Thursday, December 18, 2008


J- Dana. Transform this for me. (impatiently handing him transformer)
D- Ya know, you might wanna practice a bit so I don't have to do it for you EVERY time.
J- No. I already did try and it didn't work.
D- Well... try try again.
J- Dana! I'm waiting for my muscles to grow strong enough!
D- If you wait that long you'll be a grown up and then you won't remember!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Last night was freak out your mommy night at the Monahan house

Last night around 2am, I heard Dana outside the back door, calling to Matt. He said, "Daddy?! Daddy?! Where are my clothes?" I heard the door open and shut and, thinking I might be dreaming, I told Matt what I heard and he flew out of bed, shouting, "Who is that?!!" I think Matt thought someone was breaking in to our house. I've never seen him wake up so fast. Poor Dana was crying by this point, but still not awake. When Matt brought him to our bed, he insisted that Daddy was waiting for him outside and if he could just get his clothes on, then he could go help Daddy out with the treehouse. Evidently, while he was sleeping, he climbed down from the top bunk and searched his room for his clothes. When he couldn't find them, he wrapped himself up in a blanket and went in search of Matt. He unlocked the back door and went outside. Thankfully, he went out the back door which is right next to our bedroom, so we heard him. Had he gone out the front door, I don't know what would have happened. We're so close to a busy street. The freaky thing is that his eyes were open and you'd never know that he was really asleep by looking at him. He really could have hurt himself. Yes, this is what kept me awake long after he finally fell asleep again. I spent the next two hours thinking of what-ifs and worrying about future nights.

Simultaneously, Jonathan decided to sleep an 8-hour stretch last night, which was wonderful. Even after four babies, though, I still get paranoid the first few times it happens. So... while I worried about Dana, I worried about Jonathan as my chest swelled and throbbed. Finally, I went to get him up. I figured if I was going to be awake worrying, I could at least get through the inevitable feeding at the same time, right? Then, Aaaaaa! Where is the baby? Jonathan was completely covered up in his warm winter blanket. How he was even breathing is beyond me. Thankfully, he was just fine and blissfully sleeping away, but I woke him anyway and boy did he have an appetite. Good thing, cuz he had one whopper of a dinner to eat.

So that was my night last night and tonight I'm left wondering what to do about my sleepwalking boy. Obviously we need to put an extra lock high up on the doors, but does anyone else have any experience with this?

I'm considering moving him to the bottom bunk and seeing a urologist to determine if this could be bladder-related. I read that kids with distended bladders deal with this too and a couple things have happened since this summer that made me think he might have a bladder problem. He holds his water pretty well, but too well I think. He went two days without peeing this summer. AND... distended bladders are supposedly connected to constipation, which he definitely deals with all the time. Alright, TMI. This entry is officially over.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Three years

I'm so thankful for my Clara Joy. God used her to humble me and grow me over and over again. I've had to learn to love more selflessly and I've had to learn to wait on God's timing and not mine.

Clara Joy has always been marked by extremes. She was so colicky that I almost never left the house after she was born and yet she smiled and laughed earlier than any of her siblings. She hardly slept for the first year and a half, but she kept us all so entertained that it didn't feel so bad. Her curiosity has gotten her into more than one dangerous scrape, but her determination enabled her to totally potty train herself (thankfully, because I was oh so sick and pregnant). Clara means "clear and bright" and joy, well, is joy. God so perfectly orchestrated her name to fit her little unique self and I'm so thankful that she's mine. There were nights that I held her screaming little body and wondered why God made her the way he did and now, looking back, I can see the beauty and handiwork in her steel will and curiosity. She's a remarkable work of art and I would love to get a glimpse of who she will be some day. Whatever she will do will surely be done whole-heartedly and well.

Happy Birthday sweet girl! You're precious to us and to your Heavenly Father.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Woo Hoo!

Baby slept seven hours at a stretch last night!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

brother and sister

Although, sometimes I get tired of the never-ending requests to hold Jonathan, I can't get enough of the sweet moments I've seen between Janie and her new baby brother. To say she adores him would be a serious understatement, and I think he's starting to feel the same way about her. Aside from me, the only other person he smiles for is Janie. Last night while I was making dinner and listening to my Wailin' Jennys Pandora station, Janie was dancing for Jonathan while he sat in the bouncy seat. She liked the music and started to dance and then realized that Jonathan was watching her intently. Then she told me she was going to dance the baby dance for him, a special dance she created just for him. She danced for half and hour and he was mesmorized by her. I wish I had a picture. Their relationship is even sweeter because I think I was the same age as she is when my little brother came home from the hospital. I still remember how much pride I took in being my mom's little helper and how much I loved his sweet babyness. So, yes our days are busy and I still haven't figured out how I'm going to manage my time, but I'm comforted to know that the most important things are going well and getting better each day.

O, and the pictures above are from right after lunch today. Jonathan was fussing in his bouncy seat and the only time he stopped was when Janie cooed to him and rubbed his back through the back of the seat. So, so sweet to witness.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

a new season

Now that I've got a newborn to look after again, I'm starting to reprioritize my time and rethink all of my routines/or lack there of. One major change has been the way I grocery shop and cook. Those of you who know me well, know that I love to cook and love to try new things. Pre-Jonathan I shopped for groceries once a week and usually came up with a new menu each week and made my shopping list from that menu. Now that my time is a little more scarce, I've got a new plan which is a lot more structured and, sadly, a bit boring. I know you're dying to know (probably not), so I'll tell you the plan. ;)

From here on out, I shop for groceries once every two weeks and we have a menu that's mostly the same every week.

The Boring Menu...
Mondays- Spaghetti, Bread, and Salad
Tuesdays- Soup or Stew and Bread
Wednesdays- Hot Dogs and Mac'n Cheese (Annie's)
Thursdays- Homemade Pizza and Veg
Fridays- Quiche and Salad
Saturdays- Something Different! (The only two recipes I have to come up with each time)
Sundays- Leftovers... I refuse to cook on Sunday anymore. It's way too draining.

Here's how it helps me:
  • This will help me not to space out in my sleep-deprived stupor and forget half of my ingredients
  • It should also help me take less time to make the menu and grocery list when it's time.
  • It also saves me time when I cook, because I can make double or triple batches of things and save them to pull out for the next week, instead of eating the same thing for three days in a row.
  • What I like too, is that the routine of this all allows me to keep cooking healthy and not succomb to fast food dinners. As easy as they are, they don't help my kids to grow and thrive well.

Just a picture to keep you from being visually bored... This is a sample of Matt's crazy dinners for the kids. When I'm gone or sick, he puts the leftovers together to make some funny sculptures for the kids.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

thinking of Thanksgiving

I've been composing posts in my mind for weeks, and none of them seem to make it to this page. My mind's a little numb and my words are so slow, but rather than wait for the muse to strike, I'll just muddle through and try to say what's swimming around up there, regardless of how well I write it.

The last month or so has been so busy and emotionally charged. Political debates, a national election, a failing economy, a huge depressing bailout, a beautiful new baby, toddler temper tantrums, glorious Fall weather, and other things I can't remember now...

And today I'm thinking about the Pilgrims and the hardships that they suffered so they could worship God in peace. They braved an ocean, endured months of putrid food, stale air, filthy surroundings, and endless nausea, all the while praising a good God who brought them safe passage. They arrived at Plymouth, worked tirelessly to build shelter and find food, only to starve and freeze through two winters. Their suffering must have been beyond anything a spoiled American like me can imagine. And yet, they had the God-given wisdom and faith to know that God was with them, sustaining them, guiding them, and protecting them against unbelievable odds. Their Thanksgiving was an offering of thanks despite circumstances, not like ours. They knew that God gives and He takes away, and they could articulate this even in the face of starvation and death. They knew that serving God and obeying Him was more important than living comfortably.

In the midst of our nation's uncertainty and financial crisis, I am thankful for the legacy of the Pilgrims, for their faithfulness and example.

God help me to praise you in all things, in joy and hardship and give me the grace to obey and follow you even when it costs me dearly.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Minor Victories

Dana finally lost his tooth (two weeks ago, I'm behind)! AND he completely shocked me by pulling it out himself, which is a huge thing to him. With all of his ear infections over the years, he has a really hard time trusting us when we say something won't hurt. The fact that he pulled it on his own makes the next several loose teeth seem so much less daunting. Hurray for my big boy taking charge!

The kids announced to me yesterday that they love chili and my pickiest eater (Dana) even pronounced it his favorite food! For those of you who know my kids, this is almost as miraculous as a dead man being raised. Chili has lots of different ingredients all mixed up, in sauce no less, and that's down right offensive to our little diners. As corny as it sounds, I'm seriously grateful for this little victory. It's one more cheap and healthy meal that I can make and know they'll eat and one less stressful dinner time when everyone complains about the food.

I think I've figured out what's been bothering Jonathan... It's too loud over here. Who'd a thought? So, this weekend, we're going to get all of the baby gifts out of his crib in Clara's room and start laying him down in his crib instead of the bassinet in our room (the room with no doors!). We may even temporarily move Clara to the big kid room until he's sleeping through the night...

Monday, November 17, 2008

the spell has broken

My sweet, seldom crying baby let me have it last night. All in all, it still wasn't too bad, but it appears that he's human and that he's going to cry sometimes. Let's pray he doesn't get colicky all of a sudden and let's pray that Mommy makes it through the day without falling asleep standing up. I've still got homeschooling to do, a doctor's appointment to get through, and a bunch of maternity clothes to yank from my drawers. Hmm... maybe I should leave the clutter for the day and take the kids to the park... maybe.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Good or bad?

blog readability test

TV Reviews

So what does this say anyway? I think it says that I have two scripture references in the template and they're throwing the results.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The kids are happy and Jonathan's sleeping, so...

I'll pop in for a minute to let you know what's been going on around here.

First, those of you who love a good birth story will be disappointed. My labor was a really discouraging experience, except for his delivery of course. Everything was great until they gave me the IV drip, which is when my labor almost came to a halt and I got really weepy. Then, I made the really bad decision to try to speed things along with an epidural, even though I was managing the pain just fine (always worked with the other babies), which made things even less productive. Guilt, discouragement, feeling like a coward... these are all feelings that don't belong in labor. I went from about 3am to 8am like this, but thankfully my midwife arrived and broke my water. This got things going a bit, but after no significant progress, she started me on pitocin, which had to be upped three times while she manually dilated me. Thank you Lord that I didn't feel her do that. Shortly after 9am, she shocked me and said that she wanted me to push at will with each contraction. Within a few minutes I was feeling the need, but my emotions got the best of me and I just clung to the bed rails, crying. Here it was, my last baby and my last few minutes of carrying him inside of me. It was so sweet and painful all at the same time. When I let go and did what I knew I needed to do, out he came in three pushes. Matt caught him in his arms and held him while I took it all in. It's always so surreal. Joy and newness brimming over and I'm lost in it all, so much that I don't care that everyone in the room can see parts of me I wouldn't want my own mother to see, so much that the discouragement and sadness that overwhelmed me just a few minutes before is completely gone. Again, for the fourth time, I'm overwhelmed with the knowledge that God has made a little person, part me and part Matt and yet he's entirely new. He was then and he is now such a joy to us and to our family.

Since then, my mom came to help us for a few days, which was so very appreciated, and Matt's mom also came to get a peek at the baby for the weekend, which was a treat. Now all the help is gone, but so far so good. The kids really love their brother and he's proven to be pretty easy to spoil. He eats and sleeps well and he's about as snuggly as they come. I even managed to start up Dana's schooling again, which says a lot. Not that I'm so hyper-diligent, but this baby is amazingly easy!

More choppy/wordy updates to come. Baby needs nursing.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

First Few Days with Jonathan and Dana's first missing tooth

Here are some more recent pics. I'll update later, but so far the transition to four kids is much easier than the transition to three was. It also helps that Jonathan is a pretty laid-back baby.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Get out and vote!

Here is a really amazing prayer spoken by John Piper (posted by my sister and her husband on their blog). It's truthful, honest, and reassuring on a day like this.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Slideshow photos of Jonathan

Jonathan Reeve Monahan

Jonathan Reeve Monahan

born October 31st, 2008
7 lbs. 6 oz.
20 1/2 in.

and well, the jury's still out on hair color. Looked red at first, but it's not a true red, not black... reddish brown? Auburn?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

tooth trauma

So after successfully making a really kick butt dinner, we start to set the table. Then, Dana, who is standing on a kid-chair in order to see the meatloaf on the counter, falls off the chair somehow and smacks his lower back and butt on the tile floor. He's screaming, gasping for air and in a general panic. Then, we finally get him calmed down and sit down to eat. After a few minutes, the boy bites down on his loose tooth so hard that Matt and I hear the skin-crawling crack of bone on bone. There went my appetite. Now he's screaming again and there's blood and the tooth is still in tact. Repeat the above trauma three times over and you have our dinner time.

When will this tooth come out???? The boy is in misery and every time he hurts himself by biting it, I go to eebie-jeebie land. Suggestions?? Anyone else had the same experience with a first loose tooth?

Apple Oatmeal

2 1/2 c. water
2 small apples, diced
1 2/2 c. old fashioned oats
1 T. wheat germ, opt.
pinch of salt
sprinkle of cinnamon and/or nutmeg
brown sugar

Boil water and apples together for a few minutes, or until apples have softened a bit. Add oats, wheat germ, salt, cinnamon and/or nutmeg. Simmer until oats are done (5 min?). Then spoon into bowls and top with brown sugar and a bit of milk.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

more proof

Obama says he voted against the Born Alive Infants Protection Act three times, because 1) an Illinois law protecting these infants already existed in Illinois and 2) because the BAIPA bill would threaten Roe v. Wade. Check the facts here. Judge for yourself who's telling the whole story.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

No baby yet, but thinking...

Last night I had several very uncomfortable contractions in a row, each one harder than the last one. As I rode them out I kept thinking that I wasn't ready to say goodbye to carrying this baby inside me. I am so very ready to see him and hold him, but it's bitter sweet this time. My pregnant days are ticking away and this is my last baby. My heart's full of memories from all four pregnancies, and the emotions are heightened by the abortion articles that I've been reading. I feel so thankful that I have been able to carry my four children and every bit of nausea, heartburn, weight gain, and pain has been worth it to bear these children and call them mine. Motherhood is a generous gift from a loving God and today I'm soaking up each minute, each kick, each sign of this baby's thriving life inside of me. What a contrast to the knowledge that 40 million babies in our country have been brutally slaughtered, passing from the warm safety of their mother's womb into a hateful cold death. The contrast leaves me trembling and in tears. I'm burdened to pray and to cry out to God for these silent, suffering little ones. Will you join me in praying for these babies? And if you're a mom, will you comment and share a treasured memory from your pregnant days? If your babies are adopted, will you share a memory from your adoption experience? Let this be a little ebenezer, proclaiming each baby's worth and the joy that motherhood is meant to be.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Before you vote...

This is an exhausting and tense election. People I love fall on all sides and feel very strongly about what they believe. I don't want to enter into a lengthy debate over each candidate's platform. I'm very tired of the debate. Chalk it up to me being nine months pregnant and feeling like I could give birth any minute.

However, I did read an article that stunned me tonight. Maybe it will have no effect on you and maybe you'll think I'm off base to even post it. This is one of those times where I'm compelled to do what I would otherwise be too much of a coward to do. I know that many people feel that abortion has become a dead political issue, because it's been a fruitless struggle and little can be done in a pluralistic society like ours. While I disagree with you, I want to encourage you to read this article. It's written by a professor at Princeton who very clearly explains Obama's stance on abortion. His voting record is chilling. I've been debating whether or not to vote third party for awhile, but after reading this as well as paying close attention to each candidate's platform, I have made up my mind. I will not be voting third party.

May I encourage those of you who are pro-life and who are considering a vote for Obama to read this article and consider the effect Obama's extreme pro-abortion policies would have on so many women and children? My apologies to anyone I may have offended. I would simply like to pass this on to aid you in your effort to make an informed decision this election. Blessings to you and yours.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

My first tag

My sister Katie tagged me. This is a blogging first for me, which isn't saying much, b/c I'm a lazy untalented blogger to begin with. ;)

5 Joys:

1. Matt. I went on an on about him a couple posts ago, so I won't go crazy listing why. Suffice it to say that those of you who know him understand that he's a joy to know, and for me a joy to be married to.

2. My kids, all four of them, even though I haven't met the fourth one yet.

3. Cooking. It's stress relief and cooking in the Fall is more than that. It's sheer delight. Fresh apple everything, stew in the crock pot, and fresh hot bread. What could be better on a chilly day when the air is crisp and clear?

4. Reading a very good book, when I don't have to be anywhere or be responsible for anyone.

5. Sleeping in. It's rare, but a guilt-free sleep in is golden.

5 Fears (I won't even list the 3am fears. They're over the top):

1. Making a major mistake with my kids and having them suffer as a result.

2. Looking like a fool in front of other people.

3. Snakes!!! This is a real phobia. I can't count the number of unprovoked nightmares I've had about snakes.

4. Dark water. Particularly falling into dark water and having something pull me down from the deep...

5. What's worse than #4 is my child falling into dark water and me possibly not being able to save them.

5 Obsessions:

1. Neat and tidy sheets and blankets while I'm sleeping.

2. Loading the dishwasher properly! Each piece has it's place for optimal cleaning and efficient loading.

3. Folding clothes the "right" way, although I've calmed down with this a bit. I need any help I can get these days.

4. Watching House. It's a great show. Even Matt likes it and he hates tv.

5. Reading all of your blogs! I check in way too often.

5 Surprising facts:

1. I used to be a bit of an artist and did pretty well with a pencil and/ or watercolor. I don't remember the last time I tried to create anything, but I used to love it.

2. I'm not just joking when I say my house is a mess. It really is.

3. There's nothing surprising about me!! This is pathetic. Sorry I'm cheating and calling it quits here.

Tag, your in the hot seat.

Katie K

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Proof that I climbed into a canoe 9 months pregnant

Dontcha love the life jacket over the belly? ;)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Halloween issues

So it's no secret that Matt and I have really struggled with what to do about Halloween. We've boycotted it some years and participated other years and we've never been completely satisfied with our stance on it. It can be a touchy issue and it's hard to find a good, biblically based discussion of it that both understands the danger of taking evil too lightly and yet isn't legalistic. We knew there had to be a middle ground, but struggled with what that was.

Thank you Wondergirl for your clear, bold blog post about why you choose to celebrate Halloween. I don't know you, but your stance on this was refreshing and right on. Interested?? Check it out here. It's a bit lengthy, but so very helpful. I think we'll actually buy a pumpkin and carve it this year...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Chicken Corn Chowder

We had this for supper tonight. It's not the healthiest version, thanks to the cream of chicken soup, but it was easy to make and for the first time in a long while all three of the kids loved it. Thanks to my mom for helping me put a plan together. It's been so long since I made this that I didn't know where to start.

2 chicken breasts
1/2 an onion, diced
4 small potatoes, peeled and diced
4 t. chicken soup base
8 c. water
pinch of thyme
1 c. frozen sweet corn
can of creamed corn
can of cream of chicken soup

Cook the chicken breasts in olive oil. Salt them while they're cooking. Remove chicken breasts when cooked through and dice them. Set aside. Sautee onion in the same skillet and set aside. Put potatoes, soup base, water, and thyme in a dutch oven and boil until potatoes are tender. Add chicken, onion, sweet corn, creamed corn, cream of chicken soup and cook until heated through. We don't eat bacon, but if you do, some crumbled bacon would be a nice touch too. Serve with crusty bread or hot biscuits.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Easy, Lower Fat, Energy-Efficient Meatloaf

"How can meatloaf be energy-efficient" you ask? In a quest to find any way to lower our astronomical energy bills, I've been getting a little creative. So here's how I make meatloaf these days...

You can do this with any meatloaf recipe, but here's mine if you're curious. I think I've posted it before. Warning: I dump a lot of ingredients and don't measure much. These are estimates and you might want to play with it a bit.

1-1/2 lbs. ground turkey (you can use beef too or a mixture of both)
1/2 c. Italian bread crumbs (way better than oatmeal if you ask me)
1 c. milk
2 eggs
1/4 c. wheat germ
1/4 c. minced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. worchestershire sauce
1/2 c. frozen, chopped spinach, THAWED AND DRAINED
generous squirt of ketchup or barbecue sauce
1 t. dry ground mustard

sauce--1/4 c. ketchup, 1 T. brown sugar, 1/2 t. worchestershire sauce

Heat oven to 350 and spray a muffin pan with nonstick spray. Mix all of the ingredients together with your hands (or upright mixer) until well mixed. Then, scoop into the muffin cups, dividing the meat mixture evenly among all the cups. Put them in the oven. They cook fast, so pay close attention to them. Let them cook for about 20 minutes, maybe more. In the last few minutes of cook time, put a dab of the sauce on top of each mini meatloaf and let it cook for a few more minutes before pulling it out again.

There you have it... meatloaf in 20 minutes ;). Less time in the oven and more money in the bank.


My anxious heart has been so heavy lately, but in the midst of the heaviness, God has gently pointed out so many blessings to me. Little rays of sunshine peek through and slowly He's bringing me bits of joy, reminders of His goodness and love for me. In thanks and praise, I want to list the highlights. God has been good to me and I want to be vocal about the good, like I am with the bad.

I have a husband who loves me, who's my best friend, really. He was made for me and we've both known it from the first few days we were obsessed with each other. In the early days it was late night talks, hysterical laughter, and the excitement of new love. Now, it's blossomed into knowing glances, hugs while I'm making dinner, late night exhausted heart-to-heart talks, laughing at our kids' antics, and a peaceful unity of mind and spirit that baffles me sometimes. Sharing this life with Matt has been the greatest joy I could have ever dreamed up for myself.

I have three, healthy, happy, inventive and beautiful children. I may not be the perfect mom, but amazingly they love me just the same. They are the funniest little companions to share my day with. I was thinking yesterday (thank you God for the reminder) about the often quoted biblical truth that children are a blessing. This is so really/practically true. So many more times than I can even remember, my little ones have encouraged me and spoken truth into a dark day. Their little hearts trust in Jesus openly and so fully. They're hungry to know about Him and worry about people we love who don't know him. I could say so much more, but for now I'm thankful for the three (really four) little miracles who I've been blessed to live with and sacrifice for. They're worth every minute.

I have two parents, still married, and a brother and sister. All of us share the same faith and we love each other, no matter that we're all pretty different. It's only as an adult that I've realized what a blessing this is. Family hurts run deep and I've had much fewer than most.

Although Matt and I have had our lean years financially, God has always provided for us and many times He's done it in miraculous ways. Money shows up at the door/mailbox in unmarked envelopes (more times than I can count), cars are GIVEN to us (three times), our pediatrician decides not to charge us and chalks it up to 'frequent flyer miles'. I'm sure I've forgotten a few too. We've suffered too, but I'm thankful for the unexpected gifts He gives us so generously.

There's more, but my fingers are tired. My heart is full and my breakfast is calling. Praise God who gives us more than we can ever ask or imagine.

Sunday, October 05, 2008


I suppose I've always been a worrier. I'm a pretty fearful person in general. Learning to trust a good God has been the hardest lesson I've been forced to learn (over and over). So tonight, after a busy day, I'm turning to "what-ifs" and sinking into guilt over things I've left undone and relationships I've let slip by uncultivated. My heart's heavy.

What has always helped me when I feel this way is to think through what it is I'm stressed about and speak a truth for every lie I'm telling about myself. It's corny, but it reminds me of the big picture and takes me out of the funk I'm in.

Tonight I'm stressed worrying about the kids. Dana and Janie stumbled into a ticks' nest in August when they were picking figs at a friend's house. I ended up picking about 5-10 deer ticks off of Dana and about 20 or more ticks off of Janie. I was really freaked out, but held off on rushing them to the doctor's office. Our pediatrician was on maternity leave and I am a little self conscious about being seen as an overprotective mom, so I decided to wait until I saw a rash (if one appeared at all). I checked their scalps regularly and behind their ears, but didn't notice anything unusual. A month later, I noticed a spot behind Dana's left ear, where I had picked a few of the ticks off. It was about the size of a brown mole, but lighter colored and ever so slightly lighter in the middle. It looked like a new mole, if you know what I mean. Now, two months after the tick bites, it looks like a very small target shaped rash and I feel terrible. He totally needed to be on antibiotics two months ago, when it first happened, but I chose to wait it out and now I really don't know what will happen. I need to get him in tomorrow.

Janie has been complaining of a sore throat all summer long. She's been checked out and they said she looked fine. I thought she was making it up, until she broke down to Matt crying and said that I didn't believe her and she was really sick. Ugh. So, what's bothering her? After finally sitting down to hear her out, it sounds like she's got some kind of acid reflux or something. She says her throat has fire in it when she lays down. Makes sense. I feel bad though, because I thought she was making it up to get out of going to bed. Again, ugh.

I have to say, I'm not feeling like supermom right now. The truth is that it's probably good not to feel like supermom. We see God's huge satisfying grace so much better when we know how weak and imperfect we are. I pray for God to pull me closer to Him and he's doing it. These are good things. It just hurts to fail my kids. I want to be an excellent mom, not just a decent one. I want to protect them, at least as much as I can. The hard thing comes when I realize that I'm just going to keep disappointing them. That's when I have to learn to trust that God's at work in me all the time, shaping me, changing me and that regardless of whether I'm supermom or not, he loves me, because of Jesus. AND, my kids aren't doomed to some horrible life. God's at work in their lives just like mine and he loves them too. Whatever comes, that's the big picture.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

it's official

I'm nesting. I usually pay for my hard work with some evening nausea, but it's so worth it. As of last night, Jonathan's bed is set up, his changing table is ready, his dresser is in place and full of clothes, the kids' summer clothes have been packed up, their warmer clothes are in their dressers, and the kids' rooms are a little better organized. Now for the rest of my list (below)...

Monday, September 29, 2008

a wee little list

So laugh if you will, but this is the list of things I have to do before baby arrives. It's a little much and I'm not feeling the nesting energy yet. Maybe posting this will give me some motivation?

1-Pack a hospital bag... nursing bra CHECK!, comfy jammies CHECK, extra pillow, a few baby outfits, pictures of the kids (this really helps me in labor), snacks for Matt, slippers, toiletries, post baby outfit, a good book or two, list of phone numbers, camera, bowl of treats for visitors. Any other ideas???

2-Move dressers around, so baby gets the one that works for a changing table. CHECK!

3-Sort out kids clothes--summer clothes and too small ones in the attic, winter hand-me-downs down from the attic and put away, stained or ruined ones in a goodwill bag. CHECK!

4-Get baby gear and baby clothes down from the attic and set up/put away. CHECK!

5-Wash co-sleeper and dry in the sun. Set it up in our room. CHECK!

6-Put big rubbermaid tubs in my room in the attic. CHECK!

7-Finish Christmas shopping for the kids.

8-Deep clean the floors, bathroom CHECK!, and the kitchen. It's not pretty right now.

9-Make a childcare plan for labor/hospital stay.

10-Make a few double-batch meals so I can freeze half for later. This way whoever gets the kids can at least feed them.

11-Work with kids to make Halloween costumes... check American Thrift Store for deals??

12-Write thank yous for baby shower gifts.

13-Stock up on basic grocery items.

14-Vote early.

15-Buy a baby book.

16-Buy an inexpensive umbrella stroller with decent wheels. CHECK!

17-Stock up on nursing pads, pick up a few passies and nursing bras. CHECK!

Friday, September 26, 2008

I think I want this one...

Bravado Body Silk Seamless Nursing Maternity Bra

(Click on the link to see a picture. It seems wrong to post a pic of a lady in a bra. know what I mean?)

no underwire
optional cups
no seams across the front
really nice plastic clips
they're full figure version is supposed to be the best
AND I've never met someone who wore it and didn't rave about it, unlike the rest of the bras I've heard mixed opinions on

the problem? a whopping $47 price tag! yeesh. Maybe I'll buy just one and wear it to til it shreds??

Thursday, September 25, 2008

thinking through details before baby comes... ladies only please

To those of you who have an opinion on such things...

What kind of nursing bra do you prefer? Do you even use one? I've never found one I liked.

I know I had a few more questions, but my mind is blank...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

more good news :)

Geneticist appointment yesterday--all clear! No Marfan here!

And holy cow, 42 days left! I need to get to work...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

very good news

I had my cardiologist appointment today to review the echocardiogram and the heart monitor results. Dr. Mutter said that although he did notice a heart rate of 155 and several other things (PVCs, and some other acronyms I didn't recognize), my tachycardia was "sinus tachycardia", which in my condition was normal. He also described what they were screening for in the echo and said that they didn't find anything abnormal. After explaining all of this, he literally said, "Honey, you need to chill out and I wouldn't worry about your kids." In a nut shell, he doesn't think I have Marfan's Syndrome, which means he doesn't think the kids do either. I still have a geneticist appointment next week, and I suppose it's possible for her to be concerned still, but I'm not. I'm really encouraged and so very relieved. Thanks to those of you who were praying for us!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

So I'm not just crazy...

Check out this story from the Times Free Press. Evidently, there IS an unusually large number of yellow jackets this year.

for Darla

the rest of the story... ;)

Yesterday, after only 3 hours of sleep, Clara was doing really well and she held down everything that I gave her. Pregnant mommy wasn't doing so well, but I don't know if I caught a touch of what the kids had or if I was just suffering from the lack of sleep. Today we're all feeling great. Janie could still get it, so we're still quarantined, at least until I'm pretty confident that we won't get anyone else sick. In the meantime, chicken soup is on the menu over here, as well as anything else that won't look nasty coming up again. Peace and sleep to the rest of you mommies out there who are sick with sick kiddos. There seem to be quite a few of us.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

the bucket and washrag are out

It appears to be that time of year again. We've got a stomach virus. First Dana got it, who handled it well, only throwing up twice and obediently resting for the rest of the day. Then, last night, two days later, Clara Joy got it pretty bad. She threw up every five minutes from 10:15pm to about 2:30am, then about every ten minutes for half an hour, and finally she fell asleep around 3am, only throwing up twice after that. It was horrible to watch. Nothing feels more helpless than pleading with God to heal your child, when you know full well that he could say "no", or "not yet". Last night she really suffered, but God's grace was pretty evident in the fact that she handled it so well, and (strangely) so did Matt and I. Usually, when something like this happens, there's a lot of crying and our tempers run short, especially in the wee hours. What was very evident last night was that Matt and I worked well together and Clara was very calm. There wasn't even much mess, which is mostly due to her expert handling of the bucket. God was very tangibly with us and we're thankful for that.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

no news is good news so far

I had my big appointment yesterday. I don't really know anything, but they did the echocardiogram and an EKG, and I got to talk with the cardiologist for a few minutes. He decided to put me on a heart monitor for 24 hours to check out the racing heart issue and I'm supposed to see him in two weeks to discuss all of this. The good thing is that if they thought I was in danger, I don't think they would have allowed me to wait two weeks to find out results. So, unless I hear from them in the next few days, I'm going to assume everything looks fine. No news is good news. In the meantime, I get to wear this snazzy getup...

Saturday, September 06, 2008

you're probably sick of looking at my brother's head shot

I keep starting posts and leaving them unfinished. It's so sad, but rather than wait for the time that won't come, I'm just going to post a quick catch up entry. Sorry for the lack of detail.

Dana turned 6 on August 22nd, leaving Matt and I feeling sentimental and so proud. Those of you who know him know why. From the first minute we held him and gazed into his face, we knew we'd been given an amazing gift. He's certainly not perfect, but there's no one like him, no one at all. Praise God for another year with our little man.

Dana and Janie just started to play soccer and they're both doing well. The league is very low pressure, with only practices once a week and no games. So far, the smiles outweigh the complaints and they both are learning a lot.

My mom, Clara Joy, and I took a trip up to Kentucky to visit my Aunt Sally this Labor Day. It was a pretty special trip in more ways than one. Clara really got a kick out of traveling with just Mommy and Grami, but I realized pretty quickly that Clara is more work without the older two around. A bored Clara Joy is a very naughty Clara Joy...

No news on the Marfan front. I have the long awaited echocardiogram on Monday, which I'm a bit apprehensive about. I've been dealing with some pretty high resting heart rates, which I have been told is normal. They feel pretty extreme though (133 bpm sitting in a chair, shortness of breath), so we'll see what the cardiologist says. If he's not worried, then I won't worry. I shouldn't waste time worrying anyway, at least that's what I keep telling myself. Dana had his six year check up on Friday and I got a chance to discuss the Marfan thing with our favorite doctor, Dr. Spraggins. Thankfully, she knew a good amount about Marfan. She was obviously concerned, but it's so comforting to know that she's well-informed and contributing to the discussion. I trust her opinion more than most doctors, because she's so balanced and she knows my kids so very well. If any of you are hunting for a pediatrician, I highly recommend her. She's an incredibly talented, godly doctor... such a blessing.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

bait and switch

So, our little family sat poised on the edge of my bed, watching the CBS Evening News, munching on popcorn... but no interview with Carl. Evidently, Carl's boss talked with Byron Pitts, the news anchor who interviewed Carl, today and Pitts is the one who said the segment would air tonight. However, his editor opted last minute to show more coverage of the Democratic National Convention instead. The kids are pretty disappointed, but Carl said the show was taped awhile ago and will air at a later date. I'll let you know when they schedule a date.

Just FYI, Byron Pitts is a stutterer too, which amazes me, because he's a news anchor for a major broadcasting company.

My brother is being interviewed on CBS Evening News tonight!

How cool. My little brother is a speech pathologist and he works for the American Institute for Stuttering in New York City. My dad posted this on his facebook today.

"I just received a call from our son, Carl, letting me know the CBS Evening News will be running a feature tonight (8-27-08) about his employer: the American Institute for Stuttering ( Carl works as a speech pathologist at AIS and is interviewed in the segment. They are running it tonight in order to coordinate with Joe Biden's speech this evening at the Democratic National Convention. As an adolescent Biden suffered from a debilitating stutter, and he was the featured speaker at AIS's annual fundraising banquet in Manhattan this year. I was Carl's guest at the event, and Biden's speech was unforgettable. He claims that dealing with stuttering was the single most galvanizing and important experience of his life. The reporter who interviews Carl, Byron Pitts, is also a former stutterer and served as the emcee at the same AIS fundraiser where Biden spoke.
If you are unable to watch the show this evening, I'm told the clip will be available for later viewing on the website. I apologize for the late notice; they actually did the interview a few weeks ago, but moved it up in the schedule after Obama chose Biden as his running mate.
You can see a small part of Biden's speech in a clip on YouTube (Carl and I appear briefly) -
And in case you missed it, the MTV show True Life did an episode on stuttering. Carl is interviewed briefly in the segment focusing on one of his AIS clients. If you have not seen it, here is the link:"

If you have time, check it out! We're all so proud of him and what he does at AIS.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

come on, take a guess

Seeing as this is the last Monahan baby, at least as far as our plans go, we're a little preoccupied with guessing his hair color. Will we get ALL redheads? Or, will he be the only one who has hair more like his mama. We're curious to know what you think and, to be honest, the third trimester isn't feeling too great and this is a fun way to pass the time until he gets here. (Not like I don't have plenty to do... but you know what I mean.) Come on lurkers, speak up. ;) There's a poll to the right of this page.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

it's who they are

Matt and I had to laugh when we heard this mini conversation with the kids in the van on the way to church this morning. If you know my kids and their personalities, you'll know how perfectly this describes their differences.

Pulling out of the driveway, with Grami and Papi driving ahead of us...

Dana- (a little put out) "O Man, we're gonna lose the race!"

Janie- (adult-like and irritated with her brother) "I don't want to be in a race anyway."

Clara Joy- (excitedly kicking her legs) "Oooo! I wanna race! I wanna race!... I wanna run!"

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

More Marfan

I met with a genetic counselor yesterday at Regional Obstetrics, the local perinatology office. I wasn't sure what to expect, but thankfully I was able to talk with the counselor for a long time and have an ultrasound and check up with Dr. Kipikasa (sp?). All in all, I feel very reassured that Marfan or not, I can expect a relatively safe delivery with Jonathan. Dr. K told me not to lose sleep over it (too late) and very calmly explained what they would do if my aortal root were dilated. He said I would have to deliver Jonathan passively, with an epidural, heart medicine, and forceps, but honestly, he was so calm about the whole thing that I didn't freak out. That says a lot for bedside manner.

Do I have Marfan? I don't know and they didn't know either. It's a complicated diagnosis to make. They did refer me to meet with a geneticist in September, after I've already had my echocardiogram. After meeting with the geneticist and the cardiologist, I'll see Dr. K again and they'll decide what to do from there. If the aortal root is enlarged, which would confirm the Marfan diagnosis, then I would have a passive delivery. If the aorta looks great, but they still think I have Marfan, then I'll have a normal delivery, but still technically be higher risk than the average woman in labor. If they say I'm perfectly healthy and are certain I don't have Marfan, then I'm in the clear and no worries about the delivery or my kids.

More waiting, but we have a game plan. They know what I know about my family and I'm in good hands. I'm counting my blessings and trusting that God has us securely in his hands.

Friday, August 15, 2008

sheer vanity

Making pies, eating pies

After a fun morning of blueberry picking with a few good friends and all of our hot sweaty children, I decided to try to make my first blueberry pie. In an effort to economize, I decided to use up some overly ripe peaches in another pie. Why heat up the house for one pie if you've got room for two and the oven's already on?

Why is baking a pie so satisfying? Maybe this is how neatnicks feel when they've cleaned their whole house. I don't know for sure, because I'm hardly neat and tidy. I do love the simple pleasure of making something tasty with my own two hands, especially when I get to see the whole family loving every messy bite.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

still waiting

So apparently I don't know the difference between an EKG and an echocardiogram, and there is one. When I asked my midwife to order an EKG for me to be screened for Marfan-related heart issues, she happily did so. However, I didn't know that I really needed an echocardiogram and I didn't know that they were two different things. I'm sure she knew that, but she didn't know enough about Marfan to know what would be the appropriate test either. So, I went in for my EKG today and realized that I was having the wrong test done. The technician who handled my test did reassure me that an EKG would be useful, but that I would for sure need both tests. Ugh. This basically means more waiting and appointments and struggling to make appointments because of childcare issues. Man, I wish my parents or at least some family lived close by.

In the meantime, I've learned a lot more about how Marfan could affect pregnancy and childbirth. IF my aortal root is abnormally large, which is a big IF (I don't know if I have the Marfan Symdrome anyway), then I would have to get an epidural and I would not be allowed to push Jonathan out. They would have to extract him when I was fully dilated, either with forceps (yipes!) or with the vacuum thingy. Mainly, the concern is that the pressure from pushing and straining through contractions could cause the aorta to dissect or rupture, which could kill me. Again a huge IF, because my aorta would have to be larger than normal, and I've already had three children with no trouble. There's also some risk of clotting, but I don't understand that completely. Supposedly, pregnant women with Marfan take a combination of Heparin and Beta Blockers for most of their pregnancies. If you know what these are and how they work, than you understand more than I do. Anyway, like I said, I'm waiting to know more, and trying to rest in the knowledge that God is in control of this, one way or the other. So far Jonathan is healthy and as far as I know, I am too. Both are blessings.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Dana speaks up

On the way back from night church last Sunday...

Dana:"Mommy, I want to be in charge of something."

Friday, August 08, 2008

midwife appt yesterday

So it appears that my placenta is no longer down low, which is very good news. Barring some last minute emergency or something else, I can deliver him without a c-section! It really is a relief. I've never had one and I don't care to have one. Obviously, if I needed one in an emergency, then I would happily do whatever was necessary to keep him healthy. In the end, that's the most important thing anyway.

I'm measuring huge for 27 weeks. The midwife in training who handled my appointment measured me twice, because she didn't believe it. I'm five weeks ahead in uterine size, which is pretty large. Jonathan is measuring about a week ahead in length and everything else, and I have a little bit of extra fluid, but the main culprit seems to be being pregnant four times. I suppose I shouldn't expect to look like the tiniest pregnant lady in the world ;).

He was awfully cute in the ultrasound. Janie came with me this time and she loved it. Maybe he knew his sister was watching, because he yawned on the screen for her. With as many ultrasounds as I've had in the last 6 years, I've never seen that. Even the ultrasound tech gasped and said he looked like a cutie. I have to agree.

On a more serious note... my dad has been diagnosed with a genetic disorder (disease?) called Marfan Syndrome. I have a 50% chance that I inherited it from him and if I did my kids have the same chance of inheriting it from me. It's kind of serious, but also pretty manageable. If I don't have it, the good thing is that I can't pass it to the kids. I could tell you more, but it would be way too long of an entry. The only issue that's really concerning to me is that if I have it, it could be of some risk to me when I deliver Jonathan. Many people with Marfan have an enlarged aortal root (where the aortal artery leaves the heart, on top??) which makes them much more likely to have an aortal aneurism (sp?). Evidently, during childbirth, the weakening of the arterial walls can cause them to rupture, due to the strain of pushing. I don't understand all of the details, but I'm supposed to have an ecchocardiogram (sp?) next Thursday, which would catch any abnormalities. I'm probably fine, but it will be comforting to know that for sure. If I do have an abnormality, then I'm not sure what will happen after that. I suppose we'll find out.

Anyway, thanks for reading this far and I'll update soon on the outcome. If you want to know more about Marfan, you're welcome to read the description below. It comes from the Marfan Foundation's website, which is located at

"The Marfan syndrome affects people in different ways. Some people have only mild symptoms, while others are more severely affected. In most cases, the disorder progresses as the person ages. The body systems most often affected by the Marfan syndrome are:

* Skeleton
- People with the Marfan syndrome are typically, but not always, very tall or taller than unaffected people in their family, slender and loose jointed. The Marfan syndrome affects the long bones of the skeleton. Therefore the arms, legs, fingers, and toes may be disproportionately long in relation to the rest of the body. A person with the Marfan syndrome often has a long, narrow face, and the roof of the mouth may be arched, causing the teeth to be crowded. Other skeletal abnormalities include a sternum (breastbone) that is either protruding or indented, curvature of the spine (scoliosis), and flat feet. For more information: Orthopedic Concerns Brochure; excerpt from The Marfan Syndrome

* Eyes
- More than half of all people with the Marfan syndrome experience dislocation of one or both lenses of the eye. The lens may be slightly higher or lower than normal and may be shifted off to one side. The dislocation may be minimal, or it may be pronounced and obvious. Retinal detachment is a possible serious complication of this disorder. Many people with the Marfan syndrome are also nearsighted (myopic), and some can develop early glaucoma (high pressure within the eye) or cataracts (the eye's lens loses its clearness). For more information: Ocular Concerns; excerpt from The Marfan Syndrome; Pediatric Eye Issues; Management of Dislocated Lenses

* Heart and blood vessels (cardiovascular system)
- Most people with the Marfan syndrome have problems associated with the heart and blood vessels. The valve between the left chambers of the heart is defective and may be large and floppy, resulting in an abnormal valve motion when the heart beats. In some cases, the valve may leak, creating a "heart murmur," which a doctor can hear with a stethoscope. Small leaks may not cause any symptoms, but larger ones may result in shortness of breath, fatigue and palpitations (a very fast or irregular heart rate). Because of faulty connective tissue, the wall of the aorta (the large artery that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body) may be weakened and stretch, a process called aortic dilation. Aortic dilation increases the risk that the aorta will tear (dissect) or rupture, causing serious heart problems or sometimes sudden death. For more information: Cardiac Concerns; excerpt from The Marfan Syndrome; Emergency Diagnosis and Aortic Dissection

* Nervous system
- The brain and spinal cord are surrounded by fluid contained by a membrane called the dura, which is comprised of connective tissue. As people with The Marfan syndrome get older, the dura often weakens and stretches, then begins to weigh on the vertebrae in the lower spine and wear away the bone surrounding the spinal cord. This is called dural ectasia. These changes may cause only mild discomfort or may lead to radiated pain in the abdomen or to pain, numbness or weakness of the legs. For more information: Dural Ectasia; excerpt from The Marfan Syndrome

* Skin
- Many people with The Marfan syndrome develop stretch marks on their skin, even without any significant weight change or pregnancy. These stretch marks can occur at any age and pose no health risk. The stretch marks tend to appear at sites subject to stress such as shoulders, hips and lower back. The stretch marks require no treatment. In addition, people with the Marfan syndrome are also at increased risk for developing an abdominal or inguinal (groin) hernia where a bulge develops that contains part of the intestines. This requires medical treatment.

* Lungs
- Restrictive lung disease, primarily due to pectus abnormalities and/or scoliosis, occurs in 70 percent of persons with MFS. In addition, because fibrillin is expressed in the lung and is associated with elastin there, Marfan fibrillin –1 deficiency is thought to affect both lung development and homeostasis. Spontaneous pneumothorax (collapse of the lung in the absence of trauma) and early emphasema, without a history of smoking, may be consequences of the fibrillin-1 deficiency. Sleep-related breathing disorders, such as snoring and sleep apnea, are also associated with Marfan syndrome, even when the person is not overweight. For more information: excerpt from The Marfan Syndrome; Marfan Syndrome and the Lungs"

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mmm. Juicy peaches ;)

There's nothing like a perfectly ripe, juicy peach on a hot day and it's even better when you get to watch your chubby fisted toddler cram them down as fast as she can grab the slippery pieces.

Monday, July 28, 2008

funny youtube video

I only have three, so I'm sure this family knows a lot more about big families than I do, but it appears that we get the same comments. So funny.

Friday, July 18, 2008

much needed encouragement

I feel so encouraged by the women I have met in the last two days. Out of a need for support and a homeschooling community, I posted an email to our neighborhood listserve to see if any homeschooling moms in the neighborhood were interested in getting together once in awhile. I now have a list of ten women who are interested in some kind of get together, structured or purely social. Three of these women have boys Dana's age. Some of you who know me know what a big deal this is. Dana doesn't really know many boys his age, and the few he does know are going to school this year. His sensitive little heart so needs a buddy and I've been praying for a long time that we would find one for him. God is so good.

I'm a little nervous about the get togethers, mainly because I start so many things full steam ahead and then peter out too soon. My hope is that this group will somehow take on a life of its own and won't require much work, but we'll see. I don't have a clue what I'm doing. I hope someone a little wiser than me will have an opinion and maybe the energy and time to act on it. For now, I'm happy to say I have 10 homeschooling friends who live close by and who want to support each other. I certainly need the encouragement and I'm already basking in the joy of it. Thanks ladies.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

homeschooling moms in Chatt?

Are you homeschooling your children? Please come to the St. Elmo playground on Friday morning to hang out and chat with us. A few homeschooling moms are going to meet at the playground at 9:30am for playtime and fellowship. If you're new to homeschooling, or you're a seasoned veteran, please join us. We would love to meet you. Hope to see you there.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

low lying placenta and other news

I got to look at little Monahan on Thursday at my ultrasound. Dana went with me and had so much fun watching his brother on the screen. We were both excited to see how much he looks like Dana, at least as much as you can tell from a grainy picture. Same upturned lip and button nose. Those appointments are so bitter sweet, because it leaves me so sad that I have to wait four more months to hold him.

The ultrasound tech noticed that I have a low lying placenta, which doesn't mean much now, but could be a big deal later if it doesn't resolve itself. I didn't ask if the placenta was covering my cervix, but I wish that I had thought to ask. They're going to see me again in a month and check on it then. The placenta usually moves, or appears to move, due to the bottom of the uterus growing so much at the end of a pregnancy. We're praying that this would happen.

We've finally done it. We came up with a name! His name is Jonathan Reeve Monahan, in honor of Jonathan from the Bible, King David's loyal friend, and in honor of my great grandparents Charles and Mary Reeve, who I admire so much. My great grandparents owned a farm in the depression and although they didn't have many luxuries, they were faithful stewards of what they had, often taking care of neighbors and working long hard days. They loved Jesus and passed that love on to four generations after them. I never new my great grandmother, because she died when my mom was a girl, but I've heard stories of her industriousness and godliness. I think of her a lot as I try to make it through a tough day. My great grandpa Reeve's birthday was on the fourth of July and every year, generations of family members would come to his house to celebrate his birthday. He was very short, but he had a deep, strong voice, dark hair, and a joyful smile. He knew all of his great grandkids by name and we loved to sit with him and talk to him, because we knew he loved us. It's interesting to me that a "reeve" was the steward of a Lord's estate in England. Anyway, I'm making this a book. But here it is. His name. Now you know why.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

homeschool paperwork

On a whim I checked the State of Tennessee's website to find out when I need to declare my intent to homeschool Dana. Turns out I'm supposed to do it by Aug 1st. A friend of mine suggested that I should not register with the state, but that I should sign up with an umbrella school instead. I don't know anything about this. Any wisdom?

Also, they require 180 days a year of school and 4 hours a day of instruction! This is ridiculous when you consider how little time it takes to homeschool a kid through kindergarten. It only takes us 90 minutes a day, sometimes less, to complete his sit down work and the whole curriculum is only 26 weeks long (130 days). I suppose that doesn't account for field trips, playing outside, reading with Mommy, helping in the kitchen, or catching Catawba worms with Daddy (more on that later). Still, I'm a little worried about how to document all of this. Homeschooling people, speak up and let me know what has helped you.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

checking in

You probably won't hear much from me this summer, as we're immersed in the usual summer schedule... VBS at our church, visits from family, a few short trips away from home, and plenty of time in the kiddie pool, with popsicle in hand.

Matt and I just returned from taking our youth group to RYM, a great Christian camp in Laguna Beach, FL. We left our kids with my brave parents, which made it possible to give all of our attention to the youth group, a rare opportunity. We were both overwhelmed with the relationships that were strengthened and the spiritual growth that we saw in the youth. It was very encouraging and very much worth all of the deadlines and prep work it took to get us there.

Baby Monahan is looking good so far. My awful nausea ended a few weeks ago and aside from swollen ankles and some anemia, I feel fine. Even the heartburn that I always deal with is giving me a break this time. Praise God for that. My heartburn is usually pretty terrible, so even if I get it later, I'm enjoying it's absence now. ;)

The kids are all healthy and enjoying a visit from our nephew Sam. He's about a year older than Dana and has red hair too. They're quite the posse when we're out and about. I need to get a few things at the store this afternoon, so we'll see how it goes.

Friday, June 13, 2008

now for a lighter post...

I refuse to turn my oven on in this heat, so I'm looking for more recipes that don't take much time to make and don't heat up the whole house... What do you make for dinner when it's hot outside??? Will you share a recipe with me?

Monday, June 09, 2008

Clara Joy

I've struggled with how to blog about this for days. I typed up a brutally truthful version of this a few days ago, but thought better of it.

Clara almost killed herself on Saturday and it was entirely my fault. There. I said it. I could blame it on any number of things, but I left my chewable prenatals out where she could reach them and her little Houdini-fingers had no trouble opening the bottle. By the time I got to her, there were 43 tablets missing. She had a mouthful and she fed a good amount to the dog. After some breathless waiting for the poison control person to calculate what would have been a lethal dose, I was told she would be fine. She might suffer from some scary GI symptoms, but most likely she wouldn't get the internal bleeding. Gasp. 56 tablets would have been the lethal dose. Did I mention that this is my second call to poison control in two months? She also tried to down an entire bottle of tylenol w/ codeine recently, which resulted in a very scary trip to the ER.

At church, she escapes me frequently and I find her in any number of ridiculous predicaments... covered in tempera paint, hiding in the Sunday school supply closet, for example. No matter where we are, the temper tantrums are constant and time-outs are frequent.

I feel very inadequate, both publicly and inwardly. Oftentimes, when I share this with friends, I hear, "and you want another one?!" and if it isn't spoken it's written all over their face. My prayer is that God would use my need for grace in parenting Clara, for his glory, and that I wouldn't lose sight of the privilege it is to raise my sweet girl. She is still so very much my baby and it tears at my heart to have to be in a constant battle of the wills with her. I also worry that the combination of her excellent ability to find trouble, and my weaknesses as a parent will get her really hurt. It's hard to swallow.

For now, I'm being hyper vigilant about medicines and vitamins being in their proper place, and reevaluating my priorities... ie. computer time. Do I need to sit at the computer more than once a day? Do I make enough time with just her? If I do everything right, assuming that's even possible, will I be less in need of God's grace to parent her? Somewhere there's a balance to be struck. I hope we find it, for her sake and ours.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

be my resource

from my to do list in the last post...
"...research/buy/make(?) sling
...learn about pros and cons of baby wearing, a very controversial subject, depending on who you talk to"

Do you have a favorite sling? Do you have an opinion on baby wearing? I'm in a dilemma, because I'm normally a fan of structured babywise parenting, but am worried about the baby being vulnerable to our dog and three other kids, namely Clara Joy ;). So far the cons of baby wearing appear to be increased separation anxiety, more frequent nursing (also a pro when you have milk production issues like I do), and less personal space... all biggies.

The pros are less fussiness, more bonding, hopefully better milk supply, and safety from siblings and the family dog.

disclaimer: the cons listed are entirely from the paranoid perspective of a mom who's never tried babywearing.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Goals, reachable and unreachable, before the baby comes

...finish painting details on exterior of the house
...sidewalk finished
...bookshelf in living room
...picnic table on deck, built and treated' rooms settled and reorganized
...Clara into big girl bed... done
...Clara potty trained... mostly done
...research/buy newborn size cloth diapers, to get us through until the motherease ones will fit under his clothes
...research/buy/make(?) sling
...learn about pros and cons of baby wearing, a very controversial subject, depending on who you talk to
...sort through what little baby boy clothes I have and take inventory of what I need
...get ahead on homeschool and preorder Dana's first grade curriculum
...set up ballet lessons for Janie for the Fall
...sign Dana up for soccer in the Fall
...make baby quilt for little Monahan, since I'm out of my old blankies
...get away with Matt for a few days... on our anniversary, July 3rd

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Things I'm happy about...

1- I normally have absolutely horrible heartburn when I'm pregnant, and it has gotten worse with each pregnancy... but so far I DON'T HAVE ANY HEARTBURN!

2- We're back to homeschooling and we (me too) are having so much fun. Today we made a bird's nest out of mud and straw. Big fun. It's all part of N-week, which is also a study of nests, or animal homes... which also is a study of how well God takes care of us (ie. His eye is on the sparrow).

3- We are having a yard sale on Saturday and getting rid of a bunch of stuff! I think I love yard sales as much as Matt hates them, so I hope we sell lots of stuff. That way, he'll be more likely to be supportive of another one ;).

4- Matt installed an invisible fence for Bailey, which means no more chasing her around the neighborhood and no more digging under the fence.

5- There's a big juicy watermelon in the fridge waiting to be eaten.

6- Matt is almost done with school for the year.

7- Matt bought me some beautiful tiger lilies yesterday.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Strep and baby names

It appears that we've got strep, which in some ways is a relief. At least now we're on antibiotics which I hope will end this endless monster cold that keeps lingering. After two doses, I am already starting to feel a difference, thankfully. The bummer is that now I really need to do something about the stinky dishes in the sink and the ever growing mountain of laundry that accumulates each week. Speaking of, I should probably get started...

Before I go though, please keep the baby names coming. It really is helpful. We have one that Matt is sort of interested in, but that could fizzle out pretty quickly. My top picks, which Matt vetoes?... Levi Ransom (after the Levites and the amazing main character from the Space Trilogy), Jonathan David (after the biblical Jonathan and David who stood as righteous men in difficult circumstances), and Noah, because in an entire world of twisted people, God spared him from his sinful self and saved him and his family. In Matt's defense, he doesn't like them due to associations with students that terrorize him and other such understandable things. He does like David, but the man knows too many people! ;)

Monday, May 12, 2008

O! I almost forgot...

It's a boy!! I went to see the midwife on Thursday and she decided to do an ultrasound on the spot, because I was measuring a bit big for 14 weeks. Everything's fine. The midwife said it's normal to measure a bit larger with a fourth baby. I didn't know you could see if the baby was a boy or girl this early, but evidently you can, because it was obvious right away. So, now we're back to the name game again, and there doesn't appear to be a single boy name that we can agree on. Feel free to offer suggestions. We sure could use them!

PICTURES! (or the longest entry I've ever made)

Instead of trying to post five different posts in one day, which is impossible for me, I am going to lump them all together. Hope you enjoy the photos, although the picture quality is probably poor. Our camera is on its last leg. But hey, this post isn't just text. Hurray, for something visually stimulating.

First, I promised pictures of Jane in the ballet recital. We only have a few photos, because Matt took more video than pictures, but here are two.

On Tuesday this week, we found a really nice used sofa set on craigslist for almost nothing. Matt shocked me by being willing to drop everything, arrange a babysitter (thanks Darla) last minute, and drive out to the middle of nowhere to get it. When we saw it, Matt was a little concerned that it wouldn't fit in the living room, but it does and it looks soooo lovely compared to the nasty old hand-me-down ones that I have had for so long. Granted, it's been a good lesson over the years in hospitality to have so many people come through our house for dinner or out of town visits when I feel so insecure about all my borrowed, stained, sloppy stuff. I know God had his hand in it, because it taught me so much, but I do have to say that I'm glad to have a nicer-looking living room. It's already been a little bit of a fire under our butts to get the rest of the living room and dining room finished. We'll see how far we get before the baby comes...

On Wednesday, I gave the girls a haircut, which they've been begging for for a long time. Both of them turned out a little shorter than I intended. I'm certainly no expert, but they're so cute and the girls love the new do.

On Thursday, we packed and ran a million errands so we could go to our friends' Jack and Sarah's wedding in Washington DC. We left at 3:30am on Friday and enjoyed all the benefits of leaving early and taking our time: very little whining, less traffic, no rushing. We even shocked ourselves and got 28 mpg just by driving at or below 65mph the whole way. We saved a ton of money on gas, which is always a good thing.

The best part of the weekend though, was spending time with our friends Joel and Vanessa Sell and their five kids, who live in Philly. We met them in DC and shared a cabin with them while we were there. We haven't seen them in almost two years and I still hadn't met the baby, Jonas. As usual, I forgot to pull out the camera until halfway through the second day, so I don't have as many pictures as I should have. We did have a wonderful time though. The Sells' middle three children are almost the same ages as our three, so all of the kids played well together. Dana really bonded with Elias and Micah and it was so good to see him playing with boys his age. Jane and Eva hit it off in the first few minutes and played the entire time, as did Clara Joy and Mara Joy, who were very much alike. Jonas even let me hold him and coo at him, which was a treat for me. All in all, it left me keenly feeling the weight of their absence in our daily life. They're such dear friends to us and way too far away to see very often. Vanessa is such an encouragement to me as a friend and another homeschooling mom. I wish we lived closer to each other, but I'm thankful for the time we had this weekend too. Despite the drive and lack of sleep, I feel refreshed and encouraged thanks to a great weekend.