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Friday, April 18, 2014

Frozen Elsa Costume

Elsa Costume from Frozen

Of course she is singing in this picture, how can she NOT be singing Let it Go when looking just like Elsa ;)

We had a Frozen themed birthday party to attend this past weekend and J and I decided to get resourceful and see if we could come up with an Elsa outfit with what we had.  We brushed out her seriously tangled Rapunzel wig and gave it a side braid, threw on this old sparkly dress that I had from Highschool winter tolo or whatever that dance was called and I just never got rid of it, and some blue tulle/netting from her peacock costume 2 Halloweens ago.  She was pretty happy with it!  For the dress I just tied up the straps in the back so it wasn't falling off of her.  She's pretty excited to discover she had a "real" Elsa outfit and she didn't even know it!  

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Chicks 3 weeks - Such Chickens!

Chicken Chicks!

This is Trouble.  
See that tail? My kids are determined that means it's a rooster-which would be disappointing, we were looking forward to blue eggs!

So here are the chicks at around 3 weeks old.  After talking to a local farmer who raises chickens and other animals that also is part of our local Classical Conversations group was talking about getting her chicks out on pasture and mine were a whole week older so it was warm out and we gave it a try.
I first took Trouble out and tried to put him/her on the grass....that chick was REALLY chicken and scared of the grass...Trouble kept jumping back up onto my lap and chirping at me like "Save me mommy!"  When my daughter brought out the other two, the 2nd largest one (Trouble is the biggest) did the same thing, flew into my lap and was terrified of the ground.  The runt was the only one who hesitated for a second before walking around and exploring.  After a while the 2nd barred rock was watching the other and decided to give it a try...finally Trouble was like "OK, I'm the Rooster/Top Hen around here, those 2 are making me look bad I guess I'll try it out"  So he/she hopped down, tried walking on the grass for a few seconds and then got so terrified, he/she flew up towards me, landed on the back of my hand and then RAN flapping it's wings al the way up my arm and onto my shoulder, where Trouble then immediately pooped and it landed right in my lap....which I quickly shook off my dress but BUMMER because I have to wash that dress by hand!  ugh!  But in any event, the whole thing 
was quite amusing.  

Tyler, my hubby is definitely the chick magnet.  They like him the most, but he likes them more than I do too so I guess it's mutual.  Don't get me wrong, I like them well enough and think they're cute...I'm just not real comfortable/natural with animals...I had some hamsters growing up and a dog that was untrainable and a horrible pet and some cats that I really enjoyed, but I really haven't spent much time around animals in years and being a mom of 3 littles, cuddling with animals just isn't something I even think about.  So anyways, my hubby comes home and sweet talks the chicks, holds them and pets them...the love it.  My daughter also gives them lots of attention and is really good with them.  At night the chicks make a lot of noise, My daughter told them it was time to stop and be quiet...they listened...or so it seemed.  She now thinks she has magical animal powers or something lol, I told her that maybe God blessed her with a gift to be good with animals, not so much "magical powers".

These things grow so fast I can't believe it, By the time I uploaded these pictures they are already outdated!  I was looking at them today and they are really filling out!  Oh and last week when they turned 3 weeks old we picked up 3 more chicks, we got 2 Rhode Island Reds and 1 Buff Oprington...they are so cute and this batch of chicks seems even more friendly and chill than the first.  The Araucana definitively likes attention, but it's a bit more hyper and just different.  The Barred Rocks will let you hold them but they probably prefer to be left alone, whenever my husband is trying to pick them up, The Araucana (Trouble) flies onto his hand...such an attention hog.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Baby Chicks...One Week Old

Week Old Baby Chicks

I am pretty sure the chicks were about a day old when we got them so lets just say they are a week old here, I took this pictures on Monday, a week from when we got them :)  They are SO much bigger and starting to sprout feathers and test out their wings!

The brown Araucana is the only one with a name so far, We called her "Trouble" the first day because she was the most hyper and out of sorts when we first set them up in their box.  Last Tuesday J did her presentation at Classical Conversations on her new pet chicks and when she told her class the brown one was named Trouble she smirked and then said "cuz you know...(then started to sing) I knew you were trouble when you walked in...." lol.  

So far Trouble has the biggest wings and is the first to test them out..."flying" across the brooder (aka large cardboard box).  Trouble also seems to enjoy being held the most so far as well.  My husband comes home after work, goes into my closet (where they love right now) and says "Hey girls!" and they run up to him and look up at him...then Trouble will step up onto his hand when he lowers it into the box and just hang out with him.  So yeah, I can officially say I don't get jealous when my husband "picks up chicks" ok lame joke but I had to do it :P

Check out Trouble's tail feathers poking out the back!  If she turns out to be a HE then HE really will be TROUBLE! lol

The Barred Rock chicks don't have names yet but my husband's great aunts came to mind the other day and suggested naming them Helen and Margaret, my hubby seemed to like that idea but we haven't actually officially named any of them...

I'm not sure which one it is, but one of the Barred Rock chicks is afraid of the dark...we have to keep a lamp in the closet with them at night because she starts crying when it's too dark.  Our neighbors have a heat lamp from their chicks we were going to borrow but so far we have been controlling their temperature in my walk in closet with a little space heater and a digital thermometer.

I love that the dark barred rock chicks have a soft yellow underside!

Trouble startled me this morning when I went in there, she was looking up at me and then tryied to fly straight up towards my face...she got pretty high! Not high enough to get out of the box yet though!

I set their water dish up n a brick to help keep it clean and they also seem to just enjoy the brick to stand on and peck at.

I also put a small branch in there for them to perch on....I wanted them to have some entertainment so I also cut up a toilet paper roll into a couple smaller tubes and then also seem to like playing(pecking) with them.  They do poop quite a bit but Tyler just laid down a bunch of newspaper so each day I just remove the top layer of paper and reveal the fresh paper underneath so it really is no big deal....I remember having hamsters as a kid..This is not any more work that that....actually less with with easy system of the newspapers we have going.  Once they are big and in a coop...I don't mind taking care of that because at least they earn their keep with the bug eating and egg laying!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

New Additions! Baby Chicks!

Baby Chicks! 

We took the plunge!  Ever since we moved into this house about 7 months ago, we thought it would be great to have chickens, we loved the idea before but our old house was in a golf course community...I'm pretty sure backyard chickens weren't allowed!  Our neighbors here have an awesome chicken coop and we sometimes get to have some of their delicious eggs, but we wanted to raise our own on Monday this past week we stopped in the local feed store and picked out 3 brand new baby chicks.  They are just too stinkin cute!

I recently took the kids on a field trip through our homeschool group to Farmer Sue's Art Barn which was just awesome and she is fabulous!  After the trip I was emailing with her about chickens and through talking to her and through researching the website My Pet Chicken I knew I really wanted some Barred Rock and Rhode Island Red chickens.  When we stopped by the feed store just to "look" they actually had the Barred Rock chicks as well as Ameraucana which lay blue eggs!  I ran into another homeschool mom there with her boys and they were raving about the blue eggs and how they were the best tasting eggs they've ever had so I decided to try one of those.  Here is a picture of our future blue egg layer! (I HOPE! They are supposed to be sexed but there is a small chance some might turn out to be roosters).  

I REALLY love the Barred Rock Cochin (or as Farmer Sue calls them...Pajama Pants!) But I think we would have to special order...this is a picture of J holding one of Farmer Sue's Barred Rock Cochin - Pajama Pants Chickens in her barnyard...they are beautiful!  I got 2 Barred Rock and they will look sort of like the one in the picture below minus "pajama pants".

I read a lot about the Barred Rock and Rhode Island Reds both being smart, ferocious hunters, and having good personalities which make them fun pets.  Both are known to be pretty hardy and good egg layers, producing large brown eggs.  We get plenty of crickets and other bugs in our yard so I think we will all be happy when these girls are out there feasting on all the bugs!  I'm also hoping they might put a dent in the scorpion population around here!

I love the Barred Rock chicks... they remind me of baby penguins...little dark balls of fluff...So far it's been easy, we have them in a large box lined with paper that we change daily, we gently handle them quite a bit so they get used to being held.  I've been adding a splash of Apple Cider Vinegar to their fresh water each day to help with the PH as well as help with their digestive health...and a little garlic powder to their feed as well, which I learned about doing from Fresh Eggs Daily's post about The Holistic Trinity for chickens.  Now I am having fun adding to my Backyard Chickens pinboard, learning all I can about the best tips for building our coop and keeping the chickens and coop as clean and healthy as possible!  And of course enjoying watching these cutie puff balls chip and grow and enjoying watching my kids enjoy them!

 We have a thermometer in the box with them and adjusting their temp as needed...they currently seem happiest between 82-84 degrees F.  The Rhode Island Reds come in April 8 so we will get some of those then and will have to keep them separate for a while so the older ones don't pick on the younger ones...hence the term "pecking order".

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Button Heart on Canvas

I copied something from Pinterest, originally from Southern Lovely

I wanted to make it last year but obviously didn't.  It was a pretty simple quick craft though so don't be worried about not having time.  

Just tape off your stripes, quickly paint then glue on buttons in an imperfect manner and done!  :)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Astronomy Lap Book - Classical Conversations Cycle 2 weeks 7-12 Science

Classical Conversations Science Astronomy Lapbook
Weeks 7-12

I have wanted to share about homeschool and what we are doing and such...but we are keeping so busy I don't have much time for sharing much (the video ended up being a pretty good example why I don't blog often, soon as mom is busy someone starts crying or doing something)!  But I did want to share a lap book I created for our Science through Classical Conversations weeks 7-12 when we covered astronomy.  For the record we are doing Classical Conversations and using My Father's World for our daily learning.  We have enjoyed using both programs.  For Classical Conversations we are at the Foundations level and doing First grade with My Father's World.

Most of the pieces of the lapbook are in this google doc. The file for the parts of the sun was from The Wise Nest.  I'm not a lap booker, i like them, I just haven't gotten into it.  This is the first lap book I've made, it's nothing fancy, whipped it up along with a preschool version for the younger brother pretty quick but the kids were pretty excited about them.  Makes me think I should do more lapbooks.  Anyways, although not fancy  it gets the job done for covering the Foundations astronomy memory work from Classical Conversations and the kids thought they were really cool.

Here is a video showing how I put it together.

We Also got a free Moon App on my phone for tracking he phases of the moon.

When you print off the google doc the materials for both the Foundations version and the preschool version are there.  Then just grab file for the parts of the sun from The Wise Nest I was so happy when I found it she did a great job with that.  This Lapbook covers the questions "What are five kinds of starts?" "What are some parts of the sun?" "What are the names of the Planet?" "What are the phases of the moon?" What are some other bodies in our solar system?" and ?What are some names of U.S. Space Missions?"

If you don't want to watch the video demonstrating the lap book, here are a few crappy shots I took with my phone.

Foundations Version

Preschool Version for my son (I didn't want him to feel left out) not sure why the pictures are sideways but I am in quick blog mode and can't get them to flip so it is what it is.  The Preschool Rocket Ship lapbook version also has the second part with the planets that orbit the sun but I didn't photograph it since it's the same as the one in the Foundations version above.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Water Birth, Home Birth with a Midwife

A lot of life has happened since my last post...two major things being that we finally sold our home in Omaha and found a new home here in Georgia, moved in, had the moving truck arrive a week later got unpacked and another week after that, went to Washington and Oregon for vacation, then came back and had a couple weeks left till our due date of Sept.7, which leads to the second thing...we welcomed our third child into the world, this time in the comfort of our own home in my wonderfully spacious and deep soaking tub in our master bath.  It's kind of strange writing a blog post after such a long break, kind of like an awkward phone conversation with someone you haven't spoken to in so long and you aren't sure where to start...  so I will start with the birth story and then fill in on everything else that's been going on in my next posts.  Things feel less crazy and I miss blogging!  I'm really bad at journaling/scrapbooking, etc so this blog is like the closest thing I have to a journal/scrapbook!

My sister and her adorable daughter came down about a week before my due date to help out and be my doula.  We did not know anyone in Georgia aside from my husbands work associates so it was such an amazing blessing to have my sister come cross country to be with us during this time.  When my 2nd was born we were relatively new in Dallas at that time and didn't know many people there...and that was a huge stress not really knowing what help we would have with our daughter then 3 when I had to go to the hospital.  We ended up having to have our neighbors temporarily be there for her until my friend who lived way up north in Frisco could get down to our place in the middle of the night to take over being there with her.  I'm so grateful I had that friend, but this time I had no one!  We still hadn't even had a chance to meet our new neighbors! So having my sister here at the house was just awesome, not just for all the awesome help she provided...including organizing our playroom and my closet, but just her physically being here so I knew there was someone here for the kids regardless of how things went was a huge relief.

Here is the short version-for the full version read on below or just skip down to the pics-
On Labor Day, Sept 2, we welcomed our 3rd child, Cameron to the world at home by water birth attended by a midwife.  He was 7.5 pounds, 19 inches and beautiful!  My actual labor was 2.5 hours at most...I have a history of spontaneous fast and furious labor.

Around August 28 I was having contractions and cramping and thought this must be it I'm getting close!  So I let my midwife know she was on alert...which was another worry, my 2nd labor and delivery was so fast my water broke on my way to the car and I barely made it inside the hospital...I nearly had my son on the sidewalk since the doors were locked at the L&D can read that story here.  Since my midwife doesn't live all that close to me I was worried if she would arrive in time.  I was excited for a home birth and especially a water birth, but was not interested in an unassisted home birth.  I wanted my CNM and her team and their equipment here before baby!
So as soon as I noticed any signs that I was getting close to labor I let them know I was probably going to mess up their labor day weekend plans.  However, by Saturday things really slowed down  and so I went ahead and scheduled my 39 week checkup for Tuesday.  My Midwife Kay Johnson from Atlanta Birth Care said that scheduling the appointment was good luck or something like that...I was glad things had slowed down I was in no rush, I had been battling a bad cough that turned out to be Bronchitis and was hoping it would subside by the time I had the baby because otherwise I figured I would end up coughing the baby out!  Well, Sunday night I started feeling restless and having some cramping, similar to menstrual cramps but still didn't feel like anything was happening yet...not nearly as much as I felt a couple days prior.  Feeling restless and unable to sleep I got online, decided to google "signs of labor" even though I pretty much already knew...anyway, the one article I clicked on was Five Signs of Labor on and as I skimmed along not really paying attention to what I was reading, suddenly I had to do a double take...I re-read the quote followed by "says Kay Johnson, a certified nurse-midwife in Atlanta." they were quoting my midwife!  I was already confident in everyone at Atlanta Birth Care and in Kay but it was kind of an extra boost of confidence in my midwife seeing her being quoted in that article and kind of funny, rather than call and bother my midwife with any questions at night, I could just google my question and get her advice! lol!  Soon after I went to bed.

I later woke up finding myself deep breathing through some tightening in my abdomen, but it wasn't uncomfortable at all so I immediately fell back asleep.  Then I woke up again with the same thing.  Then again.  By the third time I actually woke up and felt hungry so I went to have a snack and noticed it was 4:30 am.  When I came back to my room, I felt restless again so I sat in the chair and found myself breathing through a couple more of those tightening sensations, but they started getting more uncomfortable.  Tyler started tossing and turning in bed as I was in the chair working through contractions that were starting to turn into back labor but I just wasn't to the point of admitting I was in labor yet...I feel bad waking anyone up if it's not the real deal.  So half asleep, Tyler rolls over and asks "could you go do that somewhere else? It's hard to sleep" I basically barked at him "NO!" to which he quickly sat up and realized what was going on and that I wasn't just sitting in the chair making loud breathing noises just for the fun of it.  Almost immediately after that the back labor kicked in full force and I found myself kneeling on the floor in front of the chair, resting my head and arms on the cushion and needing him to put intense pressure on my back to counter the pain I was having.  He had to press so hard it hurt but at the same time made the back labor during contractions feel bearable and I could not get through a contraction without him there applying counter pressure.  He quickly let our midwife know I was in labor and she left right away to head over.  In between contractions I was trying to tell him things to set up but the contractions were coming so fast he would barely rush off to do something and I'd immediately be calling him to get back to me, I NEEDED THAT COUNTER PRESSURE!!!!  We also sent my sister a text as she was sleeping upstairs to let her know it was time.  I started feeling nauseous so Tyler brought me a bowl and as I started puking in it, our midwife Kay Johnson appeared in the hallway.  I was so rude, everything was so intense between the hard and fast contractions, back labor and puking I don't think I even said anything to her.  I was really happy she was there though.  As soon as I was done with puking I knew I was really close so I moved to the shower hoping it would be more relaxing while I waited for the tub to fill up.  (Our house has 2 water heaters so I was able to have the hot shower water on my back while there was still plenty of hot water to fill the tub.  

Here is a picture of my sister helping a she took over the job of applying counter pressure while I breathed through contractions in the shower.   I was very grateful for the seat in our new shower and the space because all I could do was be in that same position as I was at the chair, kneeling over like this, concentrating on breathing.  I was kinda pissed though, I had watched some youtube videos where women demonstrated J breathing and whatever else it was called from hypnobirthing, where they claimed that when you have a contraction, you breath and expand your belly which releases the tightness and pain of the contraction...well...I practiced the technique and was doing it...and I did find it helped with the contraction in the front but did NOTHING for back labor!  But I was determined to keep it together and not make a sequel to my last birth which my husband describes as The Exorcist...I was not going to scream!  Whenever I felt like I might start loosing control I started repeating to myself "I can do all things, I can do all things"  which kind of became my mantra after recently hearing the Matthew West song Strong Enough...and the part which comes from scripture "I can do all things, through Christ who gives me strength" kept coming to mind.  I don't even remember any other part of that song.  But having something encouraging to repeat to myself got me through the contractions as well as the urge to cough uncontrollably and I was able to stay in control and focused and not let fear have any place in the process.

 Pretty soon I felt that strong pressure and knew it was time to get in the tub otherwise I wasn't going to get to have the water birth I so wanted.  It was just like everyone else said it was when I read other people's water birth stories...getting into that hot tub of water felt like heaven...and instant pain relief!  My sister ran to the kitchen real quick to grab something and I started having a contraction and was about to panic because I wasn't able to handle the back labor during contractions without any counter pressure...but I found that in the water...I was ok...I could handle it...although I still appreciated the counter pressure when she came back.  Tyler at that time was making up the bed with Kay.  Things were happening fast, again and everyone was busy :)  And I was so grateful that this intense fast labor was made so much more calm and I could stay focused being at home not having to be in the car trying to get to the hospital in time like last time and then having to answer a bunch of questions when the baby is on it's way out and I was stuck on my back which caused the birth to be excruciating!  This time, I was able to stabilize my hips by staying on hands and knees and that with the hot water, made this birth like a bazillion times better and less painful!

As the pressure grew more intense and I could feel it was almost time to push, my mantra transformed from "I can do all things, I can do all things..." to focusing on the positive end result that I knew I was getting so close to...and I started saying/thinking to myself "I'm going to hold you" and distracting myself from the pain with excitement about getting to hold my baby boy soon.   I also found myself at the end humming really loud while drumming on the side of the tub with my was like slapping the side of the tub and hearing that echo released some of the tension and helped me stay focused.  As I was having my last few contractions before he was on his way out I started to notice the sun rise out the bathroom window so in between contractions, it was amazing to just look out the window next to me and enjoy that moment with the sun rising.  Everything felt so peaceful and beautiful.  Those moments were short mind you, I probably had my contractions less than a minute apart.

I knew it was time, baby was ready to make his appearance.  I told everyone I felt like baby was coming and I think I remember Kay saying not to push, just let my body and baby do it on it's own...and so I kept humming and drumming the side of the tub through those intense contractions and it was crazy, I didn't really have to push, I focused on relaxing and breathing him out rather than pushing as hard as I could like most of us are instructed to do at the hospital and that's basically what happened, I felt intense pressure but it wasn't painful like the last time I gave birth. The next thing I remember was my midwife, Kay, telling me "he's coming right towards you" and I looked down and saw his little face, eyes wide open coming towards me under water and I picked him right up and held him and there are no words to describe the feelings of how amazing the experience was.  He didn't cry but was calm and alert, looking around with the soft warm morning light coming through the window.  After a couple minutes, Kay started rubbing his back to stimulate him a little more because she wanted to hear him cry to make sure his lungs were clear.  Once that was done, he was back to being totally calm and alert.  I didn't want that moment to ever end.  We just sat there in the warm water, him and I, snuggling and looking at each other in awe.  

This is his first picture!  I just remember looking at my husband and seeing the emotion on his face at that was priceless.  I woke up at 4:30 am not quite sure I was in labor and 2.5 hours later, was holding my son by 7 am.  The midwife apprentice Nichole missed the birth by a few minutes because she lives about an hour away and that just how fast it went!  
I remember the midwife asking me if my water had broken yet during labor but I was not aware that it had...I thought..well I have been in the shower and the tub maybe it did and I didn't notice.  But Cameron was born in the broke as his head came out...that's probably why he looked so perfect when he came out he had a cushion!  
He came out in two contractions, head first, body during the second contraction...words cannot describe how good it felt...I mean, when you are feeling such intense pressure, giving birth felt like the ultimate relief!  I remember the next day or so just being on cloud 9, full of hormones and overjoyed just couldn't stop reliving the feelings and sensations and all of it.  I was sad when it started to fade and become a memory.  I really did want to just stay in that moment forever and ever.  Nothing beats the moment I first laid eyes on him looking up at me from under water....
The Lord answered all my prayers surrounding Cameron's arrival...from being able to find, purchase and move into a new home in time, having my sister there, the best scenario for the kids (they were asleep and woke up just after the birth), having enough time in labor for the midwives to get to the house in time, and there are more details that just worked out perfectly, I can't even remember it all right now but I do want to give Him credit for the way everything played out better than I could have imagined!

After I had some time to swoon over him and laughing when we realized I went into labor and had him on Labor Day, My husband went upstairs to wake up our 6 year old daughter who had requested to cut the umbilical cord (totally her own idea, I was surprised when she asked).  It was so fun seeing her face as she appeared in the bathroom doorway and saw her baby brother for the first time and ran up to the side of the tub for a closer look.  She was also in a state of awe and excitement.  She also still wanted to cut the cord, so about 45 minutes or so after the birth, she cut the cord and I was really proud of her. The rest of the day she kept randomly thanking us for waking her up and letting her do that.  It was really special for her.  A little after she cut the cord, baby was wrapped up in a towel and dad got to hold him while I got out of the tub, showered, sat in the chair with the baby, kids and hubby for a family photo and then got in bed. (as you can see I didn't bother to look in the mirror at all that morning and fix my hair! After laboring in the shower it was kinda of a mess!)  

Excited Auntie who was by my side the whole time after being up most of the night taking care of her own daughter.  She's the best!

 Our first family portrait with the new addition!  My 3 yo son and 2 yo niece both woke up shortly after my daughter cut the cord and were excited to see the new baby when they came downstairs.

 Tyler was the photographer so that is why he isn't in a lot of these pictures.  Here is my adorable niece that morning...
Then it was time for the exams.  Mine went well, no stitches needed which was awesome and another benefit I had read that water birth reduced the chances of tearing.  Not having any stitches was amazing...I was up and about in no time!  Baby's exam was good too, big sister wouldn't leave his side!  

This pic was taken during one of my favorite moments...B asked me if we were going to keep him (the new baby) and I said "Yes! We're going to keep him forever!" and he threw his fist up in the air and said "YES!!!"

 The batteries decided to die when Kay was trying to get his weight so...
We improvised!  He came in at roughly 7.5 lbs.
 Me and my boys...

After the midwife team left, we relaxed for a little while, ate some breakfast and then moved out to the screened in porch because the weather was perfect!

 I'm sure I'll have more to share about the experience and process but I will leave it at this for now.  We are all just so so so in love with this little guy, both kids adore and dote on him constantly and are so sweet with him and Tyler and I are also totally enamored with him.  I guess you could say all 4 of us are pretty infatuated!  I was hoping to have made a video of some various footage of him but the days go by fast and haven't had the time to figure it out so I will leave you all with this short clip I made a week ago on my phone with the Lumify App when he was almost 4 weeks.

I feel like there is so much more I could say or that I left out yet there aren't words for everything, I think no matter how much I say it wouldn't truly capture this incredible experience and if this post was any longer it would be a book not a blog!