Whoa

Wow. Where to begin?

Seven months goes by SO QUICKLY! I never meant to fall off the face of the earth, but here we are.

Our third little boy was born January 10, weighing in at 8lbs even. We named him Benedict Michael (hereafter on this blog as “Beanie”, thanks to his older brothers). He’s a sweetie.

The birth went really well and there were no complications and he fits into our family perfectly.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/91936282@N00/27333732630/in/datetaken/

His brothers are growing up, too. Yuri turned 3 a little over a month ago and is delightful and trouble and mischievous and clever and very hard to stay on top of. He colors on walls without abandon and without regard to consequence, cuts his hair with no second thought, punches his older brother on a daily basis, and really enjoys helping out in the kitchen. He has also recently learned how to play minecraft, so he and Kostya do that nearly every day, until Yuri starts breaking everything Kostya has made. I think this photo pretty much sums it up.

Kostya turned 6 in February, and he is a delight as well. He is progressing through his phonics, and he is a fantastic big brother and a great help around the house. He is usually at the receiving end of a punch from Yuri, but he almost always kind of deserves it, if that makes sense.

I cannot believe how old they are getting! I have three sons! It is the best ever.

After Christmas I decided to shut down my etsy shop, probably for good. Kostya was going to be doing proper homeschooling, I would have three little ones to look after, and with the etsy shop, all of my free time was spent working on it instead of doing any fun sewing. The money was nice, but after four years, it was time to say goodbye. I don’t miss it at all.

In the meantime I have made real progress on my WIP list from the past few years, and, of course, started many new ones and have about a million other things I want to make.

I finished this in the spring as a gift for a friend of ours whose daughter was born about a month after Beanie. I really enjoy using the Quick Curve Ruler and the patterns that go along with it, and this Bonnie and Camille fabric was darling.

After

After I gifted the quilt, however, Baby’s Mother told me they actually fell in love with the back side of the quilt. Mom had always referred to her daughter as her “Little Mermaid” in utero, and so I found a mermaid panel printed by Hawthorne Threads, and so this is the side they display in the nursery. (This shows off the quilting I did a little bit)

I also finally finished the pink and brown BOTM I started years ago (in my gallery is it’s twin, Jun) and gifted it to one of Kostya’s friends.

I also finished a Halloween wall hanging using Cotton + Steel’s Spellbound line. It’s actually quilted and ready to hang, but I don’t seem to have a picture of it all finished. I’m not sure why I made a wall hanging, and a Halloween one at that. I don’t typically decorate for holidays or anything, and I’m not particularly attached to Halloween. Maybe I just really liked the fabric.

Another big finish (well, almost), is this quilt top I started last spring, but then fell pregnant and felt absolutely horrible and set it aside until this year. The pattern is Alsion Glass’s “Timber” and I chose to use dark neutrals paired with Jennifer Sampou’s Shimmer and Shimmer 2 lines because I felt that, altogether, it would feel “masculine” and even a little bit “dwarfy”. This quilt will be my husband’s when I’m finished and it’s the first quilt I’ve ever used wool batting in. I’ll report back on how we like the wool. In Texas.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/91936282@N00/28468222176/in/datetaken/

Of course there are a million other things going on. I’m homeschooling a bit and I need to update the homeschooling blog. I’ve been reading and cross stitching some. My brother got married. Our garden did well this spring. Life is busy and I am a terrible updater. Also I hate computer, the internet, and most social media, so there you go.

Homeschool Review weeks 3 – 4

This should be the last totally homeschool post on this blog, as I am in the process of making one specifically for these types of posts. I think I’ve come close to deciding on a name for our school. I know it will be something along the lines of “Divine Mercy Homeschool” or something like that, and I’ll go into the naming later on that blog.
(edit, here is the blog. suuuuuper exciting)

Overall, I would say our first block (four weeks on, one week off), was a great success. Kostya is a delight to teach, and kindergarten is a great first year to start since we have so few real deadlines and our goals are few (basically, I want him to be a beginning reader by the end of this and for everything else I just want a feel for what approaches are best for him and what kind of pace we’re looking at and what interests he might have we can pursue in the future).

Reading lessons have slowed to one lesson per day. Kostya recognizes the new sounds and how to say them almost immediately, but putting it all together into words and short sentences is much slower, and so of course sentence comprehension isn’t there yet. Totally fine. We are *just* starting, after all! His writing is picking up a good deal and so instead of practicing one letter a day like we had in the beginning, we are doing two – five most days.

Mathematics has been fun. I’ve had to rework how fast we would go through materials, and he has surprised me with how quick he is to pick up on certain things. He can add numbers quite well, especially with some sort of manipulative, so we are working on recognizing the notation. Last week I went ahead and introduced place value. All I have to say as far as that goes is thank goodness for youtube! He loved the songs and cartoons that were available that helped break things down in ways I could not. While I did not have him use the work book, our last two math lessons last week were the lessons out of the actual Math U See Alpha book. My hope is that next week, when I start block 2, we can use that more. Whenever I felt like I couldn’t really tackle what MUS was doing,  I used Life of Fred: Apples instead. I have a feel that if I used that as our primary math book with some supplements, Kostya would blast through it. As it is, I intend to keep using it once or twice a week. I don’t have anything really planned out, it’s just how I feel that day: Do I sit and try to explain a proper math lesson from MUS, or do I just read the “story” out of LOF and make up some accompanying exercises? I was worried this approach would be confusing, but so far it has not been for either of us.

At this point I wonder when I should start giving Kostya easy books to try, or if I should keep doing our 100 Easy Lessons for a while longer. I suppose I could just wait until winter since we will have to stop school anyway for baby boy #3, who is due to join us early Jan.

I’m not much of a crafty person, but I’ve been trying to incorporate some other activities into our schooling. In the last month we’ve baked cookies a few times, made play doh, and went to the grandparent’s house to help with honey harvesting (“bee milking”, as my FIL calls it).

Some photos, since I haven’t posted any in a while

Hey guess what?

Still pregnant. 39w2d.026

 

I’ve been making a lot of progress on the house – getting stuff unpacked and put away. We don’t have any bookshelves, so our books are still boxed up, but other than those and some odds and ends, most of our things are getting close to where we’d like to keep them. Still have a few things to pick up – computer chair for James (you can see Kostya in the background here in our living chair), some shelves, random storage things. Also need to run to the local Goodwill to donate a lot of the stuff that’s still cluttering our areas, but it’s not super important and it’ll get done eventually. I suppose that’s the nice thing about moving into a place much bigger than any other you’ve lived before – so much more space! Now to avoid the temptation to fill it with junk. I’m learning that if I just suck it up and buy whatever I need for proper storage as I need it instead of treating it like it’s something to do later and “just dealing with” our clutter, I feel a lot more happy and the place seems a lot more homey.

I’ve got the baby clothes and diapers all washed and folded.

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Covers and diapers! It’s always fun to show off your stash. In the top picture is an assortment of different covers – some random WAHM handmade covers, some Thirsties, some I can’t remember because they were given to me ages ago. In the bottom picture are my diapers ranging from all-in-ones to some I made for Kostya to pocket diapers that I will stuff with the prefolds in the bottom right corner. Now that I’ve got my own washer and dryer, cloth diapering should be a little easier than it was when we were in an apartment and I had to either use the laundromat or my mom’s washer.

I’m still not ready to post pictures of the inside of the house yet. Despite my progress, I can’t get everything as clean and tidy as I’d like. I suppose what I could do is just get one room clean, photograph it, and then worry about the next room later and when I get them all done post them.

My husband did build a pretty nice sandbox in the backyard, though, so I can show you that. Building that first ended up being a great idea, because during the move, our son spent most of his time there and not underfoot, and still spends several hours in it every day.

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I started a compost bin and I know it’s silly, but I’m so excited to start gardening that I check it every day. It’s small and only a week old, so of course nothing is really happening. While I’m definitely happy to be pregnant, I am also really ready to have this baby and start getting my mobility back. It’s tough having so many plans and not being able to do pretty much anything because I physically can’t do it.

We are moved in!

And by moved in I mean we are sleeping and eating here finally, but we still have items at the in laws and in our storage, and everything is a huge mess, so no pictures. I cooked dinner for the first time tonight and I have forgotten how much effort it can be! And I tried to keep it pretty simple, too. I made lemon pepper chicken (sprinkled lemon pepper seasoning on chicken, threw in oven), baked potatoes (threw in oven), a salad, and sauteed zucchini (sliced zucchini seasoned with chili powder and chopped garlic, sauteed in olive oil and butter). It tasted pretty good! Tomorrow is pork chops. I actually made a two week meal plan, too! It was hard remembering some of the easy things I cooked, and I’m trying to incorporate more salads and veggies in the mix. I will say, that first stocking up grocery trip where I completely filled my basket and had my three year old in tow last week was a bit much, and I was completely useless the next day, but I did it!

Another thing that is a bit hard to get used to are the floors. This house is built on a slab, has tile and laminate wood flooring throughout, and I’m 35 lbs heavier than normal (you know, 37 weeks pregnant and all), so my feet are swollen are absolutely killing me. I bought some house shoes that are helping, and James got a rug for the living area, but I need some in the kitchen too.

I can’t wait to get everything put together so I can show off our new place! Owning our first home is so cool! This house has been great so far – not too many problems at all. The dishwasher doesn’t work, so I am relearning the joys of having to handwash everything, and if we leave the tiniest bit of food out we get little sugar ants, but neither of those are awful.

I’m still not back to sewing. I tried to tonight, but I don’t have enough surface space to set up anything, and a lot of my stuff is still packed. I think tomorrow my entail a trip to Target or Walmart or SOMEWHERE so I can get a small table and just a few shelves.

As far as baby is going – he’s measuring right on schedule, the midwife isn’t concerned about anything, and I have my birth tub and need to get it set up (I’m planning a home waterbirth). Our washer and dryer aren’t working yet, so I have yet to wash the cloth diapers and receiving blankets, but I do have most of his clothing washed and put away. It’s crazy to think he will be here so soon!

Whew

I. Am. Exhausted. I feel like I shouldn’t be – I haven’t done a lot in the way of physical activity or anything, but I am so very tired.

Some general updates, since I don’t have any photos to share this time –

We closed on our house last Thursday, praise God. There were some hiccups, and I have to say not everyone involved in the process was entirely helpful. In fact, a few civil servants were decidedly unhelpful and delayed our progress by a few weeks. But it’s done! I learned a whole lot, and the majority of people we worked with *were* very helpful and in some cases did more than their job entailed to help us along towards our first home. I did take some pictures of the house, but in all of our moving, I have misplaced my camera. I will say that every day I visit the house (we aren’t living there yet – no bed!) I am more and more pleased. No buyers remorse or anything like that. It’s a small, but lovely home that was well kept and is essentially a blank slate, just waiting for our personal touches. I look forward to watching our sons grow up, gardening, and making the house a home.

I am more than 35 weeks pregnant and am enormous. I have a hard time getting around, getting out of cars, standing, sitting, or doing much of anything. I hope this baby is not like its brother, who came eight days past his due date, and is a little more punctual. That being said, I have less than five weeks to get the baby clothes sorted and washed, the cloth diapers where they need to be, and the baby room and our bedroom set up with the appropriate gadgets and gear. Luckily, we went through Kostya’s infancy with very little baby stuff, and I intend to do this one the same way, but I still need a few things that will help me along, since now I’ll have a three year old to contend with.

I don’t know how long it will take to get into a rhythm with this new one, but I do hope to have some sort of schedule by August or September. I have so many plans for the late summer and fall. I need to get my etsy shop rolling again, get a few garden things done like have James build my compost bin and one raised bed, get started on weeding the front yard and getting the fall garden bed cleared of jasmine. I would like to have a two -four week menu plan written, as well as a daily and weekly schedule so that come fall, I can do some very, very basic school stuff with Kostya (mostly just reading to him and getting him used to chores and work around the house) so that by next spring, we can make some small transitions towards school. He is bright and capable, and next spring, if he hasn’t taken the initiative to start already, I’d like to work with writing and some basic phonics. Maybe next fall we can start a little bit of kindergarten.

As for my sewing, I’m sad to say I haven’t done much in the past weeks at all. The machines are packed away, the fabric is put away in totes, and since I’m moving out of my Mother in Law’s house, I no longer have a sewing table. Before I can really get back into sewing and quilting I will need to get my own table to cutting and prepping, and several shelves and drawers for storage. Yuri (baby #2) will be coming right when I’d otherwise be getting to that, so all of my fun sewing seems to be months away and that makes me sad. The sewing for my etsy shop requires much less space and supplies, so I will hopefully get back to that this July.

Changing direction entirely – one of my blogging friends has nominated me for.. something. I’m not completely sure. It seems like a blogger meme sort of thing, and she’s asked for me to answer a few questions, so I will!

1.  How many jobs have you had and which did you like the most? – I have had two jobs outside the home. One was just for six weeks at my uncle’s floor tile business doing basic filing and cleaning. After that I worked for four years at Starbucks. I enjoyed it a great deal most of the time. I met my husband there and made some good friends. It’s been almost five years since then, and I have been a SAHW/M since then. I enjoy staying at home more than anything.

2.  What was your favorite school subject? I have always enjoyed science and mathematics. In fact, I went to a very good public college prep high school called The Science and Engineering Magnet High School, in Dallas, TX. I did quite well there and got a full scholarship to attend college. I got a little burned out during college, but I did manage to graduate, even if it was in History. I look forward to teaching my sons to value science and math, since so many school kids today seem overwhelmed and intimidated by them.

3.  What is number 1 on your bucket list? I honestly don’t have a bucket list. There are a lot of things I’d like to do ranging from travel to learning skills, but nothing seems to rise above anything else. I’d like to be a good mother and wife – one my family can look back and remember and think that I actually did try to take my vocation seriously (and maybe even succeed sometimes).

4.  What do you wish you had more time for? Right now? Honestly, sewing and quilting. I’m not a very good manager of my time, so I do waste a lot of it. I hope to do better as I get older, but right now those particular things seem to get moved aside when other things come up, and I find myself going weeks without doing much. It really is a creative release for me, but so many other things end up being more important. I know that once our move is completed and our second baby is born, I will be even more busy with the responsibilities of running a house, but I’ve discovered that the busier I am, the more efficient I am with my time, and I end up being able to do *more* than when I have a lot of free time.

5.  Do you collect anything and if you do what? Other than fabric I do not collect anything. As a child I had collections, but I have grown out of them. I do not like or really approve of collections for their own sake. I believe every thing we own should have a purpose and place, and I do my best to set aside any sentimentality towards things because they are just that. Otherwise it seems our things start to have a little control over us, and that is very disturbing for me. That’s not to say I feel nothing for anything I own. I do, but I always fight it. I have seen items and possessions become serious problems for people, and our Western materially wealthy lifestyle does nothing to help.

Rambly thoughts on baby #2

Two posts in one day? What is this nonsense?

Well, since I was already in the updating mood, and I had a little bit of news, I figured why the heck not? If I wait until tomorrow, I might not feel like it anymore, and then the idea would be lost forever.

I’ve got all the pages for my home organization binder printed, copied, and laminated. I hope to do a full entry on just that sometime soon. Maybe when I get them in the binder and organized as I use them? We will see.

I also wanted to share some happy news:

I had my 20 week ultrasound scan yesterday and everything indicates baby #2 is doing just fine. The heart, brains and innards looked healthy and appeared to be working normally. Baby was rather uncooperative in other regards, and so we were unable to get a nice profile view of the head. Instead, we got a front view of baby opening it’s mouth and scratching it’s face in all it’s weird, skull-y looking goodness. With Kostya we were able to see his adorable button nose and enormous lips, but not so with this one. It shall all be a surprise!

Baby also initially did not seem inclined to let us see the naughty bits, but after I walked around for a while and went back for another check, we were able to see that it was indeed another little boy. My husband and I are overjoyed. Not that we would have been sad over a little girl, but in our mind’s eye we just always pictured two little boys first off. Kostya and this one have been named for years already, long before James and I even got married. After this one, we don’t have any more ideas, but we will cross that bridge when we come to it (we do have a girl name picked out, so if we get a #3 and it’s a girl, she is already named as well). I don’t have a nickname picked out for #2, but I’m working on one so I can refer to him by that in this blog.

Something I’m relearning this time around is how to handle people’s reactions to pregnancy news and some of our choices. Once again, it has become so apparent that there is nothing we can do that everyone will know will like or agree with. I know this is the case with everything, but with this, it feels especially personal, and sometimes hurtful. This is my baby, so when someone scowls when we tell them the name we’ve picked out, or makes a comment about being disappointed with the gender (or even that we’ve decided to find out), it does hurt a little bit. This child isn’t for you, or even for us. He is who he is already. His gender is something so completely out of my control, and it’s not something I would change if I could. I might have felt the teeniest bit of what could hardly be considered disappointment when I learned I wouldn’t be buying adorable dresses yet, but that’s nothing.

I have  been utterly shocked and rendered speechless at some of the offhanded things people have already said. I know people don’t mean it maliciously in any sort of way at all, but it can sometimes sting. At the post office, once of the clerks asked if I knew what the gender was, and at the time I didn’t know. He said “I bet you want a girl, right? Since you’ve already got a boy.” I said that no, not really. I wanted a baby (although a velociraptor might be cool, but he didn’t get the joke). He seemed so surprised when I told him it didn’t matter, and that a boy would actually be a lot more convenient since we’ve already got everything. He was even more shocked when I told him we had no intention of stopping at two children, as though I was nuts for even considering more. Why would  I want to stop? I love this. I love momming. It almost brings me to tears to think that someone else would think that’s best for our family. I know difficult times are coming, and that nothing is guaranteed, but I’m not going to step in and end the growth of our family just to ward that off. My babies are wonderful gifts, whether I get to meet them here or not.

I think another thing that makes me sad is the almost impression of this baby, since we now know it’s a boy, as a “second choice”, because he’s a boy just like his big brother. All of his cousins are boys as well. Sure, a little girl would have been fun and new, but this little boy already means so much to me and my little family. The idea of his being not the first choice for anyone else hurts pretty deeply.

I know that’s reading pretty deep into things that probably aren’t even there. I just wish people would be a little more considerate when they said things like that. Just be happy. He’s a person, and he’s healthy to boot! What more does one need to celebrate? And if he wasn’t healthy? We should still celebrate, because he’s a person and he’s ours and we love him. He is half me and half James and yet entirely his own unique, unrepeatable human person, created in a completely new likeness of God and it’s so stinking amazing and I’m so lucky to be his mother.

Oh goodness. I went on for quite a while. Blame the pregnancy hormones, or the fact that I’m on cloud nine after spending the first half of this pregnancy worried out of my mind. 😀