Grrrrr8!

Of all of the projects we’ve been working on since spring, I think this one is my fave.

jason4

Yes, we’re having another kid, and yes, it’s just one (we checked). We think it’s Grrrrr8t! (Get it?…of course you do). (Anybody else hear Tony the Tiger’s voice just then?)

jason2

We are praising God for the opportunity to bring another life into this world to love on and teach his principles. The older I get, the more I grasp just a tiny bit more of what a privilege that truly is.

The kids are, of course, ecstatic. I say that as if it’s a foregone conclusion, but I actually had someone ask me in an interview the other day if my kids ever respond to a pregnancy announcement with something like: “Aw man, enough, Mom! No more kids!” Now, granted, this person was definitely coming from a different set of worldview assumptions than I hold, but I found myself a little taken aback (not offended, just surprised) by the question.

Because our kids have never been anything short of euphoric to learn that another soul will be joining our tribe (we’ve got a video of them dancing and cheering for this announcement, but I haven’t gotten it off of Shaun’s phone yet). I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: my kids don’t just love each other. They like each other. (It doesn’t mean they don’t fuss at each other sometimes, just that the norm is for them to get along in a natural flow of constantly changing sibling combos–both older/younger and everything in between). Maybe this sounds like a case of “methinks she doth protest too much,” but I feel compelled to reiterate this because of the skepticism and cynicism that I’m met with so often in response to the concept that your kids (especially if you have a lot of them) could be friends. And I want to encourage you that they can! Many of the families we are close friends with (regardless of their family size) say the same thing about their own kids, and I see it exemplified in the way their older kids help the younger or how the sisters are also best friends.

ANYhoo, back to what you’re really wondering: what about this baby?? Give us the stats!

Okay, then.

Gender: we don’t know for sure yet, although we had an early sonogram, and we think we know. I’ll be sure to update you when we have a more “official” result.

Due date: January 21st, but…if you’ve been reading for a while, then you know that that means less than nothing. We’re probably looking at February.

jason

I’m exactly 18 weeks as of today, and I’m feeling great. Such was not the case for the first trimester—-maaaaaaybe more so than usual? Hard to tell. The twins’ pregnancy was harder than any other, for sure, so I’m probably just forgetting how draggy I felt during that first trimester. More than anything, I think I am just “feeling my age” a bit. I’ll be 36 when this baby is born, and, while the differences are fairly subtle, I can definitely tell that I don’t have quiiiiite as much pep in my step as I did when I was 29 (my age when the twins were born).

I’m still teaching all of my fitness classes. Actually, I teach between 9-10 hours a week, which is my highest number in years, so nothing has slacked off there.

At this point, my energy is back, and I don’t feel terribly pregnant except when I try to sit up or twist too quickly (hello, round ligament pain!). Oh, and when I glance down at my right leg, which I have “affectionately” dubbed my “Frankenstein leg,” thanks to nasty varicose veins.

We just started back with homeschool co-op after doing “homeschool lite” all summer long, and we’ll dive back in with our full curriculum in about a week. I don’t plan to do anything differently about our schedule during this pregnancy, but I know from experience (because both Honor and Theo were due around Christmastime) that, while these first 4 months have been pretty slow, the last 3 or so will FLY. It’s kind of nice to have all of the holiday hullabaloo as a distraction.

Oh, and before anyone says: “I just KNEW it! I knew you were pregnant!” I would like to point out that we have consistently had a baby (or two) every two-ish years for the last 7 or so, so… ; )

As the young’uns say: “It’s how we do.” (Man, I feel old).

The bottom line: we are thrilled for this baby, but, as much as I can’t wait to meet him/her, every time I think about labor, I shudder involuntarily. I say it every time, but it’s still true. The only way I can psyche myself up for that kind of pain again is by being miserably pregnant enough to wish myself UN-pregnant, regardless of how bad it hurts getting there. God is faithful, though, and I pray that, when the time comes, he’ll get me through it just like he has every other time.

And then, I’ll have a gorgeous little squish to make it all worth it. That’s the good stuff.

Pregnancy? Eh. We put up with each other.

So, there you have it, folks. We are having Baby #8! Blessed be the name of the Lord.

P.S. All of these lovely family shots were taken by our good friend Jason Stitt Photography, and if you’re local to East Texas, I highly recommend him!

P.P.S. On a frivolous note, I’ve had some questions about my dress in these pics on social media, and it’s both flattering, comfortable, and cheap! So, there you go. (Reviews vary widely, but I got a “good one,” I guess, and it had free returns, so I wasn’t too worried. I’m wearing a small, and it’s still fairly loose, so it definitely runs large).

 

A Chore Guide for the Ages! (Literally)

Hiiiii-eeeee! Remember me?

I could go on and on about where I’ve been and what we’ve been doing over the past 4ish months…and maybe I will…eventually. I have several beginnings of “catch-up” posts saved in drafts, but, suffice it to say, we have been living life and doing it so prodigiously that I have not felt the freedom or even the need (quite like in the past) to document that here.

If, however, you are interested in keeping up with at least a small portion of the minutiae of our day-to-day, I do post very regularly on Instagram. I even posted what I ate for lunch. See? Min-u-tiae.

ANYhoo, as awkward as it might be to just jump in with both feet and ignore the fact that we haven’t chatted in a while, I’m going to do just that, assuming that we’re the kind of friends who can go months without talking and then pick right up where we left off. Sound cool?

Cool.

Without further ado, I give you the topic du jour: CHORES.

Fuuuunnn, right?

But I posted on something on training your children to be helpful to Instagram a few weeks back, and as a P.S., I asked if it might be helpful to make a list of the chores my children can do by age category. WELL. Let’s just say this: when the response to the P.S. (at the end of a long paragraph already #loquatious) is that overwhelming, you kind of haveto blog about it.

ALTHOUGH! As always, I write this with the giant disclaimer that I’m no expert on any of this. I am simply relaying what works for our family, and if it happens to work for you too, great!

So! Here you have it: a somewhat complete, though certainly not exhaustive, list of jobs that our children help out with and at which age.

**If I don’t RE-mention a chore from a younger age, it’s not because I think it’s no longer age appropriate. It’s because, if they could do it as a 5-year-old, they should be able to do it as a 10-year-old too. :)

1-year-old+

Throw away/fetch diapers

Fetch/put away shoes

Put away books

Wipe up spills

Pick up toys and put in basket

Help look for lost items (ahem: paci + blankie)

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(Getting a bit ahead of themselves. Pretty sure toddlers making dinner wasn’t on my list)

*I require very little of this from an 18-month-old, but if the opportunity arises, and the mess is there for the cleaning, I encourage my little bitties to pitch in. 

3-years-old+

Put away plastic dishes

Tidy room (with supervision)

Carry laundry to correct rooms

Use handheld vacuum to clean up crumbs

Stack/organize “like” things (books, cards, game pieces, pencils, etc.)

Clear place at table

Wipe down surfaces (cabinets, small tables, etc.)

Feed animals

Help clean out car

Fetch clothes for younger siblings (just don’t complain if they don’t match!)

Scrub small/detailed surfaces with toothbrushes (they LOVE this!)

5-years-old+

Set table

Unload/put away dishes

Dust with Swiffer/rag

Polish appliances with water/microfiber cloths

Clean windows (it’s not pretty, but they might end up less smudgy than they started)

Put away laundry

Clean room thoroughly (with supervision)

Empty small trash cans + replace bags

Fold towels/washcloths

Match socks

Make own/others’ snack or lunch (PBJ, turkey sandwich, wash grapes, etc.)

Tidy common areas (replace throw pillows, look for small toys, pick up trash. etc.)

7-years-old+

Fold all categories of clothing

Vacuum

Sweep

Scrub toilets/bathtubs

More detailed scrubbing of things like high chairs, drawer interiors, floor trim, etc.

Put away groceries

Clean mirrors with microfiber cloths + water

Tidy house exterior (fallen sticks, shoes, stray balls, forgotten toys, etc.)

Weed flowerbeds

Cook simple foods with supervision (scrambled eggs, banana toast, pancakes, etc.)

Help dress younger children

chores1

9-years-old+

Make simple dinners with supervision (spaghetti, breakfast for dinner, DIY pizza, casseroles, etc.)

Change diapers (this doesn’t happen often and almost never a poop diaper, but sometimes you need all hands on deck, and, let me assure you, kids are perfectly capable of changing a diaper)

Dust light fixtures

Mop floors

Vacuum out car

Wipe down all kitchen surfaces well

Scrub dishes/load dishwasher

Thoroughly clean rooms (dust, sweep, vacuum, mop, wipe down, straighten)

Empty large trash + take out trash

chores2

11-years-old+

Mow lawn

Weed eat

Make dinner unsupervised (this does not mean that an adult is not present…just not hovering)

Water plants

Help move furniture

Clean out refrigerator

Make beds well

Do laundry from start to finish

Clean off patio areas with blowers

Paint

Sand

Help build things

Change light bulbs, batteries, filters, etc.

chores3

I am SURE that I’ve forgotten lots of good opportunities to help out, but I still feel like I’ve touched on the most obvious ones. Also, you may look at this list and think: “Ppshaw! My kid could totally do that early. Or my kid would totally do that later.”

That, of course, is fine. It’s all fairly fluid, depending your kids’ personalities and maturity levels. This is not some sort of chore chart gospel, of course. Merely a set of (hopefully) useful guidelines. And, no, my children don’t do all of these chores every day. (And, yes, I know this is a LOT of disclaimers. Just trying to cover my bases, folks).

So, now it’s your turn. Hit me with some of the chores your kids do and at what age. I may get some new ideas for mine! (Insert evil cackle).