Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

Joyful and Triumphant

It is quite tempting to be a scrouge this year. With one sickness rolling into the next in our house, I have felt neither joyful nor triumphant a majority of the time. In the last month, I have only been out of the house to do some minor Christmas shopping (like maybe 3 hours), and to take my 2 month old to the Emergency Room.  Friends with kids can't stop by because you'll just keep passing each sickness around.  I've had lots of sleepless nights, comforting children, nursing the baby, helping the girls go potty... One day runs into the next until it occurred to me the other day that I hadn't even seen the church decorated for Christmas.  We only made ONE of the gazillion Christmas parties we were invited to, and that was with MUCH effort finding a babysitter to watch flu-ridden kids. I've missed the entire Advent Season with our church due to sickness! The only thing up in our house this year is the tree and it looks terrible.  The kids (in particular, Lydia) can't stop messing with it, so all of the ornaments are either broken, on the floor, or up high as to keep little fingers away from them.  I have had no desire to put anything else up and quite honestly I feel a little depressed.  And, of course, Charleston won't have snow any time soon, but I'm not even going there...

But as I was in the ER, holding Caleb who was screaming hot with a fever, I started thinking about the Father sending his Son to us.  Emmanuel.  God with us.  I started thinking about what it would be like to have thought up and created the universe, only to be limited to the body and mind of an infant.  Willingly.  I looked at my son, helpless, and couldn't imagine entrusting anyone else with him.  I was wondering what it must've been like for the Father to trust Mary and Joseph with Jesus, knowing everything probably wouldn't be handled perfectly, or the way he would've done it himself.  I was thinking about what it would be like to entrust my son to an 8 year old or something.  Who would do that?  Tough for Jesus. Tough for his Father.  Glorious for us.

As I sing about our Savior's birth this year, I am wearing sweats in my kitchen and I'm usually singing alone.  There hasn't been anyone to sing for except Jesus, and usually that's with my kids in the background telling me to stop singing. Nothing very holly or jolly about this Christmas. No cookies, maybe 2 presents, no decorations, no fun Christmas cards to send out. Nothing.  In fact, I told Russ today that this is probably the worst Christmas I've ever had.  But without those distractions, in some ways it has also been the best one. It has been stripped down to Jesus!  Jesus + nothing = everything. When I think about what Jesus sacrificed for MY sake, how can I be anything but joyful and triumphant? God is with me.

O Come, all ye faithful
Joyful and Triumphant
O Come ye, O Come ye to Bethlehem
Come and behold him
Born the King of angels
O Come let us adore Him
O Come let us adore Him
O Come let us adore Him
Christ the Lord

Friday, December 14, 2012

Where Has the Time Gone?

Oh my goodness.  It has been forever since I've updated this blog!  Part of it has been computer problems, and part of it has been sheer exhaustion.  4 kids ain't no joke!  I find that on a normal day, I just don't stop.  If I stop, something goes wrong.  Even after the kids go down, we're usually folding laundry, cleaning the kitchen, getting things ready for the next day...  I can't wait until the girls are old enough to help with some of it.  They help a little bit now, but it is with MUCH assistance, and sometimes I'd rather do it by myself.  :)  Anyway, here's some pictures from the last month, in no particular order, because that would take about 45 minutes longer... 
Ruthie has a baby in her tummy!

Noa has a baby in her tummy!

The girls watching TV.  This is when Ruthie had some stash of soap that we couldn't find and after a bath, she kept slicking down her hair with it.  I was the happiest Mom alive the day I found that darn soap.

Noa and Ruthie had dentist appointments with Dr. Chris.  They were both CHAMPS and went through the whole appointment without any problems.  This is a stark contrast to the appointment 6 months ago when I took all 3 girls to MY appointment (while pregnant) and they crushed Pringles all over Dr. Chris' office while watching Veggie Tales. They were allowed to pick out a prize since they were so "good" and I (still pregnant) had to carry Ruthie out of the office kicking and screaming (while pushing Lydia in the stroller) because she wouldn't choose just one prize.  I had to pry them from her hands.  Needless to say, things have progressed.  I'm not sure why I thought taking 3 kids to my appointment would work, but live and learn...

We've decided that pig tails is Ya's best look.

Ruthie lovin' on Brothie.

Sweet kids.  I love this picture.

Brother Boy. Brothie. Buddy Boy. K-Bob. Caleb.
No shortage of nicknames in our house.

Went to the lights and rode the carousel.  Daddy braved it while Mommy held Caleb.  Noa is somewhere else, goin' it alone.

Ya-baby stealing a moment on Ruthie's bike.  I'm sure that 5 seconds later, Ruthie screamed and assaulted her for riding it, but she seems to be enjoying this moment.  Poor baby.

This is some kind of bunk bed that the girls came up with.
Whatever keeps them busy...

Day at Brownswood Nursery with Pops and Cousin Micah. Ruthie got to go by herself since everyone else was sick...or just getting sick...or something.  I can't quite remember. Anyway, she was the big-shot that day.

Noa and Lyd play well together.
Here they are laying in Noa's bed, being buddies.

Friday, November 16, 2012


When I was growing up (and still), I never understood why my Mom loved my rosy, red cheeks.  When I look at Lydia, I finally understand why.  ;)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Chicks, Babers, Ya, and Brother

So, Russ is at a retreat this weekend and what do I sit around doing?  Looking at old pictures on the computer.  I found some gems!  ;)  These are all sometime within the last year. My, how time flies.

Chicks!  We really don't call her that anymore, and I don't even think she'll respond to it.  Noa Jane is our sweet firstborn.  Her love for music is amazing, and I love to hear her worship the Lord and make up songs in her childlike way.  She is both tenderhearted and bossy, level-headed and goofy.  I love who the Lord came up with when He made Noa.

Babers!  Ruthie, Ruthie, Ruthie.  I feel like I call her name ten thousand times a day.  Maybe that's why she doesn't respond to me!  Need to tone down the directives, Mom!  ;)  Ruthie is passionate and curious, shy but friendly.  She's a quirky little doll that keeps us guessing (and praying for that matter!). I love my Ruthie Joy.  I was never quite sure of that middle name, but now that I know her I'm glad we chose it because it suits her perfectly.  She is definitely a joy.

Ya-ya!  I think we have another passionate one on our hands!  Even though Lydie is girl #3, she definitely doesn't let the older two push her around.  This girl is feisty!  And really, really, really sweet. She melts us with her hugs and kisses every day.  She is extremely verbal and very smart.  We've kind of been amazed by the things she'll put together, I'm sure from watching the other two.  I'm excited to how her personality blossoms as she learns even more words.  I love my little ya and am thankful for her beautiful smile (and dimples!), her warm heart, and her silly laugh.  I could listen to it all day long.  

Brother!  Poor Caleb has the most boring nick-name. But it fits! Out-numbered! Easy to identify in pics!  He is every bit as precious as he looks in this picture.  He is now a month old and has been eating well, sleeping well, loving well, and enduring a LOT of hugging, touching, carrying, holding, kissing, dropping, feeding, and all kinds of things from his other 3 "mommies."  He seems to be very laid back.  I was never sure about having a boy.  I'm not sure why; I guess I was just used to girls.  But of course NOW, I can't imagine my days without him.  He is such a blessing to us and definitely a piece of the puzzle that was missing.  We love you Cabes!

Thank you for enduring this weepy, sentimental post about my kids.  I am so amazed by the amount of love the Lord places in our hearts for our kids, even though they've turned our world up-side-down since they came!  I wonder what we did with all of our time before kids???  I'm sure it wasn't very important.  But anyway, oh how I love them.  Totally humbled that the Lord chose ME to be their mom!  I hit the jackpot with these kids and I totally don't even know what I'm doing!  Thankful also for his grace because He is fully aware that I don't know what I'm doing!  :)  

James 1:17 - "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down 
from the Father of heavenly lights."

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pumpkin Patch

"Cheese!" Look at all those teeth!
Scary!  Ghouls!  Ruthie didn't get it
The girls kept putting that gourd in his car seat with him
Caleb was the easiest to photograph
Check out that cowlick - super sweet!

Quite a challenging picture to take
This may have been the best one we got...pathetic
Lydie was fine if she was by herself
Definitely didn't want to be part of the group
Ruthie loves to hold and take care of Baby Brother
So our time at the pumpkin patch was short and sweet this year.  These blue outfits were all I could come up with and I'm not even sure I like them.  Oh well.  Brain is on overload lately.  But I love the kids in the blue outfits!  I asked Russ to bring his camera and it was quite a challenging little (very little) photo shoot.  The girls were running around like crazy and it was hard to corral them for a picture, but at least we got a few that sort of work.  Caleb slept the whole time. It was all of about 15 minutes, but that was enough for us.  They each picked out a small pumpkin (they wanted the smallest, cheapest ones!) and now they carry them around constantly.  I think they're even sleeping with them.  I remember this craziness from last year.  We bought a big pumpkin to carve too, but have yet to do it.  Happy Halloween everyone! ;)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Caleb's Birth

This has been the most miserable pregnancy!  So at 38 weeks, because of the diabetes and the hope for a vaginal delivery, we were ready to get this big boy out!  A few days before the induction, he was measuring (ultrasound) 9 lbs., 2 oz.  Since the ultrasound can be off by a pound either way, there's no way to know how big he really was at that point, but suffice to say he was going to be a big baby - even at 38 weeks.  So, we felt good about the induction.  I swear we had hundreds of people praying for us!  Although it was the most difficult pregnancy, it was the easiest birth by far, even though it was my first VBAC.  I'm so happy to have avoided the cesarean and experience the wonder of pushing a baby into this world for the third time.  What a gift.

So...we got to the hospital around 6:15 and started the admitting process.  It was taking FOREVER!  I was ready to get the show on the road!  While we were still being admitted, I received a call on my phone and it was one of the doctors saying that Labor & Delivery was very busy and could we come in at noon instead.  She said, "the good news is, we'll still be able to deliver your baby today."  Well.  I didn't think that was the best news.  I almost burst into tears.  I didn't want to start the process at noon, I wanted to start as early as possible.  I told her we were already being admitted and she said to just come up and "we'll see what we can figure out for you."  Not what I wanted to hear.  Well, the good news was, they had us in a room right away.  The bad news was, they just kind of left us there (very uncomfortable bed!!) until some of the craziness died down.  So I had to sit there with the heart monitor on and an IV running for a few hours before they started the pitocin drip.  We should've gone out for breakfast instead!  But, anyway...

They finally started the drip around 10:30 a.m.  I prayed for good IV's and had two in my right arm that were placed very well.  I was so thankful!  I started feeling contractions right away (like a balloon being filled up with air inside of your belly), although it wasn't that painful at the start.  When we arrived, they checked me and I was dilated to 3cm, 50% effaced, so that was a pretty good starting point.

The contractions were picking up and although they still weren't very painful, I knew they would be very soon.  I also wanted to get the epidural before they broke my water because that always speeds things up tremendously.  So, they called for the epidural and I think it was about 1pm when they came in to do it.  After the area was numb and they were placing it in my back/spine (whatever), I felt a tinge of pain when they were putting it in and jumped.  The doctor and all of the residents were like, "Whoa!  Where did you feel that?  Left, right, or middle?"  I was trying to think about where I felt it -- don't want to mess up that question and not get the epidural right -- but couldn't really place it, so I just said middle.  I don't know if that's where I felt it or not but the epidural set up better on my left side than my right.  I kept having to lay on my right side to dump the medicine over so I could feel the numbness there too.  Ugh.  I also noticed that with this epidural I felt a lot more.  Not necessarily in a bad way, but with the other two, my legs were totally numb and I couldn't move them at all.  With this one I felt a tad bit more mobile with my legs.

So we just sat there for a while and let the contractions do their work.  I was dilated to 4 cm maybe around 2pm or so and thought to myself, "Man. This is going to take forever."  A little bit later, my water ruptured by itself (I felt a gush and they determined later that I was correct!) and from that point on, my contractions started to pick up quite a bit.  It is amazing that something so crazy can be taking place in your body and Russ and I were just sitting there waiting...not really feeling much at all. I've felt pitocin contractions before and I don't ever want to feel them again, so this was great!

About 3:45 or so, the pain started to increase on my right side and when the nurse came in about a half hour later I told her that I might need to up the epidural.  She asked me what it felt like and all I could say was that there was a lot of pressure and it felt like my body was opening.  I couldn't describe it better than that. We had a good laugh about this later!  I had never felt that with the other births and thought maybe my cervix was dilating more and the contractions were just getting crazy.  She said it was about time to empty my bladder, so she would ask the doctors about upping my meds after she cathed me.  She lifted the sheets to do my cath and the baby was crowning!  She said, "well, that's why you're feeling more pain!  The baby is about to come out!"  She quickly got on the phone and said, "we need the doctor down here right now.  The baby is crowning."  A few seconds later, the attending doctor, Dr. Goodier (who we really liked!), 3 of the residents and a few nurses rushed in.  There was a crowd in there!!  They all got in their places like they knew this was going to happen or something.  They put my legs up in the stir ups and told me to push at the next contraction.  I couldn't believe it was all happening so fast!  I thought the whole process would be much slower!  So when the next contraction came, I took a deep breath and pushed.  Out came the head.  The contraction was still going, so I took another deep breath and pushed.  Out came some of the body, I think.  They said to push again, so I did and out came the baby.  I honestly think I pushed for about 45 seconds.  I think one of the neatest things with my vaginal deliveries is the feeling of the baby coming all the way out and your stomach going down.  Anyway, it was crazy! He looked huge!  Dr. Smith (one of the residents) was the one who caught the baby and as she was pulling him out, what seemed like a few gallons of amniotic fluid shot out of my body and hosed her and our nurse (Kim) down.  They were soaked.  How gross!  That has never happened to me before.  The nurses were all getting towels to clean up all the fluid on the floor! They kept saying that I had extra fluid and I guess they were right.

Caleb was cleaned up in the room.  It seemed like it took forever for me to get to hold him.  I was just laying while he was being measured, weighed, etc. etc. etc.  Finally I got to hold him but it was rather awkward as I was still laying down being stitched up because of a 2nd degree tear.  (We had prayed that I wouldn't tear horribly and this was the least amount of tearing I've ever had!)  I could only hold him one way - kind of like sitting up - and couldn't really snuggle with him or anything.  Even so, he was beautiful.  I couldn't believe he was out!  And I was in love at first sight.  What an incredible gift.

Russ got to cut the cord although he was reluctant.  It did look kind of gross.  Very thick.  Ugh.  We're just not the type of people that would get all geeked up about that, I guess.  Everything with Caleb was fine. They weighed him and asked everyone for their guesses.  I guessed 10 lbs.  Russ guessed 10 lbs., 3oz. and got it exactly right!  Big baby!  At 38 weeks!  If we let him bake longer, he definitely would've been our biggest.  Our nurse, Kim, who had been at MUSC for 8 years and a nurse for longer than that, said that this was the biggest baby she had ever seen birthed vaginally.  She had definitely heard stories of others, but never been in the room for a birth like this.  Wow.  Big babies are so normal to us, but I guess it really is kind of a big deal.  Does that mean I have a gigantic pelvis?  I hope not.  Maybe I do.  I seem to handle these big kids well.  ;)  More than anything though, it means our prayers were answered!  There was no shoulder dystocia!  This was my number one fear with a VBAC.

The girls didn't make it up to the hospital until the next day because he was born around 4:30 p.m. and by the time we were transferred to postpartum it would've been too late.  It was funny to see how they acted when they came up to the room though.  The older two were kind of nervous and kept asking questions about why we were there.  Poor Noa was genuinely concerned for us and cried when they had to leave.  It was really sweet.  I think she missed us and didn't understand why we were staying in the hospital and why I had all kinds of IVs, etc.  But they LOVED their brother!  And they keep on loving him (A LOT) now that we're home.

Here's some pictures from the day.  We were going to have a photographer come up and take some professional pictures but honestly, I was just too tired.  I can definitely tell this was my 4th baby in a row and unfortunately my body isn't recovering quite as quickly as the first!  So, we'll have some better pictures of him within the next few weeks.  But, here's the pathetic pictures we got with our little camera or our phones.  I still think they're cute. :)
Going home.  I honestly hadn't thought about an outfit for him to go home in.  I had a few weird choices in our bag, but wasn't really happy with any of them.  I did have this hat that was way too big.  I'm not really into hats but the nurses kept saying how chilly it was outside and that we better bundle up.  So I put the hat on. When we got outside it was a *brisk* 80 degrees or something.  I immediately took the weird hat off.
I always think it is weird when moms post half-naked pictures of themselves.  I'm not sure if this qualifies or not.  The nurse wanted to take our picture and there was hardly a moment to put my clothes on!  This is the only one I have of the three of us though, so half-naked it is!  This is right after he came out.
This was obviously a really hard picture to get.  No one was cooperating.  Or they were all cooperating at different times.  Baby brother looks gigantic!
Somebody was soooo proud!

The girls kept wanting to ride up and down on the bed.  I look horrible!  I felt rather horrible, actually, and the roller coaster bed wasn't helping much.  :)

Look how many people are in our family!  I still can't get over it!

Friday, October 12, 2012


So, I'm putting together a long post about Caleb's birth, but to fend you off in the meantime, I thought I would post a few pictures of the girls new haircuts.  They LOVE them!  And I LOVE them!  It all started when I thought it would be a fun outing for Noa and myself to go to a shop and get her haircut.  She was extremely excited at first.  Here's a picture of her on the way there.  

Well, when we got to "Great Clips" and they wanted to put her up in the chair to wash her hair, she wouldn't budge.  I tried to lift her (very pregnant me - must've looked crazy), but she wasn't havin' it.  We talked for a minute and then decided another time would be better.  She told me on the way home that she only wants "Mommies that we know to cut her hair."  So I said, "What about me?" knowing full well that I do not know how to cut hair.  She thought that was a splendid idea.  So when we got home, I did the cutting.  A LOT of cutting.  And although Russ was very skeptical, I think both of their cuts turned out really cute!  AND it is less for me to manage after baths!  Here's some more pics.

Ruthie Before
Ruthie After
Noa Before
Noa After 
And Lydie didn't get a haircut, but she's super cute, so here's a picture of her too!