Monday, March 29, 2010

Felted Eggs and Bubble Fun

Yesterday we decided to try felting Easter eggs! Felting is something I've always wanted to try and just thought it would be too hard. I found wool roving about a week ago on sale at a local craft supply store. It was such a good price that I decided to give it a try! I'm so glad I did. The boys had a blast felting these eggs.

We used plastic eggs that we had left over from a few years ago for the core of our eggs. I let them choose the colors that they wanted and we wrapped the eggs in layer after layer of bright cheerful wooliness. The oving seemed really loose on the eggs at first, and honestly I wasn't sure how this was going to work. We ran really hot water in the kitchen sink and added lots of dish soap. Then we carefully dipped the wool covered eggs into the hot soapy water and started pressing the wool in towards the egg center. At first we did not scrub or try to move the roving around at all we just sort of compacted it.

Slowly it began pulling together and feeling more like felt and less like individual strands of wool. After it seemed to be holding together pretty well on it's own we began scrubbing it in our hands, really sudsing it up by repeatedly dipping it back into the hot soapy water. Soon we had lovely felted eggs! We rinsed all of the soapy water out and set them aside to dry.

After we were done making the eggs we had lots of sudsy water left over. So Logan showed the little boys how to blow huge bubbles with their hands. Lots of wet messy fun ensued!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Garden Clean-up

This afternoon while baby Claire was napping, the little boys and I decided to finally get some of our long put off yard work done. Poor Logan was going to help us but he has been feeling too sickly for the past two days to much more than sleep.

We chopped down the dead ornamental grasses pulled weeds and gathered broken tree limbs. Matthew and Ethan helped haul everything down to the garden spot so we could burn it there. In another week or two, our neighbour with the tractor is going to come till it up for us again (hopefully).

We waited until dark this evening to set the pile on fire. Fires look so much more impressive in the dark!

Enjoying the fruits of their labor!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sand Pit Volcano

Today Matthew and Ethan were playing in the sand in our backyard. (We had an above ground swimming pool set up here over the summer). Matthew came inside to tell me that he had built a volcano and could I please give him the stuff to make it erupt! What Fun! Who doesn't love erupting volcanos in their very own backyard?!? So we pulled out the vinegar and baking soda and away they went. Even Logan decided to join in on the fun.

Ready to start!

Here goes!

It really works! "This is so cool, Mom!" Check out his exited little face! This is why I homeschool my kids! I love that they use their imaginations so freely, and are so excited to experiment with new things.
Checking out the post-eruption goo.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Guy Stuff

 A quiet Sunday afternoon here. Took a few pictures today of Rodrigo teaching Logan how to build something.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Happy Spring!

Oh! What a lovely lovely day we had today! It was the first day of spring. Everything was cheerful and sunny and warm feeling all day long. We brought the chicks outside to play for a while, then we planted a few new fruit trees that I had picked up this year. After that I got Claire to sleep while Rodrigo played ball with the boys in the backyard.  Most of the day I was so busy playing out in the warm sunshine that I forgot to snap many pictures. I did get a few of the little boys helping Rodrigo plant the trees though!

Matthew helping Daddy dig the hole for our peach tree while Claire looks on.

Ethan filling up his dump truck with some of the extra soil

Taking the dirt down to the garden

Enjoying the sunshine while Claire has a mid-morning snack!

Happy Spring everyone!

Friday, March 19, 2010

The chicks have arrived!

Oh How Fun! I just love spring time and new baby chicks! This year we split an order of chicks with some friends of ours. We've always bought our chicks locally in the past, so ordering them online was a first for us. Such anticipation. They arrived late Saturday night and my friend's poor husband had to go down to the post office at 10:30pm to pick them up. Early Sunday morning she brought them over here (which felt extra early because of the change to daylight savings time that night!) Today was a lovely sunny day and we took the chicks out to play in the soft green grass for a while.

Our new flock of laying hens includes buff orpingtons, silver laced wyandottes, light brahmas, white capped black polish, buff laced polish, and 7 assorted bantams that I couldn't pass up from the feed store. I think they are golden seabrites, and some kind of feather footed little yellow and grey chicks, maybe cochins. I guess we'll be surprised!   

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Home-made playdough fun!

The little boys had been asking me if I could make up another batch of home-made playdough for them. They love the soft warm squishy feel of it between their hands!Plus it is tons of fun to leave their sculptures out to air dry so they can have them to decorate and play with later. This time I tried a new recipe I found on The Magic Onions.  It worked really well. We decided to add essential oil of peppermint to our playdough, and since they planned on painting their pieces after they are dry we decided to leave it natural white. Everyone agreed that it smell very yummy!

I really like playdough for those days when the boys are feeling bored and restless during the long grey days (weeks!) we have had so often lately. I find that when they can create and spend time doing something that involes so many of their senses at once they become much calmer and more centered. Afterwards they have a much easier time concentrating on things like math and reading. Which makes my job much easier :-)

Matthew concentrating on getting his just right!

Ethan Happy with his cool pirate!
Even Logan couldn't resist joining in on the fun!

Matthew's little Gnomes
A sweet little bird...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Daddy's Little Girl~ A birth story

Our little Claire is a miracle baby! The doctor only gave us less than a 20% chance of ever even conceiving her. You see, she is the very happy result of a vasectomy reversal!

Soon after our 3rd son was born in 2003 we decided that our family was complete, and my husband had a vasectomy. We had three wonderful healthy happy little boys to raise and that seemed just perfect at the time. Well within a year or so after his vasectomy I started feeling like I really would have liked to have had more children. (After all my girlhood dream was to have at least seven!) I mentioned it to Rodrigo a few times and he very gently told me "No". He had a few good points to go along with his answer, such as the ones we have are so great, why take a chance with the unknown... and, we really can't afford many more kids (honestly, who can afford even one or two??? You just do that's how!) Plus most importantly it was a decision that we made together after a lot of thought and consideration, and it is a permanent decision, not something simple like going off "the pill" or anything. And he asked me if I would please quit mentioning it to him because it bothered him that I wanted something that he couldn't give me. (And quite honestly I was all for the vasectomy originally, it's not like he went behind my back and had it done!) So I kept silent about it. But I never could stop longing for more children.

For a while I felt pretty miserable, wanting what I could never have. Then after nearly a year I woke up one morning and realized just what a treasure I already had in my three precious boys. So I made a choice that day. I would start enjoying each and every moment I had with them now, I would be content with what I have. I did still ache for more children. It was a daily choice that I had to make not to dwell on the permanent emptiness of my womb. Some days I honestly struggled with being happy. I called out to God during my quiet times. Why did I still long for more babies, I asked. Would He not take this empty feeling, this desire from me? He knew I'd never have another baby. Couldn't He see that I was trying so hard to be content with the children I already had? I just didn't understand why He wasn't helping me get past the longing for a larger family. During the next few years I spoke with no one about this.

Just after Thanksgiving weekend 2008 Rodrigo and I were talking late at night after the kids were in bed. Out of the blue he asked me how I would feel about having more kids! I started crying... of course I wanted more but how was that supposed to happen? We had made it permanent; I would never have any more myself. He had heard of having a vasectomy reversal and asked me to look into the procedure. The only surgeons I found around here charged a minimum of $17,000 to $35,000. We just didn't have that kind of money laying around. So we kept searching. We found a doctor in Oklahoma who would do the entire surgery for under $2000. I personally spoke with dozens of his patients who had had reversals through him and they all recommended him highly. He started doing reversals as a ministry and does his best to keep his overhead as low as possible. In case anyone ever needs this information his name is Dr. David Wilson of Muskogee, Oklahoma.

We really felt that this was the doctor that we had been searching for so we made an appointment. On March 3, 2009 Rodrigo had his vasectomy reversed. Dr. Wilson prayed with the two of us before the surgery and allowed me to be in the operating room while he worked. The Doctor told us that during the surgery he found no sperm at all. He also said that there was a very large amount of scar tissue. Between those two things he stated that our chances of ever conceiving were very very low. Less than 20% chance he said!

I drove us home from Oklahoma back to East TN. What a long trip!

By April 1, 2009 I felt different. I took a home pregnancy test and it turned out POSITIVE!!! The reversal had worked! After all of those years, crying out to God to take the desire for more children away from me he had done something even better! He was giving me another baby!

10 days before Claire was born!

During my pregnancy Rodrigo and I talked about where and how we wanted the baby to be born. I did not want to have a traditional hospital birth if at all possible. Our first two boys were born at home while we lived in Guatemala. Our third son was a planned homebirth turned emergency cesarean section also in Guatemala. In the beginning of this pregnancy I was going to the local midwife run birth center. But since this was my first VBAC (Vaginal Birth After C-section) they did not "feel comfortable" "allowing" me to have my baby there! So after I was "fired" as the midwife's patient we decided to have her at home unassisted as long as my labor was proceeding normally.

In Labor... Excited!
In Labor... Tender Kisses :-)

About 10 minutes old and ready to eat!
Claire Rose was born at home into her Daddy's hands on December 14th, 2009; just one year after Rodrigo asked me if I wanted more children! And even now if Daddy is at home she is happiest in his arms! She is Daddy’s little girl!

6 hours old, peaceful in Daddy's arms

Seven months old, playing in the lake together.
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