Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Children's Christmas Program

Recently the Husband and I were asked to head the Junior Church ministry.  We've been involved with it for a long time, but when we stepped up a few months ago, it was already time to jump right into the Christmas play!  We wanted to keep it simple our first year.  We enlisted the help of a few awesome people who helped tremendously, and we are forever grateful!  It turned out really well and we had a great time that night!

Nothing like watching these little Promises sing!  

Before it started, Elliott was looking a little unsure . . . 

Emory always looks extremely unsure.

See??  He has a 'HELP ME' look right now.  He also threw out a "Daddy, this thing is itchy" comment as was trying to rip off his head piece!

He knew his part and said it without any trouble at all.

Though every time I went to take a picture of him singing, he was watching someone off to the side.

And this one was distracted by a fuzzy!

Paying attention this time!

Emory memorized his part too (yay!) and had it down during practice, but when he got up there that night, he said the first line "I am Joseph . . . " and sped through the rest of it so fast that it was just a mumble of words.  This got him a few giggles of course, so he just shrugged and smirked!

See?  Easily amused!

Mary and Joseph took their part seriously!

Eleanor is not in any of the participating classes, but the preschool teacher did bring the nursery kids up for a few minutes.  If I'd known they were putting her in an angel costume, I would have dressed her in a silver and white outfit!  Ha!

This picture melts my heart!

She got a little bored on stage, so she went back to sit with her Wed. night teacher!  (Yay, we're finally getting past stranger anxiety, and she ADORES this woman so much she goes to her by choice!)

 Then during the closing, a little runaway Angel had to sneak up on stage to see her pawpaw!  Of course he can't tell this girl no.

All in all, it was a blessing to be part of this program!

©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.  http://www.moms-heart.com

Monday, December 15, 2014

One Big Pair of Underwear {a living math book review}

Over the last few years as we've learned more about homeschooling and adapted to meet our ever-changing needs, one thing has remained constant.  We're a literature-based homeschool.  I love living books, and I've always been a fan of living math books as well.  A living math book is a book that covers math concepts in an informal and non-threatening way through a story.  It's a fun tool for introducing or reviewing math with children, and one I use often.

One Big Pair of Underwear by Laura Gehl

Recently I was contacted by author Laura Gehl about her new book, One Big Pair of Underwear.  After reading the description I realized the title is a fun way to grab the attention of the target audience of preschool to early elementary children!  Having a K'er and 2nd grader myself, I knew the title alone would intrigue them.  Yes we discuss modesty, but there's just something about underwear!

When I agreed to review the book, I had my 5 year old in mind.  You might remember that he is the comedian of the family, so I figured he would appreciate it, and it is geared specifically for his age range.  Often he just tags along with his big brother, but I like to find things specifically for him too.  When I showed it to him and read the title he giggled and immediately asked me to read it!

One Big Pair of Underwear is a fun rhyming book with tongue twisters and a very whimsical Seuss-type feel to it.  It's surely to catch the attention of younger children as they laugh at the tongue twisters and the silly antics of the yaks without enough snacks or seals without enough wheels!  I had fun reading it, and the boys enjoyed listening to it!

Just reading the book alone, it's a great tool for counting and numbers.  However it also covers inequalities, as there's never quite enough of anything to go around!  This leads into another theme of sharing.  While nobody really wants to share their underwear, the book teaches about sharing and taking turns in a fun and positive way!  There are so many great discussion starters right in the book.

However, there are other ways to enhance the math within the book!  Grab some counting bears (or other small animals) and act out the story.  Do a greater than/less than (< >) chart for each part of the story to work on vocabulary and math symbols.  Or, on Gehl's website you can find free activity booklets to go along with the book, and these are a great tool for one-on-one with the kiddo who enjoys worksheets.  It's easy to turn this book into a fun and natural homeschool "lesson" which makes it a living math book in my opinion.

This book is cute, educational and a fun addition to our bookshelf!  Laura Gehl has several upcoming children's books to be released, and I'm sure we'd be just as delighted to read those as well!

You can find the author of One Big Pair of Underwear on her website http://www.lauragehl.com/ or on Facebook!

This graphic contains my FTC statement regarding reviews

©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.  http://www.moms-heart.com

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A birth story - 8 years later!

We recently celebrated Elliott's 8th birthday.  My baby boy is EIGHT years old.  I know I said this last year (Seven Years Later) but my mommy heart is having trouble comprehending that he's growing up.

As I get closer to the birth of baby number 4, and think more about labor and delivery, I realized I've never shared the boys' birth stories.  I know not everyone likes those kind of posts, but I wanted to have them on here.  So if you like birth stories and baby pictures, keep reading.  If not, feel free to check out some other posts (like homeschool reviews) or come back another day!

We found out in late March that we were expecting our first child.  Excited, overjoyed, elated.  Maybe a little scared.  I was due in late November.  I was lucky, and had a relatively easy pregnancy.  The only time I had a "problem" was when we went on a bus trip.  I was pretty far along by then.  The trip home was horrendous, with a broken down bus, no air conditioning.  I came home hot, swollen and likely dehydrated.  I spent a couple of days swollen and on bed rest, but returned to normal within a few days.  I worked in retail at the time, and I worked Black Friday, getting all the stares and questions, because I was obviously very due by then.

I then went off work since I was getting so close to my due date.  When I was 40 weeks I went in for a routine appointment and had my membranes scraped.  It didn't do anything.  I was told to come back in two days.  I had a non-stress test and was having contractions that I couldn't even feel.  I was then told that I was just starting to dilate, and that I would be an "easy induction" and that she'd do it right then if it wasn't a Friday, because basically the anesthesiologists didn't like weekend inductions. How nice.  I was told if nothing happened on its own, to show up Monday morning at 6:00 AM.

I didn't know any better, I was a first-time mom and excited to meet my baby, so I went along with it.  I remember waking up, tossing and turning, nervous, thinking I had to go to the bathroom every time I woke up, because naturally, that's why I was used to waking up in the middle of the night.  In the wee hours of the morning, I noticed I was now up every 15 minutes, and eventually I just gave up on sleep.  It dawned on me on the way to the hospital, when I was actually awake and alert, that I was actually up all night having contractions, not needing to go to the bathroom.  I got to the hospital at 6:00, and the nurse told me later that when I walked in, they joked that my baby must be standing up ready to go, because I was HUGE!  I weighed in 69 lbs heavier than when I got pregnant.  They said I was all belly.  I felt like a big blob.  I did all the obligatory Q&A and got settled in.

Oh, my . . . Wow!  Look how young!

They informed me that I was having contractions.  By that point I was well aware.  They didn't start the pitocin until around 9:00 though.  Shortly after I started really hurting, and I requested the epidural, but I was told it would be awhile so they'd give me something to tide me over.  I was not paying attention, and I realized later they gave me a muscle relaxer that all but knocked me out.  It was only a few minutes later that the anesthesiologist arrived, and I couldn't even keep my eyes open to sign the waiver for the epidural.  I labored well enough, but they did have to break my water.  I started pushing around 4:30 pm.  I know my epidural kept wearing off and I'd wimp out and ask for more...anything.  I didn't care that I was pushing better without the full strength of the epidural, nor did I understand the repercussions at the time.   I also remember that I was in so much pain under my ribs from the baby's position.  By 6:30 PM, two hours of pushing, we still had no baby.  I was out of steam by them, and told to rest while they called in the back-up OB.  My husband told me later that while that OB had me pushing again, he was pulling so hard that his arms were shaking.  He said he didn't recommend forceps, and we should do a c-section.  It wasn't an "emergency" c-section, but to the point where he felt like the baby wasn't coming on his own.  I know I cried.  My sister-in-law used to work for that doctor and she came in to try to reassure me.  "He's the best" she said.  While he is one of the doctors in the area it didn't make me feel like any less of a failure at the time.  So we were prepped, and the only time I got any relief from the pain near my ribs was when I was laid flat on my back for the anesthesiologist.  I remember telling him how much better I felt.

Right after I was wheeled back, the anesthesiologist finished dosing me up and said "let me know if you think you're going to be sick" and those words were barely out of his mouth when I said I was going to be sick.  Poor guy didn't even have time to reach for a bucket.

It was a very weird experience, knowing I was literally being cut open, but not really knowing what was going on.  My husband never left my side.  He was and always has been my rock.  My heart breaks for women who labor and deliver alone while their husbands are serving overseas, or otherwise can't be there.  I absolutely cannot fathom the pain of separation and the loneliness during a time like that.

At 8:10 PM we welcomed into the world a beautiful and healthy baby boy!  Daddy rushed to get pictures.  Elliott was 7 lbs 15 oz and 21 inches long.

He was perfect in every way, and after all was said and done, I was so relieved.  A feeling of pure love that cannot ever be matched when you first hold and cuddle a newborn.

My overall recovery went okay I suppose, but I didn't like being on strong painkillers.  I have been blessed and have had two successful VBACs since then, and we're praying for another successful VBAC this time as well.

It's so hard to believe that we've survived this long and our firstborn is now eight years old!  He challenges my patience frequently, but he's still a blessing.  He's a smart boy with a crazy memory and a huge vocabulary.  He enjoys gymnastics, LEGO and anything STEM oriented.  He's got a big heart; he's his daddy made over in looks and personality, and I wouldn't have it any other way!

**If you like birth stories, you can read Eleanor's VBAC story here!

©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.  http://www.moms-heart.com