Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
See these men, it's 5:30 am and they seem happy to have their picture taken. We all know if I was taking pictures of women at this early time they would be hiding their faces, holding their jacket in front of them or turning away, anything to stay anonymous.
We spent our day at music lessons, Christmas shopping (looking) and ice skating.
Here's to a safe deer season. Have a great weekend.
Getting in on the hunting fun, too.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
We divided her poster into fourths. On the top left is a drawing of the Mayflower. Do you notice the perspective line? My knowledge of art is improving, thanks to Art Projects For Kids. The explanations there are really helping me to be a better art teacher for my kids. Top right are her drawings of a pilgrim and indian. She struggled with this quite a bit. She was so frustrated with trying to get the right proportion for her pilgrim woman that Lee offered lots of help with the indian. In the bottom left quadrant she searched through magazines looking for traditional Thanksgiving dinner foods and in the bottom right is a tracing of the lower 48 states with Plymouth labeled.
We have plans to make a Thanksgiving garland of some sort tomorrow. I'm thinking we'll cut out leaves from construction paper and then string them along a length of twine. Each night at dinner we'll all write something we are thankful for on a leaf. We'll do this through the month of November. I have a couple more ideas on celebrating Thanksgiving but those'll have to wait; I'm feeling a little under the weather today and best be getting to bed.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
The snow has since melted, all except the snowman and lounge chair they made. Although early for a Saturday morning, it was beautiful. I wish I had captured the white glistening on the bare trees.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Me: A dime is worth 10 cents. A penny is worth 1 cent. 10 pennies is 10 cents, so 10 pennies is the same as 1 dime.
Lou: ok (her eyes were a little hazy)
Me: If you went to a store to buy a piece of candy and it cost 10 cents you could give the clerk....
Lou: How big is the piece of candy?
Me: Big! So you could give the clerk 10 pennies or....
Lou: Like a giant candy bar?
Me: Yes. 10 pennies is the same as 1 dime. You could pay with either....
Lou: Does Wal-mart have 10 cent candy?
Me: Probably not! Now listen. You could pay with either 10 pennies or 1 dime because it's....
Lou: I have 10 cents; I can buy candy.
It's official, Math is now over.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
A Week in the Woods - a rich city kid moves to a small town and small school. The entire 5th grade looks forward to a week long camping trip each year, but not the new kid...until...well, lots of exciting things happen leading up to the camp out and the climax of the story is when Mark gets lost in the woods and Mr. Maxwell embarks on a search for him.
No Talking - Again 5th graders are at the center of this story where Lindsay and Dave begin a no talking challenge between the girls and boys. The narrator of this story is perfect; he especially reads the chapter, Insults, with such perfection that I almost wet my pants from laughing so hard at his imitation of Lindsay. The kids pit the teachers against each other until the principal steps in and tries to stop the entire challenge, but she ends up with a challenge of her own. Cute story.
Frindle - Mrs. Granger has a reputation for being the toughest English teacher around, but Nick sees it as a challenge. When he tries to stall her to avoid a homework assignment, she doesn't take the bait, but assigns him his very own special assignment, involving the dictionary. That's when the real fun and headaches begin.
We will be checking out more of Clement's audio books not only because they are fun to listen to, but keep the decibel level in the van down, definitely a bonus.
It's Sunday now and I'm still not any better. The cremes give a little relief for a while so I can actually stand up and move, but have to be showered away before nursing. The odor is quite strong and burns my eyes, I can't imagine Little J liking it too well.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Just yesterday I snapped a few more cranberry harvest pictures. Enjoy!
And Little J
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Friday, July 25, 2008
A few plans for the weekend
- celebrate St. Anne and St. Joachim by writing letters to grandparents and great grandparents
- grocery shopping
- photocopying and binding journals at Staples
- visit mom - take her out for supper
- order last of the curriculum needs for this coming school year
- start thinking about birthday ideas for the girls
- set up crib
Monday, July 21, 2008
Anyway, this week is chock full of activity. The kids started attending the 5 night Vacation Bible School at Pittsville Evangelical Free Church and today will start attending Totus Tuus at St. Joachim's Catholic Church. Totus Tuus is new to us this summer so we don't know what to expect. The kids have friends attending both events and just couldn't bear missing one or the other. The week will be full of dropping off and picking up, but it will allow me to get a few things done around home in peace. I'll only have Ray home during the day; he's not old enough for Totus Tuus yet.
Today's list of what to do (besides the normal of laundry, general pick-up and meal prep) includes:
- make cookies or bars to donate to Totus Tuus
- make real iced tea (I've never done this before)
- remove changing table from girls' room and put into baby's room, this will mean some serious cleaning and purging in the girls' room because they've used the changing table as a storage unit for the last couple of years
- call about the cost of installing a tile floor
Monday, June 23, 2008
- Developing the Long View - Purpose
- Philosophies which guide behavior to match view
- Structure to support the view
- Communication skills to enrich understanding and bring us to eternal companionship with our children
- Attitude Management because it is the attitude that keeps the fire lit
I am going to focus on element 4, which was completely new territory for me. I'd never read anything nor had a conversation with anyone about the topic of eternal companionship with our children. First she explains the need to be parent and friend at the same time. OK, I'd thought about this delicate balance before, but she quantified it for me. And believe me, for this math loving, percentage using, objective mom, that was a good thing. The basis is this, when the child is small, mom and dad are 90% parent, 10% friend. At this time children need to know the boundaries, rules, consequences to their actions. They also need a friend (a little bit); someone to read stories to them, tickle their bellies, laugh at their silly jokes and ride bikes with. As the child ages the percentages shift very gradually so that when the child reaches adulthood we parents are 90% friend, 10% parent. We've all seen situations where parents want to be their child's friend from day 1. By the time the child reaches adolescence they may be belligerent, sassy, inappropriate people. Then the parent tries to parent and the teen won't allow it, making for very difficult and messy teen years, for both the parent and child. So the percentage thing was very enlightening to me.
I also liked her guidelines for how children should navigate their way into the adult world. Starting at age 10 and ending at age 18, she lays out the common path youngsters travel as they make their way into adult conversations.
At age 10 they start to hover around, not wanting to add anything to the adult conversation, but wanting to hear every bit of it.
At age 12, if they've been allowed to hover, may begin to add to the conversations. They might say out of place statements and draw attention to themselves. This is a trial and error time for them.
At age 14, if they've been part of the adult conversations, they begin to add appropriate meaningful material. With intense emotion they may begin to challenge adults viewpoints. They are searching for adults who will have real conversation and take them seriously. If they've been pushed away during the above stages they might begin to think that adults don't care and may begin to retreat from adult conversations, especially with their parents. This is also the time where the generation gap begins, if the child is pushed away.
At age 16, the youth wants social, thoughtful, fun, companionable conversation and interaction with adults. They are nearing adulthood and their ease of joining in adult conversations now will help them enter the adult world with ease. They rarely embarrass parents at this stage. Again, if the previous stages have been denied, the teen will become very secretive. They have their emotions more under control making it appear things are calmer, but they are moving to accept the differences between parent and teen as normal and expect nothing more.
At age 18, it is time for the final shift in how the parent converses with the new adult. The parent needs to lead this transition. The teen no longer has to prove themselves, they are adults. It's time they prove they are good adults and it's their own responsibility. They need to make decisions and follow through. They need to inform parents as to their where abouts and then make good on those by actually being there. They need to be responsible, just as we adults are.
This review got very long, so thank you for sticking with me. If you are a parent of children in the 10-18 range, I believe this section of the book would be very enlightening to you.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
We had so many ideas for the week, including:
- fishing on the pond
- boat rides
- baking and freezing tons of cookies and muffins
- reading lots of little kid library books
- having a campfire and roasting marshmallows
- have a friend over one day to play
- tent out in the yard
...all in hopes of distracting them from the fact the big kids are gone. Here's what we actually got done so far. I tore apart the boys' room and DH and I began painting. DH stained and just started varnishing the bunk beds. We did have family movie night last night and had a friend over for the entire day, Monday. The bubble tent was pitched in the girls' room Sunday night; Lou and Ray have been sleeping there every night. It's only Wednesday morning. We do have two full days and a long morning ahead of us to fit in the fishing and boating, but it seems like the time is just flying.
Lord, keep the campers and counselors protected by your loving arms. Help them to come closer to you this week through singing and crafting at camp. Allow for friendships to build and provide all with safe travels home. Amen
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Weekly, I pass by a church marquee with clever sayings, proverbs, or bible verses displayed. Two or three weeks ago, this was posted:
I'm still wearing a smile. Good, I think. Dr. Meier must be on call and wants this to be a quick in and out appointment. I like that thought...in and out.
Dr. Meier walks in; he's not wearing scrubs. He's not on call today. He pulls up the roller stool close by and says, "Jen, we have to talk." As I write this my heart pounds just as it did that moment. I say, "OK, about what?" Turns out two defects were spotted during the ultrasound. Now I know why I was there so long. First, our baby has a hypoplastic nasal septum. He also has Endocardial Cushion Defect. Dr. Meier takes me into another room where we can talk at a small table instead of me on the exam table and him on the stool. He points out to me that these birth defects together strongly lead to Down syndrome. He explains using words what these defects are. He draws simple diagrams of a normal heart and our baby's heart. He points out the missing nose bone on the ultrasound picture. He tells me that I will be meeting with the Pediatric Cardiologist in the next week. I ask a few questions. He tells me a few answers. It's all a blur. All I hear is Down syndrome.....heart defect.....most likely surgery......Down syndrome.....chromosomal defects....babies don't survive......we have to make a decision.....confirmation of Down syndrome....lab evaluation.....Mayo Clinic. I hand Dr. Meier the pen. He can see I'm shaking so that I cannot write legibly. He writes some notes. He writes four questions I need to ask the cardiologist. He reads his writing to me. He gives me a great big hug and says, "Go home and talk to your husband. Call me tomorrow and we'll make any arrangements that need be."
The arrangements he's talking about include: abortion, Down syndrome confirmation by amniocentesis or do nothing and progress as usual. DH and I talk about the only options we have. We can find out if our baby boy has Down syndrome for sure or we can wait until birth and find out. We decide that information is important and empowering.
The next day I go back to the clinic for an amniocentesis. Sue is there holding my toes. Dr. Meier jokes about the $3.00 band-aid and how he read that some hospitals are asking parents to bring a three day supply of newborn diapers to the delivery because the hospitals pay $50.00 for the same diapers that a parent could by for $15.00. I wish him well on his trip to San Diego to see his grandson and he affirms me that Sue and Kristin (a genetic counselor) will call me on Friday with the test results. I get dressed and cry all the way home.
I am in full panic mode. Not the pounding heart, constricted pupils, sick to my stomach kind of panic, but a more thoughtful panic. Will this baby ever be on his own? Or will we have to care for him into our aging years? What about the trip to Hawaii we always talk about? Will that ever happen? Will I have to get involved with Social Services? How will the kids react to this news? Will they understand? Will I cry when I tell them? Will they be scared? Will I have enough time and energy to care for our baby boy as well as homeschool the other four and give them what they need? Will I ever feel deserving of fun again? Will I ever smile again? Will I feel guilty forever about wanting more children? Why do I feel like it's my fault?
I read lots of medical information about Down syndrome and Atrioventricular Canal Defect from many different websites. Mayo Clinic, American Academy of Pediatrics and others. It's all very medical and easy to read. Only the facts, no emotion involved. I can read it; I can digest it; I understand it. I walk away from the computer and I hate what I've just read. I hate that I have to read it. I hate that I have to live with it. I hate that I have to tell people my secret.
Time passed. More doctor appointments. I'd already told my mom, father-in-law, grandparents and DH's brother and sisters and a couple friends. It wasn't easy, but DH and I survived through it. I cried every time, he didn't. Then I saw the marquee.
I handed Grace a pen and she wrote the phrase down on the backside of a music theory worksheet. I couldn't forget this one. I had to spend time with it, enough time that I memorized it and inscribed it onto my brain. Just like the Lord's Prayer or the 23rd Psalm. I needed that phrase to pop into my forethought at the first sign of panic. I needed something short and real to remind me that God is good. God has a plan for me to prosper and not despair. This is part of the plan. I don't know why, I don't like it everyday, but it's my plan handed to me by God. I will accept it. I will embrace it.
I just finished reading, Road Map to Holland: How I Found My Way Through My Son's First Two Years of Down Syndrome; Jennifer Graf Groneberg writes a compelling story about her journey. Her insight and ability to love her little Avery has helped me come to terms with my own feelings towards and about our baby. For the last 6 weeks I've secretly wished this pregnancy could continue forever. I want to protect him from the cruelty of the world. Inside me no one can hurt him, no one will stare, no one will ask questions. I will be just another pregnant woman. No one will ever know my secret. I have a baby with Down syndrome inside me.
Today I feel different. I can't wait to give birth, to see his face, to feel his breathing, to smell his skin. I can't wait to experience a whole different first year than ever before. I'm still scared, but I'm no longer in a panic. I have God on my side. I have other mothers who've gone before me on my side. I have my husband and compassionate children on my side. I finally took down the original ultrasound picture of the peanut shaped baby today. Before this I couldn't. That picture reminded me of a day when all of this Down syndrome and hypoplastic nasal septum and Atrioventricular Canal Defect was unknown. It was a reminder of the days when I was just going down the same path I had gone four times before. A path I knew very well. A path I could follow with my eyes closed and still get there because I knew exactly where it lead to.
Today I replaced that original picture with a new picture. A side profile of a fully formed head with a fist held closed. My baby, our baby...the one I can't wait to meet.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Monday, June 9, 2008
Friday, June 6, 2008
Lee found this 5-Lined Skink under the front step. It's either a young or female skink based on the size and blue tail.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
A quick lick of lemon juice before the real science began.
Dip the cotton swab in the lemon juice and write a message on plain white paper. We also think a blunted toothpick would work well, because you'd get a thinner line of writing. Allow the invisible ink to dry thoroughly.
To read the secret message, hold the paper ink side down over a lightbulb until the message shows up. THIS DID NOT WORK!
With the blowdryer on HIGH, heat the paper until the message appears. THIS DID NOT WORK!
Once the kids are thoroughly discouraged by this chemistry experiment, think hard about other heating sources. Rule out the lit candle (fire hazard), microwave and oven. Then in a last ditch effort to prove to the kids you really were once a science teacher in a real school, pull out the iron, turn on high and start ironing the paper. After about 30 seconds the message will magically appear in a dark yellow, tannish color. Once the paper cooled the message wasn't as noticeable so the picture didn't turn out so well. But our secret messages were as follows:
Mom Loves Dad
Lee - cool bike
pictures of hearts and flowers
Science behind the project - the acid in the lemon juice contains carbon compounds. When those compounds are heated they turn brown (or in our case dark yellow-maybe because we diluted it a little). We also talked about ascorbic acid and how it prevents oxidation when squeezed over fruit, preventing it from turning brown. Of course, the scientific method was discussed once our original plan had failed.