Monday, February 28, 2011

Birth Kit and Other Supplies

My birth kit arrived in the mail on Friday.  It was fun going through it and seeing familiar items from my previous hospital births.  I continue to work on our list of supplies.  I have most of the items needed, like a new hose to fill the birth pool, lots of towels, trash bags and a large bottle of hydrogen peroxide.  This next week I hope to finish off the list so that everything is ready to go for the last month of this pregnancy.  That way if this baby decides to make an early entrance, we are prepared and ready.  But I really doubt that since I have been overdue with two of my three pregnancies.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Thankful for Hand-Me-Downs

Layla sporting a cute leopard print skirt from her cousins.  Notice how willing she is to pose.  Layla's loves animals prints which is interesting to Nate and I since we are not very big fans of it.  This girl has shirts, skirts, pajamas and even coats that are leopard print.

Julius is not happy to have his picture taken in a cream cable-knit sweater that many, many cousins have already worn. 

Gunnar isn't too excited about the camera either, and he wears hand-me-downs almost everyday as most of his clothing was his older brother's.
We love hand-me-downs because they are so good for the budget!  We recently got several trash bags of clothes from some older cousins.  I don't think I am going to have to buy Layla any clothes for this upcoming spring/summer season because we were so blessed with the clothes given to us!  That is always good news!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

34 Week Belly Pic

Yikes! Does my sidebar really say 38 days until due date!  I better get my butt moving!  I still have lots to do!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Nine Years

I can't believe it's been nine years since Nate and I got married.  What a wonderful nine years it has been.  The Lord has blessed us so much!  It's hard to believe that in just nine short years we are on the brink of adding a fourth child to our family. Crazy!

This morning Nate found different songs from our wedding to play for the kids.  You already know that Nate and I are kinda weird, so it's no surprise we had weird songs for our wedding.  The kids' favorite was 500 miles by the Proclaimers.  Head on over to his blog to hear it for yourself.

To see pictures from our wedding you can read last year's post here.

I'll leave you with the song I walked down the isle to.

I tried to find the song that Nate and I danced to, but it wasn't on YouTube.  It's Robert Bradley's Blackwater Surprise - You and Me.  Love that song!  I got the CD out this morning and played it for the kids.  Here is the song my dad and I danced to.

So much fun to look back all these years later.  Maybe we will pull out our wedding video to watch tonight!

Nathan, thank you for being my knight in shining armor and walking with me through a life I never thought was possible!  I look forward to what is in store for us over the next nine years!  I love you!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Another Snow Day!

Nate and our family were blessed with another snow day!  I think this makes four for the year.  What fun.  Nate had Friday and Monday off, too, so this is a nice extension to our long weekend.  We are very spoiled to have so much extra time with Nate.

We have made some good progress on our supplies list for our home birth.  Birth kit, blood kit and pool liner have all been ordered.  We continue to check off other supplies as well.  I will feel much better when the list is completely finished.  I have started to make room in a closet and drawers for the baby's things.  Then I will need to wash the clothes, blankets and burp cloths.  Time is ticking away!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Final Doctor's Appointment

I had my last appointment with my OB/GYN yesterday.  He said the placenta is completely out of the way and the baby looked awesome.  God is good!  It is such a relief to be done seeing him, especially since I had to wait almost an hour in the waiting room.  Now I will only be seeing my midwife and all my remaining appointments are in my own home.  It will be so nice not to have to drag my big belly around town to appointments for the remainder of this pregnancy!  I will try and get a belly picture posted soon.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Family Portraits

Julius was kind enough to draw Nate and I.  Nate is on the left and I am on the right.  Julius said that Nate's belly is full of food.  I wondered for a minute if I had bats or butterflies in my belly, but Julius informed me that those were his, Layla and Gunnar's hands on my belly feeling the new baby.  As odd as these pictures are, I find it even funnier that I have no hair and Nate has a lot, considering it is the opposite in real life!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Happy Belated Valentine's Day

Sorry this is late, but Happy Valentine's Day to everyone!  We were out of town the past two days because a family friend passed away this weekend.  She was 92 years-old, so not too much to be sad about.  She lived a long and wonderful life and now she is with her Lord and Savior. 

Layla was very cute about the whole thing.  As we were packing on Sunday she said, " I don't want to go to Marge's funeral."  I told her that most people don't want to go to funerals, but we do it to show care and respect for the family that has experienced the loss.  Last night as we returned home, Layla said that she was bummed we didn't have a huge Valentine's Day party.  She said instead we went to a funeral and had a small party.  The party was really just family getting together for dinner.  She said she really needed to celebrate another holiday that involved hearts.  I told her that maybe for our wedding anniversary later this month we could celebrate with hearts.  She seemed content with that.  I also told her it is rare to have to attend funerals on Valentine's Day.  That girl always makes me laugh!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Looking Good

I had my ultrasound this week.  While I don't have the official results from my doctor yet, the ultrasound technician seemed hopeful.  She is not really allowed to give results, but she said things like "the placenta looks high" and "I don't think you have anything to worry about."  So, I figure if the outlook was not good, she wouldn't have said things along those lines.  I see my doctor next week for final results.  Then hopefully I will be done seeing him and can just exclusively see my midwife.

Because of the positive ultrasound, Nate and I will be working towards purchasing some items from our birthing supplies list this week.  I'm going to check the dollar store first, to keep costs low.  I also started making a short list of some basic baby supplies for when baby girl is finally here.  It's starting to feel more real!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Future Plans

Today at lunch, Layla and Julius had a conversation about what businesses they would own when they are adults.  I think Layla's was a cupcake company and Julius' was a restaurant.  They then agreed to faithfully bring meals to each other on days that they were closed for business.  How cute is that!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Early Potty Training?

I heard Gunnar exclaim he was poopy and I turned around and found him like this.  Maybe he will potty train early?  Too bad he wasn't telling the truth! :)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Julius' Fourth Birthday

Last Friday we celebrated Julius' fourth birthday.  I can't believe that kid is four!  We started the night before with some gifts from Beepaw and Damma.  We knew that Friday would be crazy busy and we wanted him to have some time to play with his new Thomas the Train stuff.  Daddy was kind enough to build a cool track that all the kids could test the new items out on.

Friday morning we woke up early and headed out for breakfast, Mickey Mouse pancakes and all.  Then we jetted over to an indoor play place called The Tree House.  It was so cool and the kids had a blast for a few hours of fun.  Then it was back in the car.  We finished off our birthday outing with a trip to Cabela's.  The kids have never been there before and were amazed at all the fish and animals.  The evening ended with a birthday dinner at my parents.  Whew, we were all pooped by the end of the day, but Julius said he had a great birthday.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

31 Week Belly Pic

I really meant to do this weekly, but you can see that hasn't been happening!  Layla was kind enough to snap this photo for me.  Thanks, honey!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Our Reading Program

I have been asked a few times recently what materials we are using for homeschooling.  Because my kids are so young (almost 6, 4 and almost 2) we really haven't pursued much formal learning at this point.  Our main focus has been on reading.  My husband and I really want our children to not only be good readers, but LOVE reading.  I purchased The Great Saltmine and Hifwip program back when Layla was 3 years old.  She already knew her letters, so I started working with her on the Penny Primer portion of this reading program.  For a year, I was frustrated.  She made very slow progress and was not very interested.  By the time she was well over the age of four, and after a summer break of no reading work, I started again.  This time she was easily comprehending the phonic sounds and memorizing them.  She made very fast work of the Penny Primer and we quickly moved on in the phonics program.  What a difference a year made!  I should have taken a hint from my frustration and her lack of progress and interest and backed off.  But, you live and learn.

Layla is now a very fluent reader.  I am amazed at how well she reads, with very little work or credit on my part.  We just walk through each phonics section and stay with that section until she can remember most of the sounds and can easily read all of the words.  Now Layla's face can always be found in a book.  Many times I will send her upstairs to get something and she doesn't come back because she stops by the book shelf and gets lost in reading.

Julius just turned four and I am taking a more relaxed approach with him.  Layla early on learned her alphabet on her own by the age of two.  This past fall, at 3 1/2 Julius didn't know his alphabet.  But with some work this fall and winter, he now knows his letters and is beginning to write his letters (capital and lowercase) and his numbers.  I haven't decided yet when to start the Penny Primer with him.  I may start this spring and see how he does.  If it doesn't go well, then I will wait until next fall to begin to work on phonics with him.

I love The Great Saltmine and Hifwip because it is a vertical phonics program.  Rather than teaching a child just the main phonic sound of a letter first, vertical phonics teaches the child all of the phonic sounds for each letter or letter grouping.  That way you don't have to come back and teach the child other phonic sounds later.  I think this difference helped Layla become an excellent reader in such a short period of time.  Now, even if you have no plans of homeschooling, I would recommend looking into the program.  It was actually designed to teach kids to read before they were in school full-time to ensure a certain level of reading confidence before being in a classroom setting all day.

I was very overwhelmed when I first received the program.  I had no idea how or where to begin, but the program includes a DVD that walks you through all the steps of the program.  Once I watched that I felt so much better and more confident about using it to teach my kids.  Best of all, if you really get confused or stumble on a problem, the creator of the program is available by phone!  That is unheard of nowadays!  This has been our first main purchase of homeschooling material, and I have been very pleased.  It was worth the small investment and I look forward to teaching Julius, Gunnar and the new baby how to read in the future.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

What We've Been Reading

Anne of Green Gables, Charlotte's Web

Last year I started reading chapter books aloud to the kids.  We only made it through these two books.

The Courage of Sarah Noble, Because of Winn Dixie, Ruby Holler, Oliver Twist, Peter Pan, Gulliver's Travels, Sprout and the Dogsitter, Old Charlie

This year we have been doing much better.  Chapter reading has been much more consistent, so we have gotten through many more books in a shorter period of time.  Layla now can sit and comprehend the story, even if there are no pictures.  Julius is getting better at sitting, but he is not yet at the stage of enjoying being read to from a chapter book.  He still prefers lots of pictures!  Now we are starting to tackle this stack.  We are about halfway through The Trumpet of the Swan and enjoying it.  I think I may be removing the history books, as I have looked through them and the writing is not very enjoyable.  I need to find some history storybooks that would be much more fun to read, for me and the kids!  I have heard some great things about Story of the World series.  I want to first check our book exchange store because their prices are awesome.

Never Cry Wolf, The Trumpet of the Swan, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Misty of Chincoteague, History of the United States 1-3