Wednesday, May 30, 2007

WFMW: Closet Office

Our old house had an office. We miss it terribly. I hate having office equipment in the master bedroom. When we bought this house, we didn't know what to do with this closet. It's kind of in a weird place - off our playroom, which the previous owners used as a spare bedroom, but is probably supposed to be a parlor. It's a big closet, though - about 6 ft. square - and it became our office space. We used some filing cabinet and a piece of wood laminate to make a desk, and added a short bookshelf and some plastic storage drawers. It makes a nice little docking station for our laptops, and plenty of storage for papers and such. This is probably the neatest it's been in the last six months, but you can have a look!

You can find more Works for Me ideas at Rocks in my Dryer!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

My little Snuggle Puppy

Have you read Snuggle Puppy by Sandra Boyton? It is a great little book. I've been reading it often to #3 since he was born - he's the snuggle puppy - has been since he was newborn. He loves to snuggle.

This week, #3 learned to say, "woof woof." He refers to any non-human creature as a woof-woof. Except for a cow, which is a "moooo." I'll try to get a picture of him saying "Mooo," since we are highly amused by the expression that accompanies the sound. We saw a dog at the park yesterday, and he was enthralled. He looks out of our kitchen windows and says "woof woof" to the squirrels, bunnies, and birds that hide in our trees.

Here he is wrapped in his doggie towel after a bath. Isn't he cute?

Tackle It Tuesday: Schoolwork organization

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

Yesterday, I posted that #2 and I are both in need of something to think about. One thing I know I can do about that is to reinstate schooltime. But, I've been trying to - tried to get to school all week last week, but it just wasn't happening - I couldn't get things together. So, today's Tackle It was designed to get everything together in a way that I can find everything I need for a day easily at home, and also easily pick things up and take them with us on the days we go hang out at Gram's house.

Last night, we made a family trip to Target, and we picked up this little file holder with 26 dividers that fastens up quite nicely. I labelled each section 1-24 (which represent the 24 school days in six weeks, since we tend to school four days a week or so). Then I labelled 24 red file folders and put in each one a phonics/LA lesson, a math lesson, a handwriting lesson and 1-3 lapbooking activities. In the next six weeks, we will be completing several lapbooks from Hands of a Child: Beginning Reading, Curious George Rides a Bike, Little Miss Muffet, Katy and the Big Snow, and Jesus loves the Little Children. And we will also do the Addition Facts 1-4 lapbook from Knowledge Box Central. Because the file holder has the sides enclosed and the file folders have the bottoms enclosed, there should be no lost pieces for the lapbooks. Plus, there are two extra sections available for holding teacher's notes and a workbook or two.

We'll see how it goes, but we did an hour's worth of schoolwork today - and it wouldn't have taken that long if I hadn't had to co-erce him to read a few sentences.

So, that was my Tackle It Tuesday - I got organized and did a day's schoolwork with #2. There are more Tackle Its at 5minutes for mom.

Monday, May 28, 2007

About Bookworm #1

If you've been reading here any time at all, you've noticed that on an almost-daily basis, you read the antics of Bookworms #2, #3 and #4. I've been asked lately, "where is Bookworm#1?"

The answer, as we tell our other children, is "Bookworm#1 lives with Jesus." But here is his story:

On October 7, 1999, we went to our small group meeting. We learned a new worship song called "You are in Control."

You are my shepherd, I have no needs
You lead me by peaceful streams
You protect my life
You hold my hand and you guide my steps
You lead me through the valley of death....

and the chorus is "you are in control" repeated over and over again.

When we returned home that evening, the Bookworm King remarked that he enjoyed the song particularly because we had named our unborn son "Daniel Caleb." Daniel means "God is in control," and Caleb means "He is faithful."

The next evening, I went into labor. And the next morning, October 9, 1999, our firstborn joined us via emergency caeserean section just a few minutes after his heart stopped in utero.

The first 48 hours were a blur of diagnosing and misdiagnosing and rediagnosing and transferring to a larger hospital. Finally we were told that he had a metabolic disease, and he most likely wouldn't live through the week. That was Sunday afternoon. We prayed. Our family prayed. Our friends prayed. We got emails from friends as far away as Vietnam telling us that they were praying. There were many churches - the more the news spread, the more there were. Danny was on nearly every type of medical support available. We learned about them all - the names, uses, benefits and consequences of them. Not because we knew we should, but because our minds needed something to do. We sat by his tiny bedside. We touched him gently as we were able. We sang to him and read to him and prayed for him. Our small group met that week without us - and they prayed - actually, they prayed all night and into the next day. Many of them had been fasting all week. And many, many others were praying. And God decided to teach us all.

When we arrived at the hospital the next morning, Danny was off the ventilator and being weaned from the more life-supporting of his medications. The next day, he moved to the "Grow and Go" side of the nursery. There was no official diagnoses - just "probable metabolic disease." In three weeks, we were home. For the next few months, we were in and out of the local hospital with different problems - and finally, after some bungling by strange doctors and stupid decisions by other medical staff and such, we came upon the world's most wonderful pediatrician ever and we wound up traveling to St. Louis Children's Hospital so that Danny could get evaluated for mitochondrial disease. The results were inconclusive. But when Danny was three months old and still not gaining weight, we went back to Children's, and he traded the geneticists some muscle tissue for a permenant feeding tube.

Six months later, we learned that Danny had "a deletion or mutation in the mtRNA causing a cytochrome C oxidase (COX)-like deficiency)." Greek to you? Well, it was to us, too - but because God gave us both an insatiable desire to understand things, within a week we were Illinois's resident experts on COX deficiency. It all boiled down to this: every cell in Danny's body was having to work three times as hard as necessary to create enough energy for him to survive. COX deficiency is a metabolic problem in which the body is missing an enzyme necessary for producing energy from glucose. We were told that Danny would never smile, roll over, sit up, crawl, walk or communicate with us in any way. He probably wouldn't live another three months. After the doctor told us that, Danny grinned for the first time.

The next year was filled with milestones for Danny - he was sitting by the time he was 18 months old. And he was h.a.p.p.y. His smile lit up our house. He might as well have been screaming "God is good ALL the time, and ALL the time, God is GOOD." That child knew how to live. Every day was a miracle for him, and he did everything set before him with great effort and amazing accomplishment.

When he turned two, we moved back to Oklahoma to be closer to our family because the Lord was leading us (against medical advice) to get pregnant. We knew that we couldn't handle all Danny's medical needs and a newborn without our family. And God provided a job and a house and a pregnancy - all in the same month.

Danny was fairly healthy from 9 months until he was three and a half. That winter, he caught RSV and it caused permenant heart damage. The next two years were a constant struggle to live in spite of his medically fragile body. His feeding and medication schedules were complicated and required constant management. His calendar was full of planned doctor's appointments and therapy sessions - all of which would have to be canceled at a moment's notice when he would suddenly (as in over an hour) become so ill that an emergency visit to the hospital was necessary - he might stay a few hours or a few weeks.

We struggled with a desire to shelter him from the world (one doctor advised that he never leave the house - he needed to live in a bubble) and a desire to let him be a child and have a child's life. We could have probably kept Danny longer if we had kept him to ourselves - but he had a personality that begged to be shared. We felt that the Lord wanted us to let Danny's light shine, so that was what we did. He went with us to church. He attended school at The Little Light House - a local Christian school for children with special needs. He played with his brother and cousins and family friends. We all watched his joy and prayed that he would live.

And he did - that child packed a lifetime of living into five years, four months and thirteen days. And when we had handed him back to our Heavenly Father, it was with gratitude for the time we had had with him and the things he had taught us, and a very heavy heart because it was over. When his casket was lowered into our newly acquired burial plot, we were angry. How could our God - the Sovereign - who was in control - allow Danny's light to be snuffed out after only five years? We wept on the way to the church from the private graveside service.

And then we received the answer to our question. When we walked into the sanctuary for Danny's memorial celebration, nearly every one of the 700 seats was occupied. Every person we spoke with could pinpoint a moment with Danny that changed them in some way. All of our local community was there. And so were some friends from Illinois - and several others (including that first fantastic pediatrician) called us, and many more had sent their condolences. Once again, over the next few weeks, cards poured out of our mailbox as those who had prayed so hard during Danny's first few days let us know that they were praying for our family's restoration and for the healing of our hearts.

In just five short years, Danny changed his world one smile at a time.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

For the want of an idea

I'm mentally stir-crazy. I think #2 is, too.

We've spent nine months gearing up to meet #4, and now that we have, there is nothing to look forward to. I spent nine months planning, and now as my careful plans are put into action - I have nothing to plan. I have school planned for next year. I hope to figure out how to link my kindergartener's trip around the world into the sidebar of this blog because I'd love to share it freely, but I don't know if I can share it that way because it borrows heavily from Galloping the Globe and Sonlight Core C.

I need something to think about beside what chore to accomplish next and what to cook for dinner tomorrow. #2 needs something to think about besides who is coming over or where are we going the day after tomorrow or what video to watch.

Basically, I'm physically exhausted and mentally bored. I need something good to read, but nothing seems to suit my fancy at the moment. Something to plan or think on to write about would be good, but I really don't need anything else to do with deadlines. And yet, if I had a reading assignment and a deadline, I might try to meet it. When I have nothing to focus on in my thoughts, it's a lot easier to slip into self-pity or outright depression - and since I'm postpartum and sleep-deprived, those are things to guard against.

I don't know what to do with myself. I'm gathering a unit study on Curious George (see previous entry) to try to occupy #2 for a few days at least. I want to get back into the swing of doing schoolwork during the morning naptime - just have to get everything organized.

But right now, I need to wake my napping husband, clean some bathrooms, and then send man and some boys to buy lightbulbs - which I had in the cart on Thursday when I went to the store, but they didn't make it home. But first, #3 needs some attention.

Unit Study: Curious George

HOAC lapbook: Curious George Rides a Bike
Copywork, Narration, and such according to the lapbook.

--A Monkey Baby Grows Up by Joan Hewett
--I didn't know that Chimps Use Tools and other amazing facts about apes and monkeys by Claire Llewellyn
--Apes and Monkeys by Donald R. Shire
--Amazing Monkeys by Scott Steedman (eyewitness junior series)
--Animals in Orbit by Katerine McGlade Marko
--Helping Hands: How Monkeys Assist People who are Disabled by Suzanne Haldane
--Monkey Tales by Laurel Dee Gugler
--So Say the Little Monkeys by Nancy Van Laan

--Ostriches by Thane Maynard
--Since Lulu Learned the Cancan by Orel Odinov Protopopescu
--Emily and the Ostriches by Dan Bernstein
--Big Egg by Molly Coxe
--Bush babies. Flightless feathers ; Desert dame ; Tireless traveler [videorecording]

HA and Margret Rey
--The Journey that Saved Curious George

--Gus and Grandpa and the two-wheeled bike by Claudia Mills
Bikes for rent! by Isaac Olaleye
The bike lesson by Stan and Jan Berenstain.
Amazing bikes by Trevor Lord
The magic bicycle by Berlie Doherty
My rows and piles of coins by Tololwa M. Mollel
Messenger, messenger by Robert Burleigh
Two hundred years of bicycles by Jim Murphy.
The bicycle by Larry Hills.

George Books to Read:
Cecily G and the Nine Monkeys The Original Curious George Curious George Learns the Alphabet Curious George Takes the Job
Curious George Gets a Medal
Curious George Flies a Kite
Curious George Goes to the Hospital
and every other George book we own - #2 has quite a collection

Other books by H.A. Ray
Whiteblack the Penguin Sees the World
Elizabite: Adventures of a Carnivorous Plant

read a page or two a day from Jorge el Curiouso monta en bicicleta and pick out a few vocabulary words each day.

Watch the Curious George movie that came out last year (twaddly, but fun)

Frozen Bananas
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Saturday, May 26, 2007


I haven't written a newsy entry in a while. I've been a little busy. It is hard enough to get my weekly memes posted - and those I typically know what to write. Right now, I have a few minutes with little #4 curled up in my lap. He's wide awake though, and my sweet husband would send me to bed if he wasn't really busy setting up a new server to take to the office tomorrow. Hopefully, #4 will be asleep by the time I'm done typing because if he is, I'm going to bed!

We've all be adjusting. I've been adjusting to being needed by more people. The Bookworm King has been adjusting to balanacing work and family again after a long six weeks of workworkwork. #2 is adjusting to some new expectations and a new brother. #3 is adjusting to not being the baby of the family - even though he is still a baby. And #4 is adjusting to life outside the womb. Plus #2 and #3 are adjusting to the changes in routine that a new baby brings.

We had a pretty typical week for us - friends over on Monday, Bible study and pizza on Tuesday, Gram's house on Wednesday, Mimi Day on Thursday, and errands and a visit from Gram on Friday. Today, the Bookworm King was home - he and #2 had an outing. We all had some time at home. I went to the library for a bit by myself (that was lovely). And then we went out to dinner with another family. I thoroughly enjoyed by hamburger and onion rings, and I made a new friend. The guy in the other family is a friend of the King's, a friend from work, and I had never met his wife. But their twins are the same age as #3. We had a good time, and I'm pretty sure we'll be inviting them over for a playdate this week or next.

On the agenda for next week: Monday will be an extra day at home together (with some cleaning involved). Tuesday - hmmm, no Bible study this week - maybe picture day for my kids? Wednesday we'll probably visit Gram and do anything that we need to do in town. Thursday will be Mimi Day for #3 - maybe the aquarium for the rest of us. Friday - who knows what we'll do. And there will be some school for #2 for the first time in a month. We're going to work on phonics and math and a unit study on Curious George (thanks to the Lapbooking Ladies at In the Hands of a Child).

But right now, #2, #3, and #4 are all asleep, and I need to go lay down.


I'm listening to a lecture by Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn called "Less-Hurried Way to Homeschool." It's very interesting. I'm not sure how much I agree with them, but I like the fact that they allow extra time before they start subjects like Grammar. They make use of Charlotte Mason's ideas (particularly copywork and narration). I like that they teach classically, including Latin, Koine Greek, and Biblical Hebrew. These are things that interest me greatly. I appreciate their combining of phonics with relaxed language arts particularly since I'm still trying to figure out what parts of language arts my kindergartner actually needs to learn now versus what would be better taught later.

The Bluedorns also recommend that formal math instruction be avoided until age 10, and they believe that at that point the student can begin with Saxon 65 and go quickly on to algebra. Until age 10, they suggest hands-on math with lots of manipulatives and tools (rulers, cuisenaire rods, scales, etc.). My son loves his Horizons math workbook, though. We do use manipulatives often. What about memory work - like memorizing math facts? When do you do that? Does it happen naturally as you play with manipulatives? There are many things that can be memorized easily before age 10. Hmmm... I wonder what the Bluedorns would have to say about that?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Fruit of the Spirit Friday: Self-Control

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

1. What fruit are you focusing on this fruit this week?
I think we are focusing on all of them really - this has been a major training week for all of us. God's training the Bookworm King and I, and we're trying our darnedst to train these little bookworms without permenantly damaging them. Since I could discuss any one of the fruits, I think I'll pick SELF-CONTROL.

2. How does the Bible define this fruit?
Hmmm... I can't think of a particular verse, but I'd say it has to do with not giving in to your flesh. I'd go look it up, but I can't do that with one hand.

3. How does the world definition of this fruit differ from God’s definition?

self-con·trol (sělf'kən-trōl')
1. Control of one's emotions, desires, or actions by one's own will: "You think yourself a miracle of sensibility; but self-control is what you need" (Mary Boykin Chesnut).
2. The act of denying yourself; controlling your impulses (syn: self-denial)
3. The trait of resolutely controlling your own behavior.

4. How does God reveal this fruit?
Apparently, by giving very strong-willed children to mothers who need practice in this area. I've practiced self-control often today while dealing with #2's natural impulsivity and lack of self-control. It's now 4:45pm, and he's still alive and doing well - it was a horribly implusive day for him, and I was consistent in discipline and still got everybody taken care of - thanks to my mom, who called and, hearing the chaos in my living room, later knocked on my door and offered me some extra hands for the afternoon.

5. Share an example of presence of this fruit in someone’s life.
I know someone who can look at a piece of homemade coconut cream pie, which she loves, and say "no, thank you"
if she has already eaten her quota of calories for the day. She is healthy-thin. I am not healthy-thin, and I would have justified eating the pie because I don't get offered pie every day, and there are some things in life I don't pass up. So, please don't offer me pie, because I'm working on getting rid of baby fat while I can still really call it "baby-fat." And my self-control is not as strong as my friend's in that area.

6. How does fruit or lack of it in our life affect others? (spouse, children, friends)
I control my thoughts and actions, so if I choose to control myself and make myself act nicely even when I don't feel like it, I have a happy husband and happy sons - and all that happiness does eventually rub off on me. It's OK to need a break from the chaos, but it is not OK to have a nasty attitude and be snarky because I'm over-tired and over-stimulated. I don't like it when my toddlers get all cranky before naptime, and I don't have a right to act like that either.

7. What can you do to express more of this fruit in your character?
Practice and pray. Pray and practice. Not that practicing self-control is any fun - I'd much rather eat chocolate than vegetables, and be snippy and offended when my sweet husband promises to unload the dishwasher and then forgets or doesn't finish. After all, he deserves it, doesn't he? No, he doesn't. The dishwasher is my job anyway - I can either choose to unload it or choose not to, but if I ask for help and he doesn't get to it, I have no right to be snippy because I should have done the chore in the first place.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Thankful Thursday: My Grandma

Here is my grandma meeting my littlest. She was overjoyed to be holding him - particularly since he's easy to hold - unlike the rest of my monkeys, who are big and heavy and wiggly.

Our boys are blessed to have three of their four great-grandmothers living. It is such fun to visit with any of the three and hear their stories. My grandma is the oldest of the three and the least educated - but her stories about raising boys are fantastic. You see, she also has four boys (three living - one died in infancy), so she is a great encouragement to my heart.

Plus, she really appreciates the boyish-ness of my boys. Their antics amuse her greatly. She knows that they need a place to play, and doesn't mind the constant re-arranging of her knick-nacks. She expects them to be loud and rather boisterous and opinionated. She knows that they certainly cannot be left to their own devices, so she keeps some Hot Wheels for their entertainment, plus we usually take an activity with us. Last time it was playdough - and my grandmother joined right in and sculpted several things. Before that, we took supplies for making Valentine's, and Grandma had a heyday. I didn't know she could draw well. We all had a lovely time together making cards. I need to take all of them to see her, but this past weekend, I only had the energy to take #4 - #2 and #3 had Daddy Day.

It is time to seriously work at getting #4 to go back to sleep and then get both of us back to bed. But I wanted to tell you that this is my grandma, and I'm very thankful for her.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

WFMW: Feeding station

I have a newborn. We learned with the last newborn that it is very wise to make a little area next to my comfy recliner where we kept ready-to-mix bottles (baby bottle with appropriate amount of water in it) and premeasured formula - this is especially important at night, when I'm not awake enough to count to two and I need to feed a baby. So, before I go to bed at night, I measure out formula and water, hunt up a couple of burpies and a binky and a blanket or two. This baby is so new that he still wakes multiple times, so having everything handy is a must.

(Now, before someone decides to flame me for formula-feeding: I know breastfeeding is best, and I've tried it three times. The first two times, I wound up with very skinny babies before we started supplementing with formula. The third time, I tried supplementing from the beginning, and after his first bottle, he wouldn't latch on again, so I pumped for months for him. This time around (#4), I decided that if he'd latch on and nurse, he'd get whatever breastmilk is available, and then he'd get a bottle when he was done because I can't pump and do all the associated cleaning and keep an eye on #2 and #3, and do the housework and the cooking and the schoolwork.... There is so much time in a day, and I can only do so much. I'm making the best choice overall for my household, and I still have time to enjoy my children.)

Anyway - this Works for Me - You can find more ideas for Works for Me Wednesday at Rocks in my Dryer.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Tackle It Tuesday: Enjoy.

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

Now, usually, I'm all about getting things done. But today, the only thing I'm going to plan (besides the necessary dishes and laundry and dinner making) is to enjoy this baby. He's already growing so quickly and changing so fast. I hope and pray that he is not my last to birth, but I don't want to miss a minute of his newborn stage - and I don't want to miss a minute of my other boys, either.

So, I'm going to tackle ENJOYING my children today.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Tagged: Eight Random Facts

Jessica tagged me to tell you eight random facts about myself. Here are a few:

1. I'm beginning to write this post while parked outside Mazzio's waiting for our carryout pizza order (we're on our way to Gram's for lunch). So, #2 is singing along with Hermie, #3 was asleep, until #2 increased his volume, #4 is asleep in his car seat for the moment. I'm just thrilled that the shady tree I parked under is apparently a Cox hotspot.

2. I can't keep my boys' names straight. All of them (husband included) have Biblical names, and it's like trying to keep the cast of characters in order. So far this morning, I've messed up about 10 times, one of which was while I was on the phone with the clinic trying to make a two-week appointment for #4 and a vax appointment for #3. The receptionist, who knows us, laughed at me. I'm going to start calling them by their numbers in real life.

3. I rarely sleep through the night - and sometimes it has little to do with babies - I'm just awake. I guess my training by #1 to be awake and ready for a medical emergency in 2.4 seconds or less is still with me. If one of the babies cries out in the night, I'm instantly completely awake and have a major adreneline rush that takes hours to calms down. Some nights, I'm really wishing for some Ambien.

4. I'm not an outdoors kind of girl. I like air conditioning. I don't like to sweat - unless I'm intentionally working out - then I don't mind sweating so much. Though I prefer swimming to other forms of exercise. It's much cooler.

5. I'm not a beauty-treatment kind of girl either - someone gave me a very generous gift certificate to a local spa/salon, and I have no idea how I'm going to spend it. Pedicure? Not crazy about strangers touching my feet. Massage? Not crazy about strangers touching me, actually. A series of haircuts? I have a friend who cuts my hair, and I don't want to rob her of the occasional twenty bucks or (more importantly) hurt her feelings. Makeup application? Seems kind of silly for just my boys. I'm clueless.

6. I usually take my kids to Penney's to get their pictures made very often, but I'm very tired. So, this newborn didn't get a professional picture yet - maybe in a week or two. I did take a series of pictures of him at my mom's house this afternoon. One of them was good enough that I ordered baby announcements of it from Walmart. I'll get the envelopes printed and send them out tomorrow or Monday.

7. I love to cook. I hate to cook with a baby hanging on my pantleg and screaming at me. Someday I'll spend serious time putting together a tasty and elaborate meal for my husband. Today was not that day.

8. After #2, I had a serious bout with postpartum depression. After #3, I avoided it, but still struggled mentally and emotionally for weeks. Now, after #4, the battle is raging in my head again. So, should you actually be reading this far, please pray for my mental state. I know that God is in complete control, and that He won't give me more than I can handle, and I'll bless His name on this earth until He deems it time for me to bless His name directly in front of His throne. But knowing all that doesn't change that a new addition to our family makes the absence of our firstborn far more obvious to my heart.

So, whom shall I tag? A&EMom, CoffeeMom, and Kahri

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Thankful Thursday: My Mother-in-Law

This is Mimi - at least that's what the boys call her. She amazes me. In spite of a variety of health issues (some of them life-threatening), she continues to charge through life at break-neck speed. For instance, three days a week, she spends her morning on the tennis courts and her afternoons in the chair at the dialysis clinic.

I think Thursday is her favorite day of the week. That is Mimi Day at our house - she borrows one boy for the day (the turn-taking is a new thing, and #2 is just going to have to get used to it - Mimi used to be all his every Thursday). Some days they just hang out at her house, and other days they go do something. She has introduced #2 to bowling, miniature golf, the local amusement park, the annual fair, the Home and Garden show, and (his favorite) the Boat Show. They've made countless trips to places like the local Wilderness store, where there is an indoor waterfall and boats to explore, the aquarium, and many, many parks. They've shared many plates of IHOP pancakes, Happy Meals, and Sonic lunches.

Like I said, the woman just amazes me with her zeal for life and her determination to do what she wants in spite of difficulty. I am very thankful for her!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: Rest

Since my postpartum brain has very little power, I'm going to forgo my usual Works for Me Wednesday post and participate in (nearly) Wordless Wednesday instead.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Tackle it Tuesday: Thanks to the ants, ...

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

I now have the cleanest kitchen in Oklahoma. Here it is:

We found ants marching forty by forty under our backdoor this afternoon. I was FAR less than happy. The Bookworm King ran to WallyWorld to bet some ant killer, Windex, and some other stuff that was on the list. I stayed here and fought the army with the little Shark vacuum until DH got back and used the Big Vacuum. He sprayed the outside of the door with ant spray and then he did floors. While he was doing floors, I cleaned the living room and dining room and kitchen so that the ants wouldn't find as much food to eat (not that it was really dirty - we just have kids, remember). When I got started on the kitchen, I removed everything from the countertop section by section so that I could get ALL of the countertop clean. DH even lifted up the microwave so that I could clean under it (now THAT was gross).

But it's the cleanest kitchen in Oklahoma now.

I need to go get #4 back to sleep so that I can go to bed.

A Surprise on my Doorstep

ComfyDenim called this morning to tell me that she had a baby gift to bring by sometime today. She was being secretive and wouldn't tell me who it was from. I figured it was from someone at our church, since Comfy and her Pile were at church yesterday and all us Bookworms stayed home.

But, when Comfy and the Pile rang my doorbell and all the kids had been herded into the backyard, she produced a bag with a beautiful blanket sticking out of it and said, "You'd never guess who this is from."

It was from Kathleen, and it is absolutely, positively lovely.


Not only does it appear beautiful from afar, but upclose the craftswomanship is amazing. Every stitch is perfect, every patch is symmetrical, and every cut is precise. The colors are beautiful, and it even goes well with the other quilt in #3's room - so when we double up #3 and #4, they will each have a unique quilt on their bed, but everything in the room will still match. (You'd think Kathleen had seen my house - it's that well matched).

Anyway - Kat, thank you very much for sending me such a piece of beautiful artwork! It will be well-loved and well-used.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The birth story

He arrived! Our Bookworm #4 is finally out here with the rest of us. He arrived May 10 at 11:50am. He is twenty inches and much to our surprise, weighs only seven pounds, nine ounces. (After one that was nine pounds, that was a bit of a shock - but a whole lot easier to push out).

But, getting to pushing was the hard part. We entered the hospital at 10pm in a decent labor pattern and my OB broke my water at midnight when I hit four centimeters. And the contractions got lighter instead of heavier. For hours. At 7am, I was still four centimeters. I had a bit of a nap during those early morning hours and so did my husband - and so did the OB, who had also had a long day. At 8am, they started some Pitocin trying to get things going again - which worked, but ummm... OW. About 10:30am, my OB was scratching her head. My other deliveries have been pretty quick, and she couldn’t figure out why this little guy wouldn’t come down. Then the lightbulb came on. “I bet he’s sunny-side up,” she declared. So, they had me turn over for a few contractions and do a couple of silly things - and then there was great movement in my belly and loud noises from the baby monitor. #4 had turned over.

After that, things happened pretty quick. He finally got to zero station and I finally hit 10 centimeters. Pushing itself was comparatively easy to last time. He was out in about eight contractions or so of pushing. I was so tired by that time (After all, I’d been contracting for 36 hours) that I had to have help to hold my legs up.

We were in the hospital for another 50 hours after that because I was positive for group B strep, but we got home this afternoon.

ComfyDenim said that that last picture didn’t do him justice. This one is better. :)


Bookworm #4.

A proper post with his story will be up in a bit.

But here's a picture:

I'll be back later. :)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Thankful Thursday: My Mother

This is my mom. Here, she is giving #3 his first haircut - she has actually been the one to give each of my boys their first haircut. They all grow mohawks before the sides and back come in, and that makes a haircut necessary when they are looking too shaggy.

Anyway - my mom is quite the gift. I'm glad God gave her to me. She is always there - available at a moment's notice - even if she's 600 miles away. She has rescued me countless times. She mailed me the only contact solution that I am not allergic to while I was studying in Spain because I left mine in a hotel - that did cost a fortune. She made the bridesmaid dresses for my wedding. She's a constant source of encouragement. She's taught me all those things that a mom really needs to know - cooking, cleaning.... She hopped in her car and drove 600 miles the day that #1 arrived 7 weeks early and very ill. She stayed with us for those first four scary weeks of driving back and forth from our little house in Champaign, IL to the big hospital with the NICU in Peoria, IL. She was the only adult because The King and I who could handle the stresses of caring for #1 whenever necessary. A few months later, she hopped in the car again and whizzed up to IL to care for #1 while I had an emergency gall-bladder-ectomy. She also cared for #1 while I gave birth to #2. And she was present for #3's birth. And she is planning to watch my sweet monkey-boys when #4 arrives in just a few weeks.

Once we moved back to our beloved Oklahoma, she became my partner in errand-running (ever tried to go to the grocery store by yourself with a baby and a wheelchair-bound kid in tow? - it just doesn't work.). She is still my partner-in-shopping now - more because it makes it more fun than anything - but also because these sweet boys that we have are not good shoppers. Extra hands are a good thing - and since she taught me how to shop, we can divide and conquer a list and be done in half the time.

I'm about to give birth to my fourth child, and some days, I just want my mommy. She's a blessing to many, and I'm very thankful for her.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Maybe later today?

Who knows. I'm still contracting. I was 3cm at 2pm when we signed out of L&D because the hospital we were sent to at first doesn't do VBACs after 7pm. Now, I want a VBAC - it's my third. There is no reason to have a second caeserean now unless it is suddenly medically necessary. I'm NOT having major abdominal surgery because it's convenient for the hospital's insurance company. So, we needed to change hospitals because 3cm at 2pm doesn't insure a baby by 7pm.

My doctor came over to visit me in triage, and we decided that getting me out of that hospital before I hit 4cm was definately high priority. She sent me back to my mom's for a nap and some rest and time with my kids. And some walking later. We planned to meet back at a different hospital about 8pm (so my kids are going to bed early tonight.) unless I need to go to that hospital earlier.

I'm still contracting and uncomfortable. I am hoping to go in later tonight and be magically 5cm and get this sweet baby out.

Maybe today?

I'm contracting. Now - with #2 and #3 I had a long phase of prodomal labor - meaning, I was in labor for days before things picked up and I made it to four centimeters and got my water broken - then I had a baby in 3-4 hours. Since this is #4, I had to call the doctor when the contractions reached 5-7 minutes apart, so we are headed in to labor and delivery to get things checked out.

Needless to say, there will be another post if I'm going to have this baby today.

WFMW: Wall Art

You know how places like the Penney's portrait studio give you all those free 8x10s? This is our answer for what to do with them. We bought some really cheap frames and stuck the pictures in them, and then we space them very uniformly on the wall in the bedroom and the living room and the hallway (no pics of the hallway, though). This allows us room to expand, but it also looks nice in progress. Of course, we may eventually run out of wallspace, but until then, this works for me!

You can find more ideas for Works for Me Wednesday at Rocks in my Dryer.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Haircut Day

We had Haircut Day at my house on Friday. Nurturing Mommy and her kids and our friend N and her daughter all gathered at my house for doughnuts, outdoor play, and haircuts. N is a fantastic stylist-turned-mom. She works out of her house now, but was glad to come work at mine so that the two four-year-old-boys could hang out in their stomping grounds (the backyard) for the morning while the Girl and the babies played inside. NM brought KrispyKremes with her, and they were enjoyed by all

Know what was nutty, though? Haircut Day with six kids under five running around. Know what's going to be nuttier? Haircut Day with seven kids running around. And next time, that's what we are going to have.

So, here's my before-and-after the haircut pictures. I forgot to actually take before-and-afters, so what you are seeing is a bad shot of the old 'do and a bad shot of the new 'do. Didn't N do a great job? The first picture is an attempt to show just how big my belly is, and the second was taken at a baby shower that some friends gave for #4.

The update: Tackle It Tuesday: Just keeping up

I DID indeed do something today while #3 was sleeping and #2 was playing with Mimi.

The first thing I did was occupy this spot for an hour and a half:

Then, when #3 woke up, I picked up a lot of clutter and put it away. So, my living room is neat and tidy, the playroom is neat and tidy. The kitchen table is neat and tidy. And the kitchen countertops are neat and tidy. So, tomorrow morning I can sweep through the house with some vinegar on a washcloth and wipe everything down and then clean the boys' bathroom and that will be that. The house will be clean except for needing to be vacuumed - and that is not my job. :) DH will do it tomorrow night.

We went and had a family picture taken for the church pictoral directory. I don't recommend doing this when you are extremely pregnant. I look like a beached whale. And the rest of the family didn't look so great either.

My husband is studying for a final in his World Religions class, which is tomorrow. The poor man has been so swamped at work that he is just now beginning to study. He also has an 18 page paper due on Monday on Hindu Creation Myths. Then he is done for the sememster. I'm glad - because I want this baby out - and if I have the baby before the paper is finished, the paper won't get finished and he'll lose his scholarship to the seminary. So, ya'll, please pray that my sweet man happens to read just what he needs to read to pass this final.

Tackle It Tuesday: Just keeping up

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

This is a cheater's post. I'm not planning a big project for this afternoon. I'm very pregnant. I'm tired from not sleeping. I have a messy house.

So, my plan for the day is to go to Bible study and lunch as usual, and then come home, put #3 down for a nap (#2 is going to Mimi's house), and accomplish SOMETHING. I might do some general picking up. I might do some laundry. I have several lapbooks that need to be cut out in preparation for summer school, and I might work on that.

It's so hot here in July and August that schoolwork is a welcome occupation for #2. I have hunted up some fun stuff thanks to girls at In the Hands of a Child. We'll do a unit on Curious George and one on Katy and the Big Snow.

But right now, I'm going into "do the next thing" mode. I'm going to do my hair, pack up the diaper bag and get us out of here.

See you all later.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Rainy Day Adventures

Today it rained. Yesterday it rained. And on Tuesday it rained. It's been a long week for my rambunctous one. He's used to spending at least an hour - usually two or three - every day in the backyard. But, when it rains this consistently, our backyard becomes Bookworm Swamp. We need French drains back there, but we haven't gotten to that yet.

So, Tuesday we did our regular Bible study, pizza, friends-over Tuesday thing. That worked well because it was the first day of rain and the yard wasn't already saturated, so #2 and his BuddyJ spent about an hour and a half outside between morning showers and evening thunderstorms.

Wednesday, we got up to the sound of rain and spent the day at Gram's house for a change of pace and to accomplish a few errands on her side of town.

Today, when he saw the rain and the swampy puddles in his beloved backyard, #2 just about cried. I think he'd been praying for the sun to come out. I had to think of something because he just couldn't be an indoor boy for another day.

And yet, I didn't want to be a wet mommy with a wet toddler and my maternity shirt glued to my belly, so I had to think hard.

I thought of (or the Holy Spirit brought to mind) Pump it Up. I called to see if there was a pop-in-playtime this morning, and then I got us dressed and out of here in record time.

#2 had a blast - he was the largest child there - not the oldest, but the largest - and he was well-behaved and bounced to his heart's content for 90 minutes. He was kind to others, took turns appropriately, and was a delight to me and to the employees of Pump it Up. (I'm not bragging - this was nothing I did - totally a God thing. We've worked hard on behavior, but this was exceptional and a total kiss from God for me.)

#3 met disappointment at every turn. He was the littlest guy there. He was really too little to participate and too big to sit quietly in his stroller and watch the big kids. After about 20 minutes in his stroller, he signed "Down" with a very serious look on his face. I got him out and we walked around.
An employee brought him a ball to play with, and he was thrilled. Until he dropped it, and a little girl grabbed it and started playing "Keep away from the baby" with it.
We noticed that one of the bouncers was empty, and so I took him in it. He liked it - didn't love it, but he liked it - until five three-year-olds came streaming in the hatch screaming at the tops of their lungs and knocked him down.
We went out and walked around some more. The ball had disappeared.
An employee brought in one of those Little Tikes cars that have a door on them and are operated by walking your feet. His eyes lit up. The employee pushed it gently in #3's direction, and #3 was walking towards it when a four-year-old came tearing over and got in it (knees up to his chin) and drove it off. #3 sat down and cried.
I spied the ball in a corner and got it back for him, and he was happy for a bit - until a big kid took it away again.
And then the car was empty and #3 was going for it as fast as he could when THAT SAME KID ran for it, hopped it, and tried to run #3 over - I snatched him out of the way just in time.

Know what was sad? All the parents of these children who were intentionally and repeatedly stealing toys from a baby were right there in the room. They were all watching their kids from the sidelines and talking with other moms. And not one word was said to the kids - even when the girls were playing keep away from the baby and taunting him (not that that lasted long - I rescued him before he got really upset - actually, I was no more than 5 feet from him the whole time we were there). I was just shocked that the kids were so mean to a little guy - and more shocked that the parents did nothing about it because #2 would have found himself in timeout faster than you could blink.

Even the parent or nanny of the boy who was hogging the car didn't say a word to him until he had been sitting in the car with his knees up to his chin bending the axels down to the carpet for 45 minutes. #3 was, at that point, standing and wishfully looking at the car, and the lady went over to the big boy and asked him to get out and go jump. He screamed "NO!" at her and she backed off. A few minutes later, she asked again, and tried to pull him out (gently) of the car, and he threw himself on the floor kicking and screaming - with his feet still inside the car. And then he got up and climbed back in it and stared at #3, who was still just waiting wishfully. The lady didn't say a thing to him. (If that had been #2, we would have left a couple of instances before that - actually, if that had been the kid I used to nanny for, we would have left a couple of instances before that, too.)

#3 never did get a turn in the car. He had some fun with the ball. He had a couple of other trips into empty or nearly empty bouncers. He wasn't miserable, but he kept looking wishfully at that car. That big kid was still sitting in it when the session ended - just sitting and looking defiant. We put #2's tennis shoes back on him and left (no whining from #2 - a true miracle). #3 fell asleep in the car.

The rest of the day was fun but not too eventful. Gram popped in for some crafty fun during #3's afternoon nap. I did some cleaning while they created. And I created a bit too. :) Then I stretched out on the couch for a bit while #2 watched PBS Kids from Gram's lap and #3 played on the living room floor. Then it was Daddy, dinner, bedtime.

Overall, a good day. :)

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

5minutesformom Mother's Day contests

I got so excited about the iPod yesterday that I forgot to mention that 5minutesformom is giving away all sorts of things - not just a Nano - adding one a day.

Today's addition is brand new Mei Tai from All Natural Mommies. I'm excited about this one, too. I'd love to try a MeiTai. I'm a babywearing addict - I have a Maya Wrap, a Maya Pouch, and two homemade simple-piece-of-cloth wraps (one full length woven wrap, and one woven kanga). Yet, I still haven't mastered carrying a baby on my back - which I would love to do - especially as I have more babies now. :)

EspeciallyHeather - as you have probably heard..


Tomorrow Heather, a woman of great faith who God is using to teach us all, will be having surgery to remove a brain tumor. There is a prayer chain set up at Kelli's blog, and though it is full, you can still join in to pray at a specific time if you'd like. Or you can do what I'm going to do - go comment on the thread, and then pray for her over the next 24 hours as the Holy Spirit brings her to mind.

If you don't know her whole story, then go read Heather's blog. If you know the story, then her requests for prayer are here.

May God be glorified as He works out this situation for Heather's good and His Glory.

WFMW: Birthday Books and Cupcake Cake

Need a present for a party? Buy a book - especially if it's a kid's party. Buy a classic that you love or your child's recent favorite. Whatever suits your fancy. This is, of course, easier if your know the family well and can pick something that suits their beliefs and such - but even if you don't know them well, buy a book and stick the receipt inside the cover. You are less likely to duplicate a book than a toy, and (at least in our house) a well-loved book will last longer than a toy.

Also - for our last several parties, we have purchased a cupcake-cake at Target or Walmart. They put cupcakes on a board and ice them as a cake, so you don't need a knife to serve it - just pull-apart and removed the wrapper. This makes serving cakes to little ones easy because it requires no cutting, and it makes portion control easy, too.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Now I want to WIN this prize

5minutesformom is hosting a drawing for a 4gig Ipod Nano. I want it. We'll see if I win. Check it out and enter if you want. :) (if the Nano isn't enough to make you enter, it comes with chocolate. I love chocolate. :)

Life in a nutshell...

Boys in their beds.

Toys on the floor.

Laundry on the table.

Dishes in the sink.

Diapers in the dryer.

Hammer on the hearth.

Baby in my belly.

Schoolwork sorted for completion.

Bible in my brain.

Music in my fingers,

Worshipping His Name.

Ice cream in the freezer,

Calling out to me.

(an interesting idea from Rocks in my dryer)