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Friday, December 19, 2008

One Of Those Moments That Makes You Smile...

Something Bethani told me yesterday: 

"Mommy, the Bible says that Jesus was in Bethany. I love that!".

"Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper," ~Matthew 26:6

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008



... thy children like olive plants round about thy table. ~Psalm 128:3



Saturday, October 25, 2008

My Brother, My Protector

And so it begins :).

Abbi has found her fist. This is a good thing because it is her first step to self-calming. On the other hand this is a not-so-good-thing because it has caused Andrew's blood pressure to sky rocket ;)! He thinks she's biting herself and every time he catches her doing it I hear, "No! No Baby!!! No!", with a tone somewhere between concern and sheer panic in his voice.


It is really quite cute :).

Friday, October 17, 2008

Happy Little Abbi

I was finally able to catch Abbi's big grin on camera :)...


She continues to gain weight very slowly, but there is nothing wrong with her developmentally! She's been smiling for weeks and yesterday she turned over from her front to her back for the first (...and second...and third...etc. ) time :).

She's a sweetheart :)...


Books and Babies...

Her favorite things :)...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Yet Another Great Update on Abbi!

Well, it wasn't all in my head. Abbi is doing great! We took her in to get her weighed yesterday and after almost two weeks of merely maintaining her weight she gained four ounces in 48 hours! The pediatrician and lactation consultant had said they would be happy with an ounce or two! When the pediatrician came in to check on her all he could say was, "Wow. That's wonderful! Wow..." over and over :). I'm taking Fenugreek, eating a ton of oatmeal, drinking a lot of water, and nursing...nursing...nursing..., does anyone have any other suggestions? They both noticed that she was a much calmer, more content little girl. She's still not having as many messy diapers a day as I think she "should", but at least she's having them! And her little tummy isn't hurting like it was. She hasn't screamed for a few days now, though she still has her occasional fussy times like all new babies. I am so thankful that we have got a plan and it's working, praise the Lord! She's sleeping peacefully in my lap right now :).

We got our first "Jon and Kate Plus Eight" comment the other day at the grocery store, and we only have five! We don't have cable and it has been a while since I've seen the one episode I've ever seen so I pulled up some clips online to see who we were bringing to the mind of the cashier. Bri and I got a kick out of a few things that we've never seen anyone else do like we do, for instance when they pulled a step stool out of their van for the little ones to get in. Even I need to use the stool or get a hand from Lee to get into our 15 passenger van. For the most part though I saw NO correlation whatsoever. First of all, I've got it easy comparatively!!! Mine come one at a time and I have big girls (11 and almost 7) to help! Second, Lee and I don't talk to each other in the midst of our worst disagreements with the tone they seem to do on a regular basis! They do appear to love each other in a way, but the seemingly constant animosity would drive me insane! Whew! I loved the clip where she put one boy in time-out and a minute later she looks down with an adoring grin at one of her little ones and says, "Hello", then realizes it is the offender who should be in time out ;). It was interesting anyway :).

I'll keep you updated on Abbi's progress and maybe I'll get some other blogging done, like her birth story, now that the decibel level has gone down a little bit around here :). 

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Another Update on Abbi!

Abbi is doing great and has been for the last 30'ish hours! When we took her into the pediatrician I mentioned to him that I was still really worried about the lack of messy diapers, and then the nurse weighed her and she hadn't gained anything in over a week and I became really worried. We have never had that happen before. Of course the pediatrician was concerned as well and went to see if the lactation consultant could see us. Come to find, Abbi is a "lazy nurser with a lazy latch". She was getting just enough to sustain her, but not enough to satisfy her and give her something to grow on. And because she wasn't nursing well (she was nursing a lot time-wise, just not well) my body wasn't producing well. The lactation consultant helped me figure out what I needed to do to help her latch properly and I got some herbs yesterday to help with production. I also nursed her whenever she was awake yesterday whether she was asking or not. Within hours she was a whole new baby. She hasn't had a crying fit since yesterday afternoon. She has had TWO messy diapers just today. We'll take her back tomorrow morning to get her weighed again, if everything is going well she should have gained an ounce or two. The lactation consultant also said that once we get things "moving along" more consistently in her tummy the tummy issues will probably clear up (and it does appear to have already!). 

Thank you so much for your prayers! God is good :)!!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

In Which Abbi Takes the Term "Daddy's Girl" a Little Too Far...

I have mentioned that Abbi had some nursing issues until pretty recently. She simply didn't care to nurse. Or, she would act as if she wanted to, but would start screaming as soon as I would start trying to feed her and keep it up until I gave up or she fell asleep. A week ago today was Lee's first full day back at work, as in 12+ hours, open to close. Abbi nursed nicely that morning but after that first feeding of the day she refused to eat anymore. I wasn't too concerned at first, I let her go back to sleep and tried again when she woke up, still she wouldn't eat. This went on all day until eight hours later when I started panicking and Lee decided he needed to come home early to calm us both down ;). When Lee arrived home I was back in our room bawling and holding a screaming Abbi, who I was sure was starving to death. Lee calmly took her, cooed at her saying, "You need to eat good for Mama", handed her to me...and she went to town. For almost an hour. I was simultaneously crying and laughing hysterically. You should have heard her little tummy fighting over that food. 

The next day she ate great for that first feeding, but at the second she started in again. I called Lee and put him on speaker phone. Guess what? I kid you not, she calmed down and ate "good for Mama". It didn't work the next time but within 24 hours she was eating pretty consistently for the most part so there were no more meltdowns (of mother or baby) over meals :). 

Now, isn't that one for the baby book ;)?

An Abbi Update

I haven't forgotten about the promised birth story. I've also got so many sweet pictures I would love to share, like this one...


I haven't had much of an opportunity for typing because my arms have been ful. Abbi has already taught her mother much ;). A few days after she was born she was crying inconsolably at about three in the morning and I finally started crying myself and exclaimed to Lee, "She's my fifth baby and I don't know what to do!". This was something I hadn't expected because our last few babies have been so relatively "easy". He calmly reminded me that she may be our fifth baby but she was our "first Abbi" ;). I've reminded myself of that every time that those "I don't know what to do!" feelings creep up. Bri was a pretty fussy baby, but looking back I think it was largely the fact that she was on formula. On top of that we just were not the parents then that we are now. Being young and unsure of our instincts we bought in to the "just let them cry" crowd, and boy did she! Over time she "taught" us a better way and by toddler hood we were fitting well into the attachment parenting crowd, though until recently I didn't realize there was an actual label to our style of parenting.

Anyway, back to Abbi...the poor baby is miserable :(. I thought we had made a break though the last couple of days, but after a time of quiet she ends up screaming again. She is wetting diapers better than any baby that I can remember but she isn't having hardly any of the "other kind" of diapers. The pediatrician and the midwife both say that that can be normal for a nursing baby but it is hard for me to accept that her screaming in such discomfort can be normal. We have another pediatrician appointment tomorrow and I am hoping that he can tell me something I can do to help her. Your prayers that if there is an issue it would be uncovered would be greatly appreciated. On the other hand, if this is truly something that she will just have to grow out of could you please pray for her mommy?! I am having a really hard time seeing her so sad and seemingly hurting and there is nothing I can do about it. We have tried warm baths and simithecone which helps very temporarily. You know I'm serious when I've actually given her something! I do not like to do medications unless absolutely necessary, I only took Tylenol myself twice after she was born and tried to time it to where she wouldn't get any when she nursed, but she was so uncomfortable that I thought the simithecone was worth a try.

Some very good news, she's doing much better at nursing!!! No real problems there at this point, yeah! In fact, nursing is often the only thing that will soothe her. I do have quite the nursing story to share but it will have to wait, it deserves it's own post ;).

Sunday, September 7, 2008

He Used To Look So Small...



Andrew fell asleep on the couch the other night and just for fun we laid Abbi beside him for comparison, she's barely the size of his tummy!!!

Don't worry, they are on the couch but I'm right there beside them ;).

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Loving on Abbi

Bethi and Abbi...


Tori and Abbi...



Bri and Abbi...



Andrew, the new big brother, giving Abbi kisses :)...



Every two seconds I hear, "Can I hold her, Mom?" or "Can I touch Abbi now, Mom?!". We were getting a little too "hands-on" and some ground rules had to be set ;). Though, if I must have a problem, "too much" loving on their new sibling is a nice one to have!

A couple more...


See Abbi's little foot sticking up in the crook of Bethi's arm? Too cute...



I love this one too...



I'm sure you all have picked up on the fact that all of the girl's nicknames end with an I. I wonder how long we'll be able to keep that up...


And, no, we don't call Andrew "Andi". He's always Andrew ;).

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Introducing Our Newest Little Blessing...

And, it's a ...
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GIRL!!!


Abigail Calista Anne was born at 4:53 in the morning on August 29th, 2008.
She was 20 inches long and weighed 6 pounds 10 ounces.
Abigail's name means, "Her father's joy, beautiful and gracious". Her verse is 1 Samuel 25:3, "Abigail...was a woman of good understanding and of a beautiful countenance."
She shares her birthday with one of her great-grandmother's on my mother's side and was named Anne after her.

Sorry for leaving you all hanging, we hadn't even "officially" named her until a few moments ago! She's been "Abigail" since a couple of hours after her birth but we've had quite the time with the rest of her name, particularly something to go between Abigail and Anne. You see, we were almost convinced because of the similarities between this pregnancy and Andrew's that this baby was a boy and we just hadn't stressed over a name, we weren't exactly set on a full boy's name either. I will always remember the look on Lee's face when he saw she was a girl, I think "her father's joy" fits her perfectly. I have always loved the name Abigail and I'm so excited to have one for my "own".

Abbi is such a precious addition to our family, I can't wait to share her birth story with you all! This was our first home birth and let me just say..it was awesome! You would have to drag me kicking and screaming to get me into a hospital maternity ward again, barring a true emergency of course. Here is a huge praise report, after three episiotomies and one repaired tear I made it through this time without a single stitch. While I do have some muscle soreness and the after pains are...whew... But I really can't believe how good I feel over all! Abbi is doing great. We've had some small nursing issues (she doesn't seem to want to...), but she's had two great feedings today so I'm optimistic that we're about over that hump. You should feel her soft skin and smell her little head, love it!

God is good and we're feeling very blessed :).

"He hath done all things well..." ~Mark 7:37

Thursday, August 28, 2008

An "Overdue" Family Update (Pun Fully Intended)

I'm going to have to make this pretty short.
We're having a baby tonight!!!
Stay tuned for pictures and updates! And, no, we don't know if it a boy or a girl, yet :)!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

When Did That Happen ?!

Yesterday, as we were preparing for our walk, I ended up with one of my shoes and one of Bri's. As Bethi went to find my other shoe Tori mentioned how similar they looked in size and Bri said something along the lines of, "Ya, but they wouldn't fit her.". Just for fun I tried it on. And it went on. I didn't have to curl my toes, or chop any off and it really wasn't all that uncomfortable! I could have done some light shopping in them comfortably enough! When in the world did her feet get just about my size?! 

Times like these remind me of the fact that I'm quickly running out of time. In another ten years she'll be in her twenties and a lot could, and likely will, happen between now and then! There is so much I want to share with her and be sure she knows. From the need to trust in God fully, to grow in her personal relationship with him, to obey His commands, to cooking, sewing and putting her on the path to truly loving her future husband and children.

Whew...

That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. ~Titus 2:4&5

Saturday, June 14, 2008

He is Such a Boy...

The girls were looking at pictures the other day and Andrew found a picture with Bri and Tori and their Aunt Tessa in it that was taken at a birthday party a few years ago. He came running to me sooo excited!!! "Car!", he said with a huge grin. There was a car parked on the curb in the picture ;).

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Because The Pill Kills

Today, June 7th, 2008, is Protest The Pill Day 2008, because the pill kills babies . I was on the pill for several years between our first and second. I didn't "know any better", though I do take responsibility for that. I swallowed my doctor's and society's mantra that it was the "responsible thing to do" with out researching it myself. Even though I had no idea that I could have been killing my own babies I hated taking it, it felt completely unnatural and I now know that a lot of the depression I felt during that time was directly linked to the pill and the Depo Provera shot, which also kills babies.

Bri 1997

I went off of it as often as possible and for as long as it seemed "responsible" just because I hated taking it, but in 2003 I found the website www.achristianhome.com and about halfway down the Motherhood & Parenting page I read that the pill causes abortions. My heart started racing and I immediately started researching and sure enough, even the package inserts themselves admitted that if the first two forms of "control" don't work than the pill is designed to make the womb a hostile environment making it nearly impossible for the tiny person to implant and the baby starves to death. I had run out a few months before and with a move in the mix I hadn't found a doctor yet so I was currently off of the pill and after telling Lee what I had found we decided we couldn't possibly continue using the pill with that information. So, we switched to Natural Family Planning after the birth of Bethani, though we have now come to the point in our lives when we realize, if we can trust the Lord with our souls we can trust Him with our family size. You can read more about that journey here.

Tori 2002
I can have no way of knowing if I lost babies to the pill, but the very possibility makes me grieve deeply. I know that God's grace will cover me in these areas that I was clueless about, but I would love to save someone else the emotional pain of discovering the truth after they have been on it.
Children are such a blessing and it is so sad to see the world shun them now that we are on this side of the fence and can see the fear of babies that consumes society, even Christian society, for the lie of the devil that it is. Just a couple of weeks ago at church a lady asked us how old Bethi and Andrew were and exclaimed on the fact that we're expecting "again?!" She assured me she would pray for me with that look of pity in her eyes. One of Lee's regular customers came into his (Christian) book store several days ago and when she found out we had four and one on the way she wanted to know if I love babies or if I'm a poor repressed wife and they are all Lee's idea! 
 

Bethi 2005
 
We love our children and I am so thankful that the Lord has led us down the paths he has led us down and used people in our lives to speak to us on this issue. Almost certainly this baby I carry would not exist if not for the grace of God. Back when we were trying to be "responsible" we had set our "upper limit" at four little ones. Only time will tell how many we are blessed with, our goal isn't to stack children up to the ceiling just to be able to say we had.....amount of children. I have met dear ladies open to the Lord's will who had no children and would gladly have taken whoever the Lord would send and other ladies who were blessed with a dozen! The point is do we want to open our arms and except whoever the Lord would put there? 


Andrew 2006

Are we going to practice hospitality and physically, spiritually and emotionally nourish anyone God sends our way, or are we going to create a hostile environment designed to starve our children to death? 

Spread the news!!! The Pill Kills*.

*Incidentally the pill doesn't only kill babies, it has also killed women and at the very least lowered the quality of life of many, many women. See more about that here.

And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. ~Matthew 18:5

Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. ~Psalm 127











Monday, May 26, 2008

Hosanna to the Son of David!

Nearly a year ago we ordered the Hymns For a Kid's Heart series and have been enjoying learning the hymns out of these excellent books since then. There are three more books aside from the one I linked to. The books are great and the CD's are of wonderful quality, we listen to them for enjoyment often. This Christmas, instead of singing Jingle Bells our girls were singing Once in Royal David's City. The new variety was refreshing. Once you have renounced Santa Claus your choice in children's Christmas music becomes somewhat limited ;). I remember when Bri was three her musical repertoire consisted of I'm a Little Tea Pot and  the Barney song. It brings such a warmth to my heart to hear Andrew belting out "He a-wose! He a-wose!", and Bethi playing with her dolls in the dollhouse singing, "What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus...". It also often brings a smile to my lips, such as hearing Bethi's rendition of At the Cross. The correct version is...

At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away (rolled away).
It was there by faith I received my sight, and now I am happy all the day.

Bethi's version is...

"At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light
And the bottom of my heart rolled away.
It  was there by faith I saved my sight, and now I'm a happy holiday!"

Obviously we're still working on that one ;).

Andrew's favorite is Holy, Holy, Holy. Whenever he sees us getting out the books he asks for it. He also enjoys a CD we have that incorporates Hebrew words and imagery into their praise and worship. At home or out shopping he loves to sing at the top of his little lungs, "Ho-wy, ho-wy, ho-wy...SHALOM!" over and over again, haha. I love it :)!

And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased, And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise? ~Matthew 21:15&16

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Why We Home Educate...According to Tori

Some of you may remember when I did a little series setting forth the reasons that we home educate, if you haven't read it before you can find part one here. Earlier today, prompted by the suggestion in my new issue of The Old Schoolhouse magazine, I asked the girls why they thought we home educate. Bri knew all of the "right" answers and could articulate them even better than I had thought she would be able to. Tori came up with a whole new reason to add to the list :).
Her answer..."So you don't get lonely.".

Mother's Day





Matching Sisters

We Have a 3 Year Old Again!

On May 1st our little May Day baby turned three!

We really had her taken aback when we all came in to her room in the morning and sang happy birthday to her, and I think she was downright wary after we threw the confetti. By the time she came out and saw the streamers and balloons she seems to have recovered well though, heehee.


After a hearty pancake breakfast per the birthday girls request, we packed everyone up and headed to the zoo. We got to feed the birds, it was Andrew's first time and Bethi's first time that she remembers.




Andrew was kind of up tight at first with birds spraying him with water and flying by brushing his head with their wings, but before we left even he had calmed down enough to take a turn and have fun with it. Bethi about jumped out of her skin when a fight broke out between a couple of birds right by her head, but she recovered quickly and talked about the experience for days afterward and even still occasionally mentions it!

Another highlight of the trip was getting to see the new baby koala! Something the girls had all been looking forward to since we had heard of its birth. We even got to see the koalas move, a truly rare occurrence!



After we got home we had an early supper. Bethi wanted pizza and we watched Charlotte's Web (the old animated version). Mommy "cheated" on the cake this year. I frosted a cake and decorated it with a Little Pony play set. Hey, she was impressed ;). The play set came with a little plate of muffins that Bethi promptly lost. We couldn't find them anywhere and eventually we convinced her to go ahead and finish her cake and we would look again later. A few minutes afterward she went to take a drink and stopped abruptly. With the cutest look of bewilderment on her face she said, "Ummm, guys...what's in my drink?!". Yep, she found her muffins ;).
Besides the little play set she got some bath crayons and some lacing cards which she calls her "knitting". She likes to get them out when big sister Bri is working on her knitting :).





After cake it was time for baths and night devotions and then bed time. It was a very nice day. We have already planned the rest of the birthdays for the year and will have all of the minimal shopping done very soon. With Baby's due date the day before Lee's and my birthday and three more birthdays within the six weeks after that I know that birthday planning/shopping, etc. is not going to be very practical when the time comes ;).

1st Hair Cut

While the girls first hair trims have always been somewhat "traumatic" for me, nothing could have prepared me for the change a hair cut can make in a little boy! But, it does suit him and a couple of weeks ago even I suggested we cut Andrews hair again, he was looking a little shaggy. He is such a handsome little man :).

March 8th, 2008 (before his hair cut)...



March 8th (during his hair cut), he was really very good!


And May 11, 2008 after his third hair cut! Can you believe how much he aged in two months?!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Have a Blessed Resurrection Sunday!





For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received , how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried , and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: ~1 Corinthians 3&4

Thursday, March 13, 2008

No Greater Joy

I went in to get Bethi up from her nap the other day and saw that she had fallen asleep "reading" her Bible that Bri gave her for Christmas. Before that she had had to borrow her sister's Bibles for family devotions so she thought that was a pretty wonderful gift. 

 

Andrew is really starting to talk well! Several weeks ago he said "Jesus" for the very first time during our family devotions, it was so sweet! And he knew he had melted mama's heart cause he kept saying it over and over with a huge grin on his face ;). 

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. ~3 John 1:4

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Bath Time?

Andrew loves bath time! He comes running any time he hears the water start in the children's bathroom, even if it isn't for him. I was running the water for Tori's bath the other day and Andrew came up and leaned over the tub watching the water as usual, the next thing I knew he just climbed in, fully clothed and uninvited! Haha :).



Doesn't he look content...?


I was telling my sister about it on the phone a couple of days later and after we had hung up I told the girls to start getting ready for bed and went to vacuum. Guess where I found Andrew when I was done???


He had climbed into the bathtub, *with* a bowl of potpourri. I guess he wanted a scented bath this time ;).
I need some water mom...



It was so funny after the conversation I had just had with my sister so I ran for my camera to take some pictures to email her.

  

Incidentally, out of four children this is the fourth child that has consistently enjoyed making huge messes with my potpourri. I should scan in the pictures I have of all of them with their favorite potpourri messes sometime, it could make for an amusing post. I am happy to say that after four children I have finally gotten smart. After I cleaned the potpourri out of the bathtub I threw it away and all of the rest of it too, I am through with the stuff until I run out of toddlers! Our poor new baby will be deprived of the potpourri experience...


Isn't he cute though...?