Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Call the Plumber!

So today I need to call a plumber because the whole toilet needs to come out to get the nail polish bottle out. Steve said he could do it but it would take him forever so he just wants me to call someone. He's not into home repair.

Dad took Marcus yesterday and was going to put him to work out at the ranch. He got to spend the night as well, so it's been real quiet around here without the big boys. Josh will be with Aunt Jackie until Friday. She'll come visit us this weekend. I can't wait for her to meet Lily and to go to tea on Saturday for our birthday. It's a rare thing to spend our birthday together, so this is a real treat.

Candy is going to come over and watch the kids so that Steve and I can go on a date (with Lily). I'm excited! She is such a sweetie to offer.

Also, one of the nurses from the hospital offered to bring us a meal. I couldn't believe it! She'll bring us dinner tonight. She lives right by us and offered to help whenever she wasn't working. I've missed neighbors like that. So I am glad to have her phone number in case of an emergency. Her name is Brenda and her children are all grown and gone.

Here are a few more pictures of Lily. I love dressing a girl again!

She is sleeping so good at night, it's unbelievable. The other night she slept 6 hours! She has had a few 4 hour stints as well. I love sleeping again!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Nail Polish Nightmare

I came home from the dentist and this is what I found...
My nail polish all over the bathroom door, counter and toilet. It's even IN the toilet! Grrrrr!
Steve was painting Jessica's toes and must have forgot to put the bottle back. I don't know if Jacob did this or Andrew. He took them all to Tae Kwon Do. "Lucy, someones got some explainin' to do"! This was my favorite bottle, too!
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"Reality Check" Devotion

Reality Check

Dear Mothers,

A few years ago, I received a HUGE reality check. I had been having a very hard time with my two-year old, Andrew. He kept making these gigantic messes every time I would turn around. I was getting more and more frustrated by the day and found myself getting very angry and being unkind to him. To make a long story as short as possible, we found him hanging one morning by his head on the outside of the top bunkbed rail. He had been that way for hours. When my oldest son found him and brought him to me, his jaw was flattened and his head deformed. I thought to myself as I was calling for help, “Our lives will never be the same again”. I thought maybe he had had a stroke or something. God was already working by the time I got up to the hospital. His eye was back in the right place and his jaw was starting to fill out again. The doctor said it was a miracle that he didn’t crush his windpipe. He had his head turned sideways just enough to where his jaw took the brunt of his body weight. Praise the Lord! After all of this had happened I knew the Lord was speaking to me. I prayed and asked to receive what He wanted to teach me. I felt him saying, “Messes are no big deal. Don’t take one moment for granted with these precious gifts I have given to you. In a second they could be gone.” REALITY CHECK! God spared Andrew’s life and answered our prayers and given him a full recovery.

My husband is a firefighter/paramedic. When he comes home in the morning and I sometimes tell him some of the annoying things the kids do, or have a list of complaints ready to fire off of how bad my day was, sometimes he just looks at me and says, “Are the kids breathing? Are they hurt? No? Well, it’s a good day then.” Then he will proceed to tell me of a horrible call he went on. Again, REALITY CHECK!

Are your kids warm in the beds? Do they have shelter? Do they have food in their tummies? Yes? Well, then it’s a good day! Think of all the mothers around the world who don’t know what they are going to feed their children for the next meal. Think of the orphans that are sifting through garbage just to survive! We do not have it bad at all, do we? God has blessed this nation, but we grow complacent until we have a reality check!

Stop and thank God right now, for all that you have. Be content with it. Be thankful that God has given you the gift of your children. Do not wait for Him to shake you out of your complacency! It’s not fun, trust me! Ask Him to teach you to “number your days correctly.”

God loves you so very much! He is so merciful! He is worthy of praise!

From One Mom to Another,


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Lovely Lily Feet

Here is another picture of my sweet little Lily's feet with my wedding ring. I stole the idea from my friend, Christina, who is an amazing photographer. Becky came by the hospital and took the sweetest pictures of Lily. I can't wait to scrapbook these!

We had a nice day. I went with Steve to give the 4 older kids to Mom. She gave me a really cool lawn chair for my birthday. I had asked Steve for one. They are really comfortable. I want to be able read a book outside in the summer.

Steve and I went to Bingen, Washington to an Italian place to eat since we had only two kids. It was so easy!

I nursed her when we got home and asked if I could go to the library and the store. I was able to get away for an hour. I went to the store and bought the fixin's for root beer floats, Starburst candies (I can't do chocolate while I'm nursing), and some Wheat Thins. I was so hungry! I was actually embarrassed at the check stand. I looked like a pig!

I am feeling better. My hormones are starting to get a little less intense and some of my painful issues are subsiding. I'm so glad. I can't wait to be the mommy that I've been wanting to be. I can't wait to take a hike with my kids in the spring air.

One more thing, I am so amazed at how soft my baby's skin is. It is truly addictive. I want to touch her constantly, kiss her baby soft hair and ears, smooch her sweet cheeks and tiny mouth. I'm addicted to my little Lily and it has only been 6 days. I can't tell you how much I love this sweet little thing.

I had the best night's sleep last night. Lily woke up only twice! I slept and slept, it was so refreshing. I just woke up praising God. Life always looks a little better when you have had sleep!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Lily's Follow Up Appointment

Lily is doing so well! Her jaundice numbers were not real high so we escaped the lights! I'm so glad. I just wanted to get home. I did make the mistake of carrying Lily in the car seat into the hospital. Not smart! By the time I got to the nurse's station, by muscles in my stomach were killing me. I rested while they weighed and measured her. She lost only 7% of her body weight, so she is down to 6.8 lbs. She just so tiny and cute! Then I had to carry her back to the car. I won't be doing that again.

Steve took the Jessica, Andrew and Jacob to Hood River. They ate Chinese food and then went and played at a park. He came home and then met a friend at the park with all the older kids. It's nice they are getting out.

My dad came to visit Lily today. It was very sweet. You could tell he just loved her.

Steve is off getting the kids from VBS (last one). He ran to the library to maybe find a movie we can watch tonight.

I thawed out a meal I had in my freezer for tonight (Chicken Shepherd's Pie).

I have about 15 lbs to lose at this point. Not too bad. I know it will come off while nursing. I have to tell you, now that my milk has come in that I am ravenously hungry! I need to buy some snacks that aren't chocolate or get enough energy to make a cake or something. I feel like I'm starving in between meals.

Tomorrow Mom is going to meet Steve in Arlington and pick up Josh, Marcus, Jess and Andrew to take them to a fireworks show in Pendleton. It will be just for the night and then she'll bring them home on Sunday. Josh will go over the mountain to Aunt Jackie's house until Friday. She'll be coming to meet Lily on Friday and then we are trying to get away for our birthday for tea on Saturday. I'm hoping Steve will watch all of our kids (except Lily) and her two. That would be such a nice present to both of us. I can't believe I'm going to be 34! Where does the time go. I still feel like I'm in my twenties!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Spring Happenings/ Lily's Birth Story

Jessica meets her little sister, Lily. My mom is in the background.
My "Impatients" are getting impatient. I look forward to seeing these delightful little yellow flowers. It means daffodils are next!

My miniature daffodils are starting to bloom!

A primrose that I was given at the Fire Department Banquet. I put it in my wishing well bucket.
As for an update on our family. We are doing well. Getting used to having to talk a little quieter is hard on the kids. They all love Lily and are constantly asking to hold her.
Jacob is not showing any signs of jealousy. He just always wants to know where Lily is. He lights up when he sees her in the morning and comes and gives her smooches.
Jessica and I are constantly fighting over who is going to dress her! We both want our way! I knew it would be like that. She is in love with Lily and is thrilled to not be the only girl anymore.
Steve has been running errands for me and has been a great help in the evenings with Lily. If I can get two hours of sleep from 8-10 or so I feel pretty good the next day. I usually doze in between fussy baby and feedings until morning.
My hips are in pretty bad shape right now. I am trying to rest and take Motrin. I'm hoping that the inflammation will go down over time. It hurts still to sit long and I can't carry Jacob at all.
The delivery was fast and furious. On Sunday evening, I took a bath and had a few contractions and my back started hurting. I prayed that God would not tease me. I either wanted the contractions to go away or I wanted to have the baby. God said "yes" to the latter! I sat down on the couch to watch a movie with Steve and proceeded to drink some more water. Two contractions later my water broke all over the couch! I called Candy and asked her to come watch the kids. I could hardly speak over the phone because the contractions were hurting so bad. That is very unusual for me. It felt like I was already transitioning! We managed to throw a few things together and then Steve took me to the hospital. He grabbed a wheelchair and wheeled me in. They immediately got me in a bed and checked me. I was at a 5 or 6. I couldn't believe it! This is within 15 minutes after my water breaking! They tried to get an IV in me. They missed 3 times, I was so annoyed and was a little cranky about it. I knew I was having back labor at that point and my massage therapist hadn't shown up yet. I asked if I could have an epidural and they said that the doctor wasn't available because he was going in to do a C-Section. I got the urge to push suddenly and Steve was on the hunt for a doctor. They caught the doc before he started his C-Section! He came back to help me. I pushed about 5 or 6 times and she was out! She was face-up, so that is why it was so painful. So from start to finish my total labor was 1 1/2 hours! Wow! It was crazy!
So the massage therapist wasn't able to do anything during the labor, but she gave me a nice massage after it. So it didn't turn out exactly the way I was hoping, but it worked.
We got out of the hospital on Tuesday and it has been pretty mellow ever since. We just came back from Casa El Mirador with the Chouinards. It was so nice spending time with them. Their kids were so cute as they met Lily. They are so looking forward to their own baby being born pretty soon.
Lily is a little jaundiced right now, but now that my milk is coming in, I'm nursing her like crazy hoping that her numbers will not be too high so that she doesn't have to go under the lights. They will check tomorrow when I go for my follow-up appointment. So we'll see...
That's about it. Just trying to rest, get some sleep when I can and get the kids to and from Vacation Bible School. I'm so glad Steve is home!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Why Lily?

The Symbol of a Lily means "Purity"

and "Beauty"

Is Lily Marie not the embodiment of those very things? Thanks Becky for taking such sweet pictures!

Introducing Lily Marie!

Lily and I start to bond.
Lily was 7 lbs and 19 3/4 inches long. She has a lot of hair for one of our babies.
First family photo. It's pretty good except Josh's silly face. The kids were really into the hospital gloves. Marcus was coughing, so we made him put a mask on and gloves.
Jacob gets to know Baby Lily.
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Sunday, March 22, 2009

It's a Girl!

This is Jackie, Stacie's sister letting you all know that it is 10pm and my sis just called me to tell me I've got a new niece, Lilly Marie. I'm so excited! Everything went really fast! Her water broke at 8:30pm and the baby was born by 10pm. Both baby and mamma are doing great although Stacie's back is in a lot of pain as the baby was sunny-side up. She said it was fast and furious! She was about ready to get a massage so hopefully her back will be feeling better by tomorrow. Stacie said she's got lots of dark hair. Lilly hadn't been weighed or measured yet, so I don't have any stats. Stacie will post pictures as soon as she gets home from the hospital. Praise God for another healthy baby girl for Stacie and Steve! Thanks to all who have prayed for her during this difficult pregnancy. God blessed her with a quick (and early) birth. Happy Birthday, Lilly Marie!


Our pastor made me think today when he asked what we were consumed with. I examined my heart and realized that right now I am consumed with many thoughts. Here are just a few:

1. Having this baby early.

2. How am I going to handle six kids?

3. What will homeschooling be like with six kids?

4. Will I be able to give my attention to all of my children?

5. Will Jacob be jealous of this new baby?

6. What will labor be like with this one?

7. Will my doctor be on call?

8. Will I be a good wife and mom or will I be spread too thin?

These are the thoughts that have been consuming me for about a month. This is NOT where God wants me to be. He wants me to be consumed with Him. I had to repent and confess that I have not been a good witness for Him. I have been a whiner and complainer when I could be counting my blessings and bringing Him glory. Forgive me, Lord!

This is my prayer today:

"I want to be consumed by Your love, Your power, Your might. I want to feel Your strength running through my body as I run out of my own. I want to look around me and count each and every blessing that You give me everyday. Help me to see the laughter and smiles as I wipe dirty faces. Help me to see the blessing of having a wonderfully large home as I sweep and clean it each day. Help me to see the blessing of homeschooling my children even when we are struggling through a concept or a lesson. Give me a thankful heart as I prepare nourishing food for my husband and children. Let me NOT grow weary in doing good. Let me not grow weary in teaching my children kindness, self-control, and to put others before themselves. Consume my thoughts, my heart, my soul, Lord! Change me from the inside out!"

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Kids Are Fun Part 2

The kids got Snickers on the trampoline. She loved it, but I'm afraid her claws will poke a hole in the netting, so I put a stop to it.
Marcus, Jacob, Andrew, and Jessica.
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Kids are So Fun!

Steve rolled up Jaker's sleeves. He looks so cute!
Steve givin' Jacob smooches.
Andrew loves to snuggle with me in the morning.
Josh tries putting Marcus' underwear on the dog. I know, weird, huh? She did NOT like it!
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Friday, March 20, 2009

A Different Attitude

Today I'm choosing to have a different attitude. I'm going to think long-term here. My due date isn't until April 1st, so I'm going to stop expecting this baby to come early. I always get it in my mind that it will, when I've never had a baby more than 3 days early. So what am I thinking?

I'm going to enjoy the moment right now. Today is going to be a full day. I have an OB appointment (check my cervix, which I know will not be dilated). Steve is going to take the kids to the park because it's such a nice day. Then I get to go pick out a dishwasher (ours suddenly died) and then he is going to take us to a new restaurant for lunch called "Lilo's Hawaiian BBQ". Then we need to go to the store and buy some last minute things for our dinner tonight.
Then we will come home, hopefully get a nap in and then start getting ready for our Baked Potato Bar night with the Chouinards. I'm so excited because the sun is shining and that means that nine kiddos are going to be playing outside which leaves the adults to TALK!

The massage with the pressure points didn't do anything but give me 2 or 3 really powerful contractions. It's just too early and my body wasn't ready.

We close on the refinancing of our house tomorrow. I'll be glad to get that done and out of the way before the baby comes. Our payment will go up but we just cut 12 years off of our loan. Boy, does that feel good. Especially since Steve has lost so much of his retirement on the stock market. Getting out from under any debt is crucial and doubly important when you have lots of children to support.

God has relieved some of the hip pain that I have been experiencing. It hasn't been quite as sharp. I think resting the past two weeks as much as I can is helping. My stepmom, Diana even brought me over a meal last night, so I didn't have to cook. It was so thoughtful and sweet. I just love my family!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

He is The Song In the Longest Night

I heard this song yesterday and I thought it is true, "He is the song in the longest night!".

I was able to sleep two hours then woke up from 12:30-3:30. I fell back asleep and slept till 6:00 a.m. It was wonderful! I feel refreshed and awake this morning. The fog feels gone. Thank you for all who have prayed for me!

Last night I watched a really good movie on our little laptop movie viewer called "Cranford" It is a sweet movie with some cute themes and is very clean. It has some very funny scenes in it as well. It is long, so I watched three of the episodes last night. I'll probably save the rest for tonight in case I have trouble sleeping.

I go in to see John today. I talked with him last night and he said he would do the pressure points today! I'm excited to see if they have any effect at all and send me into labor.

I wouldn't mind waiting though because we are to having the Chouinard's over for dinner tomorrow night. We would sure hate to miss our time with them! I'm going to do a baked potato bar. Steve is starting his four days off so he will be able to help me. Our family loves baked potatoes. Then on Saturday we are closing our on the refinancing of our house. That is a biggie! I would love to get this done BEFORE the baby comes. So a few reasons to hang on for a few more days. The kids will be going to VBS for five days next week at The Salvation Army. I would hate for them to have to miss it.

I wrote a few thank you cards yesterday and mailed them off. It felt good to get that done. We also wrote to a new Christian prisoner in Vietnam.

I look forward to getting my "An Encouraging Word" magazine in the mail soon. Rachel has recieved her copy and said that one of my articles made it in. I don't know which one made it so I'm curious as a cat to see which one they picked out for their magazine. It's very exciting for me!

Now that I have a little sleep under my belt, I plan to homeschool today and have fun with my kids. I'm amazed at how Andrew is learning his letters. I'm not teaching him, Marcus, Jessica and a tremendous DVD called Leapfrog Letters has him captivated and saying all the sounds. Marcus even made Andrew his own set of flashcard letters. It was so sweet. I bought him his own preschool book the other day and he was so excited! He felt like a big boy.

You all have been such a blessing to me. Encouraging me and praying for me during this difficult time. It is amazing what a little sleep can do for your attitude! I'm feeling pretty good right now and am smiling at my children! I still haven't figured out what to fix for breakfast, but I'm smiling!

Love you all!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sleep Eludes Me Still

I asked my husband how in the world I can go so long without sleep? He simply said, "God". Duh! Oh, my I feel like I'm in a fog. Another night of no sleep. I did manage to pray up each of my children last night as I lay there.

Before Steve left for work I started to cry. He hates it when I do that, but I told him it is good for me to let my emotions out every now and then. The thought of facing the day with five kids who want their own way about everything was enough to make me cry!

I need God's strength. I have none of my own at this point. I need a nap! Steve told me to put the kids in front of a movie and give them popcorn. I think I will.

St. Patrick's Day was nice. Steve ran to the store and bought a corn beef for us all and threw it in the crockpot. I'm so glad that man is not afraid to cook. He watched the kids while I went and got my bangs trimmed, went to the Post Office and then had a prenatal massage. The massage felt really good, but I was too long in one position and it made my hips ache something terrible. She did some pressure points, but I don't think it was long enough to get anything moving. I go see John (my other massage therapist) tomorrow. He might be able to do something. After he did the pressure points with my sister she was in full labor with Hailey in two hours. Wouldn't that be nice?

I'm still trying to pack, I should probably make some kind of list. I just remembered a toothbrush last night and my vitamens. I am trying to line up people to watch the kids.

The kids have AWANA tonight, unless they lose time off their bedtime. I'm secretly hoping they will, then we won't have to go. It makes it for a late night. They don't get to bed realistically until 8:45 or so. They are always so wound up afterwards either. They give them tons of candy.

I'm going to pull out one of those handy-dandy meals that I have in the freezer. I was going to save them for when the baby comes, but I guess it makes more sense to do use them when Steve is not here to help me.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Where's Your Smile, Mom?

Where's Your Smile, Mom?

I don’t know about you but sometimes I get a little cranky while I’m mothering my precious children. Some days they don’t feel quite so precious do they? When they are disrespectful and disobedient all morning, and you feel like you’ve been through the wringer, you just don’t feel like smiling much do ya?

Sometimes I feel like all I do is discipline all day long. I will occasionally stop and realize that my face is actually hurting from frowning so much, and that my voice is a little (or a lot) hoarse from yelling at them. I then take a minute to reflect on this not-so-great-day and ask myself “How did I get here?” Many times it feels like a downward spiral, and I just can’t seem to get back “up” again. From talking to other mothers, I’ve realized that I’m not alone in this.

What I’m going to emphasize in this devotion is smiling at, and laughing with our children. It sounds easy doesn’t it? But we all know it isn’t when real life gets in the way. I read a wonderful article in a magazine called Above Rubies titled “Try Smiling” written by Nancy Campbell. It really stirred me. I’d like to share some bits from it.

“Mother’s smiles are disappearing. I see so many sad, depressed and hang-dog faces on mothers-and this is in an age of small families! Do we need to slow down to find time to smile again? To take time to smile at our children?

A smile is a necessary part of a mother’s countenance. The Bible tells us that the more we behold the Lord, the more we will grow into His likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18). In the same way, your children look at you all day long, and every day. What do they see? Do they see a frowning face? A grumbling face? A downcast look? Or even a furious look?”

As I was writing this, I had been disciplining the children and still had a frown on my face minutes later. I had to consciously let my forehead go back to normal and take a deep breath and relax. As my husband says, “I turned that frown upside down.”

“Guess what your children will be like? Exactly what they see on your face! They will grow into your likeness. Do you want happy children? Then let them see a happy and smiling face. Change your frown into a smile. Start smiling at your children. Smile at them all day long. Every time you look at one of your children, smile at them!”

I’ve learned that when I practice this, the day goes much better. Is it easy to do? Absolutely not! Is it essential? Absolutely, yes! We need to especially be consciously practicing this on those hard seeming out-of-control days.

“What if you don’t feel like it? Forget your feelings. You can’t trust them. They come and go like the wind. Put on a smile even when you don’t feel like smiling. You will change, and yes, your children will change. You will notice a difference in their behavior.

What about your husband? When did you last smile at him? Or is he used to glaring looks? Or a complaining countenance? Are you daily adding to his stress? Did you know that men can’t stand grumbling, bitter, angry and depressed women? They run from them. If you want to keep your husband, smile at him. Your smiles will relieve his stress. They are better than a doctor’s visit. He will bask in your happy and contented countenance.

The Bible says that we are to be “laughing at the days to come”. We are mothers, with heaps to worry about, right? So how are we to be continually laughing and maintaining our peace? There are two facts in this life. 1. Stuff happens. 2. God’s huge. This is where peace begins. How big is your God? My God created the world. He knows all my thoughts-great and anxious ones. He knows when I get up for the tenth time in the night for the children. He is with me everywhere and in all situations. He fashioned me. He knows all my days. He thinks great things about me. I’ve decided that I can trust this God!”

If we can trust Him, then we can SMILE! He invented laughter! He wants us to use it! Sometimes as I reflect back at the end of a difficult day I realize that I didn’t laugh once with my children. I was grumpy and unkind, even when I wasn’t disciplining.

I also sometimes realize how I never played with the kids once that day as I rushed around doing my chores. I can easily get in that “got-to-get-it-done-now” mode and completely get tunnel vision. I know that this is not the nurturing mother that God wants me to be! When I’m in this mode, my attitude stinks, because my children are “getting in the way”, they become a hindrance instead of a blessing to me. This is not His Will, mothers! He wants us to remember that we’ve been called to shepherd the little lambs that He has given us. He wants us to be kind to them, to love them, to build them up, and YES to laugh and play with them!

Let’s be practical…how do you do this after you feel like you’ve been disciplining all day long and you feel like you need to be stern and firm with them? I think that’s exactly the time that we need to be the most nurturing and loving. Many times my older son and I will get into a fight about home schooling (he doesn’t want to do it, or he isn’t trying). I have to be firm with him and I’ll admit it, sometimes I get down right angry at his laziness. One time we were in this mode, he disobeyed, I got angry, and he was crying in his room. I started to pray and plead with God to show me how to reach his little heart. I felt the gentle whisper of God’s voice say, “Just hold him”. I questioned Him again, and I felt Him say the same thing. So I called for Josh to come out of his room. Josh, thinking he was going to get another lecture comes out crying and sulking. Imagine how surprised he was when I said, “Come here, Honey” and put my arms around him and held him while he cried. It’s hard to yell at a kid who is hugging you! After we got all our crying and hugging done, we smiled at each other and promised each other we were going to have a better day. IT WORKED! So next time you feel like you are in that permanent discipline-cranky-mode, try holding your child instead of yelling at them. Sometimes we all need a little love and mercy!

Let’s see about some ways that we can invent laughter in our homes. Does your child have a laughter button? Maybe it’s tickling his armpits or his feet? Maybe it’s telling jokes or just plain being silly? Laughing with my children changes my perspective and re-invigorates me for mothering. Here are some more tips for inventing laughter in your home.

1. Play With Your Children. Whether it’s blocks, army, football, or “house”, children want and need their parents to play with them. Interactive play with your children reveals their values, perspectives, and what they are learning from you. You can also be home schooling them this way, without them even realizing it. Set up a candy store (my kids love this one!) If they are old enough play a board game play with the older ones while the little ones are napping.

2. Be Silly. Play pretend. Put on a funny hat. Have a “backwards day” where all of your clothes are on wrong. Play hide-and-seek, even when the kids are right in front of you. Read funny stories that make them giggle. Have a picnic under the table; learn the Veggie Tales “Silly Songs”. My children and I love to “rock” to Christian music. We spin, dance, laugh, and play air guitar. It’s a blast!

3. Play Games. You can make any activity into a game, and your kids will beg for more. Besides having fun, playing games gives you the opportunity to teach many valuable lessons-like fair play, taking turns, and winning and losing graciously. Putting on plays and playing dress up with your kids is also a big laughter-maker. Make it extra-enjoyable and make a “movie” by capturing their antics on video. My boys love “making movies”.

4. Lighten Up. Don’t be afraid to get creative and messy at home. Buy a ball of yarn and have your kids make a spider web in their room. It’s fun and it’s easy to clean up! Cook together. Teach them how to clean up the kitchen. Kids love to get their hands on the degreaser spray bottle!

5. Take a Walk Down Memory Lane. Look at scrapbooks together! My kids love to look at their scrapbooks. We get a big kick out of all the pictures we take of them being goofy! They also love to watch home videos of when they were babies and toddlers. Seeing themselves in pictures or on videos stirs pleasant memories that they’ve forgotten about (or never knew). It gives them security and joy to be in a family that does fun things together. And they’ll remember being happy.

Having fun with your children should not be confused with providing fun for your children. The pressure is on today for mothers to enroll their babies and toddlers in fun-producing activities. But entertainment shouldn’t be substituted for interaction with you. You’re not the entertainment committee. You’re mom. Gymnastics, soccer, and dance pale in significance to a game of dominoes or a few minutes of tickling on the couch with plain old mom.

Now, let’s talk about life-giving looks. Have you ever heard the adage, “If looks could kill, I’d be dead by now”? The countenance of your face can also minister life or death. You can crush your child’s spirit by the scornful expression you give them. You can discourage them by your frowning countenance. You can wound their heart by your look of rejection. Or you can ignite the spirit of life within them by your happy face.

I love what Nancy Campbell from “Above Rubies” says. Quote: “One day when I was taking our daily walk with my daughters, I asked them the question, “How can you have a heavenly atmosphere in your home?” Evangeline (who had 6 children at that time) immediately replied, “Have a happy face!” I didn’t expect that answer, but as I thought about it, I realized how important it is. Your happy face will impart life and security to your children. Your gloomy, scowling face will provide the basis for their difficult and negative behavior.”

She goes on to say, “I like Proverbs 15:15 in the Living Bible, “When a man is gloomy, everything seems to go wrong; when he is cheerful, everything seems right!” And what about Proverbs 17:22 in the Good News Bible? “Being cheerful keeps you healthy. It is slow death to be gloomy all the time.” Gloominess not only brings death to you, but to your whole family. It casts a shadow over your home.”

"Dear mother, just as you look to the Lord and are changed into His image, so your children look to you and their lives are affected by your countenance. They will grow to be like the expression on your face. What a challenge!

When you get up in the morning, try smiling. You may not feel like it, but do you live your life by your feelings? That is a shallow way to live. Put on your happy face anyway. That action will change how you feel inside! Smile at your husband. Smile at your children. Smile at them when you get up. Smile at them all day long. Smile when you feel bad and smile when you feel good. You will be amazed at how different you will feel and you will be even more amazed at the difference in the behavior of your children.”

Let’s decide to take Nancy’s challenge. Starting now, let’s ask the Holy Spirit to help us put on our “Happy Faces”. Only the Spirit has the power to change us! I don’t think we need to be fake, but we can sure boost ourselves with a positive outlook!

One thing that always helps me when I start getting into a pity party is to PRAISE! Recall all the blessings He has given you and PRAISE Him for them! Thank Him for a roof over your head, food in your belly, children for your arms to hold, your family’s health, your husband’s job, the clothes on your back, a pantry that is full, running water and all the sanitary things that we have available to us in this country. We are RICH! The poor in our country are richer than billions of people in this world. We have nothing to complain about.

I don’t know about you, but after contemplating all of this, my heart feels FULL!

(Everything in Italics are not my words, but those of Nancy Campbell)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday's Happenings

Today has been really mellow. I have been fighting this terrible cough and it is making me ache all over. My stomach muscles are very sore, so I'm trying to rest as much as I can. I chose not to go to church today (I hate not going), but I knew I need to just relax. I hate it when people come to church coughing their heads off, so why should I treat someone else to that?

I called my step mom, Diana and she came to take Jessica and Andrew to church for me. Right before he was ready to leave, Andrew lifted up his shirt and I saw a rash all over the trunk of his body. I immediately though "chicken pox" but I don't think that is it after looking it up on the Internet. If it is, it is a very mild case. He has been vaccinated for it, so the chances are 85% that he won't get it. Diana and I decided that he shouldn't go.

Steve came home and watched the kids while I went back to bed. I actually slept! It felt so good.

We are not doing much today. The kids are listening to "Adventure's in Odyssey" right now on our new little CD player I bought for the kitchen. I love having it in there, now I can listen to CSN network (Calvary Satellite Network) and hear my favorite preachers. I've missed it! I also love their worship music and "Too Every Man an Answer" Live Call-In apologetics program.

I am just breading some chicken tonight, baking it in the oven and serving salad and rice with it. Very simple.

Yesterday, my friend Margaret came over and we watched a Beth Moore DVD together. It was very good. She even brought us over a casserole, so I didn't have to cook. It was very nice of her. The kids got to play with her kids for awhile, too.

Jacob just woke up, so I need to scoot. Thank you for your sweet thoughts, comments and prayers on my behalf. I think I might be in a better frame of mind today. I've done my Bible study and I am trying to cling to the Rock who is high than I!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Waiting

I guess my heart hasn't been into blogging as much lately. I am having a hard time just focusing on what I need to be doing. I am in that waiting phase. Each contraction (could it be the one that breaks my water?) teases me with the thought of the baby coming early. Its never happened before, so I don't know why I get my hopes up. I am still almost 3 weeks out.
My husband took the kids for me all morning yesterday so that I could just rest. I have a horrible cough right now and every time I have a coughing spasm it kills my stomach muscles and pelvic area. I'm trying to rest as much as I can.
God gets me through each day and I pray that I can make it through the next without completely falling apart emotionally. It's hard to be in chronic pain and have your spirit be joyful. I know that I am to rejoice in my trials, but when you are going through it, it feels more like you are surviving them, rejoicing is the furthest thing from your mind. Instead questions like "Why?" "Why now?" pop up. I guess that is where faith comes in. When you can't see the answer you just have to trust. So here I am, trusting you God. Waiting for fruit to come forth. Waiting for a new baby to hold in my arms and to nurse. I am here waiting...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

No Longer the Baby

It is really starting to hit me. As Jacob and I were snuggling on the couch this morning, I realized that for only a short few weeks, he will be the main focus of my attention. He will no longer be the baby and his little world is going to be rocked when I start nursing an infant full-time. I wonder how I'm going to do it. How is this little guy that just loves to be carried from his playpen, waits on patiently on the couch while I get his milk in the morning and then immediately wants to just snuggle with me on my lap while he drinks it, going to handle it? Honestly, he is the most jealous child I've ever had. If I'm holding anyone else's baby he immediately wants "up". He'll try to push that baby away, too.

Steve has always been so amazing after a baby is born. He really has a heart for making that that toddler that's been "replaced" feel special. He gives them tons of attention and takes them everywhere with him. It makes the transition so much smoother and I am grateful.

There is a sadness to know that he is not going to look so small anymore. He is going to look huge compared to that tiny infant. My expectations of him will change and my job for the next year is to makes sure that the infant is safe from the toddler. The toddler is so naturally curious that you have to watch them like a hawk around the baby to prevent them from poking their eyes, trying to pick them up, swinging them to fast; you name it! It is scary! Whenever I shower I bring the baby in the bathroom with me. I never let it sleep in his bassinet while a toddler is running around! I don't know, maybe it will be different now that I have two older children to help me.

Jacob is saying more and more words, which helps reduce his screaming and he is getting less frustrated. I am enjoying that! He is even copying the kids while they homeschool. We went out to eat today and he showed an interest in the coloring crayons and thought he was hot stuff as he tried to scribble a picture. It's nice that he can be more easily entertained.

I'm so ready for this baby, but that means changes and I need to truly prepare myself for them. I think I've been trying not to think about them too much. Crud, I haven't even packed an overnight bag for the hospital yet! Maybe I'll get to that today.

The baby has dropped low and is making it very painful and difficult to move as it's head feels stuck in my pelvis. I think the best thing to do is to do as little as possible the next few weeks and try to rest. I really don't have much of a choice. Steve has been most helpful when he's home.
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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Candy's Scrapbook Pages

I just had to show off my friend, Candy's scrapbook pages. I love her style. it' busier than mine, but she makes it looks sooooo good! you would not believe what all she does to her pages. She sews on them and everything! The first one is Makenna with Jacob. Makenna loves babies and we just found out that her momma is going to have one. She will be in heaven when she gets to hold one all of the time.
This is a double layout of my kids. Isn't this adorable? She takes really great pictures, too. Great job, Candy! You inspired me. I just went online and ordered 176 pictures! Yikes! I need another scrapbook camp to get those all done. After the baby comes maybe we can all get together and send Steve on a mini-vacation? Think about it, ladies....You know who I'm talking too...!
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God's Provision!

I just had to share with you the new stroller that God provided for us. It has hard rubber wheels and the front wheel swivels! We finally wore out our old single jogger stroller and had to throw it in the dump. It lasted 10 years! Jacob LOVES this stroller and has a lot of fun with the steering wheel toy attached to the front of it. People were very generous at the baby shower and I was able to purchase this and a new playpen that we needed.

Also, God must have heard your prayers for me, because last night I slept like a baby for the first time in weeks! It was wonderful. I felt like a new woman. If I could just have a good night like that once a week, I would be a different person.

I went to Mom's Morning Out today and the topic was all about disciplining. We touched on having kids clean their room. I would love to have your opinion on what you do. I have heard both sides of the coin. The first side: We never make our kids clean their room, it's their space type thing. The second side: We require it to be clean every day before such and such happens. I really struggle with this and Steve and I are opposite in our views. So please tell me what your family does about it!

It was so nice having Steve home. Wednesday is going to be a full day. Homeschooling, prenatal massage, Steve's meeting, and AWANAs. I'm really looking forward to the massage! She works on me for at least an hour and a half. It just feels so relaxing and the best part is it is free because she's trying to get her prenatal license. I'll be her guinea pig! Nooooo problem!

I made a Greek Lemon Chicken dish for dinner tonight, which the kids didn't like that much. They ate it, but picked through the peppers and onions. It was easy and it was good. I was completely out of fresh fruit, so Steve went to the store for me and picked up some. Again, it's so nice to have him home. Pushing a shopping cart at this point is agony. I can feel my sciatic nerve tighten up by the time I get out of the store.

I also typed up my newest devotion today and sent it to my sis for proofing. It is called "Searching for Significance". I hope to get it out before the baby comes.

I am loving my Beth Moore Bible study on Esther. It was slow going at first, but now I can hardly wait for the next day's lesson. If you have never done a Beth Moore study, I would encourage you to try it. They are terrific. "Breaking Free" is my all time favorite!

That's all of my ramblings for now. Life is good and I'm trying to remain positive despite the pelvic pain that is always with me. Only three more weeks to go. God will get me through one day at a time. I know He will. Blessings!
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Jacob Capers

I caught Jacob with the baby powder. I have had three children now do the "baby powder" thing. He was so upset because he doesn't like anything on his hands.
Jacob giving Snicker's a huge hug.
Daddy examines Jacob's haircut. He continually says he looks so different and how much he misses the curls. I keep telling him that I'm sure they will grow back.
Jacob and his cute little doggie vacuum. Yes, that is a diaper changing table in our dining room area. That's what happens when you are in the Baby Stage for almost 11 years!
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