Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Perhaps a Post

I have been very neglectful of you, bloggy friends, and I apologize. My only excuse is pregnancy and fall. You see, every year starting with the end of August our year revs up, goes from summer to 60 in less than 24 hours it seems and doesn't stop accelerating until well into Spring, around Robert's bday (in April, interestingly enough). Let's see if I can catch you up a little without losing too much time wherein I should be reading my scriptures and snuggling with the younger sifties who I tend to neglect slightly while I'm homeschooling the boys.Pregnancy seems to be going well. I am frustrated that I am still on pins and needles about this baby. We had an ultrasound at about 22 weeks, and discovered it's a boy. Pics were fuzzy, but I'm trusting that info about 98%, so we are pretty sure what his name is, but I'm not telling yet. Sorry. Sometimes we have to meet them to make sure we know their name. I firmly believe all of our children already have names before they were created on Earth, so I like to get it right! I enjoy every movement (though I'm annoyed with the amazing reflux already, and wondering how the heck I'm going to deal with it when this little boy is 6 times as big as he is now!), but each movement scares me, too. I worry that the cord is long, and each roll, twist, or kick might put a kink or knot in the cord. Inevitably I get to a point every day that I wonder if it's been a while since I felt him, then he pushes out and lets me know he's still here. Then I wonder if I will ever again have that blissful, no worries pregnancy that I used to enjoy and didn't know I was lucky enough to have. Why is it when you lose something, instead of realizing the odds are against it again you dwell on the idea that it CAN happen to someone and why not me again? I know a late pregnancy loss is not the same as a miscarriage and they are not related statistically or genetically, but it still feels like any day this baby may not make it into my arms, despite all signs saying he is alive and well. And holding this all in in order to bolster my family and not stress out my eczema covered husband any more than he already is is tiring to say the least. Whew, new subject.

The boys started K12 this year. Basically it's online, public homeschooling. The standards are a bit higher than your basic public school, but the rules (i.e. attendance, subjects, testing for Texas) are about the same. It has given me a level of accountability that I need. I have never been very disciplined when it comes to any sort of independent study situations, so this has been great. It was a slow start, b/c the first week was a lot of training videos/slide shows which the boys got bored with very quickly and kept asking me when we were getting to real school, but once the lessons started coming they didn't slow down. We are doing about 6-8 hours per boy every day, not counting lunch time. They are learning a lot and it's nice to see them absorb things. I get frustrated when I don't know what the heck the lessons are talking about or when the boys don't grasp my obviously perfect explanations, but those times are farther and farther apart as we get better at the program and schedule.

Isabelle is loving the local public school, riding the bus, and being probably one of the most popular girls in her first grade class. She's brought home "happy notes" from 3 different teachers commending her on her behavior and helpfulness. She loves her teachers, classes, friends, and even riding the bus. She hates buying school lunch, which means I get to fix her lunch every day at the crack of dawn, but I know she loves it so I don't mind except when I am tired, like the last couple of days when a cold has knocked me over. Isa's main teacher, Mrs. Shaw is a slightly older lady who's been teaching for at least a decade and has grown kids. She is perfect for Isa, disciplining but kind, firm but loving with the kids, and she likes when I come to the class for Mother reader time. I love this age when all of the kids think having a Mom do stuff at school is still cool, and it only gives Isa more credibility with her friends (read: popularity!).

Horatio and Jane are feeling a bit neglected and I need to sit down and create a shelf and a list of activities they can do slightly independently that I can help with or leave them to. I don't mind them watching Nick shows b/c they are learning a lot (numbers, colors, shapes, counting, Spanish), but I don't let them watch too much on most days. On a good day I spend my time waiting for the boys to get up snuggling on the couch with them which helps them for the rest of the day (though this means not getting my chores done). We've done puzzles, games, sensory activities (flour, sugar, cornstarch, water, paint, etc in cookie sheets), manipulatives (play coins or shapes for sorting/counting), painting/drawing... Honestly I just need to spend some time and find a good preschool website and do some printouts/copies for more writing exercises. Horatio can write the first few letters of his name and his fine motor skills are great! Jane is learning a few letters and numbers and I'm afraid she's not too far behind Horatio though he's much older. My hands will be even fuller next year and of course I wouldn't have it any other way.

Robert is still having eczema troubles, but it is much better on his arms. It's being very stubborn on his neck, but it can't be helped until his stress level goes down, which I'm afraid is not going to happen until after this baby comes, as my mood swings do not help his stress. With the business of school a lot of the house gets neglected; it's not a pigsty and we get it cleaned up most days, but the long term stuff like laundry and dishes do pile up easily then we play catch up on the weekend, or not, which causes stress during the week. Having such a ridiculous commute and sucky health insurance (read: pretty much everything out of pocket) are some stressors that we can't do anything about right now. Add to all that one car instead of 2, no time/transportation to do errands during the day and general crappy moody wife and you have one stressed out hubby. We are doing what we can: prayers, scriptures, church, dates (more often than we used to, but not often enough), and are simply waiting for this storm to pass. It will, but it's like losing power during a hurricane. It's very frustrating to have to watch all your food thaw and spoil and know you can't do a thing about it except wait for the power to come back, and eat way too much meat.

As for me, I'm getting up way too early for anyone to be up, about quarter to 7 most days to get Isa to the bus by 7:45. Then I try to get a few things done like feed myself and read scripts/prepare my Primary lesson then make sure the boys are up for school. We get started most days by 9 or so, go until around noon, having lunch and a break for about an hour total, then work until dinner time. I tried waking them when I get back about 8ish, but that only makes Oliver more sluggish in his first lesson which is counterproductive. Angel needs minimal help with his lessons, but Oliver needs adult guidance on 80% of his lessons and the rest I have to double check for him, as his mind wanders and he gets punchy at times. If I don't check I'll find crazy answers later, having to do with monsters or some silly such, and I have to send in work samples to his teacher regularly... On a good day, we get done before dinner time and I am able to cook. On a bad day we are grateful for fast food, frozen food, and a daddy who can at least cook spaghetti or hamburger helper. We haven't gone past 7 in a while, so we are doing great. At 7:30 every night my phone alarm goes off telling us that it is time for scriptures and prayers.

We study scriptures for about half an hour depending on our time until 8 (if we finish dinner late or something). Some days we work on memorizing Articles of Faith or some other scripture verses, some days we play the "Articles of faith game" (as we've come to call it) where we sit in a circle of some sort and each person says one word until we've gone through all 13 (We have to pay attention for this one and everyone enjoys it), and some days we read from where we are in the scriptures and talk as we read. Currently we are in 2 Nephi 23, one of the Isaiah chapters. I have been pleasantly surprised that I am understanding and can explain a lot of the symbolism and background for these chapters b/c of my study of the Old Testament for Primary this year. I may not be teaching my Primary kids a lot, but I have learned a TON this year.

Speaking of, I have been teaching the 8/9 year old kids in Primary. I mentioned we are doing the Old Testament, and it is challenging to put it mildly. I love all the kids, but we have a few talkers and at least one silly-head who seems to only find engagement when being disruptive. Disciplining in church is tricky, as any of you who have been in Primary, Nursery, or YW/YM can attest to. Each age has to be understood and you have to know what they can be expected to do and act like before you can even think about how to teach and deal with behavior. My 11 year olds were a dream, b/c I knew I could make them be accountable just by telling them so and bringing treats often! Most of my 8 year olds don't quite get personal accountability yet, so they don't really get being good for the rest of the class as well as themselves. And my only disciplinary tool is to take them out of class which is what some of them want. Not very helpful to make the point. I need to go through the Primary training videos for the umpteenth time and figure out what to do. Of course, the saddest thing is I have a few great students (behavior wise of course, since they really are ALL great kids) who truly are quiet and respectful and I wish I could focus on. Ah the woes of teaching any age, right?

To follow up on my busy fall-starting-schedule let me tell you how our lives go from here on out in case I don't get on here for a while, then you'll know what we're up to. I have been working on Halloween costumes since September 1st. With 7 people to make for (my pride and creative juices won't let me buy costumes: crappily made, shoddy fabric, ugly colors, etc) I have made the deadline Sept 1st each year, after which you are stuck with what you told me you are being. We've got 2 Quidditch captains this year (Harry Potter and Oliver Wood), a pop star (Isa), Pikachu (H), a ladybug (Jane), Dr. Facilier/Shadowman from the Frog Princess (Robert), and I'm going as a pregnant skeleton. In addition to sewing costumes, I have been getting plans underway for the annual Lewis family Halloween bash. Invitations are late in going out as usual (I aim for a full month so people have the time to rearrange schedules), but they are almost done (are you brimming with the anticipation of yours yet?). Conference pops up around this time, too which means planning the week well with activities and getting errands done early b/c the weekend is not usable for anything but spiritual feasting. Once invitations are made (yep, I make those, too) then comes the logistical nightmare of getting them out to people and trying to finish costumes in time as well as plan the food, games, etc. for the partay. After that it's the Ward Halloween bash, which should be pretty big this year since Halloween is on a Sunday hence most people will not be going trick-or-treating. Then actual trick-or-treating which a good friend has planned for Saturday this year.

For November we get to the planning for Isa's annual tea party birthday which I should have invites out for before Halloween (one month rule, remember?), then my practice turkey for Thanksgiving 2 weeks prior to the holiday, then the actual tea party, then Thanksgiving. Also figuring out how to get Oliver's bday planned in there somewhere (it's the week after Thanksgiving) and throwing his party. And somewhere in there I suppose I should start planning for Christmas, you think? December is all about the Savior's birth celebration and of course the gifts that go with it. Then we get to have a baby, hopefully after Christmas, but Jane made her appearance 2 1/2 weeks early, so I'm not counting this chicken until he hatches.

So sometime late December or early January (forget New Years except for the obligatory staying up late and drinking Martinelli's) we get to have our first homebirth. Everybody pray the midwife makes it in time, please. I'm not sure I want our first homebirth to also be our first unassisted birth. Honestly I could do this with my eyes closed and in my sleep at this point, but I'd much rather an experienced care provider be there, too, and with how fast my births go we wouldn't make it to the nearest hospital (20 minutes away) even if I wanted to. As a good friend put it recently, "So you're choosing to have your baby at home instead of choosing to have it in the car." Once we have our newest sifty safe and well in my arms and at my breast we can relax until February. Did I say relax? I meant lose more sleep, but, hey, same diff.

For Valentine's Robert and I try to do a nice date every year. This means we need to budget for it well, plan our time well (reservations if possible), and think ahead for gifts/flowers. My relationship with my husband depends on him remembering Valentine's and showering me with tokens of love (expensive or homemade doesn't matter); he understands this and is good with it. Interestingly enough we do more for Valentine's than our Anniversary, but that's another post.

Then in March we have mine and Angel's bdays, which is another party and cake to plan/make, and my usual anticipation and letdown (this year was the exception) for my birthday. Luckily Angel's bday is after mine, so I can throw myself into his party plans and not wallow that I am not the center of the known Universe (why is that?). In the middle of the month of April (see how I wrote that ever so carefully?), we finally get to Robert's bday, wherein we don't do much, but I want to... Then it's finally May, we get to end the school year soon, and Summer starts in earnest.


Now you know why I am a lazy blogger. And a busy momma. Now tell me about YOUR craziness that you love!