ahead a few years.

I loved it when Johnny was 3. He is such a fun little boy, and so sweet, smart and funny. He’s good company to have! I told him last night that it was the last time I’d put him to bed as a 3-year-old, and that I really thought it was a fun year.

He asked if I thought age 4 would be fun, and I told him, “Even better!” Because really. What a fun age! He has such an interest in the world around him and he likes to explore how things work. He has a fascination with weather and maps and has a remarkable sense of direction.

He enjoys doing arts & crafts — things like coloring, cutting, gluing, painting, and general creations. He’ll claim “recycled” materials that we aren’t using (old toilet paper tubes, empty boxes, etc) and make something totally new out of it.

He’s pretty good with a pen and paper, and sometimes I’ll catch him having a quiet moment, drawing what’s going on in his imagination. Sometimes, he’ll draw a picture on one side, and flip the paper over and draw the back view on the other side. What.

Visualizing the back view of a robot? Seriously?? That’s impressive to me. He likes writing his name on his drawings and he’s getting pretty good with forming letters. He’s also reading a little bit (!?) of simple words, and he seems to understand basic letter sounds.

He’ll ask how to spell something, and we’ll have him guess. Example: “How do you spell ‘stop’?” “What’s the first sound you hear?” and so on. It’s amazing how we are just created to learn language. Johnny enjoys reading books with me and will now ask questions and make predictions.

He’s always enjoyed books to a degree, but even more so now. When he was way younger he didn’t seem as interested, so I’m glad to see his love of reading has grown. He had his first dental exam a few weeks ago. He has a bruised tooth (from playing too hard!) and we wanted to get it looked at.

I figured he was mature enough now to deal with it without freaking out, and he was a champ for the x-rays and exam. No cavities! Yay! From just a bathroom scale, he seems to be 39-40 lbs. From my measurements, he’s about 42.5″ tall. He’s a tall dude.

We were at Chick-Fil-A for Vivie’s birthday dinner, and there was a 5-year-old shorter than he was. What.

Favorite toys include: giant cardboard building blocks, his trains (the wooden set and the train table), and crafting materials.

For his birthday, he received: Imaginext space ship and moon rover, Andrew Luck Colts jersey (he just wanted a football jersey — he doesn’t know who Luck is. He wants to pretend he’s a football player), electronic drum sticks, a Spiderman car with loop-de-loop track, Spiderman pajamas and robe, a Hex bug, and a neat Play-Doh construction site set.

He had a chocolate cupcake cake with a ┬áThomas the Tank Engine design on it. Loved it! For his birthday dinner tonight, we planned to go to his favorite restaurant, Panera. He’s a fan of their mac & cheese. But the weather was gross and quickly turning to ice, so we thought it would be better to stay in. Johnny didn’t want to go once he saw what was going on outside. He didn’t want to crash. Love how smart he is!

So…raincheck for Panera and we ended up playing at home.

Oh, and ever since July when we went to Pittsburgh, Johnny has thought the song, “Four” by Little Jerry and the Monotones (from Sesame Street way back) was so hilarious. So he’d do his version of Rick Rolling me. He’d say, “Mommy?”


“Big Jeffy’s number four!”

Several times per day. And it would be silly every time. Or he’d just say that in the middle of nothing, or when he was really excited.

For this birthday, we said “Big Johnny’s number four!” and he was like ” stooooooop.” heh.

Posted under Uncategorized | Comments Off on Johnny is 4!
Dec 19 2012

Vivienne is 2!

My little Vivienne turned two years old on Monday. Wow! I have neglected this blog way too much. I post short snippet updates on Facebook more these days, but I still want to document more about my little lady.

She wears 2T-3T clothing, depending on the item and size 8 shoes (though I think she’ll be in 9s soon). She has 10 teeth: 4 in a row on the top, 2 in the row on the bottom, and 4 molars. I was so glad when the molars finally came in, because now it’s easier for her to eat.

No idea on her height and weight. Her 2-year checkup is in February :). I think she’s a little bit short and probably about average weight now.

I weaned her at 22 months. I had to go cold-turkey about it, because it was definitely time. She was causing me physical pain, plus she was being very demanding and rude and I just needed to call it quits. The transition went fairly well this time (I had tried before and it was a disaster). I’m glad she nursed as long as she did, but I’m also glad she stopped when she did :).

Around that time, unfortunately, she started dropping her nap. That was one of the perks of continuing to nurse — it really helped make sure that nap happened! She still does seem to need the nap, but if she misses it she’s not too crabby by bedtime as long as she’s still getting a good night’s sleep.

There was about a month of sleep regression in general at night. She used to be pretty reliable about nighttime sleep, but again around weaning she started waking up a lot more and needing me to be with her. I did, knowing it was helping her through the transition. She is sleeping better at night now, though still sometimes wakes and wants me.

Vivie has been talking up a storm for the last oh, 6 months? More? I don’t remember. Her enunciation is improving and so is her vocab. It’s fun to hear the sentences she comes up with.

The girl is smart as could be (aren’t all kids ­čśÇ ?) and it’s fun to see her process things.

She enjoys playing with baby dolls. She especially likes the sense of order in having a “mommy and a baby.” When playing with things that aren’t babies (such as trains, blocks, shapes, etc.) one is the mommy and the other is the baby. It’s how her world works. Love it.

She enjoys “reading” books herself and being read to and will recite some books along with me. Current favorites include works of P.D. Eastman (“Go, Dog, Go!” and “Ten Apples Up on Top” and “Big Dog and Little Dog”).

When coloring, she doesn’t do huge scribbles — she does controlled little motions in one area at a time. She’s getting pretty good with crayon and marker control (she prefers markers, go figure) and will color on herself if I’m not looking. heh.

Her favorite colors seem to be purple and yellow, and favorite foods are applesauce and  peanut butter (not together).

She has a strong personality. She might be described as feisty, a firecracker, or a live wire. Strong opinions and she’ll get vocal quickly. She’s physically strong as well, and sometimes for diaper changes if she is not cooperative, it truly takes two of us to pin her down. Brute strength. Impressive and slightly scary.

Mostly though, she’s very loving toward her family. She is best friends with her brother and they get along very well (most of the time). She’s more of a stinker toward her daddy for whatever reason at the moment, but we think it is just a phase.

For her birthday, we got her the Playmobil123 Noah’s Ark and she’s a fan. Also, the Playmobil123 farm (not the “interactive” one). She loves that thing and played with it all day yesterday. It’s a nice set, and I like that it has a little farm house aspect, too (that’s why I chose that over their zoo). From Johnny, she got a Dora pillow-type doll (he was so excited to pick that out and give it to her!). From my parents, a Sesame Street microphone (she likes to sing along, heh); from Shane’s parents a Leap Frog picnic basket; from my grandma a baby doll; from her uncle and his girlfriend a baby, shopping cart and groceries, and playpen. Whew!

For Christmas, she is getting some more Playmobil123 (why not? Heh). This time the “Countryside” set and the Playground. Smaller-scale than the farm but I think they will be a nice overall package. P.S. I bought the Playmobil back in November and got some great deals — and I’m appalled at the prices I’m now seeing on Amazon for the same thing. Last-minute crazy markup. Insane. I paid like $24 for the Countryside set and it’s now listed at $79. Right.

She’s also getting the Melissa & Doug 60-count blocks and a few puzzles.

Overall, I can’t believe she’s two. She is becoming more and more of a little girl every day and it is so fun to be her mom.

What blows my mind is the fact that she’s the age Johnny was when she was born. I can’t picture her with a newborn at this age. Eep.

Looking forward to what the year will bring!

Posted under Uncategorized | Comments Off on Vivienne is 2!
Aug 20 2012

Our first few weeks of preschool at home

Well, I dunno if you could really call it our first few weeks, since what we’re doing isn’t that much different from what we’ve been doing before. For the sake of a starting point for reflecting upon, I guess you could say we started this preschool year at the beginning of August (following the local school calendar).

I can tell that one of my problems is going to be restraining myself from buying.all.the.things! I get catalogs in the mail and I think OOH that would be a really neat way to introduce this, or explore that, or so on. I was an overbuyer when it came to cloth diapers and baby carriers and if I don’t watch it, I’ll be an overbuyer with curricula and books. Oh. Too late.

The good news, is just like I did with diapers and carriers I didn’t want — I can sell things off. I did that with dipes and slings and I’m already starting to sell homeschool stuff I don’t want. Crazy.

Here’s my post from May outlining my preschool ideas and resources.

I’ll go through that list to recap what’s working and what’s not. First, what’s working:

:: The Virginia Lee Burton treasury. Love those stories. Worth owning for our family.
:: I’ve been using our public library to supplement children’s books we don’t have, but would like to read. Some books I’ve heard great things about so I figure I can treat it as a “try before I buy” deal. Total winner books I try to buy. For instance, we recently borrowed “Go, Dog. Go!” and the kids instantly loved it. I stopped at Half Price Books and found a used copy in great condition, so I bought it. Johnny ran and got the library version and asked me to return it so someone else could read it. Hah!

:: From MFW preschool: Vivie LOVES the shape sorter activity. We have it in a plastic shoebox to hold all the pieces and she puts it together as she wants and when she does, boxes it all up and hands it to me. The Wee Sing songs continue to be a hit. Haven’t done much with the train puzzle lately, but I should remember to pull it out of the supply closet.
:: From MFW preschool 3-4s: We haven’t done a whole lot with this batch of material aside from just playing with the pieces. Both kids like to work with the items. I need to be more deliberate about doing the activity cards since I think they do have good readiness activities.

:: From Timberdoodle. I thought these things would be sooooooooo fuuuuuuuuuuuuuun for everyone but they haven’t gone over as well as I expected. The kids will do the Day & Night puzzle and Johnny can do it pretty well. I do think it’s a good item, but their attention span just doesn’t suggest it’s something they want to do for very long.

The Hape Zoo puzzle is a lot harder than I expected and the way the pictures on the pieces go together make it seem harder than it needs to be. It’s a “meh” item for us for now, though that might change when they’re a little older?

The Big Book of Things to Spot is an entertaining book for keeping in the van. Kind of fun to look at the pictures but I don’t know that I’d go way out of my way to own a copy. A used one? Yes.

The scissors work sorta well but Johnny is now freaked out by scissors since I told him he had to be careful not to touch the blade. He will only use the Melissa & Doug plastic scissors. Pfft! I think the cutting activities in the pack from Timberdoodle will be too advanced for him for awhile but maybe will be fun later on. I should have skipped this purchase.

The Hugg-a-Planet globe: WINNER. Johnny has a thing for geography and we use it a lot when talking about where places are.

Magnetibook faces and vehicles: Winners. Johnny enjoys doing these, either by copying the cards or making his own creation.

The Imaginets set I bought is a bit redundant given what we already have. Same basic thing as the Magnetibooks, but just not as interesting I think. A regular ol set of pattern blocks for the ability to stack them.

I picked up the “Building Thinking Skills: Beginning” book from a used homeschool stuff sale since I had seen it in the Timberdoodle catalog and the mom selling it said she and her daughter enjoyed it. Johnny and I didn’t like the format and I sold it on Amazon. For a profit! I can see how these activities would introduce some different concepts to little minds, but it just seemed too academic and too formal for what we’re after. Maybe we’d like those books more when the kids are quite a bit older.

We have the four books in the Kumon First Steps series — Let’s Color, Let’s Cut, Let’s Fold, Let’s Sticker & Paste. Winners. At first, I thought I’d be anti-workbook (especially given my feelings about the book I mentioned above) but these are really fun for Johnny. He feels proud to have those skills improve and he likes me to display his artwork and whatnot on the wall. We do a few pages in whatever book whenever he asks about it or I invite him to do something. Nothing really scheduled.

His coloring shill and confidence are improving and that book is progressing the fastest. He really enjoyed the sticker book, and we’ve exhausted the sticker portion and now it’s time for pasting. He’s stoked. The folding and the cutting book are going at the slowest pace but that’s a-ok.

Depending on how his attitude and skills are at the completion of any given book, we can progress onto a “More Let’s Color” or whatever, or just the regular “My Book of Coloring” book, and so on.

I think these fine-motor skills are really nice to strengthen, and the books offer one way to do that. Totally optional though. I know you could do all of the activities with just paper and an imagination.

We also have a few of the Kumon maze books. I had torn out some pages and put them inside page protectors, but they quickly got mangled on the edges so I think I’m going to consider them a one-kid book.

Oh, note that the First Steps books are 4 -for- 3 on Amazon so you can save money by purchasing there.

Though the age on the books say 2+, I don’t know that a 24m old kid could do those with any independence at all. Vivie is only 4 months away from that point, and there’s just no way. She likes to scribble and color on paper to an extent, but a workbook? No. Even when Johnny was an earlier 3 I think he would not be ready for them. He’s 3.75 and this is just right for him.

I do realize that some kids would be ready for these activities earlier or later.


At first, I made things too hard on myself by trying to do some sort of curriculum that worked as a unit study. In theory, I like the idea but in practice, it just wasn’t happening. So, we play Bible songs while in the van and the kids enjoy singing along. We also are starting some Bible memory and Johnny shocked me when he memorized Genesis 1:1 perfectly after only 2 days and only a few repetitions of practice.

Even now, I can ask him “What happened in the beginning?” and he jumps into song, singing the verse to me. What! Putting it to a tune helps, but he can do without it.

I am using the verses from ABC Jesus Loves me (website) and the printable cards to cut out and use as a visual reminder. So far, so good. Now to add another verse to memory.

This post is getting long enough, so I’ll add more thoughts later on.

Posted under Uncategorized | 1 Comment »