Monday, April 30, 2007

Tomorrow: The Big Day

Tomorrow I'll go in at 7:30 to be induced, baring some unforeseen occurance such as me going into labor tonight. Since I never went into labor with Jonathan (who was 2 weeks overdue and induced) or even Anna (where I was 5 cm dilated but not in labor), the chance of that happening is pretty small, and I am resigned to another induction. I don't want a huge baby (Jonathan was my biggest at 9 pounds, 6 ounces), and I am certainly ready to not be pregnant anymore. I just hate having to come in early and then being tied to a bed on a monitor. Blech. Here are some specific ways you can pray for me tomorrow:

1. That the induction would go quickly. I think it will, since it's not like my body doesn't know what to do with contractions at this point, and the other induction wasn't too long. But I would appreciate prayers.

2. That the baby wouldn't pass meconium before birth. I've had 2 babies do this--Luke and Anna. With Luke, they didn't break my water until I was ready to push, and so there was no time to do anything about it. He aspirated some during the delivery and had to spend a few extra days in the hospital and go home on oxygen for 6 weeks. It was a stressful time. With Anna, they broke my water much earlier, and they did an amnio wash, which must have helped because she had no problems. I told my doctor that I wanted my water broken sooner rather than later this time too, just in case there were issues, but I am praying there won't be any.

3. That I wouldn't hemorrhage after the birth. Now this is something I would never have even thought about, except for my doctor's odd obssession with it, but it certainly is not something I want to have happen. My hope is that she will see the Lord protect those to whom he has given a lot of children, and that it will be a testimony to her and maybe she won't be such a worrywart the next time someone who is pregnant with more than her third child comes to her practice.

And while you are praying, please also lift up my Uncle Jim. He is going to have neck surgery on May 2 because there was a cancerous tumor found in a lymph node in his neck. The surgeon is going to take out pretty much everything in the neck except the functioning components of the mouth and neck, and the nerve that runs down to the shoulder. Please pray that the surgeon will get ALL the cancer (the original source is unidentified), and also that Uncle Jim will heal quickly. He and Aunt Claire are supposed to fly here on May 17, and we really, really, really want them to be able to make the trip. On Memorial Day Weekend, we are supposed to have a little family reunion here with them as well as my brother and his wife and baby from Texas and possibly (we're praying it works) my cousin and his girlfriend from North Carolina. Here is my aunt's blog, where I know she will keep everyone updated.

Thank you for praying! We'll let you know how it all goes!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Getting Ready

We're getting ready for the baby, doing all those last-minute little things. I spent Wednesday "nesting" in our closet. The baby will sleep in there for the first few weeks, until she goes mostly through the night. The closet is a pretty big walk-in one, but up until Wednesday, it was not at all ready to fit a pack-n-play, as my maternity clothes were strewn about in various piles--"too small", "winter", etc. So I bought a few big plastic tubs and spent a happy hour organizing. I love putting things in tubs! Especially things like maternity clothes, that will hopefully stay organized for a while, LOL. It's a good feeling.

Mom and Dad got here safely Wednesday night, and everyone is enjoying having an extra set of people around to read books and play with. Anna is walking around more with her little push thing, but still not taking any big steps on her own. She is definitely enjoying all the extra attention!

I had another doctor appointment today, and there is no real change in my cervix from last appointment. And since she doesn't really WANT me to go into labor, she didn't even try stripping my membranes or anything. Oh well. So I really doubt anything will happen on its own before Tuesday. A girl can hope though!

In a sad bit of irony, because of the shootings at Virginia Tech, Bob's classes (which are through VT) are pretty much done, and his finals are optional. Although that worked out nicely for us, what a sad, sad reason. It has freed up time this weekend, however, so possibly we'll get the second crib set up and some furniture moved around. We still haven't found a nice set of used bunk beds with a twin on top/full on bottom, though, so there's not that much that needs to be moved. Please pray that we'll be able to find one on craigslist! They go really quickly whenever they are posted, and so far we haven't been the lucky fast ones. It would be so nice to have for Caleb and Jonathan's room.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

So Proud!

Today was the last day of our homeschool co-op for this year. Last Tuesday and today the kids have been doing the Presidential Physical Fitness test. They could do all the stations last week except the big run, and then we had a picnic at a park today where they could try any stations again to better their score as well as run the run. Nathan came home last week saying that he was short only in the shuttle run for qualifying as a Presidential winner in the stations they had done, and he ran it several times today to shave off that last hundredth of a second to qualify! Luke wasn't really interested in bettering his scores, which I think are good enough for the National level, so he didn't do anything except the run today. Isn't that funny? Just when you think you have your kids' personalities pegged, they change things up on you!

Both boys chose to run the mile instead of the half mile, which was surprising to me. Nathan ran his mile in 8:20, and Luke ran his in 8:56. That's pretty awesome, isn't it?! Better than my (non-pregnant) time, I'm sure, LOL. And Nathan's time was indeed good enough to qualify him for Presidential. Yay!

Monday, April 23, 2007

What a Blessing!!!

Today I got an exciting package in the mail--a box full of nursing dresses! A few weeks ago, one of the moms on the Well Trained Mind board posted that she was getting rid of some nursing dresses, and could anyone use them? I had just been glum at church, thinking about how I have nothing to nurse in, especially nice clothes, and how my next many months would consist of me wearing khaki pants and a shirt just so I could nurse. So I answered her post saying that I could use them, and she sent them to me! A box of them! All nice Motherhood dresses! Four for summer, 2 for winter, a dressier shirt, and a pants/shirt outfit. Wow. I am so overwhelmed and thankful for this! I'm still smiling . . . What an answer to prayer, even a glum, self-centered one!

Busy, Busy, Dreadfully Busy . . .

Not much time for blogging lately--did I mention we've been busy? Thanks to all your wonderful comments and email responses, Bob was able to pretty much finish his project last night (yay!). He just has to make some slides for his class presentation. And in a few years, when bathrooms in gas stations and restaurants are automatically locked down and steam cleaned, like in a dishwasher, then you'll remember that you had a part in it. LOL!

Bob also took a few hours yesterday afternoon to connect our new garage door to the actual opener bar. There wasn't an obvious way to do it, since the door is not solid, but he figured something out. So now he still has the other door to change out, but that will have to wait until after the finals and the baby!

Saturday evening we were social butterflies. Our new German neighbors had an open house for all the neighbors at 5:00, so we briefly stopped over there to visit, and then we went on a "quintuple date" (is that a word?) with the L's and 3 other couples. The 5 of us wives are all in a Bible study together 2 Tuesday evenings a month, and so this was to get all the menfolk together too. We had such a blast. It reminded us of really how rarely we are just with other adults in a purely social context! We just went out to eat, but the conversation was good, as was the food. Meanwhile, back at the ranch here, Zachary and Jessica were holding things together. Anna was a bit of a pill (she didn't want to go down for Jessica, which doesn't bode well for the immediate future for Anna, when her routine is going to be quite a bit changed, LOL), but the boys and Amanda had a grand time. So nice to know your kids are having as great a time as you are!

In this ladies' study, we are going through Larry Crabb's book Finding God. This is such an excellent book. I went through it at a ladies' study in Ohio, but I was the one who recommened it here because I wanted to go through it again, and also because I thought it would be very applicable to us in the study. All of us are dealing with times of big transition and change (moving potentials, retirement, job changes, etc.), and one woman in particular has had a Job-like few years where her husband's business was embezzled and consequently failed, their house took a year to sell, they moved up here for a job, her husband got prostate cancer which wasn't gotten completely with surgery, and now just a few weeks ago, her husband was laid off his job. Larry Crabb honestly deals with the painful stuff of life, and in particular his own struggles, which makes this book a lot more . . . meaningful, I guess. No empty platitudes, and definitely not a book to read if you are looking for easy solutions to make you feel better. A very challenging book, and our discussions have been lasting several hours, until our poor husbands wonder what has become of us and call our cell phones to check up on us!

This week we are finishing up the boys' test review books, in preparation for thier Stanford test May 7-9. We're also finishing a last few errands, and I'm doing things like switching winter and summer stuff around, moving out-grown stuff from last year down to the next boy, etc. Remind me not to be having a baby right when the weather changes again, okay? It's too much to need to be doing all this switching around! So I'm thinking that rules out April and October. I'm too big and uncomfortable to be down on the floor rooting through dresser drawers and rubbermaid tubs!

The big event to look forward to for this week is Wednesday evening, when Grandma and Grandpa get here!! We are all quite excited about this! It will give Anna a few days to get used to them again before I disappear off to have the baby, which I foresee as being a little hard for her to take. She's been pretty clingly lately, so I'm hoping that will transfer to Grandma and Grandpa with no problems! In other Anna news, she did take one teensy, tiny step by herself (to me, LOL) today. "One small step for a man . . ." We cheered like it was the first step on the moon, of course, and we are hopeful for many more steps in the near future. Maybe Grandma and Grandpa will be able to facilitate that too--they did such a great job with Jonathan's potty-training last year, so surely teaching walking is MUCH easier than that!

That's all that is new around here!

Friday, April 20, 2007

"100--make that 20?--Points of Data" -- Last & Quick Survey

For school, here is another, even easier to complete survey. Thanks to those of you who are helping as the vacuum cleaner research hit the Dyson "wall":

1) When you go to a place that prepares food for sale (restaurants, supermarkets, convenience stores w/ deli--which would include many gas stations Ed), how much does it bother you that the bathrooms are dirty?

A) A great deal
B) Somewhat
C) Not at all

2) Have you ever thought less of a restaurant, etc, with dirty bathrooms?

A) Yes
B) No

3) To what extent would you not return as often to a restaurant (etc) with dirty bathrooms?

A) Return Less Often
B) Return More Often
C) No Effect--Return about the same

4) Does it bother you that in most restaurants, smaller supermarkets, etc that someone who will be touching your food is also scrubbing the bathroom every hour or so?

A) Yes
B) No

5) Would you consider it an improvement if bathrooms could be automatically cleaned (with like a dishwasher or carwash system--I'll worry about the details.)?

A) A great deal
B) Somewhat
C) Not at all

P.S. Thanks again. If you have our e-mail, you can just e-mail your answers, your husband or wife's answers, and your fastedious kid's answers, etc. By the way, there's still time to complete the earlier survey, included below.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Need YOUR Help!

For a school project, I am hoping you (and your spouse?) since I need as much data as I can (quickly) get, will answer the following couple questions. I know I'm usually the "Silent Partner" on this Blog, so please know I appreciate your thoughts.

1) Name some places (businesses, etc) where it bothers you that the floors aren't clean.

2) Briefly, why is it important that each should be cleaner?

Thanks, Bob

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Keeping it Real-- A Belly Shot

Side View

Nathan's View: "That is the biggest belly I have ever seen! It looks like you ate a . . . a . . . a WHOLE TURKEY!"

Yes, I am here in the loving and supportive bosom of my family! Now for the disclaimer: I really don't look as huge from the front, since I carry straight out on front. No, really. I'm not kidding! Just believe me! Also, I want you to know that I have gained the exact same amount of weight (35 pounds) that I gained with all the rest of my pregnancies, including my first one, where my belly looked nowhere near as big as this! Oh well. Two more weeks . . . that's what I keep telling myself.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Only a Week Behind . . .

This afternoon, the boys colored Easter eggs. What's that you say? Easter was last week? I'll have you know that hard-boiled eggs are an excellent source of protein year-around, and colored eggs add a lovely touch of whimsy to the inside of the fridge, no matter what week it is! Besides, as of just a few weeks ago, we were listening to Veggie Tales' Incredible Singing Christmas Tree CD in the car (Caleb and Jonathan's choice, NOT mine, LOL), so obviously we aren't the best at celebrating holidays right where they fall on the calendar!

Now we have 18 beuatifully decorated eggs awaiting us for breakfast for the next few days. You can eat colored eggs, as long as they have been in the fridge, right? I must confess that coloring eggs was not a meaningful part of my childhood hood memories--do you remember ever doing it, Dan? So I am not up on all the ins and outs of it. Fortunately Bob's family did color eggs each year, so obviously we were meant to be together, so that our kids can have this experience, and I don't have to get messy! LOL!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

36 1/2 Weeks

I had an OB appointment yesterday, and everything looks fine. The head is down, and I am 1 and 1/2 cm dilated and 50% effaced. Of course, I have probably been that dilated and effaced for weeks now, LOL.

You may remember that with Anna, the OB I had then was totally obsessed with how big she might be. This doctor has said nary a word about size--her big obsession is my "risk of maternal hemorrhage". She even mentioned it at my second appointment! Now I know a lot of women who have had many more children than me, so I am really not that concerned. Also, I did some web research, and it seems like a bigger risk factor is the speed of your labors, and I have never had lightening-fast 4-10-cm-in-45-minutes type labors. Mine usually are a respectable few hours. Another big risk is a long, drawn-out pitocin-induced labor but, you guessed it, she really wants to induce. Now at this point, to be perfectly honest, I am big and uncomfortable. I doubt that even with pitocin I would have a long-drawn out labor. But still--she just wants to induce because . . . well, she hasn't dealt with many mothers of big families. That is what it boils down to! She even said that both doctors wanted to be there for the birth, and that they want to induce so that anyone else who is needed would for sure be there, since it would be during the day! Am I a circus side-show, LOL? Maybe the whole hospital would like to watch!

The first date she threw out was April 26, which would be a week and a half early. I was not at all comfortable with that and suggested May 4, which is 2 days before my due date. She kept saying that she just didn't think I would go that long, and apparently she really just doesn't want me to go into labor on my own! I told her that I might be concerned about that (well, probably not, LOL) except that I haven't gone into labor on my own with my last 2, and with Anna, I was 5 cm dilated and was not in labor yet when the pitocin was started. So, I really am not confidant that I will go into labor on my own before my due date. She went out and had a conference with the other doctor in the practice, and she came back suggesting May 1. That is somewhat better, so I agreed to that, but of course I am hoping and praying to go into labor myself. I hate getting to the hospital at 6:00 in the morning and waiting around for everything to get started. Bleh. Too early. Too much waiting around. What a hassle. On the plus side, this should be my last baby while on Tricare, so hopefully if we have any more, I'll be able to find a good midwife that more shares my views on pregnancy and birth, i.e. one who does not LOOK for things that might potentially be wrong.

Now I did ask the wise ladies on the Well-Trained Mind board about maternal hemorrhage, and several of them suggested drinking alfalfa tea, which is supposed to help cut down on bleeding. So I have been drinking that, as well as my raspberry leaf tea, which helps tone the uterus, so I think I'm doing all I can do. I am really not a fan of hot beverages at all, so this is a real sacrifice for me to be drinking all this tea!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Happy Easter!

I hope you all had a wonderful day celebrating the resurrection of Christ! We did, although the weather sure was cold! Our church did not have a sunrise service, so we just went at the regular time (like we could have made a sunrise service even if they did have one, LOL). It was a wonderful service--we are so enjoying this new church and the pastor. He didn't do a specific "Easter" sermon, but he is preaching through Ephesians, and this week he covered Eph. 1: 15-23, which talks about the mighty power of God, which was used when raising Christ from the dead, so it fit the Easter theme.

I am glad that clothes are not the focus of my Easter, as I had all sorts of troubles yesterday! Even though it was cold, I wore a short-sleeved dress, since, well, I am always hot, LOL. This dress is one I have had since I was pregnant with Luke and had to pin "major' on Bob, but it's a really pretty maroon one. As is typical, I got dressed right before we walked out the door (lessens the chance that any food particles will make their way onto my clothes, you know), and as I walked downstairs, I realized that possibly the pregnancy with Luke was when I bought the pair of maternity hose I was wearing as well. No time to change, but I shortly realized that . . . the hose were too small, to put it frankly, for my burgeoning belly. I could not keep them from rolling down under my belly, and I was afraid to see just how far down they would roll! When we got to church, I told Bob I needed to use the restroom, where I just took the darn things off. Then the problem became my shoes. They fit alright with hose on, but once I took the hose off, it became obvious that, well, they were a little too small too for my evidently swollen feet. (I'm going with "swollen" because my feet got a size bigger when I was pregnant with Nathan, but never grew anymore, so SURELY they aren't going to start growing again in pregnancy #6, right?!) So I hobbled back into the service and took my shoes off for the remainder. As we stood for the last song, I struggled with getting them back on. Finally I succeeded, but at a great cost! I could hardly walk! As soon as I got into the car, I took them off and didn't even wear them into the house! Grr! I greatly dislike these last few weeks, where nothing feels comfortable!

As soon as I got changed and got some things together, we headed over to the L's house for Easter dinner. The other 3 families in our Bible study were there too, as well as 2 other families with whom we have been stationed before, and the parents of one of them. There were 34 of us, and we had a delicious potluck feast. I love, absolutely LOVE, being able to enjoy lots of delicious food while only making a few things! I brought a fruit salad, a spinach salad, a potato dish, and ginger snaps. We also had a ham, pork roast, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, jello salad, spinach bread, green bean casserole, corn pudding, french toast casserole, and plenty of other desserts. I was so stuffed I could hardly move! Anna was very cooperative--I fed her as soon as we got there, and she went down for a nap not long after we started eating. She slept until close to 5:00, even going back to sleep after being rudely awakened by little boys light-saber-fighting and running into her door! So I had a whole afternoon of visiting with grownups. Ahhh. It was so very, very nice.

I think it was the perfect celebration of Easter. Because of Christ triumphing over sin and the grave, we will be spending eternity together, since we are all believers. What better way to celebrate that than starting the party down here on Earth?! We were celebrating with family! Praise the Lord--He is risen!

Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ . . . Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens wih God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are becoming built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. Ephesians 2: 12-13, 19-22

Friday, April 06, 2007

Custom Crest For Claire

Sometimes Caleb goes through a spell of liking to design crests for shields--a throwback to our medieval year in history. He's going through one now, and he decided to design a crest for me. After asking me what colors I liked, he went off to do his thing. When he was done, he proudly showed it to me. The main heraldic elements were: a stick figure washing dishes at a sink and . . . a double decker ice cream cone. Kids and their imaginations! Where do they come up with these things?! LOL!! There was actually more room on the shield, so I guess I should be thankful he didn't include the "doing laundry/ Oreos" theme, or the "wiping bottoms/Ghirardelli dark chocolate squares" one. Also, the stick figure was not noticeably pregnant, so I am really counting my blessings!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Homeschool Ambassador

A German family has rented the house at the end of our cul-de-sac, three houses away from us. She is a civilian, working for the German government here, and he is former German military but a stay-at-home dad here. They have two children, Julia who is 13, and Timon, who is 9. Timon has been having a great time playing with my boys, and Julia loves playing with Anna.

You may not be aware of this, but homeschooling is absolutely outlawed in Germany. There are several active cases right now where German authorities have removed children from their homes simply because the parents were educating them at home. The Supreme Court of Europe ruled that the right of the parents to raise their children as they pleased was triumphed by the right of the state to control what the child is learning. Children can't be "indoctrinated" by only what their parents believe. This actually is a law that Hitler put into practice, since he wanted all children to go to state schools and learn the party line. Here is a link from HSLDA about Germany that has links to several articles on the court cases.

So this afternoon Julia was playing with Anna outside, and it was time for her nap. I walked down to her house, because I thought that's where they were (they were actually in our backyard), and I ended up having a very long coversation with her dad, Oliver. We started out talking about everyday things, like how their second shipment, which includes their second car, is not going to be here for 6-8 more weeks. Then he asked if I stayed at home all day, saying that he knew that would be busier than a full-time job! I said that I did indeed stay home and (dropping the bomb into the conversation) that our children were homeschooled, so my other job was teaching them all. He was flabbergasted! "This is legal in America?!" he exclaimed! We talked for about 35 minutes on how homeschooling worked, what the requirements were (no, our government does not tell us what we have to cover and how), and how I thought it was a benefit to our family. He was very interested and had quite a few questions! He was curious about how our kids don't have another big authority figure in their lives, like a teacher. I told him that really wasn't true, since they were involved in sports, co-op, etc., with many other authority figures, but that we were the ones who set the boundaries for how they acted and what was the right thing to do, and we could be very consistent, since they were mainly with me. I also said that the Bible was our standard for those behavoral guidelines, so it wasn't like we were just making things up on the fly. We talked about how having all the kids at home all the time helped them be a real team, with everyone serving each other, and how you couldn't just sweep sibling problems under the rug, since they were right there together all the time.

I hope this will be an opportunity for us to be a good homeschool witness to this family! Maybe more conversations will come from this one. He was definitely chewing on what I said when I left! We can work to change attitudes about homeschooling in Germany one family at a time!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Treading Water

So you have probably been wondering, in the midst of kleenex, pregnancy, and sickness, if we have been getting any schooling done. The answer is yes, but I will say that this year has not quite measured up to my expectations of all we would accomplish. I thought we were taking it easy LAST year, while I was pregnant, never ever dreaming that, well, this year I would not only have an infant but be pregnant AGAIN. I think I've mentioned in other posts how little we have gotten done in the afternoons because I have just been too tired! So I have felt like this year was another year of just treading water--nothing extra getting done.

And yet, things have been accomplished. We finished Latina Christiana 1. We even went through Minimus a second time. We have only one chapter left in Story of the World 3 (of course, I haven't even ordered SOTW 4 yet, so that will give me a convenient excuse to drop history while we settle in with the new baby, LOL). Luke has about 10 more lessons in Saxon 3, and Nathan is over halfway done with Saxon 6/5. We're halfway done with Easy Grammar 4/5. We're halfway done with Classical Writing Aesop. We have focused more strongly on memory work this year, so we've memorized things like 1 Corinthians 13, Revelation 5:6-14, the Preamble to the Constitution, the Presidents, etc.--AND we review them all regularly, so I know they are really in there!

BUT--we should be more than halfway done with those things like grammar and writing! And we never did get to any formal science! Spelling is still Nathan's big bugaboo! (Next year I am definitely using different spelling programs for Nathan and Luke--probably Spelling Power for Luke, and I'm still not sure for Nathan.) I want to teach them how to play the recorder! Caleb is still not reading fluently, mainly because some days his lessons get skipped! Ah well. Next year I WON'T be pregnant, right Lord? LOL.

A few weeks ago, Christa wrote a list on her blog called "When it comes to school, there's no place like home" with some reasons such as these:

. . . Where helping one's little brother get a glass of milk teaches service.

. . . Where children learn to look out for each other, helping toddlers. Reading to little sister or brother hones skills, grows a caring heart, and brings special joy all around

I think I can summarize these past 2 years as "learning to serve" for the boys. There have been lots of good lessons in that crucial subject! I guess there will be time for science later on. In the meantime, we'll keep plugging away with math, grammar, etc. We'll start Latina Christiana 2 next week. We'll keep on going through the Spectrum test practice books to prepare for the Stanford Achievement tests the boys will be taking the first week of May. And we'll have another baby, which will yield even more opportunities to serve!