Three weeks in, how's it going?

   We are finishing up our third week of "school" here today.  I decided to start slowly in the last week of August to become familiar with our reinstated schedule. The first week of minimal work and routine was great. Last week, the second week, with more focus and some more demands, was met with resistance and not so fun.  Of course that week we were also studying love/showing others love, in our Bible lessons.  This week has been going fantastic...fantastically? One of those. 

  Now that everyone knows the routine (it's posted in the school room for school expectations and in the kitchen for daily routine and chores they check off) we are in a much better groove.  Of course there are still times when there's resistance or whining or something, I'm not sweating it.  Karter has been sick this week and sleeping later and so Kian and I have been starting school early, before 8 am, and flying through things easily. 

While, taking them to all my appointments can be a pain (still a bunch), it's nice that we can work around those times and have so much flexibility.  Not only in time, but in what and how and when we do things, what curriculum or units we're studying, etc.  If Kian wants to go on a tangent about how connects the topics of Charlotte's Web to our Bible lesson to the plant life book, go for it. If he wants to build pyramids out of legos, great. If we decide instead of butterflies to go with dinosaurs, that's cool too. I've learned to let go of my Type A planning and have more ability to go with the flow.  There's no hard and fast rules about when and what and how we learn stuff (yet) in the state.

There are a few requirements, such as fire prevention/safety and abuse prevention, that we are covering this month to get out of the way.  Other than that, most of the goals I had set for Kian, well... he's already halfway to mastering them.  He decided the other day he wanted to know about Roman Numerals too. Not in my plan, but he kept seeing them in books as chapter titles and wanted me to teach it. So I did, the basics, but it's nice to be able to do that instead of saying "well in 3rd grade you will learn that" sort of thing.  

History is:  The Story of the World and so far we're enjoying it. We do history/geography twice per week right now. It's easy to read and understand and interesting for us all.

Language Arts: We are starting cursive due to Kian's trouble with printing and left-handedness. Montessori schools start cursive early and I like the idea after I read the research (briefly here), so we shall see how it goes. We're reading Charlotte's Web aloud together.  Grammar basics were easy for Kian so we're moving onto the next concepts, like pronouns and sentence formation, etc.

Math:  It's kind of all over the place. He, on his own, has figured out some multiplication. I'm giving him double digit adding and subtracting, along with time (which he also has pretty much mastered, as he tells me how many minutes it will be in x hours, and can read a regular/non-digital clock to the 5 min marks) and money (he knows coins and we're moving on to adding dollars, etc.)

Science: anything that's plant or animal life. The textbook I have is The Animal Kingdom. A nice basics of animals, mammals, vertebrates, insects, etc. Mostly we're using library non-fiction for bugs and insects at this point. The Magic Schoolbus books are great for early science. (hint hint for Christmas, we don't own any)

Everything else we add in, using various resources.

We are able to get everything done by lunchtime, taking a quick snack/run around break in the middle. We may save the chapter reading aloud until later or bedtime.  Then the "PE" and Art are done whenever, after that. Chores are first thing after breakfast, which makes it easier for us all. No screen time (aka tv, computer-unless it's school related, video games, etc.) until chores and school are completed. That was the hardest for them, as I had been letting them watch a show in the morning before or after breakfast. But, it was not ending and they'd fight it, so no tv, no fight, win-win.

Hopefully things continue as they are now. I am fully anticipating changes and tweaks during/after the baby comes. Being ahead with things right now though, definitely helps because we can allow more breaks in our schedule.There was a couple days I thought "dang it, today I would like to put his attitude whiny butt on a bus and get a break!"  But, that passed and so has the attitude. Thankfully.  We will just assess how it is year by year. So far, so good. We're happy with how it's going right now.

Almost schooling time

Although we have been doing learning activities all summer long, in small bursts and spurts, we will "officially" start "school" next week, along with everyone else.  This week is getting back into routine and making sure our books, work areas, desks, etc. are tidied up and ready to go.  Books are being pulled out and worksheets prepared.  I've spent the last couple weeks making lesson plans, then totally rewriting them.  Finding one program or curriculum and then changing it.  It's nice to be able to do that.

There are certain topics we must cover, says NY state and the district.  So, those are in the plans for the year.  Then, a lot of what Kian wants to cover-Nature studies (bugs, animals, etc.) which also are called for in NYS.  There's freedom of what you want to cover and when.  As long as I cover 80% of what I said we would, and he shows progress over the year, we're set.

The internet and facebook groups have been a treasure trove of free and cheap materials.  So many worksheets online for free.  I've gone through a lot of ink in 3 weeks.  I also purchased a laminater too so that some things will be able to be used several times, instead of printing them often. Ebay has been my best friend as well.  Those homeschoolers looking to get rid of material and make some change, have listed endless books and resources on the site.  I have gotten a bunch of stuff for a few bucks.  It's great.

We're using library and free, printed worksheets from MacGraw-Hill for grammar/English curriculum.  Science-we have a ton of non-fiction/reference books on every subject and animal, along with library and also using Answers In Genesis books about Nature and the planet Earth. Social Studies and geography, I am still working on but am waiting for my final bid on ebay on "Story of the World". SOtW is as it says, story form, for elementary kids, of history from beginning of time until now.  I prefer the chronological coverage of history vs one time period, then another, or this person, then that country, etc.  And what's best if that you can use the volumes (probably 1 per year) and cycle them, adding more in depth information and projects as the kids get older. So, Karter can jump in when he's ready and they will all get all the information at some point.  Math-whatever I find. We have multiple workbooks from kindergarten until 4th grade, on all topics from adding/subtracting, multiply/divide, time, money, measure, etc. Art, Music, Health will be added into relevant unit studies.  And yes, Karter has some preschool objectives and curriculum as well.  (We discussed preschool for him in the area, but....that was it.)

I submitted my IHIP (intention for homeschool instruction plan-or something similar) with a list of things in each area that we will be covering.  True to form, by the time I wrote it and received the OK back, Kian demonstrated to me, that he already knew about 70% of these concepts--especially in Math and Science.  Good, then I'm off the hook a bit with a new born baby to take care of and recover from delivering, knowing I can honestly turn in the reports that he knows all this stuff.  Then we can focus on other stuff like handwriting--for him will be cursive.  (This, because he struggles with printing and being left handed, I did some research, turns out cursive writing-aka penmanship-was usually taught first way back when, and studies have shown it's easier for the hand and brain to figure out at early ages.  So, we will attempt some and see if that helps or works.)

So, we are almost set to begin "officially".  We need a few more things, I want a world map, a pencil sharpener that works-like oh an electric one? and little things like that. And realized we need more pens, and glue sticks...we'll be hitting up the 'back to school/after sales" soon.  We rearranged some rooms (still have more to rearrange!) and it's more of a schoolroom/office with a play closet.  The closet is about 6x8 deep and holds all their toys(minus the ones in their rooms) and art supplies and a bunch of books.  The room itself holds Kevin's large desk, their 2 desks and more books and my craft/yarn armoire. 

I'm not going to lie, I'm a bit nervous that it will all go well, since we have to actually report this year.  Last year, we did our thing and it was great and there was no pressure.  I think it will be fine.  I scheduled in breaks around baby time, and the worst that happens is that we take more breaks and end up having a longer year.  So, here goes nothing!

What summer?

I feel like we didn't even get to have our summer.  June was very rainy and not fun at all. June and July were filled with appointments for me, and Kian had a few as well.  We had one week in July that was 95+ where the boys could spend all day in the pool but otherwise, it was uncomfortable and muggy.  August has been cool, except the last couple days-a revived summer attempt. Overall, it just feels like we have not even had a summer to enjoy!

We've tried to sneak in a few summery things in the last couple weeks with the boys.  Last week my mom and I attempted to bring the boys camping and meet up with my dad and brother and other siblings. From a couple hours ride, to rain off and on, cool temps, and let's just say...unbalanced and uncoordinated views and ideas with the rest of the campers--followed by a 3 or 4 hour thunder and lightning storm that pushed us out of the tent into the camper that was already full with 3 people and a dog...we canned it, waved the white flag and were back home about 26 hours after we left. Yeah.. 

To try to redeem that trip, my mom and I spent a long afternoon with the boys on Sodus Bay a few days later.  It was hot, sunny, with soft sand everywhere. It was relaxing.  Kevin and I took the boys back up the following day as well.  Yesterday afternoon, Kevin's client took us out on Irondequoit bay on his boat. Kian and Kevin had fun tubing and falling off. We pulled right up to Bazil's dock for dinner and enjoyed a delicious meal. I would have been out there tubing too if I could. Karter didn't want to, but they enjoyed driving the boat, even if they were a little crazy with it.

And I'm in the middle, well almost the end, of school/lesson preparations. And so next week we will start our "settle in schedule".  Where I get the boys back into a better morning routine and have some set things to do before a full fledged schedule.  Which, isn't that bad, we'll still be done by lunchtime every day. I've packed schedule tight in the beginning to allow for breaks with the baby coming, etc. We shall see, take it a day at a time.

And to finish off the summer (that barely existed) will be Karter's birthday (and my brother's too).  We've been debating taking them on a small trip, somewhere like Enchanted Forest for a night, just to make some special time before school/baby/holidays are upon us and crazy.  But, it's also our 10 year anniversary in September and it would have to either be family trip or couple/anniversary trip, not both. So we'll have to decide which one we want more...

Goodbye July, already?

Today is the last day of July? Really?  This summer has flown by and I feel like we haven't done much.  I mean, we have...but it's been a lot of testing and appointments for me.  The boys haven't done a lot of fun/kid stuff, unfortunately.

I have signed them up for some activities at the library, but Kian refuses to participate in his age group program. I gave up.  Karter's story time has unfortunately been during my appointments the last couple weeks, but we will go tomorrow.  The library cancelled the one fishing program they were both excited to do. The other one they opted to stay with Kiara in our pool instead of going. 

Every other town I drive through has tons of vacation Bible school signs and programs.  Apparently, Palmyra, does not... bummer.  Our church will be doing one at the end of the summer, but I had hoped for them to do more.

My appointments and testing are done for the foreseeable future.  I cancelled my consult with anesthesia, as deemed unnecessary by hematologist.  My OB can try to convince me later if she wishes.  The ultrasound came out good last week.  The band is still there, but small and doesn't seem to be growing and is not interfering with baby at all. The tech made sure to get lots of pictures of his hands and feet and everything was there and perfectly normal.  He was quite the clown while she was trying to get things done.  Putting his hands in the way, on his face, holding his leg up to his mouth, hands in mouth, etc. it was fun to watch.  Do I ever remember to bring a dvd so they can record it? No!

I wanted to try to take the boys camping or some beaches and parks before summer is out.  The super hot week combined with a broken filter on our small pool turned it green and it's now being taken down.  There's been more changes around here, Kevin's made some changes with his career/job and it's been nice to have him here a little in the mornings.  He's not as stressed and he enjoys not leaving the house at 4:30 am daily.  Other than that, I'm trying to get organized for lessons to start up again soon, handing in paperwork to school district and planning, etc.  Also, rearranging and organizing the house, as we have windows being installed in the upstairs in September. Karter will be switching bedrooms, but that can't happen until the windows are in. The apartment has been gutted and will be semi-finished after the windows have been replaced as well. We also rearranged and reorganized our "school/play/office" room.  Then, there's also baby stuff to get ready.  Any sizes and clothes I needed, we were blessed by Kevin's client with 3 huge boxes of fantastic stuff.  Now, just a few things like crib sheets and other random stuff that's been worn out over the years. 

Hopefully we will be able to do some fun summer stuff before the weather starts getting cool and school gets underway! We could all use a vacation, but, that will have to wait...

Oops, I forgot

"Oops, I forgot".  That was what the hematologist emailed me back after I asked if he had received the MRI results  yet.  It had been 5 days/3 business days.  He forgot to tell me that everything was completely normal, fine, no issues, negative for anything, etc. etc. etc.  Whew.  I figured as much. I didn't have much concern.

  The actual procedure freaked me out more than anticipation of the results.  The spinal part was okay, I had most of my head sticking out the back, and kept my eyes closed most of the time anyways.  Then, they got me ready for the brain MRI.  The part they're viewing has to be in the middle of the tube. Um, not cool.  There was a head cup to rest my head in, okay.  They gave me a blanket for my cold toes. They gave me music headphones this time along with the ear protectors.  Then just before they pushed me in, they put this helmet thing on my face! AHhh!! no!  I tried to remain calm.  I closed my eyes as they started pushing me in.  She said "oh there's a mirror on the helmet so you can see us."  I looked.  Big mistake. I see a helmet thing over my face, a teeny tiny mirror in front of my eyes, the gray tube so close and that was it.   I tried taking deep breaths and thinking of other things. I chickened out and squeezed the call button.  I told them I had to go to the bathroom.  They said that a lot of people get freaked out by the brain scans and have to come back or get some light sedation.  Not an option for me, either one.  I went to the bathroom, came back. Closed my eyes from the beginning while they set me up all over again. I made grocery lists in my head, listened to the music, debated with myself about the singer, prayed, and focused on breathing.  I do not want to do that again, ever. Ugh.

But, it's over. The doctors have what they want for their records and for their CYA policies (cover your arse). Except I got a call from some peri-operative group at Strong today, they scheduled me for an appointment to talk to the anesthesiologist, in case I need an epidural. UGH! I called the OB office and was like "listen, the whole point of the spinal MRI was to clear it for an emergency epidural, and it did. So I don't think that there's any point to of all this. I have had too many appointments and confusion over all the care and doctors involved."  The nurse said she'd talk to the doctor and get back to me, she thought the doctor had informed me. Um, no, surprise! This is totally getting out of hand.  Even the hematologist said, they're making a mountain of a molehill over there. I don't need to be so medically planned and followed, it's birth, which I have done twice already with no issues, chill out please!

I'm a medical oddity. And I'm over it.

I'm a healthy person, but a medical rarity.  It's not that fun.  At first, it was interesting.  Now, it's just tiring.  I was the one in high school who had a weird blockage in my saliva gland under my tongue.  Removed that.  Then I had a ganglion cyst on my left wrist, and  had surgery on that.  No one else I knew had those things.  I was in a medical program in high school and did find it all very interesting. I even stayed awake during the wrist surgery, but they wouldn't let me watch.

Then years later, I received the Factor VII deficiency diagnosis, although fairly mild.  It didn't really cause me any issues besides some slower clotting during my wisdom teeth removal and my monthly cycles. First pregnancy, no issues.  Second baby, ultrasound findings that were "uncommon" (I dont' know how "rare" they were) but caused worry.  An umbilical cord has 3 vessels in it, Karter only had 2, and a "spot" on his heart. In the end, all was normal and fine.

Few more years later, my dad gets a blood disorder diagnosis.  Guess what? It's rare.  It's genetic. Guess who gets the diagnosis too? Yep, lil ol' me-in the midst of another pregnancy.  And that makes doctors nervous.  It makes doctors go overboard in testing and observing.  And so I had to have an echo cardiogram and 2 MRIs done.  Echo was absolutely normal, no concerns.  MRIs were done Wednesday evening and should have results soon.  I'm not that worried about them, as I don't have symptoms related to issues in those areas. But, nevertheless, it's wearing. 

In the midst of all this, we get a call after our ultrasound on the baby. Something "rare" was seen.  At this point, I say "well of course, why not?"  It's our "usual" now, right?  An amniotic band.  Something even I haven't heard of, in all my research, reading, medical scouring, and work in Early Intervention with lots of disorders, delays, disabilities, etc.  What is it?  In layman's terms--a strand of the amniotic sac is hanging.  It could cause nothing, or it could become wrapped around the baby.  It's possible it can wrap around a hand, finger or foot, or something.  It can cause deformation, retarded growth of that area, and in some cases, amputation.  It happens in 1 in 1200 pregnancies. Sigh.

I've been focusing on my own tests that I haven't thought much about it. I am forcing myself not to freak out and become overwhelmed at all that is going on.  What good will that do anyways? Nada.  I can only do what I can do.  Being a mess won't help anyone and there's still laundry to do and kids to feed and play with, etc.  Now that my tests are over, I have been thinking of it more the last day or so.  We have another ultrasound next week to check things over.  I'm also praying and believing that things are going to just be okay.  He is a very active little guy, all the time, which I take as a good sign nothing is tangled up.  Statistics show about 70% of these disappear on following ultrasounds, either ruptured and absorbed or compressed against the womb by the baby. 

So, that's been my June and July.  Full of appointments for me, some for the baby, blood work and insurance authorizations, and figuring and scrambling for child care for the boys.  So much for a calm July.  But, I'm looking at you August!  Good thoughts and prayers appreciated. Trying to stay cool and hydrated this hot week, and keep the pool from always turning green!


Picture catch up: Christmas

 Christmas eve
 Christmas morning at dad's

 sexy kourt

 the boys and I made Kiara "Clarice" from Rudolph at Build-a-bear because hers got ruined/lost and was her favorite

It's...another boy

Honestly, didn't see that coming.  Not with how different it's been this time around. I even had a dream about a blonde toddler girl.  But, 2 days before the ultrasound I had this nagging feeling the tech would say boy.  Mmm hmm. 

It's interesting looking at the amount of females in both sides of the family for a few generations.  Guess we're just "lucky".  =)  I was/am a little bummed, not at another boy, just being the fact that Kevin's pretty sure he doesn't want more after this, and that could mean no girls in this house ever.  We shall see.

I'm a little nervous now at how active this kid is!  From 5 am until 11pm when I finally fall asleep, he's non stop moving. Not just moving though, crazy bouncing.  In church Sunday, he must have coiled back and punched me as hard as he could, twice. I gasped out loud, it didn't necessarily hurt but was pretty intense.  I say punch, because that's where his head and hands were on ultrasound the other day. And his feet tap dance down low all day long.  Perhaps he'll be a great night sleeper, something Karter still isn't, and Kian is okay with (minus the waking up at 6am).  I can hope, right?

I am really behind on getting pictures on the blog...gotta work on that. But, since the fun finally came out in 2 days, without rain, we're going to hit up the playground for awhile!


How 3 year olds tell knock knock jokes

Karter: knock knock
Me: who's there?
Karter: chicken pot pie
Me: chicken pot pie who?
Karter: max and ruby.
Me: um?

Karter: knock knock
Me: who's there?
Karter: rooster
Me: rooster who?
Karter: rooster chicken pot pie
Me: well that one makes a bit more sense.

48 hours countdown, and comparing the differences

48 hours until our ultrasound. Several people have asked me if I am excited. I am but I'm slightly afraid to be disappointed or have any reaction other than happy.  I'm believing everything is fine with the baby and no concerns will arise there. While we are hoping and leaning towards girl, you never know, and everyone likes to point out the track record we already have set. A baby is a baby, a healthy baby is what is wished for, but everyone also knows I'd like to have a daughter.

Interestingly, I have noted some differences in this pregnancy, from the other two.  The first 2 pregnancies were pretty similar, the biggest difference was that I was sicker with Karter (all day vs just morning) than with Kian. I kind of thought that meant a girl that time.  This time I was about the same, and threw up the same handful of times I did with both of them.  However, my first sign that I might be pregnant was this crazy insomnia and night sweating, in the middle of March, when I normally do not have any insomnia issues, nor sweating like that.  Never happened before, and I thought something else was wrong with me! 

I'm a belly sleeper and a left side sleeper (since this is what they teach you while pregnant, has to do with the artery to uterus or something, I don't remember) but this entire time, I only want to sleep on my right side. I have not had any heartburn yet. I don't really remember craving specific things with the boys, just wanting a lot of protein (meat, cheese, etc.).  But, in addition to that, this time I have been craving olives-daily, and salty things. Obviously I try to limit that and drink  lots of water, etc.  The drinking, I have never been so thirsty in my life , well except when nursing a new baby. And tired! I'm assuming it's because with #1 I used the "I'm pregnant" excuse or people used it for me, and I didn't do a lot, and I didn't have any other kids to chase after.  I was tired with Karter but felt better by second trimester.  I feel good, but I am just overall tired and by night, I'm exhausted. There's no time to slow down and relax, I'm still outside and gardening, and cleaning house and laundry and all that regular stuff.

There's so many old wives' tales about gender and symptoms-sick vs not sick; sweet cravings mean a girl, salty mean a boy;  if your nose gets bigger it's a girl; on and on. Some friends were trying to get me to do an Intelligender test  (over the counter, pee in a cup and it will tell you girl or boy at 11 weeks) but I'm too cheap, it's a $30 test and the testing method and statistics look easy to manipulate. A lot of people swear by the Chinese Gender prediction charts, but there are various versions online and have told me different results for both boys and this time around.  It is what it is, the baby's gender is already determined, we just don't know it yet. Soon we all will...if the baby cooperates ;)