What we’ve been up to lately

I’ll keep this super quick, as it’s Sunday morning pre-7:00 AM and the before Mass rush tends to get crazy in just a little while…

So…. lately…

Just life really.

Advent

First things first, happy Advent. The season of waiting and preparing for Christmas. We’re officially in the 2nd week now and all we’ve managed to do is set up a Christmas tree… so umm… on top of over things here!

In the past, I’ve liked the tradition of setting up the tree a little later (my birthday on the 17th, generally seems to be a good marker, and often times falls on or around Gaudete Sunday), but this year, I dunno, it seemed right.

Other than that we don’t even have the advent wreath up, although, I am really honest and truly going to get it out of the attic today. New candles or no. 😉 {hold me to it blog world}

We’ve read exactly one Jesse Tree story and done no ornaments. I guess all those could feel like Advent fails, but I’ll be completely honest this year it’s not even bothering me. Like, 100% it’s not even a little rubbing me the wrong way.

Going forward, I literally just read a post where she mentions doing Advent School (as opposed to normal homeschool subjects), and I’m going to be doing that for the rest of the season. We need a break anyway. We’ve got crafting to do and books to read. 😊

Baby life

I’m convinced that if you have a baby anytime after, say September 1st, all your holiday obligations for the rest of the year are given a pass (see our non-Adventing skills mentioned above).

Anyway, Baby Saber is doing well. Growing huge. A weigh in at his 2-month check up nearly two weeks ago had him at 14lbs 11oz. Kid eats All. The. Time. But then he’ll sleep for hours. Like last night, from 10:30 to 6:30! Yay!!!

Kids all absolutely love him. And he’s recently started smiling and even “talking” to us. Which makes all those first crazy weeks ever so much sweeter and more worth it.

Johny yesterday said “mom, Baby Saber has such cute smiles”

Other stuff

We had our first snow yesterday. Tried to build a snowman… no judging ok. I’ve never built one. They were happy (and just a tiny bit sick, again, hence the red noses)

Me? Well, I’m trying to do too much. And by too much, I mean specifically trying to read too many books at once and do too many personal crafting projects at once (probably due to Christmas approaching)….

I had a lovely but of encouragement in the department last month when my sister was doing a “30 thankful days” thing. She mentioned me and said how inspired she was that I take time for myself in the midst of all the other (mostly good) chaos around here. So I try to remember that when I feel like I have no time for myself. Which honestly, I don’t have huge chunks of time, but I’m *trying* to be ok with the bits and pieces that come up through the day. (I’ve tried taking “me time” in the evenings but 9 times out of 10 I fall asleep in my chair, so that’s basically out 😂).

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So there you have it. My 15 minutes are up and passed. If the formatting is a little wonky, I’m sorry. I decided to download the WP app and try to blog on my phone, just because I almost never get time to go on my computer. And let’s be honest (some more), most of my pictures are on the phone anyway.

I’ve been hanging out on Instagram it’s no-login required to look at. Not sure if you can comment and like, but I believe you can look (speaking to all my grandmas who don’t have it, I love you all and think about you specifically when I don’t post pictures to the blog 😊).

Here’s to checking in more often ❤

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Baby “Saber”

I noticed that there have been many views on the blog’s FB page in recent days. My guess is folks are looking for any news regarding Baby “Saber”….

I’ll try to keep the gory details out, but, it’s a birth story so…. read at your own will.

tl;dr version:
Name: Xavier Alexander, nicknamed Saber
Born on September 22, 10:38 PM
Stats: 7lbs 15oz, 21”

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1 week +1 day

So, first things first. Lets start with a little background leading up to the birth.

It felt like we had a lot of “LIFE” happen this summer, in the second half especially. It wasn’t all bad, but there were definitely some crazy/stressful things. In a nutshell, my MIL moved in with us (Jared and I went to down to Georgia to get her, road trip style when I was about 34 weeks along). Stressful family stuff came up back there a few weeks later, so MIL decided to return.

After that, I had some shortness of breath combined with dizziness. Dr. Google suggested I contact my provider and see what was up. So I did. The same day I called them, I had some sort of episode where I couldn’t really see out of half of either eye. I freaked out a little (because I’ve had eye issues in the past), ended up at ER on Monday (the 18th) and just finally got really overwhelmed with…. everything…

I had a follow-up MRI on Friday…. but…. apparently I’m severely claustrophobic, and after approximately 45 seconds in the machine, I wanted out and pretty much we all came to the conclusion that I wouldn’t be able to complete the scan. {Total side note: we’re going to let the scan go for now, and just see if any more episodes happen, and if not, then we won’t worry about it.}

So by the time I got to my midwife appointment that afternoon (at 1:00 PM), I told her I’d had enough, due to all of the above, and normal end of pregnancy discomfort, and I was done being pregnant. She couldn’t offer me an induction because I wasn’t 39 weeks, but I asked if she could strip my membranes to see if that could start things moving. I was measuring about 4cm at this point, although my cervix was still a bit long.

Went home and was basically just waiting for contractions to start getting more regular. They were getting a little stronger, but nowhere near regular. I made it through the afternoon and managed to get some food on the table, all while having inconsistent but just slightly stronger contractions. In my mind, for some reason, I kept thinking “I just have to make it till 7:00 PM, when I can get the little ones to bed, then till 8:00 PM when mom and dad should be done having dinner with their company” (they were going to watch the kids).

I got Nicki to bed by 7:00 or so, and contractions were picking up in frequency, but were still not regular, so I was having a hard time timing them. I folded some laundry, and tried to tidy up our room a little. Katherine was kinda hanging around chattering on about whatever crossed her mind. I did finally ask her if she could go to bed because I was needing some space. (I kinda like to labor alone.) So she went. Z went to bed. It was getting closer to 8:00; I was messaging one of my sisters-in-law; and I decided somewhere in there, I was going to try to lay down and rest. This was 8:06. (Don’t know why I remembered the time…).

Between 8:06 and 8:28 I had three contractions, roughly 10 minutes apart, but kinda painful. So I got up to try to walk them off. Folded and put away some more laundry all while contracting. They were getting painful and more frequent, but I could still manage them. A few I had to actually stop and breath through. After a few of those, I decided I needed to call. It was 9:01.

Now, where was Jared through all this? Like I said, I like to labor alone for the most part. And he had planned something on his game (like days before), and he was doing that, this is online gaming with headsets and groups of people. He did come and check in on me at least once in the 8:00 hour, and I told him things were looking like they were picking up, but thought it would be fine for a while, especially since my last two labors were about 12 hours (and even the two previous to those were 5 hours).

Anyway. Midwife called me back pretty quickly. She thought because I had further apart contractions (at 8:00) while laying down that it wasn’t real actual labor, so I was advised to drink a big glass of water and lay down for an hour (the end of the hour was supposed to be about 10:30) and see if they remained closer together. I hung up the phone, laid down and had a super, intense, painful contraction. When that was done I said “wow! that one hurt.” A few minutes later I had another one. Then another. Then I started shaking uncontrollably. {Found out later, that’s actually a sign of being in transition…}. Then the contractions started feeling like there was pushing involved and not voluntarily by me.

I had been texting mom starting about 9:00, letting her know what was going on. Then telling her I was supposed to wait for an hour, but felt like I needed to go in sooner. She showed up about 9:40 or 9:45? I started to lose track of time. Jared was getting off the game event (words like “I feel like I’m going to push this baby out right now” get things moving). Mom helped me through a few more contractions by putting counter pressure on my lower back/ Jared was getting dressed and getting ready to go. I was starting to get really impatient, anxious to be going.

Jared said later that the car clock said 10:02 when we left. I imagine we were at the hospital by 10:08? (We live close). That was an excruciating ride. My bladder was full and baby felt like he was pushing and it was everything I could do to hold everything in.

I remember blowing past security. And basically demanding that the check in nurse get me to a room ASAP because I was going to have the baby. That flustered her a bit. She couldn’t seem to figure out how to order up a room on demand.

We got a triage room. Nurse tried to get me to undress and get on the monitor (why  at that point, I don’t know). That took a few contractions. She was also flustered. {Jared said later it felt like she wanted to stop everything so she could figure out what to do – I guess they don’t deal specifically with delivery down there…} I kept wanting water, but she wouldn’t give it to me. They managed to get a doctor in relatively quickly to check me. I was at 10cm with a bulging (water) sac. I was still demanding water, still contracting, and still trying to hold everything in. They were discussing whether to move me or not, because they didn’t want me to deliver in the elevator. Honestly by that point I didn’t care if they moved me or not. I was at the hospital and on a bed so that’s what I cared about. I mean, I did want an epidural, but once the doctor said 10cm I knew there was no way that would happen. They moved me. A short, excruciating ride later, I got to the delivery room, dragged/pulled myself from the triage bed to the room bed, looked at the clock, it said 10:32.

I guess midwife showed up a minute or two later. She offered to break the water bag, I don’t even remember what I said – I wasn’t thinking really at all by then. I do know the water broke at 10:35 because I heard the nurses talking over it later. I was given the go ahead to push whenever I wanted. They weren’t going to direct anything. No one held my legs or anything, I just held/squeezed Jared’s hand. I still wanted water so they went to get me some and I almost panicked when they said they had to leave the room to get it (I felt I was almost choking, my throat was so dry). But I got a tiny sip of water and started pushing. I don’t know how many pushes, maybe four? (I do remember coherently thinking that I didn’t actually want to push him out, I did still want the epidural…) but at 10:38 PM Xavier Alexander was born.

I’d like to refer to it as my “Hollywood birth” – minus the dramatic gushing of water to start things off.

A few other things I learned about myself… Apparently the reason the midwife didn’t say to come in when I first called was because I sounded “so calm on the phone”. And Jared was basically thinking the same thing. So…. I guess I need to work on my verbalizing skills ;).

As with all the other boys’ births, I didn’t have any tearing. I did have a little hemorrhaging, but a shot of pitocin and a quick “clean up” of the uterus by the midwife took care of that.

It happened so fast, that at 11:00 I was still not even sure how it had happened like it did. I also remember thinking something along the lines of “well, now that that’s done, what are we gonna do for the rest of the night?” Up until we were leaving for the hospital, I really had expected it to take a few more hours after we arrived.

I had tested positive for GBS during pregnancy. But, I didn’t receive any antibiotics during delivery (go figure, huh?) so we had to stay most of 48 hours to make sure Xavier didn’t contract some form of meningitis. But, he was good, and we had an otherwise dull and uneventful hospital stay, and were able to come home on Sunday night.

Some pictures of the big kids visit

Quick Takes: Summer 2017 check in

Jared has packed up the kiddos and taken them to the park this AM. Which leaves me with an undetermined amount of time to do…. something…. ? I don’t know about you, but anytime I find myself with a few unexpected minutes in the middle of the day, I can never think of what would be the BEST thing to do sans kids. Something productive? Laundry? Picture editing?

Well, anyways, here we are.

How’s about a few quick takes since I’ve been meaning to do this for a few weeks now.

~1~
Baby X. is doing well. Measuring right on as of last appointment. I’m feeling some discomfort, but not anywhere near as bad as with Nicholas, so that’s a plus. I am however, ready to be done being pregnant. But, I have had a few NICU babies, and those are not fun either, so I think I’ll grit my teeth and deal with the last 7-ish weeks.

~2~
Speaking of baby. I mentioned on FB a few weeks ago that I’ve had requests for things that we need. Mostly I’m finding that we just need some things updated. So, I made a small registry on Amazon. (Link is here or I think you can search my name?).

~3~
We have plans to officially start our homeschool next week. Normally I wouldn’t start this early, but on account of X. coming near the beginning of October, I wanted to be sure and get in six weeks of school before he comes. Then we’ll be taking off for a few weeks, maybe four? I think that worked well when Nicki was born.

Katherine will be starting 3rd, Johny will be finishing up 1st, starting 2nd, with the goal of reaching 3rd grade level by next year. Karl wants to be doing school, so I found a few workbooks that he’ll do as long as interest permits. I’d love to teach him how to read, but everytime I try to start that he looses interest and/or gets frustrated by the sounds, so…. I think we’ll wait a few more months to try again.

Our plans in a nutshell include using the Charlotte Mason curriculum at Mater Amabilis as our base. A few substitutions here and there. We’ll be doing Connecting With History/RC History (Volume 1- ancient world) for our “Ancient History” portion. Saxon for Math, because of course, what else? 😉 And we’ll probably end up skipping the foreign language portion (although Kat is currently super interested in saying words in Spanish, French, and German…???) And a very dubbed down Art and Music “study” – by that I mean, it’ll happen if it happens, using whatever material I have on hand.

And, total side note, my state doesn’t require me to teach Science in any form at any level (that I can tell). Is that normal?

~4~
outside

We’ve had precious few “pool” days this summer (or so it seems). We’ll have a random hot or humid day, but they haven’t exactly been the norm. I’d still love to try and make it to an actual beach, since, you know we do live fairly close. But, that requires at least one more adult and a bit more planning than “just go turn on the hose and jump in the water”. So we’ll see. Hopefully.

~5~
What else this summer?
Katherine did a short ballet summer session. It was with her regular teacher from last season. She really enjoys it. From what I’ve been told (I, honestly, am no expert), she’s been doing well and improving. Thanks mom and dad for funding this expedition!

~6~
We’ve all been doing tons of reading. I currently have too many books checked out from the library, and I’m not sure I’ll actually finish them before they’re due.
Katherine just checked out 21 books. There were a few picture books, but the majority were chapter books. She’s been blowing through books now at least since the beginning of the year. Having a hard time keeping her in things to read.
{Any suggestions you have would be much appreciated!}

Johny also has picked up his reading ability. It may have been in part due to the reward of a book of his choice if he finished a certain number. So he worked really hard to do that. Then they figured out they could get prizes from the library if they completed certain summer reading goals, so he’s been working towards getting his paper filled in for that as well (by reading). I was having him read all the books out loud to me, but he started picking them up on his own. Honestly, I’m glad for that. Not that I don’t want to listen to him reading, however I could tell he was able to move on to slightly longer books, but he was hesitant (I feel like he has a slight “fear of failure”, like, if he doesn’t think he can do it, he won’t even try). So, I’m glad he’s moved over that bump. 🙂

~7~
Ok, how bout some pictures? Since I know some of the grandmas and other family aren’t on instagram (where I post the majority of my pictures).

{Also, I’ve tried to link my IG and FB accounts and they just won’t stay linked. Any thoughts?}

There are a few captions if you click through the pictures.

 

Happy rest of your weekend!
Linking with Kelly for Quick Takes

Katherine’s First Communion

Breaking blogging silence to bring you…. a photo dump…

Yesterday Katherine made her first communion! Honestly, up until day of it didn’t hit me exactly how HUGE of a deal this is. 1st communion

She had a lot of fun picking out her dress and veil. And she seemed to enjoy going to the class, most of the time. I had pretty much just been caught up in the details of getting things done for the past few weeks…

 

But…. Somewhere between wrangling little ones and finding seats in a super full Mass

{Seriously, guys, I didn’t know there were about 45 kids making their first communion!!!..}1st communion-4

and grabbing a few pictures of Kat and a special friend…

I managed to settle into the beauty and the solemnity of the moment.

Seeing Katherine receive Jesus for the first time, was…. I don’t even know how to describe it. And, if it’s possible, I felt even more emotional today when she received right in front of me. I think it had to do with her being not only the first of our kids to receive, but also the first in our extended family as well (as neither Jared or I grew up Catholic).

It was just beautiful. A beautiful moment.

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Quick Takes {January Edition}

1. Ice Skating

Early in January, right before my sister returned to school in CA, she and my brother and their significant others, did the very auntie uncle task of taking the big kids Ice Skating.

I video chatted with them while they were there. My quick observations were: Katherine seems to be ok (definitely better than last year), Johny at least doesn’t fall too much, and Karl just goes for the outing.

Anyway, they had fun.

Here’s a pretty long video, but if you’re interested 🙂

2. Sick

The day after they went skating, Karl got sick. Then the babies. Then the big kids.

Oh. It. Was. Fun.

That continued for well over a week.

Then they passed it to me.

Blah.

It was just a bad cold and not a stomach bug, but still…..

Fortunately Jared didn’t get hit with it too hard, but he did manage to have a nice serious foot/ankle/gout flareup which kept him out of work for a few days.

3. My birthday is coming down!

Karl turned 5!

{Birth Story if you’re into that sort of thing: Here it is!}

He had been counting down his birthday since the bigger kids had their birthday last September and seemed to be getting the whole timing of things a little more this time around; at least in the general sense. For example, he finally got the concept that it was my birthday then Christmas then January then… still a few days till his birthday. He  basically asked every day since January began “what day it is?” {what date} and “how many days till my birthday?” He was in one of his frequent “talking all the time about the most random things” modes and “My birthday is coming down” came out of his mouth.

We managed to get just well enough from being sick to have a birthday party. He was thrilled. Had two cakes and everything 🙂

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{And also blew out candles on pancakes on his actual birthday breakfast}

4. Lack of Teeth

Nicki is now 10 months!

Crawling upstairs and onto low beds, however he has yet to master getting down, so that’s been a slight problem. We’re working on it, but he’s not really grasping the concept yet.

Attempting to let go of furniture and “fall-walk” towards another piece of furniture.

Pretty sure he says something like “Cahhhhh” and it means “Cat”, otherwise he doesn’t say much.

Weighed just over 20lbs (or maybe it was 21? I don’t remember) at his last appointment.

Pretty much will eat everything that’s given him. He especially seems to love finishing off Z’s juice/milk cups. So… yeah, he’s had real milk a full two months “early”.

Loves the vacuum.

No teeth. Poor guy needs to get them in ASAP because I think they’re making him super duper cranky and that’s just no fun.

5. New Hobby

I took up embroidery a few weeks back. I’m slowly working on a small sampler with a grand total of seven (that’s right 7) different stitches. But because I have so many hobbies it’s not moving very fast.

It has turned out to be simpler than I thought it would. I mean, I’m not sure exactly why I thought it would be complicated, but… I did.

Anyways, it’s nice to grab some thread and do a row of stitches. I just don’t pick it up very often.

6 Football

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Don’t know if I blog-introduced our kitty. But, in case I didn’t, we got a kitty for Christmas. Her name is Eowyn (from Lord of the Rings).

Apparently she likes football.

Johny really got into it too. He had to go to bed during the Patriots game last Sunday and first thing he did Monday morning (like, literally first thing – I heard him jump out of bed and run immediately downstairs) was ask who won the game.

Now contemplating letting his stay up and watch the Super Bowl.

7. 

Signing off now because I just realized I have exactly 13 minutes left of “nap time” and I had a few more things I kinda needed to get done before the chaos starts again.
You know, all that lovely stuff…

Order books from the library…
Pay bills…
Check in with a linkup I joined last week, but haven’t participated in…

Yeah, that’s so not happening in 13 minutes 😉 Oh well, life 🙂

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Linking with Kelly for Quick Takes