Hey Ladies!

Just checking in with a bit of a pregnancy update of sorts. I am officially 9 months pregnant and I am patiently awaiting my baby girl's arrival. I know I haven't posted on this pregnancy as often as I have with some of the others. But honestly, I have tried to treasure each bit of this pregnancy in my heart, and it's hard to believe that the end is near. There have been highs and lows, as there are with any other thing in life. But I am forever grateful to God for this blessing He's given to my husband and me, and to our family as a whole.

Labor and delivery are at the forefront of my mind right now. I'm wondering when labor will start and how will I handle it this time and where I will be and what time of day it will be and so on. I pray about this process and then I wonder about delivering her, so I pray about that, too. Yes, even after having had 6 kids, all of this still crosses my mind, and it does so more and more each day.

My daughter (aka photographer) caught us in a real life moment.

I've washed up all of my little girl's clothes from when she was a baby. Now I have to sort and fold and put them away in a few drawers I've cleared out for my baby girl. It's a sweet/sad moment to go through all those tiny baby outfits and remember how little my almost-2-year-old used to be. She's thrilled about it though, from what I can tell, and loves all things baby right now. She often whispers to my belly, "Come out, baby!" Soon, sweetie, soon. 💜

I've been trying to de-clutter places and spaces as best I can. My littlest girl's room is good to go. My older two girls' room is still a work in progress. They are 11 and 13 and I'm still finding things like Dora books collecting dust on their bookshelves! LOL Now that they have a little sister and one on the way, they are more comfortable parting ways with these items I think, since they know they'll still be around. I cleaned out my own closet and have yet to touch the boys' room. I'm hoping to do that this week so I can donate the items before she comes. I'm sweeping as much as I can and I can't stand to see crumbs on the kitchen table. This is how I nest, folks! 😊

I haven't packed a bag for the hospital yet, but I intend to do so in the coming days. I'm debating on laboring in my own gown or using one of those awkward sized, shows "all of your business" gowns the hospital provides. LOL I did get new flip-flops to use in the hospital shower, though, so that counts for something, right?!

After having 6 hospital births, I respect so much more the natural-ness of laboring and delivering at home. There are so many interruptions to the natural process in the hospital. Honestly, by the time we had our 4th baby, were leaning a bit more in that direction. Although my husband and I both looked into it, it just hasn't worked out that way for various reasons. Any of you ladies have ideas on how to make a hospital birth feel more home-like????? I'm reading a few books about it, but there's nothing like hearing from mamas who've been there.

I had my homeschool portfolio review last week. My reviewer agreed to meet with me in April instead of June. I thought that was very considerate of her and I'm thankful that is complete. We are still continuing to school each day on our regular schedule for the most part. Once the baby comes, we will transition into our "newborn/summer" schedule.

I'm feeling pretty good overall and I can't complain. I'm big and round and I feel like I'm waddling with every move. My husband's sweat pants look more and more like a comfortable alternative to some of my maternity clothes. I'm at the stage where clothes are pretty much the enemy right now. LOL I need a pedicure for sure and one of my daughters has offered to help me--thank God for daughters. 😉 Sleep is harder because finding a comfy position is getting trickier, but that's nothing new to pregnancy. I'm having Braxton-Hicks contractions every day now, several times a day. I'm hoping that they are productive so that there's less work to be done during the actual labor. (A mama can hope, right?!)

I think my husband is mentally preparing, because he's telling people that I'm pretty much at "any day" status. All of the kids are excited, and have expressed it in different ways. Some tell me often how they can't wait to meet the baby, how they're so glad to have another sibling, asking what she's doing or how big she is now. Some of the kids just randomly come up to my belly and start talking to the baby in sweet little tones. 💜

Finally, I am so very thankful. So grateful for the opportunity to carry life one more time. God is gracious. For every time I feel her move or I see an elbow or foot move beneath my skin, or hear her heart beating or just think over the way this pregnancy unfolded--I thank God for it all and pray I never take it for granted.

36 weeks and Counting

by on Monday, April 25, 2016
Hey Ladies! Just checking in with a bit of a pregnancy update of sorts. I am officially 9 months pregnant and I am patiently awaiting my b...

I walked in the school room the other day and the 4-year-old boy had written a whole host of numbers on the chalk board that I'd never taught him to write. Last time I checked, we were still working on a few letters. . .

One day, I realized that my 3-year-old, who was 2 at the time, knew all his colors because he began naming everything by color. I thought we were still working on the difference between orange and white. . .

My littlest girl, who's 22 months old, recognizes all her letters, but hates to sit down for any alphabet flashcard time. Flashcards were a big hit for her 5 older siblings, but not so much for her, so I'm thinking, how does she know this?

My oldest son, 8 years old, regularly announces how he's already familiar with the history lessons we're studying. He goes on to tell me all of what he knows, and I'm thinking, this kid is on point.

I watch my oldest girls, now 11 and 13, do more and more and I think, when did they learn that? Like I watched my 11-year-old pick up her little sister, balance her on her hip just right (Mamas, you know that classic hold I'm talking about!) and she walked on across the kitchen with her to get a cup of juice.

Then one night, my new teenager girl said she'd help this same baby sister get dressed for bed. When I peeked my head in the room to offer guidance, she had little girlfriend laid across her lap, and was changing her like a pro.

I never explicitly said, Daughter, this is the proper way to sling a toddler up on your hip. And as for teaching number writing--I had good intentions, but hadn't yet given the lesson. As a matter of fact, I hadn’t sat them down to learn any of the things mentioned above.

So, how do they know?
It's what I call the trickle-down effect of learning. 

Not everything is taught explicitly, through formal encounters and a ton of lesson plans. Some things just trickle down and the children grasp them as they come, simply by all of us being around each other, day after day. In homeschooling, there is plenty of time for togetherness.

My children aren't spending the day separated by age, grade level or ability. They spend most of every day with each other and one or both of their parents. Togetherness isn't something we carve out or schedule a time for, rather it is something we live. Life and learning go on in the same space daily and are not two different dynamics in our home.

As they say, homeschooling is a way of life. It offers plenty of opportunities to watch, listen, emulate. . .watch, listen and learn some more. And the learning isn't just from Dad or Mom--it takes place between siblings, too: games played, stories read, tying shoes, zipping up coats, passing down a beloved toy, bedtime routines--togetherness.

When children are encouraged to be around you, to be in your presence, even in the most ordinary of tasks--rather than being shooed off into a corner--it's amazing what they pick up on.

Having the chance to watch it all unfold is a beautiful thing. Keep pushing forward, keep learning as a family, keep being together, keep planting those faithful seeds. The fruit that it produces is a blessed reward.

*Originally written for Our Homeschool Forum

The Trickle-Down Effect

by on Saturday, April 16, 2016
I walked in the school room the other day and the 4-year-old boy had written a whole host of numbers on the chalk board that I'd nev...
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