Thursday, February 27, 2014

13 weeks, pregnancy #3

With Malakai + Desmond I posted little surveys detailing what was going on in my pregnancy each week. I know I won't be posting them weekly, and they're more for me to look back on than to entertain all of you, so feel free to scroll past these if you aren't interested. This blog o' mine definitely takes the place of scrap book and even a baby book for us.

{normally there would be an updated bump photo here, but let's be honest...we're on the 3rd baby so we don't have much time for that 'round here. Plus, I pretty much look the same as I did two weeks ago...}

How far along:  13 weeks

How big is baby: approximately the size of a peach, 2.9 inches, .81 ounces
What have you been up to: I started to resume some normal activities after the months of sickness, myself and kiddos...and then I got sick again! I feel better today but not 100%
Maternity clothes:  I can button my stretchier pants, but they are too uncomfortable so yep- maternity pants for sure! I can still wear most of my regular tops if they're on the longer side. 
Sleep: I've been taking half a unisom at bedtime for the past few weeks to ease my morning sickness so I sleep pretty soundly. I do still try to take a little nap in the afternoons if I can so I'm not completely useless in the evenings. My poor husband on the other hand has barely been sleeping with sick kiddos. We go to the doctor AGAIN tomorrow for ear checks. 
Milestones: I'm now in the 2nd trimester. This pregnancy is going by so fast!
Best Moment:  Having enough energy to make dinner and get some cleaning done. I felt useful for the first time in 2 months!
Worst Moment: coming down with a fever yesterday. 
Food cravings: savory snacks. kettle chips, snap pea crips. The other night I had vanilla ice cream with Kettle chips on top...that's been the oddest combination I've craved out of all my pregnancies. 
Food aversions: anything spicy, fried, or acidic. I think it's mostly due to my heartburn. 
Symptoms: heartburn/acid reflux (that I've finally got under control with some prevacid), nausea if I don't eat frequently, headaches and exhaustion. At this point it's difficult to pinpoint sickness symptoms and pregnancy symptoms. I've had some back and round ligament pain from my growing belly. 
Movement: I first felt this baby move at 11 weeks! I felt the strongest movement a few days ago, it's such a joy!
Gender: we'll find out April 10th! Just 6 weeks away!
What I’m looking forward to: Having more energy and being healthy. Hopefully this comes with the onset of spring, which is pretty slow here. 
What I’m nervous about/praying for: I've just been praying for health in our whole family. We've not had a break for coming up on 9 weeks and it's taken a big toll on just about all areas of our lives. 
What I miss: Being able to cook without feeling sick.
Next appointment: mid March for my 16 week check up. 
Weekly Wisdom: Cut yourself some slack. Being sick and growing a human is hard enough as it is without stressing too much about it. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

our little secret...

If you follow my husband or myself on Facebook or Instagram, it's not a secret anymore. For the rest of you, here's a little video…

{Ben shot this video back in January right after we found out we'd be expecting again. Hence the shaggy hair on the boys, who have long since gotten haircuts…and probably are due for another one!}

We got our positive test on January 4th, we told our families but have been keeping it under wraps since then. First, we wanted to wait until my sister-in-law, Kristi and her husband Nick announced their pregnancy as they are expecting their first child due about 7 weeks before us. Once they announced, we were so close to my 12 week appointment (today) that we decided we might as well wait to hear the heartbeat. The due date is September 4th, but we're thinking (and hoping) we'll end up with an August baby.

This morning Ben + I went in and baby has a strong heartbeat at nearly 170. Take what you will from that as far as old wives tales go on predicting gender, but we'll have our ultrasound in April, and YES we'll be finding out and sharing here. For those of you who don't know- we do keep the name secret. Once we choose a name, we keep it between Ben + I until baby is born. This may be harder to do with 2 very talkative boys in the house, but we'll do our best. 

Here are some obligatory growing belly photos to kick off the baby Pottorf #3 blog posts off right!

{1.5.14 at 5 weeks, 3 days}

{2.15.14 at 11 weeks, 2 days}

And here are the boys, who decided they wanted to pose for daddy to take pictures of them as well. 

Desmond thinks that everyone has a baby in their belly, which is pretty sweet. He's also kind of right. We keep finding out about pregnant friends and family members left and right! 

Malakai loves talking about the baby. Since day 1 he started tickling my belly and saying "tickle, tickle baby!" He says the baby will be a girl and at first he wanted to name her "Alien" but recently he has changed it to "Toothpaste"…I'm not sure which one is better. He loves to be silly. 

I've been pretty miserable for the past 6 weeks. A lot of nausea and headaches, oh and the heartburn! I had heartburn the entire time with Desmond so I'm resigning myself to it again this time. The worst part had been having a sinus infection on top of it all, and I still can't get rid of the cough. Coughing plus nauseated pregnant lady are NOT a good combination! 

I started to feel better when I took some unison and B6 at night a couple weeks ago, and that day was the day Desmond had to go to the hospital. I think it was a total God thing that I was feeling well enough to cart him all over the place and deal with the stress of going to the hospital with a very sick little guy. As soon as we got home we all felt worse and I came down with a fever. That has since gone but I'm still coughing and I'm back to being nauseated. I'm praying it'll pass in the next week or 2…feel free to join me in that prayer. 

I haven't gained any weight, which is a first for me and is certainly a surprise judging by my belly but I've actually lost a little weight (I had some holiday pounds to lose, so I'm not too sad about it) because I have had such a hard time eating…or even drinking. I have to force myself to get enough water and normally I'm always drinking lots of ice water. 

All of us are beyond thrilled to be adding to our little family. Ben + I are very much looking forward to the end of summer when we'll officially be outnumbered! 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

planning to catch up...

I'm currently surrounded by a couple heaps of clean laundry, a cluttered dresser and headboard, and a stack of mangled yarn. That's just in my bedroom, the room that we can easily shut in case of company. However, the rest of the house is in the same state. After 6 weeks of sickness and a scary illness that resulted in an unexpected hospital stay (which we all came home from with a new sickness), it's hard to figure out where to start. I'm still not feeling 100%, we all have this lingering cough that just doesn't seem to let go and so I'm having trouble figuring out how to get the house back in order.

I need a plan for catching up. I have a pile of mail that needs sorted, insurance and medical paperwork that need filed away, preschool lessons and finished projects, more laundry, sewing projects that range from just started to nearly finished that all got pushed aside when our healthy began to decline, a bag of items from Ben's birthday that never got put away, Sunday school projects, more shoes and coats than we need all at once next to the door, and probably more laundry. I also would like to get started on our taxes. Oh boy. At least the kitchen is clean, I have a very tired and amazing husband to thank for that (and all the other loads of laundry that actually did get put away). He's incredible. 

What do you do when you get behind on household chores and daily maintenance? Do you make a plan or just tackle it? Do you do a little bit at a time or wait until you get a chance to get it all done at once? 

I'm truly so humbled and encouraged by the friends + family who are still bringing us dinners. It has afforded us the rest and recuperation we need to get back into step with our daily lives and to focus on making sure everyone (especially Desmond) gets and stays healthy. Once again, we thank you. 

As an added note- if you haven't heard of it, the website Meal Train is incredible for setting up meals for people in need. For someone who has just had an illness (or 4), recovering from surgery, welcoming a new baby, or just could use a blessing- it means the world. We've been on both the giving and receiving end of several meal trains. I've used the site to organize meals for new parents, and for my mom after her surgeries last year. It's so easy and so worth it. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Mystery Ailment: Part 3

This is the last post of updates on Desmond's illness. Click through to read part 1 and part 2

Once we found out all that was supposed to happen at the hospital, we prepared ourselves for the onslaught of tests that our little Desmond would have to endure.

We hadn't eaten dinner yet and the cafeteria closes at 7:15 so Ben ran down to grab us some food while we waited on x-ray. We took turns eating and being by Desmond's side. Thankfully x-ray was done in the room and was rather quick. 

After that Des was wheeled down for his ultrasound. By then he was really tired and ready to be done, sadly we were just getting started. The ultrasound took a long time and he had to lay on Ben to stay still. He got so upset that the tech wasn't able to find his appendix as you have to push rather hard to get the equipment in position to see it. We were informed that this was actually good as the appendix would be inflamed and easy to find if he had appendicitis. 

When we got back to his room we finished eating and turned on the tv to keep him preoccupied until the nurses came to put his IV in. Sadly, the first two attempts failed because he was slightly dehydrated, making his veins harder to get to. They gave him a break before another nurse came and tried again. It was quite the ordeal, and once it was taped on it actually leaked so they had to untape and retape which was painful. It was misery watching him go through all of this and not being able to help.

They started him on IV fluids and thankfully let us wait a while after that to see if we could get him to pee in a cup on his own so we could avoid a 2nd catheter. He had been complaining of pain all day since his catheter that morning. I cheered when we were able to get him to go in the cup, knowing that was one less painful ordeal he would have to endure. 

In between tests and exams I was able to update family and friends on our situation. We immediately had people offering to brave the icey roads to bring us anything we needed. People all over were praying for our sweet boy, we felt very loved amidst a scary situation. 

Ben + I took turns sleeping with Desmond in his bed, the other in the "day bed" that felt more like sleeping on a concrete slab. After a round of fluids they started his antibiotics and we got a few chunks of sleep here and there. There are a LOT of noises in the hospital so none of us could get much sleep. Children have a security monitor on their leg and Desmond's kept coming unstuck, setting off an alarm in the hallway. The IV can only be set for 2 hour increments so that would beep every time it needed to be reset. His bed was an air bed so it would whoosh and groan to adjust the pressure every time you moved and there was a constant rush of air from the ceiling. The nurses also took vitals every 2-4 hours and the nurse he had that first night came in at 2am with way too much pep in her step. She told me he could just sleep through what she was doing, which he was, but then she started to talk to him and woke him up. I was not a happy mama bear. 

4am they started his 2nd dose of antibiotics and I was awake for the day by 6:30. At that point, Ben was in bed with Des and they slept another 2 hours while I sat and prayed and updated friends on Facebook.
{keeping a 2 year old in bed for 15 hours is not an easy task}

That morning we got to FaceTime with Malakai while he was still at Amy's. The boys were pretty excited to see each other.

Dr. R from our pediatrician's office came in that morning to check on Desmond. She said she'd like to see him off fluids to get him to drink on his own. Having him off fluids meant he only had to be attached to the tubes every 8 hours for 30 minutes to administer the antibiotics. This was so great for how stir crazy the poor kiddo was getting. We were able to take him out in the hallway for a walk and in to the play room across the hall. 

Ben's parents were able to come visit and his dad took Ben over to pick up Malakai and to our house for a few things for us as we didn't have time to pack our own bags. Malakai came to visit and was so excited to see us, but more so to see Desmond. They greeted each other with an enthusiastic "Hi, Brother!" Kai was able to go with Des for his first walk around the unit, check out the playroom with us and eat lunch. Ben's parents took Kai back to their place for the 2nd night and he got to play in the snow before it turned into freezing rain.

My parents weren't able to come visit because my mom had a fever plus they live much further away so it wasn't a good idea for them to drive in the snow and ice. I updated them by phone and text when I could.

Des napped and we watched a lot of Disney Jr. Ben's mom left her iPad for him to play with as well. We watched the snow fall non stop outside our window, we were thankful for such a beautiful view.

We did all that we could to pass the time and keep Desmond comfortable and happy. He started to eat better and was drinking a ton by Friday evening. We were still waiting on a culture from the blood they took when they started his IV to see what kind of bacteria he was fighting. That night we all slept much better. It helped that our overnight nurse was as quiet as a mouse when going about taking vitals and hooking/unhooking tubes for his meds.

Unfortunately Malakai + Grandma didn't sleep so well. Kai was complaining of ear pain and couldn't sleep. He was pretty miserable so they brought him to the hospital and Debbie and I walked him down to urgent care on the other side of the hospital while Ben and Grandpa stayed with Des. After a bit of a wait we found out Kai had a fever of 103 when we got back to see the nurse. Of course I immediately had visions of both of my boys being admitted to the hospital with mysterious infections. I was overwhelmed on top of being overwhelmed. During the 45 minute wait in the exam room, Kai fell asleep on my lap.

After being examined by the doctor (who was really great with Kai and even made him laugh) he was diagnosed with another double ear infection. Although an ear infection doesn't cause fever, so he also though Kai might be fighting off a virus as well. We got a new prescription for antibiotics and headed back upstairs to Desmond's room. He had just finished up his last dose of antibiotics.

We ate lunch (thanks to a generous delivery called in by a friend) and waited for Dr. R to come check on Des and let us know if we could take him home. She came shortly and told us his 48 hour cultures were negative and that his most recent labs were much better. His white blood cell count came down from 39,000 to a normal 10,000. Since no bacteria grew on the cultures the diagnosis was vague. We were discharged with a diagnosis of "fever of unknown cause" which is frustrating, but I knew I could discuss it further with his doctor at our follow up appointment. All I cared about was that my baby is well and I get to take him home. We got a prescription for antibiotics and Grandpa went to pick up both the boys' meds and was back just before Des was discharged.

{goodbye snowy hospital}

We got home safely through the snow that was under a thick layer of ice from a storm the day before. Ben carried each of us in the house because there was no clear path through the ice. We settled in and relaxed as best we could.

{Can you tell Kai missed his Desmond?}

On Sunday we were looking forward to a full day at home to recover from all these events when I got a nasty headache. My mom encouraged me to take my temperate and I had a fever. I took some tylenol and waited it out, but felt miserable all day. I went to the doctor on Monday for a flu test and it came back negative. My doctor did say he thinks I have a stomach virus and I'd probably feel bad for a few days. Just what we needed, another illness.

On the bright side, we have amazing family and friends. They've all rallied around us in prayer. Some braved the storms and brought us food to the hospital, and other have started a meal train to bring us dinner while we settle back in at home and recover now that I'm sick as well. It's so humbling to receive so much and be able to give nothing back (at least at the moment), and I'm doing my best to let it be and just feel the blessings overflow as we heal. I know there will be an end to these miserable sicknesses even though it's hard to see through it.

Yesterday morning we had a follow up appointment for both boys. Malakai's exam was simple, his ears looked great! We were also informed that about half of ear infection patients do develop a fever, like Kai had. I was so thankful that he would finally be back to himself.

We originally scheduled with Dr. R because Dr. B didn't have any openings but when she saw that we were there Dr. B "stole" us- which was very sweet and I really appreciated that she wanted to follow through with Desmond's care and give us the information she'd gathered directly.

She confirmed again that nothing grew on the cultures, but she explained that it's actually quite normal to not be able to grow bacteria, even when it's present. Due to the volume of blood you'd have to use to get enough bacteria to grow in a petri dish, it's common to get no growth. So her diagnosis is that he did have bacterial sepsis based on all of his symptoms and his response to the antibiotics. She had even called an infectious disease specialist at Dornbecker Children's hospital to confirm her diagnosis.

It was nice to get information but it was also scary to think that Desmond had such a serious condition. I'm even more thankful for a pediatrician that took the right steps and got our boy well without any complications. What a blessing that Desmond is already so healthy after being in the hospital less than a week ago!

We so appreciate our beloved Dr. B and all the caregivers at Eugene Pediatrics. Malakai especially likes it there because they always let him play with their tools. His favorite is the otoscope and even Desmond got into it and played with the stethoscope.

We came home and had popsicles with our lunch to celebrate a clean bill of health!

Now, after nearly 6 weeks of illness, we are on to getting me healthy and keeping everyone else healthy as best we can in this doozy of a season. Once again, thank you for all your support and prayers!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Mystery Ailment: Part 2

Due to overwhelming amounts of detailed information in these updates, 
I've split them into separate posts. Find Part 1 here + 3 here.

Wednesday Des was acting like he felt better, but usually only when he had a good dose of tylenol or ibuprofen in his system. He'd start to crash again an hour or two before we could give him another dose. The on call doctor gave us permission to switch by and forth between ibu and tylenol to help with that. We decided that if he felt sick in the morning we'd call again to have him seen by his main pediatrician as he was seen by another doctor in their practice and a nurse the last couple of times. 

Come Thursday morning he started vomiting at 5am. After cleaning him up and getting him back to sleep for a couple hours Desmond woke with a fever and it was getting higher. His temp hit 105 at 8am and I immediately gave him tylenol to try to lower it. He was still complaining of belly pain, as he has been since Monday night. I called his pediatricians office as soon as they opened to make an appointment. They got us in on a cancellation with our beloved Dr. B so I rushed us out of the house to drop Kai off at Grandma + Grandpa's and headed to Eugene the snow.

That morning it had started snowing just before sunrise. It wasn't too bad so Ben went ahead and drove to work. He goes really early so this was before Des' fever got real high. By the time I left there was quite a bit of snow on the ground and I don't really drive in snow. I took my time driving slowly and cautiously. I only had slight trouble at a couple stops when I tried to go again and slid a bit, but was able to correct it quickly with no problems. 

We got to Dr. B's office at 9:40am and due to his fever and slight cough Des got to wear a lovely little mask. He was amazing about it, he just wanted to play trains. He didn't have a lot of energy and he'd been breathing heavily, but he was talkative- narrating what he was doing while playing.

It was such a relief to see his primary care physician. I trust all the other doctors and nurses at their office, but there is a deeper trust with your main doctor that gets built over having them care for your children over time. 

She poked at his belly and listened to his lungs as she did a thorough examination to figure out what was going on. She mentioned that if this had been accompanied by diarrhea she would have thought it was the stomach flu for sure, but quite the opposite, Desmond hadn't been going poo very often at all. 

She assured me (but I already know) that she would make decisions for Desmond like she would if he were her own son and said we needed to get a urine sample and go in for blood work. My heart sank. I've overcome a fear of needles over all the blood draws and such that they do during pregnancy, but I didn't want my little guy to have to go through any of that. Sadly, to get the best result they wanted to do a catheter for the urine sample. 

The catheter failed miserably and was extremely painful. He must have just emptied his bladder, so they put a bag in his diaper to catch the urine next time he peed between then and our going over to the lab for the blood draw. I called Ben and he met me at the labs. I knew I wasn't brave enough to hold Desmond through it. I'm so thankful he was there, I got light headed and had to sit down. Des whimpered and cried a little, but was really brave. 

It was nearly noon and due to the snow I wanted to drive as little as possible. It hadn't stopped all morning so the roads were covered and it was still coming down. The lab was close by to Grandma's so I drove to pick up Kai and met Ben at home. We fed the boys lunch and Ben worked from home while Des napped and Kai + I played a bit. We expected to hear back on Desmond's labs by 4 at the latest as they put a rush on the results and would page Dr. B directly. 

Just before 5pm I decided to call in, but the pediatrician's office had closed early due to the snow storm so I got the answering service. They took a message and paged Dr. B because thankfully she was the doctor on call at the time. They tell you to call back if you don't hear in 20 minutes, which I hadn't so I did. They said they'd been paging her and would try again. I was worried that perhaps she had trouble in the snow. Turns out she was still in the office catching up on things, she called me back just before 5:30 as Ben waking dinner. 

During all of this I wasn't too worried about hearing back because Desmond woke up from his nap a couple hours earlier in a great mood and no fever. The tylenol had even worn off by then and he was acting himself. 

The first thing Dr. B said was that she knew I wouldn't be expecting this, but Desmond's results were not good. She said was really sorry but if he were her son, she'd take him directly to the hospital. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. My voice started to crack and Ben looked at me from the kitchen with wide eyes trying to figure out what was going on. He was just about to toss some spaghetti into boiling water when I waved him off while listening to Dr. B explain the results. 

Desmond's white blood cell count was much too high and his other results were not great either. I explained that his fever had gone and he was acting fine, but she insisted that even so she felt in her gut that he needed to be in the hospital. I told her I trusted her opinion completely and we'd pack up to go. She asked if we'd be able to meet her at the hospital in all this snow, that had now turned to thick sheets of ice, or if she should call an ambulance. Ben was sure we could brave the weather. 

Ben dropped the noodles on the counter and turned off the stove and we started to make preparations. I called Amy, who lives a block away, and I burst into tears. All I could manage was a shaky "We have to take Desmond to the hospital" and she immediately told me "Bring Kai right over!" So I ran outside to start the van to thaw and  we packed both boys a bag quickly, I grabbed a couple snacks for us since we were missing dinner. I backed Ben's car out of the driveway blindly, it was covered in such a thick layer of ice and snow I didn't have time to thaw it out. I attacked the ice on the van until Ben came out to take over. It was so thick after just 5 hours that it broke the scraper in half. 

Ben grabbed Kai out of the car and carried him up to Amy's house. Malakai was thrilled for his very first sleepover at a friend's house (Amy's son Nate is just a little younger than Kai + she has a baby, Luke who Kai also adores). Thankfully he wasn't scared and didn't know to worry about Desmond, as worried as Ben + I were. I texted Amy directions for bed time and such on our way to the hospital. 

Desmond was still in a great mood and asked us where we were going. When we said the hospital, he said "OK!" as we had just been there for x-rays 2 days earlier and he seemed to enjoy the adventure. We slid at an intersection once as we tried to start from a stop light, but we made it safely in the terrible weather. I did NOT enjoy that drive!

We grabbed his bag and headed to the front desk in the lobby at Sacred Heart Medical Center Riverbend where both boys were born and where Malakai had his hernia surgery a couple years earlier. We were led upstairs to the pediatric floor and immediately admitted. Dr. B met us in Desmond's room and explained his results more thoroughly. His white blood cell count should normally be less than 15,000 was elevated to 39,000. He also tested as anemic and low blood sugar. His crp levels (which I don't really understand) were elevated, which apparently isn't good either. All of these things indicate a dangerous infection somewhere in his body. Her plan to rule out Bacterial Sepsis was to get a follow up chest x-ray to make sure the pneumonia hadn't become visible after the last one. Then have an ultrasound on his abdomen to see if there were any abnormalities and to check on his appendix. Third, was to recheck his urine and lastly was to administer IV antibiotics for 48 hours. That's when we realized we were in for a long stay.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Mystery Ailment: Part 1

I wrote the following post on Wednesday Feb 5th before things took a turn for the worse the next day. 

My poor sweet family can't catch a break from sickness lately. At least 2 of us have been sick at any given time for the past month and not one of us has been spared. Thankfully, we did have a small reprieve for Ben's birthday this past Sunday, but it didn't last long.

Yesterday I went to the doctor after a month of coughing my life away and was diagnosed with a sinus infection. What a pain, but I am glad to have some medicine now and that there is an end in sight to this suffering. 

Desmond came down with a high fever suddenly on Monday. He was his happy unruly self and then suddenly he said his tummy hurt and he was burning up. That night he and Ben were up all night and Des threw up so we thought it must be (ANOTHER) stomach virus. Until the next morning when his fever shot back up and he was breathing erratically.

 Since I am still feeling miserable, Ben took Desmond to the doctor. He saw a nurse practitioner who called in one of the doctors and they couldn't quite figure out what was bothering his tummy. Thankfully they ruled out all sorts of serious conditions like appendicitis, he also tested negative for flu. Due to his shallow breathing they sent him in for a chest X-ray. No matter how bad I felt I had to be there for that.
{waiting sweetly for his x-ray}

My angel-neighbor Amy took Kai so I could go to the hospital with Ben and Des. By that point the ibuprofen they gave him at the pediatrician kicked in and he was talking up a storm. He breezed through the x-ray and we headed home. 

By the time we got home he was exhausted and hungry. We were thrilled that he had an appetite again, he hadn't eaten since lunch the day before. I went down the street to bring Malakai back home and by the time I got back Ben and Desmond were both asleep. Ben has been my rock through all of this, even when he was sick a couple weeks ago he still took care of all of us, sacrificing the rest he needed so the rest of us could get healthy.

We later found out that Desmond's chest x-ray was clear for pneumonia so our instructions are to keep an eye on him and call back if he vomits again or his fever gets worse. 

It has been so hard to see any light at the end of the tunnel. We struggle to get through each bout of sickness only to get hit again and harder. I know this is normal with small children, but this has been the worst season for us by far. I'm so glad to have a handful of people in my phone that I can text at any time to lift up a prayer or run an errand for us. My father in law, Ron picked up dinner and my antibiotics last night so we can focus on keeping Des comfortable. Amy has been dousing my children and I in essential oils to relieve symptoms here and there. Ben's work has been extremely understanding of his need to care for family (it helps that he is such a hard worker, he always catches up).  I know that God is reaching down through all these people to bless our family in this needy time. My incessant prayer now is for a total healing over all of us and a nice LONG reprieve from all that has been ailing us physically.

Due to the content of these posts being drawn out and detailed, I've split this update into separate posts.
Find Part 2 here + 3 here.  

Monday, February 3, 2014

Back to School…at Home.

We took a pretty long break from homeschooling around here. It was a bit unofficial, and we did still do educational activities nearly daily, but I needed time to get ready for the holidays. I handmade most of the gifts that we gave so a lot of my "free" time was dedicated to that process.

Prior to the break I had been planning lessons on a weekly basis, and sometimes Sunday night would roll around and I'd realize I wasn't ready for Monday so I'd scramble or do what I could until I could print off some of the supplies. I do all our lessons with what I have on hand, plus printables from the curriculum we use.  If I ever need a school/craft supply I know I can likely find it at my mother-in-law's house. If all else fails, the dollar store is an excellent resource as well. 

At the end of our break, just a few days before Ben went back to work, I decided to take a different approach to planning. I didn't like having to scramble to prepare something every single week, so I prepared all of January in one sitting. Taking notes on activities we would do each week, incorporating memory verses from the Wednesday night Kid Life program at our church, and printing what I needed took me about 90 minutes.

As I'm planning I take some of the content ideas from the 2 year old curriculum (shapes, colors, nursery rhymes, motor skills) to make sure Des is learning a few new things and Malakai doesn't mind the review. The the rest comes from the 4 year old curriculum (letters, numbers, science concepts, and more). Sometimes the higher level stuff interests Desmond and sometimes he'd rather play. While the site we use offers Bible lessons, I don't use them anymore due to the lessons the boys are getting at church. I don't want to bombard them with memory verses and stories, so I partner with what they are learning at Kid Life and occasionally add a character trait or new manners from the curriculum.

This month they've learned how to be attentive and forgive, about New Year, all the month's of the year, the difference between a square and a rectangle, the colors red and black, we reinforced last month's lesson about the seasons as we talked about the months of the year, they practiced both gross and fine motor skills as they solidified shape and letter concepts, Kai perfected writing g's and q's, and so much more.

{green glitter glued G's}

Another thing we changed after the holidays is the location of our "classroom". We recently rearranged so the boys could share a room and the other room because the "play room" which is now a perfect place to do many of our lessons. There is a LOT more space and Desmond can keep himself busy with toys if what we are doing doesn't hold his interest. Previously we were doing calendar time and math in our living room in the front of the house, which is usually blocked by a baby gate. This meant that Desmond would get bored and get into things he shouldn't, not matter how cleaned up it was. So I much prefer our current arrangement.

Lately Malakai and I have been discussing going to Kindergarten. It is not our plan to homeschool past PreK. I have the technical ability (for those of you who may not know, I'm a licensed K-5 teacher) but I don't feel like it's the best fit for our family. Perhaps this will change down the road, and thankfully I can always decide to homeschool later on if needs change. Kai is pretty excited to go to school when he once was hesitant. He didn't want anyone else to be his teacher, which I found to be pretty flattering. Still, we prayed about it and we just know that Kai is supposed to go to a local public school for Kindergarten. We read books and talked about what it would be like and now he's quite looking forward to it. We have an open house in a few weeks already, I don't know if I can even stand it!

All this to say, that halfway through the month we got sick and half of our lessons didn't happen the way I planned. I'm so thankful that Kai is such a little sponge, I know he's already more than ready for Kindergarten and just love to watch him learn and grow while he's at home. On to another month of learning at home with my boys!

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