December 31, 2015

Taking Root in the New Year.

Happy New Year's Eve, friends! I'm sitting on my bed-with a sweet 2 month old asleep next me. I just gave him a bath so he's smelling fresh and looking extra cuddly. I will refrain from squeezing him. Instead, I will take advantage of this moment of other two kiddos are watching Madagascar for the trillionth time and belly laughing in the other room. It was my NYE gift to them...and to me. Movies. The crack of toddlers everywhere.

So, I took a second to re-read my 2015 New Years Post and it was, as I suspected, pretty self-fulfilling prophecy. I said our year would be full of change and so it was. I also said at the every end of the post that I wasn't pregnant-and yet within three weeks I would be. Wowzers. Not only did we buy a car, buy a house, "sorta kinda" changed careers we also added a brand new person into our family.
When I look at my prayersolutions card for 2015 I'm struck by how many of our personal prayer requests were answered. God even gave us "someone to live with us" which was on my card right next to "a house that we could fill up with people". We've had my brother-in-law in our back bedroom for 5 months, almost as long as we've been in the house ( a house that we can definitely fill up with people!). It was a prayer that I'd added to my card not knowing at all how it would look- in the end it looked like my kids getting to play with their uncle almost every day. Go figure.

Sure the year had its challenges-most of which I've written about here or on other social media ( I'm all about outsourcing my prayer requests!), some that I haven written about at all-yet when I think about them right now, they all seem to pale in comparison to the many many answered prayers, the many many blessings.

To be honest, the last few months of the year have been a whirl-wind, as they always inevitably are, and yet made SO much more so with the addition of Justice. I'm really looking forward to slowing down and taking root-spending more time with the Lord in prayer and in Bible Study. I admit the stresses and business of life have left me thirsty for more time sitting at Jesus' feet.  I finally completed reading my last Bible through ( granted I'd read the New Testament 3 times through by the time I was completely done-but still! It took 2 years!), and as is my tradition I bought a new Bible-however this time I got JUST the New Testament, The Harmony of the Gospels, to be exact. It basically smashes all four gospels together so that you can see how they are the same, and how they add or subtract various aspects of the Gospel. I'm excited to use it in looking at some cool topics this year. I think its going to be enlightening.

I'm also looking forward to my new prayer card, as always I'll take some time to see what God wants me to put on there-it's for the BIG God-sized prayers after all! I can HARDLY wait to see what He wants me to pray about this year! I have a certain "method" to my prayer card that I realized I didn't go into detail in my last post about it, so I'll hopefully fill you in on it in a few days time. Actually, I've got SO many blog posts bumping around in my brain right now...three kids is definitely an adjustment. I don't know where "eating, sleeping, dressing oneself" are fitting into my day much less writing.

All that said, I know this post is disjointed-but I know that by the end of 2016 I'll have a one year-old, an almost 4 year old (!!) and a 6 year old...and no matter what else, things will be different. I'll be able to laugh at my disjointed ways as a thing of the past ( hopefully!) and my hope is that as much as this year was about "change"-this next year will be about taking "root" into that change and growing and nourishing it. Seeing our home, our ministry, our children all grow and-Lord willing-flourish.

So here's to 2016...I was hoping the word for the year would be "sleep"...but I'm guessing that's just wishful thinking.

December 15, 2015

Favorite things: free +bible+ my kid

 Today I would like to share one of my new favorite things- or rather one of Ransom's favorite things. Of course in doing so I'll also be admitting something to you... Ransom has been getting regular screen time for about 45 minutes during Tabitha and Justice's afternoon naps. This would normally be the perfect time to do some school with Ransom but the last few weeks I've found that it's also the only time I have to work on Christmas prep and get any to all my house work done... Or even more likely sit on the couch and star into space. So when Ransom comes begging for the iPad I tend to cave. Sigh. 
HOWEVER, as luck would have it, I downloaded a new app from the makers of YouVersion Bible App. It is the Kids Bible App, and it's great!
Ransom spends pretty much ALL his iPad time on this ONE app!

First off, it is has about 20 or so Bible stories that the app reads out loud, along with graphics that will move and do different things as you click on them that correspond with the story.  Then with each story there are three different questions to gauge comprehension, that pop up throughout the stories that you can click on and answer. If you get the question right you get a "star" on the story badge. Apparently this simple act of gathering stars plus some basic graphics are enough to keep Ransom very very happy! 

It also makes me happy to listen to Ransom as he plays the bible stories over and over again. So, since the app is FREE, you should download it as soon as possible! ( it's available on Apple, Google and Amazon products!) 
I, for one, will not be casting any screen time stones your way ;-) 

December 12, 2015

The new normal: The Christmas Season with 3 kids

So, I bet amidst your holiday hustle and bustle you are wondering how things are going over here at the Wilson house with a brand new baby and all....Well, I am here to take care of those wonderings:

First off, if you missed the blog post where I talked about God healing Justice then I think you should read it!

And if you're one of those motherly types who keeps track of these things feel free to read my Letter to Justice:Month One over on his very own blog ( it's just easier that way...)

But what about the rest of life?! Because we were at Chickfila last night ( as you do) and my kids befriended a little boy who's father then started chatting with me and he mentioned how with "a baby so young I must be canceling Christmas this year"...and I was all like

Because with a 5 year old and an almost 3 year old you CAN NOT CANCEL CHRISTMAS...besides I love Christmas trees. They are for reals in my top ten favorite things. So that's why even when I was sick with a stomach bug we were decorating the house for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving.

There are soooo many things I should catch you up on- like homeschooling-which is back on fullish blast ( the ish is important there)....and yet it turns out while I have time to come up with fun activities like "Snowball Diagraphs" and "Christmas Tree Addition"...I do not have time to take pictures of said activities any more...sigh. Sorry.

But today I'd like to talk about Advent.
This year I knew that I wanted to do an every day Advent with my kids to make sure our focus remained where it "should" amongst the hustle of the season-and while I love all those great "activity" advent calendars where people have something Christmasy that they do each day- lets just say the 4 hour stretch of sleep I got last night was not preparing me for something like that...besides I really want our Advent to be about the coming of out came our trusty Jesus Storybook Bible  and this great little Advent worked out perfectly since we've been reading the Egermeier's Bible Story Book for a while now and it is nice to do something different.

Along with the bible story-which are beautiful by the way-I also know that my kids need a little "fun" so we also incorporated our other two "advents" into our time. It works out great because right now there are just two kids involved so they can take turns each day, going back and forth between the two activities...I suppose we'll have to add in something new in a few years when Justice starts to care...

The stockings each hold a teeny tiny Christmas ornament that the child gets to then put on our teeny tiny tree.

We also have this lovely Jacquie Lawson Advent Calendar for the iPad that our sweet friend Judy has given us  as a gift every year since Ransom was born. It has gorgeous graphics and lovely music and each day there is a little video to watch or some interactive "game" for the kids to enjoy. They loooooove it. 

So there you have it! Our advent for 2015! I would love to hear any and all of your own advent traditions, reading material and activities!

My next blog post I hope to be a humble-brag session in regards to the DIY Christmas gifts I had to got to make for some of my nieces this year! We were trying something new where we drew names for the grandkids and hopefully added more of a 'giving' focus to Christmas this year...but somehow this turned into a "make your christmas gifts!" type deal...and we ALL know I'm not the craftiest! That said, I'm pretty happy with how the gifts turned out! I actually think the recipients may like ( important!) their gifts and at the same time my kids were involved in the making process which is nothing short of miraculous... So that post is coming soon! Stay tuned!

November 23, 2015

The Widow's oil.

One of the things that has been working to help Justice's severe reflux is "thickening" his feedings. Basically, I pump and then I mix what I pump with a little bit of formula (for some extra calories) and then a powder called "thik and clear" which mixed correctly makes my milk into a milkshake. 
We were lucky to have been given a weeks worth of Thik and Clear when we left the hospital however I knew that eventually that supply would run dry so I went to my standby-Amazon- halfway through last week to mail myself some more. 
I was not excited when I saw the hefty price tag on those little packets of thickener but I closed my eyes and pushed "order"... But then I had to open my eyes fast because my order was not eligible for Amazon Prime- 
I looked at our fast deminishing supply of thickener and had to swallow an even larger pill and pay even MORE money for expedited shipping. Now, for those of you keeping track my bill was over $100 at this point...but even though that wasn't my favorite way to spent $100  it was worth it for Justice to keep his food down, right?! 

But now that the order was made o started to not-so-patiently wait for my "shipping notification". Days passed and my order still said "waiting to be shipped" next to it. I started to panic! I started to pray that our packets of thickener would turn into a Widow's Oil Type ( Read 2 Kings chapter 4 for the story!)  situation as Thursday turned to Friday and I started calling pharmacies all over town to see if anyone had what I needed in stock with no luck! 
I started to get desperate over the weekend and tried calling the hospital to see if they could help... But I only got answering services. 

And so I prayed... I asked God to somehow work a miracle. 

Today I woke up to one packet left. I made one final call to the hospital and the lady we had worked with us when we had been there answered the phone. She told me of a random pharmacy on the south side and I immediately called. They had two cans left. 
We immediately drove, kids in PJs Info the ghetto and I walked into the pharmacy willing to pay just about any price for that can! 
So you can imagine my surprise when the checkout lady said, "that'll be $8.40."

And so that is how the Lord worked an unlooked for miracle this morning. It wasn't oil, but it was just as good. 

November 20, 2015

"I didn't expect for this to happen!"

( Read Justice's Birth story before heading into this particular post)

" I didn't expect THIS to happen!"

My thoughts as we headed through rush hour traffic back to the hospital - only 2 short weeks after Justice was born- I also said other things to God that I know He won't hold against me-but basically, I had been SO SURE that when I wrote "healthy pregnancy, healthy baby" on my prayer card for 2015 it was basically a done deal. And yet Justice continued to loose weight, my feelings of doom and gloom had been confirmed at the Doctor's office with an even more significant weight drop and then again after an Upper GI study where the Radiologist had labeled Justice as "in the top 10 refluxing cases I've seen in my whole career!" ( not the top ten list you want to be on)
So to the hospital we were sent with the lovely title of "failure to thrive" I've really had some pretty good hospital experiences in my day, I'd say we've been pretty lucky with good doctors, quick and correct diagnosis, and good care-but this experience was NOT. LIKE. THAT.
We had to fight so hard for every little thing...from getting admitted, getting a correct diagnosis ( it seemed straight forward, RIIIIIIGHT!?!), getting the proper treatment- even seeing doctors that would actually READ our history properly seemed like an uphill battle ( we had a doctor condescendingly explain to me that "babies loose weight after birth and that Justice was only about an ounce off from his birth weight" I practically yelled at her to get the facts right and that he was sitting at a pound and HALF under his birth weight!!) . But we kept getting pep talks from family and friends and we kept fighting hard for Justice's cause. The problem was we weren't really sure what was wrong and I was so discouraged by my seemingly unanswered "healthy baby" prayer that I'd been staring in the face since Justice's birth I felt so incredibly lost.

Three days past in a fog of confusion and-to be perfectly honest-hurt...I was so hurt that all this had happened. WHY was God letting something like this happen to us again!?! What had I heard wrong?! Why? WHY?

And then on Tuesday night as I sat in the hospital bed holding my weak and sick baby I hit bottom. I hit complete desperation and I have never in my life felt so homesick ( best word I can think of to describe how I felt) for Jesus. Not just what I know of Jesus but the in the flesh Jesus. It seems strange since I clearly haven't MET the in the flesh Jesus, but I knew right then that I needed Him.  I understood clearly how the parents of those dead and dying children felt who came and pleaded with the Son of God to come heal their babies that are told about in the Bible. I was there. And I asked Him to "come home with me" or the woman who pushed through the crowd to tough the hem of his clothes, or the friends who lowered the lame man through the roof...I was that desperate too.  The next morning I woke up and I heard clear as a bell "This is the day" in my head.  And I wrote this blog post: "This is the Day"  I had been proud and I had been hurt but I had finally gotten to a place where I knew that only the Lord was going to get us through this. And He had shown up and affectively promised that THIS was the day things would turn around...
All of a sudden the thickening of Justice's feedings started to work, the medicine he had been perscribed to move the food through his stomach faster seemed to be affective...Justice gained Three Ounces in one day!! And if this was a neat and tidy story-That would be it! Justice's weight would have kept going up and up and we would have been all smiles-but from the beginning this was not one of those Stories.... Instead for the next three days, while Justice seemed to improve outwardly ( less throwing up etc), his weight continued to drop... By Sunday we were told in no uncertain terms that if things didn't turn around in the next 24 hours we would be facing a feeding tube on Monday morning.
And so back to our knees we went- we prayed and fasted and I questioned all that had happened, it seemed everything was so much harder that I thought it would be:

 "I didn't expect THIS to happen!"
 Once again the phrase went whining its way through my head, but this time we just prayed harder we dug deeper and we waited....And sure enough Monday morning came, and Justice had gained an ounce and a half. It was enough to send him home... Without a feeding tube! 
Over the next four days we saw Justice go from three or four food losses in a day to one...then yesterday he didn't spit up AT ALL. He spit up less then a NORMAL baby would spit up! 
Today at his follow up appointment Jusrice had gained 1 pound 2 ounces in FOUR DAYS! His pediatrician looked at him and said:

 "I didn't expect THIS to happen!"

And that's the thing- that is what I'm just now starting to get my grasp on...none of this story is to be expected, in fact a lot of it can't even be explained- this story is a story of brokenness and healing and the unexpected and it is a story of healing and forgiveness and grace.  And so it is, that Justice begins his Life...I am sure there will be many more "I didn't expect THIS!" moments for him and for us- but one thing we can expect is for Jesus to continue to show up as He so obviously has over the last three weeks of Justice's life. 

November 18, 2015

Welcoming Justice Tirian

I haven't gone back to look, but I think this might be the longest I have gone before writing my "birth story" but I think it was because I didn't feel like we were "finished"'with the story until now. But I'm getting ahead of myself! Without further ado, the Birth of Justice Tirian Wilson.

Let's just start off by saying, what a great pregnancy! Oh man! Even though pregnancy is basically one of my Least Favorite Things- even *I* had to admit this one was pretty darn smooth. Coincidentally  ( as we would so find out)  the only thing I had really to complain about was the INTENSE indigestion and heart burn that plagued me from the second trimester all the way until Justice was all the way out of me. ( seriously I had heart burn and contractions all at the same lovely time) Annnnnnyway, I started all that to say, the pregnancy was pretty great and I couldn't have asked for a smoother ride. It was so great, in fact, that the day before my due date I went for a nature walk with a friend, I did a craft cooking project with Ransom and I felt relatively calm ( other than really really really wanting to have a baby!) I even had some contractions before bed, but the soon faded and I slept the night away.  And then around 6:30am on my due date-October 27th- I woke up with REAL contractions. They weren't particularly painful, they were just more intense and 'different'. I got up with Brett and the kids and Brett and I discussed whether he should go to work or not. My contractions were still pretty far spread and I was petrified of having a "false alarm". In the end we decided he would just go into work late and see what the morning held. I then went for a walk around our neighborhood....something I had been doing a lot of the last had been rainy and a little cooler that week, but I hadn't cared! I had put on my rain jacket and hit the streets and yet it hadn't seemed to work in inducing labor...till now. This time I walked for about an hour and my contractions went from 7 minutes apart to 5 minutes apart. I decided we could safely go to the hospital without any shame of false labor labels ( I seem to care ridiculously too much about my pregnancy labor street cred in this regard-who knows why!). Lucky for us Brett's brother Josh has been staying with us for several months so we had built in childcare right in the house! So we kissed Ransom and Tabitha, wished Josh good luck and headed to the hospital....

I will now fast forward through the 2 hours of triage and get to the part where they admitted me and we were put in a very nice and large delivery room. It was now around 1pm and I was very much good and ready to have my epidural. My birth plan looked very much like this "get yo self some drugs"...and so I was happily gratified when the anesthesiologist  came a little sooner than expected-I'd been told he was down the hall with another patient but it turns out that other patient had last minute thoughts of grandeur ( or she saw the giant needle) and passed on the epidural! Hooray! I got mine sooner!! And while it didn't quiiiite seem to be taking away all the pain away, I felt SO MUCH BETTER and we continued on "laboring" for a few more hours. My doctor showed up, informed me that he was leaving at 4:30 to pick up his daughter for ballet class so I'd need to kindly hurry up the process ( ha!) and so as he talked to Brett about some pastor guy he really likes from New York he broke my water without even so much as a warning. I decided then and there that I didn't care that much about him delivering my child and was secretly fine with the fact that 4:30 ticked passed without the need to push. However, by 5pm I was MORE THAN READY to push out a baby-and in fact, I was pretty sure that epidural wasn't doing a DARN THING. Boo!! Once again the drugs were failing me and I was going to have to push out a baby with all the pain that nature intended. UNFAIR! 
Ahhh, such is life-literally. And so with that awful realization and a kindly older doctor who wasn't much on talking but turned out to be an excellent coach, I pushed out the most giant baby in the world. Ok, not really but let's just say I made noises I didn't know were possible. 

However-sidenote-remember that women down the hall who had turned down the epidural earlier in the day?! Well, she regretted it. She regretted it big time. She regretted it so loud and with so many curse words we ALL knew how much she regretted it. eek! So, yes, I made some very interesting animal noises that I am thankful were not recorded for posterity-but at least I didn't make sailors blush or anything. So win. 
And yes, Justice was not the largest baby in the world, but he was surprisingly large! I hadn't really been measuring particularly big but at 17:06, weighting a hefty 8 pounds 14 ounces, 20 and 3/4 inches long, Justice Tirian came into the world like a lion! Yelling and mad, he was blue which worried me, but he eventually turned to a more normal red color, but he continued to cry a very horse and mad cry for much much longer than Ransom or Tabitha, and I actually started to worry that we'd gotten ourselves a "spirited" child right off the bat!  But even though he cried a lot the first two hours or so, he eventually calmed down and we could set about admiring his super long fingers and toes, his full head of black hair and just how much he looked JUST LIKE his brother and his sister ( seriously, the gene pool is like a puddle over here!). 

And just as with his brother and sister we found his "birth time" verse in John 17:6 to be very fitting and encouraging: 

" I (Jesus)  have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word." 

And while Justice did seem upset right after he was born, he quickly mellowed out into a very sleepy and mellow baby. The morning after he was born his brother and sister came to see him with Spicy and my sister and Josh. Ransom was incredibly sweet and wanted to hold him right away and seemed very proud of his enlarging big brother status. Tabitha used her high pitched voice to say "awwww! he's so sweet!" and then went on to ignore him completely as she played with her "big sister" princess gift. Ahhh 2 year olds!
And so our time the hospital was up, Justice was really so mellow that it wasn't clear right away that there was anything wrong with him. Yes he kept spitting up- a lot. But the nurses assured me he'd probably just swallowed a lot of fluids during birth. And so two days later we took our sweet chubby cheeked baby home! 
It was so great to have him home and with us all as a family! 
However, on our first night home Justice started spitting up so violently that it practically shot across the room, and some of the spit up had blood in it! Basically the parenting nightmare. All my "calm and collected" this-is-my-third-child-therefore-I-am-chill vibe had left me and we took him to the pediatrician as soon as we possibly could! Sure enough Justice had lost even MORE weight and was now sitting at almost a pound lost in his first week of life. A little too much for comfort. We were sent back to the hospital for an ultra-sound to rule out Pyloric Stenosis. I wasn't allowed to feed Justice until the test was over, and I didn't have a pump yet ( I'd kind of put off buying a new one since my last pump bit the dust) of course, this would be the perfect time for my milk supply to come in like a champ! By the time we headed home from the thankfully negative for pyloric stenosis ultrasound I was leaking from EVERYWHERE-but mostly my eyes. I just kept crying and crying as I thought, "But I PRAYED for a healthy baby!!! THIS IS NOT WHAT I WANTED! THIS IS A NIGHTMARE!" 
Justice was put on some acid reflux medicine and we were sent home to hopefully watch Justice respond well to the meds-which he did-for a few days...but the next week was horrible, really. Luckily I had help from my parents and then Brett's mom, but Brett was working 12 hour night shifts at work, and I was spending 12 hour night shifts at home. While Justice did throw up a lot during the day, it was a million times worse at night. I would have to change the sheets, my clothes and his clothes multiple times a night. I would have to wash all 20 or so burp clothes that I owned every. single. day. Brett would come home from work in the mornings to find me crying and crying that something was terribly wrong. I had a baby scale and I finally had to just stop putting him on it. He was not gaining weight. He was loosing. My once almost 9 pound chunky baby with neck rolls was now under 8 pounds. Everyone tried to be reassuring with their "its going to be ok!" and their "it probably seems like more than it is" but deep in my heart I knew something was really wrong and I felt very very alone and helpless with my sweet baby boy. 
We had another doctors appointment scheduled for that next monday, and I knew it was going to be bad. The problem was I spent my nights researching acid reflux in babies and I knew there wasn't much that could be done for it. I know it sounds dramatic but I felt like I had lost my happy normal life and worst of all I was slowly losing my baby. Justice slept all the time, rarely waking, never crying. Everyone commented about how sweet he was, but I hated it. I felt that it showed just how weak he was and how much his body was working over time to retain calories. 
And so that is how the first two weeks of Justice's life passed....

For the end to this story check out my next post

November 12, 2015

A new day

If you'll excuse me while I brag on the good things the Lord has done for us in the last 24 hours? It is important that I put this out there because as things started to get better I would stop to send a God-brag text to various people and it seemed that every time I started to text Justice would have a huge barfing fit. Coincidence? I doubt it! But we will not be silenced! This is too good not to share!! Yesterday truly was a turning point for Justice and the only explanation for that turn is the miraculous healing power of Jesus. For instance when I look at yesterday's feeding log there were just as many feeding "losses" as we had before. It seemed that the new plan of "thickening" Justice's feeding wasn't working. The doctors were getting antsy with their desire to step things up a notch. One notch being putting Justice in the NICU...where we would no longer be able to stay with him. ( break my heart into a million pieces). But I asked the doctors to give us "one more day" and even though things did not look any better on paper then they had before, I knew the prayers of the saints can achieve much! So this morning when Justice was weighed ( BEFORE eating, no less!) I was not surprised to see that he didn't gain half an ounce ( the minimum hoped for goal for Justice) or one ounce... No, he gained THREE! A pretty huge leap. 
Today we say way more dirty diapers ( never thought I'd be so happy about that!) and I would even go so far as to say that his appetite might be increasing ever so slightly! Another answer to prayer! Our doctors stopped talking about G-tubes and instead talked about "time lines for sending you home." In a blink of an eye. Yesterday was indeed a turning point.
LIn other interesting news, Justice has had a struggle with his IV lines since we got here. Basically they have been replaced every 12 hours or so- meaning that we were running out of viable spots. So today he was supporting a head IV...which then rolled out of place and started to fill his little head up with fluids. Poor dude looks a bit like Rocky with a swollen half of a head... The good news from this? Well it pushed him loosing his IV up a little and it was decided to see how he fairs without it! I can't wait to see him continue to exceed expectations tonight as he holds his own without the extra fluid help! This would mean we are one more step closer to getting to go home! 
We have been living in Miracle-land today thanks to your wonderful prayers and our Faithful  Lord who Hears and Acts. We praise Him continually for all He has done and will continue to do for Justice. 

November 11, 2015

This is the day...

This morning I woke up after a night of little to no sleep.- Justice had been vomiting every meal and also lost his IV which meant a 2am scream fest as he got a new line put in. 

This  dawn was dark by all accounts. Justice continues to spit up all feedings- feedings that are smaller than they should be already- we've been told over and over that his reflux is "horrible" and "severe" and "the worst we've ever seen". And a g-tube and fundoplication surgery are discussed as foregone conclusions of our future here. 

But doctors do not know everything. They are not factoring in the fact that we have a Lord who is the Great Healer and that HE can do anything. I know that we have very little time left before we will be pressured both by Justice's continued deterioration and our doctors- but I believe that today is a special day. Today is the turning point. I woke with back to back phone calls offering laying on of hands and prayer and we had a visit from another pastor-Unlooked for- but welcomed: offering more prayers and laying on of hands. I know this is not an accident. Today, despite our circumstances, we will boldly ask the Lord for complete healing for Justice 's "horribly severe" reflux. We ask for a renewed hunger and interest in eating for Justice. We ask that he will require no g-tube, no surgery and will quickly be eating and keeping all food down on his own. I ask for weight gain. And I ask for all these things now, when such possibilities seem next to impossible for then there will be no doubt that Jesus Christ is our Healer and Provider. 

It is an honor, a terrible one, to be put yet again at the great mercy of our Lord in regards to our children. It is by far the most painful thing we have ever had to do. And the words on my mouth today are "Lord, if you are willing..."  

October 19, 2015

Things to do in the 9th Month of Pregnancy ( the REAL edition)

A few days ago I read a blog article called "20 Must Do's During the Ninth Month of Pregnancy"  I honestly clicked on it because my thought was "Twenty?!? Dang that's a LOT!"

But once I started to read I also started to laugh, it was most CLEARLY written for that lovely first time mom....this was evident by Number 1: Get a Mani/Pedi

*Laugh out Loud Manically*

When you're having baby #3 you're already trying desperately to figure out how to get childcare for your other children for those EVERY WEEK doctors appointments! Finding time to go get a Mani/Pedi is down right laughable.  So here's my own list of "Things to do during the last month of pregnancy". And since this is Baby Number 3, I'd like to think my list is a little bit more down-to-earth and reasonable.

1. Pack that Hospital Bag. Yup, this is legit and my dear first time moms- that article above tells you that you should purchase some adorable going home outfit for yourself and I'm going to tell you to NOT. Instead purchase some Depends. I'm super serious when I say they will be far more comfortable then a giant pad between your legs and you'll definitely be in need of some padding and protection for whatever clothes you are wearing...either way don't skimp on the Depends or the nursing pads-by the time you head home there will be a whole new meaning to the word "leakage" in your vocabulary. So save your pennies for your new outfit for a few weeks down the line when your maternity wears are starting to sag but your pre-pregnancy clothes are inevitably still not fitting well.
Also: ( Don't forget your cellphone charger and your nursing pillow!!)

2. Squirrel away some freezer meals. Now undoubtedly this would be MUCH easier if I didn't have two other kids in the house, because they have this annoying habit of wanting to be fed THREE TIMES A DAY ( at least, its really more like 8 but I'm going to be generous for this post) already and so finding the time to make EXTRA meals can seem nearly impossible. However, this deserves the extra effort since at least I'll be making these meals while only taking care of two children instead of 2+ an infant. So I turned  my multitasking skills to HIGH last week and managed to make a few meals for the future while ALSO making dinner and homeschooling my 5 year old ( I seriously felt like a super star and I really wished I'd had a reality TV crew following me...second best I posted a #humblebrag on instagram).
Here are my go-to Freezer meals:
Chili, Chicken Soup, Crockpot Jambalaya ( everything cut up and prepped to be thrown into the crockpot when needed) and Baked Chicken ( I baked my chicken till about TEN MINUTES before being done so that all I have to do is thaw and throw in the oven for 15 or so minutes and dinner is  done).  MOM TIP: I suggest you NOT make a bunch of pasta meals for your freezer, if you are lucky enough to have people make meals for you during the first few weeks postpartum you'll be guaranteed half a dozen pasta bakes...they are by far the easiest thing for people to make and transport and so you'll be guaranteed half a dozen by the end. You'll be thankful you did alternatives in your own freezer for when the Pasta Bakes run dry.

3. Prepare the baby's room  Get your room ready. 
I'm sorry, but your sweet babies room won't really be used- minus for storage -for at least a month! .....the room you NEED to prep is YOUR room. It is the room where you and your little one are ( HOPEFULLY!) going to be holed up trying to sleep for quite a while. So figure out how you're going to get a little baby bed as-close-to-your-bed-as-possible. Now, there is plenty of literature out there against co-sleeping and I don't really want to get into the pros and cons of such things here on my blog-everyone is different...but I don't care WHO you are...when you're getting up a trillion times a night with your sweet angel you're going to want that sweet angel inches away. So figure out a plan that will work best for you, knowing that when the time comes you want you baby safe and within EASY access of you and your boob in the coming days. Other things to consider having in YOUR room: baby clothes ( they will go through a shocking number of clothing ( if you insist on dressing them) and you don't really want to be running down the hall for a fresh onesie at 2am, burp clothes, diapers and wipes, ointment for your sad, sad nipples because things are about to get REAL very quickly. MOM TIP: There are these super sweet absorbent pads they put under you when you're in the hospital to minimize how many times they have to change your sheets during your delivery/postpartum time ( see #1).....ask for as many extra pads as you can get your hands on and take them home: Then when you're up for a 3am feeding you can throw one down on your bed, change you babies diaper no problem without having to walk anywhere to do a diaper change! Like I said-that gorgeous matching crib and changing station you've got going on? Not that great at 3am.

4. Go get a Mani/Pedi  Go on a date(s). 
Sure, I'm already using up all my babysitting points to get myself to the millions of doctors visits that the last month seems to hold, but I  DO agree with the first child post when it comes to date nights. The hubs and I have completely busted this months date budget in a major way but we just don't care....we'll be trying to get in as many as we can in the coming last days because we know how sparse they will be in the coming months! So enjoy your spouse! Spend as much time together now talking about as many non-baby-related things as you can possibly think of because its about to be baby-all-the-time for the foreseeable future.

5. Get out of the house. 
This mostly has to do with people who already have kids, but really I suggest it even for you first time moms: The next time you go to Target RELISH IT...because it will be the last time you go alone for...basically ever. If you're an extravert than DOUBLE THIS-you'll be going stir crazy in the near future, so try to get out and enjoy as much as you can now. If you're an introvert-try to fight your introverted ways for the next few weeks, I promise you'll thank me later! Plus: bonus it helps the time go by faster!
But as for those of us who already have kids, I've kicked most of my homeschool-at-home stuff to the curb these last two weeks in favor of a million and one outings. I know that even when grandparents are here to help, they are probably going to be stuck at our house for a while ( mostly because I know how hard it is to get out of the house with a 5 and 2 year old even in a town that you're familiar with, much less one you are not!) so I am trying to hit all the outings we can get in. Last week we went to the children's museum, the pumpkin patch, we got Ransom's haircut at fun kid haircut place and we'll be hitting the zoo this week if we can manage it. I see this as my "dates with my kids" and its just as much a priority before baby comes.

6. Clean the bathrooms. 
Ok, I'll be honest, last week I went on a cleaning RAMPAGE and then I nearly died  of exhaustion and Braxton Hicks contractions around 5pm...but it IS kind of important to have at least a clean bathroom when you don't know when you'll be bringing home a baby and probably having extra helpers and friends coming and going in your home! Make sure you've got a nice supply of handsantizer and hand-soap for all those who are going to line up to hold baby too! And if you're a tad-OCD like me, you'll sleep better knowing everyone will be coming into a clean organized house ( or at least on day one...I can't promise you anything after that...)

which brings me to the MOST IMPORTANT PREPARATION OF ALL.....

7. Sleep. 
Sleep in, go to bed early, take a nap between dinner and bedtime, take a morning nap, take an afternoon nap, sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep. Yes, sleep has become more and more evasive as the days have gotten closer to the end, but I am not going to let that stop me from grabbing any ZZs I can get my hands on. Last night I told Brett the thing I have been most proud of this pregnancy has been how much I  have taken advantage of sleeping.  I know that sounds silly, but sometimes as a mom and wife I feel guilty when I sleep in or I take a nap, but I have made a conscious effort to take advantage of EVER OPPORTUNITY to sleep instead of doing just about anything else. If there is anything my two other children taught me, sleep deprivation is REAL and it NEVER gets better. And, thanks to an AMAZING husband I have gotten to sleep in and take naps like a champ these last 9 months. I know that it won't really make much of a difference when I am actually sleep deprived in a few weeks time-but it will make a difference to me mentally and that really does help. Or at least I'd like to think it will ;-)

8. Get Sibling Gifts
If you do have other kiddos then this is something I most definitely recommend! Ransom STILL talks about the gift "Tabitha" gave him when he first met her in the hospital and it definitely put a positive spin on her entrance into our family. I personally like to make the gift something small, but also something that will hopefully be time-consuming for your child in the coming days since might as well let this Sibling gift serve two purposes! Knowing Tabitha's propensity for all things little that she can line-up and make-believe with, she is getting a set of small Princess figurines. Ransom is getting a Lego set that I know will take him a while to put together but will then serve for some good imaginative play once its together.
I am also taking my kids, since they are older, to pick out a gift for Justice too! I know it will also help them understand that we are all a family. Spoiler: It'll probably be a stuffed animal since both of my children put a HIGH PRIORITY on sleeping with a trillion stuffed animals.

9. Stock up your devices. 
You may not have a smart phone, but I do recommend having something that "glows" ready for those nighttime feedings when staying awake is next to impossible. I personally like trashy TV ( see America's Next Top Model) to keep me awake, but I also like easy to read Non-fiction ( I'm thinking about splurging on Elizabeth Gilbert's latest book in the Kindle version for this baby). But even if it's some mindless game App that you know will keep your eyelids open, set yourself up with a few options. They will be helpful, I promise.
Also, if you have kids, I'm just going to give you a FREE PASS right now for the unlimited amount of screen time they are about to get in the coming weeks. Sure, it shouldn't last forever, but there are certain seasons when watching educational, calm shows are definitely worth it to save your sanity.
We watch the following (some more than others):
Daniel Tiger, Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood, Wild Kratts, Little Bear, Word World, Octonauts and Dinosaur Train.
P.S. Also, I personally like to have a breastfeeding App on my phone to help me know when my last feeding was. There are a million free ones to chose from and I personally like knowing which side I started on last, and just how long ago that was....I promise it all starts to bleed together pretty fast!

10. Clean off your cameras/phones. 
Your picture taking really IS going to hit an all time high in the next few weeks, I'm thankful to say that that has not changed with any of my children. I am so grateful for every single one of the millions of pictures and videos of my babies- and I know I will never regret having taken any of them. As much as I am not looking forward to the lack of sleep and craziness after Justice is born, I also really can hardly wait to see his little face. I took the time to download all the pictures from my phone onto my computer ( thus freeing up all that extra space) and then backing up my computer to make sure everything was safe and sound in case of crashes.

My Own Bonus Crazy-Check-List: 
Along with taking my kids to the Pumpkin Patch and purchasing Sibling gifts and making freezer meals- I also had a few other things on my own personal check list. I turned Justice's future room into yet-another incarnation of a guest room. It had had a twin guest bed in it, since my Brother-in-law moved into our guest room several months ago, but once again I needed to house not just single people in my guest room again so another shuffle took place! I am happy with the results and once again SO thankful for the largeness of our home! What a blessing!!

I also wanted to prepare for any extra visitors we might have to our home in the coming weeks. I do hope people will drop by and visit when I'm spending a lot of time in-doors, and I love fall decor so I was on a serious search for the perfect fall Mum. I only found one I liked on Friday and now that I have my fall door in place, my house cleaned ( minus the every-day clutter of my two other kiddos) and my hospital bag packed I am ready for Justice to arrive in a week ( or less!)

October 09, 2015

I'm so over the rainbow ( this week's homeschool theme).

I wrote a post earlier this week about my low expectations after Justice is born-but what I may not have made clear is that my expectations PRE-Justice's birth have also taken a significant nose dive! hahah! I think you'll probably see a pretty radical downward spiral in regards to these Homeschool Theme posts in the weeks ahead. I actually think-without looking-that I may only have two more themes even remotely planned out before I just peter off into I guess that's about all the time we have left, folks ;-)

That said-we will have "completed" ( used in the loosest sense of the word) 9 weeks of school at that point which deserves some kind of extreme reward.....I'll allow for you to all come up with a suitable reward for me since it looks like Ransom will be getting his Light Saber and I have no need for one of those...

So anyway, this week our theme was Rainbows/Colors. I had grand notions of doing a color wheel and discussing color mixing and such-but NONE of that happened. It mostly had to do with my failure of a "science experiment" on Monday when I tried to do the Milk/food coloring/dish soap activity and it utter failed....twice! I still don't know what I did wrong. Here is Ransom trying to swirl the colors after they failed to do so on there own:

Anyway, I basically gave up at that point...hahaha! Which is kind of ridiculous, I know, but such is life sometimes...Anyway, maybe you'll have better luck with this seemingly "impossible to fail" project?! Here's the video: 

We did however do a couple of Rainbow themed things this week that DID turn out:

Activity One: At the end (and beginning) of the Rainbow

I found this really great printable  which I printed and then laminated so that Ransom could just use a dry-erase marker to write the beginning and end sounds of the words on the rainbow. Once again I found that Ransom's concentration was much to be desired and even though there were only 16 pictures that he needed to do we ended up having to do half one day and half another day. *sigh* And yet, these are the very reasons I am the age of 5 I'm all about him learning in lots of different ways than just stuck at the table doing a project with me....

You'll need:
laminator ( if you don't have one then just do the second half of the worksheet...its not as fun, but doesnt require the added laminating)

Activity Two: Taste the Rainbow:

Once again I found a great printable , and bought two bags  ( Ok fine, I bought three bags and ate one myself) of Skittles and then we set about practicing a bunch of great math skills using candy as an obvious bribe. Ransom had to sort and count each color of Skittle, then write the number into the chart. He then had to add certain colors together. It took him FOREVER. But he finally enjoyed the "fruits" of his labor. I realized as he was telling me what he thought each color flavor was going to be-that he had never HAD skittles before! Ha!

I also used some old stacking cups for Tabitha to sort her skittles by color which she looooooved doing. In fact, she didn't really even want to eat the skittles she was having so much fun moving them from cup to cup.

You'll need:
bonus: colored cups for sorting

Activity Three ( four and five): Balloon Rainbow

So this activity turned out to be the one that kept on giving! It started with an idea I had in my mind that only "sorta" worked when I executed it-which was to put sticky notes on the wall in the shape of a rainbow-each sticky note had a sight word on it. Then I had corresponding balloons with the same sight word on it for Ransom to then stick to the wall and once he was complete he would have made a pretty rainbow. Well, as you can see it did not look awesome or pretty AT ALL...infact, I think calling it a rainbow is a bit generous. That said, Ransom didn't seem to care and he got some good sight word practice in ( reading them first from the sticky note and then the balloon).

THEN as the balloons stuck horribly to the wall and started falling almost immediately, leaving my house looking the day-after-a-party like I came up with a new game for Ransom. The balloons had happily been kicked and moved about throughout the day by both my kids so I sat happily in a chair ( win!) and yelled out sight words and then Ransom proceeded to run around the house looking for the balloon with the right word on it! He had great fun! He got more was a win. the time Friday arrived all the balloons were collected in a sad pile in the living room, mostly deflated and sad, forgotten by my children. SO as a last I told Ransom that if he could read the word off the balloon then he'd get to pop it. BOY WAS THIS A HIT! He even let Tabitha pop some of them ( after he'd read the word) and he ended up only getting one word wrong out of 15! Hooray! I think he's got it!! BONUS: Tabitha then spent the next hour lovingly playing with the pile of popped balloon debris. Go figure.

You'll need:
Colored Balloons
Sticky notes
Permanent Marker


We ended up not getting to the library this week because we had an errand on post to do when we normally went: But aren't my kids cute with their Daddy?!

October 06, 2015

October baby thoughts.

October is a strange month for me this year. This year it's the month I'm more than likely going to have a, I suppose Justice could surprise us all and be super late and arrive in very early November-but either way we're talking October is the month where we get really really real about having another baby.

I think its mostly strange to me because there once was an October where I spent the entire month trying NOT to have a baby. ( Here's one of my favorite posts from that month). Putting two years worth of perspective between then and now has taught me a lot. There is nothing like being able to "forget the pain" of a certain scenario to give you some new that said I've been thinking about how incredible it is that next week I'll be at 38 weeks....which is incidentally how many weeks Tabitha miraculously made it to in her own gestation....just because it is happened 2 years ago does not make it any less miraculous ( if you are somehow unfamiliar with what I'm talking about-check out the "Tabitha/Priscilla tab at the top of my blog to catch you up). It was truly incredible.

I don't really know what to expect from the upcoming months- I think I've mentioned a couple hundred times already that I plan to have incredibly low expectations of myself and my kids during this upcoming season. We're going to all try to stay alive and I'm going to try and not scar my children with any major freak-outs or extended periods of time when I haven't showered
( well...definitely the first one.) and that's about it. If there is anything I've learned from having two other children it is that there is often too much pressure put on those first months of having a baby...and the pressure usually comes from the inside!

So here are the three things that are weighing on my mind the most about the upcoming season:

1. Sleep. Oh my word! I love sleep soooooo much! It is basically Jesus, my family and then sleep in the list of my favorite things. I also do not do well without it. I remember being SHOCKED after Tabitha was born that I could fall COMPLETELY asleep with Ransom wide awake next to me ( I never thought I'd fall asleep with my kids basically unattended)-but it turned out that with the glorious babysitter of Daniel Tiger and an iPad I did in fact do so quite frequently. I'm just really worried about what levels my child-care is going to reduce to now...with not one, but two children who will still be getting there full 11 hours of sleep each night and who will be rearing to go at 7:30am every morning. Ugh. I am not sure how I'm suppose to swing this season....seriously. How's it done?!?!

2. Tabitha. Holy moly. Girlfriend is attached to her mommy. Unlike Ransom, who-thanks to the craziness of our circumstances-had already learned the hard truths that Mommy was not the end-all for love and attention by the time Tabitha came along.
Tabitha has not learned said lesson. She's got some serious territorial issues to sort through and I have a feeling the fallout is not going to be pretty.

3. Colic. Ransom was not a happy baby. And sure, it was 5 years ago but you don't forget things like that. You just DO. NOT. FORGET. the screaming. So much so that in a lot of ways I fear the possibility of colic more than actual labor. ( Because labor does not last for months) . I am praying every moment that I think of it, that Justice will NOT be a colicky baby. I know there are worse things in the world, but honestly, when it's happening to you, you'll be hard pressed to think of one.

So that's where we stand as I look the end of this pregnancy in the face. I am still in awe of how beautifully and completely the Lord has answered my "healthy pregnancy, healthy baby" prayers and I am trusting in Him fully that He will carry that through into Justice's life outside in the world! Here's to the last few weeks of being the parent to 'only' two kids! EEK!!!  I can't wait to look back at this little list of "fears" in a few weeks time and laugh at them all....because whether it is these three things or-more than likely a whole new set of say, BAT BITES , we will somehow get through it all!

October 02, 2015

Teeth week!

Monday started off like this:
Me ( in a fake perky voice) : "Ransom, this week our school theme is "teeth!"
Ransom ( in a grumbly voice): "All there is to know about teeth is: BRUSH YOUR TEETH! That's it. Done."

So yes, this week was a bit rough- I had to carry my spanker around in my back pocket for a certain 2 year old and I got a bad cold that has not helped my awesome pregnancy tiredness. But we pushed on and some schooling did happen.

Also, if you're wondering about this week's theme: it came thanks to my kid's dentist appointment on Wednesday. That's right, I used a dentist appointment as our "field trip". *high fives all around*

Activity One: Good foods for teeth

Even though Ransom insisted he had nothing to learn about teeth, it turns out he didn't know everything ( shocker) so after a quick lesson in cavities he did this cutting and gluing exercise where he glued the "good" sugars on the happy tooth and the "bad" foods on the sad tooth. ( something like this printable here)

You'll need: 

Activity Two: Shark Teeth #1 Game
Ransom really liked this "game" which I played with him. First he would spin the spinner ( I got a package of spinners at the Dollartree) and then he would have to write the number on his paper and a plus sign. Then he would stick the proper number of corresponding teeth on the top part of the shark's mouth.
Then I would do the same and he would have to write my number as the second part of his equation, while I put my shark teeth on the bottom of the sharks mouth. Then Ransom had to count all the teeth and put an equal sign and finish off his equation. Hopefully this taught him more about the making of addition problems.

He looooved this game.

You'll need: 

Shark Printable 
sheet of white foam paper to cut into teeth
spinner or dice

Activity Three: Shark Teeth #2
Since Ransom seemed to gain the understanding of equations we moved on to this printable where he did more "shark teeth" addition.  since I realized he had only been doing equations where he read the problems from left to right not on top to bottom. This was good practice for that concept.

I say that but it took FOOOOOREEEEEEVER to get Ransom to concentrate long enough to finish this one worksheet. *sigh*

You'll need: 

Activity Four: Tooth Brush Stamps
To continue our work on sight words I found this printable of tooth brushes with sight words on them: Printable here.  However he already knew quite a few so I got the idea to download the printable and then use photoshop to erase some of the words and put in different words. It worked great!

Then Ransom just had to read the word and then use letter stamps to put the word on the tooth brush. It was a pretty fun way to learn some new words. Here is Ransom thinking hard about what a word is...

You'll need:
letter stamps
Possibly photoshop unless you want to use the words already on their worksheet

Activity Five: Lost Teeth
With our same sight words I printed off some little teeth images that had happy little faces. I then wrote the sight words on them and hid them around the room. Ransom then had a piece of paper with the words listed. I told him that the dentist had lost some teeth and he needed help finding them. Ransom then had to read the word on the paper and try to find that word. It ended up not working that way....instead he went around finding the words, so I just had him read the words when he found them. I think we could have just gone without the paper listing all the words. Ah well, such is life.

You'll need: 
tooth printables

Teeth Books: 

In terrible news we learned that our Play N' Learn story time at the library lost its funding. MAJOR BOO! Luckily we've found an alternative story time at a different library for next week. I'm still majorly bummed about this development. *sigh*

As for our trip to the dentist?! Well, my kids had a GRAND OL' TIME!!! With all the iPads, play stations and TV screens everywhere they hardly realized that the event had anything to do with teeth at all. Kids these days....

September 25, 2015

Fall Theme Homeschool edition

Well friends, apparently it is wouldn't know it if you got dropped into San Antonio TX and just went by the weather. It was very much in the 90s and muggy all week. I barely went outside, being all giant and pregnant and suffering from my own brand of hot flashes as it is...and knowing that I'm facing yet another flaming day at the Soccer fields tomorrow I pretty much have a bad attitude about this week being the first week of fall.

I tell you all this to say that when I planned for this week's homeschool theme to be "Fall" I really thought I would be able to pull it off in style just through shear will and the use of well-placed fall decor. I think I was wrong.

Sure, we got off to a pretty good start-the kids and I put out our fall decorations and they "scattered" all my fall gourds spot. In a pile. Seriously, we need to work on their decorating eye.

After that we did get started on a few Autumn themed homeschool activities but honestly, my books were a bust this week....and one of my activities I didn't even have the heart to attempt-so I'll start there:

If you happen to live in a part of the country where the change in seasons is ACTUALLY HAPPENING. Then I'd totally do this cool Leaf Science Project, its just three pages mostly about observation and I think it's perfectly suited for the 4-6 year old set, and maaaaaybe in like December when "Fall weather" hits San Antonio we will actually get to do this one. BOO. *Pout*

Now to the activities we DID do:

Activity One: Leaf Sight Words

The idea is we are working on sight words in such a way that it is not "work" or involve flash cards of any kind- This "game" required Ransom to identify sight words that were written on leaves that I had printed out on colored paper ( I used this printable) on red/yellow/orange/brown construction paper), and if he got the word right then he got to attach it to his bare tree.
We did this activity twice this week and it definitely seemed to be a painless way for him to work on his words!

Tabitha also enjoyed putting the leaves on the Tree and Ransom was sweet enough to let her attach some of his leaves. I suppose I could have once again done some letter leaves for her, but I had already written up all my words and I really wanted Ransom to work on all of them....neeeeext tiiiiime.

You'll need:
A large piece of paper ( for your tree)
Brown marker
autumn colors construction paper
tape ( I used sticky tac for my leaves and it worked waaaay better)

Activity Two: "The" tree picture

I noticed that one of the words Ransom was struggling with last week was "The" so this week we did a little picture story where he got to glue scraps of colored paper onto a tree, I had written a sentence below it with all the "the"s left out and Ransom had to write them in. This ONE little activity totally solidified the word in his mind! Now, if I can just come up with a sentence and a picture for every sight word and we'll be golden! haha!

You'll need:
White paper
glue stick
autumn colored construction paper for ripping

Activity Three: Acorn Addition
So I found these fake acorns in the Dollar section of Target and I was all excited about using them for Ransom's addition problems this week...but when it came down to him doing his addition problems he chose to use little plastic action figure men ( also from the Dollar section at Target...oh how I love you, "One Spot"!) instead. So, in the end my Fall theme went out the window...but he did his addition no problem.!

You'll need: 
fake acorns ( that don't get used)
addition worksheet

In the end Tabitha L-O-V-E-D the acorns and played with them all suppose it was still worth my $1.

As for my book I said, pretty much ALL my fall books were major fails. All accept the one I already owned and it is truly a gem, I have loved it since my own childhood- GO FIND THIS BOOK:

So, in other homeschooling news: This week we came up with a new "plan" to deal with a rather bad attitude Ransom was getting when doing his piano practice and I decided to just go ahead and extend it to ALL his schooling. It's rather revolutionary and also quite controversial and its called "Bribery"
Ransom is "earning" a light saber that he saw ( YESS!!!! IT WAS IN THE ONE SPOT AT TARGET!) and was begging for-so now he knows that if he does all his school activities without complaint and with a positive attitude he gets a sticker on his earning chart. We're on day 5 and it's going great. I am not above bribery. Period.

September 18, 2015

Dino Week!

This week was a really crazy week mentally for me- we had something going on nearly every evening until late-and that was hard for this pregnant mama. I am feeling the end of this pregnancy more and more. But, in the midst of all that busyness we had some really good homeschool times! In fact, some of our very best, I think! If anything as the week continued and we got busier with all our extra activities we had less time to do cool stuff and the week kinda got harder. Where is my happy middle ground?! It is so hard to find sometimes!

This weeks theme was Dinosaurs!!! Definitely a fun one! And there was SO MANY good resources for Dino activities and SO MANY Dino books that it was really hard to choose! But this is what we did at the Wilson House:

Activity One: Craft Dinosaur Egg/Dinosaur search

So, I sadly threw away the packaging but basically a few weeks ago when I was buying other homeschool supplies in the glorious Dollartree I found the rare "non dollar item"...I almost didn't buy it because it was $2.48 and that seemed super pricey surrounded by all the $1 items but the cool factor won out and I purchased this little "dinosaur excavation kit" -it looked like an egg made out of hard sand that came with a little paint brush and I was curious to see how fun it would be....but turns out it was a GREAT success! And a great introduction to Dinosaurs being extinct and how Scientists learn about them today (by their bones!). Bonus: it took Ransom FOREVER to chip away at that egg! hahaha! Inside was a tiny rubbery dino skeleton and he loved it. "Totally worth $2.48!" Said the cheapest mother in history.

While Ransom was working on his egg ( so glad I didn't get one for Tabitha too! It would have been waaay too hard for her to get into and it would have been frustrating! I definitely recommend this for the 4+ set.) Tabitha found little dinosaurs that I had hidden in our Sand Box.

If you have not purchased yourself some Molding Sand you need to do it right away! I love it so much, I really want to buy more! Thankfully the sand that was gifted us well over a year ago is STILL going strong! ( Thanks Aunt Donnave!) And while I plan to get some more for one of my kid's "need" present for Christmas we really are doing surprisingly well with the stuff we have ( even though you inevitably lose a little bit to the floor every time you play with it!)

You'll need:
Dinosaur Egg ( I saw these at two different Dollar Trees so I feel like they are definitely excessible) but here is a much more expensive one on Amazon.
A baking tray
Dollar store dinosaurs.
A Broom-because your sand clean up is gonna be extensive. Trust.

Activity Two: Dinosaur Bone Classification ( measuring)

While my kids were working on Dinosaur excavations in the dining room I was throwing together the ingredients for your classic Salt Dough. (Mix 2 cups flour, 1 cup salt, 1 cup water and stir until almost fully mixed. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. )
 So when Ransom was ready later in the morning he and I created our own Dinosaur bones. He had a lot of fun molding them into "bone" shapes and it was my job to make sure that they were varying in sizes and shapes.
We then threw those suckers in the oven at 250 for about 2 and half hours ( my oven runs hot so maybe close to three?) and then Ransom was VERY excited to see his "play dough" creations turn into BONES!

After the bones had cooled I wrote a letter on the back of each Bone with a Sharpie and then Ransom set to work "classifying them" like a real scientist.
Using a little measuring tape Ransom had to measure the length of each bone. He then had to write the Letter and then the number ( in inches, and we rounded heavily) on his piece of paper.

Ransom: Practiced both Letter and Number handwriting without evening realizing it. ( HIS LEAST FAV activity) and worked on some measuring math skills. Score, double score.

Tabitha: Surprisingly had a HUGE blast playing with the dinosaur bones when we were done with our activity. She pretended to measure them and she spent a lot of time identifying the letters on the back of each bone as she took them on and off of the tray.  Bonus! I didn't even see that coming as far as a learning opportunity for her too! Hooray!

You'll need:
Baking Tray
Measuring tape/ruler ( I think, in hindsight a ruler would have been easier)
TIME ( you'll have a break between making your bones and doing your "learning" activity. Either do it on separate days or factor in your time)

Activity Three: Sight Wordosauras

This was my favorite activity of the week! I knew it would be and I was way excited about doing it! First I taped different colored dino foot prints ( different colors for each kid) on my floor. Ransom's foot prints had 5 different sight words that I wanted to work on this week ( I repeated each one 3 times). And then on Tabitha's I had letters that I thought she might be having trouble with ( turns out she knows all but one letter now...girlfriend is picking things up!)

I gave each kid a Dinosaur Hat to wear ( just for fun! picked up at the Dollar Tree, obvi)

Game 1: Say each word/letter as you STOMP through the footprints
Game 2: I yell out a letter/word and they have to LEAP to the footprint with the corresponding letter/word.

Both kids LOVED this activity. Ransom did it several times even though he had a hard time with two of the words ( as I suspected ).  To help him take the time to stop and think about the words he didn't know I had him ROAR like a dinosaur before reading the hard words. That helped a lot.

Ransom worked on: Go, It, Is, The, And
Tabitha mastered her whole alphabet

You'll Need:
Construction paper and the ability to draw a Dino Footprint ( which I didn't so I cut out this printable as my shape). I was able to fit two prints per piece of paper.

Bonus: Dinosaur Hats.

Activity Four: Sightword Gems ( not really dino related....oops! If you can think of a connection let me know! haha!)

Using this awesome Printable site that has a TON of early sight words ready to print off, I printed off the 5 sight words for the week that we had already worked on. Ransom then had to write them and then find them and place a "gem" over the correct sight word. He could easily see through the "gems" and tell if he'd made a mistake which was nice, and it was way more fun then doing flash cards!

You'll need:
Flat marbles ( found at the Dolla Tree, per usual!)

* After we had already finished, I remembered that I had some great sleeves I could have used so that I could not only re-use the bottom but also the tracing part! Therefore I'll be doing that in the future and using dry-erase markers

Activity Five: "types" of Dinosaurs
Before you think we finally started to get technical with this week's theme, forget it! hahaha! Instead, I re-used my sand box with the dinosaurs with Ransom this time. He had to find all the dinosaurs and then "classify them" into groups. He chose to do by color so after he had grouped them all he then had to graph them on his graph paper.

You'll need:
Dinosaurs of various shapes, sizes, colors
Sand ( optional, but fun)
Graph paper

Activity Six: How Many Dinosaurs? 

I wrote about 6 ( the attention span of my 5 year old is shocking) small addition equations on a little white board ( more fun, save paper) and then I showed him how he could use his dinosaurs to help him do the addition equations. He was very quick with this activity and is definitely mastering his addition concepts!

You'll need:
Dinosaurs for counting
Paper or white board with equations


WOW! Looking back at that post I'm really pretty proud we fit so much in! And to think I was lying awake at 4:30am this morning thinking about how little time we seemed to have to do homeschool activities! Hehe! Silly me! Anyway, I hope you will have fun with some of these activities in your own home-Dinosaurs are SUCH fun and I almost feel like we could have done another week!! I think this is a week we'll have to repeat in the future :-)