Fractions and chemistry!

Pumpkin is 5 and Peanut is 2.5, but yeah, we did fractions and chemistry today. 

Translation: we baked cookies!!

Pumpkin read the ingredients to me and learned to read 1/2 and 1/4 as well as cup, teaspoon, and tablespoon. 

Yummy lesson today!

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Bugs, bags, and inspiration

6 weeks ago, we had to bag up all our clothes and almost all our earthly possessions in order to have our house sprayed and eradicate a certain pest…

For 6 weeks, we’ve had almost no toys. Two baby dolls, some of our books, and a few toy kitchen appliances. And the kids? Today they’re making fancy fans out of napkins.

When shredded napkins didn’t work quite right, we found a YouTube video on how to make a fan, and then we made several together!

I love the creativity they have! And I hope that I can get rid of some toys so we have more freedom from stuff as we unpack our house again!

The only toys I’m excited to see again are the duplos and building blocks. And our art box!

 

Timeline and future learning

Yesterday, the kids played outside a lot, and I got carried away making a timeline. It goes back as far as 0 A.D. 

It’s old scratch paper and some lines, but each page represents 50 years. Simple, not incredibly pretty, but so far, we have these dates noted:

0: Jesus is born (I know not technically, but we’ll go with it for now!)

33: Jesus died and rose again

325: Nicene Council

476: (ok, might be off a hair, I’m not looking at it right now) Fall of Rome 

590-604: Pope St. Gregory the Great

800: Charlemagne crowned Holy Roman Emperor 

1252: St. Elizabeth of Hungary died

1373: St. Bridget of Sweden died

(Those two dates? Requested by Pumpkin since we talked about holy queens/royalty the other day!)

1492: Columbus discovered the Americas (we’ll add the Vikings living in North America at some point too)

1620: Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock

1776: Declaration of Independence 

1814: Star Spangled Banner written 

1861-65: US Civil War

1867: Laura Ingalls Wilder was born (we’re reading Little House in the Big Woods so this was of interest!)

In the 20th century we include: the Great Depression, WW I and II, landing in the moon, fall of the Berlin Wall, St. Gianna’s death, Mother Teresa’s death, great-grandma’s birth, all grandparents’ births, parents’ births. And in the 21st century: 9/11, death of John Paul II, parents’ wedding, sibling births–and that brings us to today!

Our days

I have a new and simple goal for this blog: snapshots of our days and what we learn as we live.

Yesterday: Columbus Day. We discussed with 5yo Pumpkin that Columbus’ goal was India. He was mistaken in the size of the earth and thus discovered continents otherwise unknown to each other. We also discussed how the people living where he landed lived and ate as well as how people lived in North America where we currently live (BISON as clothing, tent, and food). We discussed where our ancestors lived at the time of Columbus’ discovery (Italy, Ireland, and Germany to name a few). We talked about the ships that Columbus sailed and alternate routes to India.

Google Maps helped visualize and we googled for images of natives in the Bahamas, Great Plains of North America, as well as life during the late 1400s in Europe.

Social Studies: check.

Today: while pretending she was a queen, we discussed the stories of Queen Elizabeth of Hungary and her dedication to the poor (this would actually make an awesome Disney princess movie complete with evil queen and all). We talked about Queen Bridget (Brigitte?) of Sweden as well and her dedication to the poor and her many children.

In a little bit, we plan to make banana bread. Always a lesson in chemistry and math.

Pumpkin and Peanut (2.5yo) almost always manage to do the 100pc Poland puzzle from their aunt on a daily basis. Shapes, patterns, and geography in one!

Helping take care of their baby sister, Peach, has to count for something too!

Pregnancy announcements: The when and why

You’ve probably seen the news that Jill Duggar Dillard–a newlywed from the show 19 Kids and Counting–is expecting. She’s shocked the mainstream world by announcing her pregnancy right away. Jill explained why they made their announcement so soon:

Jill Duggar Dillard and husband announced pregnancy right away. Could you?

Jill Duggar Dillard and husband announced pregnancy right away. Could you? photo: Jill Duggar Dillard via twitter

…believing that every life is precious no matter how young, we decided to share our joyful news as soon as we could.

With our first pregnancy, we told everyone within about five hours of finding out we were expecting. We even announced it on Facebook, so I really do mean everyone!

Since then, I realize that a lot of people wait to announce mostly to protect themselves from having a loss be the topic of every conversation–but surely, sharing with close friends and family is always a good idea–prayers and support don’t hurt. I do understand that feeling of wanting safety and privacy. Once again with baby #2, we announced to family and close friends right away, but waited to announce to everyone (via this post) until quite awhile later (14 weeks or so…). It would be hard to have a happy announcement, a loss, and then all the questions from people we don’t know very well. But, we did love announcing the Pumpkin and baby #2 to those who really value and celebrate life.

Why did we announce immediately?

1. Being Parents

One reason we didn’t see any reason to wait was that regardless of whether our baby made it to birth or not (which, thank God, she did!), we knew that we’d always be parents from that moment on–and we wanted people to know it too!

2. A Person’s a Person No Matter How Small…

I guess there was also that realization that there’s no magical week at which the baby becomes a person. Our little grain-of-rice sized baby was already the person who had completely captivated our hearts.

3. Prayers

We had so many people praying for us right away–it was wonderful! Surely the prayers did help keep our baby and myself healthy and safe throughout the pregnancy–if we’d lost her, I know the prayers would’ve helped us with the grace and strength to grieve and learn to carry-on.

4. Childhood experience

When I was growing up, my parents experienced the majority of their pregnancies ending in miscarriage. Usually, they told us kids about their pregnancy early on, but once, they decided to spare us the highs and lows of pregnancy followed by loss, and they waited to tell us. Well, instead of celebrating and loving that little life while it was a part of our family on earth, us kids only found out about the baby during the miscarriage because our mom needed our help during the miscarriage. Even though there were more miscarriages to come, my parents’ told us early from then on so that we could share in the joy–even when sorrow was to come.

5. Changing the norm!

Although I can see why people need to do what’s best for them as they grieve a loss and sometimes that means keeping it private, more people need to at least consider it. Announcing your pregnancy before 12 weeks is fine. If it feels right for you, do it! Especially if that means telling some of your closest, most supportive family members and friends. Celebrate life from it’s very beginning!

Like Erika Anderson said over at the Daily Signal,

Not everyone will be as comfortable as Duggar about sharing pregnancy news so early, but there’s absolutely no reason it should be taboo to do so. In fact, it may help some recognize the truly scientific humanness of unborn babies at every stage of life.

What do you think? Would you consider announcing your pregnancy right away?

MrsF3 and Family is on twitter: https://twitter.com/MrsF3andF and Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/mrsf3

Love stories…

I loved reading this post from Sarah Bessy about the love that doesn’t show up in movies and songs. It’s a reminder to cherish our own love story and pass it on to our children. Also, a reminder to cherish our continued and growing love as our family grows.

My thoughts on this in no particular order:

The first time we held hands--and someone happened to catch it on camera.

The first time we held hands–and someone happened to catch it on camera.

1. This year, our anniversary was very much a loving one–but definitely not like in the movies! The Hunter came home from a long day at work to cook very bland food (cheese ravioli with no sauce!) for his morning (read: all-day) sickness afflicted wife. I had laid on the couch all day with Pumpkin watching kids’ shows, and the most I could muster for The Hunter was a little hand-made card that Pumpkin helped me decorate. But what true love!

2. Our love story is full of stories from the time getting to know each other in highschool to the time The Hunter asked me out…and I said “no.” I liked him, but he was younger than me… That guy never gave up! It wasn’t until three years later that his patience paid off!

3. The time The Hunter drove all the way across the country to see me and pick me up from the airport on the other side.

4. When I was abroad and walked around every where with my first generation iPod touch trying to find wifi signals so that I could facebook message or email The Hunter back in the states. And that same iPod touch was filled with a playlist of love songs that he made for me the night before I left.

5. The times we’ve gone hunting, boating, or fishing together.

6. Walks around my parents’ acreage–we didn’t hold hands yet, but what a thrill just walking and talking and getting to know one another better!

7. Our first date: we covered The Hunter’s recent novena to St. Joseph for discernment, and The Hunter asked me what my thoughts were on vaccinations, breastfeeding, and homeschooling. He wasn’t wasting any time… We agreed on everything!

…our love story is better than any movie!

Have a love story or two to share? Please comment!

MrsF3 and Family is on twitter: https://twitter.com/MrsF3andF and Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/mrsf3

Family size and NFP…

My post about couples’ struggling with infertility was about not judging people based on few and far-between children. But what about people who can’t have more children for other reasons–financial, psychological, emotional, physical. That’s for each couple to discern.

Simcha Fisher defends it on her blog and in her new book, The Sinner’s Guide to NFP (of which I still need a copy of my own!). Simcha says “generosity sometimes looks different from having another baby.” Enjoy this exchange and her Biblical reference at the end: Holiness is a numbers game.

 

 

MrsF3 and Family is on twitter: https://twitter.com/MrsF3andF and Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/mrsf3

Things you don’t say to couples with few or no kids

We’re often running across the articles and blogs that list rude questions and comments that people get when they’re expecting their third, fourth… sixth… eighth, or more. This one of “snappy answers” from Simcha Fisher is pretty funny. And a simple web search turns up many more like this one from Mindy Peltier or this one from The Stir. I enjoy these answers–and I’d love to have the opportunity to use them, but I receive a different kind of questioning and prodding.

There’s also lists of what not to say to single people. But what about the families with few children? Especially in Catholic circles, tongues wag when you don’t have a honeymoon baby or a new baby every 2 years or less.

Without further ado, here’s some things you may have said to a couple without thinking it through gleaned from my own experience and those of others. We know many of you don’t mean it the way it comes across, but here’s how your comments and questions come across to us.

To the newlyweds (a few months into their marriage):

cradle

Often, we are ready from our hearts to our nurseries, and still we are asked to wait. photo credit: Cory Marchand, flickr.com/photos/marchands

1. “We didn’t conceive our first month. I was crying, thinking I might not be fertile.”

A month?! One month?! Try month, after month, after month, year, after year, and test, after test, after surgery, after test…

2. “Don’t be afraid of having kids; be open to life!”

Okay, some people need to hear this, but for others, it breaks their heart…again. All some of us want to do is scream “We are OPEN! We are TRYING! We WANT children!” But instead, we smile and nod…and fight back a tear.

3. “So you’re waiting to have kids?”

We aren’t, but God seems to be. And also, is it really any of your business? If we had serious reasons to avoid pregnancy, we probably wouldn’t want to share it with you.

4. “So-and-so just got pregnant on their honeymoon, isn’t that great?”

Yes, it is. And I am happy for them, but be sensitive when you say it pointedly to someone who clearly didn’t get pregnant right away. Little do you know, but I already have crib bedding and maternity clothes ready to go!

5. “I bet your mom is ready to be a grandma!” Or: “Give me some grandkids!”

Yes, and I’m even more ready to be a mom. I want nothing more than to have your grandkids; I want them to know their grandparents and enjoy many years with them… What do I need to tell you? We’re trying!

6. “You’re not getting any younger, you know.”

Oh thanks, you think I don’t hear my biological clock ticking? Really?

7. “Just stop trying and it’ll happen”

Now, in this case, you know we’re open, but haven’t a clue what really having to try for years at a time is like. So, thanks, I never knew it was so easy… I guess I didn’t need all those tests, diets, shots, and surgeries…

 

The empty swing we wish could be filled. photo credit: Jenny Downing via flickr

The empty swing we wish could be filled.
photo credit: Jenny Downing via flickr

Think before saying these things to people with only a few children and those spaced far apart:

1. “So you’re an attachment parent? I hear that helps with child-spacing.”

Implied: “so you’re not doing birth control, but trying everything else you can to space them far apart.”

Well, yes, I may be an attachment parent, but it has nothing to do with wanting to space my children. Little do you know where I’m at with trying to conceive (desperately). I choose my parenting based on what works best for my family, and that doesn’t change the fact that I want a large family.

2. “Your baby is almost 2? Time for another one!”

Again, believe me, you’re not the only one who thinks so. I long for children close together and I long for my darling child to have a sibling. What should I do, show you my charts to let you know we’re doing everything we can?

3. “You’re not stopping because you have your boy and your girl, are you?”

Of course, this one is the converse of the question most people expecting their third or fourth are likely to hear a lot. It doesn’t make it less hurtful coming from the other side of the coin.

4. “Kids aren’t that expensive, have another one!”

Oh thanks, you’ve convinced me, I’ll try. (You know what is expensive? Fertility testing, charting consultations, etc., we’d much rather be having the kids!)

5. “Seven years between your kids? I like having mine closer in age.”

Implied: are you crazy? What kind of birth control were you on?

Little do you know, but that woman had three miscarriages in those seven years before finally one of the sweet babies made it to birth. On this front, especially, you need to be sensitive. Did you know that 10-25% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage? The odds are pretty good that any woman whom you speak to has experienced the loss of an unborn baby at some point.

6. “The Lord blesses people who are open to life by giving them children.”

Implied: What sins have you committed so that the Lord isn’t giving you a new baby every couple years?

This one is particularly hurtful, and more often than not, it isn’t said directly to the parents of one, two, or none, but is spread around the grapevine in even more uncharitable terms. You want to know the truth? Everyone has their own cross to bear, and being open to life but asked to bear the cross of infertility, subfertility, or secondary infertility? That is a huge sacrifice, and hopefully an opportunity to grow closer to God’s love, but we can still use the support and understanding of others.

In the end, we all need to remember not to judge, Family size does NOT equal birth control usage and the Catechism (CCC 2477-2478) reminds us:

Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury. He becomes guilty:

– of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor;

To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor’s thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way:

Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another’s statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved.

Have your own rude questions you’ve heard or received? How do you respond? How do you keep from judging harshly in return?

MrsF3 and Family is on twitter: https://twitter.com/MrsF3andF and Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mrsf3