Thursday, May 28, 2015

Don't Let Me Forget

Don't let me forget.

With every babe we've been given, the reality grows stronger.  I may not do this again.  The magnitude of the gift, the fleeting moments of this crazy time.  There are no guarantees.  Only right now.  I don't want to forget.

And I don't want to forget not just because I may not do it again but because I can't do you again.  This is your time.  The time of you.  To soak in not just what a miracle it all is but the unique miracle that is you

I want to remember the matching top crinkles of your sweet ears.

The dark fuzz of your shoulders and the softer than soft cheeks.  The lips that beg to be kissed.

The loll of your head after a nurse and despite my attempts to fix what looks so uncomfortable, your return right back to that same position.

The mid-doze smiles and grimaces, random sighs and dainty squeaks.  The softer than silk gloss of your newborn hair.

The wrinkles of your toes and the surprise in your eyes when your tiny limbs are let loose.  The tiny remains of vernix trapped in a few creases.

The stork bite.  The button of a nose.  The lines of milk that dribble and dry to your chin.

Even the strange things.  The reptilian peel of your newly born skin.  The ridiculously long fingernails.  The things that in fancy newborn photo shoots might be mourned or airbrushed out.  Those too.  I want them all. 

They are you.  This gift.  

Even the hard things.  The waves of melancholy and hormonal rushes that without warning sweep over my being.  The afterpains.  The sore engorgement and muscles that ache.  

The toe-curl of a bad latch.  The frustration of those moments when you root and snort though what you want is waiting right in front of you.  Even the agony of a wave of labor as you came into this world.  I don't want to forget.  Because it was all you.  

Being here.

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Monday, May 25, 2015

May I Introduce You?

We're so so happy to share with you our newest blessing!

Introducing our sweet Benedict Raphael
"Blessed Healing of God"
Born Friday evening May 22 at 8:08 p.m.
7 pounds 1 ounce, 19 inches

Footling breech vaginally birthed (no, really).  

This whole pregnancy I had a different feeling about this birth.  I couldn't place my finger on it so we just planned as best we could for normal but I guess there really was something to that.

We ended up birthing at the hospital after finding out the day before that he had unexpectedly flipped breech.  It's a pretty crazy whirlwind of a story infused with God's grace and provision and heaps of His peace.  We arrived at the hospital at 7:54 and he was born at 8:08.  I'll share the whole story soon, I hope!  We were able to be home by the next afternoon and are trying to soak up this precious time.  The older brothers are in love.  

Thank you so very much for all the love and prayers.  What could have been a very scary situation was just saturated with His goodness and I know much of that is due to all of your sweet prayers (as well as the expertise and care of my amazing midwife, her assistant, and several other wonderful people).  I didn't forget to pray for you, too.

For now, we nurse and rest and nurse and gaze and nurse and change and nurse and eat and nurse and snuggle and nurse...

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Soaking It In {pretty, happy, funny, real} - vol. 69

Today in our little neck of the woods it is absolutely beautiful and so I sit on our porch trying to soak it all in as much as I can.  And I get to share a little piece of it here.

Remember how last year we got one (as in 1) pear off of our dozen trees?
This year, barring some horrible freeze, we're set to explode!

See those baby pears forming??  Aren't they sweet?

So many.  We'd get a lot already but since we had none last year, it's even more than a normal year.  Thousands.  Be prepared, local friends.  Come late August we'll be begging you to take them. 

Oh, and remember that whole bee thing we've been talking about?
You guys.

We have bees!!  
I'll have to do a more in depth post at some point and don't you dare go thinking we know what we're doing but...bees!  We ordered two nuc hives and had only "sometime in spring" given us as the reference to when they would be ready.  I predicted they would be ready the week I was due and sure enough...

This weekend was insane and part of the insanity was Brian and the older boys going out at dusk Saturday night to pick up our bees and bring them home.  We were already exhausted from a long day but Brian and John Paul stayed up until after ten getting the bees situated in their new homes.  I wish I had been able to get pictures of the process but they were working by flashlight at that point and I was deflated in the tub from such a crazy day.  John Paul was amazing, though.  No fear.  He knew exactly what to do and how to do it and guided us through the process of installing the hive.  

We're really excited about it.  This could be such a neat hobby or it could flop and this could be one of the most expensive (but educational?) experiments we've ever done.  We shall see!

A scene from earlier in the day.  Michael and Luke were called in to lunch and had picked heaps of goldenrod from the field to bring back with them.  Happy.

I did have to break it to them that goldenrod wasn't a good house flower.

And a scene from a few days ago that I had to include because it is a happy day indeed when our farmer plows the fields behind our house. 

 The boys are hoping that they'll plant corn this year.  And yes, they were too close.  Way too close.  So I took a picture…and then called them in ;)

Brian replaced the chicken fence and I think it looks great.  The old one was made from tree branches that were finally beginning to rot out and fall over :)  We filled it up with lots of straw and grass clippings and we have happy chickens.  Except for that one that got killed by a hawk yesterday.  That chicken is not so happy anymore.  She was one of our routine escapees and the boys found her body by the coop just before dinner.  We weren't sure what had gotten her since the body was left but during dinner I flew out of my seat when I saw a hawk come to perch right on one of those posts, presumably to get the rest of her or to pick off another bird.  I'm sure it was quite the entertaining site to see us all run outside to scare it away...

But, um, the rest are still happy :)

On hawk patrol.  This kid thinks he's tough as nails and that he can do anything.

Remember how gray and cold and dreary it was just a few weeks ago?  Thank you, Lord, for this.  Help us to soak it all in.  
That patch in the middle, if you can see it, is what used to be our garden.  After thinking it through we made the sad decision to forgo a garden this year.  There is just too much other life going on and we needed to replow a whole new area to plant since this fence, too, was rotting out and falling over…it just didn't make sense and would've been more than we can (sanely) handle right now.  So if anyone wants to share some of their garden's harvest with us later on…well, we'll have pears to trade? 

And this.  Because I can't let it slide through that someone in our house turned 35 this week.  Thirty five.  And John Paul made the annual birthday brownies all on his own this year so apparently someone else is growing up, too.  Brian didn't get a birthday buddy like he was hoping so it looks like we'll have three different May birthdays in this house to celebrate next year!

Linking up with Like Mother, Like Daughter for {pretty, happy, funny, real}
Hope you're having a beautiful Thursday!

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Few of My Pregnancy Game Changers {Five Favorites}

Thought I'd chase away the waiting-for-baby-to-arrive temptation with a little bit of Five Favorites link up action this afternoon!  In case y'all were interested, how about five of the things that have been a huge help to me this pregnancy??

Here we go:


I'm so so tired of drinking this stuff but it is a game changer when it comes to the awful leg cramps and restless legs that plague some of us when pregnant.  It's also helpful for sleeping.  I add the teaspoon or two to half a glass of water and try to chug it quickly.  The one container has lasted me all pregnancy (I didn't seem to need it as much in the second trimester) so definitely worth it.


For the same reason as the Natural Calm, the magnesium of the epsom salts makes a huge difference for leg cramps and helping me sleep.  At least four or five nights a week I've been taking a bath which may at first glance sound super relaxing and awesome but I'm actually looking forward to post birth when a bath can be something more relaxing and not something I feel like I have to do.  This also helps a huge amount with back soreness and staying hydrated (hey, your skin can absorb water, too…).  (P.S. Don't spend a lot...I get mine super fancy at the dollar store.)


Just like with last pregnancy, I'm taking a super high dose of B-12 in the morning and it makes a huge difference in the morning dizziness/lightheadedness/low blood pressure that plagued me in other pregnancies and at points made me non-functional for an hour or two every morning.  I love that my midwife helped me figure that out while I was pregnant with Luke and such a simple solution has made such a huge difference.  Last time I used the liquid sublingual Solgar brand and this time I'm just using the Trader Joe's brand with similar results.


My skin this pregnancy has been the worst it's ever been.  Really.  Worse than middle school, high school, PMS…bad.  Bad enough that I was beginning to get embarrassed leaving the house.  I tried so many things - apple cider vinegar, natural cleansers, dead sea mud cleansers, even out of desperation some harsher acne cleansers and spot treatment and nothing worked.  Finally I tried…honey.  Just honey.  It sounds ridiculous but even after the first time using it, there was a HUGE difference and I haven't had a horrible breakout or blotchy episode since.  I was first using some local raw honey that I use for the boys' sandwiches every day and when that ran out, just used the stuff from Trader Joe's and some local creamed honey all with equal results.  I just rub it right in to a damp face and rinse off…sounds sticky but really, it's not once your face is already wet.  Hoping the results continue after this babe is born!


(So I'm not the best back-of-head selfie taker…but you can see a little bit.)

Just like my skin, my hair doesn't do the fabulous pregnancy things that other women's skin and hair seems to do when pregnant.  It definitely doesn't grow thicker or faster and just looks blah and tired.  My friend Janelle introduced me to this hair method and I'm hooked.  The basic premise is that wavy or curly hair is almost always under moisturized and that's the reason it gets frizzy or for us wavy girls we feel we need to blow it flat daily.  With this method (or at least my version of the method since I never actually read the book), you never ever brush or comb your hair…only finger comb.  You "co-wash" meaning you wash with conditioner that is sulfate, silicone, and paraben free.  Then you use a curl cream or gel and only a t-shirt to blot (or plop!) your hair dry (no towel-drying!).  That's a HUGE summary of the whole method but even that little bit I'm doing has made a big difference.  It's not stunningly gorgeous, but my wavy curl returned and I feel like I look more like myself.  I'm hoping that once I'm not pregnant, the results may be even better.  We shall see…at the very least it means that I don't need to use a hair dryer and barely have to style it so that's kind of handy during life with a newborn anyway.

So that's that.  Any wonderful things that were helpful to you when pregnant?  
P.S.  I really really appreciate all your prayers and love and thinking-of-you messages as we await this little one!  Your intentions are on my list and in my heart.  Here's hoping we can meet our new arrival soon!

{Linking up with Rachel at Efficient Momma…go check out some others' Five Favorites!}

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