Baby Barrett #2 (30 weeks in the making)

(Read with caution. Pregnancy Posts may have T.M.I.)

How far along? 30 weeks, due May 6th (Baby is now the size of a large cabbage.)

Total weight gain: 12 pounds – Our lifestyle is totally different than what we had when I was pregnant with Lawson so we’re mostly eating pretty clean. I find myself craving fresh fruits and veggies this time instead of carbs and peanut butter. I feel amazing!! Most days, I wouldn’t even know I was pregnant – other than the round belly and the little kicks I feel throughout the day.

Maternity clothes? Yes.

Sleep: I’m sleeping pretty good, although I did have one night recently where I was just awake for no apparent reason. I feel minor heart burn when I lie down, but nothing compared to my pregnancy with Lawson. I also took a marvelous nap on Sunday, and I think this may be about to happen a little more often as I near the end of the pregnancy.

Miss Anything? I’m finding it to be a little harder to bend down and pick things up, which I am constantly doing with a toddler around. I also dislike not being able to cross my legs as easily in church… it makes sitting for a long length of time pretty uncomfortable.

Movement: I’m feeling lots of little kicks, and yesterday I felt him have the hiccups for the first time. Food cravings: A salad with lots of toppings like from Ruby Tuesday or Pizza Inn, a salad from Longhorns, and green beans from Bonefish Grill 🙂

Gender: It’s a boy! We actually found out at 15 weeks because it was OBVIOUS! If they told me girl at 15 weeks, I wouldn’t have believed them,  but with a boy, it’s pretty hard to deny. We announced it to our family on Thanksgiving.

Name: Linkin Jude

Labor Signs: maybe a Braxton Hick Contraction or two, but I really can’t remember how they feel so it might just be stretching of muscles

Belly Button: pretty much an outie most of the time now (It still really weirds me out.)

Wedding Rings: On

Happy or Moody most of the time: The moods seem to be leveling out.

Looking Forward to: Fixing up the nursery!

Next Appointment: Today, then every two weeks

We keep talking about “the baby” and telling Lawson about what’s coming, but I really think he has no clue. I’ve been nesting so we’ve been doing a little organizing in the nursery recently. He’s my little helper, and I keep talking about it being “the baby’s room”. Any tips on how to REALLY prepare him for what’s coming?? I’d love to know your input!

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Tot School: Ee for Eggs (Food Theme)

~Lawson is 19.5 months old.~

Curriculum:
Each week… We’re using the Tot School Printables from 1+1+1=1 as well as anything else I have in my stash that goes along with our theme. We also begin each day with what’s called “Bible Class“. This is the interactive curriculum for babies and toddlers that I stumbled upon on Pinterest, and we use in our church nursery. I’ve adapted it to fit our Tot School because It’s great to begin our day with a little worship time!

Planning:
Before the week begins, I’m pulling all of the resources I plan to use with Lawson including books, activities, toys, etc. I try to make sure things are mostly age-appropriate and on his developmental level, but I’m also not afraid to challenge him a little bit. I think children learn best when they are challenged slightly – not so much that they become frustrated, but just enough that they are eager to figure out whatever it is that is set before them. I make a list of all of these things so that I don’t forget the things that I’ve chosen for the week. I’m a natural list-maker, and I have lots of resources so my lists can be VERY LONG! If I don’t get to all of the things on the list during the week, it’s totally fine. We can save it for our review week or for another day in the future. I highlight through the items as we complete them, and it’s just one list for the entire week – not individual days. This keeps it simple for me, as I don’t want to overwhelm myself with the planning process.

This Past Week’s Focus: 
letter – Ee
object – egg
theme – Food
color – red
number – 2
shape – heart

This Past Week’s List of Plans:
*Main letter sheet with dry erase marker
*Vocabulary Development Page – This week they are cut out and laminated to stick on our board.
*Shapes Page with our Melissa & Doug Shapes Puzzle
*Numbers Page with our Foam Numbers & Magnetic Numbers
*Dot paint the number 2
*Dot paint a heart
*Trace left to right from E to e (We do this together, but I also let him try it alone.)
*Sequencing Page
*Colors Page – matching with marker tops; also use with dry-erase marker ex.”Find the red eggs.”
*Colors Page to color with crayons and glue to paper
*Size sorting activity with eggs
*Dot paint the eggs; trace the letter page.
*What starts with Ee page
*Shadow Matching
*Flashcards
*Trace and color a heart
*Paint with hearts.
*Egg-shell painting on the letter Ee
*Play-doh with letter E stamp
*Play-doh with food-related toys (pot, utensils, etc.)
*Learning Resources Letter Construction
*Basket of plastic Easter eggs
*Puzzles: 3 part puzzle
*Stringing/Lacing Practice
*Wooden Blocks (The blocks we have are “Foundations” by Kid O City and Country, purchased at TJ Maxx.)
*Bible Class (daily or as often as possible)

Photo Dump from the Week:

We explored plastic Easter eggs this week. Lawson loved taking them apart, and I would put them back together for him. We did this many, many times!

We explored plastic Easter eggs this week. Lawson loved taking them apart, and I would put them back together for him. We did this many, many times!

Ee2

We used painter's tape to attach our laminated vocabulary development cards to our chalk board. This made it into a fun game where we could remove the ones he could identify and keep working on the ones that were new to him.

We used painter’s tape to attach our laminated vocabulary development cards to our chalk board. This made it into a fun game where we could remove the ones he could identify and keep working on the ones that were new to him.

Ee4 Ee5

Ee6

We "cooked" with our Play-doh this week. Lawson really loved this activity, and he kept saying "Fun!"

We “cooked” with our Play-doh this week. Lawson really loved this activity, and he kept saying “Fun!”

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Lawson is learning simple skills like holding the container with one hand while he uses the spoon to feed himself with the other. He’s such a big boy!

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Lawson has also fully mastered using an open cup now!

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Of course we did the Pinterest idea of using a toilet paper roll to make hearts this week. I wasn’t real impresed as the toilet paper rolls didn’t hold the shape very well. We ended up using a heart from our puzzle instead.

He still tries to taste paint and Play-doh every single time we do it and then gags because he doesn't like the taste. One day he'll learn, but this is why he looks like a clown in a lot of his pictures. :)

He still tries to taste paint and Play-doh every single time we do it and then gags because he doesn’t like the taste. One day he’ll learn, but this is why he looks like a clown in a lot of his pictures. 🙂

Next week we’ll be learning all about the letter Ff for Foot with a Body Parts Theme! (Maybe I’ll use this week to focus a little more on potty training… we’ll see!) 

Linking up at Gathering Place 

My Nursing Story & 2 New Rules for Myself

~Please read at your own discretion. This post contains my opinions and views of breastfeeding, as well as some intimate details of our nursing experience.~ 

Before Lawson was born, I did not intend on nursing him. To me, breastfeeding was just weird and I couldn’t imagine having a baby attached to me like that. However, I had heard all of the benefits of breastfeeding so I knew I wanted to give my new baby his mama’s milk. I planned to pump my milk to feed him, but as pregnancy went on and I felt more and more love for the baby growing inside of me, I decided I would give nursing a try. Now, you could probably consider me a “lactivist” because I’m so pro-breastfeeding!

What Changed My Mind
In our childbirth class, they showed a video of a baby doing “the birth crawl” after being placed on his mama’s abdomen immediately after birth. This precious little being managed to inch his way up to mama’s breasts and begin nursing with no guidance or interference from anyone else.  It had to be one of the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen, and I so wanted to experience this with my own baby. Ya can’t get more natural than that, and it’s amazing how God designed our bodies to feed our babies and he designed our babies to know how to do that instinctively. Not to degrade this bond between humans, but just think about animals. They need no lactation specialists or proper techniques. It’s just natural.

Well my birth story with Lawson wasn’t how I had ideally pictured it, and I didn’t know how to speak up for these things that I desired so I didn’t get to experience that immediate bonding when Lawson was born. Hopefully my birth plan and new doctor will help me to get my wishes this time around with Linkin’s birth, but that’s a story for another day.

My Nursing Story
Nursing Lawson was not easy. It was a struggle. I felt so many emotions as a new mother, and it would’ve been so easy to give up and just give him formula… but I really didn’t want to. I wanted him to have mama’s milk. I nursed Lawson for about two months and then I began an in-home childcare business which didn’t allow me to nurse like I wanted. With the struggles of still learning to nurse, I didn’t see how I could do that and care for other small children at the same time. Somehow I managed to still pump milk, but I remember how difficult it was to find time to get away to do so, even briefly. I supplemented with formula and just pumped what I could for seven months. I did not want to stop giving my baby his mama’s milk, even if it was just a small amount through a bottle. I tried just about everything for increasing milk supply, but I would pump around the clock and only make about 12 oz. a day. Obviously, not near enough for a seven month old, and it was stressing me out working so hard for something that I wasn’t succeeding at. It was a very emotional decision, but I decided to stop pumping. Ever since then, I’ve had an even greater desire to do more the next time around. I want to be a pro at this with Linkin!

Let me now share with you my 2 New Rules for myself with nursing, and then I’ll get into the reasons behind them.

Rule #1 – I will NOT nurse my baby in a bathroom.

A few days before Lawson turned a month old, my grandfather had a quadruple bypass surgery. I wanted to be there for it, but that meant traveling three hours by myself as a new mom with my newborn. We did it, but it wasn’t easy as we were still learning to nurse together. Getting him to latch was often difficult, and I felt it was just easier to get away to try and feed him. We asked some hospital employees for a place to nurse, and the only suggestion they had was a private bathroom. Looking back, I realize how appalling this was. What if we suggested they go eat their lunch in this private bathroom? Um, no. But anyway, that is where I went to nurse. Sometimes I would wait for the bathroom to become available, only to have people knocking every few minutes. It was the most annoying thing ever! During one of our feedings, the bathroom was occupied, so I opted to use the man’s private bathroom. Bad decision! I can just remember it smelling awful, and I must have been some kind of a terrible mother to make my baby eat in such a degrading way. Please don’t leave me comments telling me how awful I was. I feel bad enough already, and it’s in the past. That’s why I am vowing to never do that again, but for the remainder of our time at the hospital, I used a private waiting room to nurse Lawson. We were lucky that it was available for each of the feeding times we need it to be.

Rule #2 – I will not leave a place where I am allowed to be to go and nurse my baby.
I can just remember those first few days home with Lawson. People would come to see us. We’d visit for a while and have good conversation, but then it was time to feed the baby so I would take the baby to the nursery and feed him. All the while, I’m trying to see if I can still hear the conversation going on without me in the living room. I just didn’t like this feeling of isolation, in my own home.
I’m not sure what my reasons for leaving the room were exactly. It could be that I was trying to be respectful of our guests, or it could be that I just found it easier since we were still learning how to nurse together. I probably can’t promise this one as easily either… if my baby and I are still learning to nurse and he needs to eat, I’m going to feed him. I’ll try to use a cover and be as modest as I possibly can be (when guests are in my home or I’m in the presence of the general public), but I can’t promise that I be able to successfully nurse modestly under a cover with Linkin. I remember doing a lot of maneuvering under that cover with Lawson – it was not easy.
Gosh, I remember trying to feed him in a corner booth at Applebee’s. There was hardly anyone in the restaurant, and I was pretty hidden in the corner so maneuvering under the cover wasn’t as difficult. But since we were still learning to nurse, Lawson wasn’t latching on well. It led to screaming which drew attention our way. Something no one would have probably noticed me doing suddenly became “what is going on with that baby she’s got under that cover?!”. Since we were finished eating, I put up the boob and decided to finish feeding Lawson in the car… away from everyone looking at me. And yes, by this time he was pretty hungry and still screaming, all the while my milk is leaking everywhere as you can imagine. Lawson finally calmed down when he realized he could just lick the milk from my belly, and then we were able to finish nursing normally for the rest of the feeding. So you see, sometimes I guess I left because it was just easier for me. Maybe I didn’t like people looking in my direction while I struggled to get this task done. That wasn’t a special bonding moment for me, but a really funny story I can laugh about now.

All I can really promise is that I will do my best to nurse Linkin. I will try not to be embarrassed or shamed or feel like I am disrespecting the people around me by feeding my baby the natural way. I’m just gonna need some encouragement, and lots of it.

Tot School: Dd for Duck (Birds Theme)

~Lawson is 19 months old.~

Welcome back to our Tot School! Last week we had a week of review of letters Aa-Cc to try and sort those out. Lawson still likes to yell out “Aa” anytime I ask him about a letter, but he actually can identify the correct letters once I get him to focus – which is sometimes hit and miss with a toddler. I’m super proud of the mastery and successes we have had with him so far in Tot School. To be honest, I really didn’t expect him to catch on so well to these concepts. Exposure is greater than mastery in my book, but I can’t help but be a proud mama when he does get it. My only goal of our Tot School is to spend intentional time with my little one, giving him multiple meaningful exposures to skills and concepts through play and hands-on activities.  Mastery is not a part of that goal, but I know that one day (maybe even as early as today), he’ll naturally master each and every one of these concepts in his time and yearn to learn even more.

Curriculum:
Each week… We’re using the Tot School Printables from 1+1+1=1 as well as anything else I have in my stash that goes along with our theme. We also begin each day with what’s called “Bible Class“. This is the interactive curriculum for babies and toddlers that I stumbled upon on Pinterest, and we use in our church nursery. I’ve adapted it to fit our Tot School. It’s great to begin our day with a little worship time!

Planning:
Before the week begins, I’m pulling all of the resources I plan to use with Lawson including books, activities, toys, etc. I try to make sure things are mostly age-appropriate and on his developmental level, but I’m also not afraid to challenge him a little bit. I think children learn best when they are challenged slightly – not so much that they become frustrated, but just enough that they are eager to figure out whatever it is that is set before them. I make a list of all of these things so that I don’t forget the things that I’ve chosen for the week. I’m a natural list-maker, and I have lots of resources so my lists can be VERY LONG! If I don’t get to all of the things on the list during the week, it’s totally fine. We can save it for our review week or for another day in the future. I highlight through the items as we complete them, and it’s just one list for the entire week – not individual days. This keeps it simple for me, as I don’t want to overwhelm myself with the planning process.

This Week’s Focus: 
letter – Dd
object – duck
theme – Birds
color – yellow
number – 1
shape – circle

This Week’s List of Plans:
*Take a trip to the zoo (especially the Birds exhibit).
*Main letter sheet with dry erase marker
*Vocabulary Development Page with dry erase marker
*Shapes Page with our Melissa & Doug Shapes Puzzle
*Paint a duck yellow
*Numbers Page with our Foam Numbers & Magnetic Numbers
*Dot paint the number 1
*Dot paint a circle
*Trace left to right from D to d
*Sequencing Page
*Colors Page – matching with marker tops
*Colors Page to color with crayons and glue to paper
*Size sorting activity with birds
*Count and color 1 duck page.
*Dot paint the ducks; trace the letter page.
*What starts with Dd page
*Shadow Matching
*Flashcards
*Color an eagle
*Trace and color a circle
*Color a duck
*Dot paint the letter Dd.
*Play-doh with letter D stamp
*Play-doh with circle cutter
*Paint with circle cutter
*Learning Resources Letter Construction
*Puzzles
*Stringing/Lacing Practice
*Wooden Blocks
*Bird-themed Beanie Babies
*Beginners Walking Program
*Bible Class (daily or as often as possible)

Activities & Materials We Used this Week:
*Wooden Duck Puzzle purchased a long while ago from Michael’s
*Wooden Blocks (The blocks we have are “Foundations” by Kid O City and Country, purchased at TJ Maxx.)
*Melissa & Doug Shapes Puzzle – We used this with the Shapes Printable.
*Learning Resources Letter Construction
*Pet-themed Beanie Babies from our collection
*Circle Box with all sorts of circle-shaped toys and items to explore
*We planned to visit a local zoo this week, but their Winter hours didn’t fall on a day we were available. I’m disappointed than very few of our field trips have panned out so far. 😦

Books We Read This Week: (We rotate our books weekly since we have so many. This keeps me from reading the same favorites over and over again, and allows me to read other choices in between.)
The Ugly Duckling (See and Say Storybook) A Read Along With Me Book
Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey (Lawson lost interest quickly in this one, but I continued to read aloud to him while he played.)
Penguins by Kathlee Weidner Zoehfeld
Beaks! by Sneed B. Collard III
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr. and Eric Carle
Nature Words – Baby Einstein
Colors – Baby Einstein
Let’s Count – Baby Einstein
Animals All Around – Baby Einstein
On the Farm  – Baby Einstein
Shapes – Baby Einstein
My First Farm: Let’s Get Working by DK Publishing
Do you Hear It? by Eric Carle
What is Black & White? by Susan Ring
My “D” Book by Jane Belk Moncure

Photo Dump from the Week: 

d1

Lawson loves to “col col” (translation: color color) on his printables!

d3 d2

d4 d5 d6

d7

d8

Lawson had a buddy over for a play-date on Tuesday. They had lots of fun playing music together and playing trucks.

d10 d13 d14
d9

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This round box was an impromptu learning tool this week. One day during nap, I just filled it with all kinds of toys and things that were circles. He just played with it a few times during the week, and we found that some of the circles roll really good on the hardwood floors 😉
d12

d15 d16

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d18 d19

Our Bird Beanie Babies… Mama has quite the collection! So glad I’ve found a way to use them again, because they sure weren’t doing any good sitting in Papaw & Nana’s attic. 
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Lawson showed absolutely no interest in the size sorting activity. Some things are just like that, and as a teacher – we must be able to adapt and follow the child’s lead. 
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d22

We picked another friend up from daycare on Wednesday, so Lawson had two play dates this week. Who says homeschoolers have to be unsocialized?! 😉
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And my final picture for the week… I painted a chalkboard in Lawson’s room. The teacher in me squeals with joy! I love writing on a good chalkboard! As you can see, Lawson loves it too! I actually primed this with magnetic primer so we could use our alphabet magnets each week, but it didn’t work. After following the directions to a tee, only a few of our magnets would stick…and then they would slide down and fall off. Disappointed, but we still love the chalkboard. I have plans to add molding for a more appealing look. 
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Next week we’ll be learning all about the letter Ee!

Linking up at Gathering Place