When They Refuse to Nap…

So Jordan and David are at an interesting phase their development. They’re too young to skip naps, but they’re too old to take them gracefully. I have been fighting with them almost every day. It’s been getting old for obvious reasons.

The main problem is that if they don’t take a nap they’re either insanely hyperactive or completely moody. I mean to the point of throwing themselves to the ground screeching at the top of their lungs because I tell them to go pee in the potty. I kid you not – this is a regular struggle with David. He often follows up his potty-request induced tantrums with “I hate you, Mommy. You’re not my buddy!” And an hour of scowling.

So obviously these boys need a nap. I already have Luke and Mark napping in the crib so I can’t really put David and Jordan in the room, too. I mean I can, but it makes “putting the boys to nap”take so much longer than it should.

Today I had an idea, though. It actually sprang from a threat I made Jordan yesterday. You see, the problem isn’t that they throw a tantrum at naptime. The problem is they won’t stop playing in the bed. I don’t think it’s fair to punish one of them when they’re both being bad, so I can’t really separate them. But they won’t nap in the room alone. So I told them that sleeping in a bed is a privilege, not a right.

Today, after getting on to them multiple times and them continuing to play, I took away that privilege. I made them come into the den and lay on the hard, uncomfortable floor. But you know what? They took their nap!




Gearing Up for the New School Year

We haven’t quite finished this school year yet, but I’ve been having fun finding some new tablet apps for the new school year. Considering I’m planning on putting Lilly into high school (or at least presenting the material and seeing how she does!) there are all kinds of options available to me.

I did a simple Google search for high school android science games and I came up with at least half a dozen new games so I’m pretty excited. There are some math type games that will still be good to use. Logic games plus a few new games I found for freshman year anyways with algebra.

I’ve got some books lined up with CK-12 plus a cool android app from CK-12 that is really similar to Khan academy from what I tell. I think it’s pretty cool anyways so I’ll be using that next year.

I think Sierra will be ready for first grade next year. She is on lesson 9 of the McGuffey primer and can read the first eight lessons with ease. Plus she’s been doing XtraMath every day and is getting pretty good with addition.

My goals for next year will be to monitor their progress more. I’ve kind of had things on auto pilot for a while using the trust system for some things and quizzing on others but I think it’s time I stepped up and really thoroughly monitored their activities. I want to make sure they’re really learning the material. I noticed when Lilly really understand the material she gets excited and really is happy to get that 100 but she for the longest tune wouldn’t ask me if she had questions… Even though I told her to. She has just recently started asking questions and little by little her scores are improving. Plus she’s taken the initiative to play android games that reinforce skills she’s unsure of. One interesting thing I learned the other day is she regularly plays Stack the States and knows where every state goes with perfect accuracy. That’s better than I did in school while that was being actively taught!  I’ve never taught her map stuff. Proof kids CAN teach themselves.

My boys still demand worksheets even though half the time they spend all of thirty seconds scribbling on them before saying they’re done. I really don’t understand why they’re so passionate about having the worksheets but if I ever try to pass a day without giving them one they throw a holy fit. Go figure. I told Jordan that if he wanted to move onto kindergarten he was going to have to start taking time on his lessons. I’m still undecided at present as to whether or not I want to move Jordan to kindergarten or leave him in preschool. I’m kind of leaning towards leaning him in preschool right now but if he makes remarkable improvement before the end if the year I might go ahead and mice him up. I’m really not sure. I also might move him up but try a different approach with him. Sierra responds well to some traditional techniques whereas my boys really like multimedia. I must try using more videos and stuff. Some things to experiment with anyways.

David is definitely staying in preschool but I might take a more structured approach next year instead of giving him stuff just because he asked for it. Mark is also vaguely becoming interested in participating even though he can barely talk!  He loves watching the letter videos and scribbling on paper. When I was handing out worksheets today he lined up to get his so I think I’ll have to do preschool with him next year even if it’s just to the same level I did with David this year – busy work so he felt involved. We’ll see!

On top of ask this Emily and Matthew keep going back and forth about homeschooling because they’re nervous about a new school. So I don’t knew if I’ll end up homeschooling them or if they’ll end up at public school but there is the possibility.

Basically it means I have a butt ton of research to do and a few shirt months to do it in!  I know my little guys will probably have like a two week break then we’ll start school again at their request. They get bored lol.

Hectic Routines

Well for the most part things are back to normal. As normal as they can be in a house of eight kids anyways…  Suffice to say it’s been hectic. I’ve spent a good part of my time baby bound, having to hold, nurse, burp, change, help fart, and otherwise comfort little Luke. A large chunk of the rest of my time has been used with our new project – trying to find a house to buy. Our landlords told us that at the end of this lease term they’re not renewing the lease because they have to fix it up. It’s pretty run down, and has been, since we moved in, but I guess it’s easier to fix when you don’t have tenants constantly calling with something else that’s falling apart. So come September right now, we have no place to live.

On that note, I started looking around town, curious if there was anything we cooks afford that had what we needed. Then something interesting happened. I found a listing for a five bedroom, 3 bathroom mobile home. At the same time I found this listing, Shane sent me a message from work that contained a link to the same house. He’d seen the same listing at the same time…to me that was one sign.

The house has carpet. Big plus for me because I’m so sick of hardwood and laminate floors it’s not even funny. They say it’s easier to clean but I’m my opinion it’s much easier to vacuum every day than sweep and mop and mop an entire house every day. Even with frequent mopping, everyone’s feet are black by the end of the day. I have had to wear shoes around the house constantly because I can’t stand the feeling of my feet being dirty. I’ve never had that issue in a carpeted house, but in the two rental houses I’ve lived in without carpet – black feet no matter how much I clean. I can’t explain it.

The house is on for acres of land!  I wanted land so we could start a homestead as finances permitted. This house has said land. And it’s filled with trees so that if we’re not ready to deal with it right away we don’t have for acres to mow!

It’s in the city limits but still is very secluded with a very rural feeling. Big plus there.

Did I mention the FIVE bedrooms and THREE bathrooms! Enough space for my large family. There’s a large kitchen with lots of counter space – good for my cook from scratch mentality. A working dishwasher, a flat top stove…

Best of all, it’s in our price range. A monthly mortgage won’t cost much more than what we pay for this place in rent now!

It has a nice, spacious covered porch. There are two dens. And since we don’t have two dens worth of furniture right now, that will give the kids a play room!    Something they haven’t had in a while but desperately needed. The teens won’t have to share a room with the little guys, the little guys will finally have a space to call their own….  It’s win win all around.

I still have a good bit of research to do and finances to arrange but things are looking promising. My dad said he’d help as needed since we have sub optimal credit. I am so thankful God has opened this door for us. We’re all very eager to succeed in getting this house. I can’t wait to own instead of rent… I feel like I’m getting back on track with my life plan. Originally I wanted to own a house by the time I was thirty and have kids. If we end up with a ten year mortgage then I’ll only be 14 years late in my plan by the time the house is paid for but that is ok with me. I’m just happy we have this opportunity available.

Everything is do perfect it’s surreal right now. I am praying that everything works out as we hope… This would be such an amazing thing for us!

Frugal Burgers

I couldn’t really think of what I wanted to post this week. There was so many options that I could have posted. However I realized I hadn’t really posted any frugal posts lately so I thought I’d post what I did for our dinner Friday.

When you are getting nine people, four of which are boys, and you’re doing so on a blue collar income, you might think meat meals” are out of the question. Things like fried chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, etc. Normal I make my meat stretch so far. Like I will take one package of hot dogs and stretch it over two or three meals. Or a package of hamburger meat will last four meals. A bag of chicken will be three meals.

But I have managed to make the occasional treat of meat meals. First, I was able to make fried chicken recently because chicken leg quarters were pretty cheap. My little boys eat a lot but even they will be happy with just a drum stick. Therefore my four little guys will get drum sticks. Lilly and the teens will get the thighs. Last time I did this I was still able to get three chicken meals from the bag and the entire bag was less than ten dollars. So average of three dollars for meat a meal. Pretty good in my book.

Hot dogs have been really cheap lately. They’ve been three dollars for a package of 24 hot dogs so each month I have been buying four or more packages of hot dogs each month.

Finally, hamburgers. If I were to make full meat burgers I would probably not be able to feed my family. Or it would take two five pound chubs of meat. But Friday I made really tasty burgers that feed everyone and even left some over for the next day. Here’s how.

I took about three pounds of hamburger. I mixed in normal seasonings – salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, and onion powder. Then I added in some binder ingredients – a few pieces of bread turn into small bits and four eggs. A decent amount of ketchup for flavor, possibly ½ cup to a full cup. Then the final ingredient – the magic ingredient that makes it possible to feed a large family hamburgers with only three pounds of hamburger… 4 cups of cooked rice. Mix all that together really well. Form into good sized patties and put on a broiler tray. I was able to fit six on my broiler tray with barely any room left over. Broil them until they’re done (I think it took us about fifteen to twenty minutes a batch).

It might sound weird but the rice really has no flavor on it’s own. It takes on the taste of the burger. Put it on a bun with all the fixings – mayo, ketchup, mustard, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles…. Delicious. And frugal. Rice is practically free and it makes up at least half of the bulk. Thus recipe also works well with meatloaf though you don’t need as much binding ingredients for meatloaf since it’s allowed to fall apart. I’ve also added bell pepper and mushrooms to meatloaf to bulk it up. Even my mushroom hating stepson didn’t notice lol!

So there you go, another way to stretch meat frugally while feeling like you’re NOT being frugal but rather indulgent!

Back to Routine

Or at least I’m trying to get there!  Things are still a little crazy around here a week and a half after Luke’s birth.  We started school back on Monday and while things are moving along, it’s still chaotic.  I made some changes first off on Lilly’s lessons.  I used to have her do every subject every day.  I have since reduced her daily lessons by eight and there is a slightly different schedule every day.  For examle, Science is now Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and History is on Tuesday and Thursdays.  I have Art on Monday, Music on Tuesday through Thursday, and Life Skills on Friday.  Some things are still every day by necessity, such as Math, Bible, and Language Arts.  I also split up Funday Friday so that she has an even number of classes every day still.  This means she get to play at least one game every day except Monday.

So far school seems to be going ok.  Lilly has been getting done before middle of the night and getting better each day.  It’s particularly good since I can’t seem to get classes started before 2pm.  I wake up, usually around 9 or so (though it has been a little later some because of children keeping me up with colds…  Mark keeps waking up in the middle of the night and refusing to go back to sleep unless everyone is in bed.  And being as Shane has been spending all night awake several nights in a row, this becomes a battle of endurance.  I still feel like I could really use a nap but I haven’t been taking one because I’ve been trying to get through school.)  After I wake up, I have gotten back to making breakfast for kids.  They’re happy about that.  I guess there’s only so many days you can have oatmeal or grits before you need a change!  Monday I let them eat cereal because I was still really tired.  Tuesday I made omelets and grits and peaches.  Yesterday I slept in and let them make oatmeal.  And today I made sausage, egg, and cheese breakfast burritos. 

I have also been baking some more.  I have almost caught up on my baking list.  I’d gotten behind a bit, but I made coffee cake, brownies, cinnamon rolls, plus some powdered sugar as I was running low, and I cheat and count that as one of my baking items for the week!  I only have oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and rice krispy treats left to go on my list.  You can tell everyone misses my baking.  Nothing is lasting beyond a day after I make it.  Normally stuff will last at least 2-3 days, but not this week.

I’m back to cooking dinners myself again, and even tidying up a bit in the kitchen as I go instead of leaving it all for kids to clean up.  Tonight seems to be an exception because the kids are fighting over who does what for cleaning up.  The teens are getting on to Lilly for not washing dishes from earlier today and she is doing homework and basically won’t wash any more at the moment unless I enforce some discipline.  Right now I’m too annoyed at the pettiness of the entire thing to even bother.  I need one pot washed to make dinner and it’s like pulling teeth to get the older kids to get it clean for me.  So I’m going to heat up leftovers for the little kids for dinner and let the older ones go hungry or fend for themselves since they’re being idiots tonight.  It’s a constant battle getting them to do their chores and tonight I’m just tired of it.  There reaches a point where it’s beyond ridiculous.

I haven’t gotten back to doing all my chores on Monday, but that has more to do with lack of rouine, change in routine, having to be available to Luke at a moment’s notice more than it does me not having energy.  My energy levels are fine actually.  I feel pretty good truth be told.  But a newborn that breastfeeds is time consuming and that’s a simple fact.  However I am more or less done with everything I normally have done by Monday as soon as I submit this post!  The only weekly task left on my agenda is shopping and I always wait till Friday (payday!) for that.

Things still aren’t like clockwork.  We still have a lot of work still to do just on a “now that I’m not pregnant” basis, but it is getting there.  It still feels incredibly chaotic but we’re working it out.  I know from past experience that it won’t take too long before thing start to fall into their natural rhythm.  I just hope it happens sooner than later!  I’m ready for some normal!

Time for a birth story!!!

FINALLY!  The birth story can be written.  So first off… Mr. Baby kept flipping…  He was breech around 39 weeks.  Then the next week he was head down.  Two weeks later, at 42 weeks he was breech again!  I definitely didn’t want a c-section and the ultrasound had him measuring big… Between 10 and 12 1/2 pounds.  My obgyn has been really good, comletely supportive of me doing things naturally, but she felt a little nervous at the idea of a vaginal breech baby that big.  So she suggested trying to turn him with an ECV (External Cephalic Version).  I’d never had one done before, but I was willing to try if it meant avoiding a c-section.  It was scheduled for that Saturday, March 7.  I got to the hospital at 5 am like they asked, with Shane.  My doctor said it was possible the procedure could put me in labor so I wanted to make sure he was there if it happened that way.  We got all registered, and I got up to my room to wait for my doctor.  When she got there, she decided to take a peak with the ultrasound to see how he was doing.  But guess what?  HE HAD FLIPPED!  That’s right.  He was head down. *I* had been feeling him flip up and down for the past few weeks but it always seemed he was breech on the ultrasound.  I was almost positive I had felt him flip Friday night but I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to sound stupid if I was wrong.  But he did… He flipped head down, and stayed head down, at 42 weeks, practically unheard of when googling “breech baby at 42 weeks pregnant”.

So I went home without the ECV to wait on labor.  I was 2cm dilated and about 50% effaced.  I cramped off and on for the next several days but no labor.  At my obgyn appointment Thursday they said the fluid was borderline low.  I felt sure though that my baby would be born soon.  His head was way low on ultrasound, but I knew that from walking, or should I say waddling, around. Friday came and Shane took off work to take me walking to see if I would go into labor.  By this time I was getting close to 43 weeks…  Still no labor.  We waited all weekend.  Nothing but non regular cramping.  I felt something weird Sunday.  It kind of felt like fluid leaking.  When I went to the bathroom to check, I saw to my surprise I had lost my mucus plug.  I had never seen it before but there was no doubt because it was so MUCH.  The rest of the day I lost bits more but nothing like that first time.

Monday I had another obgyn appointment.  I was a little downhearted by this tim.  I was hearing that my fluid was a little low.  It was 4.4cm and was supposed to be 5cm.  I had another appointment scheduled for Wednesday when I was supposed to give my decision regarding induction.  Shane wanted me to induce Friday because he was worried about his vacation time running out and getting fired from work.  I really didn’t want to induce but I understood his point and was trying to prepare myself for the possibility.  After all, by Friday I would be almost 44 weeks pregnant!  That’s late, even for me.  Previouly my longest had been two weeks late.  However, I also read that fluid levels could be improved by drinking water…  Also being dehydrated could stall or stop labor.  Being as I’d been thirsty, I knew I WAS dehydrated…  So I had Lilly keeping me topped off on water all day Monday.  I drank a gallon and a half of water and peed like a racehorse all day.  And I cramped.  Tuesday I had a dentist appointment and since I wasn’t in labor, I prepared to go.  I woke up at 8 AM and felt some actual contractions.  I wasn’t prepared to call in the calvary though because they were barely noticeable and they were 20 minutes apart.  I ate a banana and went to the dentist.  During my cleaning around 10 (they were running a bit behind), my contractions were such that I needed to close my eyes and they were ten minutes apart.  Still no reason to worry.  Pain level about 2-4.  I went home and ate a bowl of cereal.  Then I was kind of tired so I tried to lay down.  I couldn’t really sleep so I got up.  This was around 1.  Contractions were 5 minutes apart and pain level 5-6.  Shane decided to stay home, though I told him he should go ahead to work because there was no telling when I would get closer.  I’m glad he didnt listen to me.  The contractions continued getting stronger and by 3 I knew I needed to go to the hospital.  It was too quick from 8 and I didn’t was to get stuck in work traffic.  We packed up, called my doctor and said we were on the way to the hospital.

I continued to feel contractions about 5 minutes apart, getting stronger.  By the time I got registered and they had me hooked up to my IV and baby monitor, my doctor said I’d had three conractions in that short time.  I’d only felt one but apparently they were about three minutes apart.  It was around 4 and she said I was 5-6 cm dilated and 80% effaced.  It wasn’t too tough until 6.  Contractions were strong by then.  My doctor had gone to get dinner after she checked me because I said I felt sure it would be a little while before I’d be ready.  At 7 I felt sure I was in transition so a nurse measured me.  She said 6cm but I felt sure that was wrong.  My contraction were 2-3 minutes apart now and pain level 7-9.  I knew I had to be more than 6 and I was disheartened.  My doctor got back at 7:40 and I told her I thought for sure I was more than 6.  She checked and I was 8 with just a cervical lip left.  I felt relieved because I felt like I was dying.  I was so exhausted.  I kept shifting positions.  Walked around a bit.  Peed often.  My water broke sometime around then.  I was squatting by the bed and felt a pop during the contraction and a bit of liquid fell out.  I thought maybe I peed on the floor but when I wiped it up it was clear and when the nurse and doctor saw it they said probably was fluid.  Fast forward a bit.  It was just before 9.  She said I had the cervical lip left but it was pliable since this was my sixth and if I felt the need to push then I could.  So I did.  I was apparently making progress but not like I was used to.  I was used to ten minutes of pushing.  I pushed with a birth bar, hands and knees, and sitting upright squatting.  He had made it past the cervix.  My doctor said she could feel hair.  I felt like I was dying.  I was sure he was going to be stuck in me forever.  And that I was just going to collapse right there.  Then… On one contraction and push, I felt it!  I felt the burn.  It’s a special burn.  It’s the baby is about to get out burn.  I told my doctor and the positioned the mirror so I could see.  No baby.  Next conraction though, I pushed, pushed, pushed, and kept pushing and pushed his entire body out in one contraction!

Luke Walker Beard was born at 9:33 pm.  He weighed in at 11 pounds, 24″.  He was born at 43 weeks 2 days, on St. Patrick’s Day!  No tearing, very little hairline tears even.  He had pooed and had the cord around his next but no problems.  He had a 9,9,10 apgar score.  Head full of hair.  I couldn’t believe I had done it!  I spent the next hour crying, shaking, and nursing my newest son!


Happy Pi Day!

Today is 3/14/15.  3.1415.  Happy Pi Day!  Today would be a good day for Luke Walker to be born… However only one of my children has ever decided to be born on the day I thought would be cool.  David was born on the day of the lunar eclipe… Just barely lol.  He was born just after midnight around 12:30.  My other children, though… Sierra was born the day AFTER Halloween.  Jordan was born the day AFTER Valentine’s Day…  So it would make perfect sense for Luke to be born tomorrow…. The day AFTER Pi Day and the day before my granddad’s birthday…  Or the day after St. Patrick’s Day… So many possible birthday screw up days lol. 
Since it’s impossible to tell when he will come, and I HAVE been feeling contractions off and on, I will try not to dwell on it. I was trying to postpone this week’s blog post in the hopes that it would be a birth story but being as it’s 3PM and I’m not at the hospital, I don’t see that happening.  Perhaps next week’s post.  I WILL be 43 weeks tomorrow after all!

So today I’m going to focus on PI Day!  Try and finish up my week’s work that I’ve postponed some of.  I’m basically almost done but there were a few things I was deliberately putting off because honestly I just didn’t feel like doing them lol. 

I think the kids are eager to get school started back again.  Hopefully soon we’ll be able to get started again. I’m ready for a sense of normalcy around here again.  Tired of the chaos that results when I have to rest and the kids take that as their cue to act like wild orangutans!!

On the note of homeschooling, I read something really interesting the other day. I read that middle school is irrelevant.  That supposedly it was originally created to avoid putting fifteen year olds to work in the factory and causing them to stay in school longer.  Notice the absence of an explanation for why kids SHOULD be in school – to learn more!  I was intrigued.  So I looked at some of the materials I had set aside for middle school and some I had set aside for ninth grade.  Turns out there may be some merit in the whole skipping middle school thing.  Sixth and Seventh grade math seems like a review with very little advancement of content of things learned in elementary school.  Ninth grade math is Algebra… And the first chapter totally looks like something Lilly could handle.  I am very very seriously considering skipping her three grades to high school after we finish fifth grade…  Just to see how it goes.  After all my entire parenting philosophy has been to have the freedom to experiment in such ways that most improve my children.  I have done very little in the ways that I was personally raised.  I wasn’t breastfed, didn’t wear cloth diapers, never heard of sourdough starter, wasn’t homeschooled, didn’t have a digital device at a young age (to translate to the 80’s this would be my own computer… Didn’t have that till third grade, and it was very low end and used).  So why not experiment within my existing experiment of homeschool?  I think Lilly could handle the work.  Time will tell if I’m right!