Monday, February 8, 2016

Meet Hannah Grace!


Hannah Grace arrived Thursday afternoon about 4:15.  She was 7 pounds, 4 ounces, and 19 inches long.

We are all excited to have her here with us.  It's been fun to watch our other children's reactions to her.  As soon as we walked in the door, Daniel asked where the baby was, and then he said that he was so excited because he got to meet her in real life!  At supper that night, Rachel asked me how I was feeling and whether I had slept well the night before.  (No, I hadn't; does anyone in the hospital sleep well?)  Mary and Rachel love to sit next to me and pet Hannah's head, just gazing at her.  And Sarah Beth is being as helpful as she can, and as a nine year old, she can be pretty helpful!

I'm not going to share Hannah's birth story like I did with our previous babies.  All I'm going to say is that labor was agonizingly slow (for me), followed by a terrifyingly fast delivery (even for me).  I'm glad it's over!  The important thing is that both Hannah and I are doing great.  John is home this week, and he has been a huge help with her especially in the middle of the night and early morning.  My mother is coming next week when John goes back to work, and we look forward to introducing Hannah to her.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Weekly (#4) Update on January Goals


Last week was a different kind of busy.  I'm glad that I had all of my planned decluttering done along with all of the casseroles I had planned to freeze because I didn't have time for any of that.  On Monday, we started back with Classical Conversations, and I'm worn out when we get home and not good for much else the rest of the day.  Tuesday was Rachel's birthday, and it was busy with a trip to the Lego Store for her to pick out her gift and making a trifle instead of a cake.  :)  So Wednesday was like my Monday as far as my weekly chores, and I felt like I started my week behind.

But I was able to get some things done, getting ready for the baby -- which is a good thing since she's coming soon!  I finished buying the last minute things I remembered that I needed, and I got almost everything washed, dried, and put away.  The bassinet is set up, and the changing area is stocked with diapers and wipes.  I did not get the swing and bouncy seat set up, but I did get them washed.  I'm sure I'll get to them this week.

As for my other goals, I'll give a quick recap:
  • I prepared several meals and froze them for after the baby comes.
  • I did not figure out a good time to read a chapter book to my children.
  • I did fairly well with working with Sarah Beth and her Essentials school work, getting ready to start back to CC.
  • I finished Kathi Lipp's Clutter Free Academy (except for the garage).  
I think I did well!

Here is my goal for February:
  • Have the baby
I'm just keeping it realistic!

How are you doing with your goals?

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Books I Read in January


The other day, Rachel asked me if I were in school.  I told her that I'm not, but that I do try to read books that will teach me things and that I think it's a good idea to keep learning throughout our lives.  Over the past couple of months, I've really tried to read educational books, not just novels.  Here is what I read (or finished) in January.
  • Freedom by Kevin Swanson.  This book starts off with a look at men who fought for God-given freedom in the Bible and in England, Scotland, Ireland, Holland, and the United States.  I really enjoyed the history told from a Christian perspective, how these men tried to do what God would have them do.  The second part of the book tells how we are losing (and have already lost) many of the freedoms those men have fought for.  Our government is becoming more and more tyrannical as it steals our liberties, and we don't even care.  This part of the book was not enjoyable, but it was educational.
  • The Color of the Soul by Tracey Bateman.  This book goes back and forth, telling the story of  a slave during the War Between the States and a black man in the 1940's.  Both stories have hard parts to them, realistic parts, but the author redeems those parts.  And the way she ties these two people together at the end is worth the read.
  • Friends of the Heart by Emilie Barnes and Donna Otto.  A great read about being a friend.  Unfortunately, I feel like most of the advice just wasn't relevant to those of us with children who aren't in school.  While I would love to get together frequently with my friends for lunch or whatever, it's hard to coordinate when we both have children.  Yes, I know that I can invite my friend and her children over, but it's just not the same.  :)
  • Beyond the Silence by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse.  You can read my full review here.
  • Excellent Women by Barbara Pym.  Recently, I read Honey for a Woman's Heart by Gladys Hunt, and I wrote down many books that I thought I would enjoy reading.  This book was the first one I read, and I have to admit that I was disappointed.  Set in the 1950's, Mildred is a 30 year old spinster who gets involved in her downstairs neighbors' marriage and her vicar's engagement, too involved.  There wasn't much to this book, and it was frustrating to watch Mildred get taken advantage of by her friends.  I don't think I'll read another book by this author.  However, I'm sure there are many other great reads in my list, so I look forward to reading those.
  • A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck.  This hilarious books tells about the visits a boy and his sister have with their grandmother every summer during the 1930's.  I laughed out loud so many times while I read this book, and I even sent my mother a copy because I knew she would enjoy it, too!
  • Lord Peter Wimsey:  Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers.  This book was another recommendation I found in Honey for a Woman's Heart, and it's another one that I didn't quite enjoy.  :)  Lord Peter is an amateur detective who is trying to figure out how a naked body ended up in an acquaintance's bathtub.  Meanwhile, his friend Parker, who is a police detective, is trying to solve a murder.  Somehow these two cases seem to be related, but how?  This book takes place shortly after World War I, so I enjoyed that aspect of it, but the story was a little gruesome.  
What have you read lately?  Anything worth a recommendation?

Book Review: All Aboard the Ark



This cute board book tells the story of Noah's ark in a fun rhyme that young children should enjoy.  There's nothing new about this book as lots of children's books have been written about the Flood, but it is a good one.  Of course, the theology leaves some things missing:  the size of the ark is much too small and the animals are pastel colors (lavender giraffe?).  But for a toddler book, really I don't think that's such a big deal, and it's easily corrected as children age.

I'm glad to add this book to our library for our new baby coming soon, and I look forward to reading this book to her many times.

I want to thank BookLook Bloggers for my review copy of this book, but my opinions are my own.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Happy Sixth Birthday, Rachel!


Rachel turns six today!  Her joy is infectious, and she wants everyone to be just as happy as she is.


While she doesn't feel the need to try to keep up with her older siblings, she does a pretty good job at it!


One of the best things of our year was when she was discharged from her pediatric rheumatologist.


She is usually willing to try something new, even if it's a little bit silly.


It's been wonderful watching Rachel grow and develop this year, and we look forward to seeing what another year brings!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Weekly Update (#3) of January's Goals



I had another productive week last week, trying to get some things finished before we started back with CC this week.  I know that added schooling will make us busier during the day, so I didn't want the distraction of decluttering or making meals for the freezer.  Also, my due date is coming, and I need to spend some time getting things ready for the baby.  :)

Preparing meals.  I made a double batch of spaghetti last week, so half of that is in the freezer.  I also made two more casseroles, divided in half to make four meals.  And I cut up some raw chicken to freeze for a crockpot meal.  I also made four dozen muffins, but I'm not sure they'll last until the baby gets here.  :)

Afternoon schoolwork.  I couldn't get motivated this week for this, I think partly because I was working so hard preparing the materials for science and art for CC for the next six weeks.  But we did out morning school, so don't think we took the week off.  :)

Decluttering.  The end of the 14 day challenge was Thursday, and I was supposed to get rid of 500 things, but I actually threw out or donated 530 things.  Best of all, the donated items have all been taken to their new homes, and the trash has been picked up.
  • Day 11:  Closet.  Since I went completely through my closet (except for two boxes of mementos) two months ago, I decided not even to look in there.  Besides, it's a mess because I've been throwing all kinds of baby things in there to keep it out of the way for now.  And I've recently gone through the rest of the closets in the house, so I tackled the drawers in my bathroom and under my bathroom sink.  I was able to throw away 45 items including samples that I know I will never use.  It's so much cleaner and neater down there now!  It's wonderful!!
  • Day 12:  Car.  I knew there were some things that needed to come out of my car:  CD's that I wanted in the house and the ubiquitous trash.  I counted 45 things that I took out of my car, but I did not count the trash that had accumulated in the trash receptacles since it belonged there -- kind of.  :)  I usually empty those receptacles when I put gas in my car, but my sweet husband has been filling it up for me lately.  So they were kind of full.
  • Day 13:  Dining room.  My dining room is usually pretty spartan, but it was actually a mess last week.  I had to go through all of the CC supplies for art and science for the next six weeks, and that covered most of the dining room table.  And some friends threw me a baby shower last Saturday, and all of their gifts were dumped on the dining room floor.  So I put away what I could from the CC stuff, and I went through all of the gifts, putting things where they temporarily (before the baby comes) belong.  I was able to move 46 things although I actually threw away less than five.  And now all of the CC stuff is gone, too, since we had tutor training, and I handed it all over to them.  :)
  • Day 14:  I was supposed to come back to the garage at some point, but I just couldn't get motivated.  Bending over (while eight months pregnant) to pick things up off the floor, moving around heavy stuff, and sweeping the garage out just didn't appeal to me.  :)  So I left the garage for another time.  But I'm not done decluttering!  I spent a few minutes working in my bedside table, and cleaned it out nicely.  I didn't count, however, how much I got rid of since the challenge is technically over. 
I enjoy thinking back over what I accomplished last week.  Our freezer is full of food ready for after the baby comes and lots of our drawers, cabinets, etc. have been decluttered.  I feel so much lighter, like a burden I didn't even know I had has been lifted.  It's a wonderful feeling!
Maybe this week I can work on baby stuff.  :)

Monday, January 18, 2016

Weekly Update (#2) of January Goals


I feel like I had another productive week.  While I don't know that I'm actually nesting, I do feel the urge to get things done before this baby arrives.

Preparing Meals.  When John went to the grocery store last Saturday, he brought home some boneless, skinless chicken breasts which I cut up into bite-sized pieces and froze in two batches.  Technically, these packs aren't meals, but they are the hard part of getting a couple of meals into the crockpot.  It's easy to add a few other ingredients and have the meal put together.

Sarah Beth's Schoolwork.  I only worked with her twice this week, but I think she got the hang of diagramming imperative sentences.  So I'm not too upset.  Besides, we were gone one afternoon for the kids' appointments and I was gone another afternoon for mine.  And then John came came home early on Friday (yea!),  so we just didn't have the time (or inclination) for our afternoon work.

Decluttering.
  • Day 6:  Kitchen drawers.  I started with my baking supply drawer and threw out thirteen things, most of which were measuring cups and spoons whose size had been washed off along with a few cheap or in-poor-condition duplicates.  Why did I keep them when I couldn't even tell how much they measured?  :)  Then I moved to the catch-all drawer where I threw out rusty duplicates; again, why did I keep them?  Next, I cleaned out the drawer where we keep the phone book and other like supplies.  While this is really part of our home office, I was saving it for today.  I threw out old catalogs, old phone books (one from five years ago when we lived in Georgia), and an old checkbook (the starter one with its handwritten label from Florida).  Lastly, I tackled the two drawers where I keep plastic bags and miscellaneous things.  All together, I was able to throw away, give away, or move to a better place 74 things.  Now there's so much more room in all of my drawers.  Wonderful!!
  • Day 7:  Crafting stuff.  Actually, day 2 was supposed to be the garage, but I'm waiting for the weather to be a little nicer before I tackle that one!  :)  I went through almost everything related to my knitting and crocheting back in November and got rid of donated almost 100 skeins of yarn, so I didn't think I would have too much to do today.  The only thing I needed to go through was my knitting/crocheting basket where I keep my current project and the tools I need for it.  Well, I was wrong!  I took everything out of this basket, sorted through it, and was able to throw away, donate, or relocate 42 things.  I mean, how many size K crochet hooks do you need?  :)  I removed all of this stuff from a basket measuring only 10 x 14".  Crazy!
  • Day 8:  Living room.  Since I'm a minimalist when it comes to decorating, there wasn't much on the shelves in our living room that I needed or wanted to get rid of.  So I tackled the drawers in the bookshelf and in the side tables.  I found seven DVD's to post on Swap-a-DVD, and threw away or relocated another 35 things for a total of 42.  There are probably more DVD's that I can get rid of, but I need to check with John first because he may want to keep them, and that's fine.  
  • Day 9:  Laundry room.  I knew this room would have a lot in it to get rid of because we keep puzzles, coloring things, and a few other things in there that the kids use at the kitchen table (which is right next to the laundry room).  As I sorted through and straightened the two bookshelves in there, I was able to throw away 40 things, mostly pictures they had started to color and never finished but also a few coloring books that were almost completely used up and a few other things.  Then I looked into the cabinets above the washer and dryer.  I didn't have much up there to get rid of, just a few (nine) candles.  I found four unused candles which I plan to donate along with nine puzzles that my children never do.  Altogether, today I got rid of 62 things!
  • Day 10:  Medicine cabinet.  Since I am a non-working pharmacist, it's in my nature to go through our medications fairly frequently and dispose of expired ones.  I wasn't surprised to find only two expired prescriptions and only three or four over-the-counter medicines.  But I did throw away the droppers that we've used to dispense medications since my children are old enough not to need those anymore.  (If the baby needs one, I'm sure the pharmacy will give us one.)  There were a few other things in there, too, that we don't need, so I was able to throw seventeen things away.  
I still need to work at going through the baby's stuff, but I plan to do that on Saturday.  I've got to get things ready for CC first!

How was your week?