Monday, September 14, 2015

We've been busy!

We went to the Regional convention, "Imitate Jesus!",  with my family this year. It was such an encouraging and wonderful event. Each year I hear people say that it's been the best year, but THIS year was definitely the best ;) No spoilers, but I will say I wish we could go again!!
My amazing Mama made matching skirts for us to wear and surprised me with another beautiful skirt. We really enjoyed Visiting with brothers and sisters we don't see very often and of course seeing family.

We have also been working on training our habits. One in particular is daily worship.
Each day Barry and I do our bible reading together out loud. I love hearing Barry's thoughts and questions since he brings such a different light to the discussion. The kids and I do our daily text each morning and listen to kingdom melodies for about ten to fifteen minutes. This has really helped us to learn the words to many of these precious songs.
Monday's Barry and I have been working on strengthening our "three fold cord" by using the couples section on We are really enjoying this time together.
Tuesday's we focus on reading and looking at pictures with Lexi. We have been using the bible story book and My Bible Lessons.
Wednesday's is our family worship night. We do a variety of things but try to include focusing on bible stories, character qualities, Jehovah's qualities and self improvement.
Thursday's is my study with Lily. We have been working through 'Learn From the Great Teacher'. I love hearing all of her questions. Who knew kids could teach us SO much?!
Friday's we do our personal study. I've been working through 'Initate Their Faith'. I think this is my favorite publication ever!! It has been so faith strengthening and encouraging.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Birth photography

Eww. Who wants pictures of blood, poo, me in pain, and "down there"... That's what most people think of when they think about birth photography. I am here to assure you, that is NOT what birth photography is all about. Hear me out... (skip to the bottom for a list of what it is)

With my first daughter I made sure to pack my make up bag for possible touch ups just before she made her debut (by the way that never happened). Beyond that, I didn't think about photos. It was clear, after the fact, that I hadn't thought this part through. My wonderful sister grabbed the camera at the last possible moment and snapped a few photos. Bless her heart, she got the WHOLE moment. Lily laying on my chest, still connected within.  I do cherish that photo, though I wish I had more from such a momentous occasion. My one regret with Lily's labor and birth is not having photos to remember it by.

(cropped for your pleasure)
Lily, moments old

Fast forward a couple years and I find out I'm pregnant with number two. I'm determined to have a beautiful hands off home birth and I want to remember every detail for the rest of my life. I scour the Internet for birth photographers and find just a few. All I could think was WOW these are expensive! I was determined to have a photographer. 

Enter, Heather at Mother Bird Photography. From the moment I contacted her, I could tell birth and photography were her passion. We connected immediately! Such a warm and kind woman who listened 100% to what I wanted. Labor begins and Heather arrives. She fell into the background, not interjecting herself into the moment. She captured every possible moment with Lily, Barry and the midwives. Something which would not have been possible if they were taking the pictures. Fast forward to that evening, post birth. I checked my e-mail and I already had a few photos from Heather. They were gorgeous! First moments, siblings meeting, first latch on and a perfect photo for Lexi's birth announcement. Not too many days later, the whole experience was ready to view. As I scrolled through the photos I had tears in my eyes and a smile on my face. It was beautiful. Every moment I was aware of and even those I wasn't, was right there at my finger tips. Heather and the photos were worth every penny. It was such a joy to work with Heather and I hope to use her again for all of our future babies.

Months have gone by and I still scroll through the photos remembering every detail as vividly as it had happened yesterday. I will always cherish these photos. Here is a lovely slide show put together by Heather herself, Lexi's birth story, and Lily's birth story.

Slideshow of Lexi's Birth
Lexi's Birth Story
So a quick list of WHY birth photography may be right for you:

  • Photos of your birth story will help you remember and process every detail. This helps reduce the chance and severity of postpartum depression. 
  • You will have these special moments of you, your support person and baby for the rest of your life. 
  • Your significant other, mother, daughter, son, whoever is there for you will be able to be IN the moment instead of behind the camera.
  • It isn't about "crowning" and blood, it's about support, love, and memories. It's about dad supporting mom, the emotion and love in the moment
  • Professional photos capture the moment unlike amateur photos.
.You won't understand unless you see it. Seriously, look of birth slideshows, watch videos on YouTube, find the beauty!! :)

Sunday, June 7, 2015


 Homeschool. Something I am so passionate about and love so much. But along with that passion and love comes confusion. There are so many wonderful resources and curricula it's difficult to choose what's right for our family. I have been researching for years in order to choose what we would like to do. After using the Montessori method for a year, I decided it wasn't for us. As much as I love learning through play and all the other wonderful aspects of Montessori, it was just SO much preparation, planning and mess that I couldn't keep up with it all. I wasn't enjoying our school time so it was time to move on. Thankfully we found Charlotte Mason. Lily and I both enjoy this literature based method. Every day Lily brings her school books to me and BEGS me to read. She just wants to keep going and going. I love her love for learning. Instead of doing worksheets and sitting focusing on "learning" all day we put a large focus on playing and developing. We always follow Lily's cues and know when it is time to move on.  The most important subjects for this age are:

  • Bible 
  • Nature Study
  • Habit Training
  • Read alouds

What we have done in the past/currently-
2 Years- A full (school) year of Montessori.
2 Years 9 months through 3 Years 9 months- P3/4 twice through.
3 years 9 months- My own Curriculum focusing on Bible, Character Qualities, Nature study, Read alouds and Reading Readiness
4 years- Yet to be determined

I love, Love LOVE Sonlight. The read alouds included are wonderful! It is literature based/Charlotte Mason and has a focus on bible study. Every week we work on scripture memorization, every day we read two bible stories from our bible story book, many read alouds and do an activity with each story. The activities are usually "learning through play" and include everything from cooking a dish to go along with the story to counting and classifying characters. We also focus on one character quality each week and do many different activities to understand what they mean. Nature study and nature journaling are also a very important part of our week.

So now my dilemma. There are SO many wonderful curricula that I would love to use.

Before Five in a Row (core)
Sonlight (core)
Ambleside Online (core)
Simply Charlotte Mason (handicrafts, life skills and habit training)
Life of Fred (math)
Considering God's Creation (nature study)
Handwriting Without Tears (penmanship)
Petra Lingua (foreign language)
Ivy Kids (supplemental "fun" boxes)

For awhile I struggled to decide between SL, BFIAR, and AO for our core. Since then I have given up on BFIAR because of the lack of read alouds. So here are my two options:

First Option for a total of $405:
USED SL P4/5- Core
SCM- Handcrafts, life skills, habit training
LOF apples- Math
CGC- Nature study
HWT- Penmanship
Library resources- Foreign Language

Second Option for a total of $250:
AO Y0- Core
SCM- Handicrafts, life skills, habit training
LOF apples- Math
CGC- Nature study
HWT- Penmanship
PL- Foreign Language
Ivy Kids for supplements for additional $15 a month

Obviously the second option is more appealing because of the wonderful price and flexibility with what we can do. But I am hung up on SL. I love how everything is laid out for you each day with very little planning. I love how the books show up at your door and the read alouds are so enjoyable. I love how Lily loves it. AO would be enjoyable too but there is a lot more planning and searching/buying books. I'm just so torn between the two!

Anyone use both and have a strong opinion either way?

Monday, May 4, 2015

I am a Mommy.

I write so many blog posts in my head and rarely get a chance to get them down. As the title of this post says... I am a mommy. What does that mean? Let me tell you a little story...

As I was attempting to get dressed for the meeting yesterday, I couldn't find anything to wear. Not in the "ugh I hate all my clothes" way but in the "my baby bump is still hanging around and NOTHING FITS" kind of way. I decided to go root around in the storage bins in our basement hoping I could find something, anything, that would fit. I opened the bin labeled "Chloe's Clothes" and proceeded to pull out clothes two sizes too small.
"Ugh what was I thinking, I'm not going to find anything down here"
Something caught my attention, there was a laundry basket full of clothes across the room.
"Hmm that's weird, why would laundry be over here?"
I peeked in and found a ton of Lily's clothes from the newborn days. I found the cutest little onesie, smelled it and thought about all the memories of when Lily was Lexi's age.
"Oh man, why was I down here again? RIGHT, I need to get dressed."
I grab the clothes and head off into the laundry room to look for something to wear. I set the onesie down and start rooting through the never ending pile of laundry. I found a couple of outfits for the girls for after the meeting and set them on the stairs.
"Oh yea, focus Chloe, all you need is a dress... Eh here is that ugly orange dress, that works."
I start walking up the stairs but wait,
"I'm forgetting something... RIGHT the onesie. Now where did I put that?"
I then looked around for about ten minutes before I finally found the onesie. Walked upstairs, threw the dress on then took the next half hour to get the girls dressed.

Why am I telling you this story? Because this is what it means to be a mommy. Never having a coherent thought in your head, never fitting into those cute pre pregnancy clothes again, never getting the laundry done, and never having the energy to write the thousands of blog posts you "write in your head".  Can you relate?

I love being a Mommy.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Mapping the world

Nature study is so important with little ones. We have started a nature journal for Lily and I to sketch, trace, draw, or color the natural things we see and want to learn about, but Lily has been very interested in maps lately so we decided it was time for her to start mapping the world.We went to one of our favorite hiking places and started our atlas. She drew a path with the land marks along the way. She ended up drawing a house, trees, a bird and a tree with a big puffy ball that explodes into seeds (we have yet to figure out what kind of tree this is!).

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

My Own Creation Book

Every week we do a Bible Project. For a few weeks, we have been focusing on Creation.

First we read through the Creation account at the beginning of Genesis.
 Lily listened to the creation song while sorting each picture onto the correct "day" it was created.
Then she glued them down

Lastly, she drew a cover picture of things Jehovah has created.

Here are all the pages. Images found here.

We have also done these activities in our Creation Unit:

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Tongue and Lip Ties and Their Effects

5 week old Lexi before (bottom) and after (top).
She is sleeping in both. You can see how tight her lips were before and how relaxed they were after.
3 year 5 month old Lily before (bottom) and after (top).
Again, she is sleeping in both and you can see how tight before and how relaxed after. 
 Both of their top lips seemed to pull inward before the revisions.

Both girls had their tongue and lip ties revised last Friday. I have been researching ties since Lily was born. I struggled a lot with nursing her at first. She always seemed to be hungry, she left me bloody and in pain, she didn't sleep much and I could never get a good deep latch with her. 2 lactation consultants and 2 pediatricians told me repeatedly that Lily did NOT have a tongue tie and only had a "little" lip tie which would not effect breastfeeding. (Let me just point out that you can't be "a little tied", you either are or you aren't.) FINALLY, two years later I joined a support group for Tongue and Lip ties and learned that in fact, she did have a tongue tie. Through this group of advocates, lactation consultants and providers, I learned that the majority of Pediatricians, Lactation Consultants, ENT's, Pediatric Dentists, etc have not been fully educated on ties. Most do not know that they can result in not only breastfeeding issues, but speech issues, food/texture issues, spacing issues causing the need for braces, rot and cavities, and even tmj, migraines and the like. Also, most don't realize that anterior ties have a posterior tie behind them so they don't always fully release. They also rarely diagnose posterior ties (like Lily's). I was amazed to learn that these pesky little things could cause so many issues for my kid. I was determined to do what was best for her. We found a pediatric dentist in the area, Dr. Marcus, who was trained by Dr. Kotlow and specializes in the release. We took Lily in for diagnoses and learned that she had a lip tie and a substantial posterior tongue tie. He left it up to us whether we wanted to revise it that day or wait. We decided to wait until she was a bit older so she could understand what was going on.

Soon after, I got pregnant with Lexi. Barry and I both agreed that we would have her checked out right away. When she was born, I could instantly tell she also was tied. Her lip tie was very restrictive and attached to the hard palate. Her tongue was "heart" shaped which indicated a tie. We went back to Dr. Marcus and she indeed was tied. We decided to go ahead and have him revise both Lily and Lexi with Laser. I was beyond scared for my girls... what if they didn't want to nurse anymore? what if they are in a lot of pain? what if it reattaches and we have to go through this AGAIN? I knew we needed to do what was best, but we did waffle back and forth whether to go through with it.

Lily's Revision:
Lily went first. She sat in the dentist chair like the ginormous kid that she is. I sat next to her, trying not to show my anxiety. We both wore protective glasses. Lily held both of my hands and I kept telling her that she was ok and he was almost finished. She fussed and cried a little (mostly from fear, the laser numbs as it cuts) but did surprisingly well! Dr. Marcus stopped and looked to see if the revision was complete, but it wasn't. This was probably the hardest part for both Lily and I. He started again and Lily started screaming. She started yelling NO NO STOP and screaming in between. I started crying at that point, even though it was only about ten seconds. Right after he was done, she sat in my lap for a minute or so then jumped up and started playing. It's like nothing even happened! We had a pain plan in place for aftercare, but we didn't end up needing it with Lily! She was/is a trooper :)

Now the most amazing part... Lily ate TWO full plates at a buffet plus two scoops of ice cream in no time at all! If you know Lily, she doesn't eat. She takes forever to eat even just a little bit and isn't interested in chewy or tough foods. Not anymore! Ever since the revision she has been eating like a horse. Turns out, she was much more restricted than we thought she was. Now that she can eat she does. I have also noticed that she has a better, deeper latch despite her nursing for 3 years 5 months with a shallow latch!

Lexi's Revision:
Lexi was next. Barry put her in her car seat and they set the car seat on the dentist chair. It held her still enough that they would be able to do the revision. Barry sat with her and I was across the room with Lily. It seemed like it was taking forever, even though both girls took less than a minute. She cried a lot during but was fine after. I tried to latch her on right after to calm her down and she wouldn't nurse. I was trying not to cry, this was my worst fear! I couldn't stop thinking "what if she refuses to nurse forever??" The drive home was long and terrible because I couldn't shake the feeling that we ruined my perfect little girl. When we got to the celebratory buffet, Lexi started screaming. Nothing would calm her down. Not babywearing, she wouldn't nurse, not the arnica or tylenol, nothing. Barry dropped Lexi and I off at home and Lily and him went back to eat. I was so upset.

Moments after we cuddled up on the couch, she stopped crying and latched on. She Nursed! and she nursed well!!! No loss of suction, no choking/gasping, no gulping, no pain, just a good nursing session. The most amazing part, she didn't spit up for hours! This is a huge feat with Lexi. She would eat 1.5 ounces then spew 1 whole ounce. So. Much. Laundry. Thank goodness this has changed. Don't get me wrong, she still spits up, but not nearly as much. We gave her arnica/tylenol around the clock for 3 days then she stopped needing it!

The revisions have changed the girls eating habits for the good. I would do it again despite the tears.
Note: Post revision we did stretched 3-4 times a day on lip and tongue. We also did bodywork before and after (CST, Chiropractor).

Symptoms of/issues caused by lip and tongue ties include:

•colic/excessive crying 


•gagging/spitting up


•nursing abnormally often

•seems unsatisfied after nursing

•falling asleep quickly while nursing

•refusal to take bottle or pacifier

•slow weight gain/weight loss


•shallow latch/poor latch

•"clicking" sound while eating (breast or bottle)

•heart shape of tongue tip or dent in middle of tongue

•pain for you during nursing

•breast feeding issues (not limited to thrush, clogged ducts, mastitis, bleeding or cracked nipples, vasospasms, tell-tale "lipstick shape" after nursing)

•over-supply/under/supply (from babe not emptying breast completely)

•sleep apnea

•teeth gapping

•premature tooth decay

*pain while brushing teeth

•speech issues (lisp, replacing letters with others, avoiding talking, behind in speech)

*impacted self-esteem

•food & texture aversions

*affected smile

•jaw issues

•grinding of jaw

•facial tension (which can lead to body tension, especially in neck, shoulders and back)



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