Sunday, December 13, 2015

saying yes...

   I am blessed with nine gorgeous children, and I will be the first to tell you there is no greater thing you can do with your life than mother your children.  My decision to go to Guatemala with my three oldest children in March had nothing do to with the fact that I think we would make a good missionary team or that "wanting" to go was on my bucket list.  It was my husband that suggested I do this,  I  however couldn't seen how this could work. How can I leave my little people and one with special needs for 12 days? They are so young and they need their mama home.  But as Chris persisted and pointed out to me that our older children also need their mom at this age and to experience new things and grow together a nervous excitement began to bubble. I knew he was right, and I know first hand that we serve an unbelievably gracious God, a God who honours a willing heart. My love for babies and small children comes from the overflow of God's love for me and I know that amazing things happen when we make ourselves available for his service. In no way do I feel mentally or emotionally ready to leave, panic and anxiety set in the moment I start to think about it, I am not qualified to teach or really do anything but I am qualified to love. So as the weeks get closer and plane tickets get purchased the excitement grows.. an adventure. An adventure with my children who I have tirelessly raised in the way they should go, praying daily they will not depart from it. An adventure to see where God takes us and moves our hearts. A chance to lavish abandon babies in love and pour into them every ounce I have within me. A chance to take my busy and full, chaotic at times but wonderful life and be stretched in ways that can only produce beauty and growth. Despite my frailties, and little faith knowing this opportunity is in the centre of God's will. No matter how scared I am God's plan will unfold for his glory.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Christmas = Cold/Flu Season Grace in Every Season

                     It's that time of year that sparks panic in every medical mama... Cold and flu season. Every single one of us holds our breath weighing each and every outing or if having company is safe or not. This past week alone our heart community lost 5 children. FIVE! It's hard to even wrap your head around that and most don't want to think about it.  I am learning that being a mom with a child with medical needs is a journey of intense sorrow and pain. We walk a little quieter, we take in every moment and we cry a little more.  We hunt for those that are walking this lonely dusty road and clutch hands and hang on. Most of the time those around us see our life just going on between appointments and Facebook updates but there are nights that we are scared to close our eyes.  You often hear cardiac moms tell stories of their child stumping doctors or things are not going as the text book says, and because of that we questions everything, we count their breaths before we roll over, we wake up 4, 5, 6 ,7 times a night to make sure they are breathing. That relax moment never seems to come. 

I am coming to terms that people don't know how to function in a relationship when things are always changing. People like neat and tidy. My heart breaks every time we walk through our church doors and I  quickly package away the sorrow so that I don't make anyone uncomfortable. The truth is I am scared to be there,  scared to worship, scared what it will look like if the pain came pouring out on a Sunday morning. Could they handle it?  do they love us enough to pick up the broken pieces of a mothers heart? 

I thank God that He is accepts my offering of cupped hands of salty tears, that He reaches his arms out and pulls me in close to whisper strength to keep going on this journey of motherhood. 

Jesus knows the ache of a mother as he watched his own mother at his feet suffering in her grief for her son.
I have never felt so completely empty of myself, I am weak with flaws breathless with trembling and it is in those moments that His strength pushes me forward. Fills my cup a little more to pour into these lives he has given me.  How could one not love a life filled with children? It's impossible not to. He places seasons in our life to slow down and find the beauty. I am thankful for what this little boy has brought to my life..... forgiveness because people really don't know.  To be kind and a little more gentle with people's hearts. I read a quote this week from a mom that lost her baby at eight days old to trisomy 13 God told the mother that her son “has more purpose than just fulfilling your motherhood.”
 It's here... right here in the pain that God works. I get glimpse's of His Glory and I keep going.. keep praying. 



Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Last April I went to an Above Rubies retreat with a friend. (a retreat for mothers) There was a woman there with her 10th baby, I strongly felt the Holy Spirit nudge me to ask about her baby's health. This was extremely awkward. Her baby was so tiny and over 6 months she insisted she was happy and eating great. I asked her to ask her peditrcian about getting her heart checked. I wrestled with feeling dumb or questioning if I'm just so overly cautious now. Last week I found out from the cordinator of the retreat that the baby was in Bc Children's hospital with heart problems and a tumour on her lung. The very next day I was on my way to BCCH with Henry and was able to reconnect with this mama.   I am so happy I listened to that quiet small voice of the Holy Spirit. This mama said after the retreat she hounded her doctor to do more testing. Later that week they found out the baby will have half her lung removed. 

We decorated for Christmas. The season to be jolly and making the most of it, baking cookies, wrapping presents etc.. This season has so many memories and traditions when you have a house full of little children you can't help but be excited. This year our extended family has decided to not exchange gifts but to spend three days together enjoying family. This has hugely cut down my time away from home and not spending so much time shopping.  For one month I love that adults and children spent extra time together, making special food and decorating the house. I believe its these family traditions that can unite a family and children when grown with have strong joyful memories to draw on.
 Our cosy living room is our family gathering place. Every morning this is where we meet to read our bible and pray.  We recently started in Genesis again and will work our way through.  I don't if there is any better way to start your day than hearing the prayers of your children. From Seamus and Henry's squeezed eyes shut and baby babble to two strong young men with bold powerful prayers.
 It's during this time I am reminded again how blessed I am.

  Last week school was a little bit of write off, we got in 2.5 good days but with me in Vancouver and dad home the kids got a little break.   Jude and Rachael have been enjoying a math game called Gone Fishing. I love when we can incorporate games into our learning and they don't feel it's school work.

We will be using the month of December to do all things Christmas when it comes to our book work.
Rachael is doing a little a few work sheets called "Hot Chocolate Math" and Jude and Rachael are writing with writing prompts "If I were an Elf".  We will slow down on our formal studies and bring in more seasonal and fun things.
As soon as our day wraps up everyone runs outside to sled until I am calling them as it gets dark. As much as I love summer and the long days there is something about the chilly nights and crackling fire that bring a family together.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

It's Portfolio Time!

  Originally I thought we were going to dive into French and we may still, but with our little one Henry who is not verbal sign language became a family must. As Henry grows communicating is hugely important for this development so this naturally became and open door for a second language.
Some of the resources we have gathered are geared for the younger ages but this has worked out to be a blessing. The children are eager to practise with the twins, do puzzles, watch the sign language shows all while practising.  They can also be found  trying out there new signs and trying to tell secrets to each other.  The Signing Time DVD's are amazing and I highly recommend them. The songs are catchy and you pick up the signs really fast. A strong point of the Signing Time videos is the fact that each word is demonstrated by several different people. This is important, because everyone signs a little differently. Other videos, which generally use only one demonstrator, have left me wondering how exact I have to be in imitating the sign in order to have it recognized as the intended sign.

For bible right now we are reading through the book of John and really focusing on the way Jesus spoke.  Along side that the children are working through CLE bible work books. We have family prayer once a day. We pray for the continuing needs of friends and family sharing praises we hear about as well. We also use this time to share what is on our hearts of what the Lord is speaking to us about or how we can better handle lives situations.  As well as Sunday worship service together.

Natalie, Rachael, Presley, and Jude are enjoying there dances class once a week, and I must say little boys dancing has got to be thee cutest thing ever. The boys class tends to get a little rowdy causing my boys to get a little flustered with the misbehaviour but they are learning how to use their boundaries and that they don't have to put up with the annoying behaviours of their peers. We did a little bit of role playing at home giving them some helpful suggestion on how to handle these types of situations.  We talked about what it means to be bold in different areas of life. For example: 

Consistently living out the character standards the family has set for themselves, even if others do not understand. Not being afraid to walk away from friends who are engaged in foolish or harmful activities.
The girls however dance beautifully and love there classes every week, spending hours together during the week practicing. 

We used the months of September and October to do the Human Body and for the month of November we will be focusing strongly on Social Studies.  Right now we are building land formations of the continents with salt dough. I plan to show the completed project in an upcoming blog post, but will show a sneak peak tomorrow on Instagram. 

Today was also a very important day for our country as out new prime minister was sworn in. We watched  some of the news coverage as it all unfolded. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Life In The Blood - Week Six

I apologize with the lack of school posts, In the last two weeks a number of our little people have been back and forth to the hospital including a trip to BC Children's. While there have been lack of posts there is plenty of work being done. 
 My plan was to cover the human body in a month but it just wasn't enough time. I am hoping to wrap this up at the end of October.
Topics we covered this week were, our circulatory system, arterioles, venues, oxygenated and deoxygenated blood.  This came really easy to them  because they have an excellent understanding of the heart. [[A topic that is next week]].

 The blood that flows through this network of veins and arteries is whole blood, which contains three types of blood cells:
  1. red blood cells (RBCs)
  2. white blood cells (WBCs)
  3. platelets
In babies and young kids, blood cells are made within the bone marrow (the soft tissue inside of bones), particularly in the long bones like the humerus (the upper arm bone) and femur (the thigh bone). But, as kids get older and approach adulthood, blood cells are made mostly in the bone marrow of the vertebrae (the bones of the spine), ribs, pelvis, skull, sternum (the breastbone).
The cells travel through the circulatory system suspended in a yellowish fluid called plasma, which is 90% water and contains nutrients, proteins, hormones, and waste products. Whole blood is a mixture of blood cells and plasma.
 In the photo below Natalie and Presley created the make up of blood. 
Red blood cells [[ Mike N Ike's]] (RBCs, also called erythrocytes) are shaped like slightly indented, flattened disks. RBCs contain the iron-rich protein hemoglobin. Blood gets its bright red color when hemoglobin picks up oxygen in the lungs. As the blood travels through the body, the hemoglobin releases oxygen to the tissues.
The body contains more RBCs than any other type of cell, and each has a life span of about 4 months. Each day, the body produces new RBCs to replace those that die or are lost from the body.
White blood cells [[Scottish mint]](WBCs, also called leukocytes) are a key part of the body's system for defending itself against infection (this system is called the immune system). They can move in and out of the bloodstream to reach affected tissues.
Blood contains far fewer WBCs than red blood cells, although the body can increase WBC production to fight infection. There are several types of WBCs, and their life spans vary from a few days to months. New cells are constantly being formed in the bone marrow.
Several different parts of blood are involved in fighting infection.

Corn Syrup was used for the Plasma. A liquid that carries nutrients, hormones, and proteins through the body.  

 This weeks coffee table books.

The interactive notebooking Natalie and Presley are doing is a little over Rachael and Jude's heads so we've been doing lots of hands on learning.
Rachael and Jude putting the pieces in the right places using the anatomy apron. 

     This a fantastic wood puzzle building the layers of the human body.  Jude has been really enjoying this puzzle and seeing how fast he can get it.

 We have been going over the names of different bones, even right down to the youngest two littles. In the photo below Seamus was asked "Where are your Phalanges? Smart little cookie knew right away but also pointed to the toes!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Digestive and Renal Systems Week four

Because we regularly work with a GI doctor at BC Children's Hospital this unit was fascinating for the kids. It helped us all understand how each little system works.  We took a measuring tape and measured out 20 feet, it was amazing to think something that long fits inside you. 

Digestion Theme Park
Our Friday project this week was to design a digestion theme park. On a piece of paper they had to write down all the different organs of the digestive system. Then on separate sheet of paper brainstorm each attraction and what it will look like. 
Using construction paper they began building the theme park. 

A few more photos from our school week. 

On the first day of autumn my middles and littles painted fall trees using TP rolls. 
They turned out super cute!

Autumn Leaf Mandala - "When finished, collect leaves in a basket, and ceremoniously release into moving water or back into nature. This reminds us of the sweet impermanence of life and the joy of letting go." 
                       For baby school we are going through all our colours while we have a bath.
Seamus mimic's "boo baff" and "wed baff"  we are also signing the colours for Henry as well. Two is one of my favourite ages. Everyday they are learning something new or saying something new. It's just too much fun! Ahh twins!

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Muscular System Week Three

                        With uncles that body build the kids were right into this lesson.  One of the first things we did  was weigh everyone we then multiplied the kids weight by 0.40 to show them how much muscle they had. They were impressed to learn their muscle made up 40% of their weight.

  We got out a timer and set it for five minutes, Natalie and Presley held their arms straight out away from their body, after 2 minutes both of them said they were getting sore. We talked while they were holding their arms out how the cells in the muscles were taking turns doing the work, but then they became tired. As a result, it starts to hurt your arms. The nerves don't get tired, but the muscles do! We talked about doing this everyday and that eventually the muscles would get stronger, and get larger.

Let's Face It!
We tried to make as many facial expressions as we could to move our muscles in our face. 
This is Natalie's "mad" although she kept laughing. 

                     Henry copying his siblings doing "surprised". So cute!

                                                   Friday's Experiment! Growing Muscle

This week as we discussed the more you use a muscle, the bigger it grows and the better it works.  We did an experiment, where we predicted how many times they could open and close a clothespin with their right hand for one minute.  We set the timer and began counting. It's a lot harder than it sounds! They are to do this everyday for a week and make a graph for the results and will likely see as the week goes on the will be able to do it more times in a minute than earlier in the week.

And a sneak peak at the notebook. [Presley's]