Thursday, October 10, 2013

i had the best intentions to blog every morning since i last blogged, but obviously it didn't happen. i did blog once but never published it. i guess that doesn't count.

today is my friday since brian is taking tomorrow off for us to get away a bit for our anniversary. ben and linda (brian's parents) are coming this evening to stay with the kids. they'll have their plate full with all the kids regular activities plus some. i'm so thankful for the active role they play in their grandkids' lives. they'll have two football practices to get boys to, Margaret to pick up at the airport, a cross country meet for Margaret, two football games, and homework to remind kids to do. not to mention Hazel to wrangle! this will be the first time they've kept Hazel over night. actually the first time she's been away from us at all over night.

yesterday we got to get a peek at Baby Wells. She is beautiful and looks healthy and whole. i love her already! the only concern was marginal placenta previa which Dr. Love believes will resolve on its own before delivery. i'll need another ultrasound in 8 weeks to make sure it's moved away from the cervix. other than that, there really wasn't any big news. blood pressure and weight were good. i've gained 11 pounds so far which is probably more than i had gained with Hazel at this point, but i guess it's still in the "good range", and my BP was 100/70 which is good. i've been exercising a lot (walked 9 miles yesterday!), but have been eating junk lately. gotta fix that.

i got the best news yesterday (on top of the good baby news)! my oldest and dearest best friend is moving to steiner ranch! i'm thrilled beyond words! her boys will be in the same schools as ours, too! we've never lived near each other, so this will be a whole new thing for us. looking forward to many good times ahead with Tasha and her family!

well, margaret gets back from New York tomorrow. that is if she doesn't decide to find a way to stay. she has fallen in love with the city and i'm sure is going to figure out a way to get back there as soon as she graduates high school. i can totally see her studying art at some university up there. i'm afraid she's going to find suburban austin awfully dull after her week in the Big Apple.

well, got places to go and people to see.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

i'm blogging! i have put it off so long because it seems impossible to catch up on all of life that has passed by since i last blogged! i'm not even going to attempt that, except to give a brief overview. well, hopefully brief.

the kids have comfortably settled into their new schools and a new routine. they've  been at it for over a month and all are doing well. 

Margaret loves high school, especially the way they treat them like adults, a big jump from middle school, so she says. she chose art and athletics for her three electives (athletics counts as two). next year she'll have more options and will begin taking a foreign language. she chose to take one pre-AP course, that being English, and one AP course: human  geography. those have been her toughest classes, but she's hanging in there. she's also taking algebra 1 and biology. she has a class called ACE which is all about college and career plans that is required for all freshman. she's been working out with the cross country team since the beginning of august, which she has enjoyed immensley. she leaves the house every morning at 6 to join the team for runs. she fared very well the first few meets, but got injured about three weeks ago with what seems to be a stress fracture. she was on crutches for awhile,  but has recovered and hopes to run again in friday's meet. she's also taken on a babysitting job for a family two doors down which she's so grateful for. she used to babysit regularly for the one family in Austin, but we're too far away for her to babysit very often for them now. and speaking of that family, they've invited Margaret to go to New York with them next week to help with their boys. she's been cleared to miss a week of school and is thrilled for the opportunity!

Samuel has surprised us in how well he has adjusted to his new situation. we convinced him to sign up for athletics instead of PE, since he's such an athletic boy. the only problem with that is that all boys in athletics are required to play football, a sport Samuel has never been intersted it. he didn't know the slightest thing about the game, which iis a very complicated game to explain! he made up his mind to give it his best shot and has done remarkably well. he mostly plays nose tackle has had many quarterback sacks. he loves the camaraderie of being part a school team. he has football buddies that sit with him at lunch and play basketball with him after school. i think that the fact that he has done well in football has transfered over into his academics. he's been so much more confident this year than ever before, and for him attitude is everthing. when he feels bad about himself he shuts down and doesn't even try. getting out every morning and pushing himself on the field, then going to class...i don't know what it is, but it seems to be working for him. he loves his teachers and his coaches and is just happy. he rides his bike to school every morning, carrying a backpack full of books and his lunch box, a sports bag with his basketball, and a couple of times a week another sports bag with his football laundry. if he was hit by a car he'd be just fine with all that padding surrounding him. Samuel has grown so responsible over the last year! he comes home and does his homework without reminders or complaint, a huge improvement over how he was just a couple of years ago. of his own volition he goes to the appropiate teachers if he feels he needs tutoring. the thing we're most proud of is that he is survivng without any formal accomodations being made for hos Aspergers or ADD. the counselor suggested we just wait and see how he does before intervening to help him, and amazingly he's not only survived, but thrived. 

it has been so exciting to watch him (and Margaret) grow up and grow more independent. i see both of them becoming their own people and making wise (most of the time) decisions, and Brian and i sit back and think, wow! how did they know to do that?! i just don't understand why some parents want to control their kids and keep them from growing up. that has never appealed to me. i want them to grow up and be the people God made them to be, not young adults still waiting for us to tell them what to do at every turn, or clones of me or Brian. anyways, thats for another discussion at another time.

William was disappointed that we decided to hold him back a year and put him in 5th grade instead of letting him go on to middle school. he has a late birthday and has always been small for his age. also we had a less than stellar year homeschooling last year and we knew the kids were going into a school district with much higher expectations than that which they had been in previously. he seems to be happy enough now and is doing quite well. he has near perfect grades in almost every subject. and the most exciting thing is that HE TALKS! for those who have followed my blog for the last four or so years, you will realize what a huge deal that is. William went the first four years of school without speaking AT ALL! no one believed us when we said that he talked perfectly normal at home or with extended family. he played the role of a mute so well eveyone thought he could not speak.  anyways, he's matured a lot and pretty much acts like a normal, though a big shy kid. he and John ride their bikes to school together every day, and i think it's been so good for him to have to step up and be the big brother instead of being the middle brother (or Samuel's little brother). William has always been high anxiety, but i see it working more for him more than against him as he gets older. it helps him stay on top of things and cover all the bases. as long as he can temper it with the realization that he cannot control everything, he'll do well. 

John is a happy-go-lucky 3rd grader this year. we held him back a year as well. he has struggled tremendously with learning to read, and we're so thankful to be in a school district that jumps on learning problems quickly and has the resources to deal with them. he qualified for SRP (Supplemental Reading Program) which will aggressively target his struggles with reading, writing, and phonics. if he continues to have trouble, he will be tested for dyslexia. I've already seen improvement in his reading ability, though his writing and spelling are still very poor. other than that, he's doing well. he likes his teacher and his classmates, and likes that he gets to sit on an exercise ball in class instead of a desk chair. he is the least independent of our kids, and i think it's not just that he's the youngest of the four, i think it's his personality, too. he is dreamy, carefree, and needs lots of reminders and helps. even though he's in school, i still spend many hours a week working with him on reading, writing, and math. I'm learning to value those hours, as tiring and frustrating as they sometimes are. i know it won't always be that way. 

And then there's Hazel and me. that girl is high maintenance! i feel guilty about this, but right now she's parked in front of the tv watching babytv, thanks to the new world of cable tv that has been opened up to us. if she wasn't watching, she'd be putting on my makeup or drawing on the floor or walls, or pulling all the food out of the pantry and stacking it on the dining table bench. she is constantly changing clothes, or at least trying, forever asking me to read, paint her nails, color with her, or go walking. she asks why about everything! she loves cheese, peanuts, beans, oranges, popsicles, and french fries with ketchup. she says everyone's name but Margaret's which seems to be too difficult for some reason. she is thrilled when one-by-one the big kids get home from school. days with her are long and tiring, but also fun. we go walking a lot - I've been shooting for 6 miles every day. she helps me clean, we take bubble baths together, take care of our patio garden, go to the library, go to Bible study, go grocery shopping, fold laundry, walk to Samuel's school to watch his football practices, visit William and John for lunch, and just do girl friend stuff together. 

next week marks the halfway point in my pregnancy! it has pretty much flown by, i guess with all the busyness of keeping up with a family of seven i just lose track of time. I've felt pretty good, just more tired this go round than ever before. i have an ultrasound next wednesday when we'll hopefully find out whether it's a boy or girl. Brian is thinking it's a girl, most the kids say it's a boy. i don't know. we have some names we like, but nothing is decided on. either way, Hazel is going be over the moon when she realizes she's getting a baby of her own! we've been telling her that there's a baby in my tummy, and showing her pictures online. lately, as she's seen my belly grow, she's started asking about "the baby in my tummy". =)

Brian and i celebrate our 16th anniversary next week. sixteen years! i'm more grateful every year that passes. we're getting away for a long weekend, the first time we've been away without Hazel in nearly two years, and i am so looking forward to it!

well, that's about all there is to say, or all i have time for.