Wednesday, August 14, 2019

"Morning" Time so far...

This year I am teaching 7th, 5th, 3rd, 1st, Preschool, and I have a newborn. I'd be lying if I didn't admit that it's a lot right now. It's a strange combination of so hard and so good. I'll update another time with our "morning time" plans, because that is really the best part of everything we're doing this year.

For this post, we'll just show some of what we've finished so far.

I'm doing my best to pre-read many of Fritter's school books. Partly to keep up with him so we can discuss things, but also partly to educate myself. I so wish I had been taught this way! So the above notebooks are mine and show some of the work I've done so far. The top is my commonplace. I just had to capture the quote shown from Lion in the Gateway {click to enlarge}. So appropriate to our times, for sure. The next notebook is my timeline. Fritter has a similar one this year that he is starting.

View from the couch on a typical school day. Nursing baby, 1st grader and preschooler doing some cutting and gluing of shapes, mess. It's all good.

One thing I've added this year is what I'm calling "group work". For most people, I'm guessing this would be just a part of their morning time, but a super involved morning time doesn't work for us this year, so I've sort of spread the work out over the day. Group work happens after lunch and recess, starting around 1. Honestly, this is becoming all of our favorite parts of the day and I am doing my best not to skip it. We look forward so much to it!

One resource we are using is Nature Drawing and Journaling. It's a guided Nature Journaling book and though we've only completed one lesson so far, it's been a hit. Here are our first entries.

Hard at work on our journals.

We are continuing with our Shakespeare memory work using Ken Ludwig's book. This year we're working on Romeo and Juliet. Froggy and Sunflower act the balcony scene out daily.
Memory work and our read aloud do happen in the morning, right after our walk. This morning, our read aloud time went a bit long. I just can't say no to requests for "Just one more chapter!" Especially when we are so close to finishing the book. During the read aloud, the children work on either a coloring page (usually the saint of the day from our various coloring books) or their drawing lessons. Here is what they worked on today.
We finished Big John's Secret today.

Learning to draw faces.

Lessons from the Drawing Textbook.

We are studying birds this year in Apologia Science and so Sunflower is learning to draw birds.

Froggy worked on his coloring page from Our 24 Family's Ways, which we use during Morning Prayer Time.

Today our Group Work was completing our Meet the Masters study of Georgia O'Keefe. We started Track B last year and are finishing up, and hope to complete Track C this year.

Morning Time is our favorite part of the school day. It's a time for us all to come together, no matter how much "school" we have left to complete. Attitudes are quickly changed, and the whole atmosphere of the house becomes one of joyful learning and being together. I'm hoping to remember how important this time is later in the year when I start to get hung up on checking all the boxes!

Friday, August 9, 2019

Welcome Cricket, Plus a Birth Story

Little Cricket arrived after a very easy birth on May 27, 2019.

Sweet Cricket born May 27, 2019 weighed 8 lbs. 4 oz.

On May 26, the Sunday before Memorial Day, we had a lunch date with another family at the park. I had been having on again and off again contractions since the day before and hadn't slept very well. But we'd been in this position before and knew better than to stop life for what could very easily go on for a week. So we decided to keep the lunch date, figuring it would be good for all of us to get out of the house and not watch mom.

Sweet baby in his daddy's hands.

Our friends graciously provided our lunch and pretty much took care of all the details, which was very good because, as my husband later remarked, I wasn't really "there". I was in denial that I was actually in labor though. I didn't want to get my hopes up and frankly I was dreading birth. Baby had turned posterior, and I was terrified this birth would be as hard as my Sunflowers, and I felt that I needed to keep up my mental strength for when I was sure to need it later.

Dan put the kids to bed that evening and insisted I go to bed early. I did, but couldn't sleep right away, so I listened to some of the Hypnobirthing tracks and tried desperately to sleep. Every time I rolled over in bed (which happened a lot because my hips hurt terribly) I would have a contraction. Willing myself to fall asleep, I finally did...for about an hour.

I was woken out of a hard sleep by the longest, most painful contraction I had had yet. The pain radiated down my thighs and I was terrified to move. I forced myself out of bed, because I knew the position I was in was only making things worse, and I hobbled down the hallway to find my husband. After a couple of minutes the contraction went away and my hubby put me back in bed and encouraged me to take a sleeping pill so I could sleep. We were both convinced this would be another night like before.


I was afraid of taking the sleeping pill (for some reason I thought I'd sleep through something important?!) and so tossed and turned. Around 1am, I was convinced I could NOT have this baby naturally and I WOULD have an epidural. I called my doula (I didn't want to wake up my husband) and told her just that. I wanted to know how it all worked. How exactly does one go into the hospital and get the magical drugs that make you sleep through labor (that exists, right?!)? She explained the process to me, including the fact that it's not something that happens immediately and that I would likely have to have bags of fluid first and would have to be still during that process and only after that would an epidural be given. Humph. She told me to take a sleeping pill (remember Dan had told me to do that before and I didn't listen?) and that what I needed more than anything else was sleep. This time I listened and again put on the Hypnobirthing tracks. I slept.

After about an hour, around 2am, I had another BIG CONTRACTION. This time I rolled out of bed as fast as I could, because I was not going to be trapped in my bed with that pain. I called my doula and asked her to come, while walking down my hallway to wake Dan, who was sleeping on the couch.

I had some explaining to do. He needed to know that I had finally taken the sleeping pill an hour before, the doula was on her way, and I ABSOLUTELY was not going to have this baby without an epidural. My dear husband is the best and held me while I cried and said whatever I needed to do was what we would do. Satisfied, I settled on the floor in the living room, and rested my head on the birth ball. When the doula arrived, we all agreed it was time to get the kids to our friends house, even though I was convinced this was not the REAL THING. I retreated to my bedroom with the birth ball, and the doula would now and then do the hip squeeze thing. 

At one point I looked over in between contractions and found our doula was playing Suduko on her phone. And apparently she told my hubby to do the hip squeezing, though he was working to get the kids out the door. This sort of thing continued throughout my labor.  At that point I didn't really care what anyone around me was doing, just that I was being squeezed as hard as possible, but later I couldn't help but be annoyed by this fact.  Let me point out for the record that my husband is an incredible man and I am ridiculously spoiled by him.  He takes care of my every need and most of my wants.  One reason we hire a doula is to allow him to take care of important details (like getting the kids out the door) but still make sure I am taken care of.  We are not blessed with family around at all and so this is our compromise.  It is frustrating that he should ever be made to feel he is not adequately taking care of me, when that is far from the truth.  For that reason, while I will not publish the name of this doula, I also will not be recommending her to anyone else.  Ok.  Rant ended.

Anyway, as the contractions came and went, I very easily settled into a rhythm. I would moan and rock and yell at someone to SQUEEZE!! and then completely relax and rest in between. This resting was how I knew we weren't having a baby anytime soon. :)

When my hubby got home after dropping kids off, he encouraged me to come out of hiding and settle back in the living room. I did, along with my trusty birth ball. Around 4am, our doula suggested it was time to go to the hospital. I couldn't understand why. I knew they would only send me home, but I reasoned with myself that perhaps I could beg for relief and someone would do something about all of this. You can imagine how surprised I was when I was told I was dilated 7cm!

My doula told the nurses that I really wanted to use the pool, so they got busy filling it while I was being admitted. Because I am a VBAC, I had to have the Heplock inserted in case they had need of an IV. But the nurses kept blowing my veins every time they tried to insert the needle. Four times they tried in different places on my arms and four times they blew the vein. Finally the fifth time they managed to get it (but only after plenty of digging). However, I was able to keep my body completely relaxed through the whole process. When that ordeal was finally complete I walked to my labor and delivery room.

The choice at this point was easy. Either I get into the pool of lovely, warm water immediately, or I get up on the bed and await the epidural. Into the tub I went and in the tub I stayed. The water was amazing and I was able to freely move and completely relax between contractions.

At this point, the midwife arrived and I realized my doctor was not the one on call that day. My doctor had recently hired midwives to work at her practice and there was one in particular that I really liked (and one I didn't really like much). I had been torn, because I also really like my doctor and trust her completely. The midwife I liked was the one on call and for that I was grateful. I continued yelling SQUEEZE! when the contractions came and resting totally when they left.

Around 7am, the midwife suggested I was close to pushing and that I should get over towards the bed so she could check (it's against hospital policy to birth in the pool). I thought she was crazy. No way was I close enough to push! I hadn't even gone through transition yet! But what do you know, I was measuring around 9.5 cm! It was then that I realized this was not just prodromal labor! I really was going to have a baby soon!

The nurses and midwife got the bed all broken apart so I was in a squat position, and then broke my water. At that point, my beloved doctor came in, as it was time for her shift!  I could feel that baby wasn't going to descend that way (posterior, remember?) and I flipped onto my hands and knees (Dan said my doctor audibly sighed at this because she felt this was going to make things longer for me). After a bit, she suggested I turn back over, and at this point I could feel baby rotate and descend! After only a few pushes, my little Cricket was born and placed on my belly, where he immediately started rooting around, so he was placed at my breast. I remember thinking that I couldn't believe he was actually here!

This was by far the easiest labor and delivery I've ever had, even with all of the anxiety I held onto. God took care of me, and gifted me with my sweet little Cricket.

And here he is, already twelve weeks old, and adored by his brothers and sisters.