Thanksgiving then Christmas

Here is Thanksgiving:

and…

It was awesome, delicious, beautiful and served on a tablecloth that I made from a thrifted sheet in the time it took for the turkey to go from 160 degrees to button-popping goodness. It was fun! We were able to break out my mom’s china from 30 years ago, which is a moment my sister, Karee, and I wait for every year. It would have been nice to have some “out of towners” in for a visit but our new “in-towner”, my brother-in-law, Jon was a welcome addition. We played Scattergories which I was terrible at!

All in all, it was a wonderful day, and only slightly overshadowed by the fact that my husband is one of those people now, who camped out at Best Buy to get a computer for Jon. They left at 9:30pm and got back around 6 in the morning. Did I mention that it was 19 degrees outside?

Now, we have moved on. We are still eating turkey and figuring out how we are going to burn the extra calories with all that yummy goodness in the fridge, but I have moved on to this:

which is a pile of the strips that have been cut for Jordyn’s quilt that she will hopefully be getting for Christmas this year. I am doing everything wrong, there are too many colors and we discussed how bad I am at math in the previous post. I did manage to get them all put together correctly this morning. Noah’s strips have all been sewn into their appropriate threesome, ready to be cut.

More or less.

I will post more pictures as these become blocks this weekend! I still have the center motif to do which will be mostly applique work. It is a lot of work, but I really hope that they will like them.

Why I Don’t Like Numbers

I have been working frantically on crafty projects lately. Almost to the exclusion of all else. Almost.

Anyway, I am planning on making a quilt for each of my children for Christmas, which has become an overwhelming project. Not to mention that my daughter (and I) are (still) out of clothes to wear. Although, Jordyn did get a few nice play dresses from Eric’s co-worker, which is getting her by for right now. I just don’t have enough and what I do have is awful.

Here come the numbers: I cut strips for the nine-patch blocks for my kids’ quilts. I cut all of them precisely 13 inches long. After all, my blocks were going to be 6 inches square and that is the double after seam allowance that I came up with. You might need to know at this point, that alternating with the nine-patch blocks, are going to be simple 6 inch squares and I did my math for those squares first. If you note, a 6 inch square doubled would be 12 inches, but, HA, you need to add seam allowances and their are four (top and bottom, twice) in these blocks. At 1/4 inch, my math is SPOT ON. Everything worked out great, the 72 (ish) blocks that I cut out for my children’s quilts are exactly 6 1/2 inches square. Perfect. Problem is, I knew that those squares were correct and I just assumed that it would be perfect for my nine-patches. I guess I didn’t really think because if I had, I would have remembered that when cutting long strips to be sliced for the patches in a nine-patch block, their would be more than 2 seam allowances…there would be TWELVE!!! Basically, it boils down to: I was 3 inches short on every strip, for both quilts. Now I approxiamately (because I refuse to do the real math now) 15 blocks short on each quilt.

Are you confused yet? My head is still swimming and it is 2 in the morning (which is another number problem!) and I just finished making a tent dress which makes me gain about 100 pounds just by putting it on, really. I think I am giving up on dresses. They will flatter my figure when I’ve lost an additional 50-75 pounds. In the meantime, I will stick with button down blouses and 6 gore skirts. Simple to sew, simple to tailor, simple to change (ish). It’s not ideal, but it will have to do. Now what do I do with all this yardage that I bought for DRESSES???

Diet, Health, and Pregnancy

Two days ago, my sister called me up to tell me that she is pregnant. Of course, I’m thrilled because Kelly and Jared are great parents, but I was a little sad because Kelly and I had been talking about being pregnant together for a pretty long time now. It hit me that I was no closer to getting pregnant that I was several months ago. Discouraging and disappointing. However, the good news was that my husband has agreed that we should have more children.

Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. -Psalm 127: 3-5

So, the other day, I made an appointment with the public health doctor’s office to have my evil Mirena IUD removed. I have hated it from the day I got it, though I was persuaded that it was okay, that it was hormonal and therefore I wouldn’t be ovulating. After more research, I find that is absolutely not true and I have been desperate to remove it ever since, even venturing to see if my husband could do it (which he couldn’t). My appointment is scheduled for November 19, 2009 and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Because it is “public health” I had to accept a different form of birth control and I chose condoms, which we will likely never use.

Eric has already been suggesting dates to try to get pregnant at or around Christmas, and I whole-heartedly accept that idea…BUT, I am still overweight- obese even. I would love to have a natural childbirth and give birth at home. In order to do that, you need to have a healthy pregnancy. I am sure that I could have a healthy pregnancy, but I am at a significant risk for high blood pressure and gestational diabetes. In addition, heavy mothers tend to have heavy babies and those babies don’t always come out so well, which leads to an increase in the likelihood of a C-Section. Not at all natural.

I decided that it was HIGH TIME that I get my act in gear. When I thought of a healthy lifestyle, the first thing I thought of was Perfect Weight America. The book is fantastic and though it is really challenging, I would love to be healthy for my baby. So, my goal is to follow the plan for two months, which takes me all the way to the end of December. Perfect timing. I anticipate that I will lose weight during this process, however, that is not my main goal. My goal is to get healthy. That means that I want both my diet and my activity level to reflect a healthy lifestyle. If my weight hasn’t caught up in two months (which it likely won’t), then I will either keep on losing weight on the diet or I will get pregnant and continue with healthy lifestyle choices.

It may be simple, but it is definitely NOT easy. If you notice on the top, I added another category, called FISH, where I will post notes about my diet strategy, food choices, and progress reports. Expect to see plenty of information on the main page as well. For example:

Today was the first day of my diet and I chose to start with a 10 day cleanse. For more information about Perfect Weight America and the 10 Day Cleanse, see my FISH link on top.

My weight is 191 (YIKES!!!)

My planned meals were pineapple, apple, chicken soup, chicken soup, and finally a large vegetable salad with 1/2 an avocado and 2 tablespoons of dressing. Water consumption about 140 ounces (3/4 oz per pound of weight)

What I really ate was: small serving of pineapple (not enough), whole apple (I didn’t eat the seeds 🙂 ), small serving of chicken soup puree, and a large salad. I drank over 100 ounces of water.

I felt…like junk. My sister made coffee for breakfast (which is my standard breakfast fare) and my mom finished her day with cookies (of which the smell kept wafting up the stairs to torment me- she may have done it on purpose…I’ll never know. 🙂 ). Truly, I was hungry for much of the day, but I didn’t eat enough according to the plan and it was the first day, so it is to be expected. I was craving whatever was in front of me, but I didn’t splurge…except with the dressing on my salad. Tomorrow, fewer ingredients will go into my salad and I will try a new healthy dressing. I am excited about tomorrow.

I will post pictures and measurements in the FISH section tomorrow.

Homeschool- A New Schedule

As the title would imply, I have recently ventured out on a new schedule. I was enjoying the lax nature of my previous schedule in which the main feature was to WAKE UP and shower. It was a stretch some days. Anyway, after yet another week of not schooling, we are officially about three weeks behind schedule and though I keep trying to play catch-up, I find it exhausting!

This year has been eye-opening for a variety of reasons, one of which is that homeschooling is not as fun as I thought it would be! Don’t get me wrong- I love seeing Jordyn and Noah pick up new things, I love being able to discuss issues and events with them. I love being the nurturer, the counselor, the “best-friend” as Noah likes to call me (which sounds like “bwes-fwen”). However, staying on task, keeping the house (and homeschool) organized, getting up and actually doing it, are much more difficult than I expected. When I get discouraged about homeschooling, I look forward. I always like to plan ahead of time and contemplate how it will look in the future. Perhaps this isn’t a great strategy, largely because it has the tendency to draw my attention away from the actual problem and live in dreamland, however, it also encourages because I can be confident that Jordyn will learn to read and one day, she won’t need me to read to her. And I’m going to miss it.

To encourage myself and look to next year, I have been rereading both Teaching the Trivium (note that I linked to their website, which is one location that you may order the book from) and The Well-Trained Mind (note that this link goes to Peace Hill Press, which is the small press operated by the Wise-Bauer family) because I love both books and until recently, I thought they had nothing in common except that they both say they are methods for teaching a “classical education”. [Is that punctuation correct, by the way? When I quote a word and it ends the sentence? I know if it were an actual sentence quoted that the period goes inside the quote, but in this case? Oh well, I like it outside the quote.] I said, “until recently” because as I have gone through these books again I am beginning to think that there is a very simple way to combine these two books and the philosophies behind them. I found this link very interesting because it is essentially an argument for Christians using WTM and how (and why) to do so. However, I read in Teaching the Trivium,

Is “Classical Education” reading Homer and Plato, or Caesar and Cicero? There are some who declare that reading such ancient classical authors is the very essence of any education which could be styled classical. But we believe a more accurate name for this would be a “Classical Humanist Education.” A humanist in the classical sense is one who studies what are called the “humanities,” primarily classical Greek and Roman literature.

The Renaissance – the rebirth of learning (1350-1650) – involved a rebirth of the humanist philosophy and culture of ancient Greece and Rome. There was nothing Christian about this ancient philosophy and culture. If we defined classical by this humanist standard, then we could not avoid the influence of its philosophy and culture. Indeed, an unbound and unbalanced focus upon classical Greek and Roman literature would drive us in every direction except toward Christ. (Chapter 1, pg. 29)

So, I got confused. If I used Well-Trained Mind, how would that fit in with all my other beliefs? I believe whole-heartedly that God is the author and creator of life- including education. I believe that education is the responsibility of the family, not the state. I believe in somewhat sheltering your children until they are able to deal with concepts safely within a Biblical worldview. But how will I know when they are ready? How will I know if I have over-burdened my children with lies from the past that are somehow going to cripple them? Is reading a children’s version of The Iliad along with a perfunctory, “we don’t believe this…” enough? How much detail do I need to get in to? Isn’t it safer to avoid the controversy until they are older? How much older?

Ultimately, we decided that for now, we would go primarily with Teaching the Trivium except for all their delayed start mentalities. Which means that we are conservatively using The Well-Trained Mind. My mind blurs and everything remains unfocused. However, we managed to get a new schedule out of the mix which really emphasizes child-training and homeschool.

6:30- Mother rises, exercises, and showers
7:30- Father and children rise, shower, and dress
8:00- Breakfast and Family Worship
8:30- Morning Chores (set schedule of daily tasks)
9:30- General School Meeting: memory work, practice reading (including phonics)
10:00- Mother reads aloud (using the Sonlight K4/5 recommendations)
10:45- Drill Work: Handwriting, Copywork, K4/5 “Perception” workbooks, Math
11:30- Prep Lunch; Play Outside
12:00- Lunch
12:30- Naps/Quiet Time
2:00- Mother reads aloud
2:45- School Meeting: Finish work from the morning or Field Trips
4:30- Play Outside
5:00- Prep Dinner. Straighten house.
6:00- Dinner. Evening Chores.
7:00- Father Reads Aloud.
7:45- Prepare for Bed (Bath time)
8:30- Evening Family Worship
9:00- Childrens’ Lights Out.
10:00- Lights Out.

You will have noticed I will be spending a significant part of my day reading out loud to my children, but they are not required to sit still, they are free to play quietly as long as they don’t disrupt anything. We are working on sitting quietly on command for a few minutes at a time right now anyway. We are in the middle of the day and so far, I think it’s going well. We have our afternoon reading to do and then a trip to the library. Home in time for dinner.