Thursday, September 03, 2015

Wednesdays with Words: Routines

It's been a while since I joined in Dawn's weekly post. While I might not have been sharing here, I've read her blog (& several others who shared). Recently, with lots of dr appointments & then resting after giving birth, I've been reading A LOT (& listening to podcasts but that's a topic for another time). Mostly on education- it's really exciting what I've been learning! Dawn assures me it's okay to share even though it's not Wednesday. ;)

With all I'm learning, I'm making several changes to how we flesh out our educational pursuits. We're forming some new routines, new habits. Today's words come from For the Children's Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macauley on this subject:

"Routines form habits." (pg. 80)

"When planning routines, priority must be given to the most important things. The person matters... We'll need time to talk, read, relax, & work together. Our relationship with God matters... Where will I find time to get out & enjoy nature? There is too much work to be done, & I am finite. I need to accept the reality, & plan the time & priorities carefully." (pg. 81)

To form a habit, we need a plan, a routine. If I stopped there, I'd have the tendency to railroad over people. God's taught me much as a parent but one of the biggest things is to embrace the chaos, to let go & soak it in. You see, I adore planning/charts/organization/spreadsheets/order. So the second quote is really good for me to ponder. People matter. Prioritizing our relationship with God first & then each other. Having time to soak people & things in. Getting outside! Those are things we can crowd out when we plan too much. (Me, not you, of course!)

HOW??? :) It's not always easy to find a plan that works & I've found that plans are constantly needing adjusting. But not having a plan with 10 - oh wait, 11! - people under one roof is not an option! ;) As Dawn pointed out in her post yesterday, it's really about surrendering our wills to His. Then their's peace!

And for those of you wondering, we are still classical. But so is Charlotte Mason. I've learned (thank you, Consider This) they are not at odds. I've learned CM can help add back in peace & beauty. But I haven't pitch everything we were doing! We're just feasting a bit more. I'm chewing on a lot of these things & I hope to share how it's molding us here. :)

Be sure to link up with Dawn's blog to see more words:

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

He's Here!!! (WARNING: picture overload!)

Josiah Providence made his appearance on August 27th at 12:53AM! :) Most of you have seen lots of pictures of him already but I thought I'd share (lots) here, as well as his birth story. These are all iPhone pictures.

Eric went with me to my doctor appointment on Wednesday, the 27th. We met with the midwives first  while they acknowledged I was "overdue" they were not concerned. We then crossed the hall & went to doctor office (I was only seeing him because of my past history- all plans were for me to labor with the midwives). We were able to have an ultrasound done, as well as a "non-stress" test (I chuckled at the wording of that one). Both found Josiah & I healthy. No need to do anything. More waiting. When we saw the physical assistant, I mentioned again that I thought they were off on my due date. We did some digging & she discovered someone had inputed my date wrong in the system... YES, I was 2 weeks overdue. :/ The doctor came in & said that it would be okay to continue to wait but asked what I wanted to do. I said I was ready to have this baby! He smiled and asked if I wanted to be induced that night or the next morning. Eric chuckled- he knows his wife. TONIGHT!

After the doctor checked me (I was only 2 cm- very disappointing), Eric & I went straight home, called for my parents to come stay with the children, gathered my items, hugged & kissed everyone, prayed as a family & headed to the hospital... in traffic. LOTS of traffic. Oh, Atlanta! Eric mentioned how grateful he was that I wasn't in labor because the drive would have been nerve-wracking! :) It gave me lots of time to pray though. I was a bit nervous I was in store for a long, hard labor.

We arrived at the hospital at 6:52. A hospital we had never been to- another reason to be thankful I wasn't really in labor since we had to find our way around. :) (See how relaxed we were about having baby #9!) After lots of sorting over who was going to be my nurse (3 or 4 came in saying it was them) & LOTS of blood drawn (my past history stresses everyone out), my midwife came & a low-dose of pitocin was started at 8:50. The midwife left to see another woman laboring, promising to return later when my pitocin was increased. She came back at 10:35 to discover no one had increased my piton & I was only 3 cm. She broke my water (though not much came out- Josiah's head was SO LOW he was in the way!) & this time, the nurses began to steadily increase my meds. OUCH!!!! I was also on continual monitoring (errr- I find this SO ANNOYING & UNNECESSARY since Josiah wasn't in distress), which meant I had to stay in bed the entire time. OUCH!!!! (No water birth because I was induced. Insert sad face here.) I kept praying for strength & God was so good to give me a calmness. I labor very quietly- the nurse kept saying how easy I was & so calm. :) (If you freak out, it hurts more!)

At 12:05AM the nurse checked me- I was 7 cm! Yahoo! (My piton was know at 8 & I was fine leaving it there!) At 12:35 AM, I was 8 cm. I felt that overwhelming urge to push shortly after. When the midwife entered the room I was on my side so I tried pushing a bit. That position has NEVER worked for me, so I asked if I could move & Eric encouraged it- he knows me! That's all it took- Josiah was born at 12:52 AM. YAHOO!!!

He weighed 8lbs. 8oz & was 19.5" long. (I nailed it in guessing!) Josiah had a bit of brusing (remember that awful mandate to stay in bed- it doesn't provide for a smooth entrance into the world!) but after having Emily, he looked wonderful to us! He nursed like a pro from the beginning & if he wasn't nursing, he was sucking his fingers. We were so thankful that the hospital is "baby-friendly" which means they do all baby checkups in the room if at all possible & they let mama and baby bond. Josiah was able to nurse for an entire hour before they weighed him (& they did that right next to my bed). (They did check him but he never left my arms.) What a special time it was! The delivery ward was busy & several babies needed assistance so the nurse didn't come to give him a bath (another annoying thing in my mind- LEAVE THAT VERNEX ON- it will soak into their skin) & do his complete checkup till a few hours later. While we waited, Eric slept:

And I nursed some more, holding my precious son in my arms the entire time. :) When Josiah finally was checked before we headed to our room, they did so right next to my bed. I loved that:

It was a sweet time... but I was tired & ready to go to bed at 4:30 when I was finally in my room & everyone was done with their checks & questions. They all came back starting at 6. :/ This is the NUMBER ONE REASON I do not like hospitals- you can't rest. Everyone has one specific job & schedule & they all come in at various times. (WHY have nurses switch rotations at 6 AM??? Why not let mamas sleep & start a new rotation later in the morning?) Mamas & babies need rest after delivery!!!

Anyway, we stayed in the hospital till the 28th, when we came home. (We wondered if they would release us because Josiah's first test for jaundice came back high. A serum test provided lower numbers, however. Praise God!) Here's various pictures from our hospital stay:

Coming home is always so special, especially because our children were waiting to meet Josiah. It was sweet:

Our days have been sweet with this little man! :) I'm enjoying resting, as Eric is home from work till Sept 14th!!! (I'm loving all this extra time to read!) The children did start co-op last Thursday (Josiah's birthday- I missed the first day! I was very sad about this), so they are doing those lessons + Bible & piano and enjoying lots of free time. They've also been working hard to help as mama is resting. EVERYONE is eager to help with Josiah especially. ;) Here's a "few" pictures from the past few days:

Lessons from my rocking chair:

She totally melted down Sunday night when Eric was leaving for church. She needed some mama time (along with baby brother!):

After my milk came in, it was time to break out the pacifier! We went from nursing every 1-2 hours around the clock to longer stretches. Yippee!

Reading + commonplacing + newborn baby = PERFECTION!

This boy can frown! Eric and I think he looks like Benjamin here:

Phew. If you made it to the end, you deserve an award! ;)

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

More Surrendering

So by this point in August, I kinda wanted to write about our new baby boy. I really wanted to show you a bunch of pictures! But we are still waiting on this little man. Still. I often talk to my children about walking closely to the Lord- seeking Him, reading His Word, praying & trusting His providence as we REST in Him. God is letting put those exhortations into practice! :)

I thought my due date was August 13th- it's what my estimates were & what our home midwives had been going by. That's why our friends the Arendses came to visit. I expected to go a bit late but maybe not quite this long?

Today I had a checkup with our new doctor/midwives. When we saw them back in March for a 20-week ultrasound, they put my due date as August 20th. Every ultrasound since then has pointed to this later date & I've actually measured small throughout my pregnancy. It's the date my doctor has gone by all along... only I didn't know it till today. :/ So when I went in wanting to know if we should consider inducing because I was past my due date, he said nope. :) Actually, he probably would have said no anyway because as long as the baby & mama are healthy, he feels strongly about not messing with a woman's body till 42 (or more) weeks. As he says it, "We only mess with you if you come in & it often doesn't lead to good things." :)

I LOVE this! I love how he is trying to bring positive changes to the hospital birthing community. I love how they embrace home birth & do water births in the hospital (both when appropriate of course)... but I seriously DON'T LOVE this all because I'm tired. :) I KNOW it's best for me to wait- that inducing has risks that are not necessary right now. I KNOW it's best for me to get another iron treatment before giving birth (I'm scheduled for #4 this Friday & my numbers are slowly improving- yippee!). I KNOW it's okay to wait (for now... next week, I'm ready! ;)

But I thought I was due. And I'm tired (my anemia is still an issue). And Jeanelle leaves Friday. :( And I wanted to have this baby before co-op started. And... and... and... not my will, but Yours, O Lord. Oh, yeah. Surrendering. Again. Because I have to do that a lot- I'm a bit strong-willed by nature. ;)

So, that's what we're up to. Waiting & learning to rest. Jeanelle came last Thursday & we've enjoyed our visit together. God is good & we need to remember those specific acts of kindness towards us. He is good to teach me to wait, rest & surrender.

I'll share are some iPhone pictures. Bedtime is more fun with friends:

Patricia LOVED celebrating her 15th birthday with our friends! The girls spent the day painting & then we met Papa & Nanny at Patricia's favorite used bookstore/coffee shop. Oh, how we love this girl & praise God for the godly young woman she is!!!

Summer days last week in the sun & pool (we've had so much rain this week they haven't been able to do this again):

So thankful Jeanelle has been here while I've had doctor visits & iron treatments:

Dinner out with just a few of my fav people (there are many)- Jeanelle & Eric. We missed you, Lorimer!

Dark chocolate & raspberries help with the waiting for baby:

In order to organize our crews, Jeanelle & I rotate kitchen duties each day. Organization is KEY:

My good friend, Elizabeth, has been teaching Patricia & I all about fermenting. Our kombucha was delicious today! She came over this week & helped us start fermenting veggies- pickles in one jar & multi-colored carrots with ginger & garlic in another. YUM. Here's my reading pile (actually, this is just part of my pile- this is the health section of my books):

Waiting & changing plans is hard. Tonight, we took all the children out for gluten-free fries & hamburgers followed by a trip to B&N:

Thursday, August 06, 2015

A Change of Plans

"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand. " (Psalm 37:23-24)

39 weeks today! Yahoo!!! Everyone is eager for Mr. Josiah to make his arrival. :) I'm not the most patient person by myself & with the help of 7 children (Katherine doesn't count- she has no clue what's happening!), it's even harder. ;)

Recently, we've had to make a lot of changes to our plans for Josiah's birth due to my severe anemia. I spent majority of the day driving to & from downtown (oh, the joys of Atlanta traffic!) to meet with our new midwives & doctor, as we are switching from a home birth to a hospital birth. (Thankfully, the dr's office isn't where I'll be delivering- that hospital is closer.) The reason for the switch is concern over postpartum bleeding & recovery due to my anemia.

It's been hard emotionally to make the switch so late in my pregnancy. Many of you will wonder at that & I'm not even going to try to explain why home births are so important to us. :) While it's hard, I am SO THANKFUL the Lord has directed us to this new practice where they embrace home births. I've never experienced such positive attitudes before from the medical community before! I'm SO THANKFUL for hospitals to care for us when we are sick (which is the reason a person should use them)! I'm SO THANKFUL I was able to have an ultrasound yesterday & see Josiah- I really needed that! It helped to remind me how blessed Eric & I. The birthing process is important but it's not an end in itself.

With all of these changes & appointments for iron treatments (I have my second tomorrow), I've been gone A LOT. It's less than ideal & I miss my children. I'd really like to give my bathrooms a through cleaning, have time to address attitudes that have crept up with mama being gone so much & have a complete day of lessons. But our Lord knows & orders our days & He is teaching us all to submit with joy!

I think my children miss me too... though Patricia is proving that she'll be a better mama than me one day by all the care & activities she's been doing while I'm gone. May God bless her for her faithfulness! I'm grateful my children are learning to serve each other (& their mama!) during this time. Yesterday, in addition to baking with the girls & serving lunch, Patricia lead them in finger painting & then painted the girl's nails. (Those last two are things I never do!) Katherine kept leaning over to look at her piggies, touching them & squealing. ADORABLE:


We would ask you to continue to pray for Josiah & I's health & for a quick/safe delivery! Thank you so much for joining us in praying! 

Monday, August 03, 2015

YUM! (and our church folks rock!)

Yesterday, two awesome families from church gave us meals. I've been battling severe anemia at the end of the pregnancy & while we are managing house/food/life well, it's still not the norm we are use to. Cooking for our family isn't easy- there's the shear number of us + several food allergies, so I've tried to shoo people away. :) But some people just won't listen... and we are so thankful! :)

I'm so grateful for God's people! For their prayers, encouragement & fellowship. And my children would echo in here, for their FOOD! :) We haven't tasted it all yet but Katherine would like to thank the Abraham family for their yummy coconut fudge:

Belly laugh:

Cheesy grin:

It was time for a BATH:

I didn't capture any pictures of her eating it but Abigail is thankful for the McCallum's salad with the "delicious dressing." This is NO SMALL FEAT, Deanna, because that girl does not like anything green despite my efforts to reform her. :/ She's our hobbit, saying. "I don't like green food." One of the chickens was gobbled up tonight- it was a huge hit!

Thank you, ladies! :) We prayed for blessings on your family tonight!

NOTE: this is just one of countless times through the years that our family has been blessed by food from our various churches, serving like their Savior, Jesus Christ! It's such a sweet taste of God's kingdom!

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Project 365: July 2015

I missed 7 days this month so you'll find the extra photos from various days at the top of the calendar.  You'll notice most Sundays I missed shooting- this is THE hardest day of each week to pick up my camera. (This should encourage all of you that taking on a Project 365 doesn't have to be perfect- just keep going!) I took selfies this month with Katherine- yahoo! No group shot of the children but I got at least one photo of each of them this month. I'm looking forward to capturing pictures of our new little man this month! Be prepared for major baby image overload! :)

You can follow my Project 365 by visiting the tab above (+ you can see my settings, as I shoot in manual.) If you click the button at the top of my Project 365 page, you can visit some other people's projects. I'd LOVE to see what you're shooting- please share! My other calendar spreads from this year's project can be found here: January, February, March, April, May & June.