Friday, June 28, 2013

18 Weeks

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I realized that this is my third picture and in each one I have a striped shirt on. It is quite difficult to get a decent picture for some reason. I like the light shining on my face from the window I'm facing yet then I have glasses glare. And often whoever takes the picture can't seem to focus on my face. Ah...I'm too picky. Probably why no one is volunteering for the job. :)

Oh, and if you can't read the board it says our "sweet potato" baby is 5.6 inches and is yawning, hiccuping, sucking, and swallowing.

How far along? 18 weeks (had hoped to update every two weeks but so far it's working to be every 4)

Due Date: December 3rd

Weight gain:  Okay, I finally stepped on a scale, actually right after my 14 week post. I gained 14 pounds during those 14 weeks (probably a bit more by  now) and I can feel it! Amazing what just that amount of weight adds.

Maternity clothes?  I am living in my Old Navy fold-over jersey skirt now that the weather is cooperating otherwise maternity bottoms. Although, I found a belly band at a garage sale and I was able to wear my normal shorts using that. I love that!  I'm still trying to wear normal shirts, just a size up but I'm noticing that they seem to wear out faster that way maybe from being stretched? I suppose I should just resort to maternity. They just seem a tad too loose yet. Probably because last time I wore them I was near the end of my pregnancy.

Symptoms: Feeling good. The round ligament stretching is in full force. Not a fan. You just never know when it is going to come on. I am trying to rub magnesium oil on that area when it happens. I don't know if it is helping that but it definitely stops any charlie horses in my legs. I had my fingernails turn yellow/orange and have yet to figure that out. I did not load up on carrots nor did I eat any junk like Cheetos. I went to bed and Sunday morning woke to find my nails orange, all but my right pinky. Strange! I figured I must be deficient in something. But it wore off after a few days.

Movement: Slight movement from time to time. I really am too busy to ever notice.

Food cravings: No, but I do enjoy food.

Food aversions:  Onions still are not my favorite at least to cut up and cook so using onion powder instead to get the flavor for now.

Have you started to show yet: For sure!

Belly Button in or out? It is on the verge of popping out. You can just barely see it if my shirt is tight.

Wedding Rings On or Off?  On but once it starts to really warm up I will probably take them off. Kind of claustrophobic about my rings getting stuck on my fingers.

Medical Information:  And...I went to the Doctor! Funny how much later I go with each pregnancy. With the first pregnancy you can't wait to go. By this point, it's old hat. What do I need a doctor for? :) I don't like all of the intervention and testing anyway and don't think it all necessary. I joked that maybe I should make my appointment for a few weeks before my due date. "Hi, I'm having a baby in a few weeks, can you do my c-section?" Ha! I'm sure they'd love that! I do love Dr. Smith though. She is so kind and gentle. And she loves the rest of my kids too. She was disappointed I didn't bring them all along. Ha! Not to that first appointment, thanks anyway. :)- But she requested I bring them next time.

Misc. Info: My biggest concern was when I would have this baby. I thought probably the day after Thanksgiving but that would be cutting it close on the chance I'd go into labor. She would like to do the c-section 7 days before my due date which means the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Not ideal but not many options I guess. At least I know my family will be well taken care of that day!

Monday, June 24, 2013

One of those days

It seems at times people get the impression that I have it all together and that life is smooth sailing here. I am smiling as I type that because if only that could ever be true. Granted, our day to day life is much easier than it was in the early years of raising children. But, it is no bed of roses. I still have those days where I am tested from the moment I wake up and I end up texting John "I can't do this! Pray for me!" And it is those days that I find myself truly depending on the only one who can give me the strength I need for the task I have been given.

Friday, was one of those days. For that matter, the whole week had been really off as well. Two of our boys were at a summer day camp for most of the week but that seemed to upset the apple cart as fighting and yelling abounded. Well, with the boys home again, one of our children was so grumpy. It probably started with one little thing and then another sibling irritated him and someone else said something he didn't like until it blew up to a full-out - I-am-not-going-to-be-happy mood. He couldn't pinpoint exactly what it was that was bothering him but we all knew he was out of sorts. I have felt this way before so I didn't press it too hard. I have come to the point where it is best to let the child alone to sort it out. But I have also added in giving them scripture to meditate on and songs to listen to to help bring them to the only One who can help them to choose joy.

Well, three hours of this passed and I had had it. My patience, unfortunately, is very thin the way it is but I had done my best that morning and now I was at the end. So, of course I lost it which did not help this boy and he told me so. {Sigh} What was I thinking?!?! Of course that snapped me out and we discussed the whole wasted morning and both got our attitudes adjusted in the meantime. 

I still have no idea how to snap someone out of a grumpy spirit. For that matter, I don't always know how to snap myself out. But as I drove to the store by myself a song came on the radio and as I belted it out I found myself truly dwelling on the words and the tears began to fall as I remembered why we go through days like that. I cannot rely on my own strength and on those good days find myself doing just that. But when I have "one of those days" -- I fall on my knees and draw closer to the only One who can give me strength. No, it isn't something magical where all of the problems and fighting, and attitudes melt away. But at the end of the day I know I am a tiny bit closer to the Lord than I had been the day before. And the struggle of the day was worth it to know my Savior more.

Lord, I Need You (Matt Maher) Based on a great old hymn....

Lord, I need You, Oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Our Trip -- Grotto Falls

One of the things I most looked forward to about our trip to Gatlinburg was revisiting places John and I went on our honeymoon. We did quite a bit of hiking and took the Roaring Forks Motor Trail stopping off at places to hike. One hike we took was to Grotto Falls and so I was thrilled to go back! Last time we were there we saw two bear cubs and I kind of was hoping I'd maybe see a bear from a distance again. There are signs posted everywhere about what to do if you see a bear and I don't think my Mom was too happy to see those. But I was on the lookout. We did see signs of one, or at least we thought they were signs, like some scat that I did take a picture of but I'll spare you. We saw some fresh tree bark and also a track in the mud.

I did not take pictures of the view but hiking in the Smokies is a bit different than hiking here at home. Same foliage and smells but much more of an incline and when you stop and look out from the side of the mountain and see more mountains it just takes your breath away! I love all of the reminders of God's beautiful creation. If only I could sit and do that all day long. Ahh!

This is near the beginning of our 2.6 mile trek. I can tell it is the beginning because my dear husband is in the picture. That man cannot walk slow to save his life! I used to be able to keep up with him but after having children, well, I stay behind with the little legs and he takes off with whoever can keep up, which lately, is most of them! And if you look closely you can see he is carrying Zippy on his back.

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And...we lost him. Some of the kids would run back and forth between us to see how far behind we were. The energy they have -- wow! My parents were a bit out of their element when it comes to hiking but they gave it their best. Dad continued the whole way but Mom found a spot to rest and wait for us.

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Here might be one reason the trail was a little rough. Patches of roots sticking up. I thought it a beautiful design but a bit tough to walk on.

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John did stop from time to time for us all to walk together. There's our little guy. He enjoyed the trek too. It didn't hurt John's back but it certainly was a sweaty ride.

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I don't know about your children but mine LOVE the water and climbing. They were often off the path and climbing rocks instead. Tank still has his shoes at this point but on the way back down he and Missy went barefoot since that is what they normally do.

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A quick rest or maybe just a nice pose. And Missy got in a picture! She kept up with the boys as always.

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We made it! Lower portion of Grotto Falls

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You can see the top portion of Grotto Falls in the background. You can also see that the kids did not take the path around to get to the falls but had to go the hard way climbing over boulders and through water to get there. (Pictured are George and Pete) Crazy kids! I did find I am not quite as sure-footed as I used to be. Wish I could do that!

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Here is Grotto Falls. Not quite as majestic as I thought it had been but amazing none-the-less. The thrill of this one is you can walk behind it. You can barely see John (in blue) with Zippy to the left of the falls. And through the leaves are the kids making their way. I didn't get a better picture because my lens chose this moment in time to stop focusing. Manual didn't seem to work either. So... this was before I got close.

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And this was taken with John's phone. We tried hard to recreate the picture we had taken on our honeymoon. This time with a baby on back and one in my belly. I am kicking myself for never organizing our pictures. I dug through boxes and bins and did not find that picture. I did find a lot of other memories though. :)

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By the time we got back down to where Mom was resting and playing games on my phone (a very handy thing to have when hiking!) we heard about a bear sighting. Evidently a group who passed Mom said they had seen a bear and made loud noises and threw things and it ran. It was a busy trail though and enough people came past so she wasn't totally alone but I know she was itching to get back down. I had my eyes peeled the whole way back for any more signs of that bear. Just one glimpse? :)

You can see more of Grotto Falls at Hiking In the Smokies.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Next Stop -- Our Mountain Cabin

After spending a bit more time at the Creation Museum the next morning we headed for our main destination -- Seiverville, TN. (Pronounced Se-VEER-ville) to our cabin in the mountains. It was about a 4-hour drive and by the time we got to the town it seemed to drag on and on forever and then turns into Pigeon Forge which is where our turn was. John and I rented a cabin in the mountains of Tennessee for our honeymoon 16 years ago so we kept searching to find anything that looked familiar. But alas, a lot has changed and it is a lot more commercialized. I'd compare it to Branson or Wisconsin Dells.

We stayed in a gated community of cabins called Brothers Cove but the cabin I found was rented by the owner on Homeaway and was a much better deal that way. We wanted the "community" simply because that gave us the option of a swimming pool that an individual cabin would not. Although, being mid-May it opened the last day we were there and was a bit cool yet.

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Driving our 15 passenger van and towing John's car behind (for my parents to go off on their own if they desired) John maneuvered his way up steep inclines and around a precarious turn to get up to our cabin. My Mom wondered why I picked a cabin up so high. Of course for the view! I had no idea it would be quite that difficult to get up. And it would have been fine if we weren't towing something. On the way down my Dad drove the car down.

You probably can't tell quite how steep this is on our way up.

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This is on our way down. This turn made me a bit nervous at times. I was always glad it wasn't me driving. For some reason I kept having visions of the van driving off the side and rolling down the mountain to our death. Lovely thoughts I know. The apple doesn't fall far as one of my boys was having similar thoughts.

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Going down from our cabin. You can see how close other cabins are.

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The cabin next door and those down from us kind of into the valley. There were just a few that went up from where we were. Ours looked like this also with three porches.

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The AMAZING view from our second floor porch off the bedroom. This, this is why I wanted to be up so high. What is the point of being in the mountains if you don't have the view? I could have sat there all day.

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Unfortunately, I didn't take very many pictures of the inside of the cabin. It was so beautiful though and made John and I kind of regret not keeping our house a log home when we added on. All the wood and simplicity of it was so relaxing. If you want to see more inside pictures check out the owner's website. The kids on the spiral staircase leading up to the third floor bedroom.

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Mr. Zippy happily playing with his new truck.

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George and Re-Pete playing pool on the second floor loft area. There was also a game table and a sofa sleeper in this area. We put Zippy's pack-n-play here for him to sleep. And just for my reference since I didn't take pictures -- Pete and Re-Pete slept on the third floor. George and Seppy had an air mattress in the same room. Tank and Missy shared the living room sofa sleeper.

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The first floor bedroom and our second floor room had whirlpool tubs. Some of the kids enjoyed that one evening. George even got in after Seppy was done since he saw how much fun it was.

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And having fun in the outdoor hot tub too.

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Look at that view! A swimming pool in the mountains. Loved it! No one was too sure about that cold water though. But they all jumped in anyway, even John and my Dad.

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Seppy soaking up some sun.

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We did have some excitement on our last night. John and woke up a few times to various creature noises. At one time some type of animal fight. But then we heard a racket. It sounded like someone was throwing their ball over the railing again and again to the wooden floor below. John went out on our porch and looked down to the garbage cans and saw a bear! He was telling it to "get out of the garbage". I assumed it to be racoons and asked him but he said it was a bear. I asked why he didn't call me to take pictures. I wanted to see it too! But it had already taken off and I could only see movement scurrying up the rocky cliff. We did find evidence the next morning as the lids on the cans were broken open. Not too big of a mess.

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Well, that was our stay at Smokey Mountain Memories in a nutshell. John and I had a hard time leaving it behind but we did make great memories.

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

TOS Crew - See The Light

Have I told you before how much I enjoy art? :) Thankfully most of my children also enjoy it. Some more than others of course. And I have also come to appreciate lessons on DVD to assist me in teaching in the busyness of life. See The Light "brings an art teacher right into your home".

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We reviewed a DVD from See The Light's Art Projects Series called "Pointillism Fruit". It is recommended for ages 10+ and while some younger children may attempt this project it really does work best for the the age it says. This project is inspired by one of my absolute favorite forms of art - impressionism and studied the life of Georges Seurat.

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Our Experience

I did decide to have all of the children (ages 5 - 13) watch the DVD and attempt this art project. We watched the 20 minute lesson together as teacher Pat Knepley gave background information on Georges Seurat, explained about the type of project we were creating, and gave detailed instruction on how to paint making dots with a cotton swab.

There were 4 lessons and while it probably is best to go though one a week, some of my children were anxious to continue working on their project and wanted to keep watching. My non-artistic ones -- not so much.

Our project was to create a still life drawing in very light pencil and then paint over it using cotton swabs in an up and down motion to create a small dot of color. It was fun to see how the painting would change with each lesson. At first the children thought it didn't look that good being that it was only one color on the fruit. But, each time more color was added and finally shading, until the fruit had more of a realistic look to it. Of course as with this type of painting, up close it doesn't look very nice at all, which in a way makes it a bit more difficult to see how you are doing. And admittedly some of the kids got quite discouraged, especially with the shading, until I held their painting back from a distance for them and they realized that indeed it looked like fruit.

We did have most of the supplies we needed on hand but I did buy some new acrylic paints in the suggested bright colors. We used poster board cut in half for our canvas.

This project should not be rushed even though they may want to work ahead. It is best to take time with the drawing and then make nice even dots of paint. And take time to study the fruit and decide what colors to add. Just because the instructor has one color fruit doesn't mean yours has to look the same. I do think it might be best to have artificial fruit as was done on the DVD unless yours doesn't go bad over a 4 week time period. We had to change out bananas and nectarines as either they would get eaten or they'd have brown spots. It worked okay though.

First lesson was sketching the fruit and painting them one solid color. I sketched the fruit for Seppy but he enjoyed the painting with assistance from all.

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Can you tell who enjoyed this project?

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What I Liked

I loved that Pat incorporated God's Word into each lesson. After all, God is the master artist and so she would always pull open her bible at one point in the lesson and read a passage of scripture that correlated with what she had said. 

I always enjoy the background information on the artist and it was presented in an interesting way, not dry or boring at all (except maybe for the younger set but remember it isn't for them!) Did you know that Seurat's paintings were done on 7 foot walls? The kids found that fascinating. Perhaps we should cover our wall in a pointillism painting to cover all the other markings from over the years!

The art lessons were just the right length and then there was time to work. And in the end they came away with a nice piece of art that can be framed and some of the boys are talking about entering them in the fair.

Third lesson. See how far Seppy has come? Not bad for a 5 year old!

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I like Missy's nectarine. She did a good job adding the yellow and orange to it.

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Final lesson -- George is adding the shading and some highlights.

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Completed project with a hint of a table line in the background. Pete and Re-Pete were especially pleased with the paintings after they saw how they looked on the picture.

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Thanks Pat! We had fun and look forward to more art lessons with your instruction!

Purchase for Yourself

You can purchase Pointillism Fruit, the 4th DVD in the Art Projects series for $14.99

There are so many other great products from See the Light. Click here to read more reviews.
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Monday, June 3, 2013

14 Weeks

I am gradually processing pictures from our trip since I did end up taking many more than I thought. So, instead of hearing more about our trip I am doing a pregnancy update today since 4 weeks have passed since my first picture.

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How far along? 14 weeks

Due Date: According to my pregnancy calendar wheel I am due December 4th give or take a day or two.

Weight gain:  I still haven't weighed myself since pregnant. Not on the top of my list. :)-

Maternity clothes?  I am able to wear a couple regular pants that are underbelly kind although the button pops a bit. I could live in my Old Navy fold-over jersey skirt if it would just stay warm here! I'm still trying to wear normal clothes as much as possible since maternity can look too big but started to wear some maternity shorts/shirts.

Symptoms: I feel great for the most part. The round ligament stretching has begun and that is intense pain when I move wrong or sneeze but it is thankfully brief.

Movement: None yet.

Food cravings: Not really at this moment.

Food aversions:  I can eat everything again!

Have you started to show yet: Yes, and people actually know I am pregnant without just wondering.

Belly Button in or out? In

Wedding Rings On or Off?  On but getting tighter.

Medical Information:  Still haven't been to the doctor yet. I should really make an appointment.

Misc. Info  John asked why I was waddling. I have no idea and should not be yet! So I am trying to be more conscious of how I am walking.
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