Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Generic Life Update

Most already know that we are expecting #5 in July, and we just found out it will be a baby girl.  We are surprised and thrilled about that.

If all goes according to plan, Kyle and I will be taking a week's vacation by ourselves to NYC next month.  Our parents have been gracious enough to provide childcare, and we are very thankful for that.  It's been 5 years since we took a trip alone, with the exception of a night here and there.

Kyle recently moved up in his career, and I am so proud of his accomplishments.

The boys are doing great in school, though we do struggle with conduct at times.  R is still princess, and she has her 3rd birthday coming up next month.  A is doing well.  He has battled allergies and colds a lot, though.  But even so, he's a happy-go-lucky little trooper.

Fall tennis was a great experience for the boys, but we are taking a break for the spring session, and I am actually thinking about putting them in a late spring session of ice skating lessons (for future hockey players.)  I'm looking into it, and we'll see if that might be something worth doing.

In the coming weeks, S is singing in the choir for another church musical (and I think JM may be, too.)  JM is really enjoying his RA's group every week, and they have a camp coming up.  We're doing a field trip with our homeschool group next week.  I've also recently gotten involved with another small group of homeschoolers of younger kids.  It's a neat thing, because it's small enough to just decide to get together whenever, and one of my college buddies is involved.

The last half of 2013 was quite challenging.  Kyle had hernia surgery, and was not working for about 6 weeks, then he trained for his new position.  While he was in training for 5 months, we were on training pay, which was quite a pay cut.  We knew that it would be worth it once he was finished, but financially, things were tough for a long time.  Then, there was the miscarriage in early fall.  Through it all, we were still blessed with everything we needed.  We were still able to give the kids a good Christmas, and we had some great freebies and blessings thrown our way.

We are just now coming out of our financial slump, and things are definitely looking up.  I know great things are ahead.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Homeschool Fall Semester 2013

Just thought I'd post something on here, since I have been so unfaithful to this blog for a while.  Life has just been too hectic, but I would like to find more time. 

Anyway, this year JM just turned 6, and S is about to turn 5.  In reality, S shouldn't even be in kindergarten yet, by public school standards.  He would start next year due to his late birthday.  But since he's in school with JM, he's in 1st grade-ish.

Last year, I did Sing, Spell, Read, and Write Level 1, which had some difficult days and some great days.  I found out after I had started that Level 1 for that program was actually a 1st grade level.  But, it started off with the basics and went really far with how much it built up.  So, this year, although the boys are in 1st grade, they are actually doing a 2nd grade language arts curriculum.  I researched a lot and found one that seemed to fit well with where they are at.  We are using Lifepac grade 2 language arts.  I am actually very encouraged by how well they have transitioned to this curriculum.  S is making a lot of progress on his handwriting.  They are both doing very well.

For math, we are using Horizons math, and we've stuck with 1st grade level.  I like the books and the pacing.  They are doing well there, too.  We are using Real Science 4 Kids - Chemistry, and I like it but I kind-of wish there was a little more to it.  But, I am glad that it introduces difficult concepts in an easily digestible manner.  We're using Explorer's Bible Study - Beginnings II for a Bible Curriculum, and we are enjoying that.  I don't do tests in Bible, but we are having some very good discussions.  I like the fact that there is a definite focus on God's love.  But, I will say that some of the material may be slightly mature for them, especially S.  My social studies curriculum was a bust.  It has been back-ordered for months, so I gave up on it ever coming in.  I am looking into getting something else for that.

This year, I have given up on the idea of "perfect structure" in my homeschool.  We have a basic time of day we do school and a basic routine, but I'm not keeping a strict hourly schedule.  As much as I want to have the idealized perfect schedule, things just come up daily.  I mean, there are still 2 other kids here, and there's always an element of chaos.  So, I decided I'm not gonna be so hard on myself if we are running behind and one day we don't finish before time x.  The things I'm focused on are that we are consistent in our daily work, that the kids are learning, and that they are where they need to be, and hopefully, surpassing the standards. 

We just rejoined our homeschool group that we were in last year, and the boys have a great opportunity to learn tennis with the group.  There are some really great coaches, and though my kids are by far the youngest (except for 1 other kid), the coaches are really good with them.  I am really excited to see how they do.  In addition to our homeschool group, which does field trips and tennis, the boys have some fun stuff going on at our church.  JM is in RA's, which is kinda like boys scouts, but with a Christ-centered focus.  They are teaching them outdoor skills, doing camps, and field trips through the year.  It's for 1st through 6th grade.  And, both of the boys are in children's choir, which has opportunities for several performances throughout the year and a children's musical in the spring.

My little girl, R, is busy doing 2 year-old things like ABCs and counting, and she's definitely charming all of her teachers at church.  My little A is about to turn 1 year-old in October, and he's walking and jibber-jabberring. 

This is a very busy time, but I'm loving it.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

CONTINUTED: Are We Having Any More Kids?

This is just a little extra info and in-case you-missed-it stuff related to the last blog, "Are We Having Any More Kids?"

First off, I wanted to repost this from the last blog, because it kind-of goes with the theme of this blog. Also, I know that some may have not read all the way to this part in the last blog, and I think it is important:
"7)  Are you trying to force your beliefs and/or some sort-of political agenda on others?
No and no.  I think that when people hear about someone doing something like this that is quite radical, they automatically assume it is in some way meant to impose a belief system on them.  But, that is just not true here.  This is a personal decision that we have made for our family, and that's all it is.  I have used the birth control pill in the past, myself.  I have simply had a personal change of heart.  No agendas."
Next, I wanted to address some issues that may come up with skeptics and nay-sayers.

Are you taking financial assistance from government programs to support your family?
No.  We have taken financial assistance in the past, though.  Before we got pregnant with our last baby (which was the first baby that resulted from this decision), we had gotten gotten off of public assistance.  At one time or another, we have been on Medicaid, WIC, and Food Stamps.  We've never been on welfare.  I think these programs are great when there is a need for them.  I am thankful that they were there when we needed them.  Again, I will mention that it's actually only AFTER we committed to this decision that a job opportunity came along for Kyle  that allowed us to free ourselves from assistance.

Miscellaneous info.
I want to mention that yes, I know there are higher risks once you pass the age of 35.  I am turning 35 this year.  I've gone through miscarriages already.  I am also aware that the risk for Down Syndrome  increase as my age increases.  I am not afraid of what lies ahead.  We will face each challenge just like we do with everything else, with prayer and hope.

I think that it's important to note that people are going to judge us for this decision.  Please consider that we are financially able, able-bodied, clean and sober, and in a committed marriage.  We aren't perfect, but we can raise kids in a good environment.  I really don't see a reason for anyone to find an issue with what we are doing.

One last UPDATE:
If you think I might be crazy for following my faith this far, as it turns out, I have a blog about that, too.  It's from March 2012.  You can read it here:  You Might Think I'm Crazy.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Are We Having Any More Kids?

Every time you have a child, one of the most common things you will be asked is whether or not you plan to have more children.  In case you hadn't noticed, I've had 4.  The answer to this question for us is a little unusual.  We have decided, as a step directed through prayer and faith, that we are leaving the amount of children we have up to God.  I know that this news is shocking and perhaps even bewildering to many, even close friends and family members.  So, I have decided to go ahead and break it down the best way I know how, through writing.  I am going to do a little Q & A to help answer your questions.

1)  Did your church/pastors tell you to do this? 
No.  We have never heard a sermon about this, and we will definitely be a minority in our church for choosing to do this.

2)  Are you trying to get a tv show?
Haha!  No.  I am only posting this question, because people have actually asked me this in a joking manner in the past.  I do not want a tv show.

3)  Are you trying to join the quiverfull movement? 
No.  We came to this decision on our own.  I have heard about the quiverfull books, but have not read any and don't intend to.

4)  Why are you doing this? 
This is a legit question.  Basically, after one of my pregnancies, I was reading up on the Mini Pill, which is a birth control pill used with less hormones to help aid in birth control for nursing mothers.  (Nursing mothers aren't supposed to use the regular pill, because it can reduce milk supply.)  Anyway, I was reading about the Mini Pill before I decided if it was going to be the best option when I came across some information saying that the Mini Pill could be less effective in preventing pregnancy in nursing mothers (due to the lower-hormone factor), but the chance was there that you could become pregnant and then the baby may not implant causing a chemical pregnancy.  (Of course, there was also the possibility that it could fail completely, and you would just get pregnant again, but that's besides the point.)  Anyway, I didn't really know how I felt about that.  I wasn't comfortable with the idea that I may get pregnant and have a super early miscarriage due to this form of birth control.  I talked to Kyle about it, prayed about it, read more about it, then just left it open-ended for a few months.  During all of this I read more about regular birth control pills that also made me a bit uncomfortable.  We weren't at a point where we were sure that we didn't want more kids ever again.  So vasectomies and tubal ligations were not on the table, at that point, either.  After a few months of leaving it up in the air, I stumbled on an article about a Christian family and why they did not use any form of birth control.  They explained the typical "children are a blessing" scriptures, logistics, and they also explained that choosing this kind of lifestyle is one way to truly live on faith.  You see, when you choose this, you are trusting that God will provide for your family's every need, God will get you through the hard times, God will give you the strength to raise your children, and God will even help you through all of the stress that comes with having many kids.

5)  So, you believe that God will help you through the stress, financial hardships, potential health problems that come with pregnancies and children, etc.?
Yes.  But, let me explain.  My faith was not always like this.  It has taken a really long time for me to get to this point in my faith.  I am aware that this is a very tough road to take.  I am aware of the risks involved to my own health.  But, I truly believe that God will take care of my family no matter what circumstance will arise.

6)  What does Kyle think?
Kyle and I talked over some time before we reached this decision together.  Kyle has really amazed me at the rate of his spiritual growth.  By the time this issue had arisen, he was already at a point in his faith walk where he knew he could trust and rely on God for everything.  Kyle is on board 100%.

7)  Are you trying to force your beliefs and/or some sort-of political agenda on others?
No and no.  I think that when people hear about someone doing something like this that is quite radical, they automatically assume it is in some way meant to impose a belief system on them.  But, that is just not true here.  This is a personal decision that we have made for our family, and that's all it is.  I have used the birth control pill in the past, myself.  I have simply had a personal change of heart.  No agendas.

8)  When did you decide this?
We decided this after R was born (so after baby #3.)  We used different forms of birth control up until that point.  So, my last baby, baby A, was a product of that decision.

9)  How's that workin' for ya?
In answer to this Dr. Phil-esque question, so far, so good.  It was AFTER we made this decision, that our long-time prayers for better employment and better benefits were answered.  Kyle has been at his new job for a year and a half now, and things are getting better.  Of course, not everything has been perfect.  Baby A was breech, and I had to have a c-section.  He got very ill before he was 3 months old.  We had to ride out one little financial storm.  And, daily life always poses it's challenges.  But honestly, I can say at this point in my life, I have never been happier, and I have never felt more blessed.  We still get to do so many things.  I know there will be challenges ahead, but I also know that God has brought me through every challenge so far.  I am trusting that He will bring me through whatever is to come.

10)  Are you pregnant now?
As far as I know, no.

11)  What do people think?
Up until this blog, we only told a select few.  Reactions have been mixed, but mostly positive.

So, there you have it.  I'm open to answering more questions, but I only ask that you keep things on the positive side.  I won't entertain negativity.  I close this blog with a feeling of uncertainty.  I know that by sharing this, I am making myself vulnerable.  But, I feel like this needs to be said.  I know the questions will arise, and I am not very good with on-the-spot answers.

UPDATE: I just posted a new blog with a few extras on this subject here:
http://www.broomsticksandbananasplits.com/2013/06/continuted-are-we-having-any-more-kids.html

Sunday, January 13, 2013

God Provides!

I posted this on my other blog, too.  It's just too good, so I had to.

Last night, we ran out of money (until the 15th) to get the last few items we needed at the grocery store. This morning, I was looking for a church outfit for JM, and I ran across some pants he has never worn from Goodwill - some Baby Gap khakis. He never has worn them, because they were too big in the waist. I happened to look and found that the waist was adjustable. So, I adjusted it and he put them on. A few minutes later, he came up to me and said: "Mom, I got some money from my pocket." Then he handed me 2 $10 bills and a $20 bill. There was $40 cash in the bottom of the pocket! I couldn't believe my eyes! Thank you God for providing for us once again!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Quick Lookback at 2012

I'm back after accidentally losing my domain name.  Luckily for me, my name didn't get bought by someone else.

So much has happened since I blogged.  But, I just want to talk about the year in general.

This year:
- Kyle started his new job.  For the most part, it was great.  But, there wasn't work for him for about a month and a half, considering he had no seniority.  But, we made it through that time and bounced back.  And, believe me, this job and the benefits were well worth the wait.
- I graduated college with a Bachelor's in General Studies in May 2012.  Finally, my nightmares about not finishing school will cease.  It was a challenging final semester, since I was pregnant and parenting 3 kids, but it's great to be finished.
- I started home-schooling JM and S this year, doing kindergarten with both.  This is yet another challenging endeavor.  But, it's also a joy to watch them learn to do things for the very first time like reading their first words, sentences, and paragraphs.
- I had my 4th child, baby A.  This pregnancy was the one with the double-footling breech baby.  We tried to turn him, but he was stuck.  So, I had my first c-section.  I was just happy to have a healthy baby.
- This year, I lost 2 family members that I loved dearly - my great Aunt Pat, and my Grandad.  We watched as their health went downhill for several months.  In the end, it was time for them to leave this world for a better, more peaceful place.
- At the end of the year, following a wonderful Christmas with family, we were hit with illness.  All of the kids got RSV, but the one it really affected was baby A.  Infants under 12 weeks of age are at the highest risk of danger for this virus.  When he was coughing in an unusual manner, I brought him to the e.r.  He was admitted and put in the pediatric intensive care unit.  Things got pretty scary for us, but we had many people and several churches praying. He got better, and we were released from the hospital on new year's eve morning.  He is still on the mend, but it looks like he'll be completely well very soon.

The year has had some great contrasting highs and lows, but overall it really was a blessed year.

If you would like to read about our ordeal with RSV, check out my entry in my blog, Remodeling My Life For Christ (about my faith) here: The Trials of Life PART A: The RSV Trial