Monday, December 30, 2013

My Week In Images (Monday Musings Break)

No Monday Musings today since we are on our Christmas break.

But some photos, of what we have been up to.....

These precious friends.....

because it was a lovely way to spend Christmas Day.

This Taiyaki shop in Japantown, San Francisco.....

because it is usually closed when we go, so it was a treat to get some this time.

This incredible view of the Golden Gate.....

because it is breathtaking every time I see it.

These grandparents.....

because it is such a blessing to live close to them.

This game.....

which has become a new family favorite.

This famous spot in San Francisco....

because the Clam Chowder and sourdough bread taste the best here.

This spot where 19 years ago.....

My Sweetie asked me to be his wife.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: That I can't believe it is the 23rd of December! Time has just flown.

What I'm listening to: Right now I am typing this at the kitchen table while the girls are cleaning up the mess I made this afternoon during my holiday baking. So I am hearing dishes clanking, water running, and smelling yummy Garam Masala for dinner.

What we're learning: No school this week! But learning never stops...this morning we went to a nearby food bank and helped to pass out food with our 4H club.

What's cooking: This week we are having our annual Christmas Eve Appetizer Night...I'm making stuffed bacon-wrapped jalapenos, cheesy potato skins, egg rolls, and baked brie. We'll also have some other fun cheeses, crackers, and to have at least one healthy item, some raw vegetables and dip.

What I'm buying: Nothing! Everything is in the house for the next week.

What I'm thankful for: I am so thankful that our family has enough. Each year when we help at the food bank, I am reminded that I am so blessed with the material things that God has given us.

What I'm creating: Well today I was pretty productive in the kitchen...I made Chocolate Pinwheel Cookies, Cranberry Orange Scones, and Salted Chocolate Caramels. Some of these will go into boxes to take to our neighbors, and the rest will be eaten over the week. We'll see how long they last in our house....

What I'm praying: Many people are traveling these next couple of weeks so I am praying for traveling mercies for those who are leaving home.

What I'm planning: To have a relaxing week! It is nice to not have to worry about school, housework, and 4H.

What we did this last weekend: On Saturday we went to the farm where our goats will be kept and built a shelter for them. Sunday was church and then an afternoon with friends.

What I'm looking forward to: I am looking forward to being with family, friends, and those I love most.

 A picture to share:

~Christmas Yummies.

Friday, December 20, 2013

My Week In Images

These market goats....

because the life-lessons we learn while raising them are so valuable.

These letters.....

because even though is is old-fashioned and going out of style, I still enjoy sending them.

These blooming Paperwhites....

because they are brightening up the school room.

This pot of yumminess.....

because the Chocolate Salted Caramels that they will soon become are to die for.

This precious girl....

because I am so thankful for God giving her to me thirteen years ago.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: That I can't believe it is time to think about fair goats again. We went this last Saturday and saw some goats....these guys were born in September and so would make really good weights for our fair in May. The twist is.....we have to take possession of them in three weeks. Whoa. So there is a bit of work to be done, but I think we'll be ready in time.

What I'm reading: I picked up an interesting book at the library last week...The Greatest Survival Stories Ever Told, compiled by Lamar Underwood. It is a collection of survival stories and includes exerpts written by Jack London, Stephen Crane, Sir Ernest Shackleton, and Jon Krakauer. So far it is a good read.

What I'm listening to: Not much right now. The house is pretty quiet. We just had our December communication project meeting and the kids are getting ready for bed.

What we're learning: We are finishing up some assignments in preparation for our Christmas break....the older two have research papers due in writing, and are learning about the beginnings of Ancient Greece in history. They are also writing their 4H presentations, which I am hoping they will have written by the end of the month.

What's cooking: This week I am making a chicken and rice casserole, Japanese Curry, Split Pea Soup, and Monte Cristo sandwiches.

What I'm buying: We don't make a big deal of gifts in our family for Christmas, but I do go and get one small thing for each child. And I'm not telling what I'm getting, because my kids read my blog!

What I'm thankful for: I am very thankful for our general health. I have a friend from the Crew who is struggling with chronic health problems, not only for herself but for most of her family. When I read about her daily struggles I realize how healthy we really are and am thankful for God's mercy.

What I'm creating: Well, this is usually my baking week...but doing school this week before Christmas has thrown me for a loop. So little by little, I'll fill the freezer with different cookie doughs for our big bake off early next week.

What we did this last weekend: We celebrated Dasher's 13th birthday!! She got her ears pierced on Saturday, then we went out to a goat farm to check out their goats. That evening we had her birthday dinner...steak, mashed potatoes, vegetable kebabs, and garlic bread. Sunday we were at church, and then home for a relaxing afternoon and evening.

What I'm looking forward to: I am getting together with a friend later this week, and we have our last co-op of the year this Wednesday. And it's the last week of school before a two week break!

A picture to share:

~Market goats. Names to still be determined. :-)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

To Dasher: 13 Years Ago Today

13 years, 6 months ago, we moved to our home where we are now. We spent the beginning of the summer painting, arranging furniture, and settling down in a new area.

{A last trip to the beach before we moved}

Little did I know that I was already pregnant with you.

Your sister, Bookworm, was still a nursing babe and so I missed a lot of those early pregnancy signs.

I finally got a clue in early July, when we made deep fried veggies one night and my stomach turned completely over. I headed into the doctor's and was surprised to see you there, a little 9 week-old peanut.

The rest of the summer was uneventful....I didn't have much morning sickness and no other complications.

At the end of September I had my 20 week ultrasound and we decided to find out what you were. Another GIRL. Dad said he definitely needed a shotgun now. And I was very happy to see your fluid levels up at a perfectly normal amount of 13. (Because of your sister's complications we were really watching the levels.)

{Your sister's first birthday. I was 21 weeks along}

Three weeks later at another ultrasound they noticed that your growth was slowing and that my cervix was starting to get much shorter. So home, to the place that was to become quite familiar, my bed. (Or the sofa, depending on my mood.)

Bed rest.

I look back at this time; when I had a 3 1/2 year old boy and a 12 month old girl, and wonder how I did it.

In November I went in for a level three ultrasound and saw that the cord was inserting at the edge of the placenta. (This explains why you were not growing as well.) My cervix was also so short that she had me go to the hospital and be monitored for the day. But no changes so home again to bed.

Each week I went in for ultrasounds to check my cervix length; it did improve a teeny bit with the bed rest.

In the middle of November, when I was 27 weeks along, there was another complication. My cervix was slowly dilating and now your umbilical cord was sneaking down to where it shouldn't be. I was put on very strict bed rest and told that if my water broke I was to call 911. If the cord compressed (or got squished in the cervix), you would die in 7 minutes.

The only way that I got through this time was by God's mercy. I remember times when I struggled, trying to have peace, and trying to trust that God's plan, whatever it was going to be, was perfect. But I also remember being comforted by scripture and songs, and a feeling of hope.

Your dad was my stronghold during this time; we still hadn't found a church family in the area, and didn't really know anyone. But looking back, I don't think of it as the worst days, but days of anticipation and hope.

Starting at 28 weeks I went in twice a week for non-stress tests. (Where they hooked me up to a monitor and watched your heartbeat for a while.) I also had ultrasounds to check growth and fluid.

{Since I, the photographer, was always laying down 
and never wanted my photo taken, there are no photos. :-)}

The routine came to a halt on December 6th.

At that non-stress test I had dilated to almost three centimeters and now was having regular contractions. So they admitted me to Labor and Delivery, where I would stay for the next 9 days.

{And that is why I didn't get any last minute photos of 
being preggo with you....I was now flat in bed.}

In the hospital I got the nasty stuff: Magnesium Sulfate. Let me tell you, it makes you feel horrible.

After a couple of days I got used to it; and started to settle into the hospital routine. The hospital I had you at was an old one, and the room I was in was only meant for a mom to be in while she labored. It was the size of a large closet, with only one small window that looked out into the nurses station. But your dad was there in the evenings and we would talk and play cards or Yahtzee.  And the nurses would come in, from time to time and  keep me company. One of them even painted my toenails and another decorated my window for Christmas.

There were a couple of day your heart rate kept going down so they put me on oxygen and tilted my bed at a steep angle. I felt like I was standing on my head. But then the next day your heart rate was fine, so it was back to the waiting game.

Early in the morning, 13 years ago, something woke me up. All of a sudden, I felt something gushing out of me.

I started panicking, remembering how important it was to get you out fast, and started hitting my call button. They quickly came in, and in a flurry of activity, they found out that my water hadn't broke but I was actually bleeding. I called Dad, and in the shortest conversation ever, told him to get to the hospital.

They waited a few minutes, and when the bleeding started getting worse, they whisked me off for an emergency C-section.

I remember that your Dad got there just in time.

I don't remember much else, I had lost a lot of blood. I do remember that you didn't cry when you were born.

You were 2 pounds, 12 ounces, and needed help breathing.

I was in a deep fog all day. My temperature went down to 93 degrees and my blood pressure dropped very low. I remember they told me that they might transfer me to the ICU, but after 2 blood transfusions, my blood pressure came up.

Late that night, the nurses brought me this photo of you.

Finally, late the next day, I got to come see you. You were still too unstable to hold, but I got to touch your little hand.

You were off the ventilator by the second day and off all oxygen a day later.

Finally I got to hold you.

You were not eating at all yet, so they put a central line in so you could get nutrition. After a week or so, they started gavage feeding you. (Through your nose.)

We got into a routine of coming each night to the hospital to see you...siblings under eight were not allowed so Dad and I took turns.

 {Dad changing your diaper}

Each time we would come in, we could take your temperature, change your diaper, and then if you hadn't spit up or your heart rate was normal, we could hold you for a while.

{Fun hats for Christmas}

In early January your central line came out, so all you had was your gavage and heart/oxygen monitor. You also graduated to a crib.

You were doing great. You were holding your temperature and eating almost everything by yourself, but the thing keeping you in the hospital were your A's and B's. Those are Apnea and Bradycardia, and were when you would forget to breath and your heart rate would go down. They started to talk about sending us home with a monitor, but all of a sudden you stopped having them and went the required 7 days without one.

Finally, on January 23 you came home.

You were six weeks old, and not even due to be born for another 3 weeks.

There were a few times when I thought I was going to lose you to heaven. And I know, that because of God's mercy, He gave our family strength to persevere during this time.

God is so good, Dasher. Hold onto His promises and know that He has a perfect plan for your life. Trust in Him my little one, and rest on His faithfulness.

Happy Birthday, Dasher-Dasher.

Friday, December 13, 2013

My Week In Images

The makings for Sunomono....

because it is so yummy with a touch of soy sauce and rice.

This cute little guy.....

because it was such a fun treat for the kids to make him. (With snow from our friend's car.)

This science co-op class....

because the Mentos-Diet Coke experiment is so fun to watch.

These little wooden figures......

because they stand very nicely on my piano top.

These frosty mornings.....

because they have made me thankful for insulated underwear and wool socks.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: That it is freezing cold here. Literally. Our low today was 22 degrees, with a high of only 47 degrees. That's cold, people.

What I'm reading: Not too much. The last thing I read was the 4H Goat Resource Handbook. We are meeting a goat breeder this Saturday and I need to start doing some research for our goat project meeting.

What I'm listening to: The kids have the soundtrack to The Man in the Iron Mask on right now....we do like listening to soundtracks from time to time.

What we're learning: This week the kids are learning about Ancient Crete in history, and compounds and molecules in chemistry. The younger two are starting to learn about Handel in music appreciation, and working hard to get their workbook assignments done before our Christmas break.

What's cooking: This week I am making Chicken Chilaquilas, beef tacos, and hamburgers. I am also planning on making some apple turnovers with the last of our apples from Apple Hill.

What I'm thankful for: I am very thankful for the beauty I see in God's creation. Such a wonderful reminder, of what a powerful and mighty God we have.

What I'm praying: Mr. Lego is really, really trying to get a job so I am praying that someone out there will hire him.

What I'm planning: I have big shopping coming up this week, plus we have two 4H meetings. I need to get my lists, menus, and teaching notes all ready.

What we did this last weekend: Saturday was a relaxing day. We took a nice walk out in the cold, then came home for California maki, miso, sunomono, and teriyaki chicken. Sunday we went to church, Sunday school, then home with friends for fellowship and card games.

What I'm looking forward to: I am looking forward to co-op, and I'm excited to head out to the goat farm and see what goats we will be dealing with this year.

A picture to share:

~Beautiful frosty leaves. What I have been seeing outside in the mornings lately......

Friday, December 6, 2013

My Week In Images

This tree....

because I love letting my kids decorate it.

These faces.....

because sometimes silliness is necessary.

This picture of My Sweetie and I.....

 because it reminds me of what is important.

This inchworm, working his way down our fence....

because it reminded me of life, and how sometimes we inch along with barely any progress.

This lovey wine.....

because it perfectly matched our Thanksgiving feast.

These precious people....

because I love them.

If you feel so inclined, you can see images from our Thanksgiving here.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Day At Our Co-op

It has been a while since I updated our co-op journey. And yesterday, I happened to bring my camera along to our weekly class.

If you don't remember, I am now co-oping with a very dear friend of mine, Kate.  There are only 8 kiddos ages 8-16, with our two families combined (Kate's oldest just began her college adventure).

First up that day was Writing Class.

I am teaching IEW's Student Writing Intensive Levels A and B.

Today the older kids were learning how to do research on a topic and then how to outline to write a paragraph on that topic.

We all read information about whales and then composed a key word outline for them to write from this week.

We LOVE IEW. I have seen so much improvement over the last year with these guys.

 The younger class (Littles) are slowly learning how to "dress-up" a paragraph; I forgot to take photos since our class was so short. We just quickly reviewed the three dress-ups they knew, and I gave them their weeks writing assignment.

Next was high school chemistry, taught by Kate.

They are going through the periodic table and today they talked about neutrons, isotopes, and ions.

During the week the kids read a chapter from the text and watch a segment of the DVD from Chemistry 101...

And then each week they discuss the material, any papers written, and the quizzes.

While the Olders are learning about the chemical world the Littles are entertaining themselves.....yesterday it was making these cute little creatures.

Next up was lunch.

Each week we plan it out and both bring things to contribute to a meal....lentil soup, bean burritos, potato and egg scramble...

Today it was yummy baked potatoes and broccoli.

During lunch we discussed our history lesson; we are aiming the level of instruction to the older bunch, but the younger ones listen in.

We are going through Biblioplan's Ancient History.

Each week the kids read the material, extra literature, and answer the short and essay questions. Then we meet to discuss it, and sometimes, watch a video.

This weeks lesson was on the ancients in the Americas so today we watched a fascinating video about the Nazca's of South America and their amazing geoglyphs.

It is incredible that these have been around for over 2000 years.

It's was also treat time for the Mama's....

Next up was my science class with the Littles.

I am going through Apologia's Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics.

Today I gathered all the kids together and we talked about polymers. We went through a list and they all guessed how long they thought it would take for these things to decompose.

(Did you know it takes glass 100 million years to decompose?!?)

Then we headed into the kitchen for experiment time.

First, the Littles mixed up their own polymer with borax, glue, and cornstarch.

Then, we blew up balloons (a polymer), and slowly inserted bamboo skewers into them. This was one experiment that I thought wouldn't work. I thought the balloon would pop and you can tell, so did she...

But it worked!

We were able to insert the skewers all the way through. This is because the chain of polymers can be separated and make a small gap for the skewer to be inserted.

And that was co-op.

Of course, there is silliness...that's what makes it fun.

Stayed tuned for more co-op adventures!