Tuesday, January 31

a spring project for Baby

Well, if you live where I live, it is definitely not heading toward spring anytime soon...

But I have a project in the works, that I'll be working on in the next few months before baby girl arrives.  The above picture shows the fabric I'll be using for a baby quilt for the little Miss.  The squares are cut out of 33 different Amy Butler fabrics (swoon!) that I won on ebay!  It was under $10 for the bunch... I love them!  

Then I picked up this fun polka dot flannel (half-off) that I'll be using for some strips on the front and for the backing.  I was short just two squares (as seen above) for the pattern I wanted, so I cut two 5 x 5 in. squares out of a similar style fabric scrap that I made my nursing cover out of.  

I sewed the squares into strips the other day, and now I have to decide how wide to make the polka dot flannel strips to go in between the squares rows.  Hmmm... decisions, decisions!  

Also, I'm contemplating taking the next few months to hand quilt the top once it's all assembled.  But I may end up machine quilting it for speedy/tidy results. 

Help me out, quilters, any tips for this gal??  

I've only made one quilt in my life (back in college) and I used embroidery floss to tie it all together.  No actual quilting involved...  I'll post more photos once the top is assembled!

Saturday, January 28

great flicks we've watched recently

 Last weekend, Jeremy and I finally watched Courageous!
We both loved it - and I hope it has and will touch the lives of men and young men everywhere. 
It's PG-13 for a reason, too thematic for young eyes.  This is a very wholesome movie that is PRO-FAMILY!

 The two of us watched this last night, and it was really good as well.  
You'll need more tissues for this one than Courageous for sure!  
I haven't cried that hard watching a movie in a LONG time... pregnancy hormones?  Maybe.  
See for yourself!

Also not for the kiddos, but a clean, excellent movie for teens and up. 

A few nights ago, we watched this movie as a family.  
Hooray, another great one!

I despise movies that are targeted at kids, then are said to be filled with rude humor, mild language, and innuendo.  What parent wants their kids to see that?  (Thankfully, there are resources such as Plugged In where we can check out films' ratings and full reviews from a Christian worldview before renting/watching.) 

Well this film has none of the above, and we were so happy to find it...
watch it with your kids, you'll love it!

Friday, January 27

19 week belly, on the mend, and a healthy baby girl celebration!

Here's the current belly shot from earlier this week, I was exactly 19 weeks on this day.  

I have been feeling really great since all of that yucky nausea took a hike around 14 weeks, but yesterday I woke up with some awful stabbing pain that was near the baby, but I was pretty sure that wasn't it.... I laid down for a long time to try to ease the pain but it was only increasing as time went by...  (thankfully Jeremy was home!) ... and then called and went in after lunchtime to the midwifery thinking I had a bladder infection or something else wrong...  it was a bladder infection, and boy am I glad I went in yesterday!  The pain was so bad!  Even on meds now for nearly 24 hours, the pain is still lingering, I'm praying it vanishes soon - ouch! 

Baby girl was great, it was wonderful to hear her little galloping heart again. 

These couple donut shop pictures were taken just after our ultrasound appointment last Monday when we saw and rejoiced over seeing our healthy little baby girl!!   They have the yummiest donuts - it was a great day to celebrate!  (Our squirmy toddlers were being watched by Grandpa, who was home holding down the fort with them...)

Say, "Baby sister!!!!!"  

We never want to take for granted the health of our children.  There is so much that could be/go wrong, and we don't ever want to just waltz by without remembering the be thankful.  Seeing a perfectly formed baby, heart, umbilical cord, brain, spine, etc...  nearly brought me to tears as we all sat watching our baby squirm around on the big screen.  Thank you, Lord Jesus!

Thursday, January 26

a few of my favorite things of 2011

Every once in a while, I think it's fun to highlight a few favorite things/products that have made me smile lately or have made my life easier in a small way...  in this version, it's the whole entire year of 2011 that is getting the comb through.

There are loads of things that I am thankful for, but here I'll name just a few favorites of 2011:

**and of course, I have not been/will not be compensated in any way for mentioning these products**

My hands down favorite CD of 2011.
Here For You is the live recording of the worship sessions featuring some of my favorite Christian artists at the Passion 2011 Conference.  (This particular one was recorded in Atlanta, I think.)  It's a fantastic album that has caused me (and my family) to sing loud and turn the music up even louder.  I LOVE this album. 

Lark Rise to Candleford is a heartwarming and fun BBC television series my cousin told me about in late 2011.  And before 2012 rolled around, Jeremy and I watched all four seasons!!  We were so stoked to find out our public library had all four seasons to check out for FREE.  Excellent series - (As I've mentioned before on the old blog, skip the first episode of Season 2, it's so unlike the rest!) 

I don't think this came into my life in 2011, but it may have... but it has been a staple around here for clean ups all year.  Not only do I love the Basil Countertop Spray (and All-Purpose Cleaner as a refill), but I also love all of their different scents and products.  Yummy! 

Oh, blessed peace!
I've never owned one of these white noise/sound maker thingies until last summer, when we were about to move two babies who were 4 months apart into the same room cold turkey with no warm-up or how-do-you-do's...  I had the notion that one of these would really help: 1) the rest of us noisy folks not wake them up when napping or sleeping for the night  2) help them not wake each other up during those times.  Ours is the one pictured above made by Homedics

Well, we love it!  Our babies go to sleep each naptime and nighttime to the sound of a soothing waterfall.  No wonder their diapers are SO full!  :)  

I snagged a copy of this year-long devotional book at the library in December, and read each day's entry until I had to return it...   It is written by missionary Sarah Young, and each day's devotional (with verses to look up) are taken from her own journals through the years and is written as though Jesus is speaking to you the words on the page.  (you can read more in the introduction of the book)  I liked it so much, that I bought a copy with some Christmas money I received.  Each day has words and statements that touch me. 

My hands-down favorite book of 2011, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.
Amazing.  You really should read it. 

The best book I read out loud to the kiddos in 2011 is Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink.  Think Laura Ingalls crossed with Anne Shirley.  Pioneer girl who gets into plenty of scrapes.  You'll love it. 

And my trusty Brother sewing machine.  It's from Costco, and Jeremy surprised me with it a couple of years ago when my old one came crashing down off the shelf it became too heavy for, breaking into pieces.  It's all I need, nothing crazy fancy....  great one! 

I love www.ravelry.com - a great place to find crochet and knitting patterns of ALL sorts!!!  (like the one pictured above)

Oh, Aquaphor, you rock!  You've saved little Levi's face!!!  His cheeks were once red, bumpy, and itchy and now they are smooth and pink!  He gets a slather of it twice a day - it's been a great product for our little man. 

My no-longer-look-like-a-wet-dog solution when wearing my hair curly out of the shower... I pop my diffuser on my blow dryer, and dry my curls after scrunching with some gel, without blowing them to a frizzy mess.  I've known about diffusers since I was in jr. high - so I'm not sure why it took me so long to actually own one, but I'm glad I splurged the $7 on it.  :)

Oh yummmmmy.
Bath & Body Works Dark Kiss Body Lotion
I was in a B&BW store sometime in the last year or two (which only happens every year or two) and picked up 5 of their little 2oz. bottles of lotion that sit by the register for $1 when they are trying to get you hooked on a new scent...  well they reeled me right in.  And I have since made it through my sample bottles, one full-size bottle (thanks, Mom) and am now working through another full-size bottle.  (thanks again, Mom)

I love all Burt's Bees products... but if you haven't tried their Mango Butter lip balm, you're in for a treat!

Well, I think that wraps it up for the night... I hope you enjoy my 2011 favorites round-up, and maybe you'll find a new favorite yourself in the bunch! 

Tuesday, January 24

it's in the blood

In the last two weeks, Morgan has learned to sew, knit, and crochet amazingly! 

She has come to me on three separate occasions asking to learn all three.  

First we started with sewing.  I told her, as I was working on a project for baby at the sewing machine during the babies' naptime, to bring over the material she wanted to work with, and I'd teach her to machine sew a simple square.  Well, she insisted she learn to sew with a needle and thread.  What a girl!  She did beautifully and has since gone on to hand sew and stuff a couple more doll pillows.  

Next, she wanted to knit.  Knitting can be difficult for adult learners, so I was a bit wary, since we'd tried about a year ago and the concept just wasn't catching on.   But a year made a big difference, and she is now knitting so well!  Below is her very first project, which she is saving for her little sister's 4th birthday in a few weeks - shhhhh, don't tell!


Look at the drastic improvement from the start to the stitches on the needle!  
Every beginning knitter has to add and drop a few stitches here and there...  I've saved my first ever knitting project from 8 years ago, and boy was it ever full of holes! 

I'm so proud of my blossoming crafty girl, I'm imagining many fun moments knitting, crocheting, and sewing together. 

Monday, January 23

Just thrilled about our Baby ....... !

We're having a baby GIRL!!!

Our 19 week ultrasound was this morning, it was so fun!
Most importantly, we learned that she is a perfectly formed and  
healthy little one.  We got a lot of great pictures of her squirmy little self and she has officially broken our Boys vs. Girls tie!  

Girls are in the lead!! 

Here is our favorite 3D picture of her cute little face - her right hand is by her eye, and her left up over her head.  Ultrasound technology has come a long way in just our 11 years of having babies! 

We love you, sweet girl!!

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.  

Psalm 139:13

Sunday, January 22

Top Reasons Why Today is Fantastic

  • Downton Abbey is on tonight on PBS!  We watched part of Season 1, and are attempting to turn on the TV once a week to catch Season 2 - so far, we've watched the first and second episode, and are on to the third tonight.  We love a good British drama.  The best part about our rabbit ears antennae, is that it gets two channels: the one to watch the Olympics (next summer, yay!) and of course PBS! 
 You can watch online if you want to see what it's all about!
  • Our 19 week ultrasound is TOMORROW!!!  The four bigger kids are coming, and can't wait to see their wee little brother or sister! I'm giddy with excitement to have a good long look and be educated about how our little one is doing/growing.  And of course, then we'll be able to share if it's a boy or girl, and confirm what we found out five weeks ago.  Excited!!!!

  • And I made it to the fabric store for the second time this weekend - need I say more??  LOVE.  I had a 50% of coupon that was good starting today, and a sale I was trying to make yesterday!

      • Okay, so I discovered Pinterest a few months back, and went on there every once in a while to add some photos to my boards - which I thought was fun, since I love ideas for DIY projects, crafts, decor, recipes, etc...  But I still didn't get why it was so popular.  That was until I discovered (aren't I clever?) just yesterday that all of the fuss was about being able to CLICK on the picture after adding it to one of your boards and go straight to the site it came from!  I kept seeing pictures of yummy foods and desserts, but just didn't get why it would be beneficial to catalog yummy/interesting looking photos if you had no way of knowing how in the world to make it.   So it's a bit more fun for me now!  

        Cute Valentine's Day idea, thank you Pinterest...

         a fun cake idea....

        • Today is Sunday, and that means church!  There's just nothing like worshiping in song with other believers, praising our God and exploring truth from The Bible.  

        • Why else is today great?  Well, we're at the start of a 10 day vacation from work for Jeremy!  I may even get to use a spa gift card I received for Christmas this week...  hmmm... pedicure?  facial?  something with my hair?  What's your vote? 


        If you're interested...

        ... I've finished up the Adoption page, feel free to click on the link along the top row if you'd like to read about our adoption journeys to Gabrielle and Levi!

        August 2011
        Friday, January 20

        boys - silly, charming, wonderful

        Yesterday I had the sheer pleasure of finding a glass one-third full of water put away with the clean dishes.  It brightened my day in the biggest way!  The older boys unload the dishwasher and put them away once a day or so, and they have a little routine, so I know who usually puts the glasses away - and it just tickled my funny bone to think of how a glass full of water could be mistaken for a clean one!  That was definitely a first for me.  And I'm so thankful it wasn't something like a glassful of milk!

        My life never ceases to be interesting.

        Yesterday needed some brightening too - it was a tough one with the babies and I didn't handle it very well.  I hadn't been in a puddle of parenting-induced tears in I don't know how long!  But yesterday was the day.  
        When it was getting to be later in the day and one of the boys (not the water glass boy) could sense the day had been a super tough one, he asked if he could call Dad and have him bring some flowers home for me because it seemed like I could use some cheering up.  (Jeremy was already too close to home to have a place to stop by then...)  But isn't this boy on the right path toward A++ thoughtful husband material??  That cheered my day too.  Just the thought of it. I hope he continues to be thinking of others and what he can do to help. 

        I find parenting my boys as they enter and pass double digits to be a challenge like no other.  Parenting them as toddlers and preschoolers had it's challenges (as I can attest with my current toddlers and preschooler) but it's so much different than what we're entering now.  The stakes are so much higher in this sort of parenting as they are over half-way to adulthood.  Why is it that childhood is so short, and adulthood is so long?  And why is it that the decisions parents make in these short 18 years of their children's lives make such an impact and have such a lasting effect?  Well, I get it, but it just seems so brief, such a blip on the radar.  And we're realizing now that our boys aren't getting any younger, and they certainly aren't going to be the same as they were when they were eager kindergarteners... and I find it a challenge to parent so many different stages all at the same time.  But the most challenging is growing as parents with our kids as they grow.  We can't stay the same.  We can have the same truth-based methods, have the same consistency and unconditional love for them - but the way we relate to them has to move and grow.  And I find that an enormous challenge! 

        How about you, boy mamas?  How do you navigate the uncharted waters of boys not being so little anymore?
        Thursday, January 19

        belly roundup


        redemption is here

        As I sit here in my darkened house, all are snoozing and off to dreamland but me and the wee baby.  The baby inside is kicking, an experience I feel so thankful to be having.  Redemption.

        You see, after giving birth the last time to Annika just about four years ago, we thought that was going to be the last pregnancy and child from my womb for us.  Not because we didn't want more children, more because my health took a nosedive after the pregnancy and birth (which were perfect and healthy.)  After two years of battling with all sorts of health issues, seeing loads of doctors and even a cardiologist, I was finally diagnosed with severe vitamin D deficiency and hypothyroidism, which wasn't so severe, but affected me greatly nonetheless.  Why was this seemingly simple problem not diagnosed earlier?  You got me!  But I didn't care, I was extremely thankful to have an answer.  A plan.  Some hope.  Plus, add in a fixed back/neck after years of pain and struggling to find a fix after a bad car accident in my teens.  Hope. 

        There were moments in those two years following Annika's birth, that I was sure that one of my children would find me no longer breathing in my bed in the morning.  That one night, my heart would simply stop, and I'd be swept into eternity.  Horrible, I know  (not the eternity part, the child finding me part)  One of the signs of low vitamin D is panic/anxiety attacks.  I didn't know at the time, but that's what it was.  I thought panic and anxiety disorders were something that, well.... more unstable folks dealt with.  I just didn't understand it produced real physical symptoms and real mental feelings.  And boy did I have nearly every symptom in the book. And the clincher was that those years of misery (for all of us) could be caused by something so fixable.  Vitamin D!  I know I've said this before, but I love you, Vitamin D!!!  (If you're curious, I take 50,000iu twice a week to maintain a good, normal number... mine was just checked - perfect!)

        It's been a while since I've written about this, and if you're new to a blog of mine, maybe you've never heard, but God led me to an amazing nurse practitioner that truly understands women's health.  I'm so thankful.  She's one of the people, like my midwife, that when I see her, I want to run and tackle her down with a huge grateful hug.  But I don't.  

        Anyways, she's fixed up all of my health issues.  I have none to speak of at the moment.  What a miracle.

        Getting back to the redemption.  God immediately put adoption on our hearts when baby Annika hadn't even celebrated her first birthday - so we thought we'd adopt the rest the children God had planned for us.  That felt like redemption too.  (There's soooo much more to say on adoption, but that'll come on a later day...)

        Jump back to one and a half years ago, when Gabrielle was just a few months old.  I had mega baby fever like I did the entire time we were in process to adopt Gabi, or at least I hoped beyond hope that God would see us through and that a baby would actually end up in our family through adoption.  Well, a baby we received!!  Simply miraculous.  And after a couple months after her arrival,  I'd explain my lingering baby fever to Jeremy, and he'd shake his head quizzically and say, "Ummmm... but we have a baby!"

        I'd laugh and say that I didn't know what it was, but that I had the feeling there was something else we should be doing.... so fast forward (much more of a story that I'll share later) nine months, and enter nine month old Levi.  Amazing.  Another baby in exactly one year's time, delivered to us again in June. Aha!  I thought, that's the explanation for the baby fever!  Levi was in the works, and God was preparing my heart.  Fast forward a little further, like weeks further.  More baby fever.  What in the world???

        Now it was getting funny.  We now had two babies.  Four months apart babies.  Adorable, but oh-so-busy-babies.

        I told Jeremy about my continued baby fever... and told him that I kept getting the feeling (he knows those "feelings" oh too well) that we should think and pray about another pregnancy.  We both knew that I was now healthy and feeling great, and that we'd probably adopt again down the road. Like way down the road. That was our thought on the subject anyways.  But God kept giving me little bits of insight into the way he sees our family.  And I kept asking, "Really??"  But also started getting really excited about the prospect.

        {If you haven't, I'd ask God what he wants and already has planned for you and your family.  It's a good thing to do.  I think so often we think that our plan for our family has to be the right one just because it's what our sensible (or impatient, selfish, fill-in-the-blank) selves would prefer.}

        20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.  ~ Ephesians 3:20-21

        Jeremy said that he wasn't against another baby through a pregnancy if that's what God wanted.  We didn't want to be outside of God's will for us.  What Christian does?  So he said that he'd pray about it, and get back to me soon.  So in the meantime, I started doing some reading.  Researching, really.  And I found a couple of great articles that confirmed it in my mind.  If you're interested, you can read them HERE and HERE

        Jeremy did get back to me, and together we decided to start praying for and trying to conceive this baby that we felt God had already birthed in our hearts.  Well, you know the rest... I'm in my 18th week of pregnancy, due in June!  (The month of special deliveries to us coming up on three Junes in a row!)

        photo credit

        Redemption.  I honestly never could have imagined this a couple years ago.  I nearly fainted at the thought of my poor body going through another pregnancy again.  God has redeemed my life, and in the middle of that hard couple of years I kept telling God,  

        "I get it!  I've learned what you're trying to teach me!  Enough already!  I get it, I'm nothing without you!! Save me!"   And he did.  When the perfect time came, but not from my pleading and begging. 

        Looking back, I'm truly thankful for that time.  Strange..  But I came out on the other side a new believer, wife, mother, friend, sister, daughter, a new everything.  I don't want the old me back.  I am thankful for the now me, who needs ever so much daily refining - but it's a good place to be, because I know I need Him.  I ache to be near Him.  To know Him. 

        And this new little life that kicks and rolls within me, is a special gift straight from Him.  And I'm just bubbling with excitement to be pregnant again.  (And be in the second trimester - that first one was a doosie!)