No More Glasses

I recently shared about Strawberry getting glasses.  It has been six months since she first started wearing them. For the last month, she has been complaining that her glasses are blurry.  Now, my little girl managed to cover her glasses with smudges and food many times throughout the day.  But even after cleaning them, she would still complain about them being blurry.  I didn’t push the issue too much, because I knew we had an opthamologist appointment scheduled for this month and she was really great about wearing them up until this point without complaining that they were bothering her.

When we went in, I had them asses her vision both with and without glasses.  They found her vision better without the glasses and her eyes are both seeing at nearly the same strength. No more glasses for Strawberry!  YAY

Strawberry with doll her Mee-Maw got her for her 4th birthday.

Strawberry with doll her Mee-Maw got her for her 4th birthday.

While she looked adorable in her glasses, I am thankful that she now can have the freedom to go without the additional luggage of her glasses.  Praise be to God.

Thanks: The Example of Jesus

My need to grow in thanksgiving has grown more and more evident in my life.  For years I have had a thankful journal.  This week, I determined it was time for me to start a topical Bible study on thanks during my quiet time. I would like to share what moved my heart this morning.

This morning, I found myself studying out of the book of Matthew.  Jesus is at the last supper.

Then HE took the cup and gave thanks and gave it to them, saying “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remissions of sins.  – Matthew 26:27-28

Here we see Jesus give thanks for the wine in the cup. But he also gave thanks for what it symbolized: His blood, His sacrifice, and His ability to pay the price for their sins.

Oh, what a great love.

He was not complaining, resisting, dragging His feet.  No, he was giving thanks for what was to come. He was giving thanks for the betrayal of Judas, the denial of Peter,  the trial to come, the beatings, the cross. He was giving thanks for the greatest pain- the separation of Him and the Father as He bore the weight of the world’s sin on His shoulders.

He knew all this was to come; that He would be able to shed His blood for the price of the human race’s sins. Yet He still gave thanks. 

Oh, what a great example is our Lord!

Prayer: O, Lord.  Thank You for such a precious gift.  Thank you, Jesus that You loved your disciples, the whole human race, so much that You were found giving thanks for the torture that was to come.  Thank You for the great example to give thanks in the midst of life’s hardest trials.  Thank You for the beautiful picture that You are and give.  Oh, how great is Your Love.

10 years

We made it to 10 years.

Our anniversary was August 2nd, but I am just finding a few quiet moments to share this great milestone. Ten years ago we entered into this union with a great love for the Lord and each other. We had great dreams of discovering the world together – possibly missions of some sort, but had hopes at least of moving our horizons beyond this state that we were both born and raised in. We thought that we would begin a family about five years after we married. We were excited about the great adventures that awaited us in marriage. We had far different ideas about what our marriage would be like and where we would be ten years down the road. Though it escapes our minds as to exactly how we pictured marriage ten years in, we are both certain that it did not involve six kids nor did it involve staying within the same region of this great state in which I have lived my whole life. Though we are blessed beyond words for the marriage and the family that the Lord has so graciously created from the oath we made in front of Him.

We celebrated our anniversary at home with the kids.

The kids woke us up the morning of our anniversary, bubbling over with joy and excitement, as they lavished us with cards and decorations that they had made in honor of our anniversary.

 

Hubby had to work, so the kids and I spent the day at home preparing the house for a dinner celebration. Hubby arrived home in the evening with beautiful flowers in hand.

 

 

A portrait of Mommy and Daddy from Grape’s perspective.

Dinner was hot and ready, yet held up for a bit, as the four oldest kids dived into the world of photography, each trying to capture a photograph of their mommy and daddy.

We sat long at the table, laughing, and enjoying the fruits of this marriage. As a sweet ending to dinner, a homemade Italian Cream Cake, sitting beneath the bride and groom cake topper that graced our wedding cake, was brought to the table. Hubby and I demonstrated to the kiddos how a bride and groom should cut the cake together, and then continued to show them how a couple should not proceed with smearing cake all over one another’s faces. Sparkling apple cider was then brought forth, and we interlocked our arms, and toasted to many more years. Our children found this way of remembering our vows to be quite comical.

Once the kids were in bed, Hubby and I reminisced over our last ten years of marriage as we recorded these memories into Our Wedding Anniversary Memory Book, that my mother gave us for our anniversary a few years ago(and yet this was the first time we ever opened it to record any memories).

I mentioned several months back about how Hubby had stashed money for an anniversary trip. We took a 3 day/2 night trip back in March (that I intend to post about one day). We were planning on taking another trip later in the year to a place that would be in the States but out of this state. But as a result of unplanned expenses, and Hubby being gracious to me at the end of pregnancy by encouraging me to buy some convenience foods in order to make life more manageable for me, instead of making everything from scratch, we do not have enough in the trip budget to go on another trip. However, my sweet Hubby decided that we would convert some of the money that he still had saved for the trip over to buying some furniture for our bedroom. He found a headboard and nightstand on Craigslist and we are keeping our eye out for a dresser that we like. We went ahead and bought a shower curtain because the one we had in our bathroom had started to rip resulting in water all over the floor every time the shower was used. Hubby said to purchase a comforter that matched/coordinated with the shower curtain as our Christmas gift to one another. So we are slowly in the process of fixing our bedroom into a relaxing (and romantic) retreat.

We had a great time of celebrating our 10 years of mostly married bliss. We are anticipating many more years of learning to love one another and journeying together (even if our journey never takes us out of the state).

 

 

 

Life with our newest

The kids all love their baby sister. Grape enjoyed reading to her.

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She is very much taken with her.  She told me that she wants me to go back to the hospital and adopt another baby.  I asked her if we adopted this baby and she confirmed to me that we did in deed.  I am guessing that she chose the word adopt because one of her friends recently gained a little brother through adoption.  Plus we have friends who have been “in country” trying to adopt a little girl whom they hope to have back in the states by June.   So for now in her mind, bringing home a baby is the same as adopting one.

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Strawberry adores her too.  Though she does seem a little bit jealous at times.  She wants to hold her and kiss her a lot and gets very upset when we do not let her.  At one point, Strawberry signed with her hands that she wanted, pointed to baby, and said, “Baby doll.”  She enjoys holding her until baby girl starts grabbing Strawberry’s clothes and legs and then Strawberry gets a frightened look on her face.  I also find it really cute that Strawberry will sit and watch the baby and when the baby starts kicking her legs, Strawberry will kick hers. She also watched baby girl as moved her mouth in a sucking motion.  Then Strawberry would mimic those same movements with her mouth.

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Blueberry has been excellent with her. Tonight she sat and held her while I was holding Strawberry before bed time.  Baby girl was a bit fussy, so Blueberry patted her back and bottom while rocking back and forth until baby girl drifted off to sleep.  She is going to be a great helper.

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Sweet Potato loves his buddy.  He has been waiting a long time to have a buddy to help take care of.   He told us before we had her that even if it was not a boy, it would be okay because he just loves babies.  Even so, I think that he is starting to kind of go through a bit of mourning for the brother he thought he was going to get.  Today seemed to be a hard day for him and he made mention of how he is the only boy.   Nonetheless, he loves her and is proud to get to hold her and help us take care of her.

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Plum loves  her and is always eager to hold her too.  I know that she too will make an excellent helper with baby girl.

Our sweet little girl has many people to love her and to hold her.  And we are all very thankful for her.

The baby is a ….

Girl!

Which is not a big surprise to most people out there.  

We are thrilled to have a healthy little girl.  Sorry about not posting the gender, but we were trying to be the ones to reveal the gender to the kids.  Unfortunately, as they walked through the hall to come meet her, one of the nurses spoiled the surprise.  

They are all thrilled with their new sister.  I would post pictures of them meeting her for the first time, but we did not bring the cord to the camera so that we can download them on our computer, and we did not capture any pictures of them meeting her with our phones.  

She is doing great so far!  She nursed for nearly an hour about an hour after being born.  So far she seems to be a pretty happy baby.  

Our other observations about her are that she is the heaviest baby I’ve had (but not the longest).  She has far chubbier cheeks than any of my other newborns have had.  She also has quite a bit of hair and it is far darker than any of the others had at birth or have now.   She also seems to like to suck and we keep seeing her tying to find something to suck on.

Thankfully I did not have any issues with retained placenta or any bleeding issues so far.  Praise the Lord for that!  And thank you to all have prayed for us.

Also, thank you so much friends for dropping everything to come tend to our other kids while we were trying to have her.  We are very blessed to have some wonderful friends.  

And yes, she does have a real life name.  If you would like to know it, and have not been informed of her name yet, please shoot me an email.  She however does not have a pseudo name for this blog yet, but thankfully that will not prevent us from being able to leave the hospital.  

 

 

 

PRAISE!!!

The oncologist called us this morning to give us the full report because when we were in his office yesterday, he could only look at a few of the images and the radiologists had not written the report yet.   He told us that the spot was indeed shrinking.  It had been about 4mm and was now between 1-2mm.  We also can push back our follow-up appointments from 3 months apart to 6 months.

Praise the Lord!

Cloud of Confusion

Is she crying because she is hurting or just because we have her spoiled rotten?

Why doesn’t she eat well anymore?  Does the food taste bad because she’s had a viral infection?  Is she just starting to be a picky eater?  Does it hurt when she eats?  Why does she cry when she is done eating?  Is she hurting or just throwing a fit?

Is the thermometer working correctly?  Could it just be giving me crazy readings?

Why is her white blood cell count low?

Does she just have runny pooh because she was on antibiotics or is it a result of her tumor secreting hormones?

Why has she had a fever every day for the last 10 days?  That comes back during the same time every day?

Why has she been sick for 22 days?  And why was she the first one sick and the only one still sick?

Oh, the questions that fill my mind as I wait.

I hope that tomorrow will bring a day where she does not have fever, but honestly at this point, I don’t expect that to be what the day brings.

We still haven’t heard back from the oncologist but the family doctor said that all tests he ordered came back normal so far, except that she has a low white blood cell count and high lymphocytes, which indicated that it was not an infection, but a virus.  And if she is still running fever on Friday to call and make an appointment so he can check her ears again.

I don’t think it is her ears.  All her congestion seems to be gone.  Some nights she seems to have a harder time breathing and she snores hard all night…but not always.   But the snot and boogers and for the most part the cough is gone.

And so I think of all these small things that in some circumstances can add up to be an ugly picture.

A virus that never seems to end.  A fever that comes at certain time every day.   Red checks.  Darkness under her eyes.   Her eye seems to be drooping more.   Loose stool.   Clingy.  Irritable.  Crying for reasons we can’t figure out.  Vein by right eye seems to be protruding more.  Poor appetite.

And while we wait, just to make sure I am not measuring her temp wrong, I keep checking the thermometers by taking her temp and then her siblings.   During the day, she has fever, and they have a normal temp.   I wait on doctors to call back……I wonder how long does she hold to having a fever every day before we move forward to find something out.

Her next MRI is scheduled for the 17th and that is a long time to wait.

But while we wait, I treasure her little head being laid on my shoulder.  I hold tight to the image of her smiling at me from the swing.  I stand amazed at how she manages to get herself just about anywhere she wants.  The top of the table….or the stairs – no problem.  Through the baby gate – it can be done.

The waiting is hard, but while we wait, I choose to treasure her and her siblings.  I will choose to be thankful unto the Lord for the time with them….even if it is not going according to planned.

Recognizing Growth

A sweet friend gave me Loving The Little Years:  Motherhood in the Trenches by Rachel Jankovic for Christmas (Thank you friend!!!).  This little book is packed full of some great nuggets, but one thin that really stuck out to me was where she talked about not recognizing progress in our children because most often one sin replaces another.

Oftentimes we don’t even notice that they aren’t doing it, because something else has replaced it, and we are now too busy nagging them about (next sin)……….Try to notice these little mile markers on the path of sanctification.  If the sins have changed, it can be a sign of  growth.

If you have more than one child, it is especially easy to forget about their progress, because no sooner does one outgrow something than the next takes it up – like the Olympic torch.

As I read this, I was convicted that often times I see all the progress still to be made without noticing the ground that has been covered.   Therefore, I am always pushing the kids to grow more in this area or in that one, but seldom stop and praise them in places where they have been victorious.   I am sure that instead of being a source of encouragement to them, I’ve been a great source discouragement.

I do not wish for me to be such, so I have made a point in the last week to intentionally look for places where I see growth in each of them.  I’ve noticed that Blueberry has been taking  initiative to damp mop the bathroom on most mornings, in addition to her other chores.  Plum has been looking for opportunities to serve whether that be by making my bed in the morning or making me coffee or cleaning up Strawberry after eating.   Sweet Potato in the last week has grown leaps and bounds in the area of accepting the discipline in which we set out for him when he has done something that requires him to be disciplined.   Grape is learning bits of self-control and compassion towards her little sister.   Strawberry is learning a lot too but we are really just beginning this adventure with her.

As I’ve noticed these areas of growth with them, I’ve tried really hard to stop and communicate with them throughout the day the things I see them doing well.   They seem happier and I am much more relaxed.  A win-win situation for all of us.

What kind of alligators are in your life?

When Plum and Blueberry where nearly 2 and 3 respectively we had a somewhat similar holiday filled with a lot of illness.  During that time we were working very hard to keep them hydrated (because earlier that year Blueberry had showed us how stubborn she could be and she ended up in the hospital as a result of dehydration during a virus) so we were giving them a lot of Gatorade during that time frame.  Somehow from the word “Gatorade” they managed to capture in their minds the word “alligator.”  So for nearly a year after that, they would come and ask us if they could have some “alligator” and we knew they were asking for “Gatorade.”

That memory likely would have completely slipped by the wayside, except the Lord saw fit to give us another sweet little two-year old girl (that looks so much like our previous little two-year old girl).   And once again we have an “alligator.”

But this “alligator” is much different from its predecessor.

Whenever we go to our family doctor we have to take the elevator up to the 2nd floor (and we have had to do that quite frequently as of late).  When we get close to the elevator Grape screams out, “Yeah….the alligator…the alligator.  I want to push buttons on the alligator.”   One day, at home she was talking to me about the alligator and told me that we ride on it by going in to its mouth.

As she began talking about her alligator, I realized that the time of the older girls’ “alligator” was a sweet time and memory that I had forgotten.  I am thankful to the Lord for giving me another little two-year old  girl (for so many reasons) and thankful that He used her to bring back some sweet memories of time when the older two were much smaller (my memory seems to retain less and less detail, I gather that is a result of so little consist sleep and so very little time to replay incidents in my mind).

Now that I have recorded these memories in writing, I intend to treasure them for years to come.

How about you, are there any “alligators” in your life.?

A Reason To Celebrate

We ate cake tonight to celebrate with our children this announcement.

The ones who really understood what we were telling them (the 3 oldest) were very excited.

Plum pointed out that we were going to need a new van.

Sweet Potato acknowledged that he would really like a brother.  Plum also said she would like a brother for Sweet Potato.  They all agreed they would love the baby no matter what.

Blueberry told us that she was confused.   We asked her to explain her confusion, and she said that she had thought we might have more kids, but then we just kept having five kids.  So, she decided that maybe God was only going to give us five kids because it had been such a long time since my last pregnancy.

From the picture you probably noticed that we will be expecting at the end of April.   However, as my doctor pointed out, we all know that this baby will not be coming for a week to two weeks after due date.

We are once again humbled that the Lord would choose to bless our family in this incredible way.

Unless the Lord builds the house,

They labor in vain who build it;

Unless the Lord guards the city,

the watchman keeps awake in vain.

It is vain for you rise up early,

to retire late,

to eat the bread of painful labors;

For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,

the fruit of the womb is a reward.

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,

so are the children of one’s youth.

Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them.

They shall not be ashamed,

but shall speak with their enemies in the gate.

Psalms 127

Giving Thanks

It is important to give thanks in all things, but especially important to give thanks after a day which you hope will never be repeated.

So here are a few things from our day to be thankful for.

1.  I am thankful that we have multiple bathrooms and are no longer living in a one bathroom home.

2.  I am thankful that this is the first time that Hubby and I both got the stomach bug at the same time – within just minutes apart (see #1).

3.  I am thankful that Plum was the only other one to get sick so far (so we had enough bathrooms for all the sick people at the height of the illness and the other ones were sleeping).

4.  I am thankful that the MIBG scan is not scheduled until next week.  Hopefully this will give plenty of time for the virus to run its course in our family.

5.  I am thankful that my Mom was coming into town today for some errands.  She was able to drop by a box of chicken noodle soup, Gatorade, toilet paper, plus bring some lunch over for the kids who were not sick.

6.  Generally we prefer that if Hubby and I both have to get sick that it will be at different times so that the sick one can have time to rest and recover.  But since we are having so many doctor appointments lately and his time to take off is quickly dwindling, we are thankful that we were both sick at the same time which enabled us to switch off resting and caring for the kids, but prevents him (hopefully) from having to take more than one day off for illness.

7.  I am thankful that since we watch very little T.V./movies, our kids were thrilled to sit in front of it for a while this morning while Hubby and I tried to pull ourselves from the bed.