Saturday, November 28, 2015

Asher Elliot-Part 1: In the hospital

On November 16, we welcomed our third sweet son into the world. Asher Elliot made his debut at 11:16am, weighing in at 7 pounds 11 ounces-mommy's exact guess for the record! At 21 inches long, he's our little string bean. Even so, I'm in awe of how this babe fit in my tummy-oh the wonders of His love!
We were able to do skin to skin in the Operating room, and nurse for the first time soon after in the recovery unit. Here's a picture of the first time we met...
As cesareans go, this recovery has been a tough one. But, every day is better than the last and at almost two weeks out, I finally feel like I'm turning a corner and see the bright lights to better days close ahead. No matter, this hard part is such a short season in the grand scheme a path I'd walk over and over again to get to my sweet Asher-he is worth it all!
We have affectionately nicknamed Asher "Piglet" or our "little piggy" because he was came out of the womb oinking(and sneezing!). In his first few days of life he filled our hospital room with the sweetest squeals, and that with his perfectly pink complexion earned him the title of "Piglet."
I feel like this picture above reflects a lot of what the hospital recovery is all about-simply sitting and snuggling with baby. That's the part I'll choose to remember anyways. That and the total deliciousness of room service-unlimited jello and strawberries for this girl please! The pain of recovery, seemingly endless sticks and signatures, and  parade of people-these are less appealing aspects of the hospital stay.  Chris might add sleeping in a chair for 4 days-he's my rockstar. ;-)

We took advantage of Rex's new "baby's first pictures" program and it was really neat to see him have his first little baby shoot. This one below was my favorite. Get used to it buddy, mommy loves the camera and this is just the first of many crazy photoshoots and pictures to come (thanks to big brother Bennett, I will spare putting you in a pumpkin). 
Here we are meeting Gigi, Poppy, Grandma and Evan and Bennett for the first time! I have to say this first big brother meeting was not as pinterest picturesk-my big boys were pretty much more interested in getting snacks than meeting their new baby brother! No doubt these 3 and 5 year old boys had better places to be and couldn't be restrained in a hospital room for too long. A tiny bit of me was disappointed to miss out on that ideal first meeting, but thankfully a bigger part of me was okay with letting go, because that's our perfectly non perfect life. I'm happy to say-now that we've been home for a week-BOTH boys are so sweet to and smitten with their new brother!
This is us breaking free and heading home-praise God!!!
While Chris and I were away in the hospital, Grandma Sharon took such wonderful care of our big boys. We are so so thankful for her and were overjoyed to share in this special time with her. She took this picture for us before she hit the road back to PA-it's our first as a family of five. Pajamas, no make-up, silly boys-just perfect.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

WannaBe...A Firefighter! A Review.

I am thrilled to write a trial review for the Schoolhouse Review Crew and The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, and hope this is just the first of many. Homeschooler? Blogger? Curriculum junkie? Check! To my sweet friends and bloggy buddies, I am excited to give this a go in hopes of joining the 2016 crew and appreciate your support and interest! Joining the crew is the perfect marriage of my love for books, blogging and budding passion for our own growing schoolhouse. As a bonus, we get to explore new curriculum-for free! This is an awesome opportunity for me to connect with and contribute to the online reviewing community, and in return receive new books and materials  that will no doubt enrich our homeschool experience.

So here goes something first review! With two small boys and another on the way, I chose to review the e-book "When I grow up, I want to be...A Firefighter." This book is just one of the larger WannaBe series and is available online through the TOS family education magazine and shop.

In the bright eyes of most five year old boys, firefighters and superheros are pretty much the same thing. This book was a great spark to the interests of my growing kindergartner, and I know it will serve as the perfect companion to our upcoming unit study on community helpers. 

My opinion:
Overall, I really enjoyed this material and would call it a very thorough and valuable beginning resource on what it means to be a firefighter. However, for our purposes I found it to be a bit too thorough for Kindergarten. The website says this material is appropriate for children ages 4-10, and I would recommend that it would be more valuable to a child closer to age 10 who may be a more skilled, independent reader. As an e-book it's not as visually stimulating or colorful, and also is very text heavy. Also, many of the supplemental activities including word searches and math problems are at a higher level than kindergarten. That being said,  I can see us unraveling even more potential from this book in the future.

How we used it:
While I felt it was mostly geared towards older kids, there are good bit of ideas and resources we were able to incorporate and it wasn't too difficult to bring the history and stories down to the a 5 year old's comprehension level. We especially enjoyed learning about the early "bucket brigades" and the origin of dogs in the world of firefighting. Even this 30 year old learned something new!

At the kindergarten level, we took advantage of the coloring pages, copy work, and craft making a shoebox model of a firetruck(word to the wise-just say no to red paint!). We were also inspired to write a thank you note to our local firemen and visit a firestation, where we saw the chapter on the everyday in's and out's of a fireman's job come to life.

Aside- to you moms who are not so closet party planners, this book offers super fun ideas on how to throw a firehouse themed birthday party, complete with games and decor details!

I see this book as a valuable asset to our homeschool library even now and look forward to diving deeper in the future as we hit higher grades. 

What I love most about this book and the "WannaBe" series as a whole is that it opens up a world of wonder and possibilities to the growing child who wants to be an architect one day and a dinosaur the next. It reminds me of the Dr. Seuss quote from "Oh the places you'll go," where he says

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.....You're off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so... get on your way!”

Other titles in this series include "When I grow up, I want to be a...Pilot, Veterinarian, Missionary, Police Officer, and Video Game Designer" to name a few. Thanks to books like this, your curious kiddo may just jump into the costume box and trade in his spy goggles for a fireman's hat. :-)

Further product details:
Sold online by The Old Schoolhouse-$8.95

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Not long now...

Today is Wednesday(happy Veterans!) and less than one week away from the big day when we meet our third little boy! I'm anxious to meet this new guy and yet at the same time it's a little emotional knowing this is our last week as a family of four. As Evan reminded me in the car this morning on the way to drop Bennett off at preschool "Mommy, things are going to be different soon."

To which I said "Yep! But, a good different!"

The blankets are washed, and his sweet take home outfit is picked out and ready to go. My new diaper bag is full and waiting for wear. Cozy socks-check. All that's left to do is take a deep breath and turn to that next page in our family's life. Change has slowly sprouted up in our home over the last few months in the form of bigger bellies, diaper coupons on the counter and those other small but sweet signs of a baby on the way. In a way it's bittersweet knowing that our family is about to change and will never be the same again. But, I know once we hold this little one in our arms it will be impossible to look back imagine our family without him. Like I reminded Evan this morning, it'll be a good and joyful, wouldn't have it any other way kind of different.

My last OB appointment was Monday(praise God for another good report!), we have pre-op testing at the hospital on Friday, and then Monday morning is surgery time! Thankfully we have a busy week this week to keep my mind off the inevitable worry that goes into a scheduled c-section. Instead I've purposed to fill my mind with the better than Christmas anticipation and excitement of it all.

We can't wait to meet you baby A! Your "whaley" cute and comfy crib await you!