Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Busy, Busy

The last few weeks has been unusually busy.  We've had new carpet installed in two bedrooms upstairs, and we're turning over the condo after having wonderful renters for three years.  It's very difficult to get major work like painting done with two young children so I've done a lot of the house work during nap times, and Davin's been spending most evenings at the condo.  Let's just say we're both pretty tired but things will hopefully slow down soon.

In other news Desmond is doing well with homeschooling and can read small books.  He's quite the little helper and recently has been eager to do extra chores to earn a little spending money.  I love seeing how he's growing in so many ways.

Kaylynn just moved into her new big sister room.  She was with Desmond for about a week while we ripped out carpet and painted so it's nice to have them back in their own rooms again.  She has more space now and the baby will get the small room.  Kaylynn's also recently started drawing people in her doodles.  So cute!  Also she has taken quite an interest in her wardrobe.  She changes her outfit multiple times a day and has definite opinions on what shirt goes with what pants.  

Baby is doing well and moves a lot.  I wish I could peak inside to see what in the world he or she is doing in there!  Only about ten weeks left.

We got our Christmas tree last weekend and the house feels festive for Christmas.  The outside lights are only halfway done and I forgot to water the tree for the last few days, but hey, life is happening around here and we do what we can when we can.  I'm learning to simplify and try to let go of my perfectionistic ways and overachiever goals.  A happy, healthy home is my goal so I have to remind myself about what's really important when my to do list is longer than the hours in the day.  I still need to take time to build LEGOs and play ring-around-the-rosie.  The cleaning can wait... though the laundry needs washed sometime.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

October Outings

It's fun to play with the kids and enjoy the things they enjoy.  Recent family outings include a day at Bi-Zi Farms where we picked pumpkins...
 And a Halloween night at Real Life Church.  Desmond was Swampy from the "Where's my Water?" game and Kaylynn was her favorite cartoon character Doc McStuffins.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Health Insurance

We are blessed to have Davin's health insurance covered by work, and we qualify for the kids to be mostly covered by the state.  I, however, am a different story.  We make too much for me to qualify for state assistance. We don't make enough to foot the $500/month bill to add me to Davin's insurance. So I have an individual plan with Kaiser.  Since I first got my plan in 2009 my premiums have increased by about 100%, but coverage has remained the same and is good.  2014 changes all that.  

My plan is being discontinued and I have to pick a new one for January.  The best plan Kaiser can now offer me increases my premiums by a considerable amount and drops coverage by a shocking degree leaving me paying 80% more for the combined premium and out of pocket maximum amounts.  This is a problem with an upcoming hospital stay to deliver my baby.  The amount of extra money we have to come up with for my 2014 health insurance exceeds the amount we've budgeted and diligently started saving up over the course of a year and a half to take a ten year anniversary cruise.  To put it in perspective another way, the extra money we'll pay for Kaiser insurance would feed our family for about 10 months. Wow.

So now I'm in research mode, and I'm fairly certain I'll be switching insurance companies.  Regence seems to have the best coverage for the lowest premium so far.  It will save a couple thousand over Kaiser's plan.

I'm also researching my birthing options.  My last cesarean cost about $14000 before insurance and with worse coverage I have to look at the total cost since we'll be paying a higher percentage of it.  My doctor says I could have a trial of labor.  That is now deemed acceptable for women with no more than two cesareans.  (It used to be only one.)  Vaginal birth costs much less overall, but I'm nervous about trying it.  A home birth could save even more, but I can't see myself going that route.  I've looked into birthing centers, too, but they're typically out-of-network, and one I contacted said it costs about $5000 so it could potentially cost more than a hospital due to no insurance coverage.  Not all birthing centers and midwives accept VBACs either.  All that to say, if I really want a VBAC, I'm going to have to fight for it.  A repeat cesarean is easy and expected.

Once I'm done with babies, I will possibly drop insurance all together and pay the penalty.  That will save us enough to easily cover all my normal medical needs.  I know the new insurance changes help some people, but many of us in the middle class just get painfully squeezed.  I'm not surprised.  Seeing Obamacare coming, I expected to pay more and get less.  Someone has to put up the money to provide the same level of coverage for everyone.  Good for some, but really not good for me.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Desmond Is Riding His Bike!!

DSC_8104So, for the last few days Desmond and I have been working on getting rid of the training wheels. At first he was having trouble pedaling and staying up. He was just too wobbly. So, I decided to take his pedals off and lower his seat all the way and turn his bike into a strider. The result was almost immediate. He was able to stay up for a little while and glide along. We have been doing that for a few days. Tonight after going up and down the driveway a few times and him staying up for ten seconds or so until the bike would come to a stop I asked him if he wanted to put the pedals on and he way super excited.

DSC_8105The very first time after putting on the pedals he did awesome! He started pedaling and just took off. I have a feeling he is going to want to do a lot of biking in the near future. I am super impressed with how quick he picked up biking.



Tuesday, September 24, 2013

See Baby #3

We have the ultrasound pictures of our new baby!  Check it out on my pregnancy blog.

Monday, September 16, 2013


It's weird having total strangers share strong feelings about whether or not homeschooling is a wise choice or whether starting homeschool at five is healthy.  People definitely have opinions, and I'm becoming more aware of the fact that I'm not following mainstream.  

But regardless of how others feel I'll do, we are loving it!  We start each day with a little school after breakfast.  Kaylynn often joins in listening, coloring, or taking apart the ABC puzzle yet again.  Often Desmond will ask me for more when we're done so that's encouraging.  Today I pulled out the LEGOS to incorporate his two passions into one: learning and building.  He actually gave me the idea with this note he created during a quiet time.
I love my creative, smart boy!  I'm noticing improvement in his reading and writing skills.  It's really fun to watch.

This week we're learning about dinosaurs and the letter "D".  I found a dinosaur exhibit at the children's museum so I think we'll be taking a field trip later this week.  How fun to have the flexibility to combine a fun play day and school!

Another fun outing we're planning is the LEGO Expo.  Happened to see an ad in a magazine, and I know Desmond will love it!  I'm kind of excited to check it out, too.  Davin and I just have to decide who gets to go play with him.  I want to encourage his building skills.  Who knows?  We just might have an engineer on our hands.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Fall Schedule is Picking Up

It's strange to see all the back to school pictures on Facebook and know that I could be in that group, but I'm not.  Sometimes I feel envious of the moms who send their kids off for a few hours.  I could sure use that break!  But we're also loving homeschool and I know when our time with the kids at home is done I won't be wishing I had more time away from them.

Tonight I register for the homeschool co-op.  I had to navigate the online registration, print out necessary documentation, and sign up for when and where I'll be helping out.  This evening it's all final when I go pay and get any other information I need to get started.  Every Friday morning will soon be committed.  

MOMS Group is starting soon and I'm the communications person in charge of sending out the information and collecting registration responses.  I'm using Google drive to create a form and response spreadsheet.  This will make things a lot easier and more accessible, but I've never done that before and need to make sure it's all going to work smoothly for my list of nearly two hundred MOMS contacts.  Whew!  Soon three Thursday mornings a month will also be committed.

I'm used to having a wide open schedule so having two weekly commitments starting at the same time feels like a lot.  I'm also planning a big birthday bash for my mom in one week.  It's out of town so that makes everything harder.  I want it to be the best party ever so I'm having a hard time keeping it in perspective and not going overboard.  

I'm looking forward to settling in to our new routines.  One day at a time!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Green Peter Lake

On August 9th we went camping for the first time in three years!  We returned to my brothers' favorite spot at Green Peter Lake outside of Sweet Home, Oregon where we day-camped last year.  It's accessible only by boat.  In true Studer fashion we brought a little rain with us, but overall the weather was pretty decent.  The kids did fairly well sleeping in a tent and really loved running around the campground, exploring, playing with salamanders, and throwing rocks in the lake.  Desmond got his first inner tube ride pulled behind the boat.  He would have done it for hours if we let him.  Although camping with two little ones isn't exactly relaxing, I enjoyed the quiet nature all around us and a few extra hands to help wrangle the kids.

We also celebrated Davin's 36th birthday.  I got him a sodastream that's been getting daily use and some LuminAIDs which are really cool solar powered lights that we got to use that night.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Camping Preparation

Hard to believe its been three years since we've been camping!  Last time Desmond was two, and after a nearly sleepless night we decided it would be awhile before we did that again.  Well, the memories of no sleep have faded and we're trying not to notice that Kaylynn is only two and much more sensitive to her environment than Desmond is.  Last year we joined my family for a day camping trip, but this year we decided to give staying overnight in a tent a try. 

Our new huge tent arrived today.  It will accommodate our family for years to come with three rooms for privacy when needed and a 10 x 17 footprint.  I have been looking for a tent for weeks searching stores and Craigslist and finally found this one on sale on Amazon.  I like that it's Coleman and was less than $100 brand new. 

Of course we had to set it up in the playroom to check it out, and it barely fit.  It was a nice distraction for the kids today.  Also I think the more Kaylynn can get used to it the better.
Now I just need to prep all the food and make goodies that won't disrupt Kaylynn's diet.  Then it's on to the packing list.  I'm looking forward to arriving at Green Peter Lake on Friday!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

9th Anniversary

It is so nice to be away from the kids for a couple nights!  Davin and I are at a beach house in Depot Bay, OR.  It's owned by some church friends, and we won it in a missions trip fundraiser bid.  We just bid our whole anniversary budget although this house is worth a lot more, and since we paid it to the church, it's also tax deductible!  

We arrived yesterday afternoon, and it's perfectly lovely.  We have an ocean view and a hot tub.  Our walk on the beach last night was cold, but we're hoping to get more sun this afternoon.  We had a nice evening of relaxing, and I enjoyed working on a puzzle this morning looking out over the ocean while Davin slept in.  It's so nice having no little voices clamoring for me this morning.  Here's to a whole day of doing whatever we want!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

An iPad

Davin purchased my anniversary gift early since I was quitting Target and he wanted to use my employee discount.  My iPad mini was a big surprise!  I am loving it and it has been helpful for taking notes at the homeschool conference, tracking my calories and exercise, a camera on the go, and keeping up with friends.  Technology is so fun!  I'm starting to feel like I can't go anywhere without it though so I might be getting a little too attached.  I can blog from it, too, so maybe I'll keep up with that a bit better.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Melissa's Naturopath Visit

I recently decided to go to the naturopath as well.  I've been super tired for... well, about as long as I can remember... at least since Kaylynn was born.  I'm tired of being tired and I feel like I keep having excuses - having a baby, working nights, etc.  Still I've wondered if there was something else going on since when I do get extra sleep I'm still usually exhausted.  The naturopath concluded that I have hypothyroid leading to adrenal fatigue.  I'm taking a natural thyroid supplement and so far I don't notice a huge difference, but it can take awhile.  I'm hopeful that some day I'll wake up in the morning totally refreshed.

In addition to the thyroid we also discovered that I have an intolerance to corn, fruit, and the combination of grains and sugar.  Ugh!  I've been working hard to keep all soy, egg, and fruit/sugar combo out of Kaylynn's diet, and it's hard!  Soy is in almost everything in a package.  Now I'm also trying to avoid my intolerances so we often eat a few different things at each meal because it's hard to find a balanced meal with no soy, egg, fruit, grain/sugar, or corn.  I've been a label reading fanatic and even asked for all the packages at the church lunch yesterday to verify what Kaylynn and I could eat.  She could have certain chips and the hot dogs were okay as long as she didn't eat any fruit.  I however was left with a hamburger patty on lettuce and water.  Everything else had some form of corn in it (corn starch or corn syrup mostly).  At least this should help me lose weight!

I want to give it a good try for a solid month avoiding my intolerances.  Then I want to eat a bunch of fruit one day (my goal is July 4th) and go clean again after that to see how that one day of fruit affects me.  The naturopath encouraged me to challenge the intolerance so I would know.  My hope is I won't feel that bad, and I can decide to just keep eating it.  We'll see.  It's a grand experiment!

Last week I lost two pounds with daily exercise (got to get in at 6:30 in the morning, though) and counting calories.  I also recently quit Target so that should help my energy, too, though we'll miss the income. I'm excited to have the evenings free, and we think that with extra income we wouldn't qualify for the kid's state medical insurance which is a huge money saver for us.

Camtown Youth Festival

 I like to take advantage of our free Saturdays, especially when the weather is nice.  I looked up some local calendars for ideas and came across the Camtown Youth Festival.  It was close, free, and geared toward kids.  We decided to check it out and I'm so glad we did!  It was a lot of fun and didn't cost us a thing.  They had bounce houses, inflatable obstacle courses, vendors with free giveaways, crafts, face painting, petting zoo, a flea market, and of course the regular park playgrounds.  The kids loved it and it was a great family day!  I'll be putting this on the calendar again for next year.

Monday, May 13, 2013

New Eating Adventures

Kaylynn has been constipated since about September.  It got really bad to the point where she would talk about going and not be able to for a day and a half and then she'd cry when she went. 

I took her to the doctor several times and the first suggestion was maybe she was eating too many bananas so we stopped giving her those, but nothing changed.  The doctor said there wasn't really a way to see if something in her diet was the culprit so I decided to eliminate dairy for a time though the doctor said that wasn't a good idea because she still "needed" the milk calories.  I knew she could get healthy calories elsewhere so we cut out milk for quite awhile but still didn't notice any improvement. 

In the mean time I did follow the doctor's recommendation of giving Kaylynn Miralax since we had to do something to help her go, but she started needing more and more of it.  I knew there had to be a better way, so I finally made an appointment to see a naturopath. 

Two weeks ago we had our appointment with Dr. Neale and I remember leaving thinking, "That's how a doctor's appointment should be."  I felt listened to and the doctor really took her time with us.  She made me feel confident that we could get to the root of the problem and fix it.  Kaylynn's regular doctor just wanted to treat symptoms with medication and wasn't interested in finding the source.

We did a food intolerance test and I got the results last week.  Egg, soy, and the combination of fruit and sugar appear to be the problem with Kaylynn's digestion.  My first thought was that we don't eat much egg and soy, but really, it's in almost everything in a box or package!  I'm totally focused on food now, reading labels and organizing the pantry and fridge.  I've made my own bread and egg-free cake for her birthday.  I'm also giving her a HMF probiotic.  I'm excited to see results.

This past week I did notice that Kaylynn was sleeping more and seemed to be happier.  She didn't complain of a tummy ache (a daily occurrence before) until today, and I know she had a little of the fruit/sugar combination at her party yesterday.  Her constipation is better but not resolved quite yet.

There are so many people I know with food allergies or intolerances, and I've been glad not to have to deal with it at home.  Well, now we get to experience that wonderful world.  I think there will be lots of benefits overall with becoming more aware of what we eat and making more things from scratch.  Here we go!

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Kaylynn is 2!

Today is Kaylynn's second birthday!  She has grown and changed so much in the last year.  Some things are just the same as the first week of her life, mainly that she has strong opinions and doesn't change them easily.  I love her conversations.  Just yesterday she was telling me goodby as she went to the next room.  Then she paused to turn and assure me, "I'm just pretending, Mommy."

This morning she and I had a tea party and I let her spill real water all over the table with a little bit making it in the cups from time to time.  I enjoyed using my Czech tea set I recently pulled out that's just too pretty to sit unused.

Happy birthday, Kaylynn!  We love you and the spirit you bring to our family!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Desmond's Book

Desmond wrote a book and sounded everything out by himself which is cute to read.  Being the proud mommy I am I just had to share it. 

"Once upon a time there (was) Desmond."

"Poof.  He got bigger."

 "He was four and then comes Christmas."
 "The end. Once upon a time..."
 "There was Mommy.  She took good care..."
"...of me.  The end."

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Big Girl Bed

Kaylynn has graduated to a big girl bed.  I've been sanding it down to refinish it, but we had to go ahead and use it unfinished after she climbed over the side of her crib and fell to the floor.  She's done remarkably well with the transition.  I remember having to put Desmond back in bed at least twenty times before he'd stay put for nap time.  Kaylynn hasn't climbed out of bed once.  I don't think it's occurred to her that she could get out though I'm sure she'll figure it out eventually.  Even when she wakes up in the morning she'll sit there until someone comes to get her.  She's growing up!

Passing around Germs

We've been battling sickness for about a month.  First the kids and Davin were sick, and once they were well I got sick.  Then the kids and Davin were sick again and now it's my turn for the second round. Desmond and Davin got well again fairly quickly.  Kaylynn has coughed for a solid month straight and I'm now dealing with the cough that leaves my sides hurting and head aching.  I've cleaned the whole house to try and kill these germs we're passing around.  Probably time to do a thorough cleaning again.  I think we're on the mend finally and hopefully we'll be done for awhile.

One thing I like about when the kids are sick is that they are so snuggly.  I can't remember the last time Kaylynn fell asleep on me when it wasn't nap or bedtime and even then it's fairly rare.

A late update from December

Maybe it's the Christmas season or maybe it's working evenings and weekends and feeling pulled away from family more than I like, but lately I've been thinking about my beautiful family and feeling so thankful for each of them.

Little Miss Kaylie is just a handful of emotion and movement.  She is always moving whether it's listening to a story, getting a diaper change, or eating - she's wiggling.  I must say her dancing is very cute.  She also loves to do whatever everyone else is doing and makes sure she's not left out.  If she sees anything on the dinner table (from a side dish to a condiment) that she didn't see me serve to her, she'll ask for it until she gets it.  She states her opinions loudly and sometimes I hear her using her frustrated mommy voice in which she ends her statement with a forceful, "Now!"  What a nice mirror!  She loves being a little mommy and carries her dolls around wrapping them in blankets or wiping their bottoms.  Kaylynn is starting to talk in sentences and some cute sayings I notice are, "Oh, nice!"  "Look, Des Des."  "Come on."  "Get up, Mommy."  "Look strong I am," followed by squeezing her fists tight.  I've also seen more defiance lately where she won't look at or talk to me when I'm correcting her and waiting for a response.  She can blow up fast, but also moves on, flashing a winning smile quickly.  She also has a knack for "changing the subject" when she's in trouble and it's so hard not to crack a smile.  She is a rushing river that will take much patience and consistency to direct. 

Desmond is best defined by: questions, questions, questions.  I feel he echoes everything I say but just changes it from a statement to a question as if more explanation is needed.  He's always thinking and gets this sideways squinty face when the wheels are turning.  We're are working on getting him to accept parental authority even without a "Why?" being answered.  He loves to figure things out and has developed quite a theory on how his digestion and elimination all work.  Quite amusing!  He likes to draw and builds LEGOs every day.  A recent highlight was when Davin took him to the LEGO store and let him fill a bucket with miscellaneous pieces he picked out.  He is starting to read and sometimes I have him read me the story at bedtime.  Desmond is bothered by Kaylynn's lack of order and cried when she ripped her coloring page yesterday.  

Davin is my rock.  He's patient and consistent through the ups and downs of young children and a frazzled, overtired wife.  He's been putting the kids to bed and cleaning up while I go to work in the evenings and I'm really looking forward to at least a couple evenings together this week!