How I Spent My Summer Vacation…

While I may have spent our entire summer looking for a house, Zoe got an invitation from a special friend to have an American Girl Club. She and her friends met together weekly and planned all sorts of fun things. This culminated in a craft sale/performance of an American Girl play. They had a wonderful time and Zoe’s friend (and mom) were so gracious to host the events all summer! Nevermind me talking about it, here is Zoe’s perspective along with pictures.

In American Girl Club, we made projects each week. Some of the projects we did were Samantha’s hair bows, Felicity’s candied nuts, and a Forever binder which holds photos and important things we did. At the last meeting we did a craft sale and a play. The play was about a Spanish girl named Josephina and second chances. The play was set in the 1800s in New Mexico.  In the play, the part I played was Tia Magdelena. Tia Magdelena was a godmother to Josephina and also a healer. A  healer is someone who used spices and herbs to make people feel better.  After that we had a sleepover.  My friends and I had a fun time.

And so what we have learned…

Good intentions…I do have them.  I fully intend to get the blog updated from May before the end of June so I can update with June even though there’s not much to report in June, except that we were visited by a host of Transueiness and we’re sick.  Croup for the babe, colds, stomach issues, fevers, and a touch of laryngitis for the rest of crew…and we’ve only had three go through it.  There’s still more to come!

However, before I start folding clothes, I thought I could do a post.

Our end of the year project fair with our homeschool care group was in May this year.  The weekend of Mother’s day to be precise.  Although it was a very busy day (and Aunt Yaya’s birthday) we had wonderful time.  This year, the kids voted not to do handbells.  They chose poem recitations instead.  I have no clue where the video is.  I think next year I’ll talk them in to doing a puppet show…or play.  They do enjoy getting up and acting and such.

This year was the first year for them to do projects.  I allowed them to choose their projects and have very, very little hands on work with them.  I did some guidance on how to do the projects, use machines, and how not to cut yourself with a paper cutter or scissors (or glue yourself to a board).

And I have to say, I was greatly pleased with the effort they put into doing this.  Because of that, we will be doing many more projects this year.

Zoe did her project on Bulgaria and the Bulgarian Lap Loom that she had received as a gift from us one Christmas.

They had to stand by their projects and actually talk to people who came by and asked about them (because they’re unsocialized).  Zoe enjoyed demonstrating the loom.

We love to watch The Spangler Effect with Steve Spangler and one of the experiments he had was disappearing ink.  That was Ace’s choice for a project.  He also learned a bit about cryptography and steganography.

 More “un” socialness going on.
About the middle of the year, Josiah told me he wanted to do a project on bird nests.  I told him he would have to do it with Liam since they were so young.  The boys eventually agreed.  As I wracked my brain trying to figure out how to help a six year old and a four year old put together a project on nests, I decided to glance in the kids science journals.  We studied flying animals this year and lo and behold, there was a mini book on nests.  We adjusted it to fit on a display model and brought along a nest that had fallen out of our tree at some point.  Some birds heard about our need for nests and obliged by creating one in a box we had on our front porch.
My totally anti-social Liam loved talking to everyone about nests and the different kind.  No fear of public speaking for this kid!
 Doesn’t Chi have a look of fear on his face?  Yeah, that’s brotherly love right there.

A Bunch of Characters in Concert

Before we left on vacation, the kids informed us that they had a show to do. We had Tracy and Kevin over with their kids and our bunch did not hesitate to perform for them. Zoe even made up a sign and programs. It was a blast to watch and they had fun putting it on.

It’s funny because this is what my sister and I did for our parents when we were little. Ge & Granddaddy please forgive me for all the times I made you “watch my feet” or listen to me sing.

No one should have to listen to me sing.

But my kids, well, that’s a different story. I could listen to their giggly singing voices all day…almost all day…especially if there is no whining or fighting involved.

No one should have to listen to me sing.

But my kids, well, that’s a different story.  I could listen to their giggly singing voices all day…almost all day…especially if there is no whining or fighting involved.

Settling in

My stamina is increasing each day but I’m still trying to take it easy.

Next week, we may add a bit of school to keep our sanity about us…but don’t think I’m going to be pushing it.  Totally am planning on taking it one day at a time.

The kids are all enjoying having Malachi around.  However, some of them are turning into Loraxes!

Courtesy of Target’s Reading time they had in February!

Zoe’s Birth Story

Since we’re somewhere around five or six weeks out from Malachi’s birth (think close to six…my kids don’t like to come on or close to time without medical intervention and hoping that we won’t have medical intervention this time), I thought it’d be great to share all my birth stories.  I know I’ve got some friends out there who are birth story junkies like me so sit back with your tea or coffee (or diet coke or whatever) and enjoy.  The first three are already posted but each Friday I’ll post (or repost) a story.  And, as we say in my house, “AGE ORDER.”  This is called whenever we need to give things out one at time, etc.

Up first, my first born, Zoe.

A little background:  I started back to school to get another undergraduate degree when I was very newly pregnant.  My brain thought that I would continue with school even after the baby was born, maybe take a semester off, but that I’d finish and then go to work full time.  Since we didn’t have family in town and I knew of no one who kept children in their home, daycare was a given.  However, when I was taking summer classes, I had to do an observation of a class (I was going back to get a teaching degree).  Since it was summer, there were no classes to be found, so I had to go to a daycare.  God used that experience to make me realize that while my baby might be adequately cared for, she would not be cared for and loved by me and I would miss out on some of the most important parts of her first year of life and so on.  Regardless, I didn’t really come to that conclusion until a month from delivery and I was already near the end of my fall semester of school.

Zoe’s original due date was December 30th.  I had a pretty typical pregnancy besides her stubbornness in not showing off her girl parts at the first ultrasound.  Fortunately, we had connections and a friend was able to do another ultrasound at 28 weeks and we found out she was a she!  We were ecstatic.

The week before she was born, I had been having contractions on and off but none so strong that and regular that I felt they were that important.  I do, very vividly remember sitting in class on a Wednesday taking my last final exam.  I would answer a couple of questions and then pause and practice breathing..  My contractions were pretty strong.  One of my classmates kept staring at me and when I turned in my test, I do believe my poor professor gave a sigh of relief that I did not give birth in class.

The next week, I went in for a regular check up and Dr. J (yes, he’s delivered every single one of my babies), asked if I would like to have my daughter the next day.  I was surprised and so was Mark.  I was dilated to three and Dr. J did a quick ultrasound and we realized her fluid levels were really low.  So, we set the next day, a Friday before Christmas, as her induction date.  I didn’t realize how low the fluid levels were until Dr. J. broke my water that morning.  It was a trickle.  Barely a trickle.  I was also dilated to a four almost five.  I had been contracting that whole night and into the morning but had put off coming in since I knew we were scheduled to go in that day.

We waited and waited and like a good first time mom who hadn’t a clue what I was doing, I got an epidural when the pain got intense (I was probably at a six or so).  This was, by far, the best epidural I had (out of the three total).  It was textbook.  I also had an amazing nurse who refused to leave when her shift was up.

So, around 2 in the afternoon, I got the urge to push.  My nurse who had been with me all morning was there.  She was there an hour and half later while I was still pushing and her shift was up and the new nurse came in.  Dr. J came in and out to check  my progress.  He’d watch me push then walk out.  Never fussed, never tried to get her out…just waited.  I still praise God for his patience with this first time mom.  And my nurse, that would not leave, she cried when I had Zoe.  She was so sweet and amazing with us!  I’ve never had a nurse quite like her.  

Wound up, I pushed for almost two hours.  My sister was so impatient that she was standing outside the door to come see what was taking so long when I had her and Aunt Yaya screamed with excitement and freaked out the whole labor and delivery wing.  That’s how we roll in my family!

Zoe was born a little after 3:30 pm with her beautiful pink self and her sweet little cry and so much hair on the top of her head that we could have covered her in bows and there still would have been plenty of hair left!  All 8 pounds and 4 ounces of her (and that’s on the small side of my babies).  Mark was in awe and instantly in love with her and more in love with me…at least that’s how I feel about it.  He was so neat to watch because he thought (and still thinks) the whole process is such an amazing thing to watch.  Not many guys can say that…he’s a keeper I tell ya.

We brought Miss Zoe home three days before Christmas and she was the best Christmas present I’ve ever received. 

Birthday Celebration, American Girl Style

I’ll say, at least, this one of the most memorable birthdays for Zoe.  Back in August, we talked about going to the American Girl store for her birthday.  She loved the idea and quickly agreed to save up her money to help in purchasing a doll.  She worked hard too.  She watched every penny she spent and made sure she had enough to help with the doll purchase.  So, December was the month.  Ge, Grandmere, Aunt Yaya and cousin J all traveled from the ends of the earth (okay, from a few hours away), to converge on The American Girl Store and eat brunch at the Bistro.  Let me just say, that this place is every little girl’s (and big girl’s) dream!  We were all in doll heaven and couldn’t get over looking at all the sweet things.  Ceili Rain’s eyes were as big as saucers when we walked in.  Aunt Yaya asked her if she wanted to look at something and she slowly shook her head yes.  When she asked her what she just shrugged her shoulders…there was so much to see.

Cinnamon mini muffins…yummy.  Ceili Rain enjoyed eating the butter too.

 Cousin J and Zoe modeling their “hats!”
 Zoe with Marie-Grace her new doll.

 Marie-Grace with her best friend Cecile on display.  I loved Cecile’s curly hair and her beautiful dresses!

They shrunk!
The mall also had a carasoul which was spotted pretty quickly from the parking lot.

Of course, the girls had to ride.
Aren’t these the prettiest girls!
After a trip to the American Girl store we celebrated with the boys with cake at Ge’s house.  Zoe also had a fun filled day on her actual birthday too!

Her request for cake this year was a chocolate-vanilla swirl cheesecake.  I also made chocolate whipped topping for it too!  It was super yummy which is why I didn’t take a picture of it.

Energy Burner

A sure fire way to get my kids to burn off excess energy is to go to gymnastics.  There is a local gym that offers homeschool classes twice a month.  The kids love it and usually rush to finish school on gymnastics days.  This month, they had a “Snowflake Show-off” which meant we got to sit down front and center and watch the kids do their thing!

Ceili Rain, Bryant, and Josiah enjoyed the show.  Josiah’s old enough to participate but gymnastics is not his thing.

They all received medals at the end.

Okay, so the Olympics is not in our future, but it sure is fun for them and they definitely sleep well after gymnastics.

Piano Man…and Woman

In between travels, Zoe and Ace had their first official piano recital with their teacher Mrs. T.  They’ve been taking for the past two years and have done really well.  We just recently figured out that Ace can play a bit by ear.  Zoe was teaching herself “The First Noel” and Ace heard her playing it and picked up on several different measures too.  That thrills this non-musically talented mama to no end.  This coming year we’ll add Liam to the lessons and Mark will start teaching Ace percussion as well.  He’s wanted to learn to play drums for quite some time and we have a live-in instructor so my house will be full of endless musical noise!

Excuse the spots.  I have no idea what was on our new camera lens.

Ge & Granddaddy made the trek up to hear them play (and deliver the wood for the boys’ beds…don’t worry, I’m getting there).