First off, I'd like to say happy birthday to my mom. Her birthday is today, and I'm honoring her by having a slice of AMAZING from-scratch coconut cream pie that I made. (Along with a cup of decaf. Perfect combo.) My best pie to date, if I don't say so myself.
Secondly, I'm thinking of changing the name of my blog. I'm not exactly a new Mommy anymore, with #4 on the way. I mean, there are always new things in the adventure of Mommy-hood, but.... I've got a neat name in mind. I'll see if I can change the look of things around here. (Sometime in the next year..... Or two.....)
I don't know what we were so busy with this summer, but it seems like it has been non-stop around here. I can give you a run-down of September, at least - Paul served at two Encounters, and had to work the other two weekends. He's had days off (his work does a rotating shift) but between errands, church stuff, and family stuff, we hadn't had a day at home with nothing to do until last week. It was so nice. We also started school and Awana. I finished my ladies' Post-Encounters the same week Paul started his with the men.
So there's been just a little bit going on. Between my naps and eating bon-bons.
Okay, so there really have been naps. Almost daily. I don't sleep well at night, which leads to debilitating exhaustion in the afternoons. I have every intention of powering through, but reading to the kids after lunch kills me. More than once I have been asked, "Mommy, why do your words sound funny?" as I am falling asleep mid-story.
So, in baby news (since that's the cause of exhaustion)(well, one of 4): I will be 30 weeks this week. According to my weekly email updates from BabyCenter.com, baby is 15 inches long, and 2.5 pounds. Oh my goodness - getting so big! We are still working on names. We had a girls name settled, then I found one that I liked better, I think, but Paul's not on board. And we're still up in the air on a boys name. But I can tell you for sure it won't be Whale Pig. (See last post.) I've gained more weight than I care to admit, but the lovely news is that the doctors office measures from your first appointment (2 months along). So according to them, I've only gained 15 pounds! My veins are definitely worse, so I am in the compression stockings constantly. My hernia also has gotten worse (Yes, the hernia I got fixed last summer. It only stayed fixed for a week.), and is huge and ugly and generally painful. The stockings do kind of keep it pressed in, but I have to get out the sexy belt a few times a week when it's really popping out.
I think I've finally figured out how home-school is going to go this year. I am not "one of those" moms. My vision of all my little students gathered around the kitchen table, dutifully working on their papers..... Um, NO. If I can manage to get both of the boys at the table at the same time, Zadie is standing on the table, throwing things. What works best is to do school one at a time. Some days it's Nathan first, other days it's Jacob. No particular rhyme or reason to who goes first, other than who happens to be most eager or need a change of scenery (picking fights with siblings). I tried having Nathan do seat work (practicing writing, etc) while I help Jacob, but even if he's not doing his actual school, he's still at the table, and gets fidgity halfway through his lessons. So I just let him play. Plus, having one of them playing while the other does school keeps the little girl entertained better.
We have had some major attitude problems from Nathan over school. Not wanting to try, telling me I don't know what I'm talking about, etc.... GAAH! Paul discovered that praying with them at the start of the day seems to help. He did a little devotion time with them, but last week I just prayed with them individually, which I like. I want to find a way to have a prayer time with each child every day.
With Nathan, we are only doing math and reading. I figure that come December, I won't have much time, and these are the main things he needs to learn. Plus, the more I try to teach other things, the less I can focus on getting him to read! It seems like it's taking so long, and just not clicking with him. I try to remind myself, he's a boy, and he JUST turned 6. He's not that behind. But I also don't want to make excuses for him if he's not trying hard enough. But math, he's really good at. Maybe I'm biased, but it seems like it just clicks for him. He knows all his doubles (1+1, 2+2, 3+3, etc) up to 10+10, and his +1's. He's writing "number sentences" (5+3=8, etc), and grasps the concept. This was what he tells me last week: "We had 8 kittens, but one died, so that's minus one, equals [counts kittens present] five." (Hey, he understands the concept. Just doesn't have all the tables memorized yet. :) )
Jacob learned how to write his name in the first two weeks of school. It's not perfect, and the letters aren't always in order, but I thought it was pretty awesome that he went from knowing nothing about letters to being able to do that. He has some in-depth preschool material, but I'm definitely not doing it as in-depth as I did with Nathan. Part of it is that Jacob knows a lot of it already (he knows all of his shapes, colors, how to count, and recognizes numbers up to at least 5), but the other part is the time factor. Jacob is still 3, and his attention span is pretty short. I just want him to be able to recognize and write his letters by the end of the school year.
We squeeze science in whenever it comes up. Part of home-schooling is looking for those teachable moments. For some reason I mentioned "invertebrates" on the way to Awana last week, which led to an explanation, which now Nathan understands: Vertebrates have backbones. Invertebrates do not. We play a game - "Is a worm a vertebrate or invertebrate? Is a cat....? An octopus?" Lesson learned. They are outside a lot, so have tons of questions about things outside, and I take the time to explain them to the best of my ability. It's not in a textbook, but it's still science.
All in all, I probably spend at least 3 hours a day just on one-on-one school or violin. Add to this wrangling a one-year-old, the house, and the garden.... No wonder I'm tired all the time.
Zadie is 17 months and quite the feisty little thing. She isn't talking yet, but makes her opinions quite known. She has said words very clearly, she just doesn't use them. She babbles a lot. And I mean a lot. She steals my cell phone constantly (screaming fit if I take it away), and loves any toy phone she can get her hands on. She is a very in to shoes, and wears everyone's around the house. She'd change her own shoes every 10 minutes if she could find more of her own. I told Paul this is not an obsession we will feed. She can have a pair of good shoes, and a pair of every day shoes. She doesn't need more, no matter how cute little girls shoes are. I can tell already we are going to have another strong-willed child, like our oldest, on our hands. Things will be interesting in a couple years. She loves to wrestle with her brothers. If they are rolling around on the floor, she'll wade right in to the middle of it. She loves getting dirty as much (or more!) than they do. She's discovered the world of under the deck. At least once a day I have to lure her out from under there (sometimes using my cell phone as bait).
We've been having issues with Jacob biting lately. NO idea where this came from. He bit a friend at church, and left a huge bruise on his arm, and bit Zadie later in the week. This is a habit that must be broken.
Nathan lost another tooth tonight. He's up to 5, 3 of them (including tonight's) lost in accidents. When he came in to my Bible study room at church this evening to tell me he lost a tooth, I was expecting it to be the one that's practically dangling on the bottom. Nope, it was an only-slightly-loose top one that got knocked out when he collided heads with Willie. Maybe those top ones will finally come in, now that there's room! (It's been 9 months.)
In non-child-related news.... My sister comes home from Africa in a month! I was thinking, Jacob was 18 months old and not talking when she left in 2011. When she gets back, Zadie will be 18 months.... and not talking. Just trade one for the other, I guess.
Okay, enough updating. I'll close with some pictures of my entirely too-grown-up children that Paul took this morning. He was trying to get a picture of Zadie in her Dorothy (Wizard of Oz) outfit, but she wouldn't hold still. (Click on photos and Blogger will open up a full-screen slide show, so you can see them better.)
Let's pretend you don't notice how horribly messy the house is in these pics. And I feel like I shouldn't admit that it's twice as bad tonight, thanks to the oldest and youngest not taking naps. I'm not touching it. The kids made the mess, the kids will clean it up.... Tomorrow.
Love the 70's vibe he's got going on here with the shirt unbuttoned.
Love, love, LOVE them.