Thursday, October 28, 2010

High maintenance!

Some friends of ours gave us a whole bag full of funny onesies and I honestly didn't think I'd ever put this one on my Charles Calvin.  I mean he's been such an easy baby, even sleeping 5+ hours straight at night for me... until last night.  Calvin kept me up last night from a little after 2 am until about 6:30 this morning.  So, today he has to wear his "high maintenance" shirt.  I think he earned it, don't you?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Exercise with a newborn

It's always a bit of a challenge to make time for exercise with a newborn.

Here's what I've been doing:

1.  When I take my 3 big kids to the gym for swim practice, I check my 4 and 2 yr old into the nursery for an hour.  I set Calvin in his carseat in front of me where I can keep a close eye on him while I log a few miles on the treadmill.  When he starts to fuss, I speed up :) .  We also enjoy doing stomach crunches together.  His cute little face serves both as a distraction from the pain and as a constant reminder that I need to do more crunches!  Then after I get my exercise we retire to the lockeroom for a nursing session.

2.  I'm always prepared for a quick trip to the park. 

My 11, 9, 7, and 4 yr olds' scooters and the double stroller for my 2 yr old and newborn.
I do have to be a little creative when it comes to stowing my groceries, but it's well worth it!  The kids would probably prefer to ride bikes, but I don't think I could get our garage door closed with a loaded bike rack on back!

What do you do to get back in shape after having a baby?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hey good lookin', whatcha got cookin'?

Big D turned his garden over to Measle Bug and this is what I found her doing shortly thereafter.  Mmmmm, rotten vegetables.  Delicious!  Can you tell she's been watching The Next Iron Chef with her mom?  Maybe culinary school is in her future.  Or maybe not :) .

And because I just couldn't resist.  Here's Calvin just before his two week appointment.  He broke the 9# mark, so we're all very proud of him.  He's got this nursing thing down.

Still so serious.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Cloth Diapering for Dummies

Because I'm a glutton for punishment and didn't have enough going on in my life, I decided to try cloth diapering this time around.  I quickly learned that cloth diapering is lots more complicated than I thought.  I've had to learn about the many different types of diapers (all-in-one, all-in-two, pocket, hybrid, etc.) and the various fabrics used (cotton, fleece, bamboo, hemp, etc.)  It's been exhausting to say the least, but I love cloth diapering my baby.  My friend Steph who blogs at Sound Off sent me a couple of her diapers as a gift.  She has her own cloth diaper company called Pampered Cheeks.  Here's Calvin modeling one of Steph's all-in-two (AI2) diapers.  I love that I don't have to mess with a diaper cover and the doublers unsnap from the diaper for easier washing and drying.


The only downside to cloth diapering Calvin right now is that he's dirtying 12-15 diapers per day.  So for now I've found that I love using a hybrid system, called g diapers.  The g pants can be washed with normal clothes and have a snap in liner and either a cloth or disposable insert.  When I'm at home during the daytime I use the cloth inserts.  When we're on-the-go I use the disposable inserts.  The disposable inserts are biodegradable and the inner insert is flushable when separated from the outer insert.  The disposable inserts are not supposed to contain chlorine or other harmful chemicals.  They're not as absorbant as disposable diapers, but it's better than having to fill up a wet bag when out and about.  Calvin went through 4 diapers while we were at Bible study Wednesday!  He loves to spread the love around like that.  Anyway, here's how the g diapering system works.

Shown with cloth insert.

Tabs go in back.
 Since I'm new at this I'd love to have any advice you can offer me.  So far, I've been washing the cloth diapers and inserts on cold first without soap, then hot with cloth diaper detergent and extra rinse, then drying on high- sometimes twice.  This seems to be working, but I've read many wash variations.  What works for you?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

American Revolution: help and fun

I seldom have an idea on my own, but I'm so grateful for all you homeschool moms out there who have given me great ideas for supplementing our studies.  Since having a baby last week, we've been doing adapted school around here.  I'm not quite pulling my weight yet (ie read-aloud has been sporadic at best) so I wanted the kids to have extra books and activities to keep them learning while I'm on vacation (if nursing 8 hrs per day can be called vacation).

Extra books:

For me- 1776 by David McCullough- I loved this book!  It gives a great overview of the American Revolution focusing on the leaders of the war and giving a nice mixture of battle descriptions and personal correspondence.  Next up for me is John Adams.  And I'm still plugging away at George Washington's Sacred Fire.

For the kids- The Declaration of Independence by Michael Burgan, And then what happened Paul Revere?  by Jean Fritz, The Winter at Valley Forge by James E. Knight, Guns for General Washington by , Tolliver's Secret by Esther Wood Brady  (These are in addition to their Sonlight Core 3-4 readers.)


Drive Thru History American with Dave Stotts:  Foundations of Character
This set includes short biographies on the founding fathers. 

Liberty's Kids historical cartoons.  My kids have really enjoyed these, especially my 9 and 7 year old daughters.


History Pockets The American Revolution

Professor Noggin's American Revolution card game

So that's what we've been up to.  I have to confess I've learned more about the American Revolution than I did in school.  Big surprise.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Calvin's first day of Bible study

I wanted to take him last week, but my mom thought it was too early.  So today at 9 days old, Calvin will accompany me to my CBS class.  I thought he should dress for the occasion.

Asleep, as usual.

Did I mention he likes to sleep?

So I tickled him to wake him up.  He didn't like it.
But it worked.

So serious, but so cute.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Silly bands as a character training tool?

One of the many reasons we homeschool is to insulate our children from meaningless fads such as this one.  Unfortunately our kids pick up on them from their friends at church or in the neighborhood.  Silly bands is the latest of these fads.  At first I was impressed with how the girls and their friends traded and shared their silly bands with one another, but then two things started happening.   1.)  I started finding silly bands or pieces of silly bands all over- in the car, on my living room floor, in the bathroom, everywhere!  2.) The green eyed monster started rearing its ugly head.  Measle (7) began accusing Twinkle Toes (9) of stealing her silly bands and vice versa.  Silly bands became the subject of many an argument, rather than an object for sharing. 

My first instinct was to get rid of all the silly bands, but that wouldn't really solve our problems.  Essentially our girls' problems are 1.) irresponsibility and 2.) greed and selfishness.  Of course, these problems would continue even in the absence of silly bands. 

So... here's what I've come up with:

Each girl gets to choose 5 silly bands from the pile (that were previously hers, not her sister's).  Then they have one week to show me they can be responsible with them (ie keep them on their wrists or put away in their room) and not fight over them.  If at the end of the week they have proven able to keep up with their silly bands and able to get along with one another and not fighting over their silly bands then I will let them choose 5 more.  If they fail the test, I take the five original silly bands back and we wait a week before trying again. 

What do you think?  I'll let you know how it turns out.  Yes, this will be a lot more trouble than just confiscating all their silly bands, but hopefully it will help my girls to learn responsibility and motivate them to work harder at giving one another the benefit of the doubt and to strive toward selflessness rather than selfishness.  I care a whole lot more that my girls be loving and responsible than whether or not they have silly bands!

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Not long ago I posted on our efforts toward establishing good habits in our home.  This is what Charlotte Mason referred to as "laying down the rails" so that education would flow smoothly along the rails of good character.  Well, we've been utterly derailed.  Gone are the days of the children being in the shower by 6:30.  I didn't leave my bedroom this morning until after 8:30!  Thank goodness my mom took Queen for me last night since she has to be awakened early to potty.  The good news is I did get about 5 hrs sleep in a row last night- more than the two nights previously combined.  Baby Calvin is not wanting to nurse, or be awake at all for that matter, so it takes about an hour and a half to get him to nurse for 20 minutes.  Hopefully we'll get better at this and soon.

What do you get when you add a sleep-deprived mommy and a grieving daddy?  Utter chaos in the home.  I can tell you first-hand.  Thank goodness for help or we wouldn't be making it right now.

I'm determined that we'll get back on track in school next week, but for now my days revolve around feeding this little guy.  He's worth it, don't you think?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Grief in the midst of joy

Eleven years ago when the Lord blessed my husband and me with our first child, we decided to give our children names that connect them to their family heritage. Our first son is named after my husband, our first two daughters after our mothers, our second son after my dad, and our third daughter after my grandmother (I’m also named for my two grandmothers). As soon as we learned we were expecting a third son, we were so excited to be able to name him after my husband’s dad. And I began planning a generations portrait with our whole family in which our four parents and my grandmother would be pictured with their namesakes. I thought it would be a legacy for our children- to remind them of where they come from and help them to stay grounded in the faith of their fathers.  Less than 48 hours after giving birth to our Charles Calvin, my father-in-law Charlie died.  He never got to meet his namesake.  There will be no picture.  My husband has been thinking his dad wasn't long for this world, but he'd bounced back so many times before.  We will forever regret not taking the kids over to visit with their Grandpa last night.  If only we'd known it was our last chance, we could have said goodbye.  Things did not turn out as we had planned. 

My husband’s family is from Indiana and holds a family reunion every five years.  My husband felt this summer would be his dad’s last family reunion so we all made the long trip from Texas expecting him to enjoy being surrounded by loved ones and extended family one last time.  He ended up spending his week in Indiana in the hospital instead of being able to attend his family reunion. 

I don't know why Charlie had to spend his long-awaited family reunion in the hospital.  I don’t know why the Lord took Charlie home today, before he got to meet his namesake.  I don't know why my husband wasn't given the opportunity to say goodbye.  But I know God is good and that His plans are perfect.

"A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps." Proverbs 16:9

"A man’s steps are of the Lord; how then can a man understand his own way?" Proverbs 20:24

 Maybe He wants us to look forward more than we look back. Maybe He wants us to focus on the eternal reunion that will take place in heaven rather than the fleeting one this past summer. Maybe it’s because a picture is, well just a picture and a legacy is so much more than that. They say a picture’s worth a thousand words. Maybe sometimes it’s better to speak those thousand words.  I only knew my father-in-law 12 years, but I thought I'd share a few of my memories of him.

I'll remember Charlie faithfully passing the registration booklets at church and picking them up again so he could keep track of any visitors and whether any members were missing.  I'll remember how much Charlie loved church suppers.  I'll remember how he treated that silly dog of his like a spoiled child, even letting her eat off his plate.  I'll remember how much Charlie loved being in church and the fellowship of believers.  I'll remember how Grandpa loved being surrounded by family and how it made him smile to see the grandkids causing mischief.  And I'll never forget how he would ride his John Deere mower through the neighborhood so he could mow our lawn for us all summer.  (Anytime Queen hears a mower, she runs to the front door thinking it's her Bapa.)

One Charlie has arrived and another one has gone.  We have grief in the midst of joy, or maybe it's joy in the midst of grief.  We celebrate with Charlie that he is no longer suffering the effects of his COPD and that he was able to die at home and not in a hospital or nursing home.  We rejoice that Charlie is with the Lord in Paradise and that he has been reunited with his mother and son as well as many other loved ones in Christ.  But we grieve his loss.  Prayers for the family are appreciated.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

He's here!

Thank you for all the prayers and well-wishes!  Baby Calvin was born yesterday at 1:44 pm.  I did end up having to be induced with pitocin, but Big D says it was our best birth experience yet.  My doctor broke my water around 9:00 am and I hoped my labor would progress without pitocin, but it didn't.  At 11 am we started the pitocin and it didn't take long after that.

Here he is:

Minutes after being born

Pouting in Nana's lap

Peacefully sleeping
 Oh- and he was only 8 lbs 9.5 oz and 21.5 inches long.  The exact same stats as his older sister born 2 yrs 5 days ago.  Weird, huh?  I was extremely grateful that he wasn't any bigger than that.  I pushed him out in 1 contraction- 1 push for the head and 1 for the rest of him.  Yesterday I felt like I'd been run over by a Mac truck, but today I'm feeling great.  In fact, I think I'm going to head outside for a walk.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Her last day as the baby!

I can hardly believe tomorrow our new little one will arrive.  (Though I'm still hoping he'll decide to come today.)

It seems like just yesterday Queen was our new baby.  Now she's 2 and today is her last day as the baby of the family.  She doesn't know what's about to hit her, does she?  Innocent bliss.

Prince survived the transition.  He can tell her all about it. 

They may not be the babies anymore, but they sure are cute!

I check into the hospital at 7 am tomorrow morning.  Please pray for a quick and uneventful delivery.  I've asked my doctor to break my water first and try for a no pitocin induction.  We'll see how that goes.

Anyone out there think this kid will weigh less than 9 lbs?  I'm hoping, but thinking it's highly unlikely as I've never delivered this late.  It will be fun to see.  Well, maybe not fun during delivery, but you know what I mean.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Queen turns 2 with a bang!

Queen started her second birthday with a bang.  Before we left for Bible study that morning she had already dug through Measle's purse, found lip gloss, and rubbed it into the carpet in the girls' room.   Next she moved to the girls' bathroom where she proceeded to completely flood it.  There was a drawer with towels open and every single towel was completely drenched, as well as the floor and cabinets.  I got to do a little extra laundry that morning.  Yes, Queen is officially 2.

Eating her birthday breakfast of homemade applesauce.  She had 3 helpings.
Granny gave her a fuzzy vest and a keyboard!

Dora, of course.

Nana gave Queen her first American Girl doll.  I wish I had stock in that company.  They're minting money.  My older girls have more than one plus Bitty Babies, too.  And the accessories, oh my goodness.  I'm just grateful the girls have grandparents that buy them!

Big sibs holding Queen up to see her cake.  She is so loved by her brothers and sisters!

Enjoying her cake!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

My annual book purge

Actually, it's probably more like my biannual book purge, but it certainly seems like I do this every year.  I hadn't really planned on reorganizing our library 4 days before I have a baby (see, acceptance has finally set in), but since I had to take all the books out of our bedroom bookcases anyway it seemed like the time.  It was painful, but I forced myself to part with two laundry baskets full of books and textbooks.  We have a local bookstore that gives store credit in exchange for trading in good condition used books that they're interested in.  Unfortunately they only wanted about a quarter of my books so I still need to find a loving home for the rest of them.  In typical Celee-style, I earned $21 credit, but spent $35 on books.  They're pretty sneaky, really.  They make you wait while they evaluate your books.  I was stuck waiting for 30 minutes in a bookstore.  I actually put back several titles.  Anyway, I'm very excited to read 1776 and John Adams by David McCullough.  (My justification is that the kids and I are studying American history this year.  I am their teacher, after all.)  And the main thing is I got rid of around 60 books and only bought 2.  Not bad, huh?

Here's what our bedroom bookcases look like now. 

I can't believe there are actually a few spaces, where books were double-shelved before.  I'm sure this is too much information, but in the left bookcase my shelves arranged by categories are:  parenting, homeschool, devotionals and Christian living, theology and Christian biographies, and Bible studies.  In the right bookcase are my remaining textbooks, pregnancy books, health and nutrition, adoption books, and science interest and biographies. 

I'm not going to take on our living room bookshelves right now.  I'll save that for a rainy day :) .   I am, however, expecting that Pottery Barn cubby shelf that arrived damaged last week to come any minute.  As soon as it's here I'll fill it with homeschool paraphernalia that's coming out our ears.  How could we have gone from organized and everything in its place at the beginning of the school year to complete disorganization and disarray in 7 short weeks?  I know what my husband would say.  The cure is to stop buying books!!!  He'll be so happy when he comes home tonight and sees how many books I parted with!  As long as I didn't get rid of any of his!

Well, I better go now.  I can't wait to get started on 1776!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Ahhh. That's better.

They finished the paper!  I decided to go with an imitation grass texture.  It's really vinyl beige with hints of light green throughout.  It looks and smells wonderful.  We've got our sanctuary back!

And the best part is... no more mocking monkeys!

I've begun hanging pictures, but have a few more to go.

It feels so good to have my bookshelves cleaned out and dusted.  Now I have a blank slate upon which to reorganize all my books (my husband's books are divided between the church and our two living areas).  Tomorrow the purging begins.  I mean, does anyone really need 5 biochemistry textbooks?  Well, maybe if you're a biochemist, but I'm not!  You get the idea.

Hopefully I'll get everything finished before I go into labor!  Hey, maybe this will be enough to put me into labor!  Even better!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

They say stress inhibits labor. Don't think I'll be going into labor today.

My bedroom, all covered up and being prepped and papered.

My closet, filled with books.

The living room with window treatments and an entertainment center in the way.

The entryway with Calvin's co-sleeper and two bookshelves doubling as road blocks.
 On a brighter note, I'm planning eggplant parmesan for dinner with lots of basil and oregano.  Maybe that will do the trick.  That and hopefully getting my house back in order tomorrow or the next day.

Monday, October 4, 2010

No change?! Birthdays, one... more... week, and bread from heaven.

I was just sure that after missing two nights sleep this week due to contractions that I would be well on my way to labor today.  In fact, I had convinced myself that today was the day.  I've always loved the number 4, so what better day for a birthday?  (I have a 4th and a 16th, great numbers, a 6th, an ok number, and an 11th and a 23rd, terrible numbers.  I mean who wants their birthday to fall on a prime number?  I was born on the 2nd, by the way.  Is it odd that I have a thing for numbers?  I forget that most people don't think about such things.  Remember, this OCD chick popped a tendon in her finger a couple of weeks ago cleaning a stain out of her carpet.  Hey, at least I no longer have an invisible string that trails along behind me requiring I always go out the way I came in.  Either that or I just do it automatically now.  I do, however, have to wear a splint on my finger for 2 more months!)  Anyway, I learned at my appointment that my cervix has not changed.  Not one bit.  I'm still 75% and 3.5.  At least Baby Calvin has turned and is no longer posterior.  I suppose that could have been stalling things. 

I admit that I'm weak.  I've given in.  I know I said I wasn't going to be induced this time around, but here I am at that oh so desperate stage once again.  I made an appointment for next Monday morning, just... in... case.  According to my estimates, he'll weigh 9.5 Lbs by then so I'm hoping to go into labor before Monday.  Somehow having the appointment helps keep hope alive.  This pregnancy will end.  And to let you know how desperate I am to have this baby, next Monday is the 11th!  I've got to go into labor before then.  If not today, maybe the 8th.  I've always liked the number 8, since it's a multiple of 4 and all.

In other news, my bedroom is getting wallpapered this week.  I've been vacuuming up 7.5 yrs worth of dust bunnies from behind bookcases, the entertainment center, dressers, and our bed.  It is quite embarassing the amount of dust we've been living with.  It's amazing we can breathe at all in there.  But, does anyone move furniture that heavy if they don't have to?  I have 10 large stacks of books, many textbooks, in my closet right now awaiting purging and reorganization before being reshelved.  Why do I have such trouble parting with books?  I keep thinking I may need to look something up in one of them.

And just to show you I haven't completely lost my sense of humor, though I'm definitely a bit more sardonic than usual, I'll end with a cute story.  As we were driving along in the car the other day we passed a field that was planted with cotton (not something you see everyday around here).  Measle (7) turned to me and exclaimed in a most excited tone, "Mom, is that manna?"  She was disappointed to learn it was just cotton.  I don't know if I should be happy that she remembered manna was white and covered the fields each morning or concerned that she missed the little fact that the Israelites were in the desert with no grocery stores.  Oh well, she was partially listening anyway.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Another night of contractions and other strange happenings.

For some reason I thought I would go into labor and be done with it.  I didn't realize contractions could last off and on all night- even 3 minutes apart for hours.  I've lost two nights sleep this week to contractions now.  When will real labor begin?  Meanwhile, I'm brain dead and good for nothing.  The kids have art and swimming today.  Hopefully I'll go into labor.  Queen's birthday is Wednesday.  It's going to be close.

Aside from being worn out from all these contractions and walking 3 times a day, this hasn't exactly been my week.  I ordered a shelf from Pottery Barn for our schoolroom and it arrived Thursday.   Big D wasn't home, but my nesting instincts forced me to grapple with the 93.5 lb box until I managed to get the shelf out.  Guess what?  It was damaged- it had a very obvious gouge out of the front of the shelf.  Only then did I see the big, gaping hole in the side of the box.  Back in the box it went.  A replacement is on the way and we have this huge box sitting in our entryway waiting on the UPS guy to come pick it up.

Then yesterday I was at Walmart trying to hurry through some grocery shopping.  I always get my produce last and was picking apples when I turned around to find my cart gone.  I looked left and right.  It had disappeared into thin air.  Now I'm starting to get irritated since I had already finished my shopping and really didn't want to start over again!  I walked up and down the aisles looking for my cart and finally had an associate make an announcement over the loud speaker.  I went back to the scene of the crime and a lady hurried up laughing about our "switching" carts.  She had added a bunch of items to my cart and had to transfer them back to hers.  Strange. 

I guess it's just been one of those weeks.


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I'm an on-the-run mom to 6 kids who studied and taught exercise science in a previous life. I love all things running, nutrition, and health-related. I usually run at zero dark thirty in the morning and am often quite hungry before, during, and after my run, but I live a rich, full, blessed life with my children, family, and friends. My faith in God is my anchor, and looking to Him and His promises allows me to live fully even when life circumstances are difficult. While running gives me an appetite, my desire is to hunger and thirst for righteousness more than for physical food.