Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Preschool Passover

Lighting the Candles. You will have to excuse my hair...I meant to be wearing my head covering to avoid showing off my awesome hairdo!

It has been about a month since I last updated you on our neighborhood preschool group, and yet again we are up for anything wild and crazy!! This month we took a spring break and an extra week off as we will be loosing 2 students due to their dad being deployed very soon. We spent time this month learning about the letters F and G, St. Patrick's Day, the color Green, the shape square, and sequencing. This week, we had a Preschool Passover! We had a total of 6 kids ranging in ages from 2 to 5 and had a great time!!

Blessing the children and tasting the bitter herbs dipped in salt water to represent the tears of Israel.

One of my hobbies is genealogy, and as I have mentioned on here before, some of David's family is Jewish. While we attend a church, I have spent time studying Hebrew and Jewish beliefs and holidays to better understand my genealogical research. One thing that has struck me over and over is the excellent teaching methods used in the Jewish faith. While Christianity does use some hands on learning, it is not anywhere close to the extent the Jews go to. Everything is all about eating, drinking, moving, participating, etc in learning about your faith. There is very little of the "sit down, be quiet, and listen" approach that is so very often prevalent in churches today. As everyone in our preschool group follows the Christian faith, we used the Preschool Passover to teach some of our own beliefs, and the kids seemed to have a great time!

Breaking and hiding the matza. Getting ready to color and do the sedar plate!

First we had the kids clean up the toys for Passover. Then I hid piece of bread around the house for them to find, and we made a big to do about throwing all of the bread out of the house! (As you are only supposed to have flat bread during the 8 days of the Passover celebration.) Then we lit the holiday candles. (I actually got to use the candlesticks a relative had brought David's grandmother back from Israel!) I recited the candle lighting blessing in Hebrew and English. Then we had our first glass of grape juice. Then we blessed each child present. That was the last of the blessings we included (since most of our crowd was 3 and under)! Then it was time to wash hands and tell the story of why we celebrate Passover. I made a tent and dressed up in clothes similar to a Jew during the time of Passover (The costume wasn't exact, but it was as close as I could get in my very pregnant state).

Jessica coloring her sedar book, and me explaining the sedar plate.

In the tent we told the story of the 10 plagues and how Pharaoh finally let the Israelites go. I have to say, you don't realize it until you are telling a bunch of two year olds, but it has quite a few gross and sad details. We also had snacks and tried bits of parsley (that was not popular). We also broke the matza and hid a piece for the kids to find later. Then it was time to wash our hands again and head back to the table for coloring our Passover booklets, snacks, and yet another cup of grape juice! At this point we also went over the different parts of the sedar plate and what each symbolizes. Then the kids got up to search for the hidden piece of matza in hopes of earning a prize! Then we had a little outside play time while lunch was finishing. We had Matza Ball soup, Israeli couscous, Mediterranean crackers, matza, as well as an American appetizer platter. The kids were a little unsure about the Jewish food, but it was a good experience. Finally we had the after dinner prayer, more grape juice and matzah, and all shouted "Next year in Jerusalem."

More pictures of the kids attending so well!

It was a lot of fun and a great way to teach Christian children about the Bible and the Jewish traditions/holidays they read about so often in the Bible. It is also an excellent opportunity for me to teach my children about the traditions and beliefs of one side of our family. Preparing for our Preschool Passover also further impressed on me the significance of the Passion Week events. For example, Jesus (Yeshua in Hebrew) came into Jerusalem (the Triumphal Entry) on the day that Jews would have been selecting their lambs to sacrifice. He was crucified at the time of Passover (exact times tend to be up to interpretation). He rose from the dead on the Day of First Fruits, when the first of the harvest is coming in, and His Spirit came to dwell with his disciples after the Counting of the Omer, on Shavout, which commemorates the giving of the 10 commandments. If you are interested in learning more about Passover or Christian beliefs relating to Passover, I read information from many different sources and many different branches of Judaism; however, from a Christian perspective, my favorite site is www.hebrew4christians.com

Disclaimer: I am not an expert on Judaism so there may be errors. I would also like to add that there is no disrespect intended toward anyone.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Third Trimester (31 weeks)

At 31 weeks, barefoot and pregnant ;-)

Well, we just got back from our loonngg morning at the doctor's office! We got all of our insurance information on file at the hospital (unless David's job changes their insurance - which they have been talking about). We also watched the jaundice video as well as the anesthesia video (which is required in the event that you change your mind, have to have a c-section, etc). This is a much smaller labor and delivery ward than Baptist where we delivered Jessica; however, that may prove to be nice as Baptist managed to loose my dinner for 3 hours after Jessica's delivery. I was pretty hungry and none to happy to get a cold hospital dinner 3 hours later!!! This hospital says that I will get a "celebration dinner" with my choice of steak, roasted chicken, or catch of the day! I also think we will really like our experience at this hospital because this is where my new ob-gyn delivers, and he is totally awesome!! (Seriously, I have never had a doctor give a better exam!) Jessica did great through all of this! Then we took a little break to get a snack and run around Sears. (Jessica really enjoyed the riding lawn mowers and exercise equipment!!)

Just so you can see the watermelon I am carrying under my dress! ;-) By the way, isn't this a cute dress? I was really unsure about the style in the store, but I loved the color! Glad I ended up getting it!

Next on our list was a visit to see my ob-gyn. I have been really tired and feeling very uncomfortable all week. Last night I kept waking up to the sensation of something trying to punch a hole through my cervix!! As it turns out, John has turned to head down! Yay!! The doctor is pretty certain that he will be staying in that position until delivery! He also checked, and although John's head is sitting on my bladder and I have been having strange sensations, I have not started dilating, which is Great News at this point in the game!! Everything else seems to be checking out just right: blood pressure, weight gain, measurements, etc. In case you are curious, I have gained roughly 30 lbs this pregnancy. The same amount I gained with Jessica, which is just perfect for my body. I will need all the extra weight to burn while nursing John and keeping up with a busy 2 year old!! I think of it like a bear putting on weight before winter hibernation!! :-) This last week was pretty tough, but I am feeling good knowing that everything is going along just perfectly! Hopefully I can get some more work done on Jessica's Easter dress this weekend and do some shopping for Passover!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

So....tired......can't seem to wake up!

I think the tail end of this pregnancy is beginning to take its toll. I have tried this time around to be appreciative of the fact that 1) I am able to get pregnant and 2) that we have a healthy baby on the way. However, I am really beginning to wear out!!! I also think I am going to have to stop picking Jessica up entirely for the rest of this pregnancy. I am carrying so low that I get weird sensations when I pick her up. We are going to the doctor Friday, so I will ask questions, post a picture and an update then.

PS I am also beginning to get the urge to start really cooking again! I have zero energy during most of my pregnancies so we do a lot of prepackaged meals and eat out more than usual. Very soon it will be time to change that trend, especially since my babies tend to be sensitive to onions and onions are in almost EVERYTHING! So...be on the look out for some more cooking related posts soon!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Oh my bags are packed.....I'm ready to go....

Have I ever mentioned that I love Peter, Paul, and Mary? At any rate, I got home a couple hours ago and am about to crash in my bed, but I wanted to post a picture my Dad took tonight before Jessica and I went through security at the airport tonight.

Note the toddler on the back, huge pregnant belly, rolling back with carseat bungee corded on, and the second carry-on on my shoulder....and still smiling!! We got tons of help at the airport and had a very easy trip back home. We really enjoyed our trip to Memphis, but we are glad to be home with Daddy!

Friday, March 12, 2010

More Walking in Memphis...

Today's "Jessica outing" was a trip to the Memphis Zoo! Jessica's only complaint was that there was too much walking between the different exhibits! She does not do so well with delayed gratification (which makes sense as she is not even 3 yet)! Grandpa, Grandma, Uncle John, and Aunt Ashley went with us. You will see that Jessica and I are dressed in long sleeves and hats to avoid exposure to the sun.

Checking out the monkeys with Aunt Ashley

The whole group minus Grandpa

Jessica's favorite animals are birds and fish

Changing hats with Grandpa

Looking adorable at the Polar Bear exhibit....I can't figure out who her expression looks like in this picture.

Finding something to climb

The sheep are pretty neat.

...but she LOVED the chickens....maybe Daddy will let us get some chickens to raise this spring.....

Checking out the egg in the barnyard

Uncle John, Aunt Ashley, and Jessica riding the cow!

Jessica had a great time at the zoo. She would have preferred more climbing and less looking at animals though! She should be exhausted now....if only she would fall asleep so I can take a nap too! :-)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Walking in Memphis...

We have been having a pretty low key trip, so far. However, we have been making special morning "Jessica outings" to keep her from climbing the walls of the house! Today we visited The Children's Museum, and she had a wonderful time! She loved wandering around all over the place! Her favorite exhibits were the toddler exhibit, the firetruck, the police car, and the Auto Zone (she really enjoyed turning the crank on the 4 cylinder engine!!)

She also enjoyed jammin' with Grandpa on the drums and piano!!

Her verbal communication is really beginning to take off. She has started calling my dad "Pa" and has started using a few other words as well!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I'm Leavin' On a Jet Plane...

Jessica and I left yesterday for Memphis to visit family. My mom has not been feeling 100% and could not travel to see us, so we traveled to see them instead. We had quite the adventure! Jessica had never flown before, and it had been several years since the last time I had flown (without a child). I had it all set up...Jessica was on my back in an Ergo carrier (which is awesome by the way), I had a rolling carry-on with all of our clothes that had the car seat bungee corded to the top, and finally I had a carry-on bag on my shoulder with things to keep Jessica busy! I packed only the bare essentials!

We made it through security without any trouble, and everyone was very nice to us. Then we got all situated on the plane only to find out that the windshield had just busted! Then we had to go past security down to the ticket counter where (after an hour of standing in line) they gave us a flight that night with a layover in Atlanta...so much for our non-stop flight!! They also gave us meal vouchers. Jessica and I went back through security which took much longer as they were busier now. Then we went and picked up some not so yummy food. By the time we made it to our gate most everyone had already loaded....and we were on row 37!!! We made it back there only to discover that we weren't supposed to leave the rolling bag at the front of this type of airplane, so another mom watched Jessica while I went to retrieve our bag. Finally, we sat down and ate dinner while the plane took off. Jessica did not each much and then started playing with the things I had brought for her (art supplies). I realized by the end of the flight that I should never bring her lots of things to do when traveling. All I need to bring is a big tablet of stickers!!

Jessica playing in the terminal before boarding our first flight (the one with the busted windshield)!

We finally arrived in Atlanta, and everyone was very nice to me! I really looked quite pitiful!! I'll get a picture of us before we leave to go home. I looked very obviously pregnant with a toddler on my back and lots of luggage! Amazingly it worked quite well. Once we unloaded in Atlanta I had less than an hour to get where we were going. Amazingly, I managed to find the escalator to take us to the train, board the train, get off at the right terminal, walk all the way to the end of the terminal (with Jessica still on my back and all of our luggage) to the right gate! We made it with almost 20 minutes to spare!! I got Jessica's diaper changed and let her wear the monkey backpack so she could move around. I am glad I wasn't depending on that to move about the terminal.....that would have never worked!! She got so distracted by all the things there were to look at that she never would have gotten where we needed to go! Finally we boarded the flight for Memphis. I am not entirely certain the man next to me was drunk, but he definitely smelled of alcohol and ordered two shots on the plane! On the bright side he was a happy drunk and chatted with me the entire flight! Jessica was tired but played with stickers until the last 5 minutes.

Jessica still reasonably happy about 10 minutes before we landed!

Our flight was the last flight coming into Memphis. My brother was supposed to meet our flight but couldn't meet us that late so Mom came to get us. We were the last ones out and made quite a picture coming down the terminal. Overall, we still had a good trip, despite it not going as I had so carefully planned! Jessica is an amazing kid! She goes with the flow so easily! And I will say the Ergo carrier is awesome!!! It was the perfect way for a very pregnant me to transport a very busy toddler all over the Southeast! Hope you enjoyed the pictures and retelling of our adventure (My husband says my family knows how to tell a yarn...). Hopefully I'll have more pictures up soon....including one of us as we are leaving Memphis with all of our gear!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

More Fun in the Sun!

I have mentioned several times on here that being out in the sun is rather expensive for us. I cheap out on a lot of things, but health related expenses is NEVER one of them! You only get one body, and replacement parts are difficult if not impossible to come by!! I have already shown you pictures of the swimsuits I have bought for Jessica and myself. These swimsuits are Stingrays, an Australian brand, and block over 97.5% of the sun's rays. I particularly like them because they give the trunk very good coverage. Although women are more likely to develop melanoma on their legs and men on their backs, mine have always been on my back, and I have found that it can be difficult to get sunblock in all of the crevices that exist on the trunk as opposed to the arms and legs.

Recently, I ordered new sunblock. Since Jessica was born, I have been ordering Lavera Neutral Sunscreen Spray. Every sunscreen I have tried makes my skin (my face especially) sting until I scrub it off! Actually, it feels like my face is burning! I do have pretty sensitive skin; however, I think Jessica's may be even more sensitive than mine. Because this is the only sunscreen I can wear on my face without it stinging, it is the only sunscreen I will use on the kids until they can tell me whether or not a particular sunscreen makes their skin sting. I have actually been using it on Jessica since before she was 6 months old. It was the only sunscreen my mom and I were able to track down that we felt would be gentle enough for her skin, and we have never had a problem! The other awesome thing about it is that it works instantly....no 30 minute waiting period!!

It is also a very "green" sunscreen for those of you interested in that. At this point I just want something that won't sting my skin and will protect me from UV rays! I tend to use my skin's sensitivity as a test to how safe or organic a product might be. This year, Lavera had to reformulate all of their sunscreens to match the new, stricter guidelines put out by the EU. The goal was to raise the amount of UVA rays blocked by sunscreen. Typically only the amount of UVB rays blocked are reported. I ended up buying the original version (from a store in Canada because no one else would ship to the USA) because Lavera has not had time to finish reformulating all of their sunscreen products, and I am quite partial to the Lavera Neutral Sunscreen Spray! Lavera has also done an excellent job of trying to block high levels of UVA, UVB, and UVC rays even before the new standards were released, so I feel completely comfortable using their products on myself and my children!

Friday, March 5, 2010


Well, it has truly been an eventful last couple of days around here! It all started very early on Wednesday morning, when I woke up feeling like I had food poisoning. I eventually went back to bed and aside from feeling tired felt ok. Jessica and I eventually got out and ran a couple errands and then came home and both took naps. I woke up feeling absolutely terrible. By the time David got home around 6pm, Jessica was waking up from her nap, and I was puking in a bucket. I thought it would get better from there, but it didn't. By 8 pm I was groaning in the bathroom floor with every joint in my body aching and an over powering feeling of nausea raking through me. It was at this point, David called our friend, Christopher to come over and watch Jessica so he could take me to the ER. Christopher said Jessica went to bed super easily "she curled up with her baby and went to sleep." He did mentioned that he plans to start calling her monkey...we assume he is referring to the fact that she likes to use her bunk bed as a jungle gym! She may be a very busy child, but I have to say we have never had any real trouble out of her with eating or sleeping (well except when she was a month old and decided she didn't need naps anymore.....and and the occasional nap strike). She really is a sweet, easy-going, and independent child!

We were really hoping to make it through this pregnancy without a trip to the ER... (You know you live in a small town and have visited the ER one too many times when the doctor comes in the room and remembers you!) At any rate, they gave me two bags of fluids and some anti-nausea medicine. Turns out I had an (awful) gastrointestinal virus and a UTI infection. Combine all of that with being pregnant with a very active baby (We've had two doctors mention his activity level in the last week....and the last doctor couldn't tell what position he was in because he wouldn't quit moving! I just don't think a calm baby is in the gene pool...), who kept kicking me in the ribs while I felt so awful! Getting rid of the nausea helped as well as getting some antibiotics, but David still had to do much of the talking, help get me into and out of the gown, help me get on and off the bed....the joint pain was pretty killer. Unfortunately, the only thing I could take was Tylenol and not very often because of the pregnancy. The trip home was not fabulous as the car ride seemed to make me feel even more nauseated than I already felt!

Today David stayed home, went to the grocery store, took care of Jessica, etc. After a day of laying around and taking medicine, I think I will survive tomorrow ok without him. (He's trying to save enough off time so that he can stay home with us the first week after the baby is born.) I can only assume I caught it from Jessica, but she was never really conclusively sick. Thankfully, David seems to have avoided the awful virus. Unfortunately, we seem to have passed it on to some of our friends down the street! I am definitely glad this seems to be passing, albeit a little bit slower for me given the fact that I also have a UTI and am pregnant. Now that I have had my brief trip out of the bed, I am going back to bed to hopefully have a good nights sleep and a better day tomorrow!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Just Ordered....

I just ordered Jessica's Stingray Swimsuit tonight! Isn't it just too darn cute???

It also covers everything but her face, lower arms, and lower legs, providing her entire trunk with protection from 97.5% of UVA/UVB rays!!! I've said it once, twice, three times, etc, and I will continue saying it, "Protecting our kids from UVA/UVB rays is a HUGE priority for me!" I find my paranoia completely understandable considering that I am a melanoma survivor! However, I have also made an effort to make sure that our children do not end up looking like complete dorks. I go to great lengths to find cute, well cut swimsuits that still offer great protection from the sun! Hence why I actually ordered this swimsuit from Australia... Just so you know....I did get a good deal: free shipping made this suit about the same price as the one offered in the United States that was not nearly as cute!! I am hopeful that this suit will last 2 years....cross your fingers for me!!!