Our adventures started in amazing Alaska, but have since taken us to beautiful Spokane Valley, Washington. Our family consists of Nick (Dad), Becki (Mom), and our four boys: Alvin, Alex, Rilie, and Jackson. I enjoy homeschooling our kids and we're excited for what adventures Spokane has for us.
Nick and I had our last birthing class tonight. I am going to miss our instructor! She made us a huge platter of grapes and chocolate dipped strawberries (with white chocolate drizzled on top). We also got our prizes for bringing in our candle to show we did our home work (you have to light your candle while you do your birth work, and if it's half way melted by the end of class you got a prize). I received my homemade hot sack with rose oil. She fills her with flax seed, they hold heat longer and they don't grind down into powder.
Today's class focused on post-pardum, heavily geared toward dads. She had such amazing advice regarding things I struggled with when Rilie was our newest addition. Her biggest suggestion was for dad to put together a basket of things mom's need: nursing supplies, diaper supplies, high protein snacks, one handed entertainment, hair scrunchies, soothing stuff, service coupons - to hand to dad when she needs special help, etc. This helps mom sit and focus on baby (and herself) without having to get up and down a million times (especially when she's found the position that baby wants to be in). Dad's job is to keep this basket fully stocked.
Other things were acknowledging the first three months as the fourth trimester. She said the first couple days, you're pumped with hormones that make you feel so enthralled with your baby. It isn't until after then, you start to feel down and it's very common for it not to settle in until weeks 4 - 6. (For me, week 3 - 6 were the hardest). This is typically when people are done congratulating you and treating you like a new mom. They treat you like you are seasoned and know how to manage. You will still need lots of love and tender care. Dad's need to plan on keeping 1 or 2 rooms super clean for mom and baby. It might be the bathroom, the bedroom, or where she's camping out with the baby.
She listed plenty of other suggestions, but if none of these are working and/or mom is showing a disinterest in the baby, herself, etc. Have a talk about getting help, or just call the clinic and have them do a "phone check" with mom. They will encourage her to come in (if she's not listening to you). Dad's can also get post-pardum depression, so moms need to acknowledge how dad's life, feelings, etc. are changing too.
We also covered soothing techniques for fussy babies. We watched The Happiest Baby on the Block and the Dunstun approach. We talked about skin to skin, white noise, baby wearing, aroma therapy, and herbal baths together (or even a plain bath with your baby).
This meant a lot to me. We already planned on me to only tend to our baby, the first month. This validated our need to possibly extend that, depending on how we're doing as a family. Nick and I plan on doing as much as we can to have dinners, etc. taken care of. Obviously, I shouldn't ignore my other children... but we will be on a schedule that will be much easier (no therapeutic services, frozen dinners, minimal house responsibilities, etc.). We aren't going to start homeschool until October, which puts us on the new track I want to do anyways (2 months on, 1 month off... in the end, you're still doing the same amount of school, just different times. Our off months will be December, March, June, and September).
In the end, I'm so glad we took this class. I'm glad it was 4 sessions long with a week between each one to think and practice our birth work. It gave us time to see what worked, what didn't, and talk about it with our instructor. She was so open and pleasant. She was so calm and reassuring. She is very pro-natural birth and home-births, but never spoke ill of hospitals, doctors, and everything in between. We ended the class writing a letter to ourselves, encouraging ourselves. She will mail them well after our babies are born.
I'm so grateful for a husband that didn't just come with me, but actually participated and engaged in what we were learning.
I am needing to take my own advice. Something, I've been learning at deeper and deeper levels the last two years. When your body is telling you to slow down... do it! There are so many things I want to do, so many things I need to do... and all I can handle are a few things here and there, then a rest that lasts twice as long as any of the projects combined. I am trying to focus on the moment, instead of the list as a whole: Friday night - Primary Class Party; Saturday - Baby Shower & getting rid of stuff; and today - going to church.
This week, I will focus on purging our home more. I'm really glad I stopped packing and I am just focusing on donations & trash runs. I am getting much farther! Yesterday, I was able to get rid of 4 bags of toys... trust me there are plenty more. Two bags were donations, two were trash (broken or missing pieces). I did this while the boys were busy with other things. It's very emotional loosing toys, even the ones we don't play with. Tomorrow, I will focus on puzzles & board games. Lots of little pieces everywhere. We'll keep the ones that are complete and throw away the ones that aren't.
So, here's to slowing down! Focusing on what's at hand! Whether it's packing, a snuggle, or stopping for a break/food.
Nick drives out in 14 days! The kids and I fly out in 20 days! Lots of work to do, but Nick is very optimistic and it is rubbing off on me.
The last two days have been so much fun. I got to attend a curriculum fair/conference for homeschoolers. It was great fun. I saw so many familiar faces, even people I haven't seen since college that have decided to homeschool. It was great to handle different curricula, watch video presentations, etc. I found lots of things that would be fun to try next year. Did you know Lego has a Pictionary game called, Creationary. It comes with a board game, just like Picturionary, only you build what you would typically draw. Looks like a lot of fun and would provide a wonderful break in the day! I also found an encyclopedia that I've been looking for, even Amazon didn't have it.
The workshops were so much fun. I only attended a few, but they were very worth while. It was great to hear the fun and not so fun (but looking back are very funny) stories from homeschool parents. It helped me to relax and know - Yes, I need to cover the state standards (reading, writing, arithmetic, etc.) BUT to remember the joy and flexibility that can come with homeschooling in very creative ways. They talked about not being so defensive of others judging my decision, that I pass that pressure on to my children, and squeeze the joy out of our homeschool. One presenter held a contest on her website, things parents have to say to their kids. Her favorite, "Spit your brother's tooth out and give it back to him!" Overall, I laughed, I cried, and thoroughly enjoyed myself! It renewed my confidence.
I finally did it... I posted a pregnancy picture. Nick has taken several, but I look more fluffy than pregnant. In general, I like how I look with this pregnancy. Maternity clothes are just the cutest! We just have a hard time capturing how I think I look on camera :)
Life is going well... lots of big news and big changes, but has my life ever been different?? This bundle of joy should be here in 8 - 10 weeks and we are moving to Washington state in 2 weeks! While there are many things we will miss about AK, mostly family and dear friends, we are so excited to move forward with dreams we weren't sure how to make happen here. The timing could be better, I wanted to have our baby up here... but life is full of opportunities and you have to decide which ones you should take.
So lots of things to do: Make shipping arrangements, travel arrangements, pack, clean, doctors appointments (pregnancies don't go on hold for moving), finding new doctors and specialists for my kiddos, pick out an apartment (check), decide to bring one or both cars... lots going on. At least I have Nick to slow me down, trust me I've had many other crazy life changing ideas and he helps me focus on the greater picture. It's wonderful to be doing this together. He is nervous about starting a new job in a new place, but very excited to try something different with our family.