packing the hospital bag

packed yet still procrastinating…

I am currently on my 37th week of pregnancy, nearly full-term, and I just might go into labor any moment now. I’ve been procrastinating on so many preparations during this pregnancy, but the other night, I felt I seriously needed to pack for when I go to the hospital for delivery. So I was up until way past midnight packing my hospital bag. Here’s a list of the stuff I’d bring once labor comes a-knocking.

Front closure hospital gown. I need something easy to wear, and one that buttons down at the front so it will be convenient to breastfeed.

Nursing bra. I couldn’t find my nursing bras from when Ari and Uri were babies so I had to buy 2 new ones. I just bought the cheap ones, non-cotton, so it doesn’t soak easily. I might end up buying more later when I’m sure what size I should be getting. But 2 bras should get me through my stay at the hospital.

Blanket. It can get super cold after giving birth because of the anesthesia, so I packed a thick blanket, and socks to keep me warm.

Towel. I packed a microfiber bath-sized towel, even when I’m likely not going to be allowed to take a bath just yet. We are huge fans of microfiber, and since it dries super quickly, bringing a bath towel or a face towel is not much of an issue.

Panties. I have a stash of full-sized “granny” cotton panties that I wear under a dress to hide panty lines. I might need them in case I end up with a C-section so the elastic reaches beyond the bikini cut. But I also bought a pack of disposable panties, so I don’t have to bring home bloodied underwear.

Sanitary pads. Speaking of bloodied underwear, I only bought a pack of extra long, overnight sanitary pads. I don’t feel comfortable wearing those super thick maternity pads. So to avoid stains, I also bought a couple of adult diapers, which I won’t wear, but instead I’ll be spreading on the hospital bed, so I don’t stain the sheets.

Slippers. I packed along an unused pair of hotel slippers for walking around inside the hospital. Then I have another pair of comfy going home slippers.

Going home outfit. I chose a long maternity dress, which I no longer wear at the moment because my 37-week belly could no longer fit in it. I assume I’ll have less of a belly after giving birth and that I’m likely gonna fit in this dress when I come home from the hospital.

Toiletries. Toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, soap, shampoo, moisturizer, lotion, the works.

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For baby, here’s what I packed.

Baby clothes. From my current collection of hand-me-down baby clothes, I decided to bring longsleeved tie sides, pajamas and matching jacket, bonnets, mittens and booties. I also packed a couple of full onesies that baby could use as his going home outfit.

Swaddling blanket. This special blanket is designed to secure baby’s arms and legs in place, helping him sleep safely and securely by recreating the snugness of the womb. I also packed a couple of hooded towels, that can be used both for swaddling and for drying baby after his first bath in the hospital.

Binder. A binder is a piece of cloth wrapped around baby’s abdomen that is meant to apply some pressure to this area to prevent colic, and also to protect his belly button and his umbilical cord stump.

Wash cloth. I only have a handful of wash cloths but I have tons of bibs, so I’ll be using bibs more for wiping, bathing, et cetera. I also packed some flat gauze diapers also for wiping and as extra blankets for covering baby.

Diapers. I’m lucky not to have to buy disposable diapers this time, because we received several packs as gifts. I’m thinking the newborn disposables we have on hand should be enough to last at least a week or so. After which we’ll happily transition to using cloth diapers at home.

Toiletries. I packed some baby wipes and cotton balls for cleaning baby’s bottoms, a mild baby wash for his first bath, chamomile oil for relieving colic, baby oil for giving baby a gentle massage, and a tall bottle of alcohol for guests to disinfect their hands before getting anywhere near baby on his first days of life.

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I didn’t pack a separate diaper bag for baby. I don’t have one, and don’t plan on getting one. I only stuffed one suitcase for both our things, but I separated all baby stuff by placing them inside zip-lock bags, after washing and ironing.

So at 37 weeks, I’m a step closer to getting ready for giving birth. I know I still have a number of things to prepare but I feel I’ve got the most important ones covered. Also, I take comfort in the fact that the hospital is just a 5-minute drive away, and everything else I could possibly need, had I forgotten, can be bought nearby.

photo-finishing first grade

if my planning serves me right, we will complete our first year of homeschooling this month!

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We are so nearly there. Our first bahaySKUL year completed in 12 crazy months. We are actually quite behind, because the regular school year starts next week, and Ari should be prepping for second grade at this time, but we are still finishing up with the fourth grading period of his first grade. But still. We’re really just counting the days. Doing the final lessons. Taking the last batch of tests. Putting together our first-ever bahaySKUL portfolio. So yeah, we have tons of photos to sort and print and organise, test papers to file, art projects to frame, grades to compute. And this is probably going to take us a couple of weeks more. But seriously, another couple of weeks is zilch compared to the last eleven months of this roller-coaster ride that we call bahaySKUL.

Wow! What a journey it has been for us. I’ve always known that we could do this and how committed we were to this homeschooling thing, despite raised eyebrows and random interrogation by some of our friends and family members. But now that we’re actually just a few tick boxes away from completing all of our first grade homeschool requirements, it’s just surreal. Just s-u-r-r-e-a-l. I can’t even describe how ecstatic I am right now. After the agonizing start to our bahaySKUL, knowing that we actually did it and that we’ll have real, valid and authentic proof that, yes, we are able to educate our own child the way we want to, it’s more than a pat on the back for Turo and I. It could even be a slap in the face to people who doubted we can do this in the first place. But let’s not go there :)

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So while I’m still on a high from meeting with Ari’s homeschool supervisor earlier today and confirming that we are just inches away from photo-finishing first grade, let me share some of the things we learned from our first bahaySKUL year.

Stop control-freaking. I am a self-confessed control freak. I know a lot of women are. I don’t take pride in being one, and I am seriously taking conscious effort to stop being one. It’s a tough lesson learned especially in the early parts of our homeschooling journey. We were new to homeschooling, we just knew we wanted to homeschool, but barely knew what we really needed to do. The thing is, education and learning is a process. What homeschooling offers is a key to unlocking this process of learning. It is NOT a how-to manual, or a tick-box list of things to do that puts a check mark on education at the bottom of the page. There is no one fixed way to get to the end. My mistake at first was that I thought there was. I was scrambling for ingredients and directions like I would in a baking recipe. I wanted to know what the next step would be, without even going through the first. I wanted an answer without even trying to come up with a solution. I was so frustrated at the beginning with our homeschool provider and the curriculum that we’re using because I felt lost without the answers to my questions. How can I possibly teach this topic? How can my child grasp this concept at his age? Why are the tests designed this way?

Thankfully we carried on. If we hadn’t I wouldn’t have realized that homeschooling is not about having all the answers at the beginning. So what if the test questions seemed weird? So what if there are too many topics to cover? Just go through it. Even if what happens next is uncertain. Because what’s important is the process, not the outcome. It’s about dipping your feet in the water first so you’ll see for yourself how warm or cold the water is, something you wouldn’t know if you’re just looking at the water from afar no matter how long you think about it.

Plan but don’t overplan. I have no background in teaching or education. I didn’t know what a lesson plan looked like, or how to make one. I’ve read from other homeschooling blogs how I’m supposed to plan for the school year, but a lot of it didn’t make sense to me at first. When I got hold of Ari’s first grade modules, I prowled at them from cover to cover, trying to segregate the topics and listing down the pages on each topic, so I could teach each topic in one go. Unfortunately, that wasn’t how the curriculum worked. We’re using LifePACS modules and the topics progress a little at a time, so you get chunks of one topic from one module to the next. I hadn’t figured this out at first, remember we were first-time homeschoolers, with zero teaching knowledge, except maybe teaching our kids to walk, and talk and be toilet-trained. But the bottomline is, it’s not practical to plan for one entire schoolyear in one go. Remember learning is a process and there are adjustments to be made along the way. We found it more beneficial to plan for one grading period/quarter at a time. At the end of each grading period, Ari takes a mastery evaluation test, and we would know how much he’s learned, and how we needed to adjust our plan for the next grading period to devote more time to topics that he didn’t quite grasp or just breeze through those topics he’s already mastered.

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Breaks are vital. Another advantage to quarterly planning is that we can take a break between grading periods. Promising to take the kids on a mini-vacation works both as an incentive for Ari to do well on his schoolwork and finish on time and as a reward for a job well done after his quarterly evaluation. At the same time, Ari the student, and us his teachers, get some time of and re-energize as we prepare for the next grading period.

Clue in on your child. Homeschooling is not a teacher-led process. It should be child-led. No matter how many learning goals and objectives we have for our bahaySKUL year, if these don’t match with what Ari wants to and is eager to learn, it’s no use. Homeschool goals should not be imposed by parents but must come from the child himself. Children are not always going to articulate what they want to learn, but we, parents, should take hints on the things that are interesting for our children. On top of that, we should also pay attention if they are having a difficult time learning something, or are not feeling well and too tired to comprehend lessons, or are simply too distracted by something else. The beauty of homeschooling is its inherent flexibility. When there are downtimes, we can easily stash away our books and put it off for the next day. Or you could do marathon lessons if your child is super interested and feels like learning more. And this can happen a lot :)

Ari completing a recipe for arts and crafts

Ari making a recipe of his favourite drink for his arts and crafts project

As brief or as stretched out our first bahaySKUL year has been, it has been an exciting and worthwhile learning process, not just for Ari, but for Turo and I as well. It hasn’t been easy, at all. Maybe at times it seems like it because of all the fun it can get , but homeschooling takes a lot of guts and discipline and commitment, and we’re thankful for the opportunity to build these values as a family through this journey. We can’t wait for Uri to start first grade as a homeschooler and for Ari to start his second year very, very soon.

diapering decisions

after a week of stressing over cloth diapers..

This week started with a hell of a bad news, at least for me. I am easing into the third trimester of my third pregnancy, and finally starting with much-delayed nursery preparations–doing an inventory of baby clothes, equipment, cloth diapers. As I tried to make arrangements for the pick-up of a crib that was no longer used by Turo’s sister, I found out that my stash of Tushywushy pocket diapers were missing. In addition to an electric breast pump, the Tushywushies are some of my biggest motherhood investments. These set of cloth diapers have been used by at least 2 children, from infancy to toddlerhood, and I took pains laundrying and drying them just so they would last long. They cost me an arm and a leg (note: I bought them 5 years ago) but they also allowed me to save on disposable diapers and a LOT of non-biodegradable waste.

I fumed when I learned that my beloved Tushywushies were gone. I’m the type who take cloth diapering seriously. Aside from avoiding diaper rash on my babies’ bottoms, and being more economical, the unforgettable flood of 2009 was a major motivating factor for us to cloth diaper our children full-time (we only use disposables when travelling). So I was in a not so good mood for a couple of hours. And then the cloth diaper system search began. Continue reading

weekend cooking: pizza

 

 

Today is Mother’s Day weekend and we’d rather stay home and avoid traffic jam and the summer heat. This is my last day off because tomorrow I go back to the world of work and deadlines. Also, this could be the last time I could do some dough kneading before my belly gets too big I couldn’t reach the edge of the table :). So homemade pizza it is.

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organic veggie pizza

 

hot air balloon fiesta

by far the most unplanned trip we’ve ever taken..

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Travel is a huge part of how we live. We live a lifestyle that is conducive to always being on the go. We homeschool our children (which means we do school, everywhere, all the time). I work from my Macbook (which is basically everywhere, including traffic jams). We hired a farm helper (so Turo can supervise farm operations even remotely). We are lucky because we can just go to any place when we want to, without asking permission from the school or office, without being accountable to anybody but ourselves. Lucky, yes. But also because we made a great deal of sacrifices before we can be at this point and state in our lives.

So, early in April, when the summer weather started getting extreme, I thought we should go on a mini-vacation. Okay so I always think of going on a vacation, like every month, but this time I wanted to go on a trip with some level of urgency. I’m 6 months pregnant and heading into my third trimester, and if I don’t take the kids on a trip now, I won’t be able to until after I give birth and the newborn is at least a year old! Continue reading

building confidence through sports

“I don’t want to do sports, just practice.”

Ari used to say this often some 6 months ago, when we were scouting for a sports training activity that would serve as his P.E. class in bahaySKUL. By “doing sports” he meant competing and losing eventually, and this has become a deep fear that he has struggled with for a time.

While children are natural daredevils, they are also inherently scared of the unknown. Ari is one scaredy cat when it comes to trying new things. And it took a lot of convincing before we could bring him to a taekwondo trial class at a local gym. When he finally agreed to try taekwondo, it wasn’t a “love at first try” kind of experience. But it was enough to prove to him that sports isn’t something to be afraid of.

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Ari with his Taekwondo coaches

Continue reading

reconnecting…

reconnecting...

I have struggled maintaining an online presence in the past. We have been simplifying the way we eat, live, work and study, almost to the bare naked, to the detriment of my blogging existence. But now I am back. I have missed sharing what’s going on. Rest assured there’ll be more exciting news, thoughts, adventures, discoveries and experiences to share.

what our bahaySKUL day looks like

everyday is different. some days seem like the others. other days are filled with adventure.

We have been homeschooling for over 6 months now. The early months were a struggle, but now we are settling down into some kind of routine, building a familiar structure to our bahaySKUL day.

7:00 am We start our day by snuggling together in bed. Post-Christmas months are always cold, and nobody wants to be the first to get up.

8:00 am I start making breakfast. These days we eat bread with ham, egg or cheese, a handful of greens, such as lettuce or spinach or kale, and a glass of milk, choco or a tub of yogurt. We also used to eat rice in the morning but it just takes longer to prepare and more dishes to be washed. If all else fails (i.e. we wake up really late), we can always turn to a good ol’ bowl of cereals and milk. Continue reading

a tinted flower

The outcome of Ari’s science experiment as he studied water and nutrient transport in plants.

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These past days Ari’s been begging for study time, experiment time, even tests (because he’s aced the last few ones). He’s built a good pace for reading and answering written exercises, and a far longer patience for the less exciting paper work. Best of all, he’s enjoying bahaySKUL time, and learning so much in the process.
Keep note, though, that bahaySKUL time is a mere couple of hours in a day. The rest is about free, creative and imaginative play, reading books, drawing and making up stories, running outdoors, and having long, funny conversations during meal times.

It so happened that our bahaySKUL is as close to our real, everyday life as it could get.

Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.

homeschooling outside the home

it is an irony how much freeing, rather than confining, homeschooling can be

In my previous post I described how we’re trying to make some adjustments after four months of bahaySKUL with Ari. So far the changes we’ve made (and still experimenting) seem to be working and we’ve made a ton of progress over the past couple of weeks.

One of the major changes we did was to take our bahaySKUL outside of our home. And I mean outside literally. Every afternoon, we troop out, Ari with his “big boy bahaySKUL bag” containing his LifePACS modules, writing and coloring materials, math manipulatives, his calendar, a change of clothes, water bottle, and any other stuff needed for the day’s lessons. Continue reading