Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Gift

Well, the day of delivery came and went.  Here's our story with photos.....

At approx. 1:30 a.m. on June 18th, I got up to use the bathroom and noticed a thunderstorm brewing.  I made a joke to The Farmer, "Maybe we should name him stormy".  I had no idea what the future would hold.

By 2:30 a.m. the smoke detectors started beeping.  Our electricity went out.  We got up around 3:30 a.m. and lit a few candles.  I suggested The Farmer go to his mom's and try to call the power company.  (She still has a corded phone.)  I am only thinking about getting my last shower in before heading off for the cesarean. I waited anxiously as he left.

Upon arriving back minutes later, he said there was no need to call as he could see the truck lights down the road by the substation.  The utility crew was already at work.  Oh.....thank you God!

By 4:30 a.m., still no electricity.  Now I'm getting worried again.  I ask The Farmer to take me to the substation so we can see how much longer.  (We're supposed to be at the hospital before 6:00 a.m. and it's a 35 minute drive.  I have not yet packed and can't see in the closet without a light.)

It's starting to get daylight as we head down the road.  There are two trucks and two utility workers weathering the rain trying to get us power.  I know one of them.  I used to work with his sister.  Nice family. We pull up and I ask if there's any estimate as to how much longer.  One is on the phone and says just a few minutes.  The other comes over to the vehicle and says lightning struck the transformer and it could be a few hours.  I mention that we have to be at the hospital in an hour as I'm delivering a baby today.  He says they will try to switch us over to another line in the mean time.  I am so grateful for these men, up half the night, trying to get our power back.  I thank them profusely as we drive off.

I mention to The Farmer maybe we should call the hospital and see if there's any way I can clean up there before my procedure.  He takes me to his mother's to use the phone.  I call and they graciously say I can take a shower if we arrive early.  I then call my sister to let her know we have no power so she can let dad know, just in case it's not back on when he comes to stay with the other kids.

We head back home.  I try to pack using Ruben's little flashlight.  It's 5:00 a.m. as we're heading out the door.  Suddenly, the lights came on!  The Farmer says, "Quick, get in the shower!"  I make a scramble for it.    At 5:30, we head off to the hospital.

Upon arrival, a nurse escorted us to our room.  As she prepped the computer and monitor, we snapped a couple of photos....

Ready or we go....

At 8:14 a.m. we are blessed with a beautiful son, Levi, J.C., 9 lbs. 1 oz., 20.5 inches long.  

While I was being stitched up, The Farmer went between the baby and I.  Then the Farmer cut the cord.

I can hear him cry.  I'm sobbing with a mother's love over that prayerfully awaited cry.  Thank you God....Thank you Lord!   

Levi is bathed and cleansed.  "Then the Lord said to Moses, "Now set the Levites apart from the rest of the people of Israel and make them ceremonially clean."  Numbers 8:5-6

Approx. 45 minutes later, we are reunited in recovery.  He's beautiful!  

Unfortunately, I had a reaction to the anesthesia and wasn't able to hold him and nurse as soon as I wished.  Levi was also having low blood sugar issues.  

We arrived back in our room at approx. 10:00 a.m.  My sister and RileyAnn were there waiting.  

Big sister's in love.....

Notice the John Deere colored hat The Farmer chose for his son.  He said he thought Ruben would like it ;-)

The next day big brother and another big sister came....

The following day, Grandpa and cousins came...

Levi wasn't quite as happy as cousin Josie.  

6-21-12  Upon release, Levi had lost 10% of his birth weight so appointments were set up for a weight check the next day.  We were finally able to go home, though he wasn't thrilled about his car seat.  

Everyone was happy to be home.  

6-22-12  The next day, back we went for a weight check....

He was down to an 11% loss of birth weight.  We had to meet with a dr., who told us to supplement the breast milk with formula.  We also met with a lactation consultant and attempted to get a breast pump without success. 

6-25-12  Back to dr. for another weight check.  Levi had now lost 13% of his birth weight.  Our 9 lb. + boy, was only 7 lbs. 13 oz.  He was failing to thrive.  The dr. examined him and couldn't find anything physically wrong.  Since there was some cause for concern with his kidney during a prenatal ultrasound, we were sent for a kidney ultrasound.  

After some finagling, we also located a breast pump, but only had an hour to pick it up.  I stayed with Levi for the ultrasound and The Farmer went to get the pump.  Did I mention we were expecting this visit to be a 10 minute weight check?  We were planning to take the other kids for an ice cream treat after since they'd been so helpful.  By this point, they had been waiting in the van nearly 3 hours. 

I was exhausted, parched, and feeling like a failure of a mother.  On the verge of tears, a sweet nurse helped me get Levi to the registration area for the ultrasound.  The registration lady treated me like a 3rd class citizen at best.  We were sent back to the waiting room to wait.  These last few days felt as if that thunderstorm just kept rolling through over and over with little sleep and post natal hormones raging.  Was it ever going to end?

Shortly, I spotted an older lady coming toward me wearing an apron that said "Volunteer Services".  You know babies seem to attract everyone.  She was looking adoringly at Levi and said with a smile, "I haven't been that content in years."  She then offered me something to drink, "coffee or ice water?"  I could feel the tears starting to sting as I whispered, "water".  She returned with a large styrafoam cup full of ice water. Her kindness was like living water. 

Eventually Levi's name was called and he had his ultrasound.  When he was finished, I let the ultrasound technician lead me to an entrance where I hoped The Farmer would find me.  By this point, I felt so weak and small.  Soon thereafter, The Farmer came back for us.  He got the pump and had treated the kids to ice cream.  

6-26-12 Today was Levi's due date. He seemed to wake up and want to eat.

I needed to see the dr. I had been taking an antibiotic for an infection in my incision and since broke out in a rash on my abdomen. I called the on call dr. last night and she wanted me to come in right away, but The Farmer and I were too weary. So we put it off till this morning.

Thankfully, my incision is healing and the dr. felt I was allergic to the surgical scrub they used before the cesarean. So we picked up some hydrocortisone cream, got a few groceries and headed home. It is very apparent to me that our bodies are not made for all the synthetic products of this world.

6-27-12 Back for another weight check. Finally, Levi gained 1.5 oz!! This was his first gain since birth. We were scheduled to come back again in 2 days for another weight check, but opted to have a public health nurse come into our home instead. It's too much running and too hard to keep leaving the other kids. After breast feeding, pumping, and supplementing with formula, we are exhausted. Also. with the great weather, The Farmer needs to get his hay made.

We were so thankful to get through delivery with a live baby, we never anticipated all these struggles. At the beginning of this pregnancy, I was diagnosed with PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome), which makes it difficult to carry babies to full term. I have since learned the difficulties of breast feeding with this Syndrome as only 1/3 of women with PCOS are successful. This has been a very emotional battle for me.

We are thankful for all the kind words, thoughts and prayers of our family and friends. But, we are not out of the woods yet. Please continue to pray that Levi thrives and grows healthy and strong like his siblings. God has blessed our family and given us such a precious gift.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Name Game

I can't believe the day is finally here.  Today, we get to meet our son.   We're heading off to the hospital for the scheduled c-section.

One of the most common questions I was asked during all my pregnancies was, "Do you have a name picked out?"  My response is, "I have a list."  You see, I like to meet my babies before I name them.  My 92 year old grandmother laughed out loud when I told her this.  She said she never heard that before.  But I figure your name stays with you for life so it should require some thought.

It took us 3 days to name Ruben.  My sister was going mad.  She kept calling wanting a name.  We had it narrowed down to Ruben, Benjamin, Levi, and Emery.  The Farmer like Ruben and I said great....Ruben James it is! I actually love his name and am very glad we chose it.  In the beginning, many people said, "Ruben...huumm, I had an uncle named Ruben"....or....."I knew an old farmer named Ruben".  But as time goes on, it really fits him and we can't imagine him as anyone else.   He likes it too, especially when we read the Bible story about Joseph in the well and his brother Reuben plans so save him.

I typically like Old Testament names, especially for boys.  There just seems to be strength there.   I was intrigued to find a chapter in the book "Never Before in History: America's Inspired Birth" by Gary Amos and Richard Gardiner, regarding Nomenclature or the "naming practices" of the first New England settlers.  Did you know, according to Elsdon Smith who wrote Story of Our Names, "before the Protestant Reformation, the English used only about twenty names for males and another twenty for females"?  However, only 3 of the those male names came from the Bible: John, Thomas, and Philip, and all from the New Testament.  This was until the passengers of the Mayflower changed things.

According to James Savage in his Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England, the Pilgrims gave their children Old Testament names at three times the rate of their own names.  The author contributes this increase to two factors: "a readily available translation of the Bible into English and the rise of Puritanism with its emphasis on the Bible".  If you can get a copy of Never Before in History, I recommend reading the chapter.  It's very fascinating!

Well, as we head off this morning, here's our long awaited list of names with meanings I found online.....

Amos - carried by God; loading; weighty; burden bearer
Andrew - courageous; a strong man; manly
Cashton (Cash) - wealthy man; money; vain; man at peace
Charles - free man; strong (this is Riley's personal favorite - she wants to call him Charlie)
Eli - my God, exalted; lofty, the offering or lifting up
Esau - he that acts or finishes; hairy (every ultrasound over the last couple of weeks shows he has a lot of hair)
Henry - ruler of the estate (this is my sister's personal favorite - she wants to call him Hank)
Ira - vigilant; watchman; making bare; pouring out
Isaac - laughter
Jed - shortened of Jedidiah meaning beloved of God in Hebrew
Jesse - wealthy; strong; gift; oblation; one who is
Joseph - increase; addition (this is Ruben's personal favorite)
Levi - united; associated with Him; joined
Philip - war like; horse lover (The Farmer's fathers name)
Timothy - honor of God; valued of God (my grandfathers name and of course the favorite of my grandmother)
Tobias (Toby) - pleasing to God; the Lord is good

What do you think?  Feel free to comment.

"Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
Is the immediate jewel of their souls:
Who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis something, nothing;
'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him
And makes me poor indeed."

William Shakespeare from "Othello"

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Mystery of History Volume 2 Lesson Plan

You may remember my Lost in History post last fall when I decided to scrap our entire history plan and start something new.  Well, I'm glad we made the switch.  This week we finished the MOH Vol. 2 and it worked out well for our family.

I must admit I was leery at first given MOH is known for following the classical method of education.  However, it was very easy to morph into Charlotte Mason.  We mostly used MOH as a spine, adding great literature/living books to our study.  RileyAnn kept a history notebook, but we didn't do many of the suggested projects.   Keep in mind we spent the first 15 weeks of the school year studying Ancient Rome and the life of Jesus Christ with our original plan.  You can find those plans/resources here.

MOH Vol. 2 is a study of the early church and the middle ages.  There were a few lessons that overlapped, but I took it as review.  The following is a loose plan of how and what books I added to our MOH study....

 Mystery of History
 Added Resources
Lesson 1 - Pentecost and the First Followers of Jesus  
Vos Story Bible Ch 57-63
Lesson 2 - Saul, Who is Also Called Paul 
Vos Ch 64-68
Lesson 3 - Paul's Missionary Journeys 
Vos Ch 69-72
Lesson 4 - Nero 
Vos Ch 73-74 
Lesson 5 - Martyrs of the Early Church
Vos Ch 75-76 

Lesson 6 - Josephus

Lesson 7 - Masada
Vos Ch 77-80 - Exploring Ancient Cities of the Bible
8 - Dead Sea Scrolls
Vos Ch 81 - Grew Salt Crystals  
9 - The Buried City of Pompeii
Vos Ch 82 - Pompeii....Buried Alive 
10 - Bar-Kokhba
Vos Ch 83 
11 - The Apostle's Creed
Vos Ch 84 - memorize the Creed
12 - St. Valentine
Vos Ch 85-86 - St. Valentine's Day 
13 - Diocletian Divides the Roman Empire
Vos Ch 87
14 - Constantine I and the Edict of Milan
Vos Ch 88 
15 - The Golden Age of India 
India: The Culture, The People, The Land
16 - The Maya 
Vos Ch 89 - The Mystery of the Maya: Uncovering the Lost City... 
17 - St. Augustine of Hippo
Vos Ch 90 
18 - The Holy Bible and the Vulgate of Jerome
Vos Ch 91 - St. Jerome and the Lion 
19 - St. Patrick of Ireland
Vos Ch 92 - St. Patrick's Day 
20 - Attila the Hun

21 - Fall of Western Roman Empire
Vos Ch 93 
22 - Daily Life in the Dark Ages 
The Sword in the Tree 
A Medieval Feast
23 - King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table
Favorite Medieval Tales
24 - Justinian I and Theodora, Byzantine Empire

25 - Columba, Missionary to Scotland
Across a Dark and Wild Sea
Marguerite Makes a Book 
26 - Early Japan and Prince Shotoku

27 - Gregory the Great 
Augustine Came to Kent 
28 - The Sui and Tang Dynasties of China

29 - Mohammed and the Birth of Muslims 

30 - The Spread of Islam
Saladin - started reading, but didn't finish 
31 - Wu Zetian, Empress of China 

32 - The Epic of Beowulf 
Favorite Medieval Tales
Saint George and the Dragon 
33 - Al-Andalus....Medieval Spain 

34 - St. Boniface, Apostle to Germany

35 - The Iconoclast Controversy 

36 - Charles "Martel" and the Battle of Tours

37 - Charlemagne
Favorite Medieval Tales
38 - The Thousand and One Nights: Tales from Arabia

39 - Invasion of the Vikings 
Viking Adventure
DK Vikings 
40 - The Vikings....

42 - Alfred the Great, King of England 

43 - Lydveldid Island (Iceland) 

47 - Otto I and the Holy Roman Empire 
(you might consider Grimm's Fairy Tales, which we'd read in the past) 
48 - Vladimer I of Russia 

51 - Eric the Red and the Settlement of Greenland 
Eric the Red & Leif the Lucky 
52 - Leif Ericcson Discovers America
Beorn the Proud 
53 -  Macbeth King of Scotland

55 - William the Conqueror & the Battle of Hastings

56 - Pope Gregory VII, Henry IV & The Investiture Controversy  
The Minstrel in the Tower 
57 - The Early Crusades

59 - Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen of Two Nations 

60 - The Jews of the Middle Ages 

61 - Richard the Lionhearted, Saladin and the 3rd Crusade
Coat of Arms
The Making of a Knight: How Sir James Earned His Armor 
Created a Coat of Arms
62 - The Classic Tale of Robin Hood 
Favorite Medieval Tales
(you might consider Robin Hood of Sherwood Forest, which we'd read in the past)  
64 - St. Francis of Assisi, St. Clara and St. Dominic 
Brother Francis and the Friendly Beast 
65- The Children's Crusade
The Pied Piper of Hamelin  
66 - King John and the Magna Carta
Castle Diary: The Journal of Tobias Burgess, Page
Magna Carta 
69 - Roger Bacon

70 - The Great Khans and the Mongol Invasion of China 
(you might consider The King and His Hawk as retold by James Baldwin, which we'd read in the past) 
71 - Marco Polo Travels East 
Marco Polo 
72 - Sir William Wallace, Sir Robert the Bruce, "Bravehearts" of Scotland 
 The Door in the Wall 
74 - The Aztecs 
 Kingfisher Aztecs & Incas (1st half)
75 - The Hundred Years' War 

76 - The Black Death of Europe 

77 - The Ming Dynasty of China & the Forbidden City 
Little Pear 
78 - John Wycliffe, "Morning Star of the Reformation"  

79 - Geoffrey Chaucer & The Canterbury Tales
Chanticleer and the Fox
Favorite Medieval Tales
80 - John Huss 

81 - Life and Death of Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc - didn't finish - we've read other books about Joan of Arc in the past
82 - The Inkas of South America
Kingfisher Aztecs & Incas (2nd half) 
83 - The Ottoman Turks Take Constantinople 

84 - Johannes Gutenberg Invents the Printing Press
Fine Print - didn't finish - we've read other books about Gutenberg in the past 

You might notice that we skipped a few lessons throughout.  Since I was using this primarily for 1st and 2nd grade, there were some lessons I felt unnecessary or over their head at this point.  However, if you are using this with older students, say 4th and up, I wouldn't recommend skipping lessons.  The suggested activities and mapwork would be more pertinent with older students as well.  

We do keep a timeline and have since the beginning of our history study starting with creation and ancient Mesopotamia.  I like the Sonlight Book of Time for this.  It's an easy to store spiral bound book.  We use timeline figures from Homeschool in the Woods.   

RileyAnn also completed History Pockets Ancient Civilizations by Evan Moor.  

History Pockets: Ancient Civilizations, Grades 1-3

It's intended for grades 1-3 and covers: 

What is History?
Ancient Mesopotamia
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Greece
Ancient Rome
Ancient China
Ancient Aztec World

We spread it out over the two years we covered these early civilizations.  She ended up with a really neat ancient civilization portfolio.  I may blog about it at anther time.  

I recommend The Mystery of History by Linda Lacour Hobar.  We plan to continue with Vol. 3 in the fall.   

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Update on Snowball

Well as it turns out, Snowball is a girl.  She's thriving and soon will have some nieces and nephews to play with.     Her sister, Hazel, from a previous litter has kittens hidden under a brush pile. The kids are waiting not so patiently ;-) to play with them.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

2012-2013 School Year Planning

I've been planning for the upcoming school year for some time.  I love researching curriculum and planning.  If there was a way to make money at it, I'd be rich!  Truth be told, I'm actually a better planner than teacher. Praise God for His gift of grace.

I just watched a free seminar from Home Educating Family Convention.  It was an interview with Linda Lacour Hobar, author of The Mystery of History, regarding To Grade or Not to Grade.  She described people as being on a spectrum from thinkers to feelers.  I'm one of those check off the box thinkers.  So I need a boxed check off planner.

Last year, I bought this wonderful resource from Simply Charlotte Mason titled Planning Your Charlotte Mason Education.

  Planning Your Charlotte Mason Education

For anyone planning their homeschool whether Charlotte Mason or not, this is a wonderful resource.  Sonya Shafer gives you five simple steps for planning your school year, starting with the big picture and ending with your day.  There are lists, timetables, schedules, and charts.  It's great!   From this resource, last year I created this lesson plan page to document our studies.



Character Study





Science & Nature Study

Writing & Copywork


Oral Narration

Art & Picture Study

Handicrafts & Life Skills

Music Hymn & Composer Study

Reading & Literature


Physical Education

Field Trips & Misc.

This year, I've streamlined the lesson plan page, cutting what didn't work and adding a few new things, including color as you can see below.  

RileyAnn 3rd & Ruben 2nd             2012-2013                 Term:                          Week:            
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
The One Year Bible For Kids

Parables From Nature (29)

Mystery of History Volume 3 (84)


Galloping the Globe

Activities & Mapping

MUS Gamma

MUS Alpha

Nature Portfolio Through theYear 60

Burgess Animal Book for Children 40

Language Arts
L L for the Very Young Vol. 2 (180)

Explode the Code
4, 5, 6

Pictures in Cursive C, D, E

All About Spelling Level 2 (25)

Reading/Literature & Composition

Copywork/Narration, Recitation

All About Reading Level 1 (49)

All About Spelling Level 1 (24)

Getty Dubay
Level B

Read Alouds


Art, Picture Study, Handicrafts, Life Skills, Music, Hymn, & Composer Study

It's still a work in progress as I add and delete things, but I feel it's a good start.  

I should mention, before I arrived at this stage, I started with a 3 ring binder and one of these sheets as a header page for each child.

Resource Ideas
Bible & Character Study




Science &
Nature Study

Language Arts
& Phonics

Writing & Copywork


Reading, Poetry, & Literature

Art &
Picture Study

Music, Hymn, & Composer Study

Handicrafts & Life Skills


Behind each header sheet, I added a couple of sheets of lined notebook paper, as well as Tables of Contents from a variety of potential curricula, and book lists for the history time period we plan to study.  From there, I compared content and narrowed down which resources I thought would work best for each child.   Upon finalizing resources, I added them to the header sheet.  I then use these header sheets to plug in subjects and resources on the lesson plan page (colored above).  

When I'm finished, I will print 36 lesson plan pages to 3 hole punch and bind as our planner for the upcoming school year.  Notice how I labeled the days 1 - 5, rather than by specific dates.  This allows us flexibility when life happens.  I did include a box in the top left corner to add dates as we complete the assigned days.  I use this box as my attendance record.  

I also left a blank for term and week.  Last school year, we completed our 36 week school year in three 12 week terms.  The girls liked this, so we will do it again this year.  

NOTE.....I've been combining Riley and Ruben's plan, keeping Angel's separate.  At the high school level, we have different expectations and keep a more formal record with grades for transcript purposes.  I will blog about that as it evolves in the future.  

Let me know what you think.  How is your planning going for the upcoming year?