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*34 weeks was at 7-12-18

This baby deep inside me, ever so small, is a child of God. A child that God gave me to take care of whether for a day or for years. That care began at conception. Whether he or she lives or dies each day I am with him or her is a gift and has a purpose with eternal consequences. My baby is now part of my life, my testimony. -Brenda Rogers, "New Rules for Announcing a Pregnancy"

How Far Along? 34 Weeks! Some days these final days seem forever away, and some days they seem so close.

"those tiny little fingernails have probably reached the tip of his or her fingers by this week" -What to Expect When You're Expecting, 4th ed.

Baby Size: "Your baby could be as tall as 20 inches right now and weighs about 5 pounds." -What to Expect When You're Expecting, 4th ed.  

Gender: We'll find out in a few weeks when we get to meet him/her! I still think it's a boy. Annelise still wants a sister. Tennyson is still just excited about having a new baby. 

Weight Gain: I think I'm still around the 139lb range. That number hasn't changed much lately. 

Belly: Whoa, belly! The belly is very forward and tight. It certainly feels like he/she is running out of room in there. 

Sleep: Sleep just doesn't happen. I'm so often so uncomfortable that I never get into a deep sleep. The sleep deprivation has been brutal some weeks. I don't know why people talk of the newborn phase being so difficult in terms of sleep deprivation. I sleep better then than I do while pregnant. I at least can get in a deep sleep between feedings. Currently, I'm just mind-numbingly exhausted. 

Symptoms: All of me is completely uncomfortable at this point. I'm ready to meet this little boy or girl!

Clothing: I decided to wear a skirt and top to church one morning. I tried on three different maternity shirts and all were too short. I have two tunic style and one size too big shirts remaining. haha. Thank goodness I bought several maxi dresses this pregnancy! I love them and don't have to worry about they becoming too small. 

Movement: Slow. Very Slow. I'm so uncomfortable that it's more difficult to move. 

Baby Movement: Oh, does he/she ever! At this point, movements are getting to be rather painful. Every kick, push, and shift are outwardly visible. Many big shifts will cause me to have to pause and breath through until he/she moves back. The breech to transverse to breech positioning is not my favorite in the least. I'm often left sore when he/she gets kicking or pushing hard. I distinctly know where that head is (and it's most certainly not down). I'm reminded so much of my first pregnancy. He moved exactly like this (and he was also breech). Little did I know then what a difference positioning makes. I certainly know now and really wish he/she would flip to the proper head down position! 

Food Adversions: Nothing in particular. 

Food Cravings: Hello, sweet tooth! I admit that I've been rather indulgent these last few weeks. Dear baby boy/girl, if you end up with a preference towards sweets in life then you can fairly blame your Mama. haha

Other Notes:
     As we draw nearer to delivery, we are more aware of how our resources rather limited and we having a challenging situation ahead as the current plan for a c-section will leave me out of commission for quite a while. I must admit that I'm a bit panicked. The current plan is to have the children go spend the day with families from our co-op group. (Thank goodness for these wonderful ladies! I don't know what we would do with out this offering!). I don't yet know the logistics of who is going where or how we'll get everyone where they need to go at the moment of need, but at least we have several individuals who have offered and I feel completely comfortable with them. Following the c-section, David will have the older three at home while I recover with the newborn at the hospital. How I'm going to be able to maneuver enough to care for a newborn while post-op, I don't know. I'll be on my own, so I'll figure it out I suppose. David will then be able to take a week of vacation to stay with us while I recover at home. David's parents are then intending to come in to help for a week. We've discussed asking if they could stay for another week as I'm not certain I'll be recovered from major surgery enough to be able to fully care for four children four years old and under and everything else in the house on my own. Then, David will take another week of vacation. That will get me through four weeks and hopefully by then I'll be able to manage everything and everyone by myself. I'll admit that I'm rather nervous about having to push myself to fully recover from major surgery in just four weeks, as well as single-handedly care for four children four years old and under and the housework. This is the best plan or arrangements we've been able to make thus far. (This is one reason we're decidedly done having children after this baby. Situations like this are so very difficult without a solid support system/"village".) One way or another, we're going to make it! Of course, things would be much, much easier if the baby would just flip into the proper head down position so we could have a vbac instead of a csection. haha. I'm not confident in him/her changing positions at this point though. 
 
         With up to 6 weeks until the due date, I'm slowly but surely beginning to make some preparations. I still have a long list of things I'd like to get accomplished prior to his/her arrival. One such task is to have plenty of food stocked in the freezer and pantry. With the real potential of me being out of commission for a while with a c-section, I really want to try to have as many meals as possible ready to go.
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 I really enjoy making certain occasions special. I would like to think that the children would one day look back and reminisce fondly on our simple celebrations of otherwise ordinary moments. I know I certainly will. For the most part, our "celebration" is merely a basket filled with a new holiday/season-specific book an a couple of activities for us to enjoy together. (View our First Day of Christmas Box). I've come to enjoy creating more of these little baskets as they've been such a delightful means of celebration for occasions. 

     I decided to create a Fourth of July basket for us this year. In this basket I included:

  •  {new book}- The Story of America's Birthday by Patricia Pingry*. 
    • This was the desired book for the basket. However, I didn't purchase it in time. But, that means that I'll be able to purchase it inexpensively used without any concern to the shipping timeframe and have it for next year. 
  • {play dough}- 
    • homemade play dough dyed red, white and blue
  • {do-a-dot painting}-
    • Free printable available here
    • We don't have "Do-a-Dot" painters/markers, and so I create our own with some clothes pins and pom-poms. It works really well!
  • {coloring page}-
    • Free coloring pages available here
        In creating these baskets, I try to wisely plan and purchase any items desired. I'm not one to make a big fuss or spend a lot of money. I prefer to do/use as much as I can that I already have. Or, I may aim to add just one new item purchased per year, and allow that holiday/season collection build over time. (This can be a pretty good exercise in contentment and patience as sometimes holiday items are so fun and tempting!) With this limited approach, though, I can also focus on purchasing quality items that will last for many more years. Some items that I might considering purchasing for future Fourth of July baskets include cookie cutters for play dough, sprinkles for a fun food project, and of course a book. 

    As you can see with this Fourth of July basket, this is a pretty simple little collection of items and activities! This basket was a bit of a last minute idea, and so I simply included items I already had. (Hence, the missing desired book!). But, they all enjoyed the activities. We were able to do them together and discuss a little bit about the meaning of the occasion. I've printed extra copies of the painting and coloring sheets, and tucked everything away in our seasonal tote in the garage ready for next year!

    
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*I also lag behind in these posts because of the extra time involved in adding photos. It takes a while for me to get photos transferred from a device to a computer and then to the blog. Instead of letting these posts fall to the wayside, I may just publish them without photos and then add photos later when I'm able. I enjoy creating these posts as a means of personal reflection, and then having them later to really understand where we've been and perhaps where we're going. So, if future posts are lacking in photos then perhaps just revisit at a later time. (Or, visit my Instagram (username: OurHomemakingStory) as I frequently post photos there!). Also, this post is long. Since I wrote it in pieces throughout the month, I didn't realize just how long it was until I finished. If you actually make it to the end.. bravo! hahaha.

Faith-
     I've been noticing how the Bible portion of our curriculum is written to be so conversational. It includes a very short passage from the provided Preschooler's Bible, and then a page of suggested dialogue in which you're essentially retelling and discussing the story. I haven't been as diligent in including these portions to our school time lately as such things feel so forced and unnatural to me to implement during "school time." However, I'm seeing more and more how easily they may be used for personal conversation versus a lesson. I think this is how faith is conveyed. I think it is first witnessed through the examples provided in daily living and then discussed as though a normal, natural part of conversation.  If my children are to one day walk in faith, then I want that faith to be deep and genuine. 
     Last month I downloaded a chronological one-year Bible into the Kindle app on my phone with the intention that I would simple read a portion whenever I picked up my phone. It sounds like a good plan. However, I'm still not great at reading on a device, and would much prefer to have a book in hand. Early morning coffee plus a printed copy of that particular Bible would be my ideal. In the meantime, I like the idea of using our curriculum's Bible and dialogue to prompt greater faith conversation between my eldest and myself. He always wants an extra story and cuddle before falling asleep, and this has been a perfect place for stories and conversations of faith. 

Family Updates
3 years old!
(She likes to do big brother's prek school activities.
We might need to work on cutting skills a little more though! haha)
   Annelise turned three years old! This girl is "spirited" and thoroughly enjoys herself at all times. She spends much of her day running, singing, and having a good time regardless of us being at home or elsewhere. If any of the children were to do something wild and crazy, it's likely her. I adore her kooky little ways (although some of those ways are also a bit mischievous!). Her best friend is clearly her big brother. She looks up to him quite a bit, and can often be found mimicking him. She enjoys playing with him (and occasionally, will wake him up to play if she wakes sooner. He's not a big fan of this practice though.). I'm grateful they're so close, and hope they will remain close friends in life. She is strong willed and highly persistent in her desires. I pray this will be a positive and will serve her well in life. She challenges and pushes me daily. But, I know that sweet little heart. I adore moments I get to spend with her and connect with her deeply (she's a strong daddy's girl so these moments don't come often enough). I've watched her grown and change so much this past year. I'm excited to see where this next year will take us. I'm so glad to have each day with her (even if she does know just which buttons to push! haha). I love her dearly.
    To celebrate her birthday this year, we decided to celebrate in small ways on her actual birthday, and then throw her a birthday party soon after. I decided to get her a wonderful dollhouse**, doll*, furniture set*, and book* for her birthday gifts. I made our traditional birthday donuts for breakfast. And then we simply enjoyed the day together.
Birthday tea party for our girl!
     For her party, I have had a tea party in mind for her for years. We invited friends from our homeschool co-op group and friends from church. Since her grandparents were planning a trip around the same time, we delayed the party a week so they could attend. (This is the first birthday any extended family have been able to be present for for any of the children!). As is our usual tradition, it was a complete push to the minute of people arriving. (Please tell me I'm not the only one who doesn't come close to a Pinterest-perfect party and yet still struggles to get everything done on time!). Thankfully, my in-laws were here and lent a hand where ever they could. All in all, I think things turned out pretty well. Although, soon after the initial lull the children got rather restless and rather wild (all but one guest were energetic boys! haha). After that point, it was hard to get them to be a little more orderly. (Annelise always enjoys running around with them at co-op, so I don't think she minded. Mama, on the other hand, was rather worn out by all the energy! haha). So, some of what I had in mind and prepared for didn't work out too well. But, they're just three years old, so that's okay. We were glad they came to celebrate her birthday!

(*note: I'm sharing the following not at a boast, but as simply sharing our experience and perhaps providing some encouragement towards the possibility of a debt-limited approach to family finances. I share where we are now, but also where we've been. We've not lost sight of our humble beginning)
   
     Also, we bought a van this month! We have been saving for a van for a little over a year. In the meantime, we've been squeezing into our suv. It contained five seats and we have been a five person family, and so I saw no reason to take on the debt of having another vehicle. It was a time of learning contentment (and blocking out the sheer volume of noise radiating from a backseat behind us containing three carseats side by side!). We were determined to not take on any more loan or payment than we've had in the past. But, as we approach the arrival of our newest baby the time had come to turn our savings into a purchase. We need more seats! 
Finally, a van!
     So, we took a trip to a town a few hours away to purchase a new (to us) van. We were very excited to have been able to purchase our biggest and most expensive vehicle, but yet take the least amount of loan for it. By combining the trade-in value of one of our vehicles that we had full ownership of and the cash saved, we were able to take out the same amount of loan we had for our previous two vehicles which we've paid off in half the time using the debt snowball method. So, in theory we should be able to pay this vehicle off in a similar timeframe. We'll then start the cycle over again of saving for the next replacement vehicle. Little by little, the goal is to take less and less load each time and eventually reach a place where we no longer need to rely on loans for vehicles. We're getting there! 
     We're certainly a ways away from where we started when we married. At that time we had a vehicle completely die a couple months after we married. David hadn't been out of college long and I was still in school, and neither of us had any debt beyond school loans but that doesn't count towards your credit. So, we had no other option but to co-sign with a family member. We ended up with a total junker car on a bad loan. It was an awful experience. But, we didn't have credit or cash at the time, so we did what we had to do. We've worked diligently since to move beyond that point. It feels like quite the accomplishment!
      As far as functions and features pertaining to a Mama of little ones, this van is a dream vehicle! Everyone has their own full size seat in the corners of the vehicle (hooray for no one having to ride with a sibling kicking a foot in their face! Real life, friends.). The seats all wipe clean, which is so nice with little ones. And, the best feature of all- the first row is "captain seats" which means there is an aisle in the middle to get to the back row. This spacing allows me and the children to all be inside the vehicle and out of the road or parking lot while I'm taking the time to get everyone buckled and unbuckled (and that does that quite some time when it's just me). Oh, and sliding doors are nice too as that takes up far less space while getting carseats situated (because sheesh do people get impatient when you're having to stand with a door partially opened while you buckle or unbuckle children!). All in all, I'm loving having a van with all the children! ...Just don't ask me to park or maneuver in any tight spots. haha

Projects
     All garage shelves are built & we're now just continuing to resell what we can, donate anything else, and trash the rest. Once we pulled everything out, it became a big job (especially with little ones). It's shaping up though! I can see how everything having a home will be a big help in keeping the space cleaned up. The investment in building the shelves was absolutely worthwhile! I will most certainly want to do the same as soon as possible in the next house we have!
     We purchased a couple of long floating shelves for our living room. Since the walls are wood paneling, I've been hesitant to hang anything on them because once a hole goes in there is no going back. The room is rather long, and so we have it split into two sections- a seating section and then the play yard play area. My thought was to use overlapping long shelves to connect those two sections of the room. I like the way the shelves look, and feel as though the purpose was achieved. After two years of blank walls, the space looks rather different with something on them now! Haha. I now just have to find an uncluttered way to decorate them. For that, I'll probably call on the assistance of a couple of friends who have a gift for decorating (I absolutely do not! haha). 

Reading
- finished 
     - Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World by Emily P. Freeman*
           I liked this book fairly well. It's not great but it's also not terrible. I really liked the emphasis on the significance of small. I, myself, feel as though I am a rather small personality and lead a small life, yet am apart of a society that praises that which is big and extravagant. So, in that regard her message was quite encouraging. On the converse, I felt as though she was trying really hard to create the content for the book. I don't believe I've ever come across such overuse of metaphors. There were times, as well, in which she seemed to get tangled in her own reflective thoughts. I did find plenty to underline or note in the pages, and so I believe it will remain on my bookshelf a bit longer. 
     - Shopping for Time: how to Do It All and NOT be Overwhelmed by Carolyn Mahaney, Nicole Mahaney Whitacre, Kristin Chesemore, and Janelle Bradshaw *
           This book was quite disappointing. I had seen this book be praised and promoted within the homemaking realm quite a bit. I bought the ebook version and was able to complete it in just a few days as it was really short (ie less than 100 pages!). The subtitle, "How to Do it All and Not Be Overwhelmed," leads you to believe strategies for managing time or tasks will be offered. Instead, it's entirely concerning the authors' philosophy towards time management and religion. They offer little to no practical applications regarding time or task management. The writing was very informal and conversational, and as though you were with them. However, the casual tone perhaps worked to discredit the work a bit as it doesn't lend itself to more elaborate or thorough writing. 

- currently reading
     -Be Mature (James): Growing Up in Christ by Warren Wiersbe*

For more books read and desired to read, visit my online bookshelves!

      The library had a huge book sale. We don't have any used bookstores or other options locally, and so I was very eager to shop this sale. I didn't quite find some of what I was looking for, but I did find a lot of other great books. The sheer quantity of books offered (and disorganization within the children's section) was a bit overwhelming. So, I tried to focus on books that where part of series or type that we enjoy (ie Golden books), as well as seasonal books. I used to think seasonal books were frivilous, but have since found them to be a delightfully simple way to celebrate the first day of a season or holiday. I found a couple new books for me to read as well. I was most excited to have found a couple of Sally Clarkson's books as I've yet to find one by the Clarkson family that I didn't enjoy!

Family Fun
Enjoying the water activity at
the children's museum we visited!
    When we began the search for a new vehicle, we knew we would need to drive to a larger city to find the best deal. We decided that we'd use that opportunity for a mini family weekend vacation and make the most of it. Because we normally need to set aside David's vacation time from work and save as much funds as possible for making our annual trip to visit with our families, we've never taken a vacation or even much of a weekend vacation. However, we decided that since we'll not being making a trip back this year and with work and life being rather stressful currently, we'd take the opportunity for some family fun. 
     So, after we purchased the van we made a trip to IKEA. The plan was to simply go for dinner and pick up a dollhouse for Annelise's birthday. Well, IKEA gets me. We ended up coming back with a dollhouse, two shelves, and a couple of packages of sand toys for the children. (I wanted the children's picnic table too, but held myself back! haha). It was hard to resist picking up a couple extras when we're normally so far from the store and their prices are half of what's available to us locally. I love IKEA. haha
    The next day we went to a (massive!) aquarium. It was incredible! The habitats were so well done. I'm always so impressed when zoos or aquariums design their habitats in a way that are so natural! It was a great experience. (But, wow are places like that expensive!)
     After the aquarium we headed to a children's science and history museum. The science portion was really interesting..to David and myself. It was too advance for the children. But, then we came upon a small world type area with several activities sized down for little ones. Annelise and Huxley loved the grocery store playarea. Tennyson most enjoyed the outside water activity in which you could rearrange pipes to channel the flow of water. We unfortunately got to the museum late in the day and only got to partake in a small fraction of all that was available there. (It would be fun to go again, but like the other attraction it was so very expensive.)
      We certainly made a full weekend out of a trip to purchase a vehicle! We were all pretty tired afterwards, but it was so good to simply get away and have some fun as a family!

Homemaking
     I created a new daily schedule for the summer for us. A good schedule makes all the difference in our days. Without one, I feel like there are four of us attempting to go in four different directions simultaneously, and that is completely overwhelming to me. I need a little order, especially at this point in the pregnancy (ie I don't have the energy to be chasing after people or stuff all day long. hah). One of the goals of this new schedule was to account for needing to spend more time inside than outside. The swarms of mosquitoes, potential presence of rattlesnakes, fire ants, scorpions etc, and sweltering triple digit heat make summers in Texas my least favorite time of year. So, we try to go out as soon as possible in the mornings and then focus on cleaning and school activities in the afternoons. It works wonderfully! A good schedule is always my #1 when asked about managing all little ones every day. 

Hospitality/Playdates
      David's parent's visited for a week this month! They had been wanting to visit during the summer, and then David being gone for work provided a good opportunity. They planned it so they'd be here a couple days while he was still here, and then be available to lend me a hand while he gone. I was certainly grateful for the company and extra hand in completing household tasks. I don't think I did dishes all week! The children had a bit of a challenge warming up to them. (They hadn't seem them since November of last year. Even then, we don't see extended family but briefly a couple times a year). Huxley, though, easily goes to anyone and quickly figured out how to use that one-year-old cuteness to get to be held all of naptime each day. haha. Now that we've all been reacquainted a bit, I think their next visit when baby 4 arrives will be a bit smoother. I really appreciate them coming to visit and do so much to help me out! 

Homeschool
    Our homeschool co-op group is amazing! These mamas have really impressed me with their commitment and participation. I knew in staring this that it would be essential to have mamas who would be "all in" just as much as I am. Well, it's been exactly that. Mamas have hosted gatherings and planned fantastic activities. We have a great variety of approaches as some mamas are more s.t.e.m. oriented, some are literature-based, some are Montessori in style etc. This past month we did a unit on bugs (with the most amazing exploration bin!), we did a unit on the book Blueberries for Sal while also focusing on the letter b and color blue, we did a unit on the ocean (with three fantastic exploration bins that all the children loved!). We concluded the month with an open playdate at a local indoor attraction comprised of bounce houses, slides, and other play equipement. Next month, two  mamas have volunteered to host and plan activities. (Which means I don't have have to worry about doing so myself! I enjoy it, but breaks are nice too). It's going to be great! I'm so, so grateful for this group! (Who knew a strong introvert like myself could create something like this?!)
      As far as our own homeschooling, I feel like we're getting closer to finding our groove. The key is to determine which activities can be done together and which really need to be done one-on-one. I find that, like most things, we can accomplish far more when everyone is separated. Plus, it's excellent one-on-one time for me and each of the children, which is part of the purpose in our "school time" currently. Even with our snail's pace, our school work board fills up fast!

Parenting
16 months old and full of energy!
    Parenting well has been challenged during this pregnancy. I'm so very, very exhausted. Some days I can push through, but far too many I've not been my best parenting self. There is one thing certain about children and that is they are very perceptive and responsive. They absolutely know when I'm tense or tired, and will behave in certain manner in response. It's been a struggle for me to be all that I need to be for each one, especially when so exhausted. I've wrestled with guilt quite a bit regarding this manner. I want to be and do so much for each of the, but I'm finding adequate energy difficult to come by. 
      Each child has such a distinct personality. One is highly sensitive and needs a lot of personal attention. Another is strong-willed and has a way of finding the edge of boundaries (or running straight through them!). Another is coming into his own more and more, and has become rather assertive in his desires. So many personalities, so many needs. I worry as to if I'm adequately meeting everyone's needs. I press on, but all the while praying for the strength to make the next day a little better. 

Personal Growth
     I've made a greater effort in getting up before everyone else to have just 30 minutes to myself before the day gets started. This moment of personal investment makes a huge impact. My introverted soul needs that moment of solitude. I've mostly enjoyed a cup of coffee and a book, or coffee and blog writing. Even though these moments make a big difference for me, I've learned to not be dependent on them. There are still many mornings in which at least one child will wake as soon as he/she hears that someone else is awake. Seasons. I keep reminding myself that there are seasons. I'll enjoy..
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I have a cold, but I was still getting a 32 week picture to keep up with the journal!

This baby deep inside me, ever so small, is a child of God. A child that God gave me to take care of whether for a day or for years. That care began at conception. Whether he or she lives or dies each day I am with him or her is a gift and has a purpose with eternal consequences. My baby is now part of my life, my testimony. -Brenda Rogers, "New Rules for Announcing a Pregnancy"

How Far Along? 32 weeks! Only 8 weeks remaining!

"In these past few weeks, it's all about practice, practice, practice as she hones the skills she'll need to thrive outside the womb -- from swallowing and breathing to kicking and sucking. And speaking of sucking, your little one has been able to suck her thumb for a while now. Something else to note: As more and more fat accumulates under your baby's skin, she's becoming less transparent and more opaque." -What to Expect When You're Expecting, 4th ed. 

Baby Size:  According to the most recent ultrasound, the baby is measuring right on track at 3lbs. 13oz. Having had one baby born at 3lb. 11oz, I have a pretty good idea of this little one's current size. Although, he/she feels so much bigger wiggling around in there! haha

"tipping the scales at almost four pounds and topping out at just about 19 inches." -What to Expect When You're Expecting, 4th ed. 

Gender: We'll find out when he/she arrives! Tennyson is now wanting a baby brother, and Annelise is wanting a baby sister. One will be correct! (I'm still absolutely convinced the baby's a boy.)
Is that not a hilarious side angle photo, or what?!
 I still have 8 more weeks to go!

Weight Gain: up to 138lbs, which is 24lbs more than pre-pregnancy weight. Interestingly, this is the exact gain by this point as in my third pregnancy (although, I feel much differently this time). 

Belly: Baby belly is quite large yet definitive. This baby seems to be sitting rather low at times as well, which accentuates the ball-like shape. 

Sleep: Oh, sleep. I don't sleep soundly much at all. More often than not, I'm simply too uncomfortable to rest easily. Add the recent cold that has gone through our family, and rest has been even harder to find. 

Symptoms: *Sigh* Too many to list. The body is very clearly done. 

Clothing: Still enjoying all the dresses I purchased for this pregnancy! I recent painting project got a little messy, and so I'll definitely be replacing that dress soon. I love comfy dresses!

Movement: I'm pretty slow these days as I'm lacking energy to go much faster. If given any moment of opportunity, I gladly take a seat. 

Baby Movement: This baby's movements reminds me a lot of my first pregnancy. In both cases, I would have to breath through the movements they would be so uncomfortable. Interestingly, both of these babies had a similar position (and my middle two babies shared a different position). Sometimes, he/she gets me good with kicks. The most uncomfortable though is when he/she gets up towards my ribs. Of course, there's also the big movements as though he/she's trying to rotate around are really quite uncomfortable and will cause me to pause and breathe until he/she finds a new position. All this, I believe, is due to his/her position. We learned in our latest ob and mfm appointments that the baby is breech. As soon as this was said, I thought "no wonder!" That's most definitely a head up at my ribs and feet down below. 


Food Adversions: Nothing in particular. 

Food Cravings: Nothing in particular. Although, David has commented about it being difficult to plan meatless meals when I end up wanting something "meatier" haha


Other Notes:
     At the most recent ob & MFM appointments, we saw that he/she is measuring perfectly on track with no signs of growth restrictions or any other complications! We also learned that he/she is in a breech position. We were told that while a baby typically has assumed his/her position at this point, he/she can still flip. But, if he/she doesn't then we'll be scheduled for a c-section. (My first baby was also breech and we had a c-section for him as well). Given the circumstance, I'm okay with a c-section. There are certain situations I'll advocate for a vbac and certain ones I won't. This is one of those cases in which I feel it is safer to deliver via c-section when the baby is in a breech position. We'll see what happens though because we've already been back and forth between eligible for a vbac and not several times as various situations have changed.

     This week also marked being down with another sickness we've passed along in our family. At 30 weeks, we caught the stomach bug. And, now at 32 weeks we caught a cold. In both cases, sickness really compounds the difficulties of this pregnancy. If we catch anything else, I'm quarantining everyone until delivery! haha

    Last week, David had to travel out of town for work for several days. His parents were wanting to come for a visit anyways, and so this provided a good opportunity for that trip. They were here for several days while he was still here, and then stayed for the days he was gone to help me out. Even though it was a bit of a challenging adjust to people they're not entirely familiar with being here all the time, I'm so grateful to have had an extra set of hands! (Since we live at a distance from all family, the children only see extended family a couple times a year). My sweet mother-in-law cleaned the kitchen all week. That alone was such a nice break! I believe this was the longest they've visited. It's certainly the first time they've been around the children with all three mobile and very active (and loud!). I hope we didn't wear them out too much. I imagine they're enjoying their quiet home again now!
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   We've been needing a new game plan with regards to our daily schedule. Normally, I like to have the children play outside for an hour or more in the mornings and afternoons. However, the temperatures are now steadily in the triple digits and it's simply too hot by the afternoon. The mosquitos are also out in full force, and they just love us. So, we spend more time indoors in the summer months, and that requires extra attention to how our time is being spent. 

     At this point in my pregnancy, children running wild through the house is not an option. I mentally and physically cannot keep up with the chaos that ensues. Everyone needs to be productively occupied. On a similar note, I'm presently at a place in which messes in the house cause me a lot of stress, and therefore need to have a couple of built-in times in the day in which we can all work together to get things cleaned up. We also need a feasible way to do "school time" and/or have some one-on-one time with each child in a day. All this to say- we need a good schedule!





     
Notes: 
*I've labeled outside play as either independent or dependent. It's easy for me to simply say "go play!" While I do want them to have some playtime without my direction or involvement, I also don't want to miss out on the opportunity to play and explore with them outside. I don't want to fall into the tendency to "check out." So, I've set aside a portion of time for them to play apart from me (hello, outside reading time for Mama!) as well as time for us to play together, read stories outside together, or go for a walk in the neighborhood. 

*Cleaning- I've finally figured out the key to accomplishing cleaning with all little ones is to separate them. Two children play in the play yard together while I work with a third. Then, after 15 minutes I rotate one child into the play yard and one child out to help clean. When cleaning with a child, I'm able to give specific instructions. I simply bring the child along in what I'm doing. This has worked really well. I allot 45 minutes each morning and afternoon to rotate everyone through their cleaning role. It works!

*School time- Like cleaning, I've learned that separation is again key. Some arts and crafts and reading can be done together, but for the most part the older two are able to focus so much better without someone else in the room providing entertainment. For our oldest two children we use activities from My Father's World. For our youngest, I use select activities from abcjesuslovesme.com In all cases, the activities are very simple and playful, and not heavy academics at this point. It's just an opportunity for me to spend one-on-one time with each of them. 

*Table activity- We've gotten into a bad habit of expecting to simply get down from the table when finished eating. (For a young child, they may finish before David and I even get seated!). It's difficult to enjoy a meal if we're constantly getting up to supervise the children when they're in complete free play. We also need them to better understand and develop the ability to remain seated when we're at a restaurant. Furthermore, having them sit for just a little longer once they finish allows me the opportunity to clean up the meal mess. Otherwise, it can be difficult to clean it up and it remains all day (reminding me of it's presence! haha). 

*Naptime- I have two children who need a good naptime, and one who can go without. However, we all need the break and time alone. So, the rule is that you can sleep, play with a toy quietly or look at books, but you must be quiet and you must stay in your room. For the child that often doesn't like to sleep, I have an Okay to Wake! clock in the room. When the clock lights up, then she may come out of her room. I had gotten overly relaxed about allowing her out of her room once she woke, and that was causing a problem in the rest of us (including Mama) getting the break/rest time we needed in the day. It's also good for her to be able to play to herself at times. 


     The biggest change in this schedule is just the implementation of more directed means of being productively occupied. There's time built in for many areas: independent play, collective play between siblings, cleaning time, school time etc. Rotation of activities has been key. 

     Perhaps to some, a schedule with little fully free play would be overly restrictive. I like the notion of "wild and free," but presently that just doesn't work too well with all the children being relatively closely spaced and they all still being quite young. I believe there will come a time in which they can be permitted to have greater free play. It makes more sense to offer that opportunity when they can resist impulses a little better (ie not empty an entire cabinet or draw with or on something they shouldn't. haha). In the meantime, find that we all function far better with a schedule and pre-planned activities. They're not creating means of entertainment for themselves, which inevitably results in disputes and colossal messes. I also feel less overwhelmed and tempted to lose my patience or temper. To me, maintaining joy and relationship with them is an important priority. They also are thriving far more with the designated times that are created to be alone with me. It just works for us in this current season. 

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*I'm so far behind in these posts! 28 weeks was on 05-31-18. I missed getting a picture and writing a post. At this point, I might as well pick up where I am at 30 weeks*

This is me trying to look awake and lively.
I don't think it came across well in the photo. haha!

This baby deep inside me, ever so small, is a child of God. A child that God gave me to take care of whether for a day or for years. That care began at conception. Whether he or she lives or dies each day I am with him or her is a gift and has a purpose with eternal consequences. My baby is now part of my life, my testimony. -Brenda Rogers, "New Rules for Announcing a Pregnancy"

How Far Along? 30 weeks! Only 10 more weeks until we'll meet this newest little one!

"growing daily is his brain, which is actually starting to look like the real thing with those characteristic grooves and wrinkles. And now that your little genius can regulate his own body temperature and turn up the heat, he'll start shedding lanugo, the downy body hair that's been keeping him warm up until now." -What to Expect When you're Expecting,  4th ed. 

Baby Size: "...weighing in at over three pounds now (he'll be packing on the weight at a rate of half a pound per week for the next seven weeks)..." -What to Expect When You're Expecting, 4th ed.   

Gender: We'll find out when he/she arrives! 

If the baby's a boy, then the name will be Emerson Phillip. If the baby's a girl, then the name will be Laurelei ____. (Ah, we still need a middle name!)

Weight Gain: 136 lbs. Up 22 lbs. from pre-pregnancy weight. 

Belly: So big. 

     We often visit the same restaurant when we go out to eat. It's fast and child-friendly. We may go too often though. A couple of the employees asked when I was due thinking it was soon. When we replied that we weren't due until the end of August they were surprised. (One then asked if it was twins! Not the first time this pregnancy to be asked that question. I simply reply that it's not twins just a fourth baby in four years. haha). Another employee noted that the belly has grown a lot in the last few weeks. Haha, you know you might go to the same restaurant when the employees are on baby watch! 

Sleep: I fall asleep fast, that's for sure. I try to get as much sleep as possible because what sleep I do get is fairly fitful. I'm pushing through, but many days are such a challenge and don't go quite as smoothly as I'd like. 

     People always talk about the sleep deprivation of the newborn days, but I think the pregnancy days are so much harder.  

Symptoms: The constant extreme exhaustion is still a daily battle. As belly grows, the aches and pains also increase. My body just feels worn out at this point. Whenever I later begin to grieve there not being any more babies, I need to reread these posts. Carrying and delivering babies is not easy on the body. I'm so grateful to have been able to carry four babies. I must admit, though, this body of mine is done. Carrying a baby while caring for other young children has been really, really tough.  

Clothing: I still love all the lovely dresses purchased this pregnancy. Best clothing purchases ever. 

Movement: I'm pretty slow these days. I attempted to go for a walk around the neighborhood with the children one morning but was so worn out by it that I had to pause a couple of times to rest before continuing on. It was a struggle to get us back home. I decided that I'd not do that again. Walks may be best done with David with us. 

Baby Movement: He/she is a wild wiggler! He/she will go through periods in which I feel just shifts, and then other times when I can see and feel distinct feet or hands trying to push their way through. I captured one active moment in a video. It's pretty amazing to watch.

     Tennyson really enjoys getting to feel the baby move. He'll often come up to me and lay a hand to my belly to feel him/her move. He's so excited about a new sibling!

Food Adversions: None.

Food Cravings: I was going to write "none" but then considered how much milk I drink. It's my beverage of choice in pregnancy. haha

Other Notes: It's interesting to note the responses each of the children have had to new siblings past and present. I believe age makes a big difference. At four years old, Tennyson is so excited about a new sibling! He lays a hand to feel the baby kick whenever possible, and even randomly comes up to me and kisses my belly. He talks daily about the new baby. He's even begun picking up one of Annelise's baby dolls and caring for it as though it were the new baby. He can't wait for the baby's arrival. Annelise (3 years old) talks about the new baby, but I don't believe is quite as excited as Tennyson. She'll often say, "there's a baby in your belly, Mama!" but I don't think she quite grasps what that will entail once he/she arrives. I think she may have the hardest time adjusting. (I believe Tennyson was similar & at the same age when Huxley was born). Huxley (16 months old) knows something is different about Mama's belly, but not quite sure what's going on. One nice thing about they being so young when another sibling arrives is that their lack of understanding actually lends to a fairly smooth adjustment. 

     In other news, we bought a van! We've been saving for a van for a little over a year. While we were still a family of five, we determined to be content in our five-seat suv, though we were quite squished. But, as we prepare to welcome a sixth member of our family we needed to upgrade to a bigger vehicle. It's a mama's dream! Everyone has a corner of the row and plenty of space. There's a central aisle so that everyone, including myself, can be inside the vehicle and out of harm's way while I get everyone buckled and unbuckled into seats. I'm loving it already. It's going to make going places with all four children so much easier. 

    In less than exciting news, we recently got hit with a stomach bug. The stomach bug at 30 weeks pregnant was pretty rotten. David had to take off work one day to take over for me as I was in no shape to safely care for the children that day. It took me two days to recover fully. Phew, I hope we can avoid any more illnesses for a while. I'm certainly glad to be back to "normal." haha
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*26 weeks was actually on 5-17-18

This baby deep inside me, ever so small, is a child of God. A child that God gave me to take care of whether for a day or for years. That care began at conception. Whether he or she lives or dies each day I am with him or her is a gift and has a purpose with eternal consequences. My baby is now part of my life, my testimony. -Brenda Rogers, "New Rules for Announcing a Pregnancy"

How Far Along? 26 weeks!

"this week, her eyes, which until now were developing under fused eyelids, stare to open. Of course, there's not much to see in there, but if your baby spots a bright light (or hears a loud noise) near your belly, you may notice and increase in fetal activity. ... What accounts for that response? Her brain in more developed and sophisticated." -What to Expect When You're Expecting, 4th ed. 


Baby Size:  According to our latest ultrasound, the baby is a little over two pounds now!

"now weighs a full two pounds and measures nine-plus inches." -What to Expect When You're Expecting, 4th ed. 

Gender: It's a surprise! Although, I really think it's another boy. haha

Name: If the baby's a boy, then the name will be Emerson Phillip. Emerson continues our literature theme for boys' names. Phillip is a nod to my maiden name. My father is the last of that family name, and he asked if there might be a way to incorporate it so as to continue it in some way.

     If the baby's a girl, then we're still not sure on a name! The literature theme with boy names is so much easier to choose than girls' names. We had decided on Laurelei Eileen, but we're now debating the Eileen portion. The ending of the first and the beginning of the middle is the same "i" sound and so they run together a little too easily. We'll keep it as an option, but we may explore a new middle name to pair with Laurelei. 

Weight Gain: If I remember correctly from my last appointment, I believe I'm up to 132 lbs. which is a 17lb increase from my pre-pregnancy weight.

Belly: Big. I'm regularly asked about being due soon when I go out. When I answer that I have a few more months, the eyes widen. Occasionally, I get the "twins?" question. No, just the fourth baby in four years. haha. 

     I did purchase a maternity band since I remember the level of discomfort towards the end of my third pregnancy and this baby belly is already getting heavy. Why did I not purchase this long ago? It's so nice to have that extra support! (Although, in the Texas heat it's quite toasty). 

Sleep: I don't. At this point I'm often uncomfortable and by early morning my hips hurt so bad. 

Symptoms: This has been a really, really challenging pregnancy. My body just feels depleted. The extreme exhaustion, the varicose veins, the overall discomfort just feel so overwhelming. So many days I feel so desperate for a moment to sit and rest, but there is no opportunity for a break as the house still needs maintained and three other children cared for. There have been a lot of tears shed during this pregnancy. I try to remind myself to cherish the moment because when it's gone, it's gone. Mama's tired though.

Clothing: I bought a few maternity/nursing dresses from Milk Nursingwear. I wanted a few dresses that would be cooler for these hot, summer days. They're fabulous! They're so very comfortable! They'll be great later on for nursing as well. 

Movement: I'm pretty slow these days. I just don't have the physical comfort or energy to move much faster. 

Baby Movement: He/she is a wiggly one! I'm so grateful that I've not had too many panic moments wondering why he/she hasn't moved. This little one can be felt most times of the day. Nighttime is his/her favorite! I lay down and he/she had his/herself a dance party. haha

Food Adversions: none

Food Cravings: None. Okay, well perhaps milk. For whatever reason, I love drinking milk during my pregnancies. Between the children and I, we buy a lot of milk each week. haha

Other Notes: We saw a new MFM (high risk specialist), and I really liked her. Their ultrasound scan seemed so much more thorough, which is comforting. The doctor also discussed the scan with us as she went through the images. It's always nice to be able to somewhat hear the doctor's thought process. Later that same day, I saw the new OB again. I must say I really like her. She's very thorough and professional while still being very personable. I definitely feel like I'm in good hands with the new OB, MFM, and hospital. I'm so glad I made the switch!
       Good news! We learned from that scan that the baby is measuring perfectly on track! We also learned that the placenta has moved. We are off all preterm labor precautions and are now eligible for a vbac delivery. Whoo hoo!

      In other news, the ladies in our homeschool co-op have all offered to help with the other three children whenever need be. Between all the mamas, I'm confident we'll not be lacking in assistance when the time comes. I also know that the children are familiar with them and their children, and would thoroughly enjoy themselves at an extended playdate. This is a huge relief to me, as we still had not had an offer or arrangement with anyone else. I'm so grateful for our co-op group! They're really wonderful :)

   
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This baby deep inside me, ever so small, is a child of God. A child that God gave me to take care of whether for a day or for years. That care began at conception. Whether he or she lives or dies each day I am with him or her is a gift and has a purpose with eternal consequences. My baby is now part of my life, my testimony. -Brenda Rogers, "New Rules for Announcing a Pregnancy"



How Far Along? 24 weeks! Every week is a gain (see note)!

"Much of [baby's] weight comes from accumulating baby fat, as well as from growing organs, bones, and muscle. Those little ears of hers are getting sharper and can hear very loud sounds, from a yapping dog to a jackhammer. Also by now, that fabulous face is almost fully formed, complete with eyelashes, eyebrows, and hair. Is your baby a brunette, a blonde, or a red head? Actually, right now her locks are white since there's no pigment yet." -What to Expect When You're Expecting, 4th ed. 

Baby Size:  According to the last ultrasound he/she is a little over a pound.

"Your baby is about eight and a half inches long and weighs one and a half pounds, gaining steadily at a rate of six ounces per week." -What to Expect When You're Expecting, 4th ed. 

Gender: We'll find out in August  whenever he/she arrives!

Weight Gain: 129lbs. Despite all the other similarities with my first pregnancy, I'm certainly not having any trouble gaining the weight this time. haha

Belly: huge. I mean, seriously. I feel like I ought to be at the end with this big belly. haha

Sleep: Sleep is pretty fitful. I fall asleep pretty fast, but am then up a lot with aches and pains. My hips detest side sleeping, as they do every pregnancy. I have gotten up really early at times because I just couldn't stand to be laying down anymore. 

Symptoms: The exhaustion is getting me. I can't even begin to describe the depth of exhaustion. At times, I've been so exhausted that I've felt dizzy and foggy. By the time David comes home in the evenings, I absolutely have to lay down for a bit. I'm pushing myself to the limit every day because..well, there's no alternative. I'm a bit worried that this is not going to help the situation (see note below). Fortunately, my new OB ordered bloodwork to check for anemia. I'm not even sad to see that needle. If by chance that is at play here, I'll be very glad to get to a solution asap. 

     The other big symptom is the varicose vein situation. The bigger the baby grows, the more pressure there is on my lower half, and the worse the vein situation. The compression hose help, but not entirely. Getting off my feet as much as possible is the best relief, but there aren't many opportunities to sit and put my feet up. haha. I'm just hopeful things resolve after pregnancy. 

    So, given the severity of the two symptoms above and how they're increasingly limiting my ability to function well on a daily basis, and a repeat complicated pregnancy we are absolutely decidedly done with having biological children. I know I'm going to miss some aspects of being pregnant like the kicks, but I must be realistic of the toll of pregnancy. I'm really eager to being more of the Mama I need and want to be to my children. (And this mess of a house is driving me nutty as I just can't keep up in my current state! haha)

Clothing: Same

Movement: s-l-o-w-l-y. I race with turtles. haha. The exhaustion has me so depleted that I'm moving pretty slow these days. Plus, this belly is rather large. haha

Baby Movement: He/she is a wiggly one! I love the movements so much. I keep trying to remind myself to pause and savor each little kick. Soon the pregnancy will be over, and I will have felt the last baby kick from within. Precious. So very precious. 

Food Adversions: Nothing

I decided to cut out sugar a few weeks ago. I must say I've done quite well in this commitment!

Food Cravings: I've really been wanting some chocolate brownies. I've not given in yet though!

Other Notes: 
      We decided to change physicians in order to change hospitals. The process of transferring was a little bit of an ordeal. But, in the end I did get transferred to the new OB, new MFM (high risk pregnancy specialist), and new hospital.
      I was very nervous at the first appointment. The office and hospital is a big system, and I was concerned about impersonal care and feeling as though I was just a patient number. To my surprise, everyone was very, very friendly and helpful. The new OB blew me away. She's good. She's much more hands-on and prefers to be as informed and on top of things as possible. That's a big relief to David and I. The doctor came in and was immediately interested in learning as much as she could about the situation. She did a rather lengthy ultrasound herself as she wanted to see things first hand. 
      During that ultrasound, we discovered a new problem. The placenta is very low (marginal placenta previa). Consequently, she put me on precautions for preterm delivery. If anything (ie bleeding) were to occur, then I was instructed to go straight to labor & delivery. The fact that I've already had pregnancies with bleeding and one premature labor, makes me at a higher risk for a repeat situation. She reassured me that a baby could survive at even 24 weeks (yikes! what a thought!).
      So, currently we're sitting with close monitoring for growth restriction due to "placental lakes" and preterm labor precautions with the potential to deliver via c-section any time between now (24 weeks) and term. I will be going for more blood work and begin seeing a new MFM (high risk OB specialist). 
     Having had "been there done that" experience with our first pregnancy, David and I are somewhat preparing ourselves for a repeat situation. Although, we have no idea how we ought to prepare for the need for me to take it easier (with three young children, "ease" or "rest" is nearly impossible) or deliver suddenly and then have a NICU stay. We still need to find a few families who would be able to watch our other three children in the event that we would need to rush off to the hospital to deliver. (That's not an easy favor to ask as three young children can be a lot to manage, especially when you're not accustomed to such). We did go ahead and inform our parents so an early delivery wouldn't come as quite a shock and David's parents could keep in mind the need to come in when needed. (His parents are amazing. They're willing to drop everything, drive the 12+ hours here, and then stay as long as we need them. That kind of selflessness is hard for me grasp. I'm so grateful for my in-laws!). 
      On a brighter note, if the placenta moves then the new OB offered to allow me another vbac! I had been told that no one but my previous OB would do a vbac. I even heard that the new OB wouldn't even consider a vbac. I walked into the switch accepting the need to give up a vbac delivery (as could be read in the "week 22" post). Apparently, that's not the case! I'm elated that I could have the option to delivery vbac again! A vbac is simply a much, much easier recovery. I've been really worried about how I would manage caring for the home and four children four years old and under after a major surgery. A vbac allows me to be up and going as soon as a week postdelivery. It's most definitely my preferred delivery method. But, that's currently just a potential, as with the placenta situation a vbac is not an option. I agree that it's much too risky. I'm all for vbacs but I'm also all for being as cautious as possible as the risks can be tragic. Given the situation, I'm much more comfortable with a csection. I'm even more comfortable and accepting of a csection now, than I was when it was (presumed) to be an automatic csection due to a past csection.
      I've learned in past complicated pregnancies and premature delivery, that there are times in which you have to throw preferences aside and simply focus on doing whatever possible to keep mama and baby safe. This is one of those cases. 
      I'm still pretty concerned about the need to one day be put on bed rest, or delivery early requiring a lengthy NICU stay. I worry most of all about the care for the other children. It would be really, really hard for me to not be with them as I am (I would probably even grieve our less than stellar days together. haha). I also know it's a lot to ask of someone who's not accustomed to the noise, energy and work level of managing life and home with three young children. As for the baby, I worry about a immature/underdeveloped little body being subjected to invasive medical care. I try not to even think of some of the treatment and mistreatment Tennyson went through in those early weeks as I will really begin to worry and grieve. I can at least feel better about having done what I could to provide him/her the best option for a facility and team. (That was the entire point of switching provider(s) and hospitals). I'm hoping and praying we can continue for as long as possible in the pregnancy. (And I survive the exhaustion! hah). There's a lot that will remain on my heart and mind. I just need to remind myself to take thing one week at a time and cross the bridges when they come. 
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   I absolutely love our My Father's World curriculum! I could write an entire post on the curriculum (and perhaps I should?). One of my favorite aspects of it is that it is so playful in nature. We simply have fun together! I thought I'd share a little peak at what a day of the curriculum looks like. 
   
Tot School (2-3 years old)*
Music Walk- We played the color song from the cd and danced around to the music together. Periodically I would ask her to find a "red circle" or "red heart" that I had taped to a wall in the room. She completed this activity with no problem. We then sang a few more songs from the cd per her request. She really enjoys singing songs and dancing or motions!


Read Terrific Trains by Tony Mitton**

Preschool (3-4 years old)*
Number 1 Painting Activity- This activity had two objectives: 1) follow directions (paint with only one color) and 2) learn proper brush and watercolor paint** technique (gentle strokes and switching colors without mixing). I created a sheet with the number one. They were then given a sheet and instructed to paint with only one color using gentle strokes. Next, they were given a second sheet and told to use any color desired. I worked with them on cleaning their brushes in the water before using a different color. Annelise joined in this activity, and both children did really well. I was really pleased how they even stayed in the lines!
We decided to paint outside! I love having a picnic table on the back patio for us to do projects or enjoy meals!

Annelise's pictures
    
Tennyson's pictures

Pretend Play with the letter "a"- We use these cubes** quite a bit! This activity was to pretend to be various objects (ex. ant, alligator, astronaut, ambulance etc) that begin with the letter "a." He simply rolled the cube and then we pretended to be that object. (This is as much of a lesson in pretend for Mama as it is for him, I believe! haha)




Educational Toy- All the children were given a couple of these with string (Huxley's had the smaller pieces removed before play). They played with them as desired while I cleaned up the kitchen after breakfast. Sometimes "school" is simply part of everyday life!

Lauri toys Fit A Space**

Draw a Basic Tree- This activity was an art lesson that also worked on forming shapes. I showed him how to draw a rectangle tree trunk and then circle for leaves and apples. He did pretty well, in my opinion! We still need lots of work on proper grip though.



 Big Book of Things to Spot**- We looked for hidden objects in one of the scenes. He's getting better at searching and counting them. 


 Other non-curriculum guide aspects of our "school" day:
Looking for bugs and worms with magnifying glasses**
Looking for bugs under the pavers

Holding a "beetle bug"
 Science kit** experiments

Baking soda and vinegar reaction
Baking soda and vinegar reaction

Determining if lemon juice or water will shine a penny better


     Not pictured: The many books we read together each day. We average between 7-10 books per day! Meal time, bath time, outside time, bedtimes...every time is a story time!

     As you can see, we are very relaxed in our approach to homeschooling the earliest years. I'm not as focused on rigorous academic learning as I am in the kinds of learning that will be the foundation for that academic learning later when they are older. At this time, I'm simply interested in keeping my little ones busy, they developing an enjoyment of learning, and us enjoying our time together. I believe we accomplish just that in our "school time!"    

Disclaimers:
*I am not a personal affiliate with My Father's World. As such, I was not provided any products at a discount or offered any other form of compensation in exchange for sharing my opinion on the company or product. (I simply love the materials and want to share them with others!)

**I am a personal affiliate with Amazon.com. As such, I receive a compensation for any products purchased through the links provided. I was not provided any products listed at a discount in exchange for my opinion. (I'm simply sharing products we use, and could be of interest to others!)


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*22 Weeks was actually 4-19-18

This baby deep inside me, ever so small, is a child of God. A child that God gave me to take care of whether for a day or for years. That care began at conception. Whether he or she lives or dies each day I am with him or her is a gift and has a purpose with eternal consequences. My baby is now part of my life, my testimony. -Brenda Rogers, "New Rules for Announcing a Pregnancy"

How Far Along? 22 weeks

"developing senses, including touch, sight, hearing, and taste. ... He or she may grab onto the umbilical cord (there's not much else to hang onto in there) and practice the strong grip that will soon be clutching your fingers (and pulling on your hair). ... Though it's dark in the uterine cocoon -- and even with fused eyelids -- fetuses this age can perceive light and dark. ... [The baby's hearing] The sound of your voice and that of your partner, your heart beating, the whoosh-whoosh of your blood circulating through your body, those gastric gurgles produced by your stomach and intestines, the dog barking, sirens and a loud TV. ... [The baby's tasting] pretty much everything you're tasting (so pass the salad)." -What to Expect When You're Expecting, 4th Ed. 


Baby Size:  "Forget about ounces, baby. This week we're talking about a whopping weight of 1 pound and a length of nearly 8 inches, about the size of a small doll." -What to Expect When You're Expecting, 4th Ed.

Gender: We'll find out when he/she arrives!  

Weight Gain: 127lbs. So, up 13 lbs from pre-pregnancy weight

Belly: Whoa, belly! I have the distinct feeling this belly is going to be quite prominent. I carry entirely in front, and so it's a big round ball leading the way. haha

Sleep: I'm back to staying so tired that I fall asleep any time I sit still. I try to go to bed as soon as the children are asleep, and David cleans up the kitchen for me. My patience and kindness during the day have been rather limited as I'm just so tired. 

Symptoms: The usual- always tired and legs ache quite a bit. Making it through though!

Clothing: I've decided that I may need more dresses from PinkBlush! They're amazing. I can feel a little more put together with minimal effort. 

Movement: Sloowwly. I'm feeling rather tired and big at this point. haha

Baby Movement: He/she's a wiggly one! I absolutely love it! David has even gotten to feel the baby kick. 

Food Adversions: None

However, I have decided to cut out as much sugar as possible and have seen a big difference. 

Food Cravings: Nothing in particular stands out. 

Other Notes:
      Initially, we debated switching hospitals which would also mean switching OBs. Then, we discovered that I wouldn't be able to deliver vbac if I switched OB. So, we decided to remain where we've been despite our preference for the other hospital. But then, we received news of the risk potential for growth restriction and related complications. If that becomes the case, then a NICU stay will be in order. In considering that possibility, we're once again debating making a big switch for the better facility. This will mean that I will have to give up the option of a vbac delivery, and instead, be scheduled for an automatic c-section. It's not at all the delivery I want, especially since I've come so far in delivering vbac successfully twice. I must confess that I cried quite a bit once we came to that decision. It was a tough decision. Ultimately, if the baby were to have a NICU stay I'd rather he/she be at the other hospital's NICU. Furthermore, if that were to be the case then the probability of delivering vbac would be slim anyways. Having had a c-section and vbac, I know the road ahead with a c-section will be harder on me and the family (ie childcare while I recover), but we'll do whatever necessary to give this baby the best facility and care. 

   
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