Saturday, May 30, 2009


I got pictures off my dad's camera this weekend, you can see them here.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Odds & Ends

Just a couple quick notes:

Kid funny:

Sat evening we met some friends at a park for a picnic supper. My friend, Vicki was there with her 18 lb 6 mo old. At one point I was holding K (the 6 mo old) & Vicki was holding Little Bit. A told me "Mommy, you & Miss Vicki should trade babies, because K is fat like you & Little Bit is skinny like Miss Vicki." I just had to laugh LOL.

And in other news, A learned to tell time on Monday. We were driving back from the store & she had Mama's watch, and started asking about telling time & had it mostly figured out by the time we got home. She still sometimes gets the hour wrong when it's near the next hour (ie. if it's 3:45 she will often think it's 4:45 since by then the hour hand is closer to the 4 than the 3) but for the most part she has it figured out. We are going watch shopping this afternoon. L is now asking to learn to tell time, hopefully she'll pick it up as easily as her sister LOL.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Pooh Pictures!

Just a quick note, I've created a Picasa album for Little Bit's Pooh Pictures (we'll try to take a picture each month on her "birthday", or at least within a day or two of it, of her next to the same stuffed Winnie-the-Pooh, so we can watch her grow). Just for fun I'm also going to add the Pooh pictures of A&L each month at the same age that Little Bit is, so we can compare. Keep in mind that they were born a month early, and weighed around 5lbs, each, at birth vs 8lb 12 oz. At the moment I'm not finding their one month Pooh picture, so it's missing from this album.

The album link is here. It's also listed (as "Pooh Pictures") in the links list to the right.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Not Keeping Up So Well . . .

I just realized I haven't posted in awhile. . . life's been busy LOL.

We decided kind of last minute to go to my parents (the girls & I, hubby's in Pittsburg for work) this weekend. We decided this on Tues. evening. At bedtime that night I noticed that one of A's eyelids looked swollen. She said it didn't hurt or itch, and her eye itself looked fine, so we decided to wait & see what it looked like in the morning. In the morning it was so swollen she could hardly open her eye. Still didn't hurt or itch, just "felt weird" (which makes total sense LOL). So we went to the doctor. She figures it was a spider bite (said they often don't have a "spot" where the bite actually is, like other bug bites) and said to do eyebright (an herb) compresses and because her eye was a little bloodshot(I think she'd just been rubbing it some from it feeling "wierd") to also get the Similasan pink eye eye drops (Similasan is a homeopathic brand of eye drops, they have a whole bunch of different ones for allergies, etc, that is available in normal drug stores & such. Geat stuff!). So we headed for the health food store. Can I just pause a moment to sing the praises of the staff at the Douglasville Kimberton Whole Foods store! We've only been there once or twice before today. But as we walked through the store one of the clerks stopped and came over to see the baby, she remembered the girls from last time we were there, when they'd chattered away about how mommy was having a baby soon, so she asked them all about how they were enjoying their new baby sister, etc. So friendly & rather impressive that she remembered us (though the girls WERE in a super chatty mood that last time, so no doubt they made an impression LOL). And then, when I couldn't find the eyebright tea, I asked the other clerk. They didn't have any, though she said they could probably order it (not what I needed this time, since I needed it for A's eye NOW), so we talked about other options for the compress. All they had was a tincture, and we figured the alcohol would burn if it got in A's eye. Then when I mentioned that I go past a 2nd health food store on my way home & would just look there, she offered to call them for me to see if they had what I needed. I thought that was SO sweet of her, and potentially saved me dragging 3 kids into a 2nd store for no reason. They didn't have the tea either, but did have ONE bottle of eyebright capsules so we got that & just opened a capsule & mixed it with water to make the compresses.

So . . . that took up a good part of Wed.

Oh and to add to the fun this week, a bird (or birds, I haven't "caught" them at it yet) has decided my clothesline is a great place to perch, and poop . . . so I've had to rewash a bunch of stuff that got pooped on (Wed I hung stuff inside even though it was a GORGEOUS day, because I wasn't about to risk having to rewash AGAIN when I was trying to get ready to be gone. That evening hubby pointed out that I could hang stuff on one of my "backup" clotheslines & the birds wouldn't likely bother it there (when we first moved here Dad put up a clothesline by the basement door (just attached a rope to a tree & the side of the house), but it wasn't big enough especially once I knew a baby (and therefore diaper-laundry) was coming, so later Dad put up a pulley one in the front yard. AND I also had Dad put up a small, removeable one on the porch for hanging a few things on rainy days. I use the pulley one 95% of the time, and just use the others for overflow (or sometimes hang stuff on the porch on rainy days but it won't hold a full load so usually don't bother), it's the pulley one the birds have discovered. . . So yesterday I hung stuff on the clothesline by the basement door. I think the problem w/ the pulley one & the birds are that I hang stuff on the "bottom" rope & the birds have decided the top one is a good perch (doesn't help that there's a birdhouse right next to the clothesline LOL) so I think I might try hanging stuff on the top rope for awhile (will be abit more of a pain since stuff may be more likely to wrap around the 2 ropes together & such) so that the birds don't have a "perch". . .

So that's been my week. But I'm caught up on laundry, taking the dirty diapers w/ me to my parents' to wash (I wash every 2-3 days, but had this week all figured out to wash Sun, Wed, and Fri (thus having clean dipes for Sabbath). Which meant when we decided Tues night to leave this morning, I still HAD to wash dipes on Wed. Didn't want to leave a day & a half's worth of dirty dipes to sit till we get home, and didn't really want to do a small load yesterday afternoon, so we'll just take them w/ us & wash them this afternoon), even managed to clean out the car (thanks to the girls' HUGE help of walking Little Bit around the driveway in the stroller so she'd nap!). AND I went shoe shopping yesterday. Hubby's boss is retiring & they're having a formal retirement dinner next week. I'd heard about it awhile ago but hadn't heard dates (or remembered them anyway) so didn't think it all through till this week. I ordered a dress online, but would rather be able to try shoes on. Since my "church shoes" are canvas mary janes I figure I should probably have something fancier than that. and my feet have grown so trying to make do w/ something from several years ago isn't going to work. I have a mall gift card so wanted to at least LOOK at the mall here & see if they had what I wanted. They had a pair that I like the look of but were very uncomfortable. So I'm going to check the outlets near my parents' house & if I can't find anything else I'll go back to the mall next Tues whenwe get home.. . .

So . . . that's what we've been up to. Now I'm waiting for the girls to wake up (Little Bit woke up fussy (gassy & poopy) at 5am, so I brought her down here so her crying wouldn't wake the girls. Now she's asleep on the Boppy but I figure if I try to go back to sleep the big girls will get up LOL.) and then we'll load the last minute stuff in the car & head out.

Monday, May 11, 2009

What I Learned & How I'm Implimenting It . . .

Many of the seminars I went to while I was at CHAP this past weekend were on parenting/character building in our children . . . a speaker team that I especially enjoyed were Scott Turansky & Joanne Miller from the National Center for Biblical Parenting. Interestingly, I didn't realize until I got there, I was already receiving, and thoroughly enjoying/learning from their e-mail newsletters, I don't remember how I happened upon the site to sign up for the newsletters, but I highly recommend them (and they're free).

Turansky & Miller focus on character building (or "heart issues") as the core to parenting, rather than just behavior modification, etc. I attended several of their seminars over the 2 days, and purchased the CDs for those I didn't attend. I also purchased 2 of their CD sets from their booth (I'm anxious to read several of their books, as well, but will purchase them from, and I'm not finding alot of reading time at the moment anyway, but can listen to CDs while nursing Little Bit late at night).

Now obviously, I can't impliment EVERYTHING they said right away, it would overwhelm the kids, and me, for that matter. So I'm going to impliment things abit at a time (besides, I still have several CDs to listen to), and thought I'd document how that goes here.

Conveniently (and completely coincidentally) when we sat down to have worship this morning as part of school, this week's character trait (of the Prov 31 woman) is submission/obedience. What a perfect time to talk about some new things we're going to do around here when the children disobey!!!

So I explained it kinda like this:

Some of the things I learned at the meetings I went to this weekend were about how to help kids obey better, so we're going to work on using some of those things in our house, and here's the first thing. It's kind of like what we already do, but a little different. When you do something wrong and get upset, you need to take a break to calm down before we can talk, we're still going to do that. Where do you go to take a break?

They (correctly) answered the bench in mommy's room or our beds (A prefers the bench, L prefers her bed). A reminded me that she can calm down better if she's on my lap, so we talked about how we can try to do that, but sometimes I can't because of Little Bit. I suggested that if she can't be on my lap, perhaps she could sit on my foot (still providing the physical contact, that I think "grounds" her) and we also talked about how, for that to work (her to be with me) she needs to not be screaming, if she's screaming she's going to need to go up to the bench because we can't have the screaming around other people. None of this (other than sitting on my foot) is new information, but it's helpful to reiterate it, including reiterating that the bench/bed is NOT a punishment/time-out, but rather a method of giving them a break/cooling down period (also not new information, but I think because we see time-outs used so frequently in others, and sometimes the bench/bed IS used in more of a timeout way by Daddy, it's helpful to remind THEM that it's not a punishment. I also reminded them that how long the "break" lasts depends on them, whenever they have calmed down and are ready to talk, the break is over (this is the key difference between the "break" and "timeout", it is not punative for a set amount of time, it is simply . . .well . . . a break (LOL) for however long it takes for them to cool down so that we can talk rationally.

NOW we get to the new part . . . when you have calmed down, you need to come talk to Mommy, the same as before BUT now EVERY time, Mommy's going to ask you the SAME questions, and if you're not ready to answer those questions, you must need a longer break. Here are the questions:

1) What did you do wrong? (note to other parents: they may not know/remember the answer to this, if that's the case, remind them,but then have them repeat it back to you. This is "confession" and a part of the process of working on their heart issues)
2) Why was that wrong? (again, they might need help, but have them say it)
3) What will you do differently next time? (again, they might need help/suggestions. And they might not remember "next time" but eventually if they keep saying it, they'll start to internalize it . . . This is not a "quick fix" this is changing their heart and teaching them skills that will help them relate to others throughout life)

Another note to the parents: After going through the 3 questions, "release" them with this statement: "Go ahead and try again."

They were receptive to it all, again this is not a huge change from the way we were already doing things, mainly just formalizes what is said during the "talk to mommy" part of the process, but I think that will be extremely valuable because they will know what to expect during that talk.

So of course, awhile later they were playing and started fighting, so I called them in, asked if they needed to "take a break". L did not, A came & sat on my feet while I talked to L. We had to deviate from the "script" abit (and I'd warned them of this during the initial discussion) since I didn't know what had happened. So first L gave me a run-down of what had happened. Then we went through the 3 questions with L. By then, A had decided she was ready to talk, so we went through the same questions with A (if I'd felt L hadn't given a balanced story I'd have asked A for "her side" as well, but in this case, it appeared balanced, combined w/ what I'd heard thru the window). It all went very smoothly, they were thrilled to know what questions were coming. . . and in the process of figuring out for A"what she'll do differently" we were able to "touble shoot" their interactions with each other as well.

In a nutshell this conflict was, A did something L didn't like, L got mad but (and this is also something we've been working on & L has been doing better about) w/o even telling A what she had done wrong, L "walked away" (taking a "break" when you're mad is good . . . but in this scenario results in a hurt/confused/angry sister who doesn't understand the abrupt end of a game). So we talked through that for awhile. I suggested that even if L is angry (or vise versa) perhaps she could SAY "I need a break" so that the other one knows why she's walking away. I also suggested that, just as when they take a "break" during correction with me, they then have to come talk to me, if they "take a break" from each other, once they've cooled down, they come back and talk about it. A agreed that if she knows L will come back, she won't get so mad when L walks away (which was the conflict I "heard" in this case, she got mad & started yelling at L when L walked away . . . ). They also suggested w/o my prompting that they could come talk to me about it, to get additional ideas and such. So . . . since 99% of the fighting around here is some form of one kid deciding she doesn't like how the game is going & either blowing up about it, or walking away (usually while saying some form of "if you won't do things my way, I won't play with you"), I'm cautiously hopeful that over time they will learn to resolve those issues using the same basic model that we're using for correction (though just hte "what can we do different" part of it in some cases) and things will be much less volatile/dramatic around here. We shall see . . . but certainly the initial use of this new model was highly successful, and well recieved by the kids as well.

I want to stick with this element for a few days (or longer, as needed) and get it well ingrained in them (and me) before we move on to other things, but will try to post here as we work through things in case this parenting advice is helpful to others.

Incidentally, this technique came from their seminar on "Correcting Wrongs Wisely" (you can buy CDs or download an mp3, of this or any of their seminars from this weekend at the CHAP site. Ok, as I look at it, they don't have the '09 seminars up yet, but they should be there soon).

CHAP Convention 2009

This past Fri & Sat was the 2009 CHAP (Christian Homeschool Assoc of PA) convention and Little Bit & I went to it. Since I hadn't been to a homeschool convention before, I figured this was my "learning year", I wasn't going to go into it planning to buy a bunch of stuff or anything, I was just going to go & figure out how it all works so I'd know more for future years, and I wanted to go to lots of seminars (since, as a SDA, we don't "buy & sell" on Sat, I spent all day Sat. going to seminars that I considered acceptible for Sabbath, on character development, etc).

And I DID learn alot:

  • a rolling cart of somesort is a must! Quite a few people just used rolling suitcases, but I think having to unzip & re-zip it would annoy me (even if you're not buying alot, many vendors have catalogs & other handouts so it would annoy me to have to keep zipping/unzipping for that, but maybe less so if I didn't have a baby to juggle? And/or if the suitcase had a front pocket that the small papers at least could be slid into easily?
  • I will bring pre-printed labels with my name/address/e-mail next time, for raffles & mailing lists (address labels would work, but most things I filled out asked for e-mail addy as well, so you'd have to add that, but it might be worth it if you have alot of the freebie address labels laying around)
  • Since I don't do any shopping on the 2nd day of this conference (because it's Sabbath), I'm going to arrange in advance with someone (husband, my parents, a friend . . .) to be available for me to call & have them check online for pricing to see if the convention prices are a good deal or not . . . If it were, say a Thurs/Fri convention that would be a non-issue since you could browse the first day, check prices online in the evening, and buy the 2nd day.
  • Bring snacks to keep in the car. The location (not CHAP) had a rule of no outside food/drink, but not only was the food (& water) EXPENSIVE!!! There were very few vegetarian options, and nothing healthy & quick. Ideally, for a convention like this, I'd bring dried fruit, nuts, etc (and water, of course) that I could eat while I was in the seminars, since that's not an option, and there weren't healthy/filling/vegetarian options to purchase that were things I could take with me into a seminar anyway, and I was able to park relatively close to the entrance, so if I'd had healthy snacks in the car the first day, I could have gone out there & eaten something healthier (and MUCH cheaper) just as fast, or faster than taking time to sit down & eat a salad or pasta from the on-site cafeteria. Admittedly the second day since all my seminars were at the far end of the complex from the entrance/exit, I opted to eat food I could purchase from the cafeteria that was next to my next seminar room rather than hike back to the car (where I did, at least have granola bars I'd picked up on my way to the hotel the night before). So I'd be aware that it might not be used, but I'd at least make sure I had snacks in the car available.
  • Along the same lines, while it said no outside food/drinks, there WAS a drinking fountain there, as it was I bought ONE bottle of water & re-filled it at the drinking fountain. Next time I'll just bring an empty Klean Kanteen & fill it at the drinking fountain.
Little Bit did great!! Especially the first day when I alternated seminars, and browsing through the vendor hall. She generally slept while I browsed, and nursed during the seminars, so it worked well. I was nervous about how she'd sleep that night after napping so much during the day, but it worked out fine. I got to the hotel around 6:30pm and she was awake for awhile, then went to sleep for the night, and I went to bed when she fell asleep so it worked fine.

The second day of back-to-back seminars all day she got abit more restless, but still did pretty well. I have a feeling next year, assuming she's not at a point of being left home with the big kids (the big kids wouldn't have at just past a year, but she's so different from them, who knows . . .), it'll be worth the extra $10 to have a second adult (probably my mom, unless hubby wants to come (and we leave the big girls w/ my parents), but he didn't want to this year, so I assume he won't next year either) come along so we can take turns riding herd on Little Bit, since she's not likely to sit thru many seminars so well next year LOL.

This Week

Another week of not alot of "school", but a good week, none-the-less. I'm getting back in the "groove" of living on less sleep, the weather's getting warmer, I LOVE having windows open again (though this past week it rained most of the week so not alot of outdoor time for the kids).

It was a "short" week too. Monday we drove home from my parents' house, Tuesday we had all the check-ups . . . and then Friday I was gone to CHAP (which I'll write a separate post on), so the big girls were with Daddy for the day (Little Bit came with me, obviously).

So, not TOO surprising that we only fit in one day of school, though we read extra history so that made up for some of the days we haven't done school.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Book Review: Feminine Appeal

Before Little Bit was born I read Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney, but didn't get a review written & since Little Bit's been born, I've been abit busy LOL. I have thing set up to be online easily while she nurses, but can't type as easily as I'd like.

So I'm taking a couple minutes while Little Bit's asleep, to work on this. I LOVE Carolyn Mahaney! I'm not sure how I first happened to find her online talks, but I've listened to most of them. There are a couple things I cringe at abit (she refers to being so relieved when her mother told her it's ok to let baby cry in the crib, apparently for HER babies, they'd fuss a few minutes and fall asleep, but she implies this is always the case and I can say w/ certainty that would NOT have worked for my big girls (for Little Bit, it depends, she DOES sometimes just want to sleep, and will just kind of "whine"/fuss a few minutes & fall asleep, other times, something else is bothering her, and laying her down just makes her scream louder)) so I don't 100% agree w/ her parenting tips, but overall, I've enjoyed it & learned alot.

I was excited to get, and read Feminine Appeal, since I'd seen it recommended several times and I love Carolyn Mahaney's talks so much. And it's a very good book, BUT, the book says essentially the same thing (sometimes word for word) as her To Teach What is Good mp3 series. So if you'd just as soon listen as read anyway, you can listen for free, and skip the book.

Ok now what's the book (and mp3 series) about? In a nutshell, she takes Titus 2:4, 5 and writes a chapter on each of the things we, as women, are to be doing.

Then [the older women] can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Titus 2:4, 5 (NIV)

Carolyn takes this apart and writes a chapter on each of the following:
  • loving our husbands
  • loving our children
  • being self-controlled
  • being pure
  • being busy at home
  • being kind
  • being subject to our husbands
I felt she did a good job of explaining what each of these entailed, an example of a "tricky" part of this verse that I felt she handled well is being busy at home. I've heard some people interpret this verse to mean that women should NEVER work outside the home, Carolyn makes the point that the home must be our priority. So, if I were looking at a possible job opportunity, I should first ask myself, how will this affect my husband, children and our home life? I think this is a good "measure" of whether employment (whether outside the home or a work-at-home job) is acceptable.

So, very good information, I highly recommend it (but don't bother reading the book if you've listened to the mp3 series).

Little Bit Rolled Over!!!

Little Bit rolled over (tummy to back) last night. The first time she did it I was sitting next to her on the bed, not real close, but close enough that I figured my weight might have made it easier for her to roll "down hill" but then a few minutes later I'd put her back on her tummy & gotten up, and she did it again, so I'm going to call that her official first roll, at age 6 weeks, 1 day!


I'm still playing catch-up, but last Tues was "check-up" day for us. I'd scheduled Little Bit's 1 mo check-up and a check-up/initial visit for A. They wouldn't let me schedule one for L at the same time because doing a baby well-visit & 2 initial visits would take up too big a block of the dr.'s time to do all in one day. But as it worked out, it was a slow day so the dr. said if we were willing to wait (after Little Bit & A's check-ups) while she saw 2 more patients, she could work L in, so we got all 3 check-ups done.

Nothing real exciting to report. Little Bit weighs 10lb 8oz, nursed thru most of her exam. The dr. laughed that she was so "focused" on nursing, and didn't seem bothered by the poking & prodding. I said that's what comes of having 2 big sisters who are always kissing her & such while she's trying to nurse LOL. I asked the dr. about the gassiness and she recommended that I drink fennel tea (or Mother's Milk tea, which has fennel in it, but since I'm already leaking, I don't think I need to do anything more to increase my milk supply LOL) which will improve my digestion (she implied this would decrease Little Bit's gassiness?) AND pass thru to Little Bit to further improve her digestion. So I've been doing that.

A & L were fine. They're (roughly) in the 70% for height & 50% for weight. They found the questions the nurse asked to be absurdly easy (when asked if she could count to 10, A said, with distain, "I can count to 100" LOL). So that's done for this year.

Little Bit's next check-up is at 4mo.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Weekend

Other than losing Precious, we had a fun weekend at my parents' house.

Since Hubby needed to work most of the weekend anyway, we drove separate. The girls & I went down Thurs. A circus was renting the extra land at my parents' office for Wed & Thurs, so we (my parents & I) were planning to take the girls Thurs afternoon, but I hadn't told them about it ahead of time. As we drove up to my parents' office, the girls noticed the tent:

Girls: That looks like a circus tent!!
Me: Yes, that's what it is
Girls: (whining) We want to go to a circus . . .
Me: Well, that's what we're planning to do this afternoon . . .
Girls begin bouncing off the walls/ceiling with excitement, which continues until we actually GO to the circus several hours later

Before we actually went to the circus that afternoon the vast majority of my parents' co-workers had heard about the girls' excitement over going to the circus LOL.

Despite it being LOUD, Little Bit slept/nursed thru the whole thing. The girls loved it, though A, of course, made frequent comments about the various acts being dangerous LOL.

Friday we mostly just hung out at Mama & Papa's house.

Sabbath morning the big girls went to church with Mama & Papa, and Little Bit came with Dh & me to our high school alumni weekend for church. It was fun to see old friends, and Little Bit slept the WHOLE time! (my friend, Vicki, after seeing Little Bit first at the circus and then at alumni, has decided that Little Bit is NEVER awake LOL).

Sunday we had planned to go to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. But with all the rain, my parents & I had decided to skip that (hadn't mentioned it to the girls, so they didn't know the difference). Instead, we went to Brookside Garden's Live Butterfly Exhibit. It was early in the season, and cool out, so not as many butterflies, or as active of butterflies as will be later in the season, but it was still fun. One of the volunteers was great about answering the girls' questions and had some dead butterflies they could touch (since you can't touch live butterflies' wings w/o hurting them) and a magnifying glass to look at them with and such. The girls also spent quite awhile watching the crysalises (not sure how to spell that?) in the emerging box. They were able to see a butterfly come out of the crysalis which was pretty cool.

And Monday we came home.

I was abit nervous about how Little Bit would do sleep-wise, but she did great. I put her in the middle of the guest bed & I moved from one side of the bed to the other depending which side she needed to nurse on (in our bed, with the co-sleeper I stay in one spot & move her LOL) and each night she nursed to sleep, slept a pretty nice long stretch initially, and then was more restless, which is what usually happens at home too. If she got too restless I took her out to the recliner (being more upright seems to help her work the gassiness out), and grumbled about the lack of internet LOL. I got lots of solitaire & tetris playing time on my phone while she nursed early in the mornings LOL.

We also discovered it's rather hit or miss as to whether Little Bit will be happy in the car or not. She doesn't ALWAYS sleep in the car like the big girls did at that age, but sometimes she's content to just watch the sky go by when she doesn't sleep. Other times she cries :o( On the way down on Thurs, when she started fussing I stopped & nursed her, but then she was even MORE fussy the rest of the way to my parents' office. We'd been planning to just pick my parents up & go straight to lunch when we got there, but since she was fussing I assumed she wanted to nurse, so decided we'd go into their office so I could nurse her before we went to lunch. But apparently she was just tired of being in the carseat, we went into their office & she was perfectly content to have Mom carry her around and show her off to a few people & such before she nursed. So not sure how that will all work out for longer trips . . . hopefully as she gets old enough to like toys, she'll be content to ride in the car & have her sisters hand her toys & talk to her & such, we shall see . . .

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

We'll Miss You Precious

This weekend we had to have our dog, Precious put to sleep. She's been a part of our family since a year after we got married. She was "Rodney's" dog, but she never fully figured that out. When she was a puppy I was working as an auditor and travelled Mon-Thurs most weeks. The plan/agreement was that Precious would sleep in her crate at night, but it wasn't very many weeks into her life with us that I came home to find that when I was gone she got to sleep in our bed, it was obviously pointless to try to insist she sleep in the crate when I was home, so she moved permanently into our bed, and whenever I was home she slept under the covers plastered against my side (perhaps she was getting me ready for co-sleeping with babies LOL).

We had a couple of big poofy recliners that we generally sat in to watch tv, and she would jump up on one of our laps and wiggle herself down in right along the arm of the chair & our leg and cuddle while we watched TV.
Interestingly, when I was pregnant with the twins, she somehow figured out all on her own, that she was losing her place in our bed, and she moved to the foot of the bed, where she slept until we moved here a year ago.She handled the transition to life with babies very well. She put up with their "love" even though it was abit rough at times. I've often said my only complaint about her, with kids, was that she wouldn't even bark or whine to let me know if they were doing something to hurt her. She never once nipped at the kids, and there were certainly times they deserved it.
Over the last couple of years it's been obvious that she was getting older, she's had breathing problems for several years, if she gets excited or upset or ran around too much.
She didn't adapt to our move very well, for some reason, ever since we moved here, she got upset any time we left her home alone, which had never bothered her before.
She was getting stiff, couldn't jump up onto our bed here, which was higher than it had been at the old house since the girls were born, but not so high she wouldn't have been able to jump up when she was younger. So at this house she generally slept on the floor of the girls' room, or in the hall outside both of our doors. But she still was the sweetest dog. Putting up with the girls' "love", but coming and getting under my feet if they got too rough. L would tell Precious "secrets" when she (L) was upset, to help her calm down.
This weekend we left her at my parents' while we were all at church. She was only alone for a little over half an hour, but apparently got even more upset than usual. My parents & the big girls got home to find she had pooped all over the room she was in (very unusual for her) and that she was having trouble breathing. They rubbed her throat, gave her water, took her outside . . . she seemed to recover some, but was still struggling to breath when dh & I got home a couple hours later. So, dh took her to the Emergency Vet. They thought meds & oxygen would get her back to normal & we'd just need to be careful to not let her get so upset in the future, but when dh was part way home (he'd left her to have the oxygen overnight) the vet called & said she wasn't responding like they thought she would & there wasn't really anything they could do. So my parents & I took the girls down to the Animal Hosptial (and met dh there) to tell her goodbye before she was put to sleep. Telling the girls that Precious was dying is the hardest thing I've ever had to do. It's such a helpless feeling to have your kids hurting and not be able to "make it ok". The drive to the animal hospital helped alot, they, in typical A&L fashion, talked it out the whole way there and were calm by the time we got there. The vet was AWESOME. Got down on their level and talked to them and answered their 101 questions. Precious was in an oxygen tent (? it wasn't a tent, it was a cage thing, but I don't know what it's called) so we could see her while the girls asked their questions. Then the vet explained that when she opened the door to the cage it would make it even harder for Precious to breath so they needed to be quick about giving her a goodbye kiss, so she didn't struggle too much to breath. They did, each gave her a quick kiss, and then they were ready to go. Since then, we've had lots more comments and talking, but no more tears (from them, I've had a few moments, but thankfully when they're not around). Dh came home that night, and we didn't come home till yesterday, so he had time to get her food & dishes put out of sight before we got home, which helped. They will comment on things like "now we don't need 'feed Precious' on our chore list anymore" and L told dh "it was sad when we walked in our house and Precious wasn't here to greet us". But overall they're doing ok with it.