Friday, October 24, 2014

The Line Between Scheduled and Over-Scheduled

I'm flirting with a dangerous line...the line between being scheduled and over scheduled. This post comes to you at 4:49 a.m. as I nurse Nora. In fact, it's a safe bet that any post you've read on this blog in the last two months has been written, edited, or scheduled during the middle of the night. {insert joke about the declining quality of the writing, because I'm too tired to think if one}

This isn't because Nora is a particularly bad sleeper, because she really isn't. It's just that life is that scheduled that this is where blogging fits right now. From the moment I wake up, until the moment I crash into bed, I feel like I have something I need to be doing. Between the kids, work, my relationship and maybe a tiny social life, I feel like I've built a house of cards. 

And a lot of the time I really like what I'm doing, don't get me wrong. But, I'm starting to feel the pinch of being a work-at-home mom. Starting to feel like I'm failing at everything because I can't ever just focus my attention on one thing. 

I can't sit and play with Henry as much as I like. I can't blog as much as I want. My house is a mess. Work invoices pile up. Projects are left half done.

It's just hard, this work-at-home mom thing. I wouldn't trade it for the world, but  I'm feeling like any second, this little house of cards could just come crumbling down. 

Please tell me I'm not alone. Do you ever feel this way? 


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Nora -- 4 months old


Where has the time gone? I blinked and Nora grew up. 

Nora is just a dream. Seriously, she makes me so happy just by being here. She has her crabby moments but overall she's just a happy, lovey baby. 




I'm a couple days late on this update so I could include her stats. Nora is 14 pounds even, and 24.25 inches (so slightly smaller than Henry was at this age.) She wears size 2 diapers, and mostly 3-6 month clothes, although some of her pants are still 0-3 months. She still has big blue eyes and light spikey hair. 



This month, Nora has decided to be awake. She went from 5-7 hour stretches a night to between 3-5 hours. She also is spending more and more time awake at night -- so she will get up but not go back to sleep for an hour or two after waking. Napping during the day is still pretty much the same -- mostly 40 minutes long three times a day and the occasional long nap. 





Nora is still exclusively breastfed. She is still a huge snacker that nurses pretty much every hour all day. She's stretched the length a little bit, but still pretty much nurses 14 or so times a day. 




With all that eating and {not} sleeping, Nora has been learning lots of skills. This month she started rolling belly-to-back and back-to-belly. She discovered her feet. Passes toys from one hand to the other. Blows raspberries. And sits if supported. 



Nora loves being sat up to watch the kids. Henry is her favorite person of all time. In fact, nothing makes Nora light up the way Henry can. She also loves her Montessori bell rattle, her owl lovie, sitting up in the Bumbo, and (oddly enough) playing with our shower curtain. 



She loves sucking on fabric and constantly a drooly mess from trying to eat her shirt. Speaking of eating, Girly is showing some serious interest in food. She loves to watch us eat and drool just pours from her mouth -- but she has a couple months before that's going to happen. 



I'm having a hard time thinking of too much that Nora really dislikes. We did learn that she is not a fan of driving in the dark and has screamed every time she's had to. And she really hates getting trapped on her belly when her arm (or a toy) make it hard to roll back to her back. She's also not much of a snuggler -- she much prefers to be held out. 




Every month with Nora I just feel so grateful that she gets to be here, even if it is hard to see her getting so big so quickly!




Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Letter P -- Montessori Trays

Letter P trays! These were fun and reminded me how much a simple practical life tray can be enjoyed when just one more step is added. 

The first tray we did this week was wet pouring. But instead of just using pitchers, I added a funnel for the first time. This changed the process and the kids really had to concentrate on the amount of water they were pouring into a vase. 


This was by far Henry's favorite work this week. I often found him working on pouring and filing up vases.


The second tray this week was another practical life -- scooping peas. This time, however, I made it a two step process. Scoop peas from one pail into a pitcher, then pour pitcher into the second pail. Just that extra step kept Henry interested in the work when otherwise it would be a bit basic for him. 


The third tray this week was a letter sorting tray. Here the kids could sort pandas that were stamped with a p,q,b or d. This was quite a challenge for the kids. While I thought it was a fun way to start to reinforce the letters, Henry was not attracted to this and never chose it. 


Other things we did this week included: 

Patterning -- using wooden shapes, I created a few pattern sheets for the kids to follow. Henry never chose to do this either and I don't think it was all that popular during co-op either. 


Polishing -- this was a big hit this week! I included some wooden fruit {a pear and a peach}, q-tips, polish, and a cloth. The children could then polish the fruit. This was the first time I've done polishing with Henry or any of the kids and, boy, were those fruit clean by the end of the week!


Pig Sorting -- this was a tray from last year when we did the letter P. Here the kids had to sort the pigs into three sizes. The corn adds an extra sensory element that Henry and the other kids enjoy. 



Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Today I Remember

Today is October 15 -- Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. 


Today, I remember. 

I remember the joy, the anxiety, the worry, the anticipation, the loss. These 4 babies are never far from my mind but today I will take time to think about each one and their story. While each pregnancy ended, none of them were the same. They each have their own story

Today, I grieve. 

I grieve for the babies that I never got to hold. I grieve for the unanswered questions. Were they boys or girls? Would they have a killer pout? Brown eyes? Easy births? Easy going or particular? I'll never get these answers on Earth. I don't get to hear their voices, to see them smile, to hug and kiss them.

Today, I celebrate 4 lives. 

I celebrate because for brief moments my children were on earth. They existed. And I believe they are waiting for me. They were not made up. They were some figment of my imagination, they were not just two lines on some test, or a chemical imbalance. They are my children.

If you have suffered a pregnancy or infant loss you are not alone. In fact, 1 in 4 pregnancies end in loss. You are never alone. Today, I remember, grieve, and celebrate with you. Because your loss is real and your baby matters.

Throughout the day, 4 candles will burn in my house. One for each little life. And, I will remember, I will grieve, I will celebrate.

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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Montessori Letter O Tot School

Another week down at tot school! Letter O was not my favorite to put together, but I think it came out alright. 

The first tray was a combination of science, art, and practical life -- color mixing to make the color orange. I placed to small pitchers of water -- one yellow and one red on either side of a small cup. Then I included a 1 ml syringe. The children could then use only the syringe to suck up water and combine it to make the color orange in the small cup. 



This was by far Henry's favorite and the most used at co-op. I encouraged experimentation with the colors to make different shades. And I'm very proud to say that they pitchers were not spilled once the entire week.


The second tray was owl tracing. Here, I included a wooden owl shape, a few color pencils and paper. The kids could trace and decorate. It was actually a difficult task for many of them. Henry never attempted this tray, but that's not shocking since anything "art" is really not his favorite. But, I think I need to include more fine motor and writing trays, since this was a good challenge. 


The third tray was octopus counting. Here, I made little cards varying numbers of octopi. Then, included various number choices at the bottom of the cards. The kids could then place a glass bead on the appropriate number. This was another one that I never saw Henry choose this week. 



Other things we did this week included: 

Orange Owl Transfer: transferring Pom-poms between two glass owls with tweezers. This was a repeat from tot school letter O last year. I was shocked how much better Henry suddenly was at using tweezers than last time! 


Ocean 3-part Cards


Circling O objects: Here I made a sheet with a variety of objects and included some dry erase crayons. The children could then find the things that started with O and circle them. Henry did this quite a bit this week, but needed help recognizing less popular "o words" like oven and Oscar. 



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