Wednesday, December 30, 2009

In the meantime...

Well, I'm still waiting for Christmas pictures from my mom ( she has a lot on her plate these days. Like making fourteen dresses for the wedding in a month and a half!) so while I'm waiting I thought I would just give you some random shots from our life the last few days!

We had our first snow yesterday!!! We got about 3 inches and then it decided to rain during the night so now we have about an inch and a half of slush, but oh we enjoyed it! I LOVE watching it snow. It's one of my very favorite things in the world!

Havi wasn't so sure about playing in it so she mostly stood around making sure her sisters noticed that it indeed was snowy every 30 seconds or so.

I love living in Oregon! We get just enough cosmetic snow to make the world incredibly gorgeous for a few days, but still allows us to (mostly) carry on with our daily lives.

Here are the girls in their Christmas nightgowns from Grandma. I know! She's making fourteen dresses and she still has time to make nighties for her sweethearts? She's the best!
Believe me, the idea of taking pictures on them in front of my embarrassingly messy counters was not my idea. The girls for some reason thought it looked like great fun to all gather in front of the dishwasher and wanted a picture. I couldn't resist. Even Havilah mostly smiled for the camera which is pretty near impossible these days!
Thanks for stopping by! Christmas pictures, a visit from our baby cousin and maybe a birth plan to come soon. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Our Christmas Time Capsule

Daddy was on patrol this evening, so we girls decided to start a fun new tradition! I found this idea on a great "Children's" blog and thought it sounded like loads of fun! We made a Christmas time capsule! We kept it very basic. I had some blank cards that the girls decorated, then we all sat around and came up with things to write about each other. Things like, "Lydia has almost finished her math book", "Bethany hair covers her ears and is very curly", "Havilah sleeps with Lydia but still wakes up most nights", "Mommy's favorite names for the new baby are....". The hope is that next year we will remember to pull these out ( They will be put away with the ornaments) and be reminded of all that has changed in the past year.

The girls decorating their cards

Even Havi gets in on the fun!

Lydia's card

Bethany's card ( I understand the "B" and "E" as she just learned them for her name. Not sure about the others though!)

Havilah's card

I know that you are all envious of my artistic abilities at this point. Try to love me regardless!

The finished products! I'm so excited to pull these out next year. Then again, I'm loving these days! Maybe I will just go enjoy this time and know that next Christmas will indeed come soon enough!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A glimpse into my heart

I've prayed for quite a few weeks about if I should write this post or not. To be honest, I'm a little nervous. I pray that you will be gracious to me as I attempt to share my heart and that you will take this as what it is, merely "This is where the Lord has led us" not, " This is what I think you should do."

35 days until our little one arrives. I am so thrilled! For those of you who don't want to do the math this will make four children in 56 months (a little over four and a half years). The comments are already starting (okay they started a couple of children ago!) and I don't see them slowing any time soon. I'm honestly very tired of giving wishy-washy answers as to what our "plan" is, so here I go to try and give you all the complete version. I don't attempt this very often so count yourself fortunate!

To start out with, you need to know a little of what I believe. I believe in a God who is All-Powerful, All-Knowing, Always Present, Incomprehensible, Eternal, Faithful, Good, Just, Merciful, Gracious, Loving, Holy and Sovereign. I believe that He created everything, that He knew me and all His plans for my life before I was ever born. I believe that He has complete control over nature, that He healed incurable diseases, that He raised the dead to life and that He Himself defeated death.

I also believe that the Bible is the written word of God and that it reveals to us who He is. That it is true, and that we can believe what it tells us all of the time.

So anyway, that's where I'm coming from. I jotted down a few scriptures that help form the way that I think. If you want the references, please let me know and I would be happy to give them to you. These are scattered from throughout the Bible and hopefully I won't lose you! ( Italics are mine!)

"I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her...", "for the Lord had closed up every womb in Abimelech's household...", "The Lord did for for Sarah what He promised . Sarah became pregnant.", "The Lord answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant.", "...He opened her womb...", " Am I in the place of God who has kept you from having children?", " God listened to Leah, and she became pregnant...", " He listened to her and opened her womb.", "The Lord enabled her to conceive...", "The Lord had closed her womb.", "The Lord remembered her. So in the course of time Hannah conceived.", " May the Lord give you children...", "And the Lord was gracious to Hannah; She conceived.".

And here were the mothers responses,
"God has granted me another child...", "I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him.", " The Lord has done this for me.", " It is because the Lord has seen my misery.", "Because the Lord heard that I am not loved, He gave me this one.", " God has vindicated me,", "God has taken away my disgrace.", "God has rewarded me,", "God has presented me with a precious gift.".

Many people ( and I'm one of them!) say that they want the Lord to direct their lives. Where they live, work, minister. They want to trust the Lord and what He has planned for them because face it, we know that His plans are better than our plans. We want that in all areas of our life. It's not always easy, but that is our desire.

So here it is for you all to see; We have decided that we would rather have Him plan how many children we should have and when they should come rather than do it ourselves, very simply because we truly believe that He can do a much better job of it than we can. We don't believe that babies are just something that happen if not protected against. Like all of the above mentioned women and situations, we believe that God chooses and is in complete control over every womb that is opened or closed. We've heard the arguments and all of the reasons why we are very foolish, but thus far we are not convinced. We are witnesses every day of the awesome plans of God. Nothing in the world could convince me that I could have planned my family any better than what He has given me.

"Easy for you to say. You have three sweet little girls. Wait until you have six, eight or ten. Or even (heaven forbid!) BOYS!". Let me just say this now, if ever you hear that we have changed our minds, I hope that you will demand a pretty good explanation from us. Not to say that the Lord will never lead us another way, but that's exactly what it would have to be. It cracks me up when people ask, "So you plan on having like 20 kids?!". My answer is no. I plan on having three little girls today, with a precious new little one coming in 5 weeks. I'm completely excited about what the Lord has planned for our future and only feel anxious when I focus on my strength and abilities and not His. But how could I hope to get through any portion of this life with just my strength?

Thank you for those of you who made it all the way through this novel! Again, this was written in no way to try and convince you of anything and especially not to make you feel guilty, but hopefully just to clearly communicate where the Lord has lead us. Please pray for us as we continue to seek His wisdom and to honor Him in all that we say and do. Blessings to you all!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Here it comes!!!

It's only 9 days until Christmas!!! That fact excites me to my toes and sends me into a panic attack at the same time! I've spent the entire morning looking for those "perfect" gifts that I still have to decide on. No divine inspiration as of yet, so I decided to take a break ( I feel much less on the edge of a nervous breakdown now!) and come and peacefully update here.

We LOVE Christmas at our house. Every single one of us. Christmas music started this year on August 25 as my husband announced, "Hey, only four months until Christmas!". We almost always get our tree and decorate the house the weekend after Thanksgiving. This year David took Lydia and Bethany on the tree hunt while I stayed home with napping Havilah and made homemade hot cocoa and muddy buddies.

They found the perfect one!!!

This year we decided to make a popcorn and cranberry garland. It was loads of fun to put together and an easy way for everyone to help.

Here's the finished product. Our tree would make any designer shudder, but we love it! The first presents went under it yesterday. Speaking of which, I'd better get back to work. I think my blood pressure rose a little at that last statement, but I'm sure I'll make it!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Baby Wearing Beginner

When I first had Lydia I was given a typical front pack that I was so excited about. I had dreams of carrying my baby all over the place while I went about daily life; washing dishes, doing laundry, shopping etc.. Unfortunately it was about the most uncomfortable thing I had ever worn and getting a little one in and out of it was almost an insurmountable challenge.

I used it maybe three or four times before throwing it out for good. I pretty much gave up the dream with Bethany and as I only had two at the time I felt like I still had ample time for holding and snuggling. When Havilah came however I realized the necessity of needing to put her down to accomplish what I needed to in a day. I was reminded again of the dream having my baby with me as I went about the house without having my arms full.

It started when I ran into a friend that I only see once a year who strongly recommended a fabulous looking pack that she had her young son in. I researched quite a bit and decided that I loved what I saw and heard about the Ergo carrier. It has a soft shell and can be easily worn on the front, back or hip.
My amazing grandparents decided that they would buy it for me as my baby present. I have absolutely loved it! I am completely amazed at how comfortable it is. There are only two drawbacks that I have found with it. I never figured out how to use the infant insert very well ( or at least Havilah hated it!) so I had to wait until she was big enough to sit with her legs spread around my waist before we could really use it. The other problem is the waist strap which is wonderfully comfy, but only extends so far and my ever increasing pregnancy belly quickly outgrew it.
( My sister Anna sporting it with Bethany last summer)
Over all, I love it. But after hearing other reports I decided to look for something that would better accommodate a newborn or a round belly.
In our area the big thing is the Ring Sling. I know several mommys that absolutely love them. I've only tried one out a couple of times with not much instruction and I found it to be very uncomfortable and not very secure feeling, BUT like I said, I had no idea what I was doing! I'm sure that if I figured out what I was doing it would work great. I'll have to make one and try it out sometime. Who can resist picking some adorable fabric to make your own?
A little history ( I know we're getting long here!) on this next one. I am part of an online forum called MOMYS ( Mothers Of Many Young Siblings). I could write a whole post about it here, but won't take the time now. Check it out for yourself at . There are so many wonderful ladies there who are so encouraging. As I spent time there I kept hearing about "baby wrapping". After being very curious and asking a lot of questions, one of the sweetest ladies ever offered to send me an extra one she had and wouldn't even let me pay shipping! You can buy them for quite a bit ( they're called Mobys) but this one is just homemade and works fabulously!

There are a million different ways to use the wrap, but my favorite at this time is on the back. Keeps me completely free to do what ever I need ( even cook at the stove!) without having someone in the way, plus nothing goes around the belly. Here I am at 34 weeks and it was no problem. I find that it is not as comfortable as the Ergo, but I can still wear it for a remarkable length of time without getting tired or sore. It takes some practice to learn the wrapping techniques ( youtube is full of instructions!) but it is so much fun.

So anyway, that's what I've learned so far. I am so excited about starting out at the very beginning with this next one. If you have any tips, ideas or things you've learned I would LOVE to hear it!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tying Those Heart Strings!

From day one of being a parent, my desire has been to stay close to the heart of my children all of their days. With Lydia it seemed very easy. I have been blessed to be a stay at home mom from the very beginning so we had lots of time for singing, book reading, constant instruction etc.. We were as close as two peas in a pod. Then came Bethany. And Havilah. Somewhere along the line I realized that our home was much more of a "don't do that!" type than I wanted it to be. I found myself being grumpy and bossy, impatient and demanding.

It is easy when surrounded by many well-meaning friends who assure me that I must have my hands full to begin to feel sorry for myself or pat myself on the back for all the thing I do get done. I made myself believe that I was doing the best that I could and that my girls were turning out just great. I began to forget the importance of drawing their hearts close to mine.

"Heart strings" are just a simple illustration I use to remind myself of what I'm doing.

When I have a grumpy attitude, I cut a heart string.
When I ignore their stories, I cut a heart string.
When I lash out in anger or frustration, I cut many heart strings.
When I am critical and impatient towards their attempts, I cut a heart string.

When I listen attentively, laughing or showing concern, I tie a heart string.
When I smile at them from my heart, I tie a heart string.
When I tell them how much they mean to me, I tie a heart string.
When I take the time to sing, laugh, play or explain, I tie a heat string.

My desire is to bind myself to my children's hearts and to be extremely cautious to keep myself from cutting those strings that bind us together.

Confession time here. It is not harder for me to be close to my daughter's hearts than it was when I just had one. The difference is that I am more distracted and lazy. With each new child that comes, it only magnifies my love for each one of them. It is never hard work to love my children. The hard work comes from sacrificing my selfish desires, which is something that I greatly desire to do!

By the way, has anyone seen my adorable little firstborn around these days? She looks like the above picture. She has the most beautiful blue eyes, a contagious smile and the sweetest personality I've ever seen!
When I look for her these days I find this beautiful little girl who is well on her way towards becoming a young woman. She has the most beautiful blue eyes, a contagious smile and the sweetest personality I've ever seen. This morning she drew a a picture of a princess and said it was me. Yesterday she said ( and signed) that she loved me at least thirty times. She is one of my closest companions and we share our hearts with each other openly. Her sisters are following closely in her footsteps and the bond we all share is one of the most precious things in the world to me.

Dear Lord, please guide me and give me wisdom as I raise these precious treasures you've entrusted to me. Rid me of my selfishness and my foolishness. Help me to be faithful in keeping my children's hearts close to mine, so that in return they will be held fast to you. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your amazing love and blessings!