Friday, November 29, 2013

Finishing Up November in Pictures

Um, I'm pretty sure this is about ten posts all combined into one.  I apologize for not being concise or efficient or organized or whatever it is I need to be to clean up this mess, but here it is anyway!  If you make it to the end, there is a true gem of a blessing down there.  :)

Less video games means more time for family games (and fun):




 Finally Tirzah's hair has grown long enough for French braids!


Malachi finished his first level of Math-U-See and started Alpha:

Eden's board art:

 Mercy LOVES the baby gate.
 Eden's small group had a formal dinner (which was served by Micah's small group):
 I braided her hair, too:

 I carved out time to knit Mercy a hat to match her rainbow blanket:

Sweet.  Obi is working hard on growing and learning.  We've picked up potty training again.  It's two steps forward, one step back, but we're staying in underwear if we're home (which is most of the time) during the day.  He wears diapers at night, though he stays dry most of the time.

We're making *some* progress in the eating solid foods department:


 She likes to "help" unload the cabinets and drawers in the kitchen, too:

Thanksgiving Day brought snow flurries enough to dust the ground and make us excited (but that was all):

A small, scrumptious feast with Grandma Karen and Grandpa Marc:

 Malachi is writing well enough on his own this year!


When I asked Obi what he is thankful for he replied with gusto, "I love you!"
Our Thanksgiving celebration was small.  We all missed having our house overflowing with people, with special mention to our exchange students and friends.  What a joyful memory this tablecloth has become as we read it together! 

Probably the biggest, most exciting news is that today we bought Micah his first car.  It runs, but it has quite a few things that need to be done on it.  It's a great "project" car.  Most of the projects appear to be minor things that we can do (or learn to do) ourselves, which makes it great.  We haven't had a mechanic look it over yet for any hidden problems, so we don't have a full picture of its condition, but the investment is modest and we consider it well worth the risk.

First project:  clean it.
 Tee-hee...
 The car is as old as Micah.  :)
 I'm pretty excited and can't wait to see it cleaned up and some of the "projects" done.
We got a bonus surprise today when we called to add the car to our insurance policy--our insurance went LOWER than what it would have cost to add Micah as a driver without a vehicle for him.  Nice!

Some things not told in pictures:
~We ordered glasses for the oldest three kids from Zenni Optical (http://zennioptical.com/).  Fantastic deals over there, and I have some kids who are tickled pink with their new glasses.  I need to get pictures soon.
~Josh took his cat allergy to a whole new level this month by adding wheezing to the list of symptoms.  A doctor visit and spirometry test ruled out asthma for him, but he did get a script for an inhaler in case it happens the next time.  I suppose he is not one of those people that get better with more exposure to cats.  ::sigh::
~I had to buy another crown for a tooth this month, so I am twice a princess.  While I'm thankful that we had the $1,000 in savings, I wish we could have bought Micah the Ford Mustang they found instead.  :P  Oh well...there's not much else we could spend that amount of money on that I would truthfully say I will use every single day for the next 15+ years. 
~We spent $3 on the newspaper to get the "Black Friday" ads only to find that both of us feel quite content with what we have.  Not all is lost, though--we saved $1.50 on gas using a coupon in the paper.
~In the past 24 hours Mercy has finally succumbed to a cold virus that has been hanging around here for the past couple of weeks.  Last night she helped me celebrate my birthday early by waking me up about every 30-45 min.  Her nose is stuffy so it was hard to nurse and sleep.  She made up for it by taking a really long nap today...I, however, did not get to nap.
~In fact, I was so tired that by morning I forgot it was my birthday.  It was super sweet when my kids reminded me by wishing me a Happy Birthday.  I heard from both Patrick and Kathi today too.  :)  Patrick made me smile by sending me a video on fractals, one of my favorite things from math.  
~I didn't make a cake for my birthday.  For my birthday meal I chose pizza rolls--not because I like them so much--but because I would not have to make them.  I haven't been feeling great, so I didn't feel like going out to eat tonight, either.  I just don't want to put myself in a position where I truly feel sick.  So no birthday meal this year.  It's ok...it will make other years that much better, right?
~I have been meditating on Psalm 103:1-5:
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
 John Piper preached, "Givers are more glorious than receivers. Benefactors are more glorious than beneficiaries. When we thank God, we acknowledge and display that he is the giver; he is the benefactor...Therefore, when gratitude springs up in the human heart toward God, he is magnified as the wealthy source of our blessing. He is acknowledged as giver and benefactor and therefore as glorious."

In light of that, no matter how hard (so tired, not feeling well, etc) or ordinary (no date night, no cake, no special treatment--I even did dishes) my birthday is, I am overwhelmed by God's goodness to me.  I don't have a limited number of birthdays (or holidays or special days).  Here in this body, yes, I do.  But eternally?  There is no end.  Like a fractal (could there have been a better picture, Patrick?), the further in you go, the bigger and more complex life is!  (Nodding my head to C.S. Lewis in Chronicles of Narnia)

credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandelbrot_set

I celebrate today simply by remembering the overwhelming grace that has been poured out upon my life.   And that is, truly, the best part!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Outlawing Cannibalism

Me: Obi, you are so cute, I'm going to eat you up!

Obi:  No Mom, we don't eat people, we eat snacks!!


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Mercy is 8 months old!

Mercy is 8 months old...I can hardly believe it!!

Look at how she has changed from then...
to now:
(Yeah, Caleb's changed quite a bit, too!)



Big sister Tirzah is helping feed Mercy some spaghetti!


Mercy makes this funny little face while sucking in and blowing out air.  One day she surprised both herself and me by whistling accidentally!  This was just before her top teeth came in, maybe she will learn how to whistle on purpose.  :)

At 8 months, Mercy
~just learned how to "click" her tongue
~throws mighty awful temper tantrums, especially when she can't have something she wants (um, wait, isn't that pretty much what ALL temper tantrums are about??)
~loves pizza (crust)
~still goes to sleep on Caleb, though lately the trend has been that she then does not let him lay her down.  Seriously, I don't know why we even have the portable crib up anymore!  Put that on my list to take down.
~wears 6-9 mo clothes, though some things are getting too short/tight and some things that were too big are now fitting better
~wears size 2 shoes
~wears size 3 disposable diapers; we haven't been using cloth for now...I couldn't change her quickly enough to help out the skin issues, and even in disposables we're constantly fighting battles.
~still has troublesome spots of eczema, but those are kept at bay: I bathe her often, only use soap if I have to and then only on the truly "dirty" areas,  and I'm using vanicream as recommended by her doctor (slathering her up while she still damp).
~loves to explore anywhere and everywhere...she crawls all over the place just checking it out.  She's not afraid to come find me when I'm missing.
~unloads any cabinets, drawers, or boxes/bins that she can reach, so if we don't want her in it, we need to keep it closed or out of reach!
~loves to play with the gate over the stairs.  She makes a bee-line for it all the time.  She pulls to stand, then rattles it and "talks" the entire time.
~walks with help when she is on carpet, but not on the wood/laminate floor.  The smart cookie knows what "slippery" means, at least in practice.  But when introduced to a walking toy on the carpet, she pulled to a stand and (much to my surprise) took off walking right away!
~knew exactly what to do the first time she discovered stairs going up (as opposed to the gate at the top of the stairs going down, because she clearly does NOT know what to do on those).  I happened to be in our entryway organizing a drawer while she was playing (within view) downstairs.  Soon she came looking for me, and crawled over to the bottom of the stairs.  At first she complained about not being able to reach me, but then she knew what to do.  As soon as she started climbing the stairs I was right behind her, but she kept going until she got all the way to the top!
~will put anything she finds on the floor into her mouth, but is highly suspicious of anything offered in the highchair.  So I hold her in my arms to offer her foods.  She's also very suspicious of anything offered on a baby spoon. There's just something about having food shoved in her mouth that offends her...gee, I guess I can understand that!
~so she moves all the time, doesn't eat much for solid foods, doesn't sleep on her own, how does this girl manage?  Well, she crashes at night in my bed and usually sleeps most of the night (as long as I'm within kicking distance).  She might wake up once or twice, but she doesn't really eat during the night.  During the day she nurses about every 3 hours.
~still loses her balance occasionally, and has had a few hard bonks
~still adores her siblings and looks for them when they're not around.  Being around people energizes her for sure...another extrovert?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Curly Hair

Zeke loves his curly hair (maybe a little too much).  He can't go anywhere it seems without someone commenting that they love his curly hair.  He loathes having hair cuts because it's always a little less curly for a few days.  He hates the comments that people he knows then make to him ("you cut your curls?").  The older he gets, the more he is able to petition for a stay on hair cuts.  His hair has gotten the longest it has ever been.  It looks good when it is washed and combed, but most of the time it is a matted gnarly mess.  ;)  He has been going swimming at the YMCA a few times a week, and the chlorine is not kind.  He thought it was torture that I mandated the use of conditioner from now on (he says, "My hair feels all slimy!").  I finally convinced him to let me trim it up just a bit...it will still be long and curly (and matted and gnarly at times), but will (hopefully) keep him looking like a boy.

Today was the day.  While I tugged at the tangles, combing through his hair before cutting it, I started talking about my dad.  The kids haven't gotten to spend a lot of time with my dad, and my stories have been far too few.  I told him that my dad has curly hair too.  I said that now that he's older it is thin and balding, so he keeps it shaved most of the time (at least I *think* that's why he shaves it...maybe he has other reasons), but I will always picture him with curly hair .  Zeke obviously felt my dad's plight and without missing a beat suggested, "Couldn't he just get a wig? Then he could have curly hair forever!"

If you know my dad, you can laugh heartily!  And Dad, if you shave your hair for other reasons, maybe you should embrace the curls and let them grow back.  Ha!  :)

Here is a "before" picture...




Monday, November 11, 2013

Four Teeth

Mercy now has two teeth on top to compliment her teeth on bottom.  Which means...OUCH!  She loves to bite.  :)


She has been working on those top two teeth for about 2 weeks now.  I'm so glad they are finally through, and I'm hoping that means she can get back to the business of sleeping!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Mitch is running the range

Mitch loves to bake cookies.  I recently gave him free rein of the kitchen to make cookies for the upcoming holidays.  I stocked the pantry with all the basic baking supplies, as well as some special ones at his request.  I introduced him to pinterest, and he has scoured the internet in search of creative new recipes.  The only problem I have with this is that the numbers on the scale have gone up, not down, in the past couple weeks as I have sampled too many and saved too few.  Ouch!

Mitch decided he wanted to surprise me on Friday night.  I had been relaxing and completely forgotten about my responsibility to make supper, and after a while I noticed he was busy in the kitchen.  I asked a vague question that went unanswered, and after that I tried not to spoil the surprise by not keeping record when he asked me questions about where to find this or that.  :)  When he held up a funnel and asked me a question however, it was all out of the bag.  I'd always wanted to try making funnel cakes, but had never taken the time.  It was such a wonderful surprise!!  He found a recipe that worked and tasted perfect.


 Seriously, we could have sold them.


 After a while, we had funnel cakes coming out our ears and Mitch had barely made a dent in the bowl of batter.  So what could we do with "too many funnel cakes?"  Knock on the neighbors' doors, of course!  We sent kids knocking, and the result was many happily surprised neighbors.  :)

One of our neighbors has an exchange student from China staying with them.  He came back with Zeke and Josh and hung out for a little while.  It was fun to ask questions about China and about his exchange experience here in America.  His host dad stopped by to pick him up after a little while and asked us, "What in the world do you mean by 'too many funnel cakes'?" Yes, there is no such thing.

Mitch got REALLY good at the process of making the funnel cakes.  I didn't really have to do much...I mostly did dishes and tried to clean the counters off as we went, and did not pay much attention to the process.  So on this one, Mitch is the expert.  I didn't even catch the recipe.  Of course I gave Mitch lots of kisses, made him a salad, and told him over and over again what a good surprise it was.  :) He said he wanted to do something nice for me since I am always thinking up new things to do for him.  I felt so honored and loved.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Mercy vs. Tirzah

At roughly the same ages...






Quite a difference!!
 

And just for fun, here's one of Eden...