Hey, It's Jade! and family

Saturday, September 12, 2015

My Babies...

Preston James, 2005
Callen Levi, 2010
Josephine Lilly, 2015

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Introducing Josephine Lilly Clark...

I have done a poor job of blogging about anything in a long, long time, but especially about the new kid on the block!  I'd hate to look back at this blog with her years down the road and there be such little about my pregnancy.  Especially since I was such a detailed blogger for Preston and Callen's pregnancies and early years.  :( 

So, a super quick catch up...
We found out she was a girl, and could barely believe it!  Over the months leading up to her birth, we stocked up on all things purple (ok, and some pink), kicked Uncle Daniel out of her room and turned it into the sweetest little nursery for her, and eagerly awaited her arrival.  I had severe morning sickness until about half way into the second trimester.  Lost at least 20 pounds and had many days were I could barely function.  I had what seemed like a gallbladder attack a couple of times, and my iron count was very low - causing the midwives to ramp up my iron intake in hopes that it would allow me to have my planned home birth.  I took all kinds of supplements by the handful, drank chlorophyll and black strap molasses by the buckets.  Ugh.  Finally, right towards the end my level reached "fine, good enough!"  Woo hoo!  Now, if we could just settle on a name!  We went through every list possible, and just could not pick one together.  I came up with Josephine and instantly felt like that was it... Michael, not so much.  He still isn't completely thrilled with it, lol, but Josie it is!

Josie's ultra-abbreviated birth story...
She was due August 25th, but that date came and went with no hint of her arrival.  Finally, on Sunday, August 30th, I started having contractions that were about 30 minutes apart.  We decided to go to church anyway, because maybe staying active would get things going.  They stayed at 30  minutes apart until that evening, then moved closer and closer.  My parents came over and stayed for a while, then my dad took the boys home with him.  Things progressed slowly, and around 1am, I finally asked the midwives to come.  They showed up at our house around 2am, and by then contractions were 3-5 minutes and strong, getting stronger.  Apparently, her head was a little crooked and wasn't descending as it should, and that's what caused the hold up at the end.  It felt like she was ready to come, but she just wouldn't.  I know that if I was at a hospital I would have caved in easily to whatever they offered me, I was so tired and in so much pain.  But the midwives, Michael and my mom kept encouraging me and cheering for me, and after what seemed like forever of pushing and laboring, Josephine Lilly Clark arrived with a burst (lol, my water didn't break until right as she was coming out) at 7:17am on Monday, August 31st, 2015.  The cord was wrapped tightly around her neck, though I wouldn't know that till later, but she was great.  She was placed on me, let out a tiny cry, and was perfect.  I couldn't believe how beautiful and tiny she was, but turns out she was nearly 8 pounds (just as Amy, the midwife, had estimated she would be the week before).  7 lbs, 14 oz, 21.5 inches long. 

She is now 5 days old and doing wonderfully.  She wakes up a lot at night and sleeps most of the day, as most babies do.  She is nursing like a champ, which is good!  My tail bone is badly bruised from labor and changing positions is still excruciating at times.  The boys are adjusting to life with a baby in the house... trying to be quiet and calm (though I'm sure you know well that works).  They both enjoy gazing at her.  Unfortunately, they both came down with colds or something the day after she was born, including fever, cough, snot and all that fun stuff.  Michael was able to take Monday-Thursday off of his daytime job, but had to work Monday and Wednesday evening at his teaching job (yes, the night she was born!).  My mom and dad have been over several times, and Aunt Leah came to visit yesterday.  Jill will be coming on Wednesday and spending a week in town to see her grandkids.  We are settling into our new life as a family of FIVE!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Case Against Homeschooling...

When I talk to people who ask me about our homeschooling, these are the type of concerns I hear from them about "why" they can't homeschool.  Yes, they are legitimate fears, and on occasion, I still feel some of these myself, I admit it.  But, in reality, all of these fears can be squashed rather easily! Let me try...

1) Finances... My Usborne Books & More business allows me to bring in supplemental income that helps us pay bills consistently and stay home at the same time. And other than that, my husband is amazing and works hard (2-3 jobs if necessary) to support us so that we can live this way because he is fully behind it as well!  I know that homeschooling puts a major strain on our finances, but this is our calling and we have made it work for 5+ years now.  God has our backs.

2) I'm not a teacher...  While I am certainly not a math/science expert, and will fully admit that to anyone anytime, I can learn WITH my child and the curriculum we use helps us through it. Co-op classes help us, online resources help us. There is help available everywhere when we need it! As a parent, we teach our children to walk, talk, etc.... why shouldn't we be trusted to teach them beyond that?  I mean, really?  There was a fantastic quote in the comment section of the above-linked article that I whole-heartedly agree with: "Don't question your ability to teach your child. Question putting your child into the same system that left you feeling incapable of teaching your child."  Ouch, right?

3) Socialization...  :::rolls eyes:::  We are involved in organizations that offer opportunities for the kiddos to be with other kiddos. Then there's, I dunno... LIFE. They do not live in a bubble, nor are they unable to hold conversations with kids OR adults. They socialize with EVERYONE, not just kids their own age in certain settings. When I think of "socialization" inside the school-setting, yeah... I'd rather them not, thanks.

4) I might lose myself?  Really?  Every once in a while I would love to send my kids away for the day so I could enjoy some peace and quiet, or at least some adult conversation.  So I do.  Boom.  (thanks, grandmas and grandpas or playdates)  It IS overwhelming to have your kids with you 24/7, and sometimes I feel like I'm gonna lose my mind, but I prefer having them with me to not seeing them all day long and having them come home complete strangers.  And on the opposite end... what if I FIND myself while being a homeschool mom?!?

5)  Doing it wrong... We, as moms, question ourselves regarding everything. EVERYTHING.  But at some point, we have to make a decision to just go with what we feel is right.  For me, homeschooling is right, and hey, you know what... I might do some stuff wrong.  So what?  It's a learning experience for all of us.  But who knows my kids better than me?  No one.  So if it's right for them, it's right.

I know that homeschooling is NOT for everyone, and that's fine.  I have my calling, you have yours.  If you feel called to it, but resist because of fears like the ones stated above... let's talk it out, 'pro and con' it if you need to,  truly pray and listen for guidance.  Do not let fear rule your life when you could be missing out on one of the greatest things to happen to your family.  If the answer is no, awesome.  If the answer is yes, rad! 

:::steps off soapbox:::

Monday, March 30, 2015

I Kind of Forgot to Announce This Here...

I was pretty sure I had already posted about this specific topic, and yet... when I looked, I couldn't find it.  Um, oops.  That's rather embarrassing.  So, the news is...

We're expecting Baby #3 towards the end of August!  Yep, another Clark on the way!

We found out on the morning of Christmas Eve.  I had been sick the week before (like allergies, cold, not morning sickness) and was just feeling "off" and hadn't had my cycle in a bit.  That's normal for me though, being irregular and all.  But for some reason, I felt like I should take a test.  I had taken tests the previous months fully expecting a POSITIVE and not getting one.  This time I fully expected a NEGATIVE and yet... it was POSITIVE!  I was so shocked!  I ran in and woke Michael up, telling him "Christmas Eve Gift!"  He didn't know what to think and ended up trying to go back to sleep, lol.  I wanted to tell everyone right away, but we agreed to wait and confirm more and give it a while.  It's funny, because about half a dozen of my friends made Big Announcements on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day... and then New Years, too... and I was just over here, like, ME TOO!  Lol.

I started feeling bad pretty quickly after finding out we were expecting.  We announced to my parents and Michael's.  We told Jill and Steve in person because they were in town staying at the Ranch in Ennis for the Winter.  We told my parents by meeting them at Jason's Deli.  We didn't tell the kids right away, though.  When I went on my Leadership Retreat to Branson, MO, I had to tell the gals I was riding with in case I ended up being sick (I was nauseous a lot, but hadn't hurled at that point).  I also told Candi and Regina around that time, I was just too excited to keep it to myself.  Haha. 

We finally made our big announcement by posting on Facebook, and received a ton of likes and comments from friends and family.  I was so glad it was out.  We also told the boys... Preston seemed kind of excited and Callen pretended to be a cat, so we weren't really sure what his opinion was.  I commenced being really, really sick around that time.  There were days I couldn't keep anything down and could barely get out of bed.  This was different for me because as much as I felt bad and hurled with the previous two pregnancies, I would hurl and then feel better... it didn't last all day long like this.  Finally, around 17 weeks, the nausea faded and I haven't been physically sick since (knock of wood!).  I am still tired a lot and feel funky quite often, but so much better than the first trimester.

In about 3 weeks, we get to do the sonogram and find out what we're having.  I am so excited.  I feel like it's going to be a girl, but who knows... I am a "boymom," after all.  The other thing is that we are using midwives this time and will either use the birthing center or have a home birth.  We are still undecided at this point, but leaning towards home.  I'm nervous about that, but also extremely excited.  My previous births weren't horrible experiences, but they weren't what I wanted.  I ended up being induced both times, and I would prefer not to go that route.  So... hoping for as natural as possible, and what's more natural than at home?!

Ok, so there.  It's officially on the blog.  I can't believe I hadn't posted before.  Sorry Baby#3, there just aren't enough hours in the day, apparently.  But I promise you'll receive a lot more attention when you're here!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Callen Turns Five!

Callen is officially 5 years old now.  We are having a CupCake Wars party for him this evening, lol.  He went through a slew of party theme ideas and this is the one that stuck, because they get to decorate their own cupcakes... woo hoo!

Let's see, this year... Callen has learned his letter sounds, how to write most of them and sound them out so he's on the verge of reading!  He has a fantastic memory and often surprises us by bringing up obscure things that happened a long time ago (things that we barely remember), but he remembers clearly.  He loves playing ball of any kind, running around and riding his bike (with training wheels).  He likes to play on the iPad, of course.  His favorite shows lately are Scooby Doo Mysteries, Jake & The Neverland Pirates and Super Hero Squad.  He loves all things superhero and action-packed. 

We have been having some on-going issues with him thinking he's in charge and not respecting authority.  He is a strong-willed child, for sure.  He is also quite aggressive and will throw things and hit, still.  Praying and working on that!  But he can also be incredibly sweet and kind.  Every time he hears me say "ow," he asks if I'm OK or need help.  He doesn't know he's little, and tries to do everything (or more) that Preston does.  Which, obviously, doesn't always work out for the best.  He switches back and forth between being excited and not wanting to be a big brother, haha.  So, we'll see how he feels when the time comes.

Happy birthday to my Callen-Bear!

My Five-Year-Old Callen!

Looking back...

Newborn Callen with giraffe

1 year old Callen with giraffe

2 year old Callen with giraffe

3 year old funny face with giraffe.
4 year old Callen

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Most Eventful Weekend...

On our way to ALR!
Two of my upline and I headed off on a road trip on Thursday (Jan 8th) to Ridgedale, MO (near Branson) for the Advanced Leadership Conference with our company, Usborne Books & More.  Our trip up was nice, trouble-free.  Stephanie and Holly had made the drive the year before in a dense fog and kept joking about how they almost died because they could not see... and there are a lot of high, mountain passes and twisty curves, so, yes... they had been in danger!  Our drive was fine, though.  We made it to the beautiful Big Cedar Lodge and had a wonderful first evening and full day of training the next.  The boys were staying with my parents Thursday evening, and Michael picked them up on Friday after he got off from work. 

Well, very late Friday night Michael started having what he thought were bad heartburn pains, and then coughing up blood.  He called me at 3am saying, "I think I have an emergency."  I tried to calm him down and figure out what was going on, but I'm not good at anything medical, so I didn't know.  When I hung up with Michael after that call, I didn't know what he was going to do... and since I didn't hear back from him, I figured it must have passed and he went back to sleep.  I didn't sleep much myself wondering and worrying, but got a text from him about 7am saying "I'm not dead yet, but at the ER.  Running tests!"  I didn't realize he had driven himself and the boys to the ER (and apparently Callen put up a big mean fuss about being woken up, yikes!)  Thankfully, Michael's parents are down for a two-month long visit and staying relatively near by, so Steve came and got the boys from the ER and brought them back to our house and they went back to bed.  I called my mom and asked her to go to the house and take over for Steve so he could go back up to the hospital to be with Michael.

After going back and forth through text with Michael and Steve, turns out the tests pointed to Michael's gallbladder and it needed to be removed ASAP.  SURGERY!  I was so upset that I wasn't there and was having a really hard time deciding between staying where I was and rushing back to Texas by myself.  Everyone told me to stay where I was, so I listened.  Michael was in good hands at the hospital, his dad was there, my kids were with my mom... there wasn't much I could do.  I tried to continue with a full-day of sitting through training, but I had a difficult time concentrating.  The word spread quickly and everyone was coming up asking questions and offering prayers and and nice words.  I even got a hug and a few words of encouragement from Randall White, our President/CEO.  I remember crying a lot, praying a lot and blowing up my phone with texts and calls all day long.  Michael's surgery kept getting pushed back, till finally about 5pm, he went in.  I could have been there had I left that morning.  The surgery went well, and this gallbladder was full of stones, according to the doctor.  He had 4 holes poked into him.  He stayed over night and was released on Sunday afternoon.

Sunday morning was the day we were supposed to leave Big Cedar Lodge and the girls riding with me agreed we could leave at 6am, so we jumped up and got in the car (in our PJs and all!), intending to miss a storm that was coming in from the Northeast.  Well, turns out we ran smack dab into the middle of one that was in Arkansas.  The main freeway was shut down and there was about a 2 hours standstill reported, so the GPS offered an alternate route, which LOOKED like it bypassed the mountains completely.  That seemed like a good idea at the time.  Well, we soon found out it steadily went right up a mountain and was far less traveled, which is NOT a good combination.  We passed many cars spun off on to the sides of the road and kept going.  Then we got to a part with a sign that read "Steep Slope Ahead."  Uh oh.  Indeed.  The entire highway was a giant sheet of ice, and there was absolutely nothing I could do anymore.... there was no way to accelerate so we just kind of came to a slow stop, and then the car started sliding sideways.  We slid, almost in slow motion, into a guard rail on the side of the road.  It was pretty much a straight drop down the other side of it, but luckily we just struck the guard rail a little.  We tried to get out, but the highway was, as I said, one giant sheet of ice, it was impossible to cross or walk around on.  We didn't see any other civilization, no real houses or businesses.  So, we sat there for a while, charging up our phones, calling 911 to let them know where we were exactly, letting our loved ones know we had a bit of delay, lol. 

Just slowly slid and stopped there.
Solid sheet of ice!
We sat on the side of the road there for about an hour and a half.  We got periodic calls from the 911 dispatch saying they couldn't come to us because all of their resources were stuck, too.  The firetruck had slid off into a ditch, the two sheriff trucks were off the roads, the wrecker was wrecked, etc.  REALLY!  We pretty much made it the farthest up the mountain out of anyone, and no one could come for us!  At one point we saw some hope!  A sand truck was making it's way up and around the corner, but then before our very eyes, it slid off the road, too.  Thankfully, the fireman who had the firetruck off into the ditch a little ways down came to check on that guy, and saw us!  He was able to make his way over to use and ask us if we wanted to come down to where he and a bunch of others were gathered in some warm work trucks.  My car wouldn't start at that point, I had ran the battery down charging the phones and such, oops!  So, we decided to take him up on that.  We gathered some stuff and blankets and headed along the guard rail with him down the mountain.  A little ways down I noticed a house across the street, and having to go to the bathroom pretty badly by then, wondered out loud if those people were home because it'd be nice to use there bathroom!!!  The sweet Fireman, grabbed his phone and goes, "Let me call them!"  We then realized we were in a town of 399 people, everyone knew everyone in Winslow, AR!  Thankfully, they were home and we could come use their bathroom, but we had to figure out how to cross the highway, which was solid ice.  Fireman Shane said he had witnessed a lady walk along on her blanket for traction, so we tried it and worked.  Was a very interesting experience shuffling along across a highway on a blanket (IN MY PJs, mind you!), but it worked. 

These sweet older couple let us into their home and we used their bathroom, they offered us coffee and cookies and said we could stay there as long as we needed.  Stephanie asked if they were football fans and they turned on the Cowboy game for us, lol.  They served us lunch and everything.  We had a wonderful time getting to know these people who saved our lives.  At this point I hadn't told Michael what had happened because I didn't want him worrying about me, so when I found out he was finally home with his mom, I called and told him the story.  We tried so hard to get up early and get home as fast as we could, we ended up with an extra 5-hour delay.  Finally, it rained a bit and warmed up a little, so the sand truck was able to drive backwards, sanding himself up the mountain.  We jump started the car and got it off the guard rail and everything looked fine.  The sweet couple escorted us all the way back down to the mountain and over to the main freeway again.  And we were on our way home at last.  I got home about 9pm on Sunday.

Whew.  What a weekend to remember!  Thankfully, Michael is doing much better now, he is healing very well and back to moving around and working and all that.  The dent in the car popped itself out pretty much, which is awesome.  And good grief, I learned my lesson about Arkansas back roads!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Christmas, New Years, Gone Already!

I can hardly believe we are sitting on this side of 2015 already.  I know once we hit Preston's birthday, time just rushes past... and yep, happened again.  We celebrated Preston's birthday, then mine, Christmas and New Years all in a whirlwind!

Michael was off for a week and a half so it was really nice having him home and all to ourselves for that long.  We put together two of the Thomas Kinkade Disney Puzzles, checked out the Whistle Stop Christmas display in Cleburne (and had some yummy BBQ there), watched our own little home town parade of lights, enjoyed time with my parents on Christmas Eve, had a lazy, quite Christmas Day, celebrated New Year's Eve by popping balloons every hour from 6-midnight, watched lots of movies, read books, slept a lot, and who knows what else.  It was wonderful!

My guys decorating the tree.
Ready to start our first puzzle!  Those faces!
Christmas Eve.  Can we open presents yet?
I am so proud of my boys.  This year, instead of asking for big gifts from Santa, they only wanted little things in their stockings and we spent time giving to others instead.  We took yummy treats to our neighbors, and Preston donated his brand new Razor Scotter to a local boy who wasn't getting much of a Christmas.  They were so kind and not at all upset about not getting a big Christmas morning surprise!  Love their little hearts!!!