Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

From my home to yours, Merry Christmas! May the greatest gift this world has known fill you with His peace!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Simple Teacher Gifts

Update: This is what I call a crafting FAIL! I was just using the dish towel I kept for myself and the ink is bleeding and rubbing off. Back to square one...$5 gift cards for each teacher are sounding better and better. I'm hoping to salvage some of the towels by pretreating them and running them through the wash.

This week I've been working on teacher gifts. We love the folks who teach our kids at their homeschool enrichment program, Sunday school, etc. and wanted to give them something they can put to good use without breaking the budget. I'm aiming more and more for giving gifts that don't create clutter in someone's home. This year I opted for nice dish soap (you know, the kind you don't often splurge on for yourself) and a flour sack towel that I sewed with a decorative snowflake stitch and stamped to give it a festive look.

Supplies, cost breakdown and a few notes:
flour sack towels - $1.00 each at Wal-mart
Note: These are not great quality, but should make it through the holidays at least. I prewashed and ironed these before stamping and sewing.

rubber stamp - $5.xx with coupon - will be able to use for other things

red stamp pad - on hand
Updated to add: Do NOT use the kind of ink I used. Crafting FAIL!
Note: I used Color Box pigment ink which may not be the best, but I didn't have time or energy to track down an ink suitable for fabric, so take that into consideration if you're doing something similar. I did try acrylic paint dabbed onto the stamp for one but I didn't like the effect.

2 spools red thread - on hand

Mrs. Meyers Clean Day dish soap - $2.98 at Wal-mart (Score! Coupons were attached to the bottles at the store I went to.)

red yarn for wrapping - on hand

sewing machine - Mine is not the top of the line by any means, but it has some fun decorative stitches.

For under $5 per gift I am rather pleased with the result and I'm happy to give a gift I would gladly receive. In fact, I did receive one. I kept one since I am my kids' teacher and I do 90% of the dishes in this house. :)

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Good Life

Today I'm feeling very blessed by........children that are growing up together as the best of friends

...God's grace toward us
...covenant community
...a handsome and hardworking husband

...the privilege of being at home full-time to raise and teach these little ones that are growing up too fast
...a truly delightful baby.

In this season of giving thanks, I really want my heart to say, "Count your blessings, name them one by one, count your blessings, see what God has done."

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Busy Life, Quiet Blog

It seems like many gals have the gift of keeping up with blogs even with very full lives, but I guess that is not my gifting. And I'm fine with that.

We are getting along quite well and feel adjusted to being a family of six. Our sweet baby is such a delightful little guy as he is full of smiles and laughter and sleeps through the night. We are still plugging away with schooling as we fell several weeks behind during the time he was born and the illness that followed. The summer will be full of lots of little events, but not too many big ones. We're hoping just to enjoy the kids and get out and do some fun things. These years really are flying by with them small.

So I just wanted to check in to let my two readers know that we are doing fine, just busy and blessed.
This photo was at 13 weeks and really doesn't have much to do with what I wrote above, but who can resist a happy baby?!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Easter 2010

We give thanks for the Resurrection! Thankful for the sacrifice of Christ. Thankful for the hope of the gospel. Thankful for the local body of believers of which we are a part. And thankful for the blessings in this lifetime, too.


in the hospital at 2 weeks difficult!

Well, our baby is nearly 2 months old and we are finally starting to feel like life is getting back to "normal". It has been a much more difficult transition for us than we had anticipated, mainly due to two things for our little one: really poor eating and an illness which caused him to be hospitalized for 5 days when he was 2 weeks old. But God has been so faithful to us and has shown us again and again His love for us in so many ways, especially through the love and support shown to us through the body of Christ. It has been overwhelming, really. We have literally had dozens of meals lovingly made by others and folks have stepped in whenever we have had a need for childcare. My mother-in-law was also able to quickly schedule a visit and came and helped us tirelessly for 2 weeks after Matthew came home from the hospital a second time. And after 7 weeks, he finally caught on to nursing and is gaining well. Such a praise after so many hours invested into bottlefeeding and pumping and attempting to get him to nurse effectively! We have also been to numerous medical appointments to follow up on the condition that led to his infection and now more fully understand what is going on, how to keep him well and we have hope he will outgrow it in time. We are so blessed!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Matthew's Birth Story

Short Version:
Induced on my due date - very long labor at nearly 21 hours - no signs that I would progress on my own to the finish and we were minutes away from going to the operating room for a C-section - we prayed, God answered in wonderfully merciful ways - Matthew Lewis was born! It was my longest and most difficult labor (all have been induced) even though it was my 4th child.

Longer Version:
I was due on February 9th, so with my history of always going late, my doctor and I were in agreement that an induction was a fine course of action. Arrived at the hospital around 8:00 am. We were starting at 2 cm, maybe 50% effacement and -3 station. Pitocin was begun and increased every 30 minutes. Water was broken at 3:15 and I was still at 2cm. Pitocin continued to increase, and the pain did, too. Pitocin drip reached 30 (I'm not sure of the measurement, but the nurse told me that 10 was most often all that was needed for most women.)

I was doing my best to make it without an epidural (I have the last 2 times) but as we approached midnight I was only at 3 cm and maybe a -2 station and was completely exhausted. I opted for the epidural at midnight. I quickly progressed to 5 cm and although I didn't sleep, the rest was so welcome. At midnight an internal monitoring device was also put in to try to make sense of why labor was not progressing and why he was not shifting down at all. I continued to labor through the night, but at 3:40 was only at 5-6 cm and station had not improved. At this point, my doctor expressed that he was still not able to get a reason for why things were not progressing and baby was not descending. He was recommending a c-section, though we were not at the point that it had to be done right then and there. He graciously gave us 30 minutes to talk it over privately and to pray. We called my parents and asked them to pray, too, and we cried out to God. Not that a c-section would have been awful, it was just that we had come so far and labored so long that it seemed so disappointing and I dreaded the recovery and doubted how I could care for my family if it came to that. We prayed for a safe delivery of our little boy, no matter what means that meant. After 30 minutes we were at peace with the decision to go ahead with the c-section. At that point I was checked again and was at 8 cm. My doctor at that point thought it wise to give it another half hour to see if I could complete. Our little guy was holding strong, but it had been a long day and night for him in the womb, too, and was starting to show signs of stress.

We continued to pray and hope that this could happen without surgery, but surrendered our will to His. A half hour later I had completed and I began pushing. He was born less than 5 contractions later at 5:02am on February 10. To God be the glory! We are so thankful for His favor!

We have so much to give thanks for, as witnessed by the story above, but also in other ways...with a wonderfully skilled and compassionate Christian doctor, with a great staff of nurses who cared for us and encouraged us, for my parents who we felt we could call in the middle of the night to join us in prayer, for an amazingly supportive husband who stood with me through it all. My heart is overflowing with thanks for the way God brought this child into the world.

P.S. - I know some will read this and think that it was because of the induction and the medical intervention that we got to the point we were at considering a c-section. Just know that I realize not all will agree with the way we came to be in that situation, the use of the epidural, etc., but that in those moments, they did seem like the best decisions for us. I get the strong desire for natural childbirth and I have gone that route before. This is not meant to be a divisive post in any way, just an account of Matthew's birth story.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

He's Here!

On Wednesday we welcomed this precious one! We praise God for his safe arrival and that the delivery ended so well after a long day and night of labor without promising progress.

Matthew Lewis
February 10, 2010 @ 5:02am
8 lb. 10 oz. - 20.5 inches

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Getting Ready

It is hard to believe we only have 10 more days, give or take, to meet our baby boy. With all the excitement in my heart, there is also a bit of fear. Fears regarding labor and delivery (I feel like I'm out of has been more than 3 1/2 years), adjusting to life with a newborn, meeting the needs of all my children while maintaining our household and homeschool routine. Wise moms have told me to lower my expectations and most importantly, pray. It feels like I am on the verge of being re-initiated into motherhood. So with the changes just around the corner, I'm trying to prepare my heart and home for what is ahead. The "to do" list is growing by the day while I fluctuate between having lots of physical energy and motivation to take on the whole house and having just enough to manage the bare essentials for the day. This final trimester has also brought a fair bit of pain to this mama-to-be, which I am looking forward to disappearing once I can hold this child in my arms instead of my belly. Still on my to-do list?

- Try to get the whole house clean...this seems almost impossible since we still have 5 people living here and 3 of them are not very tidy.

- Take a bunch of discards to the donation center. It always feels so good to get stuff out of your house that you no longer need.

- Brush up on our Bradley Method book, but honestly, if I run out of time I'm just hoping that the whole labor and delivery experience will just be like riding a bike and come back to me.

- Finish packing the bag for the hospital.

- Fill in more details on the list of things people should know when caring for our children.

- Have some pictures taken by a friend.

- Get a pedicure, or at the very least, paint my own toenails just because that makes me happy.

- Go on a date with my husband! Babysitter is booked and I'm looking forward to an evening out with him!

- Write shower thank you notes. I was SO blessed this week by a group of gals from church who came out to encourage and support me as we are days away from our little one's arrival! We really didn't need much in the way of baby things, but it is so refreshing to have some new things to use this time around instead of exclusively hand-me-downs from his older brothers.

- Take time to rest and exercise.

- Enjoy these moments with just 3 kids on the ground and get out to do at least one thing with them just for the sake of having fun with them.

I know I could really keep adding to this list, but these are the most important so I want keep my expectations in check and enjoy these days as much as possible.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Glimpses of Christmas

Free vintage skis I found this fall and a wreath from years past were easier (and safer!) than putting up outdoor lights
Our humble tree with ornaments collected through the years and made by won't make any decorating magazines or blogs, but it is "our" tree, not "my" tree
A simple display over the fireplace - my favorite part is my grandmother's first Bible under the initial
A window display made by our crafty did my heart good to know that she really understands the reason for the season and the initiative to make this was all hers.
Gifts on top of the kitchen cupboards keep the temptation away from young hands and add a festive touch
We really enjoyed taking a day at home for our "family Christmas" before traveling. We enjoyed a fondue meal, gifts and time for the kids to enjoy their new things.

The kids singing carols with Nana playing
All the kids listening to Papa read the Christmas story

In a nutshell, it was a season of simple decorating and celebrations, but rich in memories.

Not pictured:
- A family photo with my living grandparents, parents, siblings and their spouses and children
- My mom's 60th surprise birthday party
- A white winter wonderland thanks to a big blizzard, though too cold and windy to really get out to enjoy
- Gathering near the computer to visit with my husband's family many miles away

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