Thursday, December 27, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Our Christmas was full of fun and love...what more could we ask for? Here are some of the pictures we took:

 {Tirzah} Cleaning up so we can rearrange furniture to open some presents.

 We planned a fun game for Christmas Eve. Mitch and I had bought some snacks from the $1 section at Target and wrapped them. Then we had Micah choose one present to open. Next Eden went and could choose to open one or to steal from Micah. As I was explaining the rules, Tirzah said, "But I don't want to steal anybody's present!"  :) It turned out to be a pretty fun game.

 Obi decided to make off with all the remaining gifts at one point. Eden is cradling the bag of bugles she won.

After the kids were in bed on Christmas Eve we brought up the presents we had wrapped. This year I made a bunch of cloth bags so that saved us some time wrapping.  I need to make more for next year, I think.  We also set up the electric train.  Before they went to bed, I had Zeke, Josh, and Malachi prepare a "manger" for baby Jesus. We used a basket and they each contributed blankets.  It was so sweet.  Before I took Obi to bed, I pulled out the baby Jesus doll from hiding and placed him in the manger.

 Christmas Morning
The kids actually didn't get up too early. I think it was 6:45 when I first heard them.  We probably should have gotten up a bit earlier.

The train was a huge hit!  Of course, so is baby Jesus.

My pregnant tummy just doesn't like waiting for food, so Micah and I started on breakfast right away.  Micah is the king of pancakes.

The kids each took turns driving the train while they waited for us.

Check out those festive pancakes!

Eden joined us to help in the kitchen (above) while Mitch played carols on youtube (below).

It wasn't a carol, but we found a fruit ninja video and decided to pose our own picture.  Pretty good don't you think??  :)

We opened a few presents, but not all.  We were supposed to be at Paul and Marilyn's less than an hour after we finished breakfast. 

We spent a wonderful day at the grandparents.  The tragedy of the day was Tirzah dropped a jar of horseradish and cut her foot on the glass.  We were worried that we would need to make an e.r. trip on Christmas Day.  We bandaged it up and it quit bleeding quickly.  We cushioned it with some cotton balls and an ace bandage so it wouldn't pop open if she stepped on it.  I think it wasn't deep enough for stitches and the sock protected it from getting glass or debris in the wound.  Still it was a difficult judgement call...I never can tell!  She and Mitch passed out shortly after opening presents.  Tirzah took a LONG nap.  She was in a pretty good mood in spite of the cut.  Everyone else was able to relax and enjoy the time there. 

When we got home, we finished opening presents.  Mitch had found some fun shirts for the boys at the thrift store.  Every shirt that Obi opened, he tried to put on immediately.

Micah opened a puzzle that we also found at the thrift store...I laughed when I saw that the subtitle is "Escape from Eden".  It looks like a very difficult puzzle!

I found a bunch of alphabet blocks at the thrift store (are you noticing a trend here?) and packed them in a box for Obi.  He unpacked each one and stacked them up until the entire stack fell over.  He was so proud of himself!  I paid $3.99 for the blocks that look brand new.  There were many blocks in the set.  I was thinking that we can use them for some photographs in the future.  Oh, and the kids can play with them too in the meantime.  :)

Lastly we opened a package from Patrick's family in Germany.  So many really cool gifts!  Obi knew what to do with this train set right away.

(Yesterday the kids got out the set that Kathi's parents sent us and built a huge track together.  So much fun...and much better quality than what we buy here in the USA!)

There is much more to the day than that, but I didn't take pictures of each and every little event.  It was fun to just enjoy the moment.  At Papa's house the kids rode snowmobiles in the 7-degree-fahrenheit weather.  Brrrr.  They had so much fun and avoided frostbite, thankfully.  Holly got some good pictures of that, so I need to raid her camera sometime. The kids had great attitudes. Gifts we bought were "small" in general.  We bought a lot of things used and there was no complaining--in fact, they pretty much didn't seem to notice.  Even "boring" things like a pack of underwear were exciting.  I made a few gifts too--a pajama top for Micah (he asked for flannel pants, but in the end I didn't buy enough instead of buying more fabric, I happened to find some fleece pants on sale for about the same price and did that instead), a scarf for Eden, Christmas gift bags for Marilyn, scarves for Holly and the kids.  Caleb asked for an ESV Bible that is "just plain" text...nothing in between.  Without knowing for sure he was going to get a Bible, he gifted his ESV Seek and Find Bible to Josh, who also asked for a Bible. So I met two gift requests by just purchasing one Bible (an inexpensive one, at that!).  Eden spent her precious few dollars buying something for every person in our family.  She put a lot of thought into each gift.  It was so sweet. She got me a candle from the Yankee Candle Company--my favorite candle store.  She made Mitch some cookie dough just for eating--not for baking--and even made it eggless.

We plan to enjoy the rest of the holiday season just relaxing.  I am going to take Eden clothes shopping one day, just me and her.  We are trying to stay on top of normal chores (like cleaning up after ourselves when we eat), but just enjoy time of not really having to do anything.  This is hard for me--I feel a strong urge to be productive all the time.  So I'm relaxing and trying to be happy with small chores getting done.  Since I must be productive, I'm knitting, reading, going through stored clothes, and I may get to do a little scrapbooking (still trying to work on 2006...I'm SO behind!).

Yesterday I had my 28-week prenatal appointment.  I also had my glucose tolerance test and had my hemoglobin checked.  I passed the GTT with flying colors.  My blood sugar an hour after drinking 50 g of sugar was 99.  I think the hardest part of the test was trying not to overeat sweets the days before the test.  (What crazy person schedules their GTT for the day after Christmas anyway?  Surely not someone who loves to eat sugar!)  The doctor gave me a pertussis vaccination also just to make sure I'm covered (my last tetanus booster was in 2006, and we don't know if it had pertussis in it or not).  Mitch and Malachi were with me to hear the baby's heartbeat, and she told Mitch he should get one also.  He didn't yesterday, but I'll send him in January to get one.  The baby's heartbeat was in the lower 140s.  I had gained 8 lbs in 2 weeks (too much!) but it IS the Christmas season.  ::sigh::  I've gained 22 lbs total this pregnancy, so it's not terrible.  In reality, I probably have 11 weeks or less to go (I'll be 29 weeks tomorrow).  I've never gone past my due date, but I'm not counting on going "early" either.  I'm aiming for the week of my due date.  I FEEL like I am in the 3rd trimester.  It is totally normal.  A couple weeks ago I had symptoms of low hemoglobin, so I started taking an iron supplement without even asking the doctor.  Even with the supplement, my hgb was still under 12.  (11.?)  I am thinking about ordering some liquid iron online because it is absorbed better and it won't make my stomach upset like the tablets do (of course I'm also sneaking red meat into my menu anywhere I can, too, and I'm also adding in some extra B6 and B12 vitamins).  Either from the GTT or from the vaccine (or both), I was wiped out yesterday.  I had a headache most of the day and just felt sluggish.  I took an hour and a half nap in the afternoon and still went to bed at my normal time.  I feel better so far this morning.  I have one daycare kid today, but think I would like to try to do some shopping.

We will see once Mitch gets up and moving what this day brings.  :)  I do need to get to the post office with Patrick and Kathi's packages...for crying out loud, it's after Christmas already!!!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

November, part 2

Ok, so here is November, part 2, rescued from my camera card.

WARNING: at the bottom of this post there are a series of pictures of my messy house.  Hopefully these will shatter any notions that you have about my being perfect.  But it could be upsetting to see my house messy in spite of efforts to clean...try not to be upset. ;)

In November our pastor did a sermon on prayer.  He used the acronym ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication).  Thanksgiving week I decided to apply the sermon to our children's lives.  We took one letter each day, talked about what that particular word meant, then worked it out.  I went out of order so that "Thanksgiving" fell on Thanksgiving Day.

I loved seeing what they came up with...(but I'm not posting the "Confession" picture because, well, it was genuine confession and perhaps not everyone would like that exposed on my blog).

For Thanksgiving, we wrote on our table cloth, as usual.  Everyone LOVED reading the words from past years.  It was so fun to see this finally coming together.  I think we figured out this was our 8th year doing it.

A yummy spread of food!

Later in the afternoon it began to snow.

Eventually the flakes turned into huge fluffy flakes, the gorgeous snow-globe kind of flakes.  I wish I could have captured their beauty on camera!

Ok, up come the messy house photos.  We decided to rearrange our bedrooms.  We do clean house.  And we have cleaned LOTS and LOTS since then...but I just haven't managed to capture the beauty of that on camera either.

The "master" bedroom upstairs before:
Not enough room to move around our king sized bed...
After, it is Micah and Caleb's room (it has improved since this picture was taken):

My sewing room before:
I combined the schoolroom and my sewing room into one room.  Doing this required that all of my fabric go into storage.  It was a decision that took months for me to make, but I was finally ready.  It felt like a selfish waste of space before.  I was rewarded by how many things actually fit well into the school room.  And I've already been sewing so I know it is very functional!

The boys' room downstairs before:
Micah slept in this side...

Zeke, Josh, Malachi, and Caleb all slept on this side:

After, we are finally back in the "master" bedroom we built for ourselves years ago! Whoohoo! We can actually walk around the bed now. I put this crib mattress on the floor in hopes that I could convince Obi to sleep there, but it's not happening. We have the other crib mattresses nearby in the office for small children who want to sleep near us during the night. So far, they've been used several times!

This is the office area, and where all of my fabric is stored. Now, it's not ALL fabric. Some tubs are blankets. Also all of my Creative Memories scrapbooking supplies are down here now. It's not "pretty", but it is a much better solution than before we started.

Back to what used to be my sewing the little boys' room.
We had converted this bed into two toddler beds on the bottom.  Since I find Zeke, Josh, and Malachi often sleeping together on our couches, we converted the bottom bunk back to a full.  Zeke and Josh sleep on the bottom and Malachi sleeps on the top (where Tirzah is). 

That's almost was a busy weekend!  Our home is so much more functional and I am thrilled.  I only wonder why we didn't do it sooner.  It felt so good to move things and vacuum thoroughly and find missing pieces to games and puzzles and toys.  Everyone worked hard and had good attitudes (for the most part).  We also rearranged our family room downstairs the following weekend, but I don't have an "after" picture yet.  Maybe we should clean it for real first.

Another experiment...electromagnets!

Then it was my birthday, almost 25 weeks pregnant:

Obi, what did you get into???

November...apparently only part 1

Next up are pictures from November...

Caleb gave me these flowers on Mother's Day.  They potted them during Sunday School Class.  Not only is it remarkable that they are still blooming (and a whole new plant is growing) in November, it is remarkable that it survived longer than a week in the first place!  I seriously kill all house plants.  Shhhh...please don't tell it.  I've grown kind of fond of it.  Leave me a comment if you know what kind of flower it is.

Here's another science experiment.  :) I'm not just taking pictures of the experiments out of pride (but it is quite the accomplishment, that after years of failing at experiments we have done 97% of the assigned experiments for Apologia Physical Science this year!).  I'm taking pictures for documentation since Micah is taking this class for high school credit.  At the end of the year I will print the photos and he can add them to his lab journal and save it for later proof if needed.
(And I plan on doing a complete homeschool update later, but let me just put in a plug here:  I LOVE LOVE LOVE Apologia Physical Science.  Love it!)

Caleb fell asleep reading one of his favorite books.  Hehe...

I looked it up this time...21 weeks pregnant.

I can't believe how big my boy is getting!  Here is a post about him one year ago.

We got a stomach virus.  Zeke was first to get it.  A couple days later Tirzah got sick.  I was up all night with her.  Lucky girl got to sleep all day the next day.  Zeke kept her company since he was sick already.

Sooooo cute...Josh and Obi reading together on the couch.

I let Malachi practice writing his letters on the big white board.  Tirzah decided she could "do her school" on the board too.  She tried to write letters.  Then she just started drawing pictures.  She draws some really great pictures!

Tirzah's still going.  This board was such a good (and inexpensive) investment!  How do you like our story chart?  We are using Teaching the Classics.  More on that to come.

My "grannyham" always used to make pecan pickups.  After almost 16 years of marriage and living on my own, I finally decided to try.  It may have a slight learning curve, but I think I can handle it.  My first attempt didn't look pretty, but they tasted great!  This is the recipe I used:

This experiment that Micah and Eden did was called "Plastic Rock".  The kids LOVED it.  You can find instructions here, but it doesn't tell you how much cornstarch to water.  I'll have to look it up for you.

Finally, Tirzah and Obi helped me make brownies.  Yum!

Oh, wait, I can't be done...this is only like half of November.  There is Thanksgiving and MY birthday!  I will have to check the camera card for more pictures.  :)