Saturday, December 31, 2011

Just Checking In

Hello Friends!
Just a quick note to let you know that Baby Jeremiah and I are doing well. 
We enjoyed the sunshine and warmth today! 
Mid to high sixties in MO (in December!) - a nice change!


Thursday, December 29, 2011

A few pics

Bethany and Jeremiah are doing well and are at home now. Here are a few pics.





Jeremiah Ransome

Rejoice, unto us a son has been given!

Jeremiah Ransome was born @ 2:20 PM on December 28, 2011.

 He and Mom are healthy and strong. Mom is exceedingly joyful as well as Papa.

He weighed 8lbs. 15oz. and was 22 in. long.

Pics will come later, I left the camera with Mom.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Still Expecting

No Baby yet.

Y-day we ran errands for hours. I walked through Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, and even Lowe's. Still no baby.

I know he will come in God's Time. This post is not me complaining, it is just me updating because I was not online y-day.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Ultrasound

It is a little unusual to have a 39 week ultrasound, but we did it nonetheless.

Baby appears to be 8 pounds, 8 ounces ("give or take half a pound"). I do NOT have too much fluid, so that worry is no longer a concern.

I am thinking (at least today, right now) that if Baby does not come on his own I will go ahead and go in for the inducement Weednesday morning. We are praying that Baby would come before then, but NOT on Saturday. Paul will be working ALL DAY (until evening) delivering packages. He cannot get out of it unless I go into labor before he leaves that day (and even then UPS would not be congenial). He will be completely unavailable to me that day. So, we are praying for a Friday baby... or a Sunday baby, just NOT a Saturday baby. (I have made other arrangements just in case. I wouldn't go in alone...)

Thanks to y'all for your prayers.

Pictures by Rebecca

Posted by Rebecca (with help from Mom)

click to enlarge








Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Updates

Van Update: We still have not gotten a bigger van. We have been looking at ads and searching a few car lots. We need to sell Paul's truck to buy a van, and we have not gotten any "bites" on that yet. Keep praying. We know that God has something for us somewhere.

Paul's health: His pleurisy has not gone away, it will be 2 weeks today. I am wandering if he was misdiagnosed, but surely with a chest X-ray that is impossible... right? He is not gripping and clutching at his chest (the right side) the way he was in the beginning, but he says the pain has spread to a larger area. He is still working... but probably hoping the Baby will come soon and give him some time off.

School: I said that I am on maternity leave a few weeks back. But, we read a LOT! We go to the library several times a week and get dozens of books. I am glad the children love to read and be read to! But, no math or science for a while. I just don't have the physical and mental stamina right now.

Two Pics of Almost Two Year Old

 Above: Josiah before breakfast. Wearing an apron made 7 years ago for a 2-year-old Rebecca. Joey loves puzzles!

Below: Josiah after bath time.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

39 Week Check Up

Baby is healthy. His heartbeat was 126.

No dilation. Nothing happening.

I have scheduled an elective inducement for next Wednesday, the 28th. I don't want to do it, and I can still cancel... but I had to reserve a place early. Anyway, we won't know for sure until we see an ultrasound this coming Thursday, but my measurement jumped by 3cm in one week. Either the baby is huge, or I have too much amniotic fluid... either option is not happy.

I was induced with Josiah - you can read his birth story here. It was the same hospital almost exactly two years ago. I am scared. I don't like the pain of being given too much Pitocin. I don't like the pain of one contraction on top of another without break. And, I didn't like the fear of them telling me that if my water broke before baby's head was down that we would need and emergency C-section. All of those painful memories are right in my mind... though the worst did not happen.

I was starting to get a handle on my fear. I was starting to be at peace, instead of constantly anxious. But, now I am a ball of emotion again. I came out of the office crying today... inductions scare me! Anytime we try to make things happen in our timing, it seems like there is more possibility of trouble.

If I do not do the induction Wednesday (and the baby does not come first) then she wants to for sure induce me the following Wednesday (Jan 4th). She does not let patients go past one week late (which is why Josiah was induced 2 years ago). So, I have some praying to do.

Prayers for peace and wisdom would be greatly appreciated. Horror stories of labor/inducements would NOT be appreciated. I am a bit of an emotional wreck, so please pamper me with nice comments. ; )

GREAT Baby Shower Idea!!!

One of my dear friends, my former next-door neighbor, threw me a special kind of baby shower.

A FILL-MY-FREEZER baby shower!!!

Last night, my friend delivered two coolers full of pre-prepared, frozen meals for my family to heat up when we need them. We are SO blessed! Not only is it FREE FOOD, it is free COOKED food!

What makes this even more special to me, is that I do not even know most of the ladies who cooked the meals! My girlfriend attends a different church gathering than we do. (A great example of what the church is supposed to be/do!!!) And, these ladies went all out. And, since each of them is used to cooking for a large brood (as many as 10 kids) the meals are all B.I.G.

One lady contributed 2 large chicken pot pies. Another made 4 pizza kits with homemade dough and store-bought sauce included, toppings already cooked. Another gave lasagna. Another gave large portions of  "Mexican Bean dip" with tortillas....ummmm. Someone also gave us cookies and another contributed elk meat (burger) and farm fresh eggs. There were also some side dishes included.

We are SO blessed! If you have a friend who has had a baby recently or is about to give birth, consider a fill-my-freezer party! It will be a gift from God to their family!

Setting Up a Nursery - sort of

We don't have a baby nursery in our house, as our babies room in for about a year. But we have been getting our bedroom set up for the new arrival. Don't you love how I put things off until it has to be done? Ignore the paint on the walls, that was not my choice, it came with the house.


Our changing table was ruined in a "flood" in our last house (don't ask...). So, I am working out a new system. For the toddler, changing on the bed has been our standard operating procedure. But, with a newborn... no way. Babies poop like 5 times a night. They whiz while you are changing them. And, my husband does not need me turning on a light on the bed every three hours.

So, I am going to buy this diaper changing table pad (or one very similar) and set it on the pretty nightstand. It is shorter than will be comfortable for me, but it will be a great height for the girls. And, yes, Rebecca changes cloth diapers. Lydia can change disposable diapers, but she will learn the cloth trade soon!

And, since we don't have a diaper changing table with storage, I am using the white plastic bin for diapers, covers, pins, burp cloths and anything else. The little light on top will not be too bright for middle of the night changes.

The garbage can is my diaper pail. We put cloth diapers, soiled clothes, and burp cloths in this pail until it fills up and we wash them about every other day. (I intend to write more about cloth diapering later.)

And did you notice the Boppy Pillow on the bed? That is a necessity for nursing mamas!

So, there you have it - my nursery. Now, all we need is the Bubby!





Do NOT Buy This PlayPen for a Baby!

We bought this Evenflo Playpen when our last playpen had to be retired. At the time we only needed a play pen for our toddler to sleep in at Grandma's house. For that purpose the playpen is just fine. BUT, we bought it also thinking that it would be used as a bassinet for the new Baby. We finally got around to looking at the bassinet feature and we are VERY disappointed! The little bassinet that hangs inside the big playpen sinks in the middle... I mean, it really sags! Paul and I were actually frightened at the thought of using it! But, we cannot afford a new bassinet now so we had to make do. Here is what we HAD to do to make the bed functional for a little baby.

First we had to put in a firm foundation. We used a baby corral panel, as we already had one on hand. (Waste not, want not). Plywood would likely have worked just as well, but we really did not want to spend money if we didn't have to.
Then, we had to add some squish-factor to the hardness of the baby gate. I used two old bassinet mattresses side by side. (again, we don't throw away what might be useful later.)

Lastly, we added the playpen's own mattress. We will have to buy a few more sheets and waterproof covers, but it will work out fine.

This was a somewhat simple fix, but only because we already had some extra junk on hand to work with. If you want a bassinet for your new baby, do NOT buy this product. 

Two Pics of Josiah

Day two of my week of pictures of my soon to be two year old.


This is what Joey does while waiting for breakfast. (He had a little help on the tower from Nelson, but he's really good at knocking towers down!)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Who Is Jesus? - Part One

Our culture has many ideas about who Jesus is, and who He is not. As Christians, we need to know who Jesus is (according to the Bible) and we need to be able to clearly tell others too. This series is meant to encourage and strengthen your faith as well as give you Scripture verses to help you teach others the Truth. Because, in all likelihood, you will have someone come to your door this year who holds an opinion of Jesus that does not match the Scripture. Can you refute their views?

Part One will focus on the seven "I am" statements that Jesus makes about Himself in the Gospel of John.

Part Two will be other things that Jesus says about Himself.

Part Three will look at what others say about Jesus.

As I write this post, I am expecting Baby #6 any day. I might not get to the rest of this series for weeks. Thanks for your patience.


WHO IS JESUS? What does He say about Himself?

In the Gospel of John, there are seven statements that Jesus speaks of Himself. Many people refer to these as the "I am statements." They are worth memorizing or jotting down in your Bible for quick reference. I will primarily let these texts speak for themselves.

1 -"I am The Bread of Life"
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst." (John 6:35 ESV)

2- "I am The Light of the World"
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12 ESV)


"As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:5 ESV)

3- "I am The Door"
So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. (John 10:7-9 ESV)
4- "I am The Good Shepherd"
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. (John 10:11-14 ESV)

5- "I am The Resurrection and the Life"
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. (John 11:25-26 ESV) 


6- "I am The Way, The Truth, and the Life"
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6 ESV)


7- "I am The True Vine"
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:1-5 ESV)
Praise God that we can know who Jesus is through the Bible. He has stated these truths very plainly. Your choice is to believe them or find an excuse not to believe them. My prayer is that you will believe that what Jesus says is the Truth!



The "Baby" is Turning Two

In honor of Josiah turning two this week (Friday, the 23rd) - I will attempt to post two pictures a day of the little fellow.



Josiah's favorite activities are: reading snuggling, and sucking his fingers.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Hoping for a SLOW day

Paul is delivering Saturday Air packages today and will be occupied until very late this afternoon (so far as he knows). So, I cannot have this baby today. Not that I'm having any contractions yet. I just feel anxious and a little helpless. So, I am planning to sit and read all day. I don't want to do anything that might possibly break my water. (My water has broken first with most of my Babies.) Yep, I'm gonna put my feet up and watch the kids tear up the house. (And, maybe clean it... then tear it up again.)

Last night's date was fun. We did the appetizer sampler at Applebees' and brought home leftovers. Then, we bought me a slice of cheesecake at HyVee grocery store. It was a good date. We also drove downtown and looked at the lights around campus. It was actually kind of pretty ...

We had a good time!


Friday, December 16, 2011

Going on a Date

Paul is taking me out tonight!

This is a special occasion  - we get only 1 to 3 dates a year!!! This particular occasion is even more special, because we are going out for our anniversary. We celebrate 12 years this coming Sunday. Our baby sitters (Paul's parents) will be here at 5:30.

What are you doing to kick off your weekend?


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Nelson Health Update

Nelson seems fine today. He did not throw up again (after y-day at 9:30 am). No headache, no pain. And, he played. So - looks like that might have been a bad migraine or just some nasty headache. Everyone else seems healthy.

Paul went back to work two days ago, and he says that his pleurisy chest pains are worse... but he plans to work through it. The doc said that exercise and work would help.

I am tired today. I took two naps. You would think I was really big and pregnant or something... I feel so lazy, but I just can't get up and work. Hopefully, my sons are learning compassion for future wives, and my daughters are learning something positive too. But, I feel for all the world like a lazy bum.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Something is Wrong with Nelson

Weirdest thing...

About 4 or 5 this morning, Nelson thought that he was hit in the head twice with a big stick and he saw a bright light. There is no mark on his forehead. His eyes are dialating correctly. But, he has a headache, blurry vision, and he has thrown up once. Our normal doctor is out of the office today. And, Paul thinks it might just be some kind of "flu." Paul prayed for/over Nelson. Will y'all pray for him too?

I don't need to tell you how much I don't want another sickness to run through my home right now! I have a pretty bad attitude right now, so please pray for me too.

----------

5:20pm update - Nelson has slept on and off all day. He has not played at all. He did eat a very small lunch at about 2. No more vomiting. I asked him if he has blurry vision still - he said "no." And, he says that there is no headache either. (We are a little concerned that he would lie to keep from going to the doctor). Overall, he seems to be feeling a little better. No other child has similar symptoms yet. If his head aches tomorrow, or he speaks or vision trouble again, we will likely take him to the doctor or ER. (Because, we realize that there is a minor chance of a serious neurological condition.) Otherwise, we hope this is a minor temporary affliction.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

38 week update

Nothing happening right now. 

No dilation. 

All is good. 


Paul has Pleurisy

Please pray for Paul. He has missed many days of work now (Friday through this morning). At first we could not get a good diagnosis, but he had a chest X-Ray y-day and the diagnosis is Pleurisy. He is not taking antibiotic, as the condition is not supposed to be bacterial (according to Paul's D.O.). His only treatment, for now, is Advil. I would like to go by the health foods store and pick up some supplements, but when your husband has missed several days of work is not a good time to experiment with costly treatments.

Do you have any suggestions for natural treatments of pleurisy or of prevention for other lung problems (remembering that Paul gets pneumonia every year... not yet this year)?


Also, be sure to take the poll in the top right corner!


I'll have a Baby 6 update later, I go to the OB at 3:20.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Analogy - The Holy Spirit

First of all, you have to understand that sometimes my sweet, nearly-perfect Rebecca likes to put on airs with her younger siblings. ; )   So, we had just finished eating a smallish kind of meal and I asked, "Did everyone get enough to eat?" Simple question, right? Well, Rebecca says something along the lines of "I think I am full, but the human body cannot really know when it is full." It sounded even sillier, because she was using a snooty-know-it-all kind of voice. I replied, "That's a lie! Of course you can know you are full, but sometimes we don't listen to our bodies."

Then it hit me - teaching moment - here is an anaolgy for the Holy Spirit, and I shared it with the chlidren. There are people who think that the Holy Spirit will not speak things to their hearts, will not give any impressions, and is not moving in Christians today. What I think is that many of us have quenched the Spirit, the way we suppress our knowledge that our body is full. My body tells me it is full, but I might choose to over-indulge anyway... Over time, I will become overweight/unhealthy, because I ignore the signs my body gives me.

Are you listening to the Holy Spirit, letting Him move in your life? Or, have you blocked His "voice" so many times that you no longer sense it at all?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Book Review - What He Must Be...

 
This week I was able to "put my feet up" and "take it easy" while reading Voddie Baucham's book, What He Must Be... If He Wants to Marry My Daughter. This is not a new book, people have been recommending it to me for a few years. But, I was finally able to find it through inter-library loan and get a copy to read (for a nice bargain of 50 cents!).



I liked the book, but I would NOT recommend it to just anyone/everyone I know. The topic of the book, for those of you who don't know, is (in short) courtship. The main theme of the book is how to help fathers guide their daughters through the difficult decision of who to marry. The reason I began by saying that I will not recommend it to everyone is that the book contains some radical views, by "normal Christian" standards. In addition to that, he chases quite a few rabbits and unearths some other doctrines that not everyone would agree on. I LIKED the book, but I did not agree with all of it. And, I see some definite considerations (to be discussed later).

I will not tell you all the specific requirements that Baucham lays out for this future daughter's husband, you can read the book for that. I have NO trouble at all saying that Christian daughters ought to marry Christian young men. And, I completely agree that young women ought not be thrown to the dogs and allowed to date every young man that comes along - just because he is cute or they like the same kind of music. I also agree that fathers need to do more to protect their daughters from unworthy mates.

HOWEVER, how can I recommend this book, and its "radical" ideas of courtship to my SIL whose children all go to public school, and whose husband is a new believer? First of all, their children are away from the house all day long spending their time outside of their parents' supervision. Secondly, how can a newly saved father, who would not even know what to do with the idea of "patriarchy," lead his daughter into something completely foreign to himself? These are my first considerations. (Not that the book is bad. I am not saying that. I am just saying that the book will not reach everyone.)

I think most anyone in the Reformed Baptist, family-integrated, homeschooling circle would love this book. I would have not qualms recommending it to anyone in that camp. And, people - like Paul and myself - who are somewhat on the fringe of that group would likely find the book to be enlightening as well. But, I'm thinking 90 percent of Christians would not get through the first few chapters. Baucham is a great writer, and I love his perspective and his stories... they really hold my interest. But, even I have to admit to getting a little lost when he had long block quotes from the London Baptist Confession of Faith, Puritans, John Calvin, etc. Granted, I was very tired and sick when I read the book... but I am no dummy.
Also, I mentioned that the author chases rabbits. Maybe that is not the right way to put it exactly, but he delves into material that could have been worked into whole other books. For example, he writes about the role of women in church. I am not sure that the topic relates to courtship specifically, and it was one of the chapters that most normal Christians would find offensive. (I am not saying that I was offended. I was not. Though I did not agree with every sentence.)

There is a lot of good in the book. As I said, I like his requirements for the man who my daughter should marry... I hope there is such a man available when my girls come of age. I will certainly be praying for such a man. And, Paul and I are all for protecting our daughters as much as we can from "unworthy" men. But, the idea of courtship assumes that children will be homeschooled and that girls will not go to college. And, if one of my daughters wants a college education for what she feels is God's leading in her life, I do not think we will keep her from college so that we can protect her longer. (Though we currently have NO intention of ever sending ANY child to live on campus!!!) Courtship also assumes that ladies will live with their parents until they are married. And, at this point, I do not think Paul or I would want to hold our girls captive at home if they wish to leave. We want them to stay home, of course, until they are married. But, we are not going to put them in a position where they would feel like they had to run away to have their own individuality.

NOW, let me clarify... I DO NOT THINK THAT VODDIE BAUCHAM'S BOOK WOULD LEAD TO ABUSIVE PARENTS RULING THEIR DAUGHTER'S LIVES! In fact, I have some quotes in a minute to show that point. BUT, I do think that there are unfortunately some fathers who have a mindset to CHOOSE a husband for his daughter and not let her leave until she marries HIS choice. We know... we have seen this. We have seen what I call "hyperpatriarchy" in action. And, it scares us to pieces!!! We have been greatly tempered by seeing the misuse of power of fathers we know. It shows us what we do not want to be. But again, I am NOT saying that this particular book leads to such actions.

Here is one quote to be considered:

Secondly, any man who overvalues male headship is likely to abuse my daughter and/or my grandchildren. (page 96 - original emphasis)

I couldn't agree more! There are, unfortunately, Christian men who are looking for a woman to be a doormat in the name of "patriarchy." We have seen in real life and read in blogs, books and articles - of whole families who seem to exist merely to serve and bring pleasure to the fathers and sons of the family. Hopefully this is NOT the norm, I really don't know. But, we have seen it enough to cause us fear of the very word "patriarchy." But, I digress. Here is another quote:

Thus we see in this instance the complete equality of the man and the woman (made from the same substance) and the distinction between the two. My daughter is no man's inferior. Any man who thinks of her as such is certainly not worthy of her hand in marriage. She is no less valuable to God than any man. She is no less an image-bearer. She is no less a servant of the King. (page 99 - original emphasis)

Amen! I chose this quote to again show that I do NOT think that Baucham is at all a hyperpatriarchal kind of guy. I think he makes some very solid observations.

I chose this last quote because it seems to sum up a lot of the theme of Baucham's book. I think this quote should help you understand what he is all about, and whether or not you are interested in reading the book:
Speaking of instilling a healthy focus in our daughters he says,
We must help them establish kingdom-minded relationships. We must help them develop and employ the gifts God has given them. And we must help them use their time to prepare for the man whom God will bring them as a husband or - for those with the supernatural gift of singleness - for a life completely devoted to God. (page 172)
I like that. I agree with that purpose.

Overall, I really did like the book. And, it gave me a lot of positive ideas to ponder regarding my daughters' futures. I am not writing this post to dissuade you from reading the book, I am just trying to be honest in my "review," so that you know what to expect if you do decide to read it.

I realize that some of my personal, interjected thoughts about patriarchy were tangents a little bit off the topic of this one particular book, and I do not mean for that to reflect on Baucham's book. It is just hard to write a review on a book of this topic, without hedging myself in a little. I kind of wanted to offer some of those thoughts as disclaimers, knowing that some people are violently opposed to any form of patriarchy because of what they have seen or what they imagine could happen.

I am glad that I read the book. And, I will be praying that the Lord will help me keep in mind the positive applications that were made. And, I will pray too that Paul and I will be guarded from any over-exuberance towards this idea that might be more damaging to our family. We want to be a healthy family, and that usually means taking bits and piece of a lot of books and mixing it into a melting pot for future use. Rarely will any of us read a book that we agree with 100%. But, we want to be open-minded and discerning too.

It is my prayer that this post has been helpful to you to decide whether or not you should read this book. I hope that you do. And, I hope that it grows your family together in love.

If you found my review unfair, please leave a comment to let me know - others will read it and it might be beneficial to them.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Full Moon Tomorrow

Did you notice that there will be a full moon tomorrow? Maybe Baby will make his grand entrance during the night... though it doesn't feel like it right now.

I am still feeling well. The water cure seems to be working for me. I am drinking about 100 ounces of water a day. (No caffeine either)

We went to the Mizzou campus today for a retirement party. And, we had to walk about 15 minutes from a public parking garage to the student union... that was a work out. But, still, no baby. I do still have about 19 days to go, you know.

Tomorrow I hope to post a book review, something a little meatier than these Baby-has-not-come-yet updates.


Till next time...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

37 Weeks (and counting)

Y-day was my 37 week check up. 

My blood pressure was fantastic. 

Baby's heartbeat was great.

Baby is measuring one week ahead.

All is well!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Rebecca Writes - First Snow

POSTED BY REBECCA

Our first snow looks like a snow globe! 

I woke up this morning to Josh saying, "Becca Becca it's snowing!" It was funny. 

I took the Pictures! 
Daddy's truck after snowing a couple of hours.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Boys are Ready

Sweet things the boys said this weekend:

Joshua (4), when I came home from the baby shower: "Mommy, Where's [Baby]?" It was all the more cute, because he used the Baby's name. He was disappointed when I said that the shower was only presents for the baby, and that we have to wait longer for Baby to come.

Nelson (8), in the van two nights ago: Oh WOW! Mommy's going to be able to play soon: soccer, football, frisbee, races. Oh Boy!" Poor Nelson, his love language must be sports play. (I think that would fall under the category "quality time.") He sure misses his mama teaching him and practicing sports with him!

I am very eager too. Both to have a little baby and to run and play again.

Prenatal Advice

Advice For Pregnant Mamas

When packing your bag for the hospital remember to toss in some Vaseline/petroleum jelly.

This lovely goo can be slathered on Baby's behind to make cleaning meconium poopies MUCH easier.

I Choose to Praise

It is almost 5am. I should still be sleeping. But, I had some unfortunate early morning cleaning to do... the kind that follows every mother's least favortie sentence, "Mommy, I think I'm gonna {{splat}}." Yep, I've got another kid sick.

But, I am choosing to find things to be thankful for in the midst of this. It doesn't come naturally, I am not one of those always happy, glass-half-full kind of people.

I choose to be thankful for:
- Sprite for kids to sip
- running water, electricity, washing machine, dryer, Charlie's Soap
- easy-to-clean wood laminate flooring!
- energy to clean floors and wash laundry before 5 ((shudders))
- a nine year old who, after getting sick at 3 am, brought up her own dirty sheets and put them in the laundry room!
- not all 5 had this on the same day
- Paul has not been sick
- Josiah has not been sick
- we might have this all through our "system" before Baby 6 comes

That's a good start. I am making every effort to bring a "sacrifice of praise" to the Lord. He's heard my grumbling. Let Him also hear my rejoicing!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Sick

I realize that if I go a day without posting that you all are likely to think I have delivered my baby.

Not yet. We are still praying for a full-term baby.

I was VERY sick y-day. I said in my last post that I am NOT on bed rest, but I am supposed to "take it easy." (Whatever that means when you have 5 under 10!) Anyway, I went to Wal-mart for groceries and got VERY sick... in the parking lot. Paul rushed me home and I laid down the rest of the night, but I had the most painful contractions ever! I told my mom this morning that "they weren't the real thing, they hurt too bad." That might not make sense, but the contractions were one on top of another. Paul was panicked and begging me to go to the hospital...but I couldn't. I was in way too much pain. During one of the contractions I was holding a plastic cup in my hand... and broke it. (The pain was similar to being induced into labor and having the Pitocin levels set too high, so that your contractions have no space in between and hurt like crazy.)

I was sick again before bed, but slept without any more episodes. And, after my last trip to the bathroom, my pains subsided some. I woke up every hour to sip some water or clear soda. I kept all that down. I am moving around a little this morning, but I have NO desire to have a repeat of y-day. I think I learned  my lesson. If I do get sick again today, I will let Paul take me in for an IV, I know that I am terribly, terribly dehydrated.

The good news -and this might make you laugh... remember how I was asking you all to pray about labor, because I was so scared? Well, the pain last night was so much worse than labor that I am no longer as scared. How is that for a peculiar answer to prayer?

Please pray for my health (and Baby's). Please pray that the kids will eagerly work more than what they consider to be their fair share. Paul could not get out of driving today. But, they promised him the local route, and he hopes to be home by lunch. And, I have a lady from church coming over this morning with a few groceries. I wouldn't be surprised if she helps clean something while she is here - she is that kind!

Thank God for His many mercies - and may we always be able to see the mercies through the troubles.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Not on Bed Rest

I went back to my OB y-day afternoon. I was told to "take it easy," "be nice to myself," "drink  more fluids," "put my feet up," and not go Christmas shopping. But she did NOT say bed rest.

I really am trying to take it easy... to the point of irritation. It is really hard for me to sit and watch everyone else do the work! I do want my children to pick up more of the work load, but I am NOT one of those mothers who spends all day "supervising" while the children clean, cook, and keep on top of everything. In fact, I am occasionally scolded by such mothers that I am doing too much. **sighs** We are always trying to find moderation.


I will try to "take it easy." And I will drink more water. And I can promise not to do any Christmas shopping (haven't bought a gift in years...).

I will try to put my feet up more. My library is helping me ; ) I was able to get a book through inter library loan (for only 50 cents) that I have been wanting to read for years! Expect a review soon.

That's all for now. I am going to leave my seat here for my seat on the couch.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Making Ministers of Inmates

Here is a link to an article from Leadership Journal, summer 2011. I hunted up the article on the internet so that y'all could be blessed by it too.

Making Ministers of Inmates

I just keep thinking, "this is what church should be... this is what it's all about."


Let love of the brethren continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body.
Heb 13:1-3 (NASB)

Concerns and Praise

First the concern - Paul made the decision to step away from the UPS driver's helper job. He was helping on a route at one of the hospitals and Mizzou every day. But, due to my health/fatigue he has told them that he can no longer help this season in that job. He IS still doing his other jobs: pre-load (very early morning) and Saturday Air Driving. I heard Paul talking with a couple at church last night and he told them that I get up every morning "completely debilitated." It was a little hard to hear myself described in such a way (because I want to be SuperMom), but it is true.
But, even in this - God is very good to us! Because of my fatigue, Rebecca has had to become chief cook. And, because of my fatigue, I had to re-vamp the chore chart and make the kiddoes pickup some slack. (Not necessarily my slack... I should not have been doing so much myself. They picked up jobs that they should have been doing anyway.)
Also, I let Rebecca teach science y-day. That was good for her. She really is a gifted teacher, we just need to train out some of the bossiness.

Other praise - One of the ladies at church bought Joshua (age 4) a brand new winter coat! He really needed it!

Potential praise - I cannot tell you details right now, but Paul is talking with someone about an old 15 passenger van. We praise God whether this is the van for us or not, because we know that He will provide for our needs according to His riches... in His Time.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Giving Good Gifts

When considering Christmas gifts and cards, consider buying/giving a gift that gives back to a good cause.

Haiti Orphan Project has a Christmas shop with some cute cards and ornaments.

Another option is World Vision, which gives useful gifts (cows, chickens, soccer balls, etc) to families in need in other countries.

And, if you know of any other organizations that are trustworthy and reputable, please leave a comment and link.

Hat tip to Arthur, for linking to the Haiti Orphan Project Gift Shop.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

36 Week Appointment

My 36 week check-up revealed a potential problem - high blood pressure and protein in my urine.

So, I am had some labs drawn, and I am doing a 24 hour pee collection to check for hypertension. I am going to attempt to "cure" the problem by drinking more water.
If I don't hear anything before weekend, then "no news is good news." And, if I do have hypertension, I should know before Saturday.

Baby is measuring right at 36 weeks, head down, but still "bouncy." Baby heartbeat was 138. All is well with Baby.

More Baby Prep.

Okay... I think I am ready... maybe...

I got our Baby Boy 0-3 month clothing out and put it into Baby's little drawers. And, I put one of his warm little sleepers and hats in my hospital suitcase. I got out the small cloth diapers, but I don't have a place to set them out just yet. I need to get a changing table or a real chest of drawers.

The ladies at church are giving me a shower this coming Sunday. I never thought Baby 6 would get a shower! And, I'm not sure what they are getting, since I have almost everything. But, I am hoping there will be refreshments!

All we really need now is a big van to carry us all in.

Otherwise, I think I am ready. I thought about writing a "birth plan," but I know from experience that it would be of no use to the hospital staff. Then, I thought that it would be a fun post to write about how useless a birth plan is for a hospital birth. But, in reality, that would frustrate me and NOT help me prepare for labor. (It is Paul's desire to have another hospital birth, and I thought I was okay with that until about last week... now I am remembering how little I get my own way and how pushy some of the nurses were... but I better just not think about it at all right now... OR, maybe I could have a home birthing kit ready, "just in case" *winks*. Oh, just kidding, Paul, didn't know you were going to read this, heehee... I'll be a good girl.)

I think I am ready.... maybe.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Looking Ahead to L&D

Prayer Requests for the labor and delivery that we anticipate in the next month:

- As in the past, it is my utmost desire to be a good witness to the nurses and doctors (Gentleness and Self-Control)
- That I would have nurses and doctors that I like and work well with (Love)
- That I would be brave and not a big baby (Peace)
- That the docs would not try to talk me into anything I don't want to do (Patience)

In short, pray that the Holy Spirit would be obvious in me as we enter into a physically demanding event.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thankfulness

I have so much to be thankful for!

- salvation!, that is not contingent on my performance, but on the Great Big Love of God!
- a nice, big, mold-free house
- five healthy kiddoes
- My little girl, Lydia, was saved from near dying in May 2008, of unknown causes. Now she is still small, but very happy and active.
- dry beans
- children who LOVE to learn!
- Nelson is really starting to read well (He has been reading for a while, but it just did not "click" until last week. I love it when the lightbulb gets switched on!)
- The children are making friends at church
- brown rice
- Four of my children are believers! (Joshua- age 4- was not baptized, but he is quite the little Christian!)
- Three of my children are baptized
- My husband loves the Lord
- fresh bread, cooked by Rebecca or Paul instead of myself
- My husband loves me and my children with great passion
- I get to meet Baby 6 in the next 5 weeks (or so)
- dairy products in my fridge without having to own a cow
- Paul weighs less than 200 pounds again!
- We all have plenty of healthy food to eat, we never go without
- Our family dog, Daisy, is a very nice pet... and very low maintenance
- Praising God IN ADVANCE that one day soon my well water will be going through a filter again, and I will be able to do my laundry... (Please, Lord, make it soon!)
- We have an internet connection in our home
- My cherished piano, flute, and guitar are all standing ready for service whenever I want them
- In-Laws nearby who want to take care of me, and who have agreed to be "on-call" from 3am to 3pm every day until Baby 6 comes.
- Yummy food... oh, did I already say food? Well, you see, I am pregnant, and food is very important to me just now :0)
- Transportation - we are trusting God and praising Him IN ADVANCE, because we know that He will get us a BIG van just when we need it. 
- Books. Bibles. More books.
- Great sermons streamed through our computer.
- Getting to hear Paul preach again!!! (And, soon you can too. He bought a digital recorder and is hunting for the right sermon hosting site.)

I could sit here all day and come up with many, many more ideas. But, I think you get the idea. We are grateful for all the Lord has done for us! And, we are thankful for all His is going to do!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Great With Child

About 5 weeks to go.


Best Choral Piece Ever

I have been looking for a video for what I consider to be the best choral piece ever... Far Above All, arr. by Mark Hayes. But, I cannot find a good version anywhere.

BUT, I did find an audio-only sample on a website. The "sample" is the entire song. I cannot hear it without streams of tears covering my face. It is truly the best contemporary choral piece that I have ever heard.

Go listen to it at this link.

Without Apologies (Food Expenses Part 2)

Disclaimer: This blog is about growing in the Lord. And, I want to distinguish that I am NOT saying in any of my "healthy living" posts that eating better gets me in better standing with God. Healthy eating is a good thing, but it does not improve my relationship with the Lord. I post about this topic, because it is important to me as a homemaker. You have liberty to eat as you will... eating Oreos and McDonalds will not send you to hell... I am never, never saying that.   


I was woken up during the night and I could not get back to sleep. So, I pondered my food expenses again. (Please tell me that I am not the only person who lies awake in the middle of the night solving the problems of the world?)

Anyway, I thought of more expensive foods that I buy... without apology. Paul and I are definitely on the same page here.

We sweeten our foods with honey (the best that we can afford). We use REAL, pure maple syrup on our oatmeal and pancakes. These items are pretty expensive (since we cannot keep bees right now... though it is a long-term goal! And, we are not likely to start tapping trees for sap this year.) But, no matter how cheap sugar/brown sugar is (REALLY cheap) we only use it if we have to. Occasionally we buy succanat to replace the brown sugar in recipes.

We buy cheeses that are milk based, not oil-based. We eat a lot of cheese, though I no longer serve it by itself as a snack. We use our food processor or a grater to shred cheese for many meals. And, it is wonderful how a meal of rice and beans is transformed by cheese!!! Yep - we will not be cutting out this expensive item either.

Butter - ummmm.... butter... We LOVE cooking with butter and slathering it on our fresh bread. But, unless we find really good deals, butter can be really expensive. We tried to make our own, but our raw milk comes from a cow with a lower butter-fat-content. It is still my dream (make that OUR dream) to have our own goats or cows... the higher butter content the better!, some day. But, this is another LONG-term goal. We have not bought margarine for about 3 years.

So, this post is the results of my midnight ponderings. We choose to buy some expensive foods. And, I am okay with that. Still, we don't want to go overboard on our food expenses goals or our healthy eating goals. We will keep praying that we will keep a good balance on these issues. (Fortunately for me, my husband excels at moderation!)

How about you? Do you feel balanced? How would you like to see change in your family? Are you very little concerned about healthy eating? Are you too concerned about healthy eating? Maybe someone else here can learn from your comments.

And, in case I don't see you again, Happy Thanksgiving! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Food Expenses

I have been totaling all of our food expenses for November and I am still a little discouraged by the numbers. I counted the 1st of the month through the 21st of the month as 3 weeks. And, I subtotaled each week, then averaged the expense per week. I am a little sorry to say that we are still spending an average of $134 per week on food (for a family of 7, not counting unborn Baby).

Honestly, maybe this is not so bad...

Here is the USDA's guidelines  for Oct. 2011, for the cost of foods for individuals. (You can see the whole chart, for other months here) I tallied my family, using their "thrifty plan" amounts and came up with an estimate of $219.8/week.
Even my highest weeks were not that high. So, maybe we are not doing so bad...
All I know is that is seems like too much for our family!

Considerations:
-I did have to make some purchases that will not be made every month - like 50 pounds of oats (week 1) and 50 pounds of flour (week3). But, I just keep thinking, "what else can I do?!" Meat is usually the most expensive food per pound. But, I buy very little of that. And, fruit is sort of costly per pound, but I buy whatever is on sale. And, we cut back our fresh fruit intake significantly!
- I had to buy pecans this week... ouch! (Nuts cost far more than meat, per pound.)
-We are buying water right now, because our well water is non-potable. But, we are only paying .38/gallon, for a refill at Wal-Mart. (And, we hope that our Culligan water system will be fixed soon...)
-If we give up the raw milk delivery we would only be saving about 50 cents per gallon. And, I would likely not give the kids near as much milk - because store bought milk constipates the children and makes Paul's so-called "lactose intolerance" act up. But, without milk, they would need to eat more food... So, this is not a good option.
-We also have family/friends over for dinner at least twice a month, usually more. But, this is something that we do not plan to cut out! In fact, we wish we could host more meals! (Sometimes our shared meals are potluck style, with other families helping carry the load.)

The good news is, we still spend less that the "average" American family.

And, all of this food money was spent on actual food at the grocery store. We are not eating out at all.

So, we are doing much better than we were! I am writing this post, largely, for my own "memory." I want to be able to look back and see how we are doing. But, if it helps encourage/challenge you to review your own family's expenses, I will be happy to have helped!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

I'm So Mean (Mwahahahaha)

We have finally decided on a name for our soon-to-be-born little man. But, I am so mean that I am going to keep it a secret a while longer.

Hey, at least I told you the gender! The rest will be our special surprise!

Friday, November 18, 2011

I Love You, Jesus - By Rebecca


A Song by Rebecca, Nov. 16, 2011

O Jesus Christ, My Savior, Lord, King,
I Worship and Adore You.
I need You in my life.

O Jesus Christ, I love You. I love You. 
O Jesus, I love You. I love You and I need You.

O Jesus I need You in every step of the way. 
I need you, Jesus.
I need you in every step of the way.
                           O Jesus, I need you each and every day.                              

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Am I Nesting?

It hit me tonight - "I don't have a suitcase packed!" and "I don't have a list of helpful information for caretakers!"

So, I wrote a list. And I packed my suitcase. And, I hung up all my non-maternity skirts and blouses in the closet.

Okay... I think I'm ready to go now... sometime in the next 6 weeks or so.

Love - By Rebecca

Written by Rebecca on October 29, 2011

Girls, God loves us even if we can not do all the things we would like to do. The most important thing to do is love your brothers and sisters and parents, which can be hard. We need to love more then anything. We sisters need to love more than MOST sisters all over the world. Most sisters hate each other but we have to LOVE just like Jesus does. We need to love one another.

Proverbs 15 :1  A soft answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Love is like that verse. You can not speak soft words unless we love one another. I have a hard time trying to love. Loving people is hard. I love but it is hard. We can not love with out God's help and love. We need God and I hope you have accepted Him in your life. He has totally changed my life. I would not go back and change it for the world. I was 5 when I was baptised by my dad. I love God very much. Love is AWESOME. You love every person you meet, even if it is hard. Love is GREAT!      

What an Amazing Girl!

Both of my daughters amaze me. But this post is about Rebecca. A few weeks ago I found a notebook that she was writing in. I opened it and read it. I was blown over. She was writing to other young ladies about the importance of loving your family. I did not tell her that I found her book. I did not think on it again until today.

Then, last night she was in her bed but came running up the stairs to get a pencil and paper. I said, "What are you doing?" Her answer, "Working on something," and ran back to her room. Less than ten minutes later she came back with a song she had written. I read it, it is very sweet. And, I heard her sing it to her Daddy.

Then, this morning, she is planning out a Bible Study... to teach the girls at church Sunday, after church is over. She has chosen a text and songs. Who is this girl?! She amazes me!

At age 9, I was boy crazy. Rebecca is crazy in love with Jesus.

I would like to give Rebecca a voice on this blog. She has written on the blog before, under the label "Rebecca Writes." It has been a very long time, because typing is a real challenge to her. But, I asked Rebecca if she would like to write her magazine article or her song on our family blog. She seems excited. It might take a while to get it typed out and misspellings corrected. But, it will be coming soon.

When you think of it, please pray for Rebecca, as she will be working really hard to "publish" her thoughts on the blog.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"Are you a glutton for punishment?"

A few weeks ago we were in Sam's Club pricing some items for my comparison pricing chart. As you already know we are becoming more frugal in our grocery shopping every day. We were at Sam's on a Friday night, just before closing time, and the store was surprisingly empty. Since the aisles were barren of shoppers, we allowed the children to wander from the cart more than usual. (Generally we have a "hands on the cart" rule for the littlest three children and the older two are expected to walk very nearby.) That night we had children wandering up and down the aisle.

I had stopped to write down the price of Foldger's coffee, because the sorry-excuse-for-coffee at Aldi is a disgrace to the word "coffee." (You should see my poor husband standing over the coffee pot at church waiting for it to finish on Sunday mornings!) Anyway, I was writing down the price and did not notice until the last moment that there was an older couple walking down the aisle. Our kids were all near the cart, but sliding their feet on the concrete floor and doing their best to be patient with Mommy. Anyway, we let the couple around, but the gentleman stopped and looked at us. He counted the children and pointed at my bulging belly and said:

"Are you a glutton for punishment?"

This question he addressed mainly at Paul, but included me in a piercing look. Paul smiled amiably. I made some unnecessary comment about the children's behavior (which I did not think was at all "bad.") And, the man spoke again - something about how can we afford to feed them. Looking around at the shelves of Sam's one of us jokingly, yet seriously, said "we buy in bulk." And usually when we get this question (about once a month), I answer that "we eat a lot of oats." I can't remember what else we said that night, because I was still amazed that the man had the audacity to call children "punishment." And, then he went on to say something about how we must do it for the tax deductions. I must have been 10 shades of red, but I said "I hadn't thought of it that way before." Paul was still just smiling... and trying to keep the children still.

The interview was then over. As you all know, I internalize every criticism ever laid at my door. But, I did not cry. I knew with a clean conscience that we are not a burden on any tax-payers funds. I did not need to defend myself to him. But, still the conversation stuck with me.

It wasn't until a few days ago that I came to this conclusion - "I am so glad that man was not my Daddy!" My Daddy never made me feel like a burden. He never complained about the price of food, clothes, or medical procedures - at least not in front of me. Yes, we all knew that he had to work a lot, but he did not complain to me about the price of flute lessons and other extras.

And, I started to realize that though I would never say that "children are a punishment," there are little ways that perhaps parents make their children feel it. Paul and I have talked about this at length this week. And, we are more resolved than ever that while we are doing our comparison pricing - we will NOT let the children feel that it is a burden to feed them. We can be honest about the price of food. We can look together for good deals. And, we can rejoice in bargains. But, we need to do it in a way that does not begrudge the children for eating.

And, if someone needs new glasses... again... we will buy them without the usual complaining. And, I will try much harder not to remind the children of the cost of glasses every time they scratch them.

And, I will stop being such an electricity nazi "Hey, don't you know someone has to pay for that light you left on?!"

It is right and good to teach children the value of money. But, I have been doing it with the wrong attitude - the wrong approach. I am always coming at it from the negative, instead of the positive.

But, I do not want my children to feel like a burden to me. I do not want them to resent the day they were born, because they think it somehow hindered mommy's happiness. I want to raise them to know that they are loved and valued - more than money! I don't want them to ever think that they were a "punishment" to me.

The comments of the stranger were not meant to be helpful to me. But, the Lord took them and showed me some areas where I can improve.

 What about you? I know you love your kiddoes, but is there room for improvement? I truly mean to work on this! Even so much as how I let my face reflect my feelings at Wal-Mart. I don't want people to walk by me with an expression of pity for my circumstance! I am BLESSED beyond measure! True, I cannot always buy meat - but I have 6 (counting baby in my tummy) wonderful treasures of great value! I want my face to reflect the joy of my life... rather than the momentary afflictions. I want people to look at me and say, "What a happy family." And, I want them to see the Light of the World in our faces.

This is quite a resolution. Please God, we will all attain to it more every day!