Thursday, July 30, 2009


I went to choir tonight and left the baby at home with Mitch. I said to Eden, "Take care of the baby for me!" Choir went a little late and I also stayed after to chat. I figured if my phone wasn't ringing, that things were ok. This is what I found when I came home. I get tears in my eyes just thinking about what this picture means. :)

Mairzy Doats

For my dad...

This morning, the man I love, my husband, surprised me. He burst into a song I'd never heard before and I have to admit that I thought he'd gone a little loopy. After 12.5+ years you think you know someone...

He pulled up a youtube version and it sounds JUST LIKE something my dad would sing, too. So now I'm wondering why in the world I'd never heard it. But I had to share it, to brighten your day too. You can't help but like the guy. :)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Health Care Reform

I'm sure you feel inundated with information these days about the trillions of dollars democrats are spending and news updates on the health care reform. At least I do. It's easy to be overwhelmed. I mean, I have SO many other things to think can I even tune in to BEGIN to understand this stuff? (Well, mostly you can probably guess right now I'm against the Health Care Reform...but that's no surprise).

I do like numbers. There is a blog called Political Math and the owner of the blog has gone to great entertaining lengths to help normal people like me understand the numbers being tossed around these days. It's very eye-opening. I thought it might be a good idea to share him with you if you haven't come across it already. He has many, many great videos on his blog, like this one using pennies to show actual job losses vs. the ones predicted by Obama if we didn't pass the stimulus package. By the way, his numbers do add up...he has so many readers and critics these days, they're certainly checking his math.

But we can't do anything about the stimulus package--good or bad, it's a done deal. What we do still have time to say something about is the health care reform. I don't like it one bit. Here is just one prediction, based on comparisons:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Family Update

Psalm 34:8

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

I have been feeling surprisingly mellow the past couple days...for the most part. Over the weekend I was feeling quite a bit of fatigue and not able to get as much done as I had been accomplishing. This has been a tough blow to my self esteem. :) I haven't taken custom diaper orders in over a year now, and was toying with the idea of easing back into that since I'd been making so many lately. This past weekend just proves that it's not going to happen. (Admittedly, I have taken local orders however...)

Mitch rolled his ankle a week ago Saturday playing basketball. After urging him to go to the doctor all week, he finally did go this past weekend. Thankfully it's not broken, but it's still very swollen and so painful. He now has a walking cast thingy that he can pump up with air to cushion his ankle--so he can now maneuver stairs to some degree. He and Micah enjoyed some "guy time" with our friend Mark Emerson and his son Ben over the weekend.

Mitch and I had a focused Bible study time last night and really enjoyed praying and talking together. It's been way too long since we've committed our [slim] free time to study God's word together. You know, as in AT THE SAME TIME. :) Sometimes it can be so difficult to open your heart up to your husband/wife--but we were able to share in some ways that were closed off for a few months now. Isn't it hard to risk being hurt by someone you love? But to love deeper, it's a step that must be taken. We spent a good deal of time talking about Mark 12:30-31 and what that really looks like in our family and in our daycare.

Today Mitch said to Micah, "Come on Micah, let's go mow the lawn." Micah's response was "Outside?" Ha! Where else? So our fore-mentioned friend Mark Emerson came over and mowed for us. It was so kind!

Our weather has continued to be nice and warm like summer should be. Mitch has taken the kids to the beach a couple times now, but I haven't gotten to go yet. We've enjoyed some incredibly beautiful sunsets. We would like to go camping before summer is over. Our neighbors pitched a tent in their backyard yesterday and camped out all night. They have a fire pit, so I went to sleep smelling the campfire smoke and awoke to the same. It just tugs at my heart that much more! Oh the freedom felt when camping!!

School is coming up quickly. Zeke started already back in June and is now reading some 3-letter short vowel words (such as "bat"). He's doing fantastic! He does really well when we have get-up-and-move type games. His cursive handwriting is very nice (surprising--he is a boy afterall), and I'm relieved. Printing/manuscript doesn't seem to be an issue for him either--he easily copies his name (we taught him in print a while back) and other letters that he hasn't learned to write yet. I'm trying to decide when to start the others back to school. Kristin and I are going to start together either the last week of August or the first week of September. I never did get them going on any science, but they have kept up with their arithmetic all summer. The "review" is almost over and they are starting to get into the harder new concepts. Caleb has taken to division like a duck takes to water. It's crazy how that boy just gets it. Micah is learning exponents and cross multiplying. Eden just learned casting out nines, which I refuse to learn. :)

Tirzah is weighing in at a little over 13 lbs--maybe 13.5, I can't remember now. She's really long, so her legs aren't all that chunked up. Nothing like Malachi (18 lbs at 4 months)! She's adorable. Mitch says she's cute when she's wearing a hat. He wants me to cut her little tuff of hair off. :) I think he says that just to get me.

We are having friends over tonight and tomorrow. Mitch just came in and said, "I do like entertaining. Probably because I'm so vain." I said I like it because it's fellowship--it speaks to my soul. And it's the truth--we do love to entertain. So if you're ever hungry--give us a call and stop by. :) I'd better run so Mitch doesn't get stressed. :)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Sound Off

It's about time I sound off, I haven't done it in a while.

I want to tell you about something that I think is SO cool. I'm a terrible reporter, so I already know this is not going to come out the way I wish it would. :)

Ever see Star Trek: The Next Generation? I love that series. In high school I would watch it with my dad after supper. It seemed like we only ever saw reruns, and to this day I've never seen the last season, but we enjoyed it all the same. Ok, are you familiar with replicators? The crewmen would walk up to a replicator, speak what they wanted (Picard: "Tea, Earl Grey, Hot"), then a swirl of glitter and the desired object [usually] appeared just like that!

Yeah, that was fiction. But it was a really cool thought.

Ever heard of a 3-D printer? This is real. According to Wikipedia:

3D printing is a form of additive manufacturing technology. A three dimensional object is created by successive layers of material. 3D printers are generally faster, more affordable and easier to use than other additive manufacturing technologies. While prototyping dominates current uses, 3D printers offers tremendous potential for production applications as well.[1]

This technology is commonly used in the jewellery, footwear, industrial design, architecture, automotive, aerospace, dental and medical industries.

And if you care to follow the link, you can read on and on about how this actually works. And see a picture: a laptop computer with two figurines sitting on the keyboard. The gargoyle on the left is an original, the gargoyle on the screen is a 3-D scan, and the gargoyle on the right is a poly resin reproduction, printed using the 3-D printing technology. It blows my mind away. I mean, in real life it's the closest thing we have to the fictional Star Trek replicators!!

I read an article today that got me thinking about 3-D printing, and a unique way it is being used in Brazil. Here it is:

Invention Allows Pregnant Women to Hold Models of Their Unborn Babies

Here's an excerpt:

"Professor Campbell is keen to use the technology as an educational tool for expectant parents and to help mothers who have difficulty bonding with their babies. It could also allow parents better to understand physical abnormalities that are diagnosed during pregnancy...

Dr Lopes is now focusing on developing simple software that doctors would be able to use independently and on the spot." [emphasis mine]

I was doubly blown away! If you are aware of what the ultrasound technology has done for Pregnancy Resource Centers, can you begin to imagine and hope what this would mean for them?

Literally, a scan is performed on a pregnant women, then this new technology converts the data and sends it to the printer--voila! A little model of the mother's baby is produced. I'm speechless. Not some generic model--but a model based on scans of THAT baby. My mind is racing (I probably will not be able to go to sleep now, lol) thinking of all the different ways this could be used and the things we could discover. My heart pounds to think of the TRUTH PROCLAIMED IN GOD'S WORD!!

Psalm 139:13

For you formed my inward parts;
You knitted me together in my mother's womb.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I'll be home for dinner, Mom!

Today I was looking up garage sales in our area...just thinking about going anyways. And I had a little fun with google maps. Did you know that google maps has a "street view" thingy? Anyways, in a flash I googled my childhood home, Rose Hill, VA, clicked on "street view" when it popped up, and was instantly standing in the middle of the street right there. OH WHAT FUN AND MEMORIES! I couldn't travel down the back road to the farm where I grew up, but I could travel to the farm where my mom and stepdad live now (it's right off the main Hwy 58). WOW, I just can't explain the rush of emotions I felt. It felt like I was really there, not sitting here 1,000+ miles away. I wanted to shout--"I'll be right there for dinner, Mom!!" LOL It blows my mind to think about people driving around taking pictures for this street view. How did they do it? Our house has a street both in the front yard and in the back yard, and yes my friends you can see BOTH. Ok, that's really a strange feeling. Good thing I'm not a really private person, I guess.

Here's a beautiful picture that is sitting on my desktop. It popped up on my random pictures slideshow the other day and I just needed to gaze at it for a little bit longer.

Picture taken a couple years ago from my mom's farm.
The mountain summit in the distance is called the White Rocks.

Fighting Reflux

Several of my babies have struggled with reflux. Caleb was particularly nasty--he could spit up sweet potatoes! Zantac helped him. Malachi was the crabbiest baby ever. And by the positions he loved to sleep in, I was convinced he had Sandifer's syndrome (my doctor also suspected it). Thankfully a chiropractor helped with the positioning, but the crabbiness turned out to stay. We didn't continue with his meds--they never seemed to help.

Tirzah definitely has reflux. I was SO reluctant to be going down that road again. But there I stood, someone asked me the question that everyone asks, "Is she a good baby?" And I blinked, and thought, and replied, "Well, she's a baby." What a flashback to Malachi! It was hard for me to see the doctor and finally agree to try some meds. I knew they were going to taste awful, and I had my doubts about how they would work. But she was obviously very uncomfortable. She would smile through the pain. She would often spend a lot of time gulping and swallowing AFTER she had finished eating--all that was coming back up into her esophagus. It isn't uncommon for her to aspirate and then have to gasp and cough. :( The one big relief is that she isn't as crabby as Malachi--she doesn't cry ALL time time, she isn't overeating, and she has always slept long hours at night. It so happened that she saw the doctor at her 2-month checkup just after eating. Dr. Tjaden listened with a stethoscope and declared, "She is very gurgly in there, Steph." So with hesitation I took home the omeprazole and began treating her.

Here we sit a month later (she's 3 months old now!!!). She has improved *some.* There are 2 days that I missed dosing her, and the subsequent cries made me decide not to ever do that again. No matter how late in the day I finally remember. She still spits up ALL the time, and it's increasing in volume, sadly. But she's happier. Yeah, I know that it's normal for babies to spit up. If you want, you can come hold her after I feed her and happily wear the results of her baby issues. Let me tell you, it's no small laundry problem when you look at it that way.

Anyways, I will confess that due to reflux (and maybe partially to personality), my baby has been happily sleeping on her tummy for most of her life. We didn't start out that way. I think that I fell asleep feeding her a few times (so she was laying on her side), and a couple times I woke up and found her on her tummy. When I would put her on her back, she couldn't sleep well. So eventually I put her on her tummy on purpose. At first I only did it during the daytime where I could check on her constantly. At nights she was often in my bed--we would just start out the night nursing and sleep together all night. The thing was, she would easily sleep a 5, 6, or even 7-hour stretch at the beginning of the night, so eventually I started putting her to sleep on her tummy in her own bed. It has helped SO much. Especially when I compare her to Malachi. ;)

She is a "stronger" baby too. She LOVES tummy time, can hold her head up really high, and often rolls over (on accident, I believe). Her legs are incredibly strong and the other day she was scooching herself forward in an army crawl--it was crazy to see MY baby doing that!

So is she a good baby? Well, she's getting better all the time as we continue to fight this nasty reflux thing. It's not her fault, and it doesn't appear to be her personality either. I wouldn't trade her for nuthin'. :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Micah at the Oistad's pool on Monday
(finally a warm day after rescheduling twice!!)

Mitch is out mowing the lawn. Usually it's so HOT and DRY in July that there's not much of a lawn to mow (unless we bother to water the lawn, of course). Seriously, I could probably dig out a "typical" July picture of our lawn--yellow/brown, scraggly grass without a smither of shade on it. Not so this year--our June was rather warm and dry (unfortunately), but our July has been rather cool and wet. Strange. Anyways, our grass is thick and green and just makes SO much fun to mow when you can see what you've accomplished (right?). At least *I* think so.

Josh comes running in and says, "Zeke! Come outside--Daddy's cutting a square in the grass!!" Josh was SO emphatic, and SO insistent, and given Mitch's fun-loving nature, I assumed he was showing off for his small audience. So then Mitch yells for me to come outside, and I figured he wanted to show me his "cool" figure. Naturally, I grabbed the camera as I went.

It was underwhelming. It was literally a rectangle. Normal grass mowing. :)

Mitch was oblivious to the excitement he had caused (and wanted me for something else--though I never figured that one out). Since his small audience had increased in number, he DID decide to do a little showing off.

Isn't it cool how something so simple and mundane to boring adults can be so COOL to children?

Matthew 18:1-4
At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Monday Sunshine

After setting record low high temps last week, we welcome the warmer weather and the sunshine here today!!

Tirzah thinks she can crawl, and she's all ready to be playing outside with the older kids.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Busy Day!

Today Tirzah woke up at 6:30. Thankfully I coaxed her back to sleep for a while and we slept in until almost 10 am (wowzers)! I finished up 5 diapers I had cut out earlier this week, then stocked them in my store. I did a couple loads of laundry. Cleaned a little. Made Tirzah another diaper. This one I took pictures as I made it so I can make a tutorial for my website. "How to convert a serged pattern into a turned & topstitched pattern." Or something like that. Basically I want to help people who either 1) don't have a serger or 2) say that the serging on diapers irritates their baby's skin. I am motivated since I'm only days away from launching a presale for my Growing Cheekies diaper patterns, and this will be a fantastic modification. It's pretty cute. But I need to pull my elastic tighter through the casings next time.

I also cut 4 boys' hair today. Malachi was one of them. My bathroom was such a huge mess afterwards. I cut each boy's hair, then put them straight into the bath. While Malachi was in there he thought it would be great fun to dump water out onto the floor. 2 boys later, there was a huge mess on the floor. I was a little frustrated. :) They look SO cute and so much better. Maybe tomorrow I can get some pictures of their new do's. This was Malachi a couple days ago. I got this shirt from my parents back when Micah was only a little squirt, and every one of my kids has worn it. It says "I'm cute not crabby." Also, "I love crabs," and "Virginia." It's been one of my favorite shirts. Malachi has pushed it to the limits, though. :)

I'm ending the day by listening to a sermon series online by Paul Washer. It's on prayer. My pastor recently had a post about prayer on his blog, so I wanted to see if I could shake up my prayer life a little bit, too. My first choice was a netflix movie, but Mitch is playing a game on his computer. So I decided on a sermon. Since I can't listen and "surf" at the same time, I opted to sew. I got yet another diaper done. What a good way to finish the day. No, a good way to finish the day would be to pray. ;)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tornado Warning

Let me just say it's a good thing that I don't have time to post all the pictures and videos I would like to post. Because I'm pretty sure you don't have time to look at them all! :)

Last night we had a few severe storms roll through the area and we were under a tornado warning for a while. It was fun practicing with the kids every time we heard the sirens or when the sky looked foreboding we would head to the laundry room. During the storms we did get some really heavy rainfall. Since we don't have gutters and our roof is sloped just right, we had quite the spigot coming off our roof!
Micah, Caleb, and Zeke
Micah and Eden

All we got here was rain--not even that much wind, and no hail. It was a nice storm. We really needed the rain!

The rest of these pics are from this weekend. Here's another shirt I made. I'm getting better at it. I don't like the nursing openings on this shirt, but it's still a nice shirt.

Our "water slide" was open this weekend! Mitch always likes to make a big splash.

And Tirzah is just a honey. As always. :)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

When Good Diapers Die

How's that for a title?

I mean really, in today's world we just don't think about it that way. Diapers are a one-time-use thing. And babies have a way of putting nasty and disgusting things in them that we are glad to throw away. :)

But my current life is integrated with reusable diapers. We've been doing the cloth thing for 4 years now and I love it. What has been really hard to face is when a diaper bites the dust. It is inevitable. But good diapers become like friends. Ok, well maybe more like a favorite shirt. It's familiar. It looks better to you than it does to everyone else.

These diapers were a little like that. But they had flaws right from the start. They were beautiful once. Like this one:

They are pilly and downright ugly now. But Mitch loved them. Especially the brown one. He said it reminded him of an old, well-loved teddy bear. Under that description even I had a hard time wrinkling my nose in disgust. :)

One of the issues of this particular run of fabric is that the laminate came off of it. I think that it happened for two reasons: 1) the machines weren't quite hot enough when it was run and the first fabrics on the roll were not laminated as well and/or 2) the fabric had a lot more lint than normal and led to the rapid delamination.

I fixed them (they were a customer return--delaminating after only a couple washes) and added them to Malachi's stash. We loved them and used them in spite of the feeling of the inside and their outward appearance. After all, who wouldn't love a hard-working, reliable diaper?

Today I was folding laundry and as I stuck my hand inside to stuff, this is what I found.

Let's face it. There's just no fixing that. By the "feel" of the red one, it's not far behind. So while it goes against my grain to do so, these are going in the trash. Thanks for letting me grieve.

On the good side, Kristin just loaned me a couple of hers that she's not using and I have a brand-spanking-new one almost finished.

I thought the wearing out of his diapers would mean he's close to potty training. I do have a little experience with this. A dry run (or not-so-dry run, rather) the other day told me the bad news: not really. Oh well...we'll get there!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Late Monday Morning

Garfield, anyone?

A bad case of the crabbies here this morning meant that some people got to go back to bed. To try to get up on the right side of the bed. (Picture taken at 10:30 am).

Tirzah wasn't one of the crabby ones, but she happened to need a nap at the same time. Both daycare babies are also down for a nap. I'm thinking, "Hmm....sewing time???"

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Sewing Day!

See what's on the docket for today! I'm going to be working on some more small AI2's to stock in my store. Here are some of the prints I've laid out. Don't they look fun? :)

I have my media player open and I'm listening to some sermons while I work. It's such a great day today.

Today is Micah's 12th birthday. He and his dad are off fishing with Papa (Mitch's dad, Paul). They left at 4 am--wowzers. I hope they are having a great day!

Our car is finished and ready to be picked up. We paid for it over the phone and told them to park it outside with the keys locked in it--we'll pick it up sometime today. It cost $330. Ouch. I said it is better than having a car payment. It could cost that much every month and even then still have the occasional repairs. To be honest, I'm only bumming because I've been trying to hole away a little money to buy a digital slr camera. It's such a selfish thing and I don't feel a sense of peace in my heart that this is what God wants for me right now, so I'm trying to be patient and not just buy what I want. It may be that we will need that money for something much more important! I am so thankful that God has abundantly provided for us and we didn't have to scramble to find the money to pay for the car. Courtney asked below if we drive 2 vehicles everywhere we go. Yes, if we all go then we either drive both vehicles or get one of our kids a ride with someone going the same way. Usually we only go on Sunday mornings to church and occasionally other outings around town. It isn't that often and it works out really nicely. See? God has abundantly blessed us!!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Eatin' Humble Pie (but only a little)

Today I got an email from a customer/friend who also happens to be a licensee and makes One-Size Cheekies (that would be my pattern) diapers for sale in Canada. She said she was doing an interview with her local paper and wanted to know if I had any important information why or how I developed the pattern. Wow, that took me on a fun trip down memory lane! So many facts and details get lost in the blur of life. I'm right now reminded of a story that I've often meant to write. If I've already told this one before, please excuse me. ;)

It was 2005. I was running a family daycare in my home, and also a Creative Memories Consultant. I was pregnant with Josh and making my very first cloth diapers. (Very, very busy lady). I was on a yahoo group for people learning to make their own diapers and I made a comment that went something like this, "I have been making some diapers for the new baby, but I wish I could have someone test them for me." Denise Cole ( emailed me to say that she was going to have a baby in 3 days--literally--and she would love to test my diaper for me. A friendship was born. Now, I'd made around 10 or so diapers for the baby (Joshua). So I packed one up and shipped it to Denise. Within a few weeks (I mean, come on, she JUST had a baby!) she emailed me back with great news: the diaper worked fantastic...and...the tabs were too short. I modified my diaper tabs, and made the baby more diapers.

(a note: 4 diapers and 1 cover here were not made by me. All the others were made with just a sewing serger...and no snap press. I used the "edge finish" stitch on the sewing machine and it worked just fine. I don't want to discuss hook & loop. Ahem.)

Josh was born and, as babies do, quickly outgrew the diapers with the too-short tabs. Now, I'm an entrepreneur, but Mitch said absolutely, no way, do not start selling cloth diapers (remember how busy I already was BEFORE baby #5 arrived???). But I had this pile of perfectly good diapers here that I was *never* going to use (insert eye roll). I figured they cost me about $1.50/each. No kidding. I asked quite politely if it would be ok if I could sell JUST those diapers on ebay...since I wasn't going to be using them. (This was back in the day when Ebay wasn't cracking down hard on people for selling used diapers...nowadays it's not allowed and some of your best resources for used diapers are craig's list, hyena cart, and diaperswappers). He relented. I listed 9 diapers for sale with a buy-it-now price (a steal!) of $30 (nearly 100% profit) with free shipping.

Oh the setting! It's everything. The computer was set up in a little nook in our kitchen. The warm,setting sun was gleaming through the windows on the west side of our house. Mitch, his mom, and the kids were working on a project outside. I was probably on the computer hitting "refresh" constantly just to see if the visitor counter on the auction would go up. Then it happened--right like that--someone bought the auction at my asking price. Endorphins racing, I ran outside to shout to my family and the world--someone bought my beautiful diapers and I made a profit!! I was on cloud nine.

(caution: sinful pride coming up, and I am not exaggerating)
I grabbed a box and gently lined it with white tissue paper. Then I lovingly stacked each white diaper inside. I put my favorites on the top. I imagined what the new mom might feel as she opened the diapers. Probably how I feel when I am expectant with child and unpack and finger each small baby outfit. I tried to make them look so nice.

Then I went to paypal to print out the information so I could purchase shipping (no shipping scale at home back in those days). At that point I noticed the note:
"Thank you very much! These are for my daughter's capuchin monkey. He has to wear cloth because disposables rash him awful. He has lots and lots of diapers but I figure since he can live up to 40 and never pottytrain he will wear many a diaper out! Please leave pos fb for me and I will for you when diapers arrive! Thanks"

Deflated? That's an understatement!

We enjoyed so many good laughs over that. Mitch hardly batted an eye when I asked him if I could sell some more diapers, and eventually even sell some NEW diapers.

I don't think I've ever lined a box with tissue paper since then.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Car Trouble

I forgot to mention that our car (99 Toyota Camry) is in the shop. Two weeks ago Thursday I pulled into Holly's driveway and noticed how easily it slipped into park. Then how easily it didn't shift into any other gear after that. Problem: broken shifter cable. Thankfully with a little research and Mitch's stepdad on the phone, Mitch learned how to move the car: start the engine, put on the parking/emergency brake, get out and use a lever on the side of the transmission to put it into gear. It's a little unconventional, but it did save us an $80 towing bill! It's been at the garage now for a week and still no word. I've heard that the cable is expensive (over $100). Hopefully the labor won't be (it depends on how the cable is threaded). Something similar happened to my first car, but that car was a 5-speed manual transmission. 75 cents (not counting labor or the tow bill) replaced the pin in the gear shift. What a difference!

It has been interesting trying to get our family around to all the locations featured in the pictures in the previous post and to church the past two Sundays. Imagine: there are 9 people in our family and our truck "only" seats 8. Needless to say, we've been bumming lots of rides and pushing our kids off on my sisters-in-law! :) I'm thankful for the willing help, but I sure wouldn't want this to be a permanent solution!

Oops! Catching up...

I didn't realize it had been SO long since I've blogged. Oh well...I have lots of pictures to help tell what I've been up to!

I made a couple more nursing shirts. This one FEELS so nice on! I'll have to wait for laundry to get done to share a pic of the newest one.
The next few pictures are from the Fishing Derby at Lake George (which Micah declares is a "pond"'s not, but it really isn't a very big lake as far as acreage goes).

Micah has been wearing a retainer for a little over a month. It's not technically a "retainer" because it's not retaining anything, it's actually moving a tooth. It has a little spring behind a tooth that was out of place (causing a crossbite). The spring is pushing the tooth forward and he is making great progress!

Caleb...always squinting! Of course, I DID have him looking almost right into the sun.

Mitch, Josh, and ChiZeke...I love this look...

I tried in vain to get a picture of Tirzah in my new favorite dress (this one is from Tara, right???). I *love* this dress and put her in it as often as I can. Of course, it matches SO MANY of my cute diapers! :)

Chi trying to be like the big boys...
I sewed a few more diapers and listed them for sale in my store--yay, finally!! Tirzah wanted to keep this one...

We had a little mini birthday celebration (according to tradition) for Micah and Anna's birthdays on the 4th. Micah's is actually on the 11th and Anna's is on the 12th. We were in the hospital recovering together 12 years ago and didn't even know each other. We think God is so cool how he brings people together! It's crazy how big these two are getting.

Mitch & I both juggled at the park while waiting for fireworks. People were just staring at us--craning their necks, turning their chairs, standing up to stare at us! Seriously, we are not good at all, but we had a good time. The older kids and other adults are in the background throwing around a football.
Holly and Tirzah. I didn't want to put bug spray on Tirzah, so she got a full body covering.

I got ZERO pictures of the fireworks that were actually decent. None. Oh well. I thought this one of Papa (Mitch's dad, Paul) and Josh was pretty sweet.

One thing Micah asked for his birthday was Godfather's Egg Pizza. They are no longer making it, so we wrote to Godfather's and asked politely if they would share the recipe (what is in that sauce???). They were soooo kind and called us and chatted with Mitch on the phone and chased down that recipe for us. It was super easy--just plain ole' country gravy is the sauce. So we surprised him with our homemade egg pizzas, that while not quite the same, he declared "delicious!"

Found this on my bed yesterday. What a treasure they are!