That is how far along I am with this pregnancy. I wish I could say that it has flown by, but honestly I am starting to feel like I have been pregnant forever. This has been a really challenging pregnancy, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. I thought that after having three children I'd be a pro at this pregnancy thing, but the Lord has found new ways to stretch my soul. Things have happened this time around that didn't happen last time-- like moving, having to choose a new care provider, having her hang out breech for several weeks (she is head down now), and having my feet swell up like an elephant (really, they are awful). I feel like I have been given a crash course in faith, patience, endurance, empathy, and sacrifice this pregnancy... and at times it has been a rough road. Yet as I reflect on the journey I have been on the last 9 months, I can really see how I have grown. I am already grateful to this little spirit for teaching me those lessons.
I am down to weekly appointments with my midwife. At my last visit it dawned on me that I am really going to miss going to my appointments. We have to travel to get to her office and so the kids and I always have lunch afterwards at a splash pad near her office. It has been a wonderful part of our summer, and I am going to miss it. It almost makes me hope that this baby doesn't come for a few more weeks so that we can go a few more times before it closes for the Fall.
Being there last time reminded me to treasure these moments. Treasure the last few weeks that this little person is inside of me. Treasure her kicks and her wiggle worm ways. Treasure the way that our bodies are not two separate people yet. Treasure those moments in the morning when, before my prayers, I sing to her. And treasure the last few weeks of being a mom to just three of these little yahoos.
Yet want to know the strangest part?
It feels like she is already here.
I can't tell you how often Jon and I have told people that we have four kids lately. Or how one of us is always feeling like one of the kids is missing. Even today, one of the ladies at the homeschool group asked me, "You have four kids, right?" I was just about to say "yes" when I realized that I didn't quite have four yet. "Oh that is funny", she said, "I thought you had four."
It will be nice to have her earth-side, but it is amazing how strong this little spirit's presence is. She is definitely already a part of our family.
We undertook our first official "farming" adventure a few weeks ago. We have been lamenting the fact that our field has been growing a nice crop of grass and weeds, and that we don't have the right equipment to do anything with it. Jon has been drooling over tractors on Craigslist (all of which we can't afford) and in the process found a local high school boy who had a hay mowing business and was looking for fields to mow.
|Our field being mowed, the tractor is all the way at the end|
In high school Jon and his brothers had a lawn mowing business, but I guess high school boys here in Iowa have hay mowing business... who'd a thought?
So we hired him to come mow, rake, and bale the grass (um, weeds?) into hay for us. He did a really good job and it was fun to watch him work in the field. Though I think Jon wished he was the one driving the tractor :)
And of course, it has been dry as a bone here the last month, but as soon as we wanted to cut hay it threatened rain. He actually had it all raked and ready to bale on Saturday, and was planing on doing it on Sunday but we asked him if he would wait and do it on Monday, even though Monday it was suppose to rain. Luckily it only sprinkled a little on Monday and so we were still able to get it in before it rained hard the next day.
A tender mercy, for sure.
Jon and Asher got to help bring the bales in from the field and load them in the barn. Jon was in his element. At one point he pulled up in the truck, with hay sticking out of his hair, a big smile on his face, and exclaimed, "Heather, I'm baling hay!" I think he felt like a regular- wanna-be- farm boy. It was hard work, but I think both Jon and Asher loved it. Abe wasn't so fond of the hay though (it is poky) and Rose fell asleep on the couch during it all.
They have things here called "Threshing Bees" where they showcase antique farm equipment and get it up and running. We went to one near us a few weekends ago and it was really fun. They had old, old steam tractors (the oldest one was 1910ish) running full steam and were threshing oats, plowing fields, and shucking corn with them.
|It wasn't just for display, they actually had it running which was cool!|
|This is the type of picture that if I was a good photographer would have been incredible. So just use your imagination :)|
|Riding in a buggy pulled by mules, I'd never seen a mule before!|
|Biggest straw pile ever|
It has been really funny to me how passionate people can be about tractors. I never though much about them before we moved here, but now they are a common part of everyday life. People don't so much display the colors of the college they are loyal too, but they do make it known which color tractor brand they are loyal too. The three big ones where we live are:
Green= John Deere
Blue= New Holland
Also, out West they have rodeos, while in the Midwest they have tractor pulls, in which people compete to see how much weight their tractor (or mega suped up truck) can pull. We saw one at the county fair and it was really strange. It might take me a while to get use to all the tractor-love, though I think that Jon has been bit by the tractor-love-bug big time.
|Future tractor lovers of America?|
We took a bit of a break from our homeschool because we went to Utah for a wedding, which was wonderful. We got back into the swing of things this week and it was cute to see that Abe was the one most excited about "doing school" again. Every morning we sing an alphabet song and point at the letters on our chart. I didn't realize how much he was paying attention until, when I turned on the music, he pulled out the chart and started to point at letters. It is amazing to me how much he learns just by watching.
We are also almost finished with the whole alphabet (we just have "z" left to do next week) and our kitchen wall is filled with the kid's letters.
Rose is doing really well at writing her name and at recognizing most of the letters. I think Asher is getting really close to being ready to read. He is starting to sound things out and is really interested in reading whatever he can find. It is exciting to see how in just a month or two he has gone from not being interested in letters or reading at all, to being ready to read. It is giving me hope that I am not going to totally screw up my children, because some days it feels like it!
The other wall in our house that is getting covered is our dining room wall. We started talking about different classifications of vertebrates this week and made an animal chart on our wall.
Every day I have been hiding different animal cards (which I got here) around the house. The kids go on an "animal hunt", find them, and then have to classify them into which type of animal they are (mammal, amphibian, bird, turtle, or fish). It has been a big success and has been a good way to introduce the different groups. After we finish "hunting" all the cards then we will study each individual group separately. Mostly, that means that I plan on getting a big stack of books about each type of animal from the library and reading them while I nurse a new baby. I also got the Planet Earth series and plan on utilizing that a lot the first few weeks the baby is around.
Which hopefully won't be too much longer :)
Okay, and just one last thing, because I can't resist it.
He is an Araucana rooster and is really gorgeous. The first few days we had him the hens just followed him around in a pack. He is kind of a Rockstar.
Besides, he lets Asher snuggle him like this.
Which is just weird.