Friday, December 31, 2010

End of the year...Exodus 23:15

No more apologies for not writing more here. When I'm at the computer I usually only have one free hand to type, which doesn't make for effective blogging. The Man has taken Baby S to be changed and put to bed. As soon as she's asleep, I'll put myself to bed, so hopefully this will be a short post!

I suppose it is trite to say that I don't know where this past year has gone...but I'm not even sure what happened to yesterday. Twenty-ten has been a very eventful year for our family. I hope that 2011 brings more time to enjoy the everyday pleasures.

I'll try to give an update since my last post. All of these items are very deserving of their own separate posts, but that's not going to happen...

M: Got the results for the PSAT he took in November.
> > BRAG ALERT < <
He scored in the 99th percentile of juniors who took the test. That was his very first standardized, non-mommy given test. I've always known he was a smart kid, but it is nice to get some valid confirmation of that. I was quite relieved that I haven't totally ruined him academically by homeschooling him.

J: Almost as tall as me now. He's been told he can no longer wear my garden shoes to make quick runs outside since he's been stretching them out.

Backyard Ballistics was finally available to be checked out from the library. There are PVC weapons in the entryway and I found two potatoes under his bed when I vacuumed today.

A: The Man made her a loom for Christmas so she's learning the fine art of weaving. She LOVES singing and rocking her baby sister to sleep.

G: Cute, cute, cute. And he knows it. Very smart kid, but he still isn't talking. He got a Candy Land game for Christmas so we could "teach" him his colors. He beat me yesterday. I guess he already knew his colors! He absolutely adores his baby sister. Unfortunately he hasn't learned the difference between sharing a doll with her and whacking her on the head with a doll. "Gentle!"

Baby S: Smiling, giggling, cooing, and sleeping well through the night. She is a very sweet and happy baby. I can't believe that she is quickly outgrowing clothes that were swallowing her up a few short weeks ago. She had her first bite of real food yesterday. She was sitting on my lap next to G's high chair. While my head was turned G stuck his spoon into her mouth. Wild rice soup seems to agree with her!

The Man: Over the course of a few weeks, he replaced some rotten boards on our bridge so we had to drive through our pasture to get to the road. He still has a bit more to do, but it is functional.

The creek started flowing again on Christmas. It has been rather wet the past month. A bit of snow is still on the ground outside and it has been getting down into the teens the past few nights. Brrrr.

I still hear Baby S, but I'm yawning and ready to go to bed anyway. May you have a blessed and happy new year!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Found him in the temple...Luke 2:46

We have often joked that now that we have more than 2.34 kids, we have to count to make sure we have them all with us. For some reason adding kid #6 seems to have made that a necessity.

This past week I took all six kids to the big mall in the big city. Whether that makes me brave or insane is still up for debate, but we spent 2-3 hours there. There are quite a few new stores since we were last there about a year ago, so we spent a lot of time perusing the new shops. As we wandered out of one store and down to the next store I looked over the children and realized that one was missing. Sacagawea wasn't with us! I remembered that she had been looking at the antique dolls so J ran back to the store to find her. She had just realized that we weren't with her, so she was starting to look for us in the store. Fortunately J found her before she realized we were lost!


Today, as many Sabbaths, we were the last to leave church. M had been sent to the van to warm it up while I strapped Baby S in her car seat. The rest of the older kids got on their coats and headed out the door while I helped G get on his coat. Then I looked down the hallway and saw The Man's coat hanging on the rack. I went to retrieve it for him while he gathered up the rest of his things. I had my bag and J came back to the church to carry the car seat to the van. The Man locked the church door and we got in the van. M had only driven us a few feet when Sacagawea announced that we didn't have G with us. Oops. The Man went back to the church and found G playing contentedly in the Cradle Roll room. He hadn't had a chance to miss us.

I was stunned that we almost left a child behind, but I guess I'm not the first. Jesus' parents left Him in the temple for 3 days. I guess 3 minutes isn't too terrible! Hopefully that will be the last time!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Drive...2 Kings 4:24

This week M got to take his official drive test. He passed. He now has his driver's license. I'm not quite sure how that happened since I'm certainly not old enough to be the mother of a...oh, I guess I am. The Man thinks it is exciting because now he can send M to do stuff like get loads of wood by himself.

In case you are wondering, yes, it can still drive on the open road. In fact, it will be M's official vehicle since it was much cheaper to add him to our insurance that way.

Friday, October 29, 2010

First month...Exodus 12:18

Happy 1-month day to Baby S! Tonight she weighed in at 8 lbs. and was 20" long. She is such a happy, contented baby. Eating and sleeping are her main hobbies, but she is trying to give us some smiles. She is not in any danger of being neglected. She usually naps in someone's arms, but I actually put her in her little bed two times this week for a nap. Both times G demanded to know where she was. He watches out for her just in case no one else is!

We just took a bunch of pictures this evening, but they are currently being transferred to another computer. I'll add some later.Done!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Two full years...Genesis 41:1

Happy Birthday, G!
(sorry, pics are being uploaded on another computer...I'll add them later)Done!
G turned TWO on the 25th! His big brothers and sister are trying to teach him to hold up two fingers, but he holds them all up.

Since we had meetings at church on Monday night, we didn't get around to actually "celebrating" his birthday until Tuesday night. He didn't seem to mind since it just extended his birthday an extra day.

We had this gluten-free coconut flour apple cake. Everyone enjoyed it. Not exactly the best we'd ever tasted, but as gluten-free recipes go, this one was very good. I think the texture would have been better with real eggs, but since that is also one of G's allergies, we used egg-replacer.

G got his very own big-boy bed for his birthday. The Man and boys are making it.
So far it is just a wooden box to hold the mattress. After he learns to stay on the mattress at night, the legs will be added. He LOVES it. It's a good thing since Baby S will be needing the crib in another month or so.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Let brotherly love continue...Hebrews 13:1

We snapped a few pictures of Baby S after her bath hair appointment tonight. Having a baby with something more than peach fuzz on the head is new territory for me.
It was really hard to get these pictures. It was!
G just kept getting in the way.
He thinks Sissy S needs lots and lots of kisses. I suppose she does.

Tomorrow we're venturing to the big cities for M's music lesson (postponed from last week) and groceries. I'm a bit apprehensive. It's been a long time since I've ventured into Costco with a newborn and toddler.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Happy...Psalm 144:15

Just a quick post to let y'all know we are doing well! Baby S is sleeping and eating as she should be. G continues to kiss her every chance he gets. Everyone else impatiently waits to hold her. I get to hold her whenever I feel like it since I control the food supply!

Off to feed her again before I go to bed...perhaps we'll get another 5 hour stretch of sleep tonight!

Friday, October 01, 2010

A daughter...Genesis 30:21

She is here! Baby Girl S arrived on Wednesday, September 29, at 10:49 a.m.

She weighed 7 lbs., 5 ozs. and was 19 1/4" long.

The first visit by brothers and sister. Sister was definitely the most excited. Big brother G was in awe.
Getting ready for first bath. Baby S has more hair than all the other children had put together!
She didn't care for the bath, but she loved having her hair styled afterward!
All ready to go home!
Just details below...

I had been having mild contractions for the past month. None of them were major, but they were annoying. I was hoping that they were doing a good enough job so that I would have an easy labor. I was also hoping that the pushing stage wouldn't be quite as rushed as it was with G. He came a bit too quickly!

I woke up at 1 a.m. on Wednesday with an intermittent backache. Hmmm. There weren't any real contractions, but the baby was squirming and I just couldn't get back to sleep. About 2:30 I got up to take a shower, hoping that would calm things down a bit. I got back in bed about 3:00 and tried to go back to sleep. No, the backaches kept coming. At 4:00 The Man's alarm went off. At that point I told him I was having backaches and I thought I might be starting labor.

At about 5:00 he checked and said I was about 3-3.5 cm dilated, which was a definite change from my appointment the week before when I was only 2.5 cm. He said the baby still seemed pretty high.

I started having a few "real" contractions after that, but they were irregular and 10-15 minutes apart. After 6:00 I got up and started getting ready to go. I had an 8:30 ob appointment scheduled, but I was thinking about going straight to the hospital. The contractions started becoming more irregular after I got up, so I decided we should just go to the doctor's office. The Man checked again and said the baby had come down lower, but I was still less than 4 cm. Rather than leaving The Man at home with the kids (he had the morning off), we decided he should probably go with me, along with my hospital bag.

I had a few contractions on the way over the mountain, but they were still over 10 minutes apart. When we arrived at the doctor's office I told the nurse I thought I might be in labor, but I wasn't sure. I had lost a pound since my appointment the week before (bringing my total weight gain since my first appointment at 30 weeks to 0), but I wasn't surprised since all I ate for breakfast was 1/2 an English muffin and a few ounces of juice with my antibiotic (I started getting a sore throat so we assumed I was getting the same strep throat the rest of the family had).

The doctor came in the room and did all the measurements and listened to the heart beat. Then she did the internal exam. After informing me that I was 6 cm. dilated, 100% effaced, and the baby was at +2 station, she told me to go to the hospital "NOW...and don't stop for breakfast on the way!" Oh, I guess I WAS in labor. By the time I got out of the room, she was on the phone with the hospital telling them to get a room ready. By the time I made it to the parking lot, she was running out to her car.

We got to the hospital and I declined a curbside drop-off. After parking the van I had a contraction while The Man was getting the bags. Did I want a wheelchair? No, I had just had a contractions and it was only take a few minutes to walk to L&D.

When we arrived at L&D I saw my doctor was already there getting the cart ready. The nursing supervisor was also there getting things ready. At that point we found out that the L&D had been closed and they opened it just for ME! It is a small hospital and the department shuts down when there aren't any patients.

Not only was this the first time I had the same doctor & hospital for 2 pregnancies, but I also had the same room and nurse as when G was born. After nearly two years, G's birth is still the talk of the OB department!

My doctor parked herself beside my bed and waited...and waited...she wasn't going to miss the birth!

By the time I got settled there at the hospital, I was stunned when my doctor said I was 8 cm. The two strong contractions weren't that strong. I shrugged. "I'm just not feeling strong contractions." She looked at the monitor and informed me I was having very strong contractions about 3 minutes apart. Hmmm. I was puzzled. I was only feeling about every 3rd contraction. The Man told me not to complain!

A bit later she checked again and said I was 9 cm. I still wasn't feeling like I was ready to give birth. After some (ouch) manipulation to move that last cm., she told me to go ahead and push. She broke my water at that point and had me push through the next few contractions.

Baby S arrived less than 2 hours after we entered the hospital. I was surprised it was so quick, but I think my doctor was surprised I was so slow! At any rate, she is a very healthy little girl. After I held her for a few minutes they decided she wasn't crying well enough, so she got a bit of oxygen while we waited for the placenta.

I sent The Man back home then to have lunch with the kids. He came back with the kids for a few hours in the afternoon so they could all get acquainted. After they left, we had our dinner and Baby S and I went to sleep about 10 p.m. I was tired after being awake since 1:00 a.m., but I still woke up every hour to check on her. At 1:00 a.m. she was wide awake, squirming around. Baby dozed with me in my bed for the rest of the night.

The Man arrived the next morning right after my doctor left. We ate breakfast together and waited for the pediatrician, hearing test (which had to be done twice due to malfunctioning equipment), and paperwork. We finally got to leave after 11 a.m.

Last night Baby S got to snuggle with The Man at 1 a.m. while I slept.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Waiting...Proverbs 8:34

I was hoping all the posting I did during the month of July would give me the momentum to keep blogging. Oh, well...I had good intentions!

Baby is growing just fine. Hopefully we will get to meet baby soon. The doctor says any day (hour?) now.

The kids are all doing ok. J and S had sore throats and fevers last week, but seem to be all better now. The Man came down with the sore throat and fever within the past few days and even stayed home from work today (rare occurrence). Tonight he did a strep test which was positive. I'm praying the rest of us stay well.

M is now a few weeks into his junior year of high school. Pre-calculus and Chemistry are the new courses for the year in addition to the standard English, History, PE, Music, and Spanish. He spent a few hours this week with a missionary from Costa Rica to practice his Spanish dialogue and vocabulary. We need to get him over to the local high school soon to sign up for the PSAT coming up next month.

We are still easing into all the subjects for the 3 middle kids. We are trying to work on a routine that enables all the kids to get the varied help from me, the very pregnant mama, while keeping G out of all the "fun" stuff the older kids get to do.

J is in eighth grade this year. S is in fifth grade and claims he loves school more than any of the other kids do. Sacagawea is in 3rd grade and doing very well despite the fact that she has so much more work this year than in years past.

G has tins of cars, animals, blocks, and puzzles that had been in storage. These "new" toys are keeping him quite occupied while the others do their school work.This is the first time we have had a single toddler while trying to full-time homeschool everyone else. It is a new learning adventure for all of us.

Given my most recent blogging history, this is likely to be my last post as a mother of 5! I will try to get pictures up of #6 as soon as possible. They will probably appear over on facebook before here, and we've already promised grandparents that they get a call before info goes on facebook!

I'm trying to decide whether to go to bed now or stay up timing's that for a cliff-hanger?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Deliver me out of the mire...Psalm 69:14

The county fair started last Wednesday and ended yesterday. For the fifth year in a row, our church staffed a booth at the fair. I always look forward to the fair starting, praying that we won't have the VeggieTales nearby. By Sunday, I'm glad it is almost over! So, that's where I've been the past week. As in the past few years, Grandma came to stay with kids while The Man and I were busy with the fair.

Yesterday morning after breakfast it was discovered the kitchen sink was clogged. Despite using drain opener, many tools, and a plumber's snake, it is still clogged. This morning The Man crawled under the house and discovered the clean-out pipe. He said he should be able to clean that out tonight.

While The Man was under the house I was in the bathroom with some improvised dishpans in the bathtub washing up all the dishes from yesterday. Those were put away right after breakfast and another load was washed (yes, we're using paper plates, but we still generate lots of dishes!). Then I tackled the stove top, kitchen counters, and sink. When those were clean (no easy feat without running water in the kitchen), I boxed up all the stuff from under the sink that was scattered on the floor and put that on the counter. Then, I mopped the floor in front of the sink so the kitchen looks a lot less scary and actually resembles a kitchen!

A sign is on the bathroom door reminding the children to use one of the other toilets in the house since I have a slight issue with them using a toilet with dishes drying a few feet away. Hopefully the kitchen will be put back together within the next day or so. I AM thankful that this happened on the last day of the fair instead of the first!

For school, M is finishing up a few things from last year. What needs to be ordered for this next school year has been decided and the orders will actually be placed in the next week or so. I'm tentatively planning on starting after Labor Day weekend.

J almost has the entryway back in order, Sacagawea is cleaning out the toy box in the living room, and I'm ready to go rescue some laundry from the dryer. The schoolroom was in the midst of a major overhaul when the fair started and it really needs to be finished this week. I have some green beans and peaches begging to be frozen, but I think I'll wait until tomorrow in hopes of having running water in the kitchen. Ahhh...don't be shocked if you don't see another update soon!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Poison of a serpent...Psalm 58:4

Although I did complete July with 31 blog posts, I certainly didn't continue the momentum through August! There has been way too much going on to actually sit down and blog, but here are some pics that M took of our adventures over the past week.

Warning: Pictures of a dead snake below. If you don't care to see pictures of the snake OR the dissection, just click away now.

Last Tuesday M announced that there was a rattlesnake outside his bedroom. He had been looking out the window and saw it slithering in the dirt near the retaining wall just behind our house. Too close! This is the second one (that we know of!) we've had near the house.
J ran to the garden to get the hoes and The Man got the gun. I was impressed that The Man only fired three shots and the snake had four holes in it. The Man was dismayed that he didn't kill it with the first shot. We think the first shot (while the snake was moving) just shot off the rattles. We (not including me!) had to look around a bit to find them. There were at least nine rattles on this snake! The third shot was in the head, and other than the residual was dead. After removing what little was left of the head/fangs, The Man found a large glass jar in which to put the body. He put that into a cooler with some jugs of ice until he could get around to skinning it.

That time finally came on Sunday morning. We (again, not me!) started the process in the front yard.
Pretty snake! Too bad it had to get so close to the house and my babies! Even G helped out with the process. The children finally had enough of the flies and other creatures that wished to watch and bother, so they came inside and let The Man carry on with his project. After The Man separated the skin from the rest of the innards, he came inside also...with the skin. He did ask where he should finish cleaning the skin. I told him wherever he could easily clean and disinfect the mess! He chose the bathroom counter. Ick. Ick, ick, ick. When he was done, he said he finally figured out a good reason for the "his and her" sinks in the master bathroom. I didn't complain when he rinsed the skin in "his" sink. Other than my house smelling like my high school zoology class (minus the formaldehyde) for most of the day, it wasn't that bad of a process. The skin is now hanging on the back porch.

The Man has his glycerin solution ready to tan it. I'm not sure what his plans for it beyond that are, but at least that snake won't be biting my kids or dog!

I will try to check in and blog more regularly, there just hasn't been a lot of extra time. No time? Hmmm...killing a snake, storing a snake, skinning a snake, and tanning the skin were not in our plans for the past week, but it is hard to predict those teaching/learning moments and work them into the schedule ahead of time.

Friday, August 06, 2010

What is it? Exodus 16:15

It's a...

baby. That's about all I could tell from the photos. My doctor and The Man pointed out a few things to me. I could tell the heart was beating. I have no idea what the picture above shows.

This picture is of the baby's face and hand. I think it will be a lot cuter in person.

I'm told the next 2 pics show the gender with a 99% probability. The legs stayed firmly together so we couldn't see for sure if there was something extra. (Just to clarify, we think that is it, but there may be a 1% chance there is something we can't see).

Sacagawea says she would rather wait to find out the gender than to be told one thing now and find out the doctor was wrong. So, we haven't officially told the boys anything, although M knows. J thinks it looks like a girl and S thinks it looks like a boy. We'll probably tell them soon. So, you may post your comments regarding gender here, but try not to say anything to Sacagawea in person!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

He is a new creature...2 Corinthians 5:17

Yesterday afternoon we went down to river with Grandma and Grandpa. While some went off in search of some nature, I let it come to me.
If you look carefully, there is an itty-bitty fish swimming there in my hands (brown, horizontal line above my palm on the left side of the photo). I scooped it up while sitting on the bank of the river. This was actually the second one I caught. The Man didn't grab my phone to take a picture before the first got away.

While sitting in the same spot, I turned over a rock and found this...
We haven't identified it yet, but it is some sort of chrysalis. It was wiggling a bit, so we know it is alive. It is here at home in a jar with us now so we can see its final transformation. This reminds me of the text from this post title:
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
If I had a better camera than my phone, you might be able to tell that The Man is holding a magnifying glass. I smelled smoke!

I was sitting in the shade of this bridge, thankful that these swallow nests were unoccupied.
Bird nests above the head can make a big mess!

G enjoyed getting his feet wet again. Two times in one week! He spent most of the afternoon throwing rocks into the water.

The younger kids enjoyed swimming in the river, pretending to be beavers.

Although we have seen beaver in this river before, the only beaver sighting today happened to be a stump in the water.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Two are better than one...Ecclesiastes 4:9

Warning: If you are of the camp that believes certain animals are more important than food for a family, just click away from this post. Thank you.

For those of you that have not had the pleasure of meeting a California ground squirrel, you haven't missed much! They are pests. Extreme pests! Just imagine that they are like their cousins, the rats, with bushier tails. They dig under the building foundations and try to destroy whatever else they can. We have to tread carefully out in the field to avoid the burrows.

The Dog usually takes care of the ground squirrels around our property, however he doesn't have ready access to our fenced garden area. The squirrels were "taking care" of our garden this spring until we started keeping a live trap on the compost pile within the fenced garden area. About 2-3 times a day the Dog alerts us to a squirrel in the trap. The trap is moved to an open area and opened, then the Dog does the rest.

This morning the Dog started barking so the boys went to move the trap. There was not one, but two squirrels in the trap. This has happened before, but it is a very rare occurrence. The Dog had to have some help dispatching of those two.

Later in the afternoon the Dog started barking again. This time I needed a picture!
Yes, the Dog is drooling. There were another two!
The second is hard to see in the shadow of the door, but there are two in that trap. It turned into an interesting object lesson for the kids. If you are going to do something that will get you into trouble, it doesn't necessarily help to do it with a friend...well, it may help the predator!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Eat of the fruit...Joshua 5:12

Grandma and Grandpa arrived today and I was able to catch up on my blogging for the week while they played a rousing game of Monopoly with the kids. Here are some pics that I promised of my cupboards.

These are the apricots. J cut the cardboard for me so the jars are more stable in this shelf-less cupboard.
Here are some more. (Sorry, I'm still using my cell phone for flash).

Here are the jars of apricot and blueberry jam.

The tofu boxes have been moved from those shelves to make room for the blackberry jam I made this morning.

Note: Just because a jar seems to have the same diameter as other jars, don't assume the rings will fit. The "Skippy" jar on the right doesn't work with canning rings!

I had to hold the lid in place during the inversion process! It seems to have sealed just fine, but I won't be using that particular jar again for any preserving in the future!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hail...Exodus 9:18

Our very first harvest of the summer crop of zucchini! If blossoms are any indication, we'll have plenty to share!

We are very thankful for this little squash since Monday night we had a hail storm. Other than a few tomato cages that got knocked over, our garden fared pretty well. Just a few miles from us, some gardens were destroyed by golf ball-sized hail.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The river...Deuteronomy 1:7

We went down to The Man's brother's house and had a fun day with the family. After lunch we went down to the river so the big and little kids could swim. I sat by the river and watched with G for a little while. Then I went back up the bank and searched the van for some bags.

These had caught my eye, and I thought they looked like they belonged in some jam jars!


I'm usually the one that stays home with the very little ones while The Man goes berry picking, so I had to prove that I actually picked some berries.

But I think The Man picked the most.

After we'd picked enough for either a berry pie or a batch of jam, we went back down to the river to cool off and wash our hands.

G enjoyed hanging out with Grandma and splashing his toes in the river.

A very fun day was had by all!