Thursday, March 29, 2012


I must admit that Elizabeth's studies have not been as academic as I would like.  It  has been hard to get into a good swing of things with a newborn.  But honestly, that's not the biggest problem.  I have still been heading into work a few days a week to help out with Jimmy's transition and to help tie up some loose ends that only I could do.  So, it has been hard to get a real schedule going around here.

And then my in-laws are saying that they are going to leave and go back home to El Salvador to stay there, so I get in my head how we can use their room, but then they change their mind and only my mother-in-law is going and my father-in-law is staying, so that kind of throws things off, too.  Also, since neither one of them is working right now, it is hard to find a schedule that works now and will work after they leave, too, if they do.  So, we are kind of playing that by ear, which means that everything is pretty much up in the air. 

One thing that we have been working on is sewing.  Elizabeth picked out a pattern to make a dress to wear for Easter, and so we have been working on that.  I have not sewn since highschool, so needless to say, we are just kind of figuring things out together and working our way through it with a seam ripper close at hand. 

The nice thing is that our renter, Charlie, has let us set the sewing machine up in his room so that we can use it there when he is not home.  This is great because before that, we had to set it up on the kitchen table and we could only use it when Gabriel was either sleeping or not home.  Otherwise, it was impossible to work on it with out him trying to sew his fingers together. 

Another thing that Elizabeth is doing is she is going every week to meet up with some other homeschoolers in DC.  The first 2 meetings were at the National Gallery of Art.  Today it is somewhere else, but they have a writing assignment that they find out before hand, and then they go around the museum and are lectured on the various pieces and styles that pertain to the assignment that they have.  Then they write their essay at home and send it in so that it can be graded by interns.  This is every Thursday from 10:30-1.  It's great because the fee is only $20 per month and it's doubly great because there is an awesome lady at church who has volunteered to take Elizabeth every week!  There is no way that I can go with her since I have the 3 little ones, too, and there's no way they would be able to handle that long in an art gallery, and this lady is very interested and knowledgeable about art.  I just don't feel comfortable with leaving Elizabeth in DC be herself yet.  She doesn't have a cell phone yet, either, so that's doubly bad. 

Elizabeth is making her schedule so that she will finish the geometry course that we got for her in the next month or so.  I am looking for an Alegebra II course.  Any suggestions?

In other news...

I think that we are closing in on purchasing a larger vehicle.  Our van is dead and so all we have now for our family of 6 is a 2 door compact Ford Focus.  Great car.  A little small.

So we have found a Suburban online and are going to check it out on Friday.  It's actually a pretty cool car and it holds 8 passengers, which is perfect for us.  We did look at a 12 passenger so we have extra space for the kids that we take to church, but we can't afford that right now, so we will have to continue depending on other people to pass by the house and pick up the extras that won't fit in our car.

So, I have written this post in various sittings, and all in a just type what comes out kind of method, because I know that any other way will result in my never posting again for the next 5 years, so I apologize if there are typos and if it doesn't really flow or make much sense!

And in the spirit of just getting things up here to share with people who are interested, above are some pictures of Gabriel's 2nd birthday!  The car cake was made by Elizabeth, and the train cake was made by Jordan.  I was so impressed with their creativity!  And they tasted really good, too. now to hang out more laundry - now that our washing machine is fixed after almost 2 weeks! - before the little dudes wake up from their naps!

Monday, March 19, 2012


This moment (which took place on a weekday well after the Twain bus passed at 7:30AM has been brought to you by the homeschooling efforts of our household.

I do hope you enjoyed it as much as they did.  :)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Homeschool Curriculum

Since we have taken Elizabeth out of school, we have kind of been feeling our way through this whole homeschooling thing.

We have been pretty diligent in studying English and vocabulary.  We have both been reading Wuthering Heights to prepare for Elizabeth's book club this month, and last month we read through Booker T Washington's Up From Slavery.  That was a pretty hefty book, and the book club meeting was unlike anything that Elizabeth had ever attended.  Since I was still working full time at the time, she went, very bravely, I must say, alone.

The group consisted of 2 families of homeschoolers who knew each other for a long time.  They also had all of the questions that were to be discussed before hand, and although this group meets in the public library and is announced in the library circular, I don't think that the group was quite prepared to receive the thoughts and ideas of someone new...someone who had very different opinions and thoughts than they did.  But, Elizabeth seemed to enjoy herself, and it was quite an experience for her to take part in this group, so she will go again this week.

She has also been studying spelling and vocabulary words.  Here we are walking along the parkway on one of those beautiful days last week with Gabriel and Jesse studying hard.  She aced the test that she had 2 days later. 

Elizabeth has been working her way through her geometry book, but we do need to work a little more on that and get a plan set so that she finishes the book in line with what her class is doing.

We have a great French program, thanks to a certain French someone, so Elizabeth is excited and working her way through that.

We have realized that for the most part the science that she was studying in school was just review to prepare for the SOL's, so we have decided to just quickly work through the rest of the book and move on to either chemistry or biology.

We need to play a little catch up in civics, but I am not really concerned about that.  I know that it is not necessary for us to follow the same plan as the public school, but we just figured it would be easier, at least for this year.


In addition to our regular studies, we have been learning other very important things.

One thing that we have been working on it organization, and we have learned that there is a place for everything, and everything should be in its place, even the cat:

We have been studying the language of the toddler, and have learned that 'Take it?' means that Gabriel wants to 'take' Jesse and hold him...ever so gently, of course!

And we've worked on climbing...

..and hanging...

...and the necessary skill of tummy swinging.

But, I think that the most important and useful lesson that Elizabeth learned this week, was the lesson she worked on Friday morning:

The very important talent of removing a balloon that is tangled in the kitchen ceiling fan. 

She passed that one with flying colors, too.  Both the fan and the balloon were saved!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Our Birth Story

I would love to say that our birth story is a great one.  I would love to say that it was calm, and peaceful and wonderful and all those things.

But I can't.

Well, the birth itself was great.  I was calm, and it was quick and easy.  But the before and the after are a totally different story.

It has taken me a while, but I do believe that I am ready to share my experience here now.

Jesse was 'due' on February 7...or 9...or 10...depending on the day and who you asked.  He is baby number 4 for me, and babies number 1 and 2 were both about 5 days late, so I was ready for this little guy to be 'late' as in, right on time for him.  But my doctor had other plans. 

He was concerned that I was going beyond my due date.  He and I both thought that the baby would be large because my first was 7+, the second 8+ and the third 9+ pounds, so we both assumed that this guy would be pushing 10 pounds.  But I was not worried.  All of my deliveries were relatively easy, and I figured that God knew what He was doing, so I should just let Him be and let Him make the plans surrounding this birth as well.  But my doctor didn't agree.  I had to bargain with him so that he would not induce me on Sunday (Jesse was 'due' on Thursday), so I had to go in to the hospital Sunday evening for a non-stress test on the baby.  Everything turned out well.  I had plenty of amniotic fluid, the baby was completely reactive and there was no need to worry.

But worry, my doctor did.

So, I had an appointment with him on Tuesday, and he sent me in for another non-stress test, which Jesse again passed with flying colors. 

But I was already 3cm dilated, and so it was agreed that rather than forcing me into a chemical induction, the doctor would agree to let me go the rest of the day and 'induce' me by breaking my water at 5PM on Tuesday.  Knowing that I didn't really have much choice, I agreed.

So I went and have lunch with a friend of mine who also happens to be a osteopath, and then I went with her to her office and she treated me.  I felt like a million bucks! 

But as the day wore on, I began to feel trepidation.  I felt like my body would go into labor when it was ready and that if I wasn't in labor, it's because I wasn't ready to be yet.  So I began to feel stressed and tense by the time I picked Jimmy up from work. 

We came home and ate dinner with the kids and then got a ride to the hospital.  But when we got to the hospital, there were no beds to admit us, so we ended up waiting around.  We were told that we would be sent to another area where there were beds, so we sent our ride home and waiting around.  Then the nurses switched shifts and we were left alone again, just waiting.  There was another girl there, too, with her first baby, and she was due to be induced at 34 weeks, so we were both just waiting.  There were a lot of people in the wing, so there was really no place to sit and relax, so I just kept walking around the unit and drinking water and using the bathroom.  All the while, I was contracting, but mostly just like I had been contracting for the last few weeks...pretty strong and regular as long as I was on my feet, but as soon as I sat down, they would stop. 

As time ticked on, there were still no beds open. 

Finally, at 10PM, after we had been at the hospital for 5 hours, a bed opened up, and they called my doctor to come in.  I told my doctor that I didn't really feel comfortable with the situation.  By this time, I was exhausted and very hungry since I hadn't eaten since 4:30 that afternoon.  But he said that it was fine and that this is what we had to do. 

I should have been more forceful, but I also just kept thinking that if we left and came back, we would have another 5 hour wait to go through, so against my better judgement, I agreed to go forward with the procedure. 

My doctor wanted to hook me up to an IV, and I didn't want that at all because that would mean that I was tethered to the bed, so he agreed that as long as I stayed on the monitors consistently, then I could forgo the IV. 

With that, he broke my waters and off we went.  By now, it was 12 midnight.

I started pacing the length that the monitors let me, and only disconnecting myself to go to the bathroom.  The contractions got harder and closer together and I felt that I was near the end and that I would have to push soon, so I called the nurse and told her this.

She checked me and said that I was only 6 cm, and that she didn't know where the doctor was.  I asked her to find him and to call him if he had gone home.  She was non-committal about that and didn't do it but rather told me that I had time and left the room.

I didn't have time.

It was only about another 15-20 minutes before I told Jimmy...go out in the hall and tell them I am going to push this baby out. 

So he ran into the hall and yells 'Somebody help me!'

And all the nurses came running, and someone finally found my doctor, who was sleeping.  I had to hold in the pushes until he and the nurses were ready to catch my baby.  They didn't even have time to take the bed apart, and out came the little guy in 2 big pushes. 

He was beautiful and and mine and on my chest with his warm wet self and I loved him at very first sight.  I had no stitches, very little pain and the little guy was only 7 pounds, 12.8 ounces!  That was the smallest baby I have ever had!

After they put a diaper on the little guy and weighed him, I nursed him for about 45 minutes.  The doctor gave me a shot in my leg to help my uterus contract and to help stop the blood flow.  It worked, and I was good to go in an hour.

But when I got upstairs, that is when things started to fall apart.

I was completely wiped out.  And I was starving, but there was no food to be had.  It was about 1AM and I was told that I could eat breakfast at 9AM.  That means that I was expected to go from 4:30 one afternoon until 9AM the next morning, with no food, and walk miles around the wing and deliver and nurse a baby in between.  I felt weak.  The nurse offered me water and a cookie. 

After she left, Jimmy fell asleep and I started to doze off, but then I began to lose a lot of blood.  I didn't really realize what was happening, but then I started to feel even more light headed and woozy.  I felt like I was going to pass out.  I remembered that the nurse had told me that if I needed her, I could call her to help me go to the bathroom, so I figured the fastest way to get someone to respond would be to push the button and say I needed to go to the bathroom. 

Well, that was my first mistake. 

The nurse came in and tried to help me get up, but I told her, no, I don't really need to go to the bathroom, I was just loosing a lot of blood. 

So then a whole bunch of nurses rushed in and started to poke and prod at me.  I kept blacking out.  The put in an IV and started some kid of drip.  Then they asked if I had to go to the bathroom, and I kept telling them that no, I didn't.  That I had just said that because I needed someone to come quickly.  One of the nurses said that I needed a catheter.  I said I didn't.  She said that I just THOUGHT that I didn't, but that really I did. 

I tried to tell them that I knew that I didn't because I had been hydrating and using the bathroom all night and my bladder was empty, but they didn't listen and they put one in anyway. 

Guess what.  My bladder was empty.

But they kept it in anyway.

I kept trying to find out what kind of drugs they were giving me, but no one answered and then they started injecting drugs into the bag of my IV, so I have no idea what they were giving me.

There were about 5 nurses who were basically just manhandling me and doing what they wanted. 

There was no doctor in sight.

Next, they gave me some kind of suppository, which I can assure you was very uncomfortable.  I was so angry, but so helpless!  I was so weak and so out of it from the blood loss, hunger, fatigue and drugs, that I could do nothing.

It wasn't until 5 and a half hours later that I realized that I didn't have my baby with me!  I was so out of it that I didn't realize that he wasn't there!

I asked where he was and who was feeding him and what they were feeding him and they said that since I hadn't signed off to give him formula, he was in the nursery and hadn't eaten anything!

Now, this was coming from the same nurses who come in every 2 hours no matter how deeply you or your baby is asleep and waked you up to tell you that you need to feed your baby or he will die of starvation.  They will undress your newborn and make him cold so that he cries so that you can basically force feed him.

But they let us go for 5.5 hours...well, more like 6 by the time they found him and brought him to me.

Needless to say, they did not come in every 2 hours to make me feed him.

I was so angry.

I was so humiliated.

It was a horrible way to celebrate the beginning of a life.

When the rest of the family came in, I couldn't stay awake and after just a little while, I had to ask them to leave because I didn't want them to see me like that and because I couldn't deal with the noise and confusion in my state.

So, that is why there are very few happy hospital pictures, and those I can't even remember being taken.

That is why there aren't many brand new baby pictures.

Because that part of the birth experience was taken away from me and from us.  We didn't have a happy welcoming of our newest little one.

The only thing that I can say is that little Jesse was fine.  His birth itself was a beautiful thing.

Jesse Aaron February 15

A new big brother!

Is that a face of pride and love?  Or a face of 'Oh no!  Not again!

Our mantra around the house now is 'Careful, Gabriel.  Gentle!'

Yay!  Another brother to play with!

And that is what I will try to hold in my memory, especially now that we are all home, where we should be.