I really should be more consistent with this. Oh well.. one of these days, maybe I’ll get my act together.

So many changes. My baby girl joined us April 14th, and her arrival was soo different than what I’d planned for. First of all, she was late (I’d been expecting/hoping she’d be a week or two early!).. 3 days past my due date, in fact. Second, she was born in a hospital — had been planning a home birth — but due to an ice storm that damaged power lines and downed trees, we had no heat, power or running water in our home. Can’t have a baby without those things! Third, and this I still don’t quite understand, I didn’t realize I was actually in labour! I had 4 children previously, and I don’t recognize labour? Wha.. ?  But it’s true. Mostly because I’d been having contractions for days, and when contractions started on the 13th, I didn’t really pay much attention to them.

It worked like this: we had no power in our home, and we have several small children. We were wanting to go to my mom’s for the time it would take to restore power — a little longer than typical at our home, because of specific storm damage. But… due with a baby, so we couldn’t go just then. Like I said, I’d been having contractions, so I called my midwife and asked if we could turn the what-I-assumed-were-false contractions into the real thing, through some kind of augmentation.. breaking waters, stimulation, etc.. so we could have this baby and then go someplace safe. She agreed, given that I was already overdue, and because of the circumstances, and told us she would meet us at the hospital at a certain time. So we packed our kids off to relatives, and headed out.

I was still contracting, and noticed they were getting stronger, but didn’t really think much of it. We were on the road by 11:30 Saturday night, and walked into the hospital at midnight. By then, I had an inkling that maybe augmentation wouldn’t be necessary — the contractions were making it hard to walk! My midwife took one look at me and smiled. She knew..  Things kind of sped up then. I got undressed and settled in, and the contractions were coming fast and furious, about a minute or two apart. I tried to focus on some music on a playlist, and cracking jokes with my midwife between contractions. I didn’t keep track of time.

Every delivery is different! Some have been so overwhelmingly fast, I never felt anything but pain. With my 2nd youngest, I had enough breaks between contractions to feel her moving into the birth canal. With this one, I had the overwhelmingly fast contractions, but not so overwhelming I couldn’t feel her move! I felt the smooth move down, and then felt her shoulders stick a bit — a first! Definitely my biggest baby. But I only pushed for a few minutes, and we had a beautiful baby girl, 8 lbs 4 oz… at 1:35 am! Only an hour and a half after we had arrived at the hospital. One of my fastest labours ever! And she was almost a pound bigger than my last biggest baby.

My midwife was amazing. She put orders on my chart that I wasn’t to be disturbed unless I needed something. And that I was feeding on demand, so there was no nosy nurse wanting to insist I feed her on some artificial schedule. She slept that night for almost 4 hours… then nursed for almost 3 hours, lol. We stayed over Sunday, and Monday night, where she slept again for a 4 hour stretch before feeding again.. lovely sleeper (which has continued!) We did hit a minor hiccup, when the hospital almost didn’t want to release her because they thought she might have jaundice, but again, my midwife went to bat for us, and signed the papers after a blood test, because she had no worries. The child was eating fine, after all.

So.. discharged from the hospital, went back to the house, and while our newborn slept in her carseat, I proceeded to pack up clothing for 5 children and 2 adults, along with all the baby paraphernalia, for a week! Then we picked up our kids, showed the baby off to various relatives, and hopped in the van for a 7 hour ride to Grandma’s!

The only downside to the hospital stay? Both baby and I came down with a cold… but we were fine, and she was back up at her birth weight before the week was out.

Today, she is a happy, healthy, smiling, cooing, rolling over almost-4-month old, adored by siblings and parents alike. And she sleeps 6-7 hours at night! This is a happy mama…

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I keep meaning to write more, but life.. ah, life! Life in a household of young’uns is challenging at the best of times, and can be downright chaotic.

Take this morning for example. My preschoolers (ages 3 and 4) found a roll of toilet paper — we’d had it downstairs for toilet training purposes and had forgotten to take it back up — and the next thing I knew, I had toilet paper pieces all over the living room. Along with the paper they had ripped up earlier.. Fun times with small fries..

Speaking of little ones, I am getting so very excited to meet this new little one. I always do at this stage. Officially 36 weeks pregnant today. LOL — I love telling people I’m 9 months pregnant, because the look on their faces is hilarious. Most people don’t realize that technically pregnancy is 10 months long (40 weeks), so you can be 9 months pregnant without having had the baby. I am feeling very pregnant, of course, and changing positions has to be done carefully. I can’t always see where I’m putting my foot/behind, and with active tots, hehe.. things can get a bit hairy.

Something I don’t like about this pregnancy are the nightmares I’m getting. Oy.. as if I don’t have trouble enough sleeping! Hormones do funny things I guess.

I’m  hungry now, so I think I’m going to go feed my kids… all 5 of them!

I so mean to keep this updated more often, but the last week-and-a-half have been insane with crazy weather, crazy kids, and well.. crazy life! LOL

First, my husband works as a snow plow operator, so when we get snowstorms (which isn’t as frequent as you would think, given that we live in Canada!) he’s got weird and wacky hours. For example, with one storm, he ended up working 30+ hours out of 70 or so. He would work 12 hours and come home, eat quick and crash for a few hours, and then head back out to work. I always appreciated snow plow drivers before, but now? I understand way more how hard the job can be at times.

So when he’s working weird hours like that, it throws our whole family life off. Because he’s working nights (usually) and then sleeping during the day, not only am I the only adult home at night, which is nerve racking in and of itself, but then I’m the only adult during the day too! It feels almost like solo parenting again. Plus, either I make our meals to fit his schedule, which can be next to impossible, or I feed the kids at semi-regular times, and try to eat with him.. or everyone eats at odd times, which is more likely. So our whole daily routine gets thrown off too.

Oddly enough, speaking of routines, we are slowly falling into a routine around here. I’m becoming more consistent with doing preschool with my middle girls, and staying on top of the regular household chores (though the place is in desperate need of a thorough spring cleaning!) And I’m able to fit in working too, which has been a goal of mine for a few months now — being more consistent in my business approach, as well as my roles as wife, mom, teacher and housekeeper.

I really do love my crazy life.

 

You would think after four children I would have maternity clothes that fit throughout a pregnancy, right? Apparently not. I’m running out of decent, going-out, look-nice, cover-all-the-necessary-bits, feel-comfortable clothes. I’m down to about 2 pairs of pants, and maybe 3 shirts that I can wear going out. Now, I have plenty of shloppy, baby-stained, mommy clothes that are comfy. They don’t look the nicest, but at least I’m covered and clothed.. it’s going out places and looking decent that is a problem.

Part of the problem is that I guess it took 5 pregnancies for my body to actually get the idea that it’s supposed to show a baby bump. With my first pregnancy, you couldn’t tell I was pregnant — even at 9 months! With my 2nd and 3rd, I looked barely pregnant (think 4-5 months along) when I was close to my due dates. With number 3, I finally had a decent baby belly at 9 months, but I honestly only looked about 6-ish.. With this one? Oh anyone can tell that I’m having a baby. I’m not used to not being able to see my toes. I’m not used to not having a lap to hold children on, or finding it this difficult to get up out of a soft chair. It is definitely different.
Another part of the problem is that maternity clothes are so danged expensive! And even if I weren’t on a limited budget, I still refuse to pay $50-60 just for a shirt or a pair of pants I’ll wear for just a few months!! To me, that is frankly ridiculous. Now, I know the chances of me wearing it again are fairly high (hello — pregnant again in a year? probably!), so I’d probably get my money’s worth, but there is that limited budget thing too. So.. I shop clearance, I get used, I look for donations.. which means actual maternity clothes are few and far between for me.
I do need to start looking for a few postpartum and nursing undergarments though. That’s one area I will not skimp on, as those are daily usage, and need to not only be comfortable, but durable. So far, the durability thing doesn’t seem to be working for me. I wear them out by the time I’m done nursing (or pregnant again!) but I guess the daily usage is harder on those items than I expect.
I’m still needing to limit my activity levels. Which, as a busy mom, is inconvenient to say the least.. But whatever it takes to avoid a premature baby is worth it. I want my baby at home, in my arms, not in a hospital because I couldn’t be bothered to take care of myself properly. I hope I’m a bit more responsible than that. LOL — I’d better be, yes?
Being off my feet so much, however, has allowed me to focus on a few projects I’ve been wanting to get to — like blogging a tad more regularly. Also, working on a preschool/kindergarten curriculum for my girls, since I can’t find anything that I like! I will post more when I have some more things pulled together, but at this point I’m satisfied with my nice framework. I have 6 weeks of topics, coordinated by theme and Bible story, so I’m kind of proud of that. I’m covering basic language and numeracy skills, and skimming over some science, art, music and theme topics weekly too. My girls love variety, so I’m hoping to strike a balance between the repetition necessary for learning and the creativity they thrive on.
Pregnancy limitations does have its uses, I suppose! It’s been interesting, though I can see my library expanding in the near future.. LOL, I’ll probably end up starting a lending library eventually, with all the books I’ll collect. But we love love LOVE books around here, and I’d rather buy books than toys, so I think it’s worth it!

Scheduling is the bane of my life! I love my routines, and being orderly and organized, but living according to a clock drives me crazy. Not to mention that with three preschoolers and toddlers around, we get horribly behind schedule before we even start. So when people tell me that they homeschool their children, and school starts and ends at certain times of the day, like clockwork, I just shake my head with a vague sense of nagging underachievement.

School for my oldest, on paper, should take about 4 hours to complete. I say “on paper” and “should” because that is not  much like reality. Reality says that we will start actual academics around 10:30-11ish in the morning and call it a day sometime before supper. And we may or may not have actually completed everything I had planned for that day. But this is the reality of living in a family where mom is 8 months pregnant, and we have a 17 mo old and 2.5 yr old still in diapers, and said 2.5 yr old is just starting potty training and her 4.5 yr old sister has sensory issues and some developmental delays… And there’s a house to keep reasonably clean, laundry to do, meals to cook and general keeping of home and family…
Actual academics work may only be about 4 hours in length, but it ain’t gonna be 4 hours in one sitting. It will be 20 minutes here, break for diaper changes and snacks, 10 minutes before mom has to go sort out a fight between the 2 and 4 yr old, 15 more minutes before needing to go clean up all the garbage the toddler just pulled out (again!), and maybe 20 more minutes before needing to pause for character training and perhaps a wiggle break… Well, you get the idea.
Currently, our academics consists of about 5 “subjects” covered in a day. Every day we do Bible, math, two language arts topics, and either science and geography or history. Our language arts program consists of spelling alternating with vocabulary, and grammar alternating with writing. History combines studying actual history, along with art and literature. Geography covers modern social studies and current events, as well as physical geography, and science.. well that’s science, lol! All this is done at approximate a 4th-6th grade level, varying between subjects, depending on my daughter’s aptitude and liking for the subject,  — math is at 4th grade, history at around 6th grade, etc. I really don’t pay attention to “levels” except for mastery and finding something that will challenge her to grow and think.
On the other side, I do have preschoolers, so I do attempt a preschool program with my 2 and 4 yr old girls (with the toddler joining in as she likes..). This works out to watching videos through http://www.chalkpreschool.com, then working on our calendar board as a group (still tweaking this) and some coloring/tracing for letter recognition. It’s very low-key right now, but I keep looking for easy ways to bring in more structure to their day, as the more activities I can “assign” the less sibling rivalry/mess/mischief they have time to get into!  Even my toddler likes to have some activities, usually activity bags with her own-level games and toys to play with. I don’t really do crayon work with her yet, as she’s teething currently, so .. yeah, a blue crayon mouth is not my idea of preschool right now.
We soo do not “schedule” our school work or our day. It’s just not practical at the moment, and frankly, with my fertility and our family’s lifestyle, I don’t see ever taking a “by-the-clock” approach. We do have a routine, in that “after-this-happens, that-happens”. But nothing ever really happens at exactly the same time.. and you know what? I’m ok with that. There’s room for improvement, of course, but nothing has to be set in stone.
After all, part of the attraction of home education is the flexibility of your day, right? No one says it has to look like public school!

I am feeling very very pregnant these days. It’s amazing how quickly pregnancy goes by, when you have several children already. I remember with my first pregnancy, how the days seemed to drag on, and the milestones never seemed to arrive, and now.. well it feels like just yesterday that the second line showed up on the test. Except for the fact that getting out of chairs takes way more effort than its worth, and I will call one of my children to pick something up off the floor at my feet rather than try bending down to get it myself!

I have the usual pregnancy complaints, of course, at 8 months pregnant. Back aches, and heart burn, swollen feet and feeling out of breath at times.. I have some unique to me, as well, like bad excema. It’s hormonally triggered as well as environmentally, but mostly hormonal, which is why every pregnancy, I get itchy rashes and easily broken skin, all over. Lovely, I know.

I have some symptoms with this pregnancy that I haven’t had with any other, like the aching crampiness I’ve experienced for the last few weeks, that is concerning my midwife slightly.

But despite all the discomforts of pregnancy, I love being pregnant. Which is probably a good thing, since the last 5 years or so have seen me pregnant or nursing or both, almost constantly. With this child, I will have had 4 children each 18 months apart. That means that I’ve gotten pregnant again about 9-10 months after having had a baby.

What is amazing to me about this whole thing is the fact that my cycles, my supposed fertility, was considered non-existent. I would go months between cycles as a teen and in my early 20s, with no real explanation. And no, I didn’t take birth control as a teen to regulate cycles either. In fact, at one point, a doctor had told me I would be unable to have children without medical intervention, because I didn’t ovulate frequently. Guess we proved them wrong, huh?

Since then, my various care providers have commented on how easy my pregnancies and deliveries have been. I tend to have fast deliveries, with no complications. I’ve even been blessed to have experienced a home birth, and we are currently planning on doing it again. The comparison between hospital births with an OB/GYN and a home birth with a midwife is like night and day — and I much prefer being at home.

I don’t mean to brag, but I thank God with every child that He gives me, that I do not have much pain and difficulty to bring them into the world. I cringe to hear the birth stories out there of women who labour for days, not just hours, who require interventions to bear their children, and count myself extremely blessed. My labour is counted in mere hours and minutes, and I’ve never required more than a pitocin drip as intervention.. and that only after my waters had broken and labour hadn’t started through any other means.

I cannot wait to hold this baby in my arms, not just in my womb. I have dreamed of cradling her, of cuddles and soft baby coos. I love the newborn stage — new babies are soo easy to care for! They need to eat and be cleaned up, and they tend to sleep the rest of the time. Of course those things need to happen quite frequently, but unlike mobile toddlers, you can leave them in one place and be relatively assured that when you come back they will be in the spot you left them.

Honestly though, I have to say I enjoy every stage of growth a baby goes through. The delight in watching all their firsts is always special, no matter how many children you have. I adore the curiosity of my toddlers, frustrating though it can be at times, and I treasure the smiles and coos and kisses and cuddles, the questions and chatter, and even training them in independence is awe-inspiring.

Watching my own children grow gives me so many insights into my relationship with my Heavenly Father. He must delight in us even more than I delight in them. When He labours to bring into us His Spirit, and then He watches us grow in faith, in love, in becoming more like Him, it must make Him smile so much more than I do in watching my own. I get a glimpse of His love for me in the way I feel about my own children.

And while I fail to be a perfect parent — I lose my patience at times, I get angry or irritated at their childishness, my expectations don’t always match up with their abilities, I forget my promises — He never fails. He is infinitely patient, He knows exactly what I’m capable of and calls me higher, and He always keeps His word. He loves me far greater than I can imagine. In carrying this child, in the wait for her birth-day, I remember my Father’s care of me, and I smile, feeling loved.

Crazy weather people! In Canada here, I guess we’re used to a snowstorm, but oy, seeing some of those reports from the US makes me wonder where y’all go with all that!? We got a nice amount of snow here, about 25 cm (10″ for you imperial folks), which makes me wish I could take the kids out in it to romp. However, at 8 months pregnant, moving around the house with clear floors is hard enough sometimes, let alone trying to keep track of 4 kids in deeper snow…

The man here has been working looong shifts — he’s a snowplow operator, on call — which means that both of us are tired people. Him because he works nights and worked almost 30 hours out of 48, and me because guess who gets to solo parent for a bit? Nap time has become my best friend again.. not just because of a noise break, but because I actually get to sleep too!

Last night, since I was by myself and the kids were in bed.. ahhh, peace!.. I did some thinking and planning for this blog. It’s fairly random, but I do have some topics I want to explore more in writing here. Things like  having a larger family with lots of little ones (and no big ones to help!) since there doesn’t seem to be much out there like that.. lol, hmm I wonder why? Probably because when you have lots of littles and little help, it can be hard to carve out a few minutes to sit down and write. And also probably because a lot of those families who were once in that stage were there when blogging was brand new and not at all popular. Perhaps some thoughts on parenting, because I have children!, lol, homeschooling (since we do and have since “birth”), including how we do it when I’m pregnant or nursing (or both!!) frequently, and maybe some thoughts on family planning, or lack of it as the case may be, since we have had a number of children closely spaced, and all the details related to that, like organization and routines and schedules and all the other sanity savers I’ve gleaned from experience and moms who’ve “been there, done that, wish-I-did-this-then” — all of these may come up and more. Also may include topics such as my faith and its practical-living-out, and maybe even on marriage and relationships, though I do not claim to be an expert there!

Lots of things to explore. But life’s like that. Everything we do is related to everything else. I mean, my faith influences my parenting choices and philosophy, which is in part why we homeschool, which affects our daily routines and schedules, which changes with each new child, which affects my marriage and parenting choices, which describe my faith lived out loud.. there is no dividing line between one and the other, no matter what my written out schedule tries to tell me. We can block out periods of time to prioritize a particular area of life on paper, but real life means that trying to have a conversation with one’s husband may be sidetracked by answering your grade-schooler’s question in spelling which in turn may be interrupted by a diaper change, which may result in needing to empty the garbage, while re-directing the toddler away from it and correcting the preschooler who put her toys there, and breathing a prayer for more patience, and then needing to write down garbage bags on the shopping list, which reminds you that you still haven’t finished the history book list you were working on in the first place before you started talking to your husband… Maybe its just me??

Anyways, the point of this random rambling post is that I have lots of ideas, and hopefully experiences that will help others out there, or at least provide a laugh or two and show a few moms they aren’t the only ones.. lol or maybe I’m the only one, and you aren’t as bad as I am!

Enjoy and feel free to send me ideas, questions or comments..