Friday, February 18, 2011

Pregnancy Sleep 101

I think I may have found the cure for 3rd trimester night time restlessness.
You know, that feeling of being beyond exhausted, dreaming of your bed and falling into a deep slumber only to lay there and toss and turn, without a comfortable position to be found.
The hips ache, the belly is huge and cumbersome, the back is off limits.
And to top it all off, restless leg syndrome.
If you've never experienced that, count yourself lucky.
You lay there and for no apparent reason the legs must move.
They will not stop, even if you're just moments away from a really good dream.
Those legs will pull you out of dreamland in an instant with those uncontrollable jerks.
It would literally take hours to even fall asleep, and then if anything awoke me during the night it was literally impossible to get back to sleep.
Then there are the leg cramps, don't even get me started.
Want to know my secret to 3rd trimester sleep?
It's actually a combination of things.
I've found that if I leave one of these things out, my night is over.
Step 1. 1200mg of calcium with magnesium an hour before bed.
My midwife says dark chocolate is one of the highest source of magnesium in our food supply.
Man, I love that lady. Now I have an excuse to eat chocolate before bed. Every night!
Step 2. Sleepytime tea 15-20 minutes before bed.
Warm chamomile and other wholesome herbs with a touch of honey, need I say more?
Step 3. Light leg stretches just before you hop in the blankets. I've omitted this one time to time and I literally have to get myself out of bed, usually an hour after I've gotten in, and do the stretches. Then I get back in bed and am asleep in minutes.
Step 4. Boppy Total Body Pillow. Enough said.
Mr Bird got me one for Valentine's day. I was skeptical to say the least. I've had body pillows before and found them huge and cumbersome and suffocating. The first night I snuggled up to the Boppy I was in heaven! No joke. I have slept better the last 4 nights than I have in the last trimester of any of my pregnancies combined. I wondered if it was a fluke the first night, but the same wonderland sleep has found me every night since. It has been heavenly. I feel rested and almost human again. I wish I had this 4 babies ago.
And no, this is not a paid advertisement for Boppy, just a recipe for a good night's sleep!
Sweet Dreams!

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Homeschool Roller Coaster

I must start by saying how much I love homeschool.
I love having my kids here with me and going for a walk on the parkway on sunny days after lunch.
We love to see the ice cold river and the winter birds that did not fly south for the winter.
We love the contrast of the winter trees as compared to the vibrant summer colors and the cool shades of the fall leaves.
I love it when Beano reads to me and begs to do "just one more chapter".
Then, before we know it, he's read the whole book.
He likes to read to me so much because he thinks he's really reading to his baby (which I guess he is and which I also really love).
I love it when Doodle plays me piano songs before breakfast.
If she had to go to school she'd be rushing to get ready for school instead of making beautiful music.
I love reading scriptures from the New Testament with my children.
It was the New Testament I fell in love with first, it was the first volume of scripture I ever read on my own.
I fell in love with Christ and I love reading and teaching His stories to my children every single day.
I feel like I'm finding that part of myself again in the process and it's truly magical.
But just like everything in life, homeschool is a definite roller coaster.
We have incredibly great highs.
Highs that make me feel like we could (and will) do anything.
Then there are the lows.
This is when I struggle with my sanity.
Questions whirl through my mind.
Am I doing enough for them?
Are they learning all they need to know?
What do they really need to know?
Do we play too much?
What curriculum should we use, or should we just wing it and learn what we want, on our own time table?
Am I even doing this right?
I struggle with these questions, some days more than others.
I worry my kids only practice their writing skills because I make them and not because they love to do it.
Yet I am at a loss as to how to inspire them to truly love writing.
I love writing, but how did that passion grow in me when I was young?
I honestly don't remember.
Maybe it didn't come until college.
Homeschool can be really fun and really hard, all on the same day.
So how do I combat the homeschool roller coaster?
I pray.
I look at Charter schools online.
I look at "What your 3rd grader should know" on google searches.
Then I realize I'm not doing as badly as I thought.
I listen to them as they read and make notes about where they need more focus.
I look at their writing and see their continued mistakes (like contractions) and we have a mini lesson about contractions.
We take a break to reevaluate our goals and methods.
Sometimes we take a whole week and do no school work at all.
Then I really start to feel the heat.
I feel neglectful of their education and for some reason that fuels my fire to want to do better.
I talk with other home school moms and find out what works for their kids.
But mostly I pray.
And then I lock myself in my room and have a really good cry and pray some more.
Then we eat lunch and I pray in my mind as the kids chatter away with food in their mouths.
I relish their noise.
Then I feel peace.
That is, until the next thrilling turn of the ride.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Of Men and Angels

When I was in Jr. High and High school I walked home from school every day.
That does not seem that uncommon, right?
The thing is, I walked 3 miles in blistering heat, rain, and even hail storms a time or two for 6 straight years (starting at 12 years old).
I was not one of those kids whose parents bought them a car at 16.
I was lucky if I had an umbrella.
I did have a job later in high school, but the money was spent helping my mom with rent and utilities on our tiny 2 bedroom apartment.
There was no extra moo-la for a car plus insurance and gas.
No matter the weather, I walked.
For the most part I enjoyed my walks.
I enjoyed the smell of the air when fall came.
I loved shuffling my feet through the fallen leaves scattered on the sidewalks.
I enjoyed smelling the smoke being sent up in big billows from the homes in the neighborhoods when winter came.
I enjoyed watching the dogs in the back yards yip at me from their 10x10 fenced yards.
Sometimes I just liked to be in the sunshine and watch the puffy clouds go by.
I enjoyed the uninterrupted silence and the chance it gave me to dream about my future.
What can I say, I've always been a dreamer.
It gave me a sense of independence and hope for my future.
There were many times in my youth, including my alone time on my daily walks, when I felt I had angles literally following my every foot step.
They seemed so close some times that I felt I could just turn around and start talking to them, yet I knew no one was there.
Even typing this now, over 15 years later, brings back the same feelings I had back then.
The town I grew up in is one of the worst in the entire country, as far a crime rates.
Yet, as a teenager I did not know that.
I do know that on several instances strange men in unfamiliar cars stopped and pulled up along side me, offering me a ride.
I did what the text books say and avoided eye contact and kept walking.
That worked for all but one guy. He was relentless and seemed bent on me getting in his car.
It came to the point where I stopped walking and entered the side yard of one of the houses in the neighborhood to get away from him.
I was praying no one was home, which ended up being the case, thank heaven.
I waited in that strangers back yard until the car finally sped away.
I think I walked faster the rest of the way home that day than I ever had in my entire life.
I have often wondered what could have happened that day if he had not left.
My mind does not like to go to that place.
Last night I was browsing the Internet and I was curious about the crime rate in our local area.
I found some crime reports on the Internet and was actually shocked at how high the rate here is.
I had considered our area pretty quiet.
Then, I went to the crime reports for the town I grew up in.
I found some daunting facts.
It turns out, and I quote, "This city is safer than 2% of the cities in the US."
Talk about bottom of the barrel.
It also says if you live in Stockton you have a 1 in 63 person chance of being a victim of violent crime.
But this is the one that nearly scared my socks right off.
Every year in my beloved home town there are a whopping 407 crimes per square mile.
These stats made my new place of residence seem like utopia.
And to think, I walked thorough 3 of those miles every single school day of the year for 6 years.
OK, that's not true, on the rare occasion I had some spare change I rode the city bus.
But I can honestly say I think I was better off walking.
And yet not a hair on my head was ever harmed, scared to death a few times, but never did anything bad ever happen to me.
So about those angels I was talking about.
I used to think maybe I was a little crazy for thinking I had angels in my midst.
Now, I realize that may have been the only way I ever made it though all those years unscathed.