Thursday, June 28, 2012

18 Week Update

So I was 18 weeks along on Wednesday, if anyone is keeping track.  I've had this cold since Friday night which I am valiently trying to overcome, with limited success.  I'm sure my lack of success has been in part to staying up too late several night in a row trying to find all the news I can on the Waldo Canyon fire in Colorado Springs.  We were stationed in the Springs for 5 1/2 years, and that is where both Nathan and Luke were born.  My grandparents retired there, so even while I was growing up, we would visit there.  It is definitely a city near and dear to my heart, so it has just been so hard to watch it burn.

Several years ago (6 or so maybe?) there was a big wildfire around Deckers, CO, and a ton of NFS land was burned, including a bunch of campgrounds that we used to camp at with the L's back in the day.  I remember reading that it would take like 200 years for the area to look like it used to.  That was hard enough to imagine, with places we saw not so regularly.  This fire is affecting stuff we looked at every day out our back windows, and so many people have been so affected that it is just hard to fathom.  I mean, the Flying W Ranch gone?!  Unbelieveable.

But let's see, this was not a post about Colorado . . . it was a post about this pregnancy.  I never did hear anything back from the doctors, and it's been over a week now, so I am assuming I passed my 1 hour glucose test.  That's not a huge shock--I've never failed one at 16 weeks before--it's always the 28 week one that gets me.  With that in mind, I decided to start tracking my blood sugar numbers.  I dug my old testing kit that I used when I was pregnant with Faith out of the closet, and a friend from Bible study loaned me her poker-thing, since mine wasn't working (but in a miraculous event, mine decided to start working again!).  The only fly in this grand plan is that all my testing strips are from early 2009.  After getting ridiculous readings from the opened bottle of test strips, I threw those away and opened a new bottle (with an expiration date of Dec. 09, LOL).  I'm still getting odd readings, though, so I'm not trusting these either.  I think if I was seriously having problems then my 1 hour test would have caught it.  I don't want to obsess, and I'm not really worried now, but as I get farther along I would like to be able to monitor this accurately.  More likely, though, I'll just fail my 1 hour and 3 hour tests at 28 weeks, and then I will be gifted a brand new set of testing stuff and a new prescription for testing strips!  Whee and yippee!

Monday, June 25, 2012

It's a . . .

I had my ultrasound this morning!  It was really different from the last 2 I've had at Bethesda.  With Faith, we were down in the bowels of the basement, and by the time I was pregnant with Micah, the radiology department had moved up to the main floor.  But with both of these ultrasounds, they were done in the radiology department, which does all the ultrasounds on everyone for everything, not just OB ones.  So they had rules--the first part of the ultrasound, your (one) support person couldn't be watching, so Bob had to wait in the waiting room until he was called back.  Meanwhile the ultrasound was conducted in perfect silence (I usually dozed off), until all the images were captured.  Then Bob would come back, we both would get a quick run-down ("Here's the face . . . heart . . . hands . . . it's a boy, etc."). 

BUT now Bethesda has a nice "prenatal assessment clinic" where they do the OB ultrasounds, along with other prenatal testing, and the experience was totally different--more like my civilian ultrasounds.  Bob was there the whole time, the lady chattered through it, telling us what she was looking for, measuring, etc.  Much nicer!  So the baby looks perfectly healthy and is measuring just right (17 w, 3 d, and I am technically 17 w, 5 d), and the baby was not shy about sharing that he is another boy!  I knew it!  With my boy pregnancies, I don't even feel pregnant in the beginning--no nausea or anything--and that's how this one was!  So yay--Micah will have a buddy and a roommate, and I won't have to worry about always have to set up playdates for Micah, since he won't be the lone boy hanging out in the middle of a bunch of girls!

The only potential issue is that my placenta is low right now, over the cervix.  Hopefully it will move up though as I get bigger.  I don't usually have ultrasounds this early, so that's probably the problem, but I have to go back at 32 weeks for another one to make sure the placenta is out of the way.

While I was waiting to start the ultrasound, I was contemplating how much more pleasant ultrasounds are now.  No one ever talks about this, but they used to be very painful.  Ask someone who has high school age kids!  They used to tell you to drink an enormous amount of water--64 oz.?--and you had to finish 1 hour before your ultrasound started.  And then--you weren't. allowed. to. pee.  At all!  They wanted you to have the all-important "full bladder" so they could get a good picture.  Oh my goodness.  The pain!  The incredible discomfort!!  So you had to wait for an hour while your bladder filled up like a balloon, and then you had to lie on your back while the technician pushed around on your super-full bladder with her ultrasound wand!  I would about be in tears.  By the time I was having Caleb and Jonathan, I just didn't drink as much water, and I would pee a little bit right before so I wasn't in excruciating pain, but for Nathan especially, I followed the directions to. the. LETTER, and it was so awful!  Now they don't say a thing about having a full bladder or drinking insane amounts of water and then waiting an hour without peeing.  I just want all you newer moms to know how incredibly fortunate you are that you will only know ultrasounds as fun times, and not as mini torture sessions!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Happy Birthday, Nathan!

Wow--Nathan turned 15 today, although he is not even around to celebrate!  I dropped him off at 7:30 yesterday morning to ride down with the other cadets in his squadron to the VA CAP encampment, south of Richmond.  To say he was excited about going is an understatement.  He was mainly nervous about the packing--forgetting something--as opposed to what they'll actually be doing.  He is feeling pretty confidant about all the physical stuff, as well as the drill/marching stuff.  I can't wait to hear his stories when he comes back!  Bob said there is no air conditioning where they are, so I hope he is able to sleep, LOL.  The cadets are all going to be given their own camelbacks, so that should help them stay hydrated.  He'll come back next Sunday.

Tuesday night we all went to an awards banquet at the squadron (Anna's take on the evening:  too long, and she didn't get enough dessert), and Nathan was promoted to cadet staff sergeant.  This was a bigger promotion than his previous ones, as he had to pass some special tests.  He is really enjoying CAP.

What a change from 15 years ago, when I was in my (shared) room at the Air Force Academy hospital, wondering how I could ever possibly take are of this new baby I had just delivered!  Bob couldn't even stay with me, so I felt very alone (although I could not just dwell on my thoughts in solitude and silence because my roommate, who had just had her 3rd baby, told me she didn't sleep well in hospitals, so she just kept the TV on all night.  Okay . . .)  We are looking forward to seeing what the Lord has planned for Nathan's life!  He is such a blessing to our family!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Other Random Happenings

And in other news:

--Bob fixed our crazy cooktop last night!  We thought we would have to order a new one, and we actually did order an induction one, which was really on sale at Lowes.  At Bible study last Friday, however, Tim P. said he thought it was a switch, so when we got home, Bob googled our cooktop model number to find out parts numbers, and he found the squirrelly part online and ordered it.  He replaced it last night, using Luke's eagle eyes to make sure the numbers on the wires on the new part matched the ones on the old part (way at the top of a dark cabinet), and now we are back in business!  When we turn the burner off, it goes off!  The things you take for granted . . .  Siri and I have been creatively using crockpots (plural because we had to dig my old one out of retirement and use both to have enough to feed our combined crews!) and the electric skillet, as well as this single electric burner we've had for ages that has come in very handy.  But now we are very glad to have 4 burners to use once again!

--We got our Stanford test scores back online today!  This is a new thing, but it is so much quicker than just waiting for them to be mailed to us.  You will be pleased to know that everyone did fine, although I think Jonathan is a little over-confident of his math skills.  When we were working through his test review book, I noticed that he was loathe to actually write problems out on his scratch paper, preferring to just figure them out in his head.  Predictably, this strategy was not as successful as he might have thought, so I kept telling him he needed to write every problem down.  But I don't think he really did, LOL.  Oh well.

--Bob celebrated the Army's birthday at the Pentagon today.  They had a tank sculpture thing surrounded by 2600 Georgetown cupcakes frosted a camo color.  Expensive!   

--Jonathan has learned how to knit, thanks to Celia's patient teaching.  He's using 2 bamboo skewers as knitting needles.  Who knew he had such talents?!

--Micah no longer goes down stairs on his tummy.  Now he sits down and bumps down the stairs on his bottom, with his tummy sticking way out.  It's so cute!  We have Anna to thank for teaching him that. 

And now you are all caught up with our not-so-interesting lives!

16 Week Appointment

Today was my 16 week OB appointment.  Everything looks good--baby's heartrate is in the 150s, although s/he was moving around the whole time, so it was hard to get a consistent reading.  I have been feeling a lot of movement, so I wasn't too surprised the little one was all wiggly today.  I'm measuring right at 16 weeks, which is good, because I look like I could easily be 25 weeks at least, LOL.  My ultrasound is scheduled for Monday, June 25.

I did have to take the one hour glucose screening test, which I expected, so I brought plenty of reading material.  I'm almost done with a really fascinating book called The Disappearing Spoon:  And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World From the Periodic Table of the Elements.  So interesting!  A very fun read!  My friend Rabia recommended it to me, and I definitely recommend it to anyone who has a passing interest in chemistry, or just likes knowing cool facts about interesting people and things.  I am going to require the Rivendell boys to read it next summer before we do chemistry.  Actually, Nathan picked it up after I got it out of the library and read through it pretty quickly already, so even teenage boys find it interesting!

This was actually my second trip to Bethesda in 2 days.  I had to take Nathan in yesterday because he has a wart on his foot that we want off before he goes to CAP encampment.  While we were there yesterday, I noticed a big posterboard sign talking about a "code white" exercise that would be taking place . . . today.  Ack!  The sign said that no one would be permitted to move around the hospital while the exercise was going on, and patients would be taken to a safe place.  Great!  Since I knew I would most likely be there for awhile today, I was certain I would be caught up in the fun.  Instead, I think I barely missed all the excitement!  I was driving up to the gate to leave, and there were MPs all over the place.  One of them was by the active barrier thing, and as soon as I drove over it, he motioned for the car behind me to stop.  Then they put the barrier up, preventing cars from leaving or entering the base.  But I was out of there!  Woo-hoo!

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Hershey Park!

Yesterday we spent the day at Hershey Park with Rivendell and a few other friends.  It was such a great day!  To start off, we left our house at 7:30 AM, a feat never to be repeated I am sure.  We got to the park right around 10:00, when it opened, and we got good parking spaces.  I was a bit worried about going through the gate to get in.  The website says "No outside food" several times, but hey--I'm pregnant, Micah's 1--we need our snacks, LOL.  We had all eaten some jerky and cheese sticks on our way in from the parking lot, but I had some more jerky plus some graham crackers and fruity snacks for Micah in the diaper bag.  Well, I shouldn't have worried.  The guards just gave the opened diaper bag a perfunctory glance and didn't even root around in it at all.  So I guess they weren't really all that concerned about graham crackers.

Once inside, we split into groups, although we hadn't met up with everyone yet.  But eventually we all met up (there were 32 of us plus Micah), and we split into 3 groups. 
There was the older group who rode all the big roller coasters.  They got to ride all of them, and the lines weren't very bad at all.  The longest line was about 15 minutes.  We hardly even saw this group at all, although they did deign to meet us so we could all go back to the parking lot for our late picnic lunch, since they were all "starving" by that point.  We had parked by a line of trees, so we just had our picnic there, which worked out really well.  I never could figure out where the "picnic area" the Hershey Park website talks about even is!
The middle group didn't ride as many roller coasters but did most of the other rides.  I thought Hershey Park had a really good selection of "medium" rides  Bob was with this group the most, along with 2 of the other dads, so they had a lot of adult coverage.
And then there was the "little kids + moms" group, which included 6 kids who actually rode the kiddie rides, as well as Micah, who rode the carousel and the "pony cart" ride, but was not a fan of either.  Marie was a part of this group too, but she rode the stroller most of the day.  There are a ton of kiddie rides all throughout the park, and the little kids had a grand time on them, especially since there were no lines!  We moms had a really nice time visiting.  The weather was absolutely gorgeous--low 70s, not humid, with scattered clouds--so we were not uncomfortable, and a lot of the benches by the kiddie rides were in the shade.  I can't imagine a more pleasant day, weather-wise, which was such a blessing from the Lord!

So all the groups had a wonderful time, and we didn't end up actually leaving until around 7:30, meaning we got home after 10:00.  Everyone was exhausted, and it's taken most of today to recover, LOL.  This was the last official thing of the school year that I was in charge of, so I am now feeling a great sense of relief!  No more responsibilities!  Well . . . not entirely, LOL.

The only fly in the ointment was Jonathan, who was sporting an angry poison ivy rash on the right side of his face.

He apparently got it on Sunday.  He was picking up sticks in the backyard after dinner, while everyone else were all preparing for a campfire.  I didn't notice any sort of rash until Monday morning though, when he came down to breakfast.  By Wednesday it had spread and looked like this picture.  I've been giving him Benedryl and putting hydrocortizone cream on it, but it's still itchy and red.  He was worried his face would scare the ride attendants, but that didn't seem to be the case, LOL.  Hopefully it will go away soon!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

A Bit of Afternoon Excitement

Siri was cooking soup for dinner this afternoon.  (We've been alternating who cooks dinner each night, and it has been WONDERFUL!!)  It was almost ready, and she ran downstairs to do something.  She was only gone for a minute, but when she got back up, the soup was burning on the bottom!  "Weird", we both thought.  She rushed to get it poured into another pot, but then she noticed that the burner wasn't off.  Except it WAS off.  The burner kept cycling from very, very hot (glowing deep red) down to like a simmer every several seconds, and nothing we did to the switch made any difference whatsoever! 

This actually happened to me a few weeks ago, but Luke came over and fiddled with the knob, which made the burner turn off, so I completely forgot about it.  I don't think I ever even mentioned it to Bob.  It just made me look like I don't know how to work my own cooktop, LOL.

But this time nothing at all worked, and the burner was pumping out incredible amounts of heat while cycling on.  I called Bob, who was on his way home, and he said just to flip the circuit breaker off.  Fortunately it didn't take too many tries to figure out the right switch, and our crazy burner finally had to admit at least a temporary defeat.  But with tonight being CAP and Bob's Bible study, he's not going to get a chance to look at it anytime soon.  I hope it's an easy fix . . . we got this cooktop (a Frigidaire ceramic cooktop, for those taking notes on which cooktops to avoid, LOL) almost 4 years ago, so way too soon to think about replacing it.

I'm beginning to feel like all our appliances are revolting, to be honest!  I just posted on Facebook about how all our refrigerator shelves and drawers are breaking--well, not the shelves themselves, which are glass, but all the cheap plastic parts that hold them in.  They clearly are not made for the amount of food and big containers we put on them (although the 25 year old Montgomery Ward fridge I got from my Nana and Papa, which is out in the garage and has metal connecting pieces, is still going strong, no matter how many gallons of milk/giant watermelons/brining turkeys in huge pots, etc we put on those shelves . . .).

And our fridge down in the basement (another one from my Nana and Papa, one with the freezer on the bottom and the fridge on top) is slowly giving up the ghost as well.  I had the best of intentions of running down there with a thermometer and testing it before Siri came, but I never did--until her gallon of milk spoiled after only about 2 days.  Then I realized that the top fridge part was actually a balmy 52 degrees.  The freezer, which we knew was not actually "freezing" things, was about 34 degrees, so she started using that as a fridge.  But now random things ARE freezing down there.  I'm telling you--it's an appliance plot!  Hopefully the ovens and the dishwasher are still on our side.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Happy Birthday, Jonathan!

Jonathan turned 9 on Saturday, and in a rare occurance, we actually celebrated his birthday on Saturday!  He requested ribs for his birthday dinner, and we also had corn on the cob and some steamed vegetables.  The C's are here staying with us, so adding 6 more people definitely makes every day a fun party day, even when it is not anyone's birthday!
For his cake, Jonathan wanted an eagle, like the one he drew in his art class (which he is holding).  I had some troubles with the proportions of the head and the beak. In fact, I had to perform some "rhinoplasty" and cut out a hunk of beak after I had frosted the whole thing because it was just too big.  But it tasted good, and now it's almost gone!

Jonathan had an art birthday too--he got some watercolor pencils and a sketch pad from the C's, as well as a drawing DVD and kit from Grandma and Grandpa G.  Then he also got a headlight that is white light and red light with the money from Grandma and Grandpa B., which he has been asking and asking for--he wants to be ready for Camp Caleb next month at White Sulphur Springs!  He also got a Lego set.

So all in all, a very fun birthday, and Jonathan is looking forward to drawing many more pictures! 

Friday, June 01, 2012

Biology Conundrum

I've been doing a lot of planning for this coming year's biology class, especially in the lab department, since I'll have to make a big order, plus tell Siri what she'll need to get over in Hawaii.  Also, I'm going to start teaching biology in August, so I can take the whole month of December off between Thanksgiving and New Year when I have the baby, so that's another reason to get a jump on the class.  It's such a relief to have already taught the junior high life science class, and to know exactly what I need to order!

So for the labs--I have 3 different options to choose from.  We're using the BJU biology book for our main text, and I aleady have the teacher manual, pus the lab teacher manual, for that.  Unfortunately, many of the labs are fairly similar to ones we did in life science, and they just didn't seem that exciting to me.  So on to option number 2.  We are going to use the DIVE biology cd to help me with the lecture load this year, so the kids will watch the appropriate lectures, and we will meet on Tuesday at our regular Rivendell for the lab, and then we'll meet again on Thursday for a little while so I can discuss things in more depth with them.  We are definitely planning on having them take the SAT II biology test, but depending on how I think things are going, probably they will also go ahead and take the AP exam.  So having another session each wekk will help me better prepare them for those exams.  The only tricky part is that the AP bio exam is being reworked for this year, so there aren't any old exams to use for practice.  Test prep books for the 2013 exam are being published in September, so at least we'll have that.

Anyway--the DIVE cd has labs on it that the kid can watch, complete with data, and they can fill in the lab reports in the workbook.  Some of the labs even fulfill AP lab requirements! But that's not really *doing* a lab, and doesn't give any good hands-on lab experience.  I was thrilled, however, when I realized that Home Training Tools has a lab kit specifically for DIVE biology!  And I was less-than-thrilled when I realized that it only includes for materials for about half the labs, and some of those are just the dissections.  Also, there is not a real lab "manual" with DIVE.  It lists materials, has places to write data, and asks good questions to help formulate conclusions, but there are not written-out procedures.  You are supposed to watch the lab on the cd and then do it yourself.  That would be really hard, especially with the added complication of skyping.  I would have had to watch all the labs and then manually type up procedures, and that just seemed like a tremendous added hassle.  So the DIVE labs weren't a good alternative, although I probably will have the boys watch the AP ones, just to gain the added knowledge.

That leaves a book I discovered through the Well-Trained Mind high school forum.  It's called the Illustrated Guide to Home Biology Experiments, by Robert Bruce Thompson.  This book was just published in late April, but the author also has a book for chemistry (with almost the same title) that has gotten rave reviews, so I was pretty confidant this book would be exactly what I was looking for.  And it is!  The website even has a page which matches up the labs to the BJU chapters!  They sell a lab kit to go along with the book ($170), but we are not going to be doing all the labs, plus we already have a lot of glassware, goggles, etc.  I've gone through and made a list of what we need, and I've found those items on various scientific supply websites.  The labs all have clear, explicit instructions, and they look so interesting!    The author has a big emphasis on building stuff yourself, really DIY lab science, so that should be fun.  Definitely different from the BJU labs!  I'm excited about them, and I think the boys will enjoy them too.

We have our first Rivendell planning meeting soon.  Should be a fun, challenging year, as usual!