Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Little House on the Prairie

Back when Rose was born (almost 4 yrs ago), my mom bought a set of the original Little House books as a sentimental foreshadowing of things to come with having a daughter as well as a son. Matthew is now an avid reader at 6yrs and last night he picked up Little House in the Big Woods, opened it to his "bookmark" (cleverly disguised as an empty ziploc bag...don't ask) and asked me to read that chapter as his bedtime story. I was a little surprised that he was about 3/4 of the way through something I deemed a "girly book" but started reading. I wondered, for a moment, if he was pulling my leg - I mean, come on - a ziploc bag for a bookmark?? But I started reading.

Somewhere along the line, Pa was taking the family into town and they got the first glimpse of the store. Matthew gets all excited, explaining the back history of the excitement of the traders shop and that was where Pa bought calico so Ma could make dresses for the girls..."blue for Mary and red for Laura". (Heh - doubting Mom is no more)

After I finished the chapter, we're laying there snuggling when I tell him that someone wrote a series about some of Laura's ancestors, called The Charlotte Years and The Martha Years. He informs me that the ones he's reading are called The Laura Years. I let it 'slip' that I kinda *know* the lady too - I read her blog and...she HOMESCHOOLS too. I can't even begin to describe how incredibly impressed he was with that and how he immediately started wondering if Borders at the mall has them so we can buy them. ROFL So I guess Melissa Wiley has a new fan (or two). ;) Check out one of her blogs, The Lilting House.


Glad you followed me over to the new site! Now hopefully I can blog more regularly without having to pull my hair out. ;)

Friday, January 26, 2007

Death warmed over must feel like this

On top of stalling to go to bed last night (because I knew the minute I laid down, the battle of breathing would be over and it would win), and on top of having a horrible night of up and down and coughing and sneezing and trying to breathe and let's not forget the pregnancy related bathroom trips during the 3rd trimester....on top of ALL of that, Rose apparently was having a horrid night too and ended up on our floor...grinding her teeth as loudly as she could. She also couldn't breathe very well so each inhale was a whistley mucusy sound followed by loudly grinding teeth.

Those sounds were *not* fun to try to sleep to...when I actually could sleep.

However, being sick has had a very small advantage. I finished a bag I've been working on! My friend's SIL made a knitted one for her similar to this and I fell in love with it. So I improvised a similar pattern in crochet and voila... here it is...

My bag
It's the first bag I've ever crocheted and I'm quite proud of the results. :) I made it extra big so it can serve as a diaper bag come April. Now, make me feel good (if that's possible) and tell me how pretty it is.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Sick. sick. sick

Yep, that's us. SICK. I don't know what it is (cough, cough) but the girls tested negative for flu and strep (ouch my throat hurts) but we've all had fevers (Rose's was 103F for two days and that was ON Tylenol and Motrin). (sneeze, sniffle, cough, sniffle) My fever appeared last night. Why, you ask? Well, it could be because when you're pregnant, your immune system is a little repressed - which is great for the MS but totally bad for these pesky colds and sinus stuff that goes around every winter that I'm already susceptible to. (wheeze, cough, sneeze, cough, cough, cough) Or, it could be that when your kids are almost-two and almost-four and they're sick (sneeze, sniffle, sniffle, blow), they have this NEED to LAY ALL OVER YOU and wipe their faces all over you and make you miserable just as they are starting to feel better and get their energy back. (cough, cough, sneeze, sniffle, ouch my poor throat) So I'm going downhill fast and they're doing pretty good at this point, after a week of being pretty darned sick. Though the girls are still coughing and sniffling, their fevers are gone and they're playing and *trying* to run around (cough, cough) though when they do, it just makes them cough like they have TB so I'm doing my best in my fever-induced state (sneeze, sniffle, wheeze, wheeze, cough) to keep them doing quiet activities.

I give up (cough, cough, ouch)... I'm just going to hang a big black flag on the porch indicating that the plague is here. And then I'm going back to bed (sneeze, sneeze). Oh wait - that's in my MIND - I can be sick in bed in my MIND because I have lunch to prepare and kids to get down for nap...ahhhh...nap....nap... can I (cough) make (sneeze) it? (cough, cough, ouch)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I'm a huge, tired, aching pg woman...emphasis on huge!

28 weeks. Technically *just* in the third trimester. I still have 12 good weeks left before my due date. And...well....just LOOK at me!!!! I know you're supposed to get larger with each pgcy but I have TWELVE weeks left to go. This is just plain RIDICULOUS. According to handy-dandy, my baby only weighs TWO pounds. TWO. Can you imagine what 5-6 more pounds is gonna look like here??? No wonder I have to go see a physical therapist to tape my back up for support - I mean, just LOOK at me!!!

Here I am, in all my pregnant glory (please forgive the deer-in-the-headlights-look), the morning I delivered Rose (pgcy #2). See the hospital bed in the background??
Rose's delivery day
And here I am at 28 weeks on this pgcy (#4)...same sweater, no tricks (sorry about the angle - I had to use the tripod and run in two seconds for the self-timer..teehee). No sticking my tummy out or bending funny, and I'm very nearly the same weight I was at this time in the other pgcy. This is me. Now. HUGE.
PG #4, week 28
Now please, somebody...ANYBODY...tell me it's not twins ok??

I just got back from my 28 week checkup with my OB. Everything looks fine...thyroid, blood count, etc. And I've actually gained weight - shock!! I typically lose weight when pg - LOTS of weight. First two pgcys I lost 60lbs and the last one I lost 30. Today I was only 1lb under my starting weight so I *guess* that's good. But here's where the shoe dropped...the gestational diabetes test. It was supposed to be under 140 and my level was 194. She wanted to send me for the 3hr but that 3 hour makes me sick for 3 days so I asked if I could just start monitoring at home instead (since I already have the stuff). She agreed.

Soooo...everyone keep the prayers coming that I can control it with diet and exercise please! I certainly don't want shots. 'Course that would get me ready for my MS shots after delivery I guess. lol I'm just a mess anyway you look at it. ;)

Monday, January 22, 2007

More Math

It seems that every unschooling post I've come across in the last week (and even my message boards) have people wondering about math. Apparently after you get the "But homeschoolers need to be SOCIALIZED" argument and the "You don't have a CURRICULUM??" argument, the next question is about math. It appears that no one on the face of the planet (or that I know, which is just about that many people) thinks that kids will learn math if they're not FORCED to learn it. Well, I'm here to prove them wrong (hang on a second, Matthew wants to give me the low-down on his Justice League book). ;)

OK, book report finished. On to math.

When people find out that I homeschool, they ask how long I'm going to do it. I respond, "I'd like to do it through high school but we'll see if that's what they want," and they say something that basically translated means, 'well, you must be a genius because I couldn't EVER teach my kids higher math and science!" - Quite frankly, I'm not sure I can either! But there are groups - there are co-ops from parents who actually liked math and science (some were teachers too!) who will teach these things to high school aged kids in a relaxed style...or be available for questions if that's all the kids want. And my husband loves math and science too and is eagerly already planning microscope purchases.

How does everyone start their preschoolers out with math? They start by looking at numbers, learning their names, counting and adding small things together. Then they send them to school for "higher math" - you know those complicated multiplication and division rules...and please let's not even DISCUSS algebra. So what happens after simple addition? They move on to double and three digit addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. According to division is first introduced at grade 3 (Math A chart on that site).
"Using Multiplication and Division: Lesson 1 – Basic Multiplication Facts
Using Multiplication and Division: Lesson 2 – Basic Division Facts"

Do I feel confident that math and science won't get too hard until at least 3rd grade? Hmm... well...
Matthew would be in kindergarten this year if he were attending PS (public school). This weekend, he asked me if he could have some of his Christmas candy. After I recovered from the shock that THERE WAS ANY LEFT by mid January, I told him yes. He comes downstairs with a baggie of chocolate covered nuts and asks how many he can have. I asked him how many there were.
Matthew: "Five."
Spotting an opportunity, I responded, "You may have half of what's there."
He immediately says, "What's that, like 4 or 5?" without thinking, as most any child would do.
I said, "You may have half."
He looks at the bag and quickly looks up at me: "But Mommy, there's only 3 and 2 - I can't make it half."
So I made the two piles of two and had the last one sitting by itself.
I said, "OK Matthew, now - you have two equal piles. How do you put this other one in the piles to make them even?"
At this moment, Rose walked into the room behind me. His eyes light up and he says brightly, "You give one to your little sister!!" Enthusiastically said because he 'knew' he had the 'right' answer, of course. ;)
With a chuckle, I told him that was one way to do it but what if we didn't do that - how could we make two equal piles? He thought about it for a bit before giving up. I explained that we could cut it in half and watched the light bulb in his mind flicker on. In the end however, he decided on an apple instead because "it's healthier anyway".

Real. Life. Learning. No forcing him to learn math. He had a question...he needed an answer...we spent 5 minutes on it and moved on. But I'm certain that the five minute lesson will be brought up again soon. He was already halfway there, realizing that 3 and 2 were the closest to 'half' of 5 that he could get.

This is how learning occurs in our house. As it comes up. As we live our lives. Math is's everywhere. Science is everywhere. Now the names of dead presidents and their dates in office...that's a little different. ;)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Bed issues again

I posted last week about the fact that we need to move Jade out of the crib for the new baby. So we need to put together a game plan for how to do it and which beds would be for which person. Matthew was very stern on the fact that he didn't want to change his bed so I was trying to get Rose to use the unused futon for a while so Jade could have Rose's railed bed. Rose wasn't too happy with this either and ended up in tears.

We talked about it again today. I unfolded the futon so Rose could see how big it was and, surprisingly, she was happy to try it, as long as I got her a rail for the one side so she doesn't fall out. ;) But then she wanted to move her toys and sound machine into Jade's room. And as I sat there trying to explain that this was Jade's room, I realized Rose is the oldest girl - she should get some privilege. Plus them switching rooms accomplishes some good's current room is the biggest - it's also the coldest in winter and warmest in summer. Rose can pull up more blankets when she's cold...Jade doesn't do that yet. And Rose's room is the warmest in winter so that works out. I told her we wouldn't be doing any painting so she'd have to live with the light green walls and give up her purple butterflies and she was OK with that too. The closet is smaller but until she's a preteen I doubt she'll notice. And Jade's current room is the one they'll eventually share so that works too. The only kink I can think of is that Jade has discovered how to do the L shaped door handles now so we'll have to switch her handle to the knob and put a childproof knob on it. And the gate doesn't go past that room so we'll have to be diligent about it since she's only *just* gotten the guts to go down the stairs by herself. Other than that, I think it'll work out better than what I was thinking and bonus - no beds have to be moved around!

So it looks like we'll be changing the girls rooms around, which I forsee as a major theme in our lives for the next 15-20 years or so. ;)

When will I learn to stop trying to over think things and just ASK THE KIDS???

Monday, January 15, 2007

Great News!

It rained all night and rained off all the ice!! So when the winds pick up today, there should be minimal additional power outages. I think we made it through with no power loss! :)

My kids are so sweet to each other. I remember, even when my brother (3 years older than me, almost to the day) and I were this age, we didn't like each other one bit. 'Course my friend who believes in astrology says that it's because we're both bull-headed Tauruses. lol Perhaps it was our personalities. Perhaps it was the age difference. Perhaps it was that he was a middle child and I was the only girl and he perceived that I was doted on. I don't know. But we never ever got along. If I knew he wanted the last of a certain cereal, I'd take it just to spite him...and vice versa. When we got older, we would have fights - the kind that included nails and teeth. Very rarely (and I do mean VERY rarely), we would get along for 5 seconds. I remember playing with stuffed animals a few times. I remember him trying to teach me to draw (what a waste of his time because I have neither the talent nor interest! LOL). And maybe even a bike ride once or twice.

But my kids are very sweet to each other. I don't know what caused it but I'm so incredibly blessed to get to watch it and participate in it. I think it heals some part of my inner child to see them be so sweet to each other. Some recent conversations (that I had NO part in, other than listening)...

Rose: Matthew, I got a bowl for you for your cereal.
Matthew: Oh thanks! Thanks, Rose, for leaving me the Spiderman cup!
Rose: You're welcome. Matthew, can you please get me a spoon?
Matthew: Sure, and I'll even get you an ADULT spoon!!
Rose: Yay! I like adult spoons!

Matthew: Mommy, will you put a pony tail in Jade's hair?
(this is the same kid who put me through 5 months of pouting about gymnastics [but not totally refusing to go] because, I find out at the end of 5 months, that he doesn't like his teacher because she wears ponytails!!!!!!!)


Matthew: Rose, remember we're playing '5 o'clock crazy hour' now! Chase me!!
(I think someone's been lurking on my blog...hmmmm)

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Power is in me! my house anyway. ;) I am not one of the almost 6,000 without power in my zip code, thankfully! We are in a newer subdivision and our power lines are buried. And the main road we tie into redid their power lines a few years ago when they expanded the road so they're up higher. Maybe we have a chance yet...but there are several sections of the main road that are near wooded areas so we'll see. My best friend has been out of power since Friday at midnight. Fortunately they have a log fireplace and all slept in the living room and say they're pretty warm. And apparently, there IS a use for those old BOARD GAMES after all! LOL

I do worry a lot about MIL and FIL's house. They're deep in wooded country and with Nana (MILs mom) on hospice care in their home, if their power goes out, she has to be sent to a medical facility - which she vehemently does not want to go to. But there really is no other choice. So I'd rather our power go out than theirs. At least we're all well for once (knock on wood), I just jinxed us, didn't I?

In other news - did you hear our GREAT StL news?? Two missing boys on AMBER alert (including one boy, Shawn, who's been missing for over FOUR years) were found and returned this week!! It's been a fabulous high and when Hubby stopped at a couple stores on his way home Friday night, that's all people were discussing around him. It's been a very hopeful and uplifting story for us all in St. Louis and we're so happy that they've been found. Shawn's case was so very highly publicized that even I (who watched mostly PBS at the time) knew a lot about it and have worried and prayed for him for these long 4+ years. Though I admit - I didn't expect a happy ending, if any ending at all. These are the stories that, as a parent, make you cry for days and weeks - knowing how fortunate you are at the same time your heart breaking for the family involved. You wonder how in the world they ever decided to even keep breathing in and out after a point. And to have their son returned after all this time! The joy in me (and in all St. Louisans) for them is just simply overwhelming. Please send continued prayers for the boys and their families that they can work through their experiences, move past them and return to a somewhat normal life. For more details, check out one of our news channels:

So until the ice onslaught ends, I'll be working on a new crochet project. I'm adapting a bag pattern into a diaper bag and using some neat elf eyelash yarn with wool and will felt it when done. I hope it turns out as cute as my friends bag!! :)

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Ice Man Cometh, Part 1

The ice storm hit last night. Apparently our county was one that got the brunt of the storm. I wanted to post some pictures of it currently. This is part 1. Part 2 starts tonight and we're expected to have heavy ice with thunder (meaning extra heavy) and then part 3 again tomorrow, finally turning to snow on Monday. There are 100,000 customers without power right now so I'm praying ours stays on. But with the added wind and ice coming tonight, I'm not incredibly hopeful. I need to collect flashlights, blankets, candles, batteries, etc. just in case.

The ice on the trees *is* awfully pretty to look at though. ;)

Rose's tree:

Also, last week was National De-lurking Week. Soooo...knowing that I *do* have a program that tracks visitors to my site daily, I know there are lots more of you than are leaving comments. Sometimes I find myself lurking when I don't know what to say. So, if you're lurking around here, please - tell me what you think of ice. Do you like to chew on it? Do you like to look at it on trees when you don't have to drive on it? Do you live somewhere so hot that you've never seen an ice-covered tree? Do you live somewhere so cold that you could barely stand to hear me say that it was beautiful? Come on, de-lurk and leave a comment! It just might bring a little warmth to me on this very cold day. ;)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


The brightest comet in the next 30 years is visiting us right now. In the night sky, just after sunset, locate Venus - one of the earliest stars to come up (due west). Place your hand up (fingers pointed straight up) and put Venus on the left side of palm. The comet should be on the right side - should look like a fuzzy star but a nice long tail - if you have binoculars or telescope, this is the night to get them out! :)

Wish I knew how to set up Hubby's telescope.

The important thing here is do it TONIGHT. You may not be able to see it after the 12th.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Venting and Learning

Venting and Learning

Did you know there are still people around (in nice homes, no less - I'm not talking about the junky trailer court) who still have their Cmas lights UP and LIT?? Many of them still have them up (why? I have no idea - it's not like it's been COLD or RAINY like it should be - it's been really nice weather) but many many of them still have them turned ON.

Now I'm usually one to prolong the Cmas season in my house. But the only thing I did to the outside this year was the wreath on my door so I figured I wouldn't drive anyone crazy. I typically leave it up a week after New Years at the very most, and usually more like New Years weekend. But this year, I've been in the Cmas mood since Halloween. I'm not sure why. Is it me trying to speed up the pregnancy? Can't tell ya. But I was definitely ready to get the decorations down, which again, is unlike me. Hubby was doing bills the other night and said, "Ha. Ha. Ha. $55 for electric - I bet all our Cmas light neighbors don't have that nice of a bill this year!" lol Of course, they also didn't have to deal with kids asking WHY we don't have lights up. There is a trade-off for everything, eh? But alas, we're a family of almost 6 living on a single income. We try to cut corners wherever possible and you don't actually see YOUR lights all that much. So...we don't do lights outside.

OK people, listen up - TURN OFF YOUR LIGHTS and take them down in this nice 60 degree weather before Father Winter DOES set in with the freezing rain and snow expected this weekend. ;) Enough said. They've been warned.

In other news, I'll be in the 3rd trimester on Friday. FRIDAY. When did that happen? And I swear, my belly button can't disappear much more. Are they SURE there's not more than one in here? I've never looked this pregnant before. I know you look bigger with each pgcy but this is kinda ridiculous - I have three months to go yet. Hrmmm...

In order to try to stave off the gestational diabetes that I had last pgcy, I'm starting a pregnancy water aerobics class tonight at my YMCA. For those of you preggos reading my blog, I can't say more wonderful things about water aerobics. I've done it with my last two pgcys and really loved it. No, not one pg woman WANTS to be in a swim suit. However, when you're immersed in water, that big belly stops pulling on your back and stops all the pressure on your pelvis and legs and you feel "NORMAL" again. It's totally amazing how great it feels in the water when pg. Try it at least ONCE (you can drop into a class at the Y once for FREE!!). And it's fun. You don't sweat, which I've come to realize is the reason I don't like to exercise - I HATE and DETEST and DESPISE sweating (or if you do sweat, you don't realize it because you're in water) but you do notice the difference. And most likely, you'll meet a friend or two who you just might hang on to for many years. ;)

Sooooo...when did this blog become about ME? I guess pg women really are pretty self-absorbed. teehee...

OK...the kiddos.
Well, I can't say too much about them at this point. They're still engrossed in new Cmas things. I did put a lot of new art/craft items under the tree that I was going to buy anyway and they've had tons of fun with rubber stamps, stickers, crayola wonder, paints, glitter glue - you name it, they're doing it. And of course, they are engrossed with Transformers, stuffed animals and baby dolls too. Rose loves music and Grammy let us borrow her Sound Of Music tapes (yes, she's still in the dark ages with VCR tapes). It's been many years since I've watched it but I never realized how SLOW the movie can be to a small child. But she enjoyed it quite well and really loved when they all broke into songs and dancing about. Jade twirled around the living room dancing with the people on the TV too. Quite cute to see an almost-two-year-old who's the size of a 12 month old, dancing around and bee-bopping to the Sound of Music. ;) But Matthew watched it as well and we got to discuss some of the war with him. I imagine there will be more questions about it in the days to come, as he typically brings things up after chewing on them for a few days or weeks, just when you thought he wasn't interested at all. ;)

They've been having fun following me around and making games out of and around my organizing. Last week, when working on those basement boxes, Matthew and Rose started moving them around to make a maze they had to work through. My girls are my physical helpers. Rose begs to help me fold laundry and they both love to unload the dishwasher with me, among other things. Matthew is my thinker. He can always come up with alternative options for us if I present him with a problem. Such as...

I was talking to Matthew about all the sleeping arrangements and how things will change when the baby arrives. Currently, Jade is still in the crib. This wasn't going to last much longer anyway because I've caught her trying to climb out already (unsuccessfully, thankfully). I told him that I thought we should get another set of bunk beds like we have for him and Rose. They unbunk and fit nicely in their own rooms. Added plus - the top bunk has built-in rails. I don't have to keep replacing the cheaply made but expensive costing bed rails for the kids. So in the beginning, Matthew had the top bunk and when Rose needed it (at 14 months, when she started crawling out of the crib - amazing upper body strength, especially since she's always been in only like the 20th percentile), we gave it to her and Matthew learned to sleep on the bottom bunk, rail-less. Yes, we heard a loud THUMP every few nights for a while but by the time we got back up there, he was back in bed and asleep again. Apparently it didn't phase him much. So, back to the current situation. Beds. A few options. We could get another set of bunk beds for the two youngest girls. Or, Hubby suggested, we could upgrade Matthew's bed into a full and then have a guest bed whenever we have anyone staying with us (not that this happens very much at all) - and then get a new bed for the baby whenever she's old enough to need one. When I mentioned upgrading Matthew's bed, my little creature of habit broke into tears. "I don't want to lose my bed! I'll miss it." And I explained the guest bed theory and told him it'd be a new bed and he could help us pick it out, etc. He wasn't changing his mind. Nope. Not giving up his bed. So immediately, he starts in with his problem solving. "Why can't you get Rose a new bed instead?" I suppose we could... "You could get a big bed for Rose and Jade to share." Yeah but not sure I want to go down that road at this age...and Rose kicks the heck out of anyone sleeping with her. "Just get the bunk beds for Jade and the baby." Yes, we could but Daddy seems to want to get you a bigger bed. "So just get a bigger bed for Jade and she can share with the baby." So after many tears and suggestions, we came up with this together...the third option...give Rose the unused futon, give Jade the top bunk with rails and the baby gets the crib. There. No extra money spent for a while, which is always a good thing, right? And Matthew gets to keep his bed. And when we have guests, the futon can be used and Rose can sleep somewhere else...she's a more sound sleeper than he is anyway and spends half the night on my floor already so I'm sure it's probably the most logical choice of all. So Matthew is my little problem solver. He is quite creative and often comes up with things that haven't crossed my mind yet, if I let him brainstorm for long enough.

I read Women are from Venus, Men are from Mars years ago and it boiled down to saying that one of the main problems between men and women is that men are problem solvers and women have to verbally vent and talk through problems. Men typically go into a cave (get quiet and reserved), solve their problem, and then present the outcome to the woman, which makes her feel like he's decided already and left her out of the process - her process, of talking through it, is just beginning. Women, OTOH, like to talk through it...and men have this desire to fix their problems. Women don't typically WANT them to fix the problem because they're just thinking out loud and do want to solve the issue for themselves but they need to do this process this way. I often wonder why God made us so different if we're supposed to live together in harmony. lol Apparently Matthew already has this down - it was born in him...he's my little problem solver. So moms, take advantage of your male problem solvers - you might be really surprised with some of their answers. ;)

And so ends the endless dribble for today. ;)

Friday, January 05, 2007

Kicking off the New Year

Kicking off the New Year

It's been a stressful year. And it's sad too because it's only the 5th day. lol

On New Years Eve, I was so sick with a sinus infection (and fairly certain I just could not wait two more days for my dr's office to re-open) that I did the hassling hassle of calling doctors on-call, waiting for their call backs and trying to get medications sent to a pharmacy I normally don't use. But it did save me and by Jan 2, I was starting to feel much better.

So the nesting phase of pregnancy set in. And I decided that the kids need a good play area in our unfinished basement. The basement is currently housing an unused pool table (a hand-me-down given to us by a friend several years back), a cubicle-sized desk (Hubby's old computer desk), Christmas trees and decor, tons of outgrown baby/kid clothes, several tubs of craft projects and supplies (I'm a craft junkie at heart), baby contraptions like swings and exersaucers, an overflow area for cleaning supplies (because we shop at the club warehouse), our deep freezer, folding tables and chairs and lots of other odds and ends. But if I could organize it all and use the space well (someone send Mission:Organization my way!), I'm convinced I could put down a cheap large rug or two, paint some walls and make a nice play area for the 5 o'clock crazy hour.

What is 5 o'clock crazy hour, you ask? Well, let me tell you. This is the time of day, somewhere between 5 and 6pm, when my children go nuts. I hear them revving up right now in fact (they're running a little late today). They start by getting louder with their play. Then they go into chasing games and running the "circle" (the path between the breakfast room, living room and dining room). Jade is getting into the festivities now as well and things are louder than ever. Inevitably, some toy is picked up (today it's a wrapping paper tube, used as a lightsaber) and will be the object of their obsession. When one drops it, it's a mad dash to see who gets it next and then the chase ensues. Kind of a King-of-the-Hill game but not. So the running gets faster and louder and inevitably, one or more will get hurt at some point but the craziness always continues fairly quickly. This crazy hour usually lasts for about an hour, give or take. And this is the time that family drops in. They're on their way home from work and stop by or call and I can barely hear them above the fray. Many times lately I just let the phone go to voice mail and call them back later...much later...when children have calmed down. I've asked myself many times why they do this around 5-6pm every night. It's not that Daddy is coming home because he's not that consistent about getting home and they do it on the weekends too. Are they trying to get hungry? Have they been so sedentary all day that they just can't be still any longer? Is there something in the air? I don't know. What I do know is that someone will get hurt (in a minor way) and my ears will ache for a while after they're done.

I also have to explain to some of you what it's like to have two girls. One girl and a boy isn't bad. But you get two girls squealing at *that* frequency and you just wanna tear your hair out, buy earplugs and lock yourself in the garage until the hour has passed. It's worse than fingernails on a chalkboard. (They're now in FULL squealing mode and they are running so fast that the breeze is making me want to go find some socks to put on. Rose runs up to me with her hand on her heart and says, "Mommy, feel my heart beeping!")

I've often wondered why God called me to be a mother. Surely He had the foresight to *know* that annoying sounds like squeals and pots banging and loud things actually hurt my ears and WHY would he give me those extra sensitive ears and make me a mother? Surely in His divine wisdom, He knows He should have given me a little hard-hearing instead. ;)

Now most mothers probably just wouldn't put up with it. Sure, I could pop in a movie and they'd settle down immediately but there must be a reason they need to do this and why should I try to make an American kid even MORE sedentary? So I let them do it. But, in *my* divine wisdom, I've decided that I should make a great play area in the basement for them. And when I feel them revving up, I can send them to the basement for screaming hour. (Now the game has switched to "run the circle AND crawl under Mommy's legs while she's on the computer.)

So yesterday, in the midst of nesting and realizing how FAST I need to get this done before baby arrives, I decided to start on the basement. Actually, I started reorganizing kids clothing by size and sex the night before but last night I started moving boxes around. Lots of boxes. Labeling them, dumping this half box of toys into that one to combine, shoving Cmas decor boxes under the stairs (while leaving room for us to crawl incase of tornado, of course), etc. When I had thoroughly exhausted myself quite literally, I headed upstairs to start dinner. About halfway through dinner, I realized my mid-upper back on the left side was KILLING me. Sharp stabbing pains when I turned a certain way or lifted something. I overdid it, though I didn't really think I had at all. So I spent the evening on the couch with a heated rice sock on it. This morning the pain seemed better but definitely still there.

I spent the day just relaxing. I watched tv and read. No housework. An official "sick day" for a SAHM! Though lunch for kids still had to be prepared and some other duties I couldn't shirk but I didn't do a load of laundry or dishes or sweep or any of the regular stuff. I just rested my back. Around 1pm, I realized I had broken out into a deep sweat - for no reason whatsoever. I hadn't eaten anything yet that could contribute. I hadn't even been doing normal housework. My temp was almost 100 and it got me worrying that it was something more than a strained muscle, especially since I'd been on antibiotics all week (and still am). So after talking to my OB, who assured me that my kidneys were much further down, I took some Tylenol and am going to try to wing it this weekend. Why do illnesses always hit me on Fridays?? It seems I'm always wondering if I should go see my dr Friday afternoon or wait and see if it gets worse - and then I'm stuck on Saturday night wondering if I should go to urgent care or not. 'Course none of them would touch me with a 10ft pole since I'm pg but I could try, I suppose. Anyway, wish me luck. ;)

So this year has been full of illness and injury so far. PLEASE don't let it be the theme this year!! I have MNO (mom's night out) with my best buddy scheduled for tomorrow and babysitting her youngest on Sunday for a couple hours, along with a weekend with Hubby that I'd rather not waste by being sick/injured. My mother has had car trouble out the wazoo the last few weeks and I'm equally praying she isn't setting up her year to follow in this week's footsteps as well.

I suppose it will be late next week until I can get to the basement again, which isn't very pleasant on this nesting feeling I have. Wow, can you believe it's only 3 months until our last baby arrives?? And my best bud and I agree - I currently look more pregnant than I ever have before. 'Course I lost 60 lbs with the first two and 30 with the last one and only about 10 with this one so far. Sooo...I guess it stands to reason. ;) But I feel really huge for the first time while pg. Usually people guess me about 4 months pg when I actually only have a few weeks until delivery. I'm guessing that's not going to happen this time. :(

Sooo...I hope your first week of the year has been better to you. Not that I can only complain. We've had fun playing with our new toys and the weather has been very mild, almost spring-like (not that we've been out enjoying it though). And I even won a $25 Starbucks gift card today! So the year is definitely starting to look up. :)