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 nothingness...so 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 homeschool...at 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 practice...it was a win.

THEN...by 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 baby...now, 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 insight....so 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 crazy....like 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....