Thursday, December 26, 2013

Gideon's Birth Story

Well..... Maybe I can get the whole story written out.
So.... Let me go to a week before Gideon was born.
At my 39-week check up (on a Wednesday), my doctor did the invasive check, and pronounced me 2-3 cm dilated.  She knew how quickly my labor went the last two times, and told me she would probably see me in the hospital by Friday.
Of course this brought on a frenzy of oh-crap-I'm-not-ready cleaning and organizing. Friday came and went.  I felt like things were ready.  Saturday came and went.  And Sunday.....
Saturday night we were supposed to get a snow storm.  Originally they were predicting 1-2 inches.  We went ahead and sent the kids to Paul's parents' house for the night.  We didn't want to have to deal with them trying to come in on slick roads in the middle of the night when we were needing to get to the hospital in a hurry.  It turns out we barely even got dusted, but at least we had thought about it.
Then Sunday night we got ice.  We didn't even know it was supposed to do anything, until Paul went out to start his truck to go to Bible study, and nearly busted his backside on the deck.  So we figured we'd definitely have to go to the hospital that night.
I had been having contractions all weekend, but nothing hard, and nothing consistent.  In fact, the only what I would call "real" getting-down-to-business contraction was one in the middle of the night on Sunday night.  Still, we had Paul's parents keep the kids, just in case.
But Monday came, and still nothing.  We had a checkup that morning, and when my doctor checked me, she said I was almost 5 cm.  (That's halfway to fully dilated, for those of you unfamiliar with the birthing technicalities.)  She had been so sure she'd see me over the weekend, that she'd called the hospital on Friday to have my file ready. She offered to have me come in that night and break my waters to get things started.  I could tell she was very uneasy sending me home.  She asked me how far away from the hospital we live, and she even gave Paul tips if he had to deliver a baby!  She said, "I don't want to push you into anything, but I just don't want you to not make it in!"
So this was decision time for Paul and I.  I did not want to be induced again.  Granted, Nathan was my first, but I felt like his labor was my hardest and most uncomfortable.  Simply breaking the waters should be all it took, but if it didn't, they would have to use drugs, and that's what I was wanting to avoid.  We told her we'd talk about it and call her that afternoon.  (I didn't want to have the discussion in front of her in her office.)
Since we didn't have kids for two days, we had actively engaged in the fun ways you can naturally induce labor, several times.  (Google it if you can't figure it out.)  And when Dr. Sinclair sent us out, that's exactly what she suggested we go home and do.  (Again.)  In fact, she even (jokingly) offered to send everyone to lunch so Paul could "administer prostaglandins" there in the exam room.  We didn't follow her advice, but instead went to WalMart to walk around.  It was 20 degrees and windy, and I felt like if I could go for a brisk walk (which I wasn't going to do outside), it might stimulate something.
So we walked around WalMart and Orscheln and picked up a few Christmas gifts.  I definitely had several contractions, so we went home about 3 o'clock and I sat on the couch to monitor things while Paul went outside to hang Christmas lights.
Within the first half hour, I'd had 4 contractions.  I went outisde to tell Paul that as soon as he was done, we'd probably be heading to the hospital.  The contractions were definitely regular, but not take-my-breath-away strong, but I figured things were starting, so we might well head in.  We had nothing better to do.
We got to the hospital about 4, and the nurses pronounced me at a 6, and that Dr. Sinclair would be coming in as soon as she finished with her patients.  She got there about 5:15 and did go ahead and break my waters.  (With the other 3, they did't do that until the final stages, just as I was about to push.)  Once she did that, the contractions definitely got super hard and close together.  My doctor knew it wouldn't take long.  She said all she did was go put on her boots and then she sat at the nurses station doing paperwork until they told her I was ready.
I kept feeling like I had to pee, so the nurse helped me go to the bathroom.  After I got back to the bed, it was only like 3 more contractions.  During a really hard one, I told the nurse, "I can feel the head coming down!"  You should have seen them scurry!
My contractions by this time were so close and hard that I couldn't get into position on the bed.  (I had to scoot down and put my feet up.)  Paul and the nurse finally got me into place, I had the doctor remind me of how to push (you'd think by the fourth time around, I'd kind of know the routine...)  So the next contraction, I kind of half-heartedly, I'm-not-sure-I-can-do-this pushed.....  And - WHAT WAS THAT????
"Is that the baby??"  I asked Paul.
He looked down with surprise.  "That's the baby!"
I heard Dr. Sinclair suctioning out the nose, and then she told me to push again.  I gave another wimpy push and Paul said, "It's another boy!"
A nurse had come in to ask the doctor a question, and I heard her from the doorway, "No way!"  She couldn't believe how quickly it had gone, and neither could I!  I guess when your body is ready, whether you are mentally ready or not, your body will do it anyways.  This was the only baby I hadn't broken blood vessels in my face from the strain of pushing.  I told people, "He pretty much just fell out."  And it's practically true!  I really feel like I didn't do anything to bring him into the world.
So the name.....
We had a time with choosing a name for this one.  I'd suggest something, and Paul would be like, "Meh."  Or he'd suggest something, and I'd say, "Meh."  We kind of had settled on a girl's name, but then I realized we had an acquaintance with a daughter of the same name (not a huge deal, but I like unique girl's names).  Then I remembered another one, that had been my second choice to Zadie.  But Paul wasn't hot on it.  Boys names were all over the place.  We knew we wanted to use the middle name Robert, after my dad, and found a name we both liked.  But when paired with Robert, was the first and last name of someone neither of us cared to name a kid after.  (Someone we grew up with.)
Then.... The boys started studying Gideon in Sunday school.  It wasn't a name I had really considered before.  I kind of liked it.  It sounded good with Robert.  Paul and I finally had a sit down to talk about names.  He started out, "What about Gideon?"  Ding!  Gideon it was.
Until the day before he was born, and Paul throws out, "What about Joel?"  I really liked Joel, too.  GAH!  But I already interchange Nathan and Jacob, because of the long a sound, I was worried about Jacob and Joel.  We had the laptop out in the delivery room while I was laboring, looking up name meanings and trying to decide.  Finally, I told Paul, "Let's wait to see if it's a boy or girl, and that will narrow our choices by 50%."
Then comes the moment of truth.  The nurses asked, "What's his name?"
Paul looked at me.  I paused, and then pronounced:  "It's Gideon."

And as it turns out, I interchange Zadie and Gideon.  They share a d.  Multiple times I have already have used the name "Zideon."
Gideon has given us the hardest time of the four when it comes to night times.  The first several nights Paul and I had to take shifts.  Gideon would sleep - only if he was in someone's arms.  And he also would not nurse at night.  I can not figure that one out.  He would take a pacifier, but even though I could hear his little tummy growling, he would refuse to latch on.  So he got a bottle during the night for the first week.  (Formula the first two nights til my milk came in and I could pump.)
The nursing is going better the last week. Night time seems to be better.  He's been sleeping a stretch in his bassinet, long enough for me to get some sleep in bed, and where I don't need Paul to get up and take over.  I'm looking forward to establishing an actual schedule.
The kids are totally in love with their brother - even Zadie!  We were definitely worried about her princess complex.  But she wants to hold him all the time and is constantly petting on him.  In fact, all the kids want to hold him at least once a day.  Nathan is already planning all the things he is going to teach him to do.
Paul has been awesome.  Not that he hasn't been for the other 3, but I really have noticed and appreciated all his help.  I didn't clean the kitchen once in the two weeks he was off.  He went back to work last weekend, and things went pretty well.  I think we're settling in to our new normal.
There are probably details that I have left out, but considering I started this post 10 days ago, I really should get it put up.  It's not like there won't be other chances to write.......

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Gideon Robert Rhodes

We have another boy!
Gideon Robert was born last Monday, December 9, at 5:43 PM.  7 lbs 5 oz, and 20.5 inches of perfection.  We're all quite in love with him.

I'll post later with all the lovely details that I'm sure you're all dying to know.  But for now, I figured, he's almost a week old - I need to put something up!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Yes, I'm Nesting.

But does nesting apply to blogging?  What is this - the 6th entry tonight?
The nesting started with clearing out the card table full of boxes photographs that's been in the corner of our bedroom for two years - yes, TWO YEARS - with the intent that I would sort the photos before Zadie arrived.  We see how that went.  But I found some to share with you all!
So that's gone.  The photos are in a tote in the attic closet.  That type of project is for someday when I don't have children of the leg-climbing age.  And it's amazing how big our bedroom looks now.....
But in general, I'm trying to stay on top of the housework.  Two and a half weeks left!  Oh my goodness.  I have been keeping the kitchen pretty good this week.  Laundry is almost caught up (minus the baby items I have yet to dig out).  But I still haven't quite found the motivation to pull all the chairs out from the table and sweep every day.  It needs it 3 times a day.  How long til the boys can do that?
I have, however, taught them to do this:
 It's pretty nice to sit on the couch and merely dictate the entire cleaning of the living room.

And then there's this one from September:
Welcome to Rachel's sweat shop.  
There were 10 gallons of plums to pit.  They wanted to help!

We still haven't decided on names.  I had some that I liked, but they weren't doing anything for Paul.  We sat on the couch last night and talked about it.  We may have a boy's name!  We'll see.  As always, it's subject to change when it involves me. :)   Or when it involves Jacob.  His latest suggestions have been "Noodle" and "Muffler."
I had my first end-of-term "invasive" check up this week.  Not close in that area.  Although that can change quickly, as anyone knows.  I don't really feel that close, so I'm thinking my due date is right.  I did, however, get the new phone extensions for Paul's work, just in case I have to call him home from work.  As it stands now, he starts vacation two days before my due date.  That's been fine for the other 3, but I'm half expecting this one to do something completely unexpected.
Well, I really should get to bed.  Blogging is such a time suck!  But, unlike Facebook, at least there's something for you all to enjoy for my time spent on here. :)

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Wonderful Zadie of Oz

My sister-in-law found the "ruby slippers" when Zadie was tiny.  So I had to have a Dorothy dress to go with them!  My sister made this dress for her younger daughter, and I was thrilled that both the shoes and the dress fit at the same time!
So of course, we had to take professional pictures......
With the "Cowardly Lion."

Classic Zadie face.

My personal favorite.

Back to this one.... Does anyone else see a bit of Eichenberger here?  Like JC or Carlsie's baby pictures?

Photos by my sister, Lurenda Walter.

Homeschooling Brilliance: Teaching the Alphabet

Sometimes I have moments of sheer genius.
Actually, I should probably give credit to a friend from church, who forwarded me an email about how to encourage a reluctant learner.  The email was meant for me in dealing with Nathan, but one idea, playing games, actually got applied to Jacob.
Nathan and Jacob have different learning styles.  Nathan is pretty factual, but Jacob enjoys the creative side.  Nathan seemed to pick up on the alphabet pretty easy, whereas Jacob was getting confused with all the different letters I was presenting him.  (We're on week 6 of school, and the letter "K" if that gives you an idea of how quickly this curriculum introduces them.)  Then again, I had a lot more time to focus on making sure Nathan got to go over it several times and several ways each day.
Our curriculum, Answers for Preschoolers, comes with flashcards templates.  I already had them made from going through it with Nathan.  When we had about 5 letters, I played a type of memory game, where I turned them all face down and asked Jacob to find random letters.  He loved it.  Then I realized I could copy off the back of the templates and play memory for real.  This was okay to do when you had 5 letters.  However, full-size flashcards when you have 10 pairs takes up a bit of table space.  So we kind of quit playing that game, and started playing Go Fish with the flashcards.

This is supposed to be the front and back of a single flashcard, but I copied them separately onto the card stock, so we have "pairs" for each letter.

 Then I got the genius idea to make memory cards.  Actually, it was quite simple - even for me! - to set it up on Excel.  I expanded the cell height and width, formatted it to print the grid lines, and then typed out a capital and lowercase letter of each.  Print it out on card stock, cut them out on the lines, and - voila!

There is a slight problem, as d, b, p, and q all look very similar if you don't know which side is up or down. I had to put lines under the letters to distinguish.  Also a problem I didn't think about was that in this font, some letters (like a and g) aren't manuscript style, and he gets confused. 

Jacob loves playing games, and he went from obvious guessing on the flashcards, to confidently calling out the names of letters as he turns them over or draws them.  (I make him tell me the letters in his hand during Go Fish. If Nathan plays with us, I make him tell me the sounds the letters make.)  Using the games is great motivator to get him to the table, or to get him to finish his workbook quickly.  And I enjoy him being excited about doing school and learning!

Blast From the Past

Aren't they cute?  
(I forgot to check the date on the back.... I'm guessing around 1990?)

I've always thought Jacob looks like me.  Or more accurately, like my Dad.  But then I ran across this picture.  Paul's smile looks exactly like Jacob's!

Blast From the Past

What a dog.

Blast From the Past

Paul's Grandpa Rhodes, around 1943.

I never really thought Paul looked like his Grandpa, until I saw this picture as I was..... well, let's just say I'm nesting.
First off - the hair.  Not that Paul has ever worn his like this, but - that's a lot of hair.  And now I know where Paul got his from.  But also his forehead and his eyes look like Paul's, and maybe his chin (it's been a while since I've seen Paul's chin without the goatee).
Anyhow.  Very proud of both of his Grandpas' service to our country in World War II.  (All four of our grandfathers were in the army, even though mine served after the war.)

This may be the only facial-hair-free picture I have of my husband.  
(That's Nathan, Thanksgiving 2007.)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

5 Weeks Left!

So.  It's next month.  Today, I passed the 35 week mark.  I can't believe the new baby is going to be here so soon!
I definitely am feeling close.  I'm having pre-contractions.  The baby is loving my ribs and any other bones it can press into or kick.  I think we have another opinionated baby.... This one loves shoving all the way over to my left side and hanging there until I press it over or lay on my right side until it slides down.
I have probably reached the point where I should be shaving every time I'm in the shower.  Or at the very least, weekly.  Yeah... I'm pretty sure it's been a month.  The fact that I wear the compression stockings, which are so heavy you can't even see the hair through them, and so tight that it doesn't poke out, are the main reason.  Then there's complete lack of motivation.  Really, what is the point at this point?  Other than pride, and let's face it, I pretty much have none left, after spending all summer in shorts and stockings.
I am so ready to meet this baby!  Not necessarily ready to get the pregnancy over with, as I'm not THAT uncomfortable - I'd rather give them a few more weeks to "bake" and have the healthiest baby possible.  I can take a few more weeks.  I just want to know if we have another brother or another sister!
Five weeks still kind of sounds like I have some time.  But I should maybe at least locate the tiny outfits for the hospital and get them washed.  And maybe start thinking about what I'll need to welcome a new baby home....
Oh well.  I've still got 5 weeks, right?  Ha.  This will be the baby that comes early.  Nathan was overdue.  Jacob came the night before his due date, and Zadie came the morning of.  So this one will be two weeks early.  All three of the others were fast labors - 5 hours, 3 hours, 2 hours.  This one will be 40.
Because that's how it works, right?

Monday, November 4, 2013

I'm a Good Mom.... I'm a Good Mom.....

If you could only have heard the cacophony of sobbing coming from upstairs, you would think someone had died.
In reality, what happened was fighting and arguing and complaining over an XBox Kinect game.
We haven't played any games on the Kinect all summer.  It's November, and with the time change, it's dark by 6.  No more playing outside after supper.  So I thought I'd break out the Fruit Ninja and let the boys have an evening of fun, since Paul is working nights.
Yeah, well.  That worked for about 10 minutes.  Then they started fighting over who got the red side.  Then they started arguing about playing this game or putting in the other game (Kinect Sports - which I'd already said we wouldn't be playing tonight).  Nathan had an epic meltdown when I said no, so I made him stand outside.  Meanwhile, I tried to get Jacob back in to Fruit Ninja, but for some reason the sensor wouldn't read me.  As I tried to figure it out, he flipped out on me.  So I decided we'd had enough XBox, and turned it off.
Cue the chorus.
Nathan had come back in and was still hollering, Jacob was sobbing and whining, and Zadie joined in just because she could, I think.
In the midst of this, the dog had followed Nathan inside and was scavenging for food, so I kicked him outside and fed him.  He snapped at one of our orphan kittens that was too curious about his food, and killed it.
I didn't even bother telling the kids about the kitten.  They started fighting about something else, while still sobbing, so I sent them to brush their teeth.  They figured out I was sending them to bed.  At 6:30.
Oh. My.  Gosh.
I would have laughed if it was someone else's kids.  It was so dramatic you would think it was fake.  When I finally got them upstairs, I get this from Nathan, "I don't like this place.  I'm going to live with another Mom."  I said, "Good luck with that."  (So mature.)
I prayed with them, gave them both kisses, and came downstairs.  They were asleep within 20 minutes.
I know that I did the right thing, and I maintained a cool head the whole time, not spanking them all the way up the stairs like I could, and maybe should, have.  But still.  It would have been so much easier to put the other game in, or pacify them with a movie.  Instead, I sent them to bed upset, and let them think I'm the meanest person ever.
I'm a good Mom, right?

Friday, October 25, 2013

Ephesians 3:20 and a Chiefs Game

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.  (Ephesians 3:20)

This verse has been running through my head.  The blessings we have received this year are so much beyond what I could have imagined.  We ask God for the big things, but it's the little things that have surprised me.  Things that we don't even think to ask about.
Specifically, over the last month.  Three things we got to enjoy - for free.  I feel they are blessings straight from God.
Paul really wanted to go see a concert before the baby gets here.  He looked up some different artists, but they were all out of town and out of our price range.  Then my brother texted me about a Matt Redman concert.  Completely free, and only a half hour away.  Paul and I were able to meet after he got off work and enjoy a night of praise.
We also had talked about trying to get away for a vacation.  Previously, almost every vacation has been to see his grandfather in Colorado.  It made for very affordable vacations - free place to stay, take our own food, and it's central to places to explore.  All summer we kept saying, maybe next month, but it just kept not happening.  We also wanted to try to get away for some time alone.  That hasn't happened since before Zadie was born.
Then Paul's parents invited us to go with them to Branson.  They reserved a condo and paid for tickets for us to go to Silver Dollar City.  We were able to spend 3 days there, enjoying lots of family time.  The boys had a blast and are still talking about it.  Paul and I got to spend a morning together, and he let me go in all those shops that I love, but are not good to try to take kids in to - the furniture shop, the candle shop, the Christmas shop..... I really enjoyed it.  I came back from the weekend tired but completely refreshed.
As we were driving to Branson, Paul's supervisor texted him and asked if he wanted two tickets and a parking pass to a Kansas City Chiefs game.  Umm...... YES!  I have wanted to get tickets for Paul to go see the Chiefs ever since we've been married, but just couldn't get over the price of tickets.  And these seats were AWESOME.
Row 23 on the 30 yard line!
I decided that being 7 months pregnant, I wouldn't be the best companion.  So Paul took his dad, and it sounds like they had a great time.
These things are physical blessings that I feel like are straight from God - and they're only things from the last month!  But I can't describe how spiritually blessed we feel.  I am just so happy and peaceful, and looking forward to what God has in store for our lives next!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Quote to Consider:

Rules without relationship will always equal rebellion.

The only reason you have to scream at your kids is because they know they don't have to take you seriously.

-Dr. Tony Evans

Ouch to the second one.  I'm really bad at not following through. :S

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Cracks Me Up, Every Time

Mom, I'm a cheetah!

Of course, I hear it like he said it, "I'm a shee-tah," as he runs into the room and slides to a stop in front of me, which is why it cracks me up.  I don't even remember why he didn't have any clothes on.  He was drawing on the window with dry erase markers, and decided to draw on himself as well.
And, seriously, look at that smile.

Here We Go Again!

So, my boys both potty trained early.  Nathan just before he turned 2, and Jacob just before he turned 18 months.  (Jacob's motivation was getting to pee outside like his big brother.)  (And these are their starting ages, not when they were accident free, obviously.)
So, naturally, I figured Zadie would be 5 before we got her potty trained.  Because the other two were too easy.  I wasn't even going to start trying until after the new baby is born.
On Tuesday, we had a rare Mommy/Daughter afternoon while Paul and the boys went and "helped" cut silage at my parents'.  I took Zadie's naptime diaper off and was letting her "air out" before I put another one on her.  I went to do something in the kitchen, and in a few minutes she came to me, jabbering at me like whatever she was saying made complete sense, and then turned around and walked back to the living room like she expected me to follow.  She led me over to the bookcase, where there was a puddle on the floor.  She pointed to it, and then to her crotch, jabbering like she was explaining herself.
Okay.  Apparently she gets the whole potty thing.
I let her go naked for another hour, because we were the only ones home.  I decided it was time to get out the potty chair, just to get her used to seeing it, and we'd start messing around with it.
Later, about 10 minutes after I put her diaper on, she came to get me, again jabbering and pointing at her crotch.  I felt her, and yes, she was wet.
Okay.  She definitely gets it.
So I guess we're starting potty training!
(To spare you the math, Zadie is 18 months old as of this week.)
She was just a little bit wet when we got home from practice, so I took off her diaper and put her in training pants until bedtime.  I sat her on the potty and read a book to her, and..... SHE WENT IN THE POTTY!!!!  (I get a little bit excited about these things.)
I do the naked method.  Some think it's gross, but it's what I've found works.  I put her in a dress and just leave her naked underneath.  We've only had moderate success in the three days hence - none in the potty the first day, and once each yesterday and today.  (I'm a little distracted most days, so I don't always see her when she stops and gets that contemplative look on her face.)  And about half the time, she comes to get me to show me the puddle.  But she's holding it, because she's only peeing 3 times a day (not counting naptime diaper).  And being able and aware of holding it is the first step.
So we'll continue.  It may be 6 months before she gets there, but I figure it's fewer diapers I have to buy or wash in the meantime.  Especially being just 8 weeks from having another one in diapers!
Go, Zadie, go!

Friday, October 18, 2013


He was going to be all that a mortal should be
No one should be kinder or braver than he
A friend who was troubled and weary he knew,
Who'd be glad of a lift and who needed it, too;
On him he would call and see what he could do

Each morning he stacked up the letters he'd write
And thought of the folks he would fill with delight
It was too bad, indeed, he was busy today,
And hadn't a minute to stop on his way;
More time he would have to give others, he'd say

The greatest of workers this man would have been
The world would have known him, had he ever seen
But the fact is he died and he faded from view,
And all that he left here when living was through
Was a mountain of things he intended to do

© Edgar Albert Guest. All rights reserved.

(I heard this on Truth for Life with Alistair Begg.  Yeah, it kind of hit home.)

"I Just Stay Home."

How many times have I said that, in response to insurance forms or acquaintances asking if I work?  "I just stay home."
Because I don't do anything for income.  I don't babysit or do cleaning like I used to.  I don't do bookkeeping or sales.  No part-time job.

I do just stay home.

But I had the realization today, "just" staying home is the hardest work I've ever done.

I have no down time, all day long.  I mean, I do take sanity breaks (and lately, naps).  But it's at the expense of not getting something else done.  I get to the end of the day, and there are things looming over me, reminding me that I chose to take a break rather than push on.  (I'm looking at the laundry piles that need to be folded, while I sit here blogging.)
I don't know if it's because I make my work harder than I need to by not being organized.  If we're a messier-than-normal family.  If I'm a bad mother because my kids don't know how to clean up after themselves.  Maybe we're home more than most, so as a result the house is in a constant state of being destroyed.  (It's like bailing water on the Titanic with a teacup.)
They say to save yourself time by doing that two-minute job now, rather than put it off til later.  My problem is, I find fifty thousand two-minute jobs every day.  My one-year-old scattered the bath toys all over the bathroom.  We had an exceptionally crumb-y lunch and the floor needs swept.  The 3-year-old spilled the dog food when we was feeding the dog.  The DVDs have piled up on top of the TV cabinet and need put away.  The blankets in the living room need folded.  The mail needs sorted.  That shelf needs dusted.  The kids' books need straightened.  Here's a piece from Uno Moo that got left out when we put it away.  
All of those little two-minute jobs.  All of the other more-than-two-minute jobs, like cooking (3 times a day) and laundry and scrubbing the tub.
Then add in the time it takes being a mother to my kids.  They say at this age, parenting is 90 percent teaching and discipline.  I definitely feel that.  Which makes me feel like I need to spend even more time on good parenting like reading, talking, and playing.
Not to mention, we homeschool.
And I teach violin to my boys, 5 or 6 days a week.
Oh, and I give piano lessons to my nieces.
And occasionally, I'm a good wife and pay attention to my husband, and help him out.

But, nope.  I don't work.  "I just stay home."

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Quote to Consider:

I'm going to say "no" to something that's important to me, so that I can say "yes" to something important to you.
-Dr. David Jeremiah, on giving our kids our time and attention
(but it also applies to marriage, am I right?)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Does Anyone Else See the Resemblence?

My eldest...... Sheldon Cooper. 

I don't watch Big Bang Theory often (and I definitely don't condone the anti-God, pro-evolution dialogue, which is why I don't let my kids watch it, at all), but every time I do and watch a scene with Sheldon, I think to myself, "Oh my gosh, that is so Nathan!"  From his "you people are so beneath me" attitude, to his laugh when he's proud of and amused at himself, down to his facial expressions, it is my son.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Recently. More or less.

A quick glance back through my recent blogs shows it's been at least 2 months since I've given a thorough update.  So I'll try to run down what we've been doing and what's on my mind.
First off, I'd like to say happy birthday to my mom.  Her birthday is today, and I'm honoring her by having a slice of AMAZING from-scratch coconut cream pie that I made.  (Along with a cup of decaf.  Perfect combo.)  My best pie to date, if I don't say so myself.
Secondly, I'm thinking of changing the name of my blog.  I'm not exactly a new Mommy anymore, with #4 on the way.  I mean, there are always new things in the adventure of Mommy-hood, but.... I've got a neat name in mind.  I'll see if I can change the look of things around here.  (Sometime in the next year..... Or two.....)
I don't know what we were so busy with this summer, but it seems like it has been non-stop around here.  I can give you a run-down of September, at least - Paul served at two Encounters, and had to work the other two weekends.  He's had days off (his work does a rotating shift) but between errands, church stuff, and family stuff, we hadn't had a day at home with nothing to do until last week.  It was so nice.  We also started school and Awana.  I finished my ladies' Post-Encounters the same week Paul started his with the men.
So there's been just a little bit going on.  Between my naps and eating bon-bons.
Okay, so there really have been naps.  Almost daily.  I don't sleep well at night, which leads to debilitating exhaustion in the afternoons.  I have every intention of powering through, but reading to the kids after lunch kills me.  More than once I have been asked, "Mommy, why do your words sound funny?" as I am falling asleep mid-story.
So, in baby news (since that's the cause of exhaustion)(well, one of 4):  I will be 30 weeks this week.  According to my weekly email updates from, baby is 15 inches long, and 2.5 pounds.  Oh my goodness - getting so big!  We are still working on names.  We had a girls name settled, then I found one that I liked better, I think, but Paul's not on board.  And we're still up in the air on a boys name.  But I can tell you for sure it won't be Whale Pig.  (See last post.)  I've gained more weight than I care to admit, but the lovely news is that the doctors office measures from your first appointment (2 months along).  So according to them, I've only gained 15 pounds!  My veins are definitely worse, so I am in the compression stockings constantly.  My hernia also has gotten worse (Yes, the hernia I got fixed last summer.  It only stayed fixed for a week.), and is huge and ugly and generally painful.  The stockings do kind of keep it pressed in, but I have to get out the sexy belt a few times a week when it's really popping out.
I think I've finally figured out how home-school is going to go this year.  I am not "one of those" moms.  My vision of all my little students gathered around the kitchen table, dutifully working on their papers..... Um, NO.  If I can manage to get both of the boys at the table at the same time, Zadie is standing on the table, throwing things.  What works best is to do school one at a time.  Some days it's Nathan first, other days it's Jacob.  No particular rhyme or reason to who goes first, other than who happens to be most eager or need a change of scenery (picking fights with siblings).  I tried having Nathan do seat work (practicing writing, etc) while I help Jacob, but even if he's not doing his actual school, he's still at the table, and gets fidgity halfway through his lessons.  So I just let him play.  Plus, having one of them playing while the other does school keeps the little girl entertained better.
We have had some major attitude problems from Nathan over school.  Not wanting to try, telling me I don't know what I'm talking about, etc....  GAAH!  Paul discovered that praying with them at the start of the day seems to help.  He did a little devotion time with them, but last week I just prayed with them individually, which I like.  I want to find a way to have a prayer time with each child every day.
With Nathan, we are only doing math and reading.  I figure that come December, I won't have much time, and these are the main things he needs to learn.  Plus, the more I try to teach other things, the less I can focus on getting him to read!  It seems like it's taking so long, and just not clicking with him.  I try to remind myself, he's a boy, and he JUST turned 6.  He's not that behind.  But I also don't want to make excuses for him if he's not trying hard enough.  But math, he's really good at.  Maybe I'm biased, but it seems like it just clicks for him.  He knows all his doubles (1+1, 2+2, 3+3, etc) up to 10+10, and his +1's.  He's writing "number sentences" (5+3=8, etc), and grasps the concept.  This was what he tells me last week:  "We had 8 kittens, but one died, so that's minus one, equals [counts kittens present] five."  (Hey, he understands the concept.  Just doesn't have all the tables memorized yet. :) )
Jacob learned how to write his name in the first two weeks of school.  It's not perfect, and the letters aren't always in order, but I thought it was pretty awesome that he went from knowing nothing about letters to being able to do that.  He has some in-depth preschool material, but I'm definitely not doing it as in-depth as I did with Nathan.  Part of it is that Jacob knows a lot of it already (he knows all of his shapes, colors, how to count, and recognizes numbers up to at least 5), but the other part is the time factor.  Jacob is still 3, and his attention span is pretty short.  I just want him to be able to recognize and write his letters by the end of the school year.
We squeeze science in whenever it comes up.  Part of home-schooling is looking for those teachable moments.  For some reason I mentioned "invertebrates" on the way to Awana last week, which led to an explanation, which now Nathan understands:  Vertebrates have backbones.  Invertebrates do not.  We play a game - "Is a worm a vertebrate or invertebrate?  Is a cat....?  An octopus?"  Lesson learned.  They are outside a lot, so have tons of questions about things outside, and I take the time to explain them to the best of my ability.  It's not in a textbook, but it's still science.
All in all, I probably spend at least 3 hours a day just on one-on-one school or violin.  Add to this wrangling a one-year-old, the house, and the garden.... No wonder I'm tired all the time.
Zadie is 17 months and quite the feisty little thing.  She isn't talking yet, but makes her opinions quite known.  She has said words very clearly, she just doesn't use them.  She babbles a lot.  And I mean a lot.  She steals my cell phone constantly (screaming fit if I take it away), and loves any toy phone she can get her hands on.  She is a very in to shoes, and wears everyone's around the house.  She'd change her own shoes every 10 minutes if she could find more of her own.  I told Paul this is not an obsession we will feed.  She can have a pair of good shoes, and a pair of every day shoes.  She doesn't need more, no matter how cute little girls shoes are.  I can tell already we are going to have another strong-willed child, like our oldest, on our hands.  Things will be interesting in a couple years.  She loves to wrestle with her brothers.  If they are rolling around on the floor, she'll wade right in to the middle of it.  She loves getting dirty as much (or more!) than they do.  She's discovered the world of under the deck.  At least once a day I have to lure her out from under there (sometimes using my cell phone as bait).
We've been having issues with Jacob biting lately.  NO idea where this came from.  He bit a friend at church, and left a huge bruise on his arm, and bit Zadie later in the week.  This is a habit that must be broken.
Nathan lost another tooth tonight.  He's up to 5, 3 of them (including tonight's) lost in accidents.  When he came in to my Bible study room at church this evening to tell me he lost a tooth, I was expecting it to be the one that's practically dangling on the bottom.  Nope, it was an only-slightly-loose top one that got knocked out when he collided heads with Willie.  Maybe those top ones will finally come in, now that there's room!  (It's been 9 months.)
In non-child-related news.... My sister comes home from Africa in a month!  I was thinking, Jacob was 18 months old and not talking when she left in 2011.  When she gets back, Zadie will be 18 months.... and not talking.  Just trade one for the other, I guess.
Okay, enough updating.  I'll close with some pictures of my entirely too-grown-up children that Paul took this morning.  He was trying to get a picture of Zadie in her Dorothy (Wizard of Oz) outfit, but she wouldn't hold still.  (Click on photos and Blogger will open up a full-screen slide show, so you can see them better.)
Let's pretend you don't notice how horribly messy the house is in these pics.  And I feel like I shouldn't admit that it's twice as bad tonight, thanks to the oldest and youngest not taking naps.  I'm not touching it.  The kids made the mess, the kids will clean it up.... Tomorrow.

Love the 70's vibe he's got going on here with the shirt unbuttoned. 

So big.

Love, love, LOVE them.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Paul:  "What should we name the new baby?"
Nathan:  "I think we should name him Allen."  [Not even in the running, FYI.  No clue where he came up with this name.]
Paul:  "What do you think, Jake?"
Jacob:  "I think we should name him..... Whale Pig."

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Quote to Consider:

When you go to the beach, you might get "bombed" by a sea gull.  It happens.  It's when you leave it there that you have a problem.
-Pastor Larry Carrier, quoting his youth pastor (1950s? - in California)

Put this in context some of the thoughts we allow in our head.  Get that crap outta there!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Storms in Life

I went to another Women's Encounter in July.  At this one I was a server - I was there to serve and pray for the attendees.  
After Encounters, there is an optional 7 weeks of follow up meetings.  The other server from our group and I have been taking turns leading them for our small group of ladies, and a couple weeks ago, the study was on Conquering Adversity.
I have been listening to Christian talk/teaching radio a lot lately, and there have been several messages on storms and trials in life.  I also have been trying to read a daily devotional, and a couple of them have been about the same subject.  God knew I would be leading the study on the subject, and I know put these teachings in my way to pass along.
The first thing was from the century-old writings of Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest.  This is the July 28 devotion (in an updated style):
We tend to think that if Jesus Christ compels us to do something and we are obedient to Him, He will lead us to great success. We should never have the thought that our dreams of success are God’s purpose for us. In fact, His purpose may be exactly the opposite. We have the idea that God is leading us toward a particular end or a desired goal, but He is not. The question of whether or not we arrive at a particular goal is of little importance, and reaching it becomes merely an episode along the way. What we see as only the process of reaching a particular end, God sees as the goal itself.What is my vision of God’s purpose for me? Whatever it may be, His purpose is for me to depend on Him and on His power now. If I can stay calm, faithful, and unconfused while in the middle of the turmoil of life, the goal of the purpose of God is being accomplished in me. God is not working toward a particular finish— His purpose is the process itself. What He desires for me is that I see “Him walking on the sea” with no shore, no success, nor goal in sight, but simply having the absolute certainty that everything is all right because I see “Him walking on the sea” (Mark 6:49). It is the process, not the outcome, that is glorifying to God.God’s training is for now, not later. His purpose is for this very minute, not for sometime in the future. We have nothing to do with what will follow our obedience, and we are wrong to concern ourselves with it. What people call preparation, God sees as the goal itself.God’s purpose is to enable me to see that He can walk on the storms of my life right now. If we have a further goal in mind, we are not paying enough attention to the present time. However, if we realize that moment-by-moment obedience is the goal, then each moment as it comes is precious.

What struck me from this one is that so often, we think that after we get through a certain part or trial in life, then we will have learned a lesson, received a blessing, etc.  But what Chambers is saying is that the lesson is now, the blessing is now, God's purpose is now - during the storm!

The second teaching on storms that stuck out to me was on the radio, Dr. Michael Youssef.  The message was part 3 of the series "Surely Not Me.....And Definitely Not Them!" - a set of messages based on the book of Jonah.  This particular message was about the storm on the sea when Jonah decided to disobey and run away from God.  He had several good points.
There are three types of "storms" people go through in life:
1.  The type brought on by my actions.
2. The type caused by actions of others.
3.  The type allowed by God as a test of our faith.
When we face a storm, we must determine the
1. Cause
2. Cure.
3. Consequences.
Similar to an illness, we must figure out the cause of the problem before we can cure it.
And, like the reading from My Utmost, Youssef stressed that "God wants to use you NOW."  During the storm.  The sailors were watching Jonah.  They knew he was the cause of the problem.  How was he going to react?  The cure for him was complete surrender to God.  Other fixes didn't work - rowing harding, throwing cargo overboard.  It was only when Jonah submitted to a situation where only God could save him (being thrown overboard in the middle of the sea!) that things became calm.  It was the cure - and also the consequence.  Three days in the digestive juices of a fish?  Lesson learned!

I would like to think that most of the trials that we face as Christians aren't the result of our own stupid actions, but I know a lot are.  Nevertheless, there are things to be learned whatever the trial or cause of it.  Our memory verse for the week was James 1:2-4, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

Anyhow.  These are just my jumbled thoughts on the subject, but I'm hoping it gives you something to ponder, as it did for me.  And if you are going through a storm of some sort, maybe it will be the encouragement you need.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Remember These Things?

Before Facebook took over the universe, these were all over MySpace.  I used to see them on Facebook, but either people don't do them any more, or it's just hard to see it when they do.
So I don't know what they're called - surveys, quizzes, or whatever - I call them, "Paul's at work, and I'm bored."
And here's another one.  So by all means, please fill this out for yourself!  I love reading people's answers on these things!

1. What is your favorite weather?
Mid-70s with bright sunshine and a slight breeze.  (Which we had for a solid week this month - in August!  How awesome is that??)
2. Do you put Ranch dressing on pizza?
3. Do you know where the high-beam indicator is on your dashboard?
Not really.  I think it's between the speedometer and the gas gauge.
4. Which of your friends lives furthest away and how did you meet?
Friend is Esther - we were roommates in college.  She was older than my parents and from Germany, and I was totally nervous about living with her, but she was one of the most awesome people I have ever met.  
But my sister lives even further away, in Zambia, Africa. :(  But only for 2 more months!!!
5. Is your second toe longer than your big toe?
Yes.  It's a sign of perfection. :)
6. What is your favorite meal to eat?
Tuscan-marinated ribeye, with potatoes and green beans.  Oh.  My.  Gosh.
7. What is your favorite meal to cook?
Whatever is fast!  
Actually, I love making "farm hand" meals with all the trimmings, when I know people are going to love it - whether my husband and kids, or friends and family.  Any meal made for someone else that you know they'll enjoy is a pleasure to prepare.
8. What is your favorite outfit to wear?
Ha!  I seriously wore my pajama dress all day today.  And this isn't a fair question since I'm preggo.
9. What is the cutest thing you’ve seen lately?
My daughter asleep, using her pillow as a body pillow.  I don't care what kind of day I have, if I go look at my children after they're asleep, I will come down with a smile on my face.
10. How do you wear your fingernails?
Short.  And usually un-painted, although they were so stained from cutting up plums that I did paint them last week.
11. As an adult, what is your favorite children’s movie or show?
12. What was your favorite movie or show as a child?
I had so many.  But I have to say Homeward Bound was pretty close to the top.  (Still a favorite as an adult.)
13. Do you care which way the toilet paper comes off the roll?
No.  The holder is usually empty anyways at our house.  Besides, ours hangs vertically, so that takes care of that little dilemma.
14. Do you have an irrational fear of an everyday thing?
Actually, I do.  I am terrified of falling down the stairs.  Mainly because at least twice a day, I am carrying a child down the stairs.  (We have a flight of 15 very steep wooden stairs.)
15. What is one thing that will always make you gag?
Vomit from anyone besides my kids.  (Being a mom has apparently made me slightly tougher, and I can clean up after the kids without gagging.  Still working on serving my husband that way.....)
And hair when it's not attached to something.  Cleaning out my hair brush or - even worse, gagging just thinking about it - the roller bar on the vacuum.  And seriously gagging now - cleaning out a drain plug.
16. What’s the best vacation you’ve ever been on?
Our honeymoon.  We went to the deep south in the springtime.  We spent 3 nights at a plantation mansion bed and breakfast, and then 3 nights at a bed and breakfast on Mobile Bay.  (Now I want to go back......)
17. What’s your favorite dessert?
Warm apple pie and ice cream.  (Now I'm craving that....)
18. What’s an unusual food that you don’t like?
Raw carrots.
19. Do you have a popular musician or band that you don’t care for?
David Crowder.  Just don't care for his voice or the lyrics.  Most of the time the choruses are great, but the verses are really obscure.
20. Do you eat the pie crust?  What about pizza crust?
Definitely, to both!  Pizza crust is made for dipping in Ranch!
21. What’s your favorite convenience food?
For myself or my kids?  Hot dogs are the most oft consumed convenience food in this house.
22. Do you have an odd overused word or phrase?
Although I've noticed that I use "so" as a filler when I'm talking to someone and the conversation isn't flowing smoothly (like with an older person).  I didn't notice that I did this, until I noticed my brother did it and I thought it was weird.  Then I listened to myself do the exact same thing.
23. Do you have any recurring dreams?
I used to have one when I was younger that I can't describe.....  (I can't describe it because I seriously don't know what it is - it's just "something.")  Then my niece described a dream that she has sometimes, and it's the same one - and my sister (her mom) had the same one, and I think our other sister said she did too.  How weird is that???
But I have dreams about all my teeth or hair falling out.  (Obviously two things I'm vain about.)  Also that I am trying to lead worship either in the dark (so I can't see my music), or that my music is lost, or that I have music, but I am expected to lead a song that I've never heard before.
24. What’s an odd kitchen utensil that you use a lot?
Pastry knife?  Is that odd?
25. What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?
Depends on the day.  Although I had a Fried Ice Cream flavor once that was amazing!  (I think it was a Breyer's limited edition thing.) Why don't they pair ice cream and cinnamon more often?
26. What’s a favorite food you could eat every day?
Bruschetta on Italian toast.  Mmm......
27. What’s your most embarrassing moment?
Ha.  Okay.  So when my sister-in-law graduated from high school, her family took a trip to Silver Dollar City and they invited me.  (She and I were friends of our own accord.  I liked Paul, and he knew that before we went.)  So he spent the whole weekend pestering me (totally mixed signals).  We went to the night show at their Amphitheater, and he left for the Intermission and purposely pushed me as he left, and so I figured I'd get him back (we were so juvenile).  When he came back down, I stuck my foot out to trip him.  He was carrying nachos and a pop.  He dropped the nachos on the older lady's head in front of us.  She had cheese all over her hair and sweatshirt.  I was so embarrassed I spent the rest of the show trying not to cry.  (Incidentally, the lady was awesome about it.  She was like, "Oh a bird pooped on me earlier, so this is no big deal!")
28. What is a food you avoid buying, because you can’t avoid eating it if it’s in the house?
Um.  Anything snacky.  Salt is my weakness.
29. Do you prefer to stay home or go out?
Home, definitely.  And I really do enjoy staying and being at home.  But I think that's why I enjoy it when we do go out, because it's definitely a treat.
30. Any other random things you want to share?
It took me 40 minutes to fill this thing out.  Short, to-the-point answers obviously aren't my thing.  :)
Then I spent another 20 minutes editing it for uniformity, because I'm OCD like that.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Overheard: "Half."

 "Nathan, give half of that piece of bacon to Jake."

"This is half!"

On a related note, I think my daughter may be a Communist.  She doesn't like bacon.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Quote to Consider:

"Parenting is a constant struggle between making your kid's life better and ruining your own."
-Willie Robertson, Duck Dynasty

Ha ha ha! So true!
Some ways I've been ruining my life lately (....daily):
Listening to screaming for two solid hours because my daughter can't be distracted by something as menial as breakfast.  (She needs to learn how to eat at mealtimes.)
Lose two hours of my life overseeing my sons to clean one room of the house.  And that's just the mess that they themselves have made!  (They will learn to pick up after themselves, and how to do it properly.)

And yes, I am in love with the show Duck Dynasty.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Room Re-do

I decided to deep-clean the boys' room last week.  It took 3 days, spread over 2 weeks, and it all started with my feeling the need to vacuum.....
Anyhow.  I'll spare you the process.  Because reading the process might allow you a glimpse of how my brain works.  And quite frankly, that could be a bit scary.
The boys have shared a room since Jacob was about 18 months old.  It was a bit young for Jake to make the transition from his own room and crib to a different room and a big bed, but we had made plans to move him over that summer when we found out we were expecting in 2011.  Even though we lost that baby, we still went ahead and moved him as planned for the summer, to save on electric costs.  (Each room upstairs requires a window unit.)
Zadie and the new baby will be sharing a room for a year or two.  Even if it's a boy (which, for the record, I think it is), I think it's fine when children are very young for brothers and sisters to sleep in the same room.
Personally, I think it's best for kids to share rooms.  Maybe that comes from the fact that I never had a room to myself until I was 18, and I'm quite sure I turned out wonderful.  (ha ha)  But I think sharing a room teaches kids good life lessons about boundaries, sharing, accountability, and responsibility.  So even if we had the money to add on, or for some reason moved into a bigger house, I'm not sure I'd want all my kids to have their own separate rooms.  It just seems.... lonely.
We were given a set of used bunk beds.  We'd been planning on bunks for the boys, but in pricing them new, had decided we could build some ourselves for much cheaper.  We thought we'd have to build them anyways, as the sloped ceilings could prove to be a height restriction.  But these fit just perfectly!
So we put them up in the boys' room.  That way, it's already kind of set up to move another bed in, if Baby is a brother, or they'll permanently have a play space where the other bed was, if Baby is a sister.  (Incidentally, if Baby is a sister, the girls will probably eventually move into what is now the boys' room, as it is slightly larger, and we all know how much stuff girls require!)
Anyhow:  So here are the photos!  Not a complete makeover, as it still has the nursery paint job, but definitely a deep-cleaning, re-arranging, different feel to the whole room.
(I should have taken a "before" picture, but when I started cleaning, I didn't know this is where it would end up.  I know I've probably got one somewhere, but I am not sorting through my 10,000 unsorted photos just to find it.)

The bunk beds cleaned up quite nicely!  (They'd been stored in an abandoned house.)
There is a set of drawers that can be slid in under the bunks.  We decided the amount of space they take up vs. how little the drawers actually would hold made them not worth the effort.  We'll slide totes under if we need extra storage.
And the beds are made, solely for the photo op, since we don't make the beds..... Ever.

Play Central:  All Legos, wooden train tracks, and matchbox cars/farm equipment are gone from my living room!

Looking back toward the door (standing by the window).  Do you get the feel for how little the room is?  Jacob's dresser is the wood one.  The matching desk and dresser are Nathan's.

The tree trunk is a doorway to the only closet in the house that's not in the master bedroom.....

......So we use the enclosed dormer as the boys' closet.
The tiny dresser was Jacob's dresser, which I repurposed as a linen dresser to hold all the twin-size sheets (rather than having to go downstairs to get them).  We moved the bigger wood-grain dresser over from Zadie's room (even though he only uses 3 drawers), and she now is using an antique dresser.

The bunks have a ladder, but Zadie can zip right up it, so we keep it down under the bed during the day and set it up at bedtime, so it's easier and safer to get down in the middle of the night.  Besides, that thing takes up a lot of real estate!
Nathan is currently in the top bunk, but Jacob really wants to sleep up there.  So we may switch residents each time we wash sheets.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Sweet Corn!

Just a couple pictures.  I have an entry coming that hopefully will be nothing but pics, so you all can see how our kids are growing (so fast!).
The kids LOVE sweet corn.  They liked it last year, but this year they were super excited about it.  As in, they'd pick, shuck, and brush it on their own in order to get it for supper.  Probably a good thing we had to keep a fence around it.... It keeps the dog and the kids out.  I'm not a huge fan of sweet corn - not that I don't like it, just that it has to be a certain age:  not too young, not too old and gummy, for me to like it.  If I can find a batch that meet my criteria, I can put it away with the best of them.
Next year, I should let the kids enjoy the sweet corn more often.  There's part of me that doesn't want to eat too much fresh, or we won't have enough to freeze.  But I guess we'll plant a couple more rows and make it one of those sweet things that summer is all about.

I couldn't distract Jacob enough from chowing down to get him to look at the camera.

Even missing his two front teeth, Nathan cleans off an ear really well!

Zadie would eat straight through the cob if we didn't keep giving her our finished ears to distract her!