Saturday, June 30, 2012

Remembering Christ

After three weeks of bed-rest, I am now back on my feet! I have a new practitioner and she is wonderful- I feel very fortunate to be so well cared for, and I am so thankful to live in a nation providing healthcare for people in my situation! I am going to be seen weekly, because contractions are still ongoing, but as long as I don't go too crazy I am able to be active! My time on bed-rest was well spent, with reading wonderful books provided by excellent friends (Melissa, Joni, Desiree, and Menolly- thank you!!!) and crocheting my first real pattern (Menolly helped me!). Being off bed-rest is wonderful news- and I have celebrated by taking walks and spending time splashing in the pool with my family! (Harrison went off both the low and high diving boards! Carter has been jumping off them for a year now, but Harrison has now became skilled enough to jump too!)

Harrison on the low dive, jumping to me. Carter almost in the water from the high dive.

Harrison jumped off the high dive! (He is mid-air!)

My first pattern! I made baby booties! Yarn, small hook, and lessons provided by Menolly! I made these while watching Murder She Wrote episodes on my inflatable mattress- bed-rest was no picnic, but having excellent friends, an attentive husband, and great hobbies really helped!

Also on our updates: we are moving! We put in our 30 days notice, last week, and we will be heading out in July! Where? Um... not sure yet. Kurt has an interview on the 11th for a company here, he was called and told he was still a front-runner for the job in SLC, and we have been very generously offered a home on Kurt's family's farm in Iowa. So, really we have no idea where we are going. We are leaving because we knew it was unwise to sign a lease here, and our old lease is up, so- off we go. While the prospect of a move is always somewhat exciting, we admit that this is mostly stressful because we will be just 6 weeks from our little girl's arrival- and trying to transfer health care and state aid, while finding a doctor within that short time will be difficult. (All in addition to trying to unpack and get settled.) So, we are trying to stay calm and relaxed as best we can, while we pack and get ready to go... to wherever we are going....

Speaking of our little girl's arrival- I admit to having a mild breakdown today...

My husband is amazing. Really, he is. During my bed-rest he cared for our home and children, while trying to find a job- he was Superman! Now that I am able to move around more, he tries to find creative ways to pass our down time. While books, movies, and family life have mostly kept our minds busy - we have managed to keep our whits pretty well mostly by distractions... until today.

It is not a secret that we have to be careful with what little money we have left. As it is, we will be selling our second vehicle to pay for our move and deposits and rent to wherever we move. While I can generally try and reassure myself that things will be okay, I cannot help but feel panic over our lack of "necessary" baby items, as the days keep flowing by. To think that in just 71 days our little girl is due, I find myself in a bind. We cannot spend money, but at the same time, we have so very little for when our baby arrives... it is a scary place to be. I am so thankful we bought her car seat early in the pregnancy- that is really the most necessary item- but even with a whittled down nursery list, we have so very little and no real resources in which to procure things.... so, I freaked out. Kurt and I talked. We expressed our sorrow for this situation- we understand that for whatever reason this is necessary, and we have faith in God that this will be for our long-term good- but right now, it is almost too stressful. It upset me enough to leave me crying for over 90 minutes straight, and it was stressful enough that Kurt went to bed early with a horrible migraine (thankfully the kids were happy to play Legos in their rooms during this ordeal).

Once I had finished my cry and managed to climb out of my puddle- I started to read. I am reading a book that Joni lent me called Fishers of Men. In the book, some men are discussing Jesus. One of the men was recalling his night spent as a shepherd, and the experience of an angel coming to him and his brethren in the fields. The man was explaining the miracle of what he saw, and the humble beginnings of the Savior of the World. I cried again, this time, ashamed. To think that Jesus- the King of Kings, Savior of all, Lamb of God, came into the world in a humble stable, was wrapped in swaddling clothes, and rested His holy head in a manger- I was overcome. No one on Earth has given more to humanity than He did, and thought He was received with love and adoration, he did not arrive in comfort. I cannot fathom, at all, Mary's stress at that time: being in labor, nowhere to go, nothing to provide but love and nurturing, married to a humble carpenter- and yet, we do not read of Mary's worry- we read of her bravery. Mary did not fret about trying to provide a layette. Mary was not concerned about a crib. Mary did not murmur about not having a breast pump. Mary did not cry about not having nursing pads, bottles, diapers, mittens, socks, slings, swings, or toys. Mary was strong and brave- and knew better.

So during this time, I will remember Christ. I will remember His humble beginnings, and His situation. I will be comforted knowing that He would have me be strong during this time, and that things will work out.

I am thankful. I am blessed. I know this is stressful, and I know this is hard- but I also know it is for a reason. I am not sure of that reason now, but we have never had something like this happen without being able to look back and say, "Ahhhh, that worked out for our good!" So, while we anxiously await our little girl, we also await the day we can reflect upon this time and see The Master's hand at work for our good. 

Thank you, again, for the dozens of prayers that have been offered on our behalf. They mean so much to us, and we greatly appreciate each one of them. While this is going on, our hearts are not blind to the suffering of others- and we have the families affected by the fires and floods across the nation in our prayers.

*****UPDATE: I posted my feelings and concerns in my online facebook birth group, and within hours had offers for newborn baby clothing. I am so thankful for this- I feel so very blessed. I have never been on this side of help, and it is a humbling experience, but it is also beautiful and wonderful in its own way. I am so very thankful =) Right now 100% of our daughter's clothing has been given to us- Kurt's mother sent us a few sets of beautiful baby clothes, and my wonderful friend Cari sent us clothing for when our baby gets a bit bigger- through the generosity of others, our little one is being provided for during our time of need. We are so thankful for this help, and we cannot express it enough =)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Ballet is over for this year! Their pictures are not back yet- I will upload them as soon as I have them! For now, I will post this video of the recital and it will have to do. Sorry the vid isn't the best- I promise the real thing was well worth it! Both boys did really well- especially since they only started in January- and we are very proud!

Harrison liked ballet, but wasn't crazy about it, he is more interested in performing on stage with the theater. Carter hopes to go on with studying ballet and wants to perform with a professional company- most of them take kids starting at 8 years old, so he has a year to prepare. If our situation changes, we will be able to help him with his goal by providing private lessons and keep sending him to the best schools in whatever area we happen to live. It is *HIS* passion that fuels this- and we support it!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Summer homeschooling

As of a few weeks ago, we have officially wrapped up the 2011/2012 school year! So all the books will be packed away, right?

NOPE! Not even close!!!

"On average, students lose approximately 2.6 months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months..."

Wow! No, thank you!

We decided to continue school through the summer for a few reasons:

1) The above mentioned study.
2) Keeping the habit. Right now, our children know and expect that they will be doing homeschool work in some form, most every weekday. I can remember last fall, after taking the summer off, trying to get the kids into a homeschool routine- it was a nightmare! They fought and struggled! I will not be doing that again. My children do much better if they ease into a routine, rather be tossed in without a life vest. The biggest hurdle for our children was not the amount of work- it was going from no work to work, period.
3) There is really no reason to stop.

What does summer homeschool look like?

I decided that the boys will be doing reading everyday, and they will do one single other subject daily as well. This is much less work for them than they are used to- so they still understand the concept of "summer break." The subjects we cover are extremely diverse- but generally speaking (from the few weeks we have done so far) both boys request their subject to be math or math-related.

For our reading, I was inspired by my good friend, Kaysha, and a challenge she is doing with her little boy, in her homeschool. The idea is to read 1,500 books in one year (repeat reads do not count!). WOW! Our children read a good deal, but not *that* much, so I had to say yes and add this to our homeschool! For our family- we talked and agreed to break it down to no less than 4 books per day. Carter will read at least 2 of the daily books out-loud to us, the rest of the daily books will either be accomplished by either Kurt or I reading aloud, or Harrison reading to us! This will be as much of a family activity as we can make it- so everyone benefits from the books- so reading alone will not count in our total (Carter and Harrison enjoy books before bed, but they will not count toward this goal). To keep track I set up a Goodreads account, just for the kids (link here), and with Kaysha's help I have started to track books with Excel. I envision a lot of library trips in the future (while on bedrest, Kurt will be doing those with the kids!).

For the additional subjects, since the boys have become obsessed with math, I have been burning through math workbooks and am trying to keep it fresh by adding worksheets and activities I find online. We have math games too, but those are additional and do not count toward the daily work. I want the boys to remember what it is like to put pencils to paper every day- so even if we may do a math activity (like the boys helping to bake something, and they are doing the measuring) we follow up with some kind of paper activity (like a journal about baking).

Overall it has been a great success- and the kids are happy to finish their work early in the day (right after breakfast!) so that they do not have to think about school for the rest of the time. They are enjoying the warm weather- love to watch Carter's guinea pig run around on the closed balcony, play Wii games against one another (for a fun family activity- Kurt and I have been playing Mario Party with them!), build with Legos, dress up in costumes, and engage in imaginative play. (At this very moment, Carter is dressed like Santa Claus and has been delivering toys to our family members every half hour or so. We thank him graciously, and he then returns the toy to his workshop. Harrison is playing with Star Wars action figures, and a large cardboard box- the box is the Death Star, and he is having the characters engage with one another. Good guys always win, of course.)

So, those are our summer homeschool plans!

As far as school in the fall...

I have had surprising number of people question me about whether or not the boys will be homeschooled this fall. Kurt and I have maintained that we will make plans yearly (or by semester if need be!) and do what is best for our kids at that time. We spoke to both boys about it, and both have requested to continue homeschooling next year. Our whole family is in agreement, so unless something drastically changes, our children will both be homeschooled next fall.

I am currently in the process of researching what the best methods will be, and which materials will work for us in various subjects. For me, regarding Carter, this is a pretty easy process- his learning styles are so firmly a part of his personality that we will continue to focus on core subjects, theme based projects, and unschooling- Carter does not do well with a set curriculum and "the man" looking over his shoulder- he HATES being micromanaged! Carter thrives on schedule flexibility, as there are days where he will happily burn through multiple math chapters, and then there are times where he "needs a break" from a certain subject for a time (yes, Carter can be "made" to do work each day, but he doesn't do half as well and doesn't retain as much as if he was able to pick what he is working on). Harrison is actually my tricky one when it comes to looking at fall 2012, as his personality and learning style have never been a large part of our homeschool day- he was always so flexible that we could really do anything with him- online schools, mail-order sets, unschooling, anything! Thus far our homeschool style allowed Carter to set the pace and feel of our homeschool- but again, I am reevaluating and have decided to give the boys equal shares of homeschool attention, so trying to figure out what to do with Harrison is like charting new waters. And, of course, I am taking into account that we will have a newborn joining us as soon as school starts this fall. Lots of exciting changes!!!!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A month later...

Things here are not all bad- but they aren't all roses either- but really, are things ever just one way or another?

Great things:

The boys had their ballet recital yesterday! It was so wonderful, and they both did really well! We were very proud of them, but what makes us happiest is that they were proud of themselves! Harrison had terrible stage fright, the bright lights of the theater and the very large crowd really freaked him out! He could barely walk, his tummy was in knots! We talked to him, assured him, and he was able to do his dance. We clapped and cheered- and he was instantly better! Carter was more independent and proudly performed, he made his dedication known through his perfection! We are very happy for our boys and their pride in their work- way to go, guys!!!

Swimming season is here! I love that we have access to multiple pools all within short walking distance! LOVE! We went swimming as a family and we had a blast! For hours, truly- HOURS- we swam with the kids! We played, splashed, and tossed them around in the water. Carter was proudly showing us his "double jumps!" in the deep end (10 feet!) while Harrison wowed us with his first ever jump into the pool, where we took turns catching him! (Back story - the kids had a very scary experience with a pool a few years ago, and while Carter was able to quickly move past the fear, Harrison had very serious lingering doubts about water safety- so we have been working with him through swimming lessons and pool time- and this was a huge step!) Harrison then surprised us more by asking us to back away from the pool edge, and he would swim to us, keeping his head below water the whole time! HUGE progress!!! Carter enjoyed playing diving games and throwing Woody and Buzz toys and taking turns diving for them with Kurt! Carter could bring back toys 6 feet deep or shallower, and he had Kurt diving at 10 feet. The boys learned to play "chicken" on our shoulders too! (Harrison won, he's a scrappy fighter! In Carter's defense, I think Carter went down easily because he liked being pushed into the water.)

We are in the third trimester!!! The baby will be here in less than three months! So exciting!!! I have been so blessed- Kurt's mom sent us some totally adorable baby clothes, and my good friend Cari shipped me ultra-cute clothing all the way from Iowa! We are very lucky to have help to get ready for our little girl!

Less than thrilling updates:

Earlier last week I started having contractions lasting a minute, every three minutes. I drank a lot of water and I rested on my left side, but hours later there was still no improvement. I called the doctor's office, and they told me to go to labor and delivery at our local hospital. Our whole family went together, and we waited. I was monitored and the contractions and our little baby's heart-rate all showed up so the nurses could see. They did a few tests, and they tried a medication, but even with drugs contractions were only slowed to every five minutes. I appreciated that they allowed me to go home- I wanted to stay with my family- but have been put on pelvic rest and bed rest for the next few weeks. Bummer. I want to say that bed rest is unnecessary- but when I have broken it (I admit, I attended my boys' recital... I thought it was safe, as I mostly was sitting) I have had contractions regularly for hours after. So- bed is where I must stay. It is not fun... not at all. I am thankful my kids are older and Kurt has been here to help.

We have no updates about Kurt's employment situation. He has had interviews, but we are stuck waiting. I am reminded of this part of Oh The Places You'll Go!

I'm sorry to say so

but, sadly, it's true
that Bang-ups
and Hang-ups
can happen to you.

You can get all hung up
in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on.
You'll be left in a Lurch.

You'll come down from the Lurch
with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then,
that you'll be in a Slump.

And when you're in a Slump,
you're not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted.  But mostly they're darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out?  Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And IF you go in, should you turn left or right...
or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
Simple it's not, I'm afraid you will find,
for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused
that you'll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place...

...for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or a No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

That's not for you!

Somehow you'll escape
all that waiting and staying.
You'll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.

With banner flip-flapping,
once more you'll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you're that kind of a guy!

I hope for us to escape this situation soon, every day becomes slightly more stressful than the last. I want to apologize to all of my dear friends who have been trying so hard to comfort us during this time- the truth is that in times of crisis we tend to become little hermits and want to just be by ourselves, with our own little family. I do not know why we do this, we just do.

We are still keeping strong with our faith. I am co-leading a Good Morning Girls group, and it has helped me a very great deal- the women are so strong and supportive, so when I finally do open up about how I am feeling they are remarkable. We have been going to Church, well- now it is more of Kurt and the boys going while I stay in bed- and it helps Kurt and the kids keep focus.

 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
                                                           James 4: 13-15