Saturday, December 17, 2011

*gasp* A Post!

I just can't get in the groove since our last baby-addition. I don't want to neglect my blog, but it seems that I'm just letting it go. Hopefully we can remedy this soon. =D

It seems like it was just last week that we were bringing home little Noah and here it is nearly Christmastime. Speaking of Noah, the little man is growing like a weed: cooing, smiling, drooling, laughing and making us all laugh. He has slept all night twice. My kids don't start sleeping all night until about 3-4 months. But he is sleeping from 10:30-4 in his crib, in the boys' room, pretty consistently. It could be worse, I know. When you start to get that sleepless zombie feeling though, you long for a full 8 hours' sleep. Anyway, he is a precious little angel who loves to be held, loves to swing, and loves his siblings.

More along the baby-talk lines: for ten thousand reasons (/exaggeration) we decided not to use the church nursery this go-around. We took Josiah out at about the age of 12 months, for the same ten thousand reasons, and have had no trouble with it. Little Noah has been a cinch also, with some minor disasters along the way. At this point, he sleeps for nearly the whole message. There have been a few sermons when he has stayed awake for the majority of the time. It's so neat watching him; sometimes it seems like he's actually listening. I have never felt fully comfortable leaving any of the kids in the nursery, I just never really felt confident enough to go against the grain and be ready for the derision that always follows. And there has been that derision, but like I said, I quit caring what people think in this respect.

Fortunately, I have been getting to attend Sunday School again. My Sunday School teacher's wife came to me and asked why I had not been in Sunday School. I explained that I had to nurse baby. [explanation: for some mind-boggling, bizarre reason, my church seems to have this mind set that nursing is shameful and vulgar. Nursing in the service would just be beyond the pale...even though I always nurse with a complete wrap around cape that covers me fully from the waist to the neck. How the cynical side of me would love to just nurse him during Sunday morning worship and when I get all the flack, call The Milk Truck...cus I have a mean streak like that.] She said that she was sure that no one cared if I came in Sunday School with Noah and fed him in there. I was so completely thrilled! I haven't been a student in Sunday School in about 14 years. I got saved in 1997 and began teaching the toddler class in 1998. Since then I've either taught a class or have been the wife of a Sunday School teacher (ie the youth group). I have completely enjoyed Sunday School!

Back on the home front, I am pretty well finished with Christmas stuff. I have to make Lydia a skirt. I plan to take next week to make a few Christmas candies: "York" peppermint patties, easy truffles, white chocolate pretzels, "Turtles," and whatever else sounds yummy. Plus a nice pot of Brunswick stew for a family Christmas eve party and some dessert goodies to take to my mom and dad's. Tis the season to forget about losing baby weight, right? After all, I only have about 5 pounds to go, so eat all you want, right? .... right??????

Tons more I could share, but Noah is awake and is hungry. Maybe I'll get to another post later today, but if not, I'll go on and publish this one. :-D

Monday, November 7, 2011

Our Schoolhouse

I promised a while back to share pictures with our schoolhouse. Well, I don't have so many, but here they are.

I love the porch!

We put it pretty close to the house...maybe a little too close. I did not want it in the back of the yard, however, because in rainy or cold weather I didn't want to trek across the yard.

So, here is the inside. We opted for the loft to help in our storage crisis. In this photo, Jeremy had wired the inside.

We later insulated it. Unfortunately, I either did not take pictures of it with the insulation, or I lost them. Either is possible.

This is the finished (for now) product. The sheet rock is not finished. We may not ever do it. We also left the floors alone. We thought about putting laminate down, but decided against it. We keep joking that we'll use it for a shed when the kids are not in school any more ... twenty years or so from now!

In other news, it is impossible to believe that on Wednesday Noah will we 8 weeks old! He is growing too fast. He weighs the same as his cousin who is 10 weeks older than him.

And, we celebrated another birthday as Mr. Ethan turned 7. He's looking quite grown-up.

Amidst all of this, we have had a long-distance field trip, battled illnesses, continued with school after our baby vacation, done some major organizing, began potty training Josiah, struggled with thrush, and dealt with a washing machine crisis which flooded the house!

Speaking of field trips, we are hoping to take the kids to the USS Alabama soon. They will love it, I am sure.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Weeks in Pictures

This post is certainly going to be a catching up post. It seems like the past 3 weeks have just flown by. We all seem to be adjusting into a family of 7 from a family of 6. Trying to get somewhere on time can be difficult, but it seems to come together at the last minute. Well, except for this weekend when we were 30 minutes late to my nephew's birthday party. Noah is growing by leaps and bounds! It seems like he changes a little bit every day. I'll pick up where the last post left off.

The whole family came to pick me up when I was discharged from the hospital. These little gifts were near my seat, a gift from Ethan. To the left are paper cutouts of me and Noah. To the right is a little note rolled up and tied together.
The little note reads "I am glad that you have Noah and I love you." At the bottom are sketches of me and Noah. (Click to enlarge)

This precious sign by the door was complements of John.

Bringing home Noah....

 Indoor art work shown off by its creator.

And of course, everyone wants a turn holding Noah.

Jeremy's grandmother always purchases a cute bow to celebrate each baby's birth. Noah was no different.

  Daddy giving Noah his first at-home bath.
 And getting caught in a rain shower is always fun!

 There is no shortage of help. I love the pile of stuffed animals at Noah's feet.

 And there's LOTS of time to plunder when mom is distracted.

 Here Mr. Noah is about 3 weeks old.

Mom's little babies!


I had mentioned before about us praying about a separate schoolhouse. You can see it in the background of one of this pictures. I have photos of the progress. We have the electricity run out to to it, we've had it insulated, hung sheet rock and now we're down to the cleaning and soon on to the moving in. Hopefully that will be another post. :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Spotlight: Noah

Noah's "birth" was a snap compared to all the rest. I am very thankful for that. I've had very little pain, for which I am SUPER grateful.  He was 8 lb, 5 oz which is not big for my babies. He's taking to nursing like a pro. In my opinion, he looks very, very much like Ethan but with John's eyes and Josiah's cleft chin. He's also a lot more blond than the others. John was the most blond and they've gradually gotten darker all the way down to Josiah. Noah changed that pattern!

Since Noah's "birth story" isn't half as dramatic as Josiah's was, I guess that I feel like there's really nothing to share. I'm not being negative; there's just not really much to tell. I was unhappy to have been completely forbidden to leave my bed on day one. He was born at about 7:30 AM and by 2 AM the next day, I'd had enough. My nurse was okay with disconnecting me to my 88,000 tethers (miles of IV stuff, blood clot leg cuff thingys, etc) and I was very glad. After the last bit of morphine was out of my system, I got up and got a shower. After that, I felt like a new person!

For now, we're hoping to go home today, two days after Noah's birth. The children are dying to have mommy home again and I am dying to be home again. There is no rest in the hospital, that's to be sure!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Spotlight: Josiah

My bouncing two-year old tornado! I had only thought I'd had two-year olds ... then we had Josiah! He has such an insatiable curiosity. Toys do not, and never have, held his attention for any span of time. He's an explorer and adventurer, even at the tender age of two.

This is our big, brown eyed, cuddle bunny. He loves mommy and is the first clingy child I've had. He's not unhealthily clingy, he just loves mommy! He's also a daddy's boy. He rushes out the door when he hears Daddy pull up in the driveway. But just face it, he just loves mommy better (you know he does honey, so meh!).

Sweet and concerned, yet bossy. He loves to tell his older siblings what to do. Josiah needs to have things "right." He simply cannot get out of the bathtub without picking up the toys (which is a good thing). He lines up pocket cars and meticulously pulls out each one, drives it around, and puts it back in its place.

Josiah loves the moon (mewn), trains (choo-choo), dinosaurs (rar!) and his brother Ethan (ee-ee). Dirt ranks very high on the list of fun things.

He has been very interested in school since Lydia started. When I call Lydia in to go over her lessons, Josiah has to be in the middle of what she's doing. He will recite each letter and its sound as I hold up the flashcards. So precious!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Spotlight: John

Just another little momma update: still pregnant (lol). Lots of Braxton-Hicks-ing (normal for me). Tomorrow is our big day! We've about got all the preparations done for little man's arrival. Just a few more odds-and-ends to wrap up today. After supper and bath-time tonight, we'll be taking the children to spend the night with Jeremy's mom since we have to be at the hospital at 5am...which means we need to leave at 4am...which means we'll need to get up no later than 3:30am. I had mentioned in a previous post about my arms randomly falling asleep. Well, I ended up asking my OB about it, and the craziest thing she said it was ... it's carpal tunnel syndrome. Apparently it can arise in pregnancy, even if you've never had it before. I really hope it goes away after all this incredibly high amount of swelling goes away.


Wow, where do I start with this one? Such a "first-born." He's such a rock. He's always ready and able to help anywhere and everywhere. He loves responsibility and is very proud of his duty at church: bring a water bottle from the refrigerator in the fellowship hall to whomever is preaching that evening.

Whether it's arithmetic and science or power tools and yard work, John loves to learn new things. He wants to be challenged; He wants to do things "too old" for him. Usually he does them, and does them well. Whatever you're doing, he is begging to be a part of it.

John's desire is to please the Lord and please those around him. He's vexed when he's hurt the feelings of others. He wants to do right, but is sometimes impulsive in deciding the "right" way to handle a situation. John looks out for his siblings so protectively.

John is very much an outdoorsman. From time to time he will lament over the possibility that the Lord could call us to the mission field and then we could possibly have to live in the city. (no really, he has said that more than once).

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Just a Pregnancy Update

That's it. Just the rattlings and ramblings of a 32 year old woman with a case of pregnant brain coupled with a case of mommy brain. I have both conditions, quite acute cases in fact. :-)

I am marking off the days one-by-one as they pass. Today I have 17 days left until our projected baby date. Most of the people I know will lighthearted ask, "How much longer?" or "When are you due again?" to which a promptly reply with the remaining number of days without skipping a beat. I have not had a difficult pregnancy at all. In fact, it has been very pleasant. I've not had much problem with heartburn, reflux, muscle cramps, irritability (although it can creep in), or much else. I've probably had to deal with the most swelling this go around. I am just tired of being pregnant ... for this time at least.

I saw one of my school teachers yesterday at the grocery store. She is the blessed mom of 7. Her oldest is a freshman in college and her "baby" is 3. See, my mom thinks that I couldn't possibly be telling the truth when I say that I hate being pregnant. Don't misunderstand. I am blessed to never have had fertility issues. I love my larger-side-of-medium-sized family. I am amazed by the miracle of a little soul living in my belly and all that stuff. But pregnancy is just not fun. It's difficult and makes everyday life more difficult. Well, as I was chatting with my old school teacher, she shared the same sentiments. She and I agreed that after the first pregnancy, the infatuation with it all was over. LOL, I'm glad that I'm not the only one who feels this way.

Anyway, something that is a different "symptom" that I've dealt with this time is my arms randomly falling asleep. It usually only happens when I'm sleeping at night or when I get still ... which is usually just when I'm at church. No matter what sleep position I use, or how many pillows I barricade myself with, or whatever I try, my arms go to sleep. Then they ache. Then it wakes me up. Then I have to sit up in the bed for about 15 minutes to get circulation back. Then I can sleep for another hour or two and repeat the process again. But hey, at the end of it all, I'll have a beautiful little baby boy to cuddle with...who will no longer be pressing on nerves or blood vessels. :-)

Speaking of swelling, I have not been able to wear my wedding band since the end of June. I really do miss it. I don't know if that sounds silly or not. I wear it on a chain around my neck, but my fingers are just too fat for it. When I'm not pregnant, my wedding band is almost too loose and almost falls off if I've just lotioned my hands. I can't get it around my knuckle right now.

I am not looking forward to my surgery, of course. I am thankful for life saving, medically necessary procedures and all that stuff. That said, I find c-sections terrifying even though I've had 4 in the past. I know exactly what to expect, which doesn't help at all. With both Lydia and Josiah I told my OR nurse "I know I seem in control of my emotions right now, but when we enter that OR I will not be like this. I am scared to death of c-sections." I've always had great nurses who are great supporters. I can't say the same about anesthetists and anesthesiologists at least in my experience.

I also got a question in a comment a while back:

If you dislike pharmaceutical companies, will you be declining any meds when you have your C-section?
I strictly do no publish inflammatory comments or comments that I perceive to simply serve to poke fun at me or my family. I felt at first that this was asked in a mocking fashion, but as I read and reread many times this comment, I can see where this is a legitimate question. To answer it, obviously, I can't go without all pharmaceutical medications. I'd probably never even survive my surgery if not for meds. I think that's a little obvious. I definitely don't do things "normally" though. Doctors where I live at least suggest that you get an epidural for c-sections and they then leave in that epidural for 24 hours post-op. I did this only with John it was utter misery for me. Furthermore, when you have an epidural they won't let you sit up. They also won't let you keep your baby alone. If your husband leaves, you have to take your baby to the nursery. I'm just not going to do that. I always ask for just a spinal block (which is normal procedure in other areas). The anesthesia wears off in about 3-5 hours for me, at which time I get up, take a bath, and get comfy.

What about pain meds? Well, I don't really get much of an option when it comes to my IV of morphine. Once the IV finally gets taken out, I try to be very objective as to how bad my pain is. I usually try to just lie down for a while and see if I feel a bit better. If not, I will usually ask for something for pain. Lortab, Percocet, and all the typical pain killers I can't take. Lortab makes me vomit. Percocet makes me so dizzy that I can't lift my head. There was a pain killer that I'd had some success with called Darvocet. It was a very weak pain killer, but it has since been taken off the market. More than likely, I will just take an 800 mg Motrin. Now that said, once I get home I'm usually off of all forms of medication...not even a Tylenol. The heating pad and lots of rest work very well. In fact, I think that with the last pregnancy I didn't even get my prescription for pain meds filled.

I mentioned a while back that we were hoping to / praying about getting a separate building for a schoolroom and for extra storage space. We were able to buy a beautiful building. Right now Jeremy is in the process of getting it ready. We're taking a "baby break" soon. By time we return to school after our baby break we hope to have electricity out to it, have it insulated, install an air conditioner, hang sheet rock, and move all the school stuff out there. Thus far we have gotten the electrical run to it. September 7th we are planning on having people come to insulate it. Jeremy was going to hang fiberglass insulation, but we decided to go with foam insulation. It wasn't too much more than the cost of fiberglass, plus hubby won't have to install it. After that, it's all downhill. I hope to get pictures and share our progress with everyone.

Anyhow, I understand this is a rather disjointed post. Like I said: pregnant brain, compounded by mommy brain. I have to add that I also have a case of back-to-school brain on top of all that! Have a great day, peeps!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Spotlight: Lydia

top: Ethan holding newborn Lydia
bottom: Lydia at about 8 months old

I almost can't say her name without chuckling to myself. She is such a joy and blessing. She says the funniest things. For example, on the way home from church last night she shares these thoughts:
"Mom, I have a bad heagache. (headache)"
"Oh really? Why's that?"
"Because sometimes I get a heagache because I open my mouth and out pops some silly words. It really gives me a heagache!"
Me: *eruption of laughter*
"See Mom?! ... ... Moooooomma! Quit laughing!"

singing with dad and brothers

Such a princess. Nothing could be worse than wearing an ugly dress to her. Nail polish, perfume, pink, frills.

She loves people, but tends to be shy: "Mom, hold my hand and say 'hi' to this girl for me."

In raising her, I haven't made much of a fuss about "what do you want to be when you grow up." I asked Lydia one day, just a few weeks ago, and her reply was "I want to grow up and be a mommy...and have lots of babies!" Good girl!

Lydia has to explain everything in great detail, which can be hilarious and sometimes wearisome. Hilarious because of the nutty stuff she says, but wearisome because her mind goes faster than her vocabulary can keep up, which can lead to lots of stuttering.

Lydia also has lots of pretend friends, which is also adorable. Nay-na is her best (pretend) friend who wears pink and even has pink hair and skin. All the other friends have rhyming names: Sella, Bella, Tella, Della, Mella and the list goes on forever. She makes up these very entertaining stories. For example, once she said that Nay-na died and went to heaven. Then God kicked her out of heaven for talking to the Philistines. We stopped her in her tracks and explained that God would never ever kick any one out of heaven. This caused her to become very annoyed: "Mommy, I already know God doesn't do that, but I have to get Nay-na back out of heaven some how!"

She loves for her siblings to fuss over her and wait on her (which I try to discourage as much as possible).

Her sense of modesty is very becoming. At the beginning of the summer (like, the beginning of April lol) I tucked away her winter nightgowns and traded them for summer ones. Since nightgowns are so difficult to find, I was hoping to get a week or two's wear of last years gowns. One of the gowns came to the top of her knee. She completely insisted that she would not wear it. She pulled at and wrestled with the hem and said that she could never EVER wear that because the boys (her brothers) would see!

She loves to color, paint, draw and the like. Usually Lydia blesses me with at least 5 pictures a day.

The best part about being Lydia's mommy is when she grabs me around the neck and says "Mommy, you're my bestest pal!"

Friday, August 12, 2011

Spotlight: Ethan

For a while I have been wanting to sort of spotlight each of my kids. I often chat about how each of them is doing, but I want to sort of go more in depth. A brief catch-up first: pregnancy is going well. My dreaded c-section is scheduled for September 14th for 7am. It squelches all the surprise out of it, doesn't it? I am looking quite round, but not as round as I have in some other pregnancies. I think I've pretty much come to terms that debilitating leg cramps, bulging and fevered varicose veins, oily skin and hair, acne, achy bones and on and on are just normal pregnancy symptoms for me. I find myself being slightly more patient with these annoyances than usual. Praise the Lord!! Just a few more weeks...I'm so ready now. The only thing I like about being pregnant is feeling baby movement and that. is. ALL.

Today is mine and Jeremy's 11th wedding anniversary (edit: it was last week on the fifth, when I started writing this post. haha!). We have (had) all the kids distributed at different grandparents' houses tonight for a fun night out. I'm looking forward to it! (went to Red Lobster and Marble Slab! Yum!!)

Homeschool is just going great. In the past I have not kept a listing of the kids' grades. I have simply tested and used the results as a gauge to see where the kids are struggling and where they need help. This year I decided to keep a grade book. Ethan has an A in everything. John has all A's also, except spelling. He's really struggling in spelling.



Here is our imagination. Life is an open canvas to this boy. He's an outside-the-box thinker. He's SUPER ticklish and actually asks to be tickled! Can you believe that?

He is our sensitivity and compassion. He doesn't have the typical superficial compassion that most of us have. He has Jude 22 compassion. If one of his siblings wanted his snack, he'd give up his so that the other could have.

He is cautious and to share his true feelings. It usually takes a while to see what is bothering Ethan.

Ethan is our unbridled energy. He's the one that sometimes can't contain any longer and has to let out a spontaneous scream while running down the hall. (which can be difficult)

He is our organizer, but strangely doesn't mind clutter. Strange, huh? He'll be the one to volunteer to organize a bookshelf and leave everything on the top of his dresser strewn about.

This is also our champ who overcame asthma. Most people, naysayers, say that it was just time for him to outgrow it. I vehemently disagree. He struggled with asthma for months after we took him off of the meds. We had seen the downward spiral that the pharmaceutical companies had him on. He hated it (even at the age of 3), and so did we. It was indeed a struggle. Though he was miserable, he barely complained...ever. He's so much more healthy than he was, praise God!!

(A Lego truck for Dad and a Lego heart for Mom)

Just like all the other children, he has his own little personality, unique from the others. I'm so thankful to have him as a son!