Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Where Have I Been?

Hello dear readers! It's been so long since I've written! I'd like to share what has been going on since I last wrote a post this summer.

Our biggest news is that we found out we are expecting our 7th child this winter! It was quite a surprise as I was having problems with endometriosis, but it turns out surgery this spring really did a great job of taking care of it! The children are extremely excited about their new brother or sister joining the family, and if they had it their way, we would be having triplets every time! They love the Duggar family and wish we could catch up to them :)

This spring and part of summer, I became quite an active freelancer doing writing, consulting, and social media work for two wonderful companies that I feel are doing a great job at providing parents and others with well thought out products for our children. Catholic Child and Wee Believers have been a joy to work for, and it has been a blessing to get to know the real, dedicated and hard working people behind both companies.

Unfortunately this summer, when I was about 11 weeks pregnant, I had a slip and fall accident in the bathroom of a restaurant and the injuries from that were quite a challenge for me and my family. I injured my back from the neck down, as well as hitting my left shoulder when I fell which also caused me to not even be able to type with my left hand. I was taken to the emergency room and had an ultrasound, where we were happily able to see that it looked as though the baby was alright! I was so worried because I began cramping terribly after I hit the floor and I was so scared that I might have a miscarriage. After the accident, I was in a lot of pain, and because I was pregnant, I was not able to have x-rays or any real pain relief from medication. What a challenge! I was having terrible headaches, could not sleep from the pain, and as much as I wanted, I just could not resume my normal activities. We had to hire some help so because the only position I would feel a bit of relief in was laying in bed with plenty of pillows supporting me. This also happens to be the busiest time of the year for my husband, and this year business really increased for him during this time, so it was quite stressful all around. I was going to therapy a few times a week, and now I'm happy to say that it looks like I'm finally almost done with therapy! It makes me want to cry to think of everything I went through, especially all the pain and not being able to perform my daily tasks and not being available for work and many of activities with the children, however I really am so deeply grateful to God and His mercy for relieving me from the strongest of pain I was having, and to let me slowly return to what is almost feeling back to normal.

This baby has really motivated us to re-evaluate life, our routines, our goals, and how we spend our time. With God's grace and help, we've simplified life even further where possible in areas such as clothes, toys, books, and how we spend our time. The children now rarely watch any movies and don't even remember to ask for them because they are having so much fun playing games together and using their imagination! Media was pretty limited before, but now, the children are at a point where they are not even missing it.One thing we have enjoyed more of as part of simplifying life is spending more time together because our time is being spent more cautiously. As far as media goes, we do still enjoy movies or shows, and definitely plenty of audio books and stories, one of our favorite sites being SparkleStories.com

I've decided to cut out extra curricular activities and try and find a weekly rhythm that works for our family.  This weekly rhythm is not something that is strictly adhered to, however it helps us have something to shoot for and look forward to on a day to day basis. Here's a sneak peek into our weekly rhythm if you are curious:

Mondays: Music (formal practice)
Tuesdays: Nature Exploration
Wednesdays: Art Exploration
Thursdays: Outdoor play with friends
Fridays: Library
Saturdays: Baking
Sundays: Mass, Rest, Making Homemade Pizza & Sundaes Together

The weekday activities are done if there is time after all school work and chores have been completed. Some days we get to do these activities, other times we might veer off and go to one of my husbands performances, or go on a field trip.

On a daily basis, we eat all meals together mostly at home to save money and eat healthy. We also have family prayer time together throughout the day, we of course do school together, and then there is also nightly story time. Lately, we've been reading some vintage Raggedy Anne & Andy stories on one of the iPads via Childrens Books Online. I highly recommend this website and can't wait to explore it further. Just the fact that we have been giving the children something to look forward to together has had an amazing impact on them. I notice the peace and happiness that fills them as life becomes simpler and at times more predictable. I also can't help but love to see the joy that exudes from them when it comes time to our nightly story together.

If you'd like, and I can make some time, I'll go ahead and fill you in on some more of the details of how we run our days (including what we eat!), as well as how we've changed things up for school this year.

This year we've decided to mostly use Catholic Heritage Curriculum as part of our plan to simplify life. I can go into more detail about that in another post, however I can definitely say that I love the order it has helped us create for school as our little family grows and the kids really love it too! I still believe in the great benefits of a Montessori education, and see how it Montessori activities are a natural fit for children. If anything, I still recommend at least having some homemade and inexpensive Montessori practical life activities for toddlers through about 6 years old if possible in the home. It has been my experience that the practical life activities provide children with the opportunity to feel a sense of fulfillment and purpose, along with helping them to learn order and independence.

I hope to keep you updated more often, and hope that you are all doing great and having a wonderful Autumn!

God Bless!