Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pregnancy Moan

This might be my first real moan with this pregnancy so I can't truly complain as things have been relatively smooth with this one. As some of you may know, I have high blood pressure when not pregnant so it becomes a real concern during my pregnancies. So having high blood pressure, coupled with preterm labor with my previous 3 pregnancies then I usually don't enjoy the whole pregnancy process.

This pregnancy has been very smooth and I made it through 5 months without ever changing my blood pressure medication. This is unheard of! I am normally upping my meds every 1-2 weeks to combat my blood pressure. Well, two weeks ago my pressures started spiking and we started to battle them with increased meds and that worked fairly well. But along with the increased pressures came edema. Edema is swelling from fluid accumulating in body tissue. Usually my ankles and feet puff up and sometimes my hands will swell, but this time my hands got really swollen and my arms would go numb from the simplest of activities (typing, knitting, holding a book). Even sleeping became really uncomfortable as I would have to hang my arms off the side of the bed to get circulation going again.

I had a Dr appt on Tuesday and had to take my girls with me. They were so well behaved until the moment the Dr stepped into the room and then they were ripped coloring books from one another's hands, screaming, "Mine!" "No, mine!" over and over. I tried to settle them as best I could without being disrespectful of the Drs time. After asking how I was doing and I replied with the swelling info he continued with, "How much help do you have at home?" I had heard this before and knew what was coming...the dreaded words....bed rest.

However, I do like his approach to bed rest more than the last time I was put on bed rest. With my 2nd pregnancy at 28 weeks my Dr said, "Strict bed rest, you can get out of bed for bathroom, meals and a shower a day, otherwise you're horizontal." This Dr said, "48 hours should be enough to relieve the fluids and then you can resume minimal activity until we need to do it again." So for 48 hours I'm suppose to lie down, elevate my feet and not do anything. With three kids, even having help from my mother-in-law and husband, I find it hard to lie down all day and do nothing. I did fairly well this first husband would argue, he's quite strict about the whole process. He did catch me walking through the kitchen with my 3 month old niece in my, was he mad at me! She was crying and no one was around and she wasn't happy just being held so I had no choice, Al did not agree.

Anyway, so I'm on minimal activity after the next 24 hours of bed rest so you may be hearing from me more often as I'll have more time to sit down and blog. I'm 31 weeks so we technically have 2 months left but we're praying for just one more month.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Underground Railroad

Connor had a field trip today to explore a portion of the underground railroad that has been preserved locally. It consisted of about 3 miles of hiking (Al took Connor on this one as I had a Dr appt and there is no chance I would have made the hike in my condition). The weather was cold, damp and windy but the kids seemed to have really enjoyed the nature hike. The adults were more interested in the history and significance of it all, but it was a great primer to introduce slavery in American history.

We spent some time going over slavery while discussing colonial American early this semester. We then moved on to discussing certain historical figures such as Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony. And then Connor hit the trail and walked only a minute portion of what escaping slaves had to endure. I don't think the impact of their struggle really set in, as you can see from this picture:

Although, maybe he is just expressing what freedom feels like.

If you live locally, I would encourage you to visit Woodlawn Manor in Sandy Spring as it is a step back in time.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Funny things kids say

I was reading my friend Ryan's blog the other day and she had just posted something really funny that her daughter had said. I realize we have those moments all the time, too. I have often wanted to record them, but I'm terrible at that sort of thing. This was one of the major reasons I started a blog.

So this morning, we're sitting around the table having school, Connor was working on a creative writing story he's been trudging through for 2 months now...we're finally on page 3 (the kid HATES writing, he loves storytelling, but really struggles to get through the actual writing). The girls have less structured school, usually coloring books, stencils, paper cutting, working on a specific number and such. Today was a stencil day.

Isabel was working on a shark stencil and this is what happened:

ISABEL: "Mommy, shark scary!"

ISABEL: "Mommy look at sharks arms."

MOM: "Those aren't arms honey, they're called fins."

ISABEL: "Mommy, shark say ROAR!!!!"

Now typically I would inject that a shark doesn't say "ROAR" but says something else, however I hesitated as I wasn't sure what sound a shark would make. I hesitated just long enough to for Lillee to pipe in, "Sharks don't say ROAR, sharks say dun na, dun na, dun na, dun na." She did a great job replicating the music used in Jaws during the attack scenes.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Trunk or Treat

Our church has a fun event for the kids each Halloween called Trunk or Treat. The Saturday before Halloween, we start the evening off with a party with games and prizes for the kids. While the kids are occupied finding their friends and oohing and ahhing over all the creative costumes, the parents can set up for Trunk or Treat. In our particular church building, we have a sidewalk all the way around a square building with parking spaces right at the sidewalk. So adults back their vehicles in, open their trunks and set up a candy-giving space. Some people get very creative and decorate their trunks with scary themes, while others simply pass out goodies to all the kids.

Trunk or Treat provides a safe environment for the kids to get Halloween goodies and enjoy a large party with lots of friends and familiar faces, except the ones they don't recognize due to costumes.

With all that said, we had Trunk or Treat last night. I do not recall a time when my kids were more excited about a single event. All day they would ask, "When are we going to Trunk or Treat? Can we put on our costumes, yet?" After holding them off all day, I started the costuming process...Al had to work so I was flying solo and was SOOO glad we had simple costumes this year as opposed to the clown costumes we'd had the past couple of years that requires so much time for face painting.

This year, we had Batman and Catwoman 1 & Catwoman 2. When Isabel saw Lillee in a black cat costume, she had to have a black cat outfit, too.

Fortunately, Al made it home in time to join us for the evening...I would have never survived all the chasing for the night. The kids had a great time, but due to the rain we could not actually go outside to the cars so the activities committee set up little rooms for adults to decorate and create candy corners all over the church building.

There are a couple of things I learned from this experience.

1. Face painting is not so important for the completion of a least when you're 2 & 3 years old. I was able to get a picture of the girls with their very simple kitty cat faces on, but I had to reapply Isabel's before the picture and then reapplied both of them before leaving the house...also before we left the house, it was gone again.

2. I took a handful of pictures of the kids in their costumes and realized how dirty my walls are! I've been saying for the past month that I need to wash all the walls because there's handprints everywhere and I've yet to get around to it. that I think about it, I was scrubbing walls the last week I was pregnant with Connor (I went from 1cm to 4-5cm that week). Maybe I'll hold off for awhile :)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Coon hunting in the city

I've not posted in over a week now as things seem to be getting busier every day. So I decided it was good to at least let everyone know we're here, surviving and staying active...kind of.

The past 2 weeks we've been waking to toppled trash can and trash all over our yard. One night as Al was letting the dog out, he saw a raccoon peek it's little head up from inside the trash least we knew what it was now but had to figure out how to deal with the raccoon. Ron borrowed a humane live animal trap so Al baited it and set it out to capture our furry little friend.

At 11:30pm on Sunday night, Al is up alone and excited to tell the entire house about the raccoon he caught. He woke up everyone, including trying to wake up Connor to go with him to release the raccoon at the civic center...Connor is a heavy sleeper though so no luck, Al was on his own.

Things were back to normal for a few days and then we started finding the trash cans toppled once again. So Al set the trap again...this time we caught a possum. Ron, Al & Connor had a male bonding experience of going to release the possum :) We set the trap again just in case something else was out there. Sure enough, another raccoon. Al talked about making a coon skin hat, until he started playing with the raccoon through the cage. The raccoon would reach out and play with Al's finger or roll onto it's back and play footsie with Al's finger. He headed off to release the raccoon, but had to get it a bite to eat, first. I warned Al I would not tolerate any more pets :)

A short time later I receive a phone call from Al and he was very sad. He had decided that the raccoon was so nice and friendly he would take him to the animal shelter instead of releasing him in the wild. Then he regretted that decision. The Rockville Police had told Al to release the first one at the Civic Center. The animal shelter said they euthanize immediately due to rabies being out of control in Rockville. Al tried to convince the animal shelter that he was a very friendly raccoon and couldn't they just quarantine him and see if they could find him a home. They were not willing, would not hear of it and tranquilized the little guy to remove him from the cage. Al was quite sad...this coming from the guy who only hours before was bragging about making a coon skin hat from of the little critter.

I never expected that by marrying a city boy and living in such an urban environment that I would still be rubbing elbow with coon hunters :) We just do it a little differently in the city than we do in the country.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

One of those moments

Every now and again I have one of those know those moments where you have a sort of self-realization that life is wonderful and picture perfect. One of those moments you see a snippet of on television and think, "That's what I want to happen every day!" I know these moments vary for everyone. I have a friend whose picture perfect moment would be an endless shopping spree with unlimited funds...I'm not much of a shopper so that doesn't do it for me. Or maybe a quiet afternoon on a private beach under a warm sun with waves gently kissing your toes...not for me, either.

I just had one of my moments, let me share. It's Saturday morning, a slow morning for us as there's no structure like weekday mornings when we have to get chores done and school started. So I'm still in my bathrobe at 10am, the kids are off playing and my husband has cranked up itunes on the family computer in the living room. Al has a tame playlist for the kids to listen to, we've found anything too fast or hard gets Connor going and he uncontrollable afterwards. Anyway, somehow a classical piece snuck into the playlist. Al can tolerate classical music, but in general he does not listen to it often. I, however, could listen to classical all day every day. So as I am sitting at my laptop browsing some text, a beautiful Baroque piece comes on (Adagio in G Minor) and I'm really loving it. About that time all three kids are tearing through the house, making a loop chasing one another squealing at the tops of their lungs as the dog is chasing them barking right along with them. I looked up from my computer to observe the delightful chaos and just smiled...for that one moment, life was as perfect as it gets. Those moments are so fragile, it's almost as if something magical is happening and at any second the magic could dissipate and the recognition of that blissfully perfect moment will slip from you and your left with only the memory. Maybe that is exactly why those moments are so special.

There was a time in my life that you could have NEVER convinced me that I would have 4 children, homeschooling, love to do home gardening and canning nor think that a perfect Saturday project is planning a baby quilt. My perfect moment has definitely changed over the years, but I don't think I've ever had one more fitting than the one I just had.

Heavenly Father has blessed my life in unimaginable ways. What a beautiful gift family has become to me - not just my husband and kids, but also my parents and in-laws.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Lego Meeting

We had our first official Lego League meeting this morning and it was a lot of fun! We've chosen to join the annual challenge so this year we will work on learning about climate and trying to figure out innovative ways to research, study and record climate as well as ways in which the climate is changing and positive effects we can have on it. So in January we'll compete in Maryland's Lego League Expo and compete with other teams on the same challenge.

We have 3 boys, ages 5-7 and we'll meet every 2 weeks between now and January to prepare for the challenge. Today I gave an introduction to weather and climate and we discussed 4 biomes (prairie, tundra, deciduous forest, desert). The boys then chose a biome to build a new tool or vehicle that can be used for research in that particular biome. There was a unanimous decision to do prairie...I was SHOCKED! No bickering nor arguing, simply agreeing with no mommy intervention.

The boys began to build. They wanted to create an airplane they could fly in with, then have wheels so they could use it as an all-terrain vehicle once landed. Although there was some problems with, "But I made that, he's destroying what I made" overall it was a success.

The boys were able to eventually work together and create a very cool vehicle for research in the prairies.

They even added on a propeller to the back for movement in water in case they needed to cross a stream.

I do think I'll need to consult Laura on how she works with multiple boys at once. I've only really worked with Connor...having to manage teaching multiple boys, keeping their interest and avoid hurting feelings is new territory for me.