Friday, April 17, 2015

These People Crack Me Up


Random conversations around our house:
(These are recorded purely for the purpose of humor, so please, no indignant rejoinders.)

Meanwhile, (overheard) back at the ranch...


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"Stop dying, or I won't kill you!"

- The 8yo, displeased with the 3yo's premature fall-down-and-die performance during a battle scene

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A month or two back, I told the 3yo that I was going to throw him into a pit seething with rabid crocodiles (i.e. put him to bed). One time was enough to create an implacable routine. Now I do not dare put the 3yo to bed without going through the whole crocodile routine, complete with the grande finale of the 3yo being eaten alive (i.e. tickled). Should I forget it, the whole household hears about it.

"Cwocodile! Cwocodile! Me want cwocodile!"


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Myself, after a particularly difficult day a few weeks ago:

Husband: I'm going to the kitchen. Can I get you anything?
Me: Yes. A vacation.
Husband: Sorry, but it's your doom to stay here and be a slave to your family forever.
Me: Well, pioneer women used to die young. Maybe I can hope for that.

To say that I was in a pessimistic mood may be a bit of an understatement. 


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The 8yo sighs wearily and says, "You know, I work harder around here than anyone. I hope you'll never know how hard I have to work."

Remind me to quote this to him in another twenty-or-so years. I suspect that we'll have a good chuckle over that one.

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"When I grow up, I'm not going to get married and have children. If you have children, you have to do a lot of dishes. I'm just going to live comfortably in a hole in the ground."

- The 8yo, who may or may not have been reading a lot of Tolkien recently


"Me dwagon."

- The 3yo, whom the 8yo has taught about Tolkien, in explanation of why he is going around spitting (i.e. breathing fire) on everything


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My husband and I, while I worked through my angst about history curriculum:

Me: I just can't figure out whether to use textbooks or unit studies!
Husband: Well, why don't you just keep doing unit studies for another year while you think about it?
Me: No, please, not more unit studies!
Husband: Um, I think you might have your answer.


***************

A few weeks back, a sweet and well-meaning friend laid a concerned hand on my arm and said, "You know, you're looking really, really awful. Are you feeling okay?"

I had been feeling fine. But now, suddenly, I felt overwhelmed. Overworked. Exhausted. Depressed. Likely to die of a mysterious illness in the immediate future.

I moped around the house for an hour or so, before finally going to my husband and asking, "Do I really look that bad?"

He rolled his eyes and said, "You look just fine."

Immediately I cheered up and went about my day.


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The 8yo: Mommy, if we'd lived during the Civil War, which side would we have been on?
Me: Well, which side would you prefer?
The 8yo: Well, which side won? That's the side I want to fight on.

The moral compass is obviously finely tuned in this child.


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And finally:

"She's a Christian, but she wears glasses."

- An acquaintance's child, regarding a new playmate at school

Gotta watch out for that kind, for sure.

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Have a great day, everyone! 



Thursday, April 16, 2015

Tidbits and Snippets for April 16th


How Much Sugar Is Recommended Per Day? - Good stuff, and the comment section is great too. (Mark's Daily Apple)

Seven Reasons We Hate Free Range Parenting - This just makes me sad. I hope and pray that we can sometime see a major push-back against our current CPS-happy culture. (Bloomberg View, hat tip to Challies.com)

Character Training for Children: A Core Aspect of Discipleship - One of my favorite bloggers talks about character training for homeschool families. Haven't read this yet, but have it up to peruse - it looks awesome. (Large Families on Purpose)

Delighting in Death - "The giddy, grinning delight which the Gloria Steinems of this world display concerning abortion is driven by more than just the desire to stop rape victims having unwanted children. It is powered by the grotesque thrill which holding power over life and death brings with it." Fascinating insights here. (First Things)

Ten Blessings That Come With a Large Family - We don't have a large family (yet?), but these were fascinating to read. (In the Nursery of the Nation)


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Three Months Later: Reflections on Pregnancy and Birth


This post was written several months ago, which will account for the time discrepancies. 

Hello, dear readers!

Our newest little one just turned three months old, so it's time to sit down and reflect! I would like to spend just a few minutes with you processing my thoughts regarding our last pregnancy, including hyperemesis research, our pregnancy, and our birth experience. Some of this will be a repetition of material already covered, but I will ask your pardon and go ahead anyway.



The Pregnancy

Our newest little one was born from our fifth pregnancy, the previous four including one baby lost in a miscarriage and three live-born children.

All of you know that I have put in hundreds of hours over the past five-or-so years researching hyperemesis, a devastating condition that manifested during our first term pregnancy and has been with us ever since (actively during pregnancy and between pregnancies in residual nausea). This was the first pregnancy in which I fully utilized my research findings, including:

(1) Use of the very-low-carb diet, both pre- and post-conception.
(2) Use of a wide range of lacto-fermented foods. 
(3) Various supplements.

To say that this pregnancy was successful in our aim to avoid hyperemesis would be an understatement. I went from my normal state, which is uncontrollable nausea and vomiting plus high levels of medication, to a pregnancy in which I did not throw up once (except during labor!). No medications, no vomiting, no incapacitating nausea - though I was still very nauseated and remained nauseated till the day of birth.

Additionally, with this pregnancy I have dealt with zero residual nausea. Usually residual nausea is somewhat of an issue for the long-term, but this time the nausea disappeared completely on the day of birth and has not manifested again, even for a moment. This too is a huge improvement.

I thank the Lord for this amazing blessing, and I pray that it continues with future pregnancies. I am already back on the VLC diet and am getting back into supplements and lacto-fermented foods. I do not want to play around with the possibility of recurrence, and I intend to maintain constant vigilance.

Here are the problems (or difficulties) with the experiment I conducted:

(1) Sample size n=1.

Enough said. Even repeat-hyperemesis mothers sometimes have a non-HG pregnancy.

(2) Confounding variables

While I was testing the VLC diet, I also was using the fermented foods method. That's a confounding variable. Additionally, baby is our first (known) girl, and HG mothers do sometimes report differences between boy pregnancies and girl pregnancies (though any differences are not usually as drastic as the difference between active HG and non-emetic pregnancies)

(3) Severity

In the HG world, I'm a minor player. I am not a severe, hardcore HG mother. My HG, comparatively speaking, is mild. Thus, I would really want to see what I did work for someone who experiences hardcore HG (though I have heard of it happening).

It will be interesting to see where this goes from here - both with me and with other mothers who elect to try this.

Three points:

(1) One interesting observation was the fact that our newest little one did not get any baby acne (the normal acne that usually breaks out within the first day after birth). Since my hormones were healthier this time around, could that mean that her hormones were healthier too... and thus no baby acne? An interesting point to ponder.

Another interesting change (more hormones?) with this pregnancy was the fact that I was able to nurse our toddler throughout the pregnancy with almost no pain - as opposed to the excruciating pain that I usually experience while trying to nurse while pregnant.

(2) I am so thankful that this pregnancy went so well... and now I'm looking for more things to improve! I would love to work harder on improving nausea levels (which were still very, very difficult in a non-HG way) and also work on improving my health so that the nausea doesn't last the entire pregnancy. There's still so much room for improvement!

(3) Another interesting point is the simple fact that if going very low carb worked so well for me, think how well this could work for women with normal morning sickness! The message that is currently preached to mothers struggling with nausea is "Eat lots of simple carbs!" - but I believe, and others have agreed, that simple carbs often make things worse (much, much worse) over the long run. How much better could women feel during pregnancy if we switched that to "Skip the carbs and eat protein and fat!"


Newborn exam.


Childbirth

I've now had three months to process our birth.

This birth was unusual in several ways. Depending on how you look at it, it was either our longest labor (over 20 hours) or our shortest labor (less than 15 minutes). It was also our first accidentally unassisted birth.

I have always heard it said that super-fast labors are not desirable - that they can be rather traumatic. I did not find this to be true. Granted, this labor was perhaps a bit sudden. But... it was also awesome. Believe it or not, I'm not a fan of childbirth. And I'll take my ten-minute super-fast labor any day over the long, drawn-out kind any day. In fact, I think I'd like this type from here on out. (If only we were able to order them as simply as that!)

We love our dear midwife and our sweet doula. We would not plan an unassisted birth intentionally. But I am no longer afraid of unassisted birth, and I'll be okay with that eventuality if we ever have another super-fast entrance.

One thing I did learn is that I really do prefer to labor alone. I plan to talk with our midwife to see what can be done to arrange solo laboring at future births.

Additionally, I am going to be absolutely certain that I am in steady hard labor before I call out a midwife again. This time, I didn't actually call my midwife out - she just happened to be in the area and ended up staying. But my main feeling during her stay was one of humiliated embarrassment that I wasn't getting anywhere and was wasting her time, and I think that that could have hindered my labor in and of itself. I adore my midwife - but I felt uncomfortably watched, even though she wasn't in the same room. Call it performance anxiety, I suppose! Next time I will not be calling out the birth team until I am absolutely 100% sure that it is the real thing.

Three days old.
Additionally, this labor taught me something I already knew (in head knowledge!) - that labors can be very, very different. My three other labors were quite similar to each other, and I unconsciously expected a similar labor progression with our newest. Not so! It's a good lesson to expect the unexpected when it comes to childbirth. The best laid plans of mothers and midwives gang aft agley, and all that.


Conclusions

What can I say? This has been an amazing year. So many new experiences. Getting to see the fruit of so many years' work on hyperemesis has been wonderful, and I thank the Lord for it.

Where does the road lead from here?

Good question. Most likely, a new little one will not join our family for quite some time - going by our history, for at least a year or more. I plan to spend that time researching, continuing the VLC diet, working on my supplement plan, and bulking up on lacto-fermented foods and healthy fats.

Only time will tell if the diet will work on a repeat basis to avoid hyperemesis. And only the Lord knows if we will ever be blessed with another little one. Time will tell on both of those.





In the meantime, my life is full. I am creating a home, nurturing and disciplining and teaching our children, serving my husband, growing as a believer, doing a crazy amount of chores and housework, and throwing in a few minutes of blogging when I have a chance. Life is good.

This has been an amazing year. We have seen God's faithfulness to our family in so many different aspects of our home and family.

I'm looking forward to seeing the next couple of years unfold.



Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Beginning Our Fifth Year of Homeschooling


It's hard to believe that we are about to begin our fifth year of home education. I feel that we are very much still at the beginning of our journey, but looking back I can also see how far we've come. Although the end still looks impossibly far away, I have come to contemplate the possibility that perhaps I, too, may make it (alive, even!) to the finish line.

Here's how our home education journey has looked so far.

2011-2012 - A Year of Beginnings
We began too soon, bought a super-expensive boxed curriculum that didn't end up working out, and quit halfway through the year. Hmm.

2012-2013 - A Year of Beginning Again
We simplified, cut out the boxed curriculum, went back to the basics, and did kindergarten again.

2013-2014 - A Year of Really Overdoing It
I hit the ground running at top speed, did everything that a Good Homeschool Mom (GHM) was supposed to do, and had a lot of fun - but also ended up with some fairly substantial burnout.

2014-2015 - A Year of Recovery
Due to both burnout and morning sickness, we ended up taking the year much more slowly - and enjoying it much more. We finally saw some substantial progress in math and writing with our second-grader, and I also began to learn more about our family's style.

What's in store for the 2015-2016 school year?

Only God knows that for sure.

But from my perspective, I am hoping that this school year will be a year of finally settling into our family's true educational style.

When we were beginning to home educate, it was really hard to know what style of home education would work for our family. I think many home educators face the same dilemma in the beginning. You may read about all of the different styles and try to make guesses, but the truth is often that you don't know what will actually work. Oftentimes we are drawn to things that sound attractive but do not fit our families or our life circumstances. Perhaps unschooling sounds attractive, but it drives you batty when you try it. Or you want to try classical education but find that it completely overwhelms you. In truth, the only way to find out is to try out many different ideas and find by trial-and-error what works and what doesn't.

As our fourth year draws to a close, I find that I am finally beginning to understand the style of home education that works for our family. Don't get me wrong - I am many years away from a full knowledge of our style (and know that it will also vary slightly by child) - but I'm starting to get an idea. For example:

  • Workbooks work beautifully for us, especially those with discrete daily assignments. 
  • Checklists work beautifully for us as well. 
  • I need an organized and clean environment and schedule to survive and thrive.
  • Our educational environment will be filled with both real books (for the joy!) and textbooks (for organized learning and keeping my sanity). 

It will be interesting to see what the year brings. I'm hoping and praying that it will be a year of growth and learning, of maturing (for the children and for myself) and of seeing God move in our family in powerful ways.

Here are some things that I'd like to see happen this year:

- I want to get the 8yo writing more easily, and also accustomed to a bit heavier school load.

- I want to figure out our history curriculum (again).

- I want to make substantial progress in how I schedule and steward my time.

- I want to make progress in the area of assigning, checking, and raising standards in the area of chores.

- In our family, I want to pray toward and work toward a peaceful home, a clean and organized home, and improved sibling relations.

It's going to be a challenging year, and only the Lord knows what other factors will come into play (illness? new babies? unexpected life circumstances that will jolt us around?). But I'm thankful to be where we are, and I know that the Lord will use this coming year to mature our family and bring us closer to where He wants us to be.

I'm looking forward to getting started.


Monday, April 13, 2015

Tidbits and Snippets for April 13th


Why America's Obsession with STEM Education is Dangerous - I have seen and puzzled over the same preoccupation amongst homeschoolers as well as in my local community (STEM! STEM! We need more STEM!), and I agree with this author's analysis. (The Washington Post)

Sex, God, and a Generation That Can't Tell the Difference - "If you have a sexual ethic more solid than your average Jello mold, you’re free game for Millennial judgment. Millennials are incredibly judgmental when it comes to sexuality—if you’re not doing something you’re a loser, and if you have convictions you’re a bigot." (Millennial Evangelical)

What I Learned the Hard Way: How I Protect My Family on Instagram - I've never been on Instagram, but all of this applies to social media... and to blogging. (Deseret News)

Theological Black Holes - I think we've all seen this happen to individuals and ministries - many, many times. (Challies.com)

The Inerrancy Summit Videos - In case you missed seeing this year's Shepherd's Conference live, the videos are now all archived. Check it out! (ShepherdsConference.org)

Should Singles Live Alone? - Good thoughts here (on a question I never faced, but many do). (Growing in His Grace)

Whining Whiners, and How to Cure Them: A Checklist - One of my favorite bloggers tackles a perennial problem. I like to review this article every so often. (Like Mother, Like Daughter)

A Disciplined Home is a Joyful Home - "Model discipline to your children. Keep your home neat and tidy. Show respect towards your husband and allow him to lead.  Don't waste your time on the television, Internet and iPhone, if your home is in disarray."

Okay, so maybe I should get off the computer now. 

Have a wonderful afternoon, dear readers!


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Time to Party Like It's 1982


Lately, my mum has been wanting me to take pictures of our newest edition in some baby girl clothes that she had saved from my infancy (and some from her own). This morning I girded up my loins, recruited the help of an old sheet and an unused iPhone, and went to work!

Here are the results! (Age - almost 5 months)



















The family was thrilled. I am notoriously bad at taking pictures, so this was a big improvement on my usual "I'll get around to it sometime!"


Friday, April 10, 2015

Tidbits and Snippets for April 10th


Marriage and the Supreme Court: A Call to Prayer - "The price of getting marriage wrong is steep, and as in the rest of the Sexual Revolution, children will foot much of the bill. It matters tremendously to our nation and to future generations that we agree with God on this." (RussellMoore.com)

To My Newborn Baby, With Love from Mama - Beautiful. (The Modest Mom)

Children Are a Blessing (Film Review and Give-Away) - We loved this film - make sure to sign up for the give-away! Cindy also has lots of great things to say, so make sure to check out her review as well. (excerpt below). (Get Along Home)
"I am glad that Moore Family Films contacted me to see if I’d review Children Are a Blessing, because their little film blessed my heart. Not only does it make me feel a little less alone, but as it takes us through the birth of one of their own new blessings, it does the double duty of being a winsome revelation for those who don’t already understand the deception that the contraceptive culture has perpetrated on the church. 
"Really, just a few Margaret Sanger quotes shine enough light on the faded whitewash covering the “family planning” facade to call into question everything we’ve been taught about marriage and family. But when the Moore family further reveals their own difficult journey from secular to Christian thinking on the subject, there’s really not a lot left to say except “God, forgive and save our selfish culture!”
(Read the whole post here.)

Because: A Poem Honoring Cesarean Awareness Month - The author beautifully captures all of the various emotions associated with cesarean birth. (Science and Sensibility)
On the same topic, check out the post Recovering from a Cesarean (Surviving the Difficult Days). Excellent material here! (Raising Arrows)

When Did We Stop Liking Children? - "We have been served this ideology that children are to be taken care of by “experts.” We have been fed this thought that diapers can be changed, and noses can be wiped by anyone. Why would a capable and intelligent woman forfeit her potential to stay home and do the mundane, the ordinary, the grunt work? How can we as women be satisfied in being ONLY a wife and mom? I mean any woman can do that, right? That’s what we have daycares for." (Deep Roots at Home, Guest Post by Susan of The Modern Mayflower Blog)
On a related topic, see the fascinating post No Babies, Please, We're European. So much good material there. (The American Conservative)

How to Take Care of Your Gut: Primal Flora - This new probiotic from Mark's Daily Apple looks fabulous. (Mark's Daily Apple)

4 Reasons NOT to Have a Homeschool Room - Good stuff. (My Joy-Filled Life)


~ Have a wonderful week, dear readers! ~