4.21.2014

Minimizing in St. Louis


This post is not intended as a spin off of  "Sleepless in Seattle". Actually it's about our summer plans. We're moving out of our condo and headed up to St. Louis for a summer internship. Scott will be working in an industry job, and looks forward to seeing how he likes it. We are still not sure if he will look for an academic job or an industry job when he graduates. We hope this summer will help us know which direction to go.

It's sort of a big move, even if we aren't going too far for too long. Anytime a family of six decides to move, it's an adventure. After a LONG time looking we finally found a place to live for the summer. We are excited to experience a new city, but I'm also sad to leave our home here. This is my home, where I everybody knows my name... I feel like breaking into the "Cheers" theme song now. Anyway, I'm glad that after 12 weeks we'll be able to come back. :)

So how does a family of six relocate for 12 weeks? We've decided to do things a with a little bit of out-of-the-box thinking. Our goal is to move in JUST our minivan. We sort of have this fascination with a minimalist lifestyle, and we live pretty minimally right now, but we think we can do even better.

So, we've written up a detailed list, by room, of everything we'll be talking. I don't want to bore with you all of our lists, but here's an example.

Kids' room:
-sleeping bags
-pillows
-one special blanket each
-one special stuffed animal each
-one Tupperware of toys
-six outfits play clothes each
-one church outfit each
- flip flops, church shoes, tennis shoes each
- two pairs of socks each
-swimsuit each

Our shortest list so far is for the dining room. It's probably the list that will make the biggest difference in our day to day living. It's probably also the list that I'm the most excited/nervous about. Want to see it?

Dining room:
picnic blanket

...And, that's it! Well, you didn't expect us to be able to fit a table in chairs in our minivan, right? So this gives you an idea of how minimal we are planning on being this summer. I'm actually really excited about it. It's sort of to save money, but mostly its about simplifying our move. It turns out the less you have the more simple things are. Who knew!?!

So, we'll see how it goes!

Cheers! (no pun intended)

3.30.2014

Choosing not to be busy

Our best attempt at a family picture after Max's Blessing

Life has been a little hectic for us lately. We've been...

- adjusting to a new baby
- trying to sell our condo
- working on a dissertation
- teaching two classes
- consulting people with stats questions
- homeschooling with four kids
- looking for housing in St. Louis this summer (for a family of 6 for 12 weeks, not an easy feat)
- getting ready to move to St. Louis
- meeting with doctors galore (none of us are sick, just all the regular check ups)

Despite all of this "busy work", I think there are more important things going on in our lives. It's the little things that bring me happiness. Here's a few...

- Nate telling Max over and over that he's a "Handsome Fella'"
- Gracie integrating hand expressions into her communication (like a girl, she talks with her hands)
- Jeff surprising me with how he can do a back-flip on the trampoline
- Max smiling at me, even when his tummy hurts because I ate a bowl of ice cream
- Jeff and Nate coming up with myths to bust and designing plans to bust them. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, this is their favorite show
- Gracie learning how to take diapers to the garbage, and being so proud that she is a helper

Sometimes I get caught up in being busy and taking care of logistical things. I'm trying to focus on the small and simple joys in life. Here. And now.

3.07.2014

Maxwell Scott Goddard

It's been 10 days since Mr. Max joined our family. I've got to get the story of his birth written down before I forget any of the important details. Here's how it went down.

Max's due date was February 21st. He decided to wait it out a little bit and didn't join our family until the 25th. I'll be honest, being overdue was a bit hard. I would go to bed each night wondering if we would ever have our baby. The fact that I had been dilated to a 4 for a week didn't seem to make much difference. He was only going to come when he was good and ready. We were also extra excited to meet our baby because we decided not to find out he gender. We were VERY eager! Thankfully, he didn't make us wait too long.

At about 2 a.m. on the 25th I woke up to some contractions. I didn't get too excited at first because I had had quite a few contractions for the last month or so. However, it didn't take long to realize that these were the real deal. They were about two minutes apart, so I didn't waste any time waking Scott up and heading to the hospital.

We got to the hospital around 3 a.m. and settled in. I was dilated to about a 5. I told the nurse that my labors usually went fast and I would like an epidural, as per my doctors orders. My contractions were getting a little more intense each time I would have one. They asked me to sit on the bed so they could get a print out of 20 minutes of my contractions and baby's heart rate. Then they got me ready to get my IV.

This was probably one of the worst parts of the labor. It took three nurses four different attempts (including digging, jabbing and digging some more) to finally get and IV in me. I still have a bruised arm and hand from this. While they were doing all this, I was sitting on the bed having contractions at the same time... not my favorite part. Ironically the nurse I did not like from Gracie's birth was the one who stuck me twice and gave me the most bruises. What are the odds?

They rushed the blood work once they got me all good and poked so I could get my epidural. By now my contractions were getting more intense, but I was able to work through them. I would stand facing Scott, grabbing his jacket sleeves, burying my face in his chest and sway back and forth. He was awesome. He reminded me to take cleansing breaths and would slowly breath with me through each contraction. It really helped me stay calm. He is the best birth partner!

Then the epidural guy showed up at about 5 a.m. I told him my history of epidurals and how in the past they haven't really worked. He told me sometimes you just miss, but he would do his best to get mine in. He did awesome! After about 20 minutes after getting my epidural, I was pain free. I realized that when I'm in pain, I am totally anti-social and focus in on working through it. I don't even notice people around me. As soon as my pain was managed, I was a chatty Kathy. My nurse left the room to let us listen to our Enya soundtrack and get some rest. 

It was probably on an hour later when I felt my water break. I called the nurse in and she noticed some meconium in the water. She informed me that the would have to call in the neonatal team just to be sure the babies lungs were clear. She checked me and said I was at an 8. So, she called my doctor.

Dr. Jones got there and we talked about all kinds of things, namely what his three daughters in college were studying, how since he had three in college he was working extra ER shifts, and how excited he was for one of his daughters to graduate. It was all sort of surreal to me. I had never been part of a labor that I wasn't frantic and frankly, a bit crazy. After a bit of chit chat, they checked me and said that I was fully dilated and could start pushing if I wanted to.

Again, no pain. I didn't think we'd get anywhere pushing because I just wasn't feeling like the baby was that close to coming out. Dr. Jones explained that he would be getting the baby out quickly to make sure his lungs were clear. We pushed a few times, and then I asked for a mirror so I could see the excitement. Also, I thought it would be helpful in knowing what kind of pushing was making progress. It was really cool to see the head crowning, and even cooler to not be in excruciating pain.

Once the baby's head was out, I could see something change in my doctor's face. Rather than the baby's shoulders quickly sliding out, it seemed the baby was stuck. The doctor pulled (very hard) on the head, and looked at me with urgency telling me to push. The nurse pushed on my stomach. I could see real concern in my doctor's eyes and I pushed as hard as I could. There was a "pop" and the baby came out screaming. I immediately saw that we had a baby boy! I was so happy and excited. Scott was terrified as he thought the doctor had broken the baby's neck.

We soon learned that his collarbone had been broken. And not long after that we learned why. We had a big baby on our hands. He weighed in at 9 pounds 15.3 ounces! He was 22.25 inches long! When his shoulder got stuck, it caused a lot of tearing for me, so the doctor spent the next hour or so stitching me up. Scott's first comment about our little boys was, "Wow, look how long his arms are!"

I finally got to hold him after they checked him all out and he nursed right away. He's been a pro eater ever since. We had gone to the hopsital with a few boy names, and when we saw him and how big he was, we both felt like he was a Max. He has been the most mellow baby I have ever seen, and we are so happy to have him in our family.

At his one week appointment, Max had already gained half a pound above his birth weight. I asked the doctor about him being stuck and wondered what would have happened if he hadn't come out when he did. Dr. Jones told me he had about five different procedures memorized on how to get him out, but if none of them had worked we would have had an emergency C-section. However, when the baby's head is already out, there is a low chance of the baby surviving. I was shocked, and humbled by this. I now understood the frantic look on his face during the delivery. I am so so very thankful our sweet Max is here safe and sound.

We love our sweet boy, and there's not much I enjoy more than sitting and holding my handsome man.

10.28.2013

Wood working

Thursdays are one of my very favorite days! It's my wood shop day. I have a friend who has a garage full of wood working tools and she's invited me to come each week to work on projects. Usually I do things without my kids (they get to play with my friend's children), but this particular week Jeff and I worked on his rubber band boat for his race at scouts that week. Jeff designed his boat, used the band saw to cut it out, and then painted it. I helped along the way, particularly with cutting out the middle portion to make room for his paddle. It was cool to watch him feel accomplished as he used grown-up tools. We had a great time, and now I've got to find a project that Nate can do with me because he was feeling a little bit left out.


Jeff and I in our awesome glasses. Safety first!


Here's the finished product. 


Jeff's boat didn't win the race, or even finish (most of them don't). But he did get an award for "best workmanship". He was pretty happy about it.

10.23.2013

So how much time does it take?

I mentioned before, how the book "Boys Adrift" influenced our decision to homeschool. In the book, the author suggests that there are five ideas to explain the "failure to launch" phenomenon in young men. One of those contributing ideas regarded education. Specifically, that the traditional education model today is not well suited for boys. Why? Well, boys (and some girls, if they're like me) are designed by nature to be active, hands-on, and always moving.

The majority of schools squelch these natural tendencies. Order, rules, and sitting quietly are paramount. I understand why this is seen as necessary. I recognize that there are a lot of kids, and to keep things under control, this works. Still, I was uncomfortable visiting my son's school and seeing how little the kids actually played, used their imaginations, and used their hands to learn things. In fact, my heart broke when I learned that the kids really only had one short recess a day.

When we started researching homeschool, we found a learning model that fit our hopes for our kids. It incorporates the things we saw public school was lacking. It just felt right, the more and more we researched it.

So why am I telling you all of this instead of just answering the question? I think it's important to understand that we are intentional about how we approach our kids education. It isn't by chance that we do the things we do. That's all.

So, how much time? Last year, we spent about half an hour three days a week sitting down, working on school. This year, we spend about an hour each day sitting down working on school. Surprised? I know I was. I had no idea how much learning a kid could get through every day things. I was amazed to see how much my child learned through several out of the box avenues. Time to think. Talking about things on a drive, walk, or horseback ride. Observing nature. Painting. Molding bees wax. Listening to stories. Learning verses. Creative play. Cooking and baking. Folding clothes. Doing dishes. Learning about bike mechanics. Coloring. Riding bikes. Knitting. Singing. Dancing. You name it!

I'll admit, I was worried. I wasn't sure if it would work. I wasn't fully convinced until the beginning of this year. This years curriculum called for Jeff to do quite a bit of reading. Last year, as per the educational model we were following, Jeff didn't focus on reading at all. When I got out the book that we were to read on the first day of school, I was in awe of how easily it all came to him. He transitioned right in to reading a chapter book. It was pretty incredible.

I can see that Jeff LOVES to learn. He has has plenty of time to run and play, and he's still right on track with his education. All things, we hoped for when we chose to homeschool.

With this all being said, I want to reaffirm that I don't think homeschool is the only way to educate a child. This is just our experience.


10.21.2013

A year later...

About a year ago, I posted  here about how were starting homeschool the following day. At that point, I didn't have a clue what to expect or how things would go. I was just acting on faith, that I had received an answer to prayer, that this was a good option for us.

I guess it's fair to say that we've settled in. We've been doing this now for over a year, and I think I'm starting to get the hang of it. I think I can confidently say that we homeschool. For a long time, I just felt like a poser. I didn't want to give myself a label that I wasn't sure I could hold for longer than a few days.

Last year was a great time of transition for us. Many people may not realize it, but the decision to homeschool isn't just an educational decision. It's a lifestyle decision. Everything about the way you live your day to day life changes. Some of those changes come naturally, and some, not so much. With homeschool, my kids are involved in just about every aspect of my day, although I do insist on some alone time while I'm in the restroom.

My kids take part in everything I do, and at times it's hard to let them in. I can get a little possessive about my kitchen when I'm cooking, and there has been a big switch for me to let my children "help" me cook and bake. I have to give up a on some of my OCD tendencies to allow my children to grow through experiential learning. It's the same with doing laundry. I like my things folded and put away a certain way (just ask Scott), and I've learned new ways to fold. In fact, Jeff has developed a steam-roll method for folding shirts. I never would have thought of that one. My day to day tasks are not only mine anymore, they are a method for teaching.

I'm sure many are thinking, wait, where's the spelling tests? What about the worksheets? What are you actually doing to teach your kids?!? Last year I would often have people ask me, "So, how many hours a day do you teach your kids?" The sassy reply would be, EVERY hour of the day! But I don't think that's the answer they wanted. I think what they are really asking is, how many hours are you sitting down with your kids to do "school".

The answer to that question is for another blog post. Until next time...

7.15.2013

About time for a post

I have a hard time coming up with things to post on here... but I figured I have some time right now and I might as well get something up.

Now the great quest to find something worthwhile to post about...

I guess I should just report on what we're up to right now. We moved! Sort of. The kids and I are in Idaho for a month and a half. It's been good, and hard. Very, very hard. We don't like being away from daddy. Not. one. bit.

So, why are we here for so long without Scott? I was planning on coming up the end of July to hit my family reunion and Scott would follow on the 14th of August after the class he's teaching for Texas A&M was over. Then a few things changed. I learned that my 95 year-old grandpa was sick. I wanted to see him before he passed away. Scott and I talked it over and decided we'd play things by ear and keep up on his health situation. Then we received a call that Scott's grandfather had passed away. He had been sick for a long time and was happy to move on. We determined the most cost effective way to make things work would be to drive up as a family to attend the funeral. The Scott would fly home to Texas (had to teach that class) then return mid August to spend some time with family then drive home with us. Great idea! Right?!?

It was a good idea, and I still think it has been our best option, but boy oh boy has it been hard. You see, we failed to recognize that we would be apart for 45 days! The longest we have ever been apart up til now has been two weeks. We hated it! We both swore we would never do that again... and yet, here I am, lamenting the fact that my sweet husband is miles and miles away.

We've called every day. Had scriptures and prayers together. Facetimed for hours (the kids love this). But still, I feel like half a person. I feel debilitated by some unseen source. And even as I sit here and complain, I know that there are so many people who have been separated for MUCH longer. And they have made this sacrifices while bringing new babies into the world and other life changing events.

I guess I've gained a new found respect for those who have been apart for military reasons, or even the early saints to left their families to serve missions. I'm just thankful we only have a month left. So, so thankful.

And there you have it... the things going on in my life. :)