Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I wanted to post a video of our children singing and a picture or two but our internet service is so slow the past few weeks and especially so today. Living in the country does have one disadvantage there.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

"...O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord."

Merry Christmas!

I wanted to post a video of our children singing and a picture or two but our internet service is so slow the past few weeks and especially so today. Living in the country does have one disadvantage there.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

3 months old

You are now 3 months old and we can't imagine life without you. You are filling out and getting more chub on your arms and legs. You wear size 2 diapers and have moved into 3 - 6  month clothes.

You are now falling asleep on your own in your bed for the most part. I think part of that is the decrease in gas problems. Although having a cold this past week threw that off a bit. You got really chapped cheeks and had a bit of wheezing. :( You have been really happy though except when the gunk from your nose drained to your belly and that caused problems. It is hard to keep you healthy when all of your siblings have a runny nose and a cough. I try to quarantine you but that is near impossible!

Daylight savings time in early November somehow had an effect on you and you were back to waking around 3 a.m. to nurse but gradually went an hour longer each night and are now waking between 6 - 7 a.m. going to bed around 10 p.m. You are taking more consistent naps too and I expect that will improve as the time between feedings increases. Right now you like to eat every 3-4 hours.

You have found your hands and are sucking on them more and more and grabbing at toys on your bouncy seat too. Occasionally you will get your thumb so we're still waiting to see if you become a thumb-sucker like Tank and Seppy.

We love all of your smiles and finding your tickle spots to make you giggle. Your brothers and sisters are having more fun with you although they keep asking when you are going to crawl. I think they want you to keep up with them but I really want you to take your time. :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mayflower and Pilgrim Meal

In preparation for Thanksgiving we enjoy reading books about the pilgrims and in past years have had a Mayflower meal as a fun way to get a glimpse of what the pilgrims might have experienced when traveling to a New World. The idea of this came from Doorposts and at some point my goal is to do this on a larger scale, dressing up and inviting friends to join in the fun. This weekend we invited my parents and my Grandpa.

This year for our Mayflower we crowded into Missy and Seppy's bedroom which is our smallest room and pulled the shade to make it dark. While ocean sounds played in the background I read portions from the book ...If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620. I really enjoy the "....If You" series of books. We had a meal consisting of hard tack, salted beef (beef jerky) and a bit of beer to drink as that is what they would have drank. The kids turn up their noses at this but it is fun to think of how different things were when the thought was that milk and water were not good for drinking. We even had the baby "Oceanus" on our ship and he would not stop crying which made me realize how crazy I would go in close quarters with all of the noises and smells around. My Dad is great at playing along and pretended to get seasick. :) As we "approached land" I opened the shade and we left our "ship".

Now onto the Plymouth Meal around the dinning room table. Tank opened with reading Psalm 100 and John read a Thanksgiving Prayer from The Valley of Vision, a collection of puritan prayers. I really enjoy reading through them as they are not to be taken lightly and are so adoring of our Lord. I know more times than I'd like to admit I get in a rut or am in a hurry to pray that I am not truly expressing my heart to the Lord. This is not flippant or dumbed down in any way.

O My God, Thou fairest, greatest, first of all objects, my heart admires, adores, loves thee, for my little vessel is as full as it can be, and I would pour out all that fullness before thee in ceaseless flow.

When I think upon and converse with thee ten thousand delightful thoughts spring up, ten thousand sources of pleasure are unsealed, ten thousand refreshing joys spread over my heart, crowding into every moment of happiness.

I bless thee for the soul thou hast created, for adorning it, for sanctifying it, though it is fixed in barren soil;

for the body thou hast given me, for preserving its strength and vigour, for providing senses to enjoy delights, for the ease and freedom of my limbs, for hands, eyes, ears that do thy bidding;

for thy royal bounty providing my daily support, for a full table and overflowing cup, for appetite, taste, sweetness, for social joys of relatives and friends, for ability to serve others, for a heart that feels sorrows and necessities, for a mind to care for my fellow-men, for opportunities of spreading happiness around, for loved ones in the joys of heaven, for my own expectation of seeing thee clearly.

I love thee above the powers of language to express, for what thou art to thy creatures. Increase my love, O my God, through time and eternity.

Our meal consisted of squash, skillet corn, crab cakes and broiled cod and perch. Next year my Mom and I said we'll plan farther in advance so we can include foods like crab legs and I think I'll include some type of a stew which the Indians might have made seeing as John and I aren't big fish eaters (unless it is breaded). George loves fish so he was in his element.

Dessert was not authentic this year but in the past I have made Indian Pudding which tastes very much like pumpkin pie but without a crust. In reading up on dishes that the pilgrims might have fixed I found that any type of squash was called a pompion. On the Plimouth Plantation website they have a note about cooking pumpkin from a book written by a traveler to New England in the 1600's and the last line I found so amusing and I guess pumpkins produce gas??...

But the Housewives manner is to slice them when ripe, and cut them into dice, and so fill a pot with them of two or three Gallons, and stew them upon a gentle fire a whole day, and as they sink, they fill again with fresh Pompions, not putting any liquor to them; and when it is stew'd enough, it will look like bak'd Apples; this they Dish, putting Butter to it, and a little Vinegar, (with some Spice, as Ginger, &c.) which makes it tart like an Apple, and so serve it up to be eaten with Fish or Flesh: It provokes Urine extreamly and is very windy.

We all enjoyed ourselves although some of us may have still been hungry. My Grandpa thanked me for the meal saying it was unusual but nice.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Motor Home Sweet Motor Home

Last month we said "goodbye" to our motor home. John and I had been talking about selling it for awhile, or rather John was talking about it and I kept saying, "Are you sure?". I know we have outgrown it and this past summer of camping we all crammed in, although we probably could have put up a tent outside for the boys. But being that we need a full-size van to accommodate our growing family something had to go to be able to afford one. John would like to keep our mini-van for me to drive when we are not all together due to better mileage and this was the only other option. And too, we only used it twice this summer, much different than when John was racing and we camped twice a month at various racetracks.

We honestly did not think it would sell anymore being the end of the camping season although John was really hoping it would as the value will decrease even more next year (it is 10 years old already). But God always provides what we need and so we sold our motor home to a family with two small children.

This was a hard thing for me. I kept asking the children during that day if they would be sad to see it go but they weren't. The little ones just want a big van so they are not "squished in the van". For me all I could see as I walked through for one last time were all of memories of so many trips we took around Wisconsin, down to Missouri, over to friends in Michigan. I saw where each child slept and remembered the makeshift cribs we made for our babies. I remembered traveling and how excited the children would be when we started on each new adventure. It was so good to all be together in close quarters. It was a wonderful mode of transportation as the children could get up and walk around, go to the bathroom, get a snack from the fridge, and take naps on the beds. And it felt like our home away from home.

I know we can still travel together and camp together albeit probably renting a cabin or a trailer to pull behind. But I guess this really closes a chapter of our lives and that brings a sadness. I have heard it before and I need to remember again that the object isn't what holds the memories, they are all in my heart and that is all I need.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

2 Months Old

Two months old already (Almost 3 weeks ago. I need to post this before the next milestone!) and more alert every day and smiling at everyone and everything.

This month finds you putting on some chub. I weighed you with me and that comes to 15# give or take some ounces. You are finishing up the pack of size 1 diapers but you are ready to move up to the next size. I am squeezing you in a few 0-3 month outfits yet just to say you wore them but they are getting a bit tight.

You sleep great at night typically falling asleep at 11 p.m. and waking 7 hours later. You do not fall asleep on your own as your siblings did at this age but we rock you to sleep to calm you down. Needless to say I do not accomplish much during the day. While you like to fall asleep in the swing you do not get a good nap that way and wake easily.

You are beginning to have a more consistent routine and are mainly eating every 3 - 4 hours. Your morning waketime is up to two hours and you are happy for almost the whole time. You are getting a bit more regulated with naps but they still vary based on what time you eat.

Unfortunately, you have a lot or trouble with being gassy which makes for a very fussy baby throughout the day, mainly the afternoon into evening. I feel so bad for you as your legs stiffen, your belly is hard and you scream and scream. It doesn't seem to matter what I eat. Thankfully I found a homeopathic remedy to help you out and we are starting to see some relief.

One of your crying jags. Daddy concentrating on patting your back.
Taken before I found anything to give you relief.
You seem to like to have blowout diapers at church as you have done it three times now. Twice you made quite the noise causing snickers all around us.

I am still waiting to see if you start sucking your thumb and while you occasionally take a pacifier it isn't often that you keep one in your mouth and I only try it out of desperation.

Your siblings love to hold you and are enjoying making you smile. They all like to try to get you to sleep too, as long as you aren't screaming.

Tank has the magic touch!
Here is our happy baby!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Camera troubles

I have had problems with my camera in the past but this time it was with my digital SLR and at the worst possible time -- when I had a 3 week old baby and when the leaves were all changing colors! I had a new lens on my camera that I saved up for with money from taking pictures and I was super excited to get more acquainted with. I was setting things up for a session of baby pictures and set my camera down on the couch next to me while I propped up baby. I must have pulled on the strap or something but next thing I know the camera is on the floor.

I didn't think much of it being that it was such a short fall but when I went to take the picture I had an error message. Oh no, this cannot be happening! I tried to get the lens off and low and behold it was stuck! John was able to get it off and when he did a piece fell off of it. I put on another lens which initially worked but then I was getting error messages about the lens and camera not communicating. It turns out that two tiny pins were pushed down causing the lens not to connect. I was not happy to say the least! I did a bit of research and found that the only thing to do was have it repaired. I wish we would have sent it in at that moment but for some reason I held out hoping John could fix it.

I was going a bit crazy not having a camera. After all, these weren't just ordinary days. I had a newborn that was changing before my very eyes! The leaves were coming to their peak and what could I do but watch.

In time I would like to upgrade to a better model so I began researching hoping I could find a good deal used but I guess I'll have to wait on that. Thankfully I was able to borrow my sister's camera which held me over and I would give it back to her when she needed it. It is an older version of mine and this caused me to appreciate mine all the more. John was able to get my broken lens replaced -- a 50 mm 1.8 (One of the cheaper lenses as it is made with plastic but I found good reviews as one to start with for a portrait lens).

In the end it took one whole month for my camera to be fixed. I kept waiting for status updates and didn't like to much when they called to say they were waiting on a part. I reasoned that if they were fixing cameras they really should have every part there at all times! :) John walked in the door with my camera the other day and I was thrilled and it almost brought a tear to my eye to have my memory-keeper back. I had a fun walk with Missy today trying out my new lens on my own camera.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Stars & Stripes Flight

My Grandpa took a trip to Washington D.C. last month on a Stars and Stripes Honor Flight and Veterans Day is the perfect time to tell you about this wonderful opportunity. This flight is sponsored by various companies and donations but the object is to have WWII veterans visit their memorial in Washington D.C. before they no longer have the chance as we are loosing more and more of that generation each day. My Uncle Brian was able to accompany my Grandpa for this trip and act as his guardian. Some beautiful pictures from the day can be found HERE and my Grandpa is on the 7th one down.

The part that we played in this day was in the homecoming that evening. When John and I decided to go to the airport to greet Grandpa on his arrival home we had no idea how big this event really was. I figured family members would be there but this was so much more as people from the community come to visibly say "thank you" and support the veterans. We arrived an hour before his flight was expected to arrive and it was already very crowded and difficult to find a place to stand. My Grandma and some other family members were there too. John played cards with the boys while we waited for quite awhile.

The flight was late but as we heard of the arrival the feeling in the room was of pure excitement. People lined the parade route with flags and signs of welcome and as the first veterans came through there was applause all around and shouts of thanks. It was such an emotional event and as we watched Uncle Brian pushing Grandpa's wheelchair the tears flowed freely. What an amazing thing to witness!

I am thankful for both of my Grandpa's and how they served our country and am so glad my children were able to be a part of this. Now we need to get my other Grandpa on this flight as well!
Missy with her Opa

Oops! Missed my Uncle Brian on this one
but wanted you to see the sign.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Toy Story cake and Flower cake

You may have seen pictures of the birthday cakes in the individual birthday posts but I thought I'd post two closeups and details.

I find I have a harder time making a girly cake but I assume that is because I haven't had as much practice. Afterall, I've been making cakes for boys since George was little and I remember his first few cakes and how they looked (not that great). So I have kind of perfected that type by now. But flowers I have not done, especially the kind I really would like to tackle one of these days. We found a picture of a flower cake online that Missy really liked and it was a simple design and so I basically copied that. My frosting ended up a little watery for part of this so it didn't pipe on for outlining as smoothly as I would have liked. I tried to convince Missy that she should share a cake with Seppy and then I could make a nice big Toy Story one but no go on that!
The top flowers I drew with a toothpick, spread thin layers of frosting for the petals and then outlined them in that same frosting  and then in white. Pete assisted in adding grass (probably my favorite frosting tip) to the bottom.

Seppy loves all things Toy Story ("Stoy Stoy") and so I knew I wanted to do a cake along those lines. I found ideas and my favorite was a three layer with the bottom representing Woody, the middle representing Buzz and the top had a bed on it or the words "Toy Story". I sketched a few ideas and then Sep picked what he liked. This is the one I really wanted to decorate but George volunteered and I wasn't about to pass up help on this. So, he followed my design and pipped all of the frosting on for me. It turned out nicely and I am finding that yet again letting others help helps me more and more to go with the flow and not be overly concerned with perfection (cake decorating may be one of the only areas I really have that tendency anymore).
I had wanted to pipe frosting dots along the top and bottom edge but didn't feel like mixing up so many colors of frosting so Tank suggested Skittles and that worked great. The stars and cow spots are made from rolled out Tootsie rolls. Ideally, I would have preferred black spots and they sell edible paper in various colors but I couldn't justify spending more than necessary.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Fallen leaves means Sep turns 4!

The leaves are almost all off of the trees and do you know what that means? It is Seppy's sign that it is time for his birthday! Seppy turns 4 years old today and he has been waiting and counting down to this and watching the leaves for a long time it seems. Although, being that we celebrated early he is a bit confused about when his birthday actually is.

Seppy is my quiet little guy. He goes with the flow and follows what everyone else does. I often get asked if he talks and yes, he does, but we do find that he likes to listen to everyone else and take it all in. He loves to give hugs and I melt when his chubby arms squeeze my neck in an embrace.

Now that Baby is the youngest Sep seems so much bigger and older as if he changed overnight. He seems to relish being a big brother and no longer the baby. He wants to hold baby which doesn't work that well but he is content to just make him smile and squeeze his cheeks.
Seppy at 4 weeks old.
We love all of the various expressions on Seppy's face. He makes the best grumpy face especially since he rarely is grumpy but puts on a show. (I do have a picture of that somewhere but can't find it today). And when he wants something he will point at it and close one eye as if aiming which is so cute! If you ask him a yes/no question his yes is not in words but he does a whole body shake in response. We all enjoy watching him he is so cute.

Ah the smell of Pumpkin Cinnamon rolls is wafting from the oven for Sep's birthday breakfast. A few more surprises may come his way yet today. Happy Birthday to my sweet little boy!

Seppy's favorite is "Stoy Stoy Free"

Friday, October 28, 2011

Birthday Girl turns 6!

Ah, another year has passed and my little girl is now 6 years old! My only girl and I am so thankful that I have a bit of pink lot of pink everywhere I look. Missy Blue is still girly but more and more she tries to do what the boys do. She climbs trees and once in awhile gets in the football game, and just follows those boys everywhere they go. And thankfully for the most part they don't mind their tag-a-long.

Missy prayed for a sister and how we all thought she needed one seeing as the boys often look at her with a clueless expression not understanding the ways of a girl. But God planned that Missy would be our only girl, although she told us she will still pray for a sister :). Missy sure does love her brothers though but I'm not sure if she'd admit to it.

I've had fun looking through old pictures to find one
 but oh my it makes me realize how fast she is growing! :(
Missy loves to sing (to herself) and we are still waiting for the day when she sings an actual song but we enjoy her renditions of sing-songy strange words and sounds she makes until she notices we are paying attention. She also loves to hold her baby brother and like her brothers she can get him to fall asleep on her shoulder.

I am a bit late in this post (what is new lately) as her birthday was actually last week. Missy woke up to seeing herself on the news as they feature six-year olds on Channel 6. Her breakfast of choice was chocolate chip pancakes in various shapes. She wanted her initial and a bunny rabbit. She had a number of phone calls that day and I was fascinated by the expressions on her face as she talked with her legs crossed and all and I saw the image of things to come. John and I took Missy and Seppy out to eat to her favorite restaurant -- Texas Roadhouse that evening. She invited him as his birthday is coming up next week and she thought it would be more fun.

My sister and her family took Missy and Sep to Build-A-Bear workshop for a birthday present and we heard about that trip for days. What a special treat! And then we celebrated their birthdays this past weekend and they had a great time only very sad to see it end. Ah, but the celebration continues as John's parents are here for the weekend and are taking the little two shopping to pick out a present. Oh the excitement! I don't think my birthdays ever lasted that long when I was a child!

Missy looks so grown up here!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thankful Thursday: Meals Provided

It has been six weeks since I came home from the hospital with baby boy and I cooked my first "real" supper this week. I have made a thing or two on the weekends and do prepare breakfast and lunch but our supper has been provided for us for the past five weeks and I am SO thankful for that! Time for me to rest in the afternoons and not have to worry about feeding my family.

While our church family always does provide a number of scheduled meals this time it seemed each time we went to church someone else has made a meal for us to take home and put in the freezer to use when needed (one of which I am using tonight!). Last week my friend's Mom made us an entire Thanksgiving dinner! I don't think I have ever even made a whole turkey for our family other than at Thanksgiving, so we sat around the table just looking (maybe drooling too) at this beautiful brown turkey and all the fixings so very thankful for friends who care.

I am also thankful for my parents as we eat at their house almost every Wednesday and Sunday when we go into town for church so we don't have to go back and forth. It isn't always a big spread but we enjoy it all the same and are thankful to gather around their table. Although my Mom should probably request us to contribute, she rarely does.

Our neighbors down the road who own the CSA farm we work on each summer/fall also have been amazing in cooking each of our meals for the past three weeks as needed. Seppy asked why Bernadette made food one night when she brought it up to us and she replied, "God's people need to take care of God's people". Amen! And what an amazing thing to be the recipient of! We were well taken care of and eating quite healthy too.

We are so blessed and so very thankful for God's provision!

I am feeling so much better and well rested this week. Now to get my act together and plan out a few meals so I am not left to scramble. :) I think the kids are waiting for a few favorites to get back onto the table.

Monday, October 10, 2011

1 Month Old

Baby Boy, you are 1 month old and that month certainly flew by! I don't want to even think about how fast you will grow up! I am loving having a newborn again and am cherishing the time I have with you.

At your three week check-up you weighed 9.15 lbs. so I assume a week later you have made it past 10 lbs.

You are wearing size 1 diapers (although you outgrew newborns almost as soon as you were home from the hospital). And you are in size 0-3 month clothes.

You don't startle nearly as much with your arms flailing about and your daily hiccups are starting to diminish.

Your bowels are starting to regulate a bit better as you had been going what seemed like every hour for awhile there. Although you are quite the gassy baby lately and aren't happy about that! You will cry off and on for an hour or so one or two times a day often waking with painful gas. I am trying my best to eat things that will not bother you but oh, that immature digestive system.

You keep trying to suck your thumb and fist but to no avail, you just aren't coordinated enough yet for that to work out.

Your eyes are beginning to focus more clearly and you don't have that clueless stare anymore.

You will give an occasional smile in response to prodding but we are all waiting for the day when you are all smiles which will be soon I know.

You love to be held close and to be swaddled. Always happiest in someone's arms!

You sleep great at night only waking once to nurse. It had been around 2-3 a.m. but lately it has been moving more to 4-5 a.m. Why is it I am still tired after getting 6 hours of sleep in a row? :)

Your siblings LOVE you and are still arguing about who gets to hold you and are disappointed if the day has passed and they didn't get a chance. It is amazing that I ever get to hold you.

**You are actually 6 weeks today but being that my camera is being repaired (and I am going crazy without it!) I didn't get this posted in time. I did get a picture at one month old from Grandma.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ins and Outs of a C-Section

I have had five c-sections now and have had varying experiences with each and I always like to look back and remember. This one may be quite long so hang in there (if you are interested that is).

I was up early Monday the 29th of August. I figured it would be difficult to wake but being big and heavy I had been having a hard time sleeping and woke up around 4 a.m. so got up and started getting ready. I figured John would have to wake me but thankfully I was ready to go. The children had slept at my parents house so it was just the two of us. We left home and drove into town watching the gorgeous sunrise as we headed east. A beautiful day it was to be and I was going to be stuck in the hospital. Granted for a good reason but…

My c-section was scheduled for 7:30 a.m. so I needed to be there by 5:45 a.m. After checking in and getting to my room I was talkative, maybe nervously so, although I felt fine as John sat quietly listening.The nurses started coming in and monitoring fetal movements, taking blood and tried to get an IV going. I dread that part as my veins are so small that unless I drink a lot, which I couldn’t do, it is hard to find one. This time however, they wrapped my arms in warm blankets which did the trick and made my veins easier to find and thankfully I didn’t need to be poked quite as often. I still cannot handle watching as it makes me feel faint. This time I had one in each arm which is the case with multiple c-sections with the possibility I would need blood at the same time they are giving me whatever else.

Okay, all set to go. I watched the morning news as I waited and watched the clock too seeing it inch ever closer to 7:30 a.m. I figured something was wrong being that I am always wheeled into surgery and they are usually cutting me open right on the dot. Sure enough, in comes the anesthiesiologist who told me that my Doctor had an emergency that morning and she was finishing that up. I found that interesting as my Dad had reminded me a few days earlier about when I had the twins and needed an emergency c-section that I “bumped” another lady, who my Dad had met later on. He had wondered if someone would ever “bump” me. I guess so! The only problem with that is I was ready to go and waiting longer got my mind to wandering and remembering just what was going to happen and I started to think to myself “There must be another way to get this baby out. I really don’t want to have surgery!” Thankfully my Mom brought the older boys up and they helped to distract me.

I don’t remember the exact time I was wheeled into surgery but it was sometime after 8 a.m. The ride was kind of entertaining as the nurses forgot to raise my bed and so they were all crouching low to pull/push my bed through the hallways. As I entered the “surgical suite” memories came back and it is SO cold in there. I find some things amusing about the whole process and one of them is trying to maneuver on my back, big belly and all, from my bed over to this narrow operating table. Doctor Smith was there and was welcoming. I was very touched as when I was having my spinal and sat on the edge of the table she stood in front of me so I could lean into her as I clutched my pillow.

I remembered another time when I was having a spinal while laying on my side and the nurse saw John looking in the window watching a long needle go into my back and he did not look so good. I imagine not. I always say I think it might be easier for me to go through all of this than for John to be on the sidelines watching me go through it. Well, he doesn’t actually watch anything but he hears it and knows what is going on.

The numbness sets in almost instantly making moving really strange. The nurses tell me they are putting in a catheter or moving my leg or washing the area with that orange stuff (can’t remember the name) “okay”. I have a curtain almost right up to my face and my arms attached to boards on each side and have oxygen too. The anesthesiologist assitant is at my head and I learned his name is Noah. I appreciate having him there as he was so personable and easy to talk with (as are all of the anesthesiologists I have met). I always like to have a play-by-play and by the end of the surgery I have learned quite a bit about him. John is now at my side and they have me feel a sharp stick and then touch it to other parts of my body to make sure I am numb and so begins the first cut.

I had made a mixed CD of some of my favorite songs and they have that playing in the background for me which is always so calming. It takes about 10 minutes until baby is ready to be delivered. I was told that I would feel heavy pressure as if someone is sitting on my chest and then baby would come out. I felt that and then I heard them saying, "Baby is swimming out!" (John reminded me that typically they reach in and pull baby out which is something I can feel). He must have really wanted out of there! Of course I am thrilled to hear baby cry and as I heard the words "boy" I begin to cry tears of joy. Yes, I would have loved a little girl to be a sister to Missy but life is a miracle and I am just so thankful that God chose to bless us again. How can I be anything but overjoyed! As he was born the song Glorious Day (the old hymn One Day) by Casting Crowns was playing. I love to have associations like that with music.

John was now able to take baby and go back to the nursery to have him cleaned up and weighed. While I would love to be able to hold my baby I am happy that Daddy gets to have time just the two of them for awhile too. He brought baby out to introduce the children to their new brother and all were excited from what I was told.

I was in surgery for at least another hour or more. There are four layers they cut through and my scar tissue is hard to work with so it takes longer to sew it up each time. I also found out later that they do examine the female organs, which I find fascinating. They couldn't get mine out due to the scar tissue but apparently everything looked good as they moved things aside. I also was told that they had a harder time pulling my muscles back into place. But it all went well.

People often tell me how lucky I am to have a c-section but the only benefits I find are it is relatively quick (rather than laboring) and I know the date in advance for planning but that is about all. I would love to be able to labor and deliver a baby naturally! (I have done it twice). The hard part for me is recovery. I find the day of surgery is my best being that I still have the spinal and morphine in my system I can't feel pain. I have energy and excitement of having a new baby and all is well until the next day when it hits. I do find it difficult to take pain meds as they make me feel so loopy as if I am having an out-of-body kind of feeling and I can't stand that. The nurses get you up and moving relatively quickly. I found this time that having a belly band wrapped around made it easier to move as it supported me more so that the strain wasn't as painful. All in all I suppose it was one of my better c-sections and I was moving around faster but it took at least three weeks until I was moving around as normal, able to turn over in bed, climb stairs, etc. without pain.

All is going well now. I ended up with a yeast infection on my incision from the excess skin hanging over it but otherwise I am feeling closer to my "normal" self. If you hung around this long now you know the ins and outs of having a c-section.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Sleepy smile at 2 weeks.
Baby is 2 weeks old and we are all adjusting to having him around. I am trying to get in some semblance of a routine but it sure is hard to do with a newborn! He is doing really well with sleeping at night and only wakes up once typically around 3 a.m. which is great, although after getting a decent amount of sleep I still am quite exhausted. During the day he doesn't sleep quite as well and at this point it is a guessing game as to what the routine might be for the day.

I have had my parents here almost every day to help out and keep the other children occupied. Meals have been provided which has been nice, although I am finding a few of our children may be pickier eaters than I had thought, which we are working on. I am trying to rest as much as possible to help with healing and it isn't too difficult to do seeing as my energy is lacking and the desire to get up and go is not very strong either.

I drove for my first time since surgery yesterday which was fine as long as my seat was leaning back more as sitting straight up is not comfortable. Thankfully I am getting around better each day and Tank told me yesterday how well I am moving.

Seppy asked me last night when the baby girl is going to come out. :) I am hoping not to look pregnant for too long but the doctor said it will take some time being that the muscles are going to take awhile to go back to normal. Evidently they had a harder time pulling them back into place with scar tissue all around. It is quite a strange feeling to try and suck in your belly but nothing at all happens. It is as if I have no muscles whatsoever. All in time, I know.

Everyone else seems to have adjusted very well to having a baby again and they all go about their day without a care. I do have quite a few willing helpers and so if they hear crying and I am in the middle of something I often find one of the older boys with baby in his arms trying to console him. I very much appreciate this and I am sure baby does too! I just hope the novelty doesn't wear off too quickly!

Monday, September 5, 2011

It's a.....

BOY!!!! Yes, we had another baby boy a week ago today. I'd have posted sooner but I always forget just how much a c-section takes out of me. And too, I don't know that I have many followers anymore.

Here is a picture of our precious little one.

8 pounds 1 ounce -- 19 3/4 inches

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I'm still here...

I have so many things I could post about but really, have no time to accomplish that. I have loads of pictures to crop and resize so you can see what we did with our summer (it was busy!) but I am getting ready for a new life to join our family in 2 days!!!

The summer has flown by but thankfully will not be over quite yet. I checked the forecast and am very pleased to see that the day baby and I come home from the hospital summer will still be here! I was afraid it might be as last year at this time when we were wearing jeans and sweatshirts. So not ready for that! The boys are ready for the County Fair and my Mom took George and Pete to help setup the 4H building which is one of my favorite things to do. I have finally realized I can't do it all but I hope I remember that after the baby is born.

I am very excited but a bit nervous too. I hope to post from the hospital with pictures of our little one.

Only 2 more days!!!  :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Not Labor but a Kidney Stone

After my previous post I figured I was in the clear from kidney stones, but, I did end up with what I assume was a kidney stone a week ago. We were on the way home from a family gathering when a sudden pain came on in my back. I determined that it was not labor pains as it was only on my left side and kept getting worse and was constant without moving to my abdomen. I told John how much it reminded me of when I had a kidney stone when pregnant with Missy. I lay down on my left side as soon as we were home with pillows around but the pain was so bad it brought me to tears at times and nothing stopped it. Our older boys were so sweet and albeit worried too but would check on me and ask if they could get anything for me. 

I ended up calling the on-call nurse who did determine that I was not in labor but said I sounded like I should get to the hospital to get it checked out. I was all for that seeing as I was miserable. We were on our way and upon getting on the highway my pain suddenly stopped. It had been about 1 hr. 15 minutes by that time. John decided to go in anyway and wait it out at my parents house as they are right down the road from the hospital and he didn't want to be heading in later that night. My Dad scared my Mom by calling to her that we were there because I was having the baby and we all got a kick out of that. I ended up calling the nurse to tell her I no longer needed to go in and she agreed I sounded so much better.

I do think that calcium carbonate may be in other things I have taken such as digestive enzymes and possibly the generic prenatals I had been taking but not certain that was the problem this time. In looking up kidney stones in pregnancy I did find that all of the pressure of the organs pressing on each other can cause build-up of waste in the kidney along as well as dehydration both of which I think caused my problem. I have a horrible time making sure I drink enough. And the learning continues.

So, now we wonder if this is a sign that we are having a girl being that the only other time I had a kidney stone was when pregnant with a girl. :) We'll see!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Calcium and Kidney Stones in Pregnancy

I am constantly learning new things, and even though this is my sixth pregnancy I am still learning. I typically have heartburn, especially during the third trimester. In the past month it happened often while I was still eating.

When I was pregnant with Missy Blue I popped Tums like there was no tomorrow. I figured they were helping and the berry flavor was so good. But I developed kidney stones, which was horrible, and found that taking too many Tums can cause calcium deposits leading to kidney stones of which my current doctor agreed. With my last pregnancy I avoided taking them at all costs and this time as well I took one only if really necessary but usually endured the annoying burning feeling of my food coming up.

I was talking with a friend who told me that Tums has calcium carbonate which is not easily absorbed. I did more research and found out that it can cause more problems than kidney stones such as arthritis from calcified muscles and possibly even a heart attack as your heart is a muscle. My friend also told me about a calcium supplement she takes with bioavailable chelated (I am not getting into all that as it is way over my head or desire to really grasp) calcium and magnesium that her midwife recommends and so I began taking that. I was amazed at what a difference it made. My heartburn has almost completely stopped along with the charlie horses I would get in my legs each morning upon waking. And the round ligament pain that I always experience ended also. I sure wish I would have known this at the beginning of pregnancy! I was told that I don't "complain to the right people". :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

36 Weeks and Counting

Here is my latest side view at 36 weeks. Missy told me yesterday that she really would like me to get some shirts to cover my belly better as she is tired of seeing it all the time. :) Seppy just laughs when he sees it.

I really do have a hard time keeping the lower portion covered as maternity clothes do not seem to be made for women who stick straight out in front. I pondered the idea of starting my own maternity line to make flattering clothes that do not pull so tightly in the back and ride up too high in the front. The only thing that really works is if I have the full panel belly which is also harder to find. Here I had looked forward to wearing some of my cute maternity tops and dresses from past pregnancies but most have not been fitting for the past few months. Well, soon I'll fit in my maternity clothes without a problem and it will be my normal clothes that will take awhile to squeeze back into.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Home Stretch

I am now 36 weeks pregnant and very much counting down the days until baby makes an appearance. The doctor has had my c-section scheduled for months now and while I tried to convince them to up the date by a few days for my comfort level, they would not budge. As with my last c-section the insurance company dictates how many days before your due date a c-section or induction can be done. With Seppy it had gone to 10 days early (my two before were 12 days) but this time they closed the gap even further and so I can only go 7 days early which is a little too close for comfort for me.

My first and only truly natural birth was 7 days early. I don't really count the twins in the equation as that was not a normal pregnancy. The doctors do not want me to labor against my scar tissue and so I'd need to rush to the hospital for an emergency section and that obviously isn't ideal. While I'd prefer any day to have a normal labor and delivery, in having to go through a c-section I do prefer the laid back approach where it is as comfortable as possible. I know that my Lord knows all of this and I have friends praying along with me and so I have been resting in that.

As to how I am feeling, well, my energy hasn't picked up as I had hoped. The weight of the baby is a tremendous pressure (I think it gets worse each time) so getting up from sitting or out of bed is not my favorite thing in the world. I can't move very fast and it is getting hard to keep up with life in general. My belly sits on my lap when I sit which seems so strange and I am now getting back aches from the front-heaviness. But yet despite all of the aches and pains, I know I am blessed to be carrying a precious gift. And oh! how I love to sit and watch this little one squirm around and see my belly move from side to side. I love when the kids put their hand on my belly and try to guess body parts of their brother/sister. I love knowing that soon I will hold this little one in my arms and smell that wonderful fresh baby scent. Ahh! It is all worth it!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Packer Jersey Birthday Cake

The theme for cakes around here seems to be football lately. The other boys had helmets for their birthday and George selected a Packer Jersey cake for his. Now, if we would have had time he really liked the idea of having the helmet also, although it works better with a player who has long hair so as to connect the two (we saw one of Troy Polamalu that was quite interesting). Being that George turned 12 it worked out perfectly to use Aaron Rodgers jersey as he is #12.

George wanted to make his own cake and while I baked it he helped to shape it and made the frosting. I tried to get it close to the true Packer green but didn't have the right shade of green and George didn't want too much food coloring in his frosting so we settled with darker leaf green with a touch of black in it. George drew the numbers onto paper, cut them out and then traced them onto the blank cake with a knife. I did outline them with white star pipping and then he filled them in. The only other thing I really did was the Rodgers lettering and George pipped the rest of the cake. 

Being that cake decorating is something I enjoy doing I had a hard time letting go of this one only to watch but I know George enjoys it too and does a good job. I know I wasn't decorating cakes at the age of 12 so I wonder if he'll make his own children's birthday cakes some day. :) I do know that he is going to be a tremendous help when the next group of birthdays rolls around!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

George Another Year Older

I am a little behind but we seem to have an excess of things going on lately. George turned 12 while camping in Baraboo this week. Being that I couldn't make his favorite breakfast he choose what he considered the next best (at least for him) donuts. John took him to a bakery that morning and we all enjoyed huge pieces of super sweet bakery. It was a rainy day but we found dry places to go and ended up playing laser tag, even my Mom and Dad joined in the fun.

After a small train ride with Grandma and Grandpa
(a traditional place to go since George was 1)
We celebrated last night with all the family and George enjoyed himself. His siblings did too and I love how now that Pete and Re-Pete are earning money they were so excited to go to the store and buy the perfect gift. It was a big secret and George was pleasantly surprised with his spy binoculars.

Celebrating is not completely over for George as his Aunt and Uncle are taking him out shopping to pick out something he would like along with a time to play with his cousin "all by himself". :) And then John and I still need to take him out to eat for his time alone with us. He is waiting for a good fish dinner.

Birthdays are always emotional for me especially when I saw the slide show of himself George put together. And then my friend down the road reminded me that in biblical days a boy was considered a man at the age of 12 and she mentioned how he acts like it in so many ways. Thinking of my little boy inching closer and closer to being a man brings tears to my eyes more often lately.

God definitely knew I would need someone like George who is such a helper as my firstborn. I am so thankful to be blessed with George!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Strawberry Picking

The children and I went strawberry picking yesterday with my Dad. It is our tradition to go with him and this year I was especially thankful to have him as I can't get down on the ground very well anymore so I didn't expect I'd be doing much. Him being retired makes our schedule a lot more flexible and we don't have to wait until the busy weekends to go which is really nice. It was a warm day but we enjoyed a breeze coming off of the lake.

I don't know that Missy and Seppy picked very many and I saw Tank supervising quite a bit but that is okay. The other three boys made up for it. Although George always says "One for me, one for the bucket". So how many actually make it to the bucket I am not sure of. :) We ended up with 30# and while I might have liked more as we go through them quite often in smoothies all throughout the year that is about all I can handle processing right now. I did have a few boys offer to help hull which was very helpful (and a bit surprising) and so I think I only have 10# left to go. A friend offered this tidbit of information to me this morning that strawberries last longer if you store them in glass.
Pete (and Re-Pete) were very thorough and dedicated pickers.

Mr. Seppy has never liked strawberries. (My first child picky about fruit).
He decided to eat one my Dad offered him and now proclaims, "I like strawberries!"
The Strawberry Picking Gang

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Pregnancy Update -- 30 weeks

(Wrote a week ago but forgot to post) A little less than 9 weeks to go! The countdown begins. I am actually feeling quite good. It probably helps that the temperatures have been unseasonably cool during June.

I had my glucose test two weeks ago which was fine but they did find that I am slightly anemic which is something new for me. That would explain why almost every morning it felt like my heart was racing and I'd get really tired. I have had that before, for sure I know when pregnant with twins, but I don't recall being told I needed more iron. I am being more consistent with my prenatal vitamins and increasing my intake of iron-rich food so am thankful for this season with an abundance of fresh spinach and parsley from the farm. So far it is helping with the symptoms I was having for the most part.

I haven't had as much of a problem with ligament stretching in the past month but I do feel a bit unbalanced at times being that I always carry my babies way out front. It is also harder to stand up as this baby is so heavy and that started much sooner than in the past. I guess I am to the waddling stage and much as I try not to, I'd have to walk even slower to prevent that. John said that I walk "painfully slow". :) Don't I know it!
Me and my basketball.
I cannot even count anymore how often I have been asked if we are sure that I am carrying only one baby, or how many times when asked how much longer I have the person looks surprised and says, "I don't know how you are going to make it". The clerk at the store told me the other day it "looks like any day". Nope, not even close. I am getting to the point where at times they are starting to make me wonder how I really am going to make it. I have done it all before, and while I am four years older I still have some energy and when I don't I have no problem resting. I am trusting that God gives me what I need for each day.

I'm not so crazy about the fact that I had to change doctors. Oh how I wish I could be with the doctors I've had throughout who know me, who know my babies. These younger doctors are so overly cautious. Yesterday I was measuring 2 cm. bigger which is normal for all of my pregnancies. One appointment I'll be measuring big and then next it will be back to normal which is what I told her but she insists that I have yet another ultrasound to make sure the baby is growing well and the fluid levels are what they should be. Not sure what I am going to do yet.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Our Swallowtail butterfly

Last fall George was taking Lincoln for a walk out in our fields and as he looked down saw a caterpillar on Queen Anne's lace. It was a swallowtail caterpillar and I wondered why it would be on that plant when I knew that it liked dill and carrot tops. In a simple online search we found that Queen Anne's lace is a wild carrot and is what the carrots we now eat were once cultivated from in Europe.
This is the position it goes into when attaching itself.
It will then hang back and form the chrysalis.
We have raised monarchs many times and then a few years back my dad found us a swallowtail chrysalis on some dillweed and at that time assumed them much like the monarch. We waited and waited for the butterfly to emerge but nothing happened. Summer turned to fall and then winter and our chrysalis still sat in the jar on the kitchen counter. Then one cold day in February with our fireplace heating the house toasty warm (or stifling hot at times) a yellow swallowtail emerged. What were we to do with it? Unfortunately, we did take it outside and obviously it froze.

Lesson learned and this time I knew more of what to expect and that being late in summer our caterpillar would be hibernating in it's chrysalis over the winter. This time I put it in our cold, dark garage and then brought it into the house the beginning of June when our fields were beginning to fill with plants to sustain the butterfly.

While we had a stick in the jar for the caterpillar it instead
chose to attach itself to a very thin stem. I attached it to the stick for support. 
It did start out as a green chrysalis but over time turned brown.
A black swallowtail emerged a few weeks ago. It was a bit different than with the monarch as he didn't seem as patient to hang and wait for his wings to dry but kept attempting to crawl around so that he fell more than once.

He eventually did take off in flight and all was well. We know it
is male by the brighter yellow markings and not as much blue
toward the bottom as a female has.
Watching the life cycle of the butterfly is one of my favorite things to do. A simply amazing creation created by a most amazing God!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Vacation -- Day 4 Visit with Family

The main reason we decided to go on vacation to St. Louis this year was because we wanted to visit with John's relatives as much as possible. It was great staying with his cousin's family and on the last day (after my dentist visit) we had a picnic at John's Uncle and Aunt's house along with a couple more cousins for our kids to play with. They live out in the country which reminds me a bit of our land except is surrounded by more trees and has a creek nearby. The kids had a great time filling cups with baby frogs and exploring the land along with a bonfire.

I was amazed by the sound of cicadas filling the air with a buzzing hum. We have cicadas every summer and we'll hear a little buzzing so that we can often track the sound and find one but not anything near what I heard there. I understand it was the 13th year and they were all emerging and the sound was so loud. Ours emerge every 13 years too I imagine just not in mass amounts. While we only find maybe one on a tree Pete said he found more than 20 shells near one tree! I wish I would have taken a few more pictures.

Walking on the "ribs" in the creek.

The gang with Uncle D and Aunt P who in this picture were ready for a class reunion.

Next time we need to stay longer. More family to see and more to explore and it is such a family-friendly area.

Missy and her good "friend" J

Vacation and toothaches

During our trip I had a toothache that had started the day before we left. I figured it was as I have had before sinus pain affecting my teeth or maybe due to pregnancy. Taking Tylenol was helping but by the third day I had increased the amount I was taking to cut the increased pain which had now moved into my jaw. By the end of our sightseeing day even that wasn't taking away the pain. I ended up calling an OB nurse and she was able to have my doctor prescribe me something stronger. While I typically do not like taking medication for anything I especially did not want to be taking this while pregnant but my pain was so intense and I had begun waking in the night in pain. Normally I can handle pain fairly well but I find that when it is anywhere in my head forget it. I ended up on the couch that evening with an ice pack and again thankful not to be camping but in a nice comfortable place.

By the next day I knew I couldn't handle the pain any longer as the prescription wasn't even taking away the pain. So I got online and started looking for a dentist in the area which was no small task being that it was a holiday weekend. I am very thankful to have found one that was open and I could get in to see mid-morning. John and I went but ended up waiting longer because of other emergencies.

I did end up in more pain as the assistant was tapping on my teeth and hit the sore one and I about jumped out of my chair. She apologized profusely and was careful thereafter. All they ended up doing was taking a photograph of the tooth with a mirror and the dentist insisted that I would need a root canal and there was nothing he could do except "knock the tooth down" if I could "brace myself". (The tooth wasn't level with the rest.) I wasn't sure if he was serious or not but that was not an option I was going to take. He did prescribe an antibiotic for me which would not kick in for at least another day. So, I guess I would not be relieved of my pain.

For the rest of the trip I tried to keep the pain at bay with ice packs and the meds wishing I would have seen my own dentist before we left on the trip. My worst day was actually when we were traveling home. I think just being cooped up in the van with children who were kind of grumpy and wanting to get home didn't help but I was in horrible pain from time to time. It wasn't consistent but I never knew when it would come on and at times I was in tears it hurt so bad and I wanted it over with. John tried to help but not much he could do except drive. By the time we got home I lay in bed the rest of the night with a heating pad and rested and by the next morning the antibiotics had finally kicked in and the pain was gone, hallelujah!

I did visit my dentist later that week and it turns out that he thinks that the problem was with my gums and not the tooth itself as it looked fine. Without taking an x-ray, which they wanted to avoid, he couldn't say 100 % but most likely it was a combination of pregnancy hormones softening my gums and possibly something small like a popcorn hull getting caught between my two back teeth being that I have been putting off having crowns and so the fillings are not up to par.

The infection is gone. I am pain free and waiting for the new year to have crowns put on. As my dentist said, "I guess you decided to have a baby this year instead". Yup, a much better investment I'd say.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Our Vacation Day 3 -- Whirlwind Day

We wanted to pack as much into our short trip as possible and so on this beautiful day we packed in a lot of sightseeing. First stop, another free attraction (that is one thing I like about St. Louis!) the St. Louis Zoo. You only have to pay for parking unless you find a spot on the road and walk but getting there early helps. I like the layout of this zoo and while there is a lot of walking involved it is such a beautiful walk. Although, trying to fit it all in in two hours is not very easy. Basically we found our favorite animals, took a quick look, and off we went. Of course they put the elephants all the way across the park from the giraffes so we had quite a trek to make and I am not walking as fast as I used to. :)
These two put on a show of domination for us and I got some very interesting pictures although this is only of the chase.
Next stop -- meeting up with the cousins at the Gateway Arch. We enjoyed a picnic lunch together under the trees overlooking the Mississippi river and then made our way to what all of our children were excited to finally go up in. I on the other hand was not thrilled with the idea of getting into a tiny cramped elevator fit for five even if it is only a four minute trip to the top. Small spaces and I do not get along well (I take after my Dad). Thankfully Clifford and Jayna helped out in taking our children to the top so I did not need to go along. Although after wandering around for 1 1/2 hours by myself I began to think maybe I should have been brave and went along. The kids were able to find me on the ground far below as I had given them a reference point to find where I would be. Of course it helped to have the zoom lens on the camera.

See me on the steps of the Gateway Arch?
After the arch we walked a number of blocks away to City Gardens that has interesting art sculptures for children to enjoy and climb on. The weather did not look like it would hold up any longer so we headed back before the storms rolled in and had another relaxing evening just enjoying each other's company.

Pete making music by jumping on the tiles. It sounded like wind chimes.
Missy walking through the sprinklers in the garden.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Our Vacation -- Day 2 Science Center

We were so happy to be able to stay with John's cousin's family during our trip! Clifford and Jayna (aliases) and their three girls were very welcoming and the children hit it off pretty quickly, although it always takes a bit of time to get reacquainted. They all stayed in their master bedroom and gave us the girls rooms and a bathroom all our own. It was so relaxing and Seppy especially enjoyed sleeping in a big bed with his sister since they really would like to do the same at home.

Seppy looking at the cars passing under him.
Our second day of vacation began dreary and cool. We thought we'd head south to soak up the warm temperatures but alas that didn't happen. But, at least it was warmer than the 50 degree temps that they were enduring at home. Our plans for the day did change however. The boys really had hoped to visit the Botanical Gardens which we had been to on a past trip but the children's garden was closed due to storm damage for the duration of our stay and we didn't feel like being outside. After a late night of having fun we all slept in and then let the kids play but spent the afternoon at a free attraction -- the Science Center. We saw the first U.S. space capsule that Alan Shepherd went into space in and it was small with enough room only for one person! The thought of it gave me that claustrophobic feeling.

George scanning the speed of cars from the overpass. Here he clocked one at 74 mph.
Re-Pete and Pete building a cable style bridge

There were a lot of hands-on things to do and learn about and we all had fun. That evening the kids kept right on playing while us adults were kind of tired out. You know what is nice about staying at someone's house? I didn't have do to any cooking. Jayna had delicious meals all planned out and ready for us along with sandwich fixings to take with us during day excursions. We truly did feel at home away from home except that theirs is much cleaner and more organized which I really enjoyed! :)

               Working together to build the arch.    John getting ready to knock it down on the kids.

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