Monday, November 29, 2010

All About Baby #8

We had our ultrasound today!  I have to say it was one of the best ever.  :)  This little baby was VERY active and put on a fun show for us.  We spent a lot of time laughing.  I brought my camera along to ask the tech if I could video a clip to show the kids at home.  She very graciously offered to burn some video to a c.d. for me.  These clips are very short, but are so much more fun than looking at just a picture.  And you can see just how active our little one is!

Oh, but you want to know the gender first, right?  Well...let's see if you can guess from these:


Can you tell?  No?  Try the next one:

Just in case you're having a little trouble seeing...this is like looking up at the baby if he were sitting on the toilet.  See it now???  :)

He certainly wasn't shy!
Not sucking his thumb, but picking his nose I'm sure. 

This first video is great because you can see him kicking.  He is currently turned breech, but I feel such strong movements all the time that I'm pretty sure he is constantly flipping.  So in this particular video the tech is holding the wand perfectly still--all the movement you see is done by baby.  She said, "Oh look, he's jumping on your bladder."  Great...another kid who loves the trampoline!


 
In this second clip, you can see the baby's head as if you were looking down into his face.  Look for the dark blinking spot in the middle of his chest--that's his little heart beating.

This third one is kind of crazy.  I'm not sure what he's doing, but it looks like he's moving and twisting.  The tech is also moving the wand in this one, so that distorts it a little...but I think the moving and twisting is funny.  He won't sit still!  I thought, "oh no, what am I going to do with another one of these?"  :)

The fourth video is kind of neat--the tech is doing all the moving and you can see various body parts.  The ultrasound is really taking cross sections of pictures, so being able to see it as she is "moving" really helps get a picture of what the baby actually looks like.

The final video was a sweet shot where he actually DID lay still for a few seconds, with his hand up by his mouth (same as the still shot I posted above).  I loved this pose.  So sweet.


Overall, everything looked really good to us.  Of course, the tech is not supposed to tell us if there is anything concerning, but from what we could see, it all looked good.  We clearly saw all four chambers of the heart.  We saw the brain, stomach, kidneys, and bladder.  We didn't get really great views of his hands--he had them in fists, but we did see them a little bit.  We didn't see his feet much at all--he had them stretched out and occupied with jumping on my bladder.  The placenta was at the top of my uterus, well out of the way of being a previa--yay! 

He weighed 15 oz.  I am 20 weeks along, but he measured 21 weeks 3 days.  Ultrasound can be off by up to 1 week and 6 days at this age so it's not likely that the doctor will change my due date.  This happened with Zeke, too (who was originally due 10/30, measured 13 days ahead to be due 10/17, and was born on 10/12).  And for reference, Zeke weighed over a pound at 20 weeks, Malachi weighed 14 oz, Tirzah weighed 1 pound, and scrawny little Josh weighed a mere 8 oz.

After the ultrasound we picked up pizza for the kids.  Holly watched everyone for us, so their kids and Kyle had supper here too.  Mitch and I went for my favorite--Mexican Village (free birthday meal).  :)  Yum.  When we came home, we had homemade carrot cake with cream cheese frosting (which I made this afternoon).  Double yum.

Now I'm off to catch up on some reading and digest my food...my tummy is well over-stuffed.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

NewSong Auditions

The band NewSong is coming to town with the News Boys to do a Christmas concert.  Our local radio station is hosting it, but it is being done in our church.  We heard that they were holding auditions to find a child to sing the chorus of The Christmas Shoes on stage with the band.  So I signed Eden and Caleb up for an audition.  I thought, "why not?"  It was a ton of fun.  Of course we talked beforehand about really the fun was in the audition, that there was not a good chance that they would win (a max of 60 kids were auditioning), and just because they didn't win didn't mean they were not good enough.  Caleb and Eden did a great job practicing in the days leading up to the audition.  Neither of them have had voice lessons, nor experience singing other than in children's choirs.  They had to rely on me to be their 'teacher' and I think they absolutely did their best.  The judges had each student audition privately.  They had the children divided into 5 groups, and that's how they assigned the audition times.  After all the children in each time group had finished their auditions, they met in the sanctuary to sing the chorus together as a "choir."  A guy recorded the performances and combined them so they could be played on the radio.  Click on the picture to go to the Spirit 92.9 website and listen to the song with the children's voices...their voices do not come in until the last chorus, so you may fast forward to the end if you don't want to listen all the way through.  They were going to have the song available for download, but apparently they were not able to do that.  Oh well...at least you can still listen online!

  {Eden and Caleb are in the picture in the top left-hand corner.  Caleb is in front, unfortunately right behind the microphone so you can't see him, and Eden is in the back with the do-rag on her head, wearing the striped sweater.}


Thanksgiving Holiday

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday here, and we hope you did, too!  (At least those of you in America, grin). 

On Thursday we made the standard Thanksgiving fixin's:  Turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, gravy, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, rolls, and so on.  We hosted two international students this year from St. Cloud State University.  They were both from Nepal, and are in their senior year. 

 {Mitch helped me carve the turkey.  When I "carve" it, it's more like just pulling the meat off any way we can get it off.}

 {Our tradition is to write on this white tablecloth things that we are thankful for.  It is always so fun to use year after year and remember wonderful friends we have celebrated with in the past.  Speaking of that...we miss you, Patrick!!}

 {I made my favorite cheesecake.  It is SO delicious.}

 {We also had some cupcakes left over from a daycare friend who was leaving.}
 {Tirzah's frosting collided with her cup.  Can't have that go to waste!}

 {Zeke chose to eat cheesecake instead of cupcakes...he is wearing it all over his face.  And what do you think of that nice shiner of an eye he has there?  He and Josh were playing and bumped heads.  It happened right in front of me.  His eyelid swelled up to the size of a walnut within moments.  Poor guy!  I told him it's something to be proud of.  LOL}

 {Malachi sure is proud of his Bob the Builder outfit he received as a hand-me-down from Aiden.}

{Here is our entire Thanksgiving crowd!}

I do have to say that I didn't think my stuffing tasted very good at all.  =P  So I didn't eat TOO much this time.  Later in the afternoon we went over to Paul and Marilyn's to celebrate with them and with Holly & Kyle and kids.  Marilyn's meal was much more tasty than mine.  :)  On the other hand, by the time I finished my slice of cheesecake until late evening, the little baby in my tummy did flips and somersaults almost non-stop.  I think he/she really enjoyed the treats!

On Friday I joined the crazy shoppers.  Eden, Kathi, and I arose and left the house at 3 a.m.  I wanted to get to Kohl's to nab some great deals on bedding.  Kathi and Eden got the full experience of standing in line in the freezing cold at an ungodly hour waiting for the line to move through the open doors.  Fun!  LOL  I am happy I went, though.  We have only owned one set of flannel sheets for our king-sized bed in our entire marriage.  Needless to say, we wore them out.  At least we wore out the fitted sheet.  The other day I was making my bed and I figured I would put the flat on--I figured that 1/2 a set was warmer than nothing, and I was right!  I have been shopping for deals, but I refused to spend more than $40.  I also wanted a decent set--so I had my standard of quality set a little higher (especially given that we wore out the last set).  Kohl's had sheet sets on sale for $19.99--whoot!  At that price, and considering my former budget, I bought a set of flannel sheets AND a set of fleece sheets.  We will be warm now!  I also picked up some new blankets.  Funny how as our family size increases we seem to have less abundance of extra quilts.  I seem to remember having a huge tub in storage with extra quilts and now that tub is nearly empty.  :)  What a neat blessing to have quilts and blankets that are actually being used.

So we were up early and out the door on Friday morning, but I kid you not, I crawled back in bed by 5 a.m.  Then I "tagged" Mitch and he went out to check out some deals he was interested in.  By the time he got home, I decided to crawl out of bed.  We had some breakfast, then we ran back out to check out Goodwill's box toy sale and picked up a few good items.  By the time we got home, we both were content to just lay around the rest of the day.  So were the kids.  They enjoyed lots of screen time.  I read another book by Donita K. Paul that I borrowed from my friend Kelly, DragonSpell.  I highly recommend it for your tween or teen who loves fantasy.  I enjoyed it just as much as Dragons of the Valley.  In my honest opinion, these books are just as good as the Chronicles of Narnia...and definitely an excellent choice if you are careful about reading in the fantasy genre.  Late Friday night, our friends Todd and Karri did a swap with us.  Mitch and some of the kids went to Todd's house and Karri came over to my house.  We talked and talked and talked.  I was tired but enjoyed it thoroughly.  Eventually the phone rang and snapped us back to reality.  Both of us were kind of shocked to realize it was 1:15 a.m.  Mitch wondered when we would be done talking.  :)  At that rate, probably never!

Kelly had a baby on Friday.  It was an exciting time.  On Saturday she invited me to come up to the hospital for a visit.  Of course, I brought her cheesecake.  :)  And I got to cuddle that adorable tiny bundle she had.  This is her first baby.  We have been friends for quite a while.  I have enjoyed spending more time with Kelly especially at the end of her pregnancy as she has come to sit with me while I made her baby some diapers.  It was so incredible to watch her transform from a woman into a mother.  There is nothing like it!  

Now it's Kristin's turn.  It will be baby day any day now...we are waiting so {not} patiently to hear good news.  :)  I called Kristin on Saturday afternoon and asked her if she would be up for some spicy food.  Shucks, she is trying almost everything else to kick-start labor.  So I picked her up and we headed to Chipotle.  Yuuuummmm.  (Not what my intestines said this morning, but it was worth it...lol).  We walked around Bed, Bath, and Beyond for an hour just killing time.  It was more fun girl time.  But other than my run for the bathroom this morning, you wouldn't have known we had spicy food last night...it did nothing to bring on labor for Kristin.  That's ok, we both know that God is in control and already knows the day that their little bundle will be born.

Today was a great day at church.  Our pastor is working his way through the book of Esther.  The sermons are incredible!  Even my kids are enjoying it.  After church I picked up groceries for the week (ha!  I wish it were that easy--grocery shopping usually takes around 2-3 hours).  We also did laundry this weekend, and lots of cleaning.  Of course, intermittent with all the laying around and relaxing.  It was wonderful!

Well...that is a good wrap-up for the holiday weekend.  I have at least one more post I'm going to write tonight, but it deserves it's own post.  Then tomorrow...be watching...it's a big day!  Not only is it my 29(again)th birthday, but I have my ultrasound tomorrow.  This will be our first (and likely our only) ultrasound this pregnancy.  I hope first and foremost for a healthy baby.  But it sure would be great if we could also see the gender!  So stay tuned...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hmmmm...

My messy kitchen. I bet YOURS never looks like this...LOL...

What in the heck is that iron doing there???  I never use that thing!  Oh, Holly was.  :)

I love the cabinet space my kitchen has.  I don't think you can have too many cabinets, right??  Well, maybe if they're all filled with junk...  But flat spaces.  Oye.  They just get filled up no matter how fast I try to empty them (which is daily).

Me in my lovely kitchen.  Something here is about to go...

(Sorry about all the wild colors...I really need to practice setting my white balance and taking pictures right from the get-go, because my photo editing capabilities surely stink.)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Surprises

I have a VERY big surprise coming for my birthday. I'll give you a hint: it's something for my kitchen. I can't wait. I normally don't like surprises...but Mitch didn't keep me hanging for long (he already told me what it is) and I get to enjoy the anticipation too because it's not here yet.  I didn't have to do any of the shopping or decision making, and believe me, this is a good thing. Stay tuned for pictures!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Book Review: Dragons of the Valley

I just finished reading "Dragons of the Valley" by Donita K. Paul.  This is the first book I've ever read by Paul and it was truly enjoyable!  I picked this book because it is a Christian Fantasy Fiction, and I thought it was time I chose something fun that I could pass on to the kids.  At least I hoped I could pass it on to the kids.  I wasn't disappointed.

The book is set in the fictional land of Chiril on a different planet.  The people of Chiril are peace-loving, however they have (for the most part) no knowledge of the Creator.  War threatens their peaceful country and the struggles that the heroes face to embrace the call to defend their country are just as important as the struggles they face to trust and embrace their Creator (given the name 'Wulder').  As we discover the characters in the story, we discover Wulder along with them.

This is book 2 in a new series.  It follows on the heels of The Vanishing Sculptor, which I hope to purchase for my kids to read first (so they don't get lost trying to figure out the story). The book cover has a tagline at the top that says "A Fantastic Journey of Discovery for All Ages."  I have to agree.  I have been struggling to find ideas for encouraging Micah, Eden, and Caleb to practice reading aloud.  Knowing their love for all things fantasy (magic, dragons, new creatures, etc), I know they will be easily drawn into this series.  What I love so much about it, is how much it reveals about our Creator.  Paul does an excellent job of revealing the attributes of God through the pages of this fiction book.  I explored all over again, through the eyes of characters who were discovering Him for the first time, God's faithfulness, His sovereignty, His omniscience, His omnipresence, His love, and His concern.  Paul didn't shy away from writing her story with the purpose of revealing God to her readers.  This wasn't just an add-on part of the story, it IS the story, and that's what makes it so beautiful!

I highly recommend this book for preteens and up.

I received a free copy of the book from the publisher, Waterbrook Multnomah, for review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  My comments and thoughts express my own opinions.

Rank my review:

Friday, November 19, 2010

Very Busy Week

This week was mind-blaringly busy!!!  (is 'blaringly' a word?  can I even use it to modify 'busy'??)

This is what I feel like doing:

(Yes, the kid has nap issues.)

I apologize for not posting this week.  It really got away from me!

Here are some of the main events:
I hung out with friends 2 nights.
(One night was at Bonnie's house!)
I did a little sewing.
(Finally not procrastinating.)
I did a little organizing.
(I love that.)
I helped Eden clean the pit of a room she has.
(Kathi will thank me.)
I did a lot of wiping.
(Noses, cheeks, hands, tables, chairs, counters, floors, etc.)
You don't want to know how many poopy diapers I changed.
(And I certainly don't want to remember.)
I helped kids with their schoolwork.
(Yet still feel like I fell short).
Mitch worked late 2 nights doing parent/teacher conferences.
(The kids missed him sooooo much those long days, but the reward was having him home all day today.)
I shuttled kids to church and back.
(While Mitch took Kathi to the Volleyball banquet.)
I took 3 more kids than I wanted to into Target to find a baby gift.
(Tirzah cried when I wouldn't let her keep the baby dolls we found.)
I cooked meals.  Lots of meals.
(And we had lots of leftovers.)
Supper was not-so-well-received on Wednesday night nor on Thursday night by the chilluns'.
(Some kids chose to go completely hungry.  Sad!) 
I tried to smile more.
(And appreciate the full blessing of being a mom.)
I tried to get angry less.
(But the mess in the boys' closet did make me quite a bit angry.)
I came up with something good to motivate my 3 oldest to get better grades.
(But I'm sure I'll need something new soon.)
The kids had music wars.  Loud music wars.
(This would be related to my new incentive.  And also the 'blaring' part of my week.)
Micah finally saw the eye doctor and ordered new glasses.
(He went from -1 and -1.25 to -1.5 and -1.75 in his prescription--boo!!)
I read a great new book for review.
(Dragons of the Valley, coming soon!)
I baked nearly 17 dozen cookies for a cookie exchange.
(Peanut Butter Blossoms)
I didn't answer my emails promptly.
(Prompting some people to use the phone instead.)
I had a really bad dream that the Appalachian Mountains were on fire within.  :(
(Normal for me to have bad dreams in pregnancy--though usually more likely to be related to water.)

That's enough remembering for me tonight.  I can't believe that Thanksgiving is next week.  It came up on me too fast.  I haven't even planned a menu yet.  Lots to do...

Whew!  I'm so glad it's the weekend and next week is a short week.  Even though Thanksgiving is a lot of work, it will be 'fun' work.  From the person who doesn't generally like to cook, I look forward to it.  :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Do you always find out?

I had a friend comment on my last blog post, and as I wrote my reply I realized it was long enough to be its own blog post.

She asked me if we always find out what we're having.  Here is our history:

We didn't find out with Micah, but the u/s tech said "Are you sure you don't want to know, I can really tell?"  LOL  We wanted to with Eden but the u/s tech said he didn't see any "boy parts" but felt they could still appear anywhere up to 28 weeks.  We did with Caleb, Zeke, and Josh.  With Zeke, Mitch wasn't able to be at the u/s, so I had her put a picture and the gender in an envelope for us to open together later.  With Malachi we decided not to find out.  That was actually a bad thing for me in the end.  I was really hoping for a girl, to be honest.  During one u/s while I was sick with a kidney stone, the tech asked if I wanted to know...I said no and she said "oh I'm glad I asked because it is right there."  Then she accidentally used the "he" pronoun.  So I was kind of tipped off, but still held out hope for a girl.  Everyone said, "Oh, you won't care once you have the baby in your arms!"  But I did.  And that came with a whole lot of emotional baggage, especially guilt.  So I decided there was no way I would pass up the opportunity to find out ever again.  When I found out Tirzah was a girl, I literally cried!  I thought I might cry if it was a boy...LOL.  I cried anyway.  This time it's not as big of a deal.  I "feel" like it is a girl, but I don't think that I would feel sad or disappointed if it is a boy.  Whatever the gender, I look forward to months to prepare for his/her arrival.  There will still be plenty of unknowns and excitement to go around!!  Like Caleb says, "You don't know what the baby will be like...if it will be nice or mean..."  LOL

I want to explain a little more about the guilt I felt over gender in the past.  I didn't only feel it with Malachi, but in previous pregnancies too.  You see, we sort of had this "agreement" that we would have 2 girls and 2 boys (and actually Mitch always said that he wanted 8 children...guess he is getting what he wants!).  We even had 2 girl names and 2 boy names picked out--Eden, Hannah, Micah, and Caleb.  So along came Micah, then Eden, then Caleb, and Ezekiel???  This wasn't part of the plan!  Oh well, by the time we knew that Zeke was on the way I wasn't really disappointed he was a boy, it was more that my pride was bruised.  I had pridefully declared he would be our 2nd girl.  So then baby #5 must be a girl, right?  I had to have a Hannah!!  Ok, so I was disappointed when he turned out to be a boy instead of a girl.  I remember whining a little to some friends on a message board.  One friend sent me a private message and asked for my mailing address.  Very shortly a wonderful package arrived in the mail with an adorable maternity shirt which proudly proclaimed my special boy package I was carrying.  It made me feel a million times better.  I quickly identified that my "issue" wasn't really with whether the baby is a boy or girl--don't we all wish for a healthy baby?

My issue was a wardrobe issue.  I wanted to trade in the blues and greens and frogs and turtles for pinks and purples and ribbons and bows.  After Joshua we considered just being "done".  Of course, I really still wanted another girl.  But there were some different kinds of seeds that God was planting in my heart.  These were an attitude of control.  Just as God is in control of the gender of our baby, God is in control of whether we even conceive a baby.

When I became pregnant with Malachi, I somehow had this thought in my mind that "this is it, I'm trusting God and he is going to reward me with the desire of my heart."  Hahaha...it doesn't work that way!  You can't manipulate gifts out of God!  Not only was he not a girl, but Malachi was a very difficult baby.  His difficulties seemed multiplied by the fact that he came on the heels of super-easy-going Joshua.  What?!  Why this?  It was a hard time of life all around (this was also during the whole move-to-Texas drama).

God has taught me so much through that.  Including that babies are special blessings no matter what kind of package they come wrapped in and no matter what our lives look like on the outside.  In the midst of chaos, there is peace in accepting one of these precious gifts.  Malachi is still not an easy child.  He came out crying and he has hardly stopped since (even this afternoon he spent 30 min in a very loud cry that left him hoarse at the end).  But he has a million-dollar smile that seriously makes it worth it.

I am filled with joy...God is teaching me to trust Him to fill me with the Spirit and to produce peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control.     

Wow, that was really long and I feel a little like I got off track from the original question...but if you made it this far, thanks!  :)  I was originally going to write only the first paragraph, but the rest of it just seemed important to follow.

Oh, would you like to know what happened to "Hannah"?  Well, my brother and his wife happened to find out they were having a girl a couple months before we found out that Tirzah was a girl...they named her Hannah. :)  It's all good--I really love the name Tirzah.  I'm glad we chose it.

18 Weeks Pregnant

This is my favorite time of pregnancy!  I feel absolutely wonderful.  I'm not big as a house.  My back and hips don't bother me yet (at least if they do, it's only occasionally).  I'm not nauseous.  And I can feel the baby moving.  This is the "honeymoon" period of pregnancy for me!!


I still have a couple "regular" pairs of jeans that fit just fine, mostly because they button under my belly, but maternity jeans are more comfortable.  I have some jeans ready to convert to maternity jeans.  Shouldn't I already have enough jeans/pants from previous pregnancies?  Well, I *should*, but it seems that gravity has gotten the best of me and not everything fits as it used to.  Not to mention that I'm 10 lbs heavier than I was during the last pg--that all has to go somewhere!  Besides, I'm still working on perfecting my wardrobe.  Every time I have my "favorite" pants, and my hope is that if I add to it each time, eventually I'll have an entire wardrobe of favorites.  :)

Be sure to vote in the poll in the side bar to guess the gender.  My ultrasound is scheduled for November 29th--my birthday (I'll be 29 again!  LOL). That's in only 2 weeks.  I can't wait!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Surgery Tour

Each year the St. Cloud hospital hosts and open house with tours and hands-on activities in the surgery department. Kathi, Micah, Eden, Caleb, Zeke and I went last night to the tour. It was so much fun. Out of the 6 of us, 4 of us have had surgeries there. We even bumped into Micah's surgeon who did his appendectomy (who also happens to be a friend who goes to our church).

This is a head covering that a surgeon might wear.  It has a fan inside to provide ventilation and keep him/her cool.
Here the kids can try their own hands at surgery.  I loved this game (Operation) when I was a kid.  I was seriously crazy about it.  Also in this O.R. we took the kids' blood pressure and read their pulse/ox levels.  This is most likely the room that our surgeries were done in.

 This was probably THE coolest thing we saw--the da Vinci robot.  The surgeon sits at these controls, but the patient is on the table to the far right of the surgeon.  The kids got to try their own surgeries--peeling a grape.

Zeke didn't do too bad!  It doesn't surprise me at all, seeing as he is the Mario Kart champion around here.  He was too short, so he had to stand up, though.  LOL.

There's the "patient".

Micah and Kathi took turns, too.  Kathi also did really well once they got the right position worked out.

We could watch the operation from the screens around the room.  The arm actually has two cameras, so that there is one camera for each of the surgeon's eyes...this allows the surgeon to have appropriate depth perception.  Waaaayyyyy cool.  Our hospital has two of these machines.  They have had one for about 5 years.  This one they have only had since July.  It has better graphics, one nurse said.  :)  We are ranked fairly high in the country for urology--yay!
Next up we stopped in this room which has an O-arm Surgical Imaging System.  This is where they do back/spinal surgeries and place screws in the spine.  The imaging technology is really spectacular.  We also got to look through a microscope,.

This O.R. is for bone injuries/reconstruction.  There were a LOT of metal screws and "power tools" in here.  Ouch.  This woman did a great job of explaining how you separate your emotions to be able to do the job.  She said it's just like going out to the garage to work--you can't think about how much it is hurting the person, but rather how you are fixing them.

This woman is part of the anesthesiology team.  She had a really cool device that looked like a shoe horn with a camera in it.  She inserted it into the "patient's" mouth and we could see down the throat and the vocal cords.  Then she inserted the ventilator tube between the vocal cords and hooked him up to the vent.  (He was just a mannequin).  She explained that this all happens after the patient is asleep and that the tube is removed before the patient wakes up.  So the patient totally misses ever having the tube in their throat.  What in the world did they do before they had these cool cameras???  :)

Our final O.R. tour was the room where they perform cardiac surgeries.  Our hospital also ranks high in the country for cardiology.  This nurse was pretty awesome at showing off the equipment she had set up.  She is responsible for operating the bypass machine during surgery so that the patient still has clean, oxygenated blood circulating through the body.  She is also responsible for stopping the heart and making sure it stays stopped while the surgeon works.  This is the room that Mitch would not have done well in.  There was some real blood for the kids to touch if they wanted, and the screens were showing a heart surgery--I think it was a valve replacement, but I don't remember for sure.  I was amazed at the table full of instruments and things needed to perform the surgery.  I have no idea how they keep it all organized and straight.  Something else that baffled me is how they are going to get the rooms all clean again after having so many people visiting!  I asked one nurse who just replied, "I'm not going to worry about that tonight."  :)

Can you tell that I was pretty stoked?  It was a fun trip and I loved learning.  Everyone was so kind and willing to share about their jobs.  It was easy to tell that they enjoy what they do, but that they also enjoy sharing with others.  I hope that the kids were inspired!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Blessings or Burdens?

Tonight I drove all 7 kids to church.  I left 4 of them there for RAD.  Tirzah began to cry as we drove away.  Then we went to the National Guard Armory where I dropped off 1 more for an area-wide youth event.  Tirzah began to cry all over again and Malachi started whining as well.  So I reluctantly chose to calm the masses with a promise to visit "someplace fun".  We went to the library.  It is fun.  But it was so much work for me to chase those two around.  We burned up enough time that it was too late to drive back home, but not enough time that it was time to go back to church and pick up kids.  Bummer.  Up and down the elevator.  Up and down the stairs.  Finally we found a very secluded spot in the back near a bunch of empty shelves.  Malachi and Tirzah immediately busied themselves by running laps around a post while I stood guard, my eyes firmly on them.  They laughed and squealed with delight.  They were so full of JOY.  Then a library worker found us and told them that no running is allowed (never mind the kids who are throwing legos in the toy section when Mitch was there on a different day).  So we packed up and left, still a good 20 minutes early.  It was pouring the rain.  We got drenched as we walked to the back of the parking lot--the only place I feel safe parking the monster of a van that I drive.  I was cold and tired and starting to feel achy even though I'm only 17 weeks pg.  On the way to the church (about a 5 min drive), I flipped on the radio to hear the last bit of Adventures in Odyssey.  Mr. Whitaker was giving Donna some advice about turning her grief and frustration and anger over to Jesus, that he wants to take that for us.  I felt tears well up in my eyes as Donna read the opening lyrics to the song "What a friend we have in Jesus" at the close of the program.
What a friend we have in Jesus,
all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
all because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer.
Thankfully the rain had stopped and the sky was beginning to clear so that I didn't have to drag the children across another parking lot in the rain.  I contemplated parking under the awning, but there were already a couple cars there and I felt guilty that my van would take up so much room.  No, I'm healthy and strong, I can take this.  Still I felt that each step was under a burden.  With a child on my hip, a tiny child cradled in my pelvis, and another child with his small hand clasped in mine, I was feeling "Oh woe is me, this is so hard, I'm so tired, you should feel sorry for me."  And God began to work on my heart.  Do I really believe what I say?  That children really are a blessing?  Do I welcome each new blessing gladly, then yet live as if they are constant burdens?  {yes, sometimes I do.  Today I did.}  My heart began to lighten as I gave that to God and confessed it to Him.  My joy multiplied, not by my own strength but by His power in me, and a smile spread across my face.  Yes I'm still tired, yes I still have frustrations (which only seemed to multiply as we tried to get ready for bed).  I hope and believe that God will continue to work on my heart so that I can live out my beliefs in faith.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Meeting Goals

I think I mentioned recently some goals that I have or at least things I'd like to accomplish before this baby is born.  One of them was to make a blanket for Malachi.  Today I pulled out my crochet books to look at patterns.  Now, I have made quite a few blankets over the years--not only for my own kids, but I've given away a few too.  But still I recognize a familiar pattern when I see one.  I kept looking through a book thinking "I've done this one."  There were only 4 or 5 blankets in the entire book.  Josh has one, I made one for an auction at SCCS, and there was still a mysterious third one.  So I asked the kids.  Nope, they didn't remember.  I began to think, "I gave someone a blanket at Christmas!"  It was not last Christmas.  So the easy solution was to dig out pictures.  Yep, here is Malachi with the blanket I made him while I was pg with Tirzah:


So, I suppose since that is one goal down, I can move on to others! I'd still like to get some scrapbooking done, and once I know the gender of this baby I'll start a blanket for him/her.

Oh, I also scored a used copy of Hypnobabies on ebay for a great deal.  I guess I took the plunge.  I asked my doctor about it, if she had ever had a patient use hypnosis for childbirth, and she gave me a strange look.  She had only ever had one, and not in her current practice.  "What for?"  She wanted to know why I was considering it.  :)  I'm gonna work on her.  Yeah, why would someone giving birth not want to take drugs to relieve pain?  Isn't that what they're there for?  My mind is racing in several different directions here.  Can a medical professional really understand why someone would want to avoid drug use to alleviate pain?  I certainly think they SHOULD! 

On a completely different topic, my son Caleb has been granted the privilege of writing his own blog.  I currently have it set to private so that only people we invite may read it.  If you dare, you may certainly shoot me off an email (stephtheis at gmail dot com) and I send you an invitation to read.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Baptisms

Kathi and Caleb participated in the believer's baptism we had at our church yesterday.  In order to be baptized, they each previously met with church elders, who interviewed them to assess their understanding of the gospel and of the decision they wished to make (fyi, this is also something we asked Kathi to discuss with her parents before doing).  During the service, each person being baptized shared his/her personal testimony, proclaiming a faith and trust in Jesus Christ.  Both Caleb and Kathi did an excellent job sharing their testimonies!!  I hope that I will be able to share the video online.  After sharing testimonies, the baptism was held.  Then after that, Pastor Matthew invited anyone who knew these people to come forward and pray for them (or to pray from their seats).  After a time of quiet prayer, the pastor prayed over all, we sang a song, and were dismissed.  It was a beautiful service and many people were touched by the testimonies of the believers being baptized!  Here are some of the pictures I got:

 {Kathi sharing her testimony}

 {Caleb sharing his testimony}

 {Mitch helped with Caleb's baptism}


 {Down he goes...}

 {...up he comes!  A beautiful representation of a new birth and being born into the family of God!}

 {Kathi's turn!}



 {Praying and singing}


For more info, this wikipedia article does a pretty good job of explaining believer's baptism.  But the best info would be if I could post the video.  Listening to Kathi's and Caleb's testimonies is a blessing and I feel would really show what it means and why we do baptisms this way.  :)

Friday, November 05, 2010

16-week Stats and Poll

If you want to refresh your memory on some of my other pg's, this post is a good one:  http://stephsoundoff.blogspot.com/2008/11/another-hink-pink.html

Like I did that time, I'll try to add a poll to the side bar.  I'll set that up after I'm finished writing this post.

In summary:

Malachi at 17 weeks:
Gained 4 lbs so far to weigh 129.4 lbs
Blood pressure: 98/40
Heartrate: 140s
I had a very itchy rash all over my legs and nothing seemed to work. It got better later with good lotion, but it was still there until I had him.

Tirzah at 16 weeks:
Gained 11.2 lbs total so far to weigh 133.something
Blood pressure: 110/60
Heartrate: upper 140s
Feeling exhausted, still a little nauseous in the evenings, and having headaches

My stats today:
Gained 13 lbs total so far to weigh 143.8 (ick!)
Blood pressure: 98/60
Heartrate: 150s
I am feeling very similar to how I was with Tirzah--exhausted, nauseous in the evenings, and I seem to be having loads of headaches.  On the positive side, I seem to be sleeping well, and I'm usually remembering to take my prenatal vitamins.  I am unfortunately under a tremendous amount of emotional stress.  Please keep me in your prayers.

Now for the fun part!  I am expecting a phone call from the ultrasound place to schedule my 20-week u/s.  Yay!  I want to find out what I'm having again.  It is more fun for me.  So let me hear your guesses now.

And what is up with the 143-pound thing???  Good grief!  That's how much I weighed when I DELIVERED Eden.  LOL.  It's all in my hips, thighs and my bottom, I tell ya.  Gravity works.  Well, that, and snacking on too much chocolate.  ;)

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Just for Fun

My boys were hammin' it up for the camera tonight. They had all their different kinds of smiles they wanted to try out for me. They had great names for them, too, but I can't remember them all now. I tell ya what, moments like these brighten us nearly every day and make all the hard work worth it!

{Scary Smile}





I made 'pigs in a blanket' for supper tonight (little sausages wrapped in crescent rolls) for the first time in a very long time.  Both of these boys asked me, "Are those baby pigs?"  LOL  I wanted to tease them and say "yes" but I told them the truth.  When the little rolls came out of the oven I scraped them off the pan and some of them turned upside down.  Malachi exclaimed, "Oh, turtles!!"  Yes, as a matter of fact they did look like turtles more so than pigs in a blanket.  Perhaps we will have a new name for them.


{Han Solo smile}

{Serious Smile}
Tirzah didn't want to be left out of the fun, either.  But she pretty much wanted to sit on my lap...which was too close to the camera.  Maybe she wants to be a photographer?  She loves looking at pictures and trying to say everyone's names (which they are all "da" except for Papa and Beau, for whom she gets it right).  I managed to get a couple shots.


And from earlier this week is my 16-week belly shot. My belly has a really funny shape and looks differently depending on what I'm doing and if I've just eaten or not.  I tried to "relax" and feel normal, but who can do that when trying to do a self-portrait??  :)


I go to see the doctor for a 16-week checkup tomorrow.  I'm excited to hear the baby's heartbeat again.  She will give me a referral for an ultrasound, which will be at approximately 20 weeks.  That happens to be the same week as my birthday, so I'm thinking about trying to get an appointment ON my birthday...but I'm not sure.