Well, it’s been a while since my last update. I have a good excuse, however! We added a sweet baby girl to our family in March. I call her my little Doodlebug. I have no idea why. That’s just what comes out when I talk to her! So, Doodlebug will now have her own little entry in our weekly updates just like her siblings. Actually, it’s a rather large entry for her this week! I have her whole life to cover, you know!

We finished Kindergarten the third week in May, which was the week before the NC homeschool conference. Woohoo! We took two weeks off when the baby was born, (yes I’m stubborn) and then we were back at it. Of course, I would have never made it if I hadn’t had a few friends come over and do some crowd control while we finished our lessons in the mornings.   Apart from school, our lives have mostly been consumed with doctor’s appointments for Doodlebug. More about this later; however, I just want to say how blessed we are to have friends that have been able to care for our other children while we have been taking Doodlebug around to her multiple appointments.

On Memorial Day the family went to Marbles Kids’ Museum and IMAX theater in Raleigh. It was lots of fun and a bit expensive, but we were at least able to pack a lunch.  At the theater we saw Hubble 3D. All the kids enjoyed it, including Little Man. I wish I had taken a picture of him in his 3D glasses. They were almost as big as his face! I’ve included some pics of our trip to the museum below. Check out the Z-man’s flip-flops with his fireman suit.

On Tuesday of this week, the kids had a blast on the Slip-N-Slide. Well, two of them did anyway. Little Man was suspicious of the whole thing and kept his distance. Doodlebug thought it best to take in the action from her bouncy seat on the patio table. At first I didn’t think they were going to be coordinated enough to actually “slip on the slide”. Things were looking grim in the beginning. They wanted me to show them how. HA! Right. Anyways, they eventually got the hang of it and were still going strong when I turned the water off an hour and a half later.

EG (6 years old):

I’ve decided to call my girl Sassafras. She acts likes she’s 6 going on 30. (Yes, she recently had a birthday!) I think the name will suit her just fine. Miss Sassafras finished up Sonlight’s Core K. Loved it!! She also completed Sonlight’s Science K, over half of Rod & Staff’s Arithmetic 1, A Reason for Handwriting Book A, and Explode the Code 6. She had a great kindergarten year and learned a ton! Her reading is wonderful! Over the last month or so she’s been reading Magic Tree House books, but  on Tuesday she started reading The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which was one of her favorite read alouds we did in Core K. (I found her reading on the bathroom counter that afternoon. I had told her that she couldn’t set her Coppertoned self on the furniture until she had a shower, so she chose the bathroom counter.)  She also finished up her Gym&Swim class at the YMCA in May. She improved greatly in the pool during the last month. She’s finally putting her face and head down in the water and will sometimes let go of her nose. Starting this week, she joined her brother in swim lessons.

Miss Sassafras has been a great help with Doodlebug. She is so excited to have a little sister! A couple of times I have discovered Doodlebug sitting in her bouncy seat with a crown on her head, dress-up shoes on her feet, and a beaming sister sitting beside her. In the hospital it was so sweet to see her hold the baby. She held her for the longest time and didn’t want to give her up! Miss Sassafras is also the director of the Wet Diaper Detection Agency. Some of Doodlebug’s diapers have a yellow stripe on them that turns blue when her diaper is wet. And by golly, you can be sure that if the stripe is blue, the whole neighborhood is going to know about it! Blue stripe! Blue stripe! She’s needs a diaper change! Momma, she’s gonna fuss! You gotta change her diaper! Gee Whiz! Let’s just say that this baby’s bottom hasn’t had one speck of diaper rash. She’s also particular about other things concerning Doodlebug. One day I had the baby in her bouncy seat sitting on the kitchen counter. (She likes to be where she can see me.) Both of the boys were napping at the time, and I had briefly walked back to my room. Miss Sassafras comes in and says, “Momma, you need to come look at something. Something that’s not supposed to be there.” She leads me into the kitchen to read the warning labels on the back of the bouncy seat about not putting the seat on elevated surfaces, and then she gives me a look like “I’m not telling you what to do. I’m just saying….” Oh, the joy of having a reader….and a second mother….in the house.

AZ (3 years old):

The Z-man. Well, let’s see. Three days after our last report and four days before his little sister was born, he decided jumping on the bed was much more fun than taking a nap. Well, it happened. He fell. He whacked his face on the bed rail. At first I thought he wouldn’t need to go to the doctor, but the next morning his eye was swollen shut, and he looked like he had just exited a boxing ring. So, we took him to have his face x-rayed and everything checked out okay. You can see a picture of his shiner in the pic with his little sister. As a matter of fact, even now you can still tell where he hit his face.

The Z-man is now fully potty-trained, even at nighttime! Woohoo! I was almost worried I wouldn’t see the day!! Their pediatrician asked me if I had started any potty training with Little Man. I laughed out loud. Right. Actually, I did pull the little potty out of the closet and asked him if wanted to sit on it. He looked at me like “Ummmm….what?” But I digress….I’m really proud of the Z-man.

He’s been taking swim lessons for a few months now, and he’s been doing really well. He’s getting much better at floating on his back. He and his sister are now in the same class, so maybe a little competition will spur them on to the next level.

In school, the Z-man continued working in the Explode the Code primers. Right now he’s in book B Get Set for the Code. He’ll continue to work in it this summer at his own pace. His sister will be doing a little bit of math through the summer, and he’s always begging to do school, so I’m not going to stop him. I think I’ll start him in the Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading once he finishes these primer books. He’ll turn four years old this month.

SA (2 years old):

Little Man had a birthday since our last post. He had an Elmo party with a few of his friends. He didn’t enjoy us singing Happy Birthday to him, hence the Sulky-Sue look in the picture below. He did enjoy the presents though. He got some Elmo books and clothes, a Thomas lego train set, and a basketball goal. We then added a Percy car from Grandma to go with his set. Having only one train for the track wasn’t producing good fruit in our family. Actually, having only one of anything in our family rarely produces good fruit. We’re just a bunch of sinners, I guess. Thank the Lord for His grace! We need it!

We’re taking him in July for a speech evaluation. He mainly does the caveman thing to communicate–point and grunt. He can say a few words clearly and many other words in his own language. I have noticed some improvement over the past month. He tries to say things, but it usually doesn’t come out right. Although, I’m somewhat impressed that he’s trying to tackle the word ‘lemonade’. Bless his heart. He can do some sign language. He tries to say the words that he signs, but he’s having a hard time with it. Maybe he’ll need a little speech therapy to get him moving along.

Little Man has had a couple of haircuts since our last update. These used to be traumatic events for him, but I found a lady at a nice hair salon that is really good with him (and his hair). The first time, he sat in daddy’s lap and did great. But this last time, he sat all by himself in the chair and did exactly what she said. Needless to say, this lady is now going to be cutting the whole family’s hair!

Little Man loves Doodlebug. He likes to kiss her on the head. One day I found orange slushie and chewed-up  graham cracker on her head. He doesn’t give neat kisses. He also likes to fetch bibs and her pie (pacifier) for her, and he sometimes wants to pick out her clothes—after she’s already dressed.

AK (2.5 months):

Our little girl came into the world weighing 8 pounds 6.6 ounces on March 19th. She is so precious! Not that I’m biased or anything. 🙂 She is healthy and beautiful and likes to smile at her mommy…..and sit with her mommy….and scream when she’s not sitting with her mommy….get the picture? Actually, most of the time she’s really good. The afternoons tend to be her fussy time lately.

Doodlebug only has one little….well, maybe not so little…problem. She’s a ‘hip baby’ just like her two oldest siblings. I wrote a little bit about our past experiences with hip dysplasia here. When we were in the hospital when she was born, I told the nursery nurse to make sure the pediatrician did a thorough examination of her hips. I had problems in the past with some doctors missing the hip problems in my other two children. Well, we found out on day one that she had a click in her right hip. By the time she was one week old, her ‘click’ was a ‘clunk’. The nurse clinician at our ped’s office said she thought she felt something in her left hip, too. A few days later we saw our pediatric orthopedist and discovered that the ‘something’ in her left hip was actually a dislocated hip. We weren’t prepared for that. Doodlebug immediately went into a Pavlik harness. She screamed and screamed for the first evening, but then she started coping better. After being in the harness for two weeks, an ultrasound showed that her hip was still dislocated. At three weeks with an adjustment, another ultrasound showed that her hip was at least aligned with her shallow socket. However, in the course of all this, she stopped moving her left leg. At four weeks, the doctor readjusted the harness in an attempt to get her to move her leg. At six weeks, another ultrasound showed that her hip was dislocated again and she still wasn’t doing much with her left leg. So, the Pavlik harness was removed and abandoned as a course of treatment for her. The problem with her leg is known as femoral nerve palsy, a rare condition that can be caused by a Pavlik harness. That was just over four weeks ago. Right now she is brace-free with a dislocated hip. We’re waiting on her to regain full function of her left leg. It has taken a while, but I’m happy to report that over the last few days she has been doing much better with her leg. Once she’s kicking her leg strongly, she’ll have a closed reduction in the operating room and go into a spica cast.

I’ve already cried about all of it, but I don’t think I can do that anymore. At least, not right now. For one thing, it hasn’t even started yet. Our lives will soon be turned all upside down. There’s no point in getting a head start. We’ll get everything figured out and she’ll be fine. Can you tell I’m trying hard to believe every word I type? Actually, the only thing I know to be true about all of this is that the Lord God is on the throne, and His grace is sufficient. In the meantime, I’m going to cuddle her as much as I can and kiss her feet while I can still see them. Big sigh.

Me:

Third c-sections are a doozy. Actually, the surgery itself went well. It took forever and a day starting and completing it, but other than that it went okay. Let’s just say that by the end I was getting the life story of the anesthesiologist nurse with only an occasional interruption by me to ask “Are they putting me back together correctly?” and “Now how long will this spinal last?” I was scheduled for 1:30 PM (odd, I know). Well, I guess life interfered at the hospital….not my life, but someone else’s. They required an emergency c-section and I got bumped. I was starving and had heartburn out the wazoo. My nurse said I was the first mother to ever come in begging for the alka-seltzer. It was 4:30 when I went into the operating room, 7:00 when I came out, and 9:00 by the time I made it to my post-partum room. An attempt to eat jello while in recovery ended badly and eventually resulted in a little IV phenergan to smooth the waters. After I got through that, the right combo of motrin and percocet kept me happy for the rest of my hospital stay. The recovery, though, once I got home was the worst one I’ve had. I had pain for the longest time. I remember after my second c-section, I went to a homeschool conference three and a half weeks after my surgery. There is no way in the world I would have been able to do that this time. But, oh well….I’m past it all now and it was all worth it for my little Doodlebug.

I started back with guitar lessons at the end of May (yes, I’m stubborn). Frankly, I’m having a little bit of trouble getting my practice time in. I played at church this past Sunday for the first time since I took a break near the end of my pregnancy. This week, I’ve been trying to practice some Travis picking here and there. I’m also learning how to play in second position in the key of D. It’s going slow.

I’ve tried to do some planning for first grade. I think I’ve gotten the first 12 weeks of science mapped out and some of the history. I’ll be doing Sonlight’s p4/5 with the Z-man and Tapestry of Grace  and Sonlight’s Core 1 Read Alouds with Miss Sassafras. For first grade, we’ll also be adding God’s Design for Life (Science), Writing With Ease, First Language Lessons, All About Spelling, and Apologia’s Who is God? (worldview). We will continue in Rod & Staff Arithmetic 1 and add in Singapore Primary Math. Yes, all of this makes my head hurt. However, we won’t be doing all of it every day and some things only take 5-15 minutes. It’s going to be tough, though, with a toddler and an infant in the house. My biggest concern is that Little Man is going to be lost in all the action. I’ll have to be diligent to make sure he gets his mommy-time in. And of course, I’ll try to get in a little bit of time for myself here and there. I admit that a few weeks ago, I spent an hour in our van…..by myself….in the rain….parked in front of our house….drinking a peach cobbler milkshake….and listening to my ipod. Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.

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