Produce update

So… This blog isn’t about to be a regular thing, at least any time soon. I thought it would be, and I will try harder, but time moves so fast that it’s been over a month and I just blinked!

I have a baby update for you in the meantime. I don’t think it’s too graphic to talk about, but men or squeamish people may want to pass this one by… I am 24 weeks pregnant, and the third trimester will start before the new year (at 26.67 weeks), the last week in December.

Current baby size is about the size of an ear of corn, and my uterus is the size of a soccer ball.

Things we know: baby is a healthy boy.

Things we do not know: his name.

I don’t care about instruction manuals, I wish babies came with nametags!

This pregnancy has been different for me; I have not experienced complications before this little guy.

I had some bleeding around 16 weeks, and an ultrasound showed that the cause is because my placenta is low. The 20-week ultrasound revealed the same thing, as did an ultrasound I had just last week (at 24 weeks).

With typical pregnancies, an early ultrasound to verify pregnancy and a 20-week scan is typical. Because I had the bleeding, they wanted to monitor baby; and as my uterus grows, the placenta (which is attached to the wall of the uterus) is expected to move up.

Thankfully, the placenta is not covering the cervix. Either partial or total covering would be problematic. What I did not know before now was that a low placenta has equal concerns. As baby grows, he will put pressure on the placenta and that may make it not as effective. It is also common for bleeding to occur, although I still don’t know exactly why.

I have a book of all my ultrasounds… They do begin to look the same after a while, but I still love getting them.

I have another ultrasound in 4 weeks… And if the placenta hasn’t moved up as expected, I will be referred to Maternal Fetal Medicine… Who handles pregnancy complications. I have no idea what to expect if they get involved, but chances are bed rest, and maybe a C-Section, would be needed.

Because bed rest with 6 children under 7 running around sounds easy to accomplish.

I hope none of that is necessary, and I hope that my plans to induce labor are able to be carried out. (If I haven’t said it before, my labors are super fast… Like an hour between first contraction and birth. So to make sure other children are cared for and I am actually at the hospital for delivery, because Phoebe was almost born in the car on the less-than-10-minute drive to the hospital, we induced with Zeke and plan to do that again, if possible.)

If I don’t post again in a week… Merry Christmas!


Thinking Logically…

Homeschooling is a great opportunity, for the parent/teacher, to continue learning. In many cases, I have heard other homeschoolers say they are “reclaiming their education” because at some point in their (usually) public school education, the system failed them.

I don’t know that the system failed me; As and B’s came naturally to me and I did not need to learn how to study until I was in college, and even then I knew how to take tests without cramming for the few days before exam time. I feel that I learned appropriate things, but I’m sure I also heard an extremely biased side of history and science and was exposed to things I’d rather not expose my children to until my husband and I deem them mature enough to handle said things… But that’s not part of this post.

I was a communication major, specifically print journalism, so you could say I have an affinity for words… Particularly the written word. (That’s part of my reason for this blog. I love to write, and I need an audience. Thank you for that, by the way.)

Ever hear the poem “English is Tough Stuff”? It begins “Dearest cresture in creation…” And goes through multiple pages of English words that are either spelled similarly but pronounced differently or spelled differently but pronounced similarly (homophones, basically) and I always get a kick out of it. Thankfully for those of us who need help with the pronunciation… There is a YouTube video of the poem!

I also love to read; I have recently started reading some non-fiction books from tbe library. Not all non-fiction books are pleasure reading, so I can’t make a blanket statement that I enjoy them all (I can’t even say I enjoy all fiction books), but books that tell a story while informing you of something are awesome!

I loved this book so much, I decided to buy it. You can find it here, or just search your local library like I did.
I discovered it on my search last year for a spelling curriculum for my children; this book is the basis for the Language Arts curriculum called “Logic of English,” (ingenious after the title of that book, I know…) and if it weren’t so expensive, I might have bought that… Instead, I decided to spend only $15 for this book (that I had already read thanks to the lovely Lucas County Public Library) I will incorporate the 31 rules of English in the memory work my children will be working on this year (Classical style=lots of memorization!) We are also doing a written spelling curriculum too, but I love the idea of rules…

I love rules, I probably tend towards legalism and I can follow a recipe like nobody’s business but lose my mind when I have to make a substitution. So the fact that there are actually rules to the English language, presented in an understandable way, blows my mind.

It is intensely practical. And, as it involves writing, right up my alley! I think one reason people look at me strange when I say I love writing, is that people associate writing with spelling, and in the English language that can be very confusing. I don’t disagree.

My book is arriving Tuesday. I am so excited, you probably think I’m crazy… All these emotions, over a book. A spelling book, to boot!
We did some math and writing through June and July, but we are officially starting our homeschool “schoolyear” tomorrow. I am so excited!!!

Sadly, I don’t think my kids are as entheusastic (although I will be starting to teach Olivia to read, and she’s excited about that). Ethan is aghast that he has 11 more years of school (or more if he goes to college). He thought one year should be enough… Writing, reading, addition, subtrsction. He’s good to go and ready for the world… Right? I loved school when I was a kid, and I still love it today. I thoroughly enjoy my children and can’t imagine (at this point) sending them away 8+ hours a day, 5 days a week! It is a homeschool goal of mine to instill a love of learning in my kiddos, because learning never ends, even long after “school” has been out.

*** I am overflowing with good news about this book/curriculum all on my own. If I could get to the point of making money from giving endorsements, I’d love that, but I’m a far cry away from there. My opinions are my own and I am not reimbursed for them.***

Lions, and Tigers, and Bears… Oh, my!

Torn clothing is a style I just don’t understand. Maybe I’m showing my age, as the style was just starting to take off when I was graduating (one or two small-ish rips in the thighs of jeans, maybe a hole in the knee… Now entire legs are hanging out and stores are charging an arm and a leg to expose those body parts on clothing items traditionally designed to cover such appendages…

Bedtime Math is a website that sends me daily emails with a story and some follow-up math questions. Yesterday’s story went like this:

Jeans are just blue denim cloth with some pockets sewn on. But at the Kamine Zoo in Japan, animals have helped MAKE jeans. The zoo took big rubber tires — a favorite toy of big animals like lions and bears — and wrapped them up in blue denim. Then they let the animals claw and chew away at them. Tigers tended to work alone; bears worked in pairs, and lions piled on in groups. When they were done chewing and scratching, the zookeepers rescued the torn, shredded cloth and sewed it into jeans. They sold the jeans to make money for the zoo. As you see in this video, the claw marks make you look like you rolled around in the lion’s den yourself!

I mean, really? Not only are you paying more for less clothing, do you really want to look like a lion or tiger attacked your pants!?

I am in favor of supporting the zoo, which it sounds like the proceeds from buying these items goes to support that cause. So I giess there is that, but I’d rather donate in some other way rather than buy clothing I would never wear.

I hear the Toledo Zoo will be having an art fair the weekend of August 5-6 that may feature some art painted by zoo animals during their enrichment times… Although it’s still probably out of my price range, I would much rather own a painting made by an elephant than a pair of jeans torn by a tiger.

Just checking in…

I have lost 1.4 pounds in 1 week. 

I have been drinking my water consistently (remember: half your body weight, in ounces, daily).

I have taken George on 3 20-30 minute walks this week.

I have flubbed the low-carb thing, accidentally. I was eating my chicken-salad lettuce wrap when I saw that chicken salad wasn’t as low carb as I thought. And Tuesday I had a margarita with some friends, thinking tequila is low-carb… which it is, but I didn’t really realize other things that go into a margarita are not so low-carb. But overall, I have been good in this area.

A year and a half ago, when I was doing the low-carb, I snuck a candy bar a week as I drove to my evening Bible study and I still lost 20 pounds in 2 months. Not that I’m okay with messing up as I have, but I am thankful for the opportunity to learn what is low-carb and what is not so that when I do allow myself to eat a carb (chocolate bar… Maybe?) in the future, I can do it intentionally.

I do not want this site to turn into a weight-loss/fitness blog. So I hope to keep my check-ins to a minimum. I’m going to be keeping track for myself, obviously, and I weigh myself weekly, but you all don’t need to have weekly updates. I’m thinking every other week, or maybe monthly. I want to be kept accountable (by the mysterious readership I don’t even know for sure that I have) but that is not my focus on this blog… It’s just a current focus in my life right now.

Someone else is starting to exercise and move around a lot more. Here’s a picture of him unexpectedly coming into the kitchen from the living room. 

He’s doing the aorable “army crawl,” not getting that big belly off the floor, so when I pick him up I can see just how dirty my floor is. 

Test-Taking Skillz

Standardized testing. Just that phrase can send chills down the spine, can it not?

In Ohio, homeschooling requires a notification of the intent to homeschool (NOI) to be sent to the superintendent of the school district in which you live, but that notification is not required until the age of “compulsory attendance,” which is if they are 6 by September 30. 

So even though we have been homeschooling since my oldest was born, and actively since he was 4 (we were a part of a Classical Conversations community for the past 3 years) this year was our first official year, where I had to send in a notification.

Also per Ohio law, to continue homeschooling next year, either a portfolio assessment or the composite score of a standardized test must be sent with next year’s notification. 

Toledo Public Schools, the district where I live, offers free standardized testing to all registered homeschoolers (which means Ethan is eligible but Naomi, who won’t be 6 until September 3 and has been doing the same work as Ethan, is not. All I had to do was send in the paper (which they had mailed to me) stating I wanted him to take the test.

Some parents are against the institutional government school testing homeschool children. The school district can then use those scores when they report that statistics of how well their schools did in testing. As dishonest as this may seem, it really isn’t illegal or wrong (because I’m sure somewhere in tiny print it’s stated that scores are taken from these tests may also be given to homeschool students who were never taught a thing from a public school teacher or class) and my husband and I have considered it and decided the free test is better than either 1) paying for a standardized test and administering it myself or 2) putting together a portfolio and finding a certified Ohio teacher to perform an assessment (and probably charge a fee). 

Others have told me that the school does not need to know his scores on the math and reading, they only need the composite score, and this way they will get more information than they need and that is wrong and I should not do it… But to me, that is ridiculous.

Now, I am a stickler for rules. I am part of a facebook group very knowledgible about Ohio Homeschoolong Laws, and I am aware that many school districts overstep their bounds in asking for information they do not need and assigning a homeschooling coordinator to sign letters excusing children from compulsory attendance. I was prepared to fight for my rights at the beginning of this year, and it was actually a sort of letdown after all that prep to have my school district do things the proper way. So letting them have his individual scores on reading and math hardly seems like an overstep to me.

All this to say, my perfectionist son (who gets upset if he gets 1 question wrong on a math test from the curriculum we use at home) was nervous about getting any wrong answers. 

I am proud to say he scored in the 80s and 90s in his Math and Reading and sub-categories. He was upset he didn’t score 100s, though.

I am, however, extremely disappointed with TPS. During testing, I asked what the process would be for getting his results, and I was told that the school was simply there to administer the test and had no part in receiving his scores and that the results would be directly mailed to me. However, when the results were mailed to me, they not only didn’t include the composite score I will need to turn in next year, they were on TPS letterhead… Clearly the schools got his score and typed up a letter with the results.

Now, I am not stupid. I can average the Math and Reading score to find the composite. I don’t appreciate being lied to, though. This cannot be the first time TPS offered this kind of testing tonnot know how the results would come back to me. 

Free or not, I will not be utilizing TPS again. I have a college degree, which is required for the administration of these types of tests, and I will either purchase and administer the test myself, or have the work reviewed at the end of next year.

The Secret to a Clean Home

So I have not made a habit of posting in a while… Sorry about that. I hope you haven’t missed me too much.

While I was away, I have discovered how to keep a clean home. (And I have 6 children and a dog, so this truly is miraculous!)

The first step is to clean your home… If you can get this done in one day, by the end of the day, that is best. Stretching it out for more than one day risks undoing any cleaning that got done on that first day.

Next, when you wake up on that second morning… Go on vacation! Get everyone and everything into your packed vehicle and get outta town!

When you come home, your house will still be clean! 

It’s amazing! My house stayed clean for a week and I didn’t have to do anything to maintain it.

The 8 of us (minus the dog… Who was with my parents) slept and lived in this quaint cabin up at Somerset Beach Campground and had a blast. And Ethan learned how to ride a 2-wheeler without training wheels. But the secret to that success lies with my husband… I was just a cheerleader on the sidelines of that one.

Plans gone awry

This is a weird sort of anniversary, one I once probably knew without needing to be reminded, and now I am reminded by Facebook memories. In the past 10 years, I have called off a wedding, found a new church home, met a new man, gotten engaged/married, and had 6 children.

10 years ago, the man who asked me to marry him in December told me that he prayed about our relationship and “God told him no.” I was devistated, as you would expect. My parents were out of town, I had some time off from work, and school was on a break… it was a bad 2 weeks; I had no reason to get out of bed, and my dear, dear friend made me come over and force fed me pizza. 

The heart of man plans his ways, but the Lord establishes his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)

Never in a million years would I have thought, 10 years ago, that I would be where I am today. And I am so thankful that my plans were not carried out. I was a new Christian, and young. (22 was so young, I wouldn’t have believed it then!) I have grown in so many ways I know I would not have had we stayed together. Last I heard, he was married and has recently had his first child. (In an odd twist of events, his sister and best friend’s wife have come to my church’s mom’s group.)

Praise God that I am not in control of my life! Life is not perfect, but the one who writes my story is! He has given me a far better life than I would have been able to make for myself.